We’ve got a Thunderbastard (by another name) and two title matches on the latest round of weekly PROGRESS, with Gisele Shaw and Cara Noir defending their championships.
TK Cooper & Chuck Mambo pinned Big Guns Joe & Gene Munny in 15:05 (**¾)
Warren Banks pinned Sandy Beach in 10:15 (***)
Malik pinned Man Like Dereiss in 11:34 (**¾)
Spike Trivet submitted Ethan Allen in 12:08 (***¾)
Mercedes Blaze pinned Ronnie Knocks in 8:11 (**½)
Cara Noir defeated Dean Allmark via referee stoppage in 16:32 to retain the PROGRESS World Championship (****)
Alexxis Falcon defeats Gisele Shaw via disqualification in 0:24 – Shaw retains the PROGRESS Women’s Championship (NR)
Chris Ridgeway won the Second Chance Scramble over Luke Jacobs, Kid Lykos, Danny Black, Charlie Sterling, Jody Fleisch, Dan Moloney & Elijah in 26:55 (***¾)
Hey, it’s just an (advertised) seven-match card this week, weighing in at two and a half hours. We open up with Chuck Mambo and TK Cooper backstage with a bucket of something. Big Guns Joe interrupts their makeshift weightlifting contest and wants to take part… but it’s a set up for Joe to cream-pie himself, as we’re still doing that. Roy Johnson’s hosting from the Theatre Peckham in London, with Olie Spring and Hustle Malone on commentary.
Big Money Gun Dogs (Gene Munny & Big Guns Joe) vs. Sunshine Machine (TK Cooper & Chuck Mambo)
Joe’s pissed off from earlier, but at least he’s cleaned himself up.
Gene’s having to calm down Joe to start, as Munny and Mambo start us off with arm wringers. Mambo tries to roll out of a side headlock, then takes it to the corners for a break, before Munny’s floatover/crossbody drew an early two-count. A springboard armdrag keeps Munny ahead, but he gets distracted by Joe which allowed Mambo back in. TK’s in for double back elbows, but Munny fought free and got elbowed down again. A neck crank from Mambo leads to a blocked crucifix or two as Munny grabbed a rear naked choke that instantly ends in the rope. Munny seemed to be reluctant to tag in Joe, and after having his nipple tape ripped off, forearms Mambo before falling into the corner with a springboard armdrag.
Tags being in TK and Joe, with Joe running wild. Joe’s Boston crab on TK’s broken up, as they then isolated Joe for a spell, whipping him into the corner as TK and Mambo’s double team led to an assisted wheelbarrow into a uranage for a two-count. Mambo’s Romero special allows him to tag in TK, who nails a Flatliner for a two-count as they again try to isolate Joe. A back body drop helps Joe free, but Mambo’d knocked Munny off the corner so he couldn’t capitalise. Mambo’s Gory special gets countered out of as Joe slips out for a backslide, before a nice leapfrog sees him go over Mambo and make the tag out. Munny’s able to dump Mambo with a spinebuster, before TK countered some double-teaming with a stacked-up Finlay roll on Mambo and TK.
TK’s legal, and has to kick out of a F5/Flatliner to keep the match alive. A Tiger suplex/powerbomb combo from Joe and Gene gets another near-fall, before TK booted away an Ainsley Lariat… only to take a forearm’d German suplex that Mambo slid in to break up. Munny’s thrown outside as TK does his “I’m Samoan” bit. A slingshot spear drops TK and Mambo, before Munny’s caught up top by TK, but the Spanish Fly is blocked as Gene instead hits a top rope elbow as a Parade of Moves ends with Boston crabs, only for TK to eventually make the ropes. Mambo low bridges Munny to stop an Ainsley Lariat, which distracts Joe for long enough to take an Exploder for a near-fall, before Mambo’s Reef Break and spike Air Raid Crash gets the win. A decent opener, but a curious choice to have an all-good-guy tag match to start. Unless TK and Mambo’s stuff with cream pies is meant to get them booed? **¾
Post-match, Big Guns Joe shoved away Gene Munny, who was poking fun at that earlier cream pie.
Backstage, Alexxis Falcon’s asked about her title match… where I realise I’ve totally erased her win over Gisele Shaw from my memory. My bad!
Warren Banks vs. Sandy Beach
Sandy’s making his singles debut having been a part of the losing team against Banks in a trios match last week.
