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Progress Chapter 40 recap & review: Jimmy Havoc #1 contender, Dunne retains, Toni Storm advances

Progress Wrestling

The show went live on Demand Progress on Saturday, so let's get right to it, shall we?

London Riots (James Davis & Rob Lynch) vs. New Nation (Alexander Henry & Jason Prime)

New Nation attack the Riots from the jump, but the former Progress Tag Team Champions fairly quickly turn it around on them and take it outside, throwing dives. They keep it up in the ring, double-teaming Prime and Henry in turn but referee Chris Roberts, in trying to restore order, creates an opening for Henry to take it to Davis and the Nation take it from there with quick tags and violence.

Davis cracks an opening with a Finlay Roll and makes the tag! Lynch rolls the Nation over, shrugging off a spear from the Primate and returning one of his own stronger before the two big lads face off. They spear the other man's partner and Lynch takes his protective mask off before they slug it out hockey fight style! Rob hits a huge spear, flipping into the impact and lands a diving headbutt with his injured face!

Henry comes in and the Riots double team him...

London Riots win by pinfall with a catapult spear combo on Alexander Henry.

Good opener, builds the Riots back up a bit and the New Nation have proven to be a quality addition to the tag division here in Progress.

Bea Priestley vs. Toni Storm (Natural Progression Series IV First Round Match)

Jockeying for position early with counter wrestling until Priestley gets tired of it and throws a forearm. Storm comes back at her with strikes and a hip attack but Bea dodges and goes after the arm with an armbar in the turnbuckles, a double stomp, kicks, wrenching, you name it. Priestley lands a boot and licks Toni's face before going back to the arm with a double armbar and even hooks the leg into it but Storm gets the ropes.

The punishment continues, a Penalty Kick gets two and Bea locks in the good ol' Ethnic Submission, fish-hooking Storm and stealing her gum. They slug it out forearm for forearm, kick for kick until Toni gets off the leg-trap German suplex and calls for a hip attack. It connects, followed by a fisherman suplex and Priestley appears to be running out of gas until she rolls a tilt-a-whirl DDT through into a bodyscissors Kimura lock!

To a hammerlock but Storm makes the ropes and soon catches her off the ropes with a lungblower for a nearfall. Priestley stays on her with a back suplex and a stiff running knee in the corner, misses a boot but saves herself from another lungblower before climbing up top. Storm meets her, looking for a superplex, Bea pops out, Cheeky Nando's, release powerbomb! Not enough! Back to the bodyscissors Kimura lock and Toni's fading but finds it in her to deadlift out and counter with a snap suplex.

Another lungblower, Storm heads up top...

Toni Storm wins by pinfall with a diving leg drop.

Solid match, little slow and a little sloppy at points but enjoyable. First time seeing Bea Priestley and I dug her arsenal of submissions.

Rampage Brown comes out for his Atlas Championship open challenge. His opponent is... Santa?! No, Banta! Flanked by his Origin teammates El Ligero and Nathan Cruz. Cruz isn't terribly into the whole Santa deal but Ligero sits on his lap and presumably tells him what he wants for Christmas.

(As a side note, my very first impression of Dave Mastiff was that he was Santa's brother who comes from the wrong side of town, so this feels really appropriate.)

Dave "Banta Claus" Mastiff vs. Rampage Brown (c) (Atlas Championship)

Mastiff nearly wins out the gates with a folding powerbomb! The fighting spills outside and Dave chops the ringpost, leaving the champion to attack him, even inviting a fan to stand on the Bastard's hand Rampage presses the attack, nearfall off a short-arm lariat but an attempt at picking the even bigger man up sees Brown German suplexed across the ring.

Scoop and a slam, a hammer whip makes the ring shudder and soon after Mastiff is collapsing Rampage's ribs with a senton. Just beating the champ unholy until he ducks a short arm lariat and gets our ersatz Santa up and over with a suplex! Slugging it out they go, Mastiff wins the exchange but charges into a Samoan drop and Rampage clobbers him with a lariat combo for another nearfall.

Champion presses with a missile dropkick before calling for the piledriver. Mastiff counters with a back body drop, Brown gets an elbow up on the charge and goes up top but Banta cuts him off and meets him only to get headbutted to the mat. Mastiff yanks Rampage against the ropes while he's entering the ring to set up the cannonball but it misses and Rampage is quick to recover...

Rampage Brown wins by pinfall with a piledriver, retaining the Atlas Championship.

Not the best match these guys could have, but another good defense for the Atlas Championship, and who doesn't love Santa?

