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Natural PROGRESSION: PROGRESS Chapter 21: You Know We Don’t Like To Use The Sit Down Gun

July 26, 2016 | Posted by Jake St-Pierre
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Natural PROGRESSION: PROGRESS Chapter 21: You Know We Don’t Like To Use The Sit Down Gun  

Last time we visited PROGRESS, we saw a few pretty significant happenings. Mark Haskins won the second-ever Thunderbastard match to earn a title shot in the main event tonight, The Sumerian Death Squad prevailed over the Hunter Brothers in a tremendous match, and Will Ospreay finally dethroned Jimmy Havoc after 609 days to win the PROGRESS Championship. Chapter 20 was a tremendous wrestling show, and it encouraged me to keep going on my quest to review every PROGRESS show from Chapter 20 on up, so let’s cut the BS and get to Chapter 21…

We cold open to Jim Smallman standing with two men dressed as STORM TROOPERS, as “For Whom The Bell Tolls” cues up… only for “Turn Down For What” to suddenly play and The GZR’s pop out of the Storm Trooper outfits! Their promo is… something, but the crowd loves it obviously. Smallman lets the crowd know the one rule of PROGRESS, and we’re off.

We are TAPED from the Electric Ballroom in London, England.

Your hosts are Glen Joseph and RJ Singh.

The Origin vs. The London Riots
We saw The Origin last time out compete in the second ever Thunderbastard match, where Nathan Cruz ended up being one of the most dominant forces in the match after abruptly starting first. El Ligero wasn’t quite as successful despite enjoying a fun numbers advantage with Cruz early on, but c’est la vie. The London Riots were the enforcers during the Ospreay vs. Havoc main event, and have been big babyfaces after Jimmy Havoc threw them under the bus to keep his title at Chapter 15 causing them to turn to the side of good once more.

El Ligero and James Davis start things off, and Ligero throws a few cheapshots and gets out of Dodge to mess with the big man. Rob Lynch and Cruz come in now, and Cruz decides it a good idea to spit in Lynch’s face, which earns him a big shoulderblock for his troubles. Rob Lynch gets two count off a stalling suplex right after. El Ligero tags in, but runs from James Davis once he tags in. He taunts from the outside, but backs right into Rob Lynch which forces him back into the ring. Ligero weasels out once more, which allows Nathan Cruz to come in and take control once more. The Riots get back on top with a double shoulderblock on Cruz, followed by a lariat/senton combo for two. The Origin corners Lynch on the top rope, and yanks him off of the top for a 2 count. The crowd gets under Ligero’s skin with a frankly amazing set of tunes chronicling his “Shitty Little Horns”, and that allows James Davis to make the hot tag and try to clean house. Ligero tries to use a cricket bat, but referee Chris Roberts confiscates it before damage can be done. Davis chucks Ligero across the ring with an exploder before hiptossing him into Cruz. The Riots hit GBH, but Ligero is able to kick out. Cruz interrupts the District 9 Powerbomb before dropping Davis on his head with a German Suplex. Cruz hits Davis with a Stun Gun, followed by a slingshot Ace Crusher from Ligero. Lynch battles back and clobbers Cruz with a lariat, but Ligero flips out of a German Suplex from him and sends him into the ringpost and outside. The Riots catch a diving Ligero and give him a DISTRICT 9 POWERBOMB INTO THE THIRD ROW! Zack Gibson comes down and gives Nathan Cruz something, and it turns out to be a fork, which gives The Origin the win in 14 minutes. **1/4 A bit long if we’re being honest, as they didn’t really seem to have much of a purpose or story to tell that would warrant a 15 minute match. There was a good amount of crowd interaction though, which did keep things going at a fairly tolerable pace, so it sort of balances itself out. It also served as a fun way to ignite a feud between the Riots and The Origin, so we at least had a light at the end of the tunnel. As it stands, a pretty average match, but it had enough forward progress (get it?) to be worthwhile.

Jim Smallman keeps the referee on his toes by making him count to 10 with the PROGRESS fans, and all goes well.

Jack Gallagher vs. Pastor William Eaver
By the time this review is out – as I write this, it is July 5th – you’ll probably know the name Jack Gallagher as he’s a competitor in the WWE Cruiserweight Classic. We saw the Pastor get an upset win over another Cruiserweight Classic competitor in Noam Dar at Chapter 20, but Gallagher seems to be a bit of a different animal.

