Join Rob and Dan for the Thoughts On Wrestling Podcast as they discuss Progress Wrestling’s three day, Super Strong Style 16 2017 Tournament. It’s Rob’s first ever taste of Progress and he likes it quite a lot.
After the brilliant success of the United Kingdom Championship Tournament, specifically the second night, I was looking forward to seeing more of the WWE’s UK scene. This special, taped a little while ago in Norwich, was the first opportunity for this. Yes, I know they’ve been wrestling on NXT as well but this is something different. It is their own show and in front of British fans again.
Ultimately though, I was slightly disappointed by this special. Let me explain why before you start raging at me as I realise there were two good matches on this card.
Firstly, the crowd were heavily edited and muted, that is a terrible sign for the WWE UK scene. Part of British wrestling is the crowd, if you try to control them like WWE used to edit Smackdown it will only succeed in killing the entire vibe. Do not, ever, edit a crowd. They might not being doing what you want, but that is life. In general the audio of the entire show felt wrong and was very noticeable to me, it was a distraction. Perhaps it was just me, but I’m sure others felt that way too.
Secondly, the blatant green screen additions of Jim Ross and Nigel McGuinness made the show feel much more like Impact Wrestling than they probably intended. If you want to record the commentary after the fact that is fine, I would prefer it live but it is not a big deal. The green screen however did not work for me.
I did enjoy the commentary itself though. It’s fantastic to have Jim Ross back in the WWE and I really do enjoy Nigel’s calm commentary style. It’s so different to what everyone else brings to the table. Sure there was some of the ‘first show together awkwardness’ but over time that will disappear.
The opening two matches left me feeling cold too. Joseph Connors versus Wolfgang and the bizarre 205 Live tag team match of TJP and Brian Kendrick versus Rich Swann and Dan Moloney were not exactly barnstormers put it that way.
However, this is where it all turns around because the number one contenders match between Trent Seven and Pete Dunne was really good. Dunne is an absolutely detestable heel and while I love it, I do still want to see him be beaten because fuck that guy. What an utter dick. He’ll be a star for sure.
The UK Championship match between Tyler Bate and challenger Mark Andrews was also really good. I know everyone raves about it, but it really is mind-blowing that Bate is only 20 years old. He is so smooth and confident in the ring.
I just wish these two matches, the whole special actually, had been broadcast a week or so earlier because we already know who is fighting who at NXT Takeover Chicago tonight for the UK title. It just took the edge of the proceedings. I do not like knowing spoilers, I realise that sets me aside from the majority of wrestling fans these days who want to know everything in great detail before it happens though.
Overall, the UK Special had a rough start and made some mistakes that I hope they learn from but the quality of wrestling in the number one contenders match and championship bout saved the show completely.