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Hamilton’s Best of Pete Dunne in PROGRESS Report (11.07.20)

February 10, 2021 | Posted by Ian Hamilton
Pete Dunne NXT UK Takeover: Blackpool
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Hamilton’s Best of Pete Dunne in PROGRESS Report (11.07.20)  

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…

Pete Dunne vs. Mark Haskins – from PROGRESS Chapter 30: Super Strong Style 16 – Night One (May 29, 2016)
Fresh off of a losing effort in a Cruiserweight Classic qualifier, “Bruiserweight” Pete Dunne’s back to try his hand in the Super Strong Style 16 against the eternally-pushed Mark Haskins.

Dunne slaps down Haskins early on, but that doesn’t bode well as Haskins fired back with slaps of his own, before hitting a snapmare and a dropkick to the “Bruiserweight”. Haskins went for the Sharpshooter, but Dunne was able to resist it and grab the ropes; Haskins twice went for a dive, but ended up being DDT’d back into the ring for a near-fall. Dunne kept Haskins grounded with a leglock, but Haskins fought back to his feet, and took down Dunne with a leg lariat. A Fisherman’s buster came next for Dunne, who had to kick out of a single leg crab, but quickly ate a jumping knee and then a tope as the tide continued to turn.

A roll-through death valley driver earned Haskins a two-count, before missing a double stomp off the top and taking a release suplex for a near-fall from Dunne. Haskins had to kick-out at two from a sit-out powerbomb, before taking a back suplex, only to reverse out of a pumphandle slam as Hasking tied up Dunne with a variation of an Indian deathlock, forcing him to the ropes. Dunne went for the pumphandle slam again, but it was switched into a DDT from Haskins, who then flipped out of a release suplex, and landed in place for an armbar, forcing Dunne to tap out… and after an entertaining back-and-forth match, we have our first quarter-finalist! ***¼

PROGRESS World Championship: Pete Dunne vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (c) – from PROGRESS Chapter 40: Intercepted Angel (December 11, 2016)
Peter was out with Tyler Bate, who was rocking the Peaky Blinders look, and boy, this first defence was one for the ages.

Sabre immediately took Dunne into the ropes, where Tyler Bate came into the equation early on for some reason… which led to Chris Roberts ejecting him from the match. Once Bate had left, we got into the technical portion of the match, and it was exactly how you’d imagine it to go. Dunne’s ankle was wrenched all over the place and into an impromptu single crab, before releasing it to let Dunne stand up once more.

An Indian deathlock followed, before Sabre bridged back to add more torque onto Dunne’s knees. Dunne made the ropes and went for a takedown… just so he could bite away at Sabre’s foot en route to an inverted figure four with some extra nibbling. Sabre worked free and got back on top of Dunne by holding onto a cravat, before countering a crucifix pin by bridging onto his head to break the count.

The crowd remained appreciative of the technical masterclass that Sabre was putting on… which ended abruptly via a forearm shot from Dunne. That just angered Sabre, who returned shot-for-shot, and threw in a couple of neck cranks to try and keep Dunne on the mat. Dunne rebounded though with a Dragon screw, before both men grabbed toe-holds on the other, forcing another rope break.

Dunne trapped Sabre between the ring and the apron, and used that to rain down on the challenger with forearms (and reveal the make-up of the ring!), before Sabre countered with a series of kicks to knock Dunne onto his backside. Back in the ring, Dunne outlasted an STF and followed back on Sabre with a series of dropkicks to the head, before they resumed trading shots back and forth, as kicks and forearms sent the other into the ropes.

Sabre caught Dunne in a knee-bar, but it was too close to the ropes, and Dunne hit back with a Saito suplex before resuming the back-and-forth strikes. Well, I say “back and forth”, Dunne hit at Sabre like a yappy Terrier, only to get slapped down with force. From there, Sabre briefly caught the champion in a guillotine, before a springboard roundhouse kick to the spine knocked Dunne down.

