The WWE will soon be heading to Saudi Arabia for the big World Cup tournament, so over the next two days we’re looking back at another big tournament in a foreign country, the inaugural WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament! Unlike the World Cup, this tournament left a lot of fans not knowing what to expect with a field comprised of almost entirely unknown names, so this is a bit like comparing apples and oranges. However, this one spawned some of the brightest stars in the business and the first steps of the company launching another brand. Let’s jump into the action and don’t forget to peep day two tomorrow!
Open: A video package highlights the relationship WWE has had with the United Kingdom over the years, Triple H explaining the only criticism of the company from fans is that they just weren’t there enough. Tonight, 16 competitors battle to define the legacy of the United Kingdom as we look to crown the first-ever WWE United Kingdom Champion.
In The Arena: Triple H comes out to the stage and gets a big ovation, The Game states that every empire has a beginning and tonight another will be built, wondering if we’re ready. The new United Kingdom Championship is shown on a pedestal in the ring.
Video: We meet Trent Seven, a man who believes himself to be from where British strong style started. Trent believes this tournament is the best showcase to let the world see what he can do, fully thinking there’s nobody that can stop him. His opponent, H.C. Dyer, explains that his fists are what separate him from the competition and when he strikes, he makes sure he won’t have to do it twice.
Match #1 – First Round: Trent Seven vs. H.C. Dyer
The crowd is very behind Seven here, collar & elbow tie-up to begin, Trent pushes Dyer to the corner, breaks clean and twirls his mustache. HC doesn’t appreciate it, looks for a big right hand and instead eats a chop, Trent slaps on a side headlock, gets shoved off to the ropes, Dyer drops down and pops back up with a dropkick. Seven rolls to the outside and HC goes out in pursuit, Trent meets him with stinging chops, Dyer ducks under one and Seven hits the ring post with his hand.
Dyer tosses him back in and Trent staggers to the corner, HC slides in, lines him up for a splash, but Seven side-steps it and delivers more rapid-fire chops. He shoots Dyer across, rushes in for an overhand chop, plants him with a veritcal suplex and makes an arrogant cover for 2. Seven looks for a powerbomb, HC counters out with a back body drop, avoids a clothesline, scores with a pop-up spinebuster and hooks the leg for a count of 2. He hauls Trent back up and Seven scores with a flurry of strikes, misses a spinning back fist, HC pushes him away to the ropes, but gets taken down by a double leg for a single-leg crab.
Dyer kicks him away to the ropes, connects with a haymaker to the jaw, lateral press and a near fall. He drags Trent up for a german suplex, Seven fights it off, tries to hit the ropes, Dyer grabs him by the tights, pulls him in for a blue thunder bomb, but still can’t finish it. HC looks stunned, looks to head to the top rope for a frog splash, Trent rolls out of harm’s way, smacks him with a spinning back fist, scores with the Seven Stars Lariat and gets the win.
Winner: Trent Seven (Seven Stars Lariat)
Video: Danny Burch is a former NXT Superstar for two years, stating being entered into the tournament has been a humbling experience. He speaks about his boxing background and says there’s no plan B for him, believing it’s his time. Jordan Devlin is from Ireland and was trained by Finn Balor, feeling like he was bred for this since a young age and it’s time to make his country proud.
Match #2 – First Round: Danny Burch vs. Jordan Devlin
Devlin avoids the opening lock-up and surprises Burch with a schoolboy for a quick 1 count, they tie-up and Burch gains a wristlock, Devlin countering back to one of his own. Burch rolls out of it to reverse back, Devlin switches to a hammerlock, Burch with another counter out into a hammerlock suplex, then takes a bow. Devlin doesn’t appreciate it and charges in, Burch drops down, pops back up with a shoulder block, goes back into the ropes, Jordan tries to leapfrog over, but Burch picks the leg in mid-air. He hooks him for a snap suplex that gets 1, Devlin pulls himself to his feet in the corner, Burch rushes in, Jordan slips out to the apron to avoid him, buries a shoulder to the midsection and flips over Danny back into the ring.
He hits the ropes and ducks a clothesline, connects with a dropkick, pummels Burch in the corner with heavy forearms, the official stepping in to force the break. Burch takes the opening to score with a boot to the jaw, goes to the 2nd rope, Devlin sweeps the leg to send him crashing to the mat and covers for a 2 count. Jordan applies a rear chinlock to wear Burch down, Danny tries to gain his footing, but gets ripped back down to the mat and has some words for the fans. Devlin puts the boots to him and goes back to the rear chinlock, Burch works to a vertical base, breaks free and hits the ropes, but runs into a back elbow and Jordan gets a 2 count. He unloads with forearms from the left and right, has some more comments for the crowd, Burch finds his footing and fires away with big chops.
Devlin rakes the eyes to stop the onslaught, grounds Danny with another chinlock, Burch battles back up and escapes with a jawbreaker. He stumbles to the corner, catches Devlin charging in with double boots, comes off the 2nd rope with a dropkick, they double down and Danny kips back up. He unleashes a series of uppercuts, hits the ropes and runs into a flying forearm, Jordan goes into the ropes now for a head of steam, but Burch follows him in with a clothesline. He hits the ropes and turns Devlin inside out with another clothesline for a near fall, looks to set for a suplex, Jordan counters to a schoolboy for another 2 count, both guys up quick and Devlin charges into a spinebuster. Burch rolls him up for a big knee to the face, follows with a stiff headbutt for a count of 2, hooks on a crossface off the kick-out, but Devlin makes it to the bottom rope to force the break.
Burch dead-lifts Jordan for a german suplex, Devlin fights it off initially, backflips to his feet to counter the 2nd attempt, runs in and hooks a victory roll, but still can’t put it away. He gets to his feet in the corner, Burch rushes in and gets double stomped to the mat, Devlin lines up for a spinning roundhouse kick, lateral press and the referee counts 3, but Danny kicked out. Burch is busted open on the back of the head and the trainer comes out to look at him.
Winner: Jordan Devlin (Spinning Roundhouse Kick)
- After The Bell: Burch presses a wad of gauze to the back of his head, offers Jordan a handshake, Devlin goes to accept, but instead superkicks him. Charly Caruso grabs him for comment on top of the stage, Devlin states that defeating Burch so decisively that it gives him a confidence boost, but he doesn’t need it and will go to the end regardless.
Video: Saxon Huxley talks about his mind being what will lead him to victory in this tournament, saying he’s the only guy who meditates twice a day and exclusively reads books. Sam Gradwell didn’t have an easy upbringing and his home was a warzone, using WWE as his escape when he was a kid. The only thing he’s got in common with the competitors in this tournament is the ring they share and everyone will know who he is when this tournament concludes.
Match #3 – First Round: Saxon Huxley vs. Sam Gradwell
Collar & elbow lock-up to start out, Huxley works Gradwell to the corner and breaks clean, they tie-up again, Sam pushes him way, third lock-up and Saxon gets pushed off trying for a side headlock. Another collar & elbow and Gradwell goes to a wristlock, Huxley breaks out of it, they tie-up once more and Sam hooks in an armbar this time around. Saxon tries to switch out of it, Gradwell snapmares him over for a chinlock, Huxley quickly spins out for a wristlock, Sam rolling out for a side headlock, but it’s blocked. Gradwell works his way back up and gets out with an arm drag, locks on an armbar, Saxon gets to a standing position and pushes him to the ropes, both guys pushing and shoving off the break.
