There is just under a month left until PROGRESS Wrestling returns to the United States for a six-city tour in August. It is the company’s largest U.S. tour to date, and it includes stops in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Seattle and Chicago.
In order to prep fans for what to expect, last week, PROGRESS released the full roster of talent that will be making the trip for all or most of the shows. Then, this past Sunday, the UK-based company announced the first set of matches for each of the six cities. They whet the whistle a little more by revealing a second set of matches for each city on Thursday.
Philadelphia, Aug 4 – 2300 Arena
CCK vs Grizzled Young Veterans
#CoastToCoast PHILADELPHIA: The #Thunderbastard #TagTeamSeries heads overseas as @ZackGibson01 @JamesDrake_GYT #GYV face @obeybrookes @kidlykos #CCK. If #GYV are still champions, this will ALSO be for the World Tag Team Titles! 4th Aug @2300Arena, tickets: https://t.co/YVeC5TE0ef pic.twitter.com/6EtlHThxvW
— PROGRESS Wrestling (@ThisIs_Progress) July 8, 2018
The tour kicks off in Philadelphia and more specifically, at the iconic 2300 Arena, former home of ECW and Ring of Honor (ROH still uses 2300 Arena for their Philadelphia shows), current home to Tommy Dreamer‘s House of Hardcore, EVOLVE, and several other independent promotions. PROGRESS will bring its brand of punk rock pro wrestling to the city of Brotherly Love for the first time in history. And they’ll be doing so with a tag team championship match that has Thunderbastard implications.
For those unfamiliar, Thunderbastard is a PROGRESS original in which entrants enter the match in timed intervals and can be eliminated by pinfall, submission or disqualification. For the tag team version, which is a first-time ever match, the two wrestlers will enter as a team. There are seven teams that will be involved in that final match, taking place at Hello Wembley this September. But, in order to determine which team gets the luxury of entering last, the seven have been engaging in a Thunderbastard round robin series whereby the end, each team will have faced each other team once. The team with the most victories will enter last and the two teams with the least amount of victories will enter first. An added caveat is that since the PROGRESS tag team champions Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson and James Drake), are in the series, the titles will be on the line in each of their matches so long as they remain champs.
That includes the showdown in Philadelphia between GYV and CCK (Chris Brookes and Kid Lykos). GYV are in the midst of their second reign with the titles, the first of which began when Drake and Gibson defeated then-reigning champions, CCK at Chapter 58: Live Your Best Life in November. GYV lost the titles to Jimmy Havoc and Mark Haskins but regained them in February leading to a 135 day+ reign, the fifth longest of all-time.
South Pacific Power Trip vs Moustache Mountain
— Travis Banks (@Travis_BanksPW) July 12, 2018
In 2017, PROGRESS ran a much smaller U.S. tour, hitting just New York and Boston. At PROGRESS: New York, South Pacific Power Trip (Travis Banks and TK Cooper) took on the team of Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven and Tyler Bate). It was the second time these two teams met two-on-two. The first time happened only a few months prior as Moustache Mountain defended their PROGRESS tag team titles.
As the tweet says, this is the match that never finished. Due to an unfortunate injury to Cooper, who dislocated his ankle just minutes into the match, Banks was forced to go it alone. The current PROGRESS World Champion got the job done, defeating Seven and Bate in the restarted 2-on-1 handicap match.
These two teams worked a solid match in their first meeting, so Philadelphia fans should be excited at getting to see them go head-to-head one more time.
Boston, Aug 5 – Melrose Memorial Hall
Rickey Shane Page vs Eddie Dennis
— Rickey Shane Page (@RickeyShanePage) July 9, 2018
It all started on September 10, 2017 at Alexandria Palace. As Eddie Dennis tells it, that was the day that former best friend and tag team partner Mark Andrews, “offered me my dreams on a silver platter and then you took them, before I could take a single bite.” Dennis tagged on and off with Andrews since 2013, with the two even being the first and so far longest reigning (301 days) PROGRESS tag team champions. But when Andrews left for TNA/IMPACT, that reign came to an end. Flash forward to 2017, when Andrews left yet again to take part in the WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament and subsequently, 205 Live, where he has become a semi-regular.
On August 27, Dennis and Andrews reunited one last time in a losing effort against the Grizzled Young Veterans. Then came the scramble. Despite it being a singles match, to save time on entrances, Dennis and Andrews came out together and they came out to Andrews’ music. As the match drew closer to its end, according to Dennis, Andrews was willing to give him the victory, only to change his mind just seconds later. Enough was enough and Dennis finally snapped, attacking Andrews after the match.
