Exclusive: Former NXT UK Star Eddie Dennis On Returning To PROGRESS

The WWE are not the only promotion putting on a show in Cardiff Wales this weekend, wit ICW, TNT Extreme and PROGRESS all in action this weekend.

Recently Bodyslam’s British Wrestling Podcast, Tea & Tights: A Great British Wrestling Podcast spoke with Former NXT UK star Eddie Dennis, ahead of his Championship match for PROGRESS at Wrestling, Golf, Madrid In That Order this Sunday.

Eddie Dennis would discuss what it was like to return to PROGRESS at the recent Warriors Come Out To Play show, his thoughts on the new the generation, his benchmark moments with Progress wrestling, the upcoming Championship Match against Spike Trivet and more.

T&T: Your taking part in what can only truly be described as incredible weekend of Wrestling in Wales with WWE, ICW, PROGRESS and TNT Extreme, Despite everything that has recently gone down with NXT UK how big is this weekend for Wrestling in Wales, what do you think maybe some of the lasting effects on Welsh Wrestling as whole?

Eddie Dennis: It’s Absolutely huge, as far as lasting effects go its very hard to tell but I’ve checked into my hotel in Cardiff now I just went for a walk around the city you know it’s kind of surreal I went to University in this city and then I spent a couple of years after university living in city. Obviously myself and Mark Andrews, Pete Dunne we kind of amongst a bunch of other people spearheaded the Attack Pro Wrestling thing, which kind of was one of the early promotions that catalysed a bit of that boom period right here in Cardiff so I am really familiar with the City. The city holds all the connections to me personally and professionally within wrestling so to walk around the city and to see all the posters for Clash At The Castle it’s kind of surreal I’ve been to few Wrestlemainias, It kind of feels like when the WWE come into the City and take it over for Wrestlemainia. So its absolutely crazy and exciting to see some of the Independent promotions like ICW, TNT Extreme, PROGRESS and there’s Broken Ring Wrestling on Saturday Morning as I think, cool to see the independent companies jumping on board and trying to capitalize that there’s going to be about 60,000 pro wrestling fans in the city for the weekend so why not put on some extra events you know.

T&T: Now since the last time you were in PROGRESS the promotion has been taken over by Lee McAteer and Martyn Best, from the outside looking in what did you make of takeover PROGRESS?

Eddie Dennis: The interaction has been absolutely seamless Martyn and Lee are gentlemen super easy to get with constant business men there has been no issues or drama I couldn’t ask for anything else or anything better. Which was the same to be honest with the previous owners of PROGRESS they’ve always been a dream to deal with and it’s why it’s one of my favourite places to wrestle not with standing that audience that is in the Electric Ballroom which is just magic at times. as far as since I’ve come back it was good I wasn’t sure what the Ballroom would feel like if you know it’s obviously quieter than it was with regards to the number of people in the room to when I was last there but certainly feel quieter with regards to the noise in the room it was pretty electric and I’m expecting the same at the Tramshed in couple of days.

T&T: When you were standing behind the curtain and the your music hit (Party Hard by Andrew W.K) did you kind of get chills to relive that because it had been so long that you had used that Music.

Eddie Dennis: Yeah, 100% it was like the only request that I put in with promotions when they were reaching out about possibly doing stuff I said it has to be Party hard. I know that some people have like issues with on demands licensing and thing but I was like it’s got to be Party Hard over dub it I don’t care it needs to be this and every time. I’ve come out to it there’s been a point where you know watch the video or whatever you kind of see me put my hands up its me putting my hands up because I can feel the hairs are on ends of arms because I have 100% legitimate goose bumps, for the reaction with everyone being excited and singing along to it and stuff. So yeah before that before it hit I’m sat in or stood in Gorilla waiting for the drop I definitely had those goose bumps and yeah I couldn’t of been more humbled by the reception that I received, eternally grateful.

T&T: You Returned to PROGRESS as a part of the Warriors Come Out to Play, against a rather unique individual in wXw super star Maggot, what did you make of our opponent of that night?

