Chapter 44: Old Man Yells At Cloud
Location: Electric Ballroom in Camden, London
Date: February 26, 2017
Announcers: Glen Joseph and RJ Singh
James Drake vs. Damon Moser
This is Damon Moser’s first match at a Progress chapter show since Chapter 36. This is James Drake’s first match at a Progress chapter show since Chapter 37.
As Moser poses on the turnbuckle, Drake hits him with a forearm that sends him to the floor. Moser and Drake brawl on the outside and into the crowd. The crowd is hot for Moser. Moser hits a jumping knee to Drake on the outside, and finally gets him into the ring. A Knee Trembler immediately connects, but Drake gets his foot on the rope. Enzuigiri and a roll-up with the trunks gets 2 for Drake. Moser hits Drake with a couple forearms in the corner, but on a third, Drake levels him with a forearm. Drake hits a Mister Mayhem DDT and gets the quick win. Moser fractured his jaw somewhere in this match, so I’m guessing they had to finish early. Too short to be anything. Thumbs in the middle.
Winner: James Drake
Natural Progression Series First Round: “Session Moth” Martina vs. Dahlia Black (w/ TK Cooper)
This is the final first round match in the Natural Progression Series tournament. Already through to the next round are Jinny, Nixon Newell, Toni Storm, Alex Windsor, and Laura Di Matteo. The winner of the tournament will be the first Progress Women’s Champion.
Martina dives onto TK Cooper and grinds on him, before hitting another dive on Black. TK tries to distract Martina, but she makes out with him. Dahlia boots Martina and sends TK to the back. Dahlia pours beer onto Martina’s and tosses her into the ring. She goes to hit her with the can, but Martina grabs it and takes a drink. Like spinach for Popeye, it fires her up. She hits a Bronco Buster, and goes for second before Dahlia hits her low. Martina catches Dahlia off the top by spitting beer in her face. She goes for it again, but Dahlia pulls referee Chris Roberts in the way. Codebreaker from Martina, but the ref is down. Martina goes to pick him up, but TK comes back and lays her out with a punch. Dahlia covers and gets the win. I see Martina as an Irish ODB, so if that floats your boat, you’ll like this match. One thumb up.
Winner: Dahlia Black
Jordan Devlin vs. Travis Banks (w/ TK Cooper)
This is Devlin’s Progress debut. This is also Banks’s first singles match in Progress.
TK Cooper (in a different set of overalls) comes out with Travis Banks, but in a surprising move, Banks asks him to stay in the back. This crowd is very much behind Banks. As for Devlin, they make sure he knows he has an odd-looking head. They grapple to start. Banks seems to take advantage before Devlin drills him with an enzuigiri. It looked like Banks got knocked out, but that doesn’t stop Devlin from stomping on his head. Late cover gets 2. Devlin messes around with Banks and slaps him in the face, but Banks fires back with forearms. Devlin lays him out with a slap to the face, but after some back and forth, Banks lays him down with a running knee. Banks fires up, and the crowd tells Devlin that he’s “gonna get his massive head kicked in.” A superkick, followed by a brainbuster from gets 2 for Banks. With a head that massive, it’s gonna take more than a few brainbusters to put Devlin down. Banks goes for his springboard kick, but Devlin knocks his feet out from under him. He hits a backstabber and a Tiger Suplex for 2.
Devlin goes to the top rope, but his giant head weighs him down, so Banks catches him up there. Devlin knocks him down and goes for a moonsault, but Banks moves and hits a massive lariat. He follows it up with a twisting driver for 2. FOREARM EXCHANGE before Devlin hits the spinning enzuigiri. Devlin hits a big dive to the outside, one that he clearly stole from his father Finn Balor. He tosses Banks into the ring, but Banks responds with an insane dive that sends Devlin into the fourth row. Banks kicks Devlin in the chest, but before the final shot, Devlin hits a jumping knee that catches Banks right in the ear. That gets 2, so Devlin goes for another Tiger Suplex. Banks fights out, ducks another enzuigiri, and hits the springboard kick for the impressive win. The crowd gives this match, and both men a standing ovation. TWO THUMBS UP. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Winner: Travis Banks
Sebastian comes out with a dollar store-quality kendo stick. He wants Pastor William Eaver to come out and take his punishment (for punching him at Tropic Thunderbastard last month) or risk being arrested for assault. The Pastor comes out and looks to be willing to get scratched up by this stick, but Chuck Mambo comes out. Chuck tells Sebastian that he’s looked through some law books, and found out that Sebastian had 150 days to press charges against the Pastor. Those 150 days expired, so Sebastian has nothing to hold over the Pastor’s head now. He also says that what Sebastian is doing is legally considered blackmail, so the Pastor could press charges against him if he wanted to. Eaver asks Jim Smallman to give him a No-DQ match with Sebastian, and Smallman happily obliges.