Huxley ducks a wild right hand and clubs Sam to the mat, hits the ropes, Gradwell runs a misdirection, delivers a dropkick and gets a 1 count. He hauls him back up for a front facelock, Saxon drives him into the corner to break out, Sam jumps right back on it, plants him with a butterfly suplex and hooks both legs for 2. He looks to go up top an Huxley rolls out of the ring to get away, Gradwell gives chase outside and back in, buries a shoulder to the midsection from the apron, tries another and gets dragged into the ring for a double underhook backbreaker and a near fall. Saxon beats Sam down with forearms, posts his knee into the spine and wrenches back on the arms, Gradwell battles to his feet, but takes a knee to the ribs.
Huxley fires off right hands, Gradwell starts to absorb them and returns the favor in the corner, hits a flurry of uppercuts, then powers Huxley up onto his shoulders. Saxon slips out of it, tries a kick that’s blocked, Sam clocks him with a forearm, runs him into the ropes for a short knee to the ribs, then attempts to shoot him to the ropes. Huxley puts on the brakes, they exchange right hands, Gradwell flattens him with a clothesline, goes upstairs for a diving headbutt and that’s all she wrote.
Winner: Sam Gradwell (Diving Headbutt)
Let us know what you think on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!
Chairshot Classics: WCW The Great American Bash 1995
Our weekly Chairshot Classics WCW PPV series continues with the 1995 Great American Bash!
Match #1: ‘Das Wunderkind’ Alex Wright vs. ‘Flyin’ Brian Pillman
The two shake hands and lock up, Wright grabs the wristlock and Pillman reverses it with a monkey flip. Flyin Brian cranks on the wright, Wright drops the shoulders and scores a fireman’s takeover. Das Wunderkind holds on with the arm bar, Pillman works to his feet. Wright flips around for an armdrag, but Pillman quickly comes back with a head scissor takeover. They shake hands in appreciation of the sequence. Collar and elbow, Pillman with the wrist and he pulls down on the shoulder.
Wright reverses an Irish whip but Pillman uses the turnbuckle for another head scissor takeover. He follows with a drop kick and a snapmare, working right back into the arm on the mat. He maneuvers into a hammerlock, Wright jumps to his feet, Irish whip, Wright back flips over Pillman, sneaks under his legs and scores with a drop kick. Wright leaps up on Pillman’s shoulders and takes him over with a head scissor and he hangs on down on the mat. Pillman breaks the hold and goes into a side headlock, Wright tries rolling him over but only gets two. Back to a vertical base, they hit the ropes and Wright drives his shoulder into the mid section. He takes Pillman over with a ‘rana. Pillman catches his boot and Wright misses with the enziguri.
Pillman grapevines the legs and puts Wright in the crossbow. he has to be careful about his shoulders being on the mat. Side headlock takeover by Pillman and he holds on with the headlock. To the ropes, a pick up and Pillman drops Wright on his head. Das Wunderkind swats away a drop kick and quickly moves into a Boston crab. Wright tries a surfboard, but he doesn’t have him hooked well enough. Sunset flip for two by Wright, another series of pinning attempts but Pillman bursts up with a chop. Hammerlock reversal is countered with a back elbow by Pillman. Wright is taken to the mat with a hammerlock and Pillman drives his knee into the back. Wright works to his feet, he runs in a circle, drops to the mat and dumps Pillman out to the floor who has to regroup.
Wright holds the rope in a show of sportsmanship, but Pillman’s temper flies. He pulls Wright to the floor and hits some back hand chops. Wright is rolled back in the ring, they exchange chops and Euro uppercuts. Whip to the ropes, Wright stops short for a face buster. He goes for a big splash, but Pillman gets his knees up. Kick to the ribs by Brian and he sets Wright up for shoulders to the midsection in the corner. Snapmare takeover and a body scissor with a chin lock is applied by Pillman. Gut buster by Pillman and he makes a cover, Wright kicks out at two. Front face lock and Pillman drapes Wright over the top rope, he tumbles to the apron. Wright blocks a vertical suplex and he snaps Pillman out to the floor, it looks like he could have hit the apron on the way down.
Baseball slide by Wright and Pillman hits the steel. Flying plancha by Wright out to the floor. An uppercut by Wright and he rolls Pillman in. Missile drop kick by Wright and Pillman kicks out at two. Wright pursues Pillman, but he’s dumped through the middle rope. Suicide dive by Flyin Brian and his hometown Ohio crowd loves it. Pillman gets up to the 2nd turnbuckle and leaps, Wright moves and Brian hits the railing. Pillman is rolled back in, he goes back upstairs but misses with the flying splash. They’re both slow to get up and they try simultaneous dropkicks, dropping both back to the mat. Pillman sits Wright on the top turnbuckle, looking for a superplex. Wright blocks it and drops Pillman on his face, Wright leaps with a top rope crossbody and Pillman somehow kicks out.
Wright tries whipping Pillman to the ropes, but his leg keeps giving out. This baits Wright to come off the 2nd turnbuckle and Pillman hits him in the face with a dropkick. Pillman hooks the leg and Wright kicks out. Pillman climbs to the top, Wright is up before anything can happen and Wright tosses him groin first across the top rope. Standing switch by Wright, he hits the German suplex but only gets two. They hit the ropes again, Pillman looks for a crucifix, maneuvers into a sunset flip position, Wright sits down and hooks the legs and we have a winner.
Winner: ‘Das Wunderkind’ Alex Wright (Sunset Flip Counter)
- EA’s Take: Welcome back for a short stay, Flyin Brian. 95% of this match was absolutely excellent, but there were definitely a few spots that seemed like miscues that caused Pillman to get roughed up…and he was getting a little frustrated. It was a match between two supposed babyfaces at this point, but Pillman definitely pulled out a few heel moments and Wright took in some boos for Brian’s home-state crowd.
Video: We take a look at all the opponents Diamond Dallas Page has taken out in arm wrestling contests thus far. Anyone who beats DDP wins a date with The Diamond Doll. He’s had some wins with the help of Max Muscle.
Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund is joined by Dave Sullivan. The date with The Diamond Doll stipulation stands, but if DDP wins, he wins Sullivan’s rabbit, Ralph. Dave had a long talk with Ralph, and he said it was OK to put him on the line.
Match #2 – Arm Wrestling Match: Dave Sullivan w/Ralph The Rabbit vs. Diamond Dallas Page w/The Diamond Doll & Max Muscle
DDP tells Sullivan to save himself the embarrassment and leave the building right now. Sullivan still wants in and he’s ready. DDP pulls away from tying up and he taunts Sullivan. They’re almost ready a 2nd time, but DDP wants to do this thing on his own terms. Sullivan throws a tantrum and gets the crowd cheering. Finally we’re under way. They struggle back and forth. Muscle tries to give DDP extra leverage but he’s caught by the referee. Without Muscle’s help, Dave Sullivan pins DDP’s hand to the mat.
Winner: Dave Sullivan
- After The Bell: DDP and Max Muscle get in each other’s face and shove back and forth. Page determines it wasn’t his fault and instead berates The Diamond Doll. ‘Mean’ Gene gets a word with the losing team. DDP wants a do-over, this is a travesty of justice. Muscle knows what really happened, DDP didn’t lose this match. DDP is a 10+, Sullivan is a 0.
