PROGRESS’ Women’s title gets a new home as their latest chapter was bookended around the championship.

Quick Results
Big Guns Joe submitted Kid Lykos II in 9:44 (**¾)
Chris Ridgeway pinned Keinen in 8:57 (***)
Nick Riley pinned LK Mezinger in 6:49 (**¼)
Man Like Dereiss pinned Danny Black in 9:08 (**¾)
Taonga pinned Ronnie Knocks in 9:21 (**¼)
Hari Singh defeated Spike Trivet via disqualification in 4:06 (**)
Dean Allmark pinned Ethan Allen in 10:09 (***¼)
Charlie Sterling submitted Kid Lykos in 18:00 (***)
Warren Banks pinned Luke Jacobs on 14:08 (***¼)
Gisele Shaw defeated Alexxis Falcon & Mercedez Blaze in 19:41 to win the PROGRESS Women’s championship (***¼)

After last time out, PROGRESS have upped it to a ten match line-up, flirting with the three hour mark. I’ll keep saying this lads, but your old fan base is going to remain checked-out if this is what empty-arena ‘gress is going to be.

Hustle Malone and Olie Spring are on commentary at London’s Theatre Peckham, and we open with Kanji’s music as we’ve got an announcement… she re-broke her arm and has had to have surgery again, and she’s not going to hold onto the title while she heals. So, Kanji’s vacating the title, 84 days after winning it (if we go by air dates), and vowed to return.

From that, we’ve a vignette – Doug Williams returns to PROGRESS at Chapter 118. He’d retired at PROGRESS’ Wembley show two years ago, but has returned in Rev Pro and ICW… Roy Johnson then opens up the show by announcing that the main event three-way is now for the PROGRESS Women’s title.

Big Guns Joe vs. Kid Lykos II
Oh, this is going to be a meme for some…

Lykos II takes Joe into the ropes to start, before the pair head to the ground, with a side headlock from Joe leading to Joe looking for a pinning attempt. A gutwrench throw from Joe takes Lykos II to the outside, although Lykos was quickly back with a dropkick as the tables turned. Lykos II’s chinlock keeps Joe grounded, but Joe’s back with chops as an attempt to take down the wolf ended with another snapmare and a kick for Lykos. Joe resists an Irish whip and begins to wallop Lykos with forearms, following with a back body drop out of the corner. A capture suplex from Joe, then a Fireman’s carry flapjack has Lykos in the corner for the Vader Bomb Senton… but Lykos has the knees up and quickly came back with an Octopus.

Joe’s back suplex breaks it up, but Lykos comes close with a roll-up before a spinebuster nearly got Joe the win. An enziguiri out of the corner, then a Mistica puts Lykos ahead again, leading to a standing moonsault for a two-count, before an abdominal stretch driver gives Lykos yet another near-fall… only for his brainbuster to get reversed. In the end, Lykos tries a Code Red from the apron, but Joe caught and countered it into a Boston crab… and that’s your lot. A decent enough opener, as Lykos II loses back-to-back matches. **¾

Backstage, Alexxis Falcon’s told her match is now for the title… she admits she’s not had the best start in PROGRESS, but is ready to take her shot.

Chris Ridgeway vs. Keinen
It’s a PROGRESS debut for Keinen, who apparently in the single digits in terms of matches he’s had so far.

Ridgeway apparently recommended Keinen to PROGRESS, and started by taking him to the ropes. Grabbing the leg, Keinen looks for a hold, but gets pushed away as Ridgeway instead pulled him to the mat as the pair continued to scramble. A misdirection leaping forearm and a dropkick got Keinen a two-count, before a side headlock was countered into a shin breaker and a Dragon screw by Ridgeway.

Working the leg, Ridgeway keeps Keinen grounded, then rolled into a STF as Keinen crawled into the ropes. A trade-off of forearms left Keinen in the corner, but he’s back with an enziguiri, then a diving kick to the back for a two-count. Keinen goes for a Figure Four, but Ridgeway kicks it apart as a German suplex leaves the newcomer down for a two-count, before Ridgeway rolled him into the middle of the ring for a scissored ankle lock that ended in the ropes. Annoyed, Ridgeway threw some more kicks, but a Dragon suplex and a DDT from Keinen offered some hope… as did a Deathlock, but Ridgeway breaks it up and waffled Keinen with forearms for a near-fall.

