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Hamilton’s PROGRESS Chapter 116: Hail, The Eyeball Kid 07.31.2021 Review

July 31, 2021 | Posted by Ian Hamilton
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Hamilton’s PROGRESS Chapter 116: Hail, The Eyeball Kid 07.31.2021 Review  

Quick Results
Warren Banks defeated Ethan Allen via referee stoppage in 12:26 (***)
Nick Riley pinned Kid Lykos II in 13:06 (**¾)
Elijah pinned Chris Ridgeway in 14:22 (**½)
Mercedez Blade & Taonga pinned Roxxy Hellz Belle & Alexxis Falcon in 9:33 (**½)
Malik pinned Luke Jacobs in 13:53 (***)
Laura di Matteo submitted Gisele Shaw in 13:15 (***¼)
Cara Noir pinned Charlie Sterling to retain the PROGRESS World Championship in 20:24 (***½)

— If you’re on Twitter, give me a follow over on @IanWrestling – and check out the GoFundMe that’s still open for Larry’s family.

Blimey, what’s this? Just a seven match card? Two hours, twenty-five minutes long? We’re at the Theatre Peckham for this, with Olie Spring and Hustle Malone on commentary.

Warren Banks vs. Ethan Allen
Banks seems to be still sniffing around North West Strong after his win over Chris Ridgeway last time out.

Banks swings at Allen in the ropes to start, then charged him down with a shoulder block before Allen looked to return with a side headlock. There’s a takedown via Allen’s headlock, but headscissors from Banks circle us back to that side headlock, before we get back up and see Banks get taken down with a back elbow.

A knee to the ribs from Allen keeps Banks down for a two-count, before Warren came back with a neckbreaker that nearly won him the match in an instant. Allen swings with some punches on the mat, but Banks gets his back and headbutts the neck to force some separation. Stomps keep Allen in the corner, as did chops, before an Irish whip bounced Allen out of the corner.

Allen’s barely getting his hands up to block Banks’ strikes, but he’s able to retaliate with a clothesline, then an uppercut, before he swatted away at Banks’ back. A series of mid kicks follow, but Banks just walks through them before he headbutted Allen… only to get pulled down into a crossface on the rebound.

After a rope break, some swiping punches take Banks back to the ropes, before he returned fire with a ripcord knee for a near-fall. Allen’s kick takes out Banks’ knee as he was being charged at, before Allen crashed and burned on a moonsault… leaving Banks free to spear him off the ropes. It gets a near-fall, so Banks pulls him into a guillotine, trapping Allen in the middle of the ring until the referee waved off the match. A decent back-and-forth opener, and I guess that sets up Banks vs. Jacobs next time out to complete the North West Strong set? ***

Barely audible backstage interview time. I’ll keep saying it, but you’d think someone checks the audio and would maybe raise the levels between segments, rather than go from normal to whisper quiet? Nick Riley’s got Kid Lykos II next, but he wants Charlie Sterling to focus on winning the title later on…

Kid Lykos II vs. Nick Riley
A sorta-rematch from the tag tournament semi-final then, as the Lykii await new challengers.

Lykos II leans into the ropes at the bell, doing his best Toru Yano impersonation to start. Riley slams Lykos out of the corner, forcing him to powder outside… back inside, Lykos II cradles him for a two-count, but just got tossed aside before Riley’s floatover out of the corner led to a back suplex on the young wolf.

Riley gets thrown outside, and gets caught with a springboard kick through the ropes, before Kid Lykos got his kicks in on the floor. Lykos II took over on the outside, teasing using his baking tray right in front of the ref, but stopped, “because he’s a good boy.” Back inside, Lykos II works a deathlock on Riley, then threw in some more kicks before a Blue Thunder bomb from Riley almost ended it.

Some right hands from Riley lead to a spinning heel kick to Lykos II, who then ate a moonsault press out of the corner and a Tiger Driver for a near-fall. Lykos elbows away to break what looked like a Tiger suplex, then ran in with a Mistica and a PK on the way to a near-fall. Lykos II calls for a brainbuster, which is of course blocked as the pair trade shots in the ropes, before a dropkick and an Octopus stretch had Lykos on top.

Riley fought free to hit a pumphandle Flatliner… then a piledriver as he stacked up Lykos II, who then rolled to the outside. Riley followed him, rather than take the countout, and that time rolling Lykos II back in gave him enough time to recover as Riley could only get a two-count. Lykos snapped back with a Code Red for a near-fall as both men looked to be heading towards “running on fumes” levels.

