|Jim Smallman (Owner) 
Jon Briley (Owner) 
Glen Joseph (Owner)
Progress Wrestling (stylized as PROGRESS) is a British professional wrestling promotion that was established in 2011 by comedian Jim Smallman and events and comedy promoter Jon Briley, later to be joined in management of the company by actor Glen Joseph.
- 1 History
- 2 Events
- 3 Training School
- 4 Jimmy Havoc & Regression
- 5 Championships and Accomplishments
- 6 Media Review/Industry Response
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The company was conceived by Jim Smallman and Jon Briley in 2011, who were both massive wrestling fans. Smallman is a big fan of "strong-style" wrestling, Japanese in particular, and Briley was Smallman's agent. The pair decided to put on a wrestling show in London, as not many shows were being put on in the capital itself, featuring the type of wrestling that they would both like to watch. The pair then spent seven months putting their first show together. Smallman is also a huge fan of punk music, and the pair decided to emphasize the fact that it would be a London-based promotion with a punk rock vibe. They also were keen not be import-heavy, like other promotions, but to promote British talent. The pair eventually settled on The Garage in Islington for the venue, because of the size and also having a great reputation as a music venue. The Garage were also very supportive of what Smallman and Briley wanted to do, and the pair ran their first show on 25 March 2012.
After eleven consecutive sell out shows at the Garage, with the later shows drawing 350 fans, the promotion moved to the 700-capacity Electric Ballroom in Camden from Chapter Twelve in March 2014 for their second anniversary show where the sell outs have continued. To date PROGRESS has sold out all twenty main shows up to and including May 2015.
The promotion have been reluctant to use "imports" (talent for which the UK is not their home or one of their homes). Colt Cabana was the first such talent to be included on a show as part of the debut show, Chapter One, in a losing effort to Loco Mike Mason. Ricochet has appeared twice for the promotion, losing to El Ligero at Chapter Six and in a triple threat with Mark Haskins and Zack Sabre Jr at Chapter Eleven. Adam Cole was the first non-European wrestler to register a win in PROGRESS, defeating Mark Haskins at Chapter Ten. Prince Devitt also appeared twice for the promotion, defeating Zack Sabre Jr at Chapter Thirteen and losing to Jimmy Havoc at the PROGRESS World Cup, his final match in the UK before signing with the WWE. Other talents that have appeared include Samoa Joe, Roderick Strong and Tomasso Ciampa.
Though they have run most of their shows in London, in 2014 Progress held three shows at The Satellite Stage at the Sonisphere Festival, and in 2015 they appeared for five nights at Download Festival. In December 2015 they will begin running regular shows at The Ritz in Manchester.
|Chapter One: In The Beginning...||The Garage||London, England||25 March 2012|
|Chapter Two: The March Of Progress||The Garage||London, England||24 June 2012|
|Chapter Three: Fifty Shades Of Pain||The Garage||London, England||30 September 2012|
|Chapter Four: The Ballad Of El Ligero||The Boston Dome||London, England||25 November 2012|
|Chapter Five: For Those About To Fight, We Salute You||The Garage||London, England||27 January 2013|
|Chapter Six: We Heart Violence||The Garage||London, England||31 March 2013|
|Chapter Seven: Every Saint Has A Past, Every Sinner Has A Future||The Garage||London, England||19 May 2013|
|Chapter Eight: The Big Boys Guide To Strong Style||The Garage||London, England||28 July 2013|
|ENDVR:1||The Bedford||London, England||1 September 2013|
|Chapter Nine: Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kick Me, Kill Me||The Garage||London, England||29 September 2013|
|ENDVR:2||The Bedford||London, England||17 November 2013|
|Chapter Ten: Glory Follows Virtue As If It Were Its Shadow||The Garage||London, England||24 November 2013|
|Chapter Eleven: To Fight War, You Must Become War||The Garage||London, England||26 January 2014|
|ENDVR:3||The Bedford||London, England||2 February 2014|
|Chapter Twelve: We're Gonna Need A Bigger Room||The Electric Ballroom||London, England||30 March 2014|
|ENDVR:4||The Bedford||London, England||13 April 2014|
|Chapter Thirteen: Unbelievable Jeff!||The Electric Ballroom||London, England||18 May 2014|
|ENDVR:5||The Garage||London, England||29 June 2014|
|World Cup||The Garage||London, England||29 June 2014|
|Sonisphere Night 1||The Satellite Stage, Sonisphere Festival||Knebworth, England||4 July 2014|
|Sonisphere Night 2||The Satellite Stage, Sonisphere Festival||Knebworth, England||5 July 2014|
|Sonisphere Night 3||The Satellite Stage, Sonisphere Festival||Knebworth, England||6 July 2014|
