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Progress Chapter 53 recap & review: London Riots explode, Dunne plumbs new depths, and the South Pacific Power Couple are back

Demand Progress

Progress Chapter 53: Fate Loves the Fearless went up on Demand Progress a few days ago so let's not waste any more time in digging right into it!

#CCK (Chris Brookes & Kid Lykos) vs. Extra Talent-ed (Aaron Solow & Ricky Starks) (Progress Tag Team Championship #1 Contender’s Match)

Solow cuts a promo to thunderous boos from the Progress faithful, claiming that he and Starks were screwed last week. They're not used to performing in this environment, they're used to a 20x20 ring and referees like Charles Robinson, and you know who's not going to be happy when he talks to her about his time in the UK? His girl Bayley, that's right.

Ricky adds that they're gonna walk out #1 contender's and it doesn't matter how much he squats or deadlifts, because he knows they're better than #CCK, who are "punk ass bitches".

Aaron and Brookes to start, Mr. Bayley taking an early advantage but Chris comes back in with strikes and, of all things, a stepover armlock wet willy. Lykos in, sick tag moves ensue, but Starks gets the tag and the wolf man gets worked over a moment. Slick escape through the ropes, diving arm drag, back kick, calling for the brainbuster early but Ricky floats over.

Starks counters a bulldog into a falling slam, quick tags as they choke Kid out and generally abuse him in the corner. Bridging fisherman suplex gets Ricky a nearfall, back to grinding Lykos down with the quick tags but Brookes gets the tag! Double dragon screw, dropkick to a half nelson suplex to a wild figure four German suplex!

Kid alive again, Chris Brookes tope con giro, wild rolling wheelbarrow facebuster / dropkick combo, Solow makes the save but #CCK just run wild on him, tandem Codebreaker, Starks back in with a spear to cut the sequence off! Tilt-a-whirl slam for the wolf man, Aaron outside for a superkick to take care of Brookes, springboard lariat / powerbomb combo... CHRIS BROOKES MAKES THE SAVE!

Ricky throwing kicks, wiping Chris out but he wastes time taunting a crowd that hates him and further makes the mistake of throwing disdainful slaps. Brookes fires back, big slap rush, he pulls ahead but Starks drops him with a lariat! Lykos with a diving knee, Solow with an enzuigiri, Chris with a wiked knee lift, Ricky plants him with the Last Ride!

Lykos moonsault DDT blocked, Tombstone piledriver, assisted Canadian backbreaker DDT... NOT ENOUGH! Kid with the low bridge, Solow trying a wheelbarrow stomp, Brookes blocks but the wheelbarrow stomp connects and Aaron hits a cradle DDT! They're not done with him yet... SUPERKICK ASSISTED DOUBLE UNDERHOOK PILEDRIVER ON THE APRON!

Solow puts his hair up in a side ponytail in case we've forgotten he's Mr. Bayley... BAYLEY-TO-BELLY! CHRIS BROOKES LIVES BUT SOLOW TAKES HIM RIGHT INTO A WRENCHING CROSSFACE! Lykos hits a diving Frankensteiner on Starks and Solow abandons ship, Lo Mein Pain, a tornillo, the wolf man is on a roll!

Brookes sends Starks back outside and Lykos wipes both Extra Talent-ed men out! Back in, the assisted Codebreaker connects, followup senton... NOT ENOUGH! Kid holds Ricky back as Brookes gets the underhooks in...

#CCK win by pinfall with a double underhook piledriver from Chris Brookes on Aaron Solow, becoming #1 contender's to the Progress Tag Team Championship.

Really fun opener that made up for last Chapter's confusion quite well. Shout out to Aaron "The Entire Offense of the WWE Women’s Division" Solow, not just busting out the obvious Bayley-to-Belly here, but also a RamPaige and the Bank Statement crossface, all in pretty short order. A tip of my hat, sir.

A man on the ring crew by the name of Spud gets a shout-out, he's only been in the business nine months but I think he's gonna be something special, guys.

