Rhys Note: So this weekend, I’m off to PROGRESS Super Strong Style 16 tournament, taking place in Alexandra Palace, London. I don’t usually do this, but Mick Cooper – a gentleman I will be sharing a few beers with over the weekend – wrote this piece on Super Strong Style 16. I thought I’d publish it as it’s a bit different and Indie’s are super hot. You can follow Mick on Twitter at @themickcooper. Although there isn’t any markets for Super Strong Style 16 yet, I will be there with some Wrestling Betting Stickers. Tickets are still available for the event, so if you’re going, say hi! But for now – take it away Mick.

This coming weekend, PROGRESS Wrestling – arguably the hottest “indie” in the world right now – presents their 4th annual ‘Super Strong Style 16’ (SSS16) tournament. After only four events, SSS16 has already become one of the premier tournaments on the independent scene – rivalling wXw’s 16 Carat Tournament in Germany, CZW’s Best of the Best and the benchmark of PWG’s Battle of Los Angles (BOLA).

Initially starting as a two day tournament in 2015, SSS16 grew to a three day affair last year and continues its growth again as the 2018 edition moves to the much larger Alexandra Palace (Ally Pally) from PROGRESS’ ‘home venue’ of The Electric Ballroom, Camden. Making the move from a circa 700 to a circa 2000 venue for a three day tournament is a big gamble for any company – it will certainly create a different atmosphere to the tightly packed Electric Ballroom – but given that the whole capacity of last year’s tournament sold out in minutes on Weekend Tickets alone, it is a gamble not only worth taking but needing to be took.

Speaking of gambles worth taking – entrance into the tournament itself has proved a major career boost for the winners of SSS16. The prize for victory is a guaranteed PROGRESS World Title shot at a time of the winner’s choosing (more a ‘name your date’ as opposed to ‘Money in the Bank’ type deal). Will Ospreay and Travis Banks have both translated SSS16 victories into World Title wins, so far only 2016 winner Tommy End was unsuccessful in his World Title shot – losing to Marty Scurll – although it’s possible that The Villain only retained his title when he did as the Dutchman was on his way to NXT and being re-named as Aleister Black a few months later.

With SSS16 2018 starting in only a few days, let’s have a look at this year’s entrants, their previous form, their current position in PROGRESS and how likely it is that they’re going to add their name to the list of winners…

Pete Dunne

  • 2015 SSS16 N/A
  • 2016 SSS16 1st Round (Mark Haskins)
  • 2017 SSS16 N/A
  • 2018 SSS16 1st Round Opponent Doug Williams
  • PROGRESS Chapter Debut 13
  • Former PROGRESS World Champion
  • Former PROGRESS Tag Champion

I was half expecting to see “The Bruiserweight” in a full time NXT role by now, so his inclusion in SSS16 is a pleasant surprise. One of the biggest names on the Indie scene at the moment, he was an obvious choice for “first name announced” in this year’s tournament. Having turned face after a lengthy run with the PROGRESS title throughout 2017, Pete Dunne currently has the world at his feet.

Tournament wise, PETER has been a mixed bag though. He reached the finals of the WWE UK Tournament obviously, but his only BOLA experience was a first round loss to Mark Andrews and his only SSS16 experience was a loss to PROGRESS regular Mark Haskins, also in the first round. You could argue that both losses came at a time before Pete Dunne hit his current zenith though, so if he is going to start picking up Tournament wins, now would be the expected time. In fact, he’s potentially already started – having won CHIKARA’s King of Trios alongside his British Strong Style stablemates Trent Seven and – fellow SSS16 competitor – Tyler Bate

The odds for a Pete Dunne win will be heavily weighted by how long his focus is on the independents and how soon he inevitably focuses on NXT. A recent interview on “Talk is Jericho” indicated that there’s no rush from the British Strong Style Bois to relocate any time soon, as they want to focus on continuing building the UK brand. With this in mind, Pete Dunne could well take the whole thing and go on to headline Wembley…. if he gets past a potential first round upset.

