Views from the Hawke's Nest: Progress Wrestling Chaper 1 2012
Posted by TJ Hawke on 09.28.2012
One of the best debut shows I've ever seen from a promotion.
March 25, 2012
Islington, Greater London, England
Commentator: Jimmy Barnett
El Ligero vs. Noam Dar Watch this match in full for free.
This was the first semi-final match in an eight person tournament to crown the first PROGRESS Wrestling Champion. The winner goes on to a four-way final. Crowd liked Ligero. They did not like Dar.
Dar is from Scotland, and the crowd immediately starts screaming about how much Scotland sucks. Ligero baited him to the outside early, and he then hit a slingshot plancha. Back in the ring, Ligero hit a standing moonsault for a nearfall. Ligero went to the top rope, but Dar managed to dropkick him to the floor. They traded strikes on the floor. Back in the ring, Dar went after Ligero’s limbs. Ligero hit a kick to the face, and he then made a big comeback, which included a handspring kick for a nearfall. Dar came back with an Airplane spin, which he transitioned into a bridging northern lights suplex: 1…2…NO! Dar got a leglock, but Ligero made the ropes. Ligero hit a shotgun dropkick and both men were down. Dar hit a rolling forearm for a nearfall. Dar went after Ligero’s leg again, and he got another leg lock. Dar managed to kick Ligero in the face, while he applied the hold. Ligero managed to make the ropes. They ended up on the top rope until Ligero trapped him in the Tree of Joey Lawrence. GHETTO STOMP! Ligero then hit a springboard DDT: 1…2…3!
This was a really fun match between two guys that I had never seen before this show. They both have some kinks to work out, but they both showed a lot of potential. The match did lose a little steam towards the end, but it still remained fun. This show has a great atmosphere, which always adds so much to a product. Match Rating: ***1/4
Nathan Cruz vs. Colossus Kennedy
This was another semi-final match in the one night tournament to crown the first Progress Wrestling champion. Kennedy is a big boy. Cruz got “Zack Ryder” chants and is billed from Beverly Hills, California. Thus, he is the rudo.
Kennedy dominated Cruz in the early goings. Cruz came back with a couple of strikes to the face, but Kennedy cut him off with a body slam into a neckbreaker. That was cool. The crowd loved Kennedy kicking Cruz’s ass. Kennedy went for a running boot in the corner, but Cruz avoided it and Kennedy hurt his knee. Cruz then went after that injured knee repeatedly. This went on for a while. Kennedy made a comeback that included a Bossman Slam for a nearfall. Kennedy’s knee was still a problem, but he managed to get another nearfall with a huge lariat. Cruz avoided a powerslam and hit a sliding kick: 1…2…3!
This match was much different than the opener, and that is just fine with me. Cruz makes for a good obnoxious heel, and Kennedy is a lot more sound than he looks. Much like the last match, I left this match wanting to see more of both of the competitors. Match Rating: ***
Colt Cabana vs. Mike Mason (w/ Becky James)
Another semi-final matchup here. Colt was very over. Mason was over as a rudo as well. This should be fun.
Colt put a loose tennis ball in his tights earlier, and the crowd wanted the referee to inspect the situation. Colt then distracted Mason with the tennis ball like he was a dog. Colt then put the ball in the referee’s pants, and Mason tried to eat the referee’s crotch. The crowd got control of the ball and started tossing it around. The crowd promptly chanted “This is Wrestling!” Best crowd ever. Eventually a wrestling match broke out. Cabana and Mason traded holds in the ring. Colt hit an airplane spin and screamed, “I’m so fucking dizzy!” Colt stumbled around, and James manipulated the ropes so that Colt fell out of the ring. Mason started to get the heat after that. Colt came back with some big right hands. Colt then grabbed his balls so that he could “fix” him. Colt then hit a pair of flying assholes and locked in the Billy Goat’s Cure. Becky James then distracted the referee and tossed Mason a dog collar. Mason then hit Colt with a glancing blow with the collar: 1…2…3!
The thing that I love about this show so far is that all the matches have been different, but they’ve all been almost equally entertaining. Other than the deflating/lame finish, this was a great undercard comedy match. It would have been nice to see Colt have a slightly more mat-based/competitive match, but it’s nearly impossible to argue against the entertaining product made here. Progress should absolutely bring back Colt Cabana as soon as possible. Match Rating: **1/2
Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Marty Scurll
This is the last semi-final match in the Progress Championship tournament. These two are tag partners in other promotions. This match got a lot of MOTYC hype after the fact. My expectations are high.
They started the match trading some holds. It was beautiful. Things got progressively (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?!?!) more and more heated until Scurll delivered a big slap to the face, and Sabre came back with a kick to the chest. Scurll went for a figure four, but Sabre was able to escape before too much damage was done. Sabre got a cross armbreaker, but Scurll managed to make the ropes. Sabre had the advantage after that though. Sabre killed him with a Liger Bomb for a nearfall, and he then immediately transitioned into a cross armbreaker! Scurll again made the ropes. Scurll managed to send Sabre to the floor and then wiped him out with a tope suicida! Back in the ring, Sabre went for a cross-body, but Scurll caught him with a double knee gutbuster. Scurll followed that up with a Fucking Machine Suplex: 1…2…NO! Sabre came back with a bridging Dragon Suplex: 1…2…NO! Scurll hit a big tornado DDT, but Sabre came back with a Trouble in Pardise. Both men were down after that. Sabre got another cross armbreaker, but Scurll reversed it into a Rampage Powerbomb! They got to their feet and started striking the shit out of each other. Scurll reversed a backslide into a pin of his own: 1…2…3!
