Progress Chapter 57: Enter Smiling went up on Demand Progress a few days ago, so let's go to it, shall we?
Jack Sexsmith gets on the mic before his mystery partner tag match to address Jimmy Havoc and Mark Haskins. He mentions their attack on him at the last show and says he's idolized them for years, and even in betrayal they taught him a lesson. In this game, there's no such thing as a friend, however, you can rely on family, on your brothers... or should that be bros?
Sexy Bros (Jack Sexsmith & Matt Riddle) vs. Jimmy Havoc & Mark Haskins
Havoc and Haskins attack at the bell and all-out chaos ensues, at one point Sexsmith losing an Ugg and Riddle beaning Jimmy in the head with it! Matt and Havoc pull ahead in their individual brawls and get into it, trading ringpost shots and Bro getting his toes bitten! In the ring, Bro 2 Sleeps and Acid Rainmakers denied and Deep Waters gets a ripcord knee strike off!
Up for the Karelin lift, tag to Jack before the toss and he comes in with a double leg takedown into rapid fire punches to the head! Another double leg after the break and Sexsmith is all over Havoc! Jimmy ducks a lariat and clobbers him with an elbow before letting Mark take a shot and so it goes as they work the Pansexual Phenomenon over.
Inside, outside, low blows and eye rakes, every trick in the rulebreaker's handbook on display here as the crowd tries to keep Jack alive. A shiranui gets Sexsmith the room to tag and Riddle comes in hot, leg-feed Pele kick, high knee, charging forearms, absolutely running wild! Finishing with exploder suplexes for both men into high jump sentons, the action spills to the floor.
Hard slaps only fire our Bro up, he wipes Jimmy out with a knee and takes Mark back inside where he ducks a roundhouse, they jockey for position... Riddle with a leg-feed powerbomb! Right into the fisherman buster, small package... NOPE! Jack in for some double-teams but Havoc cuts him off with a brutal lariat! Bro 2 Sleep into the LGBDDT and again Jimmy finds himself on the outs.
Haskins looking for a roll-through on Matt, countered, Bro 2 Sleep, up in the electric chair... BDSM DOOMSDAY DEVICE! HAVOC PULLS HIM OUT OF THE RING! Jimmy clocks Riddle in the head and continues to assault Jack on the floor, putting him head-first into every hard surface that presents itself before sitting him in a chair. Around the way... BRO CAVES HIS CHEST IN WITH A CHOP!
Havoc in the chair now, and it's Vicky Haskins' turn to interrupt, giving Mark a chance to wipe Deep Waters out with a suicide dive! Jimmy and Mark tape Riddle to the ringpost! Jack stands alone and defiant, fighting against the odds but he's quickly overwhelmed... EXCEPT HE MANAGES TO GET A FLIP PILEDRIVER AND THE LGBDDT IN! NO GOOD!
Vicky puts the bat to Matt to keep him from thinking about escape as Havoc and Haskins turn the tide back the other way, countering a shiranui into an assisted Beach Break! Roll-through Death Valley Driver into a double stomp off the top...
Jimmy Havoc & Mark Haskins win by pinfall with a superkick-assisted Acid Rainmaker on Jack Sexsmith.
Hell of an opener! Stuff like the way Riddle effortlessly recontextualized his usual comeback sequences to take Havoc and Haskins on two-on-one is a good reminder of just how great he is, and Sexsmith is one of the best fighting underdogs around at this point. All of that isn't to give the duo of Havoc and Haskins short shrift, as their intensity and vicious attack made all that really pop, so to speak, and they've got to a point of feeling like a "real" team in short order.
Riddle gets free and runs the Havoc/Haskins trio off, but the point is well made.
Doug Williams vs. Joe Coffey
Mat grappling early, Coffey having no problem hanging with a legend like Williams, but of course Doug has a few tricks left and they stalemate. Evenly matched through a criss-cross and a striking exchange, Joe wiping him out with a shoulder block at the end of it! Hard whips, shifting the ring, a forearm sends Williams to the floor but he's happy have a brawl out there, but his attempt at a piledriver on the floor is met with a back body drop.
The Iron Man happy to take the count-out, Doug falls from the apron once but is able to get himself in. Unfortunately, Joe is ready to press the attack with a stomp, Boston crab attempt, Williams kicks him away and is able to get a diving uppercut off! Rallying with headbutts and uppercuts, big running knee, exploder suplex blocked, off the ropes and he catches Coffey with a belly-to-belly suplex for a nearfall!
