After a tumultuous, but acclaimed debut in New York, PROGRESS made the relatively short trip to Boston for their second new city in as many days.
If you’ve followed the promotion on Twitter, or listened to Jim Smallman’s Tuesday Night Jaw recap, you’ll know that the 24 hours between New York and Boston were not without issue. So his pre-show spiel at the Arts at the Armory in Boston recapped everything: TK’s injury, performing in a sweating building, and having to fight to get to Boston because their bus went missing.
Glen Joseph is on commentary running solo for this one – like the good old days when commentary was done in post!
Mark Andrews vs. Jeff Cobb
I’ve a nasty feeling that Mark’ll be flying in ways he perhaps doesn’t want to in this… we start with some of the usual power spots as Cobb tried to assert himself in the match, pulling Andrews back by the tights for a forearm to the back as the Welshman threatened to start using his speed advantages.
A big headbutt drops Andrews, who finds himself trapped in a bear hug to the point where Cobb almost got a pin out of it! Eventually a sunset flip sees Andrews escape and collect a near-fall before he’s charged back to the mat. Still, Andrews rebounds with a 619 and a top rope ‘rana… but his monkey flip is caught as he’s chopped in the chest as Cobb decides to superplex him… only for Andrews to slip free and try for a powerbomb instead.
Eventually… it works!
Andrews is forced to flip out of a pick-up German suplex, but he’s able to get off a running shooting star press for a near-fall, as Cobb shows he’s an agile bugger too. A standing moonsault connects, but the shooting star press misses and Andrews counters another pop-up into a tornado DDT!
Cobb returns with a running Samoan drop, but that too gets a near-fall, only to fall to a crucifix as the near-falls came thick and fast. Andrews flips into a Stundog Millionaire, but second time wasn’t the charm as Cobb caught that and turned it into a Tour of the Islands as our fun opener came to an end. Yes, Jeff Cobb is a beast – and I’ve yet to see him have anything close to a bad match… ***½
Jinny vs. Deonna Purazzo vs. Dakota Kai
Apparently this was meant to have been a four-way after yesterday’s tag match – but Dahlia Black’s otherwise engaged, so we’ve got a three-way on our hands here. Jinny starts off by whacking her partner from yesterday with a forearm, to the shock of Dakota Kai… who could only watch as Purazzo hit back with a knee lift and an armbar, as Jinny was forced to grab the ropes.
Jinny responds with a Japanese armdrag – and yes, this is one of those always-something-happening three-ways. Kai hits a running knee for a near-fall as Jinny rolled to the outside for cover… which means we had Deonna and Dakota exchanging stuff for a spell before Jinny ruined the party.
Jinny actually drags Kai to the outside and throws her into the ringpost so she could go after Deonna again. Was someone jealous that they didn’t get the win? Some headkicks lead to a uranage backbreaker as the crowd tear into Jinny… as does Kai, who runs back with a couple of dropkicks. Kai goes back to her Team Kick times with a facewash in the corner for a near-fall, before a missed double stomp just earned her a wild knee from Purazzo as all three women knock each other to the mat.
Purazzo nearly snatches a win with a roll-up after Jinny’d hit Kai with an Rainmaker, but there’s more back and forth until Kai’s double stomp breaks up Purazzo’s bridging German suplex with a stomp… and Kai steals it from there! An energetic, fun three-way – one I wouldn’t mind seeing again down the road! ***
Ahead of the next match, Jim points out TK Cooper and Dahlia Black sitting at the merch table, before plugging their merchandise and kissing booth.
Travis Banks vs. Jack Gallagher
I wasn’t avoiding spoilers, but I was blissfully unaware this match was on the card. Add this to the “I never knew I wanted to see this” folder…
Gallagher trips Banks early as the pair start off technically, with takedowns, escapes and reversals. All the graps! Some headscissors from Banks are flipped out of as Gallagher switches back to a headlock, and finally freedom! Banks rebounds by tripping Gallagher and using a La Majistral for a near-fall, before the crowd applauded the stand-off.
After enraging the other with kicks, Banks starts to lay into Jack with chops, before the Gentleman decides to trip him and move into a knee stomp as the Super Strong Style 16 winner went through a spell of being on the defensive. Banks kicks free, but an arm whip took him straight back down into an armbar, before Banks lifts him into a flapjack as a barrage of kicks left the Gentleman reeling.
