The Week In British Wrestling: PROGRESS fills a bigger room

Main photo by Rob Brazier

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

1) PROGRESS filled a bigger room. Again.

Starting out a little over four years ago in the 300-capacity Garage in Highbury Corner, PROGRESS Wrestling have grown their brand exponentially since that time, finishing up with an ambitious attempt to fill the 2,400 seats of Brixton Academy last Sunday. That they managed it, with no imports save semi-regular Tommaso Ciampa, is testament to the strength of their marquee, and they quickly announced that they would return to the same venue on the same weekend next year.

The show — We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Room… Again — was a perfect example of what PROGRESS offers at the Electric Ballroom each month, just right for the extra eyes the bigger venue brought to the promotion. Rather than a WrestleMania-style extravaganza, the regulars were displayed as they would be on every chapter, and while some may have been underwhelmed by the lack of a blowaway contest, for most it filled its purpose superbly.

Three PROGRESS regulars say goodbye

Two titles changed hands as Marty Scurll lost his PROGRESS Wrestling Championship to Mark Haskins in a three-way which also involved Tommy End, and British Strongstyle’s Trent Seven & Pete Dunne dethroned tag champions The London Riots.

Scurll’s temper got the better of him during his title match and he dispatched three referees before turning his ire on PROGRESS co-owner Jim Smallman, only for Smallman’s archenemy Jimmy Havoc to return to the promotion after a year out — to a huge pop — and save the boss with an Acid Rainmaker, with Haskins getting the win with the sharpshooter soon after.

Havoc was not the only surprise return as Paul Robinson appeared and demanded a match (he subsequently beat Chuck Mambo), and a new champion was also crowned, as Rampage Brown beat Joe Coffey to win the Atlas Championship (or “big lads’ division”). However, the no DQ match between Pastor William Eaver and Sebastian had to be halted as soon as it had begun, with Sebastian KO’d and medical staff genuinely concerned for his wellbeing. Thankfully, he is fine.

Rampage Brown is the first Atlas Champion — photo by Rob Brazier

The rest of the results saw Zack Sabre Jr. beat Tommaso Ciampa in a two-out-of-three falls match, The Origin defeat the team of FSU, Jack Gallagher & Damon Moser (and thus kept their group intact), and the heel team of Jinny, Alex Windsor & Dahlia Black win out over Pollyanna, Nixon Newell & Laura Di Matteo in a showcase for the upcoming Women of PROGRESS division.

All the action will be available to watch on Demand PROGRESS very soon and the promotion return with their next show on October 14th in Manchester.

2) Pete got it Dunne at Fight Club: PRO

It was a night of surprises at the Fixxion Warehouse in Wolverhampton for Fight Club: PRO’s Project Mayhem V last Friday when an unannounced Pete Dunne burst into the venue demanding a match with Trent Seven. Seven was due to fight Drew Galloway, but the Scotsman had pulled out at late notice due to an injury, and so Dunne took his opportunity. The surprise was on him, however, as the also-unannounced Fight Club: PRO Champion Sami Callihan appeared, and a title match was made to open the show!

Callihan, who won the belt against Trent Seven and defended it last month against Travis Banks, fell short against Dunne, and the Bruiserweight took the title in a hard-hitting encounter.

Later that night, after Seven had defeated yet another impromptu opponent — Mark Haskins, making his return to Fight Club: PRO after three years away — he challenged Dunne but the champion was joined in a beatdown by Callihan, who announced that he and Dunne had formed a team, called the Bruisercats.

The aftermath of Margera vs Brookes — photo by Hope Brookes

The show — which also featured Jessicka Havok pinning Nixon Newell in a rematch from last month, the Hunter Brothers gaining revenge over the Facesmashers in a wild brawl, and Tyler Bate beating Travis Banks in a best-of-three falls match — was headlined by a fans bring the weapons match, the finale in the hot, hot, hot feud between Clint Margera and Chris Brookes. Margera took the win after all kinds of nastiness but it remains to be seen whether their tale is over.

All Fight Club: PRO shows are available on their on demand service, and they return with a trio of shows in late October.

3) Nixon Newell turned really, really bad in Wolverhampton

For a promotion born in the Midlands, ATTACK! Pro-Wrestling have spent most of their recent history in Bristol and South Wales, but they returned to their roots last Saturday with a show at Fight Club: PRO’s Fixxion Warehouse venue, fittingly titled ATTACK!’s Not Dead. The show was main evented by a grudge match between Pete Dunne and Mark Andrews, borne out of Dunne’s recent beatings of Andrews’ tag team partner, Nixon Newell.

Newell and Dunne did a bad thing — photo by Oli Sandler

The two went back-and-forth until Dunne got the upper hand. Still unable to put Andrews away, he took out his frustrations on referee Shay Purser with a steel chair. Newell interceded, and when Andrews was about to hit Dunne with the chair, she asked to be the one to do it. She then turned on Andrews, slipped in a Dunne-like gumshield and she and Dunne gave themselves matching topknots.

The rest of the roster then hit the ring for a brawl which ended with ring announcer Jim Lee declaring that Dunne would not kill ATTACK! in the place where it started.

