We sat down with Nick Riley and Charlie Sterling to commemorate their record breaking cumulative tag team title reigns and speak about Smokin’ Aces‘ past, present and future in PROGRESS Wrestling.
Congratulations Smokin’ Aces, you have today become the longest reigning cumulative champions in PROGRESS Wrestling history, toppling Sunshine Machine’s previous record of 358 days. How does that feel?
Charlie: I mean, it should come as no surprise that we have achieved this accolade. We are the number one tag team in the whole of the Europe. It feels rather poetic that we crushed the Sunshine Machine to win the titles and now we have toppled one of their records too.
You arrived in PROGRESS Wrestling during the Peckham era and won your first Tag Team Championships there. What was it like wrestling during that period, making your debuts without fans?
Nicky: It was an interesting time to say the least – wrestling without fans was a challenge. Their presence was missed… well, right up until they came back and we were booed out the Electric Ballroom.
During that time the tag team division was on absolute fire with yourselves, 0121, Lykos Gym, Sunshine Machine and others all putting on incredible matches. Did you realise you had something special at the time?
Charlie: Nicky and I have been close friends for over 10 years, it was very easy for us to take advantage of our already great friendship and turn it into tag team chemistry. A close friend of ours put the idea out there and we jumped at the chance. I have always believed Nicky is one of the best wrestlers in the country and this was a great opportunity for me to not only gain a fantastic tag team partner, but to also show the PROGRESS Wrestling audience why we deserve to be on the world stage – and those great matches reflected that.
Nick: Yeah we had some bangers with the boys! We came in as strangers to not only the audience, but also the team. Since then we have earned our right to be called one of the best teams in the country.
For whatever reason, the Electric Ballroom never took to you quite like they did 0121 or Sunshine Machine… why do you think that was?
Charlie: It is evident that going back into the ballroom as the Tag Team champions of such a respected company in front of a dedicated audience that has never seen us wrestle before apart from behind closed doors AND against previously beloved teams; the Electric Ballroom would naturally move against us. For a short while, we broke ourselves to try and win them over. Alas it was futile and the writing was on the wall for us.
Nick: Not only was it futile, but we lost our Tag Team Championships in a match where we had already wrestled three teams. We never got a straight rematch and the “popular” teams did. The Electric Ballroom crowd can suck on a fat one! Hey Charlie, Do you remember in Manchester when I jumped off that balcony? Its the first post on my Instagram.
Did that reaction play a part in you joining Dominatus Regnum?
Charlie: When we finally got our rematch for the Tag Titles in Manchester earlier this year, we had been away from PROGRESS Wrestling for a time. During this period of rest we decided that if we couldn’t win the crowd over with our talents then we would take them by other means. A few chair shots after the match, a pool of Chuck Mambo’s blood later, and we had left our mark. This impressed the World Champion Spike Trivet and he hired our services right there and then on the promise that, alongside Bullit, we would once again be the Tag Team Champions.
Almost as soon as you joined Dominatus Regnum, you won the PROGRESS Wrestling Championships in a crazy ladder match at SSS16 weekend. Coincidence?
Nicky: Hey Charlie, Did you see that destroyer I hit off the ladder!? Insta did.
Charlie: Yes, I was there. We had a deal with Spike and it came through. Since then, we have defended the titles and won decisively and fairly every single time.
Nicky: Go and watch our match vs Gene Munny and Connor Mills at Chapter 157.
Charlie: We are having a little difficulty with Lykos Gym though – they have got the best of us recently especially in our past street fight, which can be seen over at DEMAND PROGRESS PLUS to the point where Nicky has needed to go on a short break away from all the stress. Saying that, this weekend in Manchester at chapter 159, I am out for fucking revenge alongside the boss and Booley!
Since winning the gold, you have now got a target on your back. SAnitY have already laid their intention on the table saying they want to take the titles off you and defend them around the world. Any words for them ahead of your six man tag at VENDETTA?
Charlie: It must be said, that SAnitY are a force to be reckoned with. But for every Big Damo they have, we have a Bullit. We are the most dominant group in PROGRESS Wrestling. We are not going to be defeated by some MID team that spawned by throwing them together by a team of Florida writers to see if the shit really does stick.
Nicky: Damo, EY and Axel, there isn’t a hope in hell that you will get through us at VENDETTA. Like the name apply suggests, we will pull apart your family of SAnitY and defeat you on November 26th in the name of Dominatus Regnum.
Lastly, some will argue that whilst you have become the longest reigning cumulative champions in PROGRESS Wrestling history, Sunshine Machine actually defended them a lot more than you. What do you have to say to those detractors?
Charlie: Are you after a free Sunshine Machine signed picture or something? Because you talk about them A LOT. You got names for these so called “detractors”? Are you one of them? We are a team that welcomes all challengers, but unlike the Sunshine Machine, we are not just going to roll over and give them a title match. We will not be pressured into any occasion or title defence by the likes of these “detractors”. I bet they are like that TWAT, Charles Crowley; clueless and undeserving.
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