That has led to an incredibly heated and personal rivalry, which will be spilling over to the states. PROGRESS co-owner Jim Smallman has announced that for the entirety of the U.S. tour, Andrews and Dennis will be choosing each other’s opponents. That starts in Boston as Andrews has chosen Rickey Shane Page as first in line to face Dennis. As mentioned in the tweet announcing the match, Dennis interfered costing Page and his tag team partner Ethan Page, their PROGRESS tag team title match in New Orleans. Andrews has decided to give Page his revenge in what will be a first time meeting between the two.
TK Cooper vs Kid Lykos
I’m going to brainbuster his big dumb head onto a pile of ladders https://t.co/UL2b9EEBWU
— Kid Lykos (@KidLykos) July 12, 2018
Boston, this one is personal. In April, TK Cooper took on Kid Lykos’ CCK partner, Chris Brookes, in a No DQ singles match, as the long-running feud between the two reached a boiling point. Lykos was ringside as Cooper and Brookes just destroyed each other with everything and anything they could find. With Cooper largely in control, the moment of truth came when he sent Brookes off the apron and through a table. Cooper probably would have gotten the fall too if not for Lykos, who pulled the ref out of the ring. None too pleased, Cooper kicked Lykos through a chair and as a result the Wolf remained on the shelf with injury a little longer than originally anticipated.
But now, Lykos is back and he rightly wants revenge, hence the grudge match. It’s another first time meeting in Boston as Cooper and Lykos have only shared the ring once prior, in the Defiant No Regrets Rumble.
New York, Aug 7 – La Boom
Grizzled Young Veterans vs Sexy Starr
Big Apps, Graps ?? https://t.co/nnwOyEdJv0
— Jack Sexsmith (@TheJackSexsmith) July 8, 2018
As the tour heads to New York, another Thunderbastard tag team series match awaits. Once again, it will be GYV in action, this time taking on the new-and-exciting team of Sexy Starr (David Starr and Jack Sexsmith).
PROGRESS Chapter 56: La Danse Macabre saw Jack Sexsmith and David Starr team up for the first time as the appropriately named Sexy Starr. The two took on Moustache Mountain in a match full of antics and comedy that ultimately resulted in Tyler Bate pinning David Starr to get the victory for his team. Following the match, Starr and Sexsmith received a nasty beating from the newly formed alliance of Jimmy Havoc and Mark Haskins. It wasn’t until Chapter 64: Thunderbastards are Go! that Sexy Starr had their next match as a team, taking on and defeating the Anti-Fun Police (Chief Deputy Dunne and Los Federales Santos Jr.) in the latter’s PROGRESS debut.
The incredibly entertaining team of Starr and Sexsmith are one of seven teams taking part in the Thunderbastard series. They have their first match on Sunday, against Haskins and partner Flash Morgan Webster. And as mentioned before, if the Grizzled Young Veterans are still champs by New York, this will be for the titles.
CCK vs LAX
#CoastToCoast NYC: a HUGE tag team match comes to @Laboomny – #CCK @OBEYBrookes @KidLykos take on #LAX @SantanaLAX @Ortiz5150 on 7th August! Tuesday night tag team wars for the win! Tickets: https://t.co/g2PcUpAcwc #ThisIsProgress pic.twitter.com/GYkcU8SWHP
— PROGRESS Wrestling (@ThisIs_Progress) July 12, 2018
Fans are in for a real treat as the team of LAX (Santana and Ortiz) will be coming home to New York City to face CCK. This will be LAX’s PROGRESS debut and first-time-ever meeting with Lykos and Brookes as well.
Santana and Ortiz, in light of recent events on IMPACT Wrestling, are Konnan‘s LAX compared to the one that King has reunited, the originals of Homicide and Hernandez. But in PROGRESS, they’ll be the only LAX that matters. Largely operating in different parts of the globe, both CCK and LAX are considered two of the better independent tag teams in the world. CCK has taken Europe and England specifically by storm whereas LAX, since coming together in 2017, has made their presence known throughout North America. This first time meeting should no doubt be a great match in front of a great New York crowd.
