Natural Progression Series 1st Round Match: Chris Ridgeway def. Omari (13:16)
This was a really solid opener done at a very solid pace to get the crowd going a bit. The one issue that I still have with Chris Ridgeway is who is he? NXT had the same issue with Roderick Strong as in he’s a really good wrestler, but why should I care? I think that’s the one thing missing from him right now is emotional investment. Outside of that, this was a good way to kick off the show ***
Roy Johnson def. Pastor William Eaver (7:52)
Everything was going decently until Eaver went for the dive. He clearly was not okay to continue the match, but he did so, and it was all downhill from there. No transition looked smooth at all, everything was overly deliberate and just not very good at all. I really hope Eaver is okay because that was a nasty looking spill he took *3/4
Zack Sabre Jr. def. Trent Seven, Chris Brookes (17:20)
This was a good wrestling match with some great comedy. Trent started the match by throwing both men over the top rope and celebrating as if he’d won the Royal Rumble. Both Zack and Brookes got back in the ring and broke the news to him that sadly, he wasn’t in it. They then began to trade friendly forearms, and uppercuts until Trent absolutely peppered Sabre Jr. with a chop – foreshadowing what’s to come in the main event – and the fight was on from there. Zack and Brookes had a really cool spot where they were reversing each other’s octopus holds into their own octopus hold, and Trent? Well Trent did Trent things. There had to be at least a dozen chops, backfists and lariats in this match, and the effects were quite visible on Sabre Jr.’s chest. As the match neared its finish, Trent hit a piledriver on Brookes, sending him out of the ring. He went for the Seven Star Lariat on Zack, but Sabre Jr. countered with the European Clutch for the win. A really fun match, and if you like good comedy wrestling, check this one out ***1/2
PROGRESS Wrestling World Championship: Travis Banks (c) def. TK Cooper (15:20)
The story of this match was beautiful. Two best friends from New Zealand dueling it out over the top prize in PROGRESS. TK, who isn’t far removed from a broken leg that he suffered at the New York show, showing hesitancy to go back to the top rope in this match cost him possibly a win here, and it reminded me so much of Ospreay and “Jump, Tuck, Pray” after Ospreay had a scary injury going for a 630 back in the early days of PROGRESS. TK is finally going to hit the move that cost him months of his career, and it’s going to be a special moment, but until he can, it may keep costing him matches. However, outside of that, Cooper did an excellent job hanging with someone the caliber of Banks who has only gotten better since winning the title. As the finish neared, Cooper grabbed the Title, frustrated that he couldn’t keep Banks down. This causes Chris Brookes to run down and yank the belt away from him much like TK did to him last chapter. The distraction led to Banks hitting Slice of Heaven and the Kiwi Crusher, but TK kicks out! The crowd is now firmly behind Cooper, but that doesn’t phase Banks who immediately locks in the Lion’s Clutch, forcing TK to tap. I really can’t say enough about TK Cooper. When he got hurt, he and Banks were becoming one of the best tag teams in the world. Since he’s come back, he’s only been getting better. He’s an incredibly likable guy, but it’s his natural charisma that really puts him over the top. It won’t be too long before everybody wants some TK Cooper in their promotions ***3/4
Post match, Brookes and Cooper get into a bit causing Travis to try and break it up. However, TK wants no part of Banks and he cracks him right in the jaw and keeps going at Brookes. This doesn’t make Travis happy, and he throws Brookes off of Cooper and starts to hammer in lefts and rights into his best friend’s(?) head before security tries to break it up.
PROGRESS Women’s Championship: Toni Storm (c) def. Chakara (7:25)
We’re starting to reach a breaking point with ready contenders for Toni Storm. With Jinny hurt as well as Millie McKenzie, that leaves Toni to defend against challengers who just aren’t ready for the challenge. Tonight was exactly this. Chakara had the unfortunate task of filling in for McKenzie who was already filling in for Jinny in this match, and nothing her and Toni did clicked at all. Injuries suck, and they’re dooming PROGRESS’s women’s division **
Post match, Jinny attacks, but just when Toni starts to fight back, Nina Samuels runs in and attacks Toni. They lay out Storm and stand tall over her.
Havoc & Haskins def. Mark Andrews & Danny Jones (12:39)
Another okay Haskins and Havoc match with the right winner. The stuff between Andrews and Dennis is really good, and Dennis on commentary was hilariously evil **1/2
Flash Morgan Webster def. Doug Williams (12:47)
It took this match between two men on very bad losing streaks to get going, but when it did, the action was very good. The gradual storytelling of Doug more or less losing his game as he nears the end of his career has been great. There was no big knee drop here, and Doug was willing to take a countout win, almost showing that he doesn’t think he has what it takes anymore. The finish definitely raises some questions. Why is Vickie helping Flash? With the win, Webster snaps his losing streak, but it’s a tainted win, so does he accept it? I’m definitely intrigued by this **3/4
PROGRESS Atlas Championship: WALTER (c) def. Timothy Thatcher (21:54): ****½
Brutal, barbaric, and at times uncomfortable, this match will go down in PROGRESS history as their stiffest match ever. Thatcher’s fighting spirit was on full display here as the two Ringkampf members went to war over the Atlas Championship. WALTER was laying in chops early and heavy, cutting open Thatcher’s chest within the first five minutes. There were even a couple two counts off of WALTER’s chops. TWO COUNTS off of chops. That’s a thing when you swing as hard as he does. However, whether it be the chops, kicks, or a trio of lariats that would make Okada blush, Thatcher kept finding a way to kick out and keep going, even locking in the Fujiwara Armbar (at that point, I was fully behind the possibility of Thatcher winning here). As good as Thatcher was, the champion’s resiliency was ten times greater, eating every single suplex and even a backdrop driver and still finding a way to stand victorious at the end. WALTER’s Atlas Title run is currently the least talked about great title reign going on in wrestling right now. He has delivered classics with Thatcher as well as Riddle and even Keith Lee. His next title defense? Against Dunkzilla Mark Davis at Chapter 63. Let the chop-off begin ****1/2
Show Grade: C (6.6/10)
This was probably PROGRESS’s weakest show in-ring since Chapter 50, but there’s some really good storytelling and plot building sprinkled throughout the whole show. There’s still something missing from PROGRESS. The stories aren’t as clear cut and fluent as they once were, but there’s still tons of time to see how they play out. All in all, a very forgettable show, but an incredibly memorable main event. This was Matt with PROGRESS Chapter 62 review. Until next time!