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Hamilton’s Best of PROGRESS: Deep Cuts Report (12.26.20)

March 31, 2021 | Posted by Ian Hamilton
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Hamilton’s Best of PROGRESS: Deep Cuts Report (12.26.20)  

We’ve got a different spin on this, as PROGRESS had Gene Munny film links for this – with the odd visual of him on an old CRT TV, with graphics… not on the TV? He does a solid job linking to matches as I’m reminded watching this that it was Christmas not that long ago…

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…

Tommaso Ciampa vs. Mark Haskins – from PROGRESS Chapter 22: Trust, Encouragement, Reward, Loyalty, Satisfaction (October 18, 2015)
Ciampa gets the welcome back chants, whilst Haskins is main-eventing the first half of this show after coming off second-best in his PROGRESS title match against Will Ospreay last time out. Early on, Ciampa played up a few comedy spots, teasing Haskins into an armbar whilst immediately grabbing the ropes the second Haskins touched him… problem was, this was following a pure comedy match, so it wasn’t as effective as it could have been.

Ciampa played up the comedy of the match (again, probably not the best match placing to do that), as he failed at a kip-up, before succeeding with the help of Haskins and the ref, and doing a celebratory lap of honour. A handshake then sees the switch flip from comedy to wrestling, and we finally get underway, and it segues into a hard hitting battle, with Ciampa suplexing Haskins into the ringpost, before throwing him into the seats. More seat carnage follows, as Ciampa wrecks a fan’s seat by throwing Haskins into it.

Ciampa’s heelish act continued by grabbing a cardigan from a fan in the crowd, and wiping it over his chest and nether regions… classy! Another chair gets wiped out as Ciampa smashes Haskins with an Emerald Fusion, but back in the ring that only scores a near-fall with the crowd going mild for the kickout. Haskins fires back with forearms and kicks, before catching a cross-armbreaker on Ciampa, which gets turned into a one-armed powerbomb, but Haskins switches into a Triangle choke that is easily escaped.

Haskins takes a lot more punishment, including the Project Ciampa for a near fall, but he manages to evade a second Project Ciampa to catch a Death Valley Driver before rolling through for a series of armbars and a Rings of Saturn to score the tapout win! Good match, even if it felt like two different bouts badly stitched together – they could have done without the comedy, but they made up for it with the finishing run. ***½

Spud vs. Paul Robinson – from PROGRESS Chapter 42: Life, The Universe & Wrestling (January 15, 2017)
Spud came out in gear completely covered with PROGRESS logos, which may or may not be heading to the merchandise tables anytime soon!

Paul Robinson didn’t seem to be a fan of Bon Jovi, nor of Spud wiping his backside with the Essex flag, so he attacked Spud from behind as some streamers flew in. There’s windmill punches from Robinson, who then backs off as Spud climbs up using the ropes, before he’s sent back down with a belt shot from Robinson.

The commentators point out that this is not a no-DQ match, but Joel Allen’s giving Robinson plenty of leeway as he lashes out at Spud, before he’s turfed to the outside. Robinson pulls out a dickie bow tie to mock Spud’s old TNA character whilst the former Rockstar drags himself back into the ring. Finally a bell goes as the match officially starts, and Robinson goes into raking the eyes of Spud as the crowd chants about how much they love Essex. Kicks to the spine follow as Spud’s still looking for his first offensive move… and when Robinson stands on his on the middle rope, that offence looks further away.

Robinson throws Spud into the front row, before he follows him out there with some chops before he bites away at Spud’s ear. Back in the ring, Robinson hooks away at Spud, who’s then knocked into the ropes with elbows and forearms. Spud gets crotched when Robinson kicks the ropes into him as he entered the ring again, and here comes the goopy slobber. That bow tie comes back into play as Spud’s forced to eat it, before Robinson slapping it out seems to fire up the hometown hero!

Spud fires back with a spit, but Robinson lays into him again… and now Spud’s Hulking Up! Chops are no-sold, as Spud fires back with a clothesline, before popping up and issuing an instant receipt from a snapmare and a kick! Spud chops away at the legs of Robinson with some kicks before the kickboxer’s clotheslined to the floor, where a suicide dive almost sees Spud overshoot! A second one sees Spud nearly land on his head, before a third keeps Robinson on the deck.

