By Haydn Gleed
Progress Chapter 51: Screaming For Progress Review
July 9, 2017 in Birmingham, England at O2 Academy
Available via at Demandprogress.pivotshare.com
War Machine vs. London Riots: This match was a lot of fun and scary if you were seated in the front row as I was. Trust me when I say you will never see this Welshman move quicker than when Hanson is charging towards his opponent right in front of you. That aside, the tornado tag rules (renamed the War Machine rules within Progress after this event) aided this match and led to a brutal brawl which the Progress fans ate up. They managed to keep the intensity level up through the entire match and despite this being the third match in the last six months within the Progress world this still felt fresh and exciting. Definitely a stand out tag team match and one that you should watch if you have access to this show.
British Strong Style (Pete Dunne, Trent Seven, and Tyler Bate) vs. CCK (Chris Brookes, Kid Lykos, Travis Banks): Lets get the negatives out of the way, I’m still not sold on Chris Brookes and Kid Lykos as a tag team. I have seen Brookes do some really fun stuff mostly involving intergender matches with Nixon Newell, but I have not seen him in anything that has really stood out to me. Furthermore, Kid Lykos with his wolf mask still doesn’t wow me. However, this match was fascinating from both an in-ring and storyline progression point of view. British Strong Style are a hot heel act in Progress at the moment and by winning this match via a sledgehammer shot (yes, they are doing it on purpose to evoke feelings regarding a certain HHH) they really agitated the crowd to the point that promoter Jim Smallman had to say a few words after the show ended to try and calm the discontent from the crowd. They are building towards Pete Dunne and Travis Banks for their biggest show ever in September so it’s natural the heels are going to stand tall until then to make the potential babyface win mean even more. The fact the crowd got so hot is a testament to the great work that BSS are putting into the act, and this was another great twist in the storyline arc that Progress are telling. I still maintain that Travis Banks is still the hidden gem of the wrestling indie scene and another strong performance in this match further cemented that feeling for me.
Matt Riddle vs. Walter: Words can’t describe what it was like watching one man chop another man’s chest to the point that it started bleeding right in front of me. Let me make one thing clear, on a personal level I usually don’t like big man wrestling. I find it a slower and less exciting form of the wrestling that I enjoy. I appreciate there is a fan base for big man wrestling so I’m not saying it’s not important or not entertaining, it’s just not for me. With that being said. when it’s done well it’s incredible to watch and that’s exactly what this match for the Atlas Tournament Title was for me. Two big men beating the tar out of each other, no fancy moves, no time to breathe just two men fighting to either win or retain a championship. If you’ve heard the hype for Matt Riddle or indeed Walter but haven’t seen any of their work, find this match and simple enjoy. Hands down the best match of the night.
Eddie Dennis vs. Ashmore: The week leading into this show, Dennis produced a magnificent video detailing the fact he was giving up his full time, well paying job as a headteacher to be a full time professional wrestler. Considering how good he has been part time, I can’t wait to see what he can do while working full time. However, this wasn’t a great first match in Progress following the terrific announcement video. They didn’t seem to gel and there was a number of times that I felt the flow didn’t feel right. In all fairness, this match was made at the last minute as originally Dennis was supposed to team with Mark Andrews, but Andrews was pulled from the event with an injury so maybe that’s a reason for the quality of the match. I’m still super impressed by Dennis, and Ashmore certainly showed a lot of skill for a big man in certain spots, but this was a disappointment.
In The Middle
Mark Haskins vs. Mike Bird: My admiration for Mark Haskins is clear for anyone who has heard my audio reviews for Progress over the last 12 months, but I came away from this match feeling that it was just a means to get to the post match promo from Haskins declaring his intention of going back after the Progress Title. Just a match that didn’t stand out in a positive or negative way it was just your standard opening match that never really got out of the low gears.
Chief Deputy Dunne vs. Flash Morgan Webster: Webster is always impressive in the ring as was the case in this match, and I’m digging his use of social media to play up the storyline of him being on a losing streak, but I’m just not feeling the Chief Deputy Dunne Right To Censor ripoff in 2017. Basically, he carries around a megaphone and telling the crowd that we are having too much fun and he’s here to stop it. It just feels like an indie-riffic gimmick that ironically takes any fun or suspension of disbelief out of the match for me.
From an in-ring perspective, War Machine vs London Riots and Matt Riddle vs Walter were two world class matches for the genre of professional wrestling that they fulfilled. The main event demonstrated the art of master storytelling and playing with the crowds emotions. Everything else on the card was decent but nothing that I’ll remember six months from now. However, it only got one hit in my things I didn’t like section and that was mostly due to my high expectations of Eddie Dennis laying down a marker following his announcement and being disappointed with the end result more than anything else.
Recommendation: If you’ve never seen Progress before, this might not be the show for you to jump onto and get a real flavor for a true Progress Wrestling event. However, if you are somebody who picks and chooses Progress shows based on reviews, it’s certainly one that I think you could watch and be satisfied with the time you invest.
I will be back later this week with a written rundown of Progress Wrestling’s Chapter 52 and Chapter 53.
Agree or disagree? Let me know via twitter @haydngleed or via email email@example.com