Eddie Dennis: “A bad friend and a bad mentor? Tate Mayfairs knows that isn’t true.”

After a brilliant Super Strong Style 16 tournament, where Eddie Dennis went all the way to the semi-finals, we sat down with him to discuss that weekend, the fallout of his exit at the hands of eventual winner Luke Jacobs and of course his newly formed feud with the man who made his AEW debut this past weekend, Tate Mayfairs.

First things first, your first round match had a fantastic response from the crowd in particular as you faced your good friend and fellow long-term PROGRESS alumni, TK Cooper. You could feel the love for both competitors from the fans and you responded in kind by putting on one hell of a match. How was it being back in the Electric Ballroom at Super Strong Style 16, wrestling in front of the fans who have followed you in the company since 2013?

The Electric Ballroom is a pretty magical place for me, I was at the first ever PROGRESS show there where me and Mark Andrews won the tag titles and I’ve been there for a million and one special milestones and moments in my life. Wrestling TK and winning to exorcise the demon as I put it from my first Super Strong Style only adds to those. Nothing hits like PROGRESS fans at the Electric Ballroom – it’s a special place for sure.

How much pressure did you put on yourself to win that match after losing in the first round the last time you entered SSS16?

I’m not so sure if I put pressure on myself to win any match in particular, I just really get in my head that I wanted to go on a run in the Super Strong Style 16. I’m a huge fan of independent wrestling and tournament wrestling is a rite of passage. You’ve got SSS16, BOLA, 16 Carat and before that things like the Ted Petty Invitational, CZW Best of The Best. If you’re an independent wrestler, going on a run in one of those is bucket list stuff and I’m really glad I got to scratch that itch in this year’s Super Strong Style 16.

You mentioned in your pre-match promo for your quarter-final that you felt Tate Mayfairs would underestimate you as an old lion, the fact you fought back from the knee to the face proved to him that you were not to be. Was that pure fighting spirit… because you looked out of it?!

I mean… it wasn’t me playing possum! He caught me pretty flush with that first knee in our match, but ask Chris Hero, I’m a pretty tricky guy to knock unconscious and Tate Mayfairs found that out. I knew that he would get ahead of himself at some point. It’s pretty common knowledge that I had a hand in training Tate and the old adage of I taught you everything you know but not everything I know played a part there. I wouldn’t say I suckered him in… but I certainly saw an opportunity and went for it!

You went on to win your match with Tate to a rapturous pop from the Ballroom crowd, at that point did you feel like the tournament was yours to win?

There was still a lot of talented people in the tournament at that point but every step you are still in it you feel like this is the time. I still had names like Mike Santana, RKJ and Luke Jacobs in my head… so I certainly wasn’t counting any chickens!

What do you say to Tate who stated on X “Biased Ref, Bad Friend, Mentor & Family Man, Handful of Tights, Tate Hating Crowd” when quoting a video of the end of your match?

You might be able to say something about the handful of tights, but I wasn’t doing anything Tate would have done to me 10 times over. He hit me in the groin a couple of minutes prior to that – what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. As for a biased ref in Tom Scarborough – he’s tighter with Tate than me and that’s a shoot! A bad friend and a bad mentor? Tate Mayfairs knows that isn’t true. I’ve been on the other end of a phone call for him multiple times – personal and professional – as he has for me. I know those words aren’t true and so does he.

You went into the semi-final facing a monster in Luke Jacobs, but you went toe-to-toe with him and looked like you were on your way to victory when you decided to amp up the crowd even more and left the ring – the fans responded and the Ballroom felt Electric – no pun intended. It was then that Tate Mayfairs attacked and hit you with the knee and cost you your shot at once again becoming the Men’s PROGRESS World Champion. We can’t even begin to understand how that made you feel…

It was a little foolish to leave the ring and get the fans on side, but people need to realise that Luke is more athletic than me, stronger than me and in truth right now he’s better than me, so I needed that 12th man, and they were there for me. Unfortunately for me I took my eye off the prize and Tate did what he did, but don’t worry… he’ll get what’s coming to him.

We are sure you are going to have your day of destiny with Tate and we can’t wait to see it but is there also a target on Luke Jacobs’ head too after he spat on you as you lay prone?

Luke jumped me during my entrance, threw me through chairs on every side of the Ballroom and then capitalised on a cheap shot from Tate to beat me. He did so with a gleeful grin on his face, watching it unfold and then disrespected me after the match. Down the line, there’s a receipt incoming for Jacobs.

Lastly, are you setting any particular goals for your future in PROGRESS Wrestling?

I’ve been the Unified World Champion, I’ve been a Tag Team Champion. I’ve been on a run in the Super Strong Style 16 tournament, so I’ve scratched that itch. For me, its still just listening to the crowd and while they want me there, I’ll be there. There are heaps of young, talented people in PROGRESS. I don’t want to outstay my welcome, but I still feel like I have something to offer and only when I don’t will I ride off into the sunset… again.

PROGRESS Wrestling tickets are available for all future shows via the dice app, including this July’s event DEVIL ON YOUR SHOULDER featuring Kid Lykos vs Luke Jacobs for the Men’s PROGRESS World Championship, BUSSY vs Cheeky Little Buggers, Paul Robinson vs Malik, Lana Austin & Rob Drake vs LA Taylor & Skye Smitson & the PROGRESS debut of AEW star Danhausen. See you on Sunday, 28th July!

You can see all of Eddie Dennis’ matches in PROGRESS Wrestling, including his run in this year’s Super Strong Style 16 tournament by subscribing to DEMAND PROGRESS PLUS.

See Tate Mayfairs AEW debut this weekend on the Triller app.

Eddie Dennis: “A bad friend and a bad mentor? Tate Mayfairs knows that isn’t true.”