PROGRESS return after a week off, with Luke Jacobs cashing in his title shot against Cara Noir in today’s main event.
Millie McKenzie pinned Lana Austin in 10:01 (**¾)
Gene Munny pinned TK Cooper in 11:21 (***)
Kid Lykos II and Kid Lykos pinned Ethan Allen & Chris Ridgeway in 17:37 (**¾)
Spike Trivet submitted Chuck Mambo in 13:18 (***½)
Kanji pinned Gisele Shaw in 12:12 (***¼)
Cara Noir pinned Luke Jacobs in 15:49 to retain the PROGRESS World Championship (***¾)
It’s an Only Fools and Horses reference, is the title. Apt. Not just for the fact that both shows are in Peckham… if you don’t know about Only Fools and Horses, it was a British sitcom that was massive back in the 1980s and 1990s, about two brothers who made dodgy deals as they tried to become millionaires. That’s massively reductive, but there’s parallels to be drawn to wrestling too, alongside the lyric “if you want the best ones but don’t ask questions” in the show’s theme music. Replies to this dig are not monitored. Roy Johnson opens up by recapping what happened last time out, then does a bit with the commentary team. Hustle Malone and Charles Crowley are on commentary.
Millie McKenzie vs. Lana Austin
They explained this match as happening because Millie eliminated Lana in the Thunderbastard. I’ll take that…
We open with a lock-up as Millie takes Austin into the ropes before an attempted German suplex ended with Austin getting thrown to the mat. Austin gets back up to trip McKenzie for a toe hold, but it’s pushed away as we reset. Another tie-up sees some standing switches, but McKenzie takes Austin down to work over the legs and arm… but Lana crucifixes her for a two-count. A double leg drop from Austin, then a basement dropkick has McKenzie on the back foot, before Millie’s hung up in the ropes for a Final Cut that nearly wins it.
McKenzie fires back with armdrags, but Austin blocked one… and takes a swinging neckbreaker instead for a near-fall. An Irish whip takes Austin to the corner, as the pair trade elbows as McKenzie looked to shut the door on Austin’s chances, taking her down for a Dragon sleeper. Austin rolls McKenzie away to break it up, as a headbutt from Millie leads to Austin’s discus forearm that almost ends things. Millie tries for a Stunner, but it’s pushed away as Austin counters a kick into a powerbomb… Austin stays on McKenzie with forearms in the corner as she set up for a draping DDT, but Millie fights out and returns with a spear for another near-fall.
Austin tries her luck with a roll-up, then with a backslide, before a leaping DDT spiked McKenzie onto her head… but it’s still not enough, and it’s starting to wind up Austin, who gets caught with a German suplex, then a diving knee for the win. A rather sudden “hit my finisher and win” finish, but a pretty good opener as they continue to build up Millie. **¾
Backstage, Lord Spike Trivet’s interviewed ahead of his match with Chuck Mambo. The pair used to be part of Do Not Resuscitate, a since-retconned group in the promotion. Spike tells us that he babysat Mambo in the past, and he’s going to make sure Chuck loses again. There’s some particularly Tory lines in this, as we get a little bit of Riptide Spike Trivet in the mix…
Gene Munny vs. TK Cooper
This was TK’s return to PROGRESS after losing a no-DQ match back at Chapter 98’s weapon filled match against someone who shall not be named. Commentary acted like this was a big surprise, even though they’d announced the match on social media. Ah lads.
We’ve a fist-bump to start, as things start out at a rapid clip, leading to TK hitting a leg lariat. Munny lifts TK onto the apron, then pulls him back in for an eventual Finlay roll. Gene pulls himself up into a splash for a two-count, before TK responded to the offence by letting Munny… crash and burn by just walking away from a Vader bomb attempt. TK throws in a slingshot Zig Zag from the apron for a two-count, but Munny manages to recover back inside with a bulldog off the middle ropes for a two-count. A clothesline gets another two-count, before an inverted slam tosses TK for another near-fall. Elbow drop. Two-count.
Munny’s offence ends with him taking a release German suplex, rolling outside… but he sneaks away from TK so he could follow in with a tope as Cooper was looking for him. On the outside, an enziguiri staggers Munny ahead of a running boot, but Gene hits back with a pop-up forearm on the apron. Back inside, Gene goes for a slingshot spear, but TK stomps it away, then threw Gene into the ropes for a springboard corkscrew legdrop for a near-fall. He keeps hammering away at Munny with an Exploder suplex, before a head kick leaves Gene down ahead of a double jump springboard moonsault that nearly gets the win.
