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Hamilton’s Best of Mark Andrews in PROGRESS Report (12.26.20)

March 26, 2021 | Posted by Ian Hamilton
Mark Andrews WWE NXT UK
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Hamilton’s Best of Mark Andrews in PROGRESS Report (12.26.20)  

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…

Mark Andrews vs. Paul Robinson – from PROGRESS Chapter 10: Glory Follows Virtue As If It Were Its Shadow (November 24, 2013)
The winner of this first Natural PROGRESSion Series tournament – and therefore this match – gets a shot at the PROGRESS title, and an unannounced surprise…

They start with a tie-up, as Robinson takes Andrews to the corner for a clean break. The favour’s quickly returned, and Robinson works on a wristlock over Andrews, who reverses the hold and turns it into an arm wringer. Robinson reverses again, and turns it into a snapmare and an armbar, whilst rolling through for extra leverage.

A waistlock takedown sees Robinson put on the mat, but he quickly gets a hammerlock and knees Andrews in the ribs. After a sunset flip, Robinson catches a kick from Andrews, before he pulls off an amazing tiltawhirl satellite headscissor takedown on the Welshman.

Andrews leaps over a diving Robinson in the corner, then lands a dropsault. Robinson drops out of a full nelson and kicks Andrews in the head. Andrews takes another kick, but hands a hurricanrana then a double stomp to Robinson for just a two-count. After they both get back to their feet, Robinson kicks Andrews and goes for a rear chinlock, before another dropkick gets Robinson a two-count.

Robinson hooks away at Andrews’ eyes during an armbar, before he slaps away at Andrews’ back and lands a few uppercuts. Andrews hits a couple of forearms, but gets shoved away, before connecting with a 619 to Robinson’s back and a springboard dropkick back into the ring. Robinson went on the floor and just about caught a tope con hilo from Andrews.

Back inside, Andrews dropped Robinson with a Northern Lights suplex and a corkscrew moonsault for a near-fall, only to get backdropped onto the apron, with a brainbuster waiting for him after he returned to the ring. Robinson went up to the top and missed a leaping legdrop, then missed a spinning roundhouse kick as Andrews drills him with a reverse ‘rana. After kicking out of a small package, Robinson connected with the roundhouse kick for a near-fall.

The pair traded forearms from their knees, then worked to their feet, before duelling cross bodies saw both men collide with each other in mid-air. The camera shows Will Ospreay in a Green Lantern t-shirt cheering on Paul Robinson (part of me wants that to be a dig at a certain indie super-fan…)

Andrews gets to his feet first, but his move to climb the ropes ended with Robinson crotching him on the top turnbuckle, and drops Andrews with a top rope rana, then a spinning corkscrew kick as Ospreay was losing his mind at ringside. Andrews kicked out at two as the more reserved Eddie Dennis watched on. Robinson crashed and burned with a shooting star press, with Andrews rushing into the corner with a dropkick, and followed up with a super belly-to-belly moonsault for the win! That was nuts – some parts you could pick apart for psychology and selling, but this was a fantastic way to crown the first ever NPS tournament. ****

Mark Andrews vs. Chris Hero – from PROGRESS Chapter 30: Super Strong Style 16 Night One (May 29, 2016)
Chris Hero was making his debut for PROGRESS, one of the few promotions that the former Kassius Ohno seemingly hadn’t wrestled in. The crowd were certainly more than up for Hero’s appearance. Hero hoisted up Andrews in a waistlock to start with, then dumped him back to the mat, before working on Andrews’ arm, then utilising a Will Ospreay-like set of kip-ups to get out of a wristlock after Andrews had reversed it. Hero used his size advantage to lift up Andrews whilst he was applying a headlock, then nailed Andrews with a chop as he teased running off the ropes.