Jimmy Havoc vs. Marty Scurll (Progress Championship #1 Contender's No Disqualification Match)

Jimmy brought his axe! Several crew members take it away from him and he beats them up before Scurll rushes him with the umbrella. Havoc dives from the stage over part of the crowd! Jimmy chucks Marty into the crowd and starts collecting chairs before the Villain returns the favor, throwing him deep. Things stay pretty even as they fight into the crowd and go looking for their respective plunder, Jimmy getting a staple gun as Marty gets his umbrella.

Scurll gts a thumb to the eye to try and block the stapler but Havoc's right back up and staples his forehead! They fight to the bar and into a room when the camera goes to a test pattern. I have no idea what's happening, and this is awesome. The camera comes back and Marty pushes Havoc, in an office chair, crotch first into the stair rails coming off the stage!

He goes for a victory spin and Jimmy chops him square in the balls! Chair after chair thrown at the Villain as helpful fans hand him more... SCURLL POWERBOMBS HAVOC INTO THE PILE OF CHAIRS! Things spill outside, hot potato with a chair, superkick Van Daminator! Marty sets up a bunch of chairs, throwing spares at Havoc to keep him out of the ring while he builds his death trap... CRASH LANDING SPIKES HAVOC HEAD-FIRST INTO THE CHAIRS!

The Villain takes the staple gun to Jimmy's head and wedges a chair in the corner. Scurll takes a seat and mocks the crowd for chanting for Havoc but soon pays for it eating the chair head-first. Jimmy follows up with a Go 2 Sleep and a shotgun dropkick before Marty bails. Into the crowd they go again and Jimmy pulls a table out.

Scurll puts it right back under, Havoc throws him into the crowd again and gets the table, dragging it over and chucking it into the Villain before setting it up and putting him on it. He climbs to the stage but Marty gets up and grabs him by the balls and the nose to block. Marty to the stage, Havoc returns the ball grab, looks for a suplex, reversed, struggle, Scurll just shoves him hard into the crowd.

Havoc slugs it out, aiming to knock the Villain off the stage with a charge but he sidesteps and Jimmy goes through the table! Scurll slashes his throat with a thumb and sends Havoc back in the ring for a cover... JIMMY'S OUT AT ONE! Scurll hits a Tombstone piledriver... No good! Wishbones the fingers, it's chickenwing time but Havoc throws a Pele kick! ACID RAINMAKER! MARTY KICKS OUT!

Jimmy out for plunder yet again, it's thumbtacks! He's got the crossface chickenwing on Scurll! The Villain walks him over to the tacks but Havoc slips out... BACKDROP DRIVER INTO THE TACKS! DEATH VALLEY DRIVER INTO THE TACKS! NOT ENOUGH! Havoc grabs the wristlock one last time...

Jimmy Havoc wins by pinfall with the Acid Rainmaker.

That was awesome. Some real brutal stuff with the chairs and just really well put together. And, in a nice nod to Jimmy's continuity, it got brutal but still colored mostly within the lines of a traditional hardcore match rather than going to deathmatch extremes. He still won't be our monkey, even if we love him.

F.S.U. (Eddie Dennis & Mark Andrews) vs. the Origin (El Ligero & Nathan Cruz)

Cruz continues to be upset with Ligero and Mastiff's shenanigans as they're announced, so that's officially a plot point.

Nathan takes his anger out on Andrews to start but Mark's able to create an opening and tag Dennis in, isolating Cruz. Huge delayed vertical suplex for an early nearfall and F.S.U. push ahead with a quick tag only for Ligero to get in fairly quickly and demand a test of strength against the Pride of Wales.

Ligero gets on referee Chris Roberts' shoulders and Andrews joins him on Eddie's for the test but Ligero gets down and asks Cruz to come in for it, but Cruz still ain't having any of it and Mastiff comes to Ligero's aid. Andrews and Ligero lock up, before they trade shoulder blocks atop their partners. Forearm for forearm now, they try a leapfrog and Ligero bumps his balls on Mastiff's head!

F.S.U. assist him with a victory roll on Mastiff and count the pin, at which point the Bastard and Ligero celebrate like they actually won the match and I am dying laughing. Cruz comes into beat up Dennis and Andrews and knock some sense into his partner, demanding a tag. Andrews hits a tope con giro, tags Dennis in, tandem tope con giros!

Looking for the assisted Next Stop Driver, Ligero dodges and they run charging strikes on him before trying the crucifix buckle bomb combo but Ligero gets off a headscissors counter. Cruz back in for a double-team slingshot back suplex for a nearfall, ducks a kick from Andrews (which Ligero eats), and locks the inverted cloverleaf in.