Off the ropes, Joe back at it with a pop-up uppercut and a shotgun dropkick, Stinger splashes and a big German suplex but Doug Williams ain't lying down just yet. Back elbows block a followup but Joe returns with body blows and sets him up top. Williams shoves him to the mat and perches for another diving uppercut... NOPE! Both men running hot, Coffey hits a double jump crossbody... NO GOOD!
Doug with the O'Connor roll... CHAOS THEORY! NOT ENOUGH?! Rolling elbow blocked, Joe shoots him off... TORNADO DDT?! Up top, nobody home on the diving knee drop and they clubber each other with lariats! Williams blocks a few and runs the ropes but the Iron Man keeps his target...
Joe Coffey wins by pinfall with a discus lariat.
Very good match, with a well-told story of wily vet Williams having to use every trick in his book to keep up with a man who is basically a young version of himself and still falling short in the end because his gas tank simply doesn't run as deep as the Iron Man's.
Williams gets on the mic after and says after 25 years he doesn't think he can do this anymore, but the crowd disagrees. (After this one and the Timothy Thatcher match a few chapters ago, gotta think the Progress faithful have the right of it here. Please stick around, Doug!)
Alex Windsor vs. Candyfloss vs. Dahlia Black vs. Jinny
Jinny right on Dahlia and they brawl to the floor, leaving Windsor to attack Candyfloss in the ring. Hard whip sends Black into about the fourth row! Jinny whipped into about the fifth in return! Alex beating on Candy but she's able to get a missile dropkick off as Dahlia smashes Jinny's face into the wall! Back towards the ring, Windsor grabs a deathlock as Jinny and Black fight past Jim Smallman and out of the arena proper!
Alex with a curb stomp, only good for a nearfall, Floss ducking and diving, and she hits La Mistica! Windsor reverses to a pin, catches a boot, Candyfloss counters into a cross armbar! Alex nearly taps but turns it into a rollup, not enough and Candy wrenches back some more as Jinny and Dahlia fight back to the ringside area again! They realize they're kind of in a four-way and winning would be nice so they roll in and break it up but Floss fights 'em off two-on-on at first.
Wheelbarrow DDT but the alliance doesn't last past the spot and they go right back to clubbing each other, and Windsor clears 'em out with a forearm and a headbutt! Forearms in the corner for Candyfloss, she knocks her down with a boot, dropkick to the face follows! Fired up, the crowd behind her, she comes off the ropes but Alex catches her with a right hadn takes her outside, where Black turns her attention to her.
Jinny with a suicide dive onto the three of them! Inside the ring with Candy, throwing boots, drawing her up, Acid Rainmaker countered into a double knee armbreaker! Windsor in, big powerbomb, Black hits a reverse roundhouse to follow and calls her shot, up top and Jinny catches her with a roundhouse kick! Climbing to meet her, throwing forearms, Windsor gets underneath them... TOWER OF DOOM!
Alex draws Candyfloss up, going for a suplex, countered to a small package, only a nearfall! Candy's fired up, forearms, off the ropes and Windsor drops her with a lariat! Hoisting her up...
Alex Windsor wins by pinfall with a capture DDT on Candyfloss.
So the match starts and Jinny and Dahlia brawl to the back while Candyfloss and Alex Windsor have a singles and I'm like, "Okay, this isn't going to be much but it's a really cool idea to have a four-way with two such heated rivals turn into a singles match because they can't stop fighting"...
...and then Candyfloss put up a hell of a fight against Alex Windsor. And then Jinny and Dahlia made their return and holy crap this became something special. Sprinty fresh without a single wasted second, either in terms of action or of making the most of your proverbial minutes, this is a great match.
British Strong Style (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) vs. Grizzled Young Veterans (James Drake & Zack Gibson)
Zack Gibson does his usual introduction to his usual heat and then Trent Seven cuts a promo mocking him for being the only guy in the match that doesn't have a WWE contract. James Drake doesn't escape the mockery as Trent questions his decision to go with "choo choo" on his recent 205 Live appearance rather than giving Enzo his catchphrase. Zack fires back that if his fifty-year-old unathletic postal worker dad looked like Seven, he'd be ashamed, but Trent has a snappy return about his dad not having a WWE contract either.
The match begins and Drake and Gibson are right on Moustache Mountain but Seven is able to turn things around with a bit of clever maneuvering and sow some dissent in the ranks, allowing he and Bate to knock them to the floor! Joseph Conners hits the ring...
The match goes to an unannounced no contest.
Conners gets on the mic and says it's nice to see them again, stomping away as he speaks. The thing about him is he goes where he wants and does what he wants, and nobody, not even WWE United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne, who is probably sunning himself in Orlando--
PETE DUNNE IS HERE! Jim Smallman gets on the mic and says he can count, so we have a six-man tag!
