PROGRESS Chapter 30: Super Strong Style – Day 2
May 30, 2016
Electric Ballroom – Camden, Greater London
After a great day 1, PROGRESS looks to continue the momentum with a just as strong day 2.
Jim Smallman comes out for his usual opening comments and banter with the crowd. He gave some sad news this time around. Mark Haskins collapsed backstage after his match on day 1 with Pete Dunne. Since Haskins won the match and he was in no condition to compete, we needed to find a way to fill that spot. Jim’s solution to the problem, an 8 man scramble match with the losers from day 1. The winner gets back in the tournament. This should be pretty wacky.
Just as all the tournament match losers got in the ring, Nathan Cruz and El Ligero came out and inserted themselves in to the match, turning this in to a 10 man match. Kenny Williams and Mark Andrews hit simultaneous suicide dives on Cruz and Ligero and we were underway.
This was a very enjoyable match with a lot of great action. While there’s no real story or anything like that, it’s a perfect opener and it gave us some really cool interactions we may not have seen otherwise. The only real story arc in the match was The Origin laying in a brutal beatdown on Damon Moser for interfering in the tag title match from day 1. Moser got taken out of the match. Matt Cross and Mark Andrews traded acrobatic reversals, that lead to a “Vader hates this” chant from the PROGRESS faithful. That got a chuckle from Glen Joseph and Callum Leslie on commentary, as well as myself. Cross improvised and did a backflip in to the super hero pose to put the cherry on top of the funny exchange. There was a dive spot to the outside that ended with Rampage Brown doing a plancha to the outside on top of everyone. Mark Andrews got the win with a shooting star press on Pete Dunne and he moves on to face Mikey Whiplash in the quarterfinals.
Mark Andrews gets no time to enjoy his win though as Mikey Whiplash attacks him on the stage, throws him back in the ring, and demands for the match to start.
Mikey Whiplash continues to take it to Andrews. The crowd is firmly behind Andrews corner. The commentary does a good job putting over how historically resilient Mark Andrews is in PROGRESS, bringing up the time he faced Paul Robinson, Rampage Brown, and Jimmy Havoc all in the same night. Whiplash thinks he has the match under control, but Andrews rolls him up with a school boy for a quick pin, much to the surprise of Whiplash and the fans. Whiplash assaults Andrews after the match.
Zack Gibson cuts a promo very similar to the one he cut on day 1 of the tournament, saying he’s basically the best of everywhere. Gibson has a very heavy accent and Jim Smallman made a joke about it when introducing Jack Gallagher.
This match started off in a very light hearted way. Gallagher showed off his world class mat wrestling ability by tying Gibson up in a way that can only be described as Gallagher turning him in to a ball, leaving Gibson rather defenseless and Gallagher kicking him in the ass. Gallagher was besting Gibson at every turn until the match spilled to the outside and Gibson ran Gallagher in to the ring post. From there, Gibson would work on Gallagher’s arm to set up the Shankly Gates. Gibson was really good on offense here, holding up Gallagher by the injured arm over his head. Gibson is able to go between being a goof to being the menacing heel pretty well in this match. Gallagher starts mounting a comeback and he hits the corner dropkick that he beat TK Cooper with on day 1, only for Gibson to kick out. The match would end when Gibson threw Gallagher shoulder first in to the ring post and then locked in the Shankly Gates for the submission victory. He moves on to the semi finals where he’ll face Mark Andrews.
This was a very solid match. I love the way Shankly Gates has been established as killer submission and Zack Gibson continues to impress me as a rising contender. He’s a genuinely dislikable guy to a crowd that enjoys chanting and cheering for the wrestlers, a guy like him is needed to draw the ire of the fans What more needs to be said about Jack Gallagher? By now the word is out about what a talent this guy is. Everything he does is must watch for me at this point.
Commentary does a great job setting up the history these two men have with each other from wXw. Walter beat Hero to win the wXw 16 Carat tournament in 2010. They also continue to put over Hero’s tournament resume, which was one of my favorite things about the day 1 show.
This match would definitely fit the bill of a “hoss fight” and it certainly delivered as one. They don’t waste much time here and they do exactly what people wanted out of the. Chops, boots, elbows, you name it, these guys hit each other hard. There’s one sequence where Walter is just murdering Hero with lariats, but Hero kicks out and is somewhat playing the underdog at that point in time, which is interesting because Hero has become such a master at the “bully” match formula where he’s the one that’s in charge. Hero hits Walter with a ripcord elbow, a Death Blow, and a charging elbow while Walter is on his knees, but he kicks out. Hero puts the big man down with a Gotch style piledriver and Hero moves on to the semi finals. Very good match. Not better than the Andrews match from day 1, but worth going out of your way to see. They kept a great pace. At no point did the match feel too bloated or it went too long.
This was a match. It was pretty short and never really found a groove. I’m not particularly high on Tommy End as a singles wrestler and my fandom of Sami Callihan is starting to wane after being big on his first few months of 2016. This match never felt as intense as they were going for. Tommy End wins after hitting his spinning roundhouse kick. He moves on to the semi final where he’ll face someone who’s a mentor to him, Chris Hero. If anyone can have a good singles match with Tommy, I would bet on Chris.
