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Progress World Cup 2018 recap & review: For a certain value of ‘it,’ it comes home to England

Demand Progress

Let’s dig into that backlog and get catching up with this year’s Progress World Cup, available on Demand Progress, shall we?

Chuck Mambo (England) vs. Ruslan (Russia) (Progress World Cup 2018 First Round Match)

Grappling in the feeling out, and an easy stalemate leads Ruslan to applying his power to try and pull ahead. Mambo with a knee drop to the arm, but he can’t capitalize fully and the Russian goes after his arm in return. Chuck dumps himself on his head on an attempt at an Arabian Press arm drag to escape and the referee stops the action to check on him.

The all-clear given, Ruslan in with stomps, charging into a back elbow, and a few forearms give Mambo some momentum but he’s cut off soon enough again. Keeping the pressure up, boots and forearms as Chuck tries to fight back into it to no avail as he takes a Hot Shot and a kick across the throat! Ruslan back on the arm, wrenching it over the ropes, and that’s what it takes to fire Mambo up!

Chops and a snap suplex, only two, he catches a kick, and rolls through into the Boston Crab! The Russian makes the ropes for a break, shoulder bump, catch the crossbody, Mambo reverses a Black Hole Slam into a DDT! Corner lariat, hard whip, more striking in the corner, knee lifts in the clinch and he takes Ruslan’s head off with a lariat. Clubbing blows, jockeying for position over a suplex and Chuck gets dropped with a Sling Blade for two.

Head and arm triangle, trading slaps on the escape, Mambo takes the lead with a rush of palm strikes but he gets clipped with a hard running forearm. Flying forearm in return, both men down and out, Chuck kips up, hip attack, whip reversed, to the second for a deep arm drag that’s only good for two. Springboard Meteora... NOPE! Ruslan powers back into it with an inverted DDT and a Dragon sleeper!

Mambo gets the ropes, superkick, cut off on the springboard and hung up and Ruslan hits a rope-hung DDT! Cover comes up empty, Chuck gets underneath him, fireman’s carry, reversed, Finlay roll... NOPE! Mambo with hard slaps, Detonation Kick countered, Ruslan with a back suplex slam, only two! Back to the Dragon sleeper and again Chuck gets the ropes. Roundhouse for superkick...

Chuck Mambo wins by pinfall with Bad Burrito.

This was real shaky and sloppy early on but they kept at it and found a good pace by the end of things. Solid match overall.

John “Bad Bones” Klinger (Germany) vs. Oliver Carter (Switzerland) (Progress World Cup 2018 First Round Match)

Bad Bones using his strength in the feeling out and Carter turns up the speed to duck and dodge him. Klinger with punches, Oliver giving him arm drags and a headscissors takeover in return and a dropkick sends him to the floor! Off the ropes, huge tope con giro connects! Back in, nobody home on a 450 splash and Bad Bones is able to clip him and cut him off for a nearfall!

Trading chops, jockeying for position and Klinger starts targeting his back in a general manner, back body drop, belly-to-belly suplex, forcing him to land on his spine over and over. Carter fights back in with forearms, waistlock gets a back elbow, whip up and over, John to the second but Oliver pips him with a glancing Frankensteiner! Quebrada follows, turning the speed up but Bad Bones is able to cut him off and drop him with a few German suplexes.

Off the ropes, ducking and dodging, another German and Carter lands on his feet! Slingshot spear cuts him off... NOPE! Disdainful slaps from Klinger, Oliver finds his resolve and fires off elbow after elbow, combat roll into a legsweep, rolling over his back, double jump springboard neckbreaker... NOT ENOUGH! Bad Bones ducks a dive, pump kick into a knee and then a superkick... only a nearfall!

Carter gets a rolling elbow off to the back of his head, springboards in... and gets caught with a half nelson suplex! Shotgun knees...

John “Bad Bones” Klinger wins by pinfall with a diving Codebreaker.

This was a really fun clash of styles matchup with Carter playing speedster against Klinger’s power guy, and it built to a nice little crescendo for the finishing sequence. Good match.

Adam Brooks (Australia) vs. Einar Ironside (Iceland) (Progress World Cup 2018 First Round Match)

Ironside looking to end it early, super intimidating but Brooks brings it right to him with right hands. Up and over, jockeying for position, Einar with a Lou Thesz Press into mounted forearms and he’s rolling! Shoulder thrust, springboard turning lariat, catching Adam on and up and over but the Aussie slips out and kicks his leg out of his leg!

