DEFY Wrestling
HeadquartersSeattle, Washington, United States
  • Matt Farmer
  • Jim Perry
Merged withProgress Wrestling

DEFY Wrestling is an American independent professional wrestling promotion based out of Seattle, Washington. DEFY was created in 2017 after founders Jim Perry and Matt Farmer successfully petitioned the Washington state government (specifically the Washington State Department of Licensing) to alter laws around professional wrestling, which they had argued had severely impacted the ability of promoters to run small professional wrestling events in the state since the early 1990s. Since its launch in 2017, DEFY has risen to a high level of prominence on the American Independent circuit, in part because of its association as the "home" of emerging national wrestling stars Swerve Strickland, Darby Allin and Nick Wayne.[1][2][3]

As DEFY has grown, it has begun to hold events outside of Seattle, including locations such as Tacoma, Yakima, Portland, Oregon, Los Angeles and London, England.[4] Stylistically, promoter Matt Farmer has compared the difference between DEFY and WWE as being like that of Alternative Rock and Pop Music.[5]


Swerve Strickland, Nick Wayne and Darby Allin are all Washington natives, and are closely associated with DEFY Wrestling

There is a significant history of professional wrestling in the Pacific Northwest; Between 1925 and 1992 the region was primarily serviced by the well-regarded Pacific Northwest Wrestling (PNW) (also known as Portland Wrestling). However, following the death of the wrestling territory system and the rise of the World Wrestling Federation, PNW fell too by the wayside.[6] Further reinforcing this withering of regional professional wrestling were several regulations introduced to Washington by the Washington State Department of Licensing, which made the cost of producing a professional wrestling event highly prohibitive for smaller organizations. For example, until 2017 the Department of Licensing required all professional wrestling promoters to pay them 6% of the gross income made from any event as well as $1 for every ticket sold at the show.[7][8] Promoters were also required to obtain a license for every performer featured on the show.[8]

In 2017, following many years of lobbying by Farmer and Perry as well as other members of the professional wrestling community, these requirements were scrapped and Farmer and Perry launched DEFY Wrestling to take advantage of the new era. DEFY would make use of Perry's professional background in marketing and Farmer's background as a professional wrestling historian.[3] The very first DEFY show was headlined by Swerve Strickland challenging Cody Rhodes for the then-active GFW NEX*GEN Championship.[2] Subsequent shows would feature Strickland, Darby Allin and Nick Wayne prominently, as well as female talent such as Vert Vixen and British Columbia's Nicole Matthews.

As of 2024, almost all of DEFY's events in Seattle have taken place in the historic Washington Hall,[4][3] which has a capacity of 500 to 800 people depending on the setup.[2]

On 9 February 2024, it was announced that DEFY Wrestling would "merge" with Progress Wrestling, an independent promotion based in London, England. It was created to bring a "global presence" to both brands and aid further expansion plans.[9]


Current championships

As of February 24, 2024

Championship Current champion(s) Reign Date won Days
Location Notes Ref.
DEFY World Championship KENTA 1 June 3, 2023 266 Seattle, Washington
DEFY PrimoLucha Championship Cody Chhun 1 November 18, 2023 98 Seattle, Washington
DEFY Tag Team Championship The Bollywood Boyz 1 June 24, 2023 245 Seattle, Washington
DEFY Women's Championship Vert Vixen 1 October 29, 2022 483 Seattle, Washington Inaugural champion


  1. ^ Nason, Josh (25 March 2022). "Inside the rise of Seattle's DEFY Wrestling". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved 17 January 2024.
  2. ^ a b c Josh Nason (25 March 2022). "Matt Farmer discusses DEFY Wrestling". Josh Nason's Punch-out (Podcast). Retrieved 17 January 2024.
  3. ^ a b c Douglas, Martin (28 June 2017). "A Newcomer Threatens to Legitimize Seattle's Independent Wrestling Scene". Seattle Weekly. Retrieved 17 January 2024.
  4. ^ a b "DEFY Wrestling event history". Retrieved 17 January 2024.
  5. ^ Vent, Terry (4 May 2018). "Defy Wrestling brings its performance art to Liberty Lake on Saturday". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved 17 January 2024.
  6. ^ Saez, Rosin (23 July 2019). "Defy Is Changing Everything About Wrestling in Seattle". Seattle Met. Retrieved 17 January 2024.
  7. ^ Kramer, Grace (2 March 2017). "Lawmakers ready to rumble over pro wrestling regulations". Seattle Globalist. Retrieved 17 January 2024.
  8. ^ a b Myers, Alexis (17 April 2023). "Washington governor signs theatrical-wrestling bill". Seattle Times. Retrieved 17 January 2023.
  9. ^ Currier, Joseph (9 February 2024). "PROGRESS & Defy Wrestling announce merger". Wrestling Observer Newsletter.