One of PROGRESS Wrestling’s owners, Jim Smallman recently spoke with FightBoothPW regarding the upcoming Hello Wembley show.
On running Wembley:
“It was the same when I was in America or Germany, where people are chanting your name, and that’s odd. On one hand, it’s incredibly cool, but on the other, I’m an incredibly shy person. It’s weird that we’re able to do something like this. Even if we’re able to do this once, at least we can say we’ve done it. Not only can we say we’ve done it, but we’ve done it and we didn’t lose any money, which, for three guys that started off in front of 350 people to get to the stage where we’ve been allowed anywhere near Wembley – I mean, people keep tweeting us pictures if they’re travelling past Wembley of the illuminated sign with our logo on it. That makes it feel a little bit more real. It will become a lot more real on the day when I walk out and go, “oh, this is big.” But as soon as it’s finished it’ll be back to normal, and we’ll be coming up with storylines. The best bit of advice you can give anyone is not just looking at what their goals are in the future but looking at where they’ve come from. I think me, John, and Glen are all terrible at thinking about people having fun now, and that’s our main concern – not worrying about selling tickets, but making sure fans are happy. We’re even more concerned about it now than we were when we first started. Because we’re so focused on that now, we never go, “hey lads, we used to run in front of 350 fans every three months.” We’re doing Wembley arena now. It’s only when we do interviews like this that I really think about it.”
The match card:
“What I think is amazing, is that when we announced it at Alexandra Palace last September I only told one wrestler about it, and we kept it quiet from everyone. That one wrestler I told about it was Pete Dunne because I didn’t know if we’d have Pete next year, and I didn’t know what was happening with NXT. Pete’s a friend, and anyone that becomes a champion becomes a friend, and also, he’s a tremendous young man. I told him about it, and the first thing he said was, “I don’t care where I am, I’m definitely doing that show.” You’ve got to bear in mind that guys like Pete, and Trent, and Tyler who’ve gone away and done TakeOvers are ridiculously excited about doing this show. They know it’s not just a big deal to us, but it’s a big deal to British Wrestling. It’s the same as when ICW did the Hydro for the first time, then the second time and the third – that’s a big deal. No-one’s done a show this big in England in forever, since Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks did it 30 or 40 years ago. No-one’s attempted to do something on this scale.”
“It gets harder and harder because more people in America are being signed, so it makes it harder and harder for people to remain on the indies. I think anyone that’s remained on the indies and received any kind of buzz about them we’ve used. I remember when I was in America the people I was desperate to use were Bandido and we’ve used him, Brody King and we got to use him. I really wanted to use Jonathan Gresham and we used him and they did a great job. We wanted to use LAX and they did a great job; they were all people that I wanted to use. There’s a couple of people like The Rascals, the Tag Team from Ohio who do appear in the UK quite a bit. I think they’re fantastic and super talented, and then there’s most of Japan as I love Japanese wrestling. We’ve been close to using Japanese wrestlers in the past. I’d love to use someone like Daisuke Sekimoto, but the opportunity has never really presented itself. Everyone in NJPW is off the table because they’ve got deals with other companies, which is a shame, but it is what it is. But someone like Sekimoto would be great to use because of the Altus division.”