Banks’ fight back sees him trip Gallagher into the corner for a cannonball, but it’s only good for a two-count, so he takes him down into the Lion’s Cluch, which is instantly turned into a roll-up for a near-fall. A diving knee puts Gallagher down again for a two-count, but Jack bursts back into life with a flurry of strikes to get a near-fall from a cornered Kiwi Buzzsaw.
A running kick to the chest keeps Gallagher firmly in control, as he fights to roll Banks into an armbar, but somehow Travis rolls up and tries to powerbomb free… only for Gallagher to headbutt him instead. Ouch. The shotgun dropkick from Banks leaves Gallagher down for a springboard double stomp that collects a two-count, before Gallagher heads outside… and headbutts away a high-speed tope from Banks!
Back inside, Gallagher traps Banks in a rear naked choke, then throws in some boots to the gut, but the Kiwi makes the ropes to force an escape, before smashing in with a diving clothesline and Fisherman’s driver… and that’s still only good for a two-count! Pete Dunne headed out as Banks went for the Slice of Heaven – and that distraction let Gallagher hit him with a headbutt, before the corner dropkick gets Gentleman Jack the win! This was another slice of awesomeness – yeah, some will nitpick the finish, but the match until then was something special. ***¾
After the match, Gallagher put over Banks, before recalling one of their prior encounters at a dojo in Japan… as he then told the Kiwi Buzzsaw to get his head in the game and snap that losing streak he’s been quietly accumulating. Pete Dunne snuck in to break up the glad handing, and started shoeing Banks with that loafer of his. Gallagher chases off Dunne to stop the beatdown, as Peter does his Toru Yano shrug on his walk away.
Martin Stone vs. Matt Riddle
You’ve got to go back almost three years to Chapter 17 (“Very Very Very, Breaky Breaky Breaky, Bishi Bishiii”) for the last time Martin Stone was on a PROGRESS card. Moving to America’ll do that!
This was a non-title match, and we started with Stone and Riddle neutralising each other on the mat. Stone managed to free himself by grabbing at Riddle’s bare toes, before snapping them like a Villain. Well, if you won’t wear boots…
Riddle replies with some chops, but Stone literally asks for more before giving his retort as the pair lit each other up. The Atlas champ edges ahead and runs in with some forearms in the corner, before helping Stone out of it with an Exploder, as those suplexes just kept a-coming. There’s an utterly random 1PW reference from Glen on commentary, as Riddle plasters Stone with kicks… only for a big boot out of the corner to cut-off Riddle’s attempt at an avalanche.
Stone tries for a Tower of London out of the corner, but Riddle fights free, only to get a right hand as Stone nearly got the win. Riddle rebounds with a Pele kick, then the Bro to Sleep, and a German suplex… but Stone gets up, and then kicks out at one after the Tombstone slam from Riddle!
Out of nowhere, Stone hits a Destroyer… but Riddle no-sells and runs in with a clothesline as another Pele kick staggered Stone, who hits back by… grabbing Riddle in the balls. A headbutt comes next, then a pop-up powerbomb and another headbutt… but Riddle drags Stone down and into a Bromission for the surprise ending! Another thoroughly enjoyable match, with Stone coming painfully close to the win as Riddle comfortably picked up the win. ***¾
After the match Stone grabbed Riddle’s WWN and Atlas titles… just to give them back to him. Riddle has a weird edit in his promo as he offers an open challenge for WALTER’s Atlas title rematch…
Jimmy Havoc vs. Zack Gibson
Havoc came out with two chairs, so you can kinda guess what sort of night he has planned for “Liverpool’s Number One”. Yes, Zack grabbed the mic for his usual promo, which was as well received in Boston as it was in New York… to the point where Jim Smallman went to finish it for him, only for Zack to do it anyway.
When we did get going, Havoc smashes Gibson with a rolling elbow, before Zack hit back with a double-knee gutbuster for a very early two-count. It’s all Gibson too, as the crowd railed on him… but Havoc’s sent outside and he tries to come back with a chair, which gets stuffed as Gibson dragged him back inside for a clothesline.
Gibson then headed out and grabbed some chairs of his own – except these were metal as opposed to Havoc’s plastic ones. Jimmy seemed to relish the prospect of chair shots, so much so he threatened to kill the ref if he threw the match out on a DQ, so then we got an impromptu no-DQ match as Havoc threw away, then headbutted away chairs!
