If you’re a longtime reader of Already Heard, then you will know we have a soft spot for all things pro wrestling. Much like our ongoing support for independent music, we thought we would shift the spotlight on one of the UK’s best and fastest growing wrestling promotions – PROGRESS Wrestling.
Since forming in 2012, the London-based promotion has gradually grown, starting out at The Garage in Islington before moving to Camden’s Electric Ballroom in 2014. Since then they’ve appeared at both the Download and Sonisphere Festival and ventured up North, holding regular shows at The Ritz in Manchester. This Sunday, they will be heading to the O2 Brixton Academy for their biggest show to date.
Over the course of four years, PROGRESS, alongside various UK independent promotions, has helped put British wrestling on the map. Homegrown talent such as Zack Sabre Jr., Will Ospreay, Marty Scurll and Jack Gallagher are just some of the names to have an impact in the United States, in Europe and in Japan. While PROGRESS has become home to an array of emerging British talent; Zack Gibson, Pastor William Eaver, Damon Moser, and Jinny.
To get you (and us) in the mood for ‘We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Room Again’ this Sunday, we asked PROGRESS owner and ring announcer (and stand-up comedian and podcaster) Jim Smallman to compile a playlist of 10 essential PROGRESS Wrestling songs.
Music is super important to us at PROGRESS Wrestling, whether it’s the theme tunes for the talented grapplers, songs used over the hype videos made by our production team or just the bangers that we play in our venues before shows to get everyone hyped up. The fact that we run in iconic music venues like the Electric Ballroom in Camden, the Ritz in Manchester and this weekend the massive Academy in Brixton probably helps any tunes sound infinitely better. Here’s some tracks that mean a lot to our little company…
Metallica – For Whom the Bell Tolls
An easy choice, because it happens to be my theme tune that starts at the beginning of every show. Why did I choose it? Was it because I’m a huge Metallica fan? Kind of. I definitely like them, but the real reason I use it to enter the ring is that my daughter has loved the song for years. When she was four she used to belt out the lyrics. I am a terrible parent.
AFI – I Hope You Suffer
Arguably the most memorable storyline in PROGRESS history was Jimmy Havoc’s run from loveable loser to hated champion, holding our title for nearly two years. His theme music always dropped the temperature in the venue by a couple of degrees as he was a genuinely terrifying human being. He’s currently on hiatus through injury, so I do miss seeing the effect his music had on a crowd.
Hatebreed – I Will Be Heard
As ring announcer, I’m meant to be neutral and emotionless (that never happens) and it’s probably frowned upon to sing along with the theme music of any one wrestler. But when Rampage Brown makes his way to the ring to the hyper-aggressive and anthemic Hatebreed, I can’t help myself. Luckily my singing is drowned out by the sound system and 700 other people singing along.
Travis Barker and Yelawolf – Whistle Dixie
We’re really proud of our training school – the ProJo – and it’s always awesome when guys and girls coming up from there choose great entrance music. When Damon Moser started making his breakout onto main shows, this was what he chose and it’ll stick in your head forever.
Andrew WK – Party Hard
When Eddie Dennis and Mark Andrews won our tag team titles, the image of them celebrating with our fans whilst “Party Hard” played will always remain as one of the coolest in our history. Imagining what 2400 people in Brixton Academy will do to this song makes me seriously excited.
Scroobius Pip featuring Sage Francis & P.O.S. – Let ‘Em Come
I really wanted Jimmy Havoc to use this as his theme music but he chose the AFI track above. Paul Robinson loved it and ended up using it, and with Scroobius Pip now being a mate and a regular at the PROGRESS shows, it always pops me to see him appreciating a wrestler using one of his tracks to walk out to.
Portishead – Machine Gun
“The Villain” Marty Scurll is our current PROGRESS Champion and is as villainous as his nickname would suggest. That means that he couldn’t come out to his old techno theme music that everyone sang along to, he needed something altogether more sinister. This is what I suggested and I’m relieved that it works so well!
Terry Bush – Maybe Tomorrow
Yes, this is the theme tune to ‘The Littlest Hobo’. We always have our fans choose the music that we play before the show and during the interval (with a couple of exceptions, more on that in a second). Most of what is suggested are rock, punk or metal, but sometimes you get something from left field like this. I remember wandering through the ballroom and hearing this over the sound system and laughing my head off.
Brody Dalle – Don’t Mess With Me
I mentioned that there are a couple of exceptions to the PROGRESS playlist on a show day; basically, I choose the final two songs before we play Drake and Metallica in order to help set the mood and hype me up ready for work. I’ve chosen this song three times, not that anyone will have noticed. I also listened to it before every single Edinburgh Fringe performance last year.
CKY – 96 Quite Bitter Beings
The final song that we play before the start of the show in Brixton will be this. I’ll choose something to play first, then this will play before Drake and Metallica signal that the show has begun. Why? It was the theme music of the sadly missed Kris Travis, who passed away in March. We loved having him as a part of our company and on a personal note, he was a really good friend who I miss terribly. One of our fans suggested playing it and I think it’s a great idea.
‘We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Room Again’ takes place this Sunday, September 25th at the O2 Brixton Academy, London. Tickets can be purchased here.