Laura di Matteo got her shot at Kanji’s title on the latest PROGRESS chapter.
Chuck Mambo pinned Brendan White in 11:37 (**¾)
Big Guns Joe & Gene Munny defeat Kid Lykos & Kid Lykos II via count-out in 19:07 (**½)
Gisele Shaw submitted Taonga in 8:49 (**¾)
TK Cooper pinned Danny Jones in 11:38 (**¾)
Danny Black pinned LK Mezinger in 9:36 (**¾)
Mercedez Blaze pinned Alexxis Falcon in a no-disqualification match in 14:51 (***)
Jody Fleisch pinned Omari in 13:43 (***)
Ethan Allen, Luke Jacobs & Chris Ridgeway pinned Charlie Sterling, Nick Riley & Cara Noir in 20:48 (***½)
Kanji submitted Laura Di Matteo to retain the PROGRESS Women’s Championship in 17:03 (***¼)
We’re over three hours again folks. I’m not mad, just disappointed. I thought we’d long-since accepted that three hours of empty arena wrestling was on the verge of breaching the Geneva Convention, but here we are.
We open with Mercedez Blaze being interviewed after her loss on the last show… she claimed that she has a twin sister who lost the match, before Alexxis Falcon came up to gloat. F-bombs and fists fly as we have a pullapart to start.
Roy Johnson hosts the show from the Theatre Peckham in London, with Olie Spring and Hustle Malone on commentary.
Brendan White vs. Chuck Mambo
Commentary calls out how Mambo and White are on their own, as part of an “agreement” to make sure their matches have no interference.
Commentary fell silent at the start when Olie called out Hustle Malone’s lack of impartiality as Mambo looked for a Romero special early. Instead, he stomps White a few times ahead of a suplex and a double-jump springboard Reefbreak that caught everyone off guard. A dropkick takes White off the apron, but he caught a second one through the ropes and hit a backbreaker on the floor. White breaks the ref’s count so he could throw Mambo into the wall before he began to choke Mambo with his own necklace. A butterfly suplex followed from White, who laid into Mambo with forearms and knees for another two-count, before a stomp to the lower back and a neckbreaker kept the pressure on.
White comes close with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex, then with a German suplex, but that only delayed Mambo’s comeback… only for White to hit a powerbomb and a suplex to almost shut the door on proceedings. Another comeback sees Mambo unleash with palm strikes, before a springboard back elbow off the top led to a back cracker. The swinging side slam followed, but it’s still not enough. Mambo’s springboard frog splash finds White’s knees as the Welshman almost snatched the win. A superplex from the apron into the ring has Mambo in trouble, but he’s right back with the Macho Man-ish Stun Gun and a not-Macho Man-ish springboard frog splash for a two-count. Things continue to get scrappy as both men headed for the proverbial finish line, but Mambo’s strikes earn him a backbreaker and a Bossman slam… before Mambo pulled a crucifix pin out of nowhere for the win. Mambo escaped that one and picked up his first singles win at a chapter show – after 14 attempts. **¾
Backstage, TK Cooper’s got an interview as Chuck Mambo walked in celebrating and randomly throwing a plate of cream into TK’s face.
Lykos Gym (Kid Lykos & Kid Lykos II) vs. Big Money Gun Dogs (Big Guns Joe & Gene Munny)
It’s a non-title match as the Lykii (rightly) noted that Joe and Gene had only one win under their belts as a team… it’s also a rematch from February, where the Lykii picked up a win before the tag title tournament was a thing. Meanwhile, Gene Munny came out of a dog carrier – a far cry from the dog house he made his debut from!
We’ve a jump start as the Lykii got things going. It quickly calms down as Big Guns Joe hit a shoulder block on Lykos II, before Irish whips bounced the young wolf into the corners. A back body drop follows from Joe, but Lykos II scrambles to the ropes to prevent a Boston crab. Lykos II tags out, with Joe quickly blocking a brainbuster before tagging in Munny… who just sized up Lykos and got slapped. A side headlock drags Lykos to the mat as Hustle Malone reveals a little too much about how he trains his dogs. Munny dizzies Lykos before going for his own brainbuster… which of course is blocked as Lykos had had it done to him plenty of times. Gene comes close with a bulldog out of the corner, before he hooked away on Lykos’ mouth, perhaps going for a wet willie.,
The Lykii get free as some double-teaming has Munny down for a one-count, but a turnaround sees Munny’s stalling suplex throw Lykos II into Joe’s knee for another one-count. The potential challengers push ahead, with a Finlay roll, a Vader bomb and a pair of splashes getting a two-count on Lykos II, before another double-team gutbuster kept the young wolf down. We get COMEDY as Lykos II is thrown from Gene, to Joe to the ref… who then dropped him. Lykos II is back with an inside cradle for a two-count as he began a comeback, working on Munny’s lariating arm before Lykos I came in for a low dropkick to the limb. The champions look to isolate Munny, whose crossbody off the top went into thin air as that arm again became a target.
