PROGRESS return to the Electric Ballroom this weekend for an eclectic card – here’s our look ahead.
At time of writing, days before the show, standing and seating tickets are still available, which is rare for a PROGRESS card at the Ballroom. It’s a mixed line-up too, as they continue to establish Cara Noir as champion, while forging new stories…
PROGRESS Unified World Championship: Mark Andrews vs. Cara Noir (c)
Last time at the Ballroom, Andrews was knocked spark out as his bid to qualify for a newly-vacated title was over in seconds at the hands of Ilja Dragunov. Three weeks ago in Cardiff, with some help, Andrews put that one to bed… and somehow put himself back into title contention.
We’ve not heard anything from Cara Noir on this match, so this seems to be all about Mark Andrews righting those wrongs and finally getting a title he’s only held for a matter of minutes. I don’t think we’ll be adding to those minutes this weekend though – and I do worry about whether we’ll get a feud for Cara Noir, or whether it’ll just be him against a revolving door of challengers.
PROGRESS Proteus Championship: Kyle Fletcher vs. Paul Robinson (c)
We had some hints on this at the Cardiff show, with Robinson not exactly being subtle with the “Aussie arrow” taunts. On paper, the rules of the Proteus title for now is a weird fit for Fletcher, who’s hardly known for submission wrestling, but this could well be the shot in the arm he needs as we looks for direction as a singles wrestler. Given that Robinson’s already undone the ring to score a KO win, and has also used nunchucks, it’ll be interesting to see what measures are taken IF he retains.
PROGRESS World Tag Team Championship: Work Horsemen (JD Drake & Anthony Henry) vs. Jordan Devlin & Scotty Davis (c)
Oh boy. PROGRESS’ tag team division sure looks like slim pickings, right? On paper, this should be a hell of a match – but my issue with it is that not only is this “dream match booking”, but the challengers aren’t even a team anymore!
At the end of 2019, Drake and Henry announced they were all but done – something we’d touched on before their World Tag Team Festival run with wXw. So, with that in mind, what realistic shot do we have of a title change when the challengers are fly ins who aren’t regulars as a team anymore, let alone with the company? Still, it’ll be a good match, but PROGRESS badly need to move back towards building up something resembling a division rather than flying in challengers from NXT.
Jinny & Toni Storm vs. Medusa Complex (Charli Evans & Millie McKenzie)
This sure does feel like a part of the story’s missing, doesn’t it? Two months ago Jinny and Toni were meant to face off at Unboxing Live, only for injury to derail it. The arrival of the Medusa Complex created a new threat, but I don’t know how you’d get to this match? On paper, you’d definitely expect the Medusa Complex to get the win – but do we get a turn from Toni to get us back to that match, or do the Medusa Complex get a clean win over the faces of PROGRESS’ women’s division?
Ilja Dragunov vs. Malik
It’s a match. Malik’s involvement in the Natural PROGRESSion Series last year was overshadowed by him being in with Danny Duggan and all that brought – and it’s taken PROGRESS five months to bring him back. Up against Ilja Dragunov, this is probably the most disparate match we’ve had in ages in PROGRESS, based on their regular card placements, and while I don’t expect a squash, this could be extremely one-sided. It’ll be heck of a proving ground for Mailk, that’s for sure…
Chakara vs. Gisele Shaw
Two women’s matches? Are you feeling okay, lads? This’ll be back-to-back chapter appearances for Shaw, who wasn’t pinned in Cardiff, while Chakara’s back for her first “proper” chapter match since that 5-way match in August 2018 on the road to Wembley… and her first singles match on a chapter in over two years. I’ve a weird feeling this’ll become a defacto number one contender’s match – but given the Medusa Complex are taking the spotlight in PROGRESS, this may just blend into the background of that particular story.
Anti-Fun Police (Chief Deputy Dunne & Los Federales Santos Jr.) & WALTER vs. More Than Hype (LJ Cleary, Darren Kearney & Nathan Martin)
WALTER’s first appearance since losing the PROGRESS Unified Championship to Eddie Dennis is as random as you’d expect – filling in for an injured Travis Banks in an undercard trios match. Well, he was a surprise replacement for wXw last year as well, so I guess that’s his thing for now. Given that his partners here, the Anti Fun Police, are on the back of a losing effort in Cardiff, you’d expect Dunne and Santos to be wanting to prove a point. In addition to making WALTER wear something approximating a policeman’s outfit. Meanwhile, More Than Hype also have something to prove, having lost to Pretty Deadly in the Ballroom in January…
Coincidentally, there’s no representation for Do Not Resuscitate on this show – with William Eaver being unbooked by PROGRESS until the end of March, they may well be pressing pause on all of that… or perhaps that could play into one of the undercard matches here?