Seattle, Aug 9 – Washington Hall
British Strong Style vs Bandido, Rey Horus and Flamita
#CoastToCoast SEATTLE: #BritishStrongStyle @PeteDunneYxB @trentseven @Tyler_Bate take on @LuchadorBandido @flamita_dtu and @DragonAztecaJr! 9th August at Washington Hall. Tickets: https://t.co/UIRnvNF5y7 #ThisIsProgress pic.twitter.com/HoiCEa7rsA
— PROGRESS Wrestling (@ThisIs_Progress) July 9, 2018
The first announced match for Seattle is quite a big one as the established and entrenched trio of British Strong Style (Trent Seven, Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne) will be in action taking on three guys who have worked a total of four PROGRESS shows in their careers.
Flamita is the PROGRESS veteran of the three, having worked Super Strong Style 16 last year. Horus, who performs on Wednesday nights as Dragon Azteca on Lucha Underground, wrestled his lone PROGRESS match at Chapter 67: Bourbon is Also a Biscuit, losing to Chris Brookes. Bandido, at just 23, is the newcomer as August 9th will mark his PROGRESS debut. Together with Flamita, also 23, Bandido is one-half of the current CRASH tag team champions.
British Strong Style formed in PROGRESS in 2016 with Dunne and Seven. Bate was added a few months later and together, the three began to dominate PROGRESS and later, WWE. Dunne, the most successful singles wrestler of the three is a 21-time champion including three current titles: ATTACK! 24:7 Champion, of which he is currently in his sixth reign, DWW Champion (391 days) and WWE United Kingdom Champion (419 days). Dunne defeated Bate, the inaugural champion, for the title in May 2017. Alongside Seven, Dunne is also a former PROGRESS tag team champion and the company’s world champion, a title he held for 287 days. Bate and Seven are 2x PROGRESS tag team champions, a title they’ll be looking to regain at Hello Wembley in September. They were also NXT tag team champions for a brief moment, leading to a two-day period where all members of BSS held gold.
British strong style meets Lucha libre. This should be great fun.
WALTER vs Jimmy Havoc
Oh good… https://t.co/kXUgl4KWzE
— Jimmy Havoc (@JimmyHavoc) July 12, 2018
It’s yet another first-time-ever meeting for PROGRESS’s Coast to Coast Tour, this time featuring one of the hardest hitting men in wrestling, WALTER, going up against one of the top deathmatch wrestlers in the world in Jimmy Havoc. Strap in your seatbelts Seattle, because this collision is going to be massive.
WALTER, a former 2x PROGRESS Atlas Champion and current PWG World Champion, is brutally hard-hitting and very much the powerhouse. That’s not all that surprising given he counts the Stone Pitbull, Tomohiro Ishii himself, among one of his trainers. WALTER’s chops are unreal but that’s not even the scariest part of facing the 6’4, 310-pound big man. Because in addition to his strong style-esque offense, WALTER has great agility for a man his size. He’s someone you shouldn’t turn your back to, else you might live to regret it.
Havoc meanwhile, has made his name by being the guy who takes thumbtacks to the back and unprotected chair shots to the head like it’s his job. In 2017, Havoc entered and won Combat Zone Wrestling‘s annual Tournament of Death by wrestling three death matches (first round – three-way pains in the glass death match; semifinal – light tubes treachery death match; final – no ropes, no canvas, barbed wire and light tubes madness death match) all in the same night. Havoc also wrestled in a 10,001 thumbtacks match which was not an exaggeration.
While this won’t be a death match, expect both Havoc and WALTER to bring the full extent of their skills to Seattle. And if the Seattle crowd is anything like its British counterpart, you can expect a good deal of “you sick f*ck” chants in this one.
Chicago, Aug 11 – Cicero Stadium
Pete Dunne vs Flash Morgan Webster
#CoastToCoast CHICAGO: #WWE UK Champion, the #Bruiserweight @PeteDunneYxB takes on the #Modfather @Flash_Morgan! Sat 11th August at Cicero Stadium. Tickets: https://t.co/htyamevQEO #ThisIsProgress pic.twitter.com/ytVFeNAici
— PROGRESS Wrestling (@ThisIs_Progress) July 9, 2018
It’s an all-WWE matchup as Pete Dunne takes on fellow UKCT competitor, Flash Morgan Webster. These two are no strangers to each other as Dunne and Webster have faced off in singles action eight previous times over the past five years. They even fought over the RevPro British Cruiserweight title, which was held by Dunne, in 2016.
