(Writer’s note: I’ll be star rating matches from now on. Turns out giving star ratings is a lot easier than I thought it would be, and it allows more variance than the thumbs system.)
Chapter 50: I Give It Six Months
Location: The Electric Ballroom in Camden, London
Date: June 25, 2017
Announcers: Glen Joseph, Callum Leslie, and RJ Singh
Pete Dunne’s State of the Union Address
Dunne confirms that Travis Banks will get his Progress World Title shot at the big Alexandra Palace show in September. He says that he guarantees that he’ll be Progress World Champion by then, because he’s refusing to defend the title until then. He says that no one deserves a shot, because no one can beat him. Dunne goes to leave, but Jim Smallman stops him. Smallman says that while he can refuse to defend the title, Dunne does still have to wrestle, including having a match later tonight. Smallman adds that if anyone pins Dunne before the Alexandra Palace show, they get a title shot. A fine segment to set up Dunne’s match later in the night.
PROGRESS Women’s Title: Toni Storm def. Kay Lee Ray
Storm won the title on Day 2 of the Super Strong Style 16. This is her first defense. Ray earned this title shot by beating Katey Harvey on Day 3 of Super Strong Style 16.
This was a stellar first defense of the Women’s Title. Ray looked very good here, trying to chop Toni’s soul out of her body on several occasions. She even kicked out of Storm’s piledriver. Storm was great here too, hitting some awesome suplexes and kicking out of Ray’s Gory Bomb. In the end, Storm cut off Ray on the top rope and hit a second-rope piledriver for the win. Post match, the two women hug and raise each other’s hands. I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing this match again in the Mae Young Classic. Both women were on point, and they had a belter to open up the show. ***3/4
The London Riots def. The Origin: Banter Edition
Before the match, Mastiff announces that they don’t have the rights to Turn The Page by Bob Seger. His plan is to get the fans in the Electric Ballroom to sing the song! If my memory serves, the Progress Instagram story from that day described their attempt as “embarrasing.”
There was a lot of comedy in this match, but when they settled down, it was alright. Mastiff did a hurricanrana, which got a standing ovation from the crowd. The Riots hit the District Line powerbomb on both Ligero and Mastiff, but Mastiff kicked out. Mastiff broke up a slingshot spear attempt, but got speared when he and Ligero were setting up a tag move. Lynch then hits Ligero with a spear, and a slingshot spear for the win. **1/2
Flash Morgan Webster def. Jack Sexsmith via DQ
This was another match that came out better than it looked on paper. I have to go back and watch some older Flash Morgan Webster matches. I had no strong feelings about him when I got into Progress around Chapter 20 until he got hurt at Chapter 29. Then he came back at Chapter 44, and he has been aces ever since. Either he was always this good, or he got exponentially better during his time on the shelf. Either way, Flash has been a highlight of Progress as of late.
These two worked pretty well together, and were having a fun little match. In fact, they were having a bit TOO much fun. Luckily, Damian Dunne was here to break up the party. For the uninitiated, Damian Dunne is the Chief Deputy of the Anti-Fun Police. He’s been busy cleaning up Attack Pro Wrestling, but the antics of Jack Sexsmith have brought him back to Progress. Dunne hit Webster with his megaphone to cost Jack the match before attacking Jack’s recently injured arm. He says that he will teach Progress and Sexsmith that if you don’t have fun, you won’t get hurt. Dunne confiscates Mr. Cocko and leaves. I’m looking forward to seeing this gimmick in Progress, and the match before the run-in was pretty good. ***1/4
Progress Champion Pete Dunne comes out for his non-title match. His mystery opponent is Donovan Dijak!
Non-Title Match: Progress Champion Pete Dunne def. Donovan Dijak
Dijak started this match a house of fire. He hit a springboard moonsault, a chokeslam on the apron, and a springboard elbow in the first three minutes. Dunne took control with an X-Plex and went to work on Dijak’s legs. He mixed his groundwork in with schoolyard bully tactics. For example, Dunne had Dijak in position for a Mexican surfboard, and he just started pulling Dijak’s ears and fish-hooking him. Really good stuff from Dunne there.
