PROGRESS Chapter 3: Fifty Shades of Pain
Watch: Demand PROGRESS
The Garage – Greater London, England
Chapter Two saw Nathan Cruz defend and retain his PROGRESS Championship, but El Ligero stole the show with his rather sly way of winning the number one contenders match and getting involved in the main event. Should we find out how that all ended up moving forward into Chapter Three? Let’s do it! Fifty Shades of Pain is a wonderful name for the show by the way.
Noam Dar vs. Paul Robinson
So far I have really enjoyed watching Noam Dar during these early PROGRESS shows, I don’t quite know what it is, he’s just very entertaining. Even if he is only the heel at every show due to him being Scottish, which seems slightly ridiculous, not quite as ridiculous as the crowd chanting shortbread at him. For those of you unaware of what shortbread is, it’s a type of biscuit or cookie (if you’re American) that originates in Scotland. It’s something your granny would have with a nice cup of tea. MK McKinnan was originally supposed to be in this match, but he was replaced at the last minute by Paul Robinson, who looks rather strange with hair. Dar starts out with headbutts to Robinson which gets a one-count after a backslide, transitioning into a swinging backslide that got a two-count. Robinson attempts to move the match to the outside, but he’s unsuccessful and instead puts Dar on the mat with a dropkick. In chapter one, we saw Dar target the leg of El Ligero, and he has somewhat carried that strategy over into this match, his limb work on all three shows so far has been a delight to watch. There’s a sequence of back and forth until Dar caught Robinson in an airplane spin followed by a northern lights suplex, something we have seen him use previously. After missing a double stomp from the top rope, Robinson hit a blue thunder bomb and a leg drop off the top rope. Dar finally manages to pull out an enziguri to stop Robinson’s momentum, eventually switching a fisherman’s brainbuster into the champagne super-knee-bar to make Robinson tap out. This was okay for an opening match, but I felt like it was missing something. Robinson didn’t get a great deal of offense in, but Dar continued to shine.
BWC Scarlo Scholarship Championship: Mark Andrews (c) vs. Xander Cooper
This is the last time we will see this Championship defended on a PROGRESS chapter, as stated in the Chapter One review, this title was initially supposed to be defended on every chapter, however, the BWC is now defunct since roughly around 2012, the year of this show. I have to say I hate the beginning of this match as it’s a lot of stalling, the fact that the title ended up around the waist of Mark Andrews on a non-PROGRESS event makes the small storyline they were attempting to create here, rather pointless if we don’t know how the match he lost the title on went. So, to try and build it as some deep feud with a lot of meaning and stalling the beginning of the match because both men dislike each other SO much is completely lost on me. To make matters worse, the first few maneuvers of the match is just holds. The pace does eventually quicken and Andrews gets smashed in the face with a knee and kicked in the corner of the ring. He’s eventually sent to the mat after two neck-breakers with one being on Cooper’s knee, which gets a two-count. Andrews starts a comeback with an enzuigiri and full nelson bomb. Taking further control of the match I started to realize that the finish seems incredibly obvious even if you haven’t seen this show or match before which is somewhat worrying. Hopefully, this isn’t a trend with PROGRESS. Cooper got in his last piece of offense in a DDT and a back-cracker, with Andrews going to the outside. A kick and shooting star press later from Andrews and this one is over. Okay, so I know I said I’m not a fan of them attempting to build this up as a feud that matters, but the fact that the match was so short completely contradicts their own logic. Can’t say I’m a fan of this match, although the actual wrestling on display wasn’t bad.
The London Riots (James Davis & Rob Lynch) vs. The Bastard Squad (Danny Garnell & Darrell Allen)
I mentioned during the review of chapter two why I have mixed feelings towards the “London Riots” name, but the Bastard Squad, which was picked by the PROGRESS fans, gets a ten out of ten from me. Wonderful. We also watched a film star (lol) wrestle in chapter two, by the way. Although, he did break his leg, so, perhaps not the greatest way to make your debut. Both Garnell and Allen were in singles matches last time we saw them, not sure what made them decide to partner up, but here we go. The Bastard Squad attempt to outsmart the Riots by jumping them and the match is on the outside already, which means I have to sit through the poor footage that was filmed on an iPhone. Sigh. Garnell gets dropped on his head with what looked like a combination of a piledriver and Michinoku driver. Lynch grabs a chair and the destruction begins. Allen manages to pull off a superkick on Lynch but he’s hip-tossed by Davis onto the chair, breaking it in the process. I feel bad for the fan who got his chair took off him and had to stand until someone gave him another. There are some great tags from the Bastard Squad, who don’t really take control during any of this match but manage to work well together. The Riots absolutely dominate and destroy both of them. There’s a beautiful butterfly brainbuster from Lynch which got him a two-count on Allen. James Davis tags in whilst Allen attempts to tag out but Lynch took Garnell of the apron making it impossible. Smart. Davis got his own two-count after an exploder suplex but Garnell comes in to break up the pin and he finally tags into the match, but he’s quickly stopped by Davis with a DDT. Allen comes back into the match and hit with a super-plex, whilst Garnell gets speared out of the ring by Lynch. Brutal. Allen attempts a dropkick off the top rope but he’s caught and hit with a sit-out powerbomb with Davis picking up the pinfall win for the Riots. I have to say, I’m thoroughly enjoying watching the Riots absolutely destroy anyone who dares to step into the ring with them. It’s great build for them.
No Disqualification: Jimmy Havoc vs. Jon Ryan
Jimmy Havoc is set out to prove to PROGRESS that he is more than just a deathmatch wrestler, in chapter two, he did pull out a great match but took the loss. Here, he’s receiving a second chance. Due to that rule of him having to prove himself, this initially started out as a regular singles match, but after Ryan hit Havoc with a frying pan, being hilarious, the match comes to an end. The crowd start to chant for a hardcore match and thus, it’s restarted with the stipulation that greatly improves Havoc’s chances since it’s his specialty. Things get slightly mental now, so just be warned. Havoc starts out by whacking Ryan with a cane, but Ryan comes back at him with a ton of shots with the cane that hit so hard, the cane literally broke into pieces. Another one is bounced off Havoc’s face, but he wrangles away from the hurt and hits Ryan in the crotch. We’ve already seen a frying pan, so why not a baking tray? Cooking with PROGRESS ladies and gentlemen. Ryan gets hit in the face a few times with the tray and then the frying pan. Havoc manages to find a cheese grater under the ring, presumably because the rat from the children’s film Ratatouille lives under the ring. Now, if you’re not into bloody matches, I really don’t recommend you watch this one, I personally hate seeing blood so this was difficult for me, but I somehow managed it. Havoc throws Ryan into the steel chairs where some fans were just sitting a few seconds prior. An ironing board comes into play, because why not, and Ryan powerbombs Havoc through it. Fairly certain that’s not how you use an ironing board, but I don’t think anyone is going to dispute this with Jon Ryan. I’m feeling somewhat queasy now as a staple gun gets brought into the mix, as a pair of gloves get stapled to Havoc. Not nice. Havoc avoids a chair shot and hits a superkick which got him a two-count and is so far the only thing that isn’t gruesome or very painful looking. Now, I’m not American and baseball is more of a tradition in the US, so I could be wrong, but I’m fairly certain Ryan’s baseball bat that is covered with drawing pins is not what the sportsmen usually use. What’s better than a bat with drawing pins? A bag full of them. Havoc manages to avoid a powerbomb onto said pins and turns it into a death valley driver on Ryan who does end up covered in the pins he brought into the match. He should probably think twice about doing that again in the future. A barbed wire board enters the fray with Havoc dropping it onto Ryan and hitting a double stomp, but it’s not enough to end the match, somehow. Ryan makes a comeback and hits Havoc with a package tombstone onto the pins and then a wheelbarrow suplex through the barbed wire board for the win. This was crazy. As much as I’m not a fan of this kind of match, I have more respect for people who do this kind of madness than anything else, wrestling already is dangerous but to up the ante by including multiple weapons that could end your career and life, all for the sake of entertainment? Mental. Havoc continues his underdog run and losing streak that I’m sure will lead to something big.
RJ Singh vs. Rob Cage
Weird match to follow the brutality of the prior one, but we saw RJ Singh in the last chapter, whereas Rob Cage is making his debut for PROGRESS. Singh starts out the match choking Cage with his boot in the corner of the ring, Cage comes back at him with a headlock and slams him down with a wheelbarrow facebuster. There’s a little chase scene between the two which is yet another thing from this show that was completely lost on me, please just get in the ring and wrestle, I don’t wish to see these silly games or attempts at a laugh when they’re not funny. Once that’s finally over, Cage hits an electric chair drop for two. Singh’s entourage gets involved in the match as they try to keep Cage down with Singh eventually using a neck breaker to get a two-count of his own. Singh starts to throw jabs at Cage but he’s stopped via a lungblower. Cage hits a rather odd looking overhead belly to belly suplex and dropkicks Singh’s knee before going for a shining wizard. Singh’s entourage stops Cage from getting the pin and shove him off the top rope when he attempts to go up to end the match. One ethnic submission later and voila, the match is over with Cage tapping out. Okay, so, it was gonna be difficult for anything to follow the previous match, but this was a really bad choice. Neither pull off anything worth shouting home about nor do they work a bad match, it just left me feeling deflated.
