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PROGRESS Chapter 88: Super Strong Style 16 Night Three Review

June 21, 2019 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
Progress Chapter 88 David Starr
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PROGRESS Chapter 88: Super Strong Style 16 Night Three Review  

PROGRESS Chapter 88: Super Strong Style 16 Night Three
May 6th, 2019 | Alexandra Palace in Haringey, Greater London

Looks like another three and a half hour PROGRESS show on tap. I’ve enjoyed these shows so far and am interested in seeing how things wrap up, even if I know who wins the tournament.

In a strange opening, we started backstage. Aerostar and Daga agreed to team up to challenge Aussie Open for the Tag Team Titles.

The Jim Smallman opening promo involved a dude who looked like Goldust and did his taunt, as well as a wedding proposal. Good stuff.

Wasteman Challenge Hangover Scramble: Artemis Spencer vs. Chris Brookes vs. Chris Ridgeway vs. Connor Mills vs. Darby Allin vs. DJ Z vs. Lucky Kid vs. Roy Johnson vs. OJMO vs. Trevor Lee
As has become tradition with this match, there was a freestyle diss competition of sorts to start. Roy Johnson wasn’t as much of the butt of this roast as usual. Kid Lykos came out and did it for Chris Brookes, getting to turn the tables on his partner by telling him to shut up. There were a lot of moving parts considering how many people were involved. I’m not going into detail about the spots. Just know that there were a bunch, they came at us rapidly, and they were done in creative ways that played to the strengths of those involved. The best moment played off night two. DJ Z went for his super high angle ZDT, only to get cut off by a massive midair cut from Mills. Unfortunately for Mills, he was put down by a Brookes Praying Mantis Bomb at the 10:06 mark. A really fun way to start the show. [***¼]

Super Strong Style 16 Semi-Finals: David Starr vs. Ilja Dragunov vs. Travis Banks w/ TK Cooper
Since this was a tournament match, it was contested under elimination rules. That meant disqualifications were possible. Although I wonder how that works if one guy is attacked by someone who isn’t in the match. Do both others get eliminated? These guys had a history over the past ten or so chapters, so this was intense. They hit each other with hard strikes and high impact moves. For most of this, Dragunov came off like a beast. He absorbed shots and kicked out of big offense like the Kiwi Krusher. He hit the Torpedo Moscau on Starr and nearly had the elimination, only to eat a Slice of Heaven and get eliminated himself. TK Cooper tried to help Banks but Starr knocked him off the apron. Starr slipped free of Banks’ grasp and hit the Product Placement to advance in 9:46. Another good match. This was much different from the opener and had an intensity to it that worked. [***¼]

Super Strong Style 16 Semi-Finals: Jordan Devlin vs. Kyle O’Reilly
My most anticipated match of the entire tournament. An interesting setup on paper. Either the Starr/Devlin OTT rivalry gets reignited in the finals or “independent” Starr takes on WWE guy O’Reilly. Kyle kept to the strategy of grounding his opponent. It has worked in the tournament to this point. Devlin tried matching him on the mat, but was ultimately outmatched. The hard hitting stuff fit Devlin better, but Kyle could more than hang in that category. Kyle honed in on the leg. He kept applying kneebar variations. Devlin survived in each hold longer than any previous competitor. He refused to give up. That made him rolling over from the kneebar into a pinning combination that got the three count all the more satisfying. Devlin advanced in 17:59. A very good match. Everything came off crisp and both men played their roles so well. I wish they could’ve gotten the crowd more into it though. The pair shook hands after the match. [***¾]

Death Match: Jimmy Havoc vs. Paul Robinson
The final PROGRESS match for Jimmy Havoc. He’s pretty much the No. 1 guy synonymous with the company. I won’t even try to list everything that happened in this match. It was pretty insane. We saw light tubes, tables, chairs, thumbtacks, and more used throughout this. It was very fitting of the Death Match gimmick. Blood was all over the place and it looked extra sick covering Jimmy Havoc’s white gear. Robinson was as much of a jerk as ever. He tried winning with Havoc’s own Acid Rainmaker. Havoc didn’t lose to that, but fell to a Curb Stomp in 17:00. After everything they threw at each other, the finish was rather anti-climactic. However, this was still a very good hardcore match and a fitting way for Havoc to close out his PROGRESS career. [***½]

Post-match, Jim Smallman said an emotional goodbye to Jimmy Havoc and threw it to a fantastic video package chronicling his PROGRESS run. Havoc said a quick goodbye to the fans because he was bleeding a lot and couldn’t stick around for a long one.

PROGRESS Tag Team Championship: Aussie Open [c] vs. Aerostar and Daga
The luchadores who faced off on night two team up for the titles on night three. Three of the guys in this match are top notch in terms of fast paced, high flying action. And then there’s big Mark Davis. I love the dynamic he has with Kyle Fletcher, especially since he can show off more athleticism than you’d expect. The idea here was that Daga and Aerostar are an unknown entity as a team in PROGRESS. They used a lot of their unorthodox offense to catch the champions by surprise. Aussie Open has shown themselves to be a resilient tag team and they weathered that storm to even things out. The closing stretch here was great, as Aussie Open retained via Fidget Spinner on Aerostar in 13:08. This was good but could’ve gone into great territory with more drama. They never made anyone believe the titles would change hands. [***¼]

After the match, Flash Morgan Webster and Wild Boar jumped the champions and left with the titles.

PROGRESS Women’s Championship: Jordynne Grace [c] vs. Martina vs. Millie McKenzie vs. Nina Samuels
It looks like we’ve got a turn for Jordynne Grace. She was the babyface to beat Jinny but her role as something of an absentee champion has changed her. She called the fans a bunch of marks and ran down PROGRESS for misspelling her name on flyers. The match itself was quite fun. Each woman got a chance to shine a bit and show off their personality. That’s important when you consider how different each woman is. Grace was drawing great heat throughout. Her pre-match promo did a lot. The fans really wanted Millie to win. She came close but Grace dumped her outside after a spear and stole the pin in 8:46. A cliched ending. Even if we’re supposed to hate Grace, she didn’t need to steal it. She’s big and tough. [***]

Super Strong Style 16 Finals: David Starr vs. Jordan Devlin
The closeup on David Starr as he mouthed his lengthy intro along with Jim Smallman was pretty great. A wild atmosphere here. It was kind of an “us vs. them” scenario with WWE’s Devlin against Mr. Independent David Starr. Devlin entered with a banged up knee after his match with Kyle O’Reilly. It gave Starr a target. However, Devlin is a beast and even with the disadvantage, he did more than enough damage to Starr’s neck to make a win feel believable. Then it became a bad neck against a bad leg and who could survive. Despite being worn down, both men began throwing bombs at each other late. The fans were biting on every close call and near fall. The counters down the stretch were fantastic and really added a lot to the match. Starr fired up and hit Han Stansen and a Kaepernick Bomb, though the latter didn’t look great. Devlin survived, but then got trapped in the Republican Remorse. Devlin tapped at the 21:03 mark to end the tournament. A great capper to a really fun tournament. They told a hell of a story that played into what already took place during the tournament. I wish Devlin sold the leg a bit more down the stretch. [****¼]

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Okay, PROGRESS. I’m back in. This tournament was very good and the whole final night delivered. Everything got at least three stars and the main event got ****+. That’s a recipe for a great show.