Chapter 53: Fate Loves The Fearless
Date: July 30, 2017
Location: The Electric Ballroom, London, England
Announcers: Glen Joseph & RJ Singh
#1 Contender’s Match: CCK def. Extra Talent-ed
I don’t know why this was a #1 Contender’s match. Extra Talented has had one match in Progress, and they didn’t win that one. I don’t know what to make of Extra Talented either. They are fine wrestlers, but the most interesting thing about them is that one of them goes out with Bayley. Other than that, they are absolutely fine pro wrestlers. Despite these little things, this was a fine opener. The crowd called Solow a “sh*t Essa Rios”. I guess that would make Bayley a sh*t Lita. CCK won when Brookes hit a Jay Driller on Solow. ***
Chief Deputy Dunne def. Chuck Mambo
I had a thought during this match, as I tend to do. If Progress were to expand the Anti-Fun Police into a group, then someone who would fit the group like a glove would be Earl Black Jr. He’s been a ‘Freedom’s Road’ regular on Demand Progress, but his demeanor and his humor would work wonders alongside Chief Dunne. As for the match, it wasn’t memorable. Chuck was very good here, but Dunne is all gimmick. He doesn’t do anything for me when the bell rings. Dunne got the win with a top rope DDT, and confiscated Mambo’s endless elbow pads after the match. **1/2
Zack Gibson and James Drake def. Never Say Die
This is the Chapter debut of both members of Never Say Die, Alex Cupid and Dillon D’Angelo. Zack Gibson has a new tag team partner after Nathan Cruz seemingly left Progress after Chapter 50. His choice is the ever-popular James Drake.
This was a squash match to get over the new team of Gibson and Drake, and may I say, it was very effective. I don’t know if those two team regularly, but they were a well-oiled machine in the ring. I’ve given James Drake crap in the past, but he was very good here. Never Say Die showed some potential as well, with D’Angelo having some standout lucha-style offense, but this was the Gibson and Drake show all the way. A tandem Ticket To Ride got the bad guys the win in a short-but-effective match. ***1/4
Atlas Title #1 Contender Match: James Davis def. Rob Lynch
The Riots recently asked Progress for a new challenge, and Progress delivered by putting them in a match with each other with an Atlas Title shot hanging in the balance.
This was so emotionally draining, in the best way possible. Lynch and Davis came out here and gave the London Riot experience in one match. Hard-hitting brawling combined with surprising agility is what the Riots were known for, and both men brought that in spades here. Lynch in particular went all out here, breaking out a Spiral Tap at one point. But off of that Spiral Tap, Lynch hurt his shoulder badly. Davis let up, but Lynch told him to be like the old Riots and show no mercy. Davis took the advice, and rather reluctanly put Lynch in a Cobra Clutch with the bad arm to win the match.
The post match segment is what really made this special. In a speech full of raw emotion, Lynch said that his body couldn’t hold up with wrestling anymore, and that he hated his life. He had to go away so he could fix his life. After thanking the Progress faithful for getting him through some rough times, Lynch finished by telling the crowd to not give up on his friend JD.
The two men hugged and Lynch went to kiss the Progress seal before Davis broke the Riots cricket bat over Lynch’s back. Davis choked him out again before grabbing the mic and saying that Lynch shouldn’t be surprised. Lynch’s father left him, his fiancee left him, and now Davis is leaving him with nothing. An incredible segment that followed a fantastic match, and while this may not make a Top 10 matches list, I’ll remember this one for a long time. ****
Non-Title Match: Progress Champion Pete Dunne def. Jack Sexsmith
Sexsmith was hand-picked by Travis Banks to take on Dunne. If Sexsmith wins, he will receive a Progress Title match before the Alexandra Palace show in September.
