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Progress Chapter 72 recap & review: Ospreay and Devlin tear the house down, Banks retains, and Dunkzilla takes Natural Progression Series V

Demand Progress

Continuing our attempt to get through my recap backlog before the big one at Wembley, we’re on Chapter 72: Got Got Need, which you can check out, as always, on Demand Progress. On with the show!

Doug Williams (c) vs. Michael Dante (Progress Atlas Division Championship)

Williams hot in the feeling out, going right to the corkscrew elbow and tossing Dante with an exploder suplex for a nearfall within the first minute or so. Chaos Theory denied, Michael sidesteps a charge and Doug takes the post hard. Action to the floor, Dante well in charge and he pummels Williams, back in the ring, trading forearms as the veteran recovers but he gets dropped by a Saito suplex for two to kill the rally.

Small package, no dice, and Doug begins to crumble under Michael’s advance. Slipping out of a half nelson suplex, he manages a victory roll pin for two but falls to a suplex lift neckbreaker over the knee... NOPE! Again blocking the suplex, jockeying for position, Williams off the ropes with a knee and a lariat and the champion is fired up!

Up top, Bomb Scare comes up empty but he rolls through, Dante counters a sunset flip and nearly takes the match then and there! Sidestep a charge, waistlock, back elbow fights him out, block the half nelson suplex again, exploder suplex connects! Up top...

Doug Williams wins by pinfall with Bomb Scare.

Good opener, Doug always satisfies in his return to Progress really embuing his matches with a vibe where everything he does seems like it’s calculated to get the win, and Michael Dante is a solid powerhouse type to contrast his wily veteran against.

Charlie Morgan vs. Laura Di Matteo

Morgan dominating Di Matteo from the jump, beating her down and choking her in the corner. The beatdown continues at length, but eventually Laura sidesteps a charge and gets into it with arm drags and a dropkick into a wheelbarrow legscissors pin for two and Charlie bails to regroup with the House of Couture! Di Matteo getting into it with Jinny at ringside, when she heads back in the ring Morgan’s able to cut her off and resume her dominance.

Romero Special applied, staying on her after the break, trying to grind her down, hard whips and charging strikes abound. Laura catches a kick, lands the enzuigiri, off the ropes with lariats, fired up, Frankensteiner’s a bit wobbly but effective! Charging uppercut, up and over to the apron, big forearm staggers Charlie with a single shot, she climbs up top... and Chakara runs interference.

Superplex connects and puts Morgan back in control but she can’t capitalize, clutching her back in obvious pain. Trading superkicks, Di Matteo ducks a lariat and dives on the House of Couture! Charlie with a front chancery on her return to the ring but Laura slips out, Russian legsweep into the grounded octopus, kicking her head in, but Chakara again runs interference and Nina Samuels gets a cheap shot in to force the break!

Di Matteo going after Samuels, Morgan gets an O’Connor roll for two, Laura throws her into Samuels, scoops her up...

Laura Di Matteo wins by pinfall with a schoolboy pin.

Good match with a strong throughline of Di Matteo fighting from underneath only to have to fend the numbers game off when she did gain an advantage. Really strong in-match storytelling as well, with Laura sort of having to fight her base instinct to go right after Jinny and Jinny making VERY sure to keep from getting her own hands dirty against her oldest rival in Progress, fun stuff all around.

Jordan Devlin vs. Will Ospreay

Ospreay getting right up on Devlin, trying to psych him out but Jordan keeps his head and goes to work on Will’s arm for a moment before stalemating. Into the striking, ducking and dodging, Rock Bottom into a standing moonsault nearly wins Jordan the match already! Another nearfall off double knees, but Will is able to take a break in the ropes after landing a Tiger feint kick.

Yawning, he comes back around and presses the attack, big slam into a knee drop across the face, Devlin turns it around, chops in the corner but all that does is serve to get Ospreay hot and grinding the life out of him with a reverse chinlock. After the escape, Devlin steps on the gas, wheelbarrow into a double stomp, slingshot Ace Crusher, sheerdrop brainbuster, but the Aerial Assassin will not stay down!

Chest kicks, Will crumples under the strain but fights out of a double chickenwing with back elbows. Whip reversed, handspring corkscrew knee strike, a kick in the corner, lining him up, Arabian press headscissors takeover to the floor! Off the ropes, Ospreay dives... SASUKE SPECIAL! Throwing him about into the third row, Will literally walks on several fans in front row to celebrate.

