Progress Chapter 65: Have Some Faith in the Sound went up on Demand Progress... back before WrestleMania weekend, actually, but in all the excitement I didn’t have time to get to it until now. So without further ado, on with the action!
Doug Williams vs. Rob Lynch
Feeling out with a bit of mat grappling, Williams with a clear advantage but Lynch is hanging with the indie technical wrestling legend and able to keep him from gaining too severe of an edge. Some real World of Sport stuff in there as the match escalates, a slick test of strength exchange into an inverted surfboard and they stalemate.
Rob takes it to the striking with forearms, Doug returns a boot and gets passed to the floor for his trouble. Lynch sizes him up for a suicide dive but is cut off with an elbow! Jockeying for position, flying uppercut, Chaos Theory denied, standing switch, duck a lariat, Big Rob hits the Pele kick! Williams clutching his shoulder, clearly hurt, and Lynch grabs a reverse chinlock and takes him to the mat.
Back to standing, forearms, a corner knee, Doug running hot but Rob blocks the exploder suplex and clobbers him with a lariat! Snapmare into a grounded abdominal stretch follows, shifting back to a reverse chinlock, trying to keep Williams off-guard but he breaks and we go back to forearms! Shove to the corner, back body drop, knee in the corner, to the apron, Doug heads up top and hits the torpedo uppercut... NOPE!
Back elbows to block the exploder again, Rob passes him to the corner and hits a belly-to-belly suplex for a nearfall! Charging boot, Death Valley Driver, again Doug Williams finds the will to kick out! Jockeying for position, Lynch gets the cut-off, staggers Doug with a forearm but not enough to keep him down for the moonsault! Chaos Theory blocked, leapfrog sunset flip but Rob sits down for a cover!
The exploder suplex hits this time, Williams fired up and he heads up top... BOMB SCARE BUT LYNCH ROLLS AWAY! Rob comes charging...
Rob Lynch wins by pinfall with a spear.
Good opener, loved the throughline of Rob blocking the exploder only for Doug to, once he got it, go for more than he could actually get with the Bomb Scare and immediately get taken out.
Chakara vs. Charlie Morgan vs. Millie McKenzie vs. Session Moth Martina
The look of absolute disgust on Jinny’s face after Martina finishes grinding on literally everyone between the front row and the middle of the ring, fantastic.
Chakara and Morgan take advantage of a drinks break at the bell to press the attack in concert as members of the House of Couture! Charlie on Millie, charging, striking hard, a knee lift for Martina and they trade forearms before the Session Moth gets a running knee off! Fired up, spinning around... Martina gets a little dizzy and has to take a breather before hitting the ropes over... and over... and over... until her battery winds down.
A bit of, ah, “session juice” gets her going again and lets her hit the dive and the match spills back inside in a big way with the Session Moth and McKenzie charging in opposite directions. Martina wants some sick tag moves ala CCK, going for the electric chair codebreaker but her back gives out! Millie hits the Codebreaker anyway, Session Moth with a sunset flip buckle bomb, they run Morgan off and Chakara manages to outsmart them!
Double suplex from the heels but not all is well and Charlie breaks the cover up! BIG exploder suplex from Chakara, she’s got Millie lined up, catches a boot on the charge and follows it up with a wild neckbreaker out of the corner... AGAIN MORGAN BREAKS IT UP! House of Couture jawing at each other, Martina passes McKenzie a beer and she’s all fired up!
Forearms on forearms, German suplexes for everybody but the Session Moth’s creation turns against her with a German supex for her as well... NOPE! Martina cuts Morgan off with a kick, calls for the Wombstone... and hits it! Jinny runs interference and gives Chakara a chance to take the Session Moth out! Forearms for McKenzie, she fires back with an Ace Crusher and it’s just her and Charlie now!
Spear connects... NOT ENOUGH! Chakara back to her feet, whip over, sitout powerbomb, Morgan capitalizes...
Charlie Morgan wins by pinfall with an implant DDT on Millie McKenzie.