Keith Lee

  • 2015 SSS16 N/A
  • 2016 SSS16 N/A
  • 2017 SSS16 N/A
  • 2018 1st Round Opponent Flash Morgan Webster
  • PROGRESS Chapter Debut 53

Big. Lad. Wrestling…. Keith Lee (curiously named after a small town in Yorkshire) seems to getting more hype behind him with every month and the (now former) PWG & Evolve Champion has shown his tournament chops before, with final and semi-final appearances in the most recent BOLA and 16 Carats respectively – despite a recent tweet from him described tournament form as being “wildly unsuccessful”. ROH letting him go is a bizarre bit of mis-management as the “Limitless” one is an obvious star.

He’s only made a few appearances for PROGRESS so far but has been impressive throughout – his murdering of Morgan Webster at Chapter 57 being a highlight – and was the final person to gain a pinfall victory over current PROGRESS World Champion Travis Banks before the Kiwi won the title. He’s consistently turning in performances in each company he’s with and it would be hard not to pick him as a possible SSS16 if he was sticking around longer.

But – everything appears that he’s *not* sticking around longer. In his most recent US Indie appearances, Keith Lee has been signing off with a kind of “farewell” including dropping the WWN and PWG Titles. This – coupled with his NXT performances over ‘Mania Weekend – means he might not be remaining on the Indies too much longer. I think that Flash Morgan Webster will avenge his own death in the first round and give Keith Lee not only an early exit from SSS16, but also space for a big “showcase” match later in the weekend.

Zack Sabre Junior

  • 2015 SSS16 Finalist (Will Ospreay)
  • 2016 SSS16 N/A
  • 2017 SSS16 Semi-Final (Travis Banks)
  • 2018 SSS16 1st Round Opponent Chuck Mambo
  • PROGRESS Chapter Debut : Chapter 1

There’s an argument that 2018’s “Wrester of The Year” awards were already sewn up by mid-Feb and all had only one name on the list – Zack Sabre Junior. In terms of tournament wrestling, he may be the absolute best in the world. Not only did he win the New Japan Cup earlier this year, he was also a semi-finalist in the WWE CWC (rumour goes it that he only didn’t win as he didn’t want to sign a WWE contract). On the independent scene, he’s one of only two men to win both BOLA and 16 Carat (the other being El Generico/Sami Zayn) as well as countless other tournaments around the world. One that has avoided him to date is SSS16; he reached the final in the first year and the semi-finals last year – losing to Will Ospreay and Travis Banks respectively – who both went on to win that year’s tournament

His PROGRESS performances have also been phenomenal so far in the last 12 months. Before losing a number one contenders match to WALTER in the most recent chapter, ZSJ had gone on a lengthy winning run – including chapter victories over Marty Scurll, Jonah Rock, Chris Brookes, Trent Seven and Tyler Bate (in an incredible match in Manchester)

As such – we have an on-form Wrestler, proven in Tournaments and loved by the promotion (ZSJ was in the main event of the first ever PROGRESS show). It would be foolhardy to think that there was no way which ZSJ couldn’t be leaving as SSS16 Winner this year. But, saying he couldn’t do something and saying that he will do something are very different. ZSJ has a great record in PROGRESS but has won no titles and I don’t see him picking one up here. I think he goes through the first round and could even go as far as the final – but keep an eye on whoever puts ZSJ out as they’ll suddenly become the favourite to win the whole thing.

Doug Williams

  • 2015 SSS16 N/A
  • 2016 SSS16 N/A
  • 2017 SSS16 N/A
  • 2018 SSS16 1st Round Opponent Pete Dunne
  • PROGRESS Chapter Debut 8

Doug Williams is a fascinating character in story of British Wrestling. Perhaps best known for his runs in ROH and TNA, the man formerly known as “The Anarchist” is also a former IWGP and NOAH Tag Champion. That said, he would have got *a lot* more success in his homeland had the Reading native been born 15 years later. As his career has moved on, he has evolved his work from a junior/Cruiserweight to a full-fledged heavyweight – making him one of the larger (and certainly the most experienced) competitors in the field.