Boots and kicks, Brooks remains in control, especially after dodging a senton atomico. Grinding him down, reverse chinlock, keeping the pressure on in the corner after the hold, ducking lariats, connecting with an enzuigiri, springboard uppercut but Einar recovers first and hits a Side Effect! Smashing Adam into the mat, elbow drop, pumphandle but Brooks float over, rolling solebutt connects, short whip, Ironside slips through and hits a pumphandle Big Ending... NOPE!

Charging in, boots up in the corner, Brooks with a wicked springboard tornado DDT... STILL NO! Senton atomico... THE KNEES ARE UP! Square Compass DDT... but Adam rolls to the floor! Springboard DDT to get back in, running knees to the arm...

Adam Brooks wins by pinfall with a brainbuster onto the knee.

This was a weird match, starting fairly strong but falling apart to some extent in the back half. There’s a lot that Ironside does that’s excellent-- he’s got a lot of presence, and he’s a very intimidating man, but his moveset is overcomplicated and more than once I found myself rewinding multiple times to try and parse what the hell just happened with things like his pumphandle Big Ending. Real potential, but it’s gonna take some time to fulfill it.

David Francisco (Portugal) vs. Naoki Tanizaki (Japan) (Progress World Cup 2018 First Round Match)

Grappling early, into slugging it out and Francisco immediately regrets trying to go strike for strike with Tanizaki but is able to sucker punch him in the throat and take control. Back to slugging it out, on a more even keel, David continuing to target the throat with jabs but Naoki stays in it. Knocked into the ropes, his throat kicked into them, a neckbreaker and Francisco presses the attack.

Double knees in the corner hit hard, butterfly suplex, big nearfall but it ain’t over yet. Slam into a senton, calling for it, deathlock applied, stomps to the back, Tanizaki gets out of it and begins to rise through strikes with fire on his face and steel in his soul. Jockeying for position, some quick thinking positioning leads to a facelock knee from Naoki into a running knee... NOPE!

Hoisting him up, Francisco blocks, again with the strikes to the neck, TKO over the knee but Tanizaki bends away from the stomp! Naoki with the strikes, knee to the face almost does it! One more try lifting him up...

Naoki Tanizaki wins by pinfall with a Beach Break.

Now this is more like it! Real tight storytelling here, vicious Francisco just mercilessly punching at Tanizaki’s neck and throat and hitting neckbreakers to take his ability to get him up for the Beach Break, and a great way to close out the first round. A real good, smartly constructed and well-executed match.

Chuck Mambo (England) vs. John “Bad Bones” Klinger (Germany) (Progress World Cup 2018 Semifinal Match)

Bad Bones right in with a spear during introductions... NOPE! Pressing the attack, just beating on Mambo, hammer whipping him corner to corner and laughing at him. Continuing to absolutely maul Chuck, choking him over the ropes, Mambo tries to come back with a diving crossbody only to get dropkicked out of midair! Klinger stays on him with a series of German suplexes but can’t keep him down.

Chuck in with pinning predicaments, opening up the playbook, but John punches him in the face! Chuck lands on his feet, series of superkicks, Bad Bones fired up but more kicks come and at last Klinger runs him over with a lariat! Back on their feet, trading strikes, Bad Bones gets a Falcon Arrow for two! Headed up top... MAMBO DROPKICKS HIM TO THE FLOOR!

John catches him on a dive and rams him into the apron! SIDE SLAM ON THE ENTRY STEPS! Bad Bones follows that up with a dive because why not, but he takes his time and gives Chuck time to recover, leading to a pump kick through the ropes and Mambo No. Dive! Still back and forth, John gets the slingshot spear but can’t put Chuck Mambo away!

Setting Chuck up top, pummeling him for good measure as we get a five minute warning, jockeying over a superplex, Mambo knocks him down, dives... AN UPKICK CATCHES HIM SQUARE IN THE GENTLEMAN’S AREA HARDER THAN I’VE EVER SEEN ON A DIVE BEFORE! Klinger with the cover... NO?! Brainbuster over the knee, Bad Bones slashes his throat before the cover but again Chuck kicks out!