Munny breaks free and tagged out to Joe, who charged through the Lykii with a double clothesline. Joe goes for Boston crabs, which are continually blocked… before he managed to roll over Lykos II as Lykos I had a sleeper on him. Joe stacks up the Lykii for a Vader bomb, which gets a near-fall, before a Munny spinebuster planted Lykos II. A double-team pumphandle slam and a top rope elbow drop waits for Lykos II, but still it’s only good for a two-count. Another turnaround has Joe blocking a double-team, but fell victim to it anyway as the Lykii rattle off movez. I’m checking out lads. Joe counters out of an Octopus stretch and rolled Lykos II into a Boston crab again, and with Munny tying up the other Lykos we get a lot of screaming and rope breaks.
Out of nowhere, Lykos II caught Joe with a brainbuster, but Munny breaks up the pin. He tosses the Lykii into the dog transporter, and zipped them up… then ran back into the ring to take the count-out. I mean, had they made the dog transporter entrance a thing before today, or had this been in front of a crowd, the comedy would have worked, but what do I know. I’m just a grumpy old man. Put this in front of a crowd that reacts to this, and I’d have enjoyed this. **½
Post-match, the Lykii escaped and attack again. Joe’s laid out with a brainbuster before getting laid out with a baking tray by the ring post.
Backstage, the two teams argue again. Gene and Joe (well, mainly Gene) argue they got the win and so deserve a title shot. In a Dog House Rules match. Whatever one of those is. Hopefully they didn’t listen to Hustle on commentary and it’s not a “loser gets their noses rubbed in dog dirt” stipulation.
Gisele Shaw vs. Taonga
Shaw’s on a two match losing streak, and looking to snap that here.
Shaw didn’t look too rattled though, starting with a side headlock and a takedown before Taonga got in one of her own. They trade roll-ups before Shaw rolled outside to avoid a knee strike, but they remained incredibly even as Taonga ran in with a facebuster for nary a one-count. On the outside, Shaw posts Taonga, then kicked the arm by the post, before taking things back inside. Pinning attempts get Shaw two-counts, before she slapped Taonga in the corner. That sparked a comeback as the one-armed Taonga hits some clotheslines, then a sliding Flatliner for a near-fall, before a kick and an Exploder chucked Shaw for another near-fall.
Taonga looks to pull up Shaw for the I’m Prettier, but Shaw breaks out and hits a half-and-half suplex, then a roundhouse enziguiri for a near-fall… before she went for the levering armbar. It’s escaped, but Shaw just waffles Taonga with a knee for another two-count, and it’s back to the armbar for the submission. An extended squash of sorts, with Shaw finding the killer instinct to get back in the winning column. **¾
Commentary noted Taonga’s losing streak as she staggered to the back…
…where we get the inaudible interviewer asking Alexxis Falcon about her upcoming no-DQ match tonight. Throw a few quid in the swear jar.
TK Cooper vs. Danny Jones
TK’s at least managed to wipe the cream off his face…
Jones started with a Corning hold on Cooper, looking to work the arm and out-wrestle the Kiwi in the early going. Cooper tries to fight back, but he’s taken into the corner and kicked on by Jones before he recovered to land a leg lariat for a one-count… only for Jones to snap back with a Michinoku driver for a two-count. A suplex from Jones keeps it going, as did a nerve hold, before Cooper came back with a T-bone suplex for a quick two-count. Annoyed, Jones just throws TK into the ropes as he went back to the arm before a kneedrop to the lower back had TK rocked. Cooper tries his luck with an O’Connor roll as he mounted a comeback with rolling clotheslines and a belly-to-belly, before a Yakuza kick and a body attack dropped Jones for a two-count.
