About Us  |   Contact

The Week In British Wrestling: PROGRESS marches on; RevPro sells out

Main photograph of Big Damo & Michael Dante by Rob Brazier

Here's 5 things you need to know about British wrestling this week.

1) Practically PROGRESS was practically epic.

Hot on the heels of a top show in Manchester earlier this month, and a PROGRESS title match over Wrestlemania weekend at WrestleCon, PROGRESS returned to the Electric Ballroom on Sunday with a blockbuster card that delivered on its paper promises. Although the main event of Marty Scurll versus Tommy End - coming off their non-title affair in Manchester two weeks ago when End knocked Scurll out - did capture the imagination, the big talking point was the two WWE Global Cruiserweight Series qualifying matches, with both delivering in slightly unexpected ways.

The first, between heavy favourite (mainly because he'd already been announced as being in by Triple H) Zack Sabre Jr and "Flash" Morgan Webster saw Webster put on his best showing for some time - even dislocating his shoulder & tearing his ankle ligaments didn't slow him down too much - but still come up short. The second - Pete Dunne versus Jack Gallagher - was genuinely too close to call, but it was the "Extraordinary Gentleman", Gallagher, who fought through for the submission victory, and a place in the tournament in June.

That main event - Scurll versus End - ended in a DQ for End when his former friend Mikey Whiplash invaded the ring and attacked the champion. Whiplash had already been anounced for next month's *Super Strong Style 16* tournament, and End demanded to be entered, eager for revenge. Also announced for that tournament are Sami Callihan, Pete Dunne & Mark Haskins, the latter of whom gave an emotive speech about his love for PROGRESS to open the show.

Earlier in the card, Rampage Brown and Joe Coffey went to a brutal time-limit draw in an Atlas Championship league match, while Michael Dante beat Big Damo in the same competition, and Pastor William Eaver beat Damon Moser to win the 2015-16 Natural Progression Series

 The big eight-man clash between the London Riots & FSU against The Origin led to the Riots being crowned number one contenders to the tag team titles, and the final bit of intrigue on a very news-heavy show was that the 2016-17 Natural Progression Series will be to crown the first PROGRESS Women's champion, a tag team match which saw Elizabeth & Dahlia Black beat Pollyanna & Jinny a fitting appetiser for that division. The show should be available soon on Demand PROGRESS.

2) PCW's SpringSlam roared in like a lion.

Back at Preston's Evoque nightclub for another of their triple shots (Friday night, Saturday lunchtime, Saturday night), Preston City Wrestling presented SpringSlam at the weekend, with their usual mix of British stars, indy imports & former-WWE veterans, and one of the more bizarre tag team pairings in recent history...

The main story of the weekend involved Sha Samuels's Firm, the group of mystery assailants who helped him win - and retain - the PCW championship on the last few shows. While the London Riots were unmasked as being two of Samuels's three comrades, the identity of the fourth wasn't revealed until Friday, when Sammy Smooth - who rarely ventures outside IPW:UK - joined the group.

Dalton Castle photograph by James

The Riots were involved in an elimination series to decide the number one contenders to Team Single's PCW tag team titles, but were eliminated on show 2, leaving a final match between Ring Of Honor's War Machine & The Hooligans on the final show, which saw War Machine triumph to go on to face the champions in Blackpool this weekend. In other tag team action, Team Single fought twice, defeating Samuels & Smooth and Fight Club, but the big tag team match of the weekend saw Dalton Castle & The Honky Tonk Man team up to take on Interracial Love (Charlie Garrett & Ashton Smith), in a match described by our northern correspondent as the peak of his life. He may have been drunk.

Also on the shows, which featured Booker T & an appearance from Ricky Steamboat, Bubblegum had a good weekend, defeating Matt Sydal & Lionheart in singles action, and winning a four-way over el Ligero, Martin Kirby & Liam Lazarus, as did Dave Mastiff, who also defeated Sydal, as well as Wolfgang. These shows should be available on DVD soon, and PCW return with Pier Pressure in Blackpool this Saturday.

3) Tidal said goodbye, waved hello.

After announcing that Sunday's show, All Crime Is Legal, would be their last at their current venue, Tidal Championship Wrestling had their fans worried. After all, the city-centre Leeds University Union was perfect and good venues are hard to come by these days. However, they needn't have worried, as Tidal revealed that their new home would be the equally-suitable O2 Academy Leeds, and that the debut show there would be headlined by a TCW title match between el Ligero and Rampage Brown!

This all came at the end of another super show, main-evented by a TCW tag team championship match between The Proven - Caz Crash & Sam Wilder - and the New Nation - Jason Prime & Alexander Henry - with the former retaining their titles after a wild brawl. The TCW Open Championship was also defended, with Liam Lazarus seeing off Joseph Conners, and the first TCW Women's champion crowned, as Violet O'Hara downed Ruby Summers & Toni Storm in a three-way to lift the title.