From there, Ridgeway sits up Keinen for a PK, before a pumphandle driver’s nearly countered for a win. The Bombay Blade (a Judas Effect) rocks Ridgeway, but more strikes and a pumphandle’d Go 2 Sleep brings another near-fall as we’re perhaps going a bit too far here, but Ridgeway’s latest PK, then a punt to the head finally shuts the door as Ridgeway seemingly called out Doug Williams after the pin. A good debut, but given Keinen came in with little buzz or hype, even from commentary, doing the big moves/near-falls festival was perhaps a little much? ***

Backstage, Mercedez Blaze addresses her unexpected title shot as her and Taonga mock Kanji. Of course she reckons she’s going to leave as champion…

LK Mezinger vs. Nick Riley
Mezinger’s looking for his first win in PROGRESS, having made some irregular appearances in the empty arena era. Apparently wrestling isn’t always about the wins and losses… so please, tell me, what is it about then, if it’s not about winning a fight to get you towards a title and earn more money? In kayfabe terms, of course…

Riley looks to dominate early with a headlock takedown, but Mezinger finally got free to throw a chop, before Riley returned with a neckbreaker for a two-count. A back suplex gets Riley a two-count, while Mezinger gets chucked into the buckles… he’s back with a back senton before some ground and pound had Riley covering up. Mezinger telegraphs a charge, as Riley gets out of the way and came back from the apron with a swinging DDT, before a Spanish Fly almost eked out the win for Riley. Heading outside, Mezinger’s caught with a cannonball off the apron, before an elbow drop as Mezinger was on all fours gets another two-count.

LKs’ back with a Go 2 Sleep, but he can’t capitalise as Riley rolled onto the apron. He’s caught and slung back into a slam for a near-fall, before a Finlay roll lands… only for Riley to roll away from a moonsault. From there, a superkick drops LK as Riley’s corkscrew moonsault gets the win. Brief, but fun while it lasted. **¼

Gisele Shaw’s arriving at the Theatre Peckham, fashionably late. She’s told of her title match, but ignore the cameraman…

Danny Black vs. Man Like Dereiss
We’ve got the fisheye lens effect and the intro back for Dereiss…

Dereiss starts with a side headlock that’s pushed off, before he returned with a second one that was similarly escaped. A break in the corner gives Black time to think about his next move, but his springboard’s caught by Dereiss, who took him back to the buckles for a dropkick instead, as a delayed back senton out of the buckles nearly won it. Black stays on the defensive as Dereiss stomped him into the ropes, before an abdominal stretch wore him down some more. It’s elbowed apart though, as Black ends up taking Dereiss into the corner with some headscissors. More kicks keep Dereiss there ahead of a a half nelson suplex was blocked, only for a Koppo kick from Black to land for a near-fall.

A cross-armed Ranhei’s next out of Black for a near-fall, before Dereiss avoided a PK… only to see his cutter get blocked. Black lands a cutter out of the corner instead, but it’s a near-fall as an enziguiri from Black left Dereiss down… before a springboard moonsault missed as Black took too long. Dereiss finds a second wind, hitting a 619 to the ribs and a slingshot senton for a near-fall as again we were looking at near-misses… before the Gut Check crushed Black. Instead of a pin, Dereiss heads up top for the 450 splash, and that’s the win for Dereiss. A solid match once they got going, as Dereiss picks up back-to-back wins. **¾

Keinen’s interviewed about his debut… he acknowledged the beating he took, and called his loss a lesson (hey, commentary used that line earlier) before calling out how Ridgeway disrespected him after the match, promising the next time they meet, it’ll be a different story.