Another boot through the ropes dropped Jones ahead of a double-jump moonsault, but Jones has another flurry with an Exploder and a knee for a near-fall. A Falcon Arrow keeps it going, but Jones gets frustrated at the two-count and ran into a Samoan drop. Cooper rolls Jones up for a Jig ‘n’ Tonic for a near-fall… with Jones rolling over TK to hit a piledriver in return. Brendan White’s suddenly out at ringside to cheerlead, which of course means we get Chuck Mambo too. Jones faked being tripped by Mambo, which the referee fell for… but the Welsh lads’ attempt to capitalise backfired. White and Mambo fight to the back, which distracts Jones, who eats a headbutt and a springboard flip legdrop… before a scissor kick gets the win. **¾
White ran out after the bell to attack TK… but Mambo makes the save, and if you thought the Welsh lads losing both singles matches here was the end of things, then you need to watch a little closer.
More inaudible backstage stuff this time, as Mercedez Blade addresses her match with Alexxis Falcon. Hopefully her lookalike sister doesn’t fill the gap this time… and then we fade out and in to TK Cooper celebrating his win. He cream pies Mambo as revenge for earlier.
LK Mezinger vs. Danny Black
Commentary brings up how both these guys have iffy win/loss records. Good to see those count.
Mezinger throws Black aside as LK made his size advantage count. Black sneaks onto the apron for a gamengiri, but his springboard ‘rana back inside is caught. Regardless, Black escapes to hit some kicks and a standing moonsault for a near-fall, before Mezinger took him into the ropes for a back senton. A chinlock ends in the ropes, before some body blows from Black ended with him getting knocked onto the apron. A slingshot back inside’s countered into a small package, before a pop-up kick to the gut nearly won it for LK. Mezinger’s chops are shrugged off as Black kipped up for an enziguiri, ahead of a flying ‘rana into the corner.
Black followed up with a Koppo kick for a two-count, as he yet again came up bloody. Danny’s getting a record for the red stuff, I feel? Mezinger snaps the top rope into Black’s eye, then slingshotted him in for a powerslam, before a Finlay roll lands. The springboard moonsault misses, as Danny Black could escape, ahead of a springboard cutter for a near-fall. Black counters a Fireman’s carry into a reverse ‘rana from there, then went up top for a 450 elbow drop… and that’s the win. A good showing from Black, who finally gets the second win in PROGRESS. **¾
Backstage, we’ve another inaudible interview. Nobody checks the sound levels on these, do they? As Bryan Alvarez used to say back when his shows had fan-submitted drops, use the goddamn levellator/Normalize feature lads.
No Disqualification: Mercedez Blaze vs. Alexxis Falcon
Blaze has never lost to Falcon in PROGRESS, so save for that pullapart “from the last show,” there’s not much storyline reason for this to be no-DQ.
Falcon goes after Blaze to start, knocking her outside. We get a brief Benny Hill chase, and once we’re done Yakety Saxing, both women have stolen each other’s jackets for an awkwardly silent staredown. It breaks with Blaze throwing some right hands to take Falcon into the corner, before she chokes Falcon with her own ring jacket. Some choking followed in the ropes, then some hair pulling, but Falcon fought back with a suplex and a dropkick for just a one-count as Blaze rolled outside. Falcon followed and threw her into the wall, before she grabbed a Kendo stick from under the ring, as I had vivid flashbacks to the last time PROGRESS had one in front of a crowd… which led to the stick shattering into said crowd.
They head back outside as Falcon beat on Blaze, but Mercedez posts her then chucked her into the wall as a receipt for earlier. Back inside, Blaze grabs the Kendo stick and uses it, but couldn’t build up much momentum… so she throws a bottle of water into Falcon’s face. Falcon returns the favour, but couldn’t avoid a Meteora back inside as Blaze regained the upper hand. Blaze uses the Kendo stick to choke Falcon ahead of a camel clutch, but Falcon powers up and broke it with a backpack stunner. Falcon builds anew with elbows and a shotgun dropkick before she unloaded with Kendo stick shots, before a running neckbreaker almost got the win. Falcon looks for a swinging DDT, but Blaze pulls the hair to block it… only to eat a superkick.
