PROGRESS Wrestling, like the rest of companies that made up the BritWres boom in the second half of last decade, lost a lot of momentum in 2020 as a result of the pandemic and the #SpeakingOut movement.
The promotion returned early last year, with a new management team and streaming on WWE Network. It hasn’t really recaptured the imagination of wrestling fans, especially here in the U.S. But with the return of fans and new ownership in 2022, they hope to change that. Their show yesterday (Feb. 6) also showed a willingness to embrace the “Forbidden Door” craze to see if that can grab some attention.
This is the the definition of the term as the wrestling world generally used before AEW’s Tony Khan tried to define it as... something else... last week: a wrestler signed to or associated with one company appearing on another company’s show.
PROGRESS Chapter 128: Technique featured Jonathan Gresham defending his version of the Ring of Honor World title. That’s not terribly unusual these days. With ROH on hiatus until Supercard of Honor is April, Gresham’s appeared everywhere from Impact to PWG with the belt. Sunday in Manchester, he defeated Chris Ridgeway in a Pure Rules match to retain his championship.
The more interesting development came later, after Cara Noir defeated Dean Allmark to keep the PROGRESS World title. Ilja Dragunov, WWE NXT UK title over his shoulder, slid into the ring behind Noir. Nothing was announced, but it sure seemed to be set-up for a one-on-one a match between the two. Noir won the belt in a 5-way match that involved Dragunov back in Jan. 2020.
The convergence was shouted out by one of the men running PROGRESS these days...
Today we had the Women’s PROGRESS World Championship, the Men’s PROGRESS World Championship, the Men’s Ring of Honor World Championship, the WWE NXT UK Championship & the PROGRESS Tag Team Championships all feature on one PROGRESS show in #Manchester.— Lee McAteer (@MrLeeMcAteer) February 7, 2022
So proud of everyone! pic.twitter.com/KjGbw2eItL
... and new co-owner Lee McAteer’s tweet doesn’t even point out the fact the PROGRESS Women’s champ, Gisele Shaw, is debuting with Impact soon.
Will this influence more people to check out PROGRESS on Peacock (Chapter 128 isn’t there yet, but will be eventually)? Does it tell us anything about NXT UK’s future, or those rumors we heard about WWE being more open to working with other promotions?