Ronnie Knocks vs. Taonga
This was a singles debut for Knocks, who’d worked a mixed tag match at 2019’s Unboxing Live as Nye-oh. She’s rebranded since, and is now dubbed the “Wrestling Engineer”…

Knocks and Taonga got in each other’s face at the bell, as we started with Knocks kicking Taonga out of the corner. A leg sweep drops Taonga, as some heel kicks followed… leading to Knocks going up top. She’s of course distracted by Blaze, and is pulled down by Taonga for a two-count, before some boot chokes kept Taonga in the corner. An exchange of shots led to Knocks getting rolled down for a two-count, before a snap Gourdbuster dropped Knocks, who rolled Taonga to the outside amid a fightback. Knocks follows as Blaze shielded her friend… with Taonga sneaking around the back to attack. Back inside, Knocks escapes a charge in the corner, then kicked away Blaze before a side Russian legsweep rolled into a two-count.

Taonga’s back with a facebuster, but Knocks’ uppercuts take Taonga back to the corner ahead of a step-up bulldog for a near-fall. A handspring clothesline drops Taonga, as did a dropkick out of the corner, but it’s still not enough as Knocks slapped herself to fire herself up. A Kimura looks to follow, but Blaze distracts, allowing Taonga to throw her coat at Knocks, creating a distraction for a dropkick as the I’m Prettier gets the win. More distractions set the tone here as Taonga gets her first singles win in PROGRESS. **¼

They replay Spike Trivet beating up newcomer Hari Singh amid a backstage interview last time out…

Spike Trivet vs. Hari Singh
It’s a PROGRESS debut for Singh, who’s been wrestling mostly in the Midlands for about seven years according to Cagematch.

Spike offered his coat to Singh, presumably a nod to him being ring crew in the past… and it’s a ruse as Singh took the coat and got clotheslined. Trivet rolls Singh down and stomped him early, before he hooked the nose and pulled up Hari into a T-bone suplex. A slap in the ropes keeps the disrespect going, before Singh chopped and kicked his way free… only to get caught in a hammerlock’d Codebreaker. Spike goes for the nose after that, biting and raking it as he went on to wipe Singh’s blood on his chest. Singh fires back with more chops, but the nose again was the weak point as he was thrown into the ropes, rebounding back out with a clothesline.

Singh throws Spike’s jacket to the floor as he went for a running kick… it misses, as Spike clotheslined him down before a nose breaker, a finger breaker and a running kick looked to lead to the Birth Right. Except Spike stops, noticing his coat on the outside, and wrapped it around Singh’s neck before some punches from above led to the referee… calling for the DQ because Spike wouldn’t stop at the five count. The match was okay for what it was, but my God. The old “losing for kicking too much arse” DQ is never not going to be a pet peeve. **

Post-match, Spike stomped away on the covered up Singh, then got the mic, saying he wanted to give opportunities to the next generation… by proceeding to mock him for his first win, because “they mean so much.”

Backstage, Danny Black’s interviewed about his loss, which he called “embarrassing.” He’s frustrated because he’d snapped his losing streak, and then proceeded to call out Cara Noir? I mean as a proving ground match, there’s worse ideas…

Dean Allmark vs. Ethan Allen
The build for this had dubbed this as Liverpool vs. Manchester. Except Allmark’s from Stoke, and I’m sure he’s wrestled on a lot of wet Tuesday nights…

From the opening lock-up, Allen’s backed into the corner, then rolled to the mat as Allmark looked to work the wrist. Allen’s able to grab a knuckle lock, forcing some pinning attempts, but Allmark escaped and came in with an uppercut for a two-count. Another uppercut drops Allen, who’s then met with a legdrop for a two-count as Allen managed to fight back, landing clotheslines and uppercuts to take Allmark into the ropes. A diving uppercut off the top has Allmark down for a PK, which gets a near-fall, as did a butterfly suplex, before Allmark swung for the fences with his responses.

A head kick from Allen led to Allmark looking for a Ruby Cutter, but it’s countered into a crossface instead. Allen keeps going charging Allmark into the corner before he got surprised with a rear spin kick, only for Allmark to kick Allen into the ropes ahead of a flying stomp out of the corner. A hammerlock’d kick is next, then a Ruby Cutter, before a Clash Driver gets the win in a lovely sprint of a match as experience overcame youth by some degree. ***¼

Kid Lykos vs. Charlie Sterling
Sterling came out by himself, while Lykos had his junior buddy with him…

Sterling roughs up Lykos at the bell, forcing Lykjos to powder to the outside. A headlock takedown back inside ends in the ropes too, before Lykos whinged at Sterling taking up into the corner as yet again, the tag champion bails to the floor. Sterling distracted himself with Lykos II, but manages to shake it off and land a dropkick ahead of a headlock takedown, as we get the escape as Sterling lands a backbreaker, then went to work on that lower back. Lykos tries to take out Sterling’s leg, but gets thrown to the outside.

The quick chase sees Lykos kick Sterling in the ropes, then threw him outside… a missed dropkick sees Lykos feign an injury, allowing Lykos II to chop block the leg as the tables finally turned. Wash, rinse, repeat, as Sterling got thrown outside for the young wolf to take his shots. Lykos homed in on that left knee, landing a low dropkick to evade a big boot as Sterling was again left laying. A Deathlock ties up Sterling, who then escaped a knee strike and returned with perhaps an ill-advised backbreaker. Sterling’s floatover and roll-up gets a two-count as he mounted a comeback, leading to another backbreaker and a snapping powerbomb before jarring his knee landing on a moonsault.

An over-the-shoulder backbreaker followed, then a Blue Thunder bomb for a near-fall as Sterling was pulling out the big guns (not Joe), only to have his eyes raked as he went for a Cloverleaf. Lykos nails a pair of stomps for a near-fall, before a Figure Four’s reversed by Sterling… only to have Kid Lykos II slide in and rake his eyes behind the ref’s back. Strikes knock Sterling onto the apron, where Lykos joined him and maneuvered in for a Figure Four, which was eventually broken up. A trio of Casanova knees follows, but Sterling kicked out, then was caught in the Figure Four again, with Sterling again pulling his way to the ropes for a break.

Lykos called for a brainbuster, which is blocked as Sterling countered with an inverted torture rack into a backbreaker, before a Cloverleaf drew Lykos II onto the apron. Of course, the ref’s easily distracted and misses Lykos tapping. Sterling relents, before he ducked a baking tray shot as Lykos nearly hit his own man. The interference continues as Lykos II came into the ring, but it masks Sterling using the baking tray before a Cloverleaf forced the submission to an interference-laden match. Do all heel teams in PROGRESS need to overdose on interference? This sets up the Smoking Aces vs. the Lykii after the challengers won singles matches. ***

Warren Banks vs. Luke Jacobs
With Chris Ridgeway having seemingly set his sights on Doug Williams, Warren Banks is looking to complete the North West Strong clean sweep here…

We open with a hard lock-up as Banks and Jacobs worked into the corner, before Jacobs took things to the mat in the search for a hold. A cross armbar’s defended as Banks drilled Jacobs with a knee, before he was taken back down. Banks gets sent outside with a chop, but he’s back in… and returns with a forearm before Jacobs caught him with a dropkick. A Northern Lights gets Jacobs a two-count, before he punted Banks into the corner. Chops lead to a sleeperhold on Banks, but they back into the corner for a break as Jacobs then opted to put the boots to him. A swift roll through leads Jacobs into a roundhouse kick, as the match then spilled outside where Banks popped up Jacobs onto the apron.

Back inside, a suplex gets Banks a two-count, as he then took control of proceedings… only to get pulled into a triangle armbar. Banks grinds his fist on Jacobs’ jaw to break free, but Jacobs didn’t feel too far behind, despite taking the beating. A roll-through gets Jacobs a two-count, before he sidesteps a spear and hits a back body drop to take Banks down. Running clotheslines and boots keep Banks in the corner, but Warren’s back with a forearm… only to be deadlift into German suplexes. Knees and clotheslines back and forth lead to a Michinoku driver from Banks for a two-count, before Jacobs managed to fire back with a gut shot and a powerbomb. Rolling over Banks gets a two-count, before it’s back to the triangle armbar, but Banks manages to slide to the ropes, then to the outside to break the hold… Jacobs doesn’t let go, so Banks just powerbombed him onto the edge of the ring.

