PROGRESS Chapter 31: All Hail The New Puritans
June 19th, 2016
The Ritz – Manchester, England
After their altercation and exchange of words at Super Strong Style 16, Chris Hero laid down the challenge to “The Villain” Marty Scurll to show him what all the hype was about. PROGRESS built this match up really well with the hype videos they put out for it so I’m very excited to get in to it.
Before that though, there’s 6 other matches to cover.
Atlas Championship Group Stage: Big Damo & Joe Coffey vs. Rampage Brown & Mikey Whiplash
Michael Dante was originally supposed to be in this match. Mikey Whiplash came out and flat out said he would be taking his Legion brethren’s place. The commentary played up the the possibility of Whiplash still having a relationship with Dante, despite the fact that Whiplash has been in a rivalry with Tommy End.
This match had nothing going for it. The story here was Whiplash not doing anything in the match and leaving Rampage Brown to fend for himself. Big Damo and Joe Coffey picked up the win.
After a few chapters, I think it would fair to call the Atlas tourney a flop so far. While the concept sounded really good in theory, the in ring leaves a lot to be desired. The novelty wore off very fast. Making a hoss division with the top heavyweight talent in Europe had a lot of promise, but I lost interest almost immediately. I can’t bring myself to care. Then you add on the fact that all of this seems to be more about #BigLads being big than it is about winning a championship. I hope they turn it around because the guys they having working this tournament are good.
Damon Moser vs. Zack Gibson
Moser comes out and says that he has no issue with Zack Gibson, he wants Nathan Cruz. Moser asks Jim Smallman if he can have a match with Nathan Cruz if he beats Gibson, Jim says yes with no hesitation.
As Nathan Cruz and Zack Gibson walk out, I can’t help, but admire how great of heels they are. I don’t think anyone exudes smug scumbag personality better than Nathan Cruz.
This is the most I’ve ever enjoyed Moser. I like him a ton in this angle with his vendetta against The Origin. My biggest knock on Moser in the time I’ve been watching is that he seemed pointless/directionless, This story has completely rectified that and not only gave him purpose, but has made him likable. He’s awesome as this resilient, never say die babyface who wants to tear down the people that fucked him over. Simple story, but it’s been very effective.
The match itself was very good and my 2nd favorite match on the show. Gibson is one of the best in the world at working while in control and he was his usual self here. Moser showed a ton of fire when he was on offense, but Gibson would do a great job cutting him off. When Gibson had the Shankly Gates locked in, Moser escaped it by grabbing the hand of Nathan Cruz, who was taunting him from outside the ring. That was a spot I’m not sure I’ve ever seen, bu it was extremely smart. Moser would go on to win with a small package and he gets his wish of a match with Cruz. Cruz and Gibson beatdown Moser after the match.
Pollyanna vs. Dahlia Black
These two typically have very good chemistry so I’m looking forward to this.
This match had the stipulation that if anyone interfered, both women would be fired. So no TK Cooper with Dahlia Black and no Jack Sexsmith with Pollyanna.
This was a very solid match, A bit of sloppiness here and there, but I liked the pace they worked with. Jinny came out during the match and seemingly had the intention to interfere so she could knock out some of her competition for the next Natural Progression Series, but Smallman made sure that didn’t happen. He made it clear that not only would Black and Pollyanna get fired, but so would Jinny. With her plan thwarted, Jinny retreated to the back.
After that little interruption, the match went back to business. After a really good last couple of minutes, Pollyanna put away Black with the Blackout Driver.
PROGRESS Tag Team Championship: London Riots (James Davis & Rob Lynch) (c) vs. The Dazzler Team (Earl Black Jr & Darrell Allen)
This was decent. I’m not the biggest fan of London Riots, but it was fun to see them go away from the brawling aspect of their act for a bit and do some chain wrestling. It was refreshing because we don’t get to see them do that too often. The Dazzler Team does absolutely nothing for me though so there’s only so much I’d be interested in this. Riots would win with their tandem pop-up spear. Completely fine match, technically sound, and when the pace started to pick up, they got me a bit.
