After an eventful 2015 that saw new champions crowned, a second city for PROGRESS to call home and more shows than ever before on the calendar, PROGRESS kick off 2016 back in Camden at The Electric Ballroom. With seven huge matches on the card, PROGRESS look set to start the new year in the best possible fashion with a loaded line-up for Chapter 25: Chat Shit, Get Banged.
‘Flash’ Morgan Webster vs Paul Robinson
Two recent challengers for the PROGRESS title go head to head here in a first time ever match-up, with the 2nd Natural Progression Series winner ‘Flash’ Morgan Webster taking on Paul Robinson, the former henchman of nefarious ex-PROGRESS champion Jimmy Havoc. Both Robinson & Webster are excellent high flyers, but the violence Havoc brought out in Robinson over the past few years adds another dimension to the match and, with both men looking to get themselves back in title contention, this should make for an exciting encounter.
Natural Progression Series III: Tyler Bate vs Damian Dunne
With Sebastian having to pull out of the Natural Progression Series, PROGRESS management made the decision to put his spot in the tournament semi-final up for grabs, this oppertunity going to two men who failed to get through the quarter-finals, but impressed nonetheless. Damian Dunne would perhaps consider himself unlucky not to have defeated Sebastian in his previous match, despite dominating for much of the bout, while Tyler Bate fell victim to Pastor William Eaver’s vicious lariat in a tidy little contest. I’m looking forward to seeing what Dunne and Bate can bring to the table here.
Michael Dante vs Rob Lynch
What started out as some simple miscommunication at Chapter 22 has turned into all-out war between the two hardest hitting tag teams in PROGRESS, The London Riots and The Sumerian Death Squad. At Chapter 23 The Origin took advantage of the discontent between both teams and ended up winning the PROGRESS tag titles, which made former champions Tommy End & Michael Dante none too happy, as evidenced by their brutal tag match against The Riots at Chapter 24. On that night The Death Squad chose a DQ over victory, preferring to inflict as much damage as possible on their opponents and now the stage is set for a climactic showdown at Chapter 27, but not before a pair of singles bouts take place to determine the stipulations for that eventual match. The first of these pits Michael Dante against Rob Lynch in what should be an interesting contest. We’ve yet to see Michael Dante in singles action, but he’s the heavy hitter of The Sumerian Death Squad and has shown some surprising agility as well, while Rob Lynch has been involved in some of the most violent matches in PROGRESS history.
Pollyanna vs Toni Storm vs Dahlia Black vs Jinny
After their excellent No Disqualification match at Chapter 19, Day 2 got a standing ovation, Jinny and Pollyanna make their returns to PROGRESS Chapter shows in this big 4-way match, also featuring New Zealand-natives Dahlia Black and Toni Storm. I have yet to see Dahlia Black wrestle, but she’s a ProJo graduate and does hold a recent victory over Pollyanna at ENDVR:14 (with the assistance of TK Cooper). Meanwhile, Toni Storm has been making a good name for herself in the UK over the past year or so, looking forward to seeing what sort of impression she can make in this match.
No.1 Contender Match: Mark Haskins vs Zack Gibson
This match has ‘show stealer’ written all over it, as two of Britain’s very best technical wrestlers in Mark Haskins and Zack Gibson go one-on-one for a shot at the PROGRESS title. Both men made failed challenges for the title recently, but since Haskins’ shot at Chapter 21 he’s won three matches in a row which has put him firmly back in title contention. Gibson, meanwhile, did not succeed in the 3-way title match at Chapter 24, but was never pinned in that match and has gone four matches undefeated. The similarities between Gibson and Haskins extend beyond their recent good form, however, as both are excellent technical wrestlers and both are proponents of the armbar (Haskins with the Star Armbar and Gibson with the Shankly Gates). Suffice to say, this is a very intriguing match-up, one that I hope isn’t spoiled by interference from Gibson’s cohorts in The Origin. Especially ‘The Bastard’ Dave Mastiff, who is currently suspended from PROGRESS for a month.
PROGRESS Tag Titles: The Origin (Nathan Cruz & El Ligero) © vs FSU (Mark Andrews & Eddie Dennis)
This match takes place 364 days after The Origin first stole the PROGRESS tag titles from F.S.U, leaving that chapter of Mark Andrews’ PROGRESS career to end on a rather sour note. Since then the titles have changed hands twice only to end up firmly in the hands of Nathan Cruz & El Ligero once more, just as Andrews made his return to PROGRESS competition. Unsurprisingly, the reunited team of Eddie Dennis & Mark Andrews wasted little time in going after The Origin, Dennis earning this title shot for his team with a big singles victory over The Origin’s Dave Mastiff at ENDVR:14. So now with the stage set for these two teams to face off again, almost a whole year since their last meeting for the PROGRESS tag titles, can F.S.U. reclaim their gold or will The Origin remain champions?
PROGRESS No-DQ Title Match: Will Ospreay © vs Marty Scurll
At the end of Chapter 24 ‘The Villain’ Marty Scurll made a vicious attack on PROGRESS Champion Will Ospreay’s arm, clearly hoping to earn himself an advantage for their impending title match, in which Scurll has promised to make Ospreay suffer the worst moment of his young career. In a perhaps somewhat unwise move, an enraged Ospreay has declared that the match will be contested under No Disqualification rules (watch HERE), which you have to think would favour the odious Villain Marty Scurll. But perhaps there’s method to Will Ospreay’s madness, as it was in this very sort of match that he won the title in the first place, defeating Jimmy Havoc in a highly memorable contest that saw all sorts of weapons come into play. However, ‘The Villain’ is a superlative technical wrestler, made even more dangerous by his willingness to bend and break the rules (as well as his opponent’s fingers) and it could very well be that this is ‘The Aerial Assassin’ Will Ospreay’s toughest test yet as PROGRESS Champion. (See Scurlls video in retaliation to Ospreays HERE)
PROGRESS Chapter 25: Chat Shit, Get Banged takes place this Sunday and will be available on-demand shortly after over at: http://www.demand-progress.com