Progress Chapter 62: Fear No More, Come to Dust went up on Demand Progress yesterday, so let’s have at it, shall we?
Chris Ridgeway vs. Omari (Natural Progression Series V First Round Tournament Match)
Mat grappling early, hold for hold, neither man able to hold onto an advantage for long. Switching to striking after a heel hook exchange, forearm for forearm, Omari starts to pull ahead with a shoulder thrust and a leg lariat in the corner, and a straight suplex gets two. Pressing the advantage, another suplex, Ridgeway starts getting shots in edgeways and recovers with a wicked rising crescent kick and a buzzsaw roundhouse kick.
Reverse chinlock, trying to choke the life out of Omari but he rises to his feet, out with elbows, duck the up and over and Chris hits a German suplex. Karelin lift in return but Ridgeway folds him right up with a second German! Omari slips out, another Karelin lift and again Chris floats out of an attempt at a second and hits the German suplex! Omari hits a pop-up rolling elbow, they exchange kicks and both men are down and out on the mat!
Back on their feet, Omari charging in with hard elbows, Ridgeway returns an uppercut and a back suplex! Axe kick connects for a nearfall, going for a sleeper, Omari slings him out, knocks him silly with a kick and hits the Doctor Bomb... NOPE! Stepping over, maybe setting up a Cop Killer but Chris reverses to a sleeper, breaks for a crescent kick, German suplex, Busaiku knee kick... nope!
Omari on his knees, the crescent kick lands true once again... NO GOOD! Fujiwara armbar applied... Omari uses his long limbs to reach... AND GETS THE ROPES! Chest kicks, Omari not able to do much more than survive but Ridgeway running the ropes gets him just enough time for a huge tilt-a-whirl drop! Basement superkick connects, only a nearfall and he follows it up with a Regal Stretch!
Chris crawls for and gets the ropes for the break! Omari laying chest kicks in but Ridgeway digs deep and fires up and we’ve got a forearm exchange! Moving on to trading kicks and they both wipe out! Omari sidesteps a charge and German suplexes him off the second but Chris isn’t put too far out by it and is able to reverse a suplex into a suplex of his own and drop it into a sleeper...
Chris Ridgeway wins by submission with a sleeper hold.
Great, great match. We’ve had a lot of great wrestling already in the 34 days that make up this year as I write this, but this might legitimately be one of my favorites, and it’s the opener of the show and a first-round match in what is essentially a Young Lion’s Cup. Astounding work, gentlemen. Some of these sequences, the German-for-Karelin stretch, the dueling submissions, the strike exchanges into the finish... I don’t think I can put this over enough. Excellent match.
Roy Johnson vs. Pastor William Eaver
Awkward handshake (Pastor does the ol’ white guy fist shake maneuver) into the feeling out, testing their strength with shoulder blocks and Eaver falls to his knees before shooting the power of Christ directly into Johnson’s soul. It, uh, doesn’t work and Roy starts hammering him with body avalanches and a backbreaker that takes him to the floor.
The fighting heads outside where Bill gets the Irish Church backbreaker onto the apron! Rolling axehandle knocks Johnson to the floor when he tries to get back in, Pastor off the ropes with a suicide dive but his feet get hung up on the ropes and it doesn’t go exactly as planned, landing square on his forehead by the look of the goose egg above his right eyebrow.
Back inside, Eaver hobbled by the dive but fighting through it, side slam, connects, going for the crucifix powerbomb but Roy floats over and hits Waste Management for a nearfall, Bill barely able to get the shoulder up! Back to the floor, referee Chris Roberts counting but Paster gets back in and Johnson chokes him over the ropes. Headed around the floor, Drive-By!
Back in, Eaver going for the powerbomb but he can’t get Roy up for it, countered...
Roy Johnson wins by pinfall with Wavy Tonic.
