JEFF COBB vs. MARK ANDREWS - 4.5/10
They did some big-man vs. little-man stuff. It was pretty blah.
DAKOTA KAI vs. JINNY vs. DEONNA PURRAZZO - 4.75/10
Jinny offered to work with Deonna, her partner last night, to take out Dakota, but Deonna turned her down, so Jinny forearmed her in the face. This kind of made it feel like Dakota was an unwanted outside party in a match between Deonna and Jinny, and the finish played into that nicely.
JACK GALLAGHER vs. TRAVIS BANKS - 7.25/10
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Awesome. Jack Gallagher put Banks over on the mic, not just for being a tough opponent tonight and a great wrestler, but also for his bravery last night in challenging British Strong Style to a handicap match after his partner T.K. Cooper, went down with a terrible injury.
And then that f*cking human turd Pete Dunne snuck out from the crowd, slipped into the ring, shoved Banks from behind so that he and Gallagher bonked heads, and then proceeded to beat Banks down until Gallagher recovered his bearings enough to make the save. Dunne attacking Banks keeps British Strong Style vs. South Pacific Power Trip on our minds, Gallagher making the save builds up to the eventual WWE UK Title match he is going to have with Dunne (which was scheduled for last night's show but Dunne is injured), and Gallagher putting Banks over for his bravery contrasted with Dunne's cowardly attack from behind to emphasize the difference between the two and make the attack feel even more heinous. Excellent booking!
MARTIN STONE vs. MATT RIDDLE - 6.5/10
These guys were on their way to having a great strong-style match that then fell apart at the end. Stone's kicking out at one off of Riddle's "Tombstone Piledriver" (even though the other guy lands flat on his back and not at all on his head) worked for me. Then Riddle fighting-spirited a Canadian Destroyer, which I never like, but the way Riddle landed made it more palatable to me. Then they did Stone's stupid spot where he applies a testicular claw and the referee inexplicably applies a five-count like it's a hair-pull or something rather than just DQing him for grabbing his opponent's groin. Then, a few moments later, Riddle locked in the Bro-Mission and got the win. This felt like the first half of a great match followed up by the barest outline of what they wanted to do for the second half of that match, with everything but the biggest spots cut out and a few very lazy transitions. Then they hug after the match and Riddle puts Stone over on the mic even though Stone just grabbed his scrotum not less than two minutes earlier.
ZACK GIBSON vs. JIMMY HAVOC - 1.25/10
Gibson wasted what felt like ten minutes with his annoying "I talk over the fans booing me" shtick. This would be good if he was saying anything of importance, but when you're talking forever solely for the sake of prolonging the "spot," it's just boring. When he finally finished, Havoc hit him with an elbow, then went for the Acid Rainmaker but Gibson ducked it and some Dodon-esque double-knee chest breakers (kind of like a reverse lungblower) to start us off hot.
Then they killed that momentum by having Havoc roll to the outside and get a chair, which should have been illegal. They did a spot where someone almost got slammed onto the chair but the ref did nothing to stop them. Then Gibson picked it up and the referee finally tried to do his job, only for Jimmy Havoc to tell him "if you disqualify him, I'll f*cking kill you," so the ref let them have a No DQs match. The first spot of this No DQs match was for Havoc to place his hands behind his back and LET Gibson bean him in the head with a chair. What a moron.
Havoc soon took over by punching the chair into Gibson's face. He had Gibson down, but instead of try to hurt him some more, he sat him on a chair. He grabbed a beer from a fan and spat it on Gibson, which only served to revive his opponent. Then, instead of pressing whatever small bit of advantage he had left, Havoc sat down on a chair in front of Gibson so they could do the "take turns punching each other while sitting down" spot.
They then did some spots where Havoc poked Gibson in the eyes, which still feels dirty even though it's a No DQs match, and especially if it's not in a situation where the poker is in imminent danger. Havoc is coming across as completely unlikable. They did some more spots, many of which involved Havoc working over Gibson's head so at least there was some story there. Havoc won with the Acid Rainmaker.
PROGRESS TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
British Strong Style(c) vs. RingKampf (Timothy Thatcher & WALTER) - 7.75/10
Maybe it's just me, but it seems like it's be a lot easier and a lot less risky to have Bate just hit WALTER with a diving knee drop rather than do some complicated spot where he pretty much gives Seven a knee-drop to the shoulders so that he can roll off of his shoulders to hit WALTER with a rolling senton.
I absolutely love watching WALTER throw small people around. The match was a great back-and-forth tag team match with each side getting their chance to get a hot tag, but the finish was one of those that absolutely drives me nuts. Thatcher had one of the Brits in the Fujiwara Armbar so the other came in to try to break it up and save the match. Before he could do so, WALTER came in and cut him off, catching him in the Rear Naked Choke but the Brit flipped over into a pin a la Bret and Austin from Survivor Series and the ref counted the pinfall... except that the very fact that the original reason that those two got into the ring was to break up or preserve Thatcher's Fujiwara Armbar means that THE TWO GUYS INVOLVED IN THE FALL COULD NOT POSSIBLY HAVE BEEN THE LEGAL MEN!
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Meh. Thatcher was upset at WALTER for losing when he had the match won (though he should really be upset at the referee because the ref is the one who blew it there). WALTER tells him that in RingKampf they solve their problems with wrestling, not with talking, and says that his Atlas Title rematch against Matt Riddle will now be a three-way and also include Thatcher, who won #1 contendership to that title last night. This seems like the sort of thing that PROGRESS management has to sign off on. Riddle and Thatcher, too, for that matter. Especially Thatcher, who specifically won "#1 contendership" last night, so it seems to be that he would be well within his rights to turn this down and demand that his match against Riddle be a singles match rather than having someone else get a title shot at the same time as him. He is the "#1 contender," after all.
A decent show from PROGRESS, but one that feels like it could have been a lot better. At barely two hours, it was also quite short, which I think hurt some of the matches. The women's match would have benefited from more time, as would Riddle vs. Stone, but I think that with an extra ten or fifteen minutes, Gallagher vs. Banks could have easily been the match of the weekend for both PROGRESS and EVOLVE (and I gave the main event of EVOLVE 91 an 8.75/10. And I felt like Banks and Gallagher were on track to best that.