Despite starting with PROGRESS at Chapter 8, Doug Williams took a long time away from the promotion, only returning on a more regular basis last year. This has coincided with a noticeable losing streak – dropping matches to Rob Lynch, Flash Morgan Webster, Rampage Brown, Joe Coffey & Tim Thatcher since his return in 2017. With rumours that he is retiring soon – see the excellent PROGRESS short documentary “Tightrope” – there’s a chance this is “The Ambassador’s” last appearance.

In some ways, it’s a strange SSS16 this year with no obvious front runner. I don’t expect Doug Williams to Chaos Theory (his iconic rolling German duplex) his way to victory, but stranger things have happened. There are those who expect this to be a “Cinderella Story” (think ECW Terry Funk) with Doug Williams winning SSS16 and presumably head-lining Wembley. It wouldn’t be ridiculous and he’d deserve it, but I don’t think it’ll happen. But that’s not to say that there won’t be drama… his first round draw with Pete Dunne makes for very interesting predictions. Odds everywhere will put The Bruiserweight through – but I’m going to make a wild prediction that Doug ‘turns back time’ and beats Pete Dunne in the first round as one final hurrah.


  • 2015 SSS16 N/A
  • 2016 SSS16 N/A
  • 2017 SSS16 N/A
  • 2018 SSS16 1st Round Opponent Mark Andrews
  • PROGRESS Chapter Debut – DEBUT

Given how often Angelico has been wrestling in the UK over the last 2 years, it’s actually a bit surprising that this will be the South African’s PROGRESS debut. Pretty much a regular now for Fight Club : Pro, Angelico has already got a built in following and should get a decent reaction at Alexandra Palace.

The saddest thing about this debut though is that – given PROGRESS’ current use of music – it’s unlikely that we’ll hear Angelico’s BANGERANG theme tune around Ally Pally. Which is a shame, as it’s an absolute banger. Hopefully its absence doesn’t affect crowd reaction to Angelico too much. Obviously, his theme Tune isn’t the reason that Angelico gets book around the world though… it’s because he’s really good. Even the biggest BANGERANG fans – saddened by its absence – will be fine once the match/es begin.

SSS16 does have a record for good record for imports & debutants coming in and being knocked out early. WWE’s Jack Gallagher and (currently PROGRESS Atlas Champion) WALTER both made their debuts in the 2016 Tournament with both being knocked out in round one. A year later, the same thing happened to Matt Cross and ICW’s Kenny Williams (his only PROGRESS appearance to date). Finally, last year’s SSS16 saw David Starr go out early on. Looking through this year’s list, I’d expect this to happen *at least* once (see future predictions) and Angelico seems a good bet. Expect him to do well though – and possibly win – a big scramble match later in the weekend.

Mark Andrews

  • 2015 SSS16 N/A
  • 2016 SSS16 Finalist (Tommy End)
  • 2017 SSS16 1st Round (Flamita)
  • 2018 SSS16 1st Round Opponent Angelico
  • PROGRESS Chapter Debut 2
  • Former PROGRESS World Champion
  • Former PROGRESS Tag Champion
  • Natural Progression Series Winner
  • Thunderbastard Winner

There’s not a lot in PROGRESS that Mark Andrews hasn’t done. World Champ. Tag Champ. 1st Natural Progression winner (think “NJPW Young Lions Cup”). Thunderbastard winner. And whilst he’s not won SSS16, he was a finalist in 2016 coming up short to Tommy End (Aleister Black) in a final match which was made all the more impressive when you consider that “White Lightning” was brutalised by Chris Hero the previous night (watch this match if you get a chance – it’s fantastic)

