A chaotic titles vs. careers match headlined another foray into the Electric Ballroom as PROGRESS took a shot at Jimmy Havoc’s REGRESSion stable.
#TLDR: Plenty of entertainment, plenty of good wrestling, and a mental main event. Just another day in the PROGRESS office!
The Full Review: We’re going to skip over PROGRESS’ shows at the Sonisphere festival (shows which were largely notable for the wrong reasons, as Darrell Allen picked up an injury on the second day, before the third day ended up being a wash-out)… also, for some reason, at time of writing ENDVR:6 isn’t available. We’ve already covered Chapter 14: Thunderbastard, so we’re skipping forward three months to the wonderfully titled “Just Because You’re Paranoid, Doesn’t Mean They Aren’t Out To Get You”
The show opens with a video package that spotlights recent events: Paul Robinson turning on Will Ospreay, Will almost losing an ear, and how Noam Dar lost out on the PROGRESS title at Chapter 14 because the referee didn’t see Havoc tap as Dar was being pinned.
Number One Contendership for PROGRESS Tag Team Championship: Martin Kirby & Doug Williams vs. Mark Haskins & Sha Samuels
Martin Kirby – in his final PROGRESS chapter appearance for now – had a mystery partner in the form of Doug Williams. Jimmy Barnett on commentary acknowledged that this was because Kirby’s regular partner, Kris Travis, was out with illness.
We get a jump start as Haskins and Samuels jump the babyface team, but they quickly took control with a pair of back elbows to Haskins, then a double strait-jacket clothesline, forcing Haskins and Samuels to regroup outside. Back in the ring, Haskins charges into Williams with a knee, but Doug overcomes and gets a two-count from a roll-up. Haskins escapes from a modified surfboard, before a diving shoulder tackle from Kirby earns him a near-fall.
Kirby’s taken to the outside where Samuels throws him into the ringpost, and Haskins takes over from there with a kneedrop for a near-fall. Samuels keeps up the pressure with a series of knees to Kirby’s back, then a back elbow to get a near-fall. A sleeperhold from Haskins keeps Kirby down, before ending a brief fightback with a short-arm clothesline.
A double cross-body from Samuels and Kirby takes both men down, before Kirby finally tags out to Williams, who runs in with an Exploder suplex to get a near-fall on Haskins. A spinning elbow of the top rope gets Doug another two-count, before he looked for the Chaos Theory… only for Haskins to counter it and slingshot Williams into a spinebuster from Samuels.
Another elbow from Williams takes down Samuels, before Kirby tags back in for a back elbow off the top. A blind tag from Haskins spells trouble for Kirby, who’s covered after a fallway slam for a near-fall. Kirby makes another comeback by way of ducking a dropkick from Haskins – who took out Samuels by mistake – before an enziguiri took down the “East End Butcher”. Samuels recovered to hold Kirby in place on the apron for a knee strike, before Haskins earned the win with a roll-up on Williams with the feet on the ropes. A bit of an odd “out of nowhere” finish, but a decent match while it lasted. ***
Natural PROGRESSion Series – Semi-Final – Pete Dunne vs. Flash Morgan Webster
Morgan got “bus stop wanker” chants from the Camden crowd, who quickly picked up Flash’s resemblance to the character of Jay from the Inbetweeners. I’d like to think that the “wrestling friends” catcalls inspired his podcast down the line…
They exchange wristlocks and armwringers back and forth, with Webster working up into some headscissors as they got a lot of milage out of an armbar. Webster fired back with some armdrags, before landing the Special Brew Flip for a near-fall. A powerslam got Dunne a two-count, as we saw the prelude to what’d become his usual finger biting spot – the knee-stomp.
Dunne bends Webster in half with a single-leg crab, before Morgan somersaults over an onrushing Dunne and gets a crossbody for good measure. A double-springboard ‘rana gets Webster a near-fall, as did a DDT, before Dunne struck back with a brainbuster. An attempted moonsault from Dunne sees him get Webster’s knees, and Flash responds with a moonsault into a DDT for a near-fall, as Dunne rolled to the outside.
Webster misses a slingshot plancha and gets a powerbomb onto the apron for his hassles, as Dunne then hit the Drop Dead for a two-count. Dunne would get low bridged to the outside, as a somersault plancha from Webster followed him there, before Webster’d miss a 450 Splash and take a fireman’s carry lungblower, then a sit-out powerbomb as Dunne again came close to the win.
