Main image by Rob Brazier
Here are five things you need to know about British wrestling this week:
1) PROGRESS chased the sun and crowned a new king
PROGRESS Wrestling likes to carve up their history into a series of volumes, with the previous volume — volume three — ending at last September’s big Brixton Academy show, where Mark Haskins finally lifted the title. What should have been the era of Haskins was cut short by injury, and the latest part of the story centered around Pete Dunne instead.
Dunne’s PROGRESS Championship win — in a Thunderbastard match at last November’s The Graps of Wrath — kicked off 10 months of British Strong Style running riot at the top of the card, only occasionally interrupted by the attentions of a few brave individuals, all invariably falling by the wayside.
Travis Banks hits a coast-to-coast — photo by Rob Brazier
Enter Travis Banks. The UK-domiciled Kiwi entered the PROGRESS ranks last year as part of the South Pacific Power Trip, but soon broke out into singles action, winning May’s Super Strong Style 16, and with it the shot at Dunne, which he chose to take at last Sunday’s Chase The Sun, in front of 2,000 fans at London’s Alexandra Palace.
Dunne and Banks had circled each other for the past four months, even becoming reluctant tag team partners in Camden last month, and it was a sure bet that Dunne’s British Strong Style compadres Trent Seven and Tyler Bate, and #CCK’s Chris Brookes and Kid Lykos, would get involved.
They did, but when the smoke cleared it was Banks who was left standing, submitting Dunne to become the 11th man to lift the PROGRESS title.
The new champion — photo by Rob Brazier
Banks’ next challenger is already lined up, and it feels very much as though Chase The Sun was the end of volume four. Official verification of that hasn’t been forthcoming, but there’s no denying that this is a new era.
2) Chase The Sun was pretty much a nine-dart finish
As well as the title change, there were plenty of other talking points spinning out of Chase The Sun. All of PROGRESS’ titles were on the line, there was a number one contender’s match to see who would face Dunne or Banks at Chapter 56, Zack Sabre Jr. issued an open challenge, and CZW’s Tournament of Death winner indulged in his specialty.
Chris Brookes drops in on Trent Seven — photo by Rob Brazier
The number one contender was decided in an eight-man scramble, and saw Mark Andrews outlast Eddie Dennis, Flash Morgan Webster, Jack Sexsmith, Zack Gibson, James Drake, “Strangler” Davis, and Damian Dunne, pinning Webster to secure a shot at Travis Banks.
After the match, Webster decided against turning on Andrews — but that only left the door open for Dennis, who shocked the 2,000 fans in attendance with his actions.
As well as aiding Travis Banks in the main event, #CCK also had a successful evening in the ring, with Chris Brookes and a new-look Kid Lykos beating British Strong Style’s Trent Seven & Tyler Bate to regain the PROGRESS Tag Team titles in a ladder match that opened the show.
That wasn’t the only title to change hands, as WALTER also regained his PROGRESS Atlas Division Championship from Matt Riddle in a three-way which also featured Timothy Thatcher. After the match, WWE UK’s Wolfgang emerged to confront WALTER.
A triple suplex in the Atlas Division — photo by Rob Brazier
The one PROGRESS champion who did retain her title was Toni Storm, who overcame the challenge of Dahlia Black to return to the Stardom 5-Star Grand Prix with the belt.
The other two feature matches couldn’t have been more different from one another, with Zack Sabre Jr.’s open challenge being answered by his old friend Marty Scurll for a wrestling clinic, and the Jimmy Havoc vs. Mark Haskins deathmatch ending in blood and barbed wire. The Ring of Honor-contracted Scurll said his farewells to PROGRESS after the match.
The show was also used as a stage to announce that PROGRESS would be running Wembley Arena next September for their big show, a 9,000-capacity building that underlines the ambition of the three men running the promotion.
Chase The Sun will soon be available on Demand PROGRESS.
3) The Session Moth got herself a birthday present from EVE
Pro-Wrestling EVE is ending a breakthrough 2017 with a two-day, four-show round-robin tournament, dubbed the SHE-1 Climax, which takes place on November 11-12.
Day one of the SHE-1 happens to be the birthday of the Session Moth, Martina, and she guaranteed it will be a celebratory weekend by qualifying for the 12-woman tournament by beating Jinny at We Do Right, Not Nice! last Friday.
The EVE roster responds to complaints that they’re not feminist — photo by Rob Brazier
The show, which sold out the Resistance Gallery again with no matches announced, was headlined by an EVE Championship match between champion Sammi Jayne (who missed the last show due to injury) and Leah Owens, who won a four-way last month to secure a title shot.
Jayne already knew she would face former tag team partner Debbie Sharp, who earlier challenged her erstwhile pal via the video screen, on next month’s show, and after she had beaten Owens with the help of Charli Evans, Sharp appeared to even the odds and beat Evans in an impromptu encore match.