Mandrews’ tournament experience has been tied to the man now called Kassius Ohno on a global basis as well. Andrews run to the semi-finals of BOLA in 2015 included an upset roll-up win over Ohno in Reseda. Although, even with the “Knockout Artist” making a shock appearance in this year’s SSS16, Mark Andrews tournament chances seem inevitably linked to a different big man (who’s not even in the tournament)- “The Pride Of Wales” Eddie Dennis

Dennis vs. Andrews is arguably the hottest – and most interesting – feud in PROGRESS right now. Former long-time Tag Champs as F.S.U. , Dennis turned on Andrews at the big Ally Pally Show last year and a vicious feud was formed, with Dennis goading a reluctant Andrews to fight him. What has made it in many ways more fascinating to watch play out is that Eddie has since suffered a serious injury which has prevented him Wrestling, but has not stopped him chasing Andrews around the world.

This will undoubtedly continue at SSS16 with Andrews exit from the tournament having some level of Eddie Dennis related chicanery. This could come at any time… I think Andrews will make it through Round One at least before Eddie costs him a victory… although an interesting story would be for Eddie to actually help Andrews *win* the tournament with the idea that Andrews then dethrones the PROGRESS champion and defends against Eddie at Wembley…

Flash Morgan Webster

  • 2015 SSS16 N/A
  • 2016 SSS16 N/A
  • 2017 SSS16 1st Round (Mark Haskins)
  • 2018 SSS16 1st Round Opponent Keith Lee
  • PROGRESS Chapter Debut 11
  • Natural Progression Winner
  • Thunderbastard Winner

It’s an exciting time for “The Man from a Town called Malice” who is at a career high-point with both PROGRESS and on a global scale. Webster won the ATTACK! Title and has been making a number of successful appearances for PWG – including a strong showing in last year’s BOLA. (It’s a fair assumption that he’ll be making a return to BOLA again this year as well). Within PROGRESS, he’s slowly been finding his footing again after a losing streak and – despite an unsuccessful title challenge against Travis Banks on the last London Chapter Show – Webster might just be hitting form in time for a SSS16 victory.

His current status in PROGRESS is tightly linked to former PROGRESS Champions Mark Haskins & Jimmy Havoc with Haskins’ wife Vicky seemingly creating a trio out of the initially unwilling and now “all in” Morgan Webster. Havoc & Haskins’ own absence from the tournament could well be the bigger story. Two of the top PROGRESS stars, their entry would have been an obvious pre-announcements guess… so is there a plan afoot where Haskins/Havoc will feature in the tournament in a different way; helping The Modfather try and carve out a win?

This does seem the obvious Prediction – a united force of Haskins/Havoc/Webster would be a tough beat, but I still see a plan for a Webster victory coming up short although I do think he’ll get revenge against Keith Lee. Expect a 6 Man Match later in the Weekend – probably Day 3 – maybe against British Strong Style (Rhys ninja edit: Or maybe not – the BSS/Haskins/Havoc/Webster is taking place at Chapter 69: Be Here Now).

Chuck Mambo

  • 2015 SSS16 N/A
  • 2016 SSS16 N/A
  • 2017 SSS16 N/A
  • 2018 SSS16 1st Round Opponent Zack Sabre Junior
  • PROGRESS Chapter Debut 14

Chuck Mambo is going into SSS16 with the least amount of “name value” amongst the field. For those who don’t know Mambo too well, he’s a product of the (former) ProJo (PROGRESS’ original training school) and has a fun-loving surfer gimmick. His inclusion in SSS16 has come as a bit of a shock – to date his highest profile match in PROGRESS was arguably the dark match (vs. Spike Trivet) at last year’s big Alexandra Palace show. In fact, despite a good showing in dark matches and smaller PROGRESS shows, he’s yet to register a singles main chapter victory – his only PROGRESS chapter victory to date came in Tag Match with (the currently injured) Pastor William Eaver against the London Riots in Manchester at Chapter 48.