Dunne tried to finish off Morgan with a pumphandle into a tombstone piledriver – again for a near-fall – before Webster hit a reverse springboard ‘rana off the middle rope and finally succeeded with a 450 splash to Dunne’s back for the win. Absolutely amazing stuff here – plenty of high spots, but not to the point where it became video game-y with minimal selling. Webster’ll face either Ali Armstrong or Zack Gibson in the finals…***¾
Pastor William Eaver vs. Stixx
Eaver enjoyed the early advantage here, taking Stixx into the corner before scoring a shoulder block takedown. After a breather outside, Stixx hits back with a lariat to send Eaver to the outside, where the offence continued with chops and forearms. Stixx blocked a suplex from Eaver, before missing a crossbody as the Pastor ducked down and watched as Stixx flew to the outside… but we still didn’t get “Jesus” to do a flip. Stixx uses a 619-like move to sweep Eaver’s legs, before a slingshot senton into the ring gets nothing but the Pastor’s knees.
Eaver rushes into the corner with a series of back elbows, but Stixx replies with a crossbody into the corner, then a Northern Lights suplex for a two-count. They reverse each other’s powerslam, before Eaver blocks an O’Connor roll. After backdropping his way out of a powerbomb, Eaver hits the ropes and connects with the Clothesline from Heaven for a near-fall.
Instead, Eaver goes for a crucifix powerbomb, but Stixx counters it into an abdominal stretch roll-up for a near-fall, then gets the TKO for another near-fall, as Eaver got his foot on the rope just in time. After being thrown back into the ring, Eaver shocks Stixx with a crucifix pin – and gets the three-count out of that. A rather apt finish! **¾
Number One Contendership for PROGRESS Championship: Marty Scurll vs. Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Rampage Brown
They’re doing two of these on this show, as PROGRESS looked to to a triple-threat match for the title on the next chapter. Scurll was slowly moving away from his “Party” days here, and was out with an umbrella and one of Mark Haskins’ old fur coats by the look of it.
The early portion of the match was focussed on Rampage having to defend himself against both Scurll and Sabre, who then split off into a series of endless no-count pinfall attempts. Scurll’s efforts to shoulder charge Rampage were fruitless, so instead he got Sabre to try his luck, with similar results. Heck, even referee Chris Roberts tried and failed for a rare ref bump that the referee himself set up. A double suplex from Rampage took down his foes, before Scurll used an arm whip to finally take down the Yorkshireman. Scurll went for the camel clutch, which Sabre ended up assisting with a low dropkick to the head of a helpless Rampage. They switch places, with Scurll’s long rope running leading to a confused Sabre… then some tiredness, and finally an errant dropkick to his tag team partner.
Rampage popped up after that and knocked down Scurll with a dropkick, but the Leaders of the New School combined again as Sabre’s repeated corner uppercuts rocked Rampage, before an armbar forced a rope break. After some double teaming went wrong, Rampage hit back with an implant DDT on Sabre for a two-count, only for a dropkick-assisted Michinoku driver got a two-count as the Leaders assisted, then realised that there could only be one winner.
Scurll went for a chicken wing on Sabre, but it was eventually turned into an armbar, which Scurll escaped and switched into a chicken wing… aaand back again. A corner enziguiri from Scurll, then a tornado DDT led to another chicken wing that was countered into an armbar that Scurll powerbombed free of, before Rampage flew back in with a dropkick to the Villain.
They trade more near-falls among each other, as Sabre fell for the Just Kidding superkick, before Scurll held up Rampage for a torture rack and a no-hands reverse airplane spin. After being dropped down, Sabre PK’d Scurll, only to run into a piledriver from Rampage as the former champion took the win. A fun three-way – nothing overly flashy, but entertaining nevertheless. ***½
What followed next can best be described as a comic farce… first, Michael Gilbert (previously, then later Mikey Whiplash) came out to catcalls as he was in his “no gimmicks required” phase. His opponent was originally billed as RJ Singh, but instead we got… The Man They Call RJ Sting!
