We’ve more from PROGRESS as Charlie Sterling and Nick Riley’s latest defence of the tag titles saw them take on the Kings of the North.
Lizzy Evo pinned Raven Creed in 11:43 (***)
Luke Jacobs pinned Keinen Krishna in 9:42 (***)
Gene Munny pinned Danny Black in 9:32 (**¾)
Chuck Mambo & TK Cooper pinned LK Mezinger & Sandy Beach in 8:36 (**½)
Revelations of Divine Love – First Round: Rhio pinned Lana Austin in 10:01 (***)
Elijah pinned Ethan Allen in 11:45 (**¾)
Nick Riley & Charlie Sterling pinned Damien Corvin & Bonesaw in 15:49 to retain the PROGRESS Tag Team Championship (***½)
Revelations of Divine Love – First Round: Skye Smitson pinned Laura Di Matteo in 9:05 (***)
Dan Moloney, Jody Fleisch & Man Like DeReiss pinned Kid Lykos II, Kid Lykos & Warren Banks in 11:48 (***½)
We’re back at the Theatre Peckham in London as everyone wants us to show Roy Johnson shouting “Cakehorn” to our non-wrestling friends. Unfortunately, I keep mis-reading the show title as “Cakehole”. As in “shut your…” Olie Spring and Hustle Malone are on commentary.
Raven Creed vs. Lizzy Evo
Both Creed and Evo have already been eliminated from the Revelations of Divine Love tournament, but are sticking around. They still don’t give Lizzy Evo a mic, but she does tell Creed that she isn’t scared by her…
Evo’s bitten early on as her early offence came to a screeching halt, with Creed manipulating her fingers before stomping on the elbow. Headbutts rock Evo, but she recovered by taking Creed into the middle turnbuckle and just pulling her down. A snap suplex is good for a two-count for Evo, but Creed doesn’t take things lying down as she snuck in a slap from the ground. Creed catches a kick and maneuvers into a nice Fisherman suplex for a two-count, but Evo’s missile dropkick turned it around as Creed looked to have been bloodied. Another throw down’s good for another two-count, as Evo stays on top with some ground and pound, only for Creed to get back with a running knee.
The pair trade forearms and elbows, but another knee from Creed is missed as she instead opted for a Blue Thunder bomb. That nearly puts Evo away, before a missed stomp from Creed leads to a Northern Lights from Evo. Creed’s back cracker seemed like a last ditch effort to create an opening, before Evo sidesteps a charge, returning with a German suplex before the Virgil Van Strike running knee gets Evo the win. A decent match, but I have little faith that this company will be doing much with either woman in the immediate future. ***
Luke Jacobs vs. Keinen Krishna
He’s gained a surname for his second trip to PROGRESS, as Keinen looks to be going through the North West Strong crew here.
Jacobs controlled the pace against the newcomer early on, going for a triangle armbar that Krishna broke in the ropes, before Krishna rolled Jacobs in a heel hook that also was instantly broken in the ropes. Forearms from Keinen are replied to in kind, as Jacobs then charged him down ahead of a sidewalk slam attempt. A second one’s countered with headscissors into the ropes, ahead of a springboard forearm before Jacobs powdered outside. Krishna follows, only to get chokeslammed onto the apron, as Jacobs regained the upper hand. Jacobs nearly wins with a superkick, but he ends up getting suplexed as Krishna lights up Jacobs with a series of strikes, leading to a DDT.
Krishna can’t get the win with that though, and eventually gets caught with a spinebuster before a lariat almost put Krishna away. Jacobs gets tripped into a heel hook, but he escaped and applied a Figure Four that forces Keinen into the ropes… only for another lariat to put him away. Keinen was a much different proposition here than in his debut, but this was tricker for Jacobs than you’d expect given he’d just come off of a title shot. ***
Jacobs gives Krishna a fist-bump afterwards…
Gene Munny vs. Danny Black
They’ve given Gene a new entrance video, that’s more than the wavy text…
Black’s still looking for his second win in PROGRESS, and his early flippiness backfires as Munny’s Finlay roll and pull-up splash nearly ended things right there. Heading outside, Munny hits some double-chops by the ring post, before he clotheslined the ring post. A slingshot spear back into the ring’s turned into a cutter for a near-fall by Black, who tried to capitalise on Munny’s bad arm… eventually hitting a Sliced Bread out of the corner. A standing moonsault nearly puts Munny away, before Black tried to hit a second cutter… but Gene stops his slingshot spear and instead splashes back into Black. Gene’s diving kick and a leaping knee leads to a spinebuster on Black, before some misdirection led to an Ainsley lariat… that Black flipped out of.