If you can’t recognize the greatness of William Eaver by the time Personal Jesus kicks in, wrestling might not be the sport for you. Even more evidence that he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, he’s got the old CM Punk white shirt on, with BLESSED IN THE WORLD plastered on the back. If he’s not WWE Champion by 2018, something’s awry. Jack Gallagher uses his technical wrestling acumen to keep the Pastor at bay early. Eaver one-ups him with a springboard into an armdrag, but Gallagher is able to escape a Razor’s Edge and put the Pastor up in a stalling suplex. The Pastor is able to escape Gallagher’s vices, and string together a pretty dope sequence of moves ending with a Perfectplex for two. Gallagher escapes another Crucifix Powerbomb and hits a BEAUTIFUL dropkick to the Pastor in the corner! Eaver battles back and finally hits the Crucifix Powerbomb, but Gallagher kicks out! Eaver sets up for the Clothesline From Heaven, but Gallagher rolls the Pastor up into a King Crab for the submission win at the 8 minute mark. **3/4 About as entertaining an eight minute match as you’re liable to get in this environment. Gallagher was so much fun to watch here, as he had a very entertaining mix of technical wrestling with some impressive athletic endeavors (two Progress puns in a row!) in between Eaver’s more basic offensive scheme. You can tell Eaver isn’t exactly a finished product, but I was more impressed with his in-ring ability this time around and with such a winning gimmick, it’s only up from here.

Zack Gibson vs. Eddie Dennis
We saw Eddie Dennis in a fun spotfest at Chapter 20 while I myself was introduced to Zack Gibson earlier tonight helping The Origin win the opener. I’ve actually heard some good things about Gibson so I’m pretty interested. 58

I like Eddie Dennis but have an irrational hatred for his theme music – Party Hard by Andrew WK – and I really don’t have a good reason why. I prefer my party music in the hip hop realm more than anything, and I once saw a stripper try to strip to Party Hard so maybe it’s not so irrational after all? I don’t know, no one reads these play-by-plays anyways. Dennis catches a leapfrog early from Gibson, giving him a powerslam for a two count. Nathan Cruz distracts Dennis from the outside, and Gibson throws Dennis arm-first into the ringpost, sending him careening to the outside. Gibson puts on a chinlock that makes Randy Orton look like Will Ospreay, and finally Eddie breaks it and makes his comeback before being cut off by a springboard Lungblower from Gibson for 2. Eddie throws Gibson to the outside and comes out on top of him with a Somersault Plancha, and hits Zack with a lariat in the ring. A Ligerbomb scores for Dennis but only gets 2. Dennis looks for a Next Stop Driver, but Nathan Cruz interferes to allow Zack Gibson time to get the fork! Eddie stops him, but Cruz distracts long enough to let Zack Gibson kick Dennis low and get the tainted win in 12 minutes. *3/4 You know, I can’t say I’m a fan of The Origin dominating 2/3 of the show so far, mainly because neither match they were involved in impressed me all that much and thus didn’t really justify the bad finishes. It’d be different if I had something to sink my teeth into, but this was basically 12 minutes of nothing before a finish that managed to make what wasn’t much to begin with mean less. Another skippable match involving The Origin, which I hope doesn’t become a recurring thing.

Jim Smallman tries to introduce us to the next match, but he’s interrupted by “I Hope You Suffer” and Jimmy Havoc (with Regression) comes out in a sweet ass white coat. He yanks the mic from Smallman as the crowd mocks him with a “Where’s Your Title?” chant. The crowd drowns out Jimmy with an “Ospreay” chant, before demanding a Number One Contender’s match with anyone Jim Smallman wants to send. And if Havoc doesn’t get it, he’s going to make Smallman’s life even worse than he’s made it so far. Smallman said he had a feeling that Havoc might make a few demands, and he says he’ll make the match for Jimmy… with one catch; it’s against Paul Robinson! Jimmy tells Robinson to lay down, but Smallman says if either man tries to fix it, they’re both “fucking fired.” Jim Smallman’s absolute delight at doing this to Jimmy Havoc is pretty great. Regression’s muscle Isaac Zercher washes his hands of the whole deal, and here we go…

No DQ: Jimmy Havoc vs. Paul Robinson
Jimmy Havoc’s incredible title reign came to an even more incredible end at Chapter 20 in a tremendous outing against Will Ospreay, and this seems like Last Chance Saloon for him in Progress.