This started off solid but had every right to fall apart after that dive-- as it turns out, Eaver wasn’t simply hobbled after the dive, he actually tore his quad, although fortunately the goose egg was just a goose egg, no concussion. So the fact that it finished as well as it did is pretty astounding, a testament to both guys being able to keep it together. And of course, all the best to Pastor Bill in his (hopefully speedy) recovery.
Chris Brookes vs. Trent Seven vs. Zack Sabre, Jr.
Seven starts the match by dumping the other two men over the top and celebrating as if he’s won the Royal Rumble, complete with pointing at Jon Briley atop the video screen as an ersatz WrestleMania sign. Brookes and Sabre have a bit of an intervention to inform him that the match is continuing and we’re off... kind of. A lot of stalling and shaking of hands, and finally Trent throws a forearm!
Some three-way slugging it out, Seven absolutely pasting Zack with a chop in the midst of it but they carry on a good long while with it until Chris and ZSJ clobber Trent to the mat with palm strikes and get into a bit of straight singles action. Wicked leg pick on a leapfrog and Sabre goes to work, or tries to, because Brookes is with him every step of the way and takes him out with a senton.
Trent back in, hard slap, he goes for a second with added Fromunda but Chris gets him in an octopus! Sabre picks the leg out, ankle lock, reversed, legsweet and ZSJ deathlocks the legs and bridges back to duck a chop! Another bridge to avoid a chop from Trent! Seven picks him up and chops him back down for good measure as Brookes begs off, Trent keeps going but the Technical Wizard eventually gets an abdominal stretch at the same time!
Eye rake gets the break and Seven German suplexes Sabre into the ropes only for Zack to grab an octopus on him moments later. Chris gently rearranges it so he can get an octopus hold on ZSJ at the same time! Sabre reverses, abdominal stretch, Brookes reverses but Zack reverses the reversal and they continue jockeying for position until Trent comes in with spinning backfists!
Corner to corner chops, Seven with a big chokeslam on Brookes but Sabre stops the piledriver with a flying triangle choke! Chris breaks it up with a senton! All three men slowly to seated, going kick for kick on the mat, Trent is the first to his feet with machine gun chops for ZSJ in the corner, he calls for the brainbuster but it’s reversed into a German suplex!
Ace Crusher from Brookes, German suplex from Seven and a piledriver after, Sabre in with a Penalty Kick and all three men are down and out! A pump kick stuns Brookes and Zack gets a catch armbar that Chris turns into a quick cover. ZSJ right back on him, bodyscissors into a guillotine choke, trying to shift to the Kimura but Brookes gets him on the ropes for a dragon screw neck whip!
Seven cuts him off with a lariat, only a nearfall, the same for Sabre, another piledriver on Chris but he rolls to the floor. Zack blocks the lariat with a boot, takes the backfist, Trent off the ropes and he turns ZSJ inside out! Looking for Seven Stars, Sabre reverses...
Zack Sabre, Jr. wins by pinfall with the European Clutch on Trent Seven.
Comedy early into a crescendo of three-way action that largely avoided the two men in, one men out stuff that dogs three-ways sometimes and this was a good match. I could have maybe done with a smidge less in the way of slugfest time (the kicks on the mat in particular were cute at first but got a little old) but that’s a quibble and it’s good stuff here regardless.
TK Cooper vs. Travis Banks (c) (Progress World Championship)
Handshake and a hug and TK catches Travis with the circle game outta nowhere but Banks is able to stick his finger in and get the first shot with a leg kick! Second try works without question and Cooper lands the big right to send Travis to the floor! Headed up top... and TK thinks better of diving, leaving Travis the opening to trip him up on the apron and wipe him out with a pair of suicide dives!
No luck on the third, Cooper catches him and Samoan drops him into the front row! Throwing chairs at the Kiwi Buzzsaw to no effect and TK throws a member of ring crew in the way when Banks tries to throw them back! Again on a second ring crew guy and a third is thrown right into Travis to give Cooper a chance to land a kick! Back inside, Banks sidesteps a charge, trips him up, cannonball!
