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The Week In British Wrestling: PROGRESS looks for the next first lady

Main image by Rob Brazier

Here are five things you need to know about British wrestling this week:

1) PROGRESS held a women’s tournament

Eager to find a fresh number one contender for Toni Storm’s PROGRESS Women’s Championship, PROGRESS Wrestling used one of their Monday dates at the newly-refurbished Tufnell Park Dome this week to host a tournament, Revelations of Divine Love, featuring some fresh talent making their London debuts.

An injury to Alex Windsor meant an opportunity for Jinny to stake another claim to Storm’s gold, and she duly made the final of the tournament after beating Candyfloss and the impressive Millie McKenzie in her qualifying matches. Fight Club: PRO Dojo graduate McKenzie had earlier beaten the Dragon-Pro Academy’s Sierra Loxton, and looks to have earned herself a few more bookings off this performance.

Millie McKenzie fires up against Sierra Loxton -- photo by Rob Brazier

In the other half of the bracket, Australian visitor -- and McKenzie’s fellow Fight Club: PRO Dojo representative -- Charli Evans came through the field, beating Chakara and Charlie Morgan to advance. Zoe Lucas made up the impressive field.

In the final -- which took place after a token men’s match (for a refreshing change!) featuring David Francisco, The OJMO, Mauro Chaves, and Charlie Carter -- Evans took the win, and will now face Storm in an all-Australian title match on a date to be announced. If the usual quick turnarounds are in place, you should be able to see the action on Demand PROGRESS by the end of this coming weekend.

PROGRESS also announced that 2018’s Super Strong Style 16 tournament will be held at the 2,000-capacity Alexandra Palace over three days in early May. It’s a big step up, but one made with confidence, and underlines how big a year 2018 will be for the promotion. They’re back on October 29th, at the Electric Ballroom in Camden.

In PROGRESS-related news, Battle Pro Wrestling held U Wot M8?! at Livesey Memorial Hall in south London, which was notable for “Strangler” Davis winning the BPW title in what appears to be his former London Riots partner Rob Davis’ last match. Davis had planned to retire at the end of the year, but nagging shoulder injuries have brought that date forward. Godspeed, Rob!

2) WCPW are defiant in the face of opposition

What Culture Pro Wrestling used the build up to their first post-Cultureholic Five show to announce that they were rebranding as Defiant Wrestling (a move which did not amuse the owners of Defy Wrestling, or their fans -- The Defyance), and would be hosting events on their own pay platform going forward.

Whether the move is the first step in a total divorce from the parent company remains to be seen (and, indeed, it is claimed that it was brought about for legal reasons, with another promoter having instructed his lawyers to secure the WCPW name for his promotion), but they cemented the announcement by introducing Stu Bennett -- former WWE star Wade Barrett -- as the new on-screen general manager.

Monday’s show, shown live from Newcastle-upon-Tyne on iPPV through the What Culture Extra and Fite TV platforms, was certainly newsworthy in its own regard, with an appearance by The Young Bucks perhaps the most eagerly-awaited.

Their match with WCPW Tag Team Champions War Machine was entertaining enough, but was used primarily to build to a War Machine vs. Primate & Jimmy Havoc program down the line.

War Machine are confronted by Jimmy Havoc and Primate

Primate had earlier defended his WCPW Hardcore title in a crazy four-way, beating Havoc, BT Gunn, and Bad Bones, and there was also a defense of the WCPW Women’s Championship when Kay Lee Ray defeated Bea Priestley, before both women were attacked by a debuting Veda Scott.

There was intrigue in the main title division as El Ligero put his Magnificent Seven cash-in shot on the line against a mystery opponent, which was revealed to be “The Villain” Marty Scurll.

Scurll duly defeated the Mexican and then took his place in the main event, turning the scheduled WCPW Heavyweight title match between champion Joe Hendry and Will Ospreay into a three-way. Scurll made Hendry submit to the chicken wing and is the new WCPW top guy.

The show also featured wins for Martin Kirby, The Prestige, Liam Slater, and “Speedball” Mike Bailey, and the circus moved to the Bowler’s Exhibition Centre in Manchester on Tuesday for a TV taping, where Scurll defended his title against Kirby.

