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The Week In British Wrestling: The reign of BSS continues

Main photo by Catriona Thwaite

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

1) Ringkampf came away empty-handed at PROGRESS

After spending much of the last 12 months dominating the German wrestling scene, the Ringkampf stable of Axel Dieter Jr., WALTER, and Timothy Thatcher made its full debut for PROGRESS Wrestling at the Electric Ballroom in Camden last Sunday. Although they’d each been in individually -- and Dieter Jr. and WALTER together -- Complicated Simplicity was the first time all three had been united, and they were fittingly placed in a main event clash against British Strong Style.

That faction controls the main titles in PROGRESS, and both the Heavyweight and Tag Team titles were on the line in the match, which would have seen the belts change hands depending on which champion was pinned. In the end, though, the usual BSS shenanigans saw Seven pin WALTER and the belts remain in the Midlands.

The match was Dieter Jr.’s last in PROGRESS before he (presumably, anyway) joins NXT this summer, and he received a rapturous sendoff, as did Paul Robinson and the South Pacific Power Couple, for very different reasons.

Robinson faced Jack Sexsmith and promised to leave the promotion if he couldn’t beat the folk hero (with Sexsmith surrendering his Super Strong Style 16 place if he lost), but Sexsmith triumphed to force Robinson out of the PROGRESS door, joining his Swords of Essex tag team partner Will Ospreay in that respect. In actuality, Robinson has a medical condition and will have to retire.

The South Pacific Power Trip, shortly before 2/3 of them departed

TK Cooper and Dahlia Black, meanwhile, have come to the end of their two-year working visa, and will have to return to New Zealand to reapply. They finished strongly, with the injured Black encouraging Cooper and tag team partner Travis Banks (who is sticking around) to beat the London Riots.

There were tears at the climax, and men who will not admit to crying will at least own up to having something in their eye that day.

Other action from the card saw Mark Haskins and Mark Andrews go to a draw in a number one contender's match (they’ll both get a shot at Pete Dunne in Manchester next Sunday), “Flash” Morgan Webster beat the debuting Mike Bird, James Drake defeat Eddie Dennis, and Laura di Matteo move into the Natural Progression Series final -- where she will face Toni Storm and Jinny at SSS16 -- by submitting Alex Windsor.

The show will soon be available on Demand PROGRESS -- which also carries the fortnightly docusoap Freedom’s Road -- and that show in Manchester is on May 14th.

2) The Lucha Forever train stopped in Manchester

With not even a full week since their debut show and their second outing, Lucha Forever are certainly making a fist of punching their presence onto the face of BritWres.

That second show (one of the non-FloSlam events titled Lucha Live), from the tiny Frog & Bucket Club in Manchester last Sunday, was headlined by genuine lucha (and Lucha Underground) stars Los Gueros del Cielo, who took on #CCK in tag team action.

When the dust settled, and much to the delight of the crowd who are getting behind the cult heroes, the team of Chris Brookes & the dirty wolf Kid Lykos beat Angelico & Jack Evans, and then shared in a display of mutual respect.

#CCK and Los Gueros del Cielo face off

Emphasizing that Lucha Forever will very much have a revolving roster, only half the competitors in Manchester had taken part on the first Birmingham show, and one of those -- Chief Deputy Dunne of the Anti-Fun Police -- picked up a win in the opener against “Bronco” Brendan White.

Another debut show winner, the arrogant Kip Sabian, also picked up a win on this show, defeating Josh Bodom, and there were wins for Chris Ridgeway (over Bubblegum), Bea Priestley (against Lana Austin), and for former CHIKARA star Jigsaw, who won a four-way which also included Omari, Elijah, and “Fat Cat” Lloyd Katt.

The show will be available to watch in its entirety for free on YouTube, and you can still view that debut show on catch-up on FloSlam. The promotion are back on May 14th with a joint show with Fight!Nation in London, and return to Manchester on June 13th, having already announced Pete Dunne and Travis Banks for the intimate venue.

3) PCW made a late switch a big success

It looked to be one of those weeks for PCW.

In a far-from-ideal turn of events, and despite changing the date of a boxing event in February, it appeared that their Liverpool venue neglected to tell the promotion until last week that they couldn’t have their scheduled date on April 21st. The promotion acted immediately, promising to refund ticket holders, but also allowing them entry into a free show at the PCW Academy in Preston, featuring much of the same card they would have seen in Liverpool.