No Disqualification Match: Sebastian vs. Pastor William Eaver
This match, stipulation and all, was supposed to happen back at Chapter 36 in September, but Sebastian was injured before the bell by an Eaver lariat.
Sebastian tries to bail, but the ring crew block his path. Pastor hits a Tope Con Halo onto the pile and sends Seb into the ring, but Seb catches Pastor with a chair on his way back in. Seb chucks a couple chairs at Pastor in the corner. The side of the second chair catches Pastor right in the face, and we have blood in the Ballroom. Pastor is wearing the crimson mask pretty quickly as Seb yells at the crowd. But Pastor recovers by grabbing Seb and hitting a RUNNING RAZOR’S EDGE INTO THE CROWD. HOLY CRAP.
They come out of the wreckage into the ring, and both men have chairs. They have a seat and start slapping each other until Seb bites Pastor’s bloody head. Seb goes to hit Pastor with his chair, but Pastor ducks and hits Seb with a uranage onto a chair. Pastor loads up for a Clothesline From Hell, but Seb kicks him low and hits him with a chair. Seb tapes the Pastor’s arms to the ropes and grabs his kendo stick. I made fun of how budget the stick looked, but it cuts up Pastor’s back something fierce. The referee makes Seb back off (for no reason, there’s no-DQ), which allows Pastor to hit a Pope-ish Hammer. He goes for another lariat, but Seb floats over and hits…a move and a lariat of his own for a 2 count. Seb goes for the twisting Unprettier, but Pastor shoves him into the corner and finally hits the Clothesline From Hell to get the win. Chuck Mambo comes out to help the battered Pastor to the back, and Jim Smallman has the ring crew help Sebastian to “f*ck off”. No matter how you felt about this feud, this match was a great blow-off. TWO THUMBS UP. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Winner: Pastor William Eaver
Mark Andrews vs. Shane Strickland
Mark Andrews is coming off of winning the Thunderbastard match at the last chapter show. Shane Strickland is returning after beating Will Ospreay at Chapter 35.
Strickland goes for a cartwheel kick, but Andrews kips up and ranas him to the outside. Andrews goes for a dive, but Strickland barrel rolls into the ring and hits a cutter. Andrews moves on a Strickland dive, but Strickland lands on his feet, so Andrews superkicks him. Andrews hits a moonsault off the mini-balcony, and when Strickland catches him, he turns it into a tornado DDT on the floor. Back in the ring, Strickland wins a FOREARM EXCHANGE and hits a deadlift vertical suplex for 2. Then this happened.
Andrews goes to the second rope, but gets his feet kicked out from under him. Strickland hits a second rope DDT, followed by a 450 splash for 2. He goes for a kick to the head, but Andrews ducks and hits a reverse rana. A top rope West Coast Pop gets 2 for Andrews. Andrews heads back to the top, but Strickland catches him with a boot. Strickland goes up top for a superplex, but Andrews moves to the side and hits a top rope reverse rana. Except Strickland lands ON HIS FEET. Strickland hits a spinning kick and goes for a brainbuster, but Andrews hits a Stundog Millionaire. He rushes to the top rope and hits the Shooting Star Press to get the win. I think this was hurt a little by following the no-DQ match, but the crowd was still into it. The last 90 seconds are fantastic. One thumb up.
Winner: Mark Andrews
After the match, Jim Smallman invites Strickland to take part in the Progress show at Wrestlemania weekend. Strickland seals the deal with a handshake, and we go to intermission.