British Strong Style (Pete Dunne, Trent Seven, & Tyler Bate) vs. Grizzled Young Veterans (James Drake & Zack Gibson) & Joseph Conners
Brawling on the floor, Tyler takes flight with a suicide dive and Dunne follows it up with a moonsault to the floor! Throwing Conners into the crowd, Zack stomps Trent in on a fan's lap AND SEVEN USES A CHILD OVER THE AGE OF 14 AS A WEAPON ON HIM IN RETURN! Following it up with a purse to the head and we cut over to Pete and Tyler beating on Drake. Dunne comes over to break Gibson's fingers, Joseph gets into it with Bate, a lot of stuff is happening here, folks.
Pete kicks Conners low! He follows it up by using a member of the ring crew the same way Trent used the child! British Strong Style continue to stand tall, wishboning James' fingers, but Gibson and Conners keep their fight alive. A plancha from Tyler comes up empty and Grizzled Young Veterans sandwich him with forearms to the head and powerbomb him on the apron!
Joseph hits a Flowsion into chairs on Peter! Seven alone in the ring as referee Joel Allen orders them to pick a legal man and we finally have a bell! Trent DDTs Zack and puts his hand down his trunk for some stank but Gibson is a step ahead and clobbers him with some assistance from Drake. Working his arm over to capitalize on a chop to the ringpost earlier, quick tags, just trying to grind the man down.
Tag to Tyler after Conners misses a boot, he comes in hot with his rebound lariat, airplane spin but Grizzled Young Vets pull ahead with an enzuigiri into a superkick-assisted neckbreaker, Joseph comes in, snap backbreaker into a overrotated back suplex facebuster, only two! Bate and Conners trading strikes, Tyler escapes a triple team and exploder suplexes Joseph into his tag partners!
Dunne up on the apron after a good while being tended to for a damaged elbow, he tags in and runs hot! X Plex on the apron! Back inside, Peter offers his jaw up to Drake and takes all of his best shots like they're nothing, starting to headbutt into them to prove the point and dropping him with a single elbow of his own as the exclamation point! Moonsault up and over, he trips them up... DOUBLE HALF CRAB!
Conners breaks it up with a slingshot bulldog! Seven in with a Dragon suplex, Drake the legal man, he dropkicks Gibson into Trent but the BSS men turn it around, toss into a German suplex... ZACK GIBSON MAKES THE SAVE! Conners up top, Dunne drops him wtih a superplex only to take Ticket to Ride! Assisted tope con giro, Gibson gets Dunne up... DOOMSDAY DEVICE! Cross-leg fisherman buster, James Drake 450... TYLER BATE BREAKS IT UP WITH A DIVING DOUBLE STOMP!
Cyclone Kill follows, Bate fired up but Gibson suplexes him into a setup, Tyler reverses to a DDT, Trent with a piledriver, kick-assisted Tyler Driver '97, Pete setting up the Bitter End but Joseph Conners hits the ring with a chair...
British Strong Style win by disqualification.
So his Raw debut wasn't quite a swansong for Pete Dunne after all! This was a lot of fun at the beginning (seriously, Trent Seven used a man who appeared to be legally as young as possible in this venue as a weapon!) and the end, although I think they may have hit the brakes just a tad too hard when the bell finally rang.
Pete gets on the mic and says this isn't WWE UK, it's their company, it's Progress! He's gonna ask nicely, he wants Joe Conners one-on-one... and Jim gives it to him!
#CCK (Chris Brookes & Kid Lykos) (c) vs. Ringkampf (Timothy Thatcher & WALTER) (Progress Tag Team Championship)
Ringkampf offer up prematch handshakes and they're accepted, but CCK attack with their backs turned! Beating on Thatcher two-on-one, double hip toss into a double dropkick, but Tim gets a tag to WALTER and the big man has Lykos where he wants him. Body slam, off the ropes for the Earthquake but Kid has it scouted and calls for the brainbuster... only for WALTER to reverse handily into a delayed vertical suplex lift that he drops into a massive chop!
Thatcher legal, wrenching the hell out of a half crab before he sits down in it. Letting go of the hold he stays on the tiny wolf man, vicious knees to the ribs and back, big uppercut but Lykos is able to turn the heat up and get the separation to tag Chris Brookes in. Snapmare to a senton, setting up the Wet Willie with the disgust playing across Tim's face.
