On Saturday, 4th June, Spike Trivet will face Cara Noir in an I Quit match, during Super Strong Style 16 weekend at the Electric Ballroom in Camden, North London.
As per a stipulation agreed by both parties, the loser of the match will leave PROGRESS Wrestling.
With their PROGRESS careers on the line, we take a look at the storied history of each man within our company.
To begin speaking about Cara Noir, we need to first start with Tom Dawkins.
The two are one and the same, and though it is slightly unorthodox in professional wrestling to discuss such matters, the actions of one Spike Trivet have led us all to this point.
The expression ‘it ain’t ballet’ is a favourite of wrestling traditionalists, most of whom have never seen a ballet, let alone participated. As a young man, Tom was kicked out of the Royal Ballet for anger issues and tried his luck under his real name as a wrestler, without much success.
However, deciding to embody the spirit of ‘The Black Swan’ Cara Noir, a derivative of characters from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, he found a successful formula. Adding in his background in theatre, film and drama, Noir’s development was sudden, and it was only a matter of time before he made his debut in the country’s leading wrestling company.
Cara was sponsored by Chris Brookes for Natural Progression VI, and although he lost in round two, Noir had arrived on the stage where he would shine the most.
At Chapters 95 and 96, Noir lost matches, but in mitigation they were to Pete Dunne and Ilja Dragunov, at the time one a former WWE UK champion, the other a future one.
The issue with Ilja spawned three matches in total, and although Cara lost the first, he would win the next two, including a two-out-of-three falls match at Chapter 99 in Sheffield.
This put Cara in the title picture, and at Chapter 100: Unboxing Live IV, he won a four-way number one contender’s match to cement his position.
Before Noir had a chance to battle champion Eddie Dennis, the Welshman was forced to relinquish his championship. This meant Noir was one of four men who took part in an elimination match for the vacant title at Chapter 101, at the Electric Ballroom.
And so it was that Cara Noir, became PROGRESS Champion in his eighth match in the company, just 127 days after his first.
Embraced by the crowd, who adored not only his fighting spirit and ability, but his flamboyant entrance, Cara had found who he wanted to be, along with acceptance and the championship. Essentially, everything that Spike Trivet would also crave, although he would be very reluctant to admit that.
Trivet was not yet on Noir’s radar, though. There was time for two successful title defences before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, but when wrestling returned, to begin with behind closed doors, in 2021, Noir truly blossomed into a fighting, impressive PROGRESS Champion.
His list of conquests reads like a recent PROGRESS Who’s Who: Dan Maloney, Chris Ridgeway, Luke Jacobs, Kid Lykos, Malik, ELIJAH, Jody Fleisch, Charlie Sterling, Danny Black, Dean Allmark. All of them took their shot at the Black Swan, but none could clip his wings.
Ridgeway perhaps came closest. Although losing to Noir at Chapter 105 in February 2021, the pair met again at Chapter 121 seven months later, with no winner declared after a 30-minute Iron Man match ended with the pair at three falls each.
They duo faced The Smokin’ Aces for the tag titles, although their inability to get along cost them the match. At Chapter 127, the first show with fans back in the arena, Noir prevailed 3-2 in a best-of-five-falls match.
Either side of this match, Noir continued to defend the belt successfully, against Jacobs, Nick Riley, Gene Munny, Dean Allmark and Swerve Strickland. All the while, though, lurking in the background, was Trivet.
Spike had confronted Cara backstage during Chapter 115, attempting to goad Noir into a reaction. Trivet was on a strong winning run at the time, and presumably thought any issue with Cara would then be settled in the ring. Instead, Noir brushed him aside, and no match ensued. Short-term, rising above the bait looked a good move by Noir, but making Trivet look foolish may have been a longer-term tactical error.
Trivet plotted revenge, and got it when attacking Cara at Chapter 130, costing the Swan the title, as Jonathan Gresham capitalised to become the new champion. Later that week, Trivet brutally attacked Cara at the 10th Anniversary Show, leaving him bruised physically and mentally. Trivet also repossessed Cara’s trademark mask, which Trivet would later demolish.
In many a verbal tirade, Spike has sought to undermine Noir, getting increasingly personal in his vicious barbs, as he looks to – in Spike’s words – expose his enemy.
Cara’s response, though, has been telling. After listening from afar to Trivet’s provoking interview at Chapter 132, Noir returned during a Spike Trivet v Danny Black match the following day. However, Noir did not rush the ring, instead sauntering around and sitting on the stage. Clearly, Spike was spoiling for the fight, trying to get Noir to break. Instead, it cost Trivet the match.
Finally, though, Trivet found Cara’s breaking point. The mask was smashed, and Cara could no longer contain his anger, as the pair viciously fought.
A match was set between the two for Chapter 134, but somewhat predictably nothing was settled. Again, Noir showed great restraint, forgoing his usual entrance to instead emerge from the crowd, but it was not to attack Trivet, instead to unsettle him. The PROGRESS crowd, four-square behind Cara, chanted to Spike that ‘Cara’s in your head’ to the tune of the classic Cranberries song, ‘Zombie’ – quickly birthing one of the more iconic fan chants in PROGRESS history.
One is tempted to call this mind games, but it is hardly a game. The match that ensued ended in double DQ when both men attacked referees, and the post-match brawl was in equal parts mesmerising and appalling. It took many, many PROGRESS wrestlers, officials and security to prize them apart – eventually – and several were injured in the process.
At night two of Super Strong Style 16, things will finally be settled. If Spike Trivet finally achieves his goal of breaking Cara Noir, in every way, it will mean that the first two words that Cara speaks in PROGRESS will be his last.
He who speaks, leaves. Tickets to see this historic encounter on Saturday 4th June and the rest of Super Strong Style 16 weekend can be found at PROGRESSWrestling.com/tickets.