The momentum kept moving as Andrews shifted out of a tilt-a-whirl and scored a two-count, but was quickly sent flying to the floor courtesy of a big boot from Hero. They spilled out onto the floor as Andrews was elbowed in the crowd, before Hero returned to the ring to take a count-out win, but Andrews beat the ten-count. A forearm gave Hero a two-count, as did a mighty back senton, but Andrews tried to mount a comeback with some chops, which had little effect on the American.

A victory roll and a double stomp got Andrews a glimmer of hope, as the Welshman chopped away at Hero with kicks to the leg, then a hurricanrana before sending Hero to the outside with an enziguiri. Andrews followed up with a tope con hilo that morphed into a hurricanrana on the floor, followed by a flying ‘rana off the top rope and a standing shooting star press for a two-count. Hero rolled away from a shooting star press off the top, and knocked down Andrews with a pump kick, but only scored a count of two from that.

Andrews fired back with more strikes, but was again cut-off, eating a bicycle kick against the ropes, before nailing a reverse ‘rana for a near-fall as Hero almost got shocked. A slingshot into the ring from Andrews got caught and ended up with Hero flattening him with a back senton, then a pair of flipping release suplexes as the well-travelled Hero looked to get closer to victory.

A stiff forearm shot dazed Andrews again, but his effort at blocking a piledriver saw Hero tease a Styles Clash, only to drill Andrews with a spike piledriver anyway… for another two-count. Hero tried to get a ripcord elbow (a la the Rainmaker), but that was turned into a backslide for a two-count, but Andrews unwisely tried to nail the Dragon Suplex on the bigger Hero… before eventually dropping Hero with a German suplex.

Another big boot rocked Andrews as the momentum shifted back and forth, with Andrews hitting a moonsault press into a DDT for a near-fall. However, Andrews looked to have nailed a shooting star press, only for Hero to move out of the way and grab Andrews’ neck, as he proceeded to lift him up with a cravat and drop him on his neck and shoulders a la a snapmare. One roaring elbow later, Hero thought he’d won it, but Andrews got a shoulder up, only to fall to a spike tombstone piledriver as Chris Hero made it to the quarter-finals.

I’m not one of Chris Hero’s biggest fans, but by God, that was a hell of a match. The ultimate “don’t judge a book by its cover” (or in his case, physique) wrestler, the rest of the PROGRESS roster will need to pull out all the stops to top this! ****½

Mark Andrews vs. Shane Strickland – from PROGRESS Chapter 44: Old Man Yells At Cloud (February 26, 2017)
They start slowly as Strickland deliberately takes down Andrews with an armbar, but the Welshman eventually works out into a toe-hold that Strickland countered into another grounded armbar that turned into a pinning combination.

Slowly, the tempo raises as Andrews goes for some armdrags, then trips Strickland before going for a headlock, only for the American to roll up into a dropkick after some swift kicks from the mat. An atomic drop backbreaker gets Strickland a near-fall, as does a leaping back-kick to a kneeling Andrews, who replies with a step-up ‘rana after Shane had slid towards him.

Strickland goes to the outside, but he rolls back in and hits a rolling cutter to counter a dive from Andrews, before flipping to the floor and into a superkick as Andrews whips him towards the balcony, before following up with a tornado DDT off of the balcony! They return to the ring to trade forearms, before Strickland kicked Andrews in the head as the Welshman tried to pull him back by his tights.

A deadlift brainbuster gets Strickland a near-fall, before a reverse ‘rana was blocked and almost turned into a reverse Fly Swatter, ending with Andrews hitting a stomp and a running shooting star press to almost win the match. Strickland rebounds with a superkick and a DDT after trapping Andrews in the middle rope, with a 450 Splash then getting a two-count, before Andrews finally hit that poison ‘rana.