WCPW’s Newcastle show was the climax of a busy weekend in the north east, with Main Event Wrestling promoting their Northern Bash event at the Innisfree Sports & Social Club in the city, headlined by a title change as Jason Prime beat Chris Renfrew for the MEW Heavyweight Championship, which added to The Sons of Ulaid winning the vacant MEW Tag Team titles in the opener.

The next night in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, 3 Count Wrestling held Darkest Deeds, with Alex Gracie defending his 3CW title against WWE UK’s Joseph Conners. In the semi-main, Debbie Sharp helped Sammii Jayne beat Jetta, which led to Jetta issuing a steel cage challenge for December 8th, and Chris Renfrew beat Screwface in a last man standing match.

3) Joe Coffey’s opponent for ICW’s big show was revealed

With Fear & Loathing X now officially “next month,” Joe Coffey’s opponent for the Insane Championship Wrestling Heavyweight title at the huge event was still to be announced. That was, until last Sunday’s Friday Night Fight Club TV taping at the Garage in Glasgow, when ICW Zero-G Champion BT Gunn stepped up to the plate to make the F&L main event a title vs. title affair!

Joe Coffey and BT Gunn square up -- photo by David J Wilson

Gunn had just submitted WWE UK’s Jordan Devlin in a defense of his title when Coffey appeared and laid him out. The two had to be separated by security, but the match was made, and it’s refreshing to once again see an all-home grown main event on the biggest show of the year.

This wasn’t the only bout made on the show, as the massively-popular Kenny Williams appeared and announced that he would be facing Rey Mysterio Jr. at the Hydro, which joins the previously-announced Lionheart vs. Rob Van Dam match, and The Marauders taking on Polo Promotions for the ICW Tag Team titles. The latter match was given a tune-up in singles competition at the tapings, when Jackie Polo beat Mike Bird, and Wild Boar downed Mark Coffey.

There was further intrigue in the women’s division when Kay Lee Ray regained her ICW Women’s Championship from Kasey Owens in the main event, before KLR’s pals in the Filthy Generation attacked Owens after the bell. This brought out DCT, Viper, Jody Fleisch, and the Kinky Party, and the show ended in a mass brawl.

Sabu carves up Mikey Whiplash -- photo by David J Wilson

In other happenings, Sabu beat Mikey Whiplash in a bloodbath of a match before Chris Renfrew attacked his former mentor and threatened revenge. There were also wins for Fleisch, The Kings Of Catch, and The Fite Network. The action will go out on ICW On Demand over the next few weeks, and that big Fear & Loathing X show is at Glasgow’s Hydro on November 19th.

4) RevPro made some big announcements after another thrilling Cockpit show

Shown live on their On Demand service with few glitches, Revolution Pro Wrestling’s Live At The Cockpit 21 was a staple of the series, with storyline advancement aplenty amid some great in-ring action.

The show was main-evented by an RPW Undisputed British Tag Team Championship match between the Commonwealth Catch Kings -- Chris Brookes & Travis Banks -- and Aussie Open’s Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis. Interference from Kid Lykos was a given, and after CCK’s victory they were all attacked by “No Fun” Damian Dunne and The Legion of Lords.

Dunne and Lord Gideon Grey will now face Aussie Open in Cardiff on October 15th.

Damian Dunne joins the Legion of Lords to attack Aussie Open

Dunne had joined forces with the Lords during the opener, when his interference was vital in their win over Portsmouth School of Wrestling graduates Josh Wall & Kurtis Chapman, which was followed by another victory for Zack Gibson, who extended his streak to five wins in a row by beating “Speedball” Mike Bailey.

Gibson’s reward is a clash with Toru Yano at Global Wars next month, while Bailey was attacked by the “mystery man” afterwards, who sprayed a green Mohawk into the Canadian’s hair.

There were also wins for David Starr and Ryan Smile (who look to be on a collision course), and for Jinny over Veda Scott, and a terrific non-title match between RPW Undisputed Cruiserweight Champion Josh Bodom and Flash Morgan Webster, which saw Webster pick up the win to secure a title match in Cardiff.

The show is already available to watch again on RevPro On Demand, and the promotion also announced El Desperado vs. Ryan Smile, Dave Mastiff vs. Tomohiro ishii, and Marty Scurll vs. Tetsuya Naito for Global Wars, alongside the previously-announced Rocky Romero, Yuji Nagata and Minoru Suzuki.