Dunne picked up with a finger bite, but Sabre rebounded with a tornado DDT into a tied-up Dragon sleeper and a roll-up for a near-fall. Sabre attempts a full nelson, but Dunne escaped both times before falling into the Octopus hold (the absurdly-long titled “Hurrah! Another Year, Surely This One Will Be Better Than The Last; The Inexorable March of Progress Will Lead Us All to Happiness”). Again, Dunne made the ropes, then flew into Sabre with an enziguiri, before seeing a tombstone piledriver countered into a prawn hold for a near-fall.

A snap German suplex from Dunne dumped Sabre in the middle of the ring, but Sabre countered a Drop Dead into a Guillotine choke, which was countered out with a release suplex from the champion. Sabre catches Dunne in a triangle, only for the champion to powerbomb himself free, and then fly in with a double stomp to the chest of Sabre. Dunne gets a two-count off of a sit-out powerbomb, before another Drop Dead’s countered into an Octopus hold, which merges into that double armbar that put “Flash” Morgan Webster on the shelf.

Dunne fought free though and went for another tombstone, this time getting it… and then stands back up to land a second in succession, but Peter can’t make the cover! Eventually Dunne gets up and tries for a superplex, but Sabre again catches him with an Octopus on the top rope, then went for a sunset flip powerbomb that Dunne broke up with a thumb to the eye. Sabre recovers with a Dragon superplex… but Dunne landed on his feet, only to lose a striking exchange and fall to a PK, with Sabre this time unable to make the cover.

The pair run into each other with forearms, then slaps, before Sabre lands his Dragon suplex to shock Dunne, then hit a PK for a near-fall. Dunne pulled the referee in the way, but to no avail as Sabre went for another prawn hold for a near-fall, before another triangle armbar led to the armbar from Sabre… but Dunne worked free and into a Drop Dead for the win. This told a fantastic story: Dunne originally scurrying for cover against an opponent some would have felt was out of his league, before finally getting a foothold and wearing Sabre down his way. ****¼

Pete Dunne vs. Mark Andrews vs. Flash Morgan Webster – from PROGRESS Chapter 66: Mardi Graps (April 6, 2018)
Flash was in borrowed ring gear, thanks to his luggage getting lost on the way to New Orleans. For temporary gear, I kinda liked the “hardened” look of Flash. Of the three, Pete Dunne was treated as the bigger star by the crowd, which I guess confirmed NXT > 205 Live in terms of star-making shows on the WWE Network.

Vicki’s ejected from the off, as Pete Dunne bursts into life, taking out Webster with a forearm, then a stomp to the arm as Flash was having his digits pulled on. Flash returned with an armdrag out of the corner as he tried to keep Dunne down, nailing the Special Brew Flip for just a one-count before he was sent to the outside with a clothesline. Mark Andrews comes in next, wheelbarrowing Dunne into a stomp, before scoring with a flying ‘rana…

Revolving Door Wrestling takes us to Webster and Andrews, with the latter trying a roll-up as the pair exchanging pinning attempts before reaching a stand-off. An attempted handshake gets interrupted by Pete Dunne’s biting, as he focuses on Webster, hitting an X-plex onto the apron before going after Andrews once more. Andrews fought back with chops, then a 619 to the gut, before Webster returned with Eton Rifles to Dunne, and a pair of topes con giro to the pair of them on the outside.

A Shadows over Malice senton to Dunne gets a near-fall for Webster as we went back to those revolving doors, with Andrews getting taken into the corner… but he rebounds with a tornado DDT to Webster inside… then Dunne on the floor, before charging into a Strangler from Webster. Not to worry, Andrews escaped with a Northern Lights, but his cover was broken up by a stomp from Dunne to keep the match alive.

Andrews gets suckered into Dunne’s forearm trap, as he’s sent flying into the corner, before Webster replaced him… and got themselves stacked up as Dunne tried to beat them with single leg crabs at the same time. They escape, as a Parade of Moves broke out, including Webster’s Rude Boy moonsault getting superkicked away, before Webster’s Angel Wings on Andrews left everyone laying.