Robinson nearly gets the win off of a flash schoolboy, and he slaps Havoc across the face! Havoc drops Robinson with a brainbuster in the ring, and goes outside for a table. They fight on the apron before HAVOC PILEDRIVES ROBINSON THROUGH THE TABLE! Robinson kicks out! Havoc wastes no time introducing light tubes to the equation, but Robinson says “fuck that” and slides in the ring to SMACK HAVOC WITH A FRYING PAN! Robinson busts Havoc open before giving him a STAPLE GUN TO THE DICK! Havoc flails out of the ring, holding his crotch as Robinson introduces a kendo stick. Havoc tries to give Robinson an Acid Rainmaker, but Robinson moves and sends Havoc’s arm into the light tubes in the corner and throws Havoc head-first into the light tubes! Robinson is in firm control until Havoc headbutts a light tube into Robinson’s head! Jimmy Havoc brings out the bag of thumbtacks, and pours them over a few chairs. Robinson recognizes this and fights back, hammering Havoc with various strikes before setting him up top and GIVING JIMMY A FRANKENSTEINER ONTO THE CHAIRS COVERED IN TACKS! Robinson pours more thumbtacks on Havoc, and GIVES HIM A SENTON! CURB STOMP ONTO A SEATED CHAIR! ACID RAINMAKER BY ROBINSON! HAVOC KICKS OUT! Havoc is defiant, but eats a barrage of chairshots as Paul Robinson sets up a light tube bridge, and HE CURB STOMPS HIM THROUGH THE LIGHT TUBES! Paul Robinson pins his Regression leader in 16 minutes. ***1/2 For a deathmatch, this was fairly reserved and really felt like a swan song rather than a fight to the death. The crowd knew where this was going, but came along for the ride because Jimmy Havoc was the one guy at that point that Progress had used to define them in some form. And in that way, this match was a fitting (and hopefully temporary) goodbye for a guy who did so much good for Progress Wrestling. It wasn’t the best deathmatch I’ve seen from Havoc in PROGRESS (that goes to the James Davis match), as it didn’t really seem to have the long-term ramifications that the Davis match did. But it’s not like they’re far apart, as this match was still tons of barbaric fun and the sort of deathmatch wrestling that doesn’t make you ashamed to be a part of wrestling. So while this wasn’t a MOTYC, this match achieved exactly what it set out to do and sent Jimmy Havoc out with his head held high.

Havoc is left alone in the ring with Jim Smallman and a pile of plunder. Jimmy, a broken man, slides a chair to Jim Smallman who offers him his hand! The crowd gives Jimmy Havoc an awe-inspiring standing ovation, and Jimmy Havoc walks up the PROGRESS aisle for the last time…

Oh hey, the same exact Jinny/Pollyanna video package from Chapter 20 where Jinny says she hates Pollyanna because she’s not fashionable. You’d think a promotion like Progress would be above this Divas-esque stuff but hey, you can’t win ‘em all.

Marty Scurll vs. Kris Travis
This is Kris Travis’ triumphant return to PROGRESS from stomach cancer, but also unfortunately his last match ever as he’d go on to sadly pass away in March of this year after the cancer returned. It’s a damn shame to be quite honest, but it’s pretty admirable all the same that he willed himself back to wrestling in the first place when most people more than likely wouldn’t dream of it. But as tragic and terrible as the whole situation is, let’s just let out a nice, hearty “Fuck Cancer” and focus on the task at hand, eh? The crowd gives him a huge ovation as he comes out, as you’d imagine. And what better opponent to welcome him back than Marty Scurll, who I’ve been more and more impressed with every time I see him after a round of incredible performances in PWG.

It’s all lighthearted stuff in the earlygoing as both men switch back and forth between banter and light technical wrestling. A spinning wheel kick scores for Travis, and he sends Marty to the outside with a huge kick followed by a HUGE SOMERSAULT PLANCHA! Travis throws Scurll all around ringside, but finds his fingers snapped back in the ring. Marty brings him out to the ring, where they exchange forearms, but Trav brings him back inside and gives him a bulldog for 2. Marty gives Kris a DDT, but Kris is able to pop up and superkick him out of his boots! They trade more forearms in the ring before Scurll hits the Just Kidding Superkick, but Travis fights back with pump kick! GERMAN SUPLEX! SUPERKICK FROM TRAVIS! LARIAT FROM MARTY! ORANGE CRUSH FROM TRAVIS! MARTY KICKS OUT! Marty hits a nasty powerbomb before hitting the superkick from the apron, followed by a reverse suplex and a running uppercut! Kris kicks out! Marty looks for the Chickenwing, but settles for CATTLE MUTILATION! Travis rolls through and PINS SCURLL WITH A SMALL PACKAGE! Kris Travis makes a triumphant return at the 15 minute mark. ***1/2 Let’s be honest here; this is not a match you’d ever imagine a man who had 18 weeks of chemotherapy and over half his stomach removed to have. He seemed ever-so-slightly rusty and gun-shy, but even then, Marty’s such a sound worker that these small moments were covered up exquisitely and it’s not like Kris lagged behind. The man was game for everything, pulled off some great sequences and wasn’t taking it easy. And what happens when you put two great talents in the ring for 15 minutes? Something akin to what happened here, which was a super entertaining – albeit somewhat of an exhibition – and emotional match up between two of Britain’s best wrestlers.

