EXCLUSIVE: Backstage News On PROGRESS Wrestling-DEFY Merger

Everything you need to know about the PROGRESS-DEFY merger

Two of the biggest independent wrestling promotions in the world made a major announcement last week with the reveal that PROGRESS Wrestling and DEFY have merged. Both promotions will continue to operate as separate entities but the merger will allow PROGRESS and DEFY to pool resources. 

Speaking exclusively to Cultaholic Wrestling's Tom Campbell, PROGRESS Co-Owner Martyn Best revealed how the merger came together. 

"Probably last August when DEFY was over in London. We had a double-header with DEFY and we saw at first hand each other's shows. We spent three-four days in each other's company, lots of conversations. We just recognised we had the same views, perspectives, and values about running a wrestling promotion. We were looking at what we can do to improve each other's position and status within that. As a landscape, [All In weekend] showed there was a huge amount of interest and enthusiasm for professional wrestling," Best stated.

"I think the whole sector has bounced back post-COVID, and I think there was a coming together of like-minds between Lee [McAteer] & myself and Jim [Perry] & Matt [Farmer]. It was like, 'Woah'. It was probably one of our most successful weekends with lots of fans coming to both shows at the [Electric] Ballroom and then you saw the buzz the following day at Wembley. As most things do, it started from a 'Hey, how about we do more of this?' One thing led to another and 'Let's put the companies together.'"

Both brands will remain separate but DEFY and PROGRESS will have a say in what the other promotion is doing. Matt Farmer and Jim Perry will have input into PROGRESS Wrestling's booking.  

"We are keeping both brands totally separate as wrestling promotions. However, Lee and I have a bunch of experience from different businesses and different sectors. Myself from football and basketball. Jim and Matt, again Matt is a former professional wrestler himself. He knows what it's like to be a wrestler, he knows what they're looking for in terms of support and what they can commit to adding to any booking. Certainly, we'll be welcoming from a PROGRESS point of view Jim and Matt's input into our booking, definitely," Best added.

As part of the merger, DEFY shows will air on Demand PROGRESS Plus. The two promotions plan to hold a joint show in London later this year. 

Lee McAteer and Martyn Best took over PROGRESS in 2021. Matt Farmer and Jim Perry founded DEFY in 2017. 

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Aidan Gibbons

Written by Aidan Gibbons

Editor-in-Chief of Twitter: @theaidangibbons