Chuck Mambo vs. Chief Deputy Dunne

Mambo starting off with a bit of fun, riding Dunne like a surfboard and getting a Gedo Clutch for a near fall. On with the lucha, thrust spinebuster and he calls for the People's Elbow but again his elbow is stuck in a bit of a time loop and no matter how many elbow pads he pulls off he has more!

Damian uses the opportunity to head outside, and cuts a dive off with the megaphone but Chuck gets it from him and throws the springboard somersault senton! Back in the ring, he finally manages to remove the elbow pad, People's Elbow connects... NO GOOD! Freeze! enzuigiri gets a nearfall in return and Dunne goes back to work, stomping away and choking Mambo with his own bandanna.

Clubbing away, well in charge, a foot on Chuck's face as he decrees there shall be no fun and fires a knee drop off for another nearfall. Trading strikes, Mambo gets a backbreaker off and the Chief Deputy is on the back foot. Blockbuster, springboard Meteora, another nearfall, the enzuigiri is scouted and now Chuck rides Dunne in a surfboard in the wrestling move sense, more specifically a Romero Special.

Fireman's carry denied, standing switch, Dunne with elbows and knees, fireman's carry Michinoku Driver... NOPE! Off the ropes, Mambo catches him, fireman's carry double knee gutbuster, superkick, Chuck You denied, roll-up gets two, to the apron, Chuck springboards in but gets caught by a spear... only a nearfall! Dunne pops him up on the ropes...

Chief Deputy Dunne wins by pinfall with a rope-hung DDT.

Good stuff, comedy early seguing to intensity nicely as the match gets more heated but never losing track that these two are, well, not the most serious wrestlers around.

James Drake & Zack Gibson vs. Never Say Die (Alex Cupid & Dillon D'Angelo)

Zack Gibson does his usual #1 spiel before adding that whatever we write about him online, James Drake will still be the future of UK wrestling. (Look, I got no beef with your Drake, Zack, just he's not even the best James Drake. That honor goes to one half of Evolve Tag Team Champions the Workhorsemen, pro wrestling's REAL James Drake.)

He continues saying he used to get told off for bullying people but tonight they get paid to bully! The Origin is dead, Nathan Cruz has taken his ball and gone home, and the only thing that matters is Zack Gibson and James Drake. (Now, a Drake/Gibson vs. Workhorsemen match? Make it happen, Progress and Evolve!)

Drake and Gibson just taking it to Never Say Die, wiping Cupid out and isolating D'Angelo, who's game to fight but gets taken out by That Damn Numbers Game. Alex back in, he runs into some combinations, a pop-up powerbomb into a Boston Crab, Gibson adds the Shankly Gates! Referee Paz insists on the break and demands order!

Dillon in, he takes James out with a gamengiri, strike rush for Zack, knucklelock applied, stepping up, springboarding, combo arm drag and headscissors takeover! Gibson with a double chop to the throat but Cupid is back in with a Blue Thunder Driver! D'Angelo with a rolling thunder DDT... ZACK HAS TO MAKE THE SAVE!

Charging in, Gibson sets him up in the corner, Codebreaker wipes Dillon out and they wipe Cupid out with a lariat after. Off the ropes, Zack assists Drake on his way to a tope con giro! Whipping D'Angelo into a double team...

James Drake & Zack Gibson win by pinfall with Ticket to Mayhem on Dillon D'Angelo.

Great match for what it was, establishing both these teams in one short go, one as veterans without much regard for the rules and the other as plucky kids who, well... Never Say Die. And after seeing how well they click as a team, I've gone from "that would be cool" to "GOTTA HAVE IT" on that Drake & Gibson vs. Workhorsemen match I pitched up there. Give it to me!

James Davis vs. Rob Lynch

Testing their strength in the lockup early, giving way to straight up bull moose action and then striking. Big slaps turn the heat up, they shake hands and we got Frye/Takayama punches! Davis gets a German suplex off, Lynch with one in return, trading Germans on Germans! Rob sends Davis outside with one... BIG MAN TOPE CON GIRO!

