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Progress Chapter 69 recap & review: Dunne accepts Dragunov’s challenge, Sexsmith comes up empty, and there’s a new queen in town

Demand Progress

Progress Chapter 69: Be Here Now went up on Demand Progress a while ago, so let’s get right to it, shall we?

Grizzled Young Veterans come down to get booed and complain both about not being booked and about the Thunderbastard Tag Team Series.

Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis) vs. M&M (Connor Mills & Maverick Mayhew)

Fletcher and Mills to start, fast-paced and athletic from the jump, cycling to Davis and Mayhew for more of the same with a HUGE satellite headscissors from Maverick! Kyle starts the recovery, springboard somersault senton, they get both of M&M up on Dunkzilla’s shoulders for stereo Canadian backbreaker drops! Sentons ensue, a two-man Go 2 Sleep into a folding press but Mayhew refuses to crumble!

Mills in, running hot, the Aussie Arrow on the defense, double stomp to the arm but Mark comes in and drops him with a right. The match breaks down from there, Maverick with a DDT, Connor with a corkscrew Asai moonsault, Fletcher isolated, Orange Crush into a Crash Landing... DAVIS BREAKS IT UP! Palm strikes on M&M, staggered by a superkick but neither down nor out... ROLLING SUNSET FLIP POWERBOMB CAN’T PUT HIM AWAY!

Davis tosses Mills aside, discus lariat, clear the apron, tag made, running strikes, double underhooks into a spinebuster, Mark gets the electric chair... DOOMSDAY ACE CRUSHER! MAVERICK BREAKS IT UP! Springboard X-Factor, Mayhew escapes a follow-up double team with Meteora but gets swatted out of the air and deadlifted into a spin-out Alpamare Waterslide by Dunkzilla! A Lawn Dart follows...

Aussie Open win by pinfall with Fidget Spinner on Maverick Mayhew, earning two points.

Really good opener, fast-paced, M&M got enough hope against Aussie Open to believably stand up to other, more-established teams later in this round robin, Gibson running everyone down on commentary was fun, good stuff all around.

Mark Andrews vs. Zack Sabre, Jr.

Mat wrestling out the gates, Sabre well in control but Andrews able to hold his own and keep it from becoming a rout. Good long full nelson sequence sends Mark reaching for the lucha libre and making a comeback but he ends up caught in an octopus in the apron when he looks for a full-on dive! Into the striking, ZSJ playing the bully, shoving and pie-facing to goad White Lightning into trading blows!

Andrews with a dropkick that sends Zack to the floor, he has to recalculate but cannonballs off the apron to great effect all the same! Springboard crossbody gets a nearfall on the inside, shoulder thrusts, a chain of countered snapmares feeds into the standing headscissors twist from the Technical Wizard! Pressing the attack on the arms, kicking and grinding, Mark starts to make a comeback but a kick is caught into an STF!

Prying an arm free, modified Regal Stretch and then a stepover toehold sleeper but Andrews struggles into the ropes. Into a Japanese stranglehold, but when he goes to fall back and add pressure Mark reverses and the comeback takes this time! Avalanche Frankensteiner, handspring moonsault, just a nearfall, a 450 splash comes up empty, ZSJ with a tornado DDT, roll through, Stundog Millionaire... COUNTERED INTO A SLEEPER!

Sleeper hold into the Dragon sleeper, break, Andrews on his knees but he wants more! Into the striking again, blow for blow, pasting each other... WHITE LIGHTNING CRUCIFIX DRIVER! Slow to capitalize, back to striking and Sabre is able to clock him but Mark strings together some offense closing with a Poison Frankensteiner. Up top, shooting star... CAUGHT INTO THE TRIANGLE CHOKE! REVERSED INTO A PIN! NO GOOD!

Uppercuts, Andrews fired up, backslide comes up empty, Hurricanrana reversed, Hypernormalization... IT’S OVER!

Zack Sabre, Jr. wins by submission with Hypernormalization.

Excellent match! Sabre being mean and just beating on Andrews, Andrews digging deep and fighting through the pain to ask for more and create his opening, and good lord some of the exchanges here. Especially the DDT through to the Dragon sleeper and the finishing sequence, just great stuff all around.

David Starr vs. WALTER

WALTER using his strength to dominate early, Starr finding his way out of sticky situations but the Ring General is on him and keeps bowling him over. Eventually a bunch of ducking and dodging gets Davey Wrestling a chop and the opportunity to send WALTER to the floor and dive on him. He’s caught but he puts the Austrian’s foot into the post and immediately pounces, going to work on the now-injured leg, wrapping it around the post!

Back in the ring, a limping WALTER gets the chop off but the ankle’s too bright a target and Starr keeps working on it. A folding press sees the Jewish Cannon kicked clean out of the ring! Back in and circling, he goes a little too obviously for the leg, caught in the Gojira Clutch, kicks and a throw free him but he runs right into a double leg and then the Boston Crab!