Spud returns to the ring and gets a jumping knee strike, then a neck breaker, before an elbow drop connects. That belt comes back into play, but this time Joel Allen stops Spud… who just undoes his own belt as he gets some payback… then Robinson just dishes out a blatant low-blow for a DQ. As a match, this made sense. You’ve got to remember that for the last few years, Spud has been in TNA losing to one year olds and being Aron Rex’s bellboy – and whilst this was “a different Spud”, you can’t just flip a proverbial switch and maintain believability in a character… and to their credit, they knew that. *½

Jinny vs. Charli Evans – from PROGRESS Revelations of Divine Love (October 2, 2017)
Having seen what happened in the semis of what was a one-night tournament, Charli charged at Jinny at the bell, as she tried to snuff out whatever pre-match fire Jinny may have had. It was somewhat successful, as Jinny rushed in with a knee for an early near-fall, before the action spilled into the crowd as Jinny is more than happy to test the limits of management’s “there must be a winner” ruling.

The fight’s taken to the bar as Jinny plays up to the crowd’s chants of her being a “Tory”… then responding to the crowd’s calls that they “can’t see” by bringing the action closer to them. By Brookes’ing Charli several times. The favour’s returned, which gave her the chance to get a few near-falls back inside, before Jinny just boots her in the throat.

Jinny resurges with some more knee strikes, but Charli won’t stay down! So Jinny traps her in a modified knee bar, forcing the Aussie to drag herself to the ropes for a break, then to the outside for some respite that wasn’t forthcoming. They end up on the stage for some shots, building up to an Acid Rainmaker that produced a somewhat satisfying thud as Evans landed. Jinny’s demeanour looked to be the final straw for Dahlia Black, who left commentary and threw a chair at her. Fair enough!

The pair trade lunging forearms as they tried to get an advantage, before Evans gets a near-fall out of her boots in the corner. A lone dissenter shouted against Evans, who kicked her way out of a Style Clash before rolling up Jinny into the ropes for a near-fall as Jinny shook the ropes to get the ref’s attention that she’d grabbed them.

After getting back up, Jinny walks straight into the Stroke – and that’s enough for her to get her title shot! A pretty solid main event, but it almost played second fiddle to the Jinny/Dahlia stuff. ***

Mark Davis vs. Danny Duggan – from PROGRESS Chapter 71: F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.P.R.O.G.R.E.S.S. (June 10, 2018)
Davis was by far and away the crowd favourite here, and we started off with the basics as Dunkzilla grabbed a headlock and kept hold of it, despite some of Duggan’s attempts to escape. I don’t know why, but in among the counters and reversals, I smirked a little as Glen Joseph wished Drew Parker well for CZW’s Tournament of Death, which took place the day before… After missing one, Duggan hits a second dropkick, then an enziguiri, before running into a whoopee cushion from Davis for a near-fall. Duggan’s back with chops in the corner, but Davis throws harder… much, much harder. A ducked chop ends badly as Duggan catches Davis’ arm and gets it in the face before returning fire with a leg lariat.

Duggan tries to leap off the middle rope but gets a boot to the face as Davis goes for a shoulder breaker, before nonchalantly dumping him to the mat and squashing him with a back senton for a two-count. More chops keep Duggan rocked, but he’s able to hit the dropkick out of the middle rope and a knee to the face, as Davis rolled onto the apron. A springboard, Jericho-like dropkick takes Davis to the floor for a tope, before he returned in with a crossbody for a near-fall.

Duggan tries to lift Davis in a waistlock, but instead scores with a superman punch that draws boos… because of course it does. A German suplex almost puts away the Aussie, who’s rocked with clotheslines after kicking out, before he returned fire with one of his own. The Alphamare Waterslide’s next from Dunkzilla for a near-fall, as Davis just unleashes on Duggan with palmstrikes, only to get caught with a sit-out powerbomb out of nowhere!

