Chapter 52: Vote Pies
Date: July 23, 2017
Location: The O2 Ritz in Manchester, England
Announcers: Glen Joseph and Callum Leslie
During his pre-show speech, Jim Smallman brought a man who won a bet against him in the ring for a picture. Jim asks the man’s girlfriend to take the picture, but it was all a ruse, as the man asks his girlfriend to marry him! The crowd goes insane, and she says yes! (Pro tip: Guys, don’t ask someone to marry you in public unless you are 150% sure she will say yes. If she says no, I will point and laugh.)
CCK (Brookes & Lykos) vs. Banter Edition (Mastiff & Ligero), Extra Talent-ed (Solow & Starks)
This was the Progress debuts of both members of Extra Talent-ed, Ricky Starks and Aaron Solow.
Before the match, Extra Talented gave Mastiff a birthday card. Unfortunately, it was signed by Jeff Jarrett and the team of iTV, the masterminds behind the botched reboot of World of Sport that Mastiff signed on for. That made Mastiff suplex everyone and powerbomb Ligero onto the other teams on the outside. This was your typical fun Progress opener. There were moves and dives galore. Lykos was able to do his lucha offense on Dave Mastiff, even hitting a spanish fly off the top rope. Then the finish happened.
CCK hit their Inkbomb finisher on Ligero. Extra Talented came in to break up the pin, but the referee counted three. Then, there was about a minute of awkwardness as people tried to figure out what was happening before CCK’s music hit. After CCK were announced as the winners, Brookes just threw chairs at Solow and Starks before challenging them to a match at the next chapter. It was a good match before the finish. As for Extra Talented, they were ok, but Starks just seemed on a different page to everyone else at times, especially CCK. **1/2
Tyson T-Bone def. Mike Bird
This is T-Bone’s first Progress appearance since Chapter 35, when he lost in the semi-finals of the Progress Atlas Title tournament to Rampage Brown.
This was fine for a second match on the card. Bird turned in another good performance, however T-Bone looked very off. I don’t know if he got tired or what, but his moves during the latter half of this match were done with very low energy. Even his finisher, which I believe was a powerslam from a suplex position, looked weird. T-Bone won with said weird-looking move. The story here is that Bird is on a losing streak, but him losing to a guy who isn’t really around in Progress doesn’t really help anyone. **1/2
PROGRESS Women’s Championship: Toni Storm (c) vs. Laura Di Matteo
Toni Storm won the Women’s Title on Night 2 of the 2017 Super Strong Style 16. This is her second defense. Di Matteo earned this title shot by beating Jinny at Progress’s recent show in Germany.
This was the best match of Di Matteo’s career by far. The match told a really good story as well. Laura knew that Toni had her outmatched, so she did absolutely everything she could to keep Toni off of her feet. She did three big suicide dives to the outside. (Sidebar: I could do without the announcers creaming their pants over LDM’s dive every time she hits it. Her dive is not the greatest dive in wrestling, it’s not even the best dive in the company. Chill out.) A couple big missile dropkicks couldn’t keep Storm down either. Eventually, Storm got her bearings and got control of the match. And despite a valiant effort from LDM, Storm was able to put her away with the Strong Zero piledriver. Really good stuff from both women. ***1/4
Matt Riddle vs. Travis Banks
Pete Dunne is choosing Banks’s opponents up to the Alexandra Palace show in September. His first choice is former Atlas Champion Matt Riddle.
This match was absolutely fantastic. The match went about 15 minutes or so, but these two wrestled this match in 5th gear from start to finish. The first 5 minutes or so was mostly them chopping and kicking the living hell out of each other, followed by them just hitting each other with the biggest moves they could. Riddle kicked out of a Kiwi Krusher. Riddle hit a jumping Tombstone that Banks KICKED OUT OF AT ONE! The action was definitely Match of the Year quality for Progress.