Knowing that move never wins a match, Andrews went up top for a Dragonrana for a near-fall, only for the follow-up shooting star press to get stopped by way of another kick. Andrews blocks a superplex though, then turns it into a top rope poison ‘rana… but Strickland lands on his feet, only to get caught with a Stundog Millionaire, then a shooting star press as Andrews took home the win! An incredible finishing sprint, and a fantastic outing that delivered something for all! ***¾

Mark Andrews vs. Pete Dunne – from PROGRESS Chapter 46: I Like To Chill Out Here And Shoot Some Dinosaurs (March 26, 2017)
This was Andrews’ cashing in his Thunderbastard title shot to continue a rivalry that’s gone from ATTACK!, to PWG, to WWE, NXT and now… PROGRESS’ 5th anniversary show.

Andrews starts by doing a Peter, biting the hand after a handshake offer and taking the champion outside with a ‘rana, before following up with another ‘rana on the floor. Back inside though, Dunne stamps on Andrews’ hand before taking a Shiranui on the apron in a really impactful opening minutes.

They kept up a similar pace throughout, with Andrews blocking a Dunne attempt at a Stundog Millionaire, before landing the Moonsent and then hitting a tope into a tornado DDT on Dunne on the floor. Back inside, a satellite DDT turned into a crucifix (called “Jimmy Eat World” by Andrews) gets a near-fall, but Dunne powers back in with a forearm smash before backflipping over Andrews to kickstart a pair of reverse ‘ranas. Yes, Peter finally figured out how to counter it… by hitting one of your own!

A Dragon suplex almost dumps Dunne on his head, as Andrews tries to finish off Peter… but the champion popped up with an enziguiri, only to take a reverse ‘rana off the top rope as the pendulum continued to shift. Of course, Dunne goes for a Bitter End that’s turned into a DDT, before a superkick meant for Dunne takes out referee Chris Roberts… who then takes an accidental boot as Andrews caught a kick from Dunne and swung it the direction of the referee. Silly Roberts…

With no referee, the match continued as Andrews landed a tornado DDT, but then out comes Trent Seven – complete in a WWE polo shirt – to blast Andrews with a Dragon suplex and a piledriver just in time for Paz to run down the aisle to make the two-count. Another Bitter End is countered into what I can only describe as a Tombstone Destroyer by Andrews, who follows up with a shooting star press… but Tyler Bate dives in to stop Paz’s hand from making the three count.

Andrews takes out the tag champs with a moonsault to the floor, before he puts on the breaks as Paz is pulled into the path of his springboard back in. The ref’s shoved aside so Dunne can kick Andrews low, before another Bitter End is caught and turned into a Vertebreaker that went awry. A second one worked, but Dunne rolled to the ropes… and with one foot underneath the bottom rope, Marc Parry counted the pin and we have a new champion!

Not so fast. The crowd celebrates, but Chris Roberts awoke as the two referees argued back and forth… we end up with a Dusty Finish, and the match is restarted.

Dunne blasts Andrews immediately, before Paz gets decked with a forearm as Dunne looks for an intentional DQ. That didn’t come, so Chris Roberts ejects Seven and Bate, and we’re back to one-on-one action, with Dunne seeing an X-Plex turned into a ‘rana for another two-count from Andrews. A Bitter End follows, but Andrews kicks out, then turns another X-Plex into a Stundog Millionaire as a set-up for a shooting star press!

Dunne somehow kicked out of that though, and now Andrews teases Peter with a Bitter End, but instead we get some biting and another reverse ‘rana. Yet another shooting star press follows, but Dunne forearms him on the way down, leaving Andrews prone for one last Bitter End as he retained the title. ****¼

Mark Andrews vs. Flash Morgan Webster – from PROGRESS Chapter 63: Take Me Underground (February 11, 2018)
Days before flying out to be a part of 205 Live, Mark Andrews had his match against the guy I was joking he should team with. There’s no surprise from Eddie Dennis before the match, and it’s a pretty even start as both men keep things on the ground, with Webster just about edging ahead.

Andrews tries to turn up the pace with some armdrags, but Webster stuffs one and frustrates the high flyer, before nailing a Rude Boy moonsault press as Andrews just couldn’t get into gear. It’s perhaps the most sustained offence Webster’s had in a PROGRESS match in a long while… and just as I type that, Andrews nails a tornado DDT out of the corner to snatch a near-fall.