Mambo with a desperation leaping superkick! He crawls, gasping, desperate, to the apron, dragging himself into position for a springboard Meteora... BUT KLINGER ROLLS THROUGH INTO THE HALF-CRAB! HE GRABS THE OTHER LEG AND CHUCK NEARLY TAPS THEN AND THERE BUT STOPS HIMSELF AND DRAGS HIMSELF OVER THE ROPES! Bones up to the second, he dives... AND GETS CAUGHT INTO A JACKKNIFE PIN! NOT OVER YET!

Spinebuster into the Sharpshooter from John Klinger! In the middle of the ring, nowhere to go, time running out, he gets the ropes but Bad Bones drags him into the middle of the ring and into a crossface! Reverse to a pin, no good, back on, crawling, fighting... that’s the bell! It’s over!

Jim Smallman gets on the PA and says since this is England vs. Germany he’s giving it five minutes overtime! HAMMERFISTS FROM BAD BONES! Mambo on his feet, full of fire and right hands, O’Connor roll into the bridge... IT’S OVER!

Chuck Mambo wins by pinfall with a bridging O’Connor roll.

This is an incredible match. Built around Bad Bones as a massive bullying dickhead and Chuck Mambo as the never say die babyface, this reminded me in a lot of ways of the excellent Paul Robinson vs. Rockstar Spud match from a year and a half ago and was simply captivating. The kind of match that really deserves to be in your Progress Match of the Year discussion if not your overall Match of the Year discussion, even if I don’t think I’d actually go so far as to pick it for either of those.

Blowaway stuff regardless, though, and the kind of match that makes me regret not making a stronger effort to clear this backlog up sooner.

Post-match, Klinger attacks Mambo further, laying him out with a series of kicks and throwing him hard enough into the post to leave him dangling through the ropes. Bad Bones gets a chair and waffles him in the back with it! He brings the chair in the ring and presses the assault!

Adam Brooks (Australia) vs. Naoki Tanizaki (Japan) Progress World Cup 2018 Semifinal Match)

Good exciting grappling in the feeling out, Brooks with a low kick to take advantage, sending Tanizaki to the floor and kicking him from the apron. Back suplex on the apron follows, but Naoki ducks the follow-up dive and pips Adam with a series of hard knees to the face! Cutthroat octopus hold, Brooks stumbles into the ropes and forces the break! Reverse STO into the ropes follows, trying to follow up on Francisco’s work on the throat and neck!

Hard knee, big slam, but there’s resolve on Tanizaki’s face and you can tell he’s not going down that easy. Slugging it out, Adam with the cocky pin that goes surprisingly deep, disdainful slaps, hard pass into the corner but Naoki gets the boots up and blocks the charge. Off the ropes, caught with a leg lariat, only two! Jockeying for position, Tanizaki with overhead elbows, trying Brooks up in the ropes, diving knee right into his torso!

Running knee in the corner, a knee to the face with his hands pinned behind his head, up for the Beach Break but his neck gives out and Adam clubs him down! Running enzuigiri, off the ropes again, Naoki turns him around, half-wheelbarrow Tombstone Piledriver... NOT ENOUGH! Up for the Beach Break... ADAM BROOKS KICKS OUT AGAIN! Brooks distracts referee Joel Allen and hits a low blow!

Springboard flip piledriver...

Adam Brooks wins by pinfall with the brainbuster on the knee.

Awesome match, Brooks cutting corners and following up on the work David Francisco had done to Tanizaki’s neck, Naoki digging down and nearly taking it himself anyway, just good enjoyable wrestling action all around.

Besties in the World (Davey Vega & Mat Fitchett) vs. M&M (Connor Mills & Maverick Mayhew)

Vega and Mayhew to start, the American throwing probing leg kicks, a curiously cautious approach but it seems to pay off for him at first. Off the ropes, into the lucha libre, Maverick with a big arm drag and a tag to Mills. In with a diving uppercut, and Davey runs for the safety of Fitchett’s arms and makes the tag. Mat in, trading shots, tripped near the apron and Connor hits a double stomp on him!

Tag back to Mayhew, double teams, arm wringer, but the Besties can play at that game too and Vega tags in for an extended sequence of tight strikes. Quick tags, working Maverick over, picture perfect standing moonsault from Fitchett only gets two! Davey going to work on his fingers, taking a real kitchen sink approach to pummeling the lad but Mayhew gets away from them and tags Mills back in!

