Progress Chapter 56: La Danse Macabre
Where You Can Find It: Demand Progress
Date: October 29, 2017
Location: The Electric Ballroom, London, England
Announcers: Glen Joseph and RJ Singh
There is a snazzy new “don’t torrent this” video, as well as some nice new graphics. It’s like Progress have just come back from Christmas break with new Air Jordans, and they want to show them off to everyone.
After Jim Smallman’s introductions, British Strong Style come out, led by the now-former Progress World Champion Pete Dunne. He lists off the bad things he had done when he was the champ, and apologizes for them. He says that his future in British wrestling is a bit unclear, but he wanted to thank Progress for the past year. Everything seems well and good until the Grizzled Young Veterans come out and spit on Seven and Bate. Seven and Bate chase them off, leaving Dunne in the ring to be attacked by the debuting Joseph Connors. Connors lays out Dunne and walks off.
An interesting turn of events here. I like the idea that the Progress Title was basically the ring from Lord of the Rings, and Dunne was being corrupted by the belt like Gollum. Now that he’s lost the title, he’s back to normal. I’m okay with Dunne turning face, as it’s a lot more interesting than him just going after the title again. As for Joseph Connors, I think he’s fine. A net positive segment here.
Six Man Tag Team Match: Aussie Open (Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher) & Omari vs. Never Say Die (Alex Cupid & Dillon D’Angelo) & Connor Mills
This is the Chapter show debut for both Aussie Open and Omari.
Cupid and Fletcher start for their respective teams. Cupid catches Fletcher with a backbreaker off of a leapfrog and dumps him out of the ring. Each guy gets about 30 seconds to shine at the start before Cupid lays in a big chop on Fletcher to take control. That doesn’t last long as Fletcher tags Omari in. Omari hits a big set of kicks and leg lariats. Omari is tall and lanky, like Matt Morgan. While Omari shows a lot more promise than Morgan ever did (and I say that as a Matt Morgan fan), Omari has never won a Florida city council election like Morgan has. What I’m saying is, they’re pretty even right now.
It quickly breaks down into a six-way. Ludacris would love all these MOVES. Mark Davis hit a ONE-ARMED POWERBOMB on Connor Mills. Omari hit a tilt-a-whirl End of Days on Mills as well. Two topes from Omari and Fletcher lead to Davis snatching up Mills and hitting a nasty piledriver for the win. A fun showcase match for everyone, with Davis and Omari standing out in particular. These guys would happily be welcomed back to a chapter show. ***1/4
Winners: Aussie Open & Omari
— Jocay 🇪🇨 (@Jocay19) November 7, 2017
Strangler Davis vs. Timothy Thatcher
Speaking of welcomed back to a chapter show, here’s Strangler Davis! Thatcher comes out with an eye patch, presumably to look even more like a Bond villain.
This match was a lot of GRAPPLING and HOLDS. Look, I’m not the guy to review Tim Thatcher matches. I didn’t care about him in EVOLVE. I don’t care about him here. I’m not going to say he sucks, he’s just not my cup of tea. As for Davis, he’s fine. I’ve heard a lot of people talk about him like he’s the worst wrestler to have ever been on a chapter show, and I will admit that his “guy with a noose” gimmick is weird and offputting. It doesn’t help that he rivals Dean Malenko in the charisma department. But he’s not appreciably bad in the ring, and he had a Tim Thatcher match. Davis hit Thatcher with a low blow, put him in the Stranglehold, and got the ref to call for the stoppage. **3/4
Winner: Strangler Davis by referee stoppage
Chris Brookes and Jimmy Havoc (replacement for Kid Lykos) vs. Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson & James Drake)
As the image suggests, this was meant to be a tag team title match between CCK and the Grizzled Young Veterans. However, Kid Lykos is injured and has yet to receive doctor’s clearance. According to Jim Smallman, since this isn’t “mid-90’s WCW,” the titles aren’t on the line due to the partner swap.
