So we head off to Sheffield on what can only be described as an utterly freezing cold bastard of a day. It was snowing on and off in Sheffield, but said snow wasn’t really sticking. In the rest of the country it was a different story though. Muchos absences from the show: British Strong Style were stuck in Ireland, Mark Andrews apparently got as far as Cheltenham Spa on the train before having to turn back, while Flash Morgan Webster couldn’t get out of Stafford. So that was effectively a coach and horses driven through the announced card. To Progress’ credit, they scrambled to fill the gaps and go ahead with the show. Match times once again lifted from Twitter.
Doug Williams vs. Rampage Brown
This was the Doug Williams open challenge match. To the surprise of no-one, Rampage Brown answered it. Decent opener, but nothing amazing – a bit like most of Brown’s matches. Rampage wins with a piledriver at 9.08. I should point out my own lack of enthusiasm for Rampage wasn’t shared by the crowd – most were happy to see him back. Doug was again dejected after the loss.
Chris Ridgeway vs. Adam Chase
Ridgeway is a PROGRESS up-and-comer, while Chase – who looks like a cross between Jimmy Rave and Mal Kennedy (old school Neighbours fans will get the reference) – was a last minute replacement. They had a decent ten minute indy-bout. Ridgeway is definitely influenced by Davey Richards. Ridgeway made Chase tap out at 10.34.
Bill Eaver vs. Jack Sexsmith vs. Spike Trevit vs. Amir Jordan vs. Saxon Huxley vs. Gabriel Kidd vs. Primate vs. No Fun Dunne
Known as the multi-man jobber match as someone (i.e. me) unkindly dubbed it. Said match was originally supposed to feature Aussie Open and Chuck Mambo, but they were pulled in order to wrestle later. Entrances took forever, especially in a fucking freezing cold O2 Academy. Incredible to think that Eaver is a former Progress champion – the less said about that bit of booking the better. Trevit’s Bullingdon Boy gimmick was nicely done; Amir Jordan’s entirely stereotypical character on the other hand, wasn’t. The match was an entertaining effort; in a fairly predictable outcome, Sexsmith pinned Dunne at 8.33 to get a Progress title shot of his choice in the future. Sexsmith vs. Banks – I can hardly wait…
Joseph Connors vs. Chuck Mambo
Connors was supposed to wrestling Pete Dunne, but got to face Mambo instead. An entirely unappealing match on paper; an entirely unappealing match in practise. Don’t Look Down puts Mambo away at 10.11. The sooner the Connors push ends, the better.
Chris Brookes vs. Matt Cross
If memory serves this was supposed to be three-way with Ridgeway? Decent singles outing, with the injured Kid Lykos accompanying Brookes, with shenanigans ensuing. Brookes rolls up Cross at 12.21. Apparently Cross went above and beyond to get to the show, so kudos for that. Interestingly, Brookes looks a lot less confident in singles bouts than he does in tags.
PROGRESS Tag Team Champions the Grizzled Young Vets (Zack Gibson & James Drake) vs Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis)
It was supposed to be Moustache Mountain vs. Grizzled Young Vets, but instead Aussie Open were pulled from the jobber bout and inserted here. And a fine decision it was too, as an absolutely scorching tag team match resulted, which pretty much established Aussie Open in one night (well, afternoon). After several choice near falls, GYV retained by getting the pin on Fletcher at 14.57. Match of the show by a country mile.
PROGRESS Champion Travis Banks vs Eddie Dennis
This was better than I expected, a solid main event. However, a lot of heat from the match came from the fact the title was on the line – and the problem is that Dennis can’t wrestle for the title on every show.
Dennis hit some believable near falls with his version of the Galleria, but Banks made him tap to the over-the-shoulder crossface at 16.24.
After the match, Eddie batters a few trainees (including the little ginger kid, which was pretty funny) to get his heat back. Something tells me at this time in 2018 he’ll be safely ensconced by in the mid-card.
So you can’t really rate that show due to all of the absences. However, the show did give you a sobering glimpse of what PROGRESS will look like if BSS and Andrews end up heading to America full-time in 2018….