This was a fantastic sprint between two people massively over with the Progress crowd. Sexsmith is an incredible underdog who is getting better as time goes on. Meanwhile, Dunne has gone off the deep end in recent shows. He’s been trying to pick fights with fans, and in this match, he threw punches at the ring crew for trying to hold him back. This match was an adrenaline rush start-to-finish, which on tape was a perfect way to follow the Riots match from before the interval. Dunne got the clean win with the Bitter End. While I think you can get a Progress Title match out of this mini-story before Ally Pally, Dunne just being dominant is fine by me. ****
PROGRESS Women’s Championship: Toni Storm (c) def. Candice LeRae
This is LeRae’s Progress debut. Storm won the title on the second night of Super Strong Style 16. This is her third title defense.
This was a fun little match. The crowd liked both women, but they were more behind Storm. Storm hit her leg-trap German suplex and followed it with her Strong Zero finisher, but LeRae kicked out at ONE! STRONG STYLE! LeRae followed it up with a Ballsplex off the second rope for 2. She went for more, but Storm threw her into the corner and planted her with THREE Strong Zero piledrivers for the win. ***
PROGRESS Tag Team Championship: British Strong Style (c) def. Jimmy Havoc and Mark Haskins
This is Bate and Seven’s second title reign, winning the titles at Chapter 51. This is their second defense.
I feel like every Mustache Mountain match in Progress starts with the Triple H water spit and at least 5 minutes of crowd brawling. Let’s do something different guys. After they got in the ring, Haskins and Bate had a very smooth sequence that made me want to see a singles match between them. It was wild and fast-paced, and Haskins and Havoc had both guys in sharpshooters. Before either guy tapped, Pete Dunne rushes out and grabs Mark’s wife Vicky who was at ringside. Haskins runs him off, but that allows Seven to low blow Havoc and roll him up for the win.
After the match, Havoc and Haskins get into an argument that devolves into a pull-apart brawl. The ring crew and several wrestlers came out to break it up before Flash Morgan Webster came out and helped to separate them. The match was more of a backdrop to the added tensions between Havoc and Haskins, but I don’t know how Flash adds in. They all teamed up back in the spring to take on British Strong Style, but Flash has been doing his own thing. I’ll let it play out because I’ve been enjoying this so far. ***
Keith Lee def. Travis Banks
Lee was hand-picked by Pete Dunne to wrestle Banks on this show.
Dunne forced his way onto commentary for this one, which was a very big problem. The match these two were having was very good, as to be expected. However, it was pretty much tainted from the jump when Dunne said that he had a “Plan B” for if Banks won, telegraphing his interference. And interfere he did, as he ran to ringside with a sledgehammer and distracted Banks. Banks then went for a Slice of Heaven, but Lee caught him and dropped him with a Spirit Bomb. The Ground Zero powerslam got Lee the win.
I have so many problems with this, the least of which being that I knew how the match was going to end. Why is Travis losing so much? He’s main eventing the biggest show of the year against your unstoppable champion, but he keeps losing in the dumbest ways. He lost to Riddle because Pete Dunne stood on a stage, and he lost to Lee because Dunne walked toward the ring. It’s really taking the shine off of Travis because all of a sudden, he can’t beat anybody.
As for the match, if I could listen to it with the commentary muted, I would. I really dislike the guest commentator thing, and I despise it when they just tell you how the main event is going to end. The match looked like it was a real fun time though. ***1/4
After the match, the rest of British Strong Style came out and attacked Travis. CCK came out, but Dunne laid both of them out with the sledgehammer. Because Triple H is over. Dunne goes to literally murder Travis Banks when Keep It 100 hits, and the South Pacific Power Couple return to Progress to one of the biggest reactions in the history of the company. TK Cooper and Dahlia Black run off British Strong Style, and after CCK bows out, they reform the Power Trip with Banks as the show fades to black. This is a must-see segment, as people are literally jumping and screaming when the music hits. An incredible sight to see.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Chapter 53 was an emotional show to say the least. From the Riots breaking up to the Power Trip coming back in full force, this show made you feel and made you care. While the wrestling mostly peaked at the middle of the card, and the booking of the main event was really bad, I would still recommend watching Chapter 53.
MATCH OF THE NIGHT: James Davis vs. Rob Lynch
I will be back with reviews of Progress Wrestling’s debut in New York and Boston. 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.