DAVID STARR & JACK SEXSMITH vs. THE ANTI-FUN POLICE (Chief Deputy Dunne & Federales Santos Jr.) - 6.5/10
We started off with a lot of comedy, most of which was very funny, to the point where they even had the announcers in stitches. The funniest bit, though, went totally unremarked on, which was Sexsmith covering his crotch while rolling out of the ring after making out with Starr, as if he was trying to hide an ill-timed erection. After that we got some decent tag team wrestling. The rating reflects the whole package.
JACK SEXSMITH PROMO - He requests that he and Starr get a tag title shot at the next PPV.
MILLIE MCKENZIE vs. CHARLY MORGAN (w/Jinny) - 6.25/10
"Suplex Millie!" indeed. Unfortunately, she was defeated following interference from that damn Jinny on the outside. She'll get hers one of these days.
NATURAL PROGRESSION SERIES V QUARTERFINAL MATCH:
Mark Davis vs. Maverick Mayhew - 4.25/10
They did a bit of big man vs. little man, but there wasn't too much of that and there wasn't anything else to the story.
PROGRESS TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
Jimmy Havoc & Mark Haskins(c) (w/Vicky Haskins) vs. James Drake & Zack Gibson - 6/10
The match had to be stopped because Havoc got hurt. If the match is being stopped because havoc is unable to continue, then shouldn't the titles change hands? That counts as a forfeit, right?
Gibson then cut a promo on the rest of the division. He probably should be using the phrase "fake fighter." I get what he means, but there was probably a better way to say it. The rest of Gibson's promo was a pretty stiff shot at Haskins, saying his kid will grow up to be a "bitch" just like him, and reminding him that he has already "walked away from one title reign." This led to Haskins coming back out and apparently being allowed to continue the match. He fought on as a valiant lone babyface, which was odd because he's a heel. Eventually Havoc limped back out and was able to get the hot tag, only to get hit with a move and pinned, so I'm guessing this was all a work. Either way, it puts both Havoc and Haskins squarely in the babyface column, which seems to go against the way the angle with Vicky and Webster is playing out.
ZACK SABRE JR. vs. JONAH ROCK - 8/10
The story of this match was the size difference between these two men, and they came up with about as many ways as possible to emphasize it, and how big of an obstacle it was for Zack to overcome. Awesome match.
PROGRESS WORLD TITLE #1 CONTENDERSHIP EIGHT-MAN THUNDERBASTARD MATCH:
Eddie Dennis vs. T.K. Cooper vs. Mark Andrews vs. Trent Seven vs. Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne vs. "Flash" Morgan Webster vs. Chris Brookes (w/Kid Lykos) - 8.75/10
If Tyler Bate was going to be in this #1 contendership match but Zack Sabre Jr. wasn't, why did Zack beat Tyler clean at the last show?
Speaking of Bate, he and Brookes started us off. Cooper was the next man in, and he and Brookes immediately charged at each other and began brawling. The ring began to fill up, with everyone taking their turn to run wild upon their entrance. Webster appears to have actually taken my advice and not brought his dumb football helmet out to the ring with him this time. The final man in was Andrews. Dennis became so focused on Andrews during Andrews' entrance that Cooper was able to roll him up for the pin, putting off the first full-on physical confrontation between those two.
The next segment of the match was British Strong Style all working together to take out the others, but the next actual elimination was Pete Dunne getting eliminated for a retaliatory low blow on Cooper after Cooper had used the ref yelling at Dunne for biting him as a chance to nail both Seven and Bate with low blows. Seven started to argue with the referee about that elimination, which allowed Cooper to roll him up and eliminate him as well. Cooper was then eliminated via a taste of his own medicine as he spent too much time taunting British Strong Style as the referee was trying to get them away from ringside, which allowed Brooked to hit him with the ring bell, then nail him with the Double Underhook Piledriver for the elimination.
The action and eliminations continued until we were down to Webster and Bate. Bate appeared to have the match won but Vicky Haskins came out and distracted the referee. This also distracted Bate, and Webster took advantage (though he might not have known what happened) to try a roll-up but Bate kicked out. When Webster spotted Vicky, he ordered her to the back. Vicky went to the back, but this gave Bate the time he needed to recover and reverse Webster's next move... only for Webster to then reverse Bate's next move with a roll-up for the pin. All in all, this was a well-booked, well-constructed, well-paced and very exciting action filled multi-man match. There were one or two things I didn't like (for example, Dunne doing that stupid spot where you block forearm shots with your face), but on the whole, this was quite excellent.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Good. Webster offered Bate a handshake after the match but Bate wouldn't take it. This served as an excuse for the announcers to speculate about whether or not Webster (seemingly) rejecting Vicky's help is actually a ruse and he has secretly formed an alliance with Havoc & Haskins.
PROGRESS WORLD TITLE MATCH:
Travis Banks(c) vs. Matt Riddle - 7.75/10
The announcers seemed to really try to focus on the idea the crowd was split tonight, which is less support than Banks usually enjoys. The story of this match was that these two men seemed evenly matched in the beginning, but at one point Riddle kicked out of two straight Kiwi Krushers at one, then went on to completely dominate the rest of the match, to the point where it felt like there was no way Banks could come back. Banks only managed to retain the belt via a flash pin out of the Bro-mission, with Riddle kicking out at 3.1, leaving you the feeling that Banks really retained by the skin of his teeth. This definitely felt like a match intended to build to a rematch.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Good. "Flash" Morgan Webster came out onto the ramp and motioned that he wanted the belt. Vicky Haskins came out and stood right next to him, and while Webster did eventually leave, he didn't seem too unhappy with her presence.
This was pretty great show from PROGRESS, even though most of it felt like it was set-up for future shows. This show is a great example of the advantage of giving your matches time to deliver, even if the particular match in question isn't itself a big storyline moment, big blow-off, or main event.