The best-of-three series for the PROGRESS Women’s championship got going as Kanji and Gisele Shaw look to take an early advantage.
Luke Jacobs pinned Kid Lykos II in 13:51 (***)
Chris Ridgeway pinned Danny Black in 14:47 (***)
PROGRESS Tag Team Championship Tournament Quarter-Final: Nick Riley & Charlie Sterling pinned Danny Jones & Brendan White in 10:50 (***¾)
Spike Trivet pinned Ethan Allen in 13:31 (***¼)
Mercedes Blaze pinned Alexxis Falcon in 9:50 (**¾)
Kanji pinned Gisele Shaw in 11:29 to go 1-0 up in the best-of-three series for the PROGRESS Women’s Championship (***½)
Full disclosure – this was the show over WrestleMania weekend that damn near broke me… so for the sake of my sanity, I’m not going to go too deep with the analysing here… We’re back at the Theatre Peckham, but first we’ve got the way-too-quiet sit-down video from Nick Riley and Charlie Sterling ahead of their debut in the tag title tournament. I can only guess one of the two lav mics wasn’t turned on, going by the change in volumes.
Then it’s to the Theatre Peckham as Roy Johnson’s again hosting from the entrance way. He throws to the commentary pair of Hustle Malone and Charles Crowley to run down some of the card, and then it’s off to the ring… except Kid Lykos I has something to say. He reckons losing to Cara Noir last time out means he can reset and plan for the tag titles. Kid Lykos II apparently issued an open challenge, and here it is. The Young Guns answer the challenge, but Luke Jacobs is in his gear…
Kid Lykos II vs. Luke Jacobs
So we’re opening with a special bonus match…
They played this up as a possible preview of the tag title tournament finals… Lykos II huddles up to try and avoid Jacobs taking early control, and manages to hit a dropkick, only for Jacobs to charge him down in response. A snap suplex barely gets a two-count for Jacobs, before a backdrop suplex kept Jacobs ahead. Lykos II returns with a corner dropkick for barely a one-count as he began a comeback, rolling Jacobs down for a grounded Octopus… but it’s right into the ropes for a break. Jacobs manages to hit back with a backdrop driver, then a series of German suplexes, before a release half-and-half flung Lykos II across the ring.
Another enziguiri from Lykos II finds its mark, sparking another comeback, but he struggles to lift Jacobs up top. When he does, Jacobs stuffs a Low Mein Pain and swipes Lykos II down to the mat. It gets a near-fall, but Lykos II finds another opening with a tiltawhirl DDT for a near-fall. Back-and-forth keeps it even, until an Octopus stretch from Lykos II pulls Jacobs down before the ropes saved the NPS winner. On the apron, the pair trade kicks and chops, but an enziguiri knocks Jacobs back inside for a Code Red. Near-fall. Lykos II goes for Lo Mein Pain again, but it’s caught as Jacobs took him back down for a lariat, before he put away Lykos with a Fire Thunder Driver. An enjoyable opener, but Jacobs, who won the NPS earlier this year, should have won this… and did. A big bruiser in the making. ***
Promo video time with Danny Jones and Brendan White – their video actually sounds like someone normalised the audio. They’re the Greedy Souls, and are the final team to enter the tag title tournament. Jones has been in PROGRESS before and eaten a tonne of losses (and in a linked promotion), while White is making his PROGRESS debut here.
Danny Black vs. Chris Ridgeway
This was set up on the last show when they were the odd-couple team in the tag title tournament… ending with Ridgeway kicking Black as they went on to lose. They straight-up call Black “cannon fodder,” so this might be short.
Ridgeway looks to toy with Black to start, stretching him on the mat before he stung him with some kicks. Black ducks a head kick, then manages to land a dropkick and a standing moonsault as he perhaps took too long to follow up. Kicks from Black just seemed to insult Ridgeway, who responds with another barrage before grounding Black with a side headlock. A Dragon screw takes Black into the corner, with a kitchen sink knee to the gut following before it was back to the stretching from Ridgeway, using a modified STF. Ridgeway follows up with a crossface, but Black manages to find another way through, ducking a kick to hit a back suplex that seemed like a proverbial Hail Mary.