- EA’s Take: This borderline mental patient gimmick for Sullivan is fairly entertaining. What more can be said about an arm wrestling contest other than the dissension between DDP and The Diamond Doll.
Match #3: ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan vs. ‘The Pitbull’ Sgt. Craig Pittman
Duggan is substituting in this match for the injured Marcus Alexander Bagwell. A shoving match ensues and Nick Patrick tries to gain control. Hacksaw gets the crowd clapping and cheering. They lock up and have a strong break from the neutral position. Collar and elbow, waistlock by Pittman, Hacksaw looks for a way out, pulls the leg and breaks the hold. Pittman does some pushups and Duggan stops short of a punt. Another tie up and Duggan hits a hip toss. The USA chants go, they lock up, full arm drag and twist by Pittman, Duggan counters but he eats a forearm by The Pitbull.
Pittman chokes him on the middle rope until the ref breaks it. Pittman charges for a clothesline, Duggan ducks and Sarge goes flying out to the floor. From the apron, Pittman catches Duggan with an uppercut. He drags Hacksaw to the ring post, rips his knee pad off and wraps the leg around, multiple times. Looking crazed, Nick Patrick lets him know he’s got a 10 count going. Both men roll around on the mat for position, Pittman takes control with the leg and cranks on the hamstring. Short rights by Pitbull, Duggan leaps to his feet for a desperation right of his own. Duggan is tackled back down to the mat for more work on the leg. The USA chants wake Hacksaw up, he rakes the eyes to break the hold.
He tries to send Pittman, but Craig takes him down with a single leg. He tries grapevining the legs, but Hacksaw tosses him through the middle rope to the floor. Hacksaw catches Pittman with rights, he sends him for a power slam, but he knee is bad. He pulls out a clothesline and he gets in the three point stance. He hits his patented running shoulder tackle, Pittman absorbs it, takes Duggan down again and he goes for an arm bar. He locks in Code Red but Duggan’s in the ropes. The ref counts to four but Pittman won’t let go and the ref calls for a disqualification.
Winner: ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan (Disqualification)
- EA’s Take: This one was a little rough and sloppy. Pittman is definitely green and Hacksaw is not the guy to carry a technically sound match. Was Sarge supposed to completely no-sell Duggan’s finish? It probably would have been a different story if Bagwell could have gone.
Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene is joined by The Blue Bloods who will be challenging for the Tag Team Championship tonight. Regal compares the state of The Nasty Boys to the last days of Hitler and Goebbels in 1945. Gene questions whether things will go exactly as they have planned. Regal says no one is more qualified to challenge for the gold, and it’s pathetic that they’re the only ones who can beat the champs.
Match #4: Harlem Heat (Booker T & Stevie Ray) w/Sister Sherri vs. Dick Slater & Bunkhouse Buck w/Col. Robert Parker & Meng
No time is wasted before a total brawl erupts. Buck is dumped to the floor while Stevie cleans out Slater. Parker reassures his boys on the outside. The teams regroup and Stevie and Slate kick off the official action. Collar and elbow, Stevie with position and he knees the gut and throws rights. Big pick up to Slater, Buck rushes in and he is slammed to the mat as well. Booker checks in and we have a standoff. Collar and elbow and a quick tag is made to Booker.
Overhand forearms by Booker, Buck gouges the eyes and sends Booker for the ride. Booker stops short, punts Buck and gives him a spin kick. Knee to the sternum and a big boot by Booker before tagging his brother back in. Double team action by Harlem Heat and Stevie hits a throat thrust. Front facelock by the older brother, and he backs up for a tag. Buck is sent to the ropes and Booker hits a drop kick. Slater’s turn and he drops Booker from the neutral position with a drop toe hold. Booker wrestles for position and grabs an arm bar. Another quick tag by the brothers. Stevie and Slater exchange fire, Stevie winning the battle.
Snapmare takeover into a front facelock. Another quick tag is made, Slater goes to the eyes and tags in Bunkhouse Buck. Big knee to Booker, full arm drag and twist but Booker reverses it. He scoop slams Buck but misses with an elbow. He’s up quickly with a spin-a-roonie and he hits Buck with a crossbody shot. Buck retreats to his corner and tags in Slater. Collar and elbow, Booker runs him to his corner and makes a tag. To the ropes they go, Slater stops short with a kick and an elbow to the top of the head. Slater makes a tag to Buck, Stevie goes to the eyes. They hit the ropes, Ray is distracted by a kick to the back by Slater and Buck takes advantage with a boot from behind.
Buck dumps him to the floor where Slater runs him into the ring post. Dirty Dick stomps away and rolls him back into the ring. Whip to the ropes and Buck hits the cowboy boot to the side of the head and Stevie barely kicks out. Tag is made, Slater and Buck with a double whip to the ropes. Stevie ducks a double clothesline and comes back with a leaping clothesline of his own, cleaning out both opponents. Booker is tagged in and he takes on both men. He sends Slater for a drop kick and Buck for a crossbody shot.
Slater makes the save and Stevie rejoins the action to ambush him. Booker catches Buck with a small package, Col. Parker slides in to roll it in his client’s favor. Booker calls for Sherri’s help, and she turns the tide back and we have a winner.
Winners: Harlem Heat (Booker T/Small Package)
- EA’s Take: Not a lot of offensive diversity in this match. The finish felt really long and awkward, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anyone trapped in a small package position for that long! Not too much more to say, I guess they were just giving Harlem Heat something to do that wasn’t another go with The Nasty Boys. WCW’s tag team division gets deeper in the years to come with the return of The Steiner Brothers, the addition of teams like Public Enemy, the creation of The American Males, the team-up of Sting and Lex Luger, and of course, the arrival of The Outsiders.
Video: On WCW Main Event, Nick Bockwinkel was violently interrupted by Vader in the middle of an announcement. Hulk Hogan came to his aid, and the dressing room cleared out to break up the fight.
In The Arena: WCW Commissioner Nick Bockwinkel has joined the announce team to complete his announcement from earlier. Vader doesn’t prove how tough he is by beating up people like him, he has to prove it in the ring, and he’ll have to do it against WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan at Bash at the Beach inside a steel cage.
Backstage: ‘Mean’ Gene gets a word with Ric Flair. Hogan is in trouble at Bash at the Beach, the cage means no Renegade, no Savage, and if Macho Man has the intestinal fortitude, he’ll have to walk the aisle and step in the ring with The Nature Boy. He took his wife in 1992, he took his father at Slamboree, and tonight, he’ll be taking him out.. dig it! WOOOO!
Match #5 for the WCW World Television Championship: The Renegade w/Jimmy Hart vs. WCW World Television Champion ‘The Enforcer’ Arn Anderson
They jaw in each other’s face. Renegade backs off and the champ blindsides him. He tries an Irish whip, Renegade blocks it and drives Anderson into the turnbuckle. Arn is sent across and Renegade hits him with a body shot. Anderson gets a boot to the gut and whips Renegade across the corner, following with clothesline. Renegade no sells it, decks The Enforcer and clotheslines him over the top and out to the floor. Renegade leaps out to the floor to join him, and the TV Champ gets back in the ring.