So I really dug the sort of pseudo-tag format they ended up with here, reminded me of early Ring of Honor four-ways where you tended to have alliances form towards the beginning of the match and stick until they broke down. Not the smoothest match ever, but a good one, with a good balance between Martina’s shenanigans and full-stop wrestling action, and the dissonance between the heels is interesting.
Chris Brookes vs. TK Cooper (No Disqualification Match)
Brookes starts hot with a tope con giro! He introduces a chair into the proceedings posthaste, but Cooper is able to whip him hard into the crowd! Kid Lykos tries to get involved with a cookie sheet but provides enough of a distraction for Chris to recover and go back to beating on TK with a chair! Setting up a contraption, jockying for position, Brookes traps his head in the ring skirt and stomps it in!
More chairshots, setting two on their SIDE as a contraption... AND COOPER SLAMS HIM INTO THEM FOR A NEARFALL! TK heads out for some plunder, comes up with a staple gun in hand and heads to the merch table to get a Travis Banks 8x10 and finishes his collection sidequest with a pair of handcuffs. He tries to cuff Chris’ hands behind his back in the ropes but he fights back and so Cooper staples the picture to his forehead sooner than planned!
Back suplex gutbuster for another nearfall, off the ropes, Brookes hits a superkick to little effect but catches a headbutt and follows it up with a brainbuster! Lykos helping him along with some plunder... BROOKES USES THE CLAW END OF A HAMMER TO PERFORM SOME AMATEUR DENTISTRY! STAPLE TO THE MOUTH! Dragon screw neck whip follows, only a nearfall but Cooper’s too busy tending to his poor busted mouth to mount a comeback.
Chris sets up a table on the floor, TK finally recovered enough to cut him off, jockeying for position on the apron, forearms exchanged... COOPER WITH THE SPANISH FLY THROUGH THE TABLE! Cover comes up empty, and TK decides to give his loving attention to Lykos, threading his neck through a chair and dropping a leg on it! Brookes waffles him with a chair as revenge!
More plunder, Chris introduces a bag full of tacks, takes Cooper to the corner but TK slips away, struggling against each other in the corner, trading strikes... SUPERPLEX INTO THE TACKS! Cooper fills Brookes’ mouth with tacks and punches him in the mush! KIWI KRUSHER... CHRIS KICKS OUT! Going for Slice of Heaven and Chris cuts him off, slingshot Ace Crusher, underhooks, piledriver... NOT ENOUGH TO PUT TK COOPER AWAY!
Octopus hold locked on, Brookes levers the arm and falls back...
Chris Brookes wins by submission with the octopus hold in a pile of thumbtacks.
I’m of two minds on this one, folks. On one hand, it was an excellently sadistic match-- the hammer spot alone is an incredible piece of business that shocked me, which is no mean feat to do to someone as into deathmatches as I am. On the other... I found the match had trouble holding my attention and it took me probably twice the length of the actual match to watch it due to pausing and rewinding. So, a lot to like here, but I have trouble giving it an unreserved thumbs up.
Rampage Brown vs. WALTER (c) (Progress Atlas Division Championship)
Feeling out, testing their strength in a series of lockups, trading the advantage, into the bull moose shoulder blocks and WALTER wins the exchange! Dropkick from Brown gets a Mafia kick in return and then the Ring General starts bringing the pain with his trademark chops. Rampage gives back as good as he can but a monster chop from WALTER sends him spilling to the floor!
Chops continue on the floor, WALTER peppering Brown with kicks in the empty spaces! Back inside, big body slam from the champion, trading uppercuts but WALTER lays him low with another tremendous chop! On his knees, Rampage asks for more and the Ring General obliges! Underhooks, Brown blocks, shove to the corner, back elbow and a lariat, another lariat, Rampage starting to rally but he gets caught in the Gojira Clutch!
Ringkampf Special follows and then the overhead butterfly suplex... only a nearfall! Keylock applied, wrenching Brown’s arm over his head, he takes him into the ropes and spills the challenger to the floor with a clubbing blow to his chest! WALTER waits patiently for Rampage to return, absorbing kicks and chops before firing one deadly kick that knocks Brown to the mat!