Ligero in with a Rings of Saturn for double the fun but Dennis breaks it up. Pride of Wales with the Samoan drop / fallaway slam combo on both members of the Origin! Crucifix buckle bomb / enzuigiri soon connects, Dennis hoists Cruz up, double stomp-assisted Next Stop Driver... LIGERO BREAKS IT UP!

He and Eddie go striking but Cruz intervenes, Andrews in just to eat a wheelbarrow-assisted DDT, Cruz signals for Ligero, who gets a bag of chocolates out from under the ring and dumps them out to Nathan's utter frustration. Cruz slaps Ligero and looks to maybe take a walk as Eddie comes up from behind and shoves Ligero into him...

F.S.U. win by pinfall with a folding press from Eddie Dennis on El Ligero.

Really fun tag match. The whole chicken sequence in the middle was one of the funniest things I've ever seen in a wrestling ring and the story stuff with Cruz has me interested in where it’s going.

After the match Ligero and Mastiff share two sweets with Cruz but he throws them in Dave's face and they continue to bicker.

Adam Cole vs. Will Ospreay

Some light grappling early, both men trading taunts off breaks in the corner. Ospreay looks to hit the gas and Cole proceeds to take a walk, offering a test of strength when Will returns only to kick him in the gut when he goes to accept. Ospreay turns up the heat again and again Cole leaves. He comes back and Ospreay goes to the tried and true, hitting him with forearms and a back suplex but Adam charges over and shoves him down when he tries to climb up top.

Cole teases a suicide dive and mocks Will by doing a few slow rolls before posing and heading outside to beat up Ospreay up, throwing him into the ringpost and into the apron. Back in the ring he keeps it up, whipping Will hard into the turnbuckles, and slamming him hard to aggravate his back before faking out and locking on a reverse chinlock to ground the flyer. Naturally he escapes but Cole keeps throwing him around, whipping him corner to corner before locking a rear chinlock on this time to better target the back.

Ospreay to his feet, lands on his feet off a suplex, and connects with the handspring gamengiri to start to rally! Kick in the corner, diving forearm, nearfall, he's firing up but Adam reverses to a fireman's carry. Will slips out, eats a pump kick but keeps it together enough to spike Cole with a Poison Frankensteiner and into the Sasuke Special when the former ROH World Champion heads outside!

Snap swinging neckbreaker back in the ring, Will heads up top, 450 splash comes up empty but he lands on his feet, Cole gets around him... fireman's carry neckbreaker on the knee! Ospreay ducks a kick only to eat a second to the knee, sliding knee strike, he kicks out, a second leads to a yet tighter nearfall!

Looking for the brainbuster onto the knee, Ospreay slips out, forearm gets a superkick gets a Pele kick, Cole goes low with a superkick, Will away from the flip piledriver, superkick of his own, moonsault misses, a second miss, standing shooting star press, Phoenix Splash off the second, Cole with a running knee, Ospreay lays him out with a lariat! Hell of a sequence.

Both men lay on the mat struggling to answer the standing ten-count, rising for forearms until Will strings a combo together. Cole is able to lay him out with a single counterstrike! Ospreay struggles to his feet, convulsing, and Adam lays him out again. Back up, defiant, Cole spits in his face, ducks a kick, eats the second... COUNTERS THE OSCUTTER WITH A SUPERKICK! Cole heads up top, flip piledriver... NOT ENOUGH!

Cole sets Ospreay up top, looking for a superplex but Will blocks, slips out, Cheeky Nando's! Aerial Assassin up top again... IMPLODING 450 SPLASH! COLE KICKS OUT! Will nearly takes referee Joel Allen out but comes to his senses and puts his nose back to the grindstone. Cole flips him off, Ospreay hits his spinning falling roundhouse, goes for the OsCutter but Cole moves in, brainbuster on the knee! WILL OSPREAY WILL NOT DIE!

Cole hits a superkick and demands Ospreay stay down. A second but Will still has fight in him and climbs up the ropes. Another... OUT AT ONE! Going for another brainbuster, Will counters into a stunner, OsCutter countered with another superkick, running knee...

Adam Cole wins by pinfall with a brainbuster onto the knee.

What could have been a good match that was marred by being too self-consciously epic, especially in the last quarter or so where it felt like they were just cycling through spots until they ran out of time. A lot of good stuff in there, though.

Progress replay British Strong Style's promo where Pete Dunne claimed the title was nothing more than something to lean on while he signs his contract, which sure has taken new meaning now that he's in the tournament for the WWE United Kingdom Championship.

