Progress Chapter 74: Mid Week Matters Review

The show opens in typical Progress style with the intro/welcome/mini stand-up set from co-owner (and former professional comedian) Jim Smallman. Topics covered this week include the heat, the midweek nature of the show, a fan bringing his mother and grandmother to their first ever live wrestling show and, for reasons far too complicated to explain, the pop song Ooh Aah….Just a Little Bit.

Finally, after referee Chris Roberts comes out to his usual chorus of boos, it’s time for the wrestling, starting with ….

Match 1: The 198 (Flash Morgan Webster and Wild Boar) vs Aussie Open (Mark Davis and Kyle Fletcher)

The first thing to say is that, for reasons explained live at the show but apparently not allowed to be discussed on camera, Progress has lost the rights to all their entrance music and everyone now has generic WWE-esque themes. It’s not great obviously, and the lack of a proper explanation is annoying but presumably they just can’t afford the rights fees anymore and we’ll just have to adjust and keep our fingers crossed that proper music will come back at some point.

This match is the official debut of the 198 in Progress and follows on from the events of the last chapter show in Birmingham when Flash brought an end to the nameless trio of himself, Mark Haskins and Jimmy Havoc courtesy of a brutal Wild Boar package piledriver (Trapper Keeper) on Mark Haskins. Tonight’s encounter is also part of the Thunderbastard Tag Team Series, which is basically a tag team league to decide the order of entry in a multi tag team gauntlet match for the tag titles at Wembley. Due to an administrative loophole (apparently Flash’s name was the only one on the form), The 198 have been credited with the league points of the previous team of Haskins and Flash and so, despite this being their debut, they technically have three wins and are going for a fourth. Oh, the wacky world of pro wrestling.

The 198 come out first and they are a truly striking duo, Flash looking sharp in a military jacket and red rimless sunglasses and Wild Boar looking like something out of a Mad Max wasteland wearing a spiked leather vest that makes him look like he’s been impaled by some prehistoric creature and a chunky horned facemask. Next come Aussie Open and, clearly dissatisfied with the music situation, Mark Davis whips out an iPhone and listens to his old them on headphones as he walks to the ring and attempts to destroy the palms of those sitting in the front row with the hardest high fives in wrestling.

The match itself is a solid hard-hitting, fast-paced opener that builds nicely, basically two experienced teams doing what they do best. Mark Davis unleashed his usual arsenal of chops, clotheslines, punches and slams, Wild Boar weighed in with headbutts and various suplexes, while Fletcher and Webster did the flippy stuff. In the chaos, two spots stood out. The first was Davis suplexing Webster out of a guillotine choke onto his partner to break up a pin attempt, which was a great visual. The second was Fletcher performing what was basically a high angle deadlift powerbomb on Wild Boar for a great near fall. Now, Wild Boar may be short (he definitely is, he even makes Flash look tall) but he’s not light, and Fletcher lifting his bulk up into the air and slamming him down is bloody impressive and speaks volumes for Fletcher’s continued evolution as a pro wrestler.

The chaos is eventually brought to an end by Wild Boar hitting the Trapper Keeper on Fletcher while Flash locked the guillotine choke on Mark Davis on the outside. An impressive debut for the 198 then and I’m eager to see more of this distinctive, dynamic team.

Rating – ***

Post match, enter a furious Mark Haskins with a chair and a seething Vicky Haskins with a barbed wire baseball bat, both eager to exact revenge for the attack at the previous show. The 198 do the smart thing and run, with Webster having to physically hold back Wild Boar, a nice touch that reflects their characters. The crowd meanwhile respond with loud chants of “This is Haskins”, the sneak attack having apparently turned him face for the first time in a long time. Mark Haskins then attacks Flash’s trademark mod helmet with the barbed wire bat, which doesn’t really work (the most visible damage is the barbed wire getting a bit bent) but conveys his hatred of all things Flash. As the commentators note, this is all build for Haskins vs Flash on 4th August at the former ECW arena in Philadelphia, a fitting venue for what will surely be a war. Given that it comes so quickly though, I’d be surprised if that’s the end of it, and this is a feud that could well run through the summer, culminating in some sort of hardcore affair down the line.

After a quick interlude where Jim shares the story of a fan missing the show due to his baby daughter being born three days prior, it’s time for the next match.