Bad idea! Thatcher in hot with forearms, tearing at Brookes' shoulder pad... and Kid runs interference and kicks him low with referee Chris Roberts distracted! WALTER PRESS SLAMS LYKOS TO THE FLOOR AND THATCHER UPPERCUTS HIM ON HIS WAY DOWN! Ringkampf working Chris over with quick tags, Karelin lifts abound bodyslam to the Earthquake splash but it's only good for two!
Brookes trying to get into a chop war with the Ring General and he immediately regrets it, Shifting to elbows back on his feet, Gojira Clutch, Ringkampf rope break into a German suplex and then a butterfly suplex immediately after, only two! Thatcher legal to continue their dominant run on Chris but he fights out of a sleeper and gets some kicks in and we have tags all around...
...and Lykos tries to come in hot on WALTER! Throwing chops like rain on his chest, a big enzuigiri, using his speed to stay out of the way, a roundhouse kick hits him flush on the jaw and a headscissors sets up a cannonball senton in the ropes! Float over, a low bridge sends WALTER to the floor, Brookes with the tope con giro! Kid up top, senton atomico to the floor!
WALTER gets a wheelbarrow but Lykos reverses and Brookes adds a dropkick for a nearfall! Brookes legal, up top but Thatcher cuts them off and Lykos dives into a boot! HUGE shotgun dropkick from the Ring General, folding powerbomb... KID BREAKS IT UP WITH A SENTON ATOMICO! Tim tags in, WALTER hits a back suplex on the apron on Lykos, Thatcher has a sleeper hold, Chris breaks with a headbutt!
Tim with the enzuigiri, follows it up with a butterfly suplex, no good! WALTER in, boot sets up a back suplex but Brookes lands on his feet! Diving headscissors takeover wipes Thatcher out and Chris catches WALTER out with an Ace Crusher! Lykos calls for it and gets the brainbuster on Thatcher! Up top...
#CCK win by pinfall with the Codebreaker / diving senton combination on Timothy Thatcher, retaining the Progress Tag Team Championship.
Great clash of styles tag team match here. Actually, not just of styles, but of cultures entirely, as the disgust on Thatcher's face when Brookes set him up for the Wet Willie attests. I could watch WALTER throw Lykos around all week, to boot. My only real criticism here is that the ending was perhaps a tad abrupt, with none of the big “how did they survive that?!” nearfalls that I know and love CCK for, but for a first defense after so many trials and tribulations, I get it.
Keith Lee vs. "Flash" Morgan Webster
Bit of a slow start owing to the fond welcome Manchester gives Keith Lee, but the big man eventually offers up a test of strength, alternating hands and putting a little spring in Webster's start. Huge biel out of the corner, Flash gets a waistlock and shifts to a side headlock after Keith breaks and bids he bask in his glory. Forearms, starting to get somewhere but Lee grabs him by the neck!
Break, trying arm drags, he can't upset the big man's equilbrium and ends up ducking a lariat and hitting the ropes for a Frankensteiner. Blocked, Spirit Bomb blocked, and a second rope dropkick finally knocks Keith down and he heads to the floor! Off the ropes, suicide dive... KEITH CAUGHT HIM AND THREW HIM INTO THE CROWD! Smashing his face into the apron, putting him back inside, Morgan tries to light him up with some hamstring kicks but the Limitless One remains in control.
Big chop knocks him silly, but Flash ducks a followup and throws valiant, desperate chops of his own... AND LEE DROPS HIM HARD! Body slam, off the ropes, a wicked falling elbow drop, reverse chinlock, Webster breaks it but just gets clubbed to the ground. A huge biel, Stinger splash, both again and you get the sense that Keith Lee will not stop until Flash stops moving.
Indeed, trying another biel and Morgan falls to the ground limp before takeoff! Up and over on a charge, Flash feeling a second wind, he connects with a big dropkick, a charging forearm, a charging knee, short-arm forearms, knee up on the charge, moonsault, Lee catches him... AND WEBSTER SWINGS AROUND INTO A TORNADO DDT! KEITH LEE OUT AT ONE!
To the floor, suicide dive, another, the Limitless One remains on his feet but the tope con giro knocks him down! Back inside, a cover comes up empty and trading strikes even with a dazed Keith Lee turns out to be a bad idea. But Flash keeps at it and even throws a headbutt in for good measure... the return shot from Lee is rather more effective. POISON FRANKENSTEINER ON THE BIG MAN... NO GOOD!
Going for the Strangler, Lee breaks his grip and lifts him up like he's re-enacting the beginning of the Lion King! Chops from Webster for the break but Keith throws a series of forearms into the double hand chop, pops him up, Spirit Bomb... FLASH MORGAN WEBSTER WILL NOT GO DOWN JUST YET! One last defiant slap from Webster and Lee proverbially takes him out back...