Another kick from TK misses as Munny returns with a spinebuster for a near-fall… then a punch to keep the two’s going… before Gene heads up top, only to get crotched in the ropes. A back rake keeps Munny stunned, but he tries to headbutt TK. You know that doesn’t work. A Spanish Fly brings Munny down for a near-fall, before another scissor kick’s blocked, leading to a headbutt from TK, before an out-of-nowhere Ainsley Lariat gets Munny his first win in PROGRESS. ***
Chuck Mambo’s interviewed about his recent losses. He’s excited about beating Spike Trivet tonight, and hopefully use that to turn things around….
Luke Jacobs, Ethan Allen and Chris Ridgeway cut a promo about their matches tonight. I mean, Luke talks, and Ethan makes some random noises that legitimately set my dog off barking.
North West Strong (Ethan Allen & Chris Ridgeway) vs. Lykos Gym (Kid Lykos & Kid Lykos II)
They finally tell us what North West Strong is with this match.
Lykos II starts with Allen, taking him into the corner, before an armdrag took Lykos II down into an armbar. A Hipe into a hiptoss has Lykos II down as Ridgeway tagged in… Lykos II escapes, but doesn’t tag out as a low dropkick and an enziguiri led to Lykos II getting lifted up as he went for a brainbuster. Headlock takedowns and escapes ensure as Lykos II slaps Ridgeway… bad idea. Lykos II begs off, but gets caught in the midsection as Lykos tags in for the first time. The pair trade back-and-forth elbows, but a rear kick from Ridgeway ends that before Lykos’ lucha roll takes him in for an armbar. Ridgeway tries to counter, but Lykos looks to work over Ridgeway’s legs, only for it to be neutralised as Ridgeway counters with a STF.
Lykos finagles his way free and rolls Ridgeway down into almost a stump puller… but he just pops free and rolls Lykos down into a guillotine. Freed, Lykos tries to hook the face, but Ridgeway goes for the leg as things end in the ropes. Lykos feigns injury – and for some reason that’s what he needs to do for Lykos II to come in and chop block Ridgeway’s knee in full view of the ref. That draws in Allen, as Lykos popped up to work over the leg some more. A half crab has Ridgeway down as rapid tags kept a fresh Lykii in, with Lykos I rolling into Ridgeway with a deathlock that almost gets the pin. Lykos goes to the eye as Lykos II comes in to try and get a pin. Lykos I is back to try a brainbuster, but Ridgeway escapes and takes down Lykos II with a Dragon screw.
Ethan Allen comes in and clotheslines the Lykii, then hit a gutwrench suplex on Lykos II before a moonsault out of the corner. An elbow drops Lykos II, but an Angle Slam’s countered as Lykos II comes back with a slingshot Code Red for a near-fall… before Allen uppercuts away on Lykos II’s arm and pulled him into a crossface. Lykos II counters the crossface with a roll-up, then turned into a grounded Octopus that Ridgeway breaks up with a half Giant Swing of sorts. An armbar from Ridgeway draws in Lykos I to trap him with a half crab… Allen locks in a rear naked choke as this has just gone to all hell with Allen going after the wrong Lykos.
Ridgeway kicks the legal Lykos while Allen went for a double armbar on Lykos I. Remember the five count? Ridgeway hits a pumphandle Go 2 Sleep on Lykos II as Lykos I then threw in a Shining Wizard that literally was blink and you’ll miss it. The Lykii combine some more as Allen’s dropkicked into the corner, before a Lo Mein Pain and a diving knee from the Lykii get a near-fall. Lykos 1 stretches Ridgeway in the ropes with an Octopus stretch as things are literally happening way too quick for the cameras to pick up without blurring. Slow it down lads. Lykos II throws in a baking tray to distract the ref, then hits Ridgeway with a second, before Lykos I’s brainbuster… and a second from Lykos II gets a near-fall.