Pete Dunne (c) vs. Zack Sabre, Jr. (Progress Championship)

Sabre prowling early, looking for his opening with Tyler Bate on the apron constantly ready to give his mate a hand. Indeed, Bate soon comes in and throws a lariat that Sabre ducks before referee Chris Roberts throws Tyler out. He leaves and the grappling begins apace once more, Dunne standing toe-to-toe with the Technical Wizard. Zack goes to work on Peter's leg, settling on a torture ankle lock with a foot to the back of the head at one point before making the break.

Dunne goes after the arm in turn, looking for a cross armbar but ZSJ is just a step ahead and goes back to his leg, deathlocking him and taking several slaps before standing and bridging back on it. Dunne is able to turn the tide and lock kind of a standing Regal Stretch in but Sabre's got a reversal and grabs an STF for a moment just to rub it in. Pete takes a breather but when he comes back in Zack is on him with a cravate, rolling him around the ring until Dunne manages to reverse into a pin and they break.

Circling warily as the crowd chants for Peter before the settle into a Greco-Roman knucklelock sequence that sees Sabre with an advantage until Dunne cold-coks him with a forearm and takes him to the mat for mounted punches and stomps. A wicked forearm cracks the side of Sabre's head, and another, but Zack goes face-to-face with him, defiant. Snapmare into a head twist evens things back up as Sabre goes for the Young Boy Killer by standing on the champion's head!

Forearm for forearm after and Dunne wins the exchange easily but Sabre stays in the game, snapping a guillotine choke on for just a moment to disorient Pete before taking him down for another twist of the head. Dueling ankle lock for heel hook now and the champion is forced to the ropes. ZSJ follows up with a series of stomps but Pete escapes and ties him up in the apron for a beating before stomping his arm in unholy on the floor.

He sets the challenger up on the apron but gets his hand wrenched and Sabre kicks the hell out of him before taking a breather with the fans. Dunne presses the attack, sitting Sabre down elsewhere and pummelling him before stepping back in the ring. Zack follows and plays Inoki to Dunne's Ali to set up an elevated STF but Pete has the ropes right away and starts firing dropkicks off at Sabre, three in a row.

The Bruiserweight invites the Technical Wizard to take a free shot right on the chin and they go strike for strike bull moose style. Zack gets real fired up but Pete hides in the ropes before slipping out to ensure his advantage. Forearm for forearm, he's goaded Sabre right into his game but Zack can throw a few hands and knocks him flat on his ass with a big slap! Dunne takes it up a notch again, throwing Sabre off the ropes for a lariat before they go right back a-striking again.

Sabre gets a bodyscissors guillotine choke but the champion soon slams him into the corner to break and Zack follows up with a springboard roundhouse to Dunne's back! Tornado DDT rolled through into Stretch Plum, Sabre transitions to a crucifix pin for a nearfall and he leans back on the grappling again, trying for a full nelson before getting an octopus and forcing the champion to the ropes.

Pete looking for a Tombstone out of a reversal in the corner but Sabre reverses to a pin. Big German suplex from the champion, looking for Drop Dead... SABRE REVERSES TO THE GUILLOTINE! DUNNE OUT WITH A CRASH LANDING! Sabre locks a triangle choke on but Dunne deadlifts right out with a powerbomb! Diving double stomp, sitout powerbomb... no good!

Sabre has the double-arm octopus in but he can't quite lock it, Dunne hits a Tombstone, holds on and hits a second but he can't capitalize! They end up in the turnbuckles, ZSJ gets an octopus momentarily before sliding out for a powerbomb(?!) but Dunne thumbs his eye before he can be thrown. Sabre back up with him... AVALANCHE DRAGON SUPLEX! DUNNE ROLLED THROUGH!

Vicious knockout kicks from both men culminating with a Penalty Kick but Zack is too far out of gas to make the cover! Back to the bull moose with running forearms and slaps and Zack connects with another Dragon suplex and a Penalty Kick for a nearfall! Sabre ducks an enzuigiri, bridging Gedo Clutch, flying triangle, cross armbar, Dunne gets around...

Pete Dunne wins by pinfall with Drop Dead.

So, I loved the beginning of that, and I loved the end of that, but I could have used a few less laps around the forearm circuit in the middle there.


A bit of a step down from Chapter 39, but still a solid show. If both Cole/Ospreay and Dunne/Sabre hadn't decided to tread water like a match got canceled and they had to fill time I'd probably be throwing superlatives at this one, but while there's a lot of stuff to like about this one the only real blowaway match for me was Havoc/Scurll.

But even so, the storytelling continues to heat back up with Havoc as #1 contender, Dunne getting ready for his Winter of Peter, Ospreay's losing streak and resulting desire to turn to the dark, and the stuff with Origin. Thus, overall, Progress rolls on nicely

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