Chapter 45: Galvanize
Location: The Ritz in Manchester, Lancashire
Date: March 19, 2017
Announcers: Glen Joseph and Callum Leslie
Progress Tag Team Championship Match: The South Pacific Power Trip (TK Cooper & Travis Banks w/ Dahlia Black) vs. British Strong Style (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) (c)
While the British Strong Style group (with Pete Dunne) have held the tag team titles since Chapter 36, this is Seven and Bate’s first defense of the titles. The Power Trip earned this title shot by beating FSU back at Chapter 39 in November.
After some banter between Seven and the crowd, Seven and Cooper get started. Cooper slaps Seven, so Seven calmly responds with a PILEDRIVER. Banks breaks up the pin and gets into it with Bate. Tope suicida from Banks onto Bate. TK Cooper climbs to the top rope and hits a corkscrew moonsault onto the other 3 men to prove his strong style capabilities. Back in the ring, Bate claws Cooper’s eyes out and the champs take control. The crowd gets behind the Power Trip because British Strong Style are such bastards. Seven lights up Cooper with chops in the corner, but Cooper is able to duck a clothesline and hit a leg lariat onto Bate. Hot tag to Banks, and he caves both mens chests in with kicks. Crazy spot where Banks kicks Seven into a cannonball onto Bate, then Banks cannonballs both of them.
The match kicks into high gear when Seven hits a double dragon suplex that gets no-sold. SUPERKICKS! BACKFISTS! DEADLIFT GERMANS! There are more spots in this match than 101 Dalmatians. Cooper hits a springboard 450 onto Bate, because why the hell not. Bate sends Banks into Cooper, and that sends Cooper to the outside. Seven hits Banks with a PILEDRIVER OFF THE TOP ROPE. Bate follows it up with the Tyler Driver ’97 for the win. Absolutely mental match. TWO THUMBS UP, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Winners: STILL Progress Tag Team Champions, British Strong Style
Post match, Jimmy Havoc comes out and beats up both Seven and Bate with a chair. The crowd sings him Happy Birthday while Jimmy beats them both up. After drinking a beer and giving them both one last shot with the chair, Jimmy decides that he’s done enough and leaves.
Zack Gibson vs. El Ligero
Before the match, Jim Smallman announces that the absent Dave Mastiff has sent him a note. The note reads that Ligero did a bit of drinking for St. Patrick’s Day, and thus, will be worse for wear. Worse for wear is an understatement, as Ligero stumbles out wearing an oversized emoji mask and mismatched gear. Gibson dresses down Ligero on the mic, and Ligero gives referee Chris Roberts a hug before the match gets started.
The drawstring on Ligero’s tights is hanging out, and it’s really distracting. Gibson rips the emoji mask off of Ligero, but it turns out that it wasn’t El Ligero. It was El Generico! I thought he was dead! He hits a Helluva Kick and a standing moonsault (with assistance from the ref) for 2. Generico pulls off Twin Magic with Ligero and spits beer in Gibson’s face. A fan with a motorized wheelchair helps Ligero hit a dropkick on Gibson. A wrestling match breaks out, and Gibson hits a codebreaker for 2. Ligero is in control for a lot of it, and hits a springboard cutter for 2. Ligero locks Gibson locked in the Otter’s Gate (Shankly Gates), when Nathan Cruz comes out in the mask he stole from Ligero. This allows Gibson to hit the Helter Skelter on Ligero for the win. This may be the best comedy match I have ever seen. TWO THUMBS UP, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Winner: Zack Gibson
James Drake vs. Jack Sexsmith
Drake hits a running dropkick before the bell rings. Sexsmith is wearing KT tape on his back after his match with Zack Gibson at Old Man Yells At Cloud. (SIDEBAR: I call BS on KT tape. How does a couple strips of tape do anything? Is there IcyHot on it? Someone let me know.) Sexsmith comes back and hits a senton off the top to the floor. Back in the ring, a Sexsmith superkick gets 2. Drake hits a big backbreaker on the apron. He rips the tape off of Sexsmith’s back. How dastardly. Exploder suplex gets 2. The crowd is very pre-occupied with the picture of Drake’s face on his tights. Sexsmith hits a Pearl Neckbreaker and an LGBDDT before pulling out Mr. Cocko. Drake fights out and hits an enzuigiri for 2. Sexsmith locks on the Crossface Cocko, but Drake claws at Sexsmith’s face. Jawbreaker forearm, and Sexsmith sells big for it. Drake hits an implant DDT for the win. Drake suffers from Create-A-Wrestler syndrome. He doesn’t do anything poorly. But there is nothing he does that is impressive, at least from what I’ve seen. I’m not gonna write him off just yet, but I’m not looking forward to seeing more of him. Thumbs in the middle.