Elbows from Lykos II are returned in kind, before Lykos II was sent into Lykos I on the apron. A Spanish Fly from Riley’s next, before the Dick Dastardly (Ranhei) led to a near-fall. A Tiger Bomb followed, but Lykos II rana’d free for a near-fall, before an elevated DDT from Riley got the win. Commentary painted this as a weakness for the Lykii, given Lykos had told Lykos II to “win this by yourself”… and I guess they’re doing Riley & Sterling as the next challengers? **¾

Backstage, Charles Crowley speaks for Elijah – he’s got a theory about his charge, but doesn’t tell us what it is, except that he reckons Elijah will win today.

Elijah vs. Chris Ridgeway
This was Elijah’s first match since his unsuccessful challenge for Cara Noir’s title on Chapter 113…

Ridgeway tripped Elijah to start, before he looked to take the Welshan’s back… but the ropes force a break before anything could be applied. We wash, rinse, and repeat, with Crowley popping up on the apron to try and force the referee to separate the two, before the pair rolled around the ropes from a lock-up.

Crowley distracts Ridgeway, who gets caught from behind with some stomps from Elijah. Ridgeway elbows back, but he’s dropkicked to the outside… Elijah doesn’t rush to bring him back in, and bides his time before unloading with some more kicks, before a kitchen sink knee to the gut from Ridgeway turned the tables.

Some boot choking pins Elijah into the corner, but Elijah gets free and shoved Ridgeway shoulder-first into the corner. A back elbow from Elijah has Ridgeway down, as did a springboard armdrag and another elbow strike, but Ridgeway instantly grabs that bottom rope. Ridgeway grabs the boot to break a boot choke, but Elijah just returned with a cravat as he tried to force a stoppage.

The cravat turns into a neckbreaker for a near-fall, before Ridgeway came back in with some forearms to try and buy him some time. This match would be so much more impactful were we not cutting to an angle of Crowley what felt like every few seconds. Ridgeway kicks Elijah to the mat, then went for a waistlock to set up for a German suplex, but Elijah elbows free, only to take the German suplex anyway.

Except Ridgeway’s neck couldn’t hold the bridge, so he broke his own pin and ended up eating a crucifix driver from Elijah for a near-fall. Gut punches from Ridgeway close the gap, but Elijah sneaks back with a Graveyard Smash suplex/powerbomb for a near-fall. A PK from Ridgeway misses, but he ends up rolling Elijah into a crossface… repositioning so Crowley couldn’t help… and then turning it into an ankle lock.

Elijah gets to his feet, but Ridgeway countered into a trapped-leg German suplex, following up with a PK for a near-fall. An O’Connor roll from Ridgeway’s stopped as Elijah charged Ridgeway neck-first into the rope, before a palm strike downed Elijah. Poochie, I mean Crowley, tries to drag Elijah to the outside, but gets stopped by Ridgeway… and that backfires as a cross-armed DDT from Elijah quickly lands for the win. The match itself was fine, but the presentation was a big turn-off here. I’m sorry, but this version of Crowley is doing more harm than good, although from commentary you get the sense they’re aiming for Crowley vs. Hustle Malone at some stage? **½

Mercedez Blaze & Taonga vs. Alexxis Falcon & Roxxy Hellz Belle
Falcon and Roxxy are yet to win in PROGRESS, thanks to a couple of thorns in their sides…

We’ve a jump start after some trash talking during the introductions… and things quickly settled down to Roxxy and Falcon isolating Taonga in their corner. A double clothesline from Taonga misses as Roxxy and Falcon do the splits… prompting Blaze to pull her partner outside to calm things down.

Back inside, Taonga takes some headscissors before tagging out to Blaze, who took a dropkick and some slingshot knees from the outside in for a near-fall for Roxxy. Blaze trips Falcon into the rope, while a sly kick from Taonga drew in Roxxy… which leads to attacks behind the ref’s back. That old trick.

Roxxy’s cornered as Taonga returned for a boot choke, while Blaze tagged back in for some chops. Roxxy gets free as tags get us back to Falcon and Taonga, as Alexxis ran wild with dropkicks and forearms, before a German suplex left Taonga laying. Blaze grabs Falcon in the ropes, providing enough of a distraction for Taonga to capitalise on, before Blaze chained a Gourdbuster into a Muta lock.

Falcon’s cornered as Taonga and Blaze made use of frequent tags… but Taonga mouths off at Falcon and almost was made to pay for it. Taonga ducks an enziguiri, but couldn’t avoid a double clothesline before tags got us back to Blaze and Roxxy. It’s Roxxy who shot out of the gates though, hitting a STO on Blaze, then a wheelbarrow stomp for a near-fall. Taonga’s in to get involved with a facebuster, but that just drew in Falcon to continue the Parade of Stuff.

