It’s ten ’till Valhalla, Travis Banks is in the opener, and Jinny is dressed like Jimmy Havoc. What is going on here? It’s Progress Chapter 58, Live Your Best Life!
Chapter 58: Live Your Best Life
Where You Can Watch It: Demand Progress
Date: November 26, 2017
Location: The Electric Ballroom, Camden, London
Announcers: Glen Joseph and Matt Richards
After his pre-show speech, Jim Smallman said that since it was cold outside, they were going to start the show off with a hot match.
Progress World Title: Matt Riddle vs. Travis Banks (c)
Well, he wasn’t lying. Travis Banks won the World Title at Chapter 55. This is his third defense. Riddle earned this title shot by beating Banks at Chapter 52.
This match was excellent. These two battered each other for the duration of this match. They chopped, kicked, and slapped each other until the other went down. Riddle took Banks to the top rope, but Banks caught him with a top-rope Kiwi Krusher. Riddle kicked out though, so Riddle hit a super combo of a Slice of Heaven, a Kiwi Krusher, and the Lion Clutch for the tap out win. It was awesome to get this match straight-up after the screwy finish at Chapter 52. I’m running out of ways to say that this match was great, so I’ll just tell you to watch it. ****1/2
Winner: STILL Progress World Champion, Travis Banks
Mark Haskins & Jimmy Havoc w/ Vicky Haskins vs. M And M (Maverick Mayhew (Chapter debut) & Connor Mills)
Maverick Mayhew is only 17 years old. Those poor, poor boys. This was as good of a power squash match as you’ll ever see. M & M started quick with some really cool moves and got the crowd behind them, but once Havoc cut Mayhew off, they were done for. I don’t think Mills ever legally tagged in, as Haskins and Havoc just killed Mayhew dead. The heels hit the Kiss of Death on Mayhew for the win. Vicky teases a promo before dropping the mic and leaving. I hope to see more of M & M, as they really impressed here. **3/4
Winners: Haskins & Havoc
Eddie Dennis vs. Jack Sexsmith
This was another power squash, this time for Eddie Dennis. He took control with a buckle bomb into the ringpost. Sexsmith had a little more offense, getting in an LGDDT on the floor. But after a minute, Dennis cut Sexsmith off and laid him out with a Next Stop Driver. He pulled off of the cover and kept beating Jack down until the referee stopped the match and awarded the win to Dennis. Dennis wanted to go for more until Travis Banks came down and ran him off. Dennis got on the stage and told Banks that if he wanted a fight, he’d have to make it a title match.
The match was fine, but it was more of a set-up for the challenge after. I will say this, I wouldn’t be shocked if Eddie Dennis won the title if that match happens. For one, face Progress champions never hold the title for long. Will Ospreay only had the title for 5 Chapters, Mark Haskins only had the title for 2. Travis Banks is coming up on his fourth show as champ. Secondly, I can see Progress telling the story of Mark Andrews chasing Eddie for the title. Do I think it will happen? I don’t. But don’t completely discount the idea of Eddie Dennis as the Progress World Champion. **1/4
Winner: Eddie Dennis
No Disqualification Match For A Women’s Title Shot: Jinny vs. Dahlia Black
Jinny came out wearing a Jimmy Havoc mask, in homage to her trainer. These two had a really good base for this match, but the problem was that it felt like they were rushing through everything. Dahlia put Jinny through a table on the stage, then a minute later, Jinny was right back up. Jinny put Dahlia through a table off the apron, and Dahlia was back up like 30 seconds later. They didn’t let any of the big spots breathe, and that really kept this match from hitting that next level.
There was a lot of weapon stuff, with both women going through tables. Jinny went into both barbed wire and tacks. Black tried to choke out Jinny with a piece of a broken table, but Jinny turned that into a Rainmaker for 2. Jinny hit a Styles Clash, but that only got 2. Jinny got a chair and hit another Styles Clash onto the chair for the win. I had very high expectations for this match, and it let me down. It felt less like a big feud-ending match, and more like a run-of-the-mill weapons match. **3/4
Winner: NEW Number One Contender for the Women’s Title, Jinny
Before the next match, Jim Smallman gave a fan a chance to do a proper ring entrance in the style of Ringkampf. When the guy came out, Timothy Thatcher came out behind him as a nice surprise. Unfortunately, the guy didn’t notice Thatcher behind him, or the massive pop that Thatcher got, and walked to the ring before he turned around and saw him. It was really funny.
— PRO-HO-HO-GRESS (@ThisIs_Progress) November 24, 2017
For An Atlas Title Shot: Timothy Thatcher vs. Strangler Davis
Davis earned an Atlas Title shot by beating his former London Riots partner Rob Lynch at Chapter 53. This match came about after Davis cheated to beat Thatcher at Chapter 54.
