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Hamilton’s Best of Toni Storm in PROGRESS Report (11.14.20)

February 26, 2021 | Posted by Ian Hamilton
Toni Storm WWE NXT
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Hamilton’s Best of Toni Storm in PROGRESS Report (11.14.20)  

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…

Toni Storm vs. Jinny vs. Laura Di Matteo – from PROGRESS Chapter 49: Super Strong Style 16 2017 Night Two (May 28, 2017)
This tournament started back when Jinny beat Pollyanna at “When Men Throw Men At Men” in October 2016, and ended up here, with the first time the women of PROGRESS main-evented a chapter show.

With so much on the line, all three of these women left nothing in their proverbial lockers – and I now feel bad about seguing that into any kind of remark about Jinny’s fancy facemask, or Toni Storm’s PROGRESS-logo’d kneepad. Presumably from the same gear-maker as Spud? In contrast, Laura came out in her golden ring gear, with another new song as Hot Tag Media gets another line item for their invoice!

On paper, we had a lot going on: Jinny vs. Laura is a feud that’s still smouldering, despite being somewhat on hold for the tournament, whilst Jinny and Toni have had several matches against each other in the past two months, with Jinny picking up singles wins at PROGRESS Orlando and at Rev Pro, whilst Toni got some victories on the WrestleMania Axxess shows and at Lucha Forever just three days prior.

Watching live, this was engrossing and also tough to watch, as all three threw themselves at each other, opening with a bunch of near-falls before Jinny and Laura squared off with a series of punches as the action started out fast and furious. When things slowed down, Jinny went under the ring and tried to suffocate Laura with a M&S bag, before Toni grabbed a Tesco bag to do the same to Jinny as we resumed action with a bunch of hip attacks from Storm.

Laura rolled to the outside for cover, which left Jinny in position to take a tope that Storm barely connected with… Laura capitalises with a flip dive of her own off the top rope, but it barely affects Jinny, who’s able to march Laura into the front row, but the Italian sidesteps a dive as Jinny sent herself into the fifth row.

Toni recovers to try the same with Laura on the other side, but again Di Matteo moves as Toni dropkicked herself back several rows. Cue chants of “that sounds awesome” and “yes it was” as only pockets of the crowd could see this, before Laura took it back to the ring against Jinny. Storm somehow recovers to drop Laura with a death valley driver onto Jinny, as she then went airborne with a top rope legdrop for a near-fall.

Jinny nearly kills Storm with a Makeover (X-Factor out of the corner), with only Laura making the save as the three-way action continued once again. A double Rainmaker from Jinny leaves everyone down, allowing her to go outside for the belt, which she smashes on Laura… only for Storm to hit back with a piledriver for a near-fall as the Aussie tried to capitalise.

All three women ended up fighting towards the entry way, trading wicked forearms before Jinny used a clipboard for… reasons. Laura returned the favour before another Storm piledriver left Jinny laying, meaning that when Storm and Laura headed back to the ring, it looked to be elementary as Laura locked in a grounded Octopus hold, only for Toni to power up into an Air Raid Crash!

Returning to the ring, Jinny grabbed one of her bracelets and clocked Toni with it as the Aussie leapt at her… another shot went Laura’s way, before another Storm piledriver led us to some near-falls before Storm headbutted away a Rainmaker, then landed one last piledriver for the win! Toni Storm becomes the first ever PROGRESS women’s champion, as a thrilling main event came to a suitable conclusion! ***¾

Toni Storm vs. Laura Di Matteo – from PROGRESS Chapter 52: Vote Pies (July 23, 2017)
Laura picked up this shot at Toni’s title by beating Jinny on PROGRESS’ show in Germany… The pair open up on the mat, trading takedowns and holds as we get an inadvertent Mae Young Classic spoiler in commentary, before Laura edged ahead, dropkicking Storm into the ropes. Storm’s hip attacks turn things around as the match descended into a striking exchange, ending with a series of clotheslines from the Italian.

A missile dropkick connects as Di Matteo sends Storm outside… and we know what’s next… dive! Uncharacteristically, Laura keeps it on the outside, where she turfs Storm into the chairs in a call-back to what happened during the title match at Super Strong Style 16 weekend as Laura keeps up with more topes in a bid to knock Storm down.

