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Hamilton’s Best of Atlas Championship in PROGRESS Report (01.02.21)

March 13, 2021 | Posted by Ian Hamilton
Rampage Brown NXT UK
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Hamilton’s Best of Atlas Championship in PROGRESS Report (01.02.21)  

A reminder: these are old reviews, and while I’ve not updated any names from what they were announced as on the night, I’ve done my best to remove mentions of people here who are on that suspected persona non-grata list…

Rampage Brown vs. Bad Bones – from PROGRESS Chapter 38: When Men Throw Men At Men (October 30, 2016)
Rampage’s open challenge for the Atlas title was answered by wXw’s Bad Bones – and the match started with Bones taking the champion into the ropes, forcing a break.

Bones connects with a dropkick to Rampage, before chopping away and finally delivering a back body drop to the champion. Rampage rolls to the outside, and gets met with a low-pe from Bones, who quickly brought him back inside, with a missile dropkick coming on top of that. The pair trade corner chops and clotheslines, before a big boot from Rampage stunned the German, who finally got some separation after landing a T-bone suplex. An avalanche in the corner followed, as did a stalling suplex, but Rampage burst out of the corner with a short clothesline that earned him a near-fall.

Rampage whips Bad Bones hard into the corners, before they spilled outside where they went back and forth with chops. A slingshot spear gets Bad Bones back into it briefly for a near-fall, but Rampage hit back with a uranage. Bad Bones blocks a piledriver and went for his Rebel Lock crossface, only to switch it up into a superkick for another two-count. The back and forth continued, until Rampage hit a back superplex, then a piledriver out of nowhere for the win. By the end, Bad Bones had gotten the crowd into the match, especially with a lot of them not having been familiar with his work… an absolutely immense Atlas match, in a division that seemingly can do no wrong. ***½

Matt Riddle vs. Rob Lynch – from PROGRESS Freedom’s Road #12 – Thursday Night Fight Night (March 07, 2017)
Riddle schools Lynch in the early moments, scoring with a takedown but Rob was able to keep with things, at times going hold-for-hold with Riddle. A back senton with Riddle piggybacked on him breaks up a rear naked choke, before a big lariat left the Bro reeling.

Lynch keeps up the pressure with an overhead belly to belly for a near-fall, but he follows up with some German suplexes… and you know what that means! Riddle throws some of his own in, but Lynch pops back up too, and this is like a Newton’s cradle of German suplexes! Eventually Riddle rushes in with a knee and a fisherman’s buster for a near-fall as the champion surged ahead… backdropping Lynch almost all the way to the floor before a springboard forearm knocked him down.

We start going airborne as Lynch hit a dive into Riddle on the floor, before Riddle no-sells a Destroyer… and throws in one of his own! That left Rob down and out, but Riddle couldn’t capitalise, and instead we go to a shout-off of Bro and Mate as they leather each other with repeated forearms.

An overhead kick from Riddle takes Lynch into the corner, but Riddle’s attempt at a forearm into the corner is met with a spear as Lynch exploded out of the corner, getting a near-fall with Riddle way too close to the ropes. So Lynch just chops away at Riddle, who gleefully gives receipts, before a second overhead kick is caught, and eventually met with a Bro to Sleep. A tombstone slam follows as Riddle lifted up Lynch… but from the kick-out he scissors Lynch for the Bromission, forcing Rob to submit. That was absolutely insane – saving the best for last in this series of Freedom’s Road, hard-hitting and exemplifying the Atlas division.

WALTER vs. Rampage Brown – from PROGRESS Chapter 65: Have Some Faith In The Sound (March 25, 2018)
Some fourteen months after losing the title, Rampage gets his first chance at regaining the Atlas belt – having beaten Roy Johnson at a Dome show for the shot. Problem was, he’d have to go through WALTER to regain the strap… a man he already had two wins over in prior outings.

