Views from the Hawke's Nest: PROGRESS Wrestling Chapter 10: Glory Follows Virtue As If It Were Its Shadow
Posted by TJ Hawke on 01.03.2014
Adam Cole makes his PROGRESS debut on the last PROGRESS show of 2013!
November 24, 2013
Islington, Greater London, England
The show started with Mark Andrews and Paul Robinson cutting promos about the finals of the Natural Progression Tournament. The winner of the match gets a shot at the PROGRESS Championship. The Natural Progression tournament was not something I was especially invested in, but I like that PROGRESS is trying to establish it as something important.
No Jim Smallman warm-up act? Booo!
Commentator: Jimmy Barnett
Tommy End [1-0] vs. Mikey Whiplash [0-0]
They went back and forth for a while. Neither man could get a decisive advantage or any serious nearfalls until the seven minute mark when Whiplash caught End with a leg lariat. End connected on a couple of boots to the head, but Whiplash came back with a lariat. End connected on two more high kicks to the head. He then hit a springboard double stomp: 1…2…3
This was a really solid opener. They basically went back and forth the whole time, but they managed to keep me invested throughout. Whiplash looked very competent here, and I would be very interested in seeing him return. End has quickly become a very strong contributor to the PROGRESS roster. Match Rating: **3/4
PROGRESS Tag Team Championship Tournament Project Ego (Kris Travis & Martin Kirby) [2-1] vs. Grado & Mad Man Manson [0-0]
This is Manson’s debut in PROGRESS. Grado made his debut at Chapter 9.
Grado did a lot of gaga with Travis early on. Manson then did some gaga with Kirby. They did the slow motion spot. The crowd loved it. Martin Kirby definitely looks like Billy Corgan. The crowd chanted in slow motion. Manson and Grado tried kicking Kirby in the back, but they had trouble timing the kick with the slapping of the thigh. Travis was so frustrated with their incompetence that he kicked Kirby to show them how it’s done. Ego finally managed to cut off Manson. Manson made his own comeback. They all ended up on the floor. They proceeded to lead the fans in a conga line. After they got back in the ring, Ego hit stereo low blows! Manson got rolled up: 1…2…3
This was genuinely one of the best matches in PROGRESS company history. It was ALL gaga, but almost every single thing they did worked. Great comedy can be just as good as great drama. Match Rating: ***3/4
Doug Williams [1-1] vs. Nathan Cruz [5-3]
Team Screw Indie Wrestling has their own ring announcer. I didn’t catch her name.
Cruz got involved with Williams’ PROGRESS Championship match at the last show. Douglass is fired up for this one. He took it to Cruz early. Douglass was in control for a while, but Cruz eventually cut him off with a hot shot and a neckbreaker. He worked Douglass over for a while. Douglass eventually made a big comeback. Cruz caught him with an Ace Crusher variation for a nearfall. Douglass came back with a diving uppercut. CHAOS THEORY: 1…2…3!
This was a very solid midcard match. Douglass is quite over as the old-timey babyface, and he can still go. Team Screw Indie Wrestling’s push has been all over the place. They’ve never seemed particularly dominant, but I guess PROGRESS is trying to make them look vulnerable or something. Match Rating: ***
Mark Haskins [0-2] vs. Adam Cole [0-0]
Haskins was doing the open challenge gimmick. Adam Cole was a surprise opponent. You may be wondering why PROGRESS would not advertise Adam Cole. PROGRESS basically sells out their shows instantly without announcing anything. So, they can afford to do surprises.
Haskins attacked Cole before the bell. Cole beat Haskins on the floor for a bit, but Haskins cut him off by sending him into a post. Haskins then went after Cole’s left arm. Cole was getting flustered and hit a superkick out of nowhere. He followed it up with a neckbreaker, a German, and a Shining Wizard. Haskins kept going after the injured arm. He got a nearfall with a brainbuster. Cole came back with a sunset flip powerbomb and another Shining Wizard: 1…2…NO! Haskins caught him with a big lariat. Cole came right back with a superkick and the thigh brainbuster: 1…2…3!
This was a rock-solid match, and it was very cool to have Cole appear as a surprise. I hope he is able to come back one day. It continues to puzzle me why Team Screw Indie Wrestling loses a lot, but maybe the Jimmy Havoc/London Riots stable will be the real dominant heel stable. Match Rating: ***1/4
PROGRESS Tag Team Championship Tournament The Bhangra Knights (RJ Singh & Darrell Allen) [1-1] vs. The London Riots (James Davis & Rob Lynch) [6-0]
The Riots did not have any entrance music, and Jim Smallman instructed the crowd to turn their backs to them. Jimmy Havoc has been completely “expelled” from the company, but the Knights demanded a match with the Riots.
