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The Week In British Wrestling: Dunne shines for PROGRESS in Sheffield

Main image by Rob Brazier

Editor's note: This column was written before the announcement of WWE's upcoming UK title and tournament. Check out Alan's primer on that for everything you need to know about it and what it could mean for the UK scene.

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

1) PROGRESS made a new town, and made it big

After a double booking with the 90s indie pop band Ash forced them to move their scheduled Manchester show to Sheffield, PROGRESS Wrestling were understandably a little nervous about their debut in a new town. They needn't have been, because Intercepted Angel (named, kind of, for an Ash song) was a huge hit, with a sellout crowd of 750 enjoying the very festive goings on.

Dunne and Sabre Jr. wrestle a cagey affair early on -- photo by Shauna Askew

The show was main evented by new champion Pete Dunne's first defense of the title he won at The Graps of Wrath, and Zack Sabre Jr. took him to the limit, going over 30 minutes before Dunne hit the Drop Dead to pick up the win.

He'll face Jimmy Havoc soon, the former champion having won a brutal no DQ match against Marty Scurll to decide the number one contender. Havoc entered with an axe (which security quickly wrestled away from him) before the two brawled all over the building to a thumbtack climax.

With Dunne defending his singles title -- and Trent Seven in Scotland for ICW -- the tag team titles weren't on the line, but there was plenty of tag team action, with The London Riots dispatching The New Nation in the opener, and FSU picking up a win against a splintering Origin.

The seeds for that split were sewn earlier when Dave Mastiff answered Rampage Brown's Atlas title open challenge dressed as "Banter Claus," accompanied by Elf Ligero, much to the chagrin of Nathan Cruz. With the boys in high spirits, Cruz was fighting a losing battle, and verbally and physically admonished them after their loss to FSU.

The show also featured a barn-burner between Will Ospreay and Adam Cole, with Ospreay losing once again -- his third loss in a row to an import -- to the Bullet Club man, and a Women's Natural Progression Series qualifier which saw Toni Storm beat Bea Priestley.

The show should be up soon on Demand PROGRESS, and they return on December 30th with a mystery show -- Unboxing Live -- at the Electric Ballroom in Camden.

2) Mr. Muscles beat the Aerial Assassin in Essex

On Saturday night, Will Ospreay's home promotion -- the Reloaded Championship Wrestling Alliance -- promoted God vs. Assassin: The Final Flight at a bigger venue than their usual hall, rocking up at Chaffords Sports Complex in Rainham. The show marked something of a changing of the guard -- Ospreay headlined, facing RCWA Champion Chuck Cyrus in the main event, but Cyrus triumphed, cementing his position as the RCWA's top man.

Ospreay's partners in the Swords of Essex had more success, however, with Paul Robinson & Scott Wainwright fending off the challenge of Malik & Kosta K for their RCWA Tag Team titles, and it may well be that future appearances for the Aerial Assassin in RCWA might focus more on his partnership with the Swords, and the trios titles they inaugurated this summer.

Furthermore, the night saw Lauren Sanders gain control of the RCWA when her man Priscilla beat Joel Masters in a winner-takes-all match, and a title win for Kelly Sixx, who beat RCWA Elite-1 Champion Kip Sabian to capture the belt. The show also featured Ash Draven beating Sean Wilson, and eight-man action when The Convict, Rob Sharpe, Ashley Dunn & Dracuul defeated MOS, Maverick Mayhew, BG Thrilliams & Brad Slayer.

3) Trent Seven earned another shot at Wolfgang's ICW title

After missing out on the Insane Championship Wrestling heavyweight title at Fear & Loathing IX last month when he punched Wolfgang from the top of the cage, through a table, to the floor, Trent Seven wasted no time in earning another shot at the champion.

He won a number one contenders' match against Chris Renfrew at the Friday Night Fight Club taping at the Garage in Glasgow last Sunday, and will take on Wolfgang -- or whoever is champion by that time -- at February's Square Go event.

Wolfgang defended his title on the show, seeing off Stevie Xavier, and there were also successful first title defenses for ICW Zero-G Champion Kenny Williams, who won a three-way against Charlie Sterling and Aaron Echo, and ICW Women's Champion Kay Lee Ray, who beat Martina The Session Moth.

