Jim Smallman Intro - The very example while for some promotions to maintain that little thing that makes the unique, you should never get greedy and forget where you come from. This is PROGRESS' biggest crowd, and it's awesome, but when you try to ask what people have never been to a show before, the intimacy is lost. There are many companies that we've seen that didn't know how to evolve along with their growth. Anyway, Don't Be A Dick.
PROGRESS Tag Team Championship LADDER Match
CCK vs British Strong Style (C) - 8.5/10
Well, hell of a way to start the show, also, entrances look amazing with a GlenTron. You can tell they intend for Brookes to be the one to win the titles because all the ladders are tiny, I don't think that Lykos or Bate would even reach the titles if they stood on the top of the ladder. The match itself wasn't exactly super innovative on how to use a ladder, but there were spots that I don't remember seeing like Seven dropping Lykos with a Dragon Suplex on a ladder that was standing on its side.
There was a really babyface spot where Bate did an airplane spin on Lykos WHILE doing a UFO spin on Brookes, which as you can imagine, led to a Terry Funk ladder spot which I've always hated. CCK hit a Sick Fucking Tag Move from the ladder. There was a spot where BSS carried the ladder as a bridge with Lykos on top and threw him outside. Eventually at one point towards the end, Seven brought out a much larger ladder and I finally figured that BSS did have a chance at retaining the titles. Finish saw Brookes counter a Pedigree at the top of the ladder, dropping Bate with an Over the head toss into a ladder bridge and getting the opening to grab both titles and crowd them. A really awesome match. I don't think I've ever seen a ladder match so beautifully shot.
PROGRESS Women's Championship Match
Dahlia Black vs Toni Storm (C) - 7.5/10
Proof that sometimes it's worth pushing someone because the crowd loves them and not because they're amazing wrestlers, Dahlia is super over tonight, during her entrance she ran up to the crowd where her injured TK Cooper was and kissed him, and people pop for those little things, and let's be honest, with the year and momentum that Toni Storm has had this year, that fan support is the most Dahlia has going on for her, so you gotta hit while the iron is hot even if you don't change the titles.
Props to Dahlia for bring up her A-game and stepping up to the occasion for this match, this match was much better than their Chapter 46 match, Dahlia looked more like a credible contender in this match than just that chick from SPPT like their previous match. Finish saw Storm hit two consecutive Strong Zeros for the win after Dahlia had already kicked out of one Strong Zero before. This was the type of match where even when losing, Black came out looking stronger than she came in.
Post-match - Jinny comes out and attacks Dahlia and targets the leg again. Jinny pilmanizes Black's leg. Where the fuck is Cooper? MOST fashionable post-match ever. Tons of heat.
Zack Sabre Jr's Open Challenge
Zack Sabre Jr. vs "The Villain" Marty Scurll - 8.5/10
HUGE pop for Scurll's reveal and return, and while I totally believe these guys deserved a spot in the biggest PROGRESS show in history, I've seen these guys fight so much that I would have loved a LDRS vs someone else match instead. I'm also really missing puffy mink coat Villain Marty Scurll.
A technically strong match with Sabre working Scurll's legs at first, later on the arms; Scurll working Sabre's upper body towards the Chickenwing, but mostly hitting his greatest hits. This was the first time that Bullet Club Scurll has been in PROGRESS, so we did see a lot of BC inspired spots like doing a moonsault, which is not something you see every day, the good thing was that the match lacked all the usual BC comedy of his super juniors run. Finish saw Sabre reverse the chickenwing attempt into his bridging pin.
Post-match - Scurll takes the mic and pretty much says his goodbyes as he is gonna focus on NJPW and ROH.
Haskins vs Havoc Build-up Video - Good stuff, but I kinda felt that there is more between these guys than what they showed. They did ended with the Chapter 54 segment, which really capped off the issues these guys had between each other.
"The King of the Goths" Jimmy Havoc vs Mark Haskins - 9/10
Havoc made his entrance with an ax, if he doesn't use it, i'll be disappointed. To counter, Haskins came out with a water bottle and tons of guts. No time for introductions in a blood feud, these guys go straight for the attack. Within the first minutes, Havoc had already been stapled on the head and took a stiff guitar shot where the guitar didn't break, Havoc is obviously busted open at this point. Among the weapons that Haskins found under the ring there was a box with toys, he shot Havoc with a nerf gun to the dick, he looked annoyed, he dropped playing with toys and instead grabbed two staple guns.
These guys kept beating the shit out of each other, they went out a bit to the crowd ending in a sick looking table spot, they introduced chairs and cinder blocks into the mix (Havoc powerbombed Haskins into a cinder block bridge, he broke some). Havoc taped off Haskins' hands and proceeded to give him several paper cuts to the fingers, mouth, tongue, and capping it off with a bit of salt, he tortured Haskins for a while with Haskins tied up, ending with Havoc trying to literally cut Haskins' head with the ax and Haskins' hot wife coming out to cut the tape.
At this point, the introduction of Vicky Haskins made her look like a heel when she brings out a barbwire bat to Haskins and punches out the ref, I think she wanted to kill Havoc more than Haskins wanted. They went on fighting for a while more for some near falls, they introduced a bout 1000 tacks and barbwire boards. Finish finally came when Havoc hit several Acid Rainmakers on Haskins, the final blow being an Acid Rainmaker with the barbwire bat.
