The PROGRESS Super Strong Style 16 tournament enters its second year this Sunday at The Electric Ballroom in Camden, London, and (as with the first tournament) this year’s two-day event is full of promise with a stacked line-up of home-grown and imported talent. Four men make their PROGRESS debuts, while this year’s tournament also sees two graduates from the ProJo training school competing alongside seven competitors from last year’s tournament, all sixteen wrestlers vying for a future PROGRESS World Title shot. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the line-up.
Mark Haskins vs Pete Dunne
For well over a year now Mark Haskins has been one of the top performers in PROGRESS and has been on a steady rise that many see culminating in the PROGRESS World Title. However, in spite of a string of impressive victories to his name and the crowd’s increasing appreciation for his abilities, he’s already earned and lost two title shots against two different champions. With Marty Scurll’s villainous actions after their title match in Manchester at Chapter 26, the PROGRESS Champion made Haskins all the more determined to earn one more shot at the title. Standing in his way, however, is ‘The Bruiserweight’ Pete Dunne, who’s having something of a banner year himself and is looking to make his mark on PROGRESS. What better way to do that than by handing an opening round defeat to many a fan’s favourite to win the whole tournament? Both men are versatile wrestlers and, regardless of the outcome, it’s going to be interesting to see who prevails in what’s sure to be a very exciting encounter.
Damon Moser vs Mikey Whiplash
At the last chapter Mikey Whiplash made a dramatic return to PROGRESS, costing former ally Tommy End his title shot against Marty Scurll and earning the crowd’s displeasure for it. Not that Whiplash cares, he’s a man who feels wronged by PROGRESS, wronged by Tommy and wronged by all the fans who fail to appreciate his self-proclaimed talent as the best technical wrestler in Europe. Intent on causing havoc and mayhem in PROGRESS, Whiplash has his eyes set firmly on the title and will likely be a tough man to beat. That task falls to Damon Moser, ProJo graduate and finalist of the Natural Progress Series III. Moser’s had a tough time of things in PROGRESS, debuting at the heels of The Faceless, only to be cast aside when they transformed into The Origin. But he’s growing more assured with every outing in the squared circle and, if his match with William Eaver at Chapter 29 is anything to go by, he may just have a chance of spoiling Mikey Whiplash’s plans.
Kenny Williams vs Zack Gibson
Having previously wrestled for PROGRESS at last year’s Download Festival, ICW mainstay Kenny William makes his full chapter debut here with a big opportunity against The Origin’s Zack Gibson, who himself is fresh off a failed title shot against Marty Scurll in Italy. While ‘Liverpool’s Finest’ Zack Gibson will be determined to gain another opportunity at the PROGRESS World Title, he would be wise to not underestimate Kenny Williams. Known affectionately as ‘The Bollocks’, Williams is an exciting and explosive high flyer who’s sure to make a fan of anyone yet to have the pleasure of seeing him perform. On the flip side, Gibson has taken some impressive scalps in recent months and is marking himself as one of the most dangerous competitors in PROGRESS, thanks in no small part to his ruthless and vicious submission prowess. This match looks set to be something of a clash of styles and it will certainly be interesting to see who comes out on top.
TK Cooper vs Jack Gallagher
Rounding out the first half of the field, TK Cooper (the other ProJo graduate in the tournament, as well as one-half of the South Pacific Power Couple) faces a stern test against ‘Gentleman’ Jack Gallagher, who recently qualified for the WWE Global Cruiserweight Classic at Chapter 29. Gallagher defeated Pete Dunne in an excellent bout to earn his place in the highly anticipated tournament, but only entered the Super Strong Style 16 when Zack Sabre Jr. announced he’d be unable to compete due to injury. With a stacked summer ahead, Gallagher will want to keep his momentum rolling with an impressive showing here, but TK Cooper shouldn’t be taken lightly. He’s proven himself to be a skilled competitor in his own right, but Gallagher will likely have to also be wary of TK’s partner Dahlia Black potential causing distraction from ringside, while Cooper’s knock-out punch could wreak havoc with Jack’s chances of progressing in the tournament and improving on his first-round defeat last year.
Dave Mastiff vs Big Daddy Walter
Doubling as at Atlas Championship Tournament match, this also sees a battle between two of the hardest hitters in PROGRESS, Walter failed to move on from the first round of last year’s Super Strong Style 16 tournament, but Mastiff did. Atlas matches have a 15 minute time-limit and, as we saw with Joe Coffey vs Rampage Brown at Chapter 29, a draw is entirely possible. However, should that occur both men will receive a point each in the Atlas tournament, then the SSS16 match will continue! With two tournaments on the line, the stakes have been most definitely raised for this one. Big Daddy Walter is still looking for his first win in PROGRESS competition, but the bruiser of The Origin Dave Mastiff has proven himself to be a tough man to defeat and Walter will certainly have his work cut out for him in this one, as Mastiff looks to make a big statement and win the tournament for The Origin.
Mark Andrews vs Chris Hero
A first-time ever encounter here as one of the tournament’s smallest competitors takes on one of the tournament’s largest. As one of two former PROGRESS champions in this year’s field, Mandrews will be looking to regain the title that was so unfairly taken from him by the nefarious Jimmy Havoc. Since those days he’s become a more seasoned wrestler, travelling the world to wrestle for promotions such as TNA and PWG, but the man he faces here is arguably one of the top heavyweights in the world, a talented technical wrestler well versed in all manner of styles and one who dwarfs Mandrews in both size and power. But, for all of Chris Hero’s expertise, Mark Andrews has speed on his side and a wide array of high-flying manoeuvres that will hopefully make for a highly exciting David vs Goliath match-up.
Sami Callihan vs Matt Cross
Two big debuts here, between two men who haven’t met in singles competition for eight years! As such, it’s hard to know what to expect from this one. Since returning from his stint in NXT, Sami Callihan has been on a tear in the American indie wrestling scene, gaining numerous titles and re-establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with. Meanwhile, Matt Cross has found great success wrestling as Son of Havoc on the El Rey Network’s hugely entertaining Lucha Underground series. Cross, a sixteen year veteran, is an excellent high flyer, but is also a great wrestler in his own right. Callihan is an aggressive, hard-hitting wrestler not at all averse to brawling, but he also possesses the technical skills to go hold for hold in search of a submission victory and it should be interesting to see whose style fares best in this one.
Rampage Brown vs Tommy End
After knocking out Marty Scurll at Chapter 28, then almost defeating Scurll for the title at Chapter 29 (if not for the intervention of Mikey Whiplash), an enraged Tommy End entered himself into the Super Strong Style 16 tournament and made it known he was coming for Marty’s title. As fate would have it, his opponent in the first round of the tournament is easily the biggest potential roadblock to Tommy completing that goal. Tommy and Rampage have met three times in singles competition (twice in PROGRESS) and on all three occasions the outcome was the same: Rampage Brown wins. The former PROGRESS Champion has proven himself to be a very physical competitor and has yet to be beaten one-on-one this year. But, while Rampage will be looking to regain his title, thanks to the actions of Mikey Whiplash and Marty Scurll, Tommy End is more determined than ever to claim that title and perhap this time even Rampage Brown won’t be able to stand in his way.
The PROGRESS Super Strong Style 16 Tournament starts this Sunday and will be available to view on-demand via http://demandprogress.pivotshare.com