So, with Chapter One in the books and a PROGRESS Champion crowned we return to The Garage for another dose of Strong-Style Pro Wrestling with PROGRESS. Three months after Nathan Cruz was crowned PROGRESS Champ and he’ll defend his Nazi, sorry, ‘Regal’ staff against Marty Scurll in a two-out-of-three falls match, and this shows also sees the debut of a man synonymous with PROGRESS in the promotion’s future, Will Ospreay. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
The opening of the show is a pre recorded promo from Nathan Cruz and Marty Scurll hyping up their main event for later tonight, Scurll has picked the stipulation after Cruz made the challenge.
Jim Smallman is once again on hand to welcome everyone to the show, wearing a hoodie and looking like a stars in their eyes version of Eminem, he says that the show is sold out and the crowd is awesome, and ‘quite mental’ and banters with a kid in the crowd who is in no way over the 14 years old age limit but says he is anyway to a pop from the crowd. Nice to know PROGRESS crowds are consistent. The crowd are making Jim crack up, just as they did when he was commentating on the last show.
Stixx vs Lion Kid
Stixx comes out and grabs the mic, running down Jim Smallman. For those unfamiliar with Stixx he’s a big heavyweight who carries a chain around, unfortunately Stixx retired last year to focus on running his wrestling school, and I always found him to be a good big man worker so I tip my hat to Stixx and wish him well.
Lion Kid is a cruiserweight wrestler who wears a Lion mask and worked for Dragon Gate on their UK tours, he was considered to maybe be a break out star a few years ago, but has seemingly gone quiet in recent years.
The crowd serenade Lion Kid with Circle of Life before the match gets going, the crowd are into it already and Lion Kid is at a size disadvantage massively here and Stixx takes control with a big shoulder block, Lion Kid uses his agility to fight back with a big head-scissors take down, he tries to follow it up with a senton off the apron but gets caught and powerbombed into the ring post.
Stixx is now working over Lion Kid, only getting a two count however after a suplex throw. Kid is on the mat as Stixx works his arm and plays up to the crowds taunting, Kid tries to fly again but gets caught, but he reverses a crucifix powerbomb attempt into another head-scissors. The crowd have taken to calling Lion Kid ‘Simba’ much to the delight of Jim Smallman.
Back to the action and Stixx hits a big cross-body in the corner and beats down Lion Kid on the mat, still working his arm. A big back-breaker moves into a gut-buster as Stixx retains his control over the much smaller man. Not for long however as Lion Kid arm drags his way out of a powerbomb attempt, he tries to plancha onto Stixx put misses and lands in the front row (“you f***ed up says the crowd) still undeterred he tries again but this time gets caught in the ropes but does a double jump cross-body after Stixx moved out the way.
A spinning side-slam gets Stixx a two-count, Lion Kid tries to go up top but is crotched on the top rope by Stixx, who now looks for a crucifix powerbomb from the top, but Kid head-scissors him down, as Stixx gets back up he tries for a moonsault DDT but Stixx pushes him away, Lion Kid rolls him up and gets the three count!
Result: Lion Kid wins by Pin fall
Rating: **. Something felt off about this match. Whether it was that the two men didn’t mesh together or Lion Kid was a bit to eager to go up to the top rope I don’t know, it wasn’t bad in any way but it didn’t feel like it properly gelled either.
BWC Scarlo Scholarship Championship – Mark Andrews vs Mike Hitchman
So it appears that this belt, last seen in Chapter One being defended by Xander Cooper has changed hands in the three months since, first thoughts upon seeing the match graphic is just how young Mark Andrews looks! I mean he’s by no means old now, but he looks like he’s just out of school, Hitchman however, looks the same as he does now, so not everything changes.
Hitchman has heat for simply being Welsh, ironic really as Mandrews is from Wales too, I suppose having a literal baby face will automatically make you the face in a match. Hitchman starts the match by taking Andrews to the mat, not for long however as both men are up and Andrews has a wrist-lock locked in, both men separate as they are at a stalemate. Another PROGRESS fans classic as the fans dub Mandrews ‘Draco Malfoy’ I hope this doesn’t get annoying as the show rolls on.
Lovely take-down from Hitchman, Andrews doesn’t take long in showing his speed though, neither men have got a distinct advantage at this point, the two competitors start to pick up the pace as Andrews again shows his agility with a great roll up/mat wrestling combination, Andrews flies off the apron with a lovely moonsault. Both men are back up and on the apron and Hitchman DDTs Andrews onto the apron.
Back in the ring and the Wild Boar is working over Andrews on the mat, utilizing an eye rake in a chin lock which is broken up by referee Chris Roberts. A big face wash follows this by Hitchman who gets a two count. Hitchman is really manhandling Andrews as he drops him to the mat and hits a Dragon suplex, and Andrews lands on his head. That certainly looked nasty.