Michael Gilbert vs. RJ Sting
Yep, RJ had his face painted like the Crow here, and he came with a black baseball bat too. Gilbert attacked Sting from behind, working over the left arm of the Stinger, but quickly fell to a couple of Stinger Splashes, then a Scorpion Deathdrop. Sting went for the Scorpion Deathlock, but Gilbert reverses it and gets one of his own to force a submission. Short and sweet, but effective for what the story was, particularly as RJ Sting quickly made his way to the back. **½
Gilbert stayed in the ring with Jim Smallman, and cut a promo inviting another match given how short and easy it was. Smallman asked him why he changed from being Mikey Whiplash, but instead the music of WWE’s Sin Cara hit, and we got Singh Cara! Yep, it was RJ in a Sin Cara mask, but without trampoline…
Michael Gilbert vs. Singh Cara
…Gilbert again stomped on Cara as he entered the ring, before throwing Cara into the turnbuckles. A headbutt dropped the masked man, before he replied with some tiltawhirl headscissors and a springboard crossbody for a near-fall. Cara connected with an apron enziguiri before going to the top rope, where he missed with a senton bomb. Gilbert capitalised by taking him straight back down with an armbar, and we had another quick submission as Cara quickly exited stage left. **½
So, Jim Smallman got in and asked Gilbert what he thought of fans who thought “No Gimmicks Required” was a gimmick. As he delivered his response, we got the return of RJ Singh, complete with his Director. Ah, memories of the early days of PROGRESS!
Michael Gilbert vs. RJ Singh
Finally we get the advertised match, and Singh almost wins with a roll-up at the bell. Gilbert kicks away the Director as he tried to trip him up, before returning to the ring to score a near-fall from a Fireman’s carry. More catcalls from the crowd rile up Gilbert, as he ends up losing a suplex and takes a Falcon arrow from Singh, who then calls for the Ethnic Submission. Gilbert escapes it and lifts him up into an Electric Chair, before a reverse headlock takedown leads to a rear naked choke that gets Gilbert his third submission win of the night. **
As a trio of matches, this was certainly entertaining… but it gets heated really quickly. As Gilbert left the ring, Stixx made his way down the aisle to confront the former Mikey Whiplash, then help Singh back to his feet. Stixx and Singh then had a shoving match in the ring, before Stixx grabbed the microphone and called out “Ross” as his friend. Stixx recounts their friendship, and admits that it’s hard for the two of them to stay relevant amid a sea of youngsters.
Stixx goes on to insult Singh’s comedic shtick, and asks him to go back to a time where “Singh is King was actually true”. As Stixx leaves, Singh takes the microphone to address “Paul”, and how he was beaten by William Eaver earlier in the night. This turned personal as Singh called out Stixx for “giving up on his dreams of going to America for some woman… which ended in divorce anyway”. Yep, this kept going as Stixx told Singh that he only appeared on TNA’s British Bootcamp because of his “better backstory” and because he fits an “ethnic market.”
This ended up descending into a fight as Stixx slapped Singh after he brought up his family once more, before shoving down the Director. Security eventually separated them, as Stixx again took the mic and berated Singh for not trying “because he gets to go back to his cushy teaching job”, whereas he had nothing to fall back on. The segment ended with Stixx issuing a challenge for the next chapter: a career vs. career match.
I think this was the first time PROGRESS did something like this, and considering that Singh and Stixx were very much peripheral characters at the time, this was extraordinarily effective.
Number One Contendership for PROGRESS Championship: El Ligero vs. Martin Stone vs. Dave Mastiff
This was Stone’s debut in PROGRESS, as he took on future Origin members for a shot at the PROGRESS title… and it was the two big guys who started off, with Stone kicking away a back body drop attempt before launching into a Thesz press. Ligero tries to use his speed to counter Mastiff, only to literally bounce off of him with a cross body, before the “Bastard” Mastiff ran into a Yakuza kick.
Ligero again fell to a bigger guy when his crossbody off the top was caught and turned into an Ace Crusher by Stone, as the two big guys went back at it for a spell, before Mastiff decided to lay into Ligero with a series of uppercuts in the corner. A hanging vertical suplex follows from Mastiff, until Stone decided to kick him and break up the hold… so he could take over. The bemused Mastiff broke that up too, before Ligero rather fancifully tried for a double suplex, only to easily get thrown overhead.
Ligero actually took down Mastiff with a Code Red for a near-fall – really impressive from the Mexican – who then took down Mastiff outside with a somersault into a rana. A double stomp back inside on Stone leads to a C4L, but Michael Gilbert came out to distract Ligero, and those two ended up brawling to the back.