A 450 off the middle rope misses as Andrews rolls through… only to turn around into Webster’s Angels Wings as the Mod kept racking up those two-counts. Andrews fights outs out of a Brit Pop Drop but can’t avoid the headbutt, as he’s then taken up top for a… bloody hell, a reverse ‘rana! Right on the head! It’s still not enough though as Andrews kicks out at two, but the Shadows over Malice senton lands on Andrews’ knees as Vicki Haskins wandered out to ringside.

Webster tried to order Vicki away, which she does… taking Webster’s moped helmet with her as Andrews capitalises, taking down Webster for a shooting star press for the win. This was much better than I made it sound, as endless buffering took me out of things. Flash’s winning streak is snapped at one, and he’s lost his helmet again! ***½

Mark Andrews vs. Zack Sabre Jr. – from PROGRESS Chapter 69: Be Here Now (May 20, 2018)
I was shocked at how little these two had faced each other – but I guess their international travels meant their paths diverged a lot. They’ve only had two singles matches against each other, the last being in Southside about two years earlier…

Mark Andrews was in his first match in ages without having to worry about Eddie Dennis, who’d been banned from the building as per his agreement to fight Andrews at some point down the line.

It’s a pretty even start, with Sabre going into his usual route of working over the wrist… but Andrews tries to hit the same playbook too as we reached a stalemate. Sabre grabs a chinlock, but Andrews escaped and tried to roll past Zack… only to get caught time and again in full nelsons. Armdrags finally work as Andrews took Zack to the outside, but Sabre stops a plancha and catches him between the ropes with an Octopus stretch.

Back inside, Sabre’s pie-facing Andrews as he begins to pick his shots, but Andrews escaped as fell into the territory of the overly zoomed-in-camera as he sent Sabre outside with a dropkick… before leaping off of the ring stairs with a senton! A springboard crossbody just gets a two-count for Andrews back in the ring, before the pair trade snapmares, ending with Sabre twisting Andrews’ neck between his legs.

Sabre keeps up on Andrews with kicks, taking him to the mat for a surfboard, before cancelling out an escape by grounding Andrews in a STF attempt, as this was looking rather easy for the Super Strong Style 16 winner, especially when he just shrugged off chops from Andrews and wrenched him down to the mat with a strangle hold, turning Andrews’ face purple in the process. Andrews flips over to reverse it, then tries a wheelbarrow into a stomp, only to get choked in the corner as Sabre had been placed on the top rope. A gamengiri resets things, as Andrews joined Zack up top for a ‘rana, then a cartwheel into a moonsault as the Welshman started to sneak back into the contest.

A 450 splash had to be aborted as Sabre rolled away and comes back in with a tornado DDT… but he rolls through and counters a Stundog Millionaire into a Dragon sleeper, ending only when Andrews rolled into the ropes. They resume with an exchange of strikes ahead of a crucifix driver from Andrews, before he went back to those strikes and chops as we saw an unusually aggressive side to the Welshman. Sabre stops all that by pulling him down into a PK, only to get hit with a reverse ‘rana as the match became rather more tit-for-tat.

Andrews goes back up, but his shooting star press lands right into a triangle choke from Sabre… somehow Andrews flips over into a pinning predicament as Zack’s forced to let go, as the tournament winner is pushed even closer, before a ‘rana is rolled out of and into the Hyper Normalization double armbar, with Andrews quitting to save his shoulder joints. A really good technical outing from these two – reminding us of the aggression Andrews has when he needs it, while Zack picked up another win to keep him on course for Wembley. ****¼

Mark Andrews vs. Austin Theory – from PROGRESS Coast to Coast: Philadelphia (August 4, 2018)
This was part of a “pick your poison” series of matches to build up the Eddie Dennis/Mark Andrews match that’d eventually happen at Wembley. Austin Theory’s back to having just random words as nicknames… which EVOLVE dropped for a reason.

