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Chairshot Classics: PROGRESS Ch. 3: Fifty Shades of Pain

Harry brings us another throwback episode of Progress! His play by play style will paint a picture so clear Bob Ross wouldn’t even need to add trees!

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Harry brings us another throwback episode of Progress! His play by play style will paint a picture so clear Bob Ross wouldn’t even need to add trees!

Two of these reviews down. Let’s go ahead and make it a trifecta. Hopefully, you are enjoying the series as ‘What I Watched’ returns under the Chairshot Classics banner for PROGRESS (as well as Impact Wrestling. Hopefully, we can eventually cover some other promotions as well). I’ll be taking note of all the comments left on these reviews and addressing them as new ones get typed out. In the interest of a somewhat regular schedule of these posting, the first couple PROGRESS reviews are being typed out in advance of their release on the website.

So, to the reason of today’s gathering. PROGRESS has had two good (but not necessarily great) shows so far. Instead of going to a more regular occurrence, they stuck with the three months between shows model. Chapter 2 had us in June, whereas this show doesn’t take place until September. The bigger story to me though is that the main event is not what I though it would be at the end of Chapter 2. Instead of getting Nathan Cruz vs. El Ligero for the PROGRESS Championship Staff, we are instead getting a tag match with Cruz and Ligero as partners. With that, we once again step into the way back machine and head to September 30th, 2012 as “What I Watched” presents ‘Fifty Shades of Pain’ or PROGRESS Chapter 3.

WRITER’S NOTE #1: My reviews will not be a play by play recap. I’ve done that style in the past and honestly, I don’t especially care for it. Instead, it’ll be more of a stream of consciousness review as I talk about the wrestlers, the matches, the storylines and whatever else happens to pop into my head while I watch.

WRITER’S NOTE #2: As much as I’d like to let everyone make their own decisions on the matches, giving away match results in the review will be a necessary evil. The reason being is that I will discuss what I think everything means going forward and maybe even doing a little fantasy booking of where I would go from where they presently are. I will still post the results as one big listing at the end of the articles as well as my ratings for the contests. The final show review will be after that as well as the ‘Final Reaction’ for the show. Going forward, I’ll have an archive to all of my previous reviews here on the Chairshot if you click on my user name.

MY RATING SCALE: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Above Average, Average, Below Average, Bad, Very Bad, Terrible and SKIP. Some matches will occasionally get a ‘N/A’ rating as well. That will be reserved for matches that I feel don’t warrant a rating.

PROGRESS Wrestling Chapter 3 – Fifty Shades of Pain’
From: ‘The Garage’ in Islington, London, England
Date: September 30th, 2012
Run Time: 2:08:49 (Demand PROGRESS)
WITH SPECIAL THANKS: Ian Hamilton for some of the research that I did while working on this review. (http://www.backbodydrop.com)

*Our opening video focuses on a tag match between the London Riots (James Davis and Rob Lynch) facing Danny Garnell and Darrell Allen. In addition, we see that Marty Scurll will be the special guest referee for our main event. Which apparently will not be the previously thought Cruz vs. Ligero for the PROGRESS Championship Staff, but a tag match instead with Cruz and Ligero as partners…

*There is no Smallman opening promo, as I believe it was it edited into the opening video with Scurll being added to the main event as the referee. Disappointing start, as I find Smallman’s opening welcome to be a nice light hearted way to get these shows started.

*Match #1: Noam Dar (1-1) vs. Paul Robinson
The Who: Noam Dar is coming off a victory over Darrell Allen via ‘Champagne Super KneeBar’ at the last show to even his record up. Paul Robinson is making his in-ring debut for the company and he is replacing MK McKinnan, who was the originally announced opponent for Dar in this contest.
The Why: My guess would be to get Dar more momentum going forward. I don’t imagine that Robinson is going to be added last minute and beat Dar, but stranger things have happened.
The Match: They still have the records on the name bar’s for the intros. I know that’s not something they do any more, but I’m curious how long it sticks around for…both guys get inset promos. Dar’s is by far the better, as he informs us that he’s going to keep winning so he can get the ‘big stick’ by which he means the PROGRESS Championship Staff, despite the crowd’s borderline racist chants towards him…opening bell rings and we’re underway…Robinson shows off the Chris Hero shoulder kips into the forward roll. Pretty sure that dates back to England before Hero, but Hero is where I personally remember first seeing it…commentary starts a little late, but there’s Jimmy Barnett, who claims he’s not affiliated with Jim Smallman despite sounding a lot like him. That cat is now long since out of the bag…backslide for two and then a super spinning backslide for another two. Seemed a little unnecessary but the fans enjoyed it. Know your audience, I guess…Paul Robinson is a very small guy. Believed the announced weight was just over one hundred forty. For a visual representation, think Spike Dudley…certainly a unique twist on the Garvin Stomp…Dar focusing on Robinson’s knee pays off the fans who have watched the previous shows and the ‘Champagne Super KneeBar’…Dar repeats the gum spot from Chapter 2. Gross. And the fans appropriately respond with a ‘you sick fuck’ chant. Not the most hygienic man in wrestling, is he?…lighting for this show is quite a bit better then it has been for previous shows…Robinson with a suicide dive, which could have been a disaster. There is almost no room between the ring and the front row of fans…said it before, say it again: the superkick and the enzugiri are the most overused moves in wrestling…airplane spin however, we could use more of…Robinson tries to drop the Guillotine Legdrop, but Dar moves and Robinson lands hard…pair of fisherman’s (both suplex and buster) lead to a grounded kneebar. Not quite the ‘Super Kneebar’, but it’s enough for the tap at 11:41…pretty basic match to kick off the show. The crowd was into it, which is good. But as a fan who watches a lot of wrestling, it never seemed to get out of the first gear and move into being more then just there. Dar’s personality make his matches an easy enough watch, but at same point, the in ring product has to be risen up to mean anything. (AVERAGE)

*Match #2: BWC Starlo Scholarship Title: Mark Andrews © (1-0) vs. Xander Cooper (1-0)
The Who: Mark Andrews is a pretty well known name here in the States now. He’s coming off a successful title defense against Mike Hitchman at Chapter 2. Xander Cooper wasn’t in a match on Chapter 2, but did win a three way match at Chapter 1 with this title on the line,
The Why: Between Chapters 1 and 2, Andrews beat Cooper for the title. Andrews had his previously mentioned defense at Chapter 2 and after that match, Cooper came in through the crowd and attacked him. That led to PROGRESS management scheduling this rematch between the two for the title.
The Match: I believe only the second match in PROGRESS history to have been set up on the show before. The only match on Chapter 2 that was set up at Chapter 1 was the main event, if memory serves…‘Man for All Seasons’ is such a proper asshole nickname. I dig it…Cooper impressed me at the first show. Andrews and Hitchman had a banger at the second. My expectations are pretty high for this one…both get inset promos. Andrews has the best line: “fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice and you’re just a dick”…bell goes and we’re underway…the fans insinuate that Cooper has herpes. Somewhere, Rhett Titus is pissed his chant got taken…pace finally starts to pick up around three minutes in…Cooper busts out Miz’s old Reality Check combo. Personality wise, he kind of reminds me of Miz as well…Andrews with a Bubba Bomb. Not something you usually see a guy his size use…standing moonsault senton gets two and looks really cool in the process. Andrews was a lot like Ricochet and PAC early in his career. Not everything made sense, but most of it looked cool…stranglehold Golden Rule by Cooper. That’s a first for me…rope assisted enzugiri kick knocks Cooper back into the center of the ring. Andrews comes flying in with a Shooting Star Press (over-shooting just a bit, actually) and that’s the closing bell at 8:52…better then the opener, but a step down from what both of them did before. Took a bit of time to get out of the starting block, but once it did, it picked up quite nicely. I would recommend the three way for Cooper and the Hitchman match for Andrews more personally though. (ABOVE AVERAGE)

