By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
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Progress Wrestling 145 Witch Face – Trick or Treat
Available to stream on Peacock
Oct. 25, 2022 in London, England at Electric Ballroom
This show is now available on Peacock Network, where it is listed as “Season 11, Episode 21.” Notably, multiple wrestlers who were part of NXT-UK and recently released took part of the action here. Good camera work here, and the crowd in this club setting is perhaps 500. There is commentary by So Cal Val, best known for her tenure in Ring of Honor, and a man who didn’t introduce himself.
* Simon Miller hit the ring and fired up the crowd. Kosta Kostatino, a heel manager, came out of the back and said his man isn’t ready to wrestle yet. We then went to a video montage of what’s occurred at other recent Progress Wrestling shows. They do like to swear in the UK …
1. Ricky Knight Jr. defeated Leon Slater in a “Natural Progression” semi-final match at 12:06. Knight just ended Will Ospreay’s title reign a month ago; he’s white and average height and weight. Slater is the tall thin Black 17-year-old man; think Nick Wayne’s skills at such a young age, and a taller Lio Rush. I’m a big fan. Quite bluntly, this match is why I tuned in. Seconds into the match, Leon dove over a corner turnbuckle to the floor onto Knight. Knight placed Slater’s feet on the top rope and hit a DDT for a nearfall at 2:00, then some loud chops. Slater hit a handspring-back-elbow.
They fought on the top rope, and Slater hit a Frankensteiner, but Knight landed on his feet at 6:30, drawing a “holy shit!” chant. Knight hit a superkick. Slater came back with a Canadian Destroyer, and they were both down, with the fans chanting, “This is Progress!” They took turns trading chops at 9:00. Slater hit a leg lariat for a nearfall. Knight hit a Styles Clash for a nearfall at 11:30. Slater nailed a Poison Rana, but he missed a 450 Splash. Knight hit a decapitating clothesline and a sit-out Rikishi Driver for the pin. That was incredible.
* The Sunshine Machine tag team hit the ring. Chuck Mambo is angry because a long braid of hair was apparently cut off his head. Out came Kid Lykos, who is a masked heel, and Lykos taunted Mambo by holding his braid of hair. They agreed to have a hair vs. mask match at a future show.
2. Anthony Ogogo defeated Malik in a “knockouts only” match at 14:53. This is essentially a last-man standing match, with the ref counting to 10 when a man is down. Ogogo looks great but just hasn’t clicked for me in AEW. Malik is thin with his hair in tight cornrows and he’s wearing blue jeans, and reminds me a bit of Mustafa Ali. Malik attacked from behind before the bell an the crowd booed him, as Ogogo is quite popular here. Malik hit some running forearm shots in the corner. Ogogo, wearing his Ken Shamrock-style shooter gloves, hit his own stiff running forearm shots, then a Bulldog Powerslam at 2:00.
Malik hit a nice dropkick to the face and got booed. Ogogo hit a dive to the floor, and they brawled outside the ring, where the camera work is spotty at best. They brawled over to the bar, with Ogogo taking a few drinks of whatever was handy. Ogogo beat up some of the corner-men who joined Malik to ringside. Ogogo hit a Flatliner-type move on this wood floor; whatever he was going for, it didn’t look good. They brawled up onto the ramp, where Malik hit a snap suplex at 6:00. Malik got a chair and slammed it onto Ogogo’s right hand. “That’s the money-maker” the female announcer said. They finally got back into the ring at 8:00, with Malik biting the ear and earning more boos.
Ogogo hit a backbreaker over his knee and a piledriver. Malik’s corner-men pulled him out of the ring, so Ogogo hit a top-rope flip dive onto five or six guys on the floor at 10:30, earning a “holy shit!” chant. In the ring, Ogogo put a trash can over Malik and hit a clothesline on him. A manager tugged at Ogogo’s leg, allowing Malik to hit a low blow. Malik hit a running knee. A fire extinguisher was thrown into the ring. Ogogo ducked being hit by it and he hit a low blow on Malik. A heel manager used the fire extinguisher on Ogogo, but he accidentally hit Malik! The crowd chanted, “You f—ked up!” Ogogo hit a knock-out punch, and Malik was out, and the ref called for the bell. This topped all expectations.
3. Nina Samuels defeated Alexxis Falcon at 7:56. Samuels never seemed to click and move into the upper tier in NXT-UK. My first time seeing Alexxis; she has deep red hair (think Alba Fyre’s color) and wore a black one-piece gear. Samuels was dressed like one of those 1960s Playboy bunnies with rabbit ears, a tail and a collar, and she has a tiny trophy for winning a fictious award. The match began and Alexxis tore off the bunny ears and threw them out of the ring to loud boos. Falcon is aggressive and being booed, but Samuels is cheered for being a cheater here. Nina hit a dropkick as Alexxis was tied up in the ropes at 3:30.