This was an excellent match, but it was not quite as great as a lot of others had made it out to be. Zack Sabre Jr. has become one of the best wrestlers in the world, and Marty Scurll really stepped up here to show that he is no ‘Marty Jannety.’ The whole show may be worth buying just to see this match. Match Rating: ****
Allen sent both men to the floor early. He set up for a plancha on Gibson, but Zander stopped it. Xander took down both men with a diving cross-body. They did a tower of doom spot with Xander being the one to go without damage done. Xander was in complete control of both men. Weird. The crowd chanted “You’re Not Progress!” Gibson managed to give Allen a sunset flip, and Allen actually gave release German as he flipped over. All three struggled to their feet and started trading strikes. Gibson hit a great leg lariat on Xander, and Allen had to make the save to keep the match going. Gibson wiped out Xander with a tope suicida. Allen and Gibson raded pinning combinations. Xander almost got Gibson with a small package. Gibson killed Xander with a diving Codebreaker. Gibson then hit Xander with a wrist clutch exploder: 1…2…Allen makes the save! Allen hit Gibson with a series of kicks. Allen hit a 450 on Gibson (he landed knee first and smacked his own head on the mat). Xander then punted Allen in the forehead and pinned Gibson: 1…2…3!
These guys (I got the impression from the commentary that they are relatively new to the business) worked their asses off, but I would say this was the match that I’ve enjoyed the least on this show so far. They did a lot of stuff, and while some of the individual moments were entertaining, the match itself didn’t add up to a whole lot though. Still, I enjoyed it, and I look forward to watching the wrestlers…progress in the promotion. Match Rating: **3/4
The same owner who opened the show (and did all the ring announcements) showed the crowd that instead of a championship belt, they would have a championship STAFF. Love it.
El Ligero vs. Nathan Cruz vs. Mike Mason (w/ Becky James) vs. Marty Scurll [Progress Wrestling Championship]
This is a four corners elimination match to determine the winner of the STAFF.
Ligero took Cruz down with a hurricanrana. Mason pulled Ligero to the floor. Cruz went for a slingshot plancha, but he came up empty. Ligero ended up back in the ring and hit a somersault plancha onto everyone. All four men were brawling in the crowd. This went on for a while and much longer than I would have expected. Ligero hit Scurll in the back with a chair. Scurll ended up in the ring, sitting in a chair and drinking a beer. Ligero ended up in the ring. Mason joined him. Mason ended up eating dropkick with a chair to the face. Mason and Cruz worked over Ligero for a bit. Ligero eventually escaped and low-bridged Mason to the floor.Ligero then hit Cruz with a Tidal Wave: 1…2…NO! Ligero nailed Cruz with a superkick and Mason with an enzuigiri. Ligero then hit Mason with a Superfly Splash. Becky James pulled the referee out of the ring and Cruz booted Ligero in the face: 1…2…3! Boo! Ligero then tripped up Mason from the outside, and Scurll then rolled him up: 1…2…3! Scurll vs. Cruz to determine the first Progress Champion. Cruz was able to cut him off, and he started to work Scurll over. Scurll eventually caught Cruz with a torture rack backbreaker. Scurll made a big comeback. Scurll hit a diving cross-body for a nearfall. Scurll hit a pair of running knee attacks: 1…2…NO! Cruz hit a Cradle Shock for a nearfall. They got to their feet and traded a lot of strikes. The referee accidentally got knocked down. Scurll hit a big rolling elbow, and he got a phantom pinfall. Cruz gave Scurll a low blow and an Ace Crusher as the referee recovered: 1…2…NO! Scurll avoided a running punt and got a neafall with a rollup. Cruz then did hit a big kick to the side of Scurll’s head: 1…2…3!
This was an interesting match with a really deflating finish, as the crowd was dying for Scurll to win the championship (and I definitely think Scurll was the right man to go over). While the match worked overall, I really wasn’t that interested in the very lengthy crowd brawling segment with all four guys. Crowd brawling is probably my least favorite thing these days, so in my mind, I really need to be invested in something so that the brawling doesn’t feel meaningless. In this match, the brawling didn’t even really lead to anything as all four men eventually just ended up in the ring. Regardless, the brawling clearly worked to get the crowd invested, and the that created a lot of great drama down the stretch. A successful main event to say the least. Match Rating: ***1/2
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The 411: This was a fantastic debut for Progress Wrestling. All of the matches added something to the show, and the tournament was a simple, but effective, show-long story that always kept me invested in the action (the non-tournament match was fine too, even it if it was the "weak link" in the show). While I really enjoyed this show and feel like I got my money's worth, I do think there are some things that can make the promotion better going forward. The commentator/ring announcer took a lot of cracks at the WWE and John Cena throughout the show. I understand that they are trying to target a certain demographic of wrestling fans, but the cheap shots really seemed unnecessary to me. Let the product speak for itself (not to mention the fact that John Cena has had many great matches in the last seven years). Also, while the environment really added a lot to the show, I hope that all of the future shows don't have the same dark lighting, where all the light is focused on the ring. It's just an aesthetic choice that doesn't appeal to me whatsoever. This is clearly a promotion to keep an eye on going forward, and I really hope to be able to watch some (if not all) of their future shows. Buy this show at the Progress Wrestling DVD Store as either a DVD or a MP4. For an organized list of links of every show that I've reviewed for 411mania, check out my Views from the Hawke's Nest blog.