Whilst PROGRESS are great at highlighting and raising the profiles of talent on the UK scene, PROGRESS “originals” have sometimes had some struggles breaking out of ‘comedy’ characters. Consequently, giving an opportunity like this is to Mambo is great to see. As mentioned on the video which PROGRESS released to promote his inclusion in SSS16, it was correctly mentioned that Chuck Mambo has been having a career best year and this is a justifiable reward.

However, Chuck Mambo has already ‘won’ from a career development point of view by being entered into the tournament, so I don’t see him getting out of the first round. Drawing him against ZSJ in the first round only highlighted this. He isn’t expected to beat Sabre. He doesn’t need to. But showing that he can ‘hang’ with one of the best in the world will be a huge career boost for Mambo and it does mean it should be an interesting 2018 for the man from Newquay.

Chris Brookes

  • 2015 SSS16 N/A
  • 2016 SSS16 N/A
  • 2017 SSS16 N/A
  • 2018 SSS16 1st Round Opponent Kassius Ohno
  • PROGRESS Chapter Debut 50
  • Former PROGRESS Tag Team Champion

This is a SSS16 debut for the taller – less lupine – half of former PROGRESS Tag Champions CCK and the “Best Boy” is going into the tournament as one of the favourites. Since debuting at Chapter 48 (50 was his in-ring debut) to one of the biggest ever pops in the company’s history, Chris Brookes has a mixed, but successful run.

There are some obvious questions about how much of what has happened to Brookes over the last few months has been affected by the injury to Kid Lykos. With CCK (Lykos/Brookes version) on hold whilst the “S****y Little Wolf” heals his paw, Chris Brookes has been pushed into the singles division with victories over Matt Cross in Sheffield & mixed results in a programme with Travis Banks & TK Cooper over the PROGRESS Title. Was there always a plan for a singles run, or is the plan for him to return to the Tag Ranks asap?

The answer to this question – may – be answered by how he does in SSS16. If the focus for Brookes in on regaining the Tag Title, then he might fall at an early stage – especially facing Ohno in round one. But there’s no denying that Chris is an excellent singles wrestler (even if I prefer the dickhead heel version seen in Fight Club : Pro) so his status as a tournament favourite is justifiable. Both Travis Banks & Pete Dunne had a run with the aforementioned FCP title before picking up the PROGRESS Title and it wouldn’t be a shock if it happened again and he’s a big enough and interesting enough character to lead PROGRESS going forward. His first round will be tough and he may have to beat Ohno / Bate / Dunne just to reach the final. But still, Chris Brookes is my pick to win the whole thing… just.

Jordan Devlin

  • 2015 SSS16 N/A
  • 2016 SSS16 N/A
  • 2017 SSS16 N/A
  • 2018 SSS16 1st Round Opponent Tyler Bate
  • PROGRESS Chapter Debut 44

To date, Jordan Devlin has only appeared once for PROGRESS – a losing effort to Travis Banks – so his appearance in this tournament is a bit of a surprise, albeit a much welcome one. Devlin delivered a great heel performance in the WWEUK Tournament en route to being one of the star performers that weekend. Since then, Devlin’s main focus (outside of occasional WWE appearances) seems to have been around building up the Irish scene as the – now Champ – of his “home” promotion OTT

“The Import Killer” draws obvious – sometimes too highlighted – comparisons to Finn Balor. He’s best as a great Jordan Devlin as opposed to a 2nd rate Prince Devitt. Given his focus on OTT both as a character and professionally, it’s hard right now to see where he’ll sit in PROGRESS (on a short term basis at least) but expect him to put a decent shift in over the weekend.