Those in attendance were treated to a fun show, which was topped by a Bubblegum win over Lucha Underground’s Jack Evans. His Los Gueros del Cielo compadre, Angelico, also took on top cruiserweight talent, going down to Dean Allmark -- who is undergoing a mini-career renaissance lately -- at the close of the first half of the show.

Dean Allmark stretches Angelico -- photo by Shauna Askew

There were also two title matches, with PCW Cruiserweight Champion Ashton Smith seeing off Chris Ridgeway, and PCW Heavyweight Champion Iestyn Rees issuing an open challenge. That was answered by the huge rookie Big T Justice, who unfortunately couldn’t turn his popularity with the crowd into a win.

Wins for Soner Dursun, Tyson T-Bone, Joey Hayes, and Philip Michael rounded out the card, and PCW make a quick return this weekend with their first all-women show, Girl Power, at the Academy in Preston.

4) Josh Terry was on Target to win the High Octane Championship

As openers to big 4th Anniversary shows go, your champion making his way to the ring to announce he’s not going to wrestle isn’t a great way to start. But that’s exactly what Target Heavyweight Champion Shady Nattrass did to begin the promotion’s big show at The Venue in Carlisle last Saturday.

Nattrass’ argument -- that scheduled opponent Paul London didn’t want to fly to the UK to face him -- was made moot by the appearance of London’s fellow Lucha Underground star, Angelico, who challenged the champ to defend against him in the main event. Nattrass accepted and escaped with his belt, but London won’t always be so reluctant to make it to Target.

Shady Nattrass catches Angelico in a cutter -- photo by The Ringside Perspective's Oli Sandler

That was the only belt that didn’t change hands, as the High Octane Championship -- which was vacated when London didn’t appear -- was won by teenage rookie Josh Terry, who beat the much more experienced Davey Havok, Michael Chase, and DCT in a four-way, and the Target Wrestling Tag Team titles were nabbed by Polo Promotions, which led to an emotional Jackie Polo thanking the Carlisle crowd for all the support they’ve given him over the last four years.

Polo’s team beat the Guest List, who took out their frustrations on Grado, after he’d lost to Joe Coffey, only to be chased off by Polo, Mark Coffey, and Karnage. The show also featured wins for Karnage (over Mikey Whiplash) and Medallion, who won a “Medallion’s Rules Bothergate Brawl” against the Coyote Kid.

Target are back on May 6th in Haltwhistle, before returning to Carlisle on May 20th.

5) Pete Dunne was a name import in Scotland last weekend (and other stuff)

Underlining his status as a draw since winning the PROGRESS Championship and coming so near to lifting the inaugural WWE UK title, Pete Dunne is beginning to pick up bookings as a name import, a status usually reserved for US indie stars.

Last weekend saw him travel to Scotland to compete for two of the more family-friendly promotions north of the border, starting with British Championship Wrestling at the Grand Hall in Kilmarnock.

Dunne faced BCW Heavyweight Champion BT Gunn in the main event of a show which was centered around a battle for control of BCW, won by the Grado-led Team BCW over the evil Aggression, and also featured wins for El Ligero, former-WWE star Tatanka, Dunne’s fellow WWE UK competitor Wolfgang, and for Stevie Xavier, who beat Kenny Williams to win the BCW Openweight title.

Sha Samuels takes out Lionheart and BT Gunn -- photo by David J Wilson

The next night, Dunne and Ligero (but not Tatanka) traveled to Greenock Town Hall for Premier British Wrestling’s Breaking Limits 12. Dunne lost to Wolfgang, and BT Gunn once again won the main event, this time defending his PBW Heavyweight title against Lionheart and Sha Samuels in a three-way.

The PBW Tag Team titles were successfully defended by Lou King Sharp & Kieger, and there were also wins for Davey Blaze, Aaron Echo, and Lucha DS.

Also on Saturday -- but much further south in Wincanton, Dorset -- Ultimate Pro Wrestling presented Playtime Is Over at the Memorial Hall, headlined by a UPW Heavyweight Championship match between “Dirty” Dick Riley and Dave Mastiff. Riley won, but was attacked after the match by former champion Iestyn Rees, who staked a claim on getting his belt back.

The show also featured wins for Jason King, Harlem Bravado (who has relocated to these shores), and The Bruce, as well as tag team victories for Mike Bird & Wild Boar, and the veteran team of Andy Simmonz & Jonny Storm.