Collar and elbow, side headlock by Renegade, Anderson pushes toward the ropes but cannot escape. They hit the ropes, Renegade blocks a hip toss and shoves Anderson to the mat. Collar and elbow, and back to the side headlock for Renegade. To the ropes and Anderson catches him with an abdominal stretch. Renegade reverses it. Anderson breaks it with a toss. Renegade catches Anderson’s boot, The Enforcer hits an enzigure and poses but Renegade is unaffected. Anderson rolls out to regroup. Collar and elbow, Anderson takes position in the corner and drives his shoulder into the mid section. Renegade reverses the Irish whip but he runs into a back elbow.
They hit the ropes and Anderson is able to grab a sleeper. Renegade pulls out of it, sends Anderson to the ropes and gets a sleeper of his own. Anderson reverses with a belly to back suplex and he drapes the challenger over the middle and top rope as Jimmy Hart protests. Anderson drags his eyes over the ropes and hits a snapmare into a reverse chin lock. Renegade tries to rally the crowd. He works up to his feet, they hit the ropes and Anderson punts him. Renegade is woken up by it, they hit the ropes again and this time Anderson hits a patented spinebuster.
He makes a cover and Renegade kicks out multiple times. Anderson tries holding his hands to the mat but can’t keep him down. Irish whip, Renegade ducks a clotheslines, hits an atomic drop before an awkward collision. Anderson is up first, he heads for the top but Renegade trips him. A fireman’s carry drop by Renegade, he heads for the top, lands a splash and we have a new champion.
Winner and NEW WCW World Television Champion: The Renegade (Top Rope Splash)
- After The Bell: A very imposing man looks on from the front row. He almost takes a right hand to Jimmy Hart as he walks by. (It’s The Giant/Big Show)
- EA’s Take: Poor Double-A having to put this guy over! If ANYONE wants to chant “You Can’t Wrestle” to a pushed guy like Roman Reigns, watch this match and reconsider your standards. When Schiavone said: “Anderson slowing the pace down” when he went to the floor, I said out loud: “What pace?”. The crowd was visibly bored. Hats off to Anderson for trying to make something out of it, there were spots like the sleeper hold where it looked like he was just improvising on the fly due to Renegade botching or simply lacking the skill set to look good.
Chairshot Classics: PROGRESS Chapter 2
Chairshot Classics continues to it’s foray across the pond thanks to Harry’s dedication. Let’s see what Harry thought about Chapter 2!
PROGRESS Wrestling Chapter 2
‘The March of PROGRESS’
From: ‘The Garage’ in Islington, London, England
Date: June 24th, 2012
Run Time: 2:16:19
WITH SPECIAL THANKS: Ian Hamilton for some of the research that I did while working on this review. (http://www.backbodydrop.com)
Well, would you look at that? They are actually letting me continue doing these. Chapter 1 was a fun way to get back into reviewing, but man, I realized real quick just how rusty I was. I used to do two or three full length reviews a week for ‘Smash’ and it took me dang near three weeks to get ‘In The Beginning’ finished. Hopefully, you all enjoyed it. But even if you think I suck, thanks for reading all the same.
That brings me to why I’m here today. PROGRESS itself is coming off a critically acclaimed debut. They then proceeded to take off three months as the March debut was not followed up on until this show, all the way in the month of June. But we do return to the scene of the first chapter. Once again, we go into the way back machine with our date set at June 24th, 2012 as “What I Watched” presents ‘The March of PROGRESS’ or PROGRESS Chapter 2
*General Notes: the setup looks a lot cleaner this time. The hard cam is still set up by the sound table, but there is only one computer monitor visible with it being used for music. The angle towards the ring is a lot cleaner. The lighting on the ring is a lot better as well…
*Immediately, you can see them moving forward with storylines as the hype video package to open the show is to build to the main event, as ‘Show-Stealer’ Nathan Cruz defends the title in two-out-of-three falls against ‘Party’ Marty Scurll with promos from both to set it up. Sort of assumed this is where they were going for the second chapter, but the two out of three falls was not something I saw coming.
*Smallman does do his opening promo here, so all feels right into the PROGRESS world…not only does Smallman do his full opening interaction, but they actually use it to bring in a new talent in Stixx (or so I find out by the splash graphic before the first match). Stixx quickly establishes himself as a heel by running down Smallman, the crowd at the ‘Garage’ and the city of London in general. I’ll also take this opportunity to point out that Stixx is what would have happened if the Pitbulls from ECW would have still been in wrestling in 2012. Gary Wolfe, Anthony Durante and Stixx apparently (let’s all do Jaime Noble and Kid Kash a favor and let the WWE Pitbulls thing go)…the segment with Smallman and Stixx doesn’t really go anywhere, but does take us to our opening contest.
*Match #1: Lion Kid vs. Stixx
The Who: Well, let’s see. Lion Kid is a guy in what looks like a Halloween costume. Stixx, as I mentioned earlier, is a guy who looks he’d fit in better with the Pitbulls then in the current British independent wrestling scene. Upon looking for information (again, highly recommend Ian Hamilton’s work at BackBodyDrop): Lion Kid is apparently Wade Fitzgerald, who I believe I have previously seen in wXw in a team with Marc Redman. Stixx, well, looks like he’s just going to continue his cosplay.
The Why: I can’t say I have a viable reason for this one. I guess I’ll go with Stixx being an ass hat to Smallman and Lion Kid is sticking up for him. Sounds as good as anything at this point.
The Match: There was an attempt at a ‘Let’s Go Simba’ chant at the start of the match. Not so great attempt at humor. Now I gave the fans grief during my review of Chapter 1, but if whomever quoted Pride Rock scene from ‘Lion King’ afterwards right after the intros is reading this: good on you, mate. That was wonderful…Lion Kid gets a inset interview, Stixx doesn’t. But he did get the opening interruption…it’s once again *cough cough* Jimmy Barnett *cough cough* on commentary and he sounds a lot clearer this time…they cut the entrances, but what are the odds that Lion Kid comes out to ‘Lion Sleeps Tonight’?…noticeable size disparity here which will probably tell the story of the match…impressive springboard hurricanrana by Lion Kid early…and our first participant out of the ring happens at 1:48 into the first match…powerbomb into a ring post on the floor. Seems a bit excessive for the opening match, no?…fans quickly on Stixx’s case…will say for two guys making their debuts here to me, they have very good chemistry. Lucha spots from the big guy as well…and now the ‘Let’s Go Simba’ chant catches on. Sigh…cross body in the corner by Stixx. That’s a big dude to be doing that move…unique take on a grounded chin lock by Stixx. Still ultimately a rest hold, but at least it looks better…‘you wrestle, we shout things’. And that’s the PROGRESS fans in a nutshell…corkscrew enzugiri and then they badly blow a catch spot on a plancha attempt. I’m not sure who I’d put that one on…Lion Kid does mess a double springboard attempt but gets it on the second attempt…huge Black Hole Slam by Stixx…little later, a Splash Mountain attempt by Stixx is countered into a top-rope head scissors. Lion Kid goes for the Lionsault-DDT that AJ Styles likes to use but gets countered. Lion Kid reverses out and into a rolling prawn hold and that’s a three count at 10:24…they had a few rough spots, but managed to recover nicely from them. I wouldn’t call this a blow away start to the show, but it’s worth the ten minute run time and the crowd was pretty much into it. That’s ultimately what matters for an opener. After all, as Jimmy Barnett said: “You don‘t have to be a kid to enjoy saying rawr”. (AVERAGE)
*Match #2: BWC Scarlo Scholarship Title- Mark Andrews © vs. ‘Wild Boar’ Mike Hitchman
The Who: Mark Andrews is a pretty well known name, I feel. He’s not only had this run in PROGRESS, but he was in TNA as ‘Mandrews’ where I believe he won ‘British Boot Camp (have to look into that) and he now works for the WWE as part of their UK Division. Mike Hitchman is brand new to me and looks like Larry D from IWA-MS got shrunk in a dryer.