Alexxis hit a snap suplex and a dropkick, then a running kick-into-the-splits. Nina cowered in the corner and held her nose, selling a major facial injury. Of course, that lured in Alexxis, and Nina hit a drop-toe-hold into the corner. Nina hit an enzuigiri, and while the ref was out of position, Nina hit Allexxis in the head with her trophy for the cheat pin. The crowd enjoyed it for what it was, but this was early 2000s-WWE-style women’s action, and not a technical classic.
* Alexxis got on the mic and made fun of Nina, who was now standing on the stage. She made a comment about how Nina hadn’t seen enough horror movies. The lights went out, and when they came back on, Nina was covered in fake blood, re-creating the famous scene from “Carrie.”
4. Tate Mayfairs defeated Nico Angelo in a “Natural Progression” semifinal match at 9:09. Tate also had a handful of NXT-UK matches, and he’s cocky in the vein of MJF or heel Ricky Starks. My first time seeing Nico, who has long curly hair and a short beard, and he wore a leather jacket to the ring; everything about him makes me think of David Finlay. Angelo, as the babyface, attacked from behind and took control early on, and he hit a top-rope crossbody block for a nearfall at 2:00. Tate hit a backbreaker over his knee and a spinning suplex for a nearfall at 5:00.
They fought to the floor. In the ring, Tate hit a Moxley-style double-arm DDT and a piledriver for a nearfall at 7:30. Tate went to the corner and got brass knuckles. Nico hit a rolling Death Valley Driver, then a top-rope Shooting Star Press for a nearfall. Tate hit Nico with the brass knuckles when the referee was out of position, shoved the foreign object in his pants, and scored the tainted pin. Alright match.
5. Eddie Dennis and Mark Andrews defeated Callum Newman and Danny Black at 13:44. Black and Newman wore identical pink pants; Black has big curly hair. Andrews and Dennis were cheered on the way to the ring. I noted this the last time I saw him, but Eddie Dennis looks completely different than when his NXT-UK run ended, as he has a different haircut and look. Andrews and Newman started. Dennis clocked Black with a forearm at 3:00. Eddie hit a chokeslam for a nearfall.
Newman and Callum began working over Andrews with basic tag team maneuvers. Dennis made the hot tag at 8:00 and did a double-noggin-knocker. Black hit a Code Red on Dennis for a nearfall. Andrews nailed a running double kneestrike in the corner, and we got another “This is Progress!” chant. Andrews hit his double Pele Kick on both heels at 11:00, then a mid-ring Spanish Fly. Andrews hit a dive through the ropes to the floor. Newman hit a top-rope moonsault onto all three on the floor.
In the ring, Callum hit a Shooting Star Press on Andrews, but Dennis made the save. Dennis hit a flip dive to the floor. In the ring, Andrews nailed a Poison Rana. Andrews and Dennis hit a version of the Young Bucks’ Meltzer Driver for the pin. That was a fun match, especially the last three or so minutes. Andrews is so good, and I really hope that whenever NXT-Europe debuts, Triple H calls him back up and brings him back.
* Elijah hit the ring. He is short, young, bald and tattooed, so basically Alan Angels. The lights went out, and when they came back on, Charles Crowley was in the ring. Crowley looks like a homeless man. “Did you miss me?” he asked the crowd. Crowley said he was back to team up with Elijah, but Elijah had no interest in a partnership. By the time the segment ended, they agreed to have a match at the next show.
6. Maggot defeated Man Like Dereiss at 12:01. I saw Dereiss a month or so ago, and he is a Black man with a flamboyant ring entrance and reminds me of a young, young Shelton Benjamin. Maggot reminds me of Sinn Bodhi/Kizarny, with his Alice Cooper facepaint and a tall carnival barker’s top hat. Mat reversals to open. Maggot went for a top-rope crossbody block, but Dereiss caught him and hit a Samoan Drop at 7:00.
Dereiss hit a short-arm clothesline and was back in charge. Maggot hit a TKO stunner. Dereiss hit a stunner and a sit-out powerbomb for a believable nearfall. Dereiss dove through the ropes onto Maggot on the floor. Dereiss missed a 450 Splash, and Maggot immediately hit a spear, and they were both down at 11:00. Dereiss hit a top-rope superplex, but he made a lazy cover. Maggot hooked both arms, rolled him over, and scored the pin. Dereiss sold being shocked at the embarrassing loss. I see a lot of potential in him.
