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The Week In British Wrestling: SSS16 weekend was a hit

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

1) Travis Banks won SSS16

The field for the third edition of PROGRESS Wrestling’s Super Strong Style 16 was so strong that any one of half a dozen entrants could have walked away with the tournament, and the guaranteed shot at the PROGRESS Championship that comes with it.

The smart money, however, was always on Travis Banks, who duly completed his meteoric rise from third wheel in the South Pacific Power Trip to genuine title contender at the Electric Ballroom in Camden last weekend.

It mirrored a similar ascension from his Fight Club: PRO story, but while the emotion wasn’t as strong, the result was the same -- a euphoric reception from a capacity crowd.

Banks beat Tyler Bate in a tournament final spotted with interference both from Bate’s British Strong Style stablemates and new darlings of the indie scene, #CCK Banks has already signaled his intention to go after champion Pete Dunne at the big PROGRESS show at Alexandra Palace in September, and #CCK will chase Trent Seven & Tyler Bate for the PROGRESS tag titles.

The tournament was strong on match quality, but with few upsets -- not that it mattered to the sell-out crowd on all three days. PROGRESS debutantes Jeff Cobb, David Starr, and Flamita left with enhanced reputations among the British faithful, and there were also good performances by Mark Haskins, Matt Riddle, and Zack Sabre Jr.

Sabre Jr.’s weekend was also crowned by meeting Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party, on Saturday night.

Toni Storm confronts Kay Lee Ray

Outside of the tournament, Toni Storm won the fourth Natural Progression Series to become the first PROGRESS Women’s Champion, beating Jinny and Laura di Matteo in a wild main-event on day two.

Kay Lee Ray faced Katey Harvey on day three to decide a number one contender, which KLR won, slapping Storm after the match to set up their inevitable title confrontation.

There were also wins for Trent Seven over Mark Haskins in a submission match, for Pete Dunne against Jeff Cobb in a PROGRESS Championship match, and for Flamita in a spectacular -- and very funny at times -- Wasteman Challenge, which also featured Roy Johnson, David Starr, “Pastor” William Eaver, Flash Morgan Webster, Mark Andrews, Jimmy Havoc, and Jack Sexsmith.

The shows will soon be available on Demand PROGRESS, and next up is the big chapter 50, I’ll Give It Six Months on June 25th.

2) ICW announced Noam Dar and Kevin Nash for big shows

To mark Friday Night Fight Club’s return to The Garage in Glasgow last Sunday, after a tour of England and Wales, Insane Championship Wrestling made two big announcements to go with the usual crazy action.

Firstly, as promised, they revealed that the guest commissioner for their annual Fear & Loathing spectacular at the Hydro in November would be Kevin Nash, following on the heels of 2015’s Mick Foley and last year’s Finn Balor. They also announced that former ICW Champion, and current WWE star, Noam Dar would return to the promotion for Shug’s Hoose Party in late July.

The show itself, which will soon be broadcast on ICW On Demand (as well as on the Fight Network), featured title matches and some unusual contests, bringing a unique flavor to the evening.

Joe Coffey defended his ICW Heavyweight Championship against Jordan Devlin -- returning to ICW after splitting his head open in Liverpool last month -- and Kenny Williams was also successful in keeping his Zero-G title, after the referee DDT’d his opponent, Dickie Divers! Zack Gibson then attacked Williams to set up a street fight at the next tapings.

The Good Housekeeping match in full flow -- photo by David J Wilson

The ICW Women’s title was up for grabs in a Scottish Rules match, which basically means lots of drinking alcohol. Fittingly, Martina the Session Moth was the challenger, but champion Kay Lee Ray walked away with the belt when the match was declared a no contest after Kasey Owens and Mikey Whiplash interfered.

Another unusual encounter was the Good Housekeeping match between Wolfgang and Liam Thomson, which had a washing machine in the ring for the duration!

There were also wins for Iestyn Rees, BT Gunn, Grado, Bram, and Sha Samuels, and for Polo Promotions over The Hunter Brothers, after which the winners were attacked by ICW Tag Team Champions The Marauders, who made an offer for Shug’s Hoose Party -- win and you get a title shot, lose and you must disband.

ICW are back on June 18th with another FNFC taping at The Garage.

3) #CCK won US gold in Birmingham, England

With Sami Callihan now holding the creative reigns, things are becoming beautifully unpredictable at Combat Zone Wrestling, and this was brilliantly illustrated by #CCK -- the team of Chris Brookes & the dirty wolf, Kid Lykos -- beating the touring Scarlet & Graves (Dezmond Xavier & Zachary Wentz) for the CZW Tag Team titles at Lucha Forever’s Catch Me Outside at the H Suite in Birmingham last Thursday.