*Match #3: London Riots (James Davis/Rob Lynch) (1-0) vs. The Bastard Squad- Darrell Allen and Danny Garnell (debut as a team. Allen is 0-1-1 as a single. Garnell is 1-0 as a single)
The Who: London Riots were successful in their debut at Chapter 2 against Will Ospreay and Alex Esmail in what was shaping up to be a good match until Esmail got hurt (broken leg). Allen got a no decision at Chapter 1 in the three way for the Starlo Scholarship and was tapped by Noam Dar at Chapter 2. Danny Garnell won his debut match, pinning Jimmy Havoc at Chapter 2.
The Why: Damn good question and one I don’t presently have an answer for. I checked the history of PROGRESS that is maintained at Voices of Wrestling by Rob Reid and found nothing to give any reasons as to why this is happening. Maybe Jimmy Barnett will shine some light on the reason during the match itself.
The Match: Lynch has what I thought was a paddle but was corrected by Barnett is a cricket bat in his hand. Is cricket big in England? Thought that was more of an Australian thing…Barnett informs us that a poll on the PROGRESS website has dubbed Garnell and Allen as ‘The Bastard Squad’, so my why maybe just as a way to try to build up a tag division…as per the warning I issued during Chapter 2, it is entirely possible that I will screw up Lynch and Davis. If I do so, I apologize…then again, they appear to have keep the one in singlet, one in trunks look. I should be okay…and we’re off as a brawl breaks out…man, that one roaming cam is making me sea sick. Super wobbly…Lynch drops Garnell on the floor with a Michinoku Driver…and the official PROGRESS Chapter 3 chair of that fan has been broken…Lynch and Garnell just trading bombs in the center of the ring…high angle release German by Garnell. Lynch lands almost square on the back of his damn head…Allen and Garnell do have quite the big guy/little guy dynamic going for them…first ‘This is PROGRESS’ chant…Allen has Davis caught in a Octopus but Davis turns it into a wheelbarrow facebuster. Again, another first…Riots grind down the pace of the match on Allen, but it makes sense for them to do so. They have a significant size edge over Allen, why not use it?…one of these shows, I’m going to keep a running enzugiri count. If we don’t hit double digits, I’d be stunned…Barnett advocates the old Gorilla Monsoon stance of multiple referees for tag matches…Lynch with an overhead superplex on Allen and Allen lands square on his tailbone. I’m guessing that probably sucked…both men on the ropes and Allen with another enzugiri to knock Lynch to mid-ring. The same thing Andrews did to Cooper in the previous match…Allen tries to come in with a cross-body off the top but gets caught by both members of the Riot Squad. Lynch helps Davis pop Allen up and into a sit out powerbomb which gets the three count at 12:25…a few good moments here and there but not enough to make it anything really worth remembering. It followed the old school tag wrestling formula to a tee. The thing about formulas is that they become formulas because they work. It does here and while it’s not going to light the world on fire or anything, it produced an above average tag match that sees the Riot Squad continue their winning ways. (ABOVE AVERAGE)

Post match: The Riots lay in a beat down to Garnell, as one of the chairs from ringside is used multiple times against the knee of Garnell, before they use the cricket bat into the chair to ‘Pillmanize’ the ankle of Garnell. Microphone time for Lynch afterwards and declares war not just on the tag teams in the UK but on PROGRESS as well, laying down an open challenge for any place, any where, any time. Guess this story will develop more going forward then…

*Match #4: Jon Ryan (0-0) vs. Jimmy Havoc (0-1)
The Who: Jon Ryan makes his PROGRESS debut here, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen him before working for wXw out of Germany. Jimmy Havoc is back after a losing effort to Danny Garnell on Chapter 2 as a favor from his friend, Jim Smallman.
The Why: ‘Strictly No Blood, No Hardcore’ is the tag line for the match. Let’s just say that somehow I doubt this…
The Match: Ryan does get booed on his intro and the fans love Havoc, chanting ‘Jimmy’s Gonna Spoon You’, a call back to the great spooning debacle of Chapter 2…apparently Ryan was Havoc’s original trainer whereas Garnell was the one who trained him in the ways of technical wrestling…an attempted handshake by Havoc is met by a bitch slap from Ryan. That’ll end poorly for him, I feel…Havoc works in a spoon while on the mat to continue that bit…knowing Havoc’s reputation, it’s weird seeing him in normal matches…and as I type that, Havoc goes for dive and misses but lands on his feet. He turns towards Ryan, who thwacks him with a frying pan for the DQ at 3:36…normally, three minutes is about the mark where I would try to give a match a rating. I don’t feel like I can’t rate this here given what happens next, therefore I’m not going to…(N/A (ANGLE ADVANCEMENT))

*Post match- Havoc is understandably less then pleased about Ryan going upside his dome with a frying pan, which opened up Havoc’s forehead. He demands that Smallman restart the match under ‘Hardcore’ rules. Smallman warns people that don’t like this style of match to move away from the ring but as far as he is concerned: “fucking kill him, I don’t care.”

*Match #4b: Hardcore Rules: Jon Ryan (0-1) vs. Jimmy Havoc (1-1)
The Match: And thus the lack of rating for the previous match…opening bell once again here…and the first official weapon is a kendo stick. Which Ryan just beats the hell out of Havoc with. I think the kendo stick is one of those overrated weapons. Not enough reaction to justify how much those things actually hurt…cheese grater. It’s like every ECW brawl from 1998 on featuring New Jack…there’s not really a lot to discuss in a match like this. It’s basically just them hitting each other with a bunch of various shit…feel like throwing a bloody person into a group of people’s chairs is a bad idea…powerbomb through an ironing board. Not what those are intended for, but it looked cool enough…never cared for staple guns, myself. Similar to the kendo stick, but I guess a little easier to gimmick…staple to the dingus. Because of course he does…I’m guessing this is the match that leads into intermission so they have time to clean up the ring after it. It’s a combination of the old WWF hardcore brawls and the ultra-violent style matches you’d see from a CZW or a Big Japan…and now the thumbtacks make an appearance…DVD into the tacks. And the referee wusses out by grabbing a cookie sheet to count on. It was a smart move on his part, but not the most masculine….the problem with matches like this is it takes a while to set up the next spot. Spot, set-up, spot, set-up. Rinse and repeat as necessary…a ‘This is PROGRESS’ chant breaks out, followed immediately by a ‘No, it’s not’. That could make for an interesting way to go down the line with it. And a definite divide in the fan base for someone like Havoc…okay, that finish worked. They had set the BW board across two chairs. Havoc tries for a spinning head scissors and gets caught and dropped clean on his head with a package Tombstone (think Tombstone set-up and then Ryan cradled both legs under his own arms). Rather then go for the pin there though, Ryan adjusts his grip around Havoc’s waist and launches him through the BW board with a release wheelbarrow suplex. It was all over but the counting and the counting hits three at 14:36…this kind of match is going to be very divisive. There are fans of this genre and there are those who feel like it’s a black eye on the sport. I personally enjoy death match wrestling as long as we don’t go too over the top with it (needles, fire, stuff that can really hurt someone). I thought this was a pretty good match for the genre while not going too far in order to affect the crowd that may not be as interested in this style. We’ll go ‘above average’ for the rating, but your mileage will vary. (ABOVE AVERAGE)

*Post match- both guys get a nice ovation from the crowd and a ‘That was awesome’ chant. Let’s not go around tossing that out so freely. A sign of respect as a hug and handshake from teacher and student occurs and Havoc pops on the microphone once again to put over the crowd and Jon Ryan as well. He also asks the fans to buy him and Ryan beer and have a chat. Always working, that Havoc…

*Match #5: RJ Singh (0-0-1) vs. Rob Cage (debut)
The Who: RJ Singh returns after getting a no decision in the number one contender’s three way at Chapter 2. He still has his entourage with him as well. Rob Cage is a man that I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of before so we’ll see what he can do in this match.
The Why: Can’t say I really have an answer for this. My guess would be to help flush out the roster with more people.
The Match: Can’t say my expectations are really high here, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised before. Mike Hitchman at Chapter 2 comes to mind there…the match graphic has Singh listed as 0-1. However, since he didn’t get pinned in the three way, I gave him a draw/no decision instead…inset promo for RJ Singh and the ‘Singh is King’ catchphrase remains in tact. It works for him. Promo wasn’t anything special however…opening bell goes as Singh’s accomplices make friends at ringside…apparently Rob Cage went the Jimmy Havoc route of campaigning on Twitter in order to get a spot on this show…I do still enjoy the fact that RJ calls his Camel Clutch the ‘Ethnic Submission’. It’s wrong on several levels, but still funny…Cage gets caught up with Singh’s crew and Singh gets a nice looking leaping neckbreaker, done Zig Zag style. That was smooth…running knee strike looks less smooth…Cage goes to the top and the ‘Director’ pushes him off while the referee was working on getting the other member of the Bollywood Empire out of the ring. That said, it happened so close to the referee that he had to have seen it. Really poor ring positioning…that leads to RJ Singh applying the ‘Ethnic Submission’ and it leads to a tap out from Rob Cage at 7:27…well, they reached my expectations with this. Worst match on the show thus far. I found RJ to be very entertaining for the role he had in the three way, so this was a major step down for him. As far as Rob Cage, not the best first impression made. For the first time on the show, I go with a ‘below average’ rating. It’s not awful, but if you are in a rush while watching this show, it’s seven minutes you can easily skip and not miss anything. (BELOW AVERAGE)

*Post match: it appears that all is okay as Singh offers his hand and Cage accepts it. Until RJ kicks Rob in the junk and puts him back in the Camel Clutch while his cohorts talk trash right in his face. The hold gets broken by the referee and Singh poses on the turnbuckle to celebrate his victory.

