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PROGRESS Strong-Style Professional Wrestling (PROGRESS) is an award-winning wrestling promotion based in London. The company is run by stand-up comedian and TV presenter Jim Smallman, events promoter Jon Briley and West End musical star and actor Glen Joseph. The three of them decided to start a wrestling promotion in 2011, with the first show in March 2012.
The company was conceived by Jim Smallman and Jon Briley in 2011, who were both massive wrestling fans. Smallman is a big fan of "strong-style" wrestling, Japanese in particular, and Briley was Smallman's agent. The pair decided to put on a wrestling show in London, as not many shows were being put on in the capital itself, featuring the type of wrestling that they would both like to watch. The pair then spent seven months putting their first show together. Smallman is also a huge fan of punk music, and the pair decided to emphasize the fact that it would be a London-based promotion with a punk rock vibe. They also were keen not be import-heavy, like other promotions, but to promote British talent. The pair eventually settled on The Garage in Islington for the venue, because of the size and also having a great reputation as a music venue. The Garage were also very supportive of what Smallman and Briley wanted to do. And on March 25th 2012, PROGRESS was born.
The performance of the company exceeded everyone's expectations. Their debut show, Chapter One: In The Beginning, sold-out the venue. The company quickly established a loyal fanbase, and initially held shows every three months. They were joined by Glen Joseph shortly before their second event, and Briley would eventually give up being Smallman's agent to focus on PROGRESS full-time. At the end of a very successful 2012, selling-out their first four shows, such was the demand that PROGRESS announced they would hold shows every two months.