Hopefully a strong showing here will be a healthy remind of just how good Devlin in – but I think there’s too many stories coming out of a Tyler Bate run in the tournament and drawing the former WWEUK Champ in the first round has potentially sealed Devlin’s SSS16 fate

Joey Janela

  • 2015 SSS16 N/A
  • 2016 SSS16 N/A
  • 2017 SSS16 N/A
  • 2018 SSS16 1st Round Opponent Grizzled Young Vets
  • PROGRESS Chapter Debut 66

I’m pretty sure that “The Bad Boy” Joey Janela – toast of Wrestlemania Weekend – holds the record for most matches for PROGRESS without actually wrestling in the UK for them; but SSS16 will be his debut on British shores after appearances in New Orleans and New York (EDIT: he doesn’t hold this record. Not even close. Soz. It’s Austin Theory)

Janela is one of those rare wrestlers who helps prove the thesis that wins and losses in professional wrestling don’t really matter. He’s one of the biggest characters in Independent Wrestling and has had some of the most varied matches from any wrestler on the planet. As such, he’ll continue to do well and could conceivably win on any given day – despite having a patchy win/loss record.

Tournament wise, he reached the final of the Evolve Style Battle where he lost to Matt Riddle – despite Janela getting a bye to the final. He also lost the opening match of his BOLA debut against Sammy Guevara. I expect that Janela will have a similar experience in his SSS16 debut – especially given who he has in the first round – but will make himself a MVP over the weekend; if ever a wrestler was made for a Sunday hangover/clusterfuck/wasteman challenge its “The Bad Boy”.

TK Cooper

  • 2015 SSS16 N/A
  • 2016 SSS16 1st Round (Jack Gallagher)
  • 2017 SSS16 N/A
  • 2018 SSS16 1st Round Opponent David Starr
  • PROGRESS Chapter Debut 26

Surprising stat – since starting with PROGRESS at Chapter 26, TK Cooper has only had one solitary one-on-one singles victory (a victory over Jack Sexsmith at Chapter 32) on a PROGRESS Chapter Show. His only SSS16 match to date was almost over in seconds – despite a sneak attack on Jack Gallagher – in the 2016 edition. Despite this, TK has good standing in PROGRESS and has consistently shown himself to be an excellent wrestler. Maybe more than anyone in this year’s SSS16, TK Cooper needs to pick up some wins.

He was placed into an unsuccessful PROGRESS World Title programme following his return to PROGRESS (after taking a break from the UK due to visa issues), which then segued into a blood feud with Chris Brookes. This appeared to reach a pinnacle over the last few chapter shows where TK appeared to reform his South Pacific Power Trip Tag Team with the (now heel) PROGRESS World Champion Travis Banks, whilst his rivalry with Brookes seemed finished by a brutal no DQ match (including some amateur dentistry being performed on the Kiwi)

Drawing David Starr in the first round makes this a really interesting match. Other than TK, Starr is another wrestler who could probably do with a single’s win. But not only does TK need it more, the idea of a TK Cooper vs ZSJ match in round two is especially interesting.

David Starr

  • 2015 SSS16 N/A
  • 2016 SSS16 N/A
  • 2017 SSS16 1st Round (ZSJ)
  • 2018 SSS16 1st Round Opponent TK Cooper
  • PROGRESS Chapter Debut 49

This is an interesting SSS16 for “The Jewish Cannon”. He made his debut for PROGRESS in last year’s Super Strong Style, losing an oft under-rated first round match against ZSJ before then also losing non-tournament matches on nights two and three. Despite these loses, “The Bernie Sanders of Professional Wrestling” has developed into a bit of a PROGRESS main stay over the past 12 months – including forming a tag team with PROGRESS “home grown” Jack Sexsmith.

A strong run at SSS16 therefore wouldn’t be out of the question. Starr has also shown himself as a more than capable tournament wrestler having picked up CZW’s “Best of the Best” earlier this year and being a beaten finalist in this year’s wXw 16 Carat (having also won their World Tag League in 2016 with Shane Strickland). Given he’s also made his debut for PWG in the last 12 months; a run in this year’s BOLA also isn’t out of the question.