Webster keeps up his assault with a double reverse ‘rana to Dunne and Andrews at the same time, but he’s caught up top by Andrews, who brought him down with another ‘rana, into the path of Dunne, whose Bitter End gets a near-fall… as he broke the count to allow for a shooting star press from Andrews onto Webster, before dishing out a tombstone for the win. Buttery-smooth stuff from all three guys here, although that’s no surprise since they came up together. This was really good, but I’d have liked it had there been something at stake here, but it was what it was. Worth a re-watch though, definitely. ***¾

Pete Dunne vs. Chris Ridgeway vs. Eddie Dennis vs. Mark Haskins – from PROGRESS Chapter 74: Mid Week Matters (July 25, 2018)
“New gear for Chris Ridgeway”… except it’s the trunks he wore during the Natural PROGRESSion Series final a month ago… so no. Anyway, this was the first match that the “Three and In” rule applied to: basically, anyone who can chain together three singles wins between now and the end of August gets into the main event of Wembley, after Zack Sabre Jr was forced to pull out from the show.

The match started with everyone circling the ring before Ridgeway started kicking out at Eddie Dennis… who replied with a forearm. Not to worry, Ridgeway’s able to clear the ring until he got punched out by Mark Haskin… and we’re firmly into the revolving door motif. Two in, one sent to the outside, replaced by someone else, and we wash, rinse and repeat.

Haskins breaks that up so he could trap Dunne in a leg spreader with a butterfly hold, but that just sparks a Parade of Submissions That Everyone Breaks Up… ending with Eddie Dennis kicking Mark Haskins in the head. Eddie stays in to dump Haskins onto Ridgeway with a crucifix bomb, before Pete Dunne nearly faced the same fate, only to get thrown outside instead.

Haskins looked to capitalise, but Eddie gets shot of him also, as Chris Ridgeway snuck up and unleashed a barrage of body blows, then a German suplex to Eddie as there was nary a moment to pause for breath here in among the constant moves. Haskins manages to hit a crusher to Dunne, but is instantly caught with a double stomp from Ridgeway as he landed… and Dunne manages to find a second wind as he forearms Ridgeway into the corner before stepping up into a hanging armbar on Eddie.

An axe kick from Ridgeway stops that, as does a PK as some more kicks from Ridgeway set him up for a Fisherman’s suplex on Haskins for a near-fall… but Mark’s back with a bridging armbar as we again break up everyone’s submissions as Eddie looked for a Next Stop Driver, only to get caught in a Sharpshooter. More barely-locked-in submissions follow as we rush rush rush… until Eddie pushes Mark and Pete into the referee. Low blows are the name of the game, which is odd because this is no DQ, before Eddie rolled up Ridgeway with a handful of tights for a near-fall.

Another accelerated Parade of Moves leads Eddie Dennis into being isolated as everyone stared him down… and laid him out. An ankle lock from Ridgeway… a kick on the apron by Haskins, then an X-plex by Dunne… before everyone focuses on everyone else again. Haskins tries to get the win with double armbars on Dunne and Ridgeway, but here comes Flash to hold Vicki Haskins hostage again, while Wild Boar cannonballs Haskins into the fourth row.

With Haskins out of the equation, Dunne and Ridgeway headbutt each other, before a small package nearly led to the upset, but in the end Dunne has to hold tight through an ankle lock before punching away a roundhouse kick to catch Ridgeway with the “Better End” – the Bitter End into a tombstone for the win. This was good, but good God, slow down lads. So much happening, there was barely time to register or react to anything. ***½

Pete Dunne vs. Mark Andrews – from PROGRESS Chapter 80: Gods and Monsters (December 8, 2018)
Andrews’ losing run in PROGRESS has become his storyline, and having asked for a challenge, we get the 24th meeting between these two.

