Ahead of PROGRESS “Chapter 111”, a media call was held with the two competitors in the main event for the vacant PROGRESS Women’s Championship, Kanji and Gisele Shaw. The title was vacated by Jinny after Jinny left for NXT UK, and since then, Kanji and Shaw have competed in a best-of-three series with the finale set to main event this weekend. Kanji discussed what she hopes people take away from women main eventing the show.
“I think with women main eventing, especially PROGRESS because I know it hasn’t happened a lot, especially in comparison to men main eventing PROGRESS, but I think as a whole of not just the independent scene but wrestling worldwide for women to main event a show consecutively, like we have, I think is a big deal when it shouldn’t be,” Kanji noted. “But I think because it is a big deal, we put that added pressure on ourselves, and it makes other women look at this and look at this main event as something that should be celebrated rather than judged.
“And I hope, especially women, see it like that where the men see it as something more that they would like to judge rather than celebrate. Let them do what they want, but my mindset going into this is I want other women, especially, to look at this and be inspired by it and celebrate it with us because we’re not the first ones to do it, and we haven’t done this just by ourselves. It’s been a collective and a collaborative process. So I think it’s just something that we all need to celebrate rather than judge each other for.”
Shaw also discussed women main eventing this weekend. The past two matches in their series have been the main event of past PROGRESS shows as well.
“The woman’s main event is such a huge step going forward when it comes to wrestling,” Shaw said. “It’s not heard of a lot of time, but this match is a huge match because it is for the PROGRESS Women’s Championship. But it is a bigger match for Kanji because she gets to face me. Before me in PROGRESS, the women’s division was so-so.
“When I came to PROGRESS, look where we are now. We’re getting WWE. We’re getting all this media. We’re getting all this hype. It’s because of the kind of caliber a wrestler that I am. So you know what Kanji, you’re welcome that you’re also getting the spotlight. It’s my spotlight, but I’m kind enough to share that spotlight with you.”
Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman was also on the media call. He asked Kanji and Shaw how they felt about PROGRESS working with WWE and the big show airing on the WWE Network and Peacock.
“Of course, it’s an amazing deal,” Shaw noted. “I’ve grown up wanting to become a WWE Superstar, wanting to be on The Network, and we’re being given this opportunity. And I’ve been ready since day one. I’ve cultivated my sport, and I need to make sure that when this opportunity comes, that I’m prepared for it.
“I think we worked hard, and we deserve an opportunity like this in all honesty,” Kanji expressed. “I don’t believe that’s ego talking at all. I think as a collective, we have worked so hard to maintain the skills and ability that we have to be seen as we are put on such a platform like that. I do believe that we fully deserve this.”
Kanji and Shaw were later asked if there are any WWE Superstars or non-PROGRESS women they would like to see in PROGRESS.
“I’d love to see Jordynne Grace come back,” Kanji said. “I’d love to step in the ring with Jordynne Grace and have her come back with all the skills and abilities that she’s learned since having the belt previously. I think definitely also get Meiko Satomura back. I think she could grace our ring again. That would be awesome.”
“I’d like to add, my people told me that apparently Sasha Banks wants to come to PROGRESS, and if we can make that happen, then you know what, I’m open to a singles match,” Shaw stated. “I’m open to a triple threat, doesn’t matter to me. Get that out there”
PROGRESS presents Chapter 111: One Leg In The Air, Saturday 22nd on Peacock and WWE Network at 5pm GMT. You can find the full audio from today’s press conference via the embedded player below: