Progress Chapter 59: Whatever People Say We Are, That's What We're Not went up on Demand Progress over the weekend, so let's get right to it!
Normally I don't cover Jim Smallman's introductions but as he mentions at length it's worth noting here that due to weather and travel issues a lot of folks ended up not being able to make this show, so it's shuffle city.
Doug Williams comes out for his open challenge. His opponent... Rampage Brown!
Doug Williams vs. Rampage Brown
Bull moose strength testing at the jump, in the lockup, into a bit of big lads mat grappling, and then going forearm for forearm. Off the ropes, shoulder blocks, and Williams takes a breather on the floor before rolling right back in to continue throwing elbows! Brown thinking about the piledriver, denied, jockeying for position, corner lariat into a diving shoulder block but Doug won't stay down!
Rampage throwing chops, big body slam, well in charge now, elbow drop, Williams tries to rally throwing elbows, he takes a headbutt but keeps it together, diving uppercut... but it's only good for one! Off the ropes, belly-to-belly suplex, the old lion starting to feel it, straight suplex and a knee drop sends the former Progress Champion reeling.
Trading blows, Brown falls through the ropes to the apron and Doug keeps his distance, snapmare into a rear chinlock but Rampage doesn't want to stay down. He catches a lariat, back suplex connects, corner lariat, whip reversed, Williams gets a knee but is absolutely run over by a lariat that nearly finishes the match! Hooking the piledriver, countered with a back body drop, whip reversed, Doug to the apron, he climbs and hits another diving uppercut... NOPE!
Corner knee sets up an exploder but Rampage blocks, boxes the ears to stop a follow-up belly-to-belly and then drops Williams with a huge Rock Bottom for a nearfall! Doug hits the tornado DDT after a struggle, heads up top... BOMB SCARE! NOT ENOUGH?! Chaos Theory scouted, schoolboy pin comes up empty but gets him into position...
Rampage Brown wins by pinfall with the piledriver.
Fun opener, very much in the vein of Doug's match against Joe Coffey at Chapter 57, Williams trying to turn the clock back and succeeding for the most part but not quite able to make it happen against a younger, fresher man. Good stuff.
After the match, Doug takes a good long moment to wave to the crowd as he heads to the back.
Adam Chase vs. Chris Ridgeway
Mat grappling to start, Ridgeway with a bit of an edge but they stalemate. Back at it, Chase with the advantage this time but Chris is able to use his grappling acumen to turn it around and force Adam to break. Turning the heat up with a bit of lucha, trading kicks, Chase shoves Ridgeway to the mat but gets nailed with an enzuigiri for his trouble. Chest kicks ensue, and a hesitation dropkick gets two.
Chris kicking and clubbing, keeping Adam off-center but the Spaniard's able to get some body blows in to attempt a rally. Ridgeway catches him hard off the ropes and locks him down with a cravate to try and cut it off but Chase is still fighting. Uppercuts in the corner, hard into the turnbuckles, Adam with the boots up, sidesteps the charge, corner clothesline, up top and he hits the blockbuster for a nearfall!
Up and over scouted, Chris drops him with a German suplex, holds on, rolls into a second over the elbowed protestations of the newcomer, and a third into the bridge... NOPE! Drawing him up, they trade forearms, into lariats, simultaneous striking... double lariat knockdown! Rising up, Ridgeway throwing chest kicks, he brings the crowd low so one can just crack out across the arena!
Brainbuster, Adam floats over, Shining Wizard, rolling neckbreaker... NOT ENOUGH! Up and over, Chase lands an Ace Crusher and climbs up top, diving moonsault... NOT HAPPENING! Rolling thunder, Ridgeway catches him into a sleeper, breaks for palm strikes, locks it back in... and Adam rolls back to a pin forcing Chris to break! On their knees, slugging it out, to their feet, Chase fired up, rolling elbow, snap German suplex... RIDGEWAY RISES!