Match 2: Progress Women’s World Championship – Jinny (with Chakara, Nina Samuels, and Charlie Morgan) vs Millie McKenzie (with Candyfloss)

Classic heel/face contrast in the entrances here, Millie is as happy, smiley and bouncy as you’d expect while Jinny struts, stares and poses, with her House of Couture stablemates mirroring her every move. Once they get face to face though, the switch is flicked and fun loving Millie is replaced by her ass-kicking doppelgänger as she stares through Jinny with her trademark laser focus.

The crowd immediately get on the House of Couture, with “Tesco Spicegirls” reverberating around the Ballroom. As wrestling chants go, that one is pretty clever.

In the ring though, this one ends up being a little disappointing, there’s a lot of interference, with a WWE-style feeling of Millie fighting the numbers game. After a hot opening where Millie dropkicks Jinny into the corner and unloads with mounted forearms, the House of Couture gets involved and Jinny gets the upper hand. She deploys her usual heel repertoire of slaps, stomps and clubbing blows but it all feels a little rushed. This has two impacts, firstly it stops the impact of each blow and secondly, it doesn’t give Millie time to sell properly, something that later undermines the finish. As with any Millie McKenzie match, the highlight is her “Suplex Millie” Brock Lesnar impression and there’s plenty of that here, with Ms Mckenzie delivering Germans to each member of the House of Couture and also nearly spearing Jinny out of her boots. There’s also a suicide dive that wipes out Chakara and Nina Samuels and, earlier in the match, a decent hope spot from a cutter that stands Jinny up on her head.

However, just as it’s starting to feel like it’s going somewhere, after Milly has delivered the Germans and kicked out of an acid rainmaker, it’s over. Jinny ties Milly up in a Zack Sabre Jr-style leg grapevine and kicks her in the back until, to the shock of the crowd, Milly taps out. Over the boos that follow, the commentators explain the finish, Jinny spent the match focusing on Millie’s back and shoulders, a process that started with a backbreaker where Jinny pulled Millie off the second rope onto her knee. However, as noted, this story wasn’t really evident during the match, look closely and you could see Millie selling her back, but the frequency of Jinny’s attacks made it hard to spot. The match was also a little too short to really tell that story and the interference further comprised the storytelling. It also feels odd to have a title match second on the card and while someone has to go there if you want to have four title matches on the same night, it’s not the spot where you’re going to have a classic match.

Rating – **1/2

More banter from Jim now concerning referee Chris Roberts and his predilection for a cheeseboard. That guy’s mum and granny (who are at their first ever live wrestling show) must be utterly baffled but if you’re far enough down the Progress rabbit hole, it makes perfect sense and is pretty funny.

Match 3 – Mark Haskins (with Vicky Haskins) vs Chris Rigeway vs Pete Dunne vs Eddie Dennis

Now this was very good. Haskins, Ridgeway and Dunne worked particularly well together, with Dennis getting involved as and when he needed to and opportunistically picking his spots from the outside. It was mostly strikes and submissions, with a standout sequence being Ridgeway unleashing vicious rapid fire kicks on Dennis that had Eddie rocking back and forth against the ropes like a piñata at a child’s birthday party. There was also a great extended period where Haskins, Rigeway and Dunne almost took it in turns to lock submissions on each other, with whoever was applying the previous hold then the victim in the new hold and the third man then placing the man that was applying that hold in a new hold. So, after Haskins tied up Dunne completely in a strange sitting down hold whose intention was to apparently tear Pete’s shoulders out of their sockets, Ridgeway applied a dragon sleeper on Haskins, which was then countered by Dunne rolling Ridgeway into an STF, which Haskins then broke up with an armbar on Dunne. After another armbar, this eventually transitioned into Haskins tying up Ridgeway’s leg Indian deathlock style but Dunne then leaping into a hanging body scissors figure four armbar. Then Eddie came in and kicked Dunne in the head, bringing a end to the technical wrestling party.

As well as being nefarious and dastardly, Eddie was also the power guy in this match, including catching Haskins from the second rope and delivering a swinging slam and, in a particularly nasty spot, flinging Haskins onto the prone body of Ridgeway with a crucifix powerbomb where some of Haskins back landed on Ridgeway’s face.

