JORDAN DEVLIN vs. MARK ANDREWS - 8/10
An awesome opener. Devlin is coming off like a real superstar. He's having great match while executing the cocky douche routine excellently, but not being over the top about it like 2009-2010 ROH Austin Aries.
CHARLY MORGAN & NINA SAMUELS vs. LAURA DI MATTEO & JINNY - 6.75/10
The House of Couture explodes! This was just under ten minutes of great babyface vs. heel brawling. The only complaint I have is that they were on the outside forever without being counted out. They had a nice little babyface in peril segment, a good comeback, some hot nearfalls, and a clean finish.
DREW PARKER vs. JIMMY HAVOC - no rating, okay segment
Havoc charged right at Parker, but unlike the quick start in the previous match, Parker did not seem prepared for this and so Havoc just beat him down. Havoc then went over, grabbed Smallman's microphone and PROMISED TO MURDER DREW PARKER in this match. Maybe it'd be a good idea for someone to surreptitiously get Jimmy Havoc's AXE away from the ringside area while his attention is elsewhere.
Havoc beat the crap out of Parker until Spike Trivet came out to make the heel save for his usual rival with a steel chair. He gave the chair to Parker but before he could use it, he and Trivet were chased off by William Eaver and Chuck Mambo, two former students of Havoc's. This all got very complicated very quickly, which set off Russo Swerve(TM) alarm bells in my head... and sure enough, about a second and a half later, it came.
After the initial surprise clothesline, Havoc also got laid out with an Acid Rainmaker, then everyone put the boots to him and hit him with chairs. Fortunately, no one of these men looking to do Jimmy Havoc bodily harm picked up the AXE that was laying right there in the ring. Instead three of them went to look under the ring for weapons, leaving Havoc alone with Eaver, and Havoc made a brief comeback on Eaver before the others came back and beat him down. Eaver gave him a Razor's Edge on a pile of chairs, then Trivet picked up the axe... and then just put it down again. No one came out to help Havoc, which was surprising because we know that Mark Haskins is on the card.
The heels tried to Pillmanize all four of his limbs, but the idiots working on his legs set the chairs up on his thighs, where they're not going to break anything. The heels then all left. There is something to the idea of a bunch of Havoc's former students and/or people who looked up to him all having now lost respect for him and turning on him, but I thought there was a bit more meat to a singles feud with Drew Parker over Havoc's perceived loss of prestige via his not-so-good record in PROGRESS recently. Again, I'm not saying the idea they went with here was bad or anything, but I think that the other way was more interesting, and that the execution here definitely hurt it.
ISLA DAWN vs. JORDYNNE GRACE - 5.75/10
This was supposed to be a three-way also involving Millie McKenzie but Suplex Millie got injured last week. Even if the match had gone off as originally planned, this is something of an odd spot for Grace to make her "proper," as the announcers put it (meaning at an official "Chapter" show), in-ring debut, as she was first seen running in to take out the House of Couture three shows (also, two months) ago at Wembley, and then hasn't been seen since... and now instead of the House of Couture or the now-former members of it that she actually hit her moves on, she is making her in-ring debut having this random babyface match.
The story they told was one of Grace's power vs. Dawn's striking ability, but the thing that I will always remember from this match is the absolutely DEVASTATING-looking Michinoku Driver that Grace hit Dawn with. It looked sickening. Like a "call an audible and let this be the finish" level of devastating. Instead the finish was Grace getting the submission win via bearhug, which I fully approve of. Grace is, as she likes to say "thick," and that extends to her limbs as well, and many of the women in wrestling are pretty skinny, so this is definitely a gimmick someone should be using, and unlike other larger female wrestlers, Grace isn't really taller than a lot of her opponents, so her bearhug comes across as a real "grab you, get under you, and squeeze like hell" bearhug instead of the friendly "lift your friend up and give him a hug" bearhug that most larger wrestlers use.
PROGRESS ATLAS TITLE MATCH:
Trent Seven(c) vs. Kyle Fletcher - 7.25/10
Early on they tried to tell the "anything you can do, I can do better" story, but some of their execution went too over the top and wound up being comedic instead of serious. Once they stopped that things got a lot better. Both guys alternatively had their knee and neck worked over, and they had a lot of big bumps and close falls that get you guessing as to when the finish would come.
TEAM TREMENDOUS vs. THE ANTI-FUN POLICE - 3/10
A bunch of comedy, then some spots.
EDDIE DENNIS vs. MARK HASKINS (w/Vicky Haskins) - 8.25/10
An AWESOME wrestling match with one of those finishes where the heel rolls up the babyface for a clean win and yet it somehow makes you even angrier at him for doing it.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Decent. Haskins, clearly frustrated with himself, still offers Eddie Dennis a respectful handshake because Eddie was the better wrestler tonight. Eddie contemplates taking it, when that pack of heels that beat up Jimmy Havoc earlier all run out and beat them both up. Vicky Haskins was not only standing right there, but also holding a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire, but she made virtually no move to defend her husband. Eventually she started yelling at Spike Trivet, hopped up on the apron and stuck the bat in his face, but Trivet grabbed the barbed wire-covered end AND YANKED IT AWAY WITH HIS BARE HANDS. That was CRAZY.
The heels left and took the bat with them. Apparently this is thing is more of a "we're the young guys and we want to get rid of the old guys!" angle, which is obnoxiously clichéd. Yes, PROGRESS is in a spot where they need to make new home-grown stars, but a Jimmy Havoc vs. Drew Parker feud (or even one that was Parker & Trivet vs. Havoc) felt like it had so much potential as a story that seeing it turn into the Nexus is extremely disappointing.
TRAVIS BANKS vs. DAVID STARR- 8.25/10
This was another match that started off with brawling in the aisle before the second competitor could even make it down to the ring. This was every bit as awesome as the previous match, with lots of great brawling, and- once they got into the ring- submissions that felt truly vicious. Banks got the clean win, which surprised me a bit, as I was expecting Banks to get a heelish win. Instead, they decided to do the heelishness in the...
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Didn't like it. Banks attacks Starr after the match for no reason. Unlike every other assault on this show- all of which were gang-beatings rather than one-on-one, just to make this even weirder- security ran in to try to make the save. They got beaten up, but then Starr laid Banks out with a lariat, getting right of all of the heat.
This was a pretty great show from PROGRESS, despite some of the disappointment I have felt about this new angle with the young guys not liking the veterans. PROGRESS' string of delivering in the ring continues.