Banks bullies Beach, taking him into the corner early on, then to the outside as Banks demanded Sandy “show me something.” Doing so, Sandy stings Banks with kicks, but again gets taken into the ropes for a chop, before Sandy fought back with a springboard back elbow. Warren rolls outside, as Sandy held the ropes open for him… Sandy resumes with Machine Gun chops into the corner, then forearms… but Banks grabs the hair and ran back in with a running boot to spin Sandy to the mat. Banks whips Beach into the corners repeatedly, eventually getting a two-count. More chops keep Beach on the back foot, but Sandy responds with a Miz-like clothesline in the corner, then a springboard lariat.
Beach struggles to pull up Banks for a deadlift gutwrench suplex, landing it for a two-count as he began to moan about his long drive to London for this. Hard relate. Kicks and forearms drop Banks briefly, before ripcord knees had Sandy prone for a Michinoku driver for another near-fall. Sandy tries for the Wipeout – which looked like a springboard Asai DDT from the apron – but Banks knocks him to the outside and took him into the edge of the ring. Back inside, Banks measures up for the Bullet Vehicle spear, but Banks leaps over it and lands an enziguiri, then went back for a springboard… only to get speared out of the air as Banks claimed the win. Pretty dominant, but I do wonder what they’ve got planned for Banks as he continues his dominant run – only one loss, and that was in the NPS final… ***
Backstage, TK and Mambo are interviewed. This is a little too goofy for my tastes, as Mambo has got rollerblades for himself and TK… which bleeds into them pratting about on them at ringside. They seem to like having chapters where they’re Poochie’d…
Malik vs. Man Like Dereiss
This one was set up during last week’s Chapter…
Dereiss cracks Malik with the mic during his entrance, taking him into the corner with an Irish whip for barely a one-count as commentary was painting this a battle of two big winning streaks. I guess three match runs are big… Shoulders keep Malik in the ropes, but he runs back out with a dropkick for a one-count, before he pushed Dereiss to the outside. Kosta Konstantinou tries a cheapshot, but Dereiss stopped him as Malik instead headed outside to knee Dereiss in the gut. Back inside, an elbow drop’s good for a two-count, as the pair targeted each other’s midsections, with Malik starting to pull ahead.
Malik stands on Dereiss in the corner, before a grounded abdominal stretch turns into a rear naked choke into the ropes. More shots to the ribs keep Malik ahead, before Kosta distracts his own charge as Malik almost lost to a roll-up. Knees in the corner put Malik back ahead, as did a PK, before Dereiss tries to forearm his way back in… following up with a uranage from the apron and a splash back in. Except that splash hurt his ribs as well, but Dereiss shrugs it off to his a shotgun dropkick into the corner, following up with an enziguiri from the apron. Dereiss goes up top, but has to leap over Malik, who blocks a Fireman’s carry with elbows before he took the Gut Check from Dereiss. A 619 in the ropes takes Malik down ahead of a slingshot senton, but it’s not enough as Dereiss tries to follow up with an abdominal stretch… Malik blocks it, then fired back with a Dragon suplex. Dereiss gets back to his feet and almost nicked a win with a jack-knife cover, but Malik’s right back with a step-up knee that was enough to get the win. **¾
Backstage, North West Strong are interviewed about Chris Ridgeway and Luke Jacob’s chances in the scramble. Spike Trivet interrupts as he’s a little upset about everyone else getting a second chance ahead of him. Ethan Allen offers him out, and we’ve got an impromptu match.
Ethan Allen vs. Spike Trivet
We eschew music and entrances, which gave this a rather different feel to most other “we made this backstage earlier” matches.
Allen double-legs Spike as the pair go in with ground and pound. Allen’s not even in his gear, but that doesn’t stop him as he bounces Spike into the corner for some chops. Commentary had no clue of what happened backstage, which again, is the way to go as this isn’t a TV show where everything’s on the monitors. Spike tries to go for the nose, but had more luck with a low dropkick to the knee, before stomps and kicks kept Allen down. They roll into the corner before Allen got lifted on the apron, then had his knee kicked out as Trivet proceeded to dump Allen knee-first onto the edge of the ring. Spike’s snap suplex drops Allen for a two-count, as he went for a toe hold on the mat, following up with a Deathlock that had Allen desperately fighting to escape.