Eddie Dennis: My fiancée was in the room and afterwards that guy you wrestled is terrifying his entrance his horrifying she called him like a zombie cowboy or something. So he was an absolute gentleman a great guy to interact with and a heck of a competitor in the ring. A guy who I didn’t know before the pandemic at all a guy that I had never come across on my previous run on the independents and obviously those people as well as the people working with people I had missed working with those people that have popped upped in the past 4 or 5 years it’s really exciting to get to work with these people. And Maggot is certainly fills that bill, super unique character compelling grabs the audiences attention can’t say enough good thing about him. Really I think he’s gonna have big year in PROGRESS and bigger year in wXw as well and if you have big year in PROGRESS and wXw you’ve really had a big year on the independent scene in Europe, so good for him.

T&T: It is a New generation of PROGRESS superstars, who are the guys that took PROGRESS by the scruff of neck and took on the challenge on of ensuring PROGRESS’ stature in Independent Wrestling didn’t diminish, ensuring that PROGRESS continued to be one of, if not the biggest promotion in the UK?

Eddie Dennis: Chuck and TK standout with regards to the on the fan favourite side of the fence obviously Cara he is an absolutely mesmerizing superstar I don’t know what’s going to become of him now after I Quit match with Spike. He’s obviously been announced for DDT and stuff so I guess he is going to be ways for a little while but the one guy who has to be brought is suppose is Spike himself. You know he’s professional wrestling is about creating moments professional Wrestling is about making people feel things and what ever it is he’s making people feel. He’s making people feel something so it’s hard to ignore that when your talking about people who have grabbed the promotion by the scruff of the neck and taking the opportunity to make it theirs, Spike to me stands out.

T&T: What about the younger generation coming through, the guys from CPF (Close Personal Friends) and Man Like Dereiss, who has really stood out amongst the young competitors,

Eddie Dennis: I mean you kind of named them for me I guess, Dereiss was, I’m not even sure how old Dereiss is but I kind of don’t put him in the super young generation because I feel like Deriess was with Dan Maolney as the 0121 in Attack! Pro Wrestling before the pandemic. And before I sought of stopped doing so many independent dates and I’ve felt like he was carrying himself like a star back then so he you know he’s even more more of star right now. So I don’t hol him in that group but maybe he’s a supper young guy himself and that I am probaly doing him a disservice by saying he definitely shouldn’t be in that group. And Obviuosly the Close Personal Friends are exciting I love innovative independent wrestling and you know guys like Joe Lando have got that in spades just doing things that I’ve never seen before Danny used to come to my training, Callum as well used to stop by now and again so I’ve got a lot time for those guys. Luke Jacobs and Ethan Allen the Young Guns those guys are incredible.

T&T: Following that match with Maggot you delivered an impassioned speech regarding your return, your love for PROGRESS and that you had unfinished PROGRESS, in particular the PROGRESS World Championship, a championship you held back in 2019. You were never defeated for how long have you been sitting on that speech and what did it mean to you for that crowd responded the way they did?