Mike Hitchman looked for a powerbomb but Andrews reverses into a face-buster and a standing Sky twister that he almost missed, the inexperience is on show in parts of this match. Hitchman is backdropped into the corner, he soon gets his revenge and exploder suplexes Andrews into the corner.
The two youngsters trade blows, that exchange is brought to an end as Hitchman hits a huge package pile-driver which somehow only gets a two count. He takes Andrews up to the top looking for another package pile-driver, he’s pushed down though and Andrews misses a shooting star press. Wild Boar looks to take advantage with another pile-driver, but he’s small packaged and Andrews gets the three.
Result: Mark Andrews wins via pin fall.
Rating: ***. To say these two are relatively rookies at this point this match was impressive, however there were time that their inexperience showed and they weren’t helped by maybe being given two long, however having said that it was a competitive and at times hard hitting match, so not much to complain about.
Following the match, Xander Cooper jumps Mark Andrews, the man who beat him for the title, Andrews fights back though and sends Cooper running, he chases him all the way to the back.
Noam Dar vs Darrell Allen
Two men returning from the last card, Dar is still a heel by way of being Scottish, bit racist that Londoners, Dar gets a pre taped promo saying that he’s going to win that ‘big stick’ and Darrell Allen re-enacts that Booker T promo, you know, THAT promo.
We get some mat sequences to start us off, and Dar mocks the crowds ‘England’ chants, because he’s Scottish, you see. Still on the mat and we get some quick one counts, and Dar bites his way out of a submission, locking in one of his own, drawing a ‘That’s not Kosher’ chant, okay that one’s clever.
A big dropkick rocks Allen, who fights back with a big take-down. Dar ducks out of the ring and attacks Allen as he tries to join him on the outside, a big uppercut from Allen is followed up with a big dropkick from Noam Dar, and a head-butt, just to reinforce his Scottishness.
Dar uses the ropes for an advantage in the corner and lights up Allen with big forearms and uppercuts, he gets his receipt though as Allen returns the favour and follows up with a big kick. Dar shrugs that off to break out and airplane spin followed by a Northern Lights suplex, he gets a disgusted reaction as he puts his own chewing gum into Allen’s mouth.
Both men trade forearms, this is stopped as the trade big kicks instead. Allen gets another two count off a big bicycle kick, Dar fights back with a big kick of his own and a spinning forearm. Allen hits a super-kick to the back of Dar’s head, Allen is going up top, but is brought back to Earth by a big kick and double stomps Allen’s knee and locks in a knee-bar and Darrell Allen taps out.
Result: Noam Dar wins by submission.
Rating: ***. A solid effort from both men as Dar is starting to establish himself as a heel, he took every shortcut he could and utilized every move in his arsenal, and for his part Darrell Allen (who was competing with a taped up shoulder after dislocating it at Chapter Two, brought his own spark to the ring and the two worked well together.
Jimmy Havoc vs Danny Garnell
Another familiar face to PROGRESS fans is introduced in Chapter Two, these days Havoc is a hero to the PROGRESS faithful and here we can add him to the ‘doesn’t he look young?’ list, he apparently got this match by bombarding the PROGRESS twitter account, could that be the start of a storyline? We shall see.
Chris Roberts finds a spoon in Havoc’s gear to start off the match, a nice little nod to his death match roots, Garnell is Havoc’s trainer apparently and a 14 year veteran, and they exchange headlocks a ‘Jim loves spooning’ chant breaks out so the two friends comply with their request, a ‘spoon the ref’ chant follows, Chris Roberts bails out of the ring though. We get a comedy spot where Jim demonstrates how to bump for a shoulder block. The comedy doesn’t last long as Havoc launches himself out of the ring with a flying press. Garnell puts him down with a big clothesline back in the ring though, followed up by a body-slam. Havoc fights back with a spinning head-scissors, that is unexpected by Havoc of all people. Havoc with some big kicks and a cross-face, Garnell gets to the ropes however. A ‘we miss Benoit’ chant breaks out, that borders on uncomfortable.
A big knee from Havoc dazes Garnell an attempt at a second one sent him crashing over the rope, Garnell plants him with a big DDT, it only gets a two count though, followed by a massive German suplex, and a half nelson suplex, this only gets a two count as well. Garnell gets caught up in the ropes and Havoc hits a lung-blower from the second rope, and back to the cross-face, Garnell gets to the ropes again though, Havoc’s frustration takes him to the outside and he grabs a chair, the ref gets him to put it down however and a Garnell rolls him up for a two count, Havoc pulls out a tilt-a-whirl into a cross-face again, but Garnell rolls through into the pin and gets the three count.