*Match #6: Stixx (0-1) vs. Lion Kid (1-0)
The Who: Stixx and Lion Kid both make their return after opening up Chapter 2 with a singles match. As previously mentioned there, I’ve heard that Lion Kid was the former Wade Fitzgerald, but have never seen any confirmation of this.
The Why: This one is easy. As mentioned, they had a match at Chapter 2. Lion Kid won. Stixx wants revenge. Pretty simple, really.
The Match: The who and the why was pretty easy to get through. I fear the match may not be. These two didn’t exactly set the world on fire at Chapter 2. Hopefully, it was just nerves and we get a better performance here…we start hot as Stixx knocks Lion off the apron and proceeds to beat him around ringside before the opening bell…Stixx rolls back in and demands a count-out, despite the fact we’ve not had an opening bell (at least, not one I’ve heard)…appears Lion Kid caught a knee injury in the floor brawl, but we’re a go now with an opening bell and everything…huge Black Hole Slam forty seconds in and I thought that was three. It wasn’t, but it wouldn’t have surprised me. Looked really good…huge Flair shin breaker by Stixx. He’s definitely looked better tonight then last outing…Lion Kid looked for a reverse rana but Stixx powered him back up. Kid transitions right into a victory roll, which I believe is how he won at Chapter 2. It only gets two this time…Stixx with a nice looking variation of the half calf, but Kid does eventually get to the ropes…series of chops sees Lion Kid ‘roar up’, but a shot to the knee keeps Stixx in charge…half crab giant swing. That’s just a dick move…Lion Kid goes for a springboard and falls. Crowd chants ‘you fucked up’, but I don’t think he did. I think it was on purpose to sell the knee and if it was, bravo…the crowd continues the ‘roar’ chant to rally Lion Kid. As Jim Smallman said in the favorite chants video he did, it’s just fun to say ‘roar’…avalanche tabletop (fall away slam to vertical) suplex. Don’t believe I’ve ever seen that done from the buckles before…Stixx is being almost Anderson like in his focus on the leg here. These guys are putting on quite the show here…very cool turnbuckle sequence leads to the big guy coming in with a frog splash on the knee…Lion Kid with a series of roll-ups to put over how desperate he is. Psychology, psychology, psychology…Stixx tries the Black Hole again but Lion Kid counters into a tornado DDT. Lion Kid goes for a 450, but Stixx rolls in. Lion Kid lands on his feet. Normally, that’s a good thing. With a bad knee, not so much. Stixx hauls Lion Kid up and drives him into the mat with Splash Mountain (Crucifix PB set-up but into a standard PB finish. I dub it the River Stixx). After a quick debate of a submission attempt, it’s a three count instead at 12:21…well done, gentlemen. Way to make me eat my words. After being significantly less then impressed with their match at Chapter 2, they turned things around and put on in my opinion the best match of Chapter 3 thus far. A big credit for this goes to big man, Stixx. He put on a technical clinic in this match, which you wouldn’t expect from a guy his size. Lion Kid more then held up his end of the bargain as well. You mix psychology with solid in ring work and no noticeable blown spots, it makes for a happy reviewer. I would rate this match as ‘very good’. (VERY GOOD)

*Match #7: Nathan Cruz (3-0, PROGRESS Championship Staff Holder) and El Ligero (2-1, #1 Contender to Nathan Cruz) (debut as a team) vs. Dave Mastiff (debut) and Greg Burridge (0-1) (debut as a team)
The Who: Cruz and Ligero are the champion and challenger elect for the next time the PROGRESS Staff is on the line. Cruz won the four way on the first show for the Staff. Ligero won a three way on the second show for the number one contendership. Dave Mastiff is making his PROGRESS debut here. From what little of him I’ve seen on NXT UK, he’s impressed me. Greg Burridge took the loss in the three way at the last show. Marty Scurll is the referee and he’s probably not going to be an unbiased one as he has issues with both Cruz and Ligero.
The Why: If I’m being entirely honest, I don’t have a damn clue for this one. I expected we’d get Cruz vs. Ligero here, but instead it’s this tag match. Burridge wanting revenge on Ligero makes sense. Burridge wanting a crack at Cruz makes sense. Where Dave Mastiff fits into this is anyone’s guess. As for Scurll, that’s easy. He was cheated out of the title by Cruz at the first show. He had Cruz beat at the second show while the referee was down. Ligero attempted to interfere and superkick Cruz, but Cruz ducked and Ligero wiped out Scurll. Despite not hitting his intended target, Ligero didn’t seem especially upset about it. Cruz got the victory and Scurll got screwed once again. How does this all tie together? Hell if I know. Let’s find out…
The Match: Man, this is a clusterfuck and a half just based on the description I had to type…once again, Cruz is greeted with the ‘shit Zack Ryder’ chants. Probably still my favorite one thus far in PROGRESS…Scurll gestures that he’ll call it down the middle during intros. I doubt that…Ligero and Mastiff are both in NXT UK. I think Burridge is now retired. I think Cruz just came back to wrestling, but I’m not sure…Mastiff’s beard is not nearly as impressive as it is these days…inset promos for only Cruz and Mastiff. Nathan Cruz is laying on the Shawn Michaels impression a bit thick. He is not only the ‘Show-Stealer’, he’s also the ‘Leader of the New Generation’. Bloody hell, mate…opening bell and we’re underway…Burridge and Ligero to start, until Ligero tags out to Cruz…I can’t entirely tell with the accent, but I believe that Burridge is calling Cruz a ‘slag’…I believe Cruz and Burridge are the two biggest guys height wise in PROGRESS (maybe outside of Stixx to this point). I’m almost certain that Mastiff is the heaviest…tags made on both side and we go to Ligero and Mastiff…do believe that Mastiff just called Ligero a cat. Or something similar. It was of the feline variety…Mastiff with a massive delayed vertical…and Burridge comes in to beat the hell out of Ligero…Ligero turns the table by going to the knee of Burridge and takes control…and that explains why Scurll wasn’t allowed to wrestle on this show. It was around the time of his ‘British Boot Camp’ run with TNA. And TNA were being dicks about their people working elsewhere due to not wanting injuries…last few minutes of this match has been all Ligero and Cruz working over Burridge’s knee. Smart wrestling, but not always the most entertaining…the f bombs are flying in this one. Viewer discretion is advised…little bit of in-fighting between Cruz and Ligero leads to Burridge making the tag to Mastiff…even back here some six years ago, Mastiff moves very well for a guy his size…Cruz and Ligero try to work together to suplex Mastiff. It doesn’t go well. Mastiff takes them both over with a double vertical…Ligero clearly gets caught calling a spot. I usually try to get the guys the benefit of the doubt, but that was blatant…Ligero trying to trade shots with Burridge. Why would he want to do that?…breaks down to Ligero and Mastiff in the ring. Top rope cross body attempt by Ligero just bounces off Mastiff. Mastiff tries to climb, but Ligero dropkicks the legs and then hits the Del Rio corner double stomp. Scurll refuses to count for Ligero and shit cans him to the floor…Cruz gets caught in a submission but manages to escape and hit his version of the Whiplash. Again, Scurll refuses to count though…Ligero goes for his tornado DDT, but Cruz tags himself in and sets up for his superkick. He goes for it on Mastiff but Ligero superkicks him mid-move. Ligero again shrugs his shoulders and rolls out of the ring as Mastiff lands on Cruz with a huge cannonball senton in the corner. He pulls Cruz to center ring and a follow-up cover gets the three count for the ‘Bastard’ Dave Mastiff at 18:10…took a bit to get going, but once it did, it was pretty entertaining. I’d say basically the first ten minutes of this match are a wash though, as it’s mostly mat wrestling and then leg work on Burridge that gets completely forgotten about in the closing stretch. I understand the idea of having Ligero and Cruz lose here. I even get the idea of Cruz taking the pinfall. To me, it would have made more sense for Burridge to get the pin since it would validate his point from the last show. Then again, we’d never see Greg Burridge in PROGRESS (to this day, I believe), so in hindsight, Mastiff was the right choice. The first half of the match was average, the closing sequence was pretty good. So we’ll settle in the middle and give this a good rating overall but easily the lowest quality of the three main events to this point. (GOOD)

*Post match: Mastiff gets mic time, saying that he did what he said he was going to do, which was something Scurll couldn’t do. He says that Cruz may be the man around here, but he’ll never be a ‘Bastard’. Mastiff and Burridge exit, with Scurll following shortly behind…Cruz gets the microphone as he’s recovering and points out that he’s still the champ and that picking up a win on the scraps of Ligero means nothing…eventually, it leads to Ligero making his way back out and security having to separate Cruz and Ligero. Smallman yells at them for screwing around at this end of his show and makes the title match official for Chapter 4. Smallman then cuts a quick version of his usual opening promo and we’re officially out for Chapter 3.

RESULTS
Match #1: Noam Dar taps Paul Robinson with a grapevined kneebar @ 11:41 (AVERAGE)
Match #2: BWC Starlo Scholarship Title: Mark Andrews © pins Xander Cooper with a Shooting Star Press @ 8:52 to retain (ABOVE AVERAGE)
Match #3: Riot Squad (J. Davis/R. Lynch) defeat Darrell Allen and Danny Garnell when Davis pins Allen after a sit out powerbomb @ 12:25 (ABOVE AVERAGE)
Match #4: Jimmy Havoc defeats Jon Ryan by DQ @ 3:36 (N/A (ANGLE ADVANCEMENT))
Match #4b: Hardcore Rules: Jon Ryan pins Jimmy Havoc with a release wheelbarrow suplex through a barbed wire board @ 14:36 (ABOVE AVERAGE)
Match #5: RJ Singh taps Rob Cage with the ‘Ethnic Submission’ (Camel Clutch) @ 7:27 (BELOW AVERAGE)
Match #6: Stixx pins Lion Kid after a Splash Mountain Bomb @ 12:27 (VERY GOOD)
Match #7: Dave Mastiff and Greg Burridge defeat El Ligero and Nathan Cruz when Mastiff pins Cruz following a corner cannonball senton @ 18:10 (GOOD)

FINAL SHOW THOUGHTS
Rather then do positives and negatives here, I feel it’s easier to save those for the Final Reaction going forward. Two reasons for that…one, the Final Reaction gets a bit redundant if I’m typing the same thing there that I am here. Two and just as importantly is it’ll help decrease the length of these reviews a bit.