Struggle on the apron, James with a dropkick, climbing the turnbuckles... MOONSAULT TO THE OUTSIDE! JD sets a chair up, puts Big Rob in it and cannonballs him down! Back inside, Lynch cuts him off with a forearm, back to the apron, cartwheel into a big boot on the floor, dropkick follows!

Davis back in in a big way with a back suplex on the apron, senton on the floor, motioning for the crowd to part, suicide dive but Rob catches him into an overhead belly-to-belly suplex deep in the crowd! Lynch taking his time to recover as James answers the count and he cuts referee Chris Roberts off, he doesn't want to win that way!

JD back in, they trade chops and take their shirts off! Davis dodges a boot, floats over, ducking and dogdging, Big Rob lands a Saito suplex but James pops right up into a belly-to-belly of his own! Double lariats and both men are wiped out! To their knees, slugging it out with forearms, to their feet, still throwing, JD in with uppercuts, he charges into a boot but catches a dive with an uppercut!

St. George's Cross connects... NOT ENOUGH! Big Rob hits a kick on the second try, Death Valley Driver for a nearfall, throwing forearms but Davis just wants more and harder! Charging elbows, James with a pop-up powerbomb, only a nearfall! Off the ropes for another, Lynch counters with a Frankensteiner and hits the spear... NO GOOD!

Big Rob up top... SPIRAL TAP?! NOBODY HOME AND HE LANDS ON THE BAD SHOULDER! Davis is ready to go but Roberts backs him off as the camera cuts to Lynch's mother in attendance. At last Rob throws Chris off, JD in with a schoolboy pin but it's not enough to do the job. Lynch, defiant in the corner, isn't going to let it end like that and they commit to doing it right.

Forearms for forearms, Rob working one-armed but he gets a lariat off... ALMOST! Davis with a kick to the shoulder, he hesitates for a second, cobra clutch using the bad arm blocked, double axehandle to the shoulder, the cobra clutch is back on...

James Davis wins by submission with a cobra clutch, winning a future shot at the Progress Atlas Division Championship.

JD goes in for a hug and raises Rob's hand after. Lynch picks up a microphone and says it seems like just yesterday that they debuted; the fans haven't changed a bit, and he loves all of them. He gets choked up and says it's his last time, talking about being out on his back, numb, unable to forget the ovation the Progress faithful gave him.

They didn't go off to another country, they stayed here, but he's too hurt, he can't do it anymore, and you'll see him in a few places but he'll be totally done by October. The Riots hug, Lynch goes to kiss the mat to say goodbye to Progress... AND DAVIS BREAKS THE CRICKET BAT OVER HIS BACK! THE COBRA CLUTCH IS BACK ON!

Rob Lynch having passed out, James Davis gets on the mic. He says he knows this comes as a surprise but it shouldn't. They've known each other for ten years and he's recognized a pattern, that pattern being that Lynch is a loser. He loses things, like his house, his money, his fiancee, even his dad, who left when he was nine years old. So just like his fiancee and his dad, he's leaving Rob, and leaving Rob with nothing.

So usually I drop the review blurb in right after the finish and let whatever angle stuff speak for itself before I wrap everything up at the end, but holy hell. The match was great, just two dudes clubbing the hell out of each other, opening up their entire arsenal, dropping everything they had, until a long-term injury reared its head and gave Davis the opening to win... but the post-match makes it a classic.

That moment of hesitation when Davis realized the shoulder was bad enough that he could turn it into a win, in the context of turning on him after? Brilliant. And of course, the turn itself is just the stuff of nightmares, breaking the symbol they share over Rob Lynch's back and dragging up damn near every bad thing that's happened to Rob in his life and using them as "proof" that he's a loser?

Anybody tells you heat is dead in pro wrestling and you need to turn to meta drama and bad decisions to get a crowd angry, you show 'em this match and the aftermath, because friends, heat is alive and well.