Wicked boot from Rampage, WALTER returns the favor but Brown lariats the lariat arm to block! Axehandle to block the lariat from WALTER, off the ropes, another lariat from Brown, a boot in return, and Rampage sells himself out for a HUGE lariat that takes both men to the mat! To the second, Brown takes flight... AND DIVES RIGHT INTO A BOOT TO THE FACE!
Powerbomb denied, fireman’s carry, reversed, Gojira Clutch, Ringkampf Special blocked, back suplex... WALTER TURNS IT INTO A CROSSBODY! Rampage catches a lariat, gets the back suplex but the Ring General rises inexorably and hits a lariat to take us back to zero! Back to their feet, trading chops harder than ever, Brown staggered but fighting his way back into it when WALTER grabs the Gojira Clutch again!
Judo escape, huge body slam... YOU’RE NOT GONNA PUT WALTER AWAY LIKE THAT! Champion back with a kick, a German suplex, a lariat to the throat... NOT ENOUGH! Back to the chops, clouds of sweat flying off their chests, flagging, forehead-to-forehead, WALTER blocks, Rampage switches to forearms and builds up some steam only to get caught in the sleeper again... COUNTERED WITH A BACK SUPLEX!
Going for the piledriver, countered with a back body drop, shotgun dropkick from the champion! Tenryu powerbomb... RAMPAGE KICKS OUT BUT WALTER CATCHES HIM INTO THE GOJIRA CLUTCH... IT’S OVER!
WALTER wins by referee stoppage with the Gojira Clutch, retaining the Progress Atlas Division Championship.
Shock of shocks, another awesome WALTER match in 2018. This one started slow enough that I had some doubts, but once Rampage came off the second right into a boot, they turned the gas on and didn’t let up until the match was over. Really strong stuff, especially in light of Rampage being 2-0 over WALTER in Progress until now.
Danny Duggan vs. Danny Jones (Natural Progression Series V First Round Match)
Dueling “Let’s go Danny!” chants as the two men try to work out which is for which before getting into it. Feeling out in the lockup and then into some mat grappling before going back to the lockup. Stalemated, it’s time for forearms, shoulder block for a dropkick, an uppercut, Jones pulling ahead, ducking a lariat, hitting a rolling elbow into a lungblower and getting a nearfall out of it!
Arm wringer in the corner, Duggan blocks the whip, reverses into an uppercut, another one, a third, pummeling him, whip across, charging forearm into a running enzuigiri, butterfly suplex into a pin, only two! Grinding Dragonheart down, neck crank applied, Jones forces his way out and into forearms but gets cut down with a dropkick for another nearfall!
Jones with a few punches, he dumps Duggan to the apron, jockeying for position in the corner, Duggan lands lame on one knee and turns around into a leg pick! Stepover leglock, appling the toehold, wrenching it in, Dragonheart shifts to a spinning toehold and drops his knee before grabbing an inverted Indian deathlock. Duggan out with forearms and headbutts, Jones ducks a lariat, rolling leglock and back to the inverted Indian deathlock!
Shrugging off forearms, Jones readjusts, gets a cover, they trade headbutts and Dragonheart hits a few forearms to the face before Duggan turns the hold around and reverses the pressure! Ropes made, referee Chris Roberts untangles them, Duggan with forearms, off the ropes, fireman’s carry, dropping Jones down, a few short-arm lariats follow.
Keeping the wrist held, off the ropes, big lariat and both men are down and out! Jones fired up, German suplex, Duggan returns the favor! Dragon suplex from Jones but he can’t capitalize! Eddie Dennis appears at ringside, here to stalk Danny Jones as a means of tormenting Mark Andrews! Both men seated in the middle of the ring, trading slaps, to their feet, still exchanging!
Duggan with forearms, Jones returns a judo throw into overhead elbows to the back of the head, Calf Killer locked on, Duggan crawling for the ropes but Dennis tries to pull them away! Duggan makes the ropes anyway and Jones follows by kicking his head in as Dennis hops up on the apron to give some advice. Dragonheart isn’t having it and he yells at Eddie to back off.