Transition to an STF, Starr gets his foot on the ropes but that might be enough to start evening the score. Trading strikes, David gets a lariat, comes out of the corner but gets destroyed by a shotgun dropkick! WALTER clutching his shin and howling in agony, a drooling David Starr climbing his way up the ropes, this match has taken a toll on both men.

WALTER on his feet and ready to rock, Starr ducking and dodging, kicks his leg out from under him, the Ring General catches one, Ringkampf rope break, German suplex denied, Billy Robinson Special... NOPE! Thinking about the powerbomb, David struggles out, to the apron, Cherry Mint DDT connects, off the ropes but WALTER is able to level him with a pair of lariats... NOPE!

Powerbomb attempt again, the leg goes out from under him and Starr takes full advantage, picking the leg into the figure four! Looking for those deadly chops, WALTER can’t quite reach, but he can roll the hold into the ropes and force the break! Referee Paz helps them untangle their legs and the Jewish Cannon is right back on it, seated senton to the leg, Han Stansen, boot for a leg kick, another Han Stansen... CAN’T PUT WALTER AWAY!

Falling back into a heel hook, posting the knee into the mat over and over but WALTER is able to catch him...

WALTER wins by pinfall with a small package.

Well that’s two for two on excellent grappling-oriented matches. And the storytelling! Not just the in-match stuff with Starr and the leg, but the match-on-match stuff, because this is the tenth time they’ve met in singles action and Starr hasn’t beat the Ring General once, and so the cumulative weight of his losses is palpable here as he’s absolutely desperate to put WALTER away. Fantastic match.

British Strong Style make their entrance and a street-clothed Trent Seven cuts a promo. He’s got good news and bad news, the bad news is he’s not medically cleared to wrestle. The good news is he WILL be cleared to wrestle in June at the Royal Albert Hall against Undisputed Era!

British Strong Style (Pete Dunne & Tyler Bate) vs. Jimmy Havoc, Mark Haskins, & “Flash” Morgan Webster (Handicap Match)

British Strong Style outfoxing that damned numbers game early, Dunne goes to work on Havoc and then Webster in turn, Flash getting rather the worse of it. Bate joining in, but Jimmy runs interference and finally our heel trio have Peter isolated. Haskins in, punishing Dunne, repeated knee drops, and soon enough Havoc’s in returning the armwork he received earlier.

Quick tags, continuing to work the arm over, and eventually Tyler gets the hot tag! Cleaning house with lariats, airplane spin on Morgan and he throws him into his own teammates before hitting a shooting star press... NOPE! Mark with the bridging Fujiwara, Dunne makes the save witha stepover toehold sleeper, deadlift German from Bate... Havoc breaks it up! Acid Rainmaker countered with an enzuigiri, poison Frankensteiner from Flash, and the match breaks down! Michinoku Driver from Jimmy, roll-through DVD from Haskins into Shadows Over Malice... NOT ENOUGH! Vicky Haskins runs interference, Dunne wrenches her fingers but it’s enough for her lads to descend on the WWE United Kingdom Champion once again! Bate in, back to back, fending them off, Cyclone Kill, they’ve got Webster isolated... double rebound lariats!

Tyler Driver / lungblower combo... HAVOC BREAKS IT UP! X Plex into a powerbomb but Morgan reverses to a Frankensteiner, Eton Rifle connects! Flash heads up top... Pinball Wizard to the floor! Back in, moonsault caught, Pete flips him around and gets the X Plex! Haskins in, his hand gets caught and bit, kick ducked, Bitter End countered, dropkick-assisted German suplex!

Double Bop and Bang, off the ropes, double Koppo kick! Again Vicky running interference, Flash yanks the barbed wire bat away from her and Jimmy uses it on Tyler...

Jimmy Havoc, Mark Haskins, & “Flash” Morgan Webster win by pinfall with a lateral press from Flash on Tyler Bate after Havoc & Haskins hit Kiss of Death on him.

This is a really well-executed match, telling the stories of a handicapped British Strong Style giving their all against a team they’re outnumbered by and of Flash’s ongoing friction with his teammates really well while also still being a good match in a vacuum.

wXw’s Christian Michael Jakobi interrupts Pete Dunne before he can leave! He says he’s happy they’re finally face-to-face and the entire wrestling world has seen the challenge he issued at Alexandra Palace, but he hasn’t gotten an answer yet. Now it’s too late for an answer, though, because CMJ has a big surprise... ILJA DRAGUNOV IS HERE!

He and Pete go forehead-to-forehead and CMJ, after saying he doesn’t want it in this “shithole”, he says it’s happening at Wembley!