A nose rake breaks it up, but Spike drops a knee onto Allen before he kicked the quad… only for Allen to snap back in with a crossface. Spike manages to roll towards the ropes for a break, where he returns with kicks and right hands to Allen as this continued to feel like a fight, rather than your usual orchestrated match. Allen misses an enziguiri as Spike rolled in for a Trailer Hitch, but he’s able to get to the ropes to force a break. Spike continues to target the knee, forcing Allen to swing with hopeful punches, before he managed to hit a double-underhook suplex to catch out Trivet. Chops trap Spike in the corner, as does some mudhole stomping, then a back elbow… but Spike drags himself to the apron.
Going to the nose leads to Allen punching out Spike, before he gave Trivet a taste of his own medicine. A suplex back from the apron to the ring’s good for a two-count, before more knees to the ribs wind Spike. The pair swing for each other, but Trivet’s caught with a shot to the gut as Allen’s animalistic grunts accompany stomps and a punt to the head that nearly won it. From there, Allen grounded Trivet with Danielson elbows, then a Twister that Spike breaks up via the nose. Spike then stands on Allen’s ankle, before a punt led to Spike going for the Birthright. He can’t get it, do it’s back to the inverse Figure Four, leading to the stoppage. This was a wonderfully different style of match – aggressive throughout, with the entire presentation from start to finish making this a joy to watch. ***¾
Post-match, Spike keeps attacking Allen’s ankle, pulling him towards the ring post as he wrapped the legs around them. They’re going to reverse the decision aren’t they? Nope, they restart Spike’s music as they don’t actually ruin this.
Dean Allmark’s backstage before his title match. He vows to leave with the PROGRESS title in what was a brief chat…
Mercedez Blaze vs. Ronnie Knocks
A grudge match this, apparently. I guess because of Mercedez Blaze’s interference two shows ago? Taonga’s at ringside too, so you know what we’re getting.
Knocks has her shoulder taped up, and has to deal with Blaze’s mind games early as she slowed things down. Blaze controls the pace early on, but they’re quickly trading pinning attempts as Knocks showed off some stuff. A kick from Blaze stops that, but Knocks’ springboard armdrag and enziguiri has Blaze down for just a one-count. Blaze heads outside to confer with Taonga – and again take the sting out of things. Knocks tries to give chase, but gets pulled outside and sent into the side of the ring. Taonga gets her kicks in too, then rolled Knocks in for a two-count before Blaze choked up Knocks in the ropes. More from Taonga keeps the usual pattern going, but Knocks tries to fight back… only for her springboard to be blocked as Blaze’s neckbreaker nearly ends things.
Knocks defends a full nelson, but couldn’t avoid some running double knees. More knees in the corner are escaped as Knocks fought back, landing forearms and clotheslines, before a neckbreaker almost ended things. A missile dropkick gets another two-count on Blaze, before a handful of hair helped pull Knocks back down. Knocks returns as she rolled Blaze into a headscissored Kimura, but Taonga gets Blaze’s foot on the ropes behind the ref’s back. Taonga pops up on the apron for a distraction, throwing her coat at Knocks… it’s thrown right back, but the diversion works as Blaze is right back with the Tower of Blaze for the win. Enjoyable, but the double act and distraction without much comeuppance is starting to wear a little bit. **½
PROGRESS World Championship: Dean Allmark vs. Cara Noir (c)
Allmark asked for this match last week – and got it as he parlayed a four-match winning run into a title shot.
Cara Noir takes Allmark to the mat to start with, but Allmark is more than a match for the champion on the ground, who spun out of a front facelock. Allmark grabs a toe hold next, then a chinlock as he seemed to be doing his damndest to rub off Cara’s facepaint. Wristlocks keep Cara down, as did headscissors as Allmark had to deal with Cara’s bare feet. Hope they were washed. Cara gets free and ties up Allmark’s legs, but Allmark headstands free, only to get taken into the corners. Allmark headstands in the corner, confusing Cara Noir, who decides to do one himself. A waistlock takes both men to the mat, but Cara gets free… only to get dropkicked to the floor as he tried to do the headstand in the corner.
On the outside, Allmark throws Cara into the side of the ring, then hit an uppercut before rolling Cara in for a two-count. Allmark takes control as he rolled Cara down for a leg drop, following with another uppercut before Cara Bret Hart’d the turnbuckles from an Irish whip for a near-fall. A forearm decks Cara as Allmark’s attempt at a Clash Driver was blocked… but Cara fought back with a Capeoira kick before the Swan Woo took Allmark into the corner. Another kick has Allmark down, before the thrust kick nearly got Cara Noir the win. He’s right back up, but Allmark tries to counter a Rude Awakening neckbreaker into a Ruby Cutter… but Cara countered out and hit his neckbreaker anyway for a two-count. Allmark comes back with a knee strike and a lariat, before a Ruby Cutter spiked Cara for a near-fall.
