Main photo by Rob Brazier
1) New puritans, old Heroes hailed at PROGRESS.
Capping off a week that began with the announcement of an extra, bonus chapter – on New Year’s Eve Eve (as well as two shows, PTNL & ENDVR, in two days at the beginning of August). PROGRESS returned to Manchester at the weekend for All Hail The New Puritans. The second of the promotion’s shows to be named for a Fall lyric for those keeping count, it was headlined by a PROGRESS Heavyweight title match between Marty Scurll & Chris Hero, who was the undoubted MVP of last month’s Super Strong Style 16 weekend.
Scurll & Hero face off, photo by Rob Brazier
At the end of a 30-minute, knock-down, drag-out affair, Scurll triumphed, with the chicken wing submission, and Hero received a standing ovation from the crowd for his efforts. Scurll cannot rest, however, with Tommy End having a guaranteed title shot as a result of winning SSS16, and given End is rumoured to have a date with NXT in his near future, the announcement that End will cash in on Sunday’s 5000 To 1 show is no shocker.
All Hail… also saw the London Riots defend their PROGRESS Tag-Team titles for the first time, against The Dazzler Team of Darrell Allen & Earl Black Jr, and came away with the win. Challenging for the title again soon may be FSU, who downed the Dunne Brothers, although several of the makeshift teams competing in the Atlas Division – Big Damo & Joe Coffey beat Rampage Brown & Mikey Whiplash (subbing for Michael Dante, who was at ICW) in Manchester – could also prove to be a problem for the Riots.
Also on the show, Pollyanna beat Dahlia Black to put an end to their feud – despite Jinny trying to interfere and being threatened with being fired if she did by Jim Smallman – and Damon Moser beat Zack Gibson (who rarely loses in PROGRESS) to set up a shot at Nathan Cruz, who kicked him out of The Origin when they made their first impact on the promotion last summer. It’s a quick turnaround for PROGRESS, with a return to the Electric Ballroom this Sunday, and All Hail… should be up on Demand PROGRESS very soon.
2) Damo fought Grado for the title-o.
After opening the show for PROGRESS on Sunday, Big Damo raced up the M6 to Glasgow for the latest Insane Championship Wrestling TV tapings. Recorded for an upcoming episode of Friday Night Fight Club, which now airs in 34 countries (as well as being free to view on ICW On Demand for the first 24 hours each week), Damo defended his ICW Heavyweight title against Grado, keeping the belt to go into the Shug’s Weekender, culminating with Shug’s Hoose Party 3 on July 31st in Glasgow. That event is being shown on iPPV (as is this weekend’s Tribute To The Troops 3 show from Preston Championship Wrestling, more on that later), details available here.
Boar & Bird photo by David J Wilson
Also doing double duty for PROGRESS & ICW was Joe Coffey, who beat Joe Hendry (a first time match-up in ICW) for the right to face Kurt Angle at Fear & Loathing IX in November, but Michael Dante chose not to, possibly hoping that staying fresh for the Sumerian Death Squad’s ICW Tag-Team title tournament match with Wild Boar & Mike Bird would pay dividends. However, Dante & Tommy End came up sort, and it’s Boar & Bird who move into the semi-finals.
The TV taping also featured an ICW Women’s title defense by Carmel (defeating Sammi Jayne), wins for Trent Severn, DCT & Jack Jester (over Wolfgang, Iestyn Rees & Davey Boy, respectively), as well as a showcase for 2 of the younger roster members, with Aaron Echo beating Ryan Griffin. ICW go into a quiet period now, before that weekend tour at the back end of July, but their training school – Glasgow Pro-Wrestling Asylum – do have a show on July 6th. As usual, all these events will be available on ICW On Demand.
3) TNT exploded in Liverpool.
One of the newer breed of adults-only promotions running the nation’s nightclubs, Liverpool’s TNT Extreme Wrestling are staking a claim to be the dominant promotion in “the pool of life.” This past weekend, they presented Going Off Big Time at the Fusion nightclub, and topped the show with a TNT Championship match between Bubblegum and Roy Knight. Past shenanigans led the promotion to declare that Knight would be awarded the belt if any of Bubblegum’s Manc Union stablemates interfered, but Bubblegum managed to pin Knight all on his own to retain the title.
Ruffneck & Ashton Smith photo by unknown
The Manc Union were kept busy earlier in the show with a Merseyside Street Fight against Keith Myatt & Ruffneck, which they won by pinfall, which was also how Danny Hope became the new TNT Extreme Division champion, beating Chris Ridgeway to become the second man to hold that belt. In other matches on the show (which also featured Saxon Huxley & Sean Only) Lana Austin beat Toni Storm, Jason Prime defeated T-Bone, and Joseph Conners continued to spread his wings across the nation, downing BT Gunn in the semi-final match. TNT return on August 27th with Summer Explosion.
