The first thing that needs be noted is that the weather today was infinitely better than the last time PROGRESS was in Sheffield. But then that wouldn’t be particularly hard. As usual, match times lifted from Twitter
The show starts with Nixon Newell coming out in street clothes and a knee brace, so that’s the scheduled main event knackered. Dakota Kai takes her place in the women’s title match.
Michael Dante vs. Damien Corvin
This was undoubtedly the least appetising match on the card, so fair play for getting it out of the way first. That said, if you wanted the show to kick off with a bang, this wasn’t the bout to go with. Dante goes over with a spear at 5.28, and will face Doug Williams for the Atlas title as a result – a state of affairs that tells you a lot about the lay of the land of the Atlas division at the moment.
Flash Morgan Webster & Mark Haskins vs. No Fun Dunne & Los Federales Jnr
Now this is more like it. Webster and Haskins come out in prison boiler suits, for fun-related crimes presumably. A thoroughly entertaining tag match sees Webster punt Federales Jnr behind the referee’s back, and Haskins rolls up the latter at 8.59.
Danny Duggan vs. Mark Davis – Natural Progression Series Semi-Final
This was a classic example of a match that people were fairly luke-warm on at the start; but through sheer hard work they got the crowd into it – and earned a well-deserved standing ovation at the end. Davis murdered Duggan with chops, bursting several blood vessels in his chest. The finish was a shade flat – Davis was clearly going for a Chris Hero-style knockout jab, but it didn’t quite come off. It was enough to get the win though at 9.04. Both men came out of the match looking good.
Spike Trivet vs. Jimmy Havoc – No DQ
Trivet is gold on the microphone; before the start of the match he gives Havoc £60 in an attempt to replicate the latter’s TOD payoff. Naturally the notes ended up being stapled to each guy’s body at various points. A brutal hardcore match which saw chairs, scissors, lemon juice in the wound, and thumbtacks come into play. There was also a glorious comedy spot (which it should be said made sense within the context of the match) where Trivet painted (after a fashion) a portrait of Havoc. In an upset, Trivet went over after four chairshots to the head of Havoc at 14.49. I’ve seen a few people getting in a flap about said chairshots; my genuine reaction at the time was – rightly or wrongly – “I’ve seen worse.” A gripping bout, and a huge win for Trivet – this could well be the match that elevates him to bigger things. Incidentally Trivet is thoroughly believable in his gimmick; something for all aspiring wrestlers (and indeed some members of the roster) to take note of.
Chris Brookes vs. Angelico
Fine for what it was; a decent singles bout in the middle of the card. A Jay Driller sees Brookes take the winners share of the purse at 13.24.
After the match, Brookes gets on the mike to address the situation re: CCK; but before he can do so, he’s attacked from behind by Haskins and Webster. Webster lamps him with the scooter helmet, and then….Kid Lykos comes out to a HUGE pop to make the save. Looks like CCK are back.
Walter & Jack Sexsmith vs. Travis Banks & TK Cooper
If Walter or Sexsmith win, they get a Progress title shot. Walter is insanely over: he is undoubtedly one of the stars of 2018 thus far. A very smartly booked tag match, in that it limited the interaction between Walter and Banks in light of their inevitable title rematch down the line. The crowd was into this one from start to finish. There was a moment towards the end where Sexsmith looked longingly at the title belt and a guy in the crowd yelled “is this symbolic?” Walter walloped Cooper with a lariat to earn at title shot at 15.43 to earn a title shot. Cracking bout.
PROGRESS Women’s Championship – Jinny © vs. Dakota Kai
Man, this match fell on its arse. It wasn’t bad, it was just heatless, with the crowd indifferent for large portions. The problem was this; everyone knew that Jinny wasn’t dropping the belt today, but with Nixon making a return to the UK you can get away with it as a main event, because she’s over. As soon as they found out Nixon was crocked, they needed to switch this as the main – arguably the Walter tag bout should have gone on last. But they stuck with it, and the bout was as flat as a pancake as a result. Naturally there was Chakra interference, and the Acid Rainmaker saw the champ retain at 15.40.
Overall – Sandwiched between an indifferent opener and an indifferent main was a very enjoyable card of wrestling.