Jack Sexsmith vs. Pete Dunne

Dunne ambushes Sexsmith during the introductions and knocks him to the outside! Fighting into the crowd, throwing a chair at him as the ring crew try to keep the crowd safe! Forearm, a stomp on the floor, Pete sends Jack into about the sixth row! Throwing another chair, he's shoving the crew down!

Collecting Sexsmith again... X PLEX ONTO CHAIRS IN THE FRONT ROW! He lays one of the crew out with a fore arm and goozles another but Jack has recovered... SENTON ATOMICO TO THE FLOOR! The bell rings, Jack in control, throwing kicks, knees, From Dusk 'Til the Crippler Cockface! Dunne reverses to a pin for two and gets a snap German suplex off shortly after.

Big slaps wobble Sexsmith, punch to the back of the neck, off the ropes but Jack catches Pete with the LGBDT... NOT ENOUGH! Charging forearms met by the corner enzuigiri, another X Plex... only a nearfall! Targeting the injured arm with a kick, stomp to the back of the neck, setting Jack up in the turnbuckles, Jim Breaks Special applied for a moment, big forearm, underhooks but Sexsmith fights back and wishbones the fingers!

Pete takes a second to wrench his fingers back into place... BDSM! NOT ENOUGH! Mr. Cocko comes out to play but Dunne blocks, rips him off, and bites the fingers! Big forearm, springboard up and over, Jack with a superkick, thinking shiranui but Pete reverses to a Tombstone piledriver! Jumping Tombstone follows... JACK SEXSMITH LIVES!

Dunne right on him with Kawada kicks, pumphandle... JACK REVERSES TO LGBDT! RAINBOW ROAD... NOT ENOUGH! To the outside, Pete lays Jack out with a forearm and a Pedigree and demands the count! Sexsmith breaks the count with a little assistance from fans in the first row! Bitter end reversed into a small package... STILL NOT ENOUGH!

German suplex into the turnbuckles bad shoulder first, pumphandle applied...

Pete Dunne wins by pinfall with the Bitter End.

This ruled. Dunne being cowardly enough to jump Jack because he knew he was a real threat was enough but the match that followed just made Jack Sexsmith in a big way. Excellent match.

Pete rips Jack's boot off and beats him with it to add insult to injury!

Candice LeRae vs. Toni Storm (c) (Progress Women's Championship)

Mat grappling early, Storm with an edge but LeRae holding her own, and when she gets an opening to take flight with a Frankensteiner, a dropkick, and a suicide dive, Candice takes charge. Setting Toni in a chair in the front row, forearms, Storm catches the boot and puts her face into the chair for her trouble!

Breaking the count, charging hip attack, uppercut, back inside but the cover barely gets one. Uppercuts on uppercuts, keeping LeRae wobbly as a snapmare sets up the champion's tradition butt bumps. To the corner, Candice comes back with some kicks, diving reverse STO gets her a nearfall! Toni shoves her off the ropes but LeRae gets the octopus hold!

Reversed by way of a tilt-a-whirl into Gargano Escape! On the break, superkick from the champion gets a charging forearm, duck a lariat, sweep, leg caught on a followup right into the German suplex from Storm! Pass aside, a... plex, going for a springboard and Toni catches her into a German suplex!

LeRae back in after dodging a hip attack, back elbow to a double stomp to the back... NO GOOD! Storm plucks her off the turnbuckles, buckle bomb, charging hip attack, Strong Zero... OUT AT ONE?! TONI CAN'T BELIEVE IT! Candice gets a small package nearfall, forearms, single knee facebreaker, climbing but Storm cuts her off with a slap!

Up top, struggling, Toni with a headbutt, LeRae slips out... AVALANCHE ...PLEX! NOT ENOUGH! Tornado DDT countered into a northern lights suplex into the turnbuckles! Strong Zero, into another, and another...

Toni Storm wins by pinfall with Strong Zero, retaining the Progress Women's Championship.

