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Kevin’s PROGRESS Chapter 80: Gods And Monsters Review

December 23, 2018 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
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Kevin’s PROGRESS Chapter 80: Gods And Monsters Review  

PROGRESS Chapter 80: Gods and Monsters
December 8th, 2018 | O2 Ritz in Manchester, England

Though I watched Chapter 79, I didn’t get the chance to do a review. Here’s my take.

Andrew/Devlin – ***½
Jinny & Laura/Morgan & Samuels – **½
Dawn/Grace – **¼
Seven/Fletcher – ***¾
Anti-Fun Police/Tremendous – **¾
Dennis/Haskins – ***¼
Banks/Starr – ***½

I’m back with a review of Chapter 80. It’s a bit late since Chapter 81 is already up. I’m going to try and complete these reviews before the holidays. The show opened with the usual Jim Smallman stuff.

Chris Ridgeway vs. Paul Robinson
I’m trying to get interested in Paul Robinson. He’s kind of just there. Ridgeway is much more interesting. They seemed to have the idea to work this like some kind of MMA based battle. There were plenty of strikes and kicks, as well as submission attempts from both men. The striking portion made for a better match as the mat based stuff didn’t feel like a place Robinson should be. Things picked up down the stretch with the highlight being a top rope. However, they also threw in a pretty poor looking ref bump. It led to Robinson using a chain to knock out Ridgeway and steal the match in 11:34. This never felt like it clicked and the ref bump was horrible. [**¼]

Drew Parker w/ Spike Trivet vs. Ligero
How long has it been since we’ve seen Ligero in PROGRESS? It feels like a while. Looking it up, he hasn’t wrestled here since last summer and no longer has “El” in his name. Spike Trivet, leader of Do Not Resuscitate, issued an open letter to UK wrestling. He said they aren’t a stable, but a group of wrestlers with a common goal which is to rid PROGRESS of the same tired old faces we’re used to. Parker jumped Ligero to get this started. He remained in control with help from the interfering Trivet from time to time. There’s a fair amount of that, actually. Surrounding it, Ligero would get in a hope spot or two. Parker ultimately won with a small package driver in 8:13. Parker seemed off, kind of standing around at points and Ligero wasn’t too great either. This happened. [**]

Spike Trivet cut one of Ligero’s horns off his mask after the match.

Mark Andrews vs. WWE United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne
These old rivals are usually a safe bet for a good match. I suspect the match quality on this show gets bumped up a notch here. Andrews’ current storyline revolves around a losing streak, while Dunne is just here to wrestle. This felt like it was a totally different show from the last two matches. The atmosphere, mostly thanks to Dunne, was much improved, as was the wrestling. Since these guys have wrestled so much, we were treated to plenty of smooth exchanges and counters. However, with no true storyline, it became a “greatest hits” match. They did all the stuff we’ve come to know and appreciate from them. That’s fine, by the way. It’s good stuff. However, they went way fast. Dunne beat him with two Tombstones (which were called Bitter Ends on commentary) in just 6:09. A strong sprint, though not their best work. [***¼]

Post-match, Do Not Resuscitate attacked Mark Andrews. Pete Dunne returned to the ring to chase them off.

PROGRESS Atlas Championship: Trent Seven [c] vs. Dan Moloney
The open challenge was answered by the debuting Dan Moloney. I’ve seen Moloney in NXT UK and honestly, he’s never really impressed. Thankfully, he brought some big time effort here. It was clear he was out to make an impact in his debut. It helps that Trent Seven is wildly entertaining against pretty much anybody. He made sure to include some of his trademark comedy in this one. An insane elevated reverse DDT of sorts on the apron turned the tone of the match up. It got more intense from there and Moloney fired up following up. He got going and even when Seven hit the lariat and piledriver, Moloney got a shoulder up. A Burning Hammer was able to keep the challenger down after 12:43. A good showing for Moloney. Easily the best I’ve seen from him. The fans never bought him as a true threat, but we still got an entertaining contest. [***¼]

Do Not Resuscitate vs. Eddie Dennis and Mark Haskins w/ Vicky Haskins
The DNR representatives are Eaver and Mambo. Meanwhile, it is weird to see Dennis as a babyface. Mambo feels miscast as a heel. It’s early in the rung, but still. This opened with a big brawl around the ringside area and in the crowd. That went on for several minutes before the bell actually rang. The awkward setup of heel Mambo hurt the match. I’m not fully blaming him, it’s just not a situation he’s used to and still needs to work out the kinks. Haskins and Dennis were the obvious highlights, with Haskins especially feeling like he’s in an entire different league from the rest. With all the pre-match stuff and the match itself lasting 12:46, it felt like forever. Then, just when the babyfaces had it won, Drew Parker ran in to attack and set up a DQ. I didn’t care for this. There were a few good bits that were mostly overshadowed by the clunky, boring stuff. [**]

Mark Andrews helped make the save, despite his issues with Eddie Dennis. He walked off before they could interact any further.

Ilja Dragunov vs. Tyler Bate
Dragunov vs. Dunne was good but disappointing, while his match with David Starr was much better. Crowd was hot for this one. This had a slower build than the rest of the show. Dragunov shined during these portions. While he hasn’t completely wowed me yet, I must commend the level of intensity he brings to everything. Even the simplest of moves he does has that extra bite to it that makes it stand out. Bate only really got going when he brought out his signature airplane spin. It ultimately became a battle of the viciousness of Dragunov against the athleticism of Bate. I felt like the end was a surprise, with no real build to the Torpedo Moscow. However, I kind of like that about the move. It can strike at any point and be a final blow. That move got Dragunov his first PROGRESS win in 17:29. While not any kind of MOTY contender, this proved to be a very good match. Some strong exchanges throughout and it feels like they have some great in them with another match or two under their belts. [***¾]

Number One Contender’s Match: #CCK vs. LAX
A rematch from an absolute banger during PROGRESS’ New York City show (****½). That one was for the titles, this one is more about pride. Personally, I prefer #CCK with Jonathan Gresham over with Kid Lykos. I think the best way to describe this match would be that it felt like the sequel to a surprise blockbuster. It was stellar the first time around, so they threw a bigger budget and more stuff at the wall to make the sequel bigger. In the process, it lost some of the magic that made the first work. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a ton to like about this. The action was hot and heavy, the crowd was hot for everything, and they gave us some memorable spots. It just ultimately went too long, clocking in at 29:24, and jumped the shark in terms of false finishes. LAX won after a blockbuster/powerbomb combo on Gresham. One of the better tag matches of 2018, but not one that sniffed the level of their New York bout. [***¾]

The final score: review Average
The 411
A solid, yet unspectacular show from PROGRESS. The final two matches deliver the goods, but neither ever creep into MOTY territory. However, the rest of the show is kind of just there. Dunne/Andrews is good but short, while the Atlas Title match is a solid way to introduce Moloney. The DNR stuff never clicked and dragged the show down a considerable amount.