Whilst a win for “The King of Taunts” would be popular – he is “The Cream in Your Coffee” after all – I don’t see him picking up the win. SSS16 seems to be claiming on who the next big star for PROGRESS will be and there’s been little indication that they see Starr as “The Man”. As mentioned, I think his first round match with TK Cooper will be where he gets knocked out (although ZSJ/Starr II would be fun in the quarters). He’s also someone I expect will have an impressive weekend – even if his win/loss record doesn’t suggest it.

Tyler Bate

  • 2015 SSS16 N/A
  • 2016 SSS16 N/A
  • 2017 SSS16 Finalist (Travis Banks)
  • 2018 1st Round Opponent Jordan Devlin
  • PROGRESS Chapter Debut 22
  • Former PROGRESS Tag Champion

I mean, he’s won a big tournament before hasn’t he? Tyler Bate comes into this year’s Super Strong Style having won the WWEUK Tournament & being a beaten finalist in last year’s SSS16. Bate also has some serious Tag Team Tournament chops having won both Fight Club Pro’s “Dream Tag Team Invitational” this year with Trent Seven AND lasts years CHIKARA King of Trios, again with Trent Seven plus Pete Dunne (who is obviously also SSS16…. Although why isn’t Trent Seven???)

In PROGRESS, Tyler has mainly been a Tag Wrestler – outside of last year’s SSS16 he’s not really had much of a singles run, focusing mainly on 2 Tag Title runs with Trent Seven. However, this might be changing soon…

At Chapter 67, Moustache Mountain lost a Tag Title shot to GYV – the stipulation being that they could now not challenge the Tag Champs (whoever is holding the belt) for 6 months. Why would Bate/Seven accept a stipulation like this if there weren’t plans for a shift in focus? Tyler Bate isn’t going for Tag Titles any time soon and he isn’t big enough for an ATLAS run. So, what’s next?

I’ve no doubt that all three members of British Strong Style will be playing a big part in the big Wembley show later this year. I also have no doubt that SSS16 will set up these plans in a big way. Whilst Bate could well win the whole thing, I think he’ll fall to some combination of Chris Brookes, Kassius Ohno or Pete Dunne (Dunne vs Bate in the Semi Final could be great fun)

Don’t forget though – one of the best things about the WWEUK Tournament was that Tyler Bate did *not* go into the weekend as a favourite. The smart money was on Pete Dunne or Trent Seven with outside shots at Jordan Devlin. But Bate won the live crowd over quickly and by day 2 was the one people wanted to see win.

Kassius Ohno

  • 2015 N/A
  • 2016 Semi-Finalist (Tommy End)
  • 2017 N/A
  • 2018 1st Round Opponent Chris Brookes
  • PROGRESS Chapter Debut 30

Crikey. I was not expecting this. TAFKA Chris Hero appeared briefly for ICW in the last 12 months, so we knew it *could* happen, but I’m not sure how many people were genuinely expecting a Kassius Ohno appearance at this year’s #SSS16. To date, Ohno’s PROGRESS career pretty much *is* Super Strong Style. He reached the semi-finals in 2016 with some cracking matches against Mark Andrews and Aleister Black – before returning at the next chapter to face then PROGRESS World Champion Marty Scurll in a losing effort. These three matches – alongside a fourth match (a quarter final against WALTER – how good would that match be now?) gives The Knockout Artist arguably the best collection of PROGRESS matches from people who’ve only made a handful of appearances for the promotion.

Tournament wise, there’s few better in the world. He’s the only 2 time 16 Carat Winner in WXW. He’s a three time BOLA finalist. He’s appeared in CZW’s best of the best and has won multiple other tournaments and trophies worldwide. Simply put – Chris Hero / Kassius Ohno is a wrestling tournament machine.