Allmark’s uppercut gets turned into a sleeperhold as Cara tries to hang him in the corner, but Allmark rolls out and trapped him in the ropes for a double stomp to the back of the head. From there, Allmark measures up for a superkick, but Cara Noir has one too as the pair trap themselves… Allmark tries for a Euro clutch, but it’s for nought as Cara nicked out, cracked in with a headbutt, then Madame Guillotine as Allmark rolled onto the apron for respite. Cara follows him outside, teasing a package piledriver, but it’s countered as Allmark took him back inside for an Alabama Jam, before a Clash Driver gets blocked. Cara clinging onto his tights stops the move, before he ran in with a Blackout sleeper to force the referee stoppage. This was absolutely exceptional – perhaps the best match in PROGRESS’ empty arena era, as they managed to snap me out of the “he’s not losing on a week’s build” cynicism and have Allmark come agonisingly close to the win. Get this on your watchlists, folks! ****
PROGRESS Women’s Championship: Alexxis Falcon vs. Gisele Shaw (c)
As I’d totally forgotten about before today, Falcon’s already got a win over Shaw… and won the number one contender’s match last week to get this shot. The bell goes, but before they could lock up, Taonga and Mercedes Blaze run out to attack Falcon as we have a DQ in under thirty seconds.
Ronnie Knocks runs out to make the save as Shaw just nonchalantly grabs and walked out with the title. It was a setup all along, but at least they got there quickly.
Video package time. It’s about the eight guys who’ve tried to unseat Cara Noir, with footage from the empty arena area – both before and after they darkened the walls of the Theatre Peckham. Everyone Cara Noir’s beaten in Peckham is in a scramble match to get another shot at the title
Second Chance Scramble: Elijah vs. Dan Moloney vs. Jody Fleisch vs. Danny Black vs. Charlie Sterling vs. Chris Ridgeway vs. Luke Jacobs vs. Kid Lykos
This is under Thunderbastard rules – a term they’ve made an attempt to move away from here.
Elijah and Dan Moloney start this one off, as we’re running under elimination match rules mixed with timed additions like a Royal Rumble. Charles Crowley hands around on the apron to distract Moloney, but it doesn’t work as Dan grabs Elijah in a grounded headlock before a shoulder tackle drew a two-count on Elijah. Elijah finagles his way with headscissors to escape the headlock as Crowley mouthed off, but Moloney headstands free before the pair locked up into the ropes. An uppercut and some kicks from Elijah have Moloney on all fours, but Dan pancakes him ahead of a snap suplex that landed for a two-count.
Crowley pops up onto the apron and gets pulled into the ring as the countdown timer introduces Jody Fleisch, who’s instantly stomped on as Elijah seemed to time his stomps to Jody’s music. Moloney trips and pulls Fleisch to the outside before Elijah and Moloney seemed to form an unspoken alliance against the veteran. Fleisch fights back though, kipping up into an enziguiri on Elijah, before a pair of reverse ‘ranas bounced Dan and Elijah on their heads. There’s a double reverse ‘rana too to clear the ring as the timer ticks down for the entry of Danny Black, who renews acquaintances with Fleisch. Sadly, Danny’s music doesn’t keep playing a la New Jack, as he escaped a 720 DDT attempt, only to get caught in a pinning attempt, then a ‘rana as they trade a load of twos. A rolling Koppo kick has Fleisch on the mat, but Elijah jumps Black, who countered a front suplex by taking Moloney down with a swinging DDT.
Elijah stays on Black with an Electric Chair, but it’s countered into a Victory Roll for a two-count… Crowley swings at Black in the ropes from the kick-out, but misses as Black hit back, before a Dangerbuster’s countered into an inside cradle at 8:53 as Elijah’s the first to be eliminated, in spite of Crowley’s attempted save. Which probably would have been a DQ anyway. Cue the ticker as Charlie Sterling joins the fray. He goes right for Black with a backbreaker, then Fleisch, then Moloney too, before Charlie went for a bulldog. Moloney pushes free, only to get taken into the corner ahead of a back suplex that left Sterling down. The pair trade uppercuts, but it’s a knee from Moloney that lands first, before he’s booted by Sterling en route to a moonsault attempt.