Lykos II tags back in but gets caught in a rear naked choke before Allen got dropped with a nice double-team inverted suplex for the pin. It’s another win for the Lykos Gym in a match that perhaps could have been edited down somewhat – way too much stuff crammed into the match, and if you’re having to pause and rewind just to get an idea of what’s going on… maybe that’s a hint to slow down? Not one for sticklers of tag team rules. **¾
Backstage, the Lykii claim to be the uncrowned “best tag team in the country,” and want to face current and former champions. PROGRESS do have vacant tag team titles that they’re going out of their way to NOT bring up…
Chuck Mambo vs. Spike Trivet
Mambo’s “new” music sounds like it’d have been right at home on Saturday night teatime game shows. Quite apt, given when these are being uploaded…
Mambo goes after Trivet to start, but gets taken down in a wristlock, before Mambo replied with one of his own. They go to ground again before Mambo broke free and hit a springboard multi-jump armdrag before Spike cut off Mambo with a Dragon screw and a low dropkick to the knee. Trivet works over the knee, using another Dragon screw in the ropes, before a punch and a Strong Zero-ish dropkick to the hung-up knee left Mambo in pain. Mambo rolls back inside and begins to unload with chops, before a teased Vertebreaker ends with Trivet rolling out and chop blocking the knee.
Mambo rolls outside and collapses under his knee again, and of course, Spike continues the focus on the leg, but Mambo fights back, elbowing free in the corner… but he can’t free up his leg. A nice chop block in the corner takes the knee out again as a Trailer Hitch has Mambo in trouble, but the ropes save the day. Out of nowhere, Mambo fights back with a delayed suplex, but Trivet goes back to the knee before Mambo caught a floatover and turned it into a Gunnslinger for a near-fall. Trivet goes for a roll-up and gets a two-count, but going to the knee again was too obvious as Mambo drops down and traps Trivet in the corner with the running knees. A diving dropkick through the ropes graze Trivet’s face, but Mambo aggravates his knees on the landing… yet for some reason, Chuck persists with his usual offence, but the Bad Burrito gutbuster’s blocked as Trivet drops Mambo with the Birthright over-the-knee neckbreaker for a near-fall.
Trivet goes for a toe hold, but Mambo pushes away and lands a superkick, before the Bad Burrito lands. Mambo looks to follow that up with another springboard, landing a Reef Break Meteora for a near-fall, before the Chuck You’s countered as Trivet takes off Mambo’s boot and snaps the knee… then hit a forearm to the back of the head as a wrist-clutch version of the Birthright gets another near-fall. Going back to the leg, Trivet rolls Mambo back into the Trailer Hitch, and that forces the submission. I really dug this “version” of Trivet, showing more of a killer side as opposed to the other variations we’ve seen in PROGRESS – this could have done with being a little shorter, but the right person won here. ***½
After the match, Mambo was in tears in the ring, throwing out his gumshield as TK Cooper then came out to try and calm him down. There’s no audio on the camera though, so TK needs to grab the mic as we got live therapy. TK tells Mambo he has two options: stay and be sad, or team with him in PROGRESS to get back on top. He chooses the latter, luckily just in time for his music to hit.
Gisele Shaw tells us she “threw” her Thunderbastard outing because she didn’t need to be involved in that match as she already had a title shot… and she’s going to make sure Kanji doesn’t leapfrog her in the queue.
Gisele Shaw vs. Kanji
Mercedes Blaze is out to do commentary… Shaw trash-talks Kanji at the bell, and goes for an armbar early, but Kanji quickly escapes.
A slap riles up Kanji, but she can’t get out of the blocks before a leg sweep and a low dropkick as Mercedes on commentary keeps noting how Shaw’s “only strong with a pipe.” Kanji boxes Shaw into the corner, forcing Gisele to powder outside, where Kanji hits a 619-like kick, only to get dragged outside and stomped on. Shaw drags Kanji around ringside for a Giant Swing into a door before posting Kanji as they head back inside for a two-count as Blaze began to take jabs on commentary at Shaw. Gisele works over Kanji’s arm – while she’s not distracting herself with Blaze at ringside – before a suplex gets a near-fall.
An overhead wristlock gives Kanji something to fight out of, while stomps keep the Thunderbastard winner firmly on the defensive. Kanji fights out of another wristlock, but she’s thrown back to the mat as Hustle Malone predicted long waiting times in A&E. Chops keep Kanji on the back foot, but she finally fires back with an elbow and a head kick, before Kanji springboarded into a Shaw superkick for a near-fall. Shaw’s fed up of getting two-counts, so she heads out for her pipe. The referee threatens to DQ her, but she doesn’t care as Kanji ends up ducking the shot and hitting a backbreaker instead. Kanji continues to fight back with right hands, but Shaw drills her with an elbow before a 619 leads to a roll-up for a near-fall.