The show had begun with CHIKARA Tag Team Champions Moustache Mountain pinning their ATTACK! counterparts #CCK in a match which involved the referee bodyslamming Trent Seven onto a prone Kid Lykos. You know, the usual ATTACK! stuff. The Anti-Fun Police were also in the thick of the action, as Chief Deputy Dunne & Los Federales Super Santos Sr. took on Clint Margera & Drew Parker, the latter of whom now thinks he is in ECW circa 1995 and came to the ring dressed as Sabu.

Former AFP officer Ryan Smile continued his revenge mission on the killjoys, beating officer (Travis) Banks, while Newell — before she broke the hearts of those crammed into the tiny room — attempted to seduce and then pinned the very strange Love Making Demon.

ATTACK! have announced a full calendar of shows leading up to the end of 2016, and you can see all their past shows on their on demand service. I’d recommend it.

4) PCW’s Dar Wars ended with two title changes

It was finally time for Preston City Wrestling to wave goodbye to WWE-bound Noam Dar at the Evoque Nightclub in Preston last Saturday, and calling the show Dar Wars: The End Of An Era showed the high regard in which they held Dar, the PCW Heavyweight Champion.

They kicked the show off with his farewell and a title defense, and former champion Sha Samuels was the man to accept Dar’s challenge. However, four minutes into their match, general manager Dave Rayne introduced Iestyn Rees into the contest, and the Welshman promptly pinned the champion to win the title.

The other title change came when Team Single — T-Bone & Rampage Brown — put their three-year plus reign on the line against the UK Hooligans in a TLC match. The champions survived that challenge, but Martin Kirby appeared after the match and cashed in his “money in the plastic bag” title shot, giving him and Joey Hayes a shot at the belts. They succeeded, and PCW truly enters a new era.

One constant that remained unscathed was Bubblegum’s hold on the Cruiserweight Championship, as he saw off Zack Sabre Jr. to retain the belt. He’ll next defend it on October 28th against Chris Ridgeway, who beat Charlie Garrett on this show. Other winners included Dave Mastiff (over Kazma Sakamoto), El Ligero (who pinned Sammy Smooth), and the London Riots, who overcame an eye injury to Rob Lynch to beat Los Gueros del Cielo (Angelico & Jack Evans).

PCW return with a show this Friday at Manchester Metropolitan University.

5) Friendships failed at Grand-Pro (and other stuff)

One of the most compelling storylines in any wrestling promotion took another turn last Friday at Grand Pro-Wrestling’s Battlefield IV at the Rose Club in Hindley, Wigan. Tensions between best friends T-Bone and Bubblegum had been rising over the past few shows, due to the latter’s real or imagined affections for Lana Austin, T-Bone’s girlfriend, and they came to a head after T-Bone saved Bubblegum from a beatdown and then reacted badly to his friend hugging Austin. They had to be pulled apart and will face each other on November 11th in a street fight.

Earlier on the show — which also featured Martin Kirby, CJ Banks, and the Hate League — Bubblegum had beaten GPW Heavyweight Champion Dylan Roberts in a non-title match but then fell victim to Jimmy Jackson cashing in his Fast Track shot to claim ‘Gum’s GPW British title, with help from T-Bone.

Boar vs Callihan spills into the crowd at Chaos — photo by Turning Face’s Jim Maitland

One champion who held onto his title was Wild Boar, who saw off the challenge of Sami Callihan to retain his Pro-Wrestling Chaos King of Chaos Championship at the promotion’s latest outing, The Hungerford Games, held last Saturday at the Hungerford Community Centre in Bristol.

The promotion’s vacant tag team championship, the Knights of Chaos titles, moved a step nearer to having new owners when The Steele Dragons (Eddie Dennis & Alex Steele) beat The Hunter Brothers to move into the final of the tournament created to discover new Knights.

The main storyline threaded through Chaos’ shows of late, the tussle for control between Dave Mercy and Pariah Khan, added another twist when Gideon joined Mercy’s nWk, after saving Mike Bird from Jeckel and Big Grizzly. Both Jeckel and Gideon had earlier won matches, against Pastor William Eaver and a four-way, respectively.

“Flash” Morgan Webster, injured but still a thorn in Chaos’ side, appeared and unmasked Panda Cub after Cub & Danny Jones had beaten The Pure Breed. Chaos return on October 29th in Yate, with Hardcore Holly scheduled for the show.

Another company bidding farewell to Noam Dar was his hometown Pro-Wrestling Elite promotion, who presented May The Force Be With You last Saturday at Ayr Town Hall. Dar raced from Preston to be a part of the show, followed in his wake by Sha Samuels and Iestyn Rees. Samuels and Lionheart joined Rees, Dar’s scheduled opponent, to make a six-man affair, with Dar receiving back up from Lionheart and fellow Ayrshire legend Grado for a big win in his final PWE outing.

Noam Dar says an emotional goodbye to PWE — photo by David J Wilson

The show had begun with Kid Fite, Davey Blaze and TJ Rage demanding a shot at the winners of the PWE tag title match between Polo Promotions and The New Age Kliq. Fite and Blaze turned on Rage, blaming him for losing the titles, and later attacked all four men in the title match, causing a no-contest.

The show also featured Kenny Williams, Stevie Xavier, and a Money In The Bank four-way between Wolfgang, Joe Coffey, Joe Hendry and Jack Jester, won by Hendry.