WALTER took the fight to him early on, but an early chop attempt was a swing and a miss, before he refused to budge at Rampage’s shoulder tackles. A massive boot took Rampage’s face off, as the Austrian tried to chop his challenger in half… and yes, we had plenty of those chops from both men. Rampage was starting to make a mark, literally, but WALTER outdid Rampage in height and weight, which put the challenger in a rather unusual position of not being the biggest man in the match.

With that advantage in hand, WALTER was breezing past Rampage, throwing in suplexes along with his reliable chops… oh, and some clubbering forearms to the chest. It was almost too easy for WALTER here, especially compared to the last man he defended his title against… Another big boot swatted away Rampage as he leapt off the middle rope, before WALTER tried to follow up with a RINGKAMPF German, only to get met with a back suplex.

It’s back to the chops though as WALTER found a way back in, aiming for the throat, but Rampage almost nicked the win with an Andre slam! In response to Rampage’s piledriver tease, WALTER obliterates him with a boot, a German suplex and a lariat, before another chop battle just led to WALTER taking a back suplex. Another piledriver attempt is backdropped out of, and that seemed to be the end for Rampage, as he ate a shotgun dropkick and a powerbomb, before a Gojira clutch led to a referee stoppage. A fun match if you love big lads beating the crap out of each other – although there was such an abundance of chops, I could see why some wouldn’t like it. That’s WALTER pretty much sweeping the division… so what next for der Ringgeneral? ***½

Joseph Conners vs. Doug Williams vs. Rob Lynch vs. Rampage Brown – from PROGRESS Chapter 69: Be Here Now (May 20, 2018)
So, with WALTER vacating the Atlas title so he could have another run at Travis Banks’ title, we had a four-way to crown a new champion. Featuring Joseph “I’ve put on more than a stone since I was on 205 Live” Conners. PROGRESS gonna troll! Either way, the successor to WALTER was hardly going to be someone anywhere near as dominant…

Conners scarpers to the outside early, where Doug Williams inadvertently followed as we quickly went through the revolving door stuff early on, as Conners quickly gets surrounded by the other three for a game of pinball. An Exploder sent Conners to the outside as the crowd cheered on Williams, ahead of a three-way series as commentary pointed out that Williams had lost to Lynch and Rampage on previous shows.

Conners tries again, but he gets wiped out with a huge slam as he was clearly in to be the small body to get chucked around, as the match descended into something resembling a melee with nobody being able to maintain a clear advantage for a while. Lynch’s moonsault press off the middle rope would have gotten a pin, but Williams breaks it up as this isn’t an elimination match. Williams gets back into it with an Indian deathlock to Conners, combining a Northern Lights to Rampage at the same time for a near-fall. Another Exploder drops Lynch, but he’s caught on the top rope as this turned into a Tower of Doom into Conners. A spear from Lynch is avoided as Conners nearly rolls him up, before he was met with a front suplex and a knee from the former London Riot, only for Conners to return with a sunset flip powerbomb.

Meanwhile, Doug gets spiked with an apron piledriver by Rampage, taking an awful landing as he looked to be down and out. Conners capitalises on a disbelieving Rampage with some elbows, but the first Atlas champion is back with clotheslines and a uranage for a near-fall, with Lynch breaking it up as the crowd seemingly fell silent because of Williams. Rampage and Lynch jockey for position as an O’Connor roll’s broken up by a slingshot DDT from Conners, who then followed up with a tornado bulldog as he tried to snatch some pinning attempts.

A Samoan drop from Rampage stops Conners as we get a near-fall, before Conners tried to steal a pin from Lynch’s spear… but Williams breaks it up and gets another DDT as Conners kept being a pain. Rampage tries to piledrive Conners, only for Lynch to break it up and send Rampage to the outside with a back body drop… those two end up outside as they battle it out, as Conners crotches Williams as he’d tried to go up top.