The Why: For the BWC Scarlo Scholarship. This same belt was defended on the first show back in February of 2012 and Barnett said the BWC belt would appear on all PROGRESS shows going forward. Two for two at this point. It was a triple threat on the first show that I thought was pretty good which involved then champion Xander Cooper, Zack Gibson and Darrell Allen.
The Match: I have always enjoyed what I’ve seen from Andrews, so my expectations of this are a little higher then they were of the triple threat from Chapter 1…both guys get inset promos. Neither one of them is anything to write home about, however…the snap amateur takedown by Hitchman early impressed me. That’s a move we see all the time in wrestling, but I’ve never seen someone do it as aggressively as Hitchman did. It made it look awesome, sound awesome and put over the aggression of Hitchman for his desire to win the title. Sometimes it’s the little stuff…nice bridge out of an attempted float over by Andrews. Like I said, it’s the little things…Barnett compares Hitchman to Tazz. ‘Not the fat annoying commentator in TNA either’. Big fish in a small pond still, Jim…don’t usually see a lot of mat wrestling on the Indies. It’s a nice change of pace from the opener which had the first dive attempt less then two minutes in…and the mat based crucifix gets two. Drago calls it ‘Tail of the Dragon’…and the first dive to the outside is a moonsault off the apron for the first ‘This Is PROGRESS’ chant…don’t know why everyone teases the German suplex off the apron. It’s not like any one every hits it…Hitchman with a DDT on the apron for the first fecal chant of the show…Hitchman is built like Bull Dempsey if that helps anyone…someone’s got a dirty face (TM Dave Prazak)…for the first time seeing him, Hitchman has impressed me. He’s very smooth in the ring and seems to have a good grasp of the what to do and when…counter sequence leads to a half nelson suplex and Andrews lands clean on his dome. Not wise, young Mark…you can’t powerbomb Andrews!!…standing sky twister gets two for Andrews. PAC (Neville) hits it cleaner, but still nice…Hitchman has Andrews in the tree of Joey Lawrence (WHOA) and hits a spear. I guess he kinda does look like a smaller Rhyno…back body drop into the turnbuckle by Andrews! Why? Like, why?…and Hitchman returns the favor with an exploder into the buckles…and now the fans are calling Hitchman Rhyno. So it wasn’t just me…and Mike Hitchman just Kevin Steen’d a bitch! Package Piledriver! And it only gets two! Strongly disagree with that…Hitchman looking for a top rope PPD. Andrews pushes him off and the Shooting Star misses!…another attempt at the Package PD is escaped by Andrews and into a small package for the three count at 14:05…and the BWC Scarlo lives up to expectations once again. Other then the Package Piledriver kick out (a move I strongly disagree with anyone kicking out of), these two put together a very good match that started heavily focused on the ground and then quickly picked up the pace at the mid point into a nice closing sequence. Andrews retains, but Hitchman definitely impresses and I’d like to see both of them back in PROGRESS sooner then later. (VERY GOOD)
*Post match, Mark Andrews is celebrating with the fans when a man in a suit and a t-shirt attacks him! That man is the former champion Xander Cooper. Well, that explains where he was and how Andrews got the belt. Cooper tries to belt shot Andrews, but Andrews ducks, gets in a dropkick to send Cooper to the floor and then chases him to the back.
*Match #3: Noam Dar (0-1) vs. Darrell Allen (0-0-1)
The Who: And for those wondering, this answers the question of the first guys to have matches on back to back PROGRESS chapters. Noam Dar was defeated by El Ligero in a PROGRESS Wrestling Staff’ qualifying match. ‘Dazzling’ Darrell Allen was part of the BWC Scarlo three way, where he ended up with a no decision as champion Xander Cooper pinned Zack Gibson.
The Why: To build some momentum going forward for one of them would be my guess. Dar got a pretty strong heel reaction on the first show. Allen’s high flying antics made him a crowd favorite, so it seems like a viable contest to me.
The Match: Both men get inset promos. Noam Dar doesn’t have a lot to say in his. Darrell Allen finds his inner Booker T. Yes, that Booker T promo. The less said the better, so let’s move on…apparently Allen dislocated his shoulder in the triple threat at Chapter 1 and finished the match. Having dislocated a shoulder before, that’s pretty impressive…little bit of miscommunication between the two early, but nothing that will greatly hurt the match…Dar is apparently a student of the Tracy Smothers school of wrestling as he tries to call a timeout…Dar with a dropkick while Allen tries to climb the ropes, catching Allen right in the injured shoulder. Spot on precision…Dar threatens to throw his gum at a fan before chomping back down on it. Good. Bodily fluids should never be a way to get heat from the crowd…airplane spin into a NLS as Barnett laments the lack of airplane spins in wrestling. I can agree with that. Very underutilized move…and now Dar shares his gum with Allen before chowing down again. That’s freaking gross…strike exchange see Dar get the better, but a superkick by Allen turns the tide…and another corkscrew enzugiri causes the double down for an eventual two…for all the people who complain about the overuse of superkick’s, I’d argue the enzugiri is just as overused…northern superkick into a rolling prawn for two by Allen…leg capture head kick by Dar. That’s new…crucifix knee bar is applied. Allen tries to fight out, but Dar pushes him back to the mat and starts kicking him in the face with Dar’s free leg. That gets a tap out from Allen at 11:04…Good, but not great. Don’t think the crowd was as invested in this match as they were in the first two and it kinda hurt the competitors. I know Dar is capable of much more. Allen was honestly just another guy here. The story telling of Dar being a dirty little prick works, but Allen doesn’t have the kind of following needed to get the emotional investment that a story like that needs. (ABOVE AVERAGE)
*Match #4: Danny Garnell vs. Jimmy Havoc
The Who: Up until watching this show right now, I would not have been able to pick Danny Garnell out of a lineup. I know nothing about him. Jimmy Havoc however, I’m very well aware of. As a follower of death match wrestling, the name Jimmy Havoc carries a lot of weight these days. He’d eventually go on to be a marquee player for this very company as well. How does he get there? Let’s find out…
The Why: So, this is where Ian Hamilton of BackBodyDrop helped. PROGRESS apparently sent out a tweet to its fans, asking them who they would want to see. Jimmy Havoc’s name came up a ton, so he’s being given the shot here. Ian also points out that Danny Garnell is Jimmy Havoc’s original trainer as well.