Munny punches back, but gets caught with a Koppo kick from Black, as the pair then exchanged a barrage of shots until Munny muscled up Black for an inverted pumphandle slam. It nearly wins the match, as Black then caught Munny up top for a Lightning Spiral off the ropes, then a springboard cutter for a near-fall. Still ultimately looking for a Black-Buster, Danny looks out on his feet as he hits some elbow strikes, before Gene’s pop-up knee to the back and an Ainsley Lariat gets the win. Danny’s still looking, but I’d like this story to be more pronounced, rather than the intermittent stuff we’re getting as he’s continuing to eat pins like a deranged deathmatch wrestler. **¾
Munny fist-bumps Black after the match. That’s two matches running we’ve had that.
We’ve a skit called “Sunshine TV” that looked to have been filmed on either a potato, an old Rev Pro camera or an LG Viewty. Holy low-res, Batman. It’s an excuse for TK Cooper and CHuck Mambo to creampie Brendan White. Am I getting demonetized for that?
Sunshine Machine (Chuck Mambo & TK Cooper) vs. LK Mezinger & Sandy Beach
Mezinger and Beach are teaming again, but I’m not holding my breath for their maiden wins here.
LK and TK start, but it’s not long before Sandy Beach is in to steal more of Chuck Mambo’s gimmicks by “surfing” on Cooper. So he surfs on Mambo instead. A flying back elbow from Beach takes Chuck down, but Mambo returns in kind as we keep the mirror match going, ahead of a dropkick and a double sledge to the outside. Sandy does the same stuff, only to springboard into a TK Cooper headbutt for a two-count, as the Sunshine Machine began to dictate the pace. A Romero special into a Flatliner keeps Beach down for a two-count, as Sandy still can’t escape from all the mugging to camera. Mambo’s in for a Gory special… but Sandy kicks TK away and dove out to Mezinger, who cleared house with cannonballs.
Go 2 Sleepy Hollow drops Mambo, but not TK, as Mezinger misses a moonsault… then tags back out to Beach. Mambo comes in to stop what looked like a double-team suplex, as he and TK boot their opponents off the apron ahead of some dropkicks and dives through the ropes. A double team almost reverse Fidget Spinner drops LK, before Sandy took a Gory bomb onto LK… and with Mezinger the legal man, he’s met with a Fireman’s carry into a gutbuster as the Sunshine Machine made pretty light work of things here. **½
Post-match, Chuck and TK joke around with Roy Johnson, who enjoys it so much that Warren Banks wandered out after to tell him “it’s over” and that Roy should get serious. Apparently Banks has a tag match with Roy, as we’ll finally get to see what that “87” is that Roy keeps mentioning in Banks’ intros.
PROGRESS Revelations Of Divine Love First Round: Rhio vs. Lana Austin
It’s a debut and a return here, as Lana hadn’t been around since losing to Millie McKenzie back in March on these taped shows.
Austin looks to find her way through with a wristlock early, but Rhio escaped and returned with one of her own, only for a side headlock from Austin to take things back to the mat. Rhio’s out at one from a roll-up, then from a backslide, before a low dropkick cracked her for a two-count. Returning, Rhio corners Austin for a dropkick of her own, but now it’s Lana who’s up at one, only to get hit with a suplex for a two-count. Rhio looks for an avalanche German suplex, only for Austin to send her down… a clothesline followed, then a floatover suplex from Austin, who then had a chinlock elbowed out of as Rhio found her second wind. Forearms rock Austin, as did a shotgun dropkick, while a sidewalk slam added a two-count, before a pumphandle’d Blue Thunder Bomb – dubbed the Invasion of Privacy – got a near-fall.
Austin caught Rhio off the top rope, bringing her down with a powerbomb for another near-fall, before a rolling elbow sunk Rhio – and almost ended proceedings. A draping DDT looks to follow, but Rhio pulled Lana into the ropes to stop it, as an enziguiri followed… leading to a swinging Fisherman suplex for the win. Commentary painted this as a big deal as Rhio overcame the veteran Austin, in what was a keenly-fought match. ***
Backstage, Rhio’s basking in her debut win… she tells us she’s here to go all the way, and called out Gisele Shaw.
