The British Wrestling scene was thrown for a collective loop in August when Jim Smallman announced that he would be leaving PROGRESS Wrestling after Chapter 100.
One of the founding members of the company, Smallman acted as ring announcer and booker since the company’s inception. Someone sounding remarkably like him, named Jimmy Barnett, also handled commentary duties for the first couple of years.
Speculation had been rife as to who might be selected to replace him as PROGRESS’s ring announcer. As ‘the face’ of the brand, Jim has helped to create a loyal fanbase with his genial attitude, witty repartee, and easy-going banter with members of the crowd.
Names thrown into the hat included recently retired wrestlers such as Jack Sexsmith and Kid Lykos. I personally had my name down for the former, as I thought he would have provided a sufficiently different style to Smallman whilst retaining the good humor and relatability of his forebear.
The question was also asked if the new announcer would also assume Smallman’s position on the booking team. Jon Briley and Glen Joseph have been Smallman’s business partners and co-bookers for PROGRESS Wrestling, and three is the magic number after all. The answer to that question has proven to be a resounding ‘yes’.
At today’s Tuesday Night Jaw taping in Manchester, PROGRESS Wrestling has announced that Matt Richards will be replacing Jim Smallman as ring announcer and the third member of the booking team. Richards has been on commentary duties for PROGRESS for several years now and has done excellent work. It will certainly be interesting to see how Richards intends to present the product in 2020.
So there we have it; mystery solved. Matt Richards will be the new face of PROGRESS going forward. Opinion seems to be somewhat split, as some were hoping for a bigger name. Richards certainly has his fans, though, and deserves a fair crack of the whip. How do you feel about Mr. Richards’ appointment? Let us know in the comments below.