January 14, 2018
The O2 Academy, Birmingham.
Don't Touch Me...Don't...Don't Touch Me
Jim Smallman Intro - Business as usual, there's a french girl and some bloke brought his mum. Don't Be A Dick. Also, there's a small change in the card tonight, and so...
Mark Andrews Announcement - Little Connor McGregor hyper-extended his arm in his last match and thus can't make it tonight. As he is telling his story, Eddie Dennis interrupts him. Eddie takes Andrews' excuse as yet another way to get out of their match that is incoming. He talks shit about Andrews how he cancels indie dates now that he's under a WWE contract.
Andrews answer back saying that he still considers Eddie a friend and doesn't want to fight him, but Eddie calls bullshit on that and brings up several occasions when Andrews never had Eddie in consideration. So if Mark says Eddie is his friend, than do one last thing for him, and give him a one-on-one match. Mark still won't give him the match, so Eddie escalates and spits in Mark's face, but Mark just walks away. Eddie gives the PROGRESS officials an ultimatum that if they don't force him, he'll give them trouble.
PROGRESS Tag Team Championship Match
Moustache Mountain vs Grizzled Young Veterans (C) - 6.5/10
Progress always starting their shows with heavy hitters. Trent Seven got a call from Triple H at the start of the match and they just chatted talking shit about Drake and Gibson, who surprisingly, had the shorter promo tonight. It took forever to start this match.
Match started with a bunch of MM-style comedy, it wasn't all bad, but after doing all that comedy with the promos, why more comedy? Eventually the ref got everything under control and kicked out Bate to the apron and this gave the Vets to get the upper hand. They had a short babyface in peril run and quickly after all four men were already in the ring fighting. Finish saw Gibson reverse a roll up on Bate after Bate had been previously hit by with the belt. Not that good of a match really. Vets have no more challengers as of now.
Chris Ridgeway vs Drew Parker - 7.5/10
Mark Andrews was supposed to be Ridgeway's opponent tonight, and then he was replaced by Brookes, that found himself a way in the main event, and so to replace him we had the return of Drew Parker after getting his ass kicked last show. This was a competitive match, but since they're slowly building Ridgeway, we got to see Parker get heat for a while building up to Ridgeway making a big comeback. Overall a good showing for both newcomers, I already like Ridgeway, I love his kicks, but the match also showed me a different perspective on Parker that does gives me hopes on him now that I know he's not just another deathmatch guy, like presented in their match with H&H. Finish saw Parker steal the win with a 450, which was a bit of a shocker. I'm guessing Ridgeway will do the whole 'I keep losing' thing before his big push.
Bea Priestley & Nina Samuels vs Millie McKenzie & Charli Evans - 8/10
Comparing Bea's pre- and post-STARDOM Progress shows and you can really see how much she is grew last year. Watching Millie tonight, it reminded me of WWE's Sonya Deville and her dumb 'Put your hair up and square up', and for some reason, I think that would really fit McKenzie a whole lot more, and yes, this is indeed another complain about her hair.
Story of the match is that Priestley and Samuels were far more in sync as a tag team than McKenzie and Evans, so that worked wonders for them when cutting off the ring. Heel girls got the heat on Evans for a while, working the left arm/shoulder, that was already taped up prior to the match. McKenzie got the hot tag and went all 2008 Kurt Angle on the heels and after some minutes of chaos, McKenzie drops Samuels with a destroyer for the pin. McKenzie is getting well built to chase Storm. Samuels and Priestley were awesome. This match was great!
WWE UK Championship Match
"Bruiserweight" Pete Dunne (C) vs Joseph Conners - 8.5/10
THIS is where this match belongs, the go match for intermission, not the main event. Anyway, Conners attacked Dunne with a chair on the back right before the bell rang during introductions, but it was like it didn't even matter since they started brawling and Dunne was mostly in control. This match probably spent about half of the time outside the ring and the other inside, and the same could be said about each wrestler being on the offensive. They kept going back and forward until the end of the match with tons of strikes and big moves, but at the end Dunne hit a piledriver outside the ring and the Bitter End to win. Expected win, but overall a great match for British Adam Cole.