But, while Dennis did well in his role and both Haskins and Dunne showcased their undoubted quality, in many ways this felt like a showcase for Chris Ridgeway and he didn’t disappoint. His kicks looked great, his technical wrestling was smooth and, throughout, he stalked his opponents with a brooding intensity. The commentators compared him to Finn Balor and Haskins himself but the guy that Ridgeway really reminds me of is KENTA/Hideo Itami, they’re a similar size, have similar kick-based offensive repertoires and a similar sense that every match they’re involved in is a fight that will push their opponents to the limit. After some more strikes, submissions and slams (including Ridgeway pulling off a sweet looking ripcord roundhouse into a bridging fisherman’s suplex), the ref gets hit and Eddie tries to get the win with a low blow followed by a schoolboy where he’s got hold of Ridgeway’s trunks. The referee though spots it and refuses to count, to the audible delight of the crowd. Then everyone goes kick crazy before Eddie eventually ends up surrounded by the other three who all now want to kill him. The crowd chant “fuck him up everyone” which, I have to admit, is not one I’ve heard before. After Ridgeway applies an ankle lock, Haskins kicks Eddie in the head and Dunne delivers an Xplex, a few more counters lead to Haskins applying a bridging Fujiwara armbar to both Ridgeway and Dunne. Before either can tap out though, the 198 arrive.

First, Flash grabs Vicky Haskins to get Mark’s attention allowing Wild Boar to clobber him in the back of the head. Then with Flash pinning Vicky’s arms back and forcing her to watch, Wild Boar clears the front row and ploughs a seated Haskins three or four rows deep with an animalistic charge.

This leaves Dunne and Ridgeway, who kneel on the canvas, both sharing the same determined look of battle-hardened intensity. And then in a frankly insane spot, they each grab the other’s wrists and proceed to trade headbutts in the middle of the ring. We get a few minutes of Ridgeway vs Dunne and it’s very good, good enough to place that match high up the wish list of lots of Progress fans. Ridgeway gets close to arguably the biggest win of his career, nearly tapping Dunne out with an ankle lock, but eventually Dunne gets the victory, blocking a Ridgeway roundhouse with a punch to the leg before hitting a pumphandle tombstone piledriver for the three count.

Post match, Dunne beckons Ridgeway into the ring, lays his title down and gives him a fist bump, a show of respect that very much felt like a current British wrestling star anointing a future one.

And we pretty much get straight on with it, with the only interruption being a round of applause for the volunteer ring crew, which is always a nice touch.

Rating – ****1/2

Match 4 – Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson and James Drake) vs The Anti-Fun Police (Chief Deputy Dunne and Los Federales Santos Jr)

This one is both part of the Thunderbastard Tag Team Series and for the World Progress Tag Team Championships

The Anti-Fun Police (AFP) come out to a siren, a clever touch given the whole non copyright music thing. The Grizzled Young Veterans (GYV) come out to some generic rock music but I’m fairly sure their previous music was also generic rock music, so it’s hardly a big loss. True to form, Zack Gibson has something to say but he’s barely managed to get out sneering lines about “no fun and no gimmicks” before Federales Santos Jr grabs the mic and, well, nicks all Gibson’s catchphrases. Specifically, he announces in his comic Spanish accent that he is the UK’s numero uno and soon to be the world’s numero uno, as well as working in a gag about there being an open arrest warrant for Gibson for stealing car radios. It’s funny but what really makes it is Gibson’s reaction; he somehow looks confused, furious and aghast all at the same time, and the crowd lap it up.

It probably helps that they’re facing Gibson and Drake but Dunne and Santos are very over, with much of the match being soundtracked by loud chants of “AFP”. Now, I haven’t seen a lot of Anti-Fun Police matches but they impressed once again here, the gimmicks and silly costumes making it easy to forget that this is an experienced team that’s wrestled all over the country and are very good in the ring. The match was worked smartly, with the initial in-ring exchanges leading to some brawling on the floor, and GYV eventually isolating Chief Deputy Dunne in classic ‘focus on the smaller man’ tag team psychology. This then inevitably led to Santos becoming the biggest “House of Fire” I’ve seen in a long time, obliterating Gibson and Drake with clotheslines and repeated corner splashes. This is all standard tag match stuff but it was executed really well and got a great reaction from the crowd.

The really clever bit was GYV giving their impression that their tag titles were in real peril from this somewhat unfancied team by working in miscommunication and mistakes on double teams. This gave the sense that the champs were having an off night, when they went for a Poetry in Motion-style corner move, Chief Deputy Dunne used the prone Drake as a springboard to hit a spear; and after GYV hit one Doomsday Device (or Making Towns as they call it) early in the match, Dunne reversed the second attempt into a victory roll for a great near fall. That’s just two examples but it happened throughout the match and allowed AFP to seize the advantage and pull off some double teams of their own, including a very cool spinning heel kick into a German suplex combo. And then, just as you’re thinking that the title switch is a genuine possibility, Gibson and Drake do what they almost always do, they win, with an AFP miscommunication leading to Chief Deputy Dunne hitting a springboard codebreaker on Santos. With Dunne in shock, GYV seize their opportunity and hit Ticket to Mayhem (a sort of suplex into a lungblower) for the three count. Still though, this felt like a match that established The Anti-Fun Police as a credible team in Progress and they depart to yet more chants of “AFP”.