Then the finish happened. Pete Dunne came out, and because Travis Banks is a moron, he couldn’t stop staring at Pete Dunne. Riddle hit another tombstone on Banks and got the win. I hate that finish in WWE. I hate that finish in NXT. And unsurprisingly, I hate it in Progress. So not only does Banks look like an idiot, he loses on his road to Ally Pally. Watch the match, but the finish took so much away for me. ***3/4
Jack Sexsmith def. Chief Deputy Dunne, Chuck Mambo, Zack Gibson
This was a
fun fine little match. It was mostly guys pairing off with the occasional 3-way move in there. Mambo had Dunne in a Gory Special, and Gibson came in and hit Dunne with a lungblower out of that. Mambo looked sharp as always. I want him on more chapter shows, either by himself or with Pastor William Eaver in their tag team. Gibson hit the Helter Skelter on Sexsmith, but Dunne broke up the pin. Sexsmith ended up rolling Gibson up again for the win. That came as a surprise to me, because I thought I heard that Dunne won this match. A welcome surprise, even though I’m crazy of Gibson taking the fall. **3/4
Non-Title Match: PROGRESS Champion Pete Dunne def. Eddie Dennis
Travis Banks gets to choose Pete Dunne’s opponents up to the Alexandra Palace show in September. His first choice is the newly full-time wrestler Eddie Dennis. In addition, if Dunne loses to any of Banks’s picks, he’ll have to defend the title against them before the Palace show.
I’ve never been a big Eddie Dennis guy. I like him well enough, but his singles matches leave me feeling meh. But he stepped up big time here with Pete Dunne. These two beat the hell out of each other here, and Manchester was firmly behind Eddie. And Pete Dunne was on another level on this night. He was vicious, throwing Dennis into the crowd and shoving fans. The heat was absolutely off the charts here.
I really feel like they could’ve stretched this out and got a main event title match out of this. When Eddie countered the Pedigree into the Next Stop Driver, that crowd was ready to explode. When Eddie kicked out of the Bitter End, the people went crazy. The people wanted Eddie to pull this off, and I really think Progress made a mistake here by having Dunne beat him with his Triple H cosplay combo (sledgehammer into the Pedigree). The screwy finish didn’t really hurt either guy, and it only took away from the match a little bit. I do think that a clean finish would’ve been better than trying to protect Eddie with a screwy loss. I just prefer a clean finish is all. Regardless of that, check this match out. ****
Tornado Tag Match for the PROGRESS Tag Team Championship: British Strong Style def. War Machine
The team of Seven and Bate won the titles for a second time at Chapter 51. This is their first defense. War Machine earned this title shot by beating the London Riots at Chapter 51. Before the bell, Jim Smallman made this match tornado tag rules as a punishment for British Strong Style’s underhanded tactics at Chapter 51.
I think I would’ve liked this better as a straight tag match. The tornado rules didn’t help this match like it did in the War Machine/London Riots matches. The walk-and-brawl at the start of this match was very pedestrian, and it lacked the urgency that the Riots matches had. But when both teams were in the ring, the action was stellar. Hard-hitting and fast-paced, these guys never let up. The end of this match was another screwy finish though, with BSS hitting both members of War Machine with a tag title and pinning Hanson with a Pedigree. Once the action got in the ring, this was a very good tag team match. ***1/2
MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Pete Dunne vs. Eddie Dennis
FINAL THOUGHTS: Chapter 52 was a very good Progress show, with some booking decisions that keep it from being a really upper echelon Progress show. Riddle/Banks, Dunne/Dennis and the main event were great matches. But this trend of nonsense finishes is one that Progress can fall into at times, and it can really take away from some great matches.
I will be back with a review of Progress Chapter 53: Fate Loves The Fearless. You can watch this show (along with every show in Progress history) on their streaming service Demand Progress. Any thoughts on this show? Leave a comment below, or let me know on Twitter, @SuitWilliams.