We look back at the past winners of the Progress Wrestling weekend tournament spectacular ahead of the upcoming 2018 event.
This weekend sees one of the biggest events in both UK and European return for the fifth time.
The Progress Wrestling Super Strong Style 16 sees some of the worlds best wrestlers gather off an elimination tournament that has quickly become one of the most anticipated in the wrestling calendar.
Each of the past four winners for the SSS16 – which now takes place over the course of three days on the May holiday weekend – are now major names in the industry.
The quality of the line ups that Progress assembled was truly exemplified when a picture of the 2016 assemble re-circulated on social media this week.
The likes of Roderick Strong and Tomasso Ciampa were among the names involved, whilst recent years have seen a number of WWE/NXT stars being integrated. This year in particular will see Undisputed Era’s Kyle O’Reilly take part.
Ahead of the 2019 weekender, we look back at what happened to the past winners of the Progress SSS16.
2015 – Will Ospreay
The Aerial Assassin defeated El Ligero, Mark Haskins, Roderick Strong and Zack Sabre Jr on route to becoming the first ever Super Strong Style 16 winner.
Victory propelled Ospreay back into the Progress title picture, renewing his feud with champion Jimmy Havoc.
At Chapter 20: ThunderBastard: Beyond ThunderBastard, he ended Havoc’s 609 day reign in a No-DQ match. He would defend the title successfully for 182 days before losing the belt to Marty Scurll in early 2016 at Chapter 25: Chat Shit, Get Banged.
Ospreay has since gone on to become one of the UK’s greatest exports in world wrestling. Later that year, he become both the youngest and first English winner of the NJPW Best of the Super Juniors Tournament.
He has since gone on to become a two time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion in the promotion. Most recently, he bested Kota Ibushi at Wrestle Kingdom 13 to become NEVER Openweight Champion, a belt he dropped to Jeff Cobb at the G1 Supercard show.
2016 – Tommy End
The Dutch Destroyer toppled Rampage Brown, Sami Callihan, Chris Hero (now Kassius Ohno in WWE) and Mark Andrews to earn himself a future Progress Championship shot.
End has been better known to many Scottish fans before hand as a tag team wrestler. His pairing with Michael Dante as Summerian Death Squadwould become one of Europes most popular tag teams.
It was in Progress though that End established himself more as a singles star. He would cash in his title shot at Progress Chapter 36: We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Room… Again. That night, he was unsuccessful in dethroning Marty Scrull in a triple threat title match won by Mark Haskins.
Later that year, he was announced that he had signed with WWE. He would soon debut in their development brand NXT as Aleister Black, debuting at NXT Takeover: Orlando.
Black would go on to establish himself as one of the most dominant wrestlers in NXT history, winning the NXT Championship once.
February 2019 saw him finally called up to the WWE main roster, initially in a team with Ricochet. The pair unsuccessfully challenged for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships at Wrestlemania 35 before being split in the Superstar Shake Up.
2017 – Travis Banks
Like with the previous two winners, the Kiwi Buzzsaw Travis Banks had a tricky road to success.
He conquered Jimmy Havoc, Flamita, Zack Sabre Jr and Tyler Bate on his way to becoming the third SSS16 winner.
Like End before him, Banks would cash in his title opportunity at Progress’ biggest show of the year.
At Chapter 55: Chase the Sun, he overcame the obstacles that was British Strong Style to defeat Pete Dunne to win the Progress World Title.
Banks would go on to reign as champion for 318 days, the second longest in the company’s history.
He would represent Progress as champion in the second annual WWE United Kingdom Championship tournament. Banks would make it all the way to the final where he lost out to Zack Gibson.
Now a regular on WWE TV with NXT UK, Banks’ title reign in Progress ended July 25 2018 when he lost to WALTER at Chapter 74: Mid Week Matters.
2018 – Zack Sabre Jr
After coming up short so often, the Technical Wizard Sabre Jr finally secured his first SSS16 title in 2018.
On his way to victory, he defeated Chuck Mambo, David Starr, Keith Lee and Kassius Ohno.
The victory was supposed to lead to a match with WALTER at Progress’ massive Wembley show, Chapter 76: Hello Wembley. However, other wrestling commitments meant that Sabre was unavailable for that show. Instead, he cashed in his title shot at Chapter 77, where he was unsuccessful.
Like Ospreay, Sabre Jr has established himself globally. In 2016, he was chosen as one of the 32 competitors in the WWE Cruiserweight Classic. He would last all the way to the semi finals where he lost to Gran Metalik.
New Japan Pro Wrestling would become his main home from 2017. Since joining the promotion, he has achieved great success, winning the 2018 New Japan Cup.
Most recently, he defeated Tomohiro Ishii at Wrestle Kingdom 13 to regain the RPW British Heavyweight Championship.
Who will become the fifth winner of the Progress SSS16? Check out the bracket below and let us know who will come out on top