I’ve said a few times now that the British wrestling scene is one of, if not the, hottest wrestling scene in the world and one of the biggest reasons is the massive variety of promotions in the UK, we have more wrestling companies per square mile than any other country in the world (no joke).
One such company at the forefront of this surge in British wrestling popularity is PROGRESS wrestling, the company who, along with ICW have had the most exposure from the UK Championship tournament, due to having a deal in place with the WWE.
What makes them so special then? Well, as with any wrestling company, they have their own unique appeal, labelling themselves as ‘Strong Style Pro Wrestling’ or ‘Punk Rock Pro Wrestling’ their shows all have pop culture references in their name, and they book long term stories that are exciting and easy to follow, they’ve been around for 5 years now, going from a small venue in London to putting on shows up and down the UK, last September they drew 2,000 to the O2 Academy in London, they have been considered a premier promotion in the UK fro the better part of the past year, maybe longer, giving new talent a bigger stage to shine, a prime example being ‘Pastor’ William Eaver, a ‘ProJo’ graduate who last year beat Marty Scurll to win the PROGRESS Championship, it was only a short reign but it cemented the fact that they weren’t scared of creating their own stars.
It’s also lauded for focussing more on UK talent, imports are used but are not the focal point, they’re an exciting exception to the rule, the biggest show in the companies history (The O2 Academy show I mentioned) was headlined by Tommy End vs Marty Scurll vs Mark Haskins, granted one of those men is, in fact, Dutch, but is known for his work in the UK, to tell you how the focus is put on the UK talent, the current big story focuses around British Strong Style (Trent Seven, Tyler Bate and PROGRESS World Champion Pete Dunne) dominating PROGRESS and ultra fan-favourite Jimmy Havoc chasing the title.
Another main draw the company has is the annual Super Strong Style 16, which on both occasions it has been held has grown great acclaim, with last years included independent wrestling icon Chris Hero, who put in a fantastic showing. Also in the tournament ranks, they hold a yearly Natural PROGRESSion tournament, which usually consists of little known or ‘ProJo’ graduates battling it out for a shot at the companies World title, apart from the current one, which is looking to crown the first Women’s Champion.
So why am I talking PROGRESS? Well, I’ve set myself a little task, for the foreseeable future, on a biweekly basis, be reviewing every PROGRESS show right from the very beginning, to see how the company has evolved over 5 years, and to give those unsure about PROGRESS a glimpse into the past of the company, and look to the future, now at time of writing, there have been 44 ‘Chapters’ with the 45th being scheduled for this coming Sunday, so it’s going to be long, but damn it’ll be worth it.