Winner: James Drake
Will Ospreay vs. Mark Andrews
Mark Andrews is the 2017 Thunderbastard winner. He is in line for a Progress Title shot in the near future. Ospreay and Andrews have had several seminal matches in Progress since the company’s inception in 2012. The record between these two (including tag matches) is 3-1 in the favor of Andrews. The last time they wrestled was a barnburner at Chapter 23, where Ospreay retained the Progress Title he held at the time.
Ospreay is wearing grey jeans, because he’s a bad guy now. Ospreay takes a sliced bread on the apron, and lands on his face after a double stomp. Jesus Will, please stop landing on your face. Ospreay goes for a handspring move, but Andrews counters with a dropkick. Roll-through double stomp and a corkscrew senton gets 2. Andrews hits a tilt-a-whirl backslide driver for 2, because physics mean nothing to Mandrews. Ospreay cuts off Andrews with a boot and a big delayed dropkick. Cradle Shock from Ospreay gets 2. Ospreay’s jeans are annoying the hell out of me. Ospreay lays in big kicks to Andrews. He’s absorbed them from Shibata like Mega Man. Andrews fires up, and they go for something. But Ospreay bounces off the ropes, and the damn ropes break.
The men stall for a split second before Ospreay lifts Andrews into a reverse rana to get the crowd back. FOREARM EXCHANGE and Andrews kicks Ospreay in the head. Andrews goes up to the rickety top rope, but is still able to hit a West Coast Pop for 2. Andrews goes up again, but Ospreay gets up and hits a big facebuster for 2. Ospreay goes to suplex Andrews, but YOU CAN’T SUPLEX MARK ANDREWS. Stundog Millionaire lands, then Andrews picks up Ospreay and hits a vertabreaker for the win. The broken rope curse snuck its way into Progress, but these two are so good, they were able to work around it. One thumb up.
Winner: Mark Andrews
Post match, Jimmy Havoc comes out and beats down Ospreay with a chair. This is to keep HIM from interfering in his main event title match. One Acid Rainmaker later, and Havoc leaves with his chair.
Ringkampf (WALTER & Axel Dieter Jr.) vs. The Hunter Brothers (Lee & Jim Hunter)
Yes, because the first person you want in a ring that already broke is WALTER.
The crowd is into Ringkampf despite their stick-in-the-mud demeanor. Dieter starts off with Hunter #1, and out-grapples him for a bit. WALTER tags in, and he immediately starts wailing on Hunter #1. Dieter tags back in, but Hunter #2 gets the upper hand with a big moonsault. WALTER is having none of this, and low-bridges Hunter #2 to the outside and lands a backbreaker on the apron. When Hunter #1 takes umbrage with that, WALTER just boots him in the face. Hunter #2 slaps WALTER, so WALTER gives him a couple hearty chops to the chest. This next sequence is insane. WALTER german suplexes Hunter #2, but the Hunter lands on his feet. He goes for a superkick, but WALTER catches his leg and puts on an ankle lock. And just when it looks like the Hunter is about to roll through the ankle lock, WALTER pulls him up and hits the german. My god WALTER is great, and he deserves his name in all caps.
