It has long, long been rumored that WWE affiliates like PROGRESS and EVOLVE would be added to the WWE Network due to so many current WWE Superstars having links to the indies and rising to prominence in these companies before being signed by the WWE. These companies will begin to have content added on August 12th with a best of Drew McIntyre and best of Keith Lee collection headlining the announcements. Let’s delve a bit further into the indie companies joining the network.
England’s PROGRESS Wrestling made waves over the last decade and helped to launch the British Wrestling scene to international claim. It’s adult-oriented shows and exciting in-ring style made it a perfect alternative to what was being offered in the mainstream and thanks to a number of hot storylines the company managed to launch the careers of a number of stars like Will Ospreay, Zack Sabre Jr., Pete Dunne, and Tyler Bate to name just a few. As it grew in size it began to attract the world’s best with names like WALTER, Matt Riddle, Tomasso Ciampa, and Keith Lee stepping into a PROGRESS ring and delivering classic matches.
Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW)
The company that started the revolution Scotland’s ICW was the first UK indie to really make international fans pay attention. Due in part to the return of Drew McIntyre (then Drew Galloway) as well as the rise of Grado and an in-ring style that was reminiscent of ECW the company became a cult hit with adult fans in Scotland becoming a one of the top indies in all of Europe for a time. It also helped to produce a number of top women’s stars like Kay Lee Ray and Piper Niven.
Westside Xtreme Wrestling (wXw)
Germany’s wXw has long been the top independent wrestling company in mainland Europe. It gained notoriety as a company to watch thanks to the feud between WALTER and Ilja Dragunov who would go on to become stars of the European indie scene before making their way to NXT UK. It mixes storylines with good matches and annually hosts some of the biggest tournaments of the year like 16 Carat Gold and Femme Fatales.
Run by notable name Gabe Sapolsky EVOLVE was one of the top indies in the United States. It played host to a number of the top names in wrestling colliding in dream matches much to the delight of their fanbase. It also helped to launch the careers of a number of stars like Riddle, Timothy Thatcher, and Keith Lee to name just a few. It was a force for so long that chances are any main event talent in NXT over the past few years has been through EVOLVE.
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. WWE fan? You can check out an almost unlimited array of WWE content on the WWE Network. Looking to talk wrestling, pro football, or any number of sports? Head on over to the LWOS Boards to engage in conversation with fellow fans!