Kanji’s elbow has Shaw back in the corner for a 619, following up with a springboard missile dropkick for a near-fall, before a springboard forearm almost put Shaw away. They finally name-check Jinny here as Shaw hits a German suplex, then a running knee for a two-count… before a sit-out powerbomb almost puts Kanji away. From there, Shaw sets up for a superkick, but it’s ducked as Kanji returns with a head kick, before a springboard into a stunner gets the win! I wasn’t a fan of the constant self-imposed distractions early on, but this was a pretty good match with Kanji perhaps edging herself ahead in the queue for a title shot… but with Millie McKenzie racking up wins, perhaps there’ll be another roadblock in her future? ***¼
Jordon Breaks is still coming… they’re building his debut up more than Luke Jacobs getting his title shot from the NPS, which he’s cashed in for today’s main event.
PROGRESS World Championship: Luke Jacobs vs. Cara Noir (c)
Cara Noir’s racking up the title defences, as Luke Jacobs instantly cashes in his title shot, one show after winning the Natural Progression Series.
Cara tries for a side headlock early on, but Jacobs takes him into the ropes for a break before he looked to roll Cara down to the mat for a submission, but they end up in the ropes before anything could be applied. Jacobs finds Cara’s back with a punt kick, as the champion rolls outside for a breather. He returns… and takes a seat as he asks Jacobs to kick him again (non-verbally, of course), before Jacobs returned the favour. Wash, rinse, repeat. An elbow drops Cara, who kicks out the leg before a series of grounded kicks saw the champion wheel away before Jacobs POUNCES him in mid-air. A no-bump suplex drops Cara for a two-count, as Jacobs looked to keep Cara down, throwing uppercuts and body blows as he looked to control the pace.
Cara tries some body blows of his own, but Jacobs looks to work a toehold, only for Cara to pull him into a rear naked choke. Jacobs escapes and boots him, before a dropkick took the Young Gun outside for a tope. Back inside, Jacobs pulls Cara out of the corner, but gets rolled down as a pair of shotgun dropkicks took him into the corner. A third one aims for Jacobs’ arm, with Cara looking to avoid the big lariat… before a rebound German suplex and a thrust kick had the champion firmly on top.
Jacobs chops his way back into it, trapping Cara in the corner for a clothesline. A lariat from Jacobs was countered with the Blackout sleeper, then a diving headbutt from Cara, but it knocks himself out so much that Jacobs’ attempt at a clothesline goes nowhere as Cara drops down. Rather than go for the pin, Jacobs lifts up Cara and tries for the lariat again, but again Cara drops. No, they don’t tease a stoppage, as Cara gets back up with an up-kick before Madame Guillotine gets a near-fall. From there, Cara Noir ties up Jacobs’ arms for a package piledriver, but Jacobs resiste and counters out… only to get taken into the ropes with a shotgun dropkick. He recovers with a German suplex, before a lariat to the back of Cara’s head sees the champion land on his face, buying some extra time as Jacobs struggled to roll him over for the pin.
Staying on Cara, Jacobs throws some chops, but a suplex attempt is countered as Cara slips out and applies the Blackout sleeper. He can’t quite lock it on, as Jacobs escapes and returned with a spinebuster, before a second lariat dumps Cara for a near-fall… another lariat attempt is countered with a dropkick though, before Cara Noir put him away with a swift package piledriver. A fantastic effort from Luke Jacobs, who wrestled out of his skin as this particular role is one he shouldn’t have been put in for a while, outside of the Natural Progression Series framework. Luke is “one for the future”, but the future is now, I guess. ***¾
Enough of the “it’s not the PROGRESS of old” stuff. Three shows deep, if you’re still watching, you should know that by now, at least, in the ring, things are massively different. The names who have been thrown into the fire are giving it as good as shot as they can, and while you can make an argument that they’re perhaps being set up to fail, this package just doesn’t seem to work. There’s foibles with the camera work – which somehow seems to be struggling in low light… and a commentary which is going to take a few tapings before they find their feet. Oh, and that choice of show title for next time out? That’s what they call “on the nose,” eh?