Nevermind, Davis is right back in after that with a punch, and that’s it. Pretty abrupt for a finish, but a really solid contest. It’s a Davis/Ridgeway final, and let’s be fair, there wasn’t much chance that Danny “People Wish I Was Jim” Duggan was getting there… but credit to him for absorbing the assaults he did. With any luck he’ll be back, but with a bit of a character other than having an unfortunate surname… ***½

Chris Brookes & Jonathan Gresham vs. Santana & Ortiz – from PROGRESS Coast to Coast: New York (August 7, 2018)
The reaction for LAX (and possibly their over-dub?) was so loud it led to a lot of peaking and clipping – something that was a bit of a motif for this tour. We’ve got a measured start as the New York crowd chant for LAX’s other moniker, with Gresham rolling out of a wristlock, before catching Santana with a springboard ‘rana only to get caught with a low dropkick as the opening barbs had LAX ahead. Gresham and Santana remain level though, with duelling dropkicks forcing a handshake as the Octopus continued to fake out Santana… before distracting the ref so he could catch Santana low.

Brookes tags in to keep up on Santana, with CCK landing a pair of back sentons for a near-fall, before Ortiz came in and turned things around a little. There’s a leg lariat from Ortiz that drops Brookes, before Santana returned to set up for the old Head Cheese backbreaker/legdrop combo. Chris Brookes tries in vain to beg off from some chops, before Jonathan Gresham snuck in to German suplex Santana, before clipping Santana below the belt again. Brookes returns those chops from earlier to Santana for a near-fall, but Gresham has a little less success as he tries to trip up Santana, having to chop the back of the knee in order to fell his foe. The back-and-forth continues as we get a low crowd shot of Santana spiking Gresham with a cutter… and in comes Ortiz to repay those ball shots, en route to an O’Connor roll which somehow turned into a tope after Brookes’ kick-out! A slingshot DDT back into the ring takes down Brookes for a dead man’s splash for another two-count, but Brookes is able to rebound with a back sentin as Gresham again got the tag in.

A missile dropkick from Gresham lays out LAX, and we’ve another blind tag as Brookes returns in with a slingshot cutter to Ortiz, before Gresham’s 450 splash almost ended things. An eye rake from Ortiz slows things down again as a pratfall to Brookes set up for a wheelbarrow cutter from LAX for a near-fall… and Santana’s knee starts to cause problems as Ortiz was effectively left in there one-on-two down. Brookes trips Ortiz to the outside and stomps his head into the apron as Santana got back to his feet… but a kick to the knee compromises him again as Gresham smoothly hits a Quebrada before rolling into an ankle lock, then into a bridging German as a headbutt from Ortiz was needed to break it up. There’s an inch-perfect missile dropkick from Gresham to Santana as CCK kept pushing the issue, but yet again Ortiz makes the save… allowing CCK to keep up their barrage.

Santana eats Yakuza kicks and reverse ‘ranas like they were going out of style, before a Praying Mantis Bomb and a 450 Splash from Gresham… drew a near-fall?! How in the hell…

Santana begins to fight back with palm strikes, before clocking Brookes with an enziguiri… Ortiz returns to help out as a double-team backbreaker put down Gresham for a near-fall, as the tables yet again turned. Gresham’s caught in a hiptoss/flapjack before a powerbomb/big splash flattened him as Brookes has to make another save. Gresham has to do it himself after taking a flying lungblower, then a powerbomb onto the knees as CCK’s newly-won belts looked to be in danger.

The crowd boos something (I assume self-policing?) as Gresham began a fight back, trading bombs with Ortiz before he kipped up into an enziguiri. Ortiz is sent flying to the outside, ahead of a moonsault off the apron, before Chris Brookes tagged in and quickly went after Santana’s knee with an inverted cloverleaf, forcing the submission as Ortiz was held back by Gresham. My GOD. Easily the best tag team match PROGRESS has had this calendar year, as Jonathan Gresham continued to open a lot of eyes among fans in the UK. Going in you could argue it was a little overhyped, but that’ll be a “your mileage will vary” deal. ****½

Trent Seven vs. Los Federales Santos Jr. – from PROGRESS Chapter 82: Unboxing Live! 3 – A Dukla Prague Away Kit (December 30, 2018)
Santos confiscated the belt while Trent was posing, and we start with the Hogan/Rock WrestleMania 18 face-off, and the Glen laugh. Yep. I don’t get it. The opening tie-up leads to Trent going for a shoulder tackle, which doesn’t work, so he hitches up his trunks as we wash, rinse and repeat, before Santos just lowers them and shoves Trent down.