A hot tag to Hunter #1 is teased, but WALTER decides against it and yanks Hunter #1 off the apron. Hunter #2 fights off a double team and gets the tag. Hunter #1 runs wild and lands a dive onto WALTER, and Hunter #2 hits a slingshot back suplex onto Dieter. Over the knee neckbreaker gets 2 for the Hunters. WALTER tags in and locks on a sleeper. Hunter #1 (I lost track at this point) rolls through the sleeper, so WALTER BOOTS HIM TO DEATH. The Hunter wakes up in time to kick out at 2. WALTER heads to the top, but the Hunters cut him off. WALTER takes a hurricanrana off the top and a splash, but kicks out at 2 with authority. Superkicks take down Dieter, but WALTER dropkicks a Hunter and Dieter uppercuts the other one. Dieter hits a belly-to-back suplex on Jim, and Ringkampf hit a European uppercut into a powerbomb for the win. Give me Ringkampf vs. British Strong Style, and GIVE IT TO ME NOW. One thumb up.
Nathan Cruz vs. Flash Morgan Webster
Cruz starts working Webster’s shoulder, but Flash speeds up the pace. I need to keep a count of headbutts on a Progress show one day. I swear it’s beginning to rival the superkick. Webster hits a few lucha armdrags, but Cruz cuts him off with a hotshot over the ropes. Flash keeps quickening the pace before going to the top, but Cruz shoves Flash off the top onto the apron. Flash looks to have hurt his shoulder, but he was playing possum to forearm Cruz. Cruz fires Webster’s shoulder into the ringpost, and sends him back into the ring. Cruz laughs like a maniac after dropping an elbow onto Webster. Cruz goes for an uppercut, but Flash hooks the arm and does a one-armed backslide for 2. Fantastic selling there. Cruz heads to the top rope and goes for a Show Stolen off the top, but Flash ranas him down. Running Sliced Bread gets 2. Flash locks on the Strangler and keeps it on as Cruz rolls to the outside, but Cruz sends him into the post. Flash comes back with a dive and a crossbody into the chairs on the outside.
In the ring, Cruz cuts off Flash and hits the Show Stolen, but only gets 2. Headbutt from Flash puts Cruz down. In a weird spot, Flash goes to the top rope, but chickens out before he does anything. He gets his courage and goes back up top, but Cruz hits a Codebreaker off the top. Flash kicks out at 2 and Cruz can’t believe it. Cruz goes for the Show Stolen, but Webster locks on the Strangler again and gets the tapout win. Glen Joseph said on commentary that this was his sleeper for match of the night. I laughed it off, but this match was a lot better than it looked on paper. Flash is looking better in the ring than I remember him to have been. Very good stuff. Two thumbs up.
Winner: Flash Morgan Webster
Post match, Cruz attacks Webster and hits a Divorce Court armbreaker on the ropes.
Natural Progression Series IV Second Round: Jinny vs. Nixon Newell
This is the first match of the second round of the Natural Progression Series tournament. The winner of this tournament will be crowned the first Progress Women’s Champion.
Jinny starts off with a rana before the bell, and hits a dive onto Nixon on the outside. She takes Nixon onto all four sides, before sending her back into the ring. Nixon hits a couple dives of her own, and hits a headbutt on the outside. I was kidding with that headbutt count, but we are at 3 in the last two matches. Jinny gets control back and hits some forearms before Nixon tells her to “hit me proper, bitch!” We are getting salty in the Ritz! Nixon hits forearms of her own, and Jinny runs into a fallaway slam for 2. Nixon goes for an (Insert Hometown) Destroyer, but Jinny kicks her way out. Nixon hits an STO for 2. Nixon heads to the top, but Jinny moves out of the way of a moonsault. Running knee and a Rainmaker from Jinny, but Nixon kicks out at 1. Jinny ties Nixon into the ropes, calls her Welsh scum, and hits a X-Factor for 2. Jinny hits a (Insert Hometown) Destroyer for the win. Jinny is one of the most over people on the roster, and Nixon probably isn’t gonna be around in Progress much longer, so this was to be expected. Took nothing away from the match. One thumb up.
No Disqualification Match for the Progress World Championship: Jimmy Havoc vs. Pete Dunne (c)
Jimmy Havoc earned this title shot at Chapter 44 when he got the pin in the High Stakes Six Man Tag Team main event, pinning Dunne himself. This is Dunne’s fourth defense of the title, his second defense against Havoc.
