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Progress Chapter 41 recap & review: British Strong Style win the tag titles (again), Pete Dunne retains, Will Ospreay is a real bad guy

Progress Wrestling

Unboxing Live went up on Demand Progress yesterday, so let's unwrap this bad boy together, shall we?

F.S.U. (Eddie Dennis & Mark Andrews) & Nixon Newell vs. South Pacific Power Trip (Dahlia Black, TK Cooper, & Travis Banks)

Nixon and FSU keep the SPPT well under control in the early going, with a three-way kiss standoff developing after Dahlia comes in to try and turn the tide. Dennis grabs Black and threatens to kiss her, so Cooper threatens to kiss Newell, and Mark Andrews gets involved going after Travis Banks. They hesitate and the standoff breaks but a dropkick from TK sends Andrews face-first into Banks and the experience seems to leave them asking questions and sharing an awkward little handshake, really funny stuff.

Things get even weirder (and sexier, one presumes) from there, with Banks forming a variant of the ol' wobbly H between his partners. Shenanigans don't reign forever, and Dahlia and TK drop Nixon with a World's Strongest Slam / lungblower combo before working her over. Eddie gets in there and FSU make a comeback including the trusty 61Knee, but back, as it does, goes to forth and the Power Trip run roughshod on Andrews in return.

Thence to the "everybody does something cool" part of our trios match, Dennis crucifix powerbomb Dahlia into Cooper in the corner at one point. Slugging it out, a big triple dive spot yield triple cutoffs and our babyface team actually lands them when they try. Dahlia Black goes on a dick kicking rampage but, well, Nixon's doesn't take and she throws a headbutt, Welsh Destroyer...

F.S.U. & Nixon Newell win by pinfall with the Shiniest Wizard from Nixon on Dahlia Black.

Good fun opener, some quality comedy in the beginning and good action. I could quibble and pick the nit that I feel like the back and forth in the middle was maybe a bit longer than it needed to be, but a good solid match.

Kay Lee Ray vs. Toni Storm

Bit of grappling early, they trade holds, side headlock for headscissors, before exchanging a long series of pin attempts. Good stuff. Storm offers a hand in respect but Ray throws an enzuigiri and starts taking it to her until Toni manages to turn it around with a series of trademark butt bumps.

Floatover roll-through guillotine choke from KLR is broken on the ropes and things go outside where they trade suicide dives! Back in the ring they slug it out until Toni throws a leg-trap German suplex, another butt bump, Perfectplex comes up empty, Kay Lee nails her in return with a Face Eraser that nearly gets the win! Storm hooks her out of the corner... MUSCLE BUSTER SUPLEX! NO GOOD!

Ray hits the Gory facebuster, Swanton follows, but Storm ain't done yet! Back to the roll-through guillotine choke, Toni deadlifts herself out and counters with a suplex! Release German suplex, Storm hooks her again...

Toni Storm wins by pinfall with a jumping piledriver.

Really good match. Smooth back and forth early, well executed, with Storm accumulating advantage until she finally pushed right on through.

Roy Johnson makes his entrance, we've got a Wasteman Challenge, yeah?

Mad Man Manson answers the call!

He, uh, immediately starts talking about wanting to start a race war and ruining Roy Johnson's career before he even gets to WWE for the United Kingdom Championship Tournament. He assures us he's not coming back for real and explains he left wrestling two years ago to pursue his dream of being the first ever white rapper.

But five minutes into his career as a white rapper, he was informed that there are in fact many white rappers. He's here to learn how to be an OG from the Bodyguy himself! Roy proceeds to drop some bars about himself and sings a quick reworked version of "My Heart Will Go On". He goes to leave and Manson grabs him, immediately regretting it and putting over that he sees why Roy got signed after two years and he's sitting at home in a warehouse.

