Jimmy Havoc's Wembley Moment Is Three Years In The Making
It's probably fair to say that PROGRESS Wrestling wouldn't be taking Chapter 76 to Wembley if it wasn't for Jimmy Havoc and his reign of terror. At the show the King of Goths takes on long time rival Paul Robinson.
PROGRESS Wrestling is the biggest independent wrestling promotion in the land and on September 30th they take their brand of 'punk rock wrestling' to Wembley arena for the biggest independent show in the country in a long time.
The company really came to prominence during Jimmy Havoc's reign as the champion. Havoc won the title from Mark Andrews in dramatic and evil fashion at Chapter 10 in September 2013 and held it till Chapter 20 nearly two years later.
At Chapter 21 Havoc faced long term friend Paul Robinson in a brutal No DQ match and three years later the feud continues as the pair face off again at the promotion's biggest show at Wembley.
For Havoc performing at Wembley means so much more with it being for PROGRESS, "It's really cool, it's a big thing. Obviously that's my home promotion, that's where I built my name, I helped build the company. I've done Wembley before with like Impact but it feels like such a much bigger deal now.
The former champion isn't 100% looking forward to facing his old foe, "It's going to be a good match but Paul is a former European kickboxing champion and he kicks really hard. I'm looking forward to it, I quite like getting hurt as it weird as it sounds. The history of the match is there, people will be into it. Being a no DQ match, that's what I'm good. It's going to be messy."
History is certainly important to Jimmy and Paul and it's very recent history that dictates why the two men are facing on September 30th. Originally Havoc was supposed to continue PROGRESS' longest and and fiercest feud with Will Ospreay but the 'Aerial Assassin's' New Japan Pro Wrestling commitments means he won't be at Wembley.
In the end Havoc and the man who dethroned him back at Chapter 20 faced off last month at the company's usual home, the Electric Ballroom in Camden, and Havoc revealed that in the end it was probably a good thing, "At first I was really disappointed. Then when we got to do the match at the Ballroom it felt right because that's where we did all of our matches and I'm fairly sure we wouldn't have been able to do an hour at Wembley. So to be able to do around an hour meant a lot...In the end I'm glad me and Paul get to do it again, considering how good the first one was. Yeah it's the right thing, this is the storyline that made me."
And for Havoc it doesn't matter it's Paul or Will the chance to get in the ring with one of his friends and tell a story that's essentially five years in the making is what's good for him, "100%, it makes the matches easier because we can go back to stuff we've done in previous matches to tell the story more. Plus I'm good friends with both of them so it makes it more fun to do it with mates, well I say that Will is a bit of a dickhead to be honest. It's cool, we've being able to perform, all of us are really good friends, I'm good friends with Jim, John and Glenn too, and it's cool to be able to put on a wrestling show at Wembley Arena with your mates."
PROGRESS has been rising year on year with them graduating from the Garage in Islington to the Ballroom for their regular shows whilst they've done bigger rooms at Brixton Academy and Alexandra Palace the previous two Septembers.
That growth plus the relationship with WWE has led some to question the companies 'punk rock' ethos but Havoc simply says that's just the natural progression and nothing has really changed for the company with the cult following, "There's a lot of slack being given because our ethos is 'Punk Rock Pro Wrestling' and there's lots of people saying 'how can you be punk rock if you're working with WWE and doing Wembley?' but that is the logical conclusion to punk rock isn't it, you work on an independent label before you get signed up by a major company. But overall the community feel is still there but just in front of more people with more lights and a bigger ring."
Havoc's title reign is the longest, most important and most memorable in the history of the company but the King of the Goths didn't enjoy his time holding the title and prefers his role in the company now, "I look back at my time as champion and I'm very proud of everything I did but at the time the fucking pressure that was on me, I hated every second of it. I got so nervous before matches because the fans are so hot and because we love performing there so much there's a lot of pressure. So when I was on last after all these awesome matches I was always thinking, 'this is going to be shit, I don't know what I'm going to do' and I always used to feel sick before my matches. I hated every single match I had, I felt like I wasn't good enough. Then watching back afterwards I used to think 'well that was okay, I did the best I could do.' I might not be the most athletic person or the smoothest technical wrestler but I think I'm good at telling stories. I'm very proud of what I did. Obviously I'd like to be champion again because it's cool, init. As long as I can have a storyline I think that's what I'm more interested in, doing matches that people care about. There's people that are a lot better than me at wrestling and deserve the title more than I do so as long as I can carry on telling stories."
Not many people, if any, have been in a PROGRESS ring more times than Havoc so few people are better placed to tell us why we should be at Wembley, "I'm still friends with a lot of people from school and not really any of them are into wrestling but PROGRESS is probably the one show I'd bring them along to because even if you're not into wrestling the atmosphere at the shows is something else, it's incredible. Everyone is into it, the chants, the heckles, everyone is into it. There's a very authentic feel to it. Even if you used to be into it, like the Attitude Era, come and give it a go because the atmosphere is unlike anything else. You'll get to see some of the best wrestlers in the world, the athleticism, there's a TLC match, my deathmatch. A really cool variety, wrestling, comedy, stunt work, acrobatics that you won't see anywhere else."
With all the history, all the passion, all the weapons and all the Havoc it sounds like Jimmy and Paul could end up stealing the show.
You can buy tickets for PROGRESS Wrestling Chapter 76, Hello Wembley, here.