Jordan drags himself out of the crowd, Ospreay is lying in wait, hoping to take the countout victory and clocking him in the dome with a missile dropkick the second he returns. Swinging inverted brainbuster... NOPE! Calling for it, full nelson applied, Devlin slips out, ducks a kick, Tiger suplex but Will lands on his feet! Kickflip, enzuigiri misses and this time the Tiger suplex works!

Charging in, satellite DDT countered into an Ace Crusher and both men are down and out! Ospreay up top, Jordan cuts him off, jockeying for position... SPANISH FLY BUT THEY AND ON THEIR FEET! WILL HITS THE RAINHAM MAKER! Up top, diving moonsault misses, standing moonsault misses, on his feet both times, standing shooting star press connects, second rope Phoenix Splash... NO GOOD!

Stormbreaker countered into a Yoshi Tonic... STILL NO! Trading slaps on their knees, rising to their feet, Will with a go-behind, scorpion kick, charging in, boots up, rolling sunset flip powerbomb... WILL OSPREAY WILL NOT STAY DOWN! Package piledriver hooked, Ospreay scoops him up... BEACH BREAK FOR TWO! RAINMAKER! DEVLIN KICKS OUT?!

Underhoocks, up for Stormbreaker again but this time Jordan reverses to a spike Hurricanrana! Only a nearfall, running knee, catch a lariat, float over, package piledriver reversed to a Rainmaker, that reversed to a Poison Frankensteiner in turn! Quebrada caught, Will pops him up...

Will Ospreay wins by pinfall with Stormbreaker.

Fantastic match, cocky overconfident Will Ospreay toying with Devlin but gradually realizing that the Irishman is the real deal and able to go toe-to-toe, hold-for-hold, and flip-for-flip with him, and the result is magic.

Post-match, Will engages in good sportsmanship with Devlin but hits the Rainmaker on a member of ring crew! He makes the poor lad bite the bottom rope... AND STOMPS HIS HEAD IN! Putting boots to him, beating on any crew that come to stop him... AND ROAD AGENT PAUL ROBINSON MAKES THE SAVE! He runs Ospreay off to the back as ring crew sort themselves out.

Besties in the World (Davey Vega & Mat Fitchett) & Josh Alexander vs. British Strong Style (Pete Dunne, Trent Seven, & Tyler Bate)

Dunne and Fitchett to start, Pete right in with the intense grappling, Rings of Saturn partially applied, stomp to the back on the break! Mat with a go behind, takedown, Dunne turns him around and resumes the grappling, targeting the arm, Ode to Jim Breaks applied and levering the arm to the mat. Tags to Alexander and Bate, trading suplexes, quick tags as they isolate Josh and work him over at length.

Eventually Tyler can’t help but fool around with repeated arm wringers and the Walking Weapon is able to drop him with a backbreaker and tag Vega in. Bate takes control, dropkick and hip toss, tag to Peter, he dumps Davey outside and hits the X Plex into the apron! Throwing him into the crowd after, Dunne seems happy to take the countout even as Trent goes to attack Vega on the floor and ends up chopping the post!

Pete’s throwing shoes at everybody?! The match breaks down amidst all the tossing of footwear, Bate does an improv Mr. Socko and puts someone’s sandal over him before jamming the whole apparatus in Dunne’s mouth after a bit of a malfunction at the junction! Pete tags him in, Tyler stalks after Vega with crawling headbutts and tags Trent in. Seven adds a bit of stank to his choppin’ hand and pastes Vega with it!

Straight suplex for two, tag back to Peter, Kawada kicks, but Davey takes his leg out and clocks him with a roundhouse kick on the way to tagging Alexander in! Tyler legal as well, rolling northern lights suplex, a second blocked, Seven in, double suplex reversed, Dunne on his back... JOSH ALEXANDER SUPLEXES ALL THREE MEMBERS OF BRITISH STRONG STYLE AT ONCE!

Fired up, corner to corner with chops, Finlay roll for Trent and he exploders Bate on top of his own partner for a nearfall! Argentine backbreaker rack, Tyler slips out, Fitchett takes Seven out on the apron and Josh freight train crossbodies him through the ropes! Besties running roughshod on Tyler, assisted DDT... NOPE! Trading shots, Bate clobbers Fitchett and Vega in turn, ducks punches from Alexander and knocks him down as well before tagging Pete in.

Assisted Tyler Driver countered with a Frankensteiner that puts Bate into Dunne like a spear! Up top, Peter cuts Davey off, jockeying for position, Tree of Woe, Tyler with the save, he climbs up and gets caught in the Tree of Woe as well... DOUBLE STOMP! Tag to the Walking Weapon, forearm and a knee assist a brainbuster on the knee... NOT ENOUGH!