After spraying beer at Gibson, the two slug it out, with Havoc edging ahead before poking him in the eyes. Havoc’s tornado DDT’s good for just a two-count, so he squashes Zack with a double stomp for another near-fall. More chairshots ensue to poor Zack as Havoc creates something of a crashpad of chairs… but Gibson wrenches away on the wrist before trying for what looked to be a Ricola Bomb.
Instead, Gibson gets his eyes rakes before avoiding an Acid Rainmaker and dumping Havoc into the chairs with the Helter Skelter. Gibson then uses a chair… or at least tries to as he went to apply a Shankly Gates through it, but Havoc escapes and sets Zack on the chair… for a double stomp onto another one as an Acid Rainmaker gets the win. Another fun brawl – with Havoc getting pushed a little bit before eventually overwhelming Zack. ***¼
PROGRESS Tag Team Championships: RINGKAMPF (WALTER & Timothy Thatcher) vs. British Strong Style (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) (c)
Trent had issues with a fan in the front row – more in a jovial way than anything else – so that killed some time before Timothy Thatcher and his steely stare locked up with Tyler Bate… taking him to the mat as he looked for a single-leg crab.
Bate tried to work the wrist, but Thatcher still has hold of the leg, so he went back to the single-leg crab as Tyler scurried to the ropes, then for a tag out as Trent seemed to be rather averse to locking horns with the former EVOLVE champion… and with just cause as Thatcher wrenched away on Trent, pulling him into a double armbar that gets an early two-count.
Thatcher continues to work on that left arm, before Bate returns and starts teasing Timmy’s left ankle, dragging himself into close-quarters for some forearms as the champs tried to isolate Thatcher. To be fair, it’s probably easier than doing it to WALTER… but it’s still a tall order!
When WALTER gets in, the champs make the most of fast tags, especially when they realise that a simple shoulder tackle can’t knock the Austrian down. A backhanded chop just angers WALTER, who chops down Trent like a tree… then does the same to Tyler. He was just a kid too…
Der Ringgeneral then keeps Trent on the mat as the RINGKAMPF pair wear down Seven’s arm, before WALTER and Thatcher have a contest to see who can do the best gutwrench suplexes to Trent. That gives way to chops, and I’m almost feeling sorry for Trent, especially when he’s trapped in a grounded Octopus by Timmy.
After working free, Trent makes a comeback by poking WALTER in the eye, before pulling off the Triple H knee. Tyler does a spinebuster for a two-count, before leaping over Trent for a splash as Trent’s piledriver planted Timmy for another near-fall. WALTER’s back to kick off Trent’s face, then catch a Koppo kick to snatch Tyler in a rear naked choke… before slapping away the rope break to dump Bate with a German suplex.
A follow-up Butterfly suplex gets a two-count, before Bate flips out of another German, bops WALTER with bang, and then gets crushed with a gutbuster for a near-fall. We descend into another strike battle, that looked to end when WALTER booted away Bate… only for young Tyler to rebound with a deadlift bridging German for a near-fall. WALTER’s double dropkick sends the champs flying, as does a powerbomb to Trent, who then falls into an armbar… but Tyler makes a save by low-bridging WALTER and superkicking Trent free.
Problem was, Tyler leapt into another armbar, as Trent’s attempt to break it up ended with him being caught in a sleeperhold. Thing is, Trent was technically legal, as was WALTER (I guess), so after being dragged to the match, Seven flipped over and Brandon Tolle counted the pin. Thatcher thought he’d won, but sadly not – so why did Tolle not count Bate as he was the illegal man? Weird finish aside, this was a really good tag match to wrap up the show… and the inaugural “tour” of the US for PROGRESS. ****¼
After the match, WALTER and Thatcher had a bit of an argument in the ring, which led to WALTER accepting Riddle’s open challenge from earlier – and that, my friends, is how we get the triple-threat for Alexandra Palace!
With six matches in a touch over two hours, PROGRESS Boston was a solid show that made the best of a crappy situation. An arduous show the prior day, an injury, a nightmare travel day… perhaps a situation where some lesser performers could have been forgiven for phoning it in. Instead, we got a show which was well worth your time.