Johnson sang him the song of his people, so Manson is going to lipsynch him the song of his people, which is apparently "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go". Boy howdy he is dancing all over the place. He offers a handshake, Roy offers a fistbump, and in the traditional dorky white guy maneuver, Manson shakes his fist.

That sure was something. Cannot wait to see Roy get over with WWE crowds next weekend, though.

Tag titles are next, but Jim Smallman has some corrections to make-- the match is for the newly vacated titles (so not recognizing Pete just handing his shield to Tyler, then), and it is in fact a three-way! Marty Scurll comes down alone before hesitating and heading back behind the curtain to get a road case and roll it out... it's Zack Sabre, Jr.!

British Strong Style (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) vs. Leaders of the New School (Marty Scurll & Zack Sabre, Jr.) vs. London Riots (James Davis & Rob Lynch) (Progress Tag Team Championship)

A bit of playing with the crowd to start before Rob Lynch takes his protective facemask off before beckoning Tyler Bate over. We cycle through our players, Zack Sabre, Jr. engaging in some rare early match slugging with James Davis. The LDRS proceed to work him over, targeting his arms especially, until a bit of miscommunication on a double team leads them to bicker for a moment and gives Davis room to make the tag.

The Riots work Sabre over and British Strong Style get involved as things head outside and break down. James Davis hits a huge suicide dive, Bate comes over with a diving crossbody... ROB LYNCH TOPE CON GIRO!

Bate pokes Lynch in the bad eye back in the ring and proceeds to start locking a surfboard on, when the Villain rolls in and offers to help, adding a camel clutch. Davis comes in and, not knowing any "real" submissions, adds to the pile by locking a side headlock on Scurll. ZSJ comes in with an octopus on the whole pile! Seven thinks for a moment and starts slapping dudes until the pile disintegrates.

Marty runs wild on Bate and Seven only to get felled by a double headbutt. He stays in it and snaps one of Trent's fingers before doing the fakeout superkick, and then again in tandem with Sabre! Rob Lynch in, ZSJ catches him with a guillotine, he back drops out and runs roughshod with suplexes, Davis in, District Line... SEVEN BREAKS IT UP!

Things break down again in a really excellently executed sequence leaving everyone out on the mat. The Riots wake up first and haul Sabre up but he lands on his feet and shoves Davis into Lynch before getting a nearfall off a bridging clutch and another from the See Ya Later Driver! Moustache Mountain are on Scurll, Seven holding him for the half and half as Bate throws shots but the forearm that would put him up and over is ducked and Trent eats it!

Marty calling for the crossface chickenwing... it's on! Davis breaks it up with an Air Raid Crash on both men, but Marty's right back on it! Sabre with a flying triangle on Lynch but Rob deadlifts him up and powerbombs him to break the chickenwing a second time! Riots and LDRS slugging it out in the ring... slingshot spear on Scurll! Spear on Sabre! BSS break it up! Seven with piledriver...

British Strong Style win by pinfall with a Gotch Tombstone piledriver from Tyler Bate on Zack Sabre, Jr., winning the vacant Progress Tag Team Championship.

That was awesome. Some really clever use of having that much humanity on hand, like those chickenwing escapes.

Pete Dunne comes out for match and says he hates to say he told us so. This time last year he couldn't get on a Progress show but now he's got the whole world of wrestling in his hands. 2016 was the year he took over indie wrestling, and in 2017 he'll leave for good, taking this stepping stone (the Progress title) with him. But, he's told he has to defend the title, and so...

Fabian Aichner vs. Pete Dunne (c) (Progress Championship)

Bit of grappling to start, Aichner forcing the champion to be wary and grapevine his legs, wrenching the foot around before settling on a deathlock and adding some finger action. Fabian slips away and wrestles circles around Dunne before spitting in his face. Wrist control, flipping escape from the Tirolian, but Peter just wrenches his nose for the cheap advantage.

