Sunday, PROGRESS are coming. For the first time in history, PROGRESS invades the Steel City. , Submerging the momentous O2 Academy in a spirited afternoon of the best grappling action seen today. For the city that came to exemplify the evolving spirit of the industrial revolution, will now host the wrestling revolution known as PROGRESS WRESTLING CHAPTER 40: INTERCEPTED ANGEL.
2016 has been a breakout year for the Bruiserweight Pete Dunne. Rising through the ranks, after years of sacrifice and hard work, leading to the crescendo of his capturing of the PROGRESS World Championship in a one-night tournament at Chapter 39: The Graps of Wrath. Leader of the British Strong Style, also consisting of Trent Seven and Tyler Bate, Dunne is fiercely blazing a trail into 2017. A PROGRESS legend stands in Pete’s path on his road to greatness, a man who has become synonymous with the pinnacle of independent pro wrestling. Zack Sabre Jr stands poised opposite Dunne for the Chapter 40 main event. Sabre battles to be the PROGRESS CHAMPION in this match (guaranteed to be an exhibition of gruesome strikes and submissions), a championship that has alluded him his entire career. Despite his status as a PROGRESS forefather. Alternatively, TheBruiserweight not only hopes to retain the prized title on his first defence, but by virtue prove himself to be the most vicious and dominant competitor today by doing so.
In such a high stakes match, in which both men have so much on the line, they will need to draw on any, and all, experience that they have had throughout their careers. Their time inJapan has become an influential part of both men’s careers, becoming the backbones of their in ring styles. The champions life changing experience came from his three-month tour with MICHINOKU PRO in 2013, a time that was influential in his mutation into the character he is today. During this time, at the other end of The Land Of The Rising Sun, Zack Sabre Jr was long into his stint at Pro Wrestling NOAH. From 2009 till 2015 the Technical Wizard had an extremely successful run within the company.
Sabre would come to adapt to the King’s Road style, equipping himself with a fighting spirit from battling manylegends in the country. His years in Japan truly added new layers to his traditional British wrestling repertoire, gaining a ruthless aggression and intensity to his strikes that he never had before. Since leaving Japan, ZSJ has not only become a marvel in United States independent wrestling, but has been at the front line of the new British boom (along with Will Ospreay and Marty Scurll).
Will Pete Dunne be able to halt Sabre’s championship aspirations, and put an end to his streak of victories (over the likes of Flash Morgan Webster, Will Ospreay and TomassoCiampa) in his first championship defence? Or shall the godfather of PROGRESS, the worldwide technical wrestling prodigy, finally add the PROGRESS World Championship to his long resume of accomplishments?
‘ Silent leges inter arma’ (during the war the laws are silent) – Cicero.
At one time or another a Villain has run rampant in the Punk Rock Wrestling haven. Jimmy FUCKING Havoc had the longest reigning and arguably the most imperative Progress World Championship reign in history. His collisions with the PROGRESS owners, specifically Jim Smallman became the groundwork for an all-encompassing feud between Regression (Havoc’s deadly stable) and the rest of the PROGRESS roster. Including, but not limited to, stars like WWE Cruiserweight Noam Dar, to Zack Sabre Jr and Will Ospreay. Havoc’s long and traitorous reign as the biggest villain in (the now booming) UK independent wrestling scene came to a thundering halt by Ospreay at Chapter 20: Beyond Thunderbastard. Havoc’s treacherous and demonic persona was forever altered due to the loss of his crown, leading to his banishment from the company after the defeat at the fists of his former stable mate Paul Robinson in death match for the ages.
In the ashes of Havoc’s reign rose the Villain Marty Scurll. Climbing the ranks of the PROGRESS roster throughout 2015. Marty was no longer the life of the Party of old, but amuch more ruthless individual. Embodying true wickednesswith a topknot, dehumanizing shades, an old English/neo-noir esc fur coat, and his trademark (weapon) and now iconic umbrella. All roads lead to Chapter 25: (Chat Shit Get Banged) at the start of this year when The Villain dethroned the Arial Assassin, the same man who seized the title from Jimmy Havoc.
Since Havoc’s historical return at the Chapter 37 (We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Room…Again), screwing Marty Scurll out of his World Championship, these two men have been embroiled in a bitter and vicious chess match of brutality. With both rogues clashing in singles matches and brawls since Bigger Room….Again, it left PROGRESS with no other choice but to let the UK independent giants wage war without the confines of rules. So it goes, that this Sunday these two immense characters, devious anti-heroes and embodiments of PROGRESS shall settle the score, one way or the other. Whether there will be a world left after the violence culminates, is another question entirely.
