Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A WWE Wrestler to Work a British Wrestling Company in a Show in America... What?

Gallagher, seen here tangling Akira Tozawa, will be headed to PROGRESS for a spell on August 12
Photo Credit: WWE.com
So, PROGRESS Wrestling made its first trip over the Atlantic when it ran a WrestleMania weekend show in Orlando. Everyone had a good time, and the vanguard promotion of the British indies right now made enough of a positive impression that it would come back for not one, but two more American shows the weekend before SummerSlam in New York August 12 and Boston (co-branded with Beyond Wrestling) August 13. Pete Dunne is the PROGRESS World Champion, so it should follow that he would make the trip over for the weekend excursion. However, he won't be defending that title in New York, because he'll be putting that other piece of hardware he has on the line. Dunne, who is also the WWE United Kingdom Champion, will be tangling with Jack Gallagher when PROGRESS comes to the Big Apple. "But TH," you say, "Gallagher has an actual big boy contract with WWE, not that dumb exclusionary deal that Dunne signed." And you'd be right on that front! WWE is lending out the Gentleman to PROGRESS for the title shot, presumably because it has a working relationship with the indie promotion.

This deal is not unprecedented; Noam Dar recently worked for Scottish super-indie Insane Championship Wrestling for their most recent show. Not incidentally enough, both PROGRESS and ICW have partnerships with WWE, in that they're already approved companies for the WWE UK-signed talent to work. They've even been the subject of rumors to have their content streamed on WWE Network. The talent exchange is just another piece of that relationship. Of course, WWE may have to lean on PROGRESS (and ICW) to grow its UK brand since more rumors have come out that said brand is not exactly ready to launch on its own yet.

Independent of business musings 'n shit, Dunne and Gallagher should be a fine headline match for that first PROGRESS show. Dunne has taken his breakout 2016 and parlayed it into even bigger stardom thanks to his standout performances on WWE branded shows. Gallagher's shine may have diminished thanks to his holding pattern on 205 Live, a show that wasn't exactly lighting the world on fire in terms of viewership or buzz (although those who are able to watch/still do watch say it's rounded into a nice groove right now), but he's still got some cache even without the fact that he's a WWE guy coming home to the British indies for a visit. Of course, whether he's pseudo-comedy 205 Live worker Gallagher, Dollar Tree Zack Sabre, Jr. NXT Gallagher, or pre-WWE eccentric grappler Gallagher remains to be seen. Either way, it should be a dandy of a match.