In Streets Ahead, we invite columnists to write about wrestlers and companies that are still on their way up or you might not be too aware of. Simply put, if you don’t get on board with them, you’ll be streets behind.
Today, we have friend of the website- TJ Hawke. TJ is here to tell us all about PROGRESS Wrestling, a fantastic British wrestling promotion. You can read more of TJ’s work at 411Mania and be sure to check out his website Free Pro Wrestling. Watching great FREE wrestling matches legally is a no-brainer so we highly recommend it. Take it away, TJ!
What is PROGRESS Wrestling?
PROGRESS is an independent wrestling promotion that makes its home in England. Since March 2012, they have produced seven events that have since been released on DVD (most of which are already sold out) and MP4. Their seven shows have featured some talent that you are all probably aware of, including: Colt Cabana, Nigel McGuinness (as a referee), Ricochet, Zack Sabre Jr., and Marty Scurll (Doug Williams is booked for their next show).
However, their shows more prominently feature European talent that you may never have heard of. Wrestlers and tag teams like Noam Dar, Dave Mastiff, The London Riots, Jimmy Havoc, El Ligero, Mike Hitchman, Nathan Cruz, The Hunter Bros (and plenty others) are killing themselves on these shows and proving that they have a tremendous amount of talent. Thankfully, the PROGRESS fans truly appreciate and reward their efforts.
I’m weary of comparing any wrestling crowd to the Reseda crowd that PWG works in front of… and I’m not going to say that the PROGRESS crowd is as good. That being said, the PROGRESS crowd is excellent, and much like Reseda, you get the impression that this crowd wants everything to be good and for every wrestler to succeed there.
So, what is PROGRESS Wrestling? The answer: Young and hungry wrestlers delivering quality entertainment in front of a great crowd.
Who are some of the standouts in PROGRESS Wrestling?
Zack Sabre Jr. and Marty Scurll have delivered quality in PROGRESS whenever they have been booked, but you should already know about them. That’s why I want to talk about Jimmy Havoc. If you’ve heard of Havoc, you probably know of him as a “Deathmatch Wrestler” (he has competed in several of the overseas versions of CZW’s Tournament of Death), but he has shown what a truly well-rounded performer he is in PROGRESS (which is the first place I saw him).
His first appearance in PROGRESS was a brutal no disqualification match with Jon Ryan, which Havoc lost. From there on out, Havoc wanted to prove that he was not “just a Deathmatch guy,” and he’s wrestled some of the best wrestlers in PROGRESS since. At Chapter 4, he lost to Noam Dar after Dar used some nefarious tactics. Going into the match, Dar would have been seen as a favorite since it wasn’t a “street fight” style match, but it’s here that Havoc made his first step in proving his skills.
Then at Chapter 6, Havoc had a really fun match with the first PROGRESS Champion, Nathan Cruz. Cruz was a hated heel from his time as champ, and the crowd truly rallied behind Havoc is his (ultimately failed) attempt to defeat Cruz. Since this show, Havoc has also lost to Zach Sabre Jr. at Chapter 7 (a show I have yet to see).
There are plenty of other talented wrestlers that PROGRESS has introduced me to, but Jimmy Havoc’s time in the promotion (despite only appearing on half of the shows I’ve seen) has stuck with me the most.
Where to get started with watching PROGRESS Wrestling?
However, if you’re interested in financially supporting the company, I recommend that you first watch Chapter 1. I suggest Chapter 1 because it’s only available as a MP4 (so it’s not a costly experiment) and because it’s still probably their best overall show (although Chapter Six gave it a run for its money).
The show features an eight-man tournament to crown the first PROGRESS Champion*. It’s got Zack Sabre Jr vs. Marty Scurll in what is still probably the best match in PROGRESS history. Colt Cabana also wrestles on the show.
*Instead of a belt, PROGRESS uses a staff as their championship.
Want to find out more about PROGRESS Wrestling?
For more specific thoughts on the good and poor things about each individual PROGRESS show, you can check out my reviews on 411Mania:
- Chapter 6, March 2013
- Chapter 5, January 2013
- Chapter 4, November 2012
- Chapter 3, September 2012
- Chapter 2, June 2012
- Chapter 1, March 2012