|Chapter Fourteen: THUNDERBASTARD||The Electric Ballroom||London, England||27 July 2014|
|ENDVR:6||The Bedford||London, England||7 September 2014|
|Chapter Fifteen: Just Because You're Paranoid, Doesn't Mean They Aren't Out To Get You||The Electric Ballroom||London, England||28 September 2014|
|ENDVR:7||The Bedford||London, England||2 November 2014|
|Chapter Sixteen: Very Very Very Breaky Breaky Breaky Bishi Bishiii||The Electric Ballroom||London, England||30 November 2014|
|ENDVR:8||The Garage||London, England||4 January 2015|
|Chapter Seventeen: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger||The Electric Ballroom||London, England||25 January 2015|
|ENDVR:9||The Bedford||London, England||1 March 2015|
|Chapter Eighteen: The Show We Can't Call ProgresslMania for Legal Reasons||The Electric Ballroom||London, England||22 March 2015|
|ENDVR:10||The Garage||London, England||19 April 2015|
|Chapter Nineteen: Super Strong Style 16: Tournament Edition 2015 (Part 1)||The Electric Ballroom||London, England||24 May 2015|
|Chapter Nineteen: Super Strong Style 16: Tournament Edition 2015 (Part 2)||The Electric Ballroom||London, England||25 May 2015|
|Download Festival Night 1||Download Festival, Donington Park||Castle Donington, England||10 June 2015|
|Download Festival Night 2||Download Festival, Donington Park||Castle Donington, England||11 June 2015|
|Download Festival Night 3||Download Festival, Donington Park||Castle Donington, England||12 June 2015|
|Download Festival Night 4||Download Festival, Donington Park||Castle Donington, England||13 June 2015|
|Download Festival Night 5||Download Festival, Donington Park||Castle Donington, England||14 June 2015|
|ENDVR:11||The Garage||London, England||21 June 2015|
|Chapter Twenty: ThunderBastard: Beyond ThunderBastard||The Electric Ballroom||London, England||26 July 2015|
|Chapter Twenty-One||The Electric Ballroom||London, England||6 September 2015|
|Chapter Twenty-Two||The Electric Ballroom||London, England||18 October 2015|
|Chapter Twenty-Three||The Electric Ballroom||London, England||29 November 2015|
|Chapter Twenty-Four: Hit the North!||The Ritz||Manchester, England||6 December 2015|
|Chapter Twenty Five||The Electric Ballroom||London, England||24 January 2016|
In late 2012 PROGRESS launched the only full-time wrestling school in London and the South East, also known as the ProJo. The school has classes for beginner and advanced level wrestlers, and has a wrestling ring permanently erected along with another ring-sized matted area. The original head trainer at the school was Jimmy Havoc, but he was replaced in November 2013 by Darrell Allen. Other trainers include Danny Garnell, James Davis, Eddie Dennis and Wild Boar Mike Hitchman. The school has hosted seminars by the likes of Michael Elgin, Scott Levy, Nigel McGuinness and others. In late 2013 PROGRESS announced that the ProJo students would be putting on their own shows, which would be called ENDVR. ENDVR shows feature a mix of trainees from the ProJo, their trainers, and other professional wrestlers. The first four ENDVR shows were held at the The Bedford Arms in Balham, while ENDVR:5 was held as an afternoon show before the Progress World Cup on 29 June 2014 at The Garage in Islington. Starting from ENDVR:8, the trainee shows move to The Garage on a permanent basis.
Jimmy Havoc & Regression
To date, the most significant storyline within the company has been that of Jimmy Havoc's ascent to the championship. Havoc debuted for PROGRESS on Chapter Two in May 2012 and went on to lose six matches without registering a victory, though became very popular with the PROGRESS fans as an underdog babyface. At Chapter Nine in November 2013 Havoc attacked promoter Jim Smallman and aligned himself with the London Riots, turning heel in the process. Havoc would then use an open contract given to him by Smallman to defeat PROGRESS champion Mark Andrews (who had just wrestled both Paul Robinson and Rampage Brown in consecutive matches) to become champion and pick up his first victory in PROGRESS. In his first title defence at Chapter Eleven, Havoc defeated Zack Sabre Jr with the help of his newest associate, PROGRESS trainee 'The Omega' Isaac Zercher. Havoc was joined at Chapter Thirteen by Paul Robinson, and the group later christened themselves 'Regression' as a play on the name of the company and to symbolise their hatred of PROGRESS Wrestling.
The group lost its first members at Chapter Fifteen, as the four members of the group (not including Zercher) took on PROGRESS Tag Team champions Eddie Dennis and Mark Andrews, Will Ospreay and Noam Dar in a 'titles vs careers' match. Ospreay pinned James Davis of the London Riots, meaning that the Riots were gone from PROGRESS.
