The Essential Mark Haskins
Get to know the UK wrestling scene’s latest top export.
For years now, if you ask around at any British independent show who people think is the hidden gem of the UK scene, Mark Haskins would be one of the most common and consistent answers. With the breakouts of Ospreay, Scurll and Zack Sabre Jr., the amount of eyes on the top British promotions has undergone a huge boost and just like last year, it appears that Pro Wrestling Guerrilla’s Battle of Los Angeles will act as a gateway to more of the country’s hidden gems. Pete Dunne and Jack Gallagher make their PWG debuts at this year’s tournament along with Haskins himself, and with Haskins also winning the SMASH Wrestling Championship ahead of the Canadian promotion’s shows with progress next month it seems like this may finally be the long overdue breakout that Haskins has deserved. At times like this, it helps to have a primer of just what you’re in for when the Star Attraction hits North American shores. Which is precisely the purpose that this piece aims to serve.
As with Will Ospreay in our inaugural Essentials feature, the growth of Mark Haskins in recent years can be well observed by tracking his path through Progress history. Originally a member of the Screw Indy Wrestling stable, Haskins soon ascended to the de facto face of the group following Nathan Cruz’s departure from the promotion. The days were numbered for the team though, as the sheer quality of Haskins’ ringwork took originally mocking shouts of “Haaaaaa… skiiiiiiiiiiiiiiins” and saw them gradually transformed into genuine support. The brief feud with Rampage Brown at the tail end of Screw Indy Wrestling’s tenure is the best indicator of this transition, and Haskins would come out the other side having truly won over the Progress faithful. His victory in the second Thunderbastard match and strong showings throughout 2015 would only amplify this support, and 2016 has truly been Haskins year. He could well be on the way to completing his long journey to the Progress World Championship next month, and it would be a well-deserved reward for the years of service Haskins has given the promotion.
vs. Rampage Brown (Chapter 18: The Show We Can’t Call PROGRESSlemania for Legal Reasons)
vs. Will Ospreay (Chapter 21: You Know We Don’t Like to Use the Sit Down Gun & Chapter 33: Malice in Wonderland)
vs. Tommaso Ciampa (Chapter 22: Trust, Encouragement, Reward, Loyalty, Satisfaction)
vs. Zack Gibson (Chapter 25: Chat Shit Get Banged)
vs. Marty Scurll (Chapter 26: Unknown Pleasures)
vs. Johnny Gargano (Chapter 32: 5000 to 1)
Once again, for all the noise Will Ospreay has made in Revolution Pro wrestling in the past eighteen months, Mark Haskins has been right there with him. A tag title reign coming to an end through Haskins’ unfortunate injury allowed him to dive straight in as a singles competitor upon his return, and it was a return that saw the Star Attraction reinvigorated and delivering to a higher level than ever before. Haskins’ ability to rise to the top in Rev Pro has admittedly suffered considering that what might be his two finest matches for the promotion still as yet unreleased in any format. Despite this, he looks set to be the next Rev Pro name to break through into the US independents.
vs. Trent Seven (Live At the Cockpit 10)
vs. Tetsuya Naito (RevPro/NJPW Uprising 2015)
vs. John Morrison (Live in Southampton — Currently Unreleased)
vs. AJ Styles (Live in Portsmouth 2 — Currently Unreleased)
vs. Hiromu Takahashi (New Territory)
If there’s anywhere that has seen Mark Haskins deliver with more intensity and consistent quality than Progress, it would be Southside Wrestling Entertainment. In 2011, Mark Haskins had already been on international television with TNA and toured throughout Japan with Dragon Gate. Since his debut at Battle of the Egos 2 in March 2012 however, the SWE crowd has seen Haskins develop and evolve like no other. To this day his run with the Southside Heavyweight Championship is longer than any other, and you’d be hard pressed to name a single Southside wrestler with more standout matches for the promotion. Narrowing them down is going to be very bloody difficult.
vs. Zack Sabre Jr (Risky Business 2)
vs. Uhaa Nation (SuperShow)
vs. Mark Andrews (2nd Day of Reckoning)
vs. Drew Galloway (Retribution 6)
vs. Sami Callihan (Supremacy 2016)
vs. Pete Dunne (Risky Business 2016)
Having not seen Mark Haskins run through Japan, there is certainly the possibility for there to be some pure gold in his matches there. That said, the Mark Haskins performing today is almost a completely different person to the Haskins of five years ago, and it’s his performance since late 2014 which really capture just what he’s capable of and why he’s regarded as one of the most underrated wrestlers in Europe. Promotions such as IPW:UK, NGW and wXw have all seen Haskins deliver to a stellar degree, and there’s a whole lot more besides.
vs. Adam Cole (wXw 13th Anniversary Tour: Finale)
with Marty Scurll vs. Akira Tozawa & Ricochet (DG:UK X)
vs. Marty Scurll (DG:UK YAMATO vs. Yokosuka II)
vs. Sami Callihan (NGW Ultimate Showdown 2016)
vs. Zack Gibson (Fight Nation Live in Canterbury)
It’s not difficult to see why Mark Haskins has been so coveted on the UK scene in recent years, and why his breakthrough into the likes of PWG and Smash Wrestling is so hugely deserved. A being of pure passion and technical prowess, Haskins’ PWG debut coming against the fantastic Cedric Alexander will see him leave Reseda a made man after just one day. There’s no if, and or but to suffix that, it’s simply the way it’s going to happen. And it’s about bloody time.