Havoc is in his jeans. It’s a little better here than with Ospreay, as it’s a street fight type match, but I’m still not a fan. Dunne attacks Havoc during his entrance, and hits him with a chair. Dunne chairnecks Havoc on the floor. They brawl on the outside for a while. Havoc hits a rana on the floor. It’s been about five minutes, and neither man has been in the ring. Havoc sends Dunne in the ring, but Dunne immediately forearms Havoc and double stomps him on the floor. Alright, let’s get in the ring now. Dunne gets a staple gun and staples Havoc’s ear. Dunne tosses Havoc in the ring, but Havoc dives to the floor. Dunne catches him and hits an X-Plex onto the apron. Back body drop to Havoc, through two chairs on the floor. BOTH MEN ARE IN THE RING! After ELEVEN MINUTES of crowd brawling, both men are in the ring.
Dunne bites Jimmy’s bloody ear. Dunne grabs a couple strands of barbed wire. He wraps the barbed wire around Havoc’s leg and stomps on it. Dunne staples a streamer to Havoc’s face. Oh, it’s going to get gruesome isn’t it? Dunne ties up Havoc and goes crazy with the stapler, just popping him in his arm and in his face. I haven’t said “oh god” this much since the last time I went to church. Havoc runs Dunne into a chair in the corner. Havoc goes off to the bar and grabs an 8×10 and a bottle of alcohol. He gives Dunne paper cuts and pours the alcohol all over his cut up hand. Jimmy Havoc probably watched the Saw movies and took notes. Staple gun to Dunne’s balls. Havoc wraps the arm in barbed wire, but Dunne forearms him down. Dunne wraps his own arm in barbed wire. They grab chairs, have a seat, and have a BARBED WIRE COVERED FOREARM EXCHANGE. Havoc wins, and German suplexes Dunne into the chairs for 2. Havoc wraps the bottom rope in barbed wire, and tries to curb stomp Dunne onto it, but Dunne moves. Dunne crotches Havoc on the barbed wire bottom rope.
Dunne gets a table, and that feels like a step back at this point. /s Dunne wallops Havoc with a frying pan, and we have blood in Manchester. We probably already did with the staples and paper cuts, but now it’s really flowing. Dunne sets up the table, but that allows Havoc to recover and hit a reverse rana. Now we’ve got tacks. Havoc fills up Dunne’s mouth with tacks, but Dunne bites Jimmy’s hand with the tacks in his mouth. Havoc recovers and hits a (Insert Hometown) Destroyer into the tacks for 2. Will Ospreay comes out and pulls out a barbed wire baseball bat. Havoc hits a pele kick on Ospreay and hits a Rainmaker on Dunne, but that only gets 2. Dive on Ospreay, and Havoc superplexes Dunne onto a table that barely budges. Dunne recovers and hits a powerbomb through the table for 2. Dunne goes for a Rainmaker, but Havoc reverses it into his own Rainmaker. Ospreay pulls the ref out of the ring before three. Havoc cuts off an Ospreay dive, but Dunne hits Havoc in the stomach with the barbed wire bat and follows it up with the Bitter End for the win. I could’ve done without the eleven minutes of crowd brawling, but the violence here was insane to see. What a match. TWO THUMBS UP. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Winner: STILL Progress World Champion, Pete Dunne
After the match, Ospreay hits Havoc with an Acid Rainmaker before telling him that “this has to end.”
Thoughts on the Show: This show had three must-see matches, all must-see for completely different reasons. British Strong Style vs. The Power Trip was fantastic tag team wrestling, Ligero vs. Gibson is one of the best comedy matches I’ve ever seen, and Dunne vs. Havoc was an unreal display of violence. Even the worst match on the card wasn’t that bad, and wasn’t very long. This is, from top to bottom, one of the best Progress shows in the company’s history. Chapter 45 gets TWO THUMBS UP, AND IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Match of the Night: Jimmy Havoc vs. Pete Dunne (unless you’re squeamish, then South Pacific Power Trip vs. British Strong Style)
I’ll be back with a review of Progress’s five-year anniversary show Chapter 46: I Like To Chill Out Here And Shoot Some Dinosaurs. You can watch every Progress show ever on their on-demand service, Demand Progress. Have any thoughts on this show? Comment down below, or you can reach me on Twitter, @SuitWilliams.