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A UK-based professional sporting franchise, Progress Wrestling was established in 2011. A joint venture between Jon Briley and Jim Smallman, who up to that point had both been working in comedy, the venture is run from its headquarters in London. Since 2016, Progress Wrestling has stretched its wings onto the international stage. The first bouts to be conducted in conjunction with Canadian wrestling promoters were staged in 2016. In 2017, the Wrestlemania Weekend saw a number of Progress Wrestling fighters travel to the United States for a series of bouts. Progress Wrestling has also been involved in promoting a show for the Germany-based organisation wXw, in London. Later that year, wXw also invited Progress Wrestling to stage their first event on continental Europe, held in the German city of Cologne.
Progress Wrestling's history
Smallman, a comedian who had been promoted by Briley, wanted to bring Japanese strong-style wrestling to the UK. Having toured the UK and appeared on TV several times performing his comedy, Smallman persuaded Briley to join him in a venture that would see this style of wrestling being promoted professionally. Soon, Glen Joseph, a man who had previously worked in the acting profession on stage and screen, was brought in to the ownership structure. Progress Wrestling's first event was held in March of 2012 at The Garage, usually a live music venue, in North London. After 11 of the promotion company's events were sold out at The Garage, the directors decided a larger venue would be needed. They opted for the Electric Ballroom, another music venue in Camden, which had almost twice the capacity.
Progress Wrestling's notable fighters
The promotion team behind Progress Wrestling have used overseas fighters from time to time, but they have gone on record as saying that their preference is to nurture homegrown talent. The Hull fighter Nathan Cruz was the inaugural title winner in 2012. Simon James Musk, better known by his wrestling name of El Ligero, was the next champion, having been defeated by Cruz in the first event. Jimmy Havoc was the last wrestler to gain his title at The Garage in Highbury. Following the move to Camden in 2016, Will Ospreay took over as the champion. Ospreay is also a former winner of the WCPW Tag Team Championship and the ROH World Television Championship.
A tag team championship was introduced to the promotion in 2013. Mark Andrews and Eddie Dennis were the first winners of this title. Chris Brookes and Kid Lykos took over as champions as of September 2017.
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