Marty Scurll comes out to commentate the semi final matches. I enjoy Scurll when he’s on commentary so this should be great. First match up is Zack Gibson vs Mark Andrews.
Zack Gibson does the shtick he’s been doing all tournament it gets a ton of heat from the crowd and “shut the fuck up” chants.
Andrews rolls Gibson up and almost gets the win as soon as the match starts. After that, Gibson starts to dominate the smaller man. Throwing him around and just imposing his will on him. It’s really a great bully performance from Gibson where he is just spitting in Andrews’ face and generally being a hateable prick heel. Andrews hits a stunner out of a vertical suplex and starts to string some of his high flying offense together. While this is going on, Marty Scurll said “he nails the flippity flippity flop”. Just as Andrews started getting some momentum, Gibson hits him with a wicked lungblower and a cross legged brainbuster. That only gets him a two count there. Gibson goes for a lungblower from the 2nd rope and he gets caught in mid air with a nasty powerbomb from Andrews. After a shooting star press counter and using the referee as a distraction, Gibson locks in the Shankly Gates on Andrews. Andrews looks like he’ll have to tap out, but he rolls Gibson up and eke out another victory under seemingly insurmountable odds. Great match and Andrews moves on to the finals.
Some may be wondering “How is this Mark Andrews run believable?”, but the PROGRESS commentary team has done a great job establishing the history of resilient performances Andrews has in PROGRESS, so it’s not crazy that he’s having this kind of run in the context of this company specifically. This is also the best he’s ever looked. As someone who’s in the middle when it comes to Andrews, he’s been a fantastic babyface and if Chris Hero didn’t…well exist, I’d have Andrews as the MVP of the tournament. He’s been that good. I can’t gush enough over how great a heel Zack Gibson is either. Both guys shined in their roles.
A few great nods to the Heroes Eventually Die tag team. The first was the playing of Run The Jewels’ “Blockbuster Night Pt.1”, which is the theme End and Hero have used when teaming together. Also, Chris Hero wearing the Heroes Eventually Die shirt. They aren’t shying away at all from the partnership/mentorship aspect of this match.
This was a war. An absolute fucking war with both guys just going back and forth with jaw dropping strikes. I can see a lot of people disliking this, it was very tough guy-ish with the allowing the other to hit them as hard as they can, but it worked perfectly and played in to Tommy’s strengths well. It helps that Chris Hero is so versatile and can adjust to working a match that plays in to a person’s best attributes. Chris kicked out of Tommy End’s roundhouse kick that they have been building as a deadly move and Tommy kicked out of an avalanche Gotch Style piledriver from Chris. The match ended with End reversing a ripcord elbow attempt from Hero and rolling him up for the win. Great match and maybe the best singles match of Tommy’s career.
A big story here was Marty Scurll’s bashing of Chris Hero on commentary. Scurll continuously said he didn’t get what the hype was about with Hero, saying Hero was good, but the Villain was better. As Hero was walking to the back after sharing a feel good, pass the torch kind of moment with End, Scurll kept calling Hero a loser. Hero took exception to this and walked up to Scurll at the table. They have a staredown and Scurll holds the title up. This was a great way to set up the upcoming match between Scurll and Hero at Chapter 31: All Hail The New Puritans on June 19th.
This was a solid, fun plunder match to do after the Hero/End match and gives the crowd somewhat of a breather before the finals of SSS16. These teams had been feuding and this was their rubber match. Nothing much of note here. Tables, chairs, and thumbtacks were all used. The Dazzler teams picks up the win.
Roy Johnson came out for a Wasteman Challenge which was answered by Eddie Dennis. They rap battled, drunk beer, and then Dennis laid out Johnson for patting him on the back too hard and making him spill his beer. This was actually funny. I enjoy the Bodyguy gimmick. Best part of this segment was Jim Smallman dying at Johnson’s pronouncing of the word “fire”. This show didn’t need the comic relief and in any other company I wouldn’t be so forgiving, but this segment was fine and gave End and Andrews more of a break before the final
They go straight in to this match. Both just go all out with their biggest shots. They managed to cram in a ton of nearfalls in this sprint with Andrews kicking out of End’s roundhouse kick and End kicking out of Andrews’ shooting star press. At one point Mikey Whiplash tries to interfere in the match, but Tommy gets one up on him and nails him with the roundhouse kick. After a deadlift German suplex and a double foot stomp, End puts Andrews down with one last roundhouse kick. Tommy End is your winner of Super Strong Style 16.
Tommy End closes the show dedicating his win to Kris Travis and saying he loves the fans.
This was a very good show. I wouldn’t say better than day 1, but easily one of the better PROGRESS shows of the year with almost everyone coming out of the tournament better than they were coming in, mainly guys like Mark Andrews, Zack Gibson, and even Tommy End. I’ve always been middle of the road when it comes to my feelings about Mark Andrews, but I’ll be damned if he didn’t win me over with how great of a babyface he was. I left this tournament wanting Mark Andrews back in the PROGRESS World Championship picture. If I had to pick an MVP just based on match quality, Chris Hero would take that prize for 3 great matches with 3 very different opponents. PROGRESS’ next show is on June 19th and headlined by Chris Hero vs. Marty Scurll and you’ll be able to catch a review of that right here on Wrestling With Words.