Air New Zealand connects... NOPE! Staying on his tag partner, laying kicks in, chops and forearms, and Cooper is way on the back foot. Firing back with forearms, the champion snapmares him and hits a bunch of back kicks for a cover. Charging in, Cooper with a counter uppercut, backflip up and over and he lands a neckbreaker! Pump kick in the corner, axe kick, Tiger suplex into the bridge, only a nearfall!
Jockeying for position, ducking and dodging, elbow for uppercut, leg trip into the Busaiku knee but Cooper returns an axe kick, Banks with a huge lariat, TK digs deep and finds a Blue Thunder Driver and both men are down and out on the mat! On their knees, slugging it out, rising to their feet, Travis pulls ahead but is denied a suplex and settles for a roll-through into a basement superkick that Cooper shrugs off!
A second kick, a third, a fourth, they all land true but TK digs down and stands straight and drops the champion with a headbutt! Vertical suplex lift dropped into a double knee gutbuster... NOT ENOUGH! Banks looking for Slice of Heaven and Cooper punches him out of the air! Ducking lariats, Cooper hits the Samoan drop and it’s only good for two! Axe kick comes up empty, shotgun dropkick into a slingshot double stomp and the Kiwi Buzzsaw is rolling!
Air New Zealand... COUNTERED INTO A CHOKESLAM! TRAVIS KICKS OUT! Cooper pulls himself up on the apron, up top, nobody home, he runs into a kick, cuts Banks off, climbs to meet him... SPANISH FLY! STILL NOT ENOUGH! TK heads out to Jim Smallman at ringside and takes the title belt from him, taking it in the ring. Referee Chris Roberts warns him of the consequences for using it but Chris Brookes runs out and takes it away before he can use it!
Banks takes advantage, Slice of Heaven, Kiwi Krusher reversed into a World’s Strongest Driver, no good, octopus hold applied and TK flips Brookes off! Chris yanks Roberts out of the ring and Cooper throws a suicide dive on the CCK man! Back in, neckbreaker drop from Banks, Kiwi Krusher... NO GOOD! Lion’s Clutch applied in the middle of the ring...
Travis Banks wins by submission with the Lion’s Clutch, retaining the Progress World Championship.
Really good match, telling the dual stories of a slightly rusty TK Cooper shaking it off and digging deep and using everything he can think of to beat the unbeatable world champion and the continuing breakdown of Travis Banks’ web of friendships and alliances slowly stripping his title matches of anything resembling an uncontroversial finish.
After the match, Cooper and Brookes get into a shoving match, Banks tries to pull TK off and gets punched away for his trouble! Travis pulls Chris off and beats on Cooper, shifts to Brookes when he tries to pull the champion off and ring crew hits the ring to pull everyone apart as it becomes a three-way brawl!
Back from the interval, we’re informed (as we were at the top of the show) that Toni Storm’s replacement opponent, Millie McKenzie, is also out hurt and so she’ll be facing a MYSTERY OPPONENT.
Jinny comes out, hand in a brace and arm in a sling. She says today was supposed to be special, to be her day to challenge for the title, and love her or hate her you can’t deny the work she put in for the opportunity. You see her and you mistake her confidence for arrogance and you don’t see how hard she’s worked because she loves wrestling, the hours she’s spent in training to make history and break down barriers...
She can’t tell us how much her heart broke when she found out how seriously she was injured. When she had to write the email to say she couldn’t compete today, it was probably one of the worst days of her life. She knew her opportunity would be given to someone else, and it was given to someone the Progress crowd knows and loves, Millie McKenzie.
But as soon as her replacement was announced every single pathetic low-life fan forgot about her and she’s #1 contender and even though she can’t wrestle she’ll tell Toni who she’s gonna face. Jinny says she’s queen and Storm is a princess, and she can hold the title or lose it, but when she comes back, that title is hers. And her opponent?
Chakara vs. Toni Storm (c) (Progress Women’s Championship)
Toni offers a handshake and Chakara immediately hits a rolling elbow and follows it up with a rope-hung neckbreaker! Putting the boots to her in the corner, but she wastes too much time jawing at the crowd and Storm recovers enough to powerbomb her into the turnbuckles! Dive denied, a trip puts the champion into the apron and Chakara puts her into the post after!