Pump kick, judo throw, big knee strike into a kip-up and Connor is rolling! Charging strikes in the corner, big double stomp out of the corner, suicide dive, Maverick back in with a missile dropkick! The match breaks down a little, Mat going one on two, big backflip kick, diving crossbody, no pin, collecting Vega, kick combo in the corner, fireman’s carry dropped into a reverse STO double-team... NOT ENOUGH!

Fitchett legal again, Mills breaks away, jockeying for position in the corner, Davey with a German suplex, Mat follows with a frog splash... only a nearfall! Connor suplexes Vega into Fitchett! M&M rolling, Mill Shot! Pop-up Meteora... DAVEY VEGA WITH THE SAVE! Vega fighting ‘em off, caught with superkicks, Cyclone Kill, assisted tornado DDT, he’s out, they turn to Fitchett and kick him out of mid-air on a Pele kick! They stack him up...

M&M win by pinfall with a kick-assisted Yoshi Tonic on Mat Fitchett.

Really fun match to give the finals a breather, not a whole lot of story, just two tag teams going hard and doing stuff to keep it entertaining.

Adam Brooks (Australia) vs. Chuck Mambo (England) (Progress World Cup 2018 Finals)

Brooks attacks Mambo on the stage during his entrance and tears at his taped-up back! Taking his time, dragging him around ringside, suplexing him into the apron, driving a chair into his back, but Chuck manages to get a Tiger feint kick off the apron and returns the back suplex into the apron... DIVING DOUBLE STOMP OFF THE APRON! Slap rush, fired up and fighting through the pain, he throws a chair in Adam’s face!

Running dropkick to follow it up and Brooks is glassy-eyed! In the ring for the first time, Chuck goes for a dive but Adam manages to pluck him from mid-air with a kick! Assaulting him in the corner as referee Joel Allen finally calls for the bell, again tearing the tape off of Mambo’s back! Snap suples for a nearfall with the cocky pin but Chuck picks the leg and Brooks is only saved by the ropes!

Hammer whip, leg pick out of the corner into a senton, still just two! Grinding Mambo down on the mat, he fights to his feet, trying for flash pins, clocked by an enzuigiri and Chuck rolls to the apron. Superkick on the apron into a neckbreaker and Mambo has his opening! Adam staggers around the ring but Chuck’s having trouble capitalizing from all the back damage!

So, change of plans... RUNNING DROPKICK OVER THE TOP ROPE! DIVING DOUBLE STOMP TO THE FLOOR! Referee Joel Allen counting... BOTH MEN BARELY MAKE IT BACK IN IN TIME TO BEAT THE COUNT! Striking from their knees and to their feet, palm strike rush, step-up blockbuster, Chuck slow to capitalize and he can’t finish it. Half and half, Brooks rams him into the corner, running dropkick, mounting the turnbuckles for Meteora... STILL NO!

Trading shots, again Adam escapes the half and half, brainbuster over the knee... CHUCK MAMBO LIVES! Chuck hanging on his ankles, persistent, Brooks swatting him away, he gets up top but Mambo recovers, scoops him up... BAD BURRITO BUT NO COVER! Headed to the apron, springboard frog splash... THE KNEES WERE UP! Running knee to the back of the head, again with the brainbuster, Mambo floats over into the bridging pin... NOT HAPPENING!

Half & Half suplex, a second one, Chuck’s rolling, Adam disdainful on his knees and he spits in his face! Mambo with a superkick, swinging Air Raid Crash, up top one more time...

Chuck Mambo wins by pinfall with a frog splash, earning a title shot of his choice!

Shocker, our twin stories of Chuck’s injured back and Adam’s willingness to exploit any injury placed in front of him came together to make a really good finals, although I think this was just a bit overwrought compared to Bones/Mambo. Even so, very good match!

Overall

Much like last fall’s Revelations of Divine Love tournament for the women, this was a very fun one-off that showcased a bunch of fresh talent, and is in a general sense worth watching and the semis and finals especially so. But holy hell, everyone with any interest in indie wrestling should make time to check out Mambo vs. Klinger, because it’s really something special.

You can do so, if you will, at Demand Progress, folks.

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