As far as ‘Fifty Shades of Pain’ goes overall, I’d say it’s the weakest of the three shows thus far, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad show. Once again, we top out with a ‘very good’ match on the scale. This time though, we do see the ‘below average’ make a return to the scale as well. Consistency is key and while top to bottom, the shows are watchable, there is nothing really blow away that the company would eventually be known for having show in and show out down the road. We see more stuff coming together for the future of the company and the cream is starting to rise to the top in guys like Scurll, Andrews, Ligero, Cruz and the London Riots.

So, where does this leave us all? Well, it’ll leave me coming back to watch ‘The Ballad of El Ligero’ or PROGRESS Chapter 4. It’ll leave you all hopefully wanting to come back and read when I do so. I’m once again off to find food. Honey Buns sound really good right about now.

THE FINAL REACTION
Best Match/Moment: Has to be the surprise contest of the evening to me. The super redeeming effort that we got from Lion Kid and Stixx earns them best match.
Worst match/moment: That RJ Singh and Rob Cage match was rough. From both an in ring content and from a ‘suspension of disbelief’ perspective. I’ve seen better from RJ but Cage was a definite disappointment in his first outing here.
MVP: This one is going to go to Dave Mastiff, who debuted in the main event of the show for the company and didn’t even look the slightest bit out of place doing so. Not only did he get to showcase his impressive arsenal, he even got to pin the champion in the center of the ring, even if it was under somewhat dubious methods.
FINAL SCORE: 5.5/10

Until next time: “This Is PROGRESS” and that’s “What I Watched”. Catch you all for Chapter 4: “The Ballad of El Ligero”.


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Chairshot Classics

Chairshot Classics: WWE TLC (2015) featuring Sheamus vs. Roman Reigns

As we approach the 2020 edition of WWE TLC, we look back at one from the past featuring  a very different Sheamus against a very different Roman Reigns!

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WWE TLC 2015 Roman Reigns Sheamus

As we approach the 2020 edition of WWE TLC, we look back at one from the past featuring  a very different Sheamus against a very different Roman Reigns!

As we get closer to closing the book on 2018, we’re approaching WWE’s December pay-per-view TLC, so today we’re looking back at one from the past with TLC 2015! After cashing in Money In The Bank on Roman Reigns after a grueling tournament to crown a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Sheamus must now face Reigns fair and square in a TLC Match! Let’s get into the action…

Kickoff Show Match: Sasha Banks w/Naomi & Tamina vs. Becky Lynch
Collar & elbow tie-up to kick things off, Sasha with a side headlock, Becky counters into one of her own, Banks attempts to roll her away, but Lynch hangs on. The Boss reverses an irish whip to the corner, charges in and scores with a monkey flip into a cover, celebrates a little early and Becky rolls her up for a quick 2. Banks tries to pick the leg, Becky counters and gains a side headlock, Sasha pushing her to the ropes and scoring with a shoulder knockdown for a count of 2. Back to the ropes they go, The Boss tries a leapfrog, Lynch hooks the leg and Banks faceplants into the canvas, The Lass Kicker looking for the Dis-Arm-Her, but Sasha squirms to the ropes to escape.

Lynch tries to slingshot The Boss to the mat, Sasha lands on her feet and connects with a big forearm, rushes in and gets caught in an armbar. She pushes Becky off to the ropes, follows in and Lynch with an armdrag, going right back to the armbar. Banks attempts to roll her away, Becky maintaining the hold, ducks a right hand and rolls Banks up for multiple 1 counts, then slaps the armbar back on. The Boss creates some separation with stiff forearms, sends Lynch to the corner and charges in, The Lass Kicker hopping up and over, controlling Sasha with another armbar. The Boss backs her into the corner using the hair, briefly breaks clean and tries to sneak in a forearm, Becky avoids it and connects with a springboard kick.

Naomi climbs to the apron and gets dropped back down for her troubles, Lynch turns back to The Boss and rushes in, Sasha side-steps and Becky hits the ring post shoulder-first. Banks planks her across the middle rope and drops down the double knees, taking control as we head to a break….The Boss chokes Lynch on the bottom rope when we come back, Tamina with a cheap shot behind the official’s back. The Lass Kicker tries to battle back with forearms, sends Sasha to the ropes for a clothesline, Banks counters into a tilt-a-whirl and cracks her with a backstabber. She rolls through, crosses Becky’s arms across her faces and wrenches back, grinding Lynch down to the canvas.

The Lass Kicker powers to her feet with Banks on her shoulders The Boss turns it into a victory roll for a near fall, Becky with a roll-up off the kick-out and she gets 2. She catches Banks rushing in with another roll-up for 2, drops The Boss face-first on the 2nd turnbuckle, then builds momentum with a flurry of clotheslines and a heel kick. She drops a leg, tries for another and Sasha avoids it, planting her with a cross-arm neckbreaker, covering numerous times and only getting 2 counts. The Boss slaps Lynch in the face, Becky comes back with a heavy shot, pushes Sasha to the ropes and throws her with a LassPlex, Banks grabbing the bottom rope at a count of 2.

Sasha kicks her way back to her feet, Becky takes her down with an armwhip, slaps on a cross armbreaker, The Boss tries to roll her way out and Lynch hangs on for the Dis-Arm-Her. Banks switches the momentum into a roll-up for 2, The Lass Kicker hangs onto the arm on the kick-out, going right back to the Dis-Arm-Her, Tamina getting to the apron to distract the referee, allowing Naomi to sneak in and kick Lynch in the face. The Boss takes the opening and scores with the backstabber, rolls through into the Bank Statement and Lynch is forced to tap.
Winner: Sasha Banks (Bank Statement)

  • EA’s TakeSolid showing on our Kickoff match from both ladies, The Boss getting the big win in her hometown with help from the unity of Team B.A.D. Becky’s in an odd spot right now, seemingly playing the 3rd wheel between her former Team PCB members, Paige & Charlotte. With performances like this it will be very difficult to keep Becky & Sasha near the bottom tier of the Divas division for much longer, especially if the “We Want Sasha” chants continue.

Open: After Seth Rollins cashed in his Money In The Bank briefcase at WrestleMania, Roman Reigns’ luck as it pertains to winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship has been less than stellar. He finally reached the mountaintop at Survivor Series, winning a tournament to gain the vacant title, only to have Sheamus cash in his Money In The Bank and steal the championship. Tonight, Roman looks for revenge with tables, ladders and chairs.

Match #1 – Triple Threat Ladder Match for the WWE Tag Team Championships: WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) w/Xavier Woods vs. Lucha Dragons (Kalisto & Sin Cara) vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey)
Xavier joins commentary for this match, the bell rings and the brawl is on, Jimmy & Sin Cara send Big E to the ropes, Jimmy drops down and Sin Cara scores with a dropkick. Jey, Kalisto & Kofi attempt to bring ladders in, Big E clears the ring, pushes back on Kalisto & Jey, then pulls Kingston’s ladder inside. New Day stand it up and start to climb, The Usos are there to meet them, toss Kofi outside and then pair-off with Big E & Sin Cara. Kingston & Kalisto climb up opposite sides of the apron, springboard into the ring and land on their feet on the ladder.

The Usos playing defense, everyone takes a turn climbing up with no success. Big E & Kofi get thrown outside, climbs to the 2nd rope on the apron and fly with synchronized moonsaults to New Day. The Usos grab the ladder in the ring, knock The Lucha Dragons off the apron with it, then throw it outside, New Day & Luchas catching it in the air. The Usos hit the ropes and take flight with crossbody planchas onto the ladder, taking all 4 of their opponents out. They head back in and set the ladder up under the titles, Kingston slides in, hops through the middle of the ladder for a dropkick, gets his feet caught and The Usos dump him over the top to the floor. Big E rolls in behind them, pushes the ladder into The Usos and sends Jimmy flying outside.

Kofi smashes him with a ladder as Big E stomps a hole into Jey in the corner, Kingston comes in and they sandwich him behind the ladder. Big E whips Kingston in for a basement dropkick, Jimmy rolls inside and gets caught, E tossing him onto the ladder with an overhead belly to belly suplex. The Dragons are back in the ring and clock Kingston with another ladder, attempt to smash Big E, but he powers them back to the corner. Kalisto climbs to the top, hops through the ladder and lands on Big E with a seated senton, Kofi gets to his feet and drills him with a superkick. Sin Cara goes to the 2nd rope with the ladder, Kingston scales up to meet him, gets knocked down and Sin Cara rides the ladder down into a splash on him.