Back in the ring, Laura goes up again as a missile dropkick almost got her the win, before dragging Toni into a grounded Octopus hold… but Storm manages to stand up and backdrop free, before hitting a trapped-leg German suplex on the Italian. The champion continues the resurgence, only to take a top rope ‘rana from Laura, who couldn’t pull herself back up into a cover!

Laura comes in with a Codebreaker, but she ends up running into a headbutt and an Okada neckbreaker slam as Storm almost completed the defence… only to take a massive superkick for a near-fall! That superkick snapped Toni’s head back something rotten, but just as Laura was looking for the finish, Storm hits back with an over-the-knee brainbuster before snapping in with a Strong Zero piledriver for the win. My word, this was really something special – perhaps the best singles match in this title’s short life… and one that should leave you wanting to see a rematch! ****

Toni Storm vs. Mercedes Martinez – from PROGRESS Chapter 67: Bourbon is also a Biscuit (April 7, 2018)
This was one of many matches “booked after chapter 66”, with Mercedes’ win over Shazza McKenzie putting her in contention. We started with both women on the mat, as Martinez tried to work over Storm’s leg… only for the champion to counter out into a stalemate. Storm’s next up with a headlock takedown, which gave way to a traditional headscissor counter and an escape as Storm stood up out of the hold.

Martinez kept up the offence, dropping forearms onto Storm from above before trapping her in a Regal Stretch in the middle of the ring. She relinquishes the hold so she can work away on Storm in the corner with some forearms, before sending Toni into the opposite corner chest first a la Bret Hart. The champion recovers with a German suplex and a wild hip attack, before uncharacteristically going up top… where she was quickly stopped as Mercedes brought her down with a Tower of London-like cutter for a near-fall.

Again, Toni’s right back with a German suplex, dumping Martinez on her head for a near-fall, before floating across with an armbar, which Martinez slipped out of and turned into a crucifix for a two-count. The Three Amigas follow, with some boos as Martinez finished off with a rope-hung neckbreaker, again for a near-fall, but Toni responds yet again with a back cracker for a two-count, before taking too long on her Strong Zero, as Martinez reverses into a release Fisherman’s buster.

Storm just about got her foot on the rope from that, and we’re straight to the finish as she tripped Martinez into another floating armbar… because piledrivers and Louisiana and all that. Decent enough as a match, but this crowd… I don’t think too many bought Martinez as a title threat, but even for a by the numbers match this drew relative silence compared to what PROGRESS crowds are like. **½

Toni Storm vs. Killer Kelly – from PROGRESS Chapter 73: Fourth Shade of Green (July 15, 2018)
Having been ruled out of her originally scheduled debut in March due to injury, this was perhaps the stiffest test Killer Kelly could have had in PROGRESS… against the woman who took her wXw women’s title. Remarkably, this was their first singles match since that wXw match in January, having been in multi-way matches against each other since…

Toni starts out with a headlock as the match starts on the mat, but Kelly takes it back up as she goes for an arm instead as they looked for an advantage. That headlock’s back on, with Toni throwing in a headbutt for the heck of it, before some headscissors eventually sees Kelly free and into an appreciative stand-off. Second time around, Kelly goes for a cravat, which Toni tries to escape… but rolling out doesn’t get it done, as it just saw the move get turned into a chinlock before Kelly switches back to a cravat while throwing in some knees. A charge into the corner comes up short, but Kelly’s back in with forearms and a pump kick to get a near-fall on the Aussie, as some ground and pound keeps Storm on the mat.

Some forearms in the corner keep Storm on the back foot, but Kelly toying with her opened the door for Toni to fire back with a running boot, then a suplex for a near-fall. Headbutts complete the turnaround as Toni puts the boots to Kelly in the corner again, only to be met with an enziguiri as the pair were starting to whale on each other kick kicks. Another headbutt puts Kelly down… and when she misses a head kick, she’s quickly met with a German suplex into the corner as Toni rushed in with a hip attack.

A Fisherman’s suplex out of the corner’s good for a near-fall, but Toni tries to follow up off the top rope and gets caught as Kelly goes all out with a spider Dragon sleeper! With Toni upside down in the corner, she’s powerless to avoid the Shibata-ish dropkick, before a strait-jacket German suplex earned her a near-fall. Some overhand chops from Kelly end up getting telegraphed as Toni rolled her up for a near-fall, before a Strong Zero piledriver was countered… Storm’s able to reverse a suplex though, and from there a spiking Strong Zero followed for the win. A heck of a match here, with the crowd being into it from the word go. I’ve a feeling this isn’t the last we’ll see of Kelly in PROGRESS, not with showings like this. ***½

Toni Storm vs. Holidead – from PROGRESS Toronto (August 8, 2018)
Holidead slithers around Storm at the bell, taking her into the corner as commentary tries to play up that mini run as if Holidead was on a collision course for the title. Things quickly broke down into a battle of forearms, with Storm edging ahead with palm strikes and a pump kick, before some misdirection allowed Toni to land a low dropkick.