Duggan recovered, slip under...
Danny Duggan wins by pinfall with an O’Connor roll and a handful of tights.
There was something just a half-step off about this whole match, especially in the early goings. Forearms that were just a hair slow, a lockup that was just a tad lifeless and lacking in struggle... That said, I liked the leg damage, thought Duggan did a good job of making it pay off even though it wasn’t the main focus of the match, and I continue to love Eddie Dennis trying to find any way to screw with Mark Andrews that he can in hopes of goading him into a proper match.
Eddie gets on the mic to apologize but says it’s not really his fault, is it? It’s his fault, it’s Mark Andrews’ fault for not being here for his student tonight. But instead he’s jet-setting in America for WWE! Jones isn’t buying it and jaws at Dennis, who’s incredulous that Danny isn’t buying what he’s selling. Jones shoves him and Eddie warns him that he’s only three weeks from surgery and tells him not to put his hands on him.
He goads him into earning a repeat match by picking on a man fresh out of surgery and reminds him Duggan beat him before dropping a precision “HOOOOO!” (no relation) and taking his sling off! Jones insists on being the bigger man and Dennis calls him a coward. Eddie then addresses Mark directly, saying things like this will keep happening as long as he ducks him.
Grizzled Young Veterans (James Drake & Zack Gibson) (c) vs. Jimmy Havoc & Mark Haskins vs. Sexy Starr (David Starr & Jack Sexsmith) (Progress Tag Team Championship Elimination Match)
Zack Gibson steals the mic away from Jim Smallman in the middle of David Starr’s nicknames and runs the other teams down for taking shortcuts and following trends while they’ve done it their own way for 12 years and become the tag team champions.
The bell rings and Grizzled Young Vets find themselves literally looking from the outside in as the crowd leads a game of “If you all hate Zack Gibson do this thing” that the other four men play along with before getting into a slugfest with each other. Havoc & Haskins in control, double whip into double elbows and wishboning Sexsmith’s legs, but Starr gets a boot up, back body drop Mark to the apron, Penalty Kick on Drake, yanked to the floor, the Jewish Cannon takes them out with a dive!
Jack gets Jimmy set up but is cut off by an eye poke, boot up, to the second, Havoc hits an uppercut, hangs him up as the others brawl on the floor, climbing with him, Sexsmith knocks him down with a headbutt, perches... SENTON ATOMICO INTO THE CRUSH! Jimmy hits a rolling elbow on him when he comes back in, Starr runs interference, assisted shiranui on Havoc... HASKINS BREAKS IT UP!
Mark with kicks two for one, runs into a tilt-a-whirl slam and a knee and Gibson comes into the ring for the first time, faking them out, dumping David, Drake saves him from the Cherry Mint DDT! Champs in, whip, basement dropkicks, Poetry in Motion dropkick takes Davey Wrestling out! Enzuigiri into the superkick neckbreaker... NOT ENOUGH TO PUT JACK AWAY!
Scoop him up, Jimmy in, they abandon Sexsmith and get caught with a double Pele kick! Starr in with a sliding knee, leg lariat from Haskins and the match breaks down into “everybody do something cool” for a minute... Cactus Acid Rainmaker puts Havoc and Drake to the floor! Haskins with the inverted Tiger feint kick into a series of dives and he’s fired up!
Smash Starr into the turnbuckle, chaining dropkicks on him in the corner, catapult into a Death Valley Driver! Another dive from Mark takes the champs out, roll-through, Michinoku Driver, double stomp from Jimmy, Vicky Haskins gives the Jewish Cannon the kiss of death but the champs yank Mark out and hang him up on the apron! Waistlock, arms trapped, Sexsmith off the top...
Sexy Starr eliminate Jimmy Havoc & Mark Haskins by pinfall with a BDSM / Product Placement combination on Havoc.