The Match: Smallman telling Havoc to ‘fucking behave himself’ before the match is a nice touch and a bit of a nod and a wink as to how the behind the scenes workings are at PROGRESS as well…during pre-match inspections, the referee finds a spoon on Jimmy. At least it wasn’t a fork, Abdullah the Butcher style…the spoon then gets a series of crowd chants…Danny’s inset promo is where he admits he was Havoc’s trainer. Not sure if that’s something to be proud of or not…it’s the basic promo from Danny else wise. ‘I taught you all you know but not all I know’…Barnett is lamenting Havoc’s involvement in the show. Yeah, not suspicious at all…Havoc surprising people by holding his own on the mat. Similar to his American namesake, Danny…Havoc gets an inset promo as well. I’d like to see them do some post match interviews in the future…and a spoon happens. An actual spooning…fans chant for the ref to get some spooning too but he’s having none of it…dropkick takes Garnell to the floor and Havoc follows out with a plancha at about the four minute mark…and Garnell lariats the shit out of him as they come back into the ring. Jesus…body slam and a variation of the surfboard applied. Five minutes in and they go a rest hold. But Havoc able to surprise people with a spinning head scissors to escape…Garnell goes for another clothesline but Havoc is able to duck and take Garnell down into a Crossface. Garnell gets to the ropes as a ‘We Miss Benoit’ chant starts. Remember what I said about PROGRESS fans going too far sometimes? Yeah, this is one of those…Havoc with a running step up knee in the corner. He goes for a second but Garnell ducks and Havoc goes out to the floor. Garnell pulls him back in with a hanging DDT for two…half-nelson suplex and a snapmare driver both drop Havoc on his head, but again only two…Garnell goes for the dirty face, but Havoc moves and catches Garnell with a chest blower for two…and back into the Crossface for another Benoit chant…Havoc gets frustrated and grabs a steel chair. Referee talks him out of using it, but Garnell gets a rollup for two…Havoc turns a tilt-a-whirl attempt into another Crossface (Jimmy Rave’s ‘From Dusk Til Dawn’) but Garnell is able to flip Havoc onto his shoulders and cradles the leg to get a three count for the win at about 10:36 (there were stopwatch issues)…for a guy who is supposed to just be a ‘death match’ or ‘garbage’ wrestler, Havoc more then held his own here. I think Jimmy is a part of that hybrid group of death match guys that can work pretty much any style. Danny Havoc, Drake Younger, JC Bailey (RIP), Nate Webb and Rickey Shane Paige are among the names that spring to mind here. The story of Havoc fighting himself to stay within the rules of PROGRESS was well done too and I do like that it didn’t directly lead to the finish. Instead of Havoc’s temper getting the better of him, his trainer just managed to get one up instead. Good stuff here. (GOOD)
*Post match, Smallman gives Havoc his spoon back (that was nice of him) and compliments Jimmy on his performance, saying that he’ll give Jimmy another chance on Chapter 3. I feel like that may come back to bite him…and the segment ends with a Havoc/Garnell/Smallman triple spoon. ‘This is PROGRESS’ indeed.
*Match #5: Velocity Vipers vs. London Riots
The Who: The London Riots consist of James Davis and Rob Lynch. I’ve seen them once before on the review that Patrick and I did for Chapter 36 for Wrestling Unwrapped, but I’m still going to have a hell of a time telling them apart. The Velocity Vipers are Will Ospreay (yes, he of New Japan and PWG fame) and Alex Esmail. The comparison that I saw made for them was the team of Brian Kendrick and Paul London, and physically, that certainly pans out. In the ring, we shall see…
The Why: Well, this is the first tag match in the history of PROGRESS, occurring in match number twelve. My guess is this is the beginning of establishing something of a tag team division, but I could be wrong.
The Match: Vipers make their entrance and immediately get nailed from behind by Lynch and Davis…the pre-match attack continues on the floor as the Riots are just beating the hell out of both Vipers…Vipers turn the tables and get both Riots out of the ring. Esmail catches Davis (I think) with a somersault plancha. Ospreay tries to dive out of the ring, but gets the ever loving bejesus forearmed out of him by Lynch (I think)…and Barnett confirms that it was Lynch that caught Ospreay with the European uppercut, so that confirms that I did tell them apart correctly, even if I got the move he stopped Ospreay with wrong…Lynch is in bikers, while Davis has the singlet for those following along at home…and we finally get an opening bell with Lynch beating the tar out of Ospreay…it’s kinda cool to think where they’d end up seeing that Andrews, Havoc and Ospreay all debuted for PROGRESS with only a Noam Dar match in between…Fit Finlay roll by Davis. One of my favorite moves…followed by a partner capture piggyback senton. Impressive display…he’s gotten significantly more technically fluent, but man, early Ospreay was a sight to see with all the flying around the ring he did…that’s fucking disgusting. Davis spits on Ospreay’s mouth guard and puts it back in Ospreay’s mouth…and Davis just kicked the absolute crap out of Ospreay. This match is feeling like legalized assault…Esmail is trying to reach out to Ospreay for the tag. I’m sitting here thinking “why would he want any part of this?”…and that was a super flippy-doo. Corkscrew head scissors takedown…crowd chanting for Esmail by chanting ‘Bieber’. They aren’t wrong…and Lynch welcomes Esmail to the violence party with a brutal spear to a chant of ‘you killed Bieber’, as Barnett laments the lack of Justin’s demise…Esmail tries to chop Lynch. It ends poorly for him…release German by Lynch and looked like Esmail landed on his shoulder…at what point does referee stoppage due to empathy become an option?…Davis with a huge exploder for two, allegedly. It does not look like Esmail kicked out, but grabs the knee right afterward, so I’m guessing that’s not good…and the match basically stops until Esmail can tag Ospreay…handspring Pele kick. That’s a new one…and Lynch gets caught with Code Red for two…C4 style snapmare by Ospreay…and Ospreay misses the double moonsault. Yes, you read that right. I said the words ‘double moonsault’…one Lariat by Lynch later and Davis covers for the three count at 10:19…from what actually happened before Esmail got hurt, it was actually a fun little battle of aerial vs. strong style. When Ospreay and Esmail could get into the air, they had a chance. On the ground, they were taking an absolute ass kicking. Unfortunately, Esmail’s injury robbed us of the sequence leading to the hot tag and thus took the fans out of the match. My guess is they went home early after the injury. Fun effort, with an unfortunate injury to Esmail. (ABOVE AVERAGE+, BUT WAS ON WAY TO BETTER)
*Upon checking Ian’s review of the show, it wasn’t the knee that Esmail was holding. It was his leg. He broke it on the landing of the exploder. As I said, unfortunate for him. I don’t know that he ever returned to PROGRESS. I’d say it worked out okay for Ospreay though.
*Post match promo from Rob Lynch where he basically says what he said in his inset promo. Kinda defeats the purpose of those, no?
*Match #6: #1 Contender’s Match- El Ligero (1-1) vs. Greg Burridge vs. RJ Singh
The Who: El Ligero was on the first show. He beat Noam Dar in the opener to advance to the four way, where he was the first person eliminated in the four way. Greg Burridge (which I originally read as Gurridge) is brand new to me. Have never seen or heard of him before. RJ Singh was supposed to be on the first show facing Colt Cabana in one of the qualifier’s, but didn’t make the show and was replaced with ‘Loco’ Mike Mason, who we don’t see on this second Chapter. Probably because he was basically less talented Davey Richards. And I’m not a huge Davey fan in the first place.
The Why: The graphic for the match said it’s for the number one contendership. What any of these guys have done to become number one contender is anyone’s guess. This could give an interesting sign of things to come in the main event though.