Wristlock, ripcord into a crescent kick, German suplex, axe kick, chest kick... NO GOOD! Up top for the double stomp, nobody home, enzuigiri connecs from Adam, he looks for a brainbuster, Chris reverses...
Chris Ridgeway wins by submission with a sleeper hold.
Well that ruled! Ridgeway has really made a mark on me here in Progress with just two main Chapter show appearances, and Chase was impressive here as well. Especially that final stretch from the Shining Wizard or so onward, just intense hard hitting wrestling with a real flow to it, peaks and valleys, counter and attack, really good stuff. "Please come back!", indeed.
Amir Jordan vs. Chief Deputy Dunne vs. Gabriel Kidd vs. Jack Sexsmith vs. Primate vs. Saxon Huxley vs. Spike Trivet vs. Pastor William Eaver (Scramble Match)
Primate with a spear on Trivet and all hell breaks loose! The action mostly on the floor now but we have a Jesus-off between Eaver and Huxley as the Pastor uses... his... Jesus powers... to hurl holy energy at Saxon, I guess? Huxley, or "Jesus II" per commentary, has it scouted but gets lariated to the floor by the former champion! Off the ropes... HOLY DIVER!
Jordan up top... HUGE splash to the floor! Spike slingshots to the apron, spits on everyone... ASAI MOONSAULT! He rolls Sexsmith back inside only to take a superkick! Dunne in, enzuigiri, Kidd wipes No Fun out with a pump kick and Huxley takes Gabe out with a lariat! Pastor in with the Popish Hammer and Jordan finishes the chain with a diving dropkick! Primate in, spearing everybody!
Amir, Spike, and Dunne ally to take Primate out of it, Jordan and Trivet break down into a slugfest, Kidd in with a lariat for Spike, back suplex drops Amir on him and he follows it with a Tombstone piledriver! No Fun hits a springboard Codebreaker to clear Gabe out, takes a boot from Saxon into a butterfly backbreaker, Clothesline from Heaven!
Religious strife continues as Jordan whiffs a neckbreaker but lands home with the elbow! Trivet hits Birthright but Jack is right on him with a shiranui, the Primate from behind, German suplex! Pop-up powerbomb drops Spike and Kidd hits a Sick Kick! Dunne kicks his leg out from under him, lungblower... Amir breaks the cover with Swanton Bombay! Big press drop from Saxon into Shattered Illusions but he rolls to the floor!
Trivet with a strike combo into a DDT, Eaver in... CRUCIFIX POWERBOMB! Primate with a shotgun dropkick sends him to the floor but Sexsmith comes in with forearms and chops, not moving the Primate and getting caught with a press slam. Dunne clobbers him, sets him on the ropes... but Jack locks lips with him! Up top...
Jack Sexsmith wins by pinfall with BDSM on No Fun Dunne.
Rule one of pro wrestling, scrambles are always fun. Well... this was very fun! The Jesus-on-Jesus violence was great, as was Primate absolutely HOSSING everyone around, and newcomers Kidd and Jordan got good opportunity to shine here.
Post-match, Kidd plants a kiss on Sexsmith as a sign of respect, and Jordan does the same.
Joseph Conners comes out to say that this is bullshit and if he was WWE UK Champion he'd get here no matter the conditions, and Pete Dunne is a pathetic piece of shit. He should be in the ring defending his title, and he doesn't care if he has to piggyback on that fat bastard Trent Seven. But what they're gonna do is they're gonna wait until Easter if they have to, he's waiting until Pete shows up.
Enter Chuck Mambo. Conners clobbers him as he slides into the ring and we have a match!
Chuck Mambo vs. Joseph Conners
Clubbing away, Conners catches a superkick but Mambo shifts, drop toehold sets up a double stomp to the back, charging forearm, backsplash, charging forearm puts him to the apron... where Joseph shoves him to the floor! Off the ropes, suicide dive, Chuck throws one of his own in return and takes the action back in the ring. Back body drop, Conners staggered but gets the elbow up, slips out of a fireman's carry, up and over, double stomp out of the corner!