Champs in, quick scoop into stereo schoolboys, reversed to stereo victory rolls, no falls! They dump Starr, scoop Jack up, he slips up, malfunction at the junction, Cherry Mint DDT on Drake followed with the LGBDDT! Sexsmith climbs up top, BDSM into Product Placement... HAVOC YANKS REFEREE CHRIS ROBERTS OUT OF THE RING BEFORE HE CAN COUNT THREE!
Jack’s beside himself realized he had the titles won when Gibson gets into it with him and he clubs the champion into turtling up in the corner. Zack sets him up in the corner, running dropkick from James, Codebreaker, the champs fire each other up, scoop Jack up, electric chair but Davey Wrestling trips Drake up, victory roll... NOT ENOUGH! Starr run off, shoulder facebuster for Jack, 450 splash comes up empty and Drake lands bad on his knee!
Superkicks from the challengers, off the ropes... STEREO HAN STANSENS CAN’T WIN THEM THE TITLES?! Sexsmith signaling, David gets ready, Gibson blocks the straitjacket and Drake rams them both into the corner before German suplexing Starr. Poetry in Motion dropkick takes Jack out of the corner to the floor and Starr is left alone! Fighting two on one with elbows and lariats, James ducks one, enzuigiri into the superkick... BUT THE JEWISH CANNON PUSHES GIBSON INTO IT!
Knee strike for Drake, Blackheart Buster for Zack! James charges in, O’Connor roll into a bridge... NOT ENOUGH! Putting Drake off the ropes, tilt-a-whirl slam reversed...
Grizzled Young Veterans win by pinfall with Ticket to Mayhem on David Starr, retaining the Progress Tag Team Championship.
This was really good, calling on the last year or so worth of Jack Sexsmith’s story in a very satisfying way, first him eliminating Havoc and Haskins, then getting screwed by Havoc, and then the smal segment with him just unloading on Gibson, calling back to their series. Plus, you know, I haven’t been super happy with the way the tag titles have bounced around of late, but the action here was great, back and forth without extended heat segments, just bang bang bang along down the tracks.
”Flash” Morgan Webster vs. Travis Banks (c) (Progress World Championship)
Flash gets on the mic and says he wants to do this his way and he wants Vicky Haskins to leave so he can prove to everyone here just who Morgan Webster is. She hesitates but acquiesces and heads to the back.
Bit of sportsmanship after the bell from Flash but Travis holds back a long while before accepting the handshake and cocking his wrist into the Superman Punch ala Roman Reigns for some reason. Reveling in the distaste from the crowd, Banks throws heavy chops to knock Webster down and keeps the pressure up. The fighting spills to the floor, champion remaining well in charge until Morgan gets a jumping knee and an imploding senton off!
Kick to the back, the Kiwi Buzzsaw fires back up, heavy hands, break the count, he clears the front row and throws Webster into the crowd! More chops follow, clubbing blows, again breaking the count before taking him back inside and laying him out with a hard forearm. Flash fired back up, forearms and chops, back elbow after a whip, headed to springboard and Banks kicks his leg out of his leg!
Mounted elbows to the face, forcing Webster to turtle up but taking their toll all the same! Charging in with uppercuts, Morgan flips over one and gets the step-up moonsault out of the corner! Charging forearms follow, staggering the champion in the corner, hammering away them and polishing the sequence off with a knockout knee! Underhooks into a sitout facebuster... NOPE!
Charging in again and Banks kicks his leg out from under him again and follows it with the cannonball! Jockeying for position, back and forth, fireman’s carry neckbreaker over the knee from Travis gets a nearfall! Flash rolls to the floor, Banks follows to the apron for the Penalty Kick! Lying in wait, he goes for a second but Morgan trips him up!
Off the ropes, one suicide dive sends Banks deep, a second nails him even harder, back in... TOPE CON GIRO! Back in, perched up top, Shadows Over Malice but Travis got the knees up... SLICE OF HEAVEN! Kiwi Krusher, letting him think about it... FLASH WON’T LET HIS DREAM DIE SO EASILY! Lion’s Clutch follows, Webster desperately reaching out but the Kiwi Buzzsaw rolls him back in the middle of the ring!