Rating – ***1/2

After some brief chat about Jim’s kid, we’re onto the Atlas Division title match.

Match 5 – Progress Atlas Championship: Doug Williams (Champion) vs TK Cooper

If you’ve never heard of the Atlas Division, it’s basically a reverse Cruiserweight title, you have to be over 205 pounds to compete, a sort of wrestling version of you must be this high to ride the rollercoaster. In other words, it’s the home of “big lads wrestling” and Doug Williams is the perfect embodiment of this, an imposing 240 pounds of British wrestling aristocracy. Now, whether TK Cooper is actually over 205 pounds is anyone’s guess, he doesn’t look much bigger than before but has allegedly bulked up and started competing in the Atlas Division, earning this title shot by defeating “Battle Tested” Rob Lynch at Chapter 73 in Birmingham. Oh, and Doug has promised he’ll retire if he loses the Atlas Division Championship, so technically his career is also on the line.

Despite what’s at stake, the match is nothing to write home about. It’s a dreadful cliché but it just never seemed to click and while the work was fine, there didn’t seem to be any story underpinning it, nothing to make it feel like more than just two guys doing moves. The crowd reaction was also a little muted, probably because no one at any point seriously believed that TK would win the title and retire Doug on a Wednesday night at the Electric Ballroom in Camden. In fact, only two things really stood out. The first was Progress commentator Matt Richards accompanying the opening exchanges with a discussion of Bushido, the Samurai mindset that you go into every battle believing it could be your last (it’s fair to say you don’t get that from Michael Cole). The second was the 45-year-old Doug Williams taking a one-man Spanish Fly off the top rope for a great nearfall. That was as good as it got for TK though, with Doug retaining the title with his trademark Chaos Theory rolling German suplex.

Rating – **1/2

After the bell, TK goes to the back and out comes Trent Seven, looking very different in a beard and baseball cap, and with a new entrance theme that sounds sort of pop punky and is pretty good considering the whole non-copyright thing. He takes the mic and the raconteur of the West Midlands announces that he has a story to tell. He takes us back to the long ago days of the early 2000s and two young men seeing an advert for the NWA Hammerlock wrestling school in Powerslam magazine. The training is in Kent, the two young men aren’t and so they get out the A-Z and plot the route, working out which roads to take and how many snacks to bring on the journey. However, on the way, the car breaks down and the two young men never get to the NWA Hammerlock school. So, Trent announces, he’s always wondered what would have happened if he had got to Hammerlock (the place that trained Doug, Finn Balor and Zack Sabre Jr, as well as countless other notable names), would he have got to where he is now quicker, would he and Doug have been best friends, would he have had the career that Doug had? And Trent then respectfully challenges Doug for the Atlas Title at Wembley and offers his hand. Doug takes it and the match is agreed to the perhaps inevitable chants of “yes, yes, yes” from the Ballroom faithful.

With the match agreed, Trent’s tone shifts, he looks Doug in the eye and announces that this is not one of those clichéd “passing the torch” wrestling promos, rather that Doug’s fire has been dwindling for years now and maybe he’ll be the one to finally put it out for good. This gets an audible gasp from the audience, fun-loving Trent Seven, the man who dances to the ring and does huge crossbodies that miss by miles, has decided that he’d quite like to be the one who retires UK wrestling icon Doug Williams. It’s not a heel turn, merely a glimpse at the fierce competitor that lies beneath the jovial facade, but it’s incredibly effective. Overall, this was a great promo, it blurred reality and fiction in a way that’s almost become the hallmark of Progress storylines, and the shift in tone was beautifully judged. And, most importantly, that should be one hell of a match at Wembley.