Strike combo, pressing the attack, back inside, jawing at Toni, happy to wait for her to come back in so she can throw more kicks. Off the ropes, Storm gets a boot, follows it up with a series of kicks to the head, working out her anger issues but Chakara ducks the runner, picks the leg, double knees to the midsection for two! Choking her against the ropes, Chakara throws a wicked forearm and an exploder suplex but the cover doesn’t end it.
Gory Special, Storm reverses to a sunset flip for two, off the ropes with a forearm and we’re slugging it out now! Toni with a flurry of elbows, whip reversed, duck the lariat, German suplex connects and her challenger scrambles off to the corner. Running hip attack stuns Chakara, Reverse Neckbreaker, only two! Storm up top, Chakara cuts her off and hits the drops her on her knees from the Gory Special!
Hammerlock DDT follows... NOPE! Camel clutch to follow it up, Toni gets to the ropes right in front of Jinny. Chakara beats on her unholy, pressing her into the corner, but again she takes just a little too long and Storm gets up and over on the charge! Headbutt, German suplex, champion fired up...
Toni Storm wins by pinfall with Strong Zero, retaining the Progress Women’s Championship.
Good match, especially as a showcase of Chakara who spent most of the match absolutely dominating the champion here. She’s come a long way since her main chapter debut over a year ago in Natural Progression Series IV. And the longer Toni Storm goes as champion, she keeps pulling victories out of her hat— Strong Zero is just about unbeatable— but with each match you get the increasing sensation that her time is up sooner rather than later.
After the match, Jinny gets in the ring to face off with Toni... and she puts the boots to her! Storm manages to back her off after a bit... AND NINA SAMUELS ATTACKS FROM BEHIND! Putting boots to her in stereo, Chakara joins the party and Nina picks the title up and hands it to Jinny. We got a faction!
Danny Jones & Mark Andrews vs. Jimmy Havoc & Mark Haskins
Eddie Dennis makes his entrance before the match can begin. He excuses himself to Havoc and Haskins and tells the crowd to stop chanting before beginning. He thought after September 10 he was finally done with Andrews upsetting and offending him, but here we are on January 28 and he’s found a new and interest way to piss on the legacy of FSU! He calls Andrews arrogant enough to believe that FSU was Mark Andrews and [insert Welsh buddy here].
Dennis likes Danny but tells him not to trust Andrews because he’s a user that will use him. He can hear the sheep in the crowd start to turn and realize that Mark is the bad guy, not him, and if you think a torn pectoral muscle is gonna put the brakes on this thing you’re stupid and he said at Birmingham he’s gonna be at every show Andrews is on and he’s gonna keep his word.
He’s gonna follow him around the world, in fact, until the lettering on the billboard reads “Dennis vs. Andrews” and he demands a chair to provide his insightful commentary on the match.
At first opportunity, of course, Havoc and Haskins jump Team Wales! Jones isolated, whip into the corner but he gets a boot up and sidesteps and is able to land a springboard on Havoc! Suplex on Haskins, corkscrew plancha to the floor on both men! Jimmy tries to trip him up and gets blocked but Mark is able to clobber him and dive on him after!
They set Danny up in a chair... double boots! A second time hits just as true! Back in the ring, Haskins sets about dissecting Jones’ arm and caving his skull in with repeated knees. Quick tags, they continue to work the newcomer over even as Andrews finally gets up on the apron, ready for the tag... but when Danny gets over, Jimmy yanks Mark off the apron and H&H continue to assault him.
Jones gets a Dragon suplex off on Havoc, both men crawling for the tag and they get it! Andrews in on Haskins, full flash, wheelbarrow bulldog, double knees in the corner, northern lights suplex rolled through but Haskins blocks the stomp! Superkick, suplex attempt... STUNDOG MILLIONAIRE! Danny back in, uppercut enzuigiri combo into a double stomp assisted backpack Stunner!