This wasn't as bloody as Havoc deathmatches tend to go, but still really violent and really awesome. I wasn't a fan of Vicky Haskins coming in to the match in such a heel way if it wasn't even going to lead to the Haskins winning. This was Haskins first ever deathmatch and he definitely stepped up to the plate, he fought in his usual black trunks and you have to think that had to be a terrible idea in hindsight.
Jim Smallman Mid-show segment - Among the usual talk, he announces that next year, they're going for The SSE Arena in Wembley. A 12'500 seater.
PROGRESS Atlas Championship Match
"The King of Bros" Matt Riddle (C) vs WALTER vs Timothy Thatcher - 9/10
Before the match, there was this video package that for some reason was 80's synth retro style, and while it was well produced, the last thing that 80's retro reminds off is Big Lad's Wrestling.
There was never the slighttest hint of Ringkampf working together, the first thing they did was shake hands and proceed to beat the shit out of each other and make this a true 3-way if you've ever seen one. This was the back and forward version of a 3-way, is it called back and forward and sideways? Idk, anyway, we saw tons of slaps, uppercuts, chops, kicks, german suplexes, some sleepers. Finish saw Thatcher get his foot tied up in the ropes as WALTER reversed the Tombstone Piledriver into a Michinoku Driver for the pin.
Post-match - As WALTER celebrates in the ring, former ICW Champion Wolfgang comes out makes his way down to the ring. Goes face to face with WALTER and without speaking, the challenge is made. WALTER vs Wolfgang!
PROGRESS Championship No 1 Contender 8-Man Scramble Match
Chief Deputy Dunne vs Flash Morgan Webster vs Jack Sexsmith vs Grizzled Young Veterans vs Strangler Davis vs F.S.U. - 6.5/10
I don't know why it is, but I really liked that the tag teams came out together, I even kinda wanted this for Ringkampf in the last match. This was mostly a spot fest, there were some rivalries that were addressed here, mainly Sexsmith vs Dunne and FSU vs GYV. Talking about the Young Veterans, they were really the only ones that took advantage of being a tag team with tons of double team moves, FSU hit some, but not as much. Finish saw Andrews land a great Shooting Star Press on Webster for the win.
Post-match - PERFECT EXECUTION! Andrews and Webster have a little thing in the ring where Andrews offers Webster a handshake and Webster doesn't take it, he walks out of the ring heelishly and as Andrews turns around, Webster comes back to the ring hinting that he's going to attack Andrews, but instead hugs him. Everything feels fine, a good happy ending....but suddenly...literally out of nowhere, Eddie Dennis turns heel and takes out his now former partner. Nothing like a well placed swerve when everything feels concluded.
Dunne vs Banks Build Up Video - AWESOME! It really builds up the tough sroad Banks had to make it to Ally Pally, they didn't mention Banks going 2-on-1 against BBS.
PROGRESS Championship Match
"Kiwi Buzzsaw" Travis Banks vs "Bruiserweight" Pete Dunne (C) w/BSS - 9/10
It's been such a long road to this moment, not just finally dethroning that fucked Dunne (and BSS), but for Travis Banks to finally reach his rightful spot at the top of the mountain.
Travis started the match strong, controlling Dunne easily, but early on, Seven and Bate made their presence felt and Banks had to take them out, so BSS head to the back and come back with three sledgehammers, at this point the ref has to step in, takes the sledgehammer away and ejects BSS, and the most hated ref in the UK becomes the babyface of the night.
So, unfortunately for Banks, all those interruptions getting BSS out were enough for Dunne to jump him and gain control of the match for a while, he did a Suzuki-Gun and took him to the back of the crowd, beat him up, and came back for the easy count out win, but Banks makes it back in time. Dunne kept the offense until Banks made a comeback and from this point on they went back and forward for a while until Dunne once again regained control and dropped Banks with a Pedigree and a Bitter End, both of which Banks kicked out of.
This is when it all turns around, soon after kicking out of the Bitter End, there was a ref bump, this obviously led to visible wins for Banks, sledgehammers, and BSS coming back. From here on, Banks took piledrivers, Tyler Drivers, Bitter Ends, Sledgehammers to the head, and he kicked out of everything to the point where Dunne frustration was showing and fans started chanting "You Can't Beat Him", and this was all awesome. My only problem was when CCK came out to balance out the equation, they also attacked Dunne, and later on leading to the finish, Banks himself hit Dunne with the hammer (not even knocking him out), and so I wasn't a fan of Dunne taking damage from something that wasn't Banks own offense. Finish saw Banks grab the sledgehammer from Dunne, hit him with it, and locking in the Lion's Clutch for the tap out win.
So I really loved the match, and I'm ok with the overbooking, it's BSS, it's what they do, and surely that's the reason CCK is here for, but like I mentioned, among all the overbooking, there were some details that I didn't like and felt it took a bit away from Banks' rise to the top. At one point also towards the end, the second rope snapped and things got tense, I was scared from that point on at every rope related spot.
Post-match - CCK and Banks' family come out to celebrate with him. Banks' parents are having more fun than Banks. No Cooper or Dahlia.
Just a freaking awesome show from PROGRESS, top to bottom, everything was awesome, it just was. Their biggest crowd that was hot bell to bell, the ending to some rivalries that we've been working on for months, it felt a the close and start of a new chapter in PROGRESS. Go watch this show.