Main photo by Jon Briley
Here’s five things you need to know about British wrestling this week:
1) PROGRESS made a HUGE impact in Florida
Over recent years the days leading up to WrestleMania have become a veritable feast of wrestling, with independent promotions and convention organizers taking full advantage of the tens of thousands of fans in the area for the big show. This year that included, for the first time, three UK promotions, capitalizing on the current vogue for BritWres with a taste of their usual product for US (and traveling UK) fans.
PROGRESS Wrestling were a part of WWN’s More Than Mania events, which also included two EVOLVE shows, CHIKARA, and the Joey Janela’s Spring Break event that set everyone talking. The PROGRESS show was as near to a genuine PROGRESS show as you’ll get, with Pete Dunne defending his title against Mark Haskins, Matt Riddle putting his on the line against Trent Seven, and company mainstays like the South Pacific Power Trip, Jinny, and Jimmy Havoc along for the ride.
In addition, the WWE UK title was defended as Tyler Bate saw off Mark Andrews, the first time a WWE title has been officially defended on an indie show in almost two decades.
Pete Dunne prepares to face Mark Andrews at WWE Axxess — photo by Shirleigh Kaur
The event was not without its problems, and started late due to issues with the iPPV broadcast on the problematic WWNLive stream. There are obviously good reasons — one would hope more than just a chance to make a quick buck — why the event was not available through the reliable FloSlam subscription, and the access problems were blamed on an unlikely hacking, but it left a bad taste in the mouths of many who tried to watch live.
PROGRESS were also a part of the WWN Supershow, Mercury Rising, with a series of “EVOLVE vs. PROGRESS” matches finishing two-apiece, and while the title matches were a foregone conclusion, the South Pacific Power Trip again put in a very strong performance. Several PROGRESS wrestlers were also involved with WWE Axxess, announced by co-owner Jim Smallman, underlining the (still so-far) informal relationship between the companies.
Both WWN-affiliated shows will soon be available to watch on Demand PROGRESS, and the promotion return at the end of April to their usual stomping ground at the Electric Ballroom in Camden. As always, the show is sold out.
2) RevPro & WCPW also turned out in Orlando
Revolution Pro Wrestling were not part of the live-streamed More Than Mania events, instead attaching themselves to the WrestleCon brand nearer the center of Orlando, and augmented their usual UK regulars with some of the best North American talent in town for the week’s festivities, and dedicated the show — the company’s first outside of England — to the memory of Kris Travis.
The very busy Zack Sabre Jr. made his first defense of the Undisputed British Heavyweight title he won back from Katsuyori Shibata in Japan, beating Penta El 0M, who made his RevPro debut in Portsmouth last month. With Chris Brookes otherwise engaged in the UK, CCK did not defend their tag team titles but Josh Bodom did put his Interim British Cruiserweight title on the line, against David Starr, and once again challenged Will Ospreay to unify the belts.
Zack Sabre Jr. stands over Penta El 0M in Orlando — photo by Shining Wizards Podcast
Ospreay took on the other half of the Lucha Brothers, Rey Fenix, in a hotly-anticipated bout, while there were also wins for Jay White, Marty Scurll, the team of Ryan Smile & Shane Strickland, and Lord Gideon Grey, who gained a measure of revenge over Swoggle in a bizarre encounter.
The show is already available to watch on RevPro On Demand, and the company return on Sunday with their latest Live At The Cockpit show.
What Culture Pro Wrestling also made the trip across, pitching up at a sports hall on the outskirts of Orlando, for a show they titled State Of Emergency. It was main-evented by a WCPW Heavyweight title match between Drew Galloway and Rampage Brown, with Galloway winning. This was later made complicated by Galloway’s re-signing with WWE, and it’s unclear whether he will be allowed to finish up with WCPW.
WCPW regulars HT Drake, El Ligero, Martin Kirby, BT Gunn, Joe Hendry, Jason Prime, and The Prospect also made the trip over, and the show will be shown on the WCPW Extra platform this weekend.
In addition to all this, UK rookie Adam “Flex” Maxted also made an appearance over the weekend, facing Bryan Idol at the ACW show that was part of the BROKEN Tailgate Party on Sunday.
3) ATTACK! celebrated WrestleMania with their biggest crowd ever
Despite some of their regular roster being over in Orlando for the associated festivities, ATTACK! Pro-Wrestling celebrated WrestleMania by running a pre-show show at the Walkabout in Cardiff, and attracted a record 500 fans to the venue.
My Sacrifice was headlined by an ATTACK! Championship match between Chief Deputy Dunne and the man he robbed for the title at February’s Gorilla Pressed…, Eddie Dennis.