Jacobs pulls Banks back into the triangle armbar on the apron… and this time gets powerbombed onto the platform they keep out there for title matches. It didn’t give, and it sounded UGLY. The count-out tease ends with Jacobs just beating the count, only to get speared as Banks picked up the win to complete the clean sweep of wins over North West Strong. I guess the south wins? ***¼

Elimination Match for PROGRESS Women’s Championship: Mercedez Blaze vs. Gisele Shaw vs. Alexxis Falcon
It’s a quick turnaround as the title was only vacated at the top of the show…

Falcon’s on the defensive from the start as Shaw and Blaze charged her into the corner for chops, only to return with a double clothesline and kicks. A Curt Hennig neck flip sends Shaw to the outside, before Blaze was taken into the ropes for a dropkick to the back, getting just a one-count there as Shaw slid back into the ring to attack from behind. Falcon deadlifts Shaw into a swinging suplex out of the corner, before Shaw pushes out of a move to have Blaze just clothesline Falcon down for a one-count. The double-teaming keeps Falcon down, as Shaw and Blaze throw her around with suplexes for a two-count, before some mudhole stomping kept Falcon down in the corner as the elimination rules were effectively making this first part a handicap match.

Shaw snapmares Falcon down for a kick to the back, then a Blaze Meteora as Falcon’s choked in the ropes. Blaze and Shaw start to get frustrated at Falcon’s resilience, with Shaw in particular winding up Blaze… who’s then lifted onto the apron before Falcon fought back… and got tripped in the ropes by Blaze. Ground and pound wears down Falcon as we keep going… Blaze is the first one to break ranks, trying a roll-up on Shaw for a two-count, and the game plan breaks down from there as Shaw slapped Blaze down. Falcon’s back after that with clotheslines, then a bulldog/clothesline combo, before a splits legdrop/dropkick took down Shaw for a two-count.

A hip attack from Blaze in the corner leads to a spear off the middle rope, but Shaw throws a spear of her own… only for Falcon to land a superkick as all three women were left laying. They pull themselves back to their feet, as trash talking gave way to strikes, with Falcon’s German suplex leading to a hanging neckbreaker on Blaze in the corner. From there, the Falcon’s Fury swinging Flatliner gets our first elimination – and I think Alexxis’ first win of sorts in PROGRESS – at the 14:48 mark. Shaw had slid into the ring but seemed to hesitate breaking up the pin, then went outside as the ref started a ten-count. When we resume, Falcon pushes on with a neckbreaker and a back cracker for a two-count, before Falcon ran into a chop as she measured up Shaw for something.

An armbar from Shaw’s countered with a roll-up, but shaw’s right back with a half-and-half suplex… then a springboard cutter for a near-fall. Then it’s to the levering armbar, but she can’t quite get the arm straight as Mercedez Blaze popped up to distract. Falcon gets to the ropes as Taonga runs out to knee Falcon, and since the ref missed the rope break, Shaw held onto the armbar, finally levering back as Falcon had no choice but to tap. Blaze and Falcon disappeared in the background, so I guess that interference was more against Falcon rather than for Shaw, who finally gets the title she’d been working towards for some eighteen months. ***¼

After the match, Gisele refused to take the title belt, instead calling out Kanji, who’d not left the building. Shaw makes her enter the ring and hand the title to her, before chasing her out so Shaw could celebrate with the title to close the show.

PROGRESS returns in two weeks for Chapter 118: Fake Tickets to a Hog Roast in Sumatra. At this point, these show names are just to mess with SEO, right? This was a show that had its bright spots – as has PROGRESS since its return in general – but there was just way too much fluff surrounding this. I must imagine the thought process differs wildly between booking empty arena shows and shows with fans – with one you’re booking to try and capitalise on crowd reactions and sell tickets… the other, it is just to tell a story to keep your viewers engaged (and hopefully gain some new eyeballs) before you can start selling tickets. So surely at some point, there’s a stage where you can stop and look at what everyone’s doing, aside from “trying to get enough wins and losses to go for the single title in each division.” Right now there’s way too many names on here that just feel to be “there” – and leads to the temptation for shows like this that can feel skippable. More focus, please.