Andrews goes for the Tiger feint kick but Haskins catches him and Havoc dropkicks him off the apron! The match breaks down, strike for strike, Andrews gets the Tiger feint this time, springboard in, wheelbarrow denied and Jimmy and Mark hit an assisted Beach Break! Jones with a Falcon Arrow, Haskins with the Death Valley Driver on him, roll-through into the DVD but Andrews turns it around into Stundog Millionaire!
All four men down and out, Vicky Haskins gets on the apron with the barbed wire bat. Andrews in the corner, Havoc climbs to meet him but gets hung up, double stomp, White Lightning with the tag and Danny Jones goes Coast to Coast! Overhead belly-to-belly suplex on Haskins into a pumphandle facebuster, only a nearfall but he immediately follows up with the Dragon sleeper!
Jimmy manages to pull Mark off from the Tree of Woe and clears Andrews from the apron even with a hitch in his step. Wristlock, Acid Rainmaker denied, Jones hip tosses him into the corner and again in the Tree of Woe, looking for a piledriver on Haskins but he reverses into the Sharpshooter! Havoc stomps his head in and Andrews comes in for a superkick!
Wheelbarrow denied again, kick to the ding-ding, Danny with an enzuigiri, he goes to snap off the piledriver but is distracted by Vicky’s bat and she gives him the Kiss of Death! Havoc right behind...
Jimmy Havoc & Mark Haskins win by pinfall with the Acid Rainmaker / kick combination on Danny Jones.
This match was a lot of fun with our two Welshmen fighting from underneath and Eddie Dennis pushing the story along quite nicely on commentary. This was my first time seeing Danny Jones work and I was pretty well impressed, to boot. Good stuff.
After the match Havoc and Haskins stretch their opponents a bit more. Andrews and Jones end up jawing with Dennis before leaving.
Doug Williams vs. “Flash” Morgan Webster
Bit of grappling in the feeling out, Williams with an early advantage due to his size and pure technical wrestling acumen, positively tying Webster into knots. But Flash is a man of many talents and is able to get a hold in here and there edgewise. Off the ropes, a wild arm drag, arm wringer trip, La Casita comes up empty, arm drag into the kneeling armbar and Flash is going to work!
Fired up, headed up top, Doug runs into an elbow and Morgan goes for the moonsault but nobody’s home! Capitalizing, Williams grabs an abdominal stretch and wrenches it in before transitioning to a pin for two. Uppercut, smash into the corner, hammer whip, back suplex, letting him think about it for a minute and then hammer whipping him again after.
Stretching Flash with a backbreaker, following it up with a deathlock bow-and-arrow but Webster manages to lever his neck to counter to a pin to break. Doug throwing elbows and uppercuts, knee in the corner, Flash fights out of the exploder but runs the ropes right into the belly-to-belly suplex for two. Float over the suplex, standing switch but Morgan breaks with elbows, flip up and over, pass by, Rude Boy... NOPE!
Charging elbows, snapmare, imploding somersault senton, only a nearfall! Williams catches him in an inverted Gory Special and rams him into the turnbuckles! Climbing to meet him, the superplex connects but can’t finish it! Up top for the knee drop, nobody’s home and Flash gets a Britpop Drop for a nearfall of his own! Struggle in the corner, Webster pulls Williams outside and dives on him!
Slugging it out on the floor, Flash lands a wicked headbutt to stop Doug in his tracks and calls for the crowd to make way only to get caught and exploder suplexed into the third row! Both men down and out as referee Paz begins to count, Doug makes it in but Vicky Haskins is here and forces Paz to break the count? Flash from behind with a schoolboy for two, he hits a stiff knee, senton atomico off the top and he locks the Strangler in!
Williams reaches for the ropes but collapses... it’s over!
”Flash” Morgan Webster wins by submission with the Strangler.