Nathan Cruz vs. El Ligero
The Origin has seemed to split between the regular Origin (Nathan Cruz and Zack Gibson) and the Banter Edition (El Ligero and Dave Mastiff). This split was made official when Cruz and Gibson teamed up to eliminate Mastiff from last month’s Thunderbastard match. The last time these two wrestled was all the way back at Chapter 4, where Ligero beat Cruz to win the Progress Title.
The divide between the men seems to get deeper before the bell even rings. While Cruz comes out to Metallica’s version of Turn The Page, Ligero comes out to the Bob Seger original version of the song. Cruz grabs the mic and asks Ligero if he remembers why the Origin was created. The Origin was created because the fans turned their backs on the people who built Progress, and Cruz wants to know if Ligero will turn his back on him the same way. After Ligero literally turns his back on him, Cruz attacks him to get the match started.
The banter is strong to start, as Ligero dumps a bag full of gummy bears onto the ring. Jimmy Havoc may want to take Ligero with him to Tournament of Death. Cruz doesn’t want any part of it and grabs a chair from under the ring. He goes to hit Ligero with it, but the referee takes it away. Cruz goes for a low blow while the ref is turned around, but Ligero catches his boot and hits his own low blow. Cruz gets the upper hand back by tossing Ligero off the apron into the video wall. He then throws Ligero full force into the wall, then mocks Ligero’s thumbs up. Cruz does a couple big moves in a row, but never goes for the cover. He hits the Show Stolen, but Ligero KICKS OUT AT ONE! FIGHTING SPIRIT FROM LIGERO!
Ligero is a house of fire, but Cruz catches him with a back elbow. Cruz goes for a springboard nothing, and Ligero catches him with a cutter. Top rope splash from Ligero gets 2. Cruz tries to beg off and Ligero isn’t buying it, but Cruz ducks a kick and locks on a Figure Four. Ligero almost passes out, but he pops up at 2, so Cruz brings him to the corner post and slams his leg into it a couple times. Cruz brings Ligero back into the ring and goes for another figure four, but Ligero has been watching his Chi-Town Rumble tapes. Like Ricky Steamboat did to Ric Flair, Ligero catches Cruz in a small package for the 3 count. Post match, Cruz attacks Ligero and takes his mask off! He leaves with it like a bastard. One thumb up.
Winner: El Ligero
Zack Gibson vs. Jack Sexsmith
Jack Sexsmith is trying to earn a spot in May’s Super Strong Style 16 tournament. He got 2 eliminations in last month’s Thunderbastard before being eliminated by his opponent tonight, Zack Gibson.
It will never cease to amaze me how much heat Zack Gibson can get cutting the same promo on every show. He tells Sexsmith that he doesn’t belong in a Progress ring because he is a joke. Gibson schools Sexsmith early on, even taking off one of Sexsmith’s Uggs and tossing it to the side. (Side note: I love you Jack Sexsmith, but I don’t want to see you twist your ankle. Please get some boots, or at least some sneakers.) Sexsmith does fight back, and even has the crowd help him crotch Gibson on the ringpost. Sexsmith goes for a flying nothing, and Gibson hits him in the throat and clotheslines him for 2. Sexsmith fights back with a Pearl Neckbreaker and a big DDT for 2. Sexsmith loads up Mr. Cocko (haha, loads), but Gibson gets him with a Codebreaker. That only gets 2, and Sexsmith fires up. Then this happens.
Cover from Gibson, but Sexsmith get the Crossface Cocko on! He’s got two fingers in, knuckle deep! This could finish him off! But Gibson reaches the ropes to break the hold. Sexsmith goes for another DDT, but Gibson catches him with a Helter Skelter. That only gets a 2 count, so Gibson takes Sexsmith to the outside and hits a Helter Skelter on the floor. Damn. Gibson gets back in the ring and happily takes the countout victory. One thumb up.