Holidead’s taken outside for a lowpe from Storm, before she blocked a second one with a forearm. Storm’s thrown onto the apron next as Holidead looked to make a dent, throwing Toni into the turnbuckles before a backbreaker saw Holidead dig up the back injury that had Toni on the shelf earlier in the year. The ring post’s put to use as Holidead stretches Storm’s back around it, following up with a Dragon screw on the mat.

A Jinny-like seated surfboard’s next as Storm’s back continued to get stretched. After getting free, somehow Toni avoids a big boot but got taken down again by Holidead for a modified single crab, ending when Toni managed to get to the ropes. Holidead begins to trash talk Toni, and that’s the cue for Toni to fight back, curiously only using her right hand before a head kick and a German suplex dumped Holidead.

A second German suplex follows for a one-count as they rolled too far back, but Toni keeps up with the Germans before a diving lariat led to a near-fall. The STF’s next, but they’re too close to the ropes, before a Storm Zero piledriver got countered with a back body drop. Storm tries to counter a Gunnslinger, but she’s caught with a Samoan drop instead, before a headbutt finally took Holidead off her feet.

Toni’s back with a waistlock, but the latest German suplex is elbowed away from as a spinebuster landed for a near-fall. Another Samoan drop followed as Holidead went for a pumphandle slam, but it’s still not enough as Holidead went up top… only to miss with a flying legdrop as Storm quickly put her away with a Storm Zero piledriver. A little WWE-like in terms of the finish, but this was a decent enough match that ended with Toni bowing to the crowd as some took this as a latest farewell… ***

Toni Storm vs. Dani Luna – from PROGRESS Chapter 96: True Friends Stab You In The Front (October 13, 2019)
I swear this was meant to have happened at ATTACK! not too long ago, but an injury meant Toni dropped out. This was Toni’s first appearance on a UK PROGRESS show this year, having been largely exclusive to NXT UK in 2019.

There’s duelling chants from the off, as Storm proceeded to work over Luna in the early going… but a side headlock’s quickly countered out of, before Toni looked to work over Dani’s wrist. That too is escaped, before Toni just decked Dani with a kick. A low dropkick keeps Dani down for a two-count, as Toni proceeds to follow up with headbutts and uppercuts to keep the newcomer on the mat.

Storm sets up for a STF, but Dani escapes and began a fightback with some kicks ahead of an uppercut that stopped Toni in her tracks. A German suplex from Toni saw her snap back for a near-fall, only for Luna to respond with an Air Raid Crash… but she’s too slow to follow up, and gets caught with a headbutt on the top rope, before she got superplexed. The pair begin to trade forearms from their knees, before they upgraded into stiff lariats until Toni took Luna down. Another clothesline followed for a near-fall, before Toni lost a piledriver, and ended up taking a lariat as Luna’s deadlift suplex followed for another two-count. From there, Luna goes for another Air Raid Crash, but Toni counters out with a Storm Zero piledriver… only to see Luna roll into the ropes to save herself.

On the apron, Toni goes for another piledriver, but Dani escapes with forearms, only to get sent between the ropes… as she suckered Toni in with a Cherry Mint DDT on the apron! Dani heads up again and lands a frog splash for a near-fall, before she ran into a boot and got German suplexed into the corner… before she countered another Storm Zero with a roll-up to snatch the win! Not a decisive win, nor should it have been given the disparity between these two. It’s an interesting result, but I’d hope the PROGRESS crowds continue to catch on with Dani given the wins she’s getting. **¾

The final score: review Good
The 411
A decent enough sample of Toni's PROGRESS career, which also shines a light on one of the more common knocks on PROGRESS' women's division. That the focus on it perhaps fell apart in recent years - and that's somewhat reflected in this best-of, starting with the first PROGRESS main card main evented by women (to crown an inaugural women's champion), before moving onto more recent stuff where that WWE connection was limiting just how much Toni Storm could be featured.

article topics :

Toni Storm, Ian Hamilton