Adam Brooks vs Will Ospreay - 8.5/10
Brooks making his PROGRESS chapter debut. Ospreay is 10 days gone since winning the IWGP juniors championship, so I kinda expected for Ospreay to have a stronger showing, but Brooks actually got a lot of offense on him and in many occasions, had Ospreay's number with a lot of counters, so in a sense this was working move with their rivalry in Australia.
The match was fast paced from the get got and I'd say back and forward, but like I mentioned, Brooks had a lot of offense over Ospreay, but at the end Ospreay prevailed with an OP combo and inverted 450 on Brooks for the pin. Great debut for Brooks.
Jimmy Havoc & Mark Haskins w/Vicky Haskins vs Aussie Open - 8/10
Initially in the match, Aussie Open's size was working for them as they are considerably bigger than Haskins, but you just do go against two former champions and top class wrestlers and rely on size, so when H&H really got serious, they started to dominate, and while AO had some heart to not give up, it was just a matter of chopping the trees down. H&H win with the Acid Rainmaker/Kick combination. Regardless, this was a great match for AO and I think after this, they will rebuild towards another shot at the titles.
PROGRESS World Championship Match
Chris Brookes w/Kid Lykos vs Travis Banks (C) - 8.5/10
Travis taking on his tag partner from his other tag team, which gives it an interesting twist since last show we saw TK Cooper make a challenge to Banks. The story is that Brookes went to the office and gave his argument to why he deserved a title shot, I can imagine that Brookes' win last show in the elimination match is what got him this match, because while he has won 3 matches, he also lost some tag titles by tapping out quite ugly.
This was started out with Brookes straight up going all out on Banks, you'd imagine this was a fight between Ringkampf members by how ruthless Brookes was attacking the champ. Brookes kept that upper hand until he tried to mock Banks with the wet willy, at this point Banks was tired of taking Brookes' shit and started kicking back. They went back and forward the rest of the match. As the match got closer to the finish, both men started to steal each other's moves with Brookes locking in the Lion's Clutch and Banks himself using the Calamary Catch Klutch. They started to hit each other with their top moves, and at one point there was a ref bump and a clear pin by Brookes. Brookes got pissed off and his way of dealing with it, instead of asking for another ref, he grabbed the title from Smallman, took off his CCK wristband and stalked Banks with the title in hand. He hesitates on hitting Banks, so Banks attacks, and as a counter, Lykos tosses his plate which Brookes uses to take out Banks and locks in the Klutch. As Banks is about to tap, TK Cooper comes out and pulls the ref saying that Brookes is not gonna win it after using a weapon. The distraction gives Banks the opening to hit the slice of Heaven, Kiwi-Crusher, and lock in the Lion's Clutch for the win.
Wrestling-wise, this wasn't a classic like the matches that Banks has had in the last chapters, but it did tell a great story of men being corrupted for gold.
Post-match - As Cooper is tending for Banks, Cooper is giving lustful looks at the title. Brookes is kinda pissed. Banks offers a hand shake, and before he takes it, flips off Cooper. TK Cooper still makes it known to Banks that he wants a title shot. Underneath this whole thing, we see Cooper prep his hand to the Circle Game and you know that if Banks looks at it, TK WILL strike, but Banks doesn't see it and TK carefully takes it away. TK offers holding the ropes for Banks, but Banks clearly is not trusting anyone anymore. They both walk out together, but on different sides of the ring. Tension is brewing!
A great show by PROGRESS, surely nothing made it to the 9/10 level, but a consistently good show top to bottom. I think storyline wise, this was a strong show with the whole CCK vs SPPT thing brewing, the weird rise of Ridgeway and McKenzie, Andrews vs Dennis properly being addressed, and HHH running over everything. Next chapters are surely being led towards some interesting developments.