5) Futureshock crowned another top weekend for the north west

Futureshock Wrestling are quietly building a renewed following in the greater Manchester area with a series of attractive, sensibly-booked shows across regular venues, and last Sunday’s Uproar 96 was no different.

After Pete Dunne’s win to end Soner Dursun’s stunning Adrenaline Championship streak last weekend, the two once again squared off for the title at the Stockport Masonic Guildhall, with the addition of wildcard Xander Cooper throwing further intrigue into the encounter.

When the dust had settled, it was Cooper who was the new champion, reveling in his role as delusional heel, and the Adrenaline Division is certainly the main attraction when it comes to Futureshock lately.

Soner Dursun flies into Pete Dunne and Xander Cooper's airspace -- photo by Tony Knox

Elsewhere on the show, Lana Austin beat the Stardom-bound Chardonnay to retain her Futureshock Women’s Championship, and the Sexy Gents successfully defended their Futureshock Tag Team titles against The Uprising before all four men were attacked by a rampaging Cyanide. James Drake also put Damon Leigh in a bin.

Also on Sunday, but much further up in the north west, out on a limb in Barrow-in-Furness, Knockout Wrestling staged Road To Gold IV at Cloud 9, with a KOW Championship match win for Rick Markus over Craig Kollins punctuating a tournament for the eponymous title shot. That was won by Nightmare, in a four-way elimination final, which saw him outlast Chris Ridgeway, Shaun Vasey, and Will Carter.

The previous night, Alpha Omega Wrestling also gave away a title shot at their annual Golden Chance rumble at The Carleton in Morecambe. Ryan Hunter outlasted 19 other men -- including Sexy Kev, Matthew Brooks, Craig Kollins, and Philip Michael -- to win the match, and he receives a title shot valid for one year, which will have AOW Champion King Grayson looking over his shoulder.

Grayson did not defend his title at the show, and was booked in a tag team match, teaming with JJ against Cyanide & Robbie Solar. However, Solar abandoned his partner, leaving him to fight alone, and Cyanide overcame the odds to defeat Grayson & JJ, which will stand him in good stead for a shot at Grayson down the line.

Also on the show, Alexxis Falcon won the AOW Women’s Championship from Felony, and Alpha Omega return on December 2nd with The Fightmare Before Christmas.

Coming up --

This week’s big show sees Pro Wrestling NOAH legend Naomichi Marufuji travel from Japan to take on WWE United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne at Lucha Forever’s Ultimo Battle, tonight at the Coronet in Streatham, London.

Dunne vs. Marufuji is alongside a huge six-man, pitting Zack Sabre Jr., Will Ospreay & Marty Scurll against Jimmy Havoc, Chris Brookes & Travis Banks, and a Lucha Forever title match between Mark Haskins and Chris Ridgeway.

A big weekend for London continues with Pro Wrestling EVE’s Nasty Women at the Resistance Gallery in Bethnal Green on Friday (with the final qualifiers for November’s SHE-1 tournament), and the same venue plays host to EVE’s sister promotion, XWA, for WrEstlE fRieNds on Saturday, which has Jimmy Havoc vs. Kay Lee Ray, as well as pre-show improv comedy from Simon Gotch, among others!

XWA are also in action at Colchester’s Charter Hall on Sunday.

Also on Saturday, and just over the river from Bethnal Green, in Bermondsey, Apollo Championship Wrestling open Keetons Hall once again for Mercy Is For The Weak, with Damon Moser vs. Jimmy Havoc on top, while London-by-the-sea Brighton and commuter town Wolverton also have graps action this week, with Riptide Wrestling’s third outing at the Brighthelm Centre in Brighton and IPW:UK’s debut Wolverton show at Unit Nine both chock full of quality talent, including WWE UK’s Pete Dunne, Trent Seven, and Tyler Bate at the IPW:UK show.

The rest of the country also gets great wrestling this weekend, with Absolute Wrestling taping TV at the NE6 Suite in Newcastle-upon-Tyne tonight, Grand Pro Wrestling hitting double figures with Friday Night Thriller 10 at the Rose Club in Hindley on Friday, and all-woman promotion Fierce Females making a comeback at The Shed in Glasgow on Sunday.