Match 6: Progress Women’s World Championship No. 1 Contender’s Match: Toni Storm vs Laura di Matteo

An international flavour to this one, as Australia’s Toni Storm goes head to head with Italy’s Laura di Matteo. As the commentators note, it’s still weird to see Toni come out without the women’s championship, her title reign lasting so long it started to feel like an immutable law of nature. However, while she’s no longer the champion, Storm still feels like the crown jewel of this women’s division, an experienced, polished competitor who spends much of her time working for renowned female Japanese wrestling promotion Stardom. Given all this, it’s easy to forget she’s only 22 but I guess that’s what happens when you make your debut wrestling guys at 13 (as she put it on Twitter, in front of five people in a shed). Laura di Matteo on the other hand is as
Progress as they come, coming to the UK to train as a wrestler and getting her instruction at the ProJo, Progress’s own wrestling school (now Knucklelocks Gym and no longer directly affiliated with Progress).

From the off, this one is intense and hard hitting, with the strikes interrupted by a few rollups and some mat wrestling (including Toni putting on a seriously painful-looking STF). Generally, it’s Toni who gets the upper hand in most of the exchanges, with Laura only seriously disrupting Storm’s momentum when she manages to hit a suicide dive. After some fairly standard offense (highlighted by a nice top-rope missile drop kick), Storm takes over again, plucking Laura off the middle turnbuckle and delivering an impressive bridging musclebuster for a close 2 count. Storm also executes a nice suplex into a neckbreaker and, in one of the most impressive spots in the match, some nasty running double knees in the corner. The key thing here is that this wasn’t a meteora-style knees to the shoulders but double horizontal knees to a prone di Matteo. Basically, it looked like Toni did a sort of double knee slide tackle to Laura’s throat and chest, and was a nice twist on what has now become a fairly standard move.

Indeed, what stood out most in this match was Toni’s confidence, as she strolled around the ring and casually mixed up her standard repertoire with new stuff, the mark of a wrestler with complete confidence in their own abilities. Di Matteo though fought back, eventually catching Toni in her trademark grounded octopus stretch submission. Now, from the commentary, this was clearly supposed to be a big moment, no one in Progress had yet escaped from this hold and we were supposed to believe that Storm was in real peril. Unfortunately though, hardly anyone really bought that, di Matteo hadn’t done enough softening up to make this feel like real jeopardy and the hold isn’t over enough for it to be impactful on its own. After some selling, Toni got to the ropes and Laura was forced to give up the hold. After some more back and forth, Laura got a great near fall with a series of three super kicks followed by a DDT. This really worked, her super kicks looked great, Toni sold as if she’d been knocked out and timed her kickout perfectly, waiting to the very last fraction of a second before thrusting her shoulder up. This led pretty much directly to the actual finish, with Storm hitting her Strong Zero spike piledriver, di Matteo kicking out and Storm hitting another for the win.

To be honest, that sort of finish has always annoyed me, kicking out of finishers is fine if you’re building up to something bigger but doing this both devalues the finisher and doesn’t really give the fact that the recipient has kicked out of the finisher time to register. Still though, this was a fun match, both women looked good and there was a nice intense feeling throughout.

Rating – ***1/2

Tomi doesn’t exactly get long to savour her victory, no sooner has she had her hand raised than she’s ambushed by a House of Couture intent on roughing up the new no. 1 contender to Jinny’s crown. The mugging doesn’t last long though, with Millie McKenzie and Candyfloss sprinting to the ring and causing the heels to flee. This sets up an interesting dynamic with McKenzie, Candyfloss, di Matteo and Storm potentially able to form a united faction against the House of Couture but each also wanting the title for themselves. Whichever way this goes, there should at least be a fun eight-woman tag along the way and we’re definitely getting Jinny vs Toni Storm for the title at some point. Everything feels like we’re just getting started on a long Jinny title reign so I’d expect her to win that one, probably through some villainous shenanigans (if the plan is for a united babyface faction, then perhaps the House of Couture may even gain a fifth member).

After a tiny bit of hype, it’s time for the main event.

Match 7: Progress World Championship: Travis Banks (c) vs Walter

First, a quick recap of how we got here. In September 2017, Travis Banks won the Progress World Championship as the ultimate babyface, complete with his crying father at ringside. But then, just as it’s corrupted every Progress world champion, the title began to corrupt Travis Banks. As he travelled the world and beat the likes of Keith Lee, Matt Riddle, and Will Ospreay, he became more and more convinced of his own superiority and the humble, hardworking fighter was replaced by a strutting, sneering prima donna who’d do anything to hang on to his title and enlisted the help of his old tag team partner TK Cooper to stay the champ by any means necessary.

