Added by Christopher Lawson

LIVE From The O2 Ritz in Manchester –  16/10/16

PROGRESS has arrived and is here to stay. PROGRESS is now at the forefront of UK wrestling culture, and even more so, the wrestling world over.

After their biggest show to date at Brixton O2 Academy (both in capacity, and in reaffirmation of the PROGRESSION that UK wrestling has taken in the past number of years), it would have been easy for the company to have taken a step back, relax and rest on their laurels; but the enigma continues to go stronger, with no signs of slowing down. This was no more evident than at Chapter 37: A Sudden Sense of Liberty, emanating from the company’s second home of Manchester Ritz.

The afternoon started with a competitive contest between the returning Bubblegum and Chuck Mambo. Both men’s exuberant personalities are matched by their in ring athleticism and presence. With Bubblegum picking up the victory with a vicious rope assisted pedigree it will be interesting to see the direction of his PROGRESS career going forward, now that he has returned to the Punk Rock kingdom.

All four debuts, surpassed all of the high expectations the deserving talents had in the weeks leading to this card. Kay Lee Ray and Kimber Lee put on a mat wrestling and grappling clinic. It was clear to see live the history these two had with each other, having fought around the globe before finally coming to PROGRESS. The suplex’s were vicious, the strikes were ruthless and the technical wrestling was effortless. Both women stamped their names into not only the PROGRESS roster, but in the imminent National Progression Series to crown the first women’s champion.

In addition, Fabian Aicher and James Drake were clearly motivated to make a statement to the PROGRESS faithful in their one on one encounter. Accomplishing a memorable contest which proved the talents of both men. With the live crowds endorsement after the match in thunderous “PLEASE COME BACK!” chants engulfing the Manchester Ritz, don’t be surprised to see either men on future PROGRESS cards and become part of the prestigious PROGRESS roster.

Arguably the most anticipated match of the night was the fatal 4 way number one contenders match, originally featuring Marty Scurll, Pete Dunne, Joe Coffey and Shane Strickland. Unfortunately Shane Killshot Strickland was unable to take part in the significant match. With one spot vacant, the other half of British Strong Style Trent Seven emerged and offered to fill the spot. They couldn’t have fit more into this match if they tried, the pinnacle of action, comedy and drama with high stake repercussions. The action didn’t stop once the second bell was rung, oh no, as former PROGRESS Champion JIMMY FUCKING HAVOC materialised through the crowd and dropping the winner (and new number one contender) The Villain Marty Scurll with a devastating ACID RAINMAKER. It was Havoc’s first official appearance as part of PROGRESS at Manchester, and the deafening ovation he received was a testament to that fact. From start to finish, entrances, to the post-match attack this was perfectly executed action and is a must see viewing for any and all PROGRESS Ultras.

The tag team division is a thriving one, with many stables and tag teams becoming prominent portions of the show. This card was no different, featuring South Pacific Power Trip vs FSU vs The Origin. Proving to be a match filled with action and comedy it was certainly well placed on the grappling and technical wrestling heavy show. With SPPT gaining the victory, adding yet another match to their undefeated streak as a unit in PROGRESS, it might not be long before they are challenging PROGRESS Tag Team Champions British Strong Style for the illustrious championship shield.

Rampage Brown, the first ever Atlas Champion laid down the gauntlet for Chapter 37. Having an open challenge for the innovative title. The challenge was answered by Mikey Whiplash, a man who has been scratching and clawing his way up the PROGRESS card by any means necessary. The two behemoths waged a rampageous, hard hitting war in the squared circle. Rampage stood victorious as the dust settled, looking to continue forging a legendary legacy in this new chapter of “big lads wrestling”.

After winning the illustrious world championship at Brixton Academy, Mark Haskins is at the top of the UK pro wrestling mountain. A long, hard and strenuous journey was taken for him to climb the steep slope, but it is only the beginning for challenges ahead for the Star Attraction. Last Sunday being his first defence against Liverpool’s Number 1 Zack Gibson was the ultimate challenge for Haskins of his durability and perseverance, as he now looks over the never ending list of talented wrestlers looking to wear the heavy crown.

The match was a technical masterclass, showing not only both men’s top tier mat and grapple games, but also in combination with their vibrant characters and crowd connection. Zack Gibson is one of the best bad men working today, not only in UK but around the globe. This match certainly embodied that fact, as Zack riled up the lively crowd into a frenzy.

The godfather and face of PROGRESS himself Jim Smallman gave the show the seal of approval. Another memorable chapter has been written into the history books. A true testament to the company, not only in their success at their largest show in history at Brixton, but to come out swinging with another incredible chapter after, showing no signs of fatigue. No matter the venue, arena or city the PROGRESS faithful will follow. Bringing with them the preeminent atmosphere, roistering rhythms, and cordial English manners. To say PROGRESS is the hottest ticket in town wouldn’t do the numerous promoters, wrestlers and ultras who have pledged to its mission, justice.

Past PROGRESS Manchester shows reference.

Chapter 37 should be on Demand PROGRESS by the end of the weekend, or you can pre order the collector’s edition DVD from the PROGRESS WRESTLING sites shop.

CHAPTER 24: HIT THE NORTH! Sunday 6th December 2015

CHAPTER 26: UNKNOWN PLEASURES Sunday 14th February 2016



CHAPTER 34: KEEP IT UNREAL Sunday 14th August 2016

CHAPTER 37: A SUDDEN SENSE OF LIBERTY Sunday 16th October 2016

Twitter: @99_LanceBallons


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