Havoc and Brookes work well together to start, with both men doing gross mouth stuff to James Drake. But the Vets use a illegal tag to take advantage on Havoc. The Vets work over Havoc’s back, which still has scars on it from CZW’s Tournament of Death in the summer. Havoc fights them off and tags in Brookes. They take out the Vets with dives, and they even hit an Inkbomb on Drake for 2. Brookes hits a Jay Driller, but Gibson yanks the ref out at 2. The Vets take advantage with a series of tag moves, finishing with a Doomsday Device, but Kid Lykos yanks the ref out as revenge.
The Vets go after Lykos and his broken “paw.” Havoc goes to hit Gibson with CCK’s cookie tray thing, but Gibson moves and Lykos gets knocked out. While Brookes heads out to check on him, the vets hit the Ticket To Mayhem on Havoc for the win. This was a fun make-good for the tag title match, and it keeps the Vets in contention for the titles. ***1/2
Winners: Grizzled Young Veterans
Progress Atlas Championship: Wolfgang vs. WALTER (c)
WALTER won the title for the second time at Chapter 55. This is his first defense. This is Wolfgang’s Progress debut.
WALTER starts the match in firm control, taking Wolfgang down and chopping him to bits. Wolfgang reverses the wrist-slap German suplex into a front takedown. WALTER comes back with a big boot and a lariat. He follows up with another big boot, but Wolfgang slips out of the powerbomb. Wolfgang goes for the Howling, but WALTER cuts him off and hits a Butterfly Superplex for 2. A big boot, a German, and a lariat from WALTER only get 2.
WALTER locks on a sleeper, but Wolfgang rolls through and hits a spear. Wolfgang follows up by hitting the Howling on a standing WALTER, but WALTER rolls out of the ring. Wolfgang follows him to the outside with a big tope. A moonsault attempt meets the knees of WALTER. WALTER then drives Wolfgang into the corner with a dropkick, and hits a big powerbomb for the win. This match was technically fine, but it didn’t get to the level that recent Atlas Division matches have reached. It never felt like Wolfgang had a chance to win. Hell, I don’t think he ever went for a cover in this match. And Wolfie is fine, but WALTER just made him look second-rate in comparison. ***1/4
Winner: STILL Atlas Division Champion, WALTER
Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) vs. Sexy Starr (David Starr & Jack Sexsmith)
Seven and Bate are back to being Moustache Mountain, including Trent’s official WWE knockoff of Sledgehammer. Upon the announcement of their name, both Starr and Sexsmith try to armbar Jim Smallman. The tone of this match is set quickly when both teams kiss each other to tag in. It’s a lot of really funny stuff, including Seven completely whiffing on a crossbody attempt, but this was a really good match.
Moustache Mountain hit a rebound lariat into a dragon suplex, but Sexsmith broke it up with the BDSM (Big Double Stomp Move). Starr and Sexsmith lock on armbars, but Seven and Bate do the Authors of Pain back-to-back powerbomb to break them up. Sexy Starr hit a BDSM/German suplex combo for 2. Starr and Sexsmith bring Moustache Mountain to opposite top ropes, but Bate knocks Sexsmith to the outside. Seven spanks Starr before hitting him with a BURNING HAMMER. Bate follows it with a Tyler Driver ’97 to get the win. This was a super fun match, and it’s nice to see Moustache Mountain being nice boys again. ***1/2
Winners: Moustache Mountain
After the match, Sexsmith begins to talk when Vicky Haskins comes out with a spiked baseball bat. Mark Haskins comes in from the crowd and lays out both Sexsmith and Starr with a chair. Jimmy Havoc comes out with a chair, seemingly to run off Haskins. Instead, he takes Vicky’s spiked bat and lays into Sexsmith and Starr with it! Havoc and Haskins beat down Sexy Starr with chairs before leaving the scene. I figured Haskins would turn after Alexandra Palace, but I never thought Havoc would be a heel in Progress ever again. I dig the idea that the deathmatch at Ally Pally was both men’s descent into madness. If they can avoid Jimmy’s pitfall of miscommunication, this new team is going to be something special. Also, Vicky Haskins with violent weapons is my sexuality.