Posting to his knees... he barely makes the ropes! Banks with wristlock stomps to the back of the head to follow, just kicking his head in, Travis draws him, jaws at him, disdainful slap... HEADBUTT! Webster with Eton Rifle into the Strangler and Banks is stuck in the middle of the ring! The champion posts to his feet and rams Flash into referee Paz in the corner!
Shadows Over Malice attempt but TK Cooper runs in, Flash hops down... AND GETS SPEARED! Banks and Cooper share a moment. Looking for perhaps a Magic Killer, Morgan slips out, Eton Rifle, Shadows Over Malice connects... referee Chris Roberts comes down... IT’S OVER!
”Flash” Morgan Webster wins by pinfall with Shadows Over Malice, winning the Progress World Championship.
Banks and Cooper slink up the aisle but Paz and Roberts are getting into it with each other next to Jim Smallman. Paz announces that Banks’ feet were on the ropes and the match will restart!
Schoolboy, nope, superkick, Webster reverses a Kiwi Krusher to a victory roll, Travis reverses...
Travis Banks wins by pinfall with a victory roll, retaining the Progress World Championship.
This is why we never put too much faith in our initial reaction based on spoiler reports, folks. I was expecting a bog-standard Progress main event match, a little too long, a little too epic, and entirely too cute at the end, but what I got was much better. This was much more in line with Rockstar “DRAKE MAVERICK” Spud’s excellent match against Paul Robinson early last year, with Banks just totally in control and beating Flash’s ass as he clawed out comeback after comeback until one kind of took.
Was the ending a little too cute, with the Dusty Finish and whatnot? Yeah, a little. Does it demean the work that came before it? Absolutely not. Is this the best match of the Kiwi Buzzsaw’s title reign? ...maybe. It’s certainly the most unique. And very satisfying given the various factors that Progress had to juggle here, most notably the alignment muddle with Flash and Travis both being in the middle of being turned heel.
Webster getting to the ropes on the Lion’s Clutch when that’s been sudden death for a large number of Travis’ title defenses, the interference from TK, Flash sending Vicky to the back, the way Flash’s best just wasn’t good enough because the deck was stacked against him... this is match that is really intelligently put together and serves all its masters well.
Although I’ll admit, I’m still not sure about invoking Roman Reigns as a heel move. Progress being WWE-affiliated makes it feel a little less silly than it might were it happening in, say, IPW:UK, but even so, I don’t know, it feels a little small-time to be like “oh, you guys hate me now well I love the Big Dog, so there,” if that makes any sense. But hey, it’s working, so I can’t knock it too much.
Travis gets on the mic and says this match makes him the most successful Progress World Champion, and in the words of a wise man, Progress is his yard now. He talks about how he’s won every match and you could say he’s unbeatable...
Enter WALTER. Banks begs off but soon interprets a “You fucked up!” chant as actually being directed at WALTER and gets cocky about it. He makes like he’s gonna square up, turns around... and WALTER lays him out with a chop, sending the champion packing!
We get a post-credits scene of Webster heading to the back and throwing in with Havoc, Haskins, and Haskins.
I admit I had low expectations going into this one (being perfectly honest, that’s part of why it took me as long as it did to get around to writing this), but it ended up being a good show. All three title matches ran from very good to great, the undercard stuff was largely fun even when it was sloppy or had trouble holding my attention, it all worked out pretty well. Have some faith, indeed.
Storyline-wise, we have both Banks and Webster both finished turning, the former rather more enthusiastically and the latter in a more broken manner, Grizzled Young Veterans and WALTER both locking their dominance in as champions, and Eddie Dennis showing that Mark Andrews doesn’t have to actually show up for him to find a way to screw with him. Plus, perhaps most importantly, WALTER calling his shot at being a double champion. Not the most gripping brace of updates ever, but I like where we’re going for the most part, even if getting there has been rocky.
Check it out on Demand Progress, folks.