Conners drags Williams off the top rope, but his search for an O’Connor roll backfires as Doug slips out and nails the Chaos Theory for the win out of nowhere! I liked the surprise win, and the sudden rain of streamers gave us a feel good moment for the show. ***

Trent Seven vs. Timothy Thatcher – from PROGRESS Chapter 84: Eskeewd Beef! Have Anybody Got Any Bokkle Oran Doove? (February 24, 2019)
Today’s open challenger was Timothy Thatcher – a let down for some who were expecting Kassius Ohno to answer it. For some reason Trent Seven had some gauze taped to his ribs, almost like he’d rolled onto some hair straighteners. Not quite personal experience, but usually injured ribs are taped, no? Anyway, we start with Timothy Thatcher grinding his knuckles into Trent’s neck as the early going as he then proceeded to take down Trent in an armbar attempt… only for the champion to roll away. Thatcher keeps up the focus on the arm, but Trent’s having to get to the ropes to save himself, as Thatcher was giving him little to do but defend himself.

A chop attempt’s just laughed off. Well, it would have been if Thatcher laughed. So Trent just throws some more, including one to the thigh as a DDT led to a quick two-count. Seven followed in with a legdrop for another near-fall, before they headed outside, where Trent matched Thatcher’s strikes… until he reached the part of the match where he chops the ringpost. NOW THATCHER SMILES. Masochist.

Back inside, some belly-to-belly suplexes leave Trent on his knees, before Thatcher removed the bandage that was covering Trent’s ribs. Cue kicks and stomps to the exposed area, as Thatcher resumed his dismantling of the champion. Trent manages to hit back as he countered out of a suplex, but Thatcher’s right back in with an uppercut… only for Trent to respond with a chop. Uppercuts and chops break through the atmosphere, until Trent ducked an enziguiri and tries to lock up Thatcher in an enziguiri. Thatcher tries to slap his way free, eventually punching Seven flat on the mat as he was able to undo the hold himself. Rather than go for a pin straight away, Thatcher tries to keep up the offence as we’re back to uppercuts and enziguiri, knocking Trent down for a near-fall.

A spinning backfist from Trent gave him another opening, with a Dragon suplex and an Emerald Fusion in quick succession leading to a near-fall, before a clothesline dumped Thatcher out to the floor. A low-pe’s next, before Trent crashed and burned with… a Whisper in the Wind?! That is not a typo, folks!

Thatcher capitalises with a palm strike to the face for a near-fall, before Thatcher clawed away at the exposed ribs… ribs that had a rather Dusty Rhodes-like splotch on them. The Trent Crossbody’s next, almost out of desperation, but Thatcher rolls through into a Fujiwara armbar, only for Trent to roll through too, catching Thatcher with a piledriver for a near-fall. A lariat’s next, folding Thatcher in half, before a Burning Hammer proved to be enough for the win. This was a nice bit of graps, but marred by a lack of crowd reaction throughout – the open challenge concept is good, but without any long-term story, it’s just a glorified exhibition match in this environment. ***½

Trent Seven vs. WALTER – from PROGRESS Chapter 88: Super Strong Style 16 2019 Night Two (May 05, 2019)
Unless there’s a draw, the Atlas title goes away tonight after what’s billed as “the biggest title match in PROGRESS history”.

Surprisingly, this is the first one-on-one singles match these guys have had, with their last singles match being a three-way for the wXw Unified World Wrestling title, randomly held in Fight Club Pro, with Dave Mastiff being the third man… back in 2011.

In the build up to this, PROGRESS have tried to turn WALTER heel through Trent’s promos – since he’s only appeared in the company once this year. It didn’t quite work as WALTER got cheers for his entrance, as did Trent, so it’d be up to WALTER to revert to his bullying tactics if he’s meant to get the crowd on his back. We’ve a measured start here as commentary tried to weave a story between RINGKAMPF and British Strong Style, but the action in the ring sees Trent getting sent to the ropes early on as he tried to take WALTER to the mat. When that didn’t work, Trent fired up… only to get taken down with a forearm from behind as we started to see the more callous WALTER.