He takes The Usos out on the outside with a baseball slide into a ladder, hits the ropes and jumps onto the ladder on the floor with a somersault senton on Jimmy & Jey. Kalisto spears Big E with a ladder back inside, sets it up over his prone body and starts the climb up, Big E benchpressing him up, but Sin Cara hops on it to bring it back down. E benchpresses it again with both Luchas on it, Sin Cara falls and gets hanged on the top rope, The Usos slide in and Kalisto jumps off with a crossbody. Jimmy & Jey catch him in the air, Jey plants him with a spinning side slam, then they drop Big E with a double superkick. The Usos prop him in the corner and sandwich him with a ladder, Kingston comes in for a save and gets leveled, Jimmy & Jey charging into the corner with a dropkick to the ladder.

Kofi comes to and elevates Jimmy to the outside, Jey pulls a smaller ladder into the ring, slams Kingston on it then heads up top. Kingston crotches him on the top turnbuckle, climbs up and gets sent back down, getting his foot caught in the ropes and hanging in the tree of woe. Jimmy passes a ladder to Jey and he hammers Kingston, holds it in front of Kofi and Jimmy charges in with the hip attack. The Usos are alone in the ring now, stand a ladder up, The Dragons are their to meet them and we get a staredown before everyone takes a shot at climbing. Sin Cara assists Kalisto into a senton on Jimmy, they place a ladder over his body and Sin Cara flips his partner into a 450 splash on top.

Lucha Dragons now holding the ring and starting to ascend the ladder, Kofi’s back in to lay them out with forearms, then planks another ladder between the ropes and the standing ladder. He attempts to drive Kalisto into it, Kalisto slides under, pushes the ladder into Kingston’s ribs, springs off of it with a hurricanrana and Kofi hits the ladder head-first, spilling to the floor. Kalisto heads up after the titles, The Usos hit the ring climbing up opposite sides, Sin Cara pulls Jimmy down to the canvas as Kalisto is sent down as well. Kalisto springs back up, climbs over Jey, hooks him for Salida Del Sol and they both go crashing through the planked ladder. Sin Cara climbs upstairs and follows with a somersault senton.

Kalisto & Jimmy drag themselves up the ladder and reach for the championships, Kalisto gets knocked down and Jimmy’s all alone. Big E hits the ring to make the save, pulling him down and pushing the ladder over, looks to toss Jimmy to the floor, but he turns tables and E is sent outside. Jimmy attempts a suicide dive and runs into a forearm, E grabs a ladder to bring into the ring and Jimmy hits with a baseball slide. He looks to the corner, scales to the top rope and jumps to the floor onto the ladder, squashing Big E with the Uso Splash. Kalisto stirs around in the squared circle and drags himself up the ladder, Woods leaves commentary, grabs the trombone and throws it into Kalisto’s back, Kingston quickly sliding in and flipping him off the ladder to the mat. Kofi climbs up, unhooks the titles and The New Day retains.
Winners and STILL WWE Tag Team Champions: The New Day

  • EA’s TakeWow, the tag division just spat on the rest of the roster and proclaimed “Follow that!” with this match. Amazing high-spots and some pretty innovative stuff here, Kalisto’s Salida Del Sol being the showstealer. This is going to be very difficult for anyone to measure up to the rest of the night and we’re just getting started. I think it’s a little odd that New Day retained, they’re starting to run out of babyface challengers at this point after running through everyone for the majority of 2015. Unless someone’s getting called up from NXT, they may end up having to turn themselves.

Match #2: Rusev w/Lana vs. Ryback
Rusev jumps Ryback right at the bell, clobbers him in the back and whips him to the ropes, The Big Guy hanging on and catching Rusev coming in with a back elbow. He sends The Bulgarian Brute to the outside after a shoulder tackle, follows him out and drives Rusev into the barricade before rolling him back in. The Big Guy heads up top and scores with a double axe handle, presses Rusev over his head, drops him face-first and follows with a splash for a count of 2. He rams The Bulgarian Brute back into the corner and fires away, climbs to the 2nd rope for right hands, Rusev powers him out and drops him on the ropes with a hot shot.

He takes control and chokes Ryback on the bottom rope, rams him head-first into the top turnbuckle and drives shoulders to the solarplexes, flattening The Big Guy with a short-arm clothesline. Rusev grabs the neck with a nervehold to ground Ryback, The Big Guy fights to a vertical base, gets clubbed in the back and The Bulgarian Brute hooks him for a vertical suplex. Ryback blocks and they trade suplex attempts back and forth, The Big Guy finally plants Rusev and starts to build a head of steam with multiple shoulder blocks. He squashes The Bulgarian Brute in the corner, Rusev reverses a whip across, charges in and runs into a boot, Ryback following up with a 2nd rope dropkick that gets a 2 count.

The Big Guy’s ready to finish it, picks Rusev up and gets driven into the corner, The Bulgarian Brute attempting a splash, but Ryback side-steps and goes to the top rope. He connects with a crossbody that gains a near fall, drops the straps and sets Rusev in his crosshairs for a Meat Hook. The Bulgarian Brute wisely rolls out of the ring and walks off with Lana at his side, Ryback giving chase up the aisle and brings him back by the hair. Rusev breaks the grip with a back elbow, he pushes The Big Guy and he falls back, running into Lana and sending her down. Ryback is distracted, turns around and gets clocked by a superkick, Lana springing to her feet and celebrating after deceiving The Big Guy.

The Bulgarian Brute rolls Ryback in the squared circle and covers for 2, calls for The Accolade, but The Big Guy blocks it, powering to his feet with Rusev on his shoulders for Shellshocked. Rusev slips out of it, scores with a roundhouse to the head, locks in The Accolade to a knocked out Ryback and the official calls for the bell.
Winner: Rusev (The Accolade)

  • EA’s TakeNow don’t get me wrong, it’s not that this was a bad match. It’s just that…who cares? The story was a little absurd heading into it and both of these guys have really fallen off the map in comparison to where they were at the height of their WWE runs thus far. Ryback is still missing something, it’s tough to put my finger on exactly what it is. It’s certainly not his ability, which you can also say about Rusev as well.

Backstage: Dean Ambrose warms up for his match when Roman Reigns comes in. He tells Dean he was just speaking to The Usos and it’s down to them tonight to hold it down for the family. Reigns is excited for tonight, describing how good it will feel to regain the WWE Title and put a hole in Sheamus’ head with a ladder. Win, lose or draw, tonight’s about making a statement. Ambrose says he had a different vision and that’s for both of them to be standing in the ring later as champions.

Match #3 – Chairs Match for the WWE United States Championship: WWE United States Champion Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger
Ringside is littered with set-up chairs, both guys slide out to the floor after a chair at the bell, roll back in and the duel is on. They drop the chairs and Swagger hits a clothesline, the champion rolls to the outside, The Real American in pursuit and Del Rio tries to drive him into the post, only to get rammed into the steel instead. The challenger bounces Alberto’s head off a chair multiple times, back into the ring they go and The Real American looks for the Swagger Bomb, El Patron sticking a chair up and catches him in the throat. The champion scores with a clothesline that gets 1, sends Swagger sternum-first into the turnbuckles, then rams the chair to the ribs and smacks it over his back.

He props the chair flat between the ropes in the corner, the challenger firing away with right hands, Alberto reverses a whip into the chair, The Real American puts on the brakes to avoid it, but Del Rio makes him pay with a backstabber for a count of 2. El Patron hammers the challenger in the back with a chair, sets his sights on a superkick, but Swagger is able to throw the chair in his face to avoid it. He ducks a clothesline, hits the ropes for one of his own, follows with another, then connects with two more in the corners. The Real American wants the Swagger Bomb again, Del Rio gets the feet up, Swagger catches the foot and goes for the Patriot Lock, but the champion is able to kick him away. Swagger rushes right back in and is split with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for a near fall, tosses The Real American out to the floor, then throws a pile of chairs onto him.

He sends the challenger back in the squared circle and covers for 2, calls for the Cross Armbreaker, Swagger counters out and sends him shoulder-first into the ring post, follows with a roll-up and nearly gets the 3 count. The Real American pounds Del Rio’s back with a chair, wraps his ankle in it and slaps on the Patriot Lock, the champion crawling to grabs the apron, but there’s no breaks in this match. El Patron works his way out of the ring using the ring skirting, Swagger ducks his head out to grab the champion and takes a chair shot to the breadbasket. Alberto heads upstairs with a chair-in-hand, The Real American catches him coming down with a slam, finally hits the Swagger Bomb and Del Rio kicks at 2.

The challenger slides to the outside and sends a handful of chairs into the ring, pummels Alberto in the back again, then props him on the top turnbuckle and climbs up. The champion pushes him away, picks the arm and hangs over the ropes with the Cross Armbreaker, releasing the hold on his own accord. He heads back inside and unleashes a barrage of chair shots to the back in the corner, stacks the chairs up under Swagger, climbs up top and delivers tree of woe double stomp for the 1-2-3.
Winner and STILL WWE United States Champion: Alberto Del Rio (Tree Of Woe Double Stomp)

  • EA’s TakeBrutal, physical match between two of the better technicians in the company, showing they can also deliver a good brawl. The chairs were really used to perfection and were a real focal point of the match, which is what you’d expect from a chairs match. I get that Swagger & Del Rio have a history, so it only makes sense for The Real American to be one of the first challengers to Alberto’s title. I just don’t like that I’m supposed to take Swagger as a serious contender after months and months of being relegated to Superstars, most of the time on the losing end.


