Before we get to one of the owners answering a sackful of fan questions about PROGRESS, quick bits of business:
If you don’t have a ticket for CHAPTER ELEVEN: TO FIGHT WAR, YOU MUST BECOME WAR – and there’s a chance you don’t, because it sold out in 24 minutes – then we’ve set up our usual waiting list for any returned tickets. Click the link to join – and please note that this is NOT our regular mailing list, this is specific to JUST CHAPTER ELEVEN returns.
We’re now taking pre-orders on both the DVD and download versions of CHAPTER TEN: GLORY FOLLOWS VIRTUE AS IF IT WERE ITS SHADOW at a reduced price (£10 plus postage for the DVD, £8 for the download); Plus we are also taking pre-orders for our new t-shirts (as modeled by the management at CHAPTER TEN). Head over to the merch page to read more and place your orders at a nicely discounted earlybird price!
ONE LAST THING – don’t forget that our HUGE second anniversary show will take place on SUNDAY MARCH 30th at the ELECTRIC BALLROOM in Camden. Go to the ticket page to see the layout of the ballroom so you can decide what tickets to get! With this being a bigger venue we are putting the tickets on sale early – MONDAY DECEMBER 2nd at 10pm to mailing list subscribers. You want to guarantee yourself the best seats then get on the list right now.
OK then. PROGRESS co-owner Jim Smallman decided to do another Q and A session via Twitter and Facebook this week… so here are your questions and his answers below.
Q: Will the Electric Ballroom become the new venue for PROGRESS or is it just a one off change for CHAPTER TWELVE?
A: At the minute, we’ve got the Garage booked for all of the dates we need it for during 2014 and beyond. That said, nothing is exactly set in stone. We hope that we’ll sell out The Ballroom, and I suppose if we do it depends on how quick we manage to do it, before we make a call on where all of our shows are in the future. We love the Garage and are very happy there, but we are aware that now our shows sell out so quickly that some of our brilliant fans are missing out. Hence we’re trying out the bigger venue for CHAPTER TWELVE. Like I say, if it sells out in a stupidly quick time then we’ll have to sit down and talk about the future, but at the minute The Garage is our home.
Q: What is the difference in size between The Garage and The Ballroom?
A: The Garage holds around 350 people. The Ballroom holds around 610 people. The key difference with the Ballroom is that we can of course get more seats in, but also that there is a balcony where people can stand – making it feel a little like the Hammerstein Ballroom. I went to see it with Jon a while back and it’s a brilliant venue (as is the Garage).
Q: Are Project Ego in the tag team title tournament final now, or will there be a semi final draw?
A: Ah yes. If you’re not aware, one of our tag team tournament quarter final matches ended in a double count-out (The London Riots vs The Bhangra Knights). We had a chat about this earlier on today, and I can now make an announcement: At CHAPTER TWELVE our tag team title tournament final will be… a THREE WAY MATCH. So, PROJECT EGO are in the final, and the winners of each of the two tournament matches at CHAPTER ELEVEN will join them.
Q: Do you have an eye on any other venues in London for PROGRESS shows?
A: Nope. We love the Garage, and we’re big fans of the Ballroom. Haven’t looked at anywhere else at all.
Q: Do you think that top quality British wrestling could end up on television at any point in the future?
A: Maybe. I think it takes the right kind of TV station to be behind it, especially as in our cases the product that we offer is very different to the WWE. The other problem you have in terms of getting any product on TV is that it’s cheap for broadcasters to buy in WWE or TNA, whereas to use a British promotion they would have to invest a lot of money in production and other boring things. Don’t get me wrong, it would be cool for us to be on TV and make stars out of all the great British talent that we use, but in the current economic climate it won’t happen for a while. If we keep doing well though, maybe one day someone will take notice and put us on the box! Also, TV isn’t always the best thing to happen to a promotion. I much preferred Ring of Honor before they got their TV deal, and not being on TV I think makes us work harder as promoters to ensure the live crowd have the best time possible at the shows.
Q: When will you be running a “brand split” angle where you, Glen and Jon each take a part of the roster?
A: Never. We’re not characters. I feel weird enough when people cheer me! I’m just a ring announcer and promoter who likes swearing. I am very happy that this question was clearly asked with a facetious tone…
Q: When will the fans ever let Chris Roberts forget the high-pitched “FOUR!” thing, or forget Mark Parry’s counting mishaps?
A: Probably never. Let’s be honest, both of these things are really funny. However, both of these guys are excellent referees and it’s great that the fans always give them a nice reception at the start of the shows. Before the friendly mocking commences!
Q: If 1080p downloads will soon be offered, will you make the shows available on Blu-Ray in the future?
A: If there’s enough interest, possibly. You have to remember that we only make limited numbers of the DVDs available, so we would have to know there was enough interest in making some Blu-Ray copies for cost reasons. So if it’s something you’d like to see in the future, let us know via Twitter or Facebook.
Q: How long till you sell out Wembley Arena?