Falcon runs into a Blaze spear off the middle rope as they continued to go at perhaps too quick a pace for anything to sink in. Roxxy nails a Codebreaker, but Taonga comes in before a pin’s even attempted. She knees Roxxy, as Blaze then capitalised with a Tower of Blaze for the win, with Taonga holding Falcon back from making the save. This felt like one big “let’s do everything quickly” session that PROGRESS tag matches have tended to fall into… a 15 minute match crammed into 10, and I wish they’d had the 15 minutes. Decent enough, but the pacing was all off. **½

Malik vs. Luke Jacobs
On the last show, Malik beat Ethan Allen via distraction from a debuting Kosta Konstantino. So here’s the obvious follow-up… this time as Kosta’s eventually seconding Malik.

The opening encounters sees Malik take it to the ropes, before he backed into the corner from the lock-ups. Jacobs trips Malik and looks to work on the leg, but Malik escaped, only to get rolled down as Jacobs tried to grab a hold. Instead, we get dualling shoulder blocks before Jacobs ran into a side suplex that apparently shocked commentary.

On the apron, Malik sweeps the legs to give Jacobs a bad landing, before popping him into the side of the ring… then into the wall, as Malik was making full use of his environment. Back inside, Malik barely gets a one-count from a very lackadaisical cover, as Jacobs fought back with a big chop… but ends up getting thrown ribs-first into the corner.

Kosta’s calling plays from ringside like this is baseball, pointing to the arm… and sure enough, Malik targets the sides with some kicks and knees. Jacobs clubs back with some right hands, but his clothesline attempt misses… so Jacobs charges Malik throat-first into the ropes. A ragdoll-like German suplex followed, then another, before Malik returned with a Dragon suplex into the corner.

Jacobs sidesteps some leaping knees from Malik, then hit a Saito suplex for a near-fall, before a Malik blocked a clothesline with a back elbow. Uppercuts follow, then a low dropkick from Malik, before Malik began to elbow away on Jacobs’ arm. It’s broken with a shoulder to Malik’s nose, but Malik’s right back with a sleeperhold that Jacobs rolled back on to almost force a pin.

From there, Jacobs hits the ropes, but ran into a dropkick for a near-fall, before Malik pulled him up for a half-and-half suplex. Jacobs elbows free, but gets hauled up onto the top rope for an elevated Dragon suplex that’s also blocked… Jacobs recovers and throws Malik’s head into the buckles, following with a PK and a powerbomb for a near-fall… then a crossface, which Malik broke in the ropes.

Jacobs tees up for another lariat, but instead elbowed Malik in the back of the head, before one more go at the lariat was punched away. A diving knee from Malik’s next, and that’s all as this proved to be a bad night for North West Strong. ***

Speaking of that, Kosta gets the mic and demanded the camera be on him and Malik. Kosta called out Olie Spring on commentary for how he introduced him… as Kosta then demanded we call him by his full name, or by “Mr. Konstantino.” He’s here as Malik’s business partner, and may want to start by making sure the WWE Network synopsis actually spell his name right. Konstantino mentions how Malik wasn’t getting regular runs in PROGRESS before the restart, and that led to Malik getting unfocused. Hey, PROGRESS has gotten another good talker – but you just know the easy pot shots are right there… something something Ricky Gervais. I’m not sure commentary should have gone “WOW” to a heel promo though…

Backstage, the cameraman is chasing Spike Trivet… he’s not feeling good because Cara Noir seemingly turned down his title challenge. Spike calls out a debuting Hari Singh – who was in the corridor, supposedly laughing – before jumping him and choking him out as nobody seemed to be around to make the save.

Gisele Shaw vs. Laura Di Matteo
This is starting to show a lack of depth in the division – with Mercedez Blaze, Taonga, Roxxy and Alexxis Falcon tied up for the foreseeable, it feels like we’ve only got Gisele and Laura at potential challenger level…

Di Matteo gets in Shaw’s face to start, but the Italian’s taken down and pounded on before she dropkicked Shaw to the outside. A quick tope follows, as did a missile dropkick back inside, but Shaw kicks out at one and responded by hot shotting di Matteo into the ropes ahead of a kick from the apron.

Shaw drags di Matteo into the corner to stretch her across the ring post, then again, before taking di Matteo back inside for a two-count. A boot choke keeps Shaw on top, before di Matteo landed an uppercut… only to have her Codebreaker caught and turned into a Boston crab. Almost getting to the ropes, di Matteo’s pulled away as the hold turned into a Lion Tamer, but Laura countered out and rolled up Shaw for a two-count.