A cartwheel sees Santos surprise everyone, before Trent responds with an atomic drop that hurt his good knee. For some reason the ref needs to check if Santos is armed… and sure enough, there’s the No Fun Gun. Cue the Mexican (Welsh?) stand-off, as Brandon Tolle kicks the made-of-helium gun away, as the improv section of the match continued. To their credit, the crowd play along, even if Trent seemed to be half-arsing his improv…

It ends with Trent “shooting himself”, with the crowd begging for Santos to pin him. I’m guessing they’re not sharing my miserly thoughts on his improv! Eventually Santos quietly goes down, but gets rolled up for a near-fall, before Trent prepared for the cricket chop, but only after he tasted his ball sweat.

What the hell?! Santos hits a handstand kick to knock Trent off the apron, before we’re taken for chops around ringside… except Trent’s chest is apparently steel. Like the ring post he chops. Back in the ring, Trent hits the cricket chop, only to get flipped inside out with a release German suplex as Santos looked for the finish… but Trent slips out and hits a Dragon suplex, then a Seven Stars lariat for a near-fall.

A backfist from Trent leads to him stopping for a false alarm enziguiri, then a spinning back heel kick as the Big Ending puts Trent down for a near-fall. He followed that up by going up top, headbutting away Trent’s bid to cut him off as he Santos instead hit a big splash onto Trent’s bad wheel for another near-fall. Santos tries to go up top again, but this time he’s brought down with a superplex for a near-fall, before what was meant to be a piledriver gets Trent another near-fall From the kick-out, he hits it again, and this time it’s enough as Trent retains. Trent Seven: comedy wrestler is a very much take-it-or-leave-it affair for me. Some matches he hits, others it’s so ridiculously over the top that I can’t get into it. Enjoyable, but so not my graps. **¾

Chris Ridgeway vs. Shigehiro Irie – from PROGRESS Chapter 83: Remove Child Before Ironing (January 20, 2019)
Matt Richards on commentary called out how this was Ridgeway’s fourth consecutive appearance in PROGRESS – which may be a tip-off after he’d been used very sporadically as of late.

Ridgeway takes Irie down early, but struggled to roll him into a pinning attempt as Irie got back up with a shoulder tackle, before the pair slugged it out. Another shoulder tackle takes down Ridgeway, who asked Irie for another, but only so he could catch him with a pair of kicks before a deathlock mixed with a STF trapped Irie. Hell, Ridgeway turned it almost into a ZSJ-like Young Boy Killer before Irie scrambled into the ropes for a break.

Irie’s back with a bulldog and a slingshot splash off the ropes for a near-fall, before some elbows keep Ridgeway down. After some kicks, Irie nails a snap suplex before the sit-down splash almost put Ridgeway down… only for Ridgeway to come back with kicks and palm strikes as commentary got a little more “subtlety-hammer”-y about this match.

A snap Saito suplex from Irie’s replied to in kind before a POUNCE sent Ridgeway into the corner. He keeps on top of Ridgeway with a cobra clutch that he had to break up as Ridgeway rolled it into a pinning attempt… but Irie reapplies the hold, then again as he tried to drain his opponent some more. Ridgeway manages to break the hold and roll it into an armbar, before a rear spin kick and a German suplex bridged up for a near-fall.

Staying on it, Ridgeway goes for a double armbar, but Irie gets his mouth to the ropes to get the break, as the pair restarted with another strike battle. Palm strikes and wild swings led to Ridgeway countering a suplex into a rear naked choke, only for Irie to brutally break it up by cannonballing himself and the piggy-backing Ridgeway into the corner. A second cannonball’s next, then a Beast Bomber that clipped Ridgeway for a near-fall, before he caught kicks and strikes before he clobbered Ridgeway with a headbutt. Irie signals for another Beast Bomber, but a roundhouse and a German suplex left Irie a sitting target for a PK. A one-count stuns Ridgeway, who keeps up with an axe kick and a second PK for the win. A solid match, and one that Ridgeway got a lot of as commentary talked about him being at the top of the pile. Hmm. ***½

The final score: review Good
The 411
An odd selection of matches, with this particular grab bag featuring names that have since gone on to establish themselves in AEW and ROH. Besides that, this marked the first "Best of" that felt like it had some work put into it aside from lower thirds, with Gene Munny popping up to add some colour and character to this outing as the usage of old PROGRESS content on the Network continues to be limited to "best of"s.

article topics :

PROGRESS, Ian Hamilton