If those two titanic clashes weren’t enough then PROGRESS has something for you, in its invasion of the Steelmekker. Indeed, the main event shall be ADAM COLE (Bay Bay!!!) battling the worldwide high flying phenomenon, UKs and PROGRESS’ own, The Arial Assassin WILL OSPREAY.
This will not be the first time Adam Cole has stepped into a PROGRESS ring. First he competed against the now former PROGRESS World Heavyweight Champion Mark Haskins in 2013, at Chapter 10 (Glory Follows Virtue As If It Were Its Shadow). Cole then made a shocking return to the company alongside now WWE NXT Superstar Roderick Strong at Chapter 21 (You Know We Don’t Like To Use The Sit Down Gun). Accepting the open challenge of one of the most beloved teams in PROGRESS history, in the Sumerian Death Squad (comprised of Tommy End and Michael Dante). A shocking moment and chaotic match that proved that no matter where in the world he laces his boots, Adam Cole is a major player.
These two men are no strangers to each other. Having already been a part of a six man tag this year that has been given the legendary 5 Star Match rating by Dave Metlzer. On Night 2 of this year’s Battle of Los Angeles it featured Ospreay teaming with his idols in Ricochet and Matt Sydal, against Cole’s ELITE brethren in The Young Bucks. The tag team war concluded with the High Flying Dream defeating The ELITE, leaving the Reseda crowd in shock at what they had witnessed. However, Sheffield will not be the first time these two have met in one on one competition. Cole’s ROH World Title was defended in the New Japan Pro Wrestling ring at Destruction in Hiroshima on September 22nd, where he defeated the Arial Assassin in the historically significant bout.
Despite Ospreay’s success in Japan and America, truly breaking out and becoming a worldwide marvel, he is yet to gain victory in his home of PROGRESS this year. Since his encounter with the now former PROGRESS Champion Mark Haskins in June, Ospreay has exposed a much more ruthless and arrogant flamboyance in his matches, desperately trying to steal the victories he wants. Maybe none more so than when he feigned an injury in a classic bout with Shane Strickland at Chapter 35 (Writing Nirvana On Someone Else’s Bags). Indeed, Ospreay is starting to morph a much more villainous persona, one that is similar to his old foes in Jimmy Havoc and Marty Scurll. The Arial Assassin is in a must win situation as he looks to close out the year in PROGRESS with at least one victory, before the clock strikes midnight. When the Panama City Playboy and Essex Enigma paths cross again in the magnificent PROGRESS ring, who will be victorious?
FSU and The Origin know no bounds in this eternal clash for PROGRESS tag team dominance. It can be argued that FSU, in White Lightning Mark Andrews and The Pride of Wales Eddie Dennis, are the most popular tag team in PROGRESS wrestling history. Being the companies first ever Tag Team champions, they have reached new heights as tag competitors. Although Friends Stand United, they can also fall valiantly together. FSU have been unable to gain a victory since they defeated the Dunne Brothers at Chapter 31 (All Hail The New Puritans) in June. For Andrews and Dennis, it always leads back to one stable that has constantly been in both men’s shadows, derailing any momentum they may obtain. That team is The Orgin. When PROGRESS debuts in Sheffield these two teams will continue their storied feud, with The Origin represented by Nathan Cruz and El Ligero. When these four men last met in the main event of Chapter 28 (Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want) they tore the Manchester Ritz down in a barbaric NO DQ collision. One that I wouldn’t be surprised to see on many Top 10 PROGRESS Matches of the year come the end of December. With The Origin stealing the victory by the skin of their teeth on that day, FSU are fighting an uphill battle in this rematch at Intercepted Angel.
If those four momentous matches weren’t enough, Toni Storm faces Bea Priestley in a Natural Progression Series Quarterfinals match, London Riots go up against the New Nation, and Rampage Brown looks to continue his legacy as Atlas Champion with another open challenge. This is as perfect card and a can’t miss event, whether live, on Demand PROGRESS or DVD.
I shall be ringside Sunday 11th December representing The Indy Corner bringing you up to date live coverage from all the action at PROGRESS CHAPTER 40: INTERCEPTED ANGEL