Aichner isn't afraid to give tit for tat, though, and goes right to the champion's nose himself. Springboard lariat gets him two, he follows it up by going striking, but Dunne gets a kick to the face and a Crash Landing for a nearfall and to even the score. Romero Special, going to bite the hand but Fabian fights away so he stomps his knees to the mat and forces him in the corner for chops.

Triangle dropkick sends the champion outside, Aichner follows with a springboard crossbody to the outside! Springboard DDT back in the ring for a nearfall Pete going for a wheelbarrow roll-through of some kind, Fabian catches him with a suplex as a counter and punctuates with with a wicked lariat... no good!

Whip over, double jump, but Dunne catches him in the face with a forearm! Double stomp connects, looking for a powerbomb, Aichner blocks, Liger Bomb! Both men spent and slugging it out on their knees and to their feet, Dunne takes an advantage and bites the fingers but the Man from the Alps lands a Finlay Roll chained into a moonsault! Pumphandle driver... NOT ENOUGH!

Double jump moonsault, the pool is empty...

Pete Dunne wins by pinfall with Drop Dead, retaining the Progress Championship.

Really good match. Dunne has matured really well into a corner cutting bastard who could just win the match straight but resorts to biting because it works and who will stop him? And it's always good to see Aichner get more work after his standout performance in the Cruiserweight Classic.

Post-match, he tells us he'll see us on the Network. The Winter of Peter rolls on!

Pastor William Eaver & Sebastian vs. Sex on the Beach (Chuck Mambo & Jack Sexsmith)

Shuffling the deck early, Sexsmith tagging Mambo in and Sebastian tagging Eaver in to force him to fight his teammate in Sweet Jesus. They proceed to wrestle but take every opportunity to taunt Sebastian, at one point the Pastor "answers the phone" while in a side headlock. Sebastian comes, Sexsmith pokes his eyes and goes to work on his dong with atomic drops before hitting the Pearl Neckbreaker and pulling out Mr. Cocko!

Sebastian throws a straight right to block it and stomps Jack's Cocko hand! Eaver is tagged back in and he goes to work on Sexsmith, and with Jack worked over, Sebastian comes back in. Sexsmith manages a double DDT and a tag to Mambo, diving blockbuster, Meteora gets two! Eaver catches a bicycle kick from his former partner but Chuck's knee is caught in the ropes and Sebastian takes advantage, off the ropes for the Best Move Ever, up on the turnbuckles posing but Jack is ready with a superkick!

Sebastian's helpless in the corner, Sexsmith takes his trunks down... Stinkface! Even Chuck Mambo is perturbed! Sebastian takes a breather and when we see him again his face is coated with a brown substance. He spits it out and slips on some of it! He sends Sexsmith into the ringpost but Mambo bicycle kicks him into the front row and takes flight with a somersault senton. Back in the ring, Mambo picks him up but Sebastian slips out, Canadian backbreaker GTS! No good!

Eaver in, Clothesline From Heaven but Sebastian breaks the count! Sebastian drags Mambo up and gives the order...

Pastor William Eaver & Sebastian win by pinfall with a Clothesline From Heaven on Chuck Mambo.

So, cards on the table, I like comedy in my wrestling and I think I have (no judgments here) a lower bar than a lot of folks for what will make me laugh, but that stinkface sequence, man. It's not even the bit, if Sebastian had come out of it with a brown dot on his nose I'd likely have laughed, but, like, you cannot convince me that Jack generated that much poop without us seeing it immediately.

Other than that, I thought it was a well-structured tag that did a good job advancing the Sebastian/Eaver story.

Jimmy Havoc vs. Will Ospreay

The Progress crowd being so very pro-Havoc here is nuts. Slugging it out early, Havoc sends Will outside with a springboard lariat! Jimmy throws Ospreay into the video screen and charges in only for Will to catch him and spear him into the crowd! Dropkick, and a Beach Break gets a nearfall but Havoc's knee is going out on him and Ospreay takes advantage, hanging him in the ropes by the knee and slamming him down before going to work something vicious on the knee.