Result: Danny Garnell wins via pin fall
Rating: ***1/2. A Garnell win there was highly unexpected, given the amount of attention given to Havoc, although he did look strong in defeat and as we know this is only the start of a long and fruitful relationship between Havoc and PROGRESS. What started out as a comedy match soon found it’s feet as a serious match and some big moves really added to it’s drama, it also helped that there was obvious chemistry between the two men.
Following the match, Jim Smallman addresses Jimmy Havoc, he offers Jimmy another chance at Chapter 3. They put the exclamation point on it by all spooning in the ring.
Velocity Vipers vs London Riots
There’s a reason the Riots are known as ‘the first team of PROGRESS’ it’s because they were the first tag team ever introduced in PROGRESS history. Also Velocity Vipers has a little known wrestler in it called Will Ospreay, who was once promising but eventually didn’t amount to much (isn’t sarcasm wonderful?)
With the actual London Riots still fresh in the mind of the crowd, the team bearing that name drew a lot of heat. Ospreay’s partner looks about 12, and Ospreay himself doesn’t look all that much older. They get jumped by the Riots before the bell rings, but the Vipers fly at them to back them off, Alex Esmail (Ospreay’s partner) hits a big Tope Con Hilo on the Riots, Ospreay attempted to follow his example but is uppercutted almost out of his boots by Rob Lynch, Ospreay continues to attempt to fly but is overpowered immediately as is Esmail. The Riots are truly dominating in the opening minutes, they light up Ospreay with big chops, nice to see that Ospreay has always been a big bumper as he practically lands on his head after a big uppercut, a big boot takes Ospreay out of the ring.
Rob Lynch keeps the pressure on as he double stomps the back of Ospreay, he fights back with a flying take-down though and makes a hot tag to Esmail, and Rob Lynch tags in and spears Esmail in mid air, he somehow fights back, not for long as he’s put down with a big chop, Esmail still kicks out of a pin attempt though, a big German suplex only gets two as well. Rob Lynch continues to stomp Esmail into the ground, despite his attempts to fight back, he won’t stay down either, Esmail makes a tag to Ospreay who flies around to take down the Riots it works for a while as a tornado DDT into a Canadian Destroyers gets a two count, he carries on the offence as he goes to the top rope for a double rotation moonsault, but he misses! A big lariat puts him away for the three count.
Result: The London Riots win via pin fall
Rating: ***1/2. In what was an extended squash for the Riots, they truly showed their dominance, however, the two high flying youngsters certainly got their moments too, and Ospreay’s double rotation moonsault attempt was a thing of beauty, this match served its purpose very well it made the Riots look dominant, and going forward that’s what they needed.
After the bell, the Riots throw Ospreay out of the ring and grab microphones, Rob Lynch says ‘the Riots are back’ and issues a challenge to the locker room.
El Ligero vs Greg Burridge vs RJ Singh (Number One Contenders Match)
Ligero is fighting for another crack here at the ‘Nazi staff’ after making it into the finals at chapter one, RJ Singh is one of the debutante here joined by Greg Burridge, fans of 1PW may remember him as ‘The Pukka One’ from his run with the company in the mid to late 2000’s.
Singh is accompanied by ‘the director and his assistant’ to go with his Bollywood gimmick, and Burridge is using a Cockney gimmick, so he isn’t Pukka anymore.
Burridge and Ligero gang up on Singh to kick off, taking turns kicking him, getting rid of him for the time being, Burridge and Ligero trade tiny kicks to draw laughs from the crowd, Singh tells them to ‘stop mucking about’ and gets chopped for his troubles.
Burridge sends Ligero flying into Singh, Burridge has brought his fluffy dice with him if you don’t get what I’m talking about, don’t Google it. Ligero and Singh send him flying out of the ring, leaving Singh and Ligero to take part in some fast paced action, Singh hits a gut-buster on Ligero and plays up to the crowd, knocking Burridge off the apron as he does that. Jim Smallman talks up Singh and Ligero’s history on commentary, which adds another dimension to the match. Burridge is back in and takes out both men with a big running splash, Ligero calls for a dive, the director enters the ring, he’s dispatched by Burridge.
Singh re-enters the match, not for long however as he’s enziguried by Ligero, then he somersault planchas onto Singh’s assistant, Burridge locks Ligero in a Lasso in El Paso, Singh breaks that up and puts a Camel Clutch on Burridge, he’s super-kicked by Ligero though, who goes for the C4EL but misses and is put in a submission by Burridge, he escapes though and rolls up Burridge and grabs the tights for the three!
Result: El Ligero wins via pin fall
Rating: ***. A typical three way that was helped by three men who knew each other well enough to piece together a good narrative, Burridge and Ligero were both massively over and played off that well, and Singh to his credit brought the heat to the table and his fair share of the work.