New CZW Tag Team Champions, #CCK

The bout main evented over Travis Banks’ first defense of the Lucha Forever Championship, a hard-hitting encounter with Matt Riddle, which Banks won to set up his next challenge. That will be Mark Haskins, who won a number one contender's match, beating Chris Ridgeway, Bubblegum, and WWE UK's Dan Moloney.

Moloney wasn’t the only WWE-contracted talent on the show -- Trent Seven beat Impact Wrestling’s Spud in a fun match that was not broadcast live on FloSlam (because “reasons”), and the live fans also got bonus action in a pre-show match won by The Hunter Brothers over Jimmy Havoc & Clint Margera, Ashley Dunn & Kelly Sixx, and Bowl-A-Rama.

The insanely-stacked show also saw three women’s matches, with Viper (newly recruited to the Anti-Fun Police by the injured Chief Deputy Dunne) beating Bea Priestley, Toni Storm pinning Jinny after a piledriver, and Kay Lee Ray submitting Alex Windsor.

Local favorite Omari beat David Starr, and Cara Noir won a Superbad Challenge thrown out by Kip Sabian, which also featured four El Ligeros (Los Ligeros?).

The show went out live on FloSlam, where it can be seen on catch-up, and Lucha Forever has launched an On Demand service. They return on June 18th for their Cardiff debut at Pryzm.

4) Bacon Jr. survived Cara Noir and Tengu

Piggy-backing on PROGRESS’ SSS16 weekender, and giving thirsty graps fans even more action, was London Lucha League’s Never Too Many Wrestlings on Sunday night at the resistance Gallery in Bethnal Green.

The promotion, which showcases the top talent of the London School of Lucha Libre run by Lucha Britannia promoters Garry Vanderhorne and Greg Burridge, crowned its first champion last month, and Bacon Jr. defended his title against Cara Noir in the main event.

The colorful cast of characters at LLL -- photo by Roger Alarcon

Having overcome that considerable challenge, the champion was faced with Tengu, who cashed in his Money in the Teapot opportunity. Tengu was thwarted by “Vegan Activist” Mauro Chaves, who had earlier won the opening Lucha Chaos match. Some may say that a man dedicated to furthering the cause of “everything is better with Bacon!” and a confirmed vegan make an odd pairing, but we’ve seen stranger in wrestling.

LLL regulars Cassius, The Mine & Buffalo Soldier beat a team representing Spanish promotions White Wolf Wrestling (Madrid) and RIOT Wrestling (Barcelona), WWE UK’s “Body Guy” Roy Johnson defeated Roadfam, and the RCWA Tag Team titles were defended by Costa K & Malik.

LLL will be back soon, but Lucha Britannia run the third Friday of every month at the Resistance.

5) It was all round to Hendry’s for WCPW (and other stuff)

Shrewsbury’s Hive -- previously a venue for the late, lamented VII-Pro’s Underground strain -- played host to IronFist Wrestling last Friday night for a show headlined by IronFist Heavyweight Champion Mark Haskins taking on Joey Scott. Haskins was successful in his defense of the title, as was IronFist Flyweight Champion Chris Royals, who beat “Bronco” Brendan White.

#CCK defended their CZW tag titles, against Next Wave 5 (Killian Jacobs & IronFist Women’s Champion Millie McKenzie), and there were also wins for Sebastian Knight (in a four-way which also featured Mark Davis, Kyle Fletcher, and TJ Sky) and Kat Von Kaige, who beat Evelyn.

After that match, Evelyn was attacked by Domina, who called out McKenzie. IronFist return on June 10th in Evesham.

The blow from the loss of revenue due to YouTube’s reclassification of pro wrestling hasn’t dampened What Culture Pro Wrestling’s enthusiasm too much, and they rebounded with a solid outing in Edinburgh last Saturday, with HendryMania at the Meadowlands Centre.

The eponymous Joe Hendry defended his WCPW Heavyweight Championship against the man he won it from, Martin Kirby, and will carry the title into the promotion’s next series of shows.

He’ll be joined by WCPW Internet Champion Gabriel Kidd, who beat Kenny Williams, and there were also confidence-building wins for Drake, Prospect, Primate, Viper, and Rampage. “Speedball” Mike Bailey also won, beating El Ligero, and WCPW are back on Friday with Fight Back Live, at the Bowler’s Exhibition Centre in Manchester.