Candyfloss puts the hurt on Nina Samuels — photo by Xand van Tulleken
We Do Right… also featured wins for Livvii Grace over the debuting Bea Priestley, for Laura di Matteo against Zoe Lucas and Jamie Hayter in a three-way, and for Nina Samuels, who issued a “Little Girl Challenge,” answered by Candyfloss.
EVE has an On Demand service, and that sold-out October show is on Friday the 6th, again at the Resistance Gallery in Bethnal Green.
4) …and spilled blood at NORTH!
Saturday night found Martina the Session Moth way up in Newcastle-upon-Tyne for NORTH Wrestling’s NCL.6: xoxox, at the Riverside. Thrust into the main event, she teamed with El Ligero as they took on Chief Deputy Dunne and temporary Anti-Fun Policeman Flash Morgan Webster.
The NORTH fans, crammed into the Riverside — photo by Flash Morgan Webster
The match was initially supposed to be Dunne vs. Martina, but Webster, who had run in to save Martina from a beating, turned on her, bringing out the lucha otter. As is a tradition at NORTH, the match spilled out onto the banks of the River Tyne, Martina got busted open, but “Lucha Session” picked up the win to send the fans home happy.
Another change from the announced card was the absence through injury of #CCK, resting up for PROGRESS the next day, and their scheduled opponents The Sons of Ulaid instead fought each other, with Rory Coyle beating Bas Ban in a no-quarters-asked affair.
The show also featured wins for HT Drake, Shax, Liam Slater, and NORTH return on November 4th with Fire Fire Fire.
5) Another big win for Hustle Malone (and other stuff)
While most eyes were on Alexandra Palace, it was a big weekend up and down the rest of the country, with Friday and Saturday very busy for the usual suspects. Matt Riddle warmed up for his (eventually fruitless) day at the Palace with an appearance for HOP:E Wrestling in Mansfield on Friday night, where he beat Kip Sabian on their I Still Love Tom Petty Songs & Driving Old Men Crazy show.
A stuffed show also saw wins for Mark Haskins, Jayde, Drew Parker, Cara Noir, El Ligero, and for the South Coast Connection tag team of Ashley Dunn & Kelly Sixx over Aussie Open in HOP:E’s Tag Team Championship tournament. HOP:E is back on October 22nd in Sheffield.
Action from the Drew Parker vs. Jack Cave hardcore match — photo by Brett Hadley
Also on Friday, Ironfist Wrestling ran The Hive in Shrewsbury, a former VII Pro-Wrestling venue, with a Mount Olympus Challenge on top. Max Alexander outlasted a strong lineup, which included Chris Brookes, Eddie Ryan, and Damian Dunne. Lucha Underground’s Thunder Rosa opened the show, and there were also wins for Harlem Bravado, Domina, and the Hooked Up trio.
Down in the south west, on Saturday night, the Combat Sports Federation ran Saturday Night Slam at the wonderfully-named Cheese & Grain in Frome, with an animalistic clash of Lion Kid vs. Big Grizzly in the main-event slot. Kay Jutler defended his CSF All Nations Championship against Josh Bodom, and there were also appearances from James Castle, Sierra Loxton, and Kaggy.
Thunder Rosa at IronFist — photo by Wrestleography
Lastly, much further north and also on Saturday night, Target Wrestling returned to their home venue, The Venue in Carlisle. As well as a first-time meeting between local hero Shady Nattrass and Doug Williams, there were championship defenses for Karnage, Martin Kirby, and Polo Promotions.
The show featured WWE UK stars T-Bone, Joseph Conners, and James Drake, with Zack Gibson and Jonny Storm also in action. Target are next in action on October 7th in Lockerbie before returning to Carlisle a week later.
Coming up —
The big show of the weekend is Insane Championship Wrestling’s Infamous, at the O2 Academy in Newcastle-upon-Tyne on Sunday, headlined by Joe Coffey vs. NXT’s Kassius Ohno for the ICW title. Also on Sunday, live on FloSlam, is IPW:UK’s Supershow XI, with Jimmy Havoc vs. Cara Noir on top.
Saturday sees the debut show for all-woman training school Burning Hearts, featuring some of the south-east’s top female talent, at The Old Library in Camberley, as well as GOOD Wrestling’s 5ive: Keep On Movin’ at the Craufurd Arms in Wolverton, which has a CZW Tag Team title match between #CCK and The Marauders to offer.
There’s also TV tapings for the World Association Of Wrestling (with its Bellatrix women’s offshoot doing a joint show with US women’s promotion RISE) at Norwich’s Epic Studios, and Discovery Wrestling — who will once again bring over The Young Bucks later this year — stages The Big One at the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh.
Finally, Sunday also sees Futureshock Wrestling’s Reloaded 3 at 53two in Manchester — James Drake vs. Zack Gibson, and Soner Dursun against Pete Dunne are the top attractions there — and Lucha Forever return to Cardiff for SomethingMania at the Banking Hall.