Gisele’s quickly back with a spinebuster for another two-count, but Shaw started to get a little too carried away as she tried to pin di Matteo with a single boot on her chest. Di Matteo’s bounced out of the corner, before a standing bow and arrow-like stretch turned into a facebuster… with Shaw then tying up di Matteo’s legs for extra emphasis.

Shoulder charges take di Matteo into the corner, but Laura’s free to hit a crossbody out for a near-fall, before Shaw blocked an attempt at a roll through. A roundhouse kick surprises di Matteo for a near-fall, before some mouthing off from Shaw fired up di Matteo to hit a swinging DDT off the ropes. Di Matteo’s back with forearms and clotheslines, only to lose Shaw and get caught with a spear for another two-count.

Shaw followed up with a Ligerbomb, but it’s still not enough, so Shaw cues up for a superkick… which is ducked as di Matteo hits a side Russian legsweep. A Veni Vidi Vici grounded Octopus followed, with some extra kicks forcing Shaw to submit – and I guess that’s di Matteo back into title contention, this time on her own after this emphatic win? ***

PROGRESS World Championship: Charlie Sterling vs. Cara Noir (c)
Sterling beat his tag partner Nick Riley last time out to get this spot… Riley’s out with Sterling to show support.

Cara circles Sterling to start, but backs off as Charlie looked too fired up. Controlling the pace perhaps didn’t work at first as Sterling grabbed a side headlock, then charged down the champion before getting in his face. We’ve some lucha stuff before Sterling’s dropkick took down Cara for a two-count, but Sterling mouths off again and gets himself a dead leg as Cara came back with kicks.

Sterling’s kicked some more before he’s launched into the buckles, providing some fantastically ludicrous bumps from it, before they headed outside. A back suplex from Sterling drops Cara onto the apron, while a backbreaker on the outside kept Cara in trouble. Back in the ring, Sterling raked Cara’s eyes, before Cara bit back… and ran into a tiltawhirl backbreaker as Sterling kept focusing on the back.

A standing moonsault squishes the champion for a near-fall, while a back suplex dumped Cara as Sterling looked to be dictating things here. Stomps keep Cara down, but when he gets back up he goes back to giving Sterling a dead led, before a ‘rana took Sterling into the corner… with a clothesline taking things outside for a tope.

Back inside, running forearms looks to wear down Sterling ahead of a Rude Awakening neckbreaker for a near-fall. Sterling goes back to the back as he wore down Cara in the corner, before they headed up top for a Razor Ramon-ish back superplex. Except off the TOP rope. Jesus…

Sterling stays on top of Cara with some forearms, but the champion returns in kind, eventually going back to the leg he’d worked on throughout the match. Superkicks and a rebound German suplex follow, but Sterling’s back up to give a receipt, before a falling headbutt from Cara decked Sterling for a near-fall. A boot out of the corner from Sterling has Cara back down, but Sterling’s springboard moonsault landed in Cara’s knees as the champion almost won it right there.

Cara tries for a package piledriver, but the back’s weak… even weaker after another backbreaker and powerbomb, as Sterling then threw in a moonsault to give us another near-fall. Sterling pulls Cara into a Cloverleaf, looking for a stoppage, but Cara got to the ropes, and earned himself some more stomps from his challenger. Sterling headed back up top, but repositions himself as Cara rolled outside… and there’s an Orihara moonsault to the outside!

Sterling throws Cara right back in, following with a gutwrench’d backbreaker for a near-fall as we were firmly into the shocked-face near-falls… another Cloverleaf is rolled out of as Cara clubs at the leg again, but his limp body’s just pulled up by Sterling. It’s a ruse though as Cara kicked away after being mockingly slapped… but Sterling rattled him with a lariat, then a Blue Thunder Bomb, which still isn’t enough.

Once again, Sterling goes up top, but misses a Spiral Tap as Cara returned with a dropkick and a Gotch piledriver for the win. That felt a little too sudden “1-2 punch” comeback, especially after all those Sterling near-falls and since Cara rarely uses the Gotch-style piledriver… but this was a good outing for Sterling, who I hope doesn’t just “go back to being a tag wrestler” after this. ***½

Cara’s helped to the back by the referee as Charlie Sterling was left ruing his loss in the ring… and we fade to black. PROGRESS returns in two weeks for Chapter 117: Making Diamonds.

The final score: review Average
The 411
A shorter, and much more digestible outing from PROGRESS - and with the introduction of some fresher faces around the card, they’re trying to shake things up… although it says something that we’re already thinking about a lack of new challengers after just 13 shows “back.” There’s a general feeling with these style of tapings that PROGRESS need to “get everyone on every show”, which means there’s some faces that are risking being run through before their time.

article topics :

PROGRESS, Ian Hamilton