This was really good on several levels. You have the basic obvious level that Flash tends to be very enjoyable against a) bigger dudes and b) more grapply dudes, which Doug is very much both, and so it’s a good match on those merits. But also a theme of Doug’s last run of matches has been him getting all of his classic spots in but that’s slowly wound down and here he didn’t get the knee, he didn’t get Chaos Theory, and so he dominated Webster but was down to having to settle for a count-out victory since he couldn’t get anything in that would actually finish it. So that’s really good show-to-show storytelling.
And then you come to Vicky Haskins stopping that countout. Webster returned to Progress around this time last year... and he did so alongside Mark Haskins and Jimmy Havoc as a loose unit for a while. And while Morgan here, tonight, doesn’t seem super inclined to go along with the three H’s, there’s a connection there, and for a man who’s been as lost in Progress for as long as Morgan has, well... how long is he going to be able to keep turning her down? Good stuff.
Flash shakes Williams’ hand, gives him a hug, and raises his arm all while clearly denying any knowledge of Haskins’ interference.
Timothy Thatcher vs. WALTER (c) (Progress Atlas Division Championship)
Thatcher turns down the handshake! Into the grappling, WALTER pushes him against the ropes and gets a break, picks a leg after, Tim goes to guard and tries to sucker him in but the Ring General manages to lean back into the ropes and go back to null. Locking up, WALTER throws Thatcher to the mat and Tim plays it cautious, staying in guard and waiting for the Austrian to come to him and they end up stalemating for it.
Keeping it simple, WALTER with a side headlock takeover, wrenching it in, Thatcher with the classical headscissors counter and he’s rewarded with a right hand that cracks out across the Electric Ballroom and back to the headlock! Countering the headlock into a backhammer, Ode to Jim Breaks applied, turning him through, WALTER turns it into a front chancery and Thatcher reverses to a headscissors again.
Not letting WALTER get the first lick in, Tim throws some forearms and lays them into the side of his head from mount! WALTER back to standing, throwing those hamhock chops, backing him in the corner, repeated knees and another big chop leaves Thatcher staggered! Back to the middle of the ring, the Ring General throws a chop that crumples him to his knees but Tim leaves himself open for another!
WALTER gives it to him, and again, and Thatcher looks down at his red chest in something approaching disbelief. Another one, Tim crawling, trying to will himself back into the fight and WALTER pulls him up by the jaw under the ropes. Thatcher back into it with an uppercut and WALTER cuts him down with a chop and lays clubbing blows into Tim’s actually bleeding chest.
Laying kicks in, Thatcher fires up and throws hands and again gets chopped down with that knife-edge! Tim with that thousand-yard stare, slowly trying to rise, and WALTER drags him up for a short-arm lariat! Up over the ropes again, clubbing blow across the chest and the action spills to the floor. Thatcher with uppercuts, WALTER returns a boot and again with the chops!
Bodyslam on the floor but determination fills Tim’s face as he rises again, but the champion is right on him, chop, back suplex on the apron, and Thatcher is able to sucker him into chopping the post before grabbing his hand and THROWING it into the steel! Continuing to attack the arm, stomping it before just putting boots to the Ring General! He slams WALTER’s arm into a chair!
Continuing the all-out assault on the arm, slamming it into the apron, WALTER tries to block wrapping it around the post by putting his foot on it but a hamstring kick stops that, jockeying for position over a suplex and Thatcher hits an uppercut to get the bigger man over! Back inside at last, WALTER playing Inoki to Thatcher’s Ali with kicks from the mat so Tim goes to ground with him.
WALTER throwing knees to try and fight him off, Thatcher grabbing a keylock and putting a knee into the ribs but the Ring General makes the ropes. Throwing chops through the pain, Tim goes for the belly-to-belly suplex off the ropes and WALTER counters into a cover! Switching to the off-hand for chops, effective but they don’t nearly have the power of the right-hand chops so he switches despite the pain!