Jack Sexsmith vs. Travis Banks (c) (Progress World Championship)

Banks offers a handshake but Sexsmith slaps it away! Travis cocks his fist, turns around and gets smooched! Strike rush from Jack, a knee trembler, LGBDT denied, superkick connects, shiranui and this time the LGBDT connects but TK Cooper yanks referee Paz out of the ring! Perched on the second... BDSM TO THE FLOOR TAKES COOPER OUT! But Banks takes advantage with the Penalty Kick off the apron!

Striking on the floor, Sexsmith fired up and firing back, forcing Travis back with big chops, but the champion powerbombs him into the steel steps to cut the rally off! He puts Jack’s head into the side of the steps a few times for good measure before taking things back into the ring. Sexsmith gets away, cuts a suicide dive off with a kick... SHIRANUI ON THE APRON!

Back inside, cover’s no good and Banks hits a shotgun dropkick into a double stomp for a nearfall. Running knee, same result, soon trading forarms in the center of the ring, clubbing blows from the challenger and they trade lariats after. Leg trip, corner knees, Banks reverses a suplex attempt and both men are down and out. Slice of Heaven sidestepped... RAINBOW ROAD!

Up top, BDSM comes up empty, Slice of Heaven connects this time... NOT HAPPENING! Kiwi Krusher... SEXSMITH LIVES! Mounted forearms, another Kiwi Krusher... OUT AT ONE! Travis goes to walk out... AND WALTER IS HERE TO STOP HIM! Back in, trading pinfall attempts, Banks with a kick to the head, whip across, back elbow, kick takes his leg out and the Kiwi Buzzsaw sets his challenger up top.

Jack counters, avalanche shiranui... NOT ENOUGH TO PUT TRAVIS BANKS AWAY! Heading up top again... BDSM! NO! Crossface applied but Travis makes the ropes! Up top again... AVALANCHE KIWI KRUSHER! ANOTHER KIWI KRUSHER ON THE MAT... STILL JACK HAS THE WILL TO KICK OUT! Lion’s Clutch applied, Sexsmith reaching but he’s got nowhere to go...

Travis Banks wins by submission with the Lion’s Clutch, retaining the Progress World Championship.

Okay, so this was a bit excessive in some respects. Particularly, and I don’t like to pick nits like this often, but I’m not sure four Kiwi Krushers getting kicked out of adds anything to the match. But that minor complaint aside, this was pretty good. As far as Jack has come he’s still got room for improvement, with some of his striking sequences coming off as awkward and not having much impact, but that fits the story being told so it’s not a major issue. All told, it’s good stuff-- not great, Travis’ formula is starting to wear a bit thin for me, but good.

Doug Williams vs. Joseph Conners vs. Rampage Brown vs. Rob Lynch (Progress Atlas Division Championship)

Conners immediately tries to take it to the bigger lads and bails, beating on Williams when he gets kncoked to the floor. Lynch and Brown into it, Joseph back in, he picks a fight with Rampage and immediately runs away. Brown chasing after him but he gets wiped out with a baseball slide from Big Rob and Conners slides back in to taunt. He shortly finds himself surrounded and walloped by the proper big lads!

Slugging it out three-way style, Lynch with a bit of advantage so the other two men double team him. Conners back in, running the ropes for an exchange with Rampage until he gets caught! Williams and Brown slugging it out, double lariats, double forearms and Big Rob runs them both over. Charging forearms, Rampage cuts him off, but he and Joseph both get caught by a second rope moonsault!

Doug throwing hands with Conners, he picks the leg, deathlock applied and when Brown comes over he hits the northern lights to wrench the legs back... LYNCH BREAKS IT UP! Diving uppercut on Big Rob, Chaos Theory denied, Doug stacks ‘em all up and hits the exploder suplex on Big Rob! Headed up top, Rampage cuts him off with forearms, they struggle in the corner and Lynch makes it a Tower of Doom!

Leapfrog the spear, Conners gets a nearfall, jockeying for position over a suplex and Rob knees him in the face. Setting him up in the corner, but Joseph gets the sunset flip powerbomb! Rampage and Williams on the apron... BROWN HITS THE APRON PILEDRIVER! Conners from behind, lariats and elbows, whip across but Rampage bowls him over with lariats and gets the Rock Bottom off for two!

Big Rob in, Brown with the Saito suplex, again only a nearfall. Joseph with the sidestep, Rampage clubs him off the apron and goes back to Lynch, slip out of the fireman’s carry, O’Connor roll but here’s Conners with a slingshot DDT to break it up! Step-up tornado bulldog takes both men out and Joseph makes covers but can’t end it!

Back to Brown, he slips out and gets the Samoan drop for two of his own. Lynch in to eat a lariat but still he can’t end it. Slugging it out, Big Rob with the spear but Conners goes to pick the bones... DOUG WILLIAMS IS ALIVE! Joseph immediately spikes him with a DDT however! Rampage from behind, up for the piledriver but Lynch breaks it up and they slug it out after.