Theory tries to ground Andrews early as commentary explained some of those nicknames, before a series of armdrags frustrated the FIP champion briefly. Shrugging that off, Theory takes down Andrews for a slingshot stomp, then a suplex as his offence came to a crashing halt when Andrews got his knees up to block a standing moonsault.

Andrews flies about as he edged back into the match, only to end up getting caught in a rack bomb by Theory for a two-count as the Welshman’s game was used against him. The Stundog Millionaire catches Theory off guard though, before the referee’s used as a human shield to give Theory a chance to hit a roll-through into a blockbuster. A DDT from Andrews stops that, sending Theory outside for a tope, before the shooting star press back in the ring puts away All Day, Limit Breaking, etc etc Theory. A solid outing, with Theory playing his part well… but in the end the PROGRESS coin for Three and In went to Mark Andrews here. ***

Mark Andrews vs. WALTER – from PROGRESS Coast to Coast: Detroit (August 12, 2018)
Sticking the World title in the middle of the card kinda signals “no title change”, but since WALTER’s making every singles match a title match, it is what it is.

WALTER started by bullying Andrews early, lifting him onto the apron before taking down the Welshman with a Jim Breaks-like arm lift. Mark’s forced to sticking and moving, as he had to avoid a chop… then duck a big boot as he eventually caught the Austrian with a leaping ‘rana out of the corner. A tope’s next, but WALTER catches Mark on the outside before booting him on the floor, and it’s back to business as WALTER elbowed Andrews in the head before trapping him in the ropes with some crossface punches. Things get from bad to worse as WALTER chokes Andrews by standing on him across the top rope, before a crossface forces Andrews to reach for the ropes to get free.

Undeterred, Andrews tries to chop back into it, but he succeeds more with some kicks before WALTER stuffs an Irish whip, only to get met with an enziguiri. The wheelbarrow into the Stomp 182 gets a near-fall for Andrews, before his attempt to springboard in from the apron is rudely stopped in mid-air. WALTER drags Andrews back in with a Gojira clutch, lifting him over the top rope as a release German suplex flipped Mark inside out. WALTER manages to catch Andrews with a big boot, but another Gojira nearly backfires as Andrews rolled out of it… only for his next attempt at a wheelbarrow roll-up to get caught as WALTER turns it into another Gojira. Ow. Andrews does make it into the ropes, but he’s soon obliterated with a clothesline… which he shrugs off as a Code Red nearly put WALTER away.

That Code Red looked to be the cue for Eddie Dennis to appear with a microphone, saying he picked WALTER as Mark’s opponent so he could see his former friend get flattened. The mic cuts out a little, before Mark cut him off with a tope con giro… then returned to the ring to try and finish off WALTER with a shooting star press… only for Eddie to pull out the referee at the count of two. One cheapshot from Eddie follows, as he comes into the ring with the PROGRESS title belt, but he’s quickly dispatched as Andrews again came agonisingly close to winning the match with a ‘rana.

A middle rope 450 splash misses from Andrews though, allowing WALTER to hit back straight away with a shotgun dropkick. Not to worry – a Stundog Millionaire puts down the Austrian, before Mark heads up for another shooting star press… right into the knees, as WALTER nonchalantly picked up Andrews for a brainbuster. That gets a two-count, before another Gojira led to the win. A nice, even outing here, and the best match of the show so far, but I’m not crazy at the run-in at the end – even if it is designed to get to Eddie vs. Mark at Wembley. ***½

8.3
The final score: review Very Good
The 411
In 2021, a lot of folks only know Mark Andrews as "that tag team guy in NXT UK", with few knowing of his run in PROGRESS - and likely even fewer his brief stay in Impact. This selection of matches puts a good focus on Andrews' singles career in PROGRESS, and perhaps serves as a reminder to a lot of folks that he's more versatile than you'd think. Get this on your watchlists!
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article topics :

Mark Andrews, Ian Hamilton