Winner, via countout: Zack Gibson
High Stakes Six Man Tag Team Match: The Good Guys (Mark Haskins, Jimmy Havoc & Flash Morgan Webster) vs. British Strong Style (Pete Dunne, Trent Seven & WWE UK Champion Tyler Bate)
The stipulation is this: If Havoc, Haskins or Webster score the fall, they get a Progress World Title shot against Pete Dunne. If one of them get pinned or submit, they will be barred from a Progress Title shot for six months, which includes being left out of May’s Super Strong Style 16 tournament. Bate comes out with the WWE UK Title, and my god that belt is gorgeous.
I’m gonna shorthand this one. BSS are British Strong Style. BSS kick the Good Guys in the balls before the bell rings. They all go for Pedigrees (Hi, Hunter!) but they get reversed. Webster goes for a cover on Dunne, but Havoc breaks it up because he wants the title shot. The Good Guys argue, but they all split and hit dives on BSS. Flash hits a standing Sliced Bread on Dunne. Seven comes in and goes after Flash, but Flash slips out and dives on someone (camera missed it) and Havoc comes in. He takes control on Seven, and that ends in a flying nothing that gets flubbed. Bate comes in and gets Havoc in an old-school airplane spin. Farmer Burns would be proud. Haskins and Bate pair off and Haskins wins a strike exchange with a leg lariat. Dunne in with an enzuigiri and an X-Plex for 2. Haskins and Dunne have a FOREARM EXCHANGE before they somehow get both of the other guys teammates into submissions.
Dunne hits Webster with the Bitter End on the apron. Bate suplexes Haskins on the apron. And Trent Seven hits Jimmy Havoc with a dragon suplex on the apron because THESE MEN WANT STARS. Webster hits Dunne with a hurricanrana off the apron. Haskins hits Bate with a DVD on the apron. Dunne moonsaults Haskins and Webster off the top to the floor. If it sounds like these things are just happening, it’s because they are. Havoc takes a piledriver from Seven and a Tombstone from Bate and still kicks out at 2. Bate and Seven go for a double suplex, but Havoc hits an Acid Rainmaker on BOTH OF THEM. Rainmaker to Dunne takes both him and Havoc out of the ring. Webster dives onto everyone off the post.
In the ring, Bate and Haskins trade strikes before Haskins hits a DVD. That only gets 2, so Haskins transitions into the Star Armbar. Bate slips out and gets a rollup for 2. Haskins gets Bate into the Sharpshooter, and Havoc and Webster unselfishly hold back the other members of BSS so Haskins can get the fall. Dunne gets past Havoc though and breaks up the submission attempt. WE GET A SIX-MAN FOREARM EXCHANGE. The Good Guys all go for Rainmakers, but BSS duck and bite their fingers. Good Guys break out and THEY ALL HIT CANADIAN DESTROYERS, but BSS come back with Jushin Liger capo-kicks. What the hell is going on? BSS all go for Pedigrees and hit them, except Webster rolls up Bate and only gets 2. Haskins DVDs Bate off the apron onto a couple guys, and Webster hits a reverse rana on Dunne. Webster springboards, but he must be hungry because he eats a fist from Dunne. Dunne goes for the Bitter End, but Havoc slips in and hits a Rainmaker on Dunne for the win. Complete chaos. One thumb up.
Winners: The Good Guys (Jimmy Havoc scores the fall, gets a title match)
After the match, Havoc announces that he wants his shot at Pete Dunne at the next show, and he wants it in a deathmatch. His birthday is March 19th, and he can’t think of a better present than his Progress Title back.
Thoughts on the Show: What a fantastic show this was. Two straight highly recommended matches on the undercard, and everything after intermission being really good makes this very easy. CHAPTER 44 GETS TWO THUMBS UP.
Matches to Watch: Jordan Devlin vs. Travis Banks, Pastor William Eaver vs. Sebastian, High Stakes Six Man Tag
Matches to Skip: None.
I will be back with a review of Chapter 45: Galvanize, where Pete Dunne defends the Progress World Title against Jimmy Havoc in a deathmatch, and Tyler Bate and Trent Seven defend the Progress Tag Team Titles against the South Pacific Power Trip. You can watch this and every Progress Wrestling show on Progress’s on-demand service, Demand Progress. Any thoughts on Chapter 44, or about Progress in general? Be sure to comment below or reach me on Twitter, @SuitWilliams.