The Dunne Brothers (Damian & Pete Dunne) vs. FSU (Mark Andrews & Eddie Dennis)
The match has a really entertaining start. Dunne Bros attack FSU before the bell rings. FSU gets the Dunne Bros and then hit dives on them. When they get ready to go a 3rd time, Eddie Dennis tells Andrews he doesn’t want to do it anymore. Andrews pulls out a lucha mask to convince Dennis to dive. The return of “Eddie Mysterio” was enough to get Dennis to dive.
After those opening moments, the match still kept a fun pace. This match was more of a spotfest go-go-go styled one. I’ve loved having Pete Dunne back in PROGRESS and whether it’s in a tag or singles match, he’s always a bright spot on the show. There were more contrived tag team spots than there were in the tag championship match like a couple of kick to knee that makes one partner piledrive the other spots, but I don’t think it took anything away from the match. End of the match came when FSU hit the Next Up Driver on Damian Dunne for the win.
Mikey Whiplash vs. William Eaver
This was built up as a matchup of “Heaven vs. Hell”.
The match for the most part is brawling, where I think Whiplash excels. Eaver…not so much. I didn’t like this much. It never felt like the match found it’s groove. I think the gimmick is fun, but Eaver has a lot of growing to do as a performer. Whiplash would win with a death valley driver.
PROGRESS World Championship: Marty Scurll (c) vs. Chris Hero
This was the match everyone was waiting for and the big fight atmosphere was there for it. Marty wore his white outfit that I think he debuted at the RPW Angle vs Sabre Jr show and Hero wore a very rare looking Cleveland Cavaliers jersey.
For as much hate as I see Scurll get from certain circles of the wrestling bubble, when he’s on his game, he’s one of my favorite performers to watch work someone over. Coming in to this match though, I was very curious to how this match would work out. I went on a rant about Hero’s bully match formula and overall ability to make a match with anyone work in the SSS16 review and how it’s lead to great matches with a variety of people. Hero really wouldn’t be able to bully around Scurll because Scurll is the dastardly, villainous figure. So how would they find a way to build the match? They made them seem like equals and Marty came out looking like a million bucks after this match.
These guys worked like they weren’t the size they really are. Let me explain a bit because that may sound confusing for people. The way Scurll wrestled made him seem bigger than he actually is and the way Hero sold made him feel smaller and more defeatable. That’s a good thing. At no point did Marty seem out of place in the ring with Chris. When Marty is slapping Chris in the face, it’s coming from a man that feels like every bit of the star Hero is. Even when standing there exchanging strikes with Hero, Marty felt like he belonged there. Hero did something we haven’t seen him do too often this year, and that was work as the babyface underneath. Now, Hero is much bigger than Marty so I could see some people having trouble suspending their disbelief during the moments where Scurll dominates Hero, but I thought Hero was so good at showing fire and garnering sympathy that it made the size disparity irrelevant. It doesn’t hurt that I thought this was Scurll’s best performance of the year either. He wasn’t as good as Hero, but you can bet your ass Marty was ready to go for this one. He didn’t do a lot of the things that typically annoy me when I watch him (flap his arms, do the long set up for the chickenwing). No comedy, just a guy who’s all business and wants to prove his worth against a man that many consider to be the best wrestler on Earth. Scurll was excellent working over Hero’s arm.
Once they got to the point in the match where the started exchanging bombs, I really got sucked in to it. One of my favorite spots of the year when all is said and done is in this match when Scurll does the finger snap to Hero, but Hero comes back with an elbow. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the spot where Marty did 2 apron super kicks to Hero, but Hero didn’t go down and they went back in to the ring and started to have a hockey fight. God, just thinking about that spot again makes me excited.
The finish happens when Scurll hits Hero with a cradle piledriver. Hero kicks out at 1. Scurll snaps the fingers on both of Hero’s hands and then locks in the chickenwing. The Villain protects his turf and retains the championship. Excellent finish to a excellent match.
This was very much a one match show, but that one match is fantastic and something everyone should seek out. Outside of Hero vs Scurll, can’t say I’d press anybody to watching anything on this show. Only other thing of worth is the Damon Moser vs The Origin stuff. Chapter 32 happened on Sunday so whenever that comes out, a review will be will be waiting for you, right here on Wrestling With Words. Thanks for reading.