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Chairshot Classics: 2015 WWE Hell In A Cell

With WWE Hell In A Cell 2020 looming, Eric takes a look back at the 2015 edition featuring The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar inside the Cell!

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WWE Hell In A Cell 2015 The Undertaker Brock Lesnar

With WWE Hell In A Cell 2020 looming, Eric takes a look back at the 2015 edition featuring The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar inside the Cell!

Before you get to Sasha vs Bayley, Roman vs Jey and Drew vs Randy, check out the happenings of the 2015 version of WWE Hell In A Cell, emanating from the Staples Center in Los Angeles!

Kickoff Show Match: Dolph Ziggler, Cesaro & Neville vs. Rusev, King Barrett & ‘Mr. Money In The Bank’ Sheamus
Stardust & The Ascension are sitting at ringside again with a “Stardust Section” sign. The Man That Gravity Forgot & The Celtic Warrior to kick things off, collar & elbow, Sheamus powers Neville into the corner and goes to the midsection. He whips him into the ropes, Neville slides through the legs and scores with a flurry of kicks, misses a dropkick, then slips out of a slam attempt for an enzuigiri. Cesaro gets the tag, slams Sheamus, goes to all fours and Neville jumps off his back into a corkscrew splash on Mr. MITB that gets 2 for The Swiss Superman. He quick tags back out to Neville, Sheamus sends him hard into the corner and brings in Barrett.

The King fires away a headbutt, quick tags out to Rusev and The Bulgarian Brute pummels The Man That Gravity Forgot. The Celtic Warrior off the tag with more heavy shots, Neville tries to battle back, but Sheamus catches him for a suplex. The Man That Gravity Forgot counters and lands on his feet, gets the tag to Ziggler and he comes in on fire, dropping Mr. MITB with a jumping clothesline. The Show Off splashes Sheamys in the corner, drops him with a neckbreaker and plants an elbow drop to the chest. Dolph knocks Rusev & Barrett off the apron, goes for a Fameasser, The Celtic Warrior catches him into a powerbomb, but Ziggler with a reversal back into the Fameasser for a near fall. Barrett slides in and distracts the ref, Rusev coming in from behind and decapitates Dolph with a superkick, Mr. MITB slides over into a cover and Ziggler kicks out at 2 as we go to break…

The King controls The Show Off with a rear chinlock when we come back, Dolph tries to gain his footing and gets slammed to the canvas by the hair. Barrett maintains control, posting his knee to Ziggler’s spine and wrenching back on the arms. The Show Off powers to a vertical base, gets sent into the corner, tries to hop over a charging Barrett and takes a kick to the midsection for 2. Sheamus off the tag with stiff right hands, The Bulgarian Brute takes a turn and stomps away at Ziggler in the corner. He eggs The Show Off on to make a tag, but unloads with clubbing blows when Dolph reaches out. Rusev scores with a kick to the back for a count of 2, The Celtic Warrior re-enters the match and plants Ziggler with a release vertical suplex before going to a rear chinlock.

Dolph battles to his feet and spikes Sheamus with a jumping DDT, Rusev gets a tag and barely prevents Ziggler from making it to his corner. He props The Show Off up in the corner, runs to the other side to build a head of steam and goes to splash Dolph, but misses and hits the ring post. Barrett gets a tag as Cesaro enters, he drops Sheamus off the apron with a big boot, then unleashes a series of running uppercuts to the King, going from corner to corner. The Swiss Superman levels Barrett with a running big boot, the King reverses a whip into the ropes and Cesaro flips himself out to the apron, lifting a boot to Barrett’s face. The King Of Swing jumps onto Sheamus from the apron with a somersault senton, runs around ringside and unloads an uppercut to Rusev, then back around to deliver one to Mr. MITB.

Cesaro heads to the top rope, connects with a crossbody back in the ring to Barrett, but only gets a 2 count. The Swiss Superman calls for the Cesaro Swing, Rusev slides in to stop it and takes a back body drop. Neville hits the ring, Cesaro tells him to hit the ropes and sends The Man That Gravity Forgot to the outside onto Sheamus & Rusev. Barrett sets for the Bullhammer behind Cesaro, Dolph slides in and hits a superkick, Cesaro puts him in the swing and Neville tags to finish the King with the Red Arrow.
Winners: Dolph Ziggler, Cesaro & Neville (Neville/Red Arrow)

  • EA’s Take: GREAT opening contest here, the babyfaces get the win, but Cesaro looks like a million bucks coming out of this. I would have preferred to see the heels win with help from either Stardust at ringside or Tyler Breeze, generally I prefer to advance a story when it comes to who wins matches. Certainly one of the better kickoff show matches I can remember seeing though.

Open: “Hell comes in many forms.” Tonight, Seth Rollins looks to hang on to his WWE World Heavyweight Title, while Kane looks to keep his job as Director Of Operations. After a controversial finish at SummerSlam, Brock Lesnar & The Undertaker walk into Hell In A Cell seeking revenge in the final chapter of their rivalry. “It all ends…in hell.”

In The Arena: WWE United States Champion John Cena heads to the squared circle to a chorus of boos. The champ says he had a long winded speech, but it sounds like everyone’s ready to get down to business. The US Open Challenge starts….now. Zeb Colter comes out on a motorized scooter, talking about how some people like Cena and some people don’t. He calls Cena a divider and it’s time for people from all different countries and backgrounds to come together. More importantly, it’s time for John to lose the US Title to this man…

Match #1 for the WWE United States Championship: WWE United States Champion John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio w/Zeb Colter
Collar & elbow tie-up to start, Cena goes to a side headlock, Del Rio pushes him into the ropes and John scores with a shoulder knockdown. They lock-up again, Alberto grabs a side headlock this time, Cena pushes him into the ropes, leapfrogs over and Del Rio with a kick to the leg that forces John to regroup outside. Loud dueling Cena chants as John goes to the striking game, firing away with right hands in the corner, whips Del Rio across, charges in and Alberto side-steps, going into an armdrag and holding an armbar. Alberto goes back to a leg kick, Cena crawls to the 2nd rope, Del Rio attempts a running senton and misses, spilling to the outside. The champ rolls Alberto back inside, charges at him and Del Rio splits him with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for a count of 2.

El Patron heads upstairs, connects with an overhead chop and gains another 2 count before utilizing a rear chinlock. The champion powers to his feet, Del Rio with a kick to the breadbasket and an attempted suplex, Cena blocks and hits one of his own. John climbs to the top, the challenger quickly scales the corner and scores with an enzuigiri, dropping the champion to the canvas for another near fall. Del Rio climbs to the top once more and again hits an overhead chop for a count of 2, then calls for the Cross Armbreaker.

Cena explodes to his feet, flattening Alberto with a clothesline. They exchange right hands, Cena hits his shoulder tackles, plants Alberto with a spinning back suplex and hits the 5 Knuckle Shuffle. He sets for the AA, Del Rio slips out and cracks Cena with a backstabber, follows with a superkick and we have a new champion.
Winner and NEW WWE United States Champion: Alberto Del Rio (Superkick)

  • EA’s Take: What a surprise return, it takes a lot for me to not see something coming and I was stunned, eventhough I knew there had been talks between Del Rio and WWE about coming back. I’m a little shocked at the way that it happened also though, as I feel like the execution was not as it should have been. Cena has had incredible US Title matches during his reign and successfully defended it, but this match didn’t quite live up to any of those. Great coup for WWE either way, hopefully they can keep the title relevant as Cena is slated to step away until the end of December.

Backstage: The Authority is watching with enjoyment at the start of the show, Seth Rollins comes in and agrees with them. However, Rollins has some thoughts about tonight when Kane interrupts. He tries to apologize, but Seth isn’t buying it and they bicker back and forth. Hunter stops them and says this is a private meeting, Kane’s attendane isn’t required. Kane wishes Seth luck, telling him he’s going to need it.

Match #2 is Hell In A Cell: Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns
Roman strikes first with a kick to the gut and right hands, drives Wyatt into the top turnbuckle and continues to fire away. Bray takes it right back to Reigns, shoots him into the ropes and The Big Dog explodes with a jumping clothesline, then tosses Wyatt with multiple pumphandle throws. He goes for a Samoan Drop, Bray battles out, but eats a big right hand, crawling to the ropes. Roman to the outside, looks for the Drive-By, Wyatt avoids it, but Reigns comes right back with another right hand, this time hitting the Drive-By. The Big Dog introduces Bray to the cage, sends him into the steps, then rolls him into the ring.

The New Face Of Fear rolls back to the outside, goes to Reigns’ eyes, then pulls out a kendo stick and goes to work, taking control of the match and swinging away at Roman’s back. Wyatt tries to send The Big Dog into the corner, Reigns fights back briefly, but Bray goes to the lower back with the kendo stick again. He clotheslines Roman to the outside using the cane, heads out after him and tosses him into the cage. The Eater Of Worlds finds a chair under the ring, goes to swing at Reigns, changes his mind and instead sits down, whacking Roman with the kendo stick and begging him to fight back. Bray props the chair and cane in the fencing, Reigns with a quick burst of energy, but Wyatt drives him into the cane, splitting it in two.

