UK based promotion PROGRESS Wrestling will be returning in just a couple of days on WWE Network and demandPROGRESS. The promotion were originally hoping to run the annual ‘Unboxing’ shows at the end of December. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic restrictions meant that these plans needed to be changed and now Chapter 104: Natural Progression will be taking place this weekend.
We were able to speak to one of the competitors from this weekend’s taping. UK independent star and fan favourite Gene Munny commented on the return of British Wrestling, the changes he has seen at PROGRESS and his debut on the WWE Network.
Gene Munny Talks #SpeakingOut
Fighter Fans – It’s difficult to start without addressing #SpeakingOut from last year and how that affected not only PROGRESS, but British and International wrestling as a whole. There’s some really talented performers appearing at Chapter 104 this weekend, with some involved having already publicly discussed their own experiences. How did it feel coming back to this different PROGRESS and what are the changes and protocols you’ve seen as it pertains to Speaking Out and COVID-19?
Gene Munny – Let’s face it, #SpeakingOut was an incredibly troubling time for British Wrestling. There’s been some proper awful, grim and inexcusable actions by some members of this industry. Frankly, I think we all want this industry to heal, and to grow, and not to put #SpeakingOut behind us, but to learn from it and put measures in place to ensure nothing like this ever happens again. Although I’d not spent much time at PROGRESS prior to the pandemic, there are noticeable differences both in backstage vibes and the work that goes in prior to shows. Everyone on the show has to be DBS checked; there are safeguarding policies [and] a code of conduct for talent.
In regards to COVID, my wife is high-risk, so I wouldn’t be a part of PROGRESS if it wasn’t working in a safe environment. We’re all tested when we get there, we’re all in masks throughout the day, and straight into a bubble hotel after the tapings have finished.
Munny Talks…PROGRESS and BritWres
Fighter Fans – Addressing the ‘backstage’ area again at PROGRESS, does this feel like a ‘reset’ for British wrestling? It’s hard to argue against PROGRESS being the biggest company in England, so was there a pressure felt backstage to come out all guns blazing?
Gene Munny – How many times last year did you see the phrase “britwres is dead” circling online? Backstage, it felt like a lot, and every single person at PROGRESS was there to prove them wrong. It didn’t feel like a reset, it felt more like an upgrade. A group of good people, hungry and passionate to show the world how great this industry can really be. I think a few nerves were floating about on the first day, but once we got in the ring that all changed.
Fighter Fans – With your first match back this weekend, when was your last bout and how did it feel finally getting back in a ring and taking that first bump again?
Gene Munny – Before PROGRESS, my last match was mid-March 2020, and I’ve been jonesing for that rush for almost a year! I’d be fibbing if I said I’d not been in the ring when it was safe to do so over 2020, but that ring doesn’t half make you wince when you hit it after some time away.
Tag, Manage, Feud?
Fighter Fans – You’re appearing in a four-way match this weekend against Omari, Chris Ridgeway (ouch) and Spike Trivet. Let’s play shag, marry, avoid but in pro wrestling terms! Who would you Tag with? Who would you Manage? And who would you Feud with?
Gene Munny – Alrighty. I’d tag with Ridgeway any day of the week, as I wouldn’t have much to do. Lad can take care of himself and I’d get paid for standing on the apron cheering him along. I’d manage Omari, because he’s insanely talented and easy to be a hype man for. I’d have to feud with Spike because you should never turn your nose up at an opportunity to punch Spike Trivet in the mush.
Fighter Fans – This’ll be your first ‘live’ event appearing on WWE Network. How long will it be till you go after Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode for gimmick infringement!? Those damn Dirty Dawgs!
Gene Munny vs The Dirty Dawgs…
Gene Munny – Rigtho, so Dolph’s been a cheerleader, a golf caddy, perfection, the show-off, and now wants to be a dirty dawg? I dig him and Roode as a tag, but they’re as dirty and dog-like as a freshly groomed cat. If they fancy trading in the ThunderDome for Theatre Peckham and having a tickle with a real Dirty Dog, I’ll crack open my piggy bank and see how many shekels are floating about. But I am THAT Damnn Dirty Dog for a reason. I’ve got no problem rolling around in filth, and will gladly cock my leg up, piss on their territory and make it my own.
Fighter Fans – Finally, you can pick one active WWE talent to bring to PROGRESS for one match against you…who are you picking (and it can’t be Dolph or Bobby!)?
Gene Munny – I mean, if you give this question to anyone and they don’t reply with John Cena? They’re an absolute liar. He’s the biggest star in the world and seeing him in a PROGRESS ring, wrestling a PROGRESS match would just be weird AF and against me of all people. “Ok, we’ve got John Cena. Who is he going to work? How about Gene Munny?…uhhhhh…”
Thank you to both Gene Munny and PROGRESS for helping to make this interview happen. Don’t forget to watch PROGRESS airing on the WWE Network Saturday 20th February at 3 p.m. ET/8 p.m. GMT.
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