PROGRESS Chapter 81: Pour Some PROGRESS On Me
By Big Red Machine
From December 09, 2018
TRAVIS BANKS vs. ILJA DRAGUNOV - 6.25/10
Ilja's attempt at safely doing the spot on the bottom rope where Enzo Amore accidentally knocked himself out didn't go so well (by which I mean that Ilja was fine and it was completely safe, but it just looked terrible and should signal to all wrestlers everywhere that they should maybe give up on trying to make this one work). The second such time Ilja tried a spot like that was bad, too.
Ilja worked the midsection while Banks worked the head. This stuff was good, but they also hit two of my big pet peeves in wrestling right now; "no count-outs right now because we want to have a crowd brawl" and "holding the referee's arm up so it can't hit the mat the third time is the same thing as kicking out."
MARK ANDREWS vs. MARK HASKINS (w/Vicky Haskins) - 7.75/10
A nice clean wrestling match.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - GREAT! Chuck Mambo, William Eaver, and Spike Trevet of DNR attacked both wrestlers after the match. They were going to beat them up and make Vicky watch but Eddie Dennis, who has also been on their hit list and even teamed with Haskins against them last night, ran in to make the save. The fans wanted everyone to "HUG IT OUT!" but Dennis refused. He eventually gave Haskins a respectful fist-bump, but completely snubbed Andrews, showing that that animosity will not go away anytime soon, but at the same time giving us hope that if they keep being forced to be on the same side that perhaps it eventually will and they can be friends again.
Chris Ridgeway vs. Paul Robinson - 7/10
One night's worth of build is pretty quick to build to a match like this, but because of that, I liked the fact that they didn't do your normal "lots of brawling" Chain Match. Instead they both used the chain in much more measured ways, using it to aid them with their submissions and strikes (the latter of which played into last night's finish as well), but without the feeling of hatred you expect when you hear "Chain Match," but at the same time, that was not only what made this work, but with it only getting about thirteen minutes, trying to do the hatred-filled brawl just one day after the feud started and in only thirteen minutes, doing it the way they did it saved this from feeling disappointing, which it would have if they had tried to do that.
BRITISH STRONG STYLE vs. TIMOTHY THATCHER, CHRIS BROOKES, & JONATHAN GRESHAM - 6.75/10
This went well over twenty minutes, and while it was good, the longer it went, the more it started to feel more like a performance designed to go long and get lots of pops and receive top reviews from critics and less like an actual athletic competition where I was supposed to care about who won. The comedy at the beginning probably played into this, but it was far from the only factor. It just felt like they were trying so hard to have cool and exciting and cutesy spots that the nearfalls didn't actually matter in any way.
JORDYNNE GRACE vs. TONI STORM - 6/10
They were telling a good story with Grace working over Toni's back and trying to win with her bearhug, but they killed it when Toni started her "I can't believe it's not strongstyle" comeback, which started with her no-selling two bodyslams. From there things got muddled and they lost the story, although I was quite glad to see that Jordynne's sickening-looking Michinoku Driver is being used as a finish.
PROGRESS WORLD TITLE MATCH:
WALTER(c) (w/Timothy Thatcher) vs. Shigehiro Irie - 6.5/10
WALTER's midsection got worked over but he still won. This match really didn't click with me.
PROGRESS WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
Aussie Open(c) vs. LAX (Ortiz & Santana) - 8/10
A worthy and awesome main event.
This was a solid show from PROGRESS, but still a little disappointing in the ring, and aside from the post-match segment in Haskins vs. Andrews, there really isn't anything storyline-important on it, either. You'll enjoy it if you watch it, but you're not missing out on anything by skipping it, either.