Dunne with the low bridge, backflip up and over, lands on his feet on a German suplex, tag to Seven and he’s chopping away at the Besties! Going for Seven Stars on Josh, Besties cut him off with superkicks, powerbomb backbreaker... TYLER BREAKS IT UP! Trading chops with Trent, and a backfist clobbers Alexander dead! The match breaks down into the “everybody do something cool” sequence, double Poison Frankensteiner from Mat, double Dragon suplex from Seven, moonsault knee drop from Josh Alexander!

Boot blocks the lariat, Argentine powerbomb... SEVEN KICKS OUT! Peter in with lariats but Josh will not stumble even as Tyler joins in. Alexander fired up and they hammer him with repeated lariats but he will not crumble! Fireman’s carry on both of them... DOUBLE DEATH VALLEY DRIVER! Fitchett scoops Trent up, Vega adds Bate... PILEDRIVER / POWERBOMB COMBO INTO A MOONSAULT FROM ALEXANDER BUT DUNNE BREAKS IT UP!

Assisted moonsault knee strike from the Besties, Davey with a slingshot dropkick, Mat with a corkscrew moonsault dive, Josh picks Seven up into the Tombstone but the WWE UK talent reverses and hits Seven Stars! No effect, double lariat, Trent connects with one hard, Argentine backbreaker rack...

British Strong Style win by pinfall with the Burning Hammer from Trent Seven on Josh Alexander.

So this got too cute by half at times, especially late in the match with stuff like Josh Alexander being invulnerable to lariats, but it was still an overall enjoyable experience featuring some fresh North American talent that I’d certainly welcome back as often as Progress would like to book them.

Post-match, Dunne gets on the mic and says he keeps getting hassled by everyone about some forty-miler named Ilja.

Enter wXw head Christian Michael Jacobi. He says the last time he showed up this was pretty similar and everybody’s seen the video, but what’s the video compared to the real thing? He has a bit of a meltdown about the Progress faithful disrespecting him and Dunne walking away, before telling them if they want to see Ilja and Pete they’ll have to pay the big money for Wembley.

CMJ says it’s time everyone learned about the Pete Dunne that came to wXw in 2012 so hungry for an opportunity that he’d do anything to get on his good side, and that gets Peter to return to the ring and get in his face. He calls Pete an overrated backyarder and an insecure little boy before slapping him across the face and making a break for it! Dunne chasess him to the back but ring crew intervene and stop him from creating an international incident!

Pete returns to the ring and gets on the mic to say he’s gonna beat Ilja 1-2-3 at Wembley and kick his teeth down his throat.

Eddie Dennis interrupts Jim Smallman’s post-intermission patter!

He gets on the mic and tells Jim to leave and recounts Mark Andrews agreeing to fight him on Super Strong Style Night 3 under the condition that he leave Progress until he’s medically cleared to compete, which brings him to a piece of paper he’s got. He reads the note and of course it’s a doctor’s note clearing him to wrestle! He demands Mark come out and Jim shrugs, to which Eddie says he’s not here because he’d rather spend an extra day on holiday than come to work and that’s why he’s had to follow him to his gigs and to 205 Live!

He’s seen us nerds on the internet saying the match is set for Wembley but he’s waited nine months and has no interest in waiting three more. (In hindsight...) He tells Progress to agree to whatever inordinate wage he wants to fight Dennis and to make it happen because the people want to see it and it’s apparently even what Mark wants at this stage now. Eddie heads off to sell merch to recoup his train fare.

CCK (Chris Brookes & Kid Lykos) vs. M&M (Connor Mills & Maverick Mayhew) (Thunderbastard Tag Team Series)

Brookes and Mayhew to start, a bit of light grappling in the feeling out and Mills tags in just as Chris pulls ahead with a bit of armwork. A freshly-healed Lykos wants in and Brookes obliges! Calling for the brainbuster early, reversed, jawbreaker to reverse the reversal, big leaping kick and Kid is fired up! Tag to Brookes, Connor manages to isolate him and make the tag, but Maverick’s chops, they do nothing.

Double jump arm drag does the trick though, tag back to Mills, roll-through into tandem kicks but Chris is unfazed and clocks them with chops! Lykos in, sick tag moves ahoy, but Mayhew won’t stay down just yet! Quick tags, working the young man over, but he’s able to counter the brainbuster into a small package for two! A second try, countered with a knee, clear the apron, tag to Connor! Duck a lariat, clear the apron, hip toss, Busaiku Knee and he’s fired up!