Falcon followed that up with a diving splits kick, but it’s not enough as Blaze came back in with a ‘rana and a shotgun dropkick of her own for a near-fall. Blaze grabs more plunder from the outside, eventually finding the lone chair remaining under the ring… but Falcon grabs it as we get a tug of war. The chair’s kicked into Blaze’s head, before the swinging DDT followed for a near-fall as Taonga pulled out the ref. Taonga swings and boots Falcon ahead of the I’m Prettier, then threw Blaze onto Falcon for the win. That’s four losses in a row against Blaze for Falcon, as Alexxis Falcon now looks to be aligned with Taonga – and on much better terms than that brief pairing with Giselse Shaw ever was. ***
Omari vs. Jody Fleisch
Apparently this is going to be Omari’s last match, as he announced he’d be stepping away from wrestling after this. It was his first outing here since PROGRESS’ comeback show…
We open with a handshake, as Fleisch look to escape a wristlock… only to get caught in a cravat. Jody escapes and caught Omari with an armdrag. After some shoving, Omari pushes on with a crossbody before Fleisch came back with an enziguiri and a reverse ‘rana to take Omari to the floor. Omari escapes a dive and instead hit a Fosbury flop to the outside. Fleisch is rolled back in, but kicks Omari to the floor… only to see his ‘rana caught as Omari powerbombed him into the wall. Those cabling ducts could have made that go much worse…
Fleisch is kept on the outside by Omari’s baseball slide dropkick, which nearly got him the win via count-out… but Fleisch returned, only to get caught with a leg lariat. A ‘rana from Fleisch takes Omari out of the corner… only for Omari to counter a springboard into a powerbomb. Omari lands on his feet after a moonsault off the top had to be aborted… he looked to jar his ankle on the landing though, and Fleisch tries to capitalise on it. An arm whip dumps Omari, but he’s back with a leg lariat to the back of Fleisch, then a springboard stomp to Fleisch for a near-fall. He takes Fleisch up to the top rope for a back superplex… but Fleisch fought out before they fought up for a double Spanish Fly? I guess. Omari seems to be up first for a snap Blue Thunder Bomb that almost wins it, before Fleisch nearly nicked it with an O’Connor roll.
A head kick from the apron leads to a 720 DDT from Fleisch… and that’s all she wrote as Fleisch continues to pick off the “new guard” in PROGRESS. ***
We’re backstage again. Fleisch puts over Omari, which feels like bad timing given the announcement, and now Fleisch wants a shot at the PROGRESS title. Poor Spike Trivet’s going to get punted to the back of the line isn’t he?
North West Strong (Chris Ridgeway, Ethan Allen & Luke Jacobs) vs. Cara Noir & The Smokin’ Aces (Charlie Sterling & Nick Riley)
…brought to you by talk of North West Strong invading another country. And sadly, the demise of Nick Riley’s “Man With A Plan” theme, as they finally gave him and Sterling a tag team theme.
Sterling and Jacobs start us off, but the early going led to no advantage as tags bring in Riley and Allen. A shoulder block from Riley has Allen down, while some grappling had Riley ahead again, before a hiptoss and a slam from Allen earned him a dropkick. Cara Noir tags in, as does Ridgeway, to complete the set, but Ethan Allen runs in to push Cara Noir from behind and cause a staredown. When things calm down, Cara elbowed away on Ridgeway, only to get his legs swept as tags took us back to Jacobs and Riley. A moonsault from Riley takes down the Young Guns, before a pair of low dropkicks focused on Jacobs for a two-count as the Aces looked to focus on the last Natural PROGRESSion Series winner.
A blind tag brings in Allen as the tables turn, with Riley getting isolated in the wrong corner as chops and kicks wore him down. Ridgeway’s cross armbar and leg lock has Riley in trouble, as Ridgeway rotated from submission to submission until they ended in the ropes. Ridgeway busts out a Rings of Saturn as Riley needs the ropes again, while Allen flew in with a knee drop to keep the Aces grounded. Slams and elbow drops get a two-count on Riley, whose attempt to fight back was snuffed out… until a superplex attempt was blocked, with Riley pushing free and following in with a crossbody for good measure. A miscommunication from the Guns allowed Sterling in with a backbreaker on Allen for a two-count, before Ridgeway came in to trade elbows with Sterling.
