One year later: Making progress after PROGRESS
By Mike Pankow
August 14, 2019
Last August, United Kingdom-based PROGRESS Wrestling toured the United States and executed some amazing shows from coast to coast and its stop at Cicero Stadium just outside Chicago was no exception.
Just one year later, the amazing talent from that show has gone on to dominate the rosters of some of the world’s largest and most prominent promotions. (Editor’s note: This was Windy City Slam’s first story on a live event shortly after our kickoff)
While a good portion of the roster already was under WWE’s umbrella with the fledging NXT UK brand, several others have broken out to even bigger things.
Of those on the card back on August 11, 2018, Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate, Trent Seven, Walter, Zack Gibson, James Drake, Mark Andrews, Flash Morgan Webster, Eddie Dennis, Toni Storm and Jinny all are affiliated with the NXT UK with Dunne, Bate, and Seven seeing time in NXT over in the U.S. as well. Matt Riddle and Elliot Sexton are signed to NXT. Brody King and Bandido now work for Ring of Honor while Jimmy Havoc and Darby Allin compete for All Elite Wrestling. AR Fox also wrestles for EVOLVE, which has a working agreement with WWE and NXT. In addition, Havoc and Andrews previously worked for IMPACT Wrestling.
In the main event last year, Walter successfully defended the PROGRESS World Championship against Dennis. Now, Walter is the WWE United Kingdom Championship after he defeated Dunne at NXT TakeOver New York in April and has formed one of wrestling’s most dominant factions in Imperium. Dennis, who has battled through injuries during his NXT UK tenure, famously battled with Dave Mastiff at NXT UK TakeOver Blackpool earlier this year.
Dunne defended the WWE UK title against Welshman Flash Morgan Webster in a classic bout where Webster came within an eyelash of winning the title. Dunne held that championship for nearly two years and just competed in an epic triple threat at NXT TakeOver Toronto against NXT North American Champion Velveteen Dream and Roderick Strong.
Bate defeated TK Cooper at Cicero Stadium and now the first-ever WWE UK Champion is the top contender again for the title. He will face Walter at NXT UK TakeOver Cardiff on August 31.
Seven, King, Riddle and Sexton competed in a four-way match where the bruising and athletic King pulled out the victory. King is part of Villain Enterprises in ROH with the revitalized PCO (with whom he was ROH World Tag Team Champions) and Marty Scurll. The trip also won the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championship. Seven is a former NXT Tag Team Champion with Bate while Riddle is one of the hottest acts in NXT. Sexton is training at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando and has yet to make his TV debut in NXT.
Gibson and Drake teamed up with Jinny to win a six-person tag team match over Jack Sexsmith, Allin and Storm. Gibson and Drake, known as “The Grizzled Young Veterans” are capturing gold left and right. They are the reigning NXT UK Tag Team Champions and recently won the PROGRESS Tag Team titles. Jinny, who at the time was PROGRESS Women’s Champion, had a long feud with Storm, who is the current NXT UK Women’s Champion. Allin had a scintillating, 20-minute time-limit draw against Cody at AEW’s Fyter Fest in June.
Andrews, who has wrestled in the WWE Cruiserweight Classic and appeared on 205 Live and NXT UK, faced Havoc in the opening bout last year. Havoc, whom AEW has high hopes on, won that match.
Bandido, now in ROH, teamed with Flamita to defeat the makeshift team of Chris Brookes and AR Fox to win the PROGRESS Tag Team Championships last summer. Fox was an injury replacement in that bout.
Looking back at that PROGRESS tour is definitely an eye-opener considering the level of talent and the quality of shows that America got to witness.
For a look back at the live event from Cicero Stadium from August 2018 and quotes from part owner Glen Joseph, click here: https://bit.ly/2OxmmGI.
Pictures from the event are also available to view on our “Photos” page or by clicking here: https://bit.ly/2CBqGBi and scrolling down.