— JJ Williams (@JJWilliamsWON) November 2, 2017
Progress Women’s Championship: Charli Evans vs. Toni Storm (c)
Toni Storm won the title on the second night of the 2017 Super Strong Style 16. This is her fourth defense. This is Charli Evans’s Chapter show debut. She earned this title shot by winning the Revelations of Divine Love tournament earlier in the month. You can read about that show here. Dahlia Black joins commentary for this one.
Storm takes control early on with a big headbutt. She hits an ass attack on Evans on the outside, but a second one misses and sends Storm into the crowd. Evans brings Storm back into the ring and hits a top-rope crossbody. She hits some running boots in the corner and follows it with a Saito suplex for 2. Evans puts on a Cattle Mutilation submission hold, and eventually turns Storm over for 2.
Storm catches Evans with a German suplex and follows up with a running ass attack. Storm goes to the top rope, but Evans cuts her off. Evans joins Storm on the top rope, but Storm slides under her and hits a buckle bomb. She follows that with a German suplex before finishing Evans off with a Strong Zero for the win. Another good champion showcase here, as Evans gave Storm a pretty good fight. But Storm was just a little smarter and a little better, and she came out as champion.
I love Toni Storm as the dominant champion in this company. She’s over with the crowd, and more importantly, she’s having really good matches with everyone she goes up against. Storm has had matches with Laura Di Matteo and Dahlia Black, both of those the best of the respective woman’s Progress careers. And she had another solid match with the newcomer Charli Evans. It feels like the last big scalp for her to take is Jinny, and if that’s the big match for the women’s title, it’s fine by me. ***
Winner: STILL Progress Women’s Champion, Toni Storm
Progress World Championship: Keith Lee vs. Travis Banks (c)
Travis Banks won the title at Chapter 55. This is his first defense. Keith Lee earned this title shot by beating Banks at Chapter 53, albeit with help from Pete Dunne.
Lee quickly overpowers Banks, eloquently stating “me big, you small.” Banks sticks and moves, hitting a big knee that sends Lee to the floor. Banks goes for his Dive of Doom (my name, but he’s free to steal it), but Lee warns him that the last time he did it, it didn’t end well for him.
— Jocay 🇪🇨 (@Jocay19) August 6, 2017
Lee gets up on the apron, but Banks kicks him down and hit 3 Dives of Doom. Lee comes back in the ring with a huge overhand chop. A big bodyslam and a quick elbow gets Lee a 2. Banks peppers Lee with punches and kicks, but Lee keeps knocking him back down. Banks comes back with overhand chops of his own, but Lee catches his hands and lands a headbutt. More overhand chops from Lee, and we can see Banks’s chest already turning scarring up. Lee starts bieling Banks across the ring.
Banks starts chopping Lee down again with kicks, and hits a cannonball to the back. Banks goes for the Slice of Heaven, but Lee body blocks him down and hits a lariat for 2. Lee hits a strike combination and follows it with a Spirit Bomb, but Banks kicks out at 2. Lee heads to the top rope, but Banks kicks his legs out from under him and hits a backstabber. A coast-to-coast from Banks gets 2.
Lee gets the better of a strike exchange, but Banks hits 2 John Woo dropkicks and a double stomp. Lee cuts Banks off with a massive Spirit Bomb for 2. Banks slips out of the Ground Zero, and hits 2 Slices of Heaven. Lee goes for the Ground Zero again but Banks elbows Lee down, then starts kicking him in the head and neck. He hooks Lee up for the Kiwi Krusher, and he hits it! 1-2-3, Banks retains.
A great first defense for Banks here. He got absolutely battered by Lee, but he fought through, cut him down, hit his move, and beat him decisively. This was needed after all of the nonsense with Dunne, and with a defense against Mark Andrews on the horizon, this is much needed rehab for Banks. ***3/4
Winner: STILL Progress World Champion, Travis Banks
— Travis Banks (@Travis_BanksPW) November 4, 2017