Black’s corner enziguiri offered more hope, as did a low dropkick and a rolling Koppo kick, before a springboard corkscrew moonsault drew a near-fall. Danny goes for another springboard… which Ridgeway countered, before catching an enziguiri and turning it into an ankle lock… then a trapped-leg German for a near-fall. Back-and-forth pins lead to a springboard cutter from Black that nearly gets the upset. After missing a leap, Black’s stopped with a forearm to the gut, before a pumphandle’d Go 2 Sleep gets a near-fall. Disgusted, Ridgeway PK’s Black, then punts him in the head for the win. A lot longer than I expected this to be, as they showed Black wasn’t just a tackling dummy here, but the gulf in class between the two was just too much. ***
Oh hey, a video promo from Lykos Gym. It’s for the tag title tournament, that they’ve got a bye in… so of course they say they’re going to win it.
PROGRESS Tag Team Championship Tournament Quarter-Final: Greedy Souls (Danny Jones & Brendan White) vs. Nick Riley & Charlie Sterling
Elsewhere, Brendan White’s a contender… or Bitter and Dangerous… here, he’s part of the Greedy Souls. Meanwhile, Sterling and Riley have individual entrances, which reveals that Riley’s been bequeathed Brian Kendrick’s old theme. Except the lyrics got held up at customs…
Commentary’s telling us how fresh this match is, and they’re right. Three-quarters of this match hasn’t worked in PROGRESS before, so there’s no preconceptions to wrestle with. Jones has Sterling on the mat for a toe hold early, before an exchange has Sterling back in an armbar. In come White, who worked an overhead wristlock. Sterling breaks free and brings in Riley, but White just charges through him ahead of a Beele toss into the corner. Riley returns with a neckbreaker for a two-count, before Sterling returned to hit a low dropkick and a standing moonsault and he and Riley battered White. The momentum shifts as Jones returned to ground Sterling with a chinlock, only for Sterling to fight out and come back with an assisted double-team powerbomb.
A rolling elbow from Jones knocks Riley into the corner… Sterling tags in, but eats a back cracker as White returned to run wild, knocking Sterling into the ropes ahead of a diving uppercut. Sterling’s leg lariat misses as White muscles both opponents at once with a German/belly-to-belly suplex for a near-fall. Jones comes in for a sleeperhold, but just takes Riley into the corner for a fallaway slam… then a running knee for a near-fall.
Jones nearly wins with a Falcon arrow, as Sterling breaks it up… White takes care of him, only for Riley to go for a roll-up. It gets a two-count as Riley dumps Jones with a modified Ranhei, before a Finlay roll from Riley, a Spiral Tap from Sterling and a corkscrew moonsault from Riley gets a weird delayed near-fall as the referee counted one and two with nobody actually making a cover. You what? From there, a superkick-assisted brainbuster lands… and that’s all folks. All four here shone in this sprint – and I’d sincerely hope there’s a spot for all of them even after this tournament is done. White looked an entirely different proposition out of the black boots and trunks of the Contenders too… ***¾
Backstage, Sterling and Riley celebrated their win over two of South Wales’ best, and vowed to win the tag titles.
Spike Trivet vs. Ethan Allen
Trivet’s slowly building up a winning record – almost like he’s being prepped for a title shot…
Trivet takes Allen to ground early, but Allen manages to come back with a chinbar as the match started out pretty even. Allen tries for a head kick to counter a wristlock, but he’s just caught with a knee from Trivet, who again grounded Allen, this time with a side headlock. Some strikes end with Allen getting charged down, but he’s back with a back elbow and some kicks to take Spike to the outside… with a tope following on the floor. Back inside, Allen’s springboard in is stopped as Trivet takes out the knee – and that turns the match around in a heartbeat. Of course Trivet continues to focus on the knee, but Allen finds a way to get free and fire off some kicks and stomps. More kicks lead to Trivet countering back with an Exploder, before he just stomped on Allen’s ankle.
A Trailer Hitch is next as Spike looked to add more torque, but the ropes force a break. Nevertheless, Spike resumes the focus, just so he could go for Allen’s nose… but it’s avoided as Allen hits an enziguiri and some body blows to fight back. A back elbow from Spike stops that, before his suplex got reversed… Allen keeps going with a clothesline, before Spike bit the leg, then raked the nose. Allen kicks free, then nails a gutwrench suplex ahead of a springboard moonsault… another head kick leads to a near-fall, but Spike just backs out of a sleeper hold. It’s reapplied, but this time Spike charges between the ropes to hang up Allen. Trivet goes back to the nose, “snapping it,” before weathering one last comeback with a shot to the face… which leads to a pumphandle’d Last Shot gets the win. More steam under Trivet then, as he effectively dismantled a Young Gun. ***¼
Mercedez Blaze vs. Alexxis Falcon
I bet Blaze wins this with dodgy means… and I only guess that because PROGRESS accidentally uploaded a video a week ago of Falcon challenging Blaze to a rematch after some shenanigans… but the match hadn’t aired yet.
Blaze looks to control early with an armbar, before she threw Falcon down by the hair as she looked to escape. Falcon returns with a bulldog though, then a shotgun dropkick, before a boot to the face set up for a suplex that gets a two-count. A turnaround sees Blaze take Falcon into the corner for some mudhole stomps, before some running knees and another suplex got Mercedez a two-count of her own. A swinging neckbreaker keeps Blaze ahead, with a neck crank grounding Falcon some more… but Alexxis fought back with right hands before landing a clothesline out of the corner. Another shotgun dropkick leads to a hanging neckbreaker out of the corner, before a high kick dropped Blaze for another near-fall.
Blaze rolls onto the apron to put some distance between her and Falcon, blaming a wardrobe malfunction… but it’s a con as she hung up Falcon by the arm in the ropes. It leads to a near-fall, before Blaze’s hip attack in the corner and a spear off the middle rope drew another two-count. Falcon goes for a roll-up, but it doesn’t get the win, nor does Blaze’s, before a hooking swinging Flatliner’s countered… with Blaze pulling the hair before she nailed a Tower of London for the win. Hey, a tainted win – who’d have thunk it?! This was good for the time they got, as it looks like they’re putting Blaze up as a potential title challenger. **¾
Post-match… Falcon demands a rematch in the video that was accidentally posted online.
Match One in the Best of Three Series for the PROGRESS Women’s Championship: Kanji vs. Gisele Shaw
Jinny vacated the PROGRESS Women’s title via video message at the top of the last show, and decreed the new champion would be the winner of this three-match series.
Shaw tries to delay things at the start, leaning between the ropes to try and take the sting out of the match. It sorta works as Kanji got irritated early, but the pair reach a stand-off before Kanji hit the ropes and tripped Shaw ahead of a step-up legdrop. A chinlock that almost morphed into a rear naked choke from Kanji wears down Shaw… who just slips free and clubs Kanji in the neck. That got Shaw ahead as commentary mused over what would happen if someone got DQ’d twice in this series. Chops have Kanji in the corner, with an Irish whip bouncing her into the buckles for a two-count, as Shaw proceeds to pull Kanji into a neck crank.
Shaw’s forearm keeps Kanji down, before Kanji rolled her into a triangle armbar… but it quickly ends in the ropes. Unsighting the ref, Shaw sneaks back in with a cheapshot, before a hair-pulling swing has Kanji down again for a two-count. A lariat stops Kanji as she came out of the corner, but she heads up again for a missile dropkick to turn things back around. A springboard forearm decks Shaw, who’s then taken into the corner for a 619 ahead of a Randy Orton-ish backbreaker for a near-fall. From there, Kanji pulls Shaw back into the triangle armbar, but that’s broken in the ropes. Shaw kicks Kanji down from her springboard… then caught a slingshot spear, turning it into a draping DDT for a near-fall. A springboard cutter from Shaw’s next, but it’s still not enough as she began to lose her temper with herself.
Kanji ducks a discus enziguiri, then swapped waistlocks as the pace raised… leading to a roll-up from a bloodied Kanji that got the win. A nice, pacey main event with a sudden ending – which makes me think Shaw may not hold back on the dirty tricks next time, having left the pipe at ringside this time around. ***½
PROGRESS returns, I assume in a fortnight, for chapter 110, named after one of their logos: Skeleton Head. Chapter 108 broke me. Chapter 109 still had some of the same flaws, particularly around production, but it’s amazing what a cracker of a match can do for your spirits. Across the board, this was a much better show, but I still persist – the name on the marquee remains the biggest millstone on this product. It’s tough when you’re not at the top.