Moloney spins out of a Cloverleaf as Fleisch lands a shooting star press out of nowhere to Moloney, who’s surprisingly the second man eliminated at 12:18. The timer instantly pops up as Chris Ridgeway enters the match, elbowing Fleisch in the gut before sweeping Sterling’s leg. There’s a lofty Dragon screw for Danny Black too, before a bridging German suplex nearly put the youngster out. Ridgeway stays on the leg of Black, rolling in for an ankle lock, but Charlie Sterling breaks it up for… reasons. At least he picks up with elbows with Ridgeway, only for a Doctor bomb to be escaped as Sterling ended up taking another winding elbow to the gut. That’s shrugged off as a backbreaker drops Ridgeway next, but he kicked away at Sterling to block a Cloverleaf as the ticker goes again, with Luke Jacobs sprinting out to go wild with German suplexes.
Sterling caught Jacobs taking off his ring jacket though, before standing switches saw Jacobs slide out with Fleisch taking over. A top rope ‘rana sends Sterling flying, and almost leads to his elimination, before Fleisch went up top for a shooting star press that he had to abort. Sterling takes over with an over-the-shoulder backbreaker, then trapped Fleisch in a Cloverleaf for the submission at 18:07. Kid Lykos entered in the final spot, throwing his tag title belt at Danny Black so he could superkick him… Luke Jacobs gets posted, while Charlie Sterling chased after Lykos and got drop toe hold’d into Roy Johnson’s chair at ringside. Chris Ridgeway’s alert though to go for a Dragon screw, before a STF looked to force a stoppage, but Lykos torques the wrist and went for a Dragon sleeper in return. The pair go around submissions as Lykos ties up Ridgeway in an Anaconda Vise, but Ridgeway breaks the grip and punts Lykos in the back.
A DDT from Lykos snaps back for a near-fall as Sterling rolled in and put the boots to the wolf, only to get met with a leg sweep and a Casanova knee for a two-count. A springboard double knees nearly puts Sterling away again, but Charlie’s backbreaker and a powerbomb ragdolls the tag team champion, before a springboard moonsault drew a near-fall. An over-the shoulder backbreaker drops Lykos as Sterling goes back up top… but Lykos grabs the ref as Sterling’s blinded with powder thrown by Kid Lykos II, and an inside cradle gets rid of Sterling at 22:46. Nick Riley’s instantly out to chase away the Young Wolf, as Lykos took as springboard ‘rana from Danny Black, before he rolled Black into a grounded Octopus as Black made it to the ropes.
Black escapes a brainbuster and rolled through Lykos for a springboard cutter out of the corner… Lykos rolls outside as Jacobs took over, walloping Black with a lariat before a kick-assisted Emerald Fusion eliminated Black at 24:46. Jacobs and Ridgeway stare down Lykos, who kisses those boots as if… nah, that’s too open a goal. Postie. He’s pulled up as Ridgeway blasts him with a kick, Jacobs a chop, then a lariat, before an ankle lock/triangle armbar combo forced Lykos to submit instantly at 25:44. We’re down to Jacobs and Ridgeway, and it’s tasty from the off as Ridgeway punts his stablemate for a two-count, before a wild Jacobs lariat drew a near-fall of his own. Ridgeway goes to the armbar from the kick-out, then tied up Jacobs for an ankle lock, only to need to kick out of an inside cradle. They swing for the fences here, but Jacob’s is pulled into a crossface, then a tied-up ankle lock at 26:55 for the eventual submission. They worked this one well, with the ring never feeling too full, and the eliminations coming at a pace that kept things flowing well. Nice and pacey, giving you little chance to even think about getting bored. ***¾
We close out afterwards with footage of TK and Mambo pratting around at ringside on those scooters, just because. PROGRESS returns next week with Chapter 120: Total Protonic Reversals. Who you gonna call?
I’ve slaughtered these shows when they’ve been bad, so of course I’m going to praise them when they’re good. This was a genuinely good chapter show, even if not everything landed – and perhaps the first one in a long while that felt like it would have “fit in” in front of crowds outside of the pandemic era. Especially in the empty-arena era, three hours is a real mental block – even if those 180+ minutes contained a big-chungus ten-match-card. So this one being well under that marker helped massively with that ol’ mental block.