Most recently, Webster’s alliance with Jimmy Havoc, Mark Haskins and Vicky Haskins, has put him and Dunne on opposite sides in PROGRESS as well. Alongside Tyler Bate, Dunne lost to that trio in a handicap match at Chapter 69: Be Here Now. The two, whose only singles match as opponents in PROGRESS took place in the semifinal of the Natural Progression Series in 2014, also faced off in WWE this year at Wrestlemania Axxess. Dunne and Webster split those two matches and overall, the pair has been pretty evenly matched in their series, with Dunne holding a slight 5-3 lead in victories.
A top high-flying wrestler, Webster is the current ATTACK! Champion, in the midst of a 327+ day reign. As mentioned above, Dunne is currently a champion in ATTACK! as well. Most importantly, however, he’s WWE UK Champion, a title Webster will be hunting for when the WWE UK show premieres later this month.
CCK vs Flamita and Bandido
#CoastToCoast CHICAGO: #CCK @OBEYBrookes @KidLykos take on @LuchadorBandido @flamita_dtu at Cicero Stadium! 11th August, tickets: https://t.co/htyamevQEO. ERMAHGAWD. #ThisIsProgress pic.twitter.com/ggmkSOsikq
— PROGRESS Wrestling (@ThisIs_Progress) July 12, 2018
Another match with international flair is set for Chicago as Flamita and Bandido team up for the second time on the tour to take on CCK. It’s also a first-time matchup, which seems to be a theme for this U.S. tour.
CCK has been stalled for a bit due to Lykos’ injury but the team is back and ready for action and from what PROGRESS has released, they will certainly be featured heavily on this tour. The two are current HOPE tag team champions as well as former 2x PROGRESS tag team champions, 3x ATTACK! tag team champions and CZW tag team champions. This team is looking to get back to their winning ways and while this match doesn’t have Thunderbastard implications, much like the LAX match in New York, it’s one to watch nonetheless.
Detroit, Aug 12 – Monaghan Knights of Columbus Hall
TK Cooper vs Jimmy Havoc
DETROIT! In case you missed it…
— PROGRESS Wrestling (@ThisIs_Progress) July 10, 2018
Much like Dunne’s showdown with Webster, it’s another Wrestlemania Axxess rematch set for Detroit as TK Cooper takes on Jimmy Havoc in singles action for just the second time in their careers. The first meeting, which was won by Cooper, took place at Axxess in 2017.
The current Defiant Hardcore Champion (213+ days), Havoc is also a former 2x Defiant tag team champion and PROGRESS tag team champion. Most notably, however, aside from his death match reputation, is that Havoc is the longest reigning PROGRESS world champion, a title he held for 609 days from 2013-15. Havoc also had a lengthy reign as the IPW: UK World Champion, a belt he held for 770 days from 2015-17.
At just 25 and only a seven-year pro, Cooper doesn’t quite have the resume of Havoc but that doesn’t mean he’s not talented. Alongside Travis Banks and real-life wife Dahlia Black in the South Pacific Power Trip, Cooper has been considered to be one of the UK’s rising stars. He was slated to compete in the PWG Battle of Los Angeles in 2017, where he may have gotten his big break, but an injury forced him to withdraw from contention.
WALTER vs Mark Andrews
#pickyoutpoison was @ThisIs_Progress idea, I wanted @MandrewsJunior for myself on all 6 days. But, if I can’t get that, like always, I’ll make the most of the situation I’m given. Over that week in America I will take everything away from Mark, @WalterAUT takes his health… https://t.co/Z6l1cK0SqL
— Eddie Dennis (@EddieDennis1986) July 13, 2018
If it wasn’t clear before, it certainly is now. Eddie Dennis really doesn’t like Mark Andrews, like really doesn’t like him. That’s why for his first ‘Pick Your Poison’ announcement he’s chosen for his former best friend to face one of the absolute hardest hitting men in pro wrestling, WALTER. Fans in Detroit will be treated to a first-time-ever matchup when these two hit the ring, each bringing a very contrasting style compared to the other.
As mentioned above, WALTER is a dangerous combination of strength and speed. He’s a centerpiece in PROGRESS’ Atlas Division and held the Atlas Championship for 238 days in 2017, which is the longest single reign of all-time. WALTER is also the only the second wrestler to have won that title more than once, the other being Matt Riddle.
Mark Andrews on the other hand, prefers to inflict his damage in the air. That’s not to say he’s not a good technical wrestler as he is, but his bread-and-butter is as a high flyer, something fans of 205 Live and IMPACT’s X-Division no doubt already know. And while the X-Division championship always eluded him, Andrews still performed at the highest level, almost always putting on exciting matches. If he doesn’t die against WALTER as Dennis is likely hoping, that bout will probably be pretty exciting too.