Marty and Kris embrace after the match, until SCURLL SUPERKICKS HIM IN THE STOMACH! What a fucking heel! Several geeks come to drag Scurll out of the Chickenwing he puts on Travis, and he walks to the back… oh, but it was a ruse! More Chickenwingery for Travis, who’s eventually saved by The GZR’s and what feels like half the locker room. It’s not as joyous a segment in hindsight as this ended up being Kris’ last wrestling match, but the man went out of wrestling like a fucking boss and it takes one strong son of a bitch to even do a quarter of what he did in this match. It’s a damn shame we lost such a talented man so soon to such a horrible disease, but he did an incredible job here and the standing ovation he gets from the crowd is as well-deserved an ovation as you’re ever going to see. Rest in peace, Kris.

Jim Smallman transitions us to the Sumerian Death Squad’s open challenge, and here come Tommy End and Michael Dante! Tommy ain’t wasting any time, as he calls out his opponents immediately. And here comes RODERICK STRONG! Seeing as though this is Roddy at his 2015 best, I’m game. Roddy thanks Tommy for sparing us the speech, and while he could kick SDS’s ass all by himself, he brought a partner with him; Adam Cole BAY BAY!

PROGRESS Tag Titles: Sumerian Death Squad © vs. Roderick Strong & Adam Cole
The SDS had a surprisingly outstanding outing against The Hunter Brothers at Chapter 20 while this is the first time Roddy or Cole have been in Progress as a team. This is before the two began an alliance as Mt. Rushmore – as Cole was still slumming it in The Kingdom – so it’s more the SDS vs. two indie stars than anything.

Cole and Strong start heavy with a superkick and a jumping knee respectively before the bell, and afterwards it’s a Pier Six Brawl. Dante and Tommy End counter a Cole superkick into a nasty double-team freefall drop. Dante catches Roddy with a Hurtz Donut followed by an End knee to the head. Roddy catches Tommy on the top rope with a knee, followed by a superplex. Cole fakes a strong style kick to a prone Tommy End, but instead opts for a chinlock. Cole and Roddy isolate End immediately, hitting a few double team strikes followed by a Fireman’s Carry Neckbreaker from Cole. Olympic Slam from Roddy scores for a casual two count. The crowd just destroys Roddy’s shitty little boots, which causes Roddy to seek a hug from his best friend Cole. Roddy tries going at both SDS members, which proves foolish as he turns right into a spinning heel kick from Tommy End… and here comes Michael Dante! Dante hits a Ripcord Spear on Roddy, followed by a nasty release suplex to the knee on Cole. The SDS hits a nasty combo of a Tommy End PK to the chest and a Michael Dante senton for a two count, and here’s Roddy to save the day as he and Dante brawl outside. The SDS miss the Majestic Twelve, which sends the big man to the floor and leaves Tommy alone with Strong and Cole, who give him Death By Roderick and a Busaiku Knee for two! All four men trade stiff strikes until Roddy sends Dante out with a corner dropkick before TOMMY KILLS COLE WITH A MUSHROOM STOMP! END HITS THE CRESCENT MOON STOMP! RODDY SAVES! Cole throws End outside after the SDS attempt to follow up, and decides to trade strikes with Michael Dante before hitting THREE SUPERKICKS! Roddy meanwhile hits Tommy with a backbreaker on the apron, and Cole puts a Figure Four on Dante! STRONGHOLD ON TOMMY END! TOMMY END COUNTERS IT INTO A DRAGON SLEEPER! DANTE REVERSES THE FIGURE FOUR! COLE SUPERKICKS DANTE! END HITS A SPINNING HEEL KICK ON COLE! JUMPING KNEE TO DANTE! SPEAR ON RODDY! SUPERKICK TO DANTE! SICK KICK FROM RODDY! DANTE KICKS OUT! This match RULES. Roddy and Cole try to keep on Dante, who elbows his way out of trouble before Roddy accidentally knees Cole! ANTIHERO! The Sumerian Death Squad retain their titles in 16 minutes. **** Another show, and another excellent, excellent tag match from Tommy End and Michael Dante. Sure, this time it was against two wrestlers in Roderick Strong and Adam Cole who can have a good match with a rotting broomstick, but it was still an outstanding match. I was actually impressed with how well both Roderick and Cole gelled as a team as neither man has ever been a unit for any length of time really. Here, they fired off double teams smooth as silk, and really got themselves over as legitimate threats to the Death Squad’s titles. I think everyone knew in their hearts that a title change here was very unlikely, but Cole and Strong did such a great job as a unit that I think there were a few sequences in there where the crowd forgot the inevitable. And hey, if that’s not a sure sign of success, then what is? A tremendous match here, and another shining performance from the Sumerian Death Squad.