Burridge is furious by Ligero’s underhanded tactics and launches into a foul-mouthed tirade using every four letter word under the sun.
Main Event: Nathan Cruz (c) vs Marty Scurll (2 out of 3 Falls for the PROGRESS Championship)
These two were the final two in the main event of Chapter One, laying the ground-work for this match, coming about after Cruz used a low-blow to get the final pin on Scurll.
We know what these two are capable of now, so I’m expecting a great match from them, especially given the stipulation and it’s potential for storytelling.
Scurll spits at Cruz, and Cruz returns the favour, they take each other to the corner and to the mat, each showing their respective abilities, they go nose to nose and exchange strikes, Scurll knocks down Cruz with a big shoulder block, he follows up with an arm drag and a running kick in the corner, Scurll works the hand, recent watchers of his work will be familiar with this particular tactic, still working the arm of the ‘Showstealer’ he powers him down to the mat, the two lock up again, and Cruz attempts to take some offence to Scurll, unsuccessfully so far as Scurll chops him to the ground. Cruz returns the favour with a pair of big chops.
A sunset flip attempt by Cruz is reversed by Cruz and the action is taken outside by a suicide dive from Scurll, one that missed Cruz by a mile, and the two are brawling in the crowd in a nice throwback to Chapter One’s main event. A pin attempt from Cruz doesn’t even register a one count. A attempt after a slingshot suplex, Scurll kicks his way back into the match though but is thrown to the mat and hit with a big flying knee, which gets another two count.
A delayed vertical suplex gets Scurll back in the match in a big way, he follows this with a forearm and a big kick in the corner, a tornado DDT gets Scurll another 2 count. Cruz blocks a forearm and hits one of his own. Cruz plays possum as Scurll goes to the top rope and hits an enziguri, Scurll fights back and hits a double knee, The Hangover gets Scurll the first fall.
Marty Scurll gets first fall. Scurll 1 Cruz 0.
The match is back under way and Cruz goes straight for the eyes, and beats down Scurll on the mat, both men trade right hands and a Cactus clothesline takes them both over the top rope, Scurll throws a drink at Cruz and we’re back in the crowd and the cameras are struggling to keep up. Cruz sends Scurll into the stairwell and runs Chris Roberts back to the ring for a count out, solid psychology there. Scurll beats the count but it’s back to the outside as Cruz throws Scurll into the chairs and back into the ring to try for a count out, some fans help Scurll back into the ring before the 10 count. Cruz drags Scurll back outside the ring and into the crowd. Cruz hits Show Stolen onto the sound desk! Back into the ring with the ref as the count begins. Scurll just makes it back before the 10 count. He more Scurll fights back the angrier Cruz gets, Scurll mounts a comeback with chops to Cruz, he introduces Cruz into the turnbuckle and dead-lift suplexes him into the ring for a very close near fall.
Scurll attempts a figure-four but Cruz rolls him up, he hits a tombstone on Scurll for a three count.
Cruz ties it up. Scurll 1 Cruz 1.
Onto the deciding fall now, and Scurll is struggling to get back to his feet following the tombstone, as soon as he’s up he collapses back down, Cruz sets up for Exit Stage Right but Scurll sees it coming and replies with a rolling elbow, both men now down the ref starts a 10 count, they’re both up at 9. Now they’re both up and trading forearms, Cruz goes for another Tombstone, it’s reversed, Scurll tries a series of roll ups, to no avail, Cruz low blows Scurll while the ref is distracted and hits a bridging German suplex which leads to another near fall, Scurll is fired up and locks in the figure-four leg-lock, the fans are all shouting for Cruz to tap, his shoulders go down for a two count, Cruz tries to fight it, but Scurll forces him back, high drama here as Cruz just reaches the ropes. Scurll inadvertently takes out the ref, he hits Show Stolen, but there’s no ref! Cruz retreats to the outside and grabs a chair, the ref is still down, but here comes El Ligero! He takes the chair but Cruz ducks a super kick and it hits Scurll and Cruz gets the win!
Result: Nathan Cruz wins two falls to one.
Rating: ****. A wonderful main event, there’s no other way to describe it, the storytelling was on point as well as the set up for future Chapters, both men brought their best and it showed.
After the match, Marty Scurll gets a standing ovation from the crowd, he has the mic in his hand, he addresses what happened in the conclusion of the match, addressing the fact he’s been cheated twice out of the title, and says it isn’t the end of his chase of the title, it’s just the start.
FINAL VERDICT: ***1/2. The company is still very much finding it’s feet, but damn is it ever good to watch, from establishing a dominating tag team, to showcasing up and comers and an epic main event, it took all it achieved in Chapter One and built on it very well, they’re set up a few ongoing stories that I’ll look forward to watching and chronicling. Very impressed.