4) The scene expanded with no trouble so far.
With so many promotions running on this small island – over 100 at the last count – there are sometimes clashes & overlaps into other promotions’ “territory.” Usually, this is an amicable affair, but one does wonder how long things can stay that way, given the history of professional wrestling and human nature in general. For now, however, the expansion across the north by both Preston City Wrestling and New Generation Wrestling, using many of the same wrestlers, has been nothing but professionally carried out and professionally-received, and long may that be the case.
PCW, despite their name, have lately run shows in Blackpool & Liverpool, and have announced events in Manchester & Bradford for later this year, the latter taking them out of their Lancashire base for the first time. This weekend, however, they’re in their traditional base, although not at their Evoque home. Rather they are at the Guildhall in central Preston, for their annual charity Tribute To The Troops show. The event – which this year will be available to watch worldwide on iPPV – is headlined by a PCW Heavyweight title match between Sha Samuels & Drew Galloway, and supported by Rob Van Dam, the New Age Assholes, the London Riots, and host of PCW regulars. You can find details on their Facebook page.
The other “northern powerhouse”, NGW, ran Stoke-on-Trent at the weekend, which has become a regular stop for them, in addition to Northallerton, Hull, and a host of other Yorkshire towns (as well as an occasional Liverpool shot). The show was main-evented by an NGW Undisputed Heavyweight title match between Nathan Cruz & Rampage Brown, which Cruz – the champion – won after heavy interference by Brown’s confederates in The Proven, and featuring an arena-wide brawl (a trademark of NGW’s Alex Shane in his heyday).
The show also featured wins for Bubblegum (over Matt Myers, by low blow, to retain his Gen:X Trophy), The Proven, Liam Slater & el Ligero, and NGW return on July 17th in Hull. You can see NGW action nationwide on local cable channels, and also on their YouTube page.
5) Rock N Wrestle hosted a Great Highland Bash (and other stuff).
Although ICW get most of the chatter when it comes to the Scottish wrestling scene, there’s a thriving network of promotions offering dates to the ICW regulars, and providing a proving ground outside that company for less adult-oriented performers. Rock N Wrestle prowl the Scottish Highlands, and promoted The Great Highland Bash at the Ironworks in Inverness last weekend, with a Jack Jester open challenge topping the show in the absence of RNW champion Liam Thomson. Jester’s invitation was taken up by Davey Blaze (Davey Boy from ICW), who took the dark one to the limit but fell short, losing by pinfall.
Joe Coffey vs TJ Rage photo by HMV Inverness
Earlier in the night, the number one contender to Thomson’s title was decided, in a three-way between Kenny Williams, Aaron Echo & BT Gunn. It was the latter who triumphed, although when he’ll receive his title shot is anyone’s guess, given the company announced Thomson versus Jester for their big Winterslam show in December.
Also on the show – which was stacked talent-wise, featuring Kid Fite & Joe Coffey – Big Damo beat Wolfgang and Jackie Polo & Mark Coffey (reprising their Polo Promotions team from ICW) defeated Lou King Sharp & Krieger, and you can follow all the RNW news on their Facebook & Twitter pages.
Just Do Wrestling returned to the Windle Labour Club in St Helens on Sunday with Match Of The Do, main-evented by a JDW Championship defense by Bubblegum. The champion saw off Chris Ridgeway, but was brutally attacked by the loser afterwards, until Sam Bailey made the save. Bubblegum & Bailey challenged Ridgeway to find a partner to face them on August 7th. Also on the show – which featured Travis Banks, Ethan Silver, Drew Parker, Lana Austin & Xia Brookside – an attempt to find a new number contender to Bubblegum’s title went to a no-contest when T-Bone & Ashton Smith were attacked by 2 masked men. Just Do return with that August 7th show.
On their way to crowning a champion, Absolute Wrestling ran last weekend in what is becoming a crowded Newcastle market, presenting The Championship Suspects at the NE6 Suite. The show featured 2 Absolute Championship quarter-final matches, with HT Drake (over Tyler Bate) & Martin Kirby (beating Micky The Dragon) advancing into the semi-finals of the tournament.
The night was headlined by Liam Lazarus versus Dave Mastiff – after Lazarus had won, Mastiff attacked & laid a beat down on Lazarus, who was prevented from leaving the ring by The New Nation. That team (Jason Prime & Alexander Henry) had earlier beaten The British Empire, and there were also appearances on the show from Toni Storm, Little Miss Roxxy, Chuck Cyrus & Johnny Moss. Absolute return on August 21st with Wrestlewatch, featuring Colt Cabana.