With wrestling pretty much wound down for the year, it’s time to take one last look at where we stand ahead of 2018…
With their snow-blighted trip to Sheffield in the books, all PROGRESS has left for 2017 is next weekend’s Unboxing Live show… a card that by its very nature is a mystery, and storyline progression isn’t as expected as on other shows.
So, where do we stand going into 2018? Well, Travis Banks has beaten away everyone he lost to in 2017 (bar Jack Gallagher), and coming out of his last defence against Eddie Dennis in December, we seem to be pointing more towards Dennis vs. Mark Andrews than anything else.
Elsewhere, we’ve got to deal with November’s return of Rob Lynch, as those brief hype videos promising Valhalla came to pass. Lynch’s return ended up costing his former London Riot partner Strangler Davis his Atlas title shot – which Davis won by beating Lynch at Chapter 53 back in July.
It was a shocking return, considering Lynch was forced to retire through injury (causing him to skip what was meant to have been a retirement match vs. Abyss in Southside last month). Instead, Lynch’s music and entrance distracted Davis literally seconds into his match with Timothy Thatcher… allowing Timmy to capitalise with a roll-up to win the match and the Atlas title shot. Davis and Lynch had a pull-apart after, and that’s almost surely going to be on the cards as we head into 2018.
We’ve also got a Jinny vs. Toni Storm women’s title match on the cards, after Jinny beat Dahlia Black in that hard-fought no-DQ match in November… and whilst Dahlia may be out of the title picture for now, she may be back around ringside in another familiar role, as 2018 should see the return of TK Cooper from his horrific injury. Although Travis Banks is champion, perhaps we’ll end up seeing the return of the South Pacific Power Trip as PROGRESS’ tag division undergoes some changes… after all, without Kid Lykos, CCK’s pretty much on the shelf for a while.
With wXw’s 17th anniversary show taking place tomorrow, we’re intentionally keeping this one short…
wXw have certainly been building up a potential Ilja Dragunov title change, with a three-part documentary hyping up everyone’s favourite Unbesiegbar wrestler… but even if there is a title change, it’s very unlikely that RISE will disappear. Back at Broken Rules, we saw Da Mack remain a pain in everyone’s backside as he cost Chris Colen the wXw Unified World Wrestling title. That continued interference from RISE could very well be heading to what’s becoming a tradition in wXw – the January Käfigschlacht cage match!
January sees the promotion host a pair of shows at the London Cockpit, as they crown their first British Women’s Champion. We’ve got an eight-woman tournament, and the first round matches – set for Saturday January 6 – have been set:
Zoe Lucas vs. Zan Phoenix
Deonna Purrazzo vs. Britt Baker
Jinny vs. Nina Samuels
Charli Evans vs. Millie McKenzie
Also on those shows we’ve had announced (so far) Martin Stone challenging for Zack Sabre Jr’s Rev Pro British Heavyweight Championship on the Saturday, whilst Sunday should lead to an appearance by Moustache Mountain, ahead of their title defence against Sabre and Minoru Suzuki at High Stakes later in the month.
We’ve yet to see the Mistletour shows, so spoiler alerts incoming…
Shay Purser is gone from ATTACK! after losing his Loser Leaves Town match to Chris Roberts in Bristol last weekend. As to whether Roberts returns to ATTACK! as a regular official remains to be seen, or indeed, whether we see Shay back in any form… either as a wrestler or otherwise. Certainly, the farewell that Shay got from several in ATTACK! on Twitter after the show suggests it may be a permanent farewell.
Elsewhere, Flash Morgan Webster retained the ATTACK! championship in a four-way over Eddie Dennis, Wild Boar and Mike Bird, while we saw the crowning of new tag team champions as Bowl-a-Rama regained the straps from the Brothers of Obstruction. The rebuilding of Bowl-a-Rama in Hackney may have to be put on hold though, as the Brothers are likely to be in the mix for a rematch, whilst the newly-christened trio of Nothing to Prove – ELIJAH, Drew Parker and Jayson Bishop – will probably be in the hunt too.
FIGHT CLUB: PRO
Omari’s Infinity tournament win earlier this month has left him with a title shot – and perhaps the first built-up challenger that Chris Brookes has had in quite some time. The promotion return on January 26 at the Starworks for their usual array of seemingly-random matches which will work into something…
A rare mention here, but since WrestleKingdom’s in less than two weeks, we may as well mention the goings on. Tetsuya Naito will be cashing in his G1 Climax title shot against Kazuchika Okada in the Tokyo Dome… but perhaps the biggest match for those of us in the west is Chris Jericho’s first appearance at the Dome in 21 years.
Gone are the List and all such wackiness as Jericho has a blood feud on his hands against Kenny Omega. It’s been made a no-DQ match, and barring anything catastrophic, we shouldn’t have a repeat of the self-confessed turkey of an outing that Jericho had in his prior Dome match when he went under the mask of Super Liger.
Elsewhere on the Tokyo Dome card we’ve got the in-ring return of “Switchblade” Jay White as he challenges Hiroshi Tanahashi for the Intercontinental title… EVIL & SANADA challenging the Killer Elite Squad for the IWGP tag team titles… Roppongi 3K defending the junior tag titles over the Young Bucks… Marty Scurll defending the junior title against KUSHIDA, Will Ospreay and Hiromu Takahasho… plus Minoru Suzuki’s defending his NEVER title in a hair vs. hair match against Hirooki Goto!