Progress Wrestling hold their annual Super Strong Style 16 tournament in just a few days. Starting Saturday and running through to Monday, the tournament sees 16 of the best talents in the UK and beyond battle it out for a shot at the Progress World Championship.
The tournament is in it’s 4th year, with previous winners being Will Ospreay, Tommy End and last years winner and current Progress World Champion, Travis Banks. Always attracting some of the finest talents in the world of independent wrestling, this years tournament is bigger than ever as it is taking place at the much bigger Alexandra Palace as opposed to their usual venue of The Electric Ballroom. With over two thousand fans expected on each day, this is sure to be the biggest weekend of the year for UK wrestling.
So with the draw finally done, lets take a look at the first round matches.
Super Strong Style 16: Round One
Kassius Ohno vs Chris Brookes
The announcement that WWE would be allowing the former Chris Hero to take part in the tournament turned a lot of heads. Ohno has a history in the Super Strong Style, having made the semifinals in 2016 before losing to eventual winner Tommy End. Ohno is a big favourite to the Progress ultras and in the first round he takes on another fan favourite in Chris Brookes. Brookes has been making his mark in the singles division since the injury to his CCK partner Kid Lykos, and he is many people pick to have a good run here.
This one will be a hard-hitting battle with big old elbows and a lot of sick f*****g singles moves.
Prediction: Kassius Ohno
Jordan Devlin vs Tyler Bate
This one is certainly a contender for the match of the round. Tyler Bate reached the final of last years tournament, and the former tagteam champion is widely regarded as one of the best young wrestlers in the world.This is Devlin return to Progress, after making his debut at Chapter 44 over a year ago. He himself has been on a bit of a tear up on the UK scene with his performances for OTT and Fight Club: Pro.
A possible semi-final against his BSS stablemate Pete Dunne is a mouthwatering prospect. Tyler is certainly a heavy favourite but Devlin has been on fire of late so this one is certain to be damn good match.
Prediction: Tyler Bate
Doug Williams vs Pete Dunne
A battle of the past vs the future, UK veteran Doug Williams takes on arguably the biggest name in the UK right now, the WWE UK champion Pete Dunne. Williams has been a staple on the UK scene for over 20 years but there have been rumours of his retirement for a while now. Which Progress looked into recently with their riveting documentary about Williams, where he talked about his injuries and the effect they have on his career. He has been on a losing streak in Progress but it would be very fitting if he could have a good run here and end his career on a high. The Bruiserweight won’t be an easy match, and the current WWE UK champion is seen as one of the favourites for this years tournament.
Whatever happens, this match seems like it could a passing of the torch from a legend to a future and it is not to be missed.
Prediction: Doug Williams
Zack Gibson or James Drake vs Joey Janela
With only one place left in the tournament, the current tag champs attacked the Progress management for not including them both in the tournament. This was soon rectified and Gibson and Drake were told to decide between themselves who should be taking part. Gibson is the only man to have appeared in every tournament so far and he would certainly seem the more fitting to go up against the 'Bad Boy' Joey Janela, who is making his UK debut for the company.
Whoever it is that takes on Janela, this is sure to be an entertaining match. Expect plenty of shenanigans, promos and whole lot of fun. This one is gonna be wild.
Prediction: Gibson or Drake
Mark Andrews vs Angelico
The obligatory high flying match, Angelico makes his debut for the promotion against the 2016 finalist Mark Andrews. Andrews is currently involved in a long running feud with Eddie Dennis so his chances of winning the tournament are unlikely, but as a former Progress champion he has to looked at as a contender. Angelico made his name in Lucha Underground and is as fine a high flyer you’ll find anywhere, so this is sure to be fast paced and enthralling from the get go. Expect Eddie Dennis to get involved here, possibly to cost Andrews the match.
If high-flying is your game, then this is the match for you.
Prediction: Mark Andrews
Flash Morgan Webster vs Keith Lee
Flash Morgan Webster is fresh off an unsuccessful title shot at Chapter 65 where he came agonisingly close to winning the title. He quickly aligned himself with the heel team of Havoc and Haskins afterwards, saying he needed to get the title no matter what it takes. His story is the most compelling coming into the tournament and he is many peoples favourite this year. His opponent in the first round is a man who seems to be on his way out of the independents, Keith Lee.
The big Texan has a victory over Webster already in Progress after defeating at Chapter 57. Webster getting revenge for the loss would make a lot of sense, and looking ahead there is the prospect of matches against Mark Andrews and Zack Sabre Jr in future rounds, both of whom have victories of Webster in Progress.
Classic big man vs little match here, with the story of Webster righting his wrongs on his way to the title being a possibility.
Prediction: Flash Morgan Webster
Zack Sabre Jr. vs Chuck Mambo
This is the most intriguing match of the first round. Zack Sabre Jr has been setting the world alight with his performances allover the world this year, and here he faces everyone's favourite time travelling surfer Chuck Mambo. Mambo has always been a lower card guy at Progress but he has shown many times that he is more than capable of putting on good matches when given the chance. Zack is the heavy favourite in what is his 3rd Super Strong Style, having always reached at least the semifinals every time and it is very hard to look past him having another long run here.
This could certainly be a break out match for Mambo, and it could be the moment that people finally start looking at him as more than just an entertaining character.
Prediction: Zack Sabre Jr.
TK Cooper vs David Starr
TK Cooper has been a little stuck in limbo since his return from injury. With shots at the title at Chapter 62 and 63 followed up by a feud with Chris Brookes, his last win in a Progress ring came in January at Live at the Dome 3. On the other side of the scale, David Starr has fast become one of the biggest names on the independent scene over the last year. He also has priors in tournaments this year, losing in the final of the wXw 16 Carat Gold and recently winning CZW Best of the Best, he is a man very much on the rise.
His tenure in Progress has been limited to the tag division of late, teaming with both Jack Sexsmith and Matt Riddle but Starr is a big name in the world of wrestling and it wouldn’t be a big surprise if he had a great run here. After losing to Zack Sabre Jr. in the first round last year, the prospect of him getting his revenge on Sabre is an intriguing though.
Prediction: David Starr
The weekend will also see a champion vs champion match on night two, as the Progress Champion Travis Banks goes up against Atlas Champion WALTER, and The House of Couture team of Jinny, Chakara and Nina Samuels face off against Millie McKenzie, Sienna Loxton and a mystery partner.
Night three will see Toni Storm defend her Women’s Championship against Charlie Morgan, as well as the semifinals and finals of the tournament.
Who do you think will win this year's Super Strong Style 16 tournament? Let us know in the comments below!