Great match. The arc from one Strong Zero getting a one count to three putting Candice away was top shelf stuff, and all the rest was basically straight-through excellence.

British Strong Style (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) (c) vs. Jimmy Havoc & Mark Haskins (Progress Tag Team Championship)

BSS playing HHH nonsense and get kicked for their trouble! Tandem dives, Havoc throws Bate into the crowd and Haskins kicks Seven's face off! Jimmy takes Tyler way deep and comes back as Mark is throwing forearms at Trent and taking chops in return, so Havoc comes over to poke Seven in the eye. Chest kicks, another eye poke, Jimmy wipes Bate out with a forearm and drags him over to the chairs!

Setting the champions on each other, punches for good measure, Havoc hits a dropkick to Tyler that also functions as a senton on Trent! Bate and Haskins slugging it out in the ring, Koppo kick for a dropkick, up and over, Tyler catches him with the exploder suplex but nobody's home on the shooting star press and the bridging Fujiwara armbar is on!

Jimmy using chairs to brutalize Seven outside while Haskins and Bate continue to have a wrestle inside, Tyler gets the deadlift German suplex but Mark lands on his feet, roll-through into a fireman's carry Michinoku Driver... NOT ENOUGH! Haskins and Havoc rolling two on one on Tyler, catapult into a Death Valley Driver, superkick into an Acid Rainmaker... TRENT THROWS JIMMY INTO HASKINS TO MAKE THE SAVE!

Seven thinking piledriver, Havoc catches him from behind for the Rainmaker but the superkick catches him instead! Into the "everybody do something cool" section of the match, Mark takes Seven Stars after a series of kicks but Havoc's right there with the Acid Rainmaker! Tyler ducks his, hits his rebound lariat, shooting star press connects, deadlift German suplex... HASKINS BREAKS IT UP!

Mark throwing chest kicks two for one, into corner-to-corner elbows, Bate sidesteps, Bop and Bang, tandem Banzai Drop into the piledriver... MARK HASKINS LIVES! Disdainful kicks and slaps as Haskins tries to get to his feet, crotch chop, Seven gets the underhooks but Mark reverses to a sharpshooter! Ring the damn bell!

Tyler stops Trent from tapping and Jimmy gets a high-angle Boston Crab on him! PETE DUNNE IS HERE AND HE HAS MARK HASKINS' WIFE VICKY! MARK BREAKS THE HOLD TO SAVE HIS WIFE AND SEVEN HITS HAVOC LOW!

British Strong Style win by pinfall with a schoolboy pin from Trent Seven on Jimmy Havoc, retaining the Progress Tag Team Championship.

Really good stuff, Haskins and Havoc a surprisingly well-oiled machine, but in the end foiled by Dunne plumbing new depths of deprativity by dragging Vicky Haskins into it.

Post-match, Havoc and Haskins get in each other's faces about the loss and end up in a bit of a shoving match as Vicky tries to keep the peace. Unsuccessfully, as it turns out, as when Jimmy gently shoves her away, Mark sees blood and double legs him for mounted punches! Ring crew and wrestlers hit the ring to separate them!

"Flash" Morgan Webster comes down and tries to talk some sense into them but they just keep fighting! Jimmy finally pulls away and walks off as Flash and Vicky try to talk sense to Mark.

Keith Lee vs. Travis Banks

Pete Dunne joins the commentary booth for this one by ripping RJ Singh's headset off and manhandling him out of the way, which I suppose is one way to do it.

Electric staredown, the atmosphere here is incredible. Lee invites Banks, in his fashion, to bask in his glory but eats a front kick! Throwing hands, off the ropes for a lariat and Keith is a brick wall! Catching him on a headscissors, Travis flips out, ducking and dodging, of the ropes, Lee runs THROUGH a lariat and snaps a Frankensteiner off!