Keith Lee wins by pinfall with Ground Zero.
I think I've been pretty open that Flash is a guy that doesn't always connect with me, but he and Keith Lee went and had themselves a classic here. From the electric atmosphere early through Keith's phase of utter dominance to Webster's rally and the ensuing Ol' Yeller moment, excellent start to finish, this one.
Mark Andrews vs. Travis Banks (c) (Progress World Championship)
Bit of light mat grappling, neither man able to gain an advantage and so they stalemate. Back to the grappling but eventually Andrews turns the heat up, bit of light lucha in the form of some arm drags and after spilling outside Banks turns his dial up as well! Fast-paced exchanges into a nearfall for Mark, he ducks a lariat and cracks off a headscissors takeover!
Travis on the floor, White Lightning hits the slingshot Frankensteiner! Kiwi Buzzsaw first back with the trifecta of suicide dives! Trading strikes on the floor and back inside, and the champion takes a firm advantage. Kicking his legs out from under him but Banks hits the ropes and Andrews gets a Side Effect off! Wheelbarrow bulldog after a breather, corner knees, northern lights suplex but Travis has the stomp scouted and throws a superkick!
Charging elbows and he kicks Mark's leg out of his leg when he follows the charge! Cannonball connects and the cover is only good for two. Slice of Heaven... COUNTERED INTO A POWERBOMB! NO GOOD! Trading quick pins, neither man able to get past a one count for the most part! White Lightning trying the 450 but he comes up empty, Kiwi Buzzsaw with a shotgun dropkick into a double stomp, again just a two count!
Slugging it out in the middle of the ring, Andrews gets a flurry but the champion is able to break his onslaught up enough for Slice of Heaven! Going for the Kiwi Krusher... STUNDOG MILLIONAIRE! Both men are down and out in the aftermath, and end up struggling in the corner, White Lightning hits a release gourdbuster, 450 splash off the second puts his knees into the Kiwi Buzzsaw... NOT ENOUGH!
Mark up top, Travis yanks him down and hits a big lariat, follows it up with the Kiwi Krusher... NOT QUITE ENOUGH! Looking for Slice of Heaven, countered with an enzuigiri... AVALANCHE POISON FRANKENSTEINER! SHOOTING STAR PRESS... TRAVIS BANKS KICKS OUT! He transitions right into a counter...
Travis Banks wins by submission with the Lion Clutch, retaining the Progress World Championship.
Cards on the table, folks. I thoroughly enjoy Progress or I never would have started recapping the shows, but sometimes I get to the main event and pause and the number on the timer scares me. Long main events have their place, to be sure, and I've spoken favorably of many of them, but in general the one place in life I subscribe to the notion that less is more is in pro wrestling match times.
So, imagine my joy when I hit pause as the bell rang here and I saw a snappy nineteen minutes remaining on the clock! With Banks looking to make a decisive moment of his first title defense against someone who hadn't bested him over the summer, and Andrews looking to avenge the long-ago scar of Jimmy Havoc holding the company hostage and making him the shortest-reigning Progress Champion, this is definitional all-killer, no-filler action.
Eddie Dennis hits the ring while Andrews is raising the champion's hand and puts boots to him! Banks tries to pull him away and gets knocked to the mat with a forearm! CRUCIFIX BUCKLE BOMB FOR BANKS! NEXT STOP DRIVER FOR ANDREWS!
He takes his jackets off to reveal an FSU t-shirt before advancing on the Progress title. Banks tries to stop him... NEXT STOP DRIVER FOR HIM AS WELL! Eddie picks up the title and raises it high, leaving the challenge implied.
What can I say, Chapter 57 is another excellent show from Progress. The in-ring on this one particularly stands out, with four matches (the women's four-way, the tag titles, Lee/Webster, and the main event) that were all well structured, excellently executed, and, critically, very different from each other. I mean, frankly, when the "worst" match on the card is a nutso six-man that involves a young man from the crowd used as a weapon, that's a good day by anybody's standards.
Storywise, we got a "pleasant" reminder at the end there that Eddie Dennis looms in the background (although he's not getting his shot just yet, as Chapter 58 has Matt Riddle challenging Travis Banks for the gold), Jinny and Dahlia Black continue on their way to killing each other (which _will_ be happening at 58 in a no DQ #1 contender's match, so very much looking forward to that one), and British Strong Style aren't quite winding down yet as they have Grizzled Young Veterans and Joseph Conners to deal with yet.
So, a chapter mostly dedicated to building with the pieces we already had in play, but that's never a bad thing, especially not with such killer matches on the card.
Check it out at Demand Progress, folks.