Also on the show, Sean Only beat Matt Myers after someone in a Halloween mask distracted Myers, HT Drake defeated Dalton Castle in the Peacock's last match before heading back to the US, Nsereko scored an upset win over Martin Kirby, and War Machine beat CJ Banks & Tyler Bate. Tidal's next show, Point Break, is in Darlington on May 27th.

4) ICW's Friday Night Fight Club got a little bit crazy.

After a few weeks out on tour, leading to the April 3rd BarraMania show, ICW returned to taping TV at the Garage nightclub in Glasgow on Sunday, and to say it was an eventful show would be underselling it a little. Although the show was headlined by an ICW Heavyweight title defense by Big Damo, who raced back from London after a bruising encounter with Michael Dante to defeat Trent Severn by referee stoppage, the big talking point was a "Scottish World of Sports Rules" match, which was held over rounds but also included a drink between each one!

The match was due to be between Chris Renfrew & Jack Jester, but Jester was withdrawn by Red Lightning, and instead turned into an open challenge. That challenge was answered by DCT, and the two fought - and drank - until Renfrew got the win in the fifth round. Even the referee was drinking, which led to him attempting to frog splash the ICW emblem in the centre of the ring...

Red Lightning made his presence known the whole night, stripping Polo Promotions of the ICW tag team titles, announcing an eight-team tournament that will run through May, June & July to crown new champions, and putting DCT against Bram in a steel cage at Shug's House Party 3 in July. He also named Lionheart in charge of the show for the night, which lasted 2 matches before Kenny Williams superkicked him and ended his night early.

Courtney photograph by David J Wilson

Also on the show, which also featured Iestyn Rees, ICW Women's champion Carmel pinned Courtney, the Black Label's Wolfgang & Lay Lee Ray beat BT Gunn & Viper, and Davey Boy defeated Joe Hendry after Wee Man smashed a bottle over Hendry's head behind the referee's back. Cut into handy weekly installments, the show will be screened on ICW On Demand soon, with each episode available for free for the first 24 hours.

5) RevPro sold out their one-match show (and other things).

Promising - and delivering - a champion versus champion match as its main event, VII-Pro's Final Inception last Friday was another strong outing for the Shropshire promotion, who split their shows between Shrewsbury and the Telford suburb of Dawley, where this show was held. The champions in question were VII-Pro champion Ryan Smile and his British Lions counterpart Chris Brookes, and Smile triumphed - just about - to keep his title. After the match, though, Smile was attacked by Brookes's regular tag team partner Kid Lykos, who laid him out with a brutal assault.

This was music to the ears of Pete Dunne, who had earlier defeated Nixon Newell, Dan Moloney, "Flash" Morgan Webster & Chris Ridgeway to win a VIIth heaven ladder match which guaranteed a title shot. Dunne attempted to cash in but was run off by Tyler Bate. Bate had earlier beaten Damian Dunne in a superb contest, and the show also featured Toni Storm defeating the former Liberty, Alexis Windsor, and the Bruiserweights team of CJ Banks & Wild Boar downing the YOLO Squad. VII-Pro return in July with Will Ospreay.

Down in the south west, 4-Front Wrestling ran a double shot in and around Bristol, presenting Adrenaline Rush from Portishead and Emerson's Green. Night 1 was built around the Portishead Cup, which was due to feature 4 of the promotion's top contenders. However, 4FW champion Saime Sahin did not appear and JD Knight went through to the final by forfeit. The Saint beat Brandon Thomas in the other semi-final, and went on to defeat Knight in the final. The show also featured Tiger Ali & the Hunter Brothers.

The following night, Emerson's Green was the setting for two title matches and a number one contenders' match, as Sahin fought off the challenge of Knight for his heavyweight title, and Junior Heavyweight champion Mark Haskins downed Tiger Ali, who had earlier won the right to face him by beating Mega Pegasus. The show also featured The Saint & Doug Williams, and 4FW return on May 7th for their 12th anniversary show, Global Takeover, at the MECA in Swindon.

In between major shows and TV tapings at their brilliant Cockpit venue, Revolution Pro-Wrestling ran a low key show at the Buckland Community Centre on Saturday. Contenders 14 utilised talent from the training school operated by Andy Simmonz, as well as a few recent graduates, and was main-evented by an eight-man elimination tag team match between Simmonz, Psycho Phillips, Kenneth Halfpenny & Will Castle and Joe Royal, Eddie Kenway, Connor Stanley & Simon Newland - Royal was the sole survivor.

Also on the show, Rishi Ghosh (accompanied by "Princess Unicorn" Lord Gideon Grey) beat Kelly Six, Rob Lias defeated Kurtis Chapman, James Castle & Brian Quinn overcame Prince Jato & Dan Magee, and Timo Nort beat Ronnie Evans. In addition, and in keeping with the partnership with Pro-Wrestling EVE, Zoe Lucas beat Zan Phoenix.

RevPro announced that their show on June 6th, with just one match announced (Zack Sabre Jr versus Kurt Angle) has sold out, a phenomenal achievement, and they return this Sunday at the Cockpit with a RevPro title challenge and Noam Dar versus Josh Bodom in the Global Cruiserweight series. All this - and more - can be seen on their On Demand channel.