Ethan Allen vs. Elijah
Last time out, Allen beat Elijah, but it didn’t matter as Charles Crowley had already booked a rematch in advance. Last time they did this, it was against Gene Munny, and it was second time lucky for Elijah…
And we’re already starting with shenanigans as Crowley’s toy monkey Sebastian distracts Allen as soon as he got to the ring. Crowley pops up to mouth off, right as Elijah came out to attack before the bell. A neckbreaker from Elijah nearly ends things in double-quick time, as the Welshman roughed up Allen with body blows and a release Fisherman suplex. Elijah jumps on Allen with a chinlock, but Ethan gets free and looked to hit back with chops, only to get sent onto the apron and posted.
Some more mouthing off from Crowley keeps Allen distracted as Elijah stayed on top, hitting a clothesline out of the corner, but a diving uppercut out of the corner finally buys Allen some breathing space. They trade strikes as a clothesline from Allen and an Allen Slam almost ended things. Elijah’s knee strike got him back in, but a cross-armed powerbomb from Allen stops that for a near-fall, with Allen building up new momentum. Kicks start to get shrugged off as Elijah returns with an Electric Chair Facebuster, only to get met with an Orton-ish backbreaker as Elijah rolled onto the apron for respite.
A series of strikes end with a gamengiri on the apron, only for Elijah to leap into a frossface as Allen transitions between holds, only for Elijah to dive into the rope. Some body blows from Allen weaken Elijah some more, as did a guillotine, only for Elijah to counter into the Graveyard Smash for a near-fall. A Dangerbuster’s next, and that’s all folks. Elijah did control large portions of this, but I’m not too sure what these second-chance wins do. **¾
Post-match, Crowley talks up Elijah some more as he revealed he’s in charge of the next PROGRESS show. That sounds like some very bad management. Crowley’s booked Elijah vs. Dan Moloney for that show, which feels like a kid being given the pick of anything in a sweet shop and choosing to walk away with a packet of Fishermans Friends. Elijah celebrates by giving Allen another Dangerbuster, as we learn that these guys really aren’t fussy when it comes to presents.
PROGRESS Tag Team Championship: The Kings Of The North (Bonesaw & Damien Corvin) vs. Smokin’ Aces (Charlie Sterling & Nick Riley) (c)
It’s another PROGRESS return for the Kings of the North, who lost to Pete Dunne and Trent Seven last time they were here, back in July 2018. A lot’s changed… as commentary has also retconned their match with London Riots that came before that.
Bonesaw took an early advantage with a shoulder tackle and a chop to Charlie Sterling, but we’ve an immediate turnaround when Corvin tags in. Corvin has more luck against Nick Riley, who’s caught with a sneak attack from Bonesaw, who’d blind tagged in, only for Corvin to get floated over as the champions combined to clear house with dropkicks. Bonesaw low bridges Riley to the outside as the right’s taken to the outside, with Charlie Sterling wiping out the belts as Corvin threw him onto the table at ringside. Back inside, a suplex and a knee drop got Corvin a two-count, while Bonesaw returned to elbow Sterling to the outside, so he could throw him against the apron. The Kings keep on top with a lariat, with Corvin catching out Sterling as he looked to go for a tag, before a Stun Gun from Bonesaw hung up Sterling in the ropes.
The Kings trade quick tags as they focused on Sterling, who manages to sneak in with a sunset flip and a backbreaker on Corvin. Bonesaw quickly tags in and charges Nick Riley off the apron, before a death valley driver gets a two-count on Sterling, only for Sterling to shove the Kings into each other… then finally make the tag out to Riley, leaping over Corvin in the process. Riley runs wild, wiping out Bonesaw with a cannonball off the apron before a Sliced Bread dropped Corvin for a near-fall. A flurry from Riley includes a blind tag as Sterling dumps Corvin into the corner with an elbow-assisted Flatliner, before a moonsault-neckbreaker nearly got Riley a win.