The Match: RJ Singh has a pair of managers. He didn’t have managers on the graphic. Hopefully Jim Smallman tells me who they is during the intros…I couldn’t make out what he said during introductions for them……I’ll keep looking and listening (there is a Jimmy Barnett still) and let you all know…Burridge gets the only promo and mentions what Smallman just mentioned that he’s the hometown boy. Ligero was also a crowd favorite on the first show, so it appears RJ Singh is the heel in this contest…nope, RJ Singh gets an inset promo too. It just happens a bit later. ‘This is PROGRESS and Singh is King’ is a strong line, give him that…Burridge and Ligero trade sissy kicks, until Burridge with a finger poke for a ‘holy shit’ chant…Singh comes back in and gets knocked right back on wallet…okay, I do like that they are mixing in spots with all three guys involved…and Burridge has fluffy dice hanging from his crotch. Because of course he does…Ligero’s reputation proceeds him, Singh is a nice little high flyer despite and Burridge is the charisma of this contest…Singh does like to focus on knee strikes…Barnett points out this is one fall to a finish, not elimination rules like the title match was…rolling hilo by Burridge. The Eddie Guerrero special from the big guy. If I had to give a build comparison for Burridge, I’d say Wade Barrett sounds about right…and the director for Singh gets an in ring face humping after attempted interference. No wonder these shows don’t allow kids…Ligero with a huge dive to take out Singh’s other second…Ligero with the Rings of Saturn that gets broken up with a back chop by Burridge. Back chops are for jerks!…RJ Singh applies a Camel Clutch, decreeing it’s name to the ‘Ethnic Submission’. That’s a whole lot of wrestling history wrapped up into two words right there…Ligero catches with the same DDT he beat Dar with, Burridge stops any attempt at a cover with a submission hold…they O’Connor Roll into the ropes, knocking Singh to the floor and Ligero ends up with the cover, grabbing the tights for the three count at 11:03 and the fans are pissed at Ligero for such dastardly tactics…match itself wasn’t bad, but nothing to write home about either. The finish is the big talking point as Ligero wasn’t seen as a guy who would have previously stooped to the level of using the tights in order to get a victory. I actually like him doing so here, because it keeps an air of mystery about the main event still. If Nathan Cruz wins, Ligero can go back to loveable baby face who did what was necessary to get the title shot. If Marty Scurll wins, Ligero can be the little bastard who will cheat against even his friends if it means being champion. Good story, average match. (AVERAGE)
*Post match, Burridge has a promo where he uses pretty much every curse word in the book and probably makes up a couple to describe the fact that Ligero cheated him out of the number one contendership. Definitely not a family show.
*Match #7: PROGRESS Wrestling Staff: ‘Showstealer’ Nathan Cruz © (2-0) vs. ‘Party’ Marty Scurll (1-0-1)
The Who: Nathan Cruz is the first PROGRESS champion, crowned at ’In The Beginning’ (available in my archive if you’ve not read). He won both a singles match over Colossus Kennedy and then the four way elimination main event. ‘Party’ Marty Scurll is the ‘Villain’ of modern day ROH and New Japan, but here he’s still more commonly known as one half of the ‘Leaders of the New School’. Scurll pinned Zach Sabre Jr at the first show in what I still feel is the best match in PROGRESS history to this point to advance to that four way.
The Why: The why here is simple and I touched on it earlier in the review. At ‘In The Beginning’, there was a previously mentioned four way. It came down to two people: Marty Scurll and Nathan Cruz. Scurll had a clear three count during the match, but the referee got knocked stupid. As Scurll was trying to resuscitate the referee, he was given a low blow by Cruz and then eventually Cruz’s sliding single foot dropkick spelled curtains for Scurll. On the PROGRESS YouTube channel (2012 and all, a company has to have a digital presence), Cruz challenged Scurll to the rematch, even letting Scurll pick the stipulation. Scurll choose ‘two out of three falls’ and here we are…
The Match: IT IS NOT A NAZI STAFF!!! Okay, maybe it is…interesting that the win-loss records on the chyron for Marty Scurll has him at 0 wins and 1 loss. Two things for that- first, they are completely ignoring him pinning Zach Sabre Jr. for that 0 wins total. Second, technically he didn’t lose the main event of Chapter 1. He just didn’t win. I personally consider that a draw, and therefore you see the 1-0-1 record that I have given to Scurll…Nathan Cruz’s chyron has him listed at 1-0, so I don’t know what the hell is going on…and the crowd once again gets on Cruz with a ‘shit Zack Ryder woo woo woo’ chant. Made me laugh the first time, makes me laugh the second…and Scurll spits his gum at Cruz. This has been a very unhygienic show…Barnett points out Scurll’s tan advantage. That checks…Scurll is quickly going after the arm and hand of Cruz. Makes sense to weaken a limb for what will probably be a long match…and Scurll busts out the Jim Briggs special. That move doesn’t get enough love…overhead chop from Scurll after a shushing. Wonder if he got that from Big Show or vice versa…Cruz fires back just as strongly with chops of his own…any chop you can throw, I can throw harder. I’ve never understood chops. Good for crowd reaction, but painful as all hell. In a business that supposed to look like it hurts without actually doing so…we once again go out to the floor for a brawl, because that’s exactly what this event needed. More crowd brawling like the main event of Chapter 1…slingshot back suplex by Cruz. Not sure if I’ve seen that one before…Cruz eats foot on a charge not once but twice, but a leaping knee strike gets two for Nathan…Barnett credits a delayed vertical as ‘shades of the late great Davey Boy Smith’…and it totals a fifty second delayed vertical, but I think it took as much out of him as it did Nathan…that suplex gets our second ‘This is PROGRESS’ chant of the match…Cruz went for the sliding kick again and nobody home. Eventually it leads to a tornado DDT for a close two count…looked like Scurll was going for a rack bomb there. Don’t think I’ve ever seen him use one of those…Scurll looks to be heading to the top fall here…Cruz catches him with an enzugiri while he’s on top. They battle up and Scurll manages to get a CIMA style Meteora with Cruz trapped on the buckles. Scurll lifts up Cruz into position for the Rack Bomb, but turns it into a double knee backcracker out of it. He calls it the ‘Hangover’ and that’s fall number one to ‘Party’ Marty @ 12:11
*Fall Two: For those wondering, I’m going to leave the clock running between falls, despite the both men on their feet rule…Cruz tries the Flair corner cradle right as the second fall starts but only gets two…it breaks into a slugfest before a Scurll cross body takes both to the floor…and Scurll uses beer as a weapon on the floor. I’m guessing that’s called the ‘Party Foul’…and a loud ‘we can’t see shit’ chant starts while they brawl on the floor. This is exactly why I advice against it. In larger crowds, it takes a portion of the crowd out of the match…Cruz traps Scurll somewhere and sprints back into the ring looking for a countout…but Scurll rolls back in at 8…and Scurll gets Irish (English?) whipped into a couple rows of chairs, where Cruz looks for the countout again…and the fans helped Scurll back into the ring at 8 again. I’m sensing a pattern here…once again out to the floor. This is getting repetitive, gentlemen…okay, that was almost worth it. Fireman’s carry slam on the sound desk by Cruz!…this time Scurll gets to the ring with a fan assist at the count of nine…Scurll eventually turns the table back in the ring with a series of windmill chops…Scurll busts out a move I’ve only see Cesaro (Claudio Castagnoli) use. A suplex from the apron back into the ring…a series of attempts at the figure four by Scurll are countered. Both men back up. Scurll tries for a tilt-a-whirl head scissors, but gets caught and dropped square on his dome with a Tombstone! That’s the second fall (and it should be. Tombstone is another of those moves that should not be kicked out of) @ 22:00