A: Ooh, quite a while yet. Interestingly, haven’t seen WWE and TNA shows there, I don’t know if the atmosphere that we generate in our shows and the overall “feel” of them would be lost in such a vast, clinical place. If I had to choose a massive venue in London to aim for I’d maybe say The Alexandra Palace. Huge, has loads of history and is very “London”.
Q: What one international free agent would you like to see appear for PROGRESS?
A: Well, as you know our priority will always be using British talent. Up until CHAPTER TEN my number one pick would have been Adam Cole, but we were lucky enough to get him onto that show as a surprise for you awesome fans! Of the talent out there in the world right now… hard to choose just one, so I’ll name four: Kevin Steen, Michael Elgin, Kota Ibushi, Okada. But I’d always prefer us to fill our cards with British and European guys.
Q: Where would you like to see PROGRESS in five years?
A: It would be amazing if we’re still selling shows out on a regular basis, maybe doing more shows per year. My key thing is that I want the fans to still be as committed and crazy in five years time. That’ll mean we’re doing things right. I like to think we can do that, but we can’t ever let our guard down!
Q: Without naming them, has there ever been a wrestler appear on a PROGRESS show that has been a nightmare to work with?
A: Nope. We treat all of the wrestlers with the respect they deserve and they’ve repaid us by working their socks off at every show. Backstage is a fun place to be, and everybody wants our shows to be a success every single time. We are very lucky to work in such a non-diva environment.
Q: Did Adam Cole enjoy wrestling in front of the PROGRESS crowd?
A: Indeed he did. He had heard about us through Ricochet, Colt Cabana and DVD reviews – and yet said the fans were even cooler than he expected them to be. He told me personally that he had a great time out there, and if there’s ever a chance for him to come back that he’d jump at it. He’s just an awesome guy.
Q: Are there going to be any women’s matches on the PROGRESS shows in the future?
A: Never say never, but there’s nothing planned at the moment. We do have female trainees at the ProJo, so there is always a much bigger chance of women’s matches on our ENDVR shows.
Q: Will you ever put on a PROGRESS show outside of London?
A: Again, never say never. But nothing planned at the moment. We’re proud of being based in London, and it’s brilliant that people are willing to travel so far to our shows. Also, every other major city already has a wrestling promotion of some sorts and it’s not our job to tread on the toes of others.
Q: What number DVD do you get?
A: I always have number 13 of every show. It’s my lucky number – if you notice on the first few shows I’m wearing a number 13 ring (which I have since lost, annoyingly).
Q: Do you call it a hurricanrana or a frankensteiner?
A: The former, BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT IT’S CALLED! You’ll note that I never use the term “RKO” on commentary either, because it’s a bloody ace crusher.
Q: How far in advance have you planned out what’s happening in PROGRESS?
A: We usually have a vague idea of where things are headed, but then people get hurt and plans change. So we have an idea of the matches that we want to see, but we’re flexible. And then we have things like Haskins vs Cole which were of course decided on the day. Rest assured though, for the three of us PROGRESS is often ALL we think about.
Q: Who comes up with the names for the shows?
A: We’re all involved. As a rule, the bigger and more wordy the title is, the more likely it is that Jon came up with it. If it’s a film reference, Glen. I’m normally the casting vote.
Q: Who came up with the company name and who designed the eagle logo / nazi staff?
A: Firstly, it’s not a Nazi staff. It’s regal. If I remember correctly, me and Jon came up with a ton of names and then none sounded right, and I said “PROGRESS” and we both went “yes”. Jon doodled the eagle on a piece of paper when we were eating lunch one time, and he designed the staff with a prop designer. If I drew the eagle it would look like a chicken with issues.
Q: Will we see Joey Lakeside or Eddie Dennis in the Natural Progression Series in 2014?
A: No. Asides from Will Ospreay (who Mark Andrews nominated to be allowed back into the tournament), all of the competitors in the NPS 2014 will have not taken part in it before. And we think we’ve found some good guys to compete for the trophy…
Q: Do you ever get approached by wrestlers asking to be a part of PROGRESS?
A: Oh yes, all the time. It has certainly started happening more recently, the more established we’ve become as a company. That is how some of the talent on our shows has ended up working for us. It’s something Jon deals with though, he’s the guy on the end of the emails, tweets and facebook (usually).
Q: How does putting PROGRESS shows on rank alongside performing stand-up?
A: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, PROGRESS is one of the very best things I have ever done with my life. It’s only topped by my love for my fiancee and my daughter. I love comedy but that is my job; a great PROGRESS show feels as awesome to me as performing in front of a thousand people in a theatre and getting a standing ovation. It’s just an amazing buzz, primarily because I’m such a massive fan. I’m pretty sure the other guys feel the same.
Q: What’s the best thing you’ve thought up of doing to Jimmy Havoc?
A: If I answered that then I’m sure I’d break a lot of censorship and decency laws. He’ll get his at CHAPTER ELEVEN, and I can’t wait.
Thanks for all your questions guys, if there were any I missed then let me know and I’ll answer them next time around.
As always, thanks for your support. Let’s see if we can sell out that big show in March, eh?
THIS. IS. PROGRESS.
Jim, Jon and Glen