7. Lana Austin, LA Taylor, Skye Smitson, and Taonga defeated Baby Allison, Kanji, Millie McKenzie, and Rhio in an eight-woman tag at 13:11. A have seen Lana and Kanji just a few times, and of course, McKenzie in her NXT-UK run. Like Mark Andrews, she should be on Triple H’s list of callbacks whenever NXT-Europe launches. Millie’s team are the babyfaces. Rhio has long, braided purple hair. (Not a misspelling; this is not AEW’s Riho.) Kanji wore her title belt. All eight fought before the bell. Baby Allison wore green and did the Bray Wyatt-spider crawl that freaked out Lana.
Kanji and Skye brawled at 4:00; Skye is just like Shayna Baszler — really muscular with a believable fighter vibe. The babyfaces began working over Skye. LA Taylor, a tall blonde (think Charlotte Flair), entered and the heels began working over Rhio. Lana tagged in, hit a few stomps, and immediately tagged out. Taonga, a Black woman, entered, but her teammates quickly tagged her out, and the announcers hinted that Taonga isn’t being allowed to have fun, sewing some disssension here. Skye and Rhio traded some hard mid-ring blows.
Millie made the hot tag at 9:30 and hit a German Suplex on Taonga and a spear on LA Taylor. Suddenly, it was the four babyfaces in the ring with Lana, and they all hit quick moves on Lana. Skye hit an Air Raid Crash. Rhio hit an Air Raid Crash. Millie hit a twisting neckbreaker on LA Taylor. This action was fast. Taonga tagged herself in, and Lana looked angry about it. Taonga hit an Unprettier and a kneestrike, but she wasn’t aware that Lana had tagged herself in. Lana jumped in the ring and made the cover for the pin, even though Taonga did all the hard work. Taonga began arguing with her teammates, so Lana dropped her with a spinning forearm, and the crowd booed. “She just helped them win, and this is how they treat her,” the male commentator said.
8. Big Damo defeated Luke Jacobs to retain the Atlas Title at 10:29. Yes, Damo is the former Killian Dain, and he’s much bigger than his opponent. Jacobs is the really, really good mat technician similar to Kyle O’Reilly, William Regal, or Bryan Danielson. They charged at each other at the bell and immediately traded forearm shots. Damo hit a running crossbody block. Jacobs hit a Dragon Suplex at 2:30. Jacobs invited Damo to hit some chops. Damo hit a Mafia Kick at 5:00.
Jacobs hit a running forearm to the back of the head and a big German Suplex. He went for a sleeper on the mat, but Damo reached the ropes at 7:30. Jacobs hit a piledriver and a clothesline for a nearfall, then a sit-out powerbomb for a nearfall. Damo hit a second-rope Superplex, a senton, and a Vader Bomb for a nearfall. Damo hit five more (6 in all!) Vader Bombs, and scored the pin. I really enjoyed this, but I was always a big fan of Damo.
* A video package aired showing the feud between Spike Trivet and Dan Maloney.
9. Spike Trivet defeated Dan Moloney to retain the Progress Wrestling Championship at 15:22. Molony also had a handful of NXT-UK matches; he has short black hair. Trivet reminds me of Luke Hawx (the wrestler who is portraying Steve Austin on “Young Rock.”), and he’s a good heel. Trivet attacked from behind before the bell. The ref asked Moloney if it was ok to ring the bell, so we officially started two minutes into the action. Moloney was already bleeding on his face, and Trivet wiped it on his chest. Moloney hit a dropkick at 5:30. He hit a double stomp to the chest.
Trivet hit a neckbreaker over his knee for a nearfall at 8:30. Trivet accidentally knocked down the ref with a swinging elbow shot. Trivet got his title belt and hit Moloney in the face, then a series of punches to the face. Trivet and another man beat up Moloney, until Man Like Dereiss hit the ring and chased off Trivet’s henchman. Meanwhile, Moloney nailed a spear and a Jay Driller for a believable nearfall. at 13:00. Moloney hit a pair of piledrivers for a nearfall, but the henchman pulled the ref from the ring. Trivet hit a package piledriver for a believable nearfall at 15:00. Trivet immediately hit a second package piledriver for the pin.
Final Thoughts: I enjoyed the opener and it earned best match, and the main event was good for second-best. I’ll give Damo-Jacobs third place. These shows are fun; I admittedly don’t watch a lot of Progress, but this lineup looked good to me, and I felt it delivered.
Progress Wrestling returns November 27; they listed dates for 13 shows throughout 2023. This is a long show, clocking in at nearly four hours.