*Fall Three: The both men on their feet rule here helps Scurll. He’s out of it after that Tombstone…Scurll collapses at the bell, but the cover only gets two. Almost two minutes passed, so I can let that one go…Cruz looks to be setting up the sliding kick, but Scurll pops up with a rolling elbow and Barnett shouts out Mitsuhara Misawa. I went Masato Tanaka myself, but I’m an ECW mark…both men back up and punch drunk. Twenty five minutes in, it makes sense…series of pin attempts by Scurll, which I like. Puts over his desperation for the title…Scurll tries to run Cruz into a buckle but it’s the buckle where the ref is. Scurll puts on the brakes and Cruz’s trick knee acts up. Man, we’re hitting all the classic heel cliches in this one; aren’t we?…Barnett runs over the card for Chapter Three and he says we’re getting Andrews vs. Cooper for the BWC Scarlo…after trying to fight it most of the night, Cruz finally gets caught in the figure four by Scurll…Cruz keeps trying to get to the ropes, but losing his shoulers in the process…finally, Cruz to the ropes. It would have been a viable finish. Let’s see how Cruz sells it the rest of the way though…and Cruz pulls Chris Roberts into the way of a Scurll leaping knee…Cruz out to the floor and grabbing a chair. This is why not using the chair early means more…El Ligero comes out and pulls the chair away from Cruz. Cruz spits at Ligero, so Ligero delivers a superkick…to Marty Scurll as Nathan Cruz ducks. Ligero shrugs his shoulders about the whole thing and exits, as Cruz makes the cover…referee Roberts comes too and that’s a third fall, giving Nathan Cruz a 2-1 win @ 30:31…so, I get the idea here. And it makes sense given that El Ligero was facing the winner of this match on Chapter 3 that he would be an interested party. What I don’t care for is the fact that he stopped Cruz from using the chair. What does Ligero care if Cruz would have split Scurll’s wig with the chair? Either way, he ends up facing Nathan Cruz at Chapter 3 for the title anyway…that said, the match was very good, but I can’t give it excellent. Nor can I put it at the level of the Scurll-Sabre Jr match due to the booking involved. Just because I kind of understand the booking, doesn’t mean I have to like it. (VERY GOOD)
*Post match: Cruz celebrates with the staff and then exits…Scurll gets the microphone from Smallman before he can wrap things up and Scurll proceeds to lament the fact that this is twice in the first two shows in PROGRESS that he’s been screwed out of the title. He then makes a point to say that it doesn’t matter who is champion, he will be the man to be the PROGRESS Heavyweight champion in the future. With that, Scurll exits and we fade with a splash screen telling me that Chapter 3 will be subtitled “Fifty Shades of Pain”. So many jokes, so little time…after that, the credits roll and the website advertisements pop up, bringing us to a conclusion for Chapter 2.
Match #1: Lion Kid pins Stixx with a rolling prawn hold @ 10:24 (AVERAGE)
Match #2: BWC Scarlo Scholarship Title: Mark Andrews © pins ‘Wild Boar’ Mike Hitchman with a small package @ 14:05 (VERY GOOD)
Match #3: Noam Dar taps Darrell Allen via ‘Champagne Super-Knee-Bar’ with head kicks @ 11:04 (ABOVE AVERAGE)
Match #4: Danny Garnell pins Jimmy Havoc with a roll-up out of the Crossface @ 10:36 (ish) (GOOD)
Match #5: London Riots (James Davis/Rob Lynch) def. Velocity Vipers (Alex Esmail/Will Ospreay) when Davis pins Ospreay after a Lynch Lariat @ 10:19 (ABOVE AVERAGE+, BUT WAS ON WAY TO BETTER)
Match #6: #1 Contender’s Three-Way: El Ligero pins Greg Burridge with a tights assisted O’Connor Roll @ 11:03 in a match that also involved RJ Singh (AVERAGE)
Match #7: PROGRESS Wrestling Staff: Nathan Cruz © defeats ‘Party’ Marty Scurll by a score of 2 falls to 1 @ 30:31 to retain (VERY GOOD)
-Scurll, pinfall, Hangover, 12:11
-Cruz, pinfall, Tombstone, 22:00
-Cruz, pinfall, superkick by El Ligero @ 30:31
FINAL SHOW THOUGHTS
I’m going to try to keep these a bit shorter then they were for Chapter 1. Mostly because this is already rocking almost ten pages here and I don’t want to go much more. They improved
the lightning in the building on the hard cam, but the roaming cam lighting is still hit and miss. With the amount of crowd brawling that went on in the main event, that becomes a seriously noticeable flaw.
Second, the lack of decisive finishes kind of bothered me. I get that it’s early in the company’s run. But one of the trademarks (in my opinion) of ‘strong style wrestling’ are clean and decisive finishes. Off the seven matches on this show, two had dead in the center of the ring clean finishes that weren’t rollups. I don’t like that at all.
There was no one on this show that felt like they didn’t belong to me. Despite me not knowing who Mike Hitchman was, he really impressed me in his match with Mark Andrews. Despite not knowing who Danny Garnell was, the story that he and Jimmy Havoc told more then justified his involvement. The opener was kinda lackluster overall, but it was good for the spot with the Lion Kid gimmick being something that’s easy for a crowd to get behind.
I gave them credit on the first show for crowning a champion. I’ll give them credit here for knowing that they needed to set things up for future shows to keep the hype train rolling. Yes, PROGRESS got off to a strong start, but the company didn’t yet have the name they do now where they could continue drawing huge cards solely on the PROGRESS name. In addition to being able to do several things for shows down the road, they immediately set up at least two matches for the next show. Nathan Cruz vs. El Ligero for the PROGRESS Championship Staff and Mark Andrews vs. Xander Cooper for the BWC Scarlo Scholarship title. Good forward thinking.
A better show then Chapter 1, but not the blow away show that we would eventually come to expect. We top out at ‘very good’ on the scale and a good portion of that is because of the booking. We’ll chalk this up to the learning curve though. So where does this leave us? Well, it leaves me about to come back to check out “Fifty Shades of Pain”. It leaves you guys hopefully wanting to see me do so. And I’m still hungry. I clearly need to eat more…
THE FINAL REACTION
Best Match/Moment: I’m going with the BWC Scarlo match between Mark Andrews and Mike Hitchman here. Despite the main event earning the same rating, I was more pleasantly surprised by this one then I was by the main event.
Worst match/moment: Lion Kid and Stixx as far as in ring content went. I get that it was there to get the crowd hyped and I appreciate that but it was still really sloppy, mostly on Lion Kid’s part.
MVP: I’m going to issue co-MVPs here to Mark Andrews and Jimmy Havoc. Andrews for delivering the in-ring performance that he did and Havoc for telling the story that he did during his match. Credit to both Hitchman and Garnell, but clearly Andrews and Havoc were the stars of those respective matches.
FINAL SCORE: 7/10
Until next time: “This Is PROGRESS” and that’s “What I Watched”. Catch you all for Chapter 3: “Fifty Shades of Pain”.