By Haydn Gleed
Progress Chapter 54: “Go To Your God Like A Soldier”
August 27, 2017 in London, England at The Electric Ballroom
Available via at Demandprogress.pivotshare.com
Stranger Davis defeated Connor Mills
Tyler Bate defeated Kid Lykos
Dahlia Black defeated Jinny #1 Contenders Match For The Women’s Progress Title
Chris Brookes defeated Trent Seven
Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson and James Drake) defeated FSU (Mark Andrews and Eddie Dennis)
Timothy Thatcher defeated Doug Williams
Pete Dunne and Travis Banks defeated Jimmy Havoc and Mark Haskins
The Main Event (Pete Dunne and Travis Banks vs Jimmy Havoc and Mark Haskins): This was excellent on multiple levels. Firstly, the match was carnage but in a good way with a lot of the action happening around the ring and some good action in the ring. This was the last match of essentially the go home show before the big Chapter 55 event, meaning it’s job was to get people excited for that event and it excelled at doing so.
Firstly Jimmy Havoc and Mark Haskins who had had a lot of issues recently could not get on the same page and you could see the tension building between the two until Jimmy Havoc slapped Haskins across the face instead of the traditional tag and they went at each other. They did face each other at Chapter 55 in a death match and this match and the storyline arc they built with this leading into this show was the perfect combination to set that up.
Pete Dunne is amazing at being a heel in a world that usually likes to cheer heels. It’s unbelievable. From his usual arrogant persona to his actions before, during, and after this match, the table was well and truly set for the big match against Travis Banks on Progress’s biggest show of the year. He came out and decided he didn’t want to tag with his next opponent, attacked a commentator to take his place, stole the pinfall after Travis had wrestled alone for twenty minutes, attacked the female stablemate of Travis Banks, threatened to break the Progress Title with a sledgehammer, and hit Banks in the back of the head with the same tool. In a perverse way, it was amazing seeing the closing moments of the show with the crowd trying to get to Dunne and being so disgusted with his actions. The show actually faded to black with no music just the sound of the crowd shouting abuse at the Progress champion. Masterful all round.
For his part, Banks not only looked sympathetic after the actions of Dunne, but during the match held his own against two big name former Progress champions. As I mentioned, he hit the finisher that set up Dunne stealling the pin. As I’ve said all along, Progress has made Travis look like a tough SOB going into their biggest show and hopefully they will pay it off.
Sit-down segment to setup the Main Event: Progress doesn’t usually do in-ring promos but here they had Flash Morgan Webster, who as well as being a regular wrestler for Progress produces a popular podcast so he has a great personable interview technique, sit down with Jimmy Havoc and Mark Haskins early in the show. I’m not usually a fan of main events not being decided before a show has started, but they had a good explanation for that in terms of the gimmick they were working where Dunne and Banks have been picking their opponents so there was a storyline out for the lack of main event.
All the men participating in this segment played true to their characters, and as we have seen from Haskins and Havoc before and after this sit down interview things begin cordially before breaking down and both men looking to tear each other limb by limb. Highly enjoyable character work and interview segment.
CCK vs. British Strong Style: The gimmick on this show was the two teams competing for the tag titles at Chapter 55 would face each other in singles matches and whoever won each match would pick the stipulations for the tag match. Tyler Bate defeated Kid Lykos and both himself and Trent Seven decided that their stipulation would be that there wasn’t a stipulation, which when you think about it is a logical heel tactic. Later in the show, Chris Brookes defeated Trent Seven and announced that CCK’s choice would be a ladder match which the crowd nearly blew the roof off with their pop. Another great hook for Chapter 55.
I also need to mention the great heel mic work from Trent Seven on this show from the logical choice of the stipulation to really getting under the skin of the crowd talking about NXT and WWE and looking down on the crowd. I’m still of the opinion that Trent is a notch or two below his British Strong Style stablemates in terms of in-ring work, but the character he portrays is tremendous and again in a world where heels don’t usually exist, in Progress he is a master.
Strangler Davis vs. Connor Mills: Following the strong angle on Chapter 53 between James Davis and his former London Riots team mate Rob Lynch, I was excited for the follow up. This was not good. He’s changed his character into a Adam Page style gimmick with a rope and a noose and he gave far too much offense to the debuting Projo graduate Connor Mills. If there was ever a case for a need for a squash match to really get over the new aggression of the heel Davis this was it here. Connor for his part looked decent and has certainly got some raw potential but his 450 splash attempt not only looked brutal but it looked like it really hurt him as well. Very disappointing.
In The Middle
Jinny vs. Dahlia Black: This wasn’t a bad match by any stretch of the imagination, but it was two female wrestlers with great raw potential who had a match with a strong foundation but didn’t really reach the heights that I think they were looking for. Black taking on Toni Storm on Chapter 55 will be interesting and a good test for both ladies for different reasons.
Grizzled Young Veterans vs. FSU: I guess I was expecting a lot more with the talent of the four men in the ring. This match just felt like a filler match which was a shame. What I will give Progress a lot of credit for though is having the balls to have the heel team win clean against such established opponents. Not a lot of independent companies would or even could do that for fear of losing the crowd, but this enabled them to push The Young Vets as a good heel tag team, and if my instincts are correct that CCK will defeat British Strong Style at Chapter 55, there will be ready made opponents for them.
Timothy Thatcher vs. Doug Williams: Exactly the type of match that doesn’t hold my attention. I can’t give this a “miss” as just because it’s not my thing doesn’t mean it was a badly wrestled match or have appeal for others. It was your standard big man match and if you enjoy Timothy Thatcher’s work, you’ll enjoy this. Even in his mid 40’s, Williams still looks like a beast to the point that I can imagine him turning my heat into a skittle with very little effort.
What was good was great and what was not so good was okay/in the middle with the exception of the opener not being even okay. The company had just come back from a long trip to the United States and there felt something of a small hangover/jet lag overlap here. Also, one of their integral acts in TK Cooper broke his foot while in America so I can imagine there was a bit of a booking scramble to cover for that, to which they should be applauded for.
Recommendation: Anything involving the three British Strong Style guys is worth going out of your way to watch as well as anything involving Havoc and Haskins. Everything else on the show is skippable but if you have enjoyed a Progress show before I’m sure you’ll come out of this satisfied.
Look out for my Chapter 55 review which will be available in the next couple of days. In the meantime if you want to discuss anything Progress/UK wrestling/anything wrestling in general you can find me on twitter @haydngleed or via email firstname.lastname@example.org