Eddie Dennis: I mean if I am being brutally honest I didn’t sit on that speech at all I just said what I said I definitely didn’t sit down a mull over what I was going to say. I knew that there was an opportunity there at the end ot make a case for the PROGRESS world championship match in the Tramshed this weekend so I just said what I said it’s a pretty easy story to tell if you like. Because you know it’s just real, it meant a lot to me it was quite like a benchmark moment in my career when I did win that championship belt. It was on my list of things that I wanted to accomplish that calender year 2019 and I was injured for over half of that year and thought that I wasn’t going to be able to tick off the goals that I set myself. You know but one of those goals was to win the PROGRESS Unified World Title at the time obviously they’ve reintroduced the Atlas Championship but at the time it was Unified World Championship. So yeah to accomplish it was a real benchmark moment in my career and I was thoroughly looking forward to the challenge of defending it but then my ailing body failed me once more and I was forced to relinquish the championship. Which I wasn’t mad keen about because I hurt myself on the Friday at a WWE taping and was asked to relinquish the Championship on the Sunday 2 days later before I had my scans which I wasn’t the most delighted with. As it transpired it was 100% correct I had separated my shoulder and wasn’t able to wrestle for months and months and months but I had a bit of a chip on shoulder for having to do it in 48hrs after the initial injury always kind of irked me. I was always looking to get back in there and get the opportunity at it, originally I was hoping to do it against Cara because that was the match that I was supposed to have that evening in the Electric Ballroom when I vacated the Championship and then he went to hold the championship through the pandemic through the empty arena era of PROGRESS if you like. Having stellar championship matches against everyone under the sun in a really difficult environment and frankly. I was hoping it would be with him but as fate would have it we couldn’t make that happen and then even when I made that speech at the end of the match I was thinking that I was going in against Big Damo or super fight mosnter himself Dan Maloney. But again fate would step in the way and now I am facing Spike Trivet a man I’ve much more history with tham either of those two gentlemen ultimately and that a man is going to be stepping into a hostile environment Sunday in Cardiff lets just say that.

T&T: He recently released a promo where he described the hostile environment as Disneyland

Eddie Dennis: That’s what he thinks but you know people think that until they walk into the room I don’t know if people remember One Night Stand when John Cena defended the World Championshp against Rob Van Dam. There’s not a professional wrestler on planet earth who more accustomed ot walking in to a divided audience than that man and he looked shocked on that evening. And Spike can say Disneyland all he wants it’s going ot be a different experience on Sunday and I think its going shake him.

T&T: Of course there is plenty of history between yourself and Spike Trivet, with Trivet being part of group known as Do Not Resuscitate or DNR for short. You were one of number talents that was targeted by Spike and the other members of DNR, how does it feel to come full circle as such to return and now have to challenge him for the PROGRESS World Title?

It’s funny right It’s just sometimes the quote end quote storylines of Professional wrestling take on a life of there own and I am sure that when the story arc of DNR and the PROGRESS Originals culmiated in Alexandra Palace with a Party Hard cutain call we wouldn’t anticipate have to revisist it 4 or 5 years later. But here we are and you know I have spoken to spike on Numerous occasions since that evening in Alexandra Palace, I know on the evening he wasn’t particularly pleased with the way things went down. But I didn’t think it was still something that was quite so embedded in his memory but clearly from the words that he said after his cash in if you like on Sunday it’s something that he still remembers. So I don’t have any friends with me on Sunday and he doesn’t have any of his either it’s just me and him so if he doesn’t think I did the right thing in Alexandra Palace 5 years ago then maybe I am not going to the right thing on Sunday either.

T&T: Of Course Spike Trivet would cash in his Key to the Future for shot at Big Damo’s Championship, despite Damo being in no shape to defend himself. What have you made of Spike Trivet watching him from the outside, as Spike worked his way through the PROGRESS roster, clipped the wings of PROGRESS favourite Cara Noir/Tom Dawkins and now basically stealing PROGRESS world Title?

Eddie Dennis: Spikes and interesting character you could see these traits in him when he was training years ago you know what I mean. He is ruthless he is calculating and he has proven himself to be sort of a master manipulator but I have also displayed those sort of character traits in my past and the way he ultimately won the championship isn’t to dissimilar to the way that I won the championship many years ago. so the parallels are there as well and if he’s bringing that level of viscousness on Sunday then he needs to know that I am going to match it.

T&T: Now we mentioned briefly of how pivotal a figure you were in the Welsh and South West Scene, What would it mean for you to win the PROGRESS World Championship to regain the championship you spent years chasing in your home country of Wales?