Charging strikes in the corner, up top, corkscrew uppercut, off the ropes... and CCK yank him to the floor for tandem knees! MAVERICK MAYHEW TOPE CON GIRO! CONNOR MILLS ASAI MOONSAULT! M&M assisted tornado DDT... LYKOS BREAKS IT UP! Mills beating on the wolf with forearms, whip reversed, up and over to the apron but CCK clobber him with tandem strikes and a diving senton... MAYHEW BREAKS IT UP!

All four men slugging it out, from their knees to their feet, M&M with 540 roundhouse kicks, CCK with stereo octopus holds! M&M get the break, Mills & Brookes slug it out, Chris with the pump kick, suplex blocked, Mill Shot! Mayhew hits Meteora... NOPE! Assisted Yoshi Tonic, Brookes rolls through, inverted cloverleaf and he sits down! Adding a cravate on top, Kid has Mills locked down but Connor breaks free and breaks it up!

Running dropkick, boot up, but Lykos comes in with the Full Moon! Electric chair Codebreaker and the senton, Kid calls for it, Chris clocks Mayhew with a knee and the underhook piledriver...

CCK win by pinfall with a brainbuster from Kid Lykos and a lateral press from Chris Brookes on Connor Mills.

Good match, M&M playing firey upstarts against a CCK trying to re-establish themselves after Lykos’ then-latest injury. Nothing too special, just good solid action.

Travis Banks makes his entrance and cuts a promo, asking for a moment in which we appreciate the greatest Progress World Champion of all time. The crowd does not oblige. He says being champion for so long makes him the smartest wrestler in the back, and if he main events, the Natural Progression Series winner would probably cash in on him, so he wants to go on right now!

And if he doesn’t, he’s just going to walk! Jim obliges and we’re off!

Chuck Mambo vs. Travis Banks (c) (Progress World Championship)

A confident Banks begins the match taking Mambo down repeated with ease, clearly toying with him. Disdainful kicks, Chuck gets one over on him and Travis gets hot, but doesn’t quite lose his cool, instead offering a handshake that Mambo kicks away! Catch the lariat, big chops, whip across and a back elbow gets a cover. Striking away, staying one step ahead of the champ and Chuck grabs a Romero Special!

Banks rolls to the floor on the break and seemingly decides to walk out before turning around and returning to the ringside area. Back in, Mambo with a wheelbarrow arm drag, springboard roll-through into a crucifix pin for two! Charging lariat, pass to the apron, back body drop to the apron, Trav sidesteps, Chuck is seated on the top rope and gets dropkicked off the rope and to the floor!

Following after, big chops from the champ, he yanks a fan out of his seat and sets Mambo in it face down to stomp his back in before taking a breather and throwing another fan’s hat into the crowd! Back in the ring, clubbing blows into a side headlock, Chuck fights to his feet and out of the hold with body blows, off the ropes but he gets wiped out with a back elbow for two!

Forearms give way to a palm strike rush, Banks returns wild body blows, whip reversed, flying forearm, tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and Chuck Mambo is rolling! Charging strikes, whip reversed, diving blockbuster off the second! Block a kick, front kick, Air Raid Crash... NOPE! Trav kicks his leg out from under him, running dropkick to the back of the neck, only two!

Slice of Heaven denied, trading forearms, big lariats from the champion, fired up, but Mambo gets a pop-up Meteora off for some separation! Slugging it out, both men running low, Banks pulls ahead with a leg trip, off the ropes for the sliding knee, only two, following it up with a German suplex into the bridge, still no! Trav’s visage darkens as he rises, laying chest kicks into a defiant Chuck Mambo.

He catches one, half and half suplex, running dropkick sends Banks to the floor and Mambo follows up with Meteora off the apron! Back in, springboard Meteora... SO CLOSE! Springboard gets cut off with a kick, springboard double stomp, Kiwi Krusher... CHUCK KICKS OUT! To their feet, jockeying for position, and Travis takes referee Chris Roberts out!

Slugging it out again, hard right hand, Mambo recovers and manages to get Bad Burrito off but he’s out of energy and can’t capitalize. TK Cooper comes down to the ring with a chair in hand. He turns to face Banks, acting like he’s conflicted before wailing on Chuck with it and waking Roberts up! Lateral press, Chris counts... AND MAMBO KICKS OUT!

Referee Chris Roberts still out of it, they try to double-team Chuck but he slips out and pushes Trav into TK! Superkick on Banks, plancha on Cooper, springboard frog splash... TK YANKS ROBERTS OUT OF THE RING BEFORE THE THREE! He throws Cooper out! Travis throws a chair at Mambo’s face, draws him up, but Chuck reverses to a bridging victory roll pin... STILL NO!