The Big Dog with another adrenaline rush, hammers Bray with fists and sends him into the chair, then back into the cage. He finds 2 kendo sticks and stalks Wyatt before combining them and unloading to Bray’s chest. Roman seeks out a table and slides it in the ring, then pulls out another and sets it up on the floor. Wyatt throws the other table out of the ring, Reigns notices and connects with another Drive-By, setting the other table up on the opposite side of the ring. Reigns pulls himself to the apron, avoids a charging Bray and hits a series of kicks, goes to suplex Wyatt through the table, but gets put through it himself with a one-arm slam.

The Eater Of Worlds rolls Roman in and covers for a count of 2, squashes him with a running senton for another 2. Wyatt dumps Roman to the outside, rushes at him and squashes him into the side of the cell. He pins Roman’s head up against the ring post, gains some speed and squashes him again. The New Face Of Fear pulls another table out and slides it in the ring, places Reigns in the corner and drives a knee to the head before setting the table up. Bray props The Big Dog on the top turnbuckle, hooks him for a superplex, Reigns blocks, drops down and powerbombs Wyatt through the table for a near fall. Both guys struggle to their feet, Roman unleashes a flurry of clotheslines in the corner, hits the ropes and Bray catches him for Sister Abigail.

Reigns counters into a schoolboy for a count of 2, then comes right back with a Superman Punch, Wyatt kicking out at 2. The New Face Of Fear rolls out to the apron, Roman goes out to meet him, hitting a Spear off the apron to the floor and going through a table. The Big Dog drags Wyatt into the ring, crawls to a cover and still can’t get a 3 count. Roman sets up for a Spear, Bray gets his boot up and plants him with Sister Abigail, but he can’t get the 3 either. The Eater Of Worlds goes to the 2 kendo sticks, delivers a shot to the midsection and hooks them up in the turnbuckles like javelins. Bray goes to drive Reigns into it and he blocks, connecting with kendo stick shots, sends Wyatt into the cane instead, then follows with a Spear to get the win.
Winner: Roman Reigns (Spear)

  • EA’s Take: Excellent brawl here with a couple of nice spots. Reigns finally seemingly gains revenge on Bray which makes me wonder if he’ll turn his attention back to the WWE Title. I can’t find much to complain about with the match, however the “No Color Policy” always seems to put a bit of a damper on these kinds of matches. Cage matches are supposed to be brutal, bloody brawls and these kind of matches make me miss those days.

Match #3 for the WWE Tag Team Championships: WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von)
Prior to the match, Kofi thanks the WWE Universe for all their support towards Xavier Woods. Big E calls today a sad day, almost as sad because the broken trombone is all they have of Woods. They promise to play the drums with D-Von’s head and Bubba’s belly. Kingston & D-Von kick off the action, Big E provides a distraction and Kofi takes quick control. He sends D-Von into the ropes, D-Von with a jumping back elbow, follows with a diving headbutt and covers for a count of 2. Bubba tags in, The Dudleys with a double shoulder knockdown and double elbow drop for 2, Bubba whips Kofi to the corner and he scales to the top, but gets caught and slammed to the canvas.

New Day collects themselves on the outside, Big E tries to give Kofi another distraction to no avail, Bubba shooting him into the corner for a splash. D-Von back in, The Dudleys go for a double team move and botch it terribly. D-Von whips Kofi into the ropes, ducks his head and eats a kick, Big E tagging in and leveling D-Von with a clothesline. New Day with frequent tags in their corner, taking turns stomping away at D-Von, Big E eventually whipping Kofi into a corner dropkick. Kingston chokes D-Von on the 2nd rope, spikes him with a DDT and covers for a 2 count before going to a wristlock. D-Von battles to his feet, Kofi hits him with a jawbreaker, then drags him to the corner and brings Big E in for a splash that gets a count of 2.

Kingston back in, they set D-Von up for a Wazzup Headbutt, but D-Von kicks Kofi away and crawls to a tag. Bubba with clotheslines to Kingston, elevates him with a back body drop, then scores with lefts and rights to Big E. The Dudleys connect with the Wazzup Headbutt, Bubba is about to call for the tables, but Kofi springboards in the ring, taking them out with a dropkick. He slides out and grabs the trombone, tosses it to Bubba and drops to the mat as if Bubba nailed him with it The ref argues with Bubba and goes to call for the bell, but decides against it because he didn’t see it.

Bubba snaps the trombone in half over his knee, D-Von tags and they plant Kingston with a combination back suplex/neckbreaker for a near fall. Bubba tags back in, they call for 3D, Big E slides in and drills Bubba with the trombone behind the ref’s back, then disposes of D-Von. Kingston scores with Trouble In Paradise to Bubba, makes the cover and retains.
Winners and STILL WWE Tag Team Champions: The New Day (Kofi/Trouble In Paradise)

  • EA’s Take: Maybe it’s just me, but the shine of The Dudley Boyz’s return seems to be wearing off already. I’m not sure what move they were going for during the match, but they botched it horribly and couldn’t cover for it. I still believe that The Dudleys will get their 10th title run, but the time just isn’t right. There are not enough heel teams to justify taking the titles off New Day, not to mention the fact that New Day are arguably the hottest heels in the company.

Match #4 for the WWE Divas Championship – Everyone Banned From Ringside: Nikki Bella vs. WWE Divas Champion Charlotte
They lock-up to start, Charlotte backs Nikki into the ropes, the ref forces a clean break and they tie-up again, this time Charlotte backing Nikki into the corner. Nikki doesn’t break clean, charges out of the corner with a clothesline, Charlotte ducks it and scores with a modified neckbreaker. She puts the challenger in the corner, climbs to the 2nd rope and reigns down right hands, Nikki tries to counter to a powerbomb, but the champion reverses with a hurricanrana. Charlotte with more right hands, hits the ropes and the challenger fires a stiff forearm that sends the champion to the outside.

Nikki gives chase, tosses Charlotte out into the crowd, the champion looks to bring the fight back at her and gets caught, Nikki jumping off the barricade with a kick. She drives Charlotte spine-first into the ring post, tosses her into the barricade, then rolls her in the ring for a count of 2. Nikki sticks the point of the knee into the back and pulls back on the champion’s neck, drags her to her feet and hits a snap suplex for another 2 count. The challenger goes for a slingshot suplex, Charlotte lands on her feet, delivers a plate of patented Flair chops, Nikki ducks one and goes to a backslide for a near fall, then turning it into a modified facebuster, but still can’t get 3.

Nikki uses a single leg crab to punish the champion, breaking it on her own accord. She catapults Charlotte off the ropes down on the knees, covers for 2 and then sends the champion into the corner. Charlotte flips around, explodes out and levels the challenger with a big boot for a near fall. The champion tries a suplex, but her back gives out and Nikki keeps control, continuing to pummel the lower back. The champion ducks a right hand, turns around into a spinebuster and Nikki gets another count of 2 before trash talking Charlotte and slapping her in the face. Charlotte comes back with chops, the ref has to seperate them and Nikki takes advantage, looking for a springboard kick and missing, hurting her knee in the process.

The champion takes the opening planting Nikki and then climbing to the top for a moonsault. Nikki sees it coming climbs up with her for a german suplex and Charlotte lands on her feet, splitting the challenger with a spear. She locks in the Figure Eight, but can’t bridge due to her injured back, Nikki crawling to the ropes to force the break. Charlotte charges Nikki and gets dumped to the floor, the challenger following her outside and scoring with an Albama Slam on the apron. She rolls Charlotte back inside, attempts the Rack Attack and the champ counters, locking in the Figure Eight and Nikki’s forced to tap.
Winner and STILL WWE Divas Champion: Charlotte (Figure Eight)

  • After The Bell: Paige & Becky Lynch hit the ring to celebrate with Charlotte, raising her hand in victory.
  • EA’s Take: Finally a good Divas match for the main roster. Not anything on par with what Sasha Banks & Bayley have been doing down in NXT, but I really enjoyed this one. The Divas Division has been begging for a 1 on 1 match like this and while it won’t change things overnight, WWE keeps making steps in the right direction. Too bad they couldn’t have taken those steps at the beginning of the ‘Divas Revolution’.

Backstage: Sitting in the locker room is Roman Reigns when Dean Ambrose comes in offering congratulations on finishing things with Bray Wyatt. Dean talks about them knowing what’s next, but Reigns wants to talk about that tomorrow. Ambrose agrees because tonight they’ll celebrate.

Match #5 for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship – If Kane Loses, He’s No Longer Director Of Operations: WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins vs. Kane
The champion has some harsh words for the challenger at the bell, pushes him and ducks a right hand, delivering a series of his own. He shoots Kane into the ropes, ducks his head and The Devil’s Favorite Demon spikes him with a DDT, following with a low dropkick. He knocks the champion to the floor with a right hand, goes out after him and drives him head-first into the announce table. The challenger clears the spanish announce table, Rollins tries to scurry away into the ring, hits the ropes for a suicide dive and gets caught, then planted on the floor. Kane rolls him back inside, whips Seth into the ropes and hits with a flapjack.