Break the sleepr hold, pump kick, Gojira Clutch applied, Ringkampf rope break but Tim gets a standing switch and they trade German suplexes! On their feet, uppercut for chop, WALTER takes a few and returns a slap combo into a chop that takes him off his own feet and into the cover... NOPE! Thatcher with the enzuigiri, underhooks, back body drop counters, Mafia kick, snap German suplex, butterfly suplex, only two and into the Gojira Clutch!
Tim levers the arm out to force the break, goes for the enzuigiri again and WALTER swats him out of the air! Slap combo... THATCHER CATCHES THE ARM AND TAKES HIM DOWN INTO THE FUJIWARA ARMBAR! Forearms from mount after WALTER forces his way out of it, shifting to slaps, knees, the butterfly Jackhammer... NO GOOD! Looking for a back suplex, WALTER blocks and clobbers him with a lariat!
Tenryu powerbomb... THATCHER REVERSES TO THE FUJIWARA ARMBAR ON THE KICKOUT! WALTER powers up, Gojira Clutch, Tim fading, the Ring General hammering blows down across his chest, back to the sleeper but Thatcher rolls out and into a cross armbar! WALTER manages to get to his feet... DEADLIFT ESCAPE INTO STOMPS TO THE HEAD! Waiting for Tim to get up... and a forearm lays WALTER out!
Back suplex connects, Thatcher’s eyes light up in the knowledge that fight yet remains in him, he goes for another but WALTER shifts his weight and counters to a crossbody! Tim blocks a chop with his arms but flinches on a second and gives WALTER a moment to shift his aim and chop him square in the face! Thunder Fire connects... TIMOTHY THATCHER FINDS THE WILL TO KICK OUT!
Trading slaps, Thatcher fires up and lets a rush loose but WALTER clobbers him with a boot! Drawing him up, a lariat, underhooks applied, up...
WALTER wins by pinfall with the delayed Tiger Driver, retaining the Progress Atlas Division Championship.
So this match has, even though the show only happened six days ago and has only been streaming for about 48 hours as I write this, it’s already gotten a lot of praise. A lot of very strong praise, so going into this my interest was piqued even more than I expected, and I expected a hell of a lot out of this.
My proverbial bonafides as a Timothy Thatcher fan are well-established, I think. The very first thing I wrote for this website, in fact, was an ode to his WrestleMania weekend in 2015. So obviously there’s a bias there but on the flipside I think it makes me pretty qualified to make grand proclamations. And thus, when I say that while this might not be my favorite Thatcher match (I think that’s probably still the Johnny Gargano match from Evolve 51), I think this very well might be the best match of his I’ve ever seen, you understand that covers a LOT of ground.
All the basic building blocks of a great WALTER match and a great Thatcher match are here. The visceral hard-hitting action that makes you practically feel every chop in your own breast, the steady resolve and will to continue fighting, the utter urge to win that fills both men’s every action, it’s all here and in immense quantities. WALTER’s chops drew actual blood, for the love of God!
The armwork is inventive and brutal, the grappling early is great, the lack of covers until late in the match when it’s hitting a raging boil... this match! One of the best Progress matches ever.
And now, in defeat, Timothy Thatcher returns the handshake and embraces his Ringkampf teammate.
Overall this was a damn good show that feels like it was planting the seeds for forward motion in multiple ways. And, from a pure wrestling standpoint, it was an incredible show simply on the strength of the opening and closing matches. But also Cooper/Banks and Webster/Williams were really good and there’s not a bad match on the card save maybe the Johnson/Eaver match and even that was a case of unfortunate injury and they saved it to a remarkable degree.
Storyline-wise, the most interesting thing here is Webster’s morality being tested by Vicky Haskins, and with her team having the next tag title shot, we might have the results of that test sooner rather than later. Also Travis Banks’ friendships seem to have broken down totally leaving us with a sense of every man for himself that may have to end in three-way action sooner or later, and the new faction Jinny is at the head of looks to make the women’s division go through the same tribulations her trainer Jimmy Havoc put the men’s title scene through years ago with Regression, which is very exciting.
Check it out on Demand Progress, folks.