As a keen fan of British wrestling, I was sat here thinking what I could do my first article about. So I decided to write about my favourite British company, PROGRESS Wrestling.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of companies like Revolution Pro Wrestling, I’ve seen the best matches of my life at York Hall with RevPro, with Ricochet vs Prince Devitt and The Swords of Essex (Will Ospreay & Paul Robinson) vs The Inner City Machine Guns (Ricochet & Rich Swann) both honourable mentions. But there is a special connection, between the fans, the wrestlers and the owners, that makes PROGRESS that little bit more special.
Let’s start off with the owners, Jon, Jim and Glenn, as they say themselves “we are not geniuses we are just fans like yourselves” The way the owners interact with the fans like we are there friends, makes you feel a part of something. The way all three guys watch the show just like us, and you can see them marking out as much as us! It creates a special bond between owners and fans which have created the following that Progress has, which easily sells out every single show it does, with a 16+ age limit as well. Now my first PROGRESS show was Chapter 12, yet as you can see I am clearly in love and have so much admiration for the promotion. When I walked in the Electric Ballroom, I looked around the room and saw almost every single person wearing a PROGRESS tee, I had never seen anything like it before, and from then I knew I was going to be a part of something special. Put it this way, it took me until the interval to go and buy my own PROGRESS tee!
Now, let me talk about the fans, I heard good things about the crowd at progress, and I wasn’t disappointed. As soon as the show was beginning, the Star Wars theme played with every person chanting the tune, from then I knew I was in for a fun night. Huge chants of “This is Progress” with Jim in the ring, seeing how much every fan clearly loves the promotion. All night there were fun chants, such as “hairy nipples” to Tommy End, “fucking flip” every time someone was on the top rope, “where’s my hubcap” to scouse wrestler Zack Gibson. Everyone at Progress goes to enjoy themselves, let their hair down and have a good time watching some good old wrestling.
Now let me talk about the wrestlers themselves who of course make the show. The one thing that drew me to progress is the fact that it was predominately British wrestlers. For example the only import they used was Tommy End and even he is on the European circuit being from Holland. They use the odd import here and there but is mainly British wrestlers and the imports they do use are huge talents, such as Prince Devitt, Ricochet and Colt Cabana. The fact they use mainly British wrestlers is huge for me, because it’s a British show, and we get to see the British talent that exists in this talent which often gets overlooked for imports who aren’t as good but because of their names and for the pure fact they are from America they get more of a look in than British guys. Now like I said I do like PCW and I understand the use of Rikishi and Vader will draw people but Progress sell out every show before matches are even announced using predominantly British talent, it annoys me with PCW booking guys like Rikishi and Vader who costs loads to book, where they could actually have a good match, booking guys who never get a look in with that company, such as Will Ospreay.
One wrestler I would particularly like to mention to do with Progress is the Champ, Jimmy Havoc, he is possibly the best heel I’ve seen. When he came out you could hear and see the hatred from every fan in the room, every single fan with there middle finger in the air, throwing C bombs the lot. He is so good, that I absolutely hate his guts, that’s how much of a good heel he actually is.
Finally the last thing I think which makes progress so successful is the fact that they are different. They are not like any other promotion. The 16+ age limit, the fact their titles aren’t belts, using a “nazi staff” for the world title and a shield for the tag team titles. Too many companies try to be to similar to the American companies when I feel if they tried to be different, like PROGRESS are, then they will experience a lot more success.
Thanks for reading