The Knights started out hot, but the Riots were eventually able to cut Singh off. Singh got worked over for a while. Allen eventually made a hot tag. The Knights were flying around and hit a couple of dives. Both teams got counted out.
The teams brawled more, and they eventually left the ringside area. Jim Smallman apologized to the crowd. He said he would re-start the match, but he couldn’t because no one was left near the ring. “Go and get them!” was what the crowd chanted in response. Jim eventually decided to announce a Street Fight between the two teams at the anniversary show in March. The crowd liked it. This match was really good until the angle kicked in. Their street fight in March could steal the show. I’m not a big fan of DVD companies ruining matches with angles, but it is what it is.
After going back and for a bit, Brown cut him off and got the heat. Stixx finally hit a superplex to get back into the match. Stixx made a comeback. He got a nearfall with a diving shoulder tackle. He went for a second one, but Rampage avoided it and hit a F5-like maneuver for a nearfall. Rampage got another nearfall with a brainbuster. Stixx came back with a slingshot plancha. Rampage tried to win by countout after a backdrop on the stage. Stixx managed to make it back in. Stixx got a nearfall and then locked in a submission. Rampage made the ropes and then hit a piledriver: 1…2…3
As much as I do not especially care about Stixx, there is no denying that he has a correction with the crowd (call this The Drake Younger Effect). Brown and Stixx also had their match laid out in a very effective way to make sure they capitalized on the crowd’s affection for Stixx. Thus, this match absolutely worked. It’s not something I will ever re-watch or anything like that, but it got the job done. I think I just set the world record for most reluctant compliments in a paragraph. Match Rating: ***1/4
Mark Andrews [5-0] vs. Paul Robinson [2-3] [Natural Progression Tournament Finals]
These guys went back and forth for a long time. Andrews hit a tope con hello, and he had some semblance of control after that. That didn’t last long though, as Robinson hit a brainbuster for a nearfall. Robinson killed him with a reverse ‘rana and then hit a Trouble in Paradise. Robinson hit a super ‘rana and then a spinning kick to the back for a nearfall. Robinson went for a shooting star, but Andrews avoided it. Andrews then hit a shotgun dropkick and then the belly-to-belly suplex moonsault: 1…2…3!
This was really well done. They did a back and forth match, but they had the crowd the whole time. I enjoyed this a lot. Mark Andrews should have a strong future in pro wrestling. Robinson has greatly improved since he first started appearing in PROGRESS (not that he wasn’t good then). Match Rating: ***3/4
Mark Andrews was given the trophy. Jim Smallm anannounced that Mark was then allowed to pick an eliminated tournament competitor to compete in the 2014 Natural Progression tournament. The crowd chanted for Will Ospreay, who was booted from PROGRESS after his loss in the tournament. That’s who Andrews ended up selecting. Jim Smallman then mentioned that Andrews can have his PROGRESS Championship match whenever he wants. Andrews decided he wanted it right now!
Andrews started the match with a slingshot plancha. Andrews then went for a springboard move, but Rampage caught him and hit a backbreaker. Rampage then destroyed Andrews. Rampage hit a powerbomb, but Andrews kicked out. Rampage was very annoyed and shoved the referee. Andrews caught Rampage with a schoolboy: 1…2…3!
The crowd popped huge for that! It’s not the best way to have a babyface win a championship, but it was a very hot way to end the show. Andrews celebrated in the crowd with the Natural Progression Trophy and the PROGRESS Championship Staff! Ruh roh. The London Riots and Jimmy Havoc showed up. Havoc attacked Andrews with a chair. Eddie Dennis was handcuffed to a ringpost. Havoc mentioned that he still had a contract for any match with any opponent and any stipulation. Jim Smallman said that he couldn’t have the match now. Havoc poured lighter fluid on Andrews until Smallman agreed. Havoc said that Smallman also had to be the referee for the match. Havoc gave the other referee a DVD.
The 411: This was another fun show from a company that I wish more people would check out to see if it's for them. PROGRESS has tightened up their roster to the point where almost every match on every show is good (if only Stixx would just go away...). Obviously, for the second straight show, the big story is the Jimmy Havoc-led heel stable. While I'm excited for his future title matches because of the great heat I'm sure they will produce, I have mixed feelings on the booking. On one hand, it's a true testament to PROGRESS that they are able to do an angle that their fans truly care about. That is becoming a rarer and rarer thing on the indies. On the other hand, I do not like that Havoc had never won a match before he became the champion. I know he's a heel, but having a winless man win the belt cheapens the results of all the matches in the company. Regardless, PROGRESS ended their second year on a high note. I cannot wait to watch their shows next year.