Banks gives him a thumbs up for it! Soaking in the atmosphere a second, more basking and again Travis is having none of it, firing off an overhand chop. Boot up on the charge, missile dropkick and Keith is actually staggered, heading outside! Suicide dive... LEE CATCHES HIM EFFORTLESSLY INTO A SPIRIT BOMB ON THE APRON!

Parting the crowd, Keith Lee biels Travis Banks almost into the dividing wall! Back in the ring, Banks throwing desperate forearms but Lee drops him with an overhand club, a stomp follows, Travis slips out of a slam, superkick connects, a lariat takes Keith to a knee, thinking fisherman, the Limitless One reverses, off the ropes... Banks caught with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex!

Another biel sends Travis clean across the ring, Stinger splash, those wicked overhand hamhocks and Banks is absolutely melting down the turnbuckles! One more biel, another Stinger splash, another double overhand chop and Travis is in absolute agony at the hands of Keith Lee. Worked so far, why not go for it again, the biel connects but an elbow blocks the splash, firing kicks off, taking Lee down, Busaiku knee connects!

Keith to the outside, the suicide dive knocks him back this time, a second, Banks firing on all cylinders, a third dive finds its mark! Back in the ring, charging uppercut, a forearm follows to set up the cannonball but Lee deadlifts him up, thinking Spirit Bomb... TRAVIS REVERSES TO A SUNSET FLIP POWERBOMB! NO GOOD!

Forearms, Lee hosses him up, fireman's carry into a backfist, charging in but Banks trips him up... AIR NEW ZEALAND! NOT ENOUGH! Kick combo connects but Keith gets him up for a swinging powerslam for a nearfall! Lee shrugging off kicks, he hits the pop-up thrust spinebuster and follows with the Spirit Bomb but he's slow to capitalize... TRAVIS BANKS LIVES!

Keith climbing, thinking Doomsault but Travis gets a low superkick into a lungblower, jumping lariat connects, Kiwi Krusher... NO GOOD! Both men spent on the mat, trying to get to their feet, Banks up first, Slice of Heaven... LEE COUNTERS WITH A HEADBUTT! Climbing, the Doomsault connects... BANKS OUT AT ONE?!

Alternating slaps and chops, Keith fires back with the double overhand chop, Travis makes the poor decision of throwing a shoulder block, tossed in the corner, the dropkick followup is rather more successful and Banks hits a double stomp to Lee's back! Dunne leaves the commentary booth and heads ringside with the sledgehammer!

Travis keeps his focus, goes for Slice of Heaven... KEITH LEE CATCHES HIM INTO THE SPIRIT BOMB! FIREMAN'S CARRY...

Keith Lee wins by pinfall with Ground Zero.

When two guys on hot streaks meet, it doesn't always go exactly as well as you'd hope. This one, though? This went better. Keith's, well... Limitless ability meeting up against Travis' incredible resilience makes for magic here, folks. Great match.

Bate and Seven hit the ring to beat Banks down but #CCK make the save! Pete's in with the sledgehammer and lays Brookes and Lykos out! Bate runs referee Paz off and British Strong Style stand united in the ring. Dunne beckons his pals draw Banks up, he lifts the sledgehammer high...

KEEP IT 100!


Bit of an awkward staredown with #CCK, but the Best Boys take their leave so the South Pacific Power Trip can have their reunion moment!


Progress honestly feel like they can do no wrong right now. Every chapter seems like it delivers at least three dynamite matches, and this is no different, with the entire show from Davis/Lynch onward just being hit after hit. But a special shoutout to Sexsmith/Dunne, where Jack once and for all feels like he's made it after tearing the house down with the Progress World Champion.

Story-wise, we got some real developments here, with Rob Lynch sadly announcing his departure and James Davis proving that maybe Regression isn't so gone after all given the vehemence with which he turned on his partner, Haskins and Havoc finally came to all out blows (with a little help from Pete Dunne stirring the pot), and the return of the South Pacific Power Couple (along with the establishment of NSD and Gibson/Drake) means the tag division is absolutely overflowing right now.

Check it out on Demand Progress, folks.

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