When Dahlia Black left New Zealand for the United Kingdom, she had one goal in mind: Progress Wrestling.
“Our goal when we first arrived was to be on a Chapter show by the time our two-year visa was done,” she said. “I remember saying to TK [Cooper], ‘If we’re marginally close to getting on a Chapter and we have to go home, I’ll stay here illegally until we reach it.’ ”
Black, formerly known as Olivia Shaw, has now wrestled at five Chapter events – the main cards for Progress. Her sixth will be the biggest in history this morning (3am NZDT) at the O2 Academy in Brixton, London.
Progress Wrestling held its first event in March 2012 at The Garage, a small London concert venue. Since then, the promotion has grown in size and support, attracting attention around the world.
WWE Cruiserweight Classic competitors Jack Gallagher, Tommaso Ciampa, and Zack Sabre Jr are all on the card for Chapter 36: We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Room… Again. Other notable Progress alumni include Adam Cole, Samoa Joe, and Will Ospreay.
“Progress is the indie wrestling company,” Black said. “It’s punk-rock wrestling for adults and the shows sell out in 20 minutes.”
Today’s event pushes the limits of independent wrestling, with more than 2,200 fans expected at the Brixton Academy.
Black takes part in a six-person tag team match at Chapter 36, joining Jinny and Knight family-trained Alex Windsor against Pollyanna, Laura Di Matteo, and Nixon Newell.
There are plans to introduce a women’s championship to Progress later this year. As such, Black will have volatile relationships with both her opponents and team-mates, she said.
“The way I see it, it’s everyone for themselves because we are all trying to prove to each other that we are the best in the ring.”
New Zealanders will be able to watch Dahlia Black and TK Cooper at Progress Chapter 36: We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Room… Again via Demand Progress, the promotion’s video on-demand streaming service, later this month.