Dijak came back with a chokebreaker and a step-up moonsault for 2. Dunne cut that comeback off with a big forearm, and hit a Pedigree (because Triple H is over, you see) for 2. They have a big STRIKE EXCHANGE that Dijak gets the better of. A big boot leads to Dijak hitting Feast Your Eyes, but Dunne rolls out of the ring. Dijak follows him to the outside with a Fosbury Flop, and brings him back in for another Feast Your Eyes. But Dunne comes down with Dijak’s hand and bites his fingers. He hits the Bitter End for the win. Very good match here, and Dunne once again picks up a clean win over a big name on his road to Alexandra Palace. ***3/4
Nathan Cruz and Zack Gibson def. Mark Haskins and Jimmy Havoc
Four pillars of Progress history here, or conversely, four men who really don’t like copyright law. This match came together as a way for Havoc and Haskins to smooth over their issues from Super Strong Style weekend, when Havoc inadvertently cost Haskins two of his matches that weekend. It was Haskins’s birthday, so Mark’s
insanely, unbelievably hot wife came out and gave him and Jimmy party hats. Gibson takes the mic and says that both Haskins and Havoc have reduced themselves to jokes, so Haskins and Havoc take out Gibson and Cruz with dives.
I loved the Origin getting the heat on Havoc here. Jimmy’s back is scarred up from Tournament of Death, so both Cruz and Gibson used back rakes to get the advantage. It was so old-school, but it was also really logical because Jimmy’s back looks like a used cutting board. Haskins comes in hot, and he and Gibson have a real nice exchange that ends with a Star Armbar. The Origin get control back with a cool crossbody/German suplex combo for 2. Haskins and Havoc come back with a cooler tag move, a superkick into a Rainmaker, but Gibson rolls out of the ring.
The ref gets bumped after this, and a chair gets introduced. Gibson tries to do the Eddie Guerrero chair spot, but the ref doesn’t get up, so Havoc just beats him up with the chair. Things break down, and Havoc ends up hitting Havoc with a chair by accident. It’s the one thing they didn’t want to happen. Gibson gets Haskins rolled up for the win. Post match, Cruz isn’t happy for some reason, but Havoc and Haskins hug it out. I figured Havoc and Haskins would have problems after that, but it seems like they’re still cool with each other. ***1/2
Travis Banks def. James Drake
This match was my litmus test for James Drake. I still wasn’t very impressed, but he did try to spice things up. He did a dive and a step-up moonsault toward the end of the match. It was still a lot of uncompelling stuff, forearms and stomps mostly, but the effort is appreciated. Banks looked good in his first outing since Super Strong Style. Drake kicked out of the Kiwi Krusher and a coast-to-coast dropkick, but a Slice of Heaven put him down and gave Drake the win. Banks was his usual good self, and Drake was once again there. **3/4
PROGRESS Tag Team Titles: CCK (Brookes and Lykos) def. British Strong Style (Seven and Bate) (c)
Seven and Bate won the tag team titles at Chapter 41. This is their fourth title defense.
BSS take forever to get into the ring, so CCK dive to the outside to get the match started. I say get the match started, when in actuality, they brawl on the outside for a while. Chairs are used, guys get thrown into the crowd, it’s just a classic Progress brawl here. They get up to the stage, and Seven goes to piledrive Lykos on the stage, but Brookes annihilates him with a chair. Lykos and Brookes both dive from the stage to the floor onto BSS. After almost ten minutes of brawling, they finally get in the ring and the bell sounds.
We’re already at the DUAL FOREARM EXCHANGES. BSS hit double Bop and Bangs, but they kick CCK low in an effort to get disqualified. Referee Chris Roberts refuses though, and the match continues. Lykos hits a Lo Mein Pain on Seven, and CCK hit a sick f’ing tag move for 2. At this point, they just hit all the moves. Eventually, BSS get Brookes alone and they hit: a Tyler Driver, three lariats, and a spinning piledriver. Brookes kicks out to a huge pop. BSS call out Pete Dunne for interference, but Travis Banks immediately comes in and runs off Dunne. Lykos ends up hitting Bate with a Braaaaainbustah, and CCK get the win and the titles.
I could’ve done without the ten minutes of crowd brawling, and there were a few spots where guys didn’t break up covers in time. But that’s nitpicking, the match once the bell rung was phenomenal and fast-paced. Banks running off Dunne and returning the favor for CCK was great, and I’m glad to see new tag team champs. ***3/4
FINAL THOUGHTS: Two stellar title matches, a great Dunne/Dijak match, and a couple more solid undercard matches make this a damn good outing from Progress. This show gets a high recommendation from me.
You can watch this show, along with every other Progress show in history, on Progress’s on-demand service Demand Progress. I’ll be back with a review of Chapter 51: Screaming For Progress. You can follow me on Twitter, @SuitWilliams.