The match went on for about a minute before Davis threw Thatcher out of the ring. Music started playing, and that music brought out Rob Lynch, the man Davis turned on in September. Lynch started walking to the ring, but before he got there, Thatcher rolled up Davis to win the match. After the match, Davis and Lynch got in a big pull-apart brawl that even saw the recently-retired Paul Robinson come in to break it up. Davis left, and Lynch got to the stage before shouting that he was back to stay. This was just to get the Atlas Title shot off of the noticeably slimmer Davis, but this was an absolute shock. The Riots match at Chapter 53 was fantastic, and whatever they do coming up should be just as good. N/R
Winner: Timothy Thatcher
"Where the brave may live….Forever!
— Rob Lynch (@RobLynchRIOTS) November 26, 2017
Thatcher stuck around through all of that and got back into the ring. He said that he’s ready for his Atlas Title shot against WALTER whenever WALTER is ready. He also says that the match he just had wasn’t really what he had in mind, so he offers an open challenge. Answering the challenge is the debuting Chris Ridgeway!
Timothy Thatcher vs. Chris Ridgeway
Ridgeway had already wrestled on the show, beating Damon Moser in the pre-show match. This is Ridgeway’s official Progress debut.
Man, I never have much to say about matches like this. They grappled. Ridgeway looks like the scary wrestler you would have on a sitcom. Like he’d be on Boy Meets World or Home Improvement and scare the guys at first, but the swerve is that he’s actually a really nice guy. My point being, Ridgeway looks cool. He hit some cool kicks as well, including this axe kick to the top of Thatcher’s head. Thatcher got the win with an armbar in a quick match. ***
Winner: Timothy Thatcher
Joseph Conners vs. Flash Morgan Webster
I’m of two minds about this match. On one side, Conners showed a lot more in this match than any other I had seen from him in the past year in other companies (WCPW, WWE UK). He and Flash put together a solid little match here. On the other hand, the crowd couldn’t give less of a damn about Connors. I can see why too, Conners is a very dry wrestler. His lack of charisma borders on anti-charisma, and it isn’t what the fans want to see. It also sucks that Flash is being used to set up Conners, who it seems is only here to set up Pete Dunne for a “big win”. But again, this match itself was fine. Conners won with the Don’t Look Down. **1/2
Winner: Joseph Conners
Progress Women’s Title: Alex Windsor vs. Toni Storm (c)
Toni Storm won the title on the second night of Super Strong Style 16. This is her sixth defense. Alex Windsor earned this shot by winning a four-way match at Chapter 57.
This match was Toni Storm doing things and Alex Windsor being there. Just like with Connors, Alex Windsor is technically proficient and doesn’t do anything wrong, but she is lacks something that hooks you in and interests you. Windsor had Storm in a sharpshooter, but Storm got a small package for 2. Windsor set Storm up for a pop-up powerbomb, but Storm came down and hit a Strong Zero to retain. Nothing to see here, but this did confirm the one big match that Progress have held out on. Toni Storm vs Jinny for the Progress Women’s Title is a match I’m not only excited to see, but one that I hope main events a chapter. **1/2
Winner: STILL Progress Women’s Champion, Toni Storm
Progress Tag Team Titles: Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson & James Drake) vs. CCK (Chris Brookes & Kid Lykos) (c)
CCK won the titles for the second time at Chapter 55. This is their second defense of this reign. The Vets were supposed to get this title shot at Chapter 56, but the match was postponed due to an injury to Kid Lykos.
This match really fell apart, but I can’t blame anyone in the match for it. Lykos did a dive off of a seating area, but his arm got caught on Drake, and that popped his shoulder out of the socket. He had already been taken out through the chairs before that, and the dive was his big comeback spot, so Lykos really never played a part in this. That basically made this a handicap match, with Brookes going against both Vets. He put up a good fight, putting Gibson through a stack of chairs on the stage and hitting Drake with a bin. But Gibson caught a slingshot cutter and turned it into the Shankly Gates, and after a struggle, Brookes tapped out to give the Vets the win and the titles.
I’m not gonna rate this one, as I’m sure they had more planned involving Lykos. I wouldn’t really recommend it though, as it felt like a mad scramble (which it may have been). It obviously sucks that Lykos got hurt again, and I wish him a healthy recovery. From a story standpoint, it also sucks that CCK keep getting their momentum shut down in Progress. Alas, such is life, and such is wrestling. N/R
Winners: NEW Progress Tag Team Champions, the Grizzled Young Veterans
FINAL THOUGHTS: Progress Chapter 58 was a really weird show. The World Title match in the opener was awesome and was a Progress MOTYC, but that left the rest of the show out to dry. The other matches that I was excited for (Jinny/Black, CCK/Veterans) didn’t live up to my expectations, and the rest was set-up for later chapters. Watch Riddle/Banks, but nothing else on this show is must-see.