Back body drop to the floor to counter the piledriver, Brown yanks him to the floor and takes him out as Conners crotches Doug up top. Jawing at him, fireman’s carry, Williams slips out, waistlock...

Doug Williams wins by pinfall with Chaos Theory, winning the vacant Progress Atlas Division Championship!

Doug’s entire story in Progress right now is predicated on him being at the end of his career and not being sure how much gas he has left in the tank, and this match was fairly well masterfully built around that idea, with him going for it with gusto early but increasingly marginalized as the match progressed. But of course, Chaos Theory remains one of the best finishing maneuvers in wrestling and if you get caught with it... boom. Really good stuff.

Jinny vs. Toni Storm (c) (Progress Women’s Championship)

Intense struggle in a lockup to begin, and Storm follows it up by shoving Jinny hard enough to send her to the floor. Chakara and Nina Samuels running interference, Jinny clobbers Toni from behind and puts boots to her! Storm with a strike rush, off the ropes with a boot, and again the fashionista is on the floor, so the champion does what comes naturally...

...and gets yanked to the floor and beaten down by the House of Couture. Jinny tops it off with a suicide dive but Storm isn’t in the crush and gets her own dive off to wipe Chakara and Samuels out! Jinny on her, beating on her against the apron, but Toni reverses the whip and sends her crashing deep into the crowd! Storm adds the House of Couture to the pile and rams the whole stack with a hip attack!

Fighting on the floor continues for a few beats, Storm throws her back in and the House of Couture are on hand to give Toni a bit of a makeover! She fends them off with a pair of headbutts! Jinny back outside, she eats a headbutt, too, and Storm drags her up to the entrance stage, thinking Strong Zero but it’s blocked, Acid Rainmaker denied... HERE’S STRONG ZERO!

Dragging her back to the ring but Jinny’s up and at ‘em to cut the champion off in the turnbuckles. Jockeying for position... AVALANCHE FRANKENSTEINER! Hesitation dropkick follows but that’s not enough to win the title! Clubbing blows, Toni returns a slap, whip reversed, roll-through into the reverse surfboard! Boots to the back of the head, Storm flagging but not failing, wriggling for the ropes, hoping to bite them to force the break but Nina’s there to pull it back!

Jinny takes advantage, breaking the hold to stomp Toni’s head in and she pulls out a pair of scissors to cut the champion’s hair! A forearm follows, a backfist, palm strike from Storm sets up a German suplex! Running hip attack, another German, she perches up top and Jinny cuts her off again. Forearms on forearms, climbing to meet her, going for the Frankensteiner again but it’s blocked.

Jinny slips out, Makeover... NOT ENOUGH! Samuels with a distraction, Toni clobbers referee Paz but follows it up with an Acid Rainmaker and the Style Clash but nobody’s there to count the pin! Nina slides in, right hands, she’s got the title but Storm ducks and she clocks Jinny with it! STRONG ZERO, REFEREE JOEL ALLEN RUNS DOWN BUT IT’S NOT ENOUGH!

Chakara’s turn with the title now, she gets Strong Zero’d, Jinny from behind...

Jinny wins by pinfall with a schoolboy, winning the Progress Women’s Championship.

There are many parallels between Jinny and her trainer Jimmy Havoc, and for our purposes today, the important one is that she manages to make Progress’ trademark slightly over-egged main event style work and feel like the epic storytelling it’s intended to be. In anyone else’s hands, this level of interference could come off anywhere from mildly annoying to full-blown frustrating, but here, it comes off completely natural and as a satisfying climax to both women’s stories thus far.

Indeed, it plays almost like Jinny’s greatest hits, as we get all the big trademarks-- the lipstick, the scissors, the highspots, the second rope Makeover, and of course sneaking out a win. One more nice detail to this is Toni’s move borrowing late in the match, which comes off as the perfect mix of cocky, confident, and perhaps a bit desperate.

Toni gets on the mic and says she’s not going anywhere because that belt is hers!


This was a really strong show match-wise. WALTER/Starr, Sabre/Andrews, and Jinny/Storm were all quite excellent, and even the “worst” match, Sexsmith/Banks, was merely a case of one too many trips to the well plus a bit of fatigue rather than being anything actually bad.

Storyline-wise there’s not a huge amount going on here, with the big developments being Jack Sexsmith’s loss clean sending him back to the drawing board, Dragunov/Dunne being made official for Wembley, and Doug Williams kicking off what should hopefully be an epic final run with the Atlas title. But the biggest shift is atop the women’s division, where Jinny is about to begin a Regression-esque reign of terror... as long as Toni Storm isn’t able to stop her “early”. Other than that there’s not a whole lot of movement, but as the first of three shows in a four-week period, that makes sense.

Check it out on Demand Progress, folks.

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