Over WrestleMania weekend there were 70+ events going on around the Orlando area. A few of those shows received iPPV deals while most of them were just for the people in attendance. One show that was planned for an internet pay-per-view fell victim to hackers and was almost just for those who physically made it to the show.
The Progress Wrestling show had a stacked card consisting of many high-profile indie matches including one for the WWE United Kingdom Championship. But, they had some major issues in the form of internet hackers.
According to The Observer the Progress show fell victim to a strategic and well-planned DDOS attack. The website was “bombarded with millions of invalid requests from numerous serve locations from all over the world.”
It took them about an hour and a half to figure the situation out. They had to keep changing servers and increase their defense efforts against the attacks to minimize damage. It wasn’t until about thirty minutes until the first actual users were able to log in and get on the site. This was especially costly because the show had a strict time they had to get out of the building because there was another show starting at 4pm.
The idea of hackers running interference in activities on the information super highway is nothing new. But, this is the first time hackers have directly targeted an iPPV is such a way. WWE had heavy involvement in the event as well as they reportedly paid for the working visas and travel expenses for the UK talent appearing on the show since were also working WWE’s show at Axxess.
Tyler Bate successfully defended his WWE United Kingdom Championship against Mark Andrews during the show. But that wasn’t the only title match either as Mark Haskins unsuccessfully took on Pete Dunne for his Progress World Championship.
Meltzer noted this was the first time in twenty-one that a WWE title had been defended on a show that wasn’t an official WWE show. The last time it happened was probably when Shawn Michaels defended the WWF’s Intercontinental Championship against Buddy Landel at a Smokey Mountain Wrestling Show on 8/4/95. Therefore, history was made on a show during WrestleMania weekend and it was almost shut down by hackers.