Wristlock from the champion, stomping away at Mambo, shades of the American Dragon Bryan Danielson, hook him up...

Travis Banks wins by pinfall with the Kiwi Krusher to retain the Progress World Championship.

So this was a Travis Banks title match. Strong drama, a bit of overbooking, and a heaping helping of excess. Good for what it is, and Mambo’s got great heart and fire, but by this point it’s gotten rather old.

Chris Ridgeway vs. Mark Davis (Natural Progression Series V Finals)

Handshake and into the feeling out, Davis using his strength to push Ridgeway around and take him down for some mat grappling. That’s Chris’ game, however, and he’s able to stalemate in fairly short order. Arm wringer, and Mark goes for a chop only for Ridgeway to duck his heavy hand! Front chancery, gator roll, into a cross armbar but Dunkzilla posts to his feet and Chris turns it into a triangle choke.

Deadlift counter, Ridgeway out, half-crab into a deathlock STS! Cutthroat choke added, back to the straight STS but Davis gets the ropes! Dunkzilla hits the chop this time and Chris crumples to the mat! A second chop, Canadian backbreaker rack dropped into a ripcord slam, senton, all only good for two! Palm strikes from Ridgeway, a little Bati-Bati, rolling kick, off the ropes, sliding knee... NOPE!

A chop sends Chris to the floor and Dunkzilla stalks after him for more before absolutely slinging him into about the third row with a release swinging back suplex! Mark happy to take the countout but he heads to the floor as Ridgeway stirs to throw him back in and keep the advantage. Drawing him up, more chops, but Chris steels and resolve fills his face as he fires chest kicks in return!

Absolutely wailing on each other as their chests turn into raw meat, Davis takes Ridgeway off his feet but he fires up and caves his chest in with more kicks! Knockout punch from Dunkzilla, he collapses into a cover... BUT SHEER INSTINCT SAVES CHRIS RIDGEWAY’S CHANCE AT THE CUP! Another kick-for-chop exchange, Alpamare Waterslide blocked, sleeper hold applied, Mark flags but does not fail and runs through the ropes and to the floor to break the hold!

Going for another knockout punch on the floor but Ridgeway ducks and Davis punches the steel ringpost! Chris blocks a chop with a headbutt and Mark practically crumpes in pain! Setting him on a chair, Ridgeway comes off the apron with a double stomp! Up top... ELBOW DROP TO THE FLOOR! Chris breaks the count and drags Dunkzilla back in the ring, getting fired up only to get dropped with an Earthquake splash when he charges in!

Huge lariat from Davis... NOPE! ALPAMARE WATERSLIDE STILL CAN’T PUT HIM AWAY! Laying forearms in, but Ridgeway fires up and returns his own, rapid fire! Knee lift, snapmare, Mark off the ropes and he gets caught with an enzuigiri and a Mafia kick! Waistlock, German suplex on the big man! Buzzsaw roundhouse and a crescent kick... HE SNAPS OFF A PILEDRIVER BUT DUNKZILLA SOMEHOW KICKS OUT!

Penalty Kick... STILL NO! Chest kicks, Mark blocks and fires back but the injured, bleeding hand betrays him and Chris fires more kicks off! Punch for crescent kick... BOTH MEN ARE DOWN! Chris with a sleeper hold when they rise, he gets thrown off and into the turnbuckles for the falling uppercut! Victory roll, a kick combo, Gotch-style piledriver blocked, Davis with a right hand, Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck), and another...

Mark Davis wins by pinfall with Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck), winning the Natural Progression Series V!

This is basically catnip to me, folks. Two hard-hitting, tough-grappling dudes going shot for shot with each other is never gonna let me down, and this felt very much in the same vein as Timothy Thatcher and WALTER’s excellent match from early this year. Fantastic end to the Natural Progression Series.

Overall

A strong show from Progress, with a brace of good to great matches. Devlin/Ospreay was one of the best matches of the year, with the Natural Progression Series finals not far behind.

Storyline-wise, Banks holds onto his title by the skin of his teeth and treachery once again, Ospreay’s on a rampage on his way to clashing with Jimmy Havoc, the House of Couture are suffocating with their numbers but clearly beatable, and CMJ is playing mindgames with Pete Dunne ahead of Wembley. Plus, Mark Davis now has a title shot to cash in at any time of his choosing against any champion, so that’s exciting.

All in all, not a lot of movement, which is a bit of a problem for 2018 Progress, but a pleasant show that was easy to watch and, once again, made me regret falling so far behind in my watching.

Check it out on Demand Progress, folks.

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