Back in the ring, Mastiff deadlifted up Stone for a German suplex – getting a two-count in the process – before another Ace crusher from Stone took down Mastiff once more. Stone followed up with a lariat for a two-count, before Mastiff took him into the corner for a match-winning cannonball. This felt a little short, and I could have lived without the Gilbert stuff, but otherwise this was fun stuff to complete the main event for the next show. ***¼
REGRESSion (Jimmy Havoc, Paul Robinson & London Riots (James Lynch & Rob Davis)) vs. FSU (Eddie Dennis & Mark Andrews), Noam Dar & Will Ospreay
This is an eight-man tag, billed as “careers vs. titles” – with FSU’s tag titles going if they get pinned, whilst Will Ospreay’s PROGRESS title shot and Noam Dar’s career were also on the line if they took the fall… meanwhile, if Jimmy Havoc loses, his title goes, whereas if anyone else on REGRESSion takes the fall, they have to leave the company.
With all that on the line, we of course had a jump start, with Ospreay repeatedly throwing Robinson into the projection wall, before a springboard forearm knocked down his former partner in the ring. This really wasn’t a traditional tag, was more of an eight-man car crash, although they did try to keep things somewhat centralised with action in the ring for most of the match. Robinson nearly took the win early with a double stomp onto Ospreay, who later took a clothesline-assisted German suplex from the Riots. After taking a beating, Ospreay fell for Jimmy Havoc’s “c’mon Will, make the tag!” routine, as Ospreay then ended up… getting his rear end handed to him once more by the champion.
A capture suplex from James Davis onto Ospreay got a near-fall, before Robinson tagged in and worked over Ospreay with some headscissors. Finally, Ospreay got a hot tag to Eddie Dennis, who overcame both of the London Riots, then turfed the pairing of Havoc and Davis with a fallaway slam and Samoan drop. Robinson’s leap off the top saw Dennis catch him and turn it into a Jackhammer for a near-fall as the Welshman’s impressive run continued.
Havoc and Ospreay fought through the crowd in the Electric Ballroom, whilst Noam Dar leapt off the apron onto James Davis. Eventually, the other six men congregated under the balcony in the Electric Ballroom, where we saw Jimmy Havoc throw Ospreay out of a balcony window… Will countered it and had Havoc hanging off the ledge, before superkicking the champion off the balcony!
Spurred on by the crowd, Will decided to add to the dives by climbing out of the balcony, and then moonsaulted a good 15-20 feet onto the pile below. That was insane – and a spot that you’ll probably never see repeated again!
This ended in a double count-out after referee Chris Roberts completed the count, but Havoc continues the outing by whacking Noam Dar repeatedly with a chair. Jim Smallman ordered that the match be restarted, demanding that this wouldn’t end on a count-out… and immediately, Havoc was dropped by a handspring corkscrew kick from Havoc, as Ospreay then leapt over the turnbuckles with a somersault plancha into the crowd.
Returning to the ring, Havoc dropped Andrews with a clothesline, but “White Lightning” came back with a shooting star press that should have won the match, but Paul Robinson pulled out the referee. So he ended up being cornered by the babyfaces… who in turn ate a pair of topes from the London Riots.
The Riots again combined to drop Ospreay as a double stomp from Havoc and a Meteora from Robinson forced Eddie Dennis to break up the pin. Davis takes a crucifix bucklebomb, then a stuff Next Stop Driver from FSU… only for Andrews to be speared out of the ring as the ring filled up with bodies. Havoc gets a near-fall on Ospreay from a Rainmaker, before he went back and forth with uppercuts with Noam Dar. Another tope – this time from Dar – is followed up by a German suplex out of the corner… but Havoc pops right back up into a rolling elbow, before Dar countered a Rainmaker with the Champagne Super-Knee-Bar.
Robinson again breaks things up… but he’s caught in the knee-bar too, only for James Davis to decisively break up the hold. Dar goes outside for a steel chair, and aims it at the prone Havoc, but instead he connects with a sacrificial lamb in the form of James Davis! A superkick knocks Havoc on top of Davis, before Dar orders Ospreay onto the top rope… in mid-air, Robinson drags Jimmy Havoc out of the ring, but the 630 Splash connects with James Davis, who takes the fall… Will Ospreay gets the win, and the London Riots are done!
Will Ospreay’s gutted that he didn’t get the pin on Jimmy Havoc. Surely he’d have noticed that Havoc was on top of someone, so even if Havoc took the 630 Splash, he’d not have pinned him without moving Havoc after? An amazing “car crash” of a match, as the PROGRESS home team put paid to the London Riots – and a fine way to end this show. ***¾
Another good show from PROGRESS, but we actually saw a chink in the armor of Jimmy Havoc with the loss of half of his stable – and so the reign of Havoc rolls on!