Dunne retained his title, with no end of shenanigans from his Anti-Fun Police partners and sympathizers, but he’ll face a stern test when ATTACK! return to Cheltenham and Bristol next month in the shape of “Flash” Morgan Webster. Webster, who had earlier beaten Charlie Sterling by submission, appeared to make the save for Dennis at the climax of the show, and the direction of travel certainly indicates a clash between the two.
The ATTACK! 24/7 Championship was defended, for once, in an announced match, with everyman fan Warren taking on evil referee Shay Purser. Purser won that match, but soon fell to Nixon Newell, who is squeezing in a few more dates with her “home” promotion before she disappears off to Orlando, presumably for the announced WWE Women’s tournament in late May.
Nixon Newell takes to the air — photo by Turning Face’s Jim Maitland
#CCK — Chris Brookes and the dirty wolf Kid Lykos — successfully defended their ATTACK! Tag Team titles against former champs Bowl-A-Rama, when Lykos finally hit his brainbuster on “Fat Cat” Lloyd Katt, and there were also wins for “Welsh Dragon” Danny Jones (debuting a new look), the team of Mike Bird & Wild Boar, and for “Extremely Confused” Drew Parker, who — temporarily, at least — put a halt to the rampage of Elijah.
The show is already available to download from ATTACK!’s Vimeo service, a tribute to the fast (and first class) work done by Chris “G-Man” Garrett, and ATTACK! return on May 13th at the Frog & Fiddle in Cheltenham.
4) The re-branded PCW dared and won
Although they very subtly re-branded during the week as plain old PCW (phasing out the geographically-limiting Preston City Wrestling), the north of England promotion nevertheless returned to their usual home of the Evoque in Preston last Sunday for a pre-WrestleMania attraction, Who Dares Wins.
The eponymously-titled match — a six-man bout to determine who entered the evening’s 30-man rumble match last — was won by PCW Academy graduate Philip Michael, and he duly came out at number 30 for the headline attraction.
That match, and the title shot that comes with it, was won by T-Bone, who is enjoying a new lease of life as the top heel in the company after turning on top blue eye Bubblegum the last time they were in Preston. Bubblegum himself beat CJ Banks in the opener, and also entered the rumble, as did Impact Knockouts Champion Rosemary, “Speedball” Mike Bailey (who also fought Ashton Smith for the PCW Cruiserweight title), and just about every warm body in northern wrestling that hadn’t made the trip to Orlando.
Big T Justice slams a hapless fool
The PCW Tag Team titles were also on the line, as the UK Hooligans put their careers up against the Spirit Squad’s belts, with the Knight Brothers saving their livelihoods and becoming the new champions to end a weird chapter in that title history. PCW return this Saturday with a free event in Wrexham.
5) Terry Seddon lost his AMP privileges (and other stuff)
Tidal Championship Wrestling returned to the wonderful and strange Church in Leeds last Saturday for Discombobulated, an event headlined by hated figure Sean Only against the loveable CJ Banks.
Lizzy Styles made the most of her opportunity at Lana Austin’s Tidal Women’s Championship by capturing the title, while The Proven returned to the promotion to down the Sons of Ulaid in a heated encounter. There were also wins for Dara Diablo, Little Miss Roxxy, Dan Evans, Matt Myers, and The Wonderland, and Tidal return to Leeds on June 4th.
Area mainstay Terry Seddon lost a loser leaves AMP Wrestling match to Mike Peace at the Alan Higgs Centre in Coventry last Saturday, and had to be carried from the building, kicking and screaming.
That bout headlined over the AMP Championship match between Grimm and Danny Jones, and capped off a card which also featured wins for Aiden Wolfe, The Brotherhood, Danny Flynn, and for Jim Diehard in a number one contender’s match. In addition, Sierra Loxton picked up a big win over local legend Jetta, and AMP return to Coventry later in 2017.
Kamikaze Pro-Wrestling continued their burgeoning relationship with Southside Wrestling by using Southside’s Nottingham venue, the Rushcliffe Arena, to stage Wildfire last Saturday afternoon.
The show was main-evented by a Kamikaze-Pro Tag Team title match between The Bigger Picture and the Spirit Squad. The Bigger Picture pair of Damian Dunne & Robbie X triumphed, though only with help from stablemates Marshall X and Dan Moloney.
Charlie Morgan stretches Impact’s Rosemary — photo by Brett Hadley
The Bigger Picture were a nuisance all night, and Bubblegum & Chris Tyler teamed up to run them off at the climax. Rosemary also made an appearance, beating Xia Brookside, and she worked the venue again that evening for Southside’s Opportunity Knocks, beating Saraya Knight trainee Charlie Morgan.
That show was built around a one-night tournament, won by Southside Speed King Champion Bubblegum, who beat Mike Bird in the final. HC Dyer, Paul Malen, Damian Dunne, Chris Brookes, Chris Tyler, and Tucker also competed.