PROGRESS Chapter 88: Super Strong-Style 16 Tournament 2019- Day 1





PROGRESS Chapter 88: Super Strong-Style 16 Tournament 2019- Day 1

By Big Red Machine
From May 04, 2019

PROGRESS Chapter 88: Super Strong-Style 16 Tournament 2019- Day 1

SUPER STRONG-STYLE 16 FIRST ROUND MATCH:
Chris Brookes vs. Ilja Dragunov - 7.5/10


A great, hard-hitting, heart-filled battle to set the tone and help live up to the tournament's "strong-style" name. An excellent way to start off the tournament.

SUPER STRONG-STYLE 16 FIRST ROUND MATCH:
Daga vs. Kyle Fletcher (w/Mark Davis) - 8/10


Daga did a big dive to the floor early on during which he appeared to land on his head. When he got up, he chopped Fletcher hard enough to draw blood. The story of this match was these two doing scary things to each other's head, and they succeeded in scaring me. The crowd being solidly behind Fletcher despite this being Daga's debut helped add a little something extra to the match so that it didn't just heel like head-moves but rather that there was one guy I was supposed to want to see win and another guy who had a real chip on his shoulder because he expected something of a better reception.

SUPER STRONG-STYLE 16 FIRST ROUND MATCH:
Travis Banks vs. DJ Z - 7.25/10


A strong showing from both guys, with DJ Z doing the job in his last weekend on the indies. The announces pushed the idea that Banks believes that it is his "destiny" to become the first person to win Strong Style 16 twice, which would also set up a rematch for the title with WALTER.

SUPER STRONG-STYLE 16 FIRST ROUND MATCH:
Jordan Devlin vs. Lucky Kid - 6.75/10


Devlin worked over Lucky's head a bit while Lucky was mostly the underdog who got his big tease in when he locked in his version of La Mistica. Devlin hit Lucky with what I assume was supposed to be an Ace Crusher off the top turnbuckle but instead it turned into a horrifyingly sick-looking Snapmare Driver off the top. Fortunately Lucky Kid was still alive after taking this and able to kick out as well. Then Devlin hit him with his swinging Saito suplex finisher thing and got the win.

SUPER STRONG-STYLE 16 FIRST ROUND MATCH:
Trevor Lee vs. Aero Star - 5.5/10


Lee cut a pre-match heel promo putting himself over as the big star and burying Aero Star for not being a big star like Pentagon and Fenix. Aero Star responded to this by punching Trevor Lee in the face to jump-start this match. They did some Lucha spots. Aero Star won a match with a poorly-designed finish. It was one of those finishes where Lee sneaks in a low blow and wins via roll-up and the way they set the ref "bump" up was Lee taking a swing at him and him ducking and covering his face... but the problem is that this was immediately preceded by a spot where Aero Star had Lee's arms like he was going to bend down for a backslide but Lee stuck his leg out and clearly broke the plane of the ropes, so the referee should have ordered Aero Star to let Lee go, but instead the referee grabbed Lee's leg and angrily through it down like he thought Lee was somehow cheating (he wasn't even touching the ropes, so even that silly argument doesn't support the referee's actions), so it's really hard to blame Lee for either taking a swing at the referee or for deciding that he needed to take any advantage he could in order to win a match where the official was clearly biased against him.

SUPER STRONG-STYLE 16 FIRST ROUND MATCH:
Artemis Spencer vs. David Starr - 6.5/10


This was a pretty great match for the time it got. The basic premise was to take a guy the crowd badly wanted to see win, then take this young nobody babyface and have him hit all of these big moves and get all of these nearfalls and see how worried the crowd becomes that their favorite might get bounced in the first round in the name of making a new star in a completely plausible situation and in a completely non-trollish manner.

SUPER STRONG-STYLE 16 FIRST ROUND MATCH:
Darby Allin vs. Paul Robinson - 7.25/10


Darby jumped the bell on Robinson by diving onto him while Robinson as jaw-jacking with a fan at ringside, though in fairness to Darby, Robinson did pie-face him, first. In most situations this would have caused the referee to call for the bell, but this time it didn't. I guess they technically have an excuse in that Robinson had yet to actually enter the ring (when he pie-faced Darby he was standing on the apron), but the reality of the situation was that they wanted to use some weapons and fight on the outside for a while first and that's why things are working different from usual this time.

This was a match full of often simple but still big moves that they milked for everything they could. Then, after spending the match showing off Darby's recklessness, the veteran Robinson used it against him and got the win. Great storytelling!

SUPER STRONG-STYLE 16 FIRST ROUND MATCH:
Kyle O'Reilly vs. Chris Ridgeway - 9/10


MORE OF THIS NOW! This was a "modern" "hybrid" style of match with mostly strikes and submissions and mat-wrestling, but also the occasional suplex/slam/whatever thrown, and it was GLORIOUS! Hopefully this is the beginning of a real coming-out party for Chris Ridgeway, because the guy is damn good.

Final Thoughts
An awesome from PROGRESS up and down the card, capping off with one hell of a main event. The inconsistency on the application of count-outs did bug me, but the fact that they weren't doing count-out teases in every single match made it easier to swallow. If the action in the tournament continues at this high of a level throughout, this will weekend will be one of the highlights of the year for the entire wrestling world.

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