The Director Of Operations heads to the top, The Architect sees it and drops Kane to the apron, then hangs him on the top rope, dropping Kane to the floor. Seth flies to the outside with a somersault plancha, places The Devil’s Favorite Demon on the apron and drives elbows to the throat. Back in the ring, Seth scores with a sling blade that only gets a 1 count, chokes The Big Red Machine on the 2nd rope, then plants him with a neckbreaker that barely gets 2. The champion goes to a rear chinlock, Kane attempts to battle up and Rollins with a kick to the chest. He scales the top turnbuckle, jumps down and meets a big right hand, but side-steps a big boot in the corner.

Seth splashes him and stomps away, runs to the other side to build momentum and scores with a running forearm. The Architect goes to the well again and gets leveled with a clothesline, but again avoids a charging Kane in the corner. Seth climbs up top, Kane catches him with a right hand and then connects with a superplex. The Big Red Machine hits multiple corner clotheslines, attempts a tilt-a-whirl slam, Rollins lands on his feet, hits the ropes and runs into a big boot that gives Kane a 2 count. The Devil’s Favorite Demon goes to the top again, the champion runs up the turnbuckle to meet him, gets pushed off and Kane scores with a top rope clothesline. He grabs Seth for a Chokeslam, Rollins slips out and hits an enzuigiri, tries to follow with the Pedigree, the challenger powers out and plants the champion with a Chokeslam, but only gets 2.

He calls for the Tombstone, The Architect slips out and retreats to the outside, Kane in pursuit to drive the champion spine-first into the apron. Kane drops Rollins back-first on the announce table, clears it off and tosses Seth over it. He drags Rollins up, Seth slides out and powerbombs the challenger on the spanish announce table, but it doesn’t break. Rollins rolls in the ring and the ref starts his count, Kane making it back in at a count of 8. The Architect goes for another Pedigree, gets tossed to the apron, Seth scores with an enzuigiri, then comes off the top with a flying knee.

The champion goes back up and connects with another flying knee, then lands two superkicks to finally drop the challenger. Seth goes up once more and hits a frog splash, but still can’t put The Devil’s Favorite Demon away. The champion can’t believe it and seemingly has a conversation with himself, goes back over to The Big Red Machine and he gets Seth by the throat. Rollins delivers a kick to the breadbasket, drives Kane into the canvas with a Pedigree and picks up the 1-2-3.
Winner and STILL WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Seth Rollins (Pedigree)

  • EA’s Take: I’m not certain that I’d call this match good or not. I wouldn’t say it was bad, but it went exactly the way I figured it would go. There was never any doubt in my mind that Seth wouldn’t retain, so this didn’t do a whole lot for me. I am glad however that they allowed Rollins to win clean. They’ve done a good job of weening Seth off of the tainted wins which will serve his character well (not to mention whoever finally beats him) in the long run.

Match #6 for the WWE Intercontinental Championship: Ryback vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens
The bell rings and The Big Guy goes right at the champion, Owens trying to retreat to the outside, then back in and catching Ryback with boots. KO hits the ropes and runs into a big shoulder, the challenger powers Owens into the corner and drives shoulders to the midsection, lifting him and tossing KO with a back body drop. The Big Guy goes for a military press, the champion slips out, attempts a suplex and Ryback counters into one of his own. He charges KO in the corner, Owens side-steps and Ryback goes shoulder-first into the ring post. The champion looks to take control, Ryback uses his power again and plants Owens with a powerslam, KO rolling to the apron and getting blasted to the floor with a clothesline.

Ryback tosses Owens back inside, puts him in the corner and reigns down rights from the 2nd rope. The champion escapes out, crotches the challenger on the 2nd turnbuckle, following with a running senton for a 2 count. Owens sets his sights on a Cannonball, The Big Guy pops to his feet and catches him in a spinebuster, then puts Owens in his crosshairs for the Meat Hook. KO ducks it, but can’t avoid Ryback’s powerbomb and the challenger gains a near fall before climbing to the top. Owens has it scouted, dropping the challenger to the apron and then connecting with a superkick, spilling Ryback to the floor.

The Big Guy makes it back in the ring at the ref’s count of 9, charges into the ring and gets dropped throat-first across the 2nd rope, KO grabbing him in a schoolboy for a near fall. He sends the challenger into the ropes for a Pop-Up Powerbomb, Ryback counters with a Meat Hook, then lifts him for Shellshocked. KO grabs the ropes to get out of it, goes out to the apron and rakes the eyes, following with the Pop-Up Powerbomb to finish it.
Winner and STILL WWE Intercontinental Champion: Kevin Owens (Pop-Up Powerbomb)

  • EA’s Take: It’s officially time for both of these guys to move on. I’ll be honest, I completely forgot this match was even on the card and it appears as if most everyone else did too. It shows how much the company really cares about this feud, as they’re given the spot between the WWE Title match and the main event. Generally, this spot on the card is the one that gets time taken away from it or cut completely. This rivalry has done nothing for either of these guys.

Match #7 is Hell In A Cell: Brock Lesnar w/Paul Heyman vs. The Undertaker
They meet face to face in the ring, Taker giving Lesnar the throat-cut sign and the bell rings. Lesnar uses his quickness to duck right hands, looks for a german right off the bat, but Taker hangs onto the ropes. The Beast goes to the midsection, drives shoulders into the breadbasket in the corner, The Deadman reverses a whip across and follows in with a clothesline. The Conqueror buries a knee to the ribs, hooks The Phenom for a german suplex again and Taker sends him flying to the outside. Undertaker follows, delivering right hands, Lesnar countering a whip into the cage and he elevates Taker for an F5. The Demon Of Death Valley slips out of it, pushes Brock face-first into the ring post and he’s been busted open.

The Phenom uses the cell to his advantage, driving Lesnar face-first into the cage, then pulls a chair out and heads back inside. The Beast is there to meet him, planting Taker into the mat with a double leg, getting his hands on the chair and smashing it into The Deadman’s back. Brock falls into the corner and the ringside doctor comes in to check on Brock’s cut, cleans him up a little bit and Lesnar takes the chair again, smashing it into Undertaker on the floor. The Conqueror tosses Taker into the cage again, attempts a suplex on the floor and The Phenom blocks, delivering one of his own. The American Badass has been cut now, rolls Lesnar inside, props the chair under his throat and slams down on it, covering Brock for a count of 2.

Undertaker hammers away at Lesnar’s cut, shoots him into the corner, Brock rebounds out and ducks a right hand, snapping off a german suplex. The Beast scores with a couple more, elevates Taker and connects with an F5, but The Deadman kicks out at 2. The ringside doctor comes in the ring again to check on both guys, Lesnar tosses the doctor aside and plants The Phenom with another F5, but still can’t get 3. The Conqueror goes out to grab the steel stairs, tosses them in the squared circle and clobbers The Deadman for a near fall. He takes the steps again, attempts to slam them on Taker’s leg, but he’s able to roll out of the way. The Beast goes for it again, Taker kicks him away and the stairs land on Lesnar’s head, cutting him open again.

The Deadman locks in Hell’s Gate, Brock fires off lefts and rights and pounds Taker into the mat to break the hold. Lesnar notices a rop in the ring mat, tears it open and exposes the boards underneath, allowing The Phenom time to get to his feet, grab Brock and plant him with a Chokeslam on the wood. Taker powers Brock up, spikes him with a Tombstone, covers and The Conqueror kicks out at 2. The Deadman calls for another Tombstone, Brock goes with a low blow, delivers an F5 on the exposed boards and finally ends it.
Winner: Brock Lesnar (F5)

  • After The Bell: Lesnar gets help getting to the back from Heyman, leaving Undertaker in the ring alone. It takes a couple of attempts for him to be able to sit-up, but he finally does to a loud “Thank You Taker” chant. Undertaker makes it to his feet, but the lights go out and The Wyatt Family makes their way to the ring. They surround the ring, step-up to the apron and go on the attack with Bray watching. Strowman, Harper & Rowan hold The Deadman up for Bray and he continues the beatdown, mocking The Phenom in the process. They carry Taker out of the arena as the show comes to an end.
  • EA’s Take: What an absolute war and rightfully so, the end to this rivalry needed to be done justice and this match provided it. I’m left wondering about the “No Color Policy” I spoke about earlier, as both men get busted open here. I completely understand why they do it, but nobody can sit there and tell me with a straight-face that it didn’t add to the drama of this match. This was one of the few times where the match lived up to all of the hype and now we have another classic Lesnar/Taker Hell In A Cell match to go back and watch on the WWE Network.

EA’s Finisher: This PPV is one of those “in-betweeners” for me, there were some decent matches and some nice moments, but it was not the greatest thing WWE has ever produced either. The return of Alberto Del Rio was a great surprise and choice to hold the US Title while Cena’s away, as long as WWE can capitalize on Del Rio’s return. Both HIAC matches delivered to me, especially Taker/Brock as it was an absolute war, the likes of which we don’t see enough of at this point in time. The Divas stepped up to the plate tonight finally as well, but the other 3 title matches were nothing to write home about. Owens/Ryback was completely forgettable, the tag match was basic at best and the WWE Title match went exactly how I pictured it would.

Top Three To Watch
1 – Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker
2 – Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt
3 – Nikki Bella vs. Charlotte


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