PROGRESS has a great relationship with WWE and I don’t expect Ohno to be put in a position where he’s going to look bad. I don’t see him winning the Tournament (as this would involve him staying a lot longer) but he’s going to put on a show. He’s facing Chris Brookes in the first round so if he does go out early, losing to the overall winner wouldn’t hurt. Plus it means we might also get a non-tournament “showcase” match for him later in the weekend… and there’s some choice opponents around for that.

Grizzled Young Vets

  • 2015 Gibson : 1st Round (ZSJ) / Drake n/a
  • 2016 Gibson : Semi Final (Mandrews) / Drake n/a
  • 2017 Gibson : 1st Round (Sexsmith) / Drake n/a
  • 2018 1st Round Opponent Joey Janela
  • PROGRESS Chapter Debut 1 (Gibson) 37 (Drake)

I won’t lie… **** knows what’s happening with this.

Rumours were buzzing that the final entrant was going to be previous winner Will Ospreay, former 2x ATLAS Champion Matt Riddle or – as a long shot – Neville / PAC, but PROGRESS have thrown us a massive curve ball here by entering the current PROGRESS Tag Champions “The Grizzled Young Vets” of Zack Gibson & James Drake. GYV are currently in their 2nd run with the PROGRESS Tag Titles but as single wrestlers they’ve had very different experiences with SSS16.

This will (potentially) be James Drake’s debut in the tournament – it had been expected that he would feature in last year’s SSS16 as he’d debuted with an undefeated streak in PROGRESS but then lost to Flash Morgan Webster in a tournament qualifier at Chapter 48. Gibson has had a very different journey as he is the only person to feature in every year of the tournament, so it’s actually a nice touch for him to continue the run.

Fun fact – SSS16 is loosely responsible for making Gibson the heat machine he is today. The 2016 Tournament was the first time we saw Gibbo announce himself pre-match(es) as being “soooooooooon to be recognised as the World’s number One” – driving this home by tapping out Kenny Williams & Jack Gallagher in succession.

Soooooo…. what’s going to happen? The exact wording from PROGRESS is that “they can decide between them who actually gets to enter the tournament” so it’s fair to assume that only one of them can be in (although – Wrestling – so they could also “freebird” all over the place and swap in an out at their own free will). I expect they’ll swap/cheat their way past Janela in round one, but plans will then backfire against Dunne or Bate on night two… maybe they’ll have to then do a title defence on night three?


It should be another great SSS16 weekend – as well as the tournament, we’ll have a PROGRESS World Title Defence (Travis Banks vs WALTER – my prediction being to keep an eye out for where TK Cooper… and possibly Aussie Open are….) as well as a Women’s Title Match (Charlie Morgan who could potentially shock everyone against Toni Storm) and a Women’s 6 person tag including a mystery partner (who could be anyone from Toni Storm to Session Moth to Aja Kong).

If you can get to London this weekend – get yourself down to Alexandra Palace. And if it’s your first time at PROGRESS… it’s your round. My predictions on matches might be well off, but the thing I’m most confident about is that it’ll be a great weekend.


Finally – my predicted tournament looks like this.

First Round

  • Chris Brookes BEATS Kassius Ohno
  • Tyler Bate BEATS Jordan Devlin
  • Doug Williams BEATS Pete Dunne
  • GYV BEAT Joey Janela
  • Mark Andrews BEATS Angelico
  • Flash Morgan Webster BEATS Keith Lee
  • Zack Sabre Junior BEATS Chuck Mambo
  • TK Cooper BEATS David Starr

Quarter Finals

  • Chris Brooks BEATS Tyler Bate
  • Doug Williams BEATS GYV
  • Mark Andrews BEATS Flash Morgan Webster
  • Zack Sabre Junior BEATS TK Cooper

Semi Finals

  • Chris Brookes BEATS Doug Williams
  • Mark Andrews BEATS Zack Sabre Junior


  • Chris Brookes BEATS Mark Andrews