Huge lariat, Mambo dumped to the outside after, Joe takes a minute to jaw with the fans and Chuck recovers, throwing hands. Conners returning with chops and clubs, he hangs him on the apron for wicked elbows to the kidneys. Lawn dart into the post, headed back inside, whip into a lariat, setting Mambo up top and bringing him down with a superplex!
Release back suplex follows, continuing to target the back, clubbing blows but a defiant Mambo slaps him right back. Slaps turn into elbows, Joseph is able to drop him with a boot but Chuck comes back harder, backbreaker, forearms, chops, palm strikes, just devastating him! Shoulder block from the apron, counter scouted, Cactus Clothesline! Springboard senton atomico!
Back in, springboard Meteora... NOPE! Fireman's carry, gutbuster countered, jockeying for position, backbreaker, sitout Rock Bottom... only a nearfall! Powerbomb denied, Mambo shoves him off, cradle nearfall, a superkick, and the fireman's carry double knee gutbuster connects! Up top, frog splash... NOT ENOUGH! Reverse Gory Special applied, no dice, Conners bites his face!
Mambo in with a dropkick, nobody home, Joe lands a slingshot dropkick, sunset flip buckle bomb, hoists him up...
Joseph Conners wins by pinfall with Don't Look Down.
Not gonna lie, on the face of it this seemed like the biggest downgrade from the originally announced version of the card. I mean, nothing against Chuck, I like the guy, but it's hard to replace Pete Dunne, you know? But damn if they didn't go out there and have a hell of a match to make up for it. Intense, hard-hitting and visceral, this didn't let up for a second and was really good.
Post-match, Conners baseball slides Mambo's body out of the ring and spends a bit jawing with some fans.
Chris Brookes vs. Matt Cross
Feeling out, stalemate, into the lucha, Cross does a backflip pose landing and Brookes is momentarily shook but he gets himself back into it, headed right for the Wet Willie. Matt blocks and slaps him clean across the face! Kid Lykos up on the apron, running interference, electric chair... and referee Joel Allen turns right around to see CCK trying to set their sick tag move up.
Cross sends Brookes to the floor with a dropkick, looks for a dive... and Lykos trips him up. Chris back in, knee drop, targeting the arm a little but Matt fires off a bunch of chops and forces Brookes to shift strategy, octopus hold applied but too close to the ropes and the break is made. Punishing Cross in the corner, snap suplex, grinding him down with a rear chinlock now.
Chris uses Matt's beard as a lever when he tries to get away, double leg out of the corner but Cross lands on his feet, chops and forearms, back suplex, lands on his feet, boot up, wheelbarrow double stomp up empty and Brookes gets a schoolboy nearfall! Matt kicks his leg out of his leg, cartwheel back elbow, springboard crossbody, only two!
Fireman's carry, Brookes escapes, high knee, back to the fireman's, neckbreaker over the knee... NOPE! Trading forearms, Chris pulls ahead but Matt clips him on the rebound. Pass to the apron, slingshot Ace Crusher gets Brookes a nearfall! Slingshot suplex reversed to a small package, rebound Ace Crusher... NOT ENOUGH! Cartwheel, Chris gets a boot up, double underhook piledriver... NO GOOD!
Charging in, Brookes back body dropped to the floor, a pump kick knocks him back off the apron... SPACE FLYING TIGER DROP! Cross climbs, nobody home on the shooting star press! Chris with a schoolboy, Matt dings him hard with a knee after the kickout, thinking about the Ace Crusher again, no dice...
Chris Brookes wins by pinfall with Death By Rollup.
A bit slight, I could have wished for a bit more structure as it felt a bit "do stuff until it's time to end the match" but a solid match and the stuff they did was by and large pretty cool. (To be fair, I do want to note that this was also hit by the card changes, originally supposed to be a three-way with Mark Andrews, so perhaps that affected it.)
I dug Lykos trying to get involved early on (indeed, CCK's whole "we do neat stuff so people like us but we're not above cuttin corners" schtick) and kind of wanted that to play out more, but the wolf is hurt, so I do understand why he'd just have that one spot here.
Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis) vs. Grizzled Young Veterans (James Drake & Zack Gibson) (c) (Progress Tag Team Championship)
Zack Gibson does his usual introduction, this time hammering home the idea that they made it to the venue when half the roster didn't and the crowd wants to throw toilet paper at and boo the hottest tag team in British wrestling? He runs CCK down for not being able to hang, Moustache Mountain for not even showing up, and says the current crop of stars haven't got a thing on the Grizzled Young Veterans.
Drake and Fletcher to start, Gibson tags in in short order trying to isolate Kyle but he holds his ground and they proceed to feeling out by way of some mat wrestling. Off the ropes, shoulder block gives way to a bit of light lucha and it's Zack that finds himself isolated by Aussie Open as Davis tags in. Mark with a big high five slap to Drake, this leads into a sequence where he and Gibson are trying to present the other to James for a slap to no avail.
Fletcher in with a pop-up double stomp that sends the champs to the floor! Aussie Open give them time to regroup, perhaps a mistake, Kyle ducks a lariat, wicked forearm, whip across and the match breaks down as Drake tries to get involved and dumps Fletcher with a back suplex on the apron. Trading blows but Kyle is well isolated now as the quick tags begin, choking him in the corner.
Grinding him down, targeting the arm, after a while Fletcher gets the tag and Davis clears house with kicks and chops! Duck the forearm, James wipes Zack out, reverse STO into the buckles sets up the sliding forearm! Fireman's carry powerslam... NOPE! Pops Drake up and away, powerbomb clutch applied, catches a punch from Gibson... ONE-ARMED POWERBOMB WHILE HOLDING ONTO ZACK'S FIST! A jab for Gibson, up on his shoulders, Midnight Hour... NOT ENOUGH!
James sends Kyle to the floor but Dunkzilla's game to fight two for one, forearms and chops, an enzuigiri sets up the superkick / neckbreaker, Ticket to Ride, James Drake hits a 450 splash... KYLE FLETCHER MAKES THE SAVE! Gibson with a wristlock, stomping away, locking the Shankly Gates but Kyle comes in with a pump kick... it just fires Zack up! Another, Drake comes in... STEREO SHANKLY GATES! AUSSIE OPEN LOCK FREE HANDS AND REFUSE TO GIVE UP!
Mark to his feet... DEATH VALLEY DRIVER PUTS GIBSON INTO DRAKE AND BREAKS THE GATES! Tag made, James off the top... INTO A SUPERKICK! Rolling cutter from Davis, Fletcher wipes Gibson out with a senton atomico to the floor, lawn dart on Drake... double wristlock double-team Flowsion... Zack yanks referee Chris Sharpe out of the ring! Back in the ring, Gibson hits a back suplex, Fletcher wipes them both out with a dropkick!
Crotching Kyle, strikes, Ticket to Ride, moonsault to the floor from James before he climbs up top, Zack has Fletcher up, Making Towns... FLETCHER COUNTERS TO A PIN?! NOT ENOUGH! Helter Skelter denied, Kyle with a moonsault but he's slow to capitalize, Drake over, Mark with a boot and a dropkick that knocks both champions to the floor! Clearing the way... ARABIAN PRESS ASAI MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR BUT NOBODY'S HOME?!
Fletcher realizes what trouble he's in, trying to think fast but he gets caught...
Grizzled Young Veterans win by pinfall with Ticket to Mayhem on Kyle Fletcher, retaining the Progress Tag Team Championship.
Excellent match. Aussie Open are just incredibly talented and the champions remain a whirlwind of subterfuge and double-teams. The stereo Shankly Gates spot alone when Davis and Fletcher refused to give up, awesome stuff, and the match is full of stuff like that.