Championships and Accomplishments
Unlike conventional wrestling championships which are generally represented by a belt, the PROGRESS championship was initially represented by a large staff with an eagle head piece. The eagle represented the promotion's logo, but was affectionately referred to as the "Nazi staff" by fans. Promoter Jim Smallman was never afraid to defend the accidental likeness of the championship during shows, by occasionally declaring "It's not Nazi, it's regal" whenever a "Nazi staff" chant was started by the fans in attendance. At Chapter Sixteen the staff was replaced by a more traditional title belt.
|1||Nathan Cruz||1||25 March 2012||246||London, UK||Chapter One: In The Beginning||Defeated Marty Scurll, El Ligero & Mike Mason in a tournament final to crown the inaugural champion|
|2||El Ligero||1||25 November 2012||245||London, UK||Chapter Four: The Ballad of El Ligero|
|3||Rampage Brown||1||28 July 2013||119||London, UK||Chapter Eight: The Big Boy's Guide to Strong Style|
|4||Mark Andrews||1||24 November 2013||0||London, UK||Chapter Ten: Glory Follows Virtue As If It Were Its Shadow||Cashed in his Natural Progression Series title shot|
|5||Jimmy Havoc||1||24 November 2013||587+||London, UK||Chapter Ten: Glory Follows Virtue As If It Were Its Shadow||Cashed in his open contract given to him by Jim Smallman|
Progress Tag Team Championship
It was announced at Chapter Nine that beginning in November 2013 there would begin a series of matches to determine the first PROGRESS Tag Team champions. The champions were crowned at Chapter Twelve, the second anniversary show, in March 2014. As with the PROGRESS championship not being a conventional belt, the Tag Team championship is represented by a shield with the PROGRESS eagle on the front. The shield splits into two, one for each championship holder.
(Mark Andrews and Eddie Dennis)
|1||30 March 2014||301||London, UK||Chapter Twelve: We're Gonna Need a Bigger Room||Defeated Screw Indy Wrestling and Project Ego in a tournament final to crown the inaugural champions|
|2||The Faceless/The Origin
(Nathan Cruz, El Ligero, Danny Garnell and Damon Moser)
|1||25 January 2015||160||London, UK||Chapter Seventeen: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger||Originally captured the titles as 'The Faceless' before unmasking as Nathan Cruz and El Ligero, renaming themselves 'The Origin' on 24 May 2015|
|3||The Sumerian Death Squad
(Tommy End and Michael Dante)
|1||25 May 2015||40||London, UK||Chapter Nineteen: Super Strong Style 16: Tournament Edition 2015 (Day 2)|
Natural Progression Series
Beginning with Chapter Four: The Ballad of El Ligero, PROGRESS launched the Natural Progression Series, with the intention of showcasing young and up-and-coming British talent. From Chapter Four each card will feature a match in the series. The tournament was announced as an annual tournament, with the winner gaining a shot at the PROGRESS title.
(Chapters Four, Five, Six and Seven)
(Chapters Eight and Nine)
|Darrell Allen, Joey Lakeside & Xander Cooper|
(Chapters Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen & Fourteen)
|Chuck Mambo & Pastor William Eaver|
|Pastor William Eaver|
Super Strong Style 16
The Super Strong Style 16 is an annual two-day tournament with competitors from around the world, in the vein of Pro Wrestling Guerrilla's Battle of Los Angeles or Westside Xtreme Wrestling's 16 Carat tournament. The first event was held in 2015, and was won by Will Ospreay.
|First round||Second round||Semifinals||Finals|
|Big Daddy Walter||7:26|
|Zack Sabre Jr||17:57|
|Dave Mastiff||Ref Stop|
|Zack Sabre Jr||Sub|
|Zack Sabre Jr||Pin|
|Zack Sabre Jr||Sub|
Media Review/Industry Response
Patrick Lennon, lead wrestling journalist for The Daily Star, has attended and reviewed PROGRESS Shows such as the acclaimed "Chapter Seven: Every Saint Has A Past, Every Sinner Has A Future."
Carrie Dunn, founder and main contributor of wrestling blog "The Only Way is Suplex", recently published "Spandex, Screw Jobs & Cheap Pops: Inside the Business of British Pro Wrestling". PROGRESS Wrestling features frequently in the book including opening a chapter regarding London based wrestling promotions.
- "About". Progress Wrestling. Retrieved 2013-01-02.
- Rehal, Sumit (26 May 2014). "Progress Wrestling – ‘If we didn’t have such talented guys in Britain, then the promotion wouldn’t be doing as well as it is,’ says co-founder Jim Smallman". The Independent. Retrieved 14 August 2014.
- "PROGRESS Chapter One DVD review". RTJR Publishing. Retrieved 2013-01-02.
- "Natural Progression Series". PROGRESS Wrestling. Retrieved 2013-01-02.
- "Every Saint Has A Past, Every Sinner Has A Future show is a winner". Daily Star. Retrieved 2013-12-08.
- "The Only Way Is Suplex". Carrie Dunn. Retrieved 2013-12-08.
- ""Spandex, Screw Jobs & Cheap Pops: Inside the Business of British Pro Wrestling" Amazon listing". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-12-08.
- Dunn, Carrie (2013). "Chapter 11: In the spotlight - London calling". Spandex, Screw Jobs & Cheap Pops: Inside the Business of British Pro Wrestling. Pitch. pp. 174–176. ISBN 978-1-909178-46-5.