Jimmy looking for an Alabama Slam back on his feet, Will reverses with a flip piledriver but Havoc just adjusts his neck and stays on him... Acid Rainmaker! Ospreay rolls outside! He makes it back in but Havoc traps him in the corner with forearms and sets him up top. Will slips down and sets up the Cheeky Nando's but superkicks the knee instead and starts firing off rapid mounted punches to the top of Jimmy's head.

Shooting star press but Havoc gets the feet up, followed by a basement DDT, but Jimmy is hobbling. He manages to get Will up for a release DVD, jumps a sweep kick, throws a rush of his own capped with a double stomp, Acid Rainmaker countered and Ospreay picks the leg for a half crab. Jimmy fights out but eats a short DDT off the ropes and gets kicked outside... suicide dive! In the ring, double pumphandle Falcon Arrow gets two and Ospreay considers his options for a moment, goes for a moonsault, misses, on his feet, another one, misses, standing shooting star press connects and he follows with the corkscrew moonsault!

Vicious running knee to the ribs and more ground and pound forces Havoc under the ropes for a break but Will drags him up, wristlock, Acid Rainmaker of his own! HAVOC OUT AT ONE! He flips Ospreay the bird but eats an OsCutter for his trouble... NOT ENOUGH! Ospreay slashes his throat, looking for the Essex Destroyer, Havoc turns it into an Acid Rainmaker, Will slips away, handspring, Jimmy catches him... BURNING HAMMER!

Ospreay fires up but runs into a right hand and a Go 2 Sleep! Acid Rainmaker countered with a jumping knee strike, Oscutter blocked, half nelson suplex, wristlock...

Jimmy Havoc wins by pinfall with an Acid Rainmaker.

Excellent match, and this brave new world of heel Will Ospreay and face Jimmy Havoc, hoo boy. Like a perfect inversion of the ending of Havoc's reign of terror.

Jimmy gets on the mic and tells Will he's pretty sure he broke a rib but he probably deserved it for trying to murder him and whatnot. But hear him out, as opponents he tells Will that they built Progress, and as he knows, he's got a problem with three guys in the back and needs some help. So, if they built the company as opponents, what does he think they can do as a team. Jimmy is genuinely sorry, he was in a bad place at the time, and he extends a hand.

Ospreay is deep in thought against the ropes and takes his hand... ONLY TO KICK HIM IN THE BALLS!

He's beating the holy hell out of Jimmy Havoc! "Fuck you, Ospreay!" chants go up as he follows Havoc up the entranceway when Paul Robinson comes out with a barbed wire bat. He kicks Jimmy down the entrance steps and hands Will a pair of gloves... the Swords of Essex are back!

The beating heads back to the ring and Will drags Havoc up so Paul can hit him full force in the stomach with the bat! Curb Stomp connects, Ospreay winds up for a shot of his own! He drags Jimmy up, Rainmaker style corkscrew roundhouse kick! The Swords of Essex stand tall on the stage to close the show.

Overall

A recurring theme of the last couple recaps has been that Progress have been slowly heating their storytelling back up. Well the pot just reached a roiling boil with that ending angle right there. My god, Jimmy Havoc as the beloved babyface and Will Ospreay as the heel willing to do anything?

When the Havoc story ended initially I was worried that a face turn wouldn't feel natural, but here it does, and it's all thanks to Will Ospreay's slow descent into madness and the air of flippancy Havoc can't help but bring to his apology. These dudes make their Progress characters feel like real, fully fledged people, and you can't ask for anything more in pro wrestling.

As far as the matches go, obviously the main event, the two title matches, and Ray/Storm (not to be confused with the excellent PlayStation/Saturn shmup RayStorm) are real standouts, but aside from a bit of YMMV comedy in the opener and the last tag, there's nothing bad on the show. Mosey on over to Demand Progress and check it out, folks.

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