Most people who read ‘The Hermit Position’, know I tend to write from my personal experiences when travelling around the wrestling industry and visiting wrestling promotions around the UK.
When I luckily managed to purchase tickets for one of the UK’s most prestigious wrestling promotions in London, PROGRESS Wrestling. I thought I would document my time there, the experience I would have talking to the fans and basically venturing by myself in London.
Someone once said to write about the best wrestling companies around you have to see the best wrestling companies around, to make a judgement on something you have to experience it otherwise how will you know which ones are best or which ones can you recommend.
Travel around if you can experience it.
That was the problem I had last year. I mainly wrote about promotions I had seen and, to be honest, that was only six wrestling promotions live. But let me be clear, six fantastic promotions: ICW, Fierce Females, PBW, SWE, WWE and TNA. Reading that though, I could hardly call myself a wrestling writer/journalist, who believes his opinions are valid, hell, I’ve never been trained in a wrestling ring, been to wrestling academy and the only time I’ve stepped in the ring is to get a photo.
I started to realise that I needed to travel, as mentioned it wasn’t because the companies I saw weren’t excellent, far from it, but in the UK there is at least 30 promotions around, I have seen six and two of those were American.
I ventured to Preston, to see the PCW/ROH Supershow, there I met Lionheart, Noam Dar, Chris Masters and, my own personal heroes, The Briscoes and Adam Cole. I then traveled to Paid Promotions in Morecombe, there I met some great people, discovered some great wrestling and saw the arrival of The Referendum. Travelling again, it was Carlisle for Target Wrestling and that was fantastic too. Back in Scotland I went to see SWA, PWE and Discovery. So where to next, London. PROGRESS Wrestling. Let’s begin…
It’s 2330, I’m on a Megabus Sleeper and thinking what the hell am I doing travelling down to London to see a wrestling show alone for three days. There are other wrestling events closer to me during this time, in Scotland even. But I have heard about Progress for so long now and this event, going by the card alone looks to be amazing.
I close my eyes, attempt to sleep as the bus journey is underway. To try to relax I look up anything of social media regarding PROGRESS to relax myself, to calm my nerves. I then find the PROGRESS fan page and the fans on it are equally welcoming and they are fantastic.
What is PROGRESS Wrestling? hello Wiki –
“Progress Wrestling (stylized as PROGRESS) is a British professional wrestling promotion that was established in 2011 by comedian Jim Smallman and events and comedy promoter Jon Briley, later to be joined in management of the company by actor Glen Joseph.”
Thank you Wiki, that was…useful.
The next day, I’m off the bus and I’m in the queue. The build-up is great, the crowd queuing is huge and highly organised, everyone is chatting and all in good spirits among the chaotic Camden background. As I’m standing there, two guys are shouting shouting with a selfie stick and megaphone, it’s Progress #Geeze Legend Sebastian. Also out there chatting with the crowd is PROGRESS Wrestling co-owner Jim Smallman.
Inside the Electric Ballroom the set up is extraordinary, the balconey is set up like windows overlooking the ring, and is laid out brilliantly.
The two days were an explosive array of wrestling quality. The sixteen wrestlers who wrestled in the tournament are a shining example of what the industry is about and the final between Zack Sabre Jr (who flew especially from NOAH in Japan to wrestle in the company) versus ‘The Ariel Assassin’ Will Ospreay was a match of breathtaking brilliance and I won’t stop there. The matches in the tournament were different, uniquely styled and full of great action. PROGRESS hosted its first women’s match, featuring Pollyanna against Jinny. This was one of the best women’s matches I have ever seen. There aren’t enough descriptive words I can use to implore you to check that match out.
The storylines involving PROGRESS Champion, Jimmy Havoc and Paul Robinson facing the London Riots and the ongoing feud between The Faceless who are now known as The Origin (Nathan Cruz and El Ligero) against The Sumerian Death Squad as well as the aftermath of those matches were that of creative awesomeness. I look at the fans and I can see [Jim] Smallman is standing among the fans and his actions reflect that of the crowd, a true fan of wrestling and what he is seeing.
One thing of note, the sight of seeing 700 plus fans give Jimmy Havoc the finger and him retaliate by calling the fans c**ts while pointing at individuals is fanatically fantastic.
After the event, over two days, I talk to the fans and they are superb. Did you know that fans have traveled from New Zealand and Austraila plus there is amazing bunch for fans from Italy that travel to these shows. no you didn’t? Well you do now.
Before the weekender, my plan was that this was going to be the final ‘Hermit Position’, in fact, my last writing wrestling article/blog in general. Before making my trip down to PROGRESS, I was going to go lower the amount of wrestling events I attend and not document it because I was beginning to question my passion for the industry.
That was the plan. It isn’t anymore.
I recommend that anyone…anyone who is a wrestling fan, catch PROGRESS Wrestling SSS16. If you have become disillusioned with wrestling or maybe you want to see wrestling in it’s purest form, you need to watch this event.
I guarantee you will become a fan of PROGRESS, I guarantee you’ll re-discover your love for the industry and guarantee you will follow their only rule in wrestling…
Don’t Be A Dick.