Eddie Dennis: Yeah I have had some moments in Cardiff I have been using social media to kind of remind of a few of them over the last couple of days. 11 years ago I think that myself and number of my friends put on a show in a community centre called Attack! Pro Wrestling, “We do It For The Money Obviously” and that was in front of about 80 people and 40 of them my friends from University and the other 40 were Mark’s friends form University. And there wasn’t a professional Wrestling fan in sight and we built thing up from there I was on one of the feature matches on that evening with arch rival and nemesis at the time Mike Bird and we grew a scene for want of a better term. from that community centre into the bingo hall next door and down the road to the Walkabout in Central which is a stones throw from that principality stadium which is going to be rocking on Saturday. And the main event of the first show if the Walkabout was myself and the Wild Boar and Pete Dunne in triple threat match so I was involved in the first main event there. I won the inaugural Attack! Pro wrestling Championship from Mike Bird in that building on a subsequent show there is not a lot I have not done in that City. with regards to independent wrestling. But the PROGRESS World Championship match in the Tramshed on without question the biggest weekend of wrestling in Wales ever and one of the biggest weekends wrestling in Britain ever. Big how big maybe the biggest thing I ever do so yeah it’s big deal to be wrestling for the championship in Cardiff for PROGRESS on this weekend in this City in This country in front of those fans.

T&T: You mention some of your highlights in PROGRESS there, well PROGRESS just released the best Eddie Dennis on the Network on the demand service, what some of your highlights in PROGRESS when you like to think back?

Eddie Dennis: There are various moments I’m a moments person as well I would say so matches are great but moments are better moments kind of live forever so as PROGRESS goes I spoke to Mark after wrestled each over in 2017 where I congratulated him about going to TNA and that was a pretty special moment I don’t think there was a dry eye in house during that one. In retrospect Wemebely arena is really special just because it was me and it was Mark and it was such a big show, in such an iconic venue and it was a feature match and it was one year in the making. A lot of people even in the promotion themselves said that we couldn’t make it last for a year without doing a match I was personally affronted by them thinking that. Because I thought I could make it last as long as I needed to, I had life time of genuine stories to take from to make this compelling so that one was a big one. The Match at chapter 11 which is a bit of a loss gem it self, where Myself with Mark wrestled the swords of Essex was wild the response was wild and unreal for that one, it holds a special place in my memory. Then I guess you know the Championship victory the subsequent defences yeah all of that stuff stands out, winning the tag championships with Mark at 12 that was special. Wrestling Pete (Dunne) who is another close personal friend in the ECW arena I am huge professional wrestling nerd so just to get to wrestle in the ECW arena was sort of Bucket list stuff to be doing it with Pete was you know something else. I think there some of the moments you look back on, wrestling Mark in Wembely wrestling Pete in the ECW arena because these are the people when I step away from wrestling like they’ll still be there so we’ll be able reminisce on those moments when we’re old and grey.

T&T: If you are successful in your challenge this weekend what would the future hold for PROGRESS, who would you like to defend the championship against. Are there any plans to head out internationally and would you want to defend the belt in international promotions?

Eddie Dennis: I’ll take it anywhere if you book me I’ll come I think I’ve shown that in the last couple of weeks so yeah I want to take the Championship around the world. I’d love to there are people that world wide but you know there is enough people in the UK to keep me busy. But yeah I want to defend that championship anywhere and everywhere and I wouldn’t even be able to begin to list off the people who I want wrestle for that championship belt but it’s a long old list.

Eddie Dennis on the Tea & Tights: A Great British Wrestling Podcast

Eddie Dennis has been intertwined with the history first making his debut at Chapter 6, before going on to become the one half of first ever tag team champions alongside real life best friend Mark Andrews, Dennis is also a former PROGRESS world champion.

Dennis would go on to play a part in NXT UK from 2018 and has been involved in some major angles with the likes of Trent Seven and more recently Mark Andrew, Wild Boar and Flash Morgan Webster.

Unfortunately it was recently announced that NXT UK would be going on hiatus with the brand set to be relaunched and rebrand as NXT Europe in 2023 and although some NXT UK stars have moved on the NXT 2.0 many stars were released including Eddie Dennis.

The full Tea & Tights: A Great British Podcast will be available to stream on the Bodyslam YouTube page tomorrow at 12pm GMT.

Written by Andy More of the Tea & Tights: A Great British Wrestling Podcast

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