Dunne shoved away Andrews… and gets met with some headscissors at the bell, then a tope con giro as these two sprinted out of the gates. There’s another ‘rana off of the apron, then a springboard ‘rana back inside as Andrews got an early near-fall. A standing corkscrew press caught as Dunne looked for an armbar, before a snap German suplex folks Andrews in half ahead of a sit-out X-Plex powerbomb for a near-fall.

Andrews tries to make a comeback, but his leap onto Dunne’s shoulders is caught as the NXT UK champion’s eventually met with another ‘rana, then a tornado DDT. We continue with a Dunne forearm, an Andrews Stundog Millionaire… and then a Destroyer out of a Bitter End attempt! On the outside, a moonsault from Andrews is caught and turned into a tombstone on the floor, before a Bitter End back inside draws a near-fall. Some stomps to the head follow from Dunne, but they fire up Andrews who chops his way back into the match, only for Dunne to snap the fingers before another Bitter End’s turned into a ‘rana for a near-fall. Andrews tries to pull Dunne to the top rope, but some biting stops that, only for Andrews to hit a top rope ‘rana.

From there, Andrews misses a shooting star press, before a forearm weakened him further for a pair of Better End tombstones for the win. A hell of a sprint, even if Mark Andrews was getting very spammy with the ‘ranas. It’s odd that this was, for all intents and purposes, a throwaway midcard match, but it’s well worth your time. ***¾

Pete Dunne vs. Cara Noir – from PROGRESS Chapter 95: Still Chasing (September 15, 2019)
After having left PROGRESS at the end of 2018 (we’ll not mention his dark match vs. Beano), this was Dunne’s latest farewell as he’s moving up to “full fat NXT”. So, who’s getting the rub? Was it going to be a surprise appearance of Adam Cole?

It was only Cara flipping Noir, who got a monstrous reaction when the opening strains of the Black Lake played. The entrance is there, but we’re still a little overblown when it comes to the lights and white balance… but it’s great to finally see Cara on such a big stage.

We’ve a pacey start as the pair exchange headlock takedowns, before Dunne realised: Cara Noir doesn’t wear boots, so he’s got ten extra digits to play around with. Wait… that sounds like he’s got a fetish, doesn’t it? Dunne stays on Cara’s fingers to start with, tweaking them before he was forced to roll out of a cravat as a big forearm just decks the Black Swan.

Some kicks to the leg led to Cara getting slapped… so he just decks Dunne with a headbutt before a beautiful Sasuke Special wiped out Peter on the floor. Dunne’s back in the ring first though, catching Noir with a neckbreaker for a two-count before he went to work on the bare feet. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a match end via “this little piggie went to market”… nor from having your toes stomped into the mat.

Rope burns follow between Cara’s toes, which then get rammed into the turnbuckle irons, but Cara’s able to return with a couple of Swan Woos, then a snap German suplex after he sidestepped a charging Dunne. A Rude Awakening-style neckbreaker is next for a near-fall, before the Madame Guillotine led to another two-count as Noir nearly got the upset. Kicks follow, before Dunne hit back with a sit-out powerbomb for a near-fall.

Dunne looks to finish off Noir with repeated stomps, before the tables turn… biting from Dunne stops that before another flurry from Cara Noir ended with a lariat. Cara flips out of the Bitter End and nails Dunne with a package piledriver, but Dunne gets up in the nick of time, and hit back with a Bitter End… before being forced to fight out of a Blackout sleeper. More toe work from Dunne got him free, before a Better End… gets a near-fall?! So Dunne drags Cara into a triangle armbar, as (illegal) finger manipulation forces the submission. A hell of a match that’ll have gotten Cara over to a bigger audience – perhaps even more so than he’d have done if he won the NPS. ****

8.0
The final score: review Very Good
The 411
A really good selection of matches from across Dunne’s time in PROGRESS - rather than focusing on his year-long run with the title - but the choices from the post-title run did highlight some of the issues that came around with using Dunne once he started to get established as WWE’s UK champion...
legend

article topics :

Pete Dunne, PROGRESS, Ian Hamilton