Headbutts from Ridgeway lead to a rolling elbow from Sterling, who then got caught in a crossface… which Sterling broke out of with a backbreaker. In comes Cara, who cracks Ridgeway with a headbutt that set up a rebound German suplex. Ridgeway escapes a neckbreaker, but gets dropkicked into the corner… allowing Allen to tag in to catch Cara with an uppercut as he came in for more. The Blackout sleeper from Cara nearly shuts the door on the match, but Ridgeway’s Kawada-ish kicks try to break it up… Cara’s just smothering Allen in the ring before things continued to break down. A Blue Thunder Bomb from Sterling on Allen led to a PK from Ridgeway as the Parade of Moves ensued, leading to a lariat from Luke Jacobs to flip Cara Noir inside out.
From there, Jacobs went for a suplex, but Cara countered with a sleeper suplex, dumping Jacobs on his head. He rolled outside, but wasn’t legal as Charlie Sterling came in on the still-legal Allen, hitting a knee strike before calling in Cara Noir… Ridgeway blocks Cara with an ankle lock on the apron, distracting Sterling, who ends up being thrown into a lariat, then a kick-assisted piledriver… and that’s the win. This broke down a little at the end, but was a fun trios match as North West Strong pick up some steam… while Cara Noir again stutters in tag team action. ***½
PROGRESS Women’s Championship: Laura di Matteo vs. Kanji (c)
Commentary called di Matteo’s return “triumphant”… this was only her second match back!
Before we get going, we’ve got an unexpected guest commentator in Gisele Shaw. Yup. She seemed to take exception at being called a former top contender, as we started with Kanji tying up di Matteo’s legs before getting caught in a front facelock. They reset, with Kanji finding success on a waistlock takedown and a wristlock as Shaw sounded super salty at how PROGRESS “had found a new plaything” in di Matteo. Di Matteo goes back to a side headlock, but gets pushed off as Kanji scored with a Fireman’s takedown… only to get rolled up moments later. Legscissors get di Matteo a two-count, before a rolling inside cradle threatened to steamroll a referee who couldn’t get in position to make counts.
A trip takes Kanji into the ropes, with a dropkick following for a two-count, before a suplex gets the challenger a one-count. Kanji’s back with a dropkick and a step-up legdrop, before a half crab and a STF had di Matteo in trouble… but she got free with a Flatliner into the middle buckle. Clotheslines keep di Matteo ahead, as did an enziguiri and an Alabama Slam out of the corner. Kanji’s back with an O’Connor roll and almost a Hidden Blade for a near-fall, then a diving Judas Effect to that almost drew blood. A springboard tornado DDT from di Matteo turns the tables, but Kanji’s right back with a slingshot spear that nearly wins it.
The pair trade strikes until di Matteo slipped out to hit a back cracker for a two-count. Elbows from Kanji have di Matteo covering up though, with Kanji then going for the arm so she could grab a triangle armbar… but it’s right by the ropes as di Matteo got the break. Laura retaliates with the grounded Octopus, but Kanji also got to the ropes as we go back to the strikes. A back elbow from di Matteo looked to stun Kanji, but follow-up shots don’t land as Kanji nails a pump kick. Di Matteo’s superkick stops the momentum as both women fell to the mat… but di Matteo gets back to her feet and wandered into Kanji’s grasp, as she’s pulled into a triangle armbar for the quick submission. ***¼
Shaw, who’d spent the prior match calling herself “the standard in PROGRESS,” complained after the match that she should be holding the championship… and then attacked Kanji in the aisle with her pipe after the match. Going back to that feud so soon is odd – especially given Shaw’d only just snapped her own losing streak earlier on the show. Shaw lays out di Matteo with it as well as the show faded to black with Shaw holding the belt aloft.
PROGRESS is likely back in two weeks with their next chapter: For The Hearts That Never Played In Tune. A Bread reference in 2021. Let me preface things: the effort is there. Nobody is dogging it (figuratively, unless they’re getting thrown in a dog transporter), but these shows are doing nobody any favours other than getting ring time. As you can tell from my reviews, these shows aren’t for me anymore. Worryingly though, going by things like social media engagement, I don’t know who these shows *are* for. They’re a chore to watch, let alone recap, and if this is the way they’re going with the runtimes, I’m tapping out until something resembling an atmosphere returns…