The Lion Kid vs. Stixx
This is a rematch from chapter two, the first time these two squared off I didn’t fully enjoy it as it was somewhat messy with Lion Kid failing on a few of his attempts at offense, but maybe, this match will improve on their last encounter. Stixx isn’t waiting for the match to start this time as he knocks Lion Kid off the apron whilst he was entering the ring, Lion Kid gets himself in the ring and hits a dropkick and head scissor takedown. Stixx hits a bossman slam which got him a two-count. Lion Kid starts to sell a knee injury which becomes a target for Stixx throughout the match as he starts to dominate over the much smaller Lion Kid. Stixx caught Lion as he went for a hurricanrana and put him in a single-leg Boston crab, working over the leg further. Lion Kid attempted to make a comeback trying for a springboard, but he wasn’t able to pull it off due to the “injury” to his knee, somewhat similar to what happened with Colossus Kennedy in chapter one. Stixx took control yet again with a super-plex and cross-legged knee-buster. Lion Kid went for the springboard yet again but was this time caught in the Achilles lock, again, LIMB WORK. It’s a glorious thing to see. We’ve seen Lion Kid take to the air, but I was rather surprised to see the huge Stixx go for a frog-splash, he was rolled up for a two-count however, but still. Lion Kid missed a moonsault which spelled the end for him as Stixx put an end to the match with a crucifix powerbomb. This was very heavily dominated by Stixx, which shouldn’t really shock anyone, as I was very surprised he lost this match-up in the first chapter, but he got some retribution here. I can’t really say I enjoy watching either of these men wrestle as Stixx is your basic big man wrestler with nothing flash going for him, whilst a lot of what Lion Kid does seems half done to me, or not done to a good standard. It’s weird.
El Ligero & Nathan Cruz vs. Dave Mastiff & Greg Burridge Special Guest Referee: Marty Scurll
The beginning of the show included an in-ring promo from Marty Scurll as he attempted to become the special referee for this match. Jim Smallman asked the crowd if that’s what they want and well, of course, they did. Dave Mastiff who I’m somewhat familiar with makes his PROGRESS debut here in the main event, whilst Nathan Cruz is paired with the number one contender for his PROGRESS Championship, El Ligero, who has been quite the heel in his last few appearances, winning by using Burridge’s tights and hitting Marty with a superkick so Cruz could pick up the win, which the crowd booed him for. Ligero and Burridge look set to start the match, but Ligero has other plans as he immediately tags in Cruz. Such a heel. I didn’t enjoy Burridge in the last chapter, but it makes sense him being here due to how upset he was over Ligero technically cheating to win. Luckily, Dave Mastiff isn’t here to mess around and tags himself into the match after a series of hip tosses from Burridge. Ligero enters and is quickly hit in the back by Mastiff, which even in written form sounds painful. Burridge attempts some comedy as he snatches a foam finger from a fan and starts to prod Ligero with the prop, not realizing that this means he has tagged into the match by doing so, he hits a few uppercuts on Ligero. However, Burridge is put on the mat via a leg-lock leading to Cruz tagging back into the match but he doesn’t last long as Ligero comes back in and starts to work on Burridge’s knee, later leading to Burridge missing a leapfrog because of it. However, the pain to his leg doesn’t end there as Ligero wraps them around the ring post on the outside and continues to do damage to the limb. Despite them having to square off soon, Ligero and Cruz work pretty well together tagging in and out regularly, however, the tension built and the priorities of both became clear when each tried to established alpha male status over a simple suplex. Burridge finally gets himself out the match and tags in Mastiff who dropped Cruz with a huge lariat that got him a two-count. Cruz and Ligero for some reason believed they were strong enough to suplex Mastiff, big mistake as the big man easily suplexes both of them instead. Ligero ends up hitting Cruz with a leg drop after a small comeback from Burridge, leading to him taking out Cruz whilst Mastiff received a superkick and double stomp from El Ligero. Mastiff is pinned in the middle of the ring, but special guest referee Marty Scurll refuses to finish his count after two and throws Ligero out of the ring instead. Cruz is very upset by the actions of Scurll but he’s even more upset when he yet again refuses to count after a Showstealer on Burridge. Mastiff enters the ring yet again and is hit with a superkick from Ligero, who left the ring in similar fashion to what he did in the main event of chapter two. Cruz all alone is put away by Mastiff after a cannonball. I still didn’t enjoy Greg Burridge unfortunately, but the other three competitors in the match did great, particularly Mastiff. Scurll as referee was obviously going to be shenanigans but it wasn’t played up as often as I thought it would be. This was pretty decent, but not the best main event from a PROGRESS show.
I enjoyed chapters one and two far more than this one, but they were more wrestling heavy instead of focusing on build toward future shows, which is what this felt like. Jimmy Havoc’s story is already becoming one of the things I most look forward to every week when I do these reviews, and this week I was opened up to something I usually dislike and sucked into it due to how badly I wanted him to pick up the win. I have no clue what is in store for Chapter Four, but I know it’s going to be fun finding out.