Eddie Dennis vs. Travis Banks (c) (Progress World Championship)
Banks hot before the bell diving off the STAGE at Dennis! We have a bell and Eddie takes things outside, throwing chairs and hiding behind fans, but the Kiwi Terminator presses on! Pump kick through a returned chair leaves Dennis wiped out in the front row... Travis hits the cannonball! Forearms and chops at ringside keep the Pride of Wales on the back foot. Suicide dive, a second, a third is caught by Dennis and turned into a black hole slam on the apron! Back in the ring, putting boots to the champion and choking him in the turnbuckles, forearm and a hammer whip, how quickly the tide turns! Scoop slam, knee drop off the ropes gets two, off the ropes again and Travis kicks his knee out from under him!
Following it up with a knee to the face, charging uppercuts, another kick takes his leg out from under him again, and the cannonball finds home! Slice of Heaven ducked, Manhattan Drop connects, uppercut, off the ropes, duck the lariat, jumping clothesline wipes the champion out! Charging elbow gets a shotgun dropkick, double jump double stomp, only two!
Headed up top, he dives right into a forearm and the crucifix powerbomb connects... NOT ENOUGH! Trading charging strikes corner to corner, stopping short in the middle of the ring, trading toe-to-toe, Eddie Dennis hits a German suplex but the Kiwi Buzzsaw rises to his feet! Kick gets a lariat and both men are wiped out on the mat! Air New Zealand connects... NOPE!
Escape the Kiwi Krusher, Eddie clobbers the champion in the corner, up for the crucifix powerbomb again and into the turnbuckles! Huge lariat... only a nearfall! Next Stop Driver attempted, Travis floats over, schoolboy, basement superkick... DENNIS SPITS BLOOD AT HIM! Another superkick, a third, off the ropes... Eddie responds with one of his own and they wipe out on double dropkicks!
Trading forearms, Slice of Heaven, Kiwi Krusher... EDDIE DENNIS WON'T STOP THAT EASILY! Charging into a boot, struggling in the turnbuckles, Dennis pulling ahead... AVALANCHE NEXT STOP DRIVER! TRAVIS BANKS KICKS OUT AT ONE THE KIWI BUZZSAW IS UNSTOPPABLE! Eddie heads out to grab a chair and abuse the ring crew, bringing it back in the ring with him, arguing with referee Joel Allen when he takes it away.
Next Stop Driver connects anyway... STILL NOT ENOUGH! Charging into a boot, Banks pops up to the second, met with a forearm, struggling... AVALANCHE KIWI KRUSHER CAN'T PUT THE PRIDE OF WALES DOWN! Going for Slice of Heaven... countered with a laser-targeted forearm! Next Stop Driver... reversed to Lion's Clutch with bodyscissors! Out, shifting, Kiwi Krusher, back to the Lion's clutch, nowhere for Dennis to go...
Travis Banks wins by submission with the Lion's Clutch, retaining the Progress World Championship.
Just a brilliant wrestling match start to finish. Travis Banks is unstoppable as champion, and Eddie Dennis, despite all the fire in his belly and the damage he's done over the last few months, simply wasn't ready for it. But rather than be overwhelmed by the initial barrage, knowing how much he sacrificed to get to this point, he digs deep and finds those extra gears. Fantastic.
Post-match, Eddie not only refuses help from the ring crew, but lays them out and chokes one of them! He hoists one of them up... NEXT STOP DRIVER!
So, obviously to an extent you're gonna look at this show as if it's graded on a curve because of all the substitutions, but I think that's a mistake. Match quality wise, honestly I don't think the "true" version of the show would have been significantly better, as the main event, the tag title match, Mambo/Conners, and Ridgeway/Chase were all really good to excellent even with substitutions. Granted, Cross/Brookes fell a little flat for me and maybe that could have been avoided had Mark Andrews made it to be part of the match, but who knows, really?
And storyline-wise, the best plot beat coming out of this is directly thanks to Mark Andrews' absence, as Eddie Dennis has been playing it up as if he would have won if Andrews had been there "supporting" him, so that grudge match is gonna be a hoot whenever it happens. Other than that we don't have a lot of movement here thanks to the substitutions, but even so it all adds up to being a damn good show, especially under the circumstances.
Check it out on Demand Progress, folks.