KLR continued the beating after the match, and Viper -- who had earlier been out to spread some Christmas cheer with DCT and Coach Trip -- made the save and shared a seasonal tipple with the Moth.

Martina & Viper share a seasonal tipple

The incident-packed show -- which had a standout match between Matt Cross and Joe Coffey -- was especially notable for the falls count anywhere in Glasgow match between Sha Samuels and Kid Fite (during which Fite bundled Samuels into the boot of his car and drove off), and for the legitimate injury suffered by Mark Coffey which caused the ICW Tag Team Championship match between Polo Promotions and Bird & Boar to be declared a no contest, leading to a Bird & Boar rampage.

There were also wins for Christopher Saynt, Lionheart, and The Wee Man, and you can see it all unfold on ICW On Demand, the Fight Network (in the US and Canada), and Italian TV channel Nuvolari.

4) Absolute crowned a King -- and Queen -- of the North

Newcastle's Absolute Wrestling topped a solid year with Pride of The North at the Northumbria University Student Union in the city last Sunday. Taking advantage of another PROGRESS show without Zack Gibson, the promotion booked "Liverpool's Number One" to be a part of their annual King of The North tournament, alongside Liam Slater, Martin Kirby, and HT Drake.

Gibson beat Slater in his semifinal, and went on to face HT Drake in the final, the evening's main event, but Drake overcame the Shankly Gates to lift the trophy, making up for his defeat in the same event to Slater a year ago.

April Davids, Queen of the North

Alongside the King, Absolute also crowned a Queen of the North, with promotion regular Little Miss Roxxy facing the challenge of April Davids and Alexis Rose in a three-way, with Davids coming out on top to wear the crown.

The show also included a tag team win for the Kings of Catch -- Lewis Girvan & Aspen Faith -- over Lou King Sharp & Kieran McCall, and Absolute return in 2017, when Drake will be after Absolute Champion Bubblegum.

5) GPWA opened the Asylum once more with a big result for The Purge (and other stuff)

Andy Wild at the GPWAsylum -- photo by Linky Gray

ICW's feeder school, the Glasgow Pro-Wrestling Asylum, opened their doors for Night At The Asylum 7 last Friday, with a mix of senior and rookie talent facing off throughout the card. It was mostly a successful night for ICW's regulars, with wins for Kenny Williams (over The Sam Barbour Experience), Jack Jester (against Ravie Davie), and Andy Wild (who beat Irving Garrett), and featured ICW Heavyweight Champion Wolfgang teaming with Flex Hunter to beat The Rich Kids.

There was an upset, though, when The Purge -- the team of Stevie James & Krobar -- beat Chris Renfrew & BT Gunn's New Age Kliq in the show's main event. GPWA are running an induction course on January 22nd for new students.

From Scotland to England's border with Wales, and Ironfist Wrestling at the Richmond Social Club in Hereford last Saturday. The show finished with an over-the-top-rope rumble, won by Adam Maxted (late of ITV's Love Island), after a fun evening which included an Ironfist Women's Championship match between champion Millie Marks and the NXT-bound Nixon Newell, and a win for man-of-the-moment Travis Banks over Killian Jacobs.

Maxted's win made up for a defeat earlier in the card to Joey Scott, and the show opened with a six-man tag which saw Chris Custodio, Hari Singh & Xia Brookside beat Alex Gracie, Dan Moloney & Alex Windsor.

Adam Maxted in action at Ironfist Wrestling -- photo by SRS Photography

Finally for this week, Preston City Wrestling had a double shot, but results from their Saturday show in Stoke-on-Trent are nowhere to be found.

The Friday show at Blackpool's Club Domain, the first leg of the Feed Me More Tour, featured Ryback -- using the name The Big Guy -- beating Lionheart in a short match, and a title change when Ashton Smith downed Bubblegum to lift the PCW Cruiserweight title. Iestyn Rees defended the PCW Heavyweight title against Danny Hope, and there were also wins for Jimmy J, Chris Ridgeway, and James Storm.

PCW return this weekend with a free show at the Evoque nightclub in Preston on Friday, followed by their debut in Bradford on Saturday, featuring Ryback, Cody Rhodes, and Matt Riddle!