Walter meanwhile was dominating the Atlas Division, simply defeating anyone he came across in brutal wars that left his victims battered and bruised. But he wanted the world title and so a collision was inevitable. It happened at Alexandra Palace in May and ended with Travis Banks running away and deliberately getting himself counted out. He lost but kept the title while Walter raged in the ring. Banks then insisted that Walter couldn’t get another title shot while he was Atlas champion so Walter gave up the Atlas title to focus completely on the world title. He then earned a title shot by pining TK Cooper in a tag match with special stips and, after Banks had provoked the ire of Progress officials by deliberately getting counted out in a non-title match against Tyler Bate, this match was made no count out.

Thankfully Walter’s trademark piece of classical entrance music (which, for anyone who really wants to know, is Dvorak Symphony No. 9 IV) has survived the copyright cull. It just fits Walter perfectly, sounding like a cross between the Jaws theme and the Imperial March from Star Wars and heralding the arrival of the most destructive force in Progress. Then Banks comes out, as sneering and cocky as always and accompanied by his perennial security blanket TK Cooper. The bell rings and we’re under way.

It’s all Walter to start and it’s all the simple, brutal offense that defines his style. More than anything else, Walter is a master at making every move mean something and turning every match into a believable fight (for the ultimate expression of this, see his war with stablemate and best friend Timothy Thatcher at Progress Chapter 62). His early offense consists of big boots to the head, tying Travis up in the ropes and delivering Sheamus-style hammer blows to the chest, and simply parting the crowd and hurling Banks into five or six rows of suddenly empty seats.

Walter misses a few chops and then, in the grand tradition of every big man vs small(er) man wrestling match, begins attacking Walter’s legs with vicious roundhouse kicks. While this brings him some success, it’s only when TK Cooper gets involved that the momentum really starts to shift. The action spills to the outside and TK attempts to attack Walter. Walter simply locks on a sleeper and chokes him out but the distraction allows Travis to attack his leg with a chair and this is the real turning point in the match. Banks then alternates his leg attacks with his trademark moves including the Kiwi Crusher (a sort of fisherman’s suplex slam), Slice of Heaven (a springboard enziguiri out of the corner) and Air New Zealand (a coast to coast dropkick). And then he gets cocky and chops Walter. Walter just looks at him and then goes on the attack with some brutal chops of his own. Just as he’s getting the upper hand, he rears back his fist for a clothesline and clocks referee Roberts who goes down like a ton of bricks. Travis then tries the old Eddie Guerrero trick of throwing the chair to your opponent and then lying down like you’ve been knocked out by said chair. Walter catches the chair and waffles a now-recovered TK Cooper but there’s still a moment when Roberts sees Walter holding the chair and a prone Banks. Obviously, there’s now a decision to be made, but Walter manages to plead his innocence and the match continues.

After some more back and forth, an increasingly desperate Banks comes up with a new plan to escape with his title. He’ll get himself disqualified, after all the match is only no countout, not no disqualification. With a despicable grin, he grabs his title belt and waits for Walter in the corner, just waiting to strike him in the head with the gold in full view of the referee. Luckily, the forces of good intervene in the form of Tyler Bate, who sprints to the ring, grabs the title from Banks and then stands holding it at ringside. Banks is shocked and furious, and this distraction allows Walter to hit a massive powerbomb for a close 2 count. However, undeterred he simply picks Banks up and hits an over the shoulder sitout piledriver (basically Greetings from Asbury Park for any Bam Bam Bjgelow fans out there) for the 3 count and the title.

The reaction is incredible, it’s like a bolt of electricity goes round the room and everyone simultaneously leaps to their feet and makes more noise than I knew 700 people could. People are literally hugging each other and the sound is one collective outpouring of joy, a testament to the power of pro wrestling.

I’ve seen both men have better matches but this was still very good, with Banks and Walter each playing their roles perfectly. The interference was perfectly timed and added to the match, contributing to the sense that Banks tried every trick in the book and, for once, they didn’t work. Really though, the match was all about that final moment, the three count that meant the chant came true and Walter finally is our champion.

Rating – ****1\4

Overall – A momentous main event and a ferocious, action-packed four way stole the show but there were also a couple of fun tag matches, a strong showing from Toni Storm and Laura di Matteo, and a cracking Trent Seven promo. In short, it was another great Progress show that you should definitely check out and one that marks the start of an exciting new chapter (pun intended) for the company.

This show, and indeed Progress’s entire archive, is available at Demand

For more great wrestling content on Gaming Respawn, check out Mike’s New Japan G1 Climax recaps. Night 18 (the final) has just been posted and if you want to go from the start, Night 1 is here.

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