WALTER gets caught with a series of chops, before Trent finished the hattrick with a shot to the leg and a DDT as he caught the NXT UK champion off guard. Following him outside, Trent’s quickly forced to duck as WALTER chops the ring post, but a big boot from WALTER in the ring manages to buy him time as neither man was able to command things in the opening stages. Returning to the ring, Trent throws a chop, but is instantly felled by WALTER’s retort, as the Austrian threatened to assert himself on the match. Slamming Trent, then grinding a boot into his head, WALTER really started to rough up the Atlas champion with knees to the back, before a STF ended in the ropes. Trent tries to fire back with chops, but a Gojira clutch is instantly applied… and broken in the ropes as Trent found himself in the relatively unfamiliar role of the plucky underdog here.

A head and arm choke from WALTER keeps Trent on the mat, as does a chinlock, before a German suplex just folds Trent in half. Boots from WALTER keep Trent on his knees, before a chop battle actually had WALTER backed into the corner, ahead of a clothesline from Trent, sending WALTER outside for a low-pe. He throws WALTER back into the ring, following back with a Dragon suplex as the Atlas champion finally got some notable offence in. A headbutt from Trent knocks WALTER away from a possible superplex effort, before Trent decided to go flying with… a Whisper in the Wind?! There’s a more orthodox shotgun dropkick from WALTER, then a powerbomb for a near-fall after Trent’s Jeff Hardy impression went south. More chops from WALTER have Trent back on his knees, but there’s replies as Trent looked to spark something within himself… only for the WALTER chops to put him down again.

Yet Trent still keeps trying, showing he would not be denied, because all he’s got left was his pride as the back and forth chops led to both men collapsing as Trent swung for one more. Still, they would rise up, as WALTER used a kick to Trent’s back before he had to absorb some lariats. A big boot just sends Trent into the ropes for a lariat, but he follows that up with an Emerald Flowsion for a near-fall as the gap in WALTER’s armour was starting to grow. Trent swings for a chop, but can’t avoid a Gojira clutch… instead teasing a Burning Hammer as WALTER just overpowers him with some clubbing blows before the Gojira forces Trent into the ropes. Ever so slowly, that crowd’s turning on WALTER, who builds up with a German suplex and a boot to the head. More clotheslines to the back of the head fell Trent, as does a Saito suplex before another bit of babyface fire sees Trent dive in with a clothesline… only for a powerbomb to take Seven down for a near-fall.

Out of nowhere, Trent flips over WALTER and lands a pair of Seven Star lariats, before a piledriver almost led to the title change… but WALTER gets a shoulder up as you perhaps sensed that was the moment the crowd began to lose hope. Repeated chops from Trent are stopped when WALTER shoves Trent back… and into the referee who took a nasty spill for good measure.

From there, WALTER heads out to grab the two title belts before he flipped off the crowd… they had a tug of war for the two belts… but WALTER lets go as the ref gets up. We get an Eddie Guerrero moment as the ref caught Trent with the title belt… and in among the distraction as Trent handed the belt back, a big boot and a Gojira clutch drags Trent to the mat. The referee’s checking on Trent as WALTER squeezes tighter, doing the arm drop gimmick… but he missed Trent having the sole of his foot on the rope as he ended up waving off the match. Glen lost his mind on commentary, as did the front row fans who saw the foot on the rope, while everyone else seemed to sing along to the RINGKAMPF theme. A really good main event, just let down with a finish that was far from decisive for “the biggest title match ever”. ****

The final score: review Good
The 411
A decent selection of matches from PROGRESS' Atlas division here - and one that perhaps wrapped up the division's history in a bow as they included the final ever Atlas title match, and the rocky final months after it'd all peaked.

article topics :

PROGRESS, Ian Hamilton