Ever since NXT UK debuted in 2018, many wrestlers and fans have discussed the idea that the brand has harmed the UK Independent scene. NXT UK talent are reportedly restricted from working for non-WWE partnered promotions and some talent such as Justin Sysum called out WWE and those who work there for what they're doing to the scene.
PROGRESS Champion Cara Noir and PROGRESS Proteus Champion Paul Robinson are two wrestlers who have seemingly benefited from more opportunities and don't believe WWE has harmed the scene at all.
“Don’t believe the dirt sheets,” Robinson joked with Alex McCarthy of TalkSPORT. “No, it’s excellent – especially at the moment. For me personally, it’s going great and for everyone in Britain, it’s on the rise still. I personally cannot see how it’s on it’s way down and with a new generation of upstarts in Progress, it almost feels like a reset and everyone is going again. Everyone seems to be reinvested in the product there which helps everything. I’ve got nothing negative to say.”
He continued, "I’m not going to sit here and say what other people say. Because I’ve benefited from it personally. I’ve seen other people and other companies benefit. There’s others that are saying it’s killing the British indies, but it’s not. Those that have shut down have shut down for a reason or they were probably going to anyway. I see it thriving. For example, Super Strong Style last year; wrestling Kyle O’Reilly… I learned from that more than I could have form any other experience at the time. And I wouldn’t have been able to do it without that working relationship. I’ve seen many others benefit the exact same way and it’s given my peers somewhere to earn a living.”
PROGRESS does have a working relationship with WWE and will feature NXT UK talent, including NXT UK Champion WALTER, on Feb. 23 at PROGRESS Chapter 103.
Noir, who won the PROGRESS World Title at PROGRESS Chapter 102: Bang Tidy by defeating Chris Brookes, added, “It’s just a new beginning, really. The old guard have left and it’s given opportunities for me particularly in the last five months. I don’t think it’s on a down in any kind of way. My last five months in Progress has been like a highlight reel for me. It’s been unbelievable, really. Looking at the list of people [who have held the Progress title], I can see where they’ve gone and the things they’ve gone on to do, amazing things. I feel really lucky to be in that category. But, also, I feel like Cara is different. That’s what’s exciting. It feel like there is some change, like there’s something new that’s about to happen. Really, that’s what I want to bring to the Progress title. It puts more eyes on the British scene. It’s making people aware that there is wrestling in the UK. And I think that’s great. British wrestling is different from US wrestling. And I think the talent that we’ve produced from this tiny island is very, very high.”
PROGRESS recently moved its Chapter 105 event as to not conflict with NXT UK TakeOver: Dublin.
Fightful will have full results from PROGRESS Chapter 103 following the conclusion of the event on Feb. 23.