PROGRESS Title: Will Ospreay © vs. Mark Haskins
Both men had incredibly successful nights at Chapter 20, as Mark Haskins won the Thunderbastard match to earn this title shot while Will Ospreay dethroned Jimmy Havoc for the Progress Championship after Havoc’s 609-day reign of terror. Haskins challenged the winner of the latter for Chapter 21, and here we are. Not as rooted in storyline as the sensational Havoc/Ospreay finale, but still something I’m highly looking forward to.

It’s an easygoing technical affair early before Haskins beautifully rolls Ospreay into a Sharpshooter, and controls the champ from there after a Welcome to Chicago Motherfucker. Haskins keeps Ospreay grounded, until Will is able to hit his beautiful back handspring kick and get some momentum going. He sends Haskins to the outside with a Misawa missile dropkick before a BEAUTIFUL cannonball tope! Haskins threatens, but Ospreay uses his speed to MURDER HASKINS WITH A SPRINGBOARD CUTTER! Ospreay attempts to follow up, but Haskins just massacres Ospreay’s arm and puts in a bridging Fujiwara Armbar followed by a disgusting short lariat for 2! Haskins slaps the taste out of Ospreay’s mouth before putting in a Yes Lock! Haskins is putting together some breathtaking counters in this match. Ospreay hits Salida Del Sol to respond, but only gets 2. Ospreay looks for a Shooting Star Press, but HASKINS GETS THE BOOTS UP! TRIANGLE! Ospreay gets out of it with a Buckle Bomb, but Haskins fights back with a knee! STEREO MAFIA KICKS! Haskins beautifully counters a springboard cutter, and hits an F-U for a two count. Haskins looks for a super reverse rana, but OSPREAY LANDS ON HIS FEET AND HITS ONE OF HIS OWN! ESSEX DESTROYER! PHOENIX SPLASH! HASKINS KICKS OUT! HASKINS COUNTERS A SHOOTING STAR WITH MADE IN JAPAN! OSPREAY KICKS OUT! Haskins looks for another one, but Ospreay gets out and tucks Haskins head in the turnbuckle and superkicks it! Second Rope Moonsault misses, BUT OSPREAY IMMEDIATELY HITS A SKY TWISTER! IMPLODING 450! 630! Will Ospreay retains his title at the 18 minute mark. **** I know everyone loves Ospreay – and believe me, I love the guy too – but man alive was Mark Haskins the star of the show here. The man pieced together some beautiful combinations and wrestled this match like a man who was laser-focused on the endgame. He didn’t just hit one move when he was on offense either. If he hit something, he’d follow it up immediately by chaining together high-impact move after high-impact move. Ospreay did a fantastic job himself, using his speed to slip between the cracks of Haskins’ cunning wrestling acumen, and ended up winning the match with that strategy at the end of the day. It’s not a story that beats you over the head with its subject matter, but it’s damn fine if it works. But if I must nitpick, if it wasn’t for a few moments of sloppiness on Ospreay’s part – and selfishly I wish the match lasted slightly longer – this would comfortably be in MOTYC territory; that’s how jaw-dropping the action was at times. But honestly, those are the only complaints I could possibly muster up for this match. I’ve said my piece on Mark Haskins, and if he throws out performances like this in BOLA, he might be the MVP of the tournament. So no, this wasn’t the wonderfully executed storyline the Jimmy Havoc match was, but Will Ospreay and Mark Haskins wrestled a wonderfully intense match that made both men look like superstars. And that’s what a title match is supposed to do, right?

The final score: review Good
The 411
Chapter 21 early on was looking pretty bleak as The Origin dominated the majority of the undercard with bland matches and non-finishes, but once Jimmy Havoc's music hit, the show got great quick. His PROGRESS swan-song was befitting, Kris Travis and Marty Scurll had a fun match of their own, and the two title matches delivered in spades. So with that, this is an easy recommendation based on the tremendous strength of the second half of the show. As good as Chapter 20? I can't say so as Chapter 20 had the superior undercard as well as the better main event, but let's not cherrypick. Chapter 21 is still an excellent wrestling show with plenty of storyline advancement on top of its expected great wrestling, with a slightly penalized rating due to the aforementioned first hour. Thumbs up!