Corvin’s suplex turns it around though, leading to a back suplex/neckbreaker 3D for a near-fall. Commentary wet themselves as the Kings looked to be setting up for the Velvet Revolver – supposedly a critical hit finisher – but there’s a save as a moonsault from Sterling to the floor leads to a Tiger Driver from Riley on Corvin for a near-fall. Another turnaround leads to a Bonesaw clothesline for a near-fall, before a dropkick/facebuster combo gave the champions another scare. Riley tags back in and hits a moonsault into the Kings, then superkicks, before a Smokin’ Ace Crusher to Corvin gets the win. A good little tag match, but I had a hard time buying the Kings as leaving with the titles on their first night back in with no build. ***½
PROGRESS Revelations Of Divine Love First Round: Skye Smitson vs. Laura di Matteo
Skye’s already had a shot at Gisele Shaw – albeit in defeat – but winning this tournament would give her a rematch… and a title shot.
Smitson controlled things to start, working a wristlock that di Matteo spins out of, returning with armdrags and a dropkick for just a one-count. A shoulder tackle gets Skye a two-count, as she then caught di Matteo’s crossbody and turned it into a fallaway slam. Body blows rock di Matteo into the corner, ahead of a gutwrench suplex that kept the one-sided match going. Di Matteo’s able to hit a bulldog and a clothesline to force an opening for herself, but Smitson’s able to hit back – quite literally – before some forearms and a release Fisherman suplex put Laura back ahead. More clotheslines clip Skye, along with an enziguiri and a springboard swinging DDT… but it’s not enough to get the win.
Smitson fights out of the Veni Vidi Vici submission, rolling through into a Fireman’s carry that turns into an Air Raid Crash for a near-fall. A Smitson Effect’s kneed out of by di Matteo, but Skye’s back with a superkick, then a Smitson Effect (Cross Rhodes) for the win, as Skye well and truly blitzed through the former contender to the title as Smitson booked her semi-final against Rhio. ***
The Smokin’ Aces are backstage talking about being main event players… which led to Nick Riley calling out Cara Noir for a title shot, noting he’s pinned him in the past. Can the tag team champions co-exist when one of them has desires for singles gold?
Lykos Gym (Kid Lykos & Kid Lykos II) & Warren Banks vs. Dan Moloney, Jody Fleisch & Man Like DeReiss
We’ve a jump start during the introductions, as the Lykii attack… and we settle down to Lykos I and Dan Moloney.
Lykos is quickly on his hands and knees, but Moloney’s boots are plenty clean as he shoved Lykos into the ropes for a dropkick. A suplex is next before DeReiss came in and CHUCKED Lykos II upside down into the buckles. Fleisch follows, but gets booted away by Lykos II ahead of a back suplex/pancake that had the young wolf down. Lykos I kicks DeReiss in the ropes as we’ve a turnaround that bring in Warren Banks for some stomps in the corner, then a hesitation dropkick for a two-count as the other Lykii held their boots up in the corner for DeReiss to be thrown into. Seems elite. Moloney and Fleisch inadvertently distract the ref as the Lykii gang up on DeReiss… at least until Lykos II telegraphed a brainbuster and got himself suplexed.
Tags bring us to Dan Moloney chopping Kid Lykos, then slamming him out of the corner for a two-count, before Lykos fought out of a superplex. Jody Fleisch tagged in and ‘rana’d Lykos off the top, then went back up for a moonsault that landed for a two-count. Banks misses a charge and gets dropkicked by DeReiss into the corner, with DeReiss then following with a Meteora for a near-fall. Moloney’s back for a superkick-assisted Falcon Arrow on Banks, before a ripcord knee, leg sweep and a Casanova triple-threat almost put Fleisch away. Quick-fire tags leads to an elevated Codebreaker and a back senton as we had some CCK action for a near-fall as this Parade of Moves continued on the outside, with a springboard moonsault from Fleisch into the pack of wolves on the floor.
Back inside, DeReiss and Fleisch hit dualling 720 DDTs, before Moloney caught Lykos II’s leap out of the corner, turning it into a Drilla for the win. This was a lovely sprint of a trios match – two of wrestling’s better things mixed into one. ***½
PROGRESS’ next show is called Castle of Illusion. Leave the Mickey Mouse stuff behind! We’ve had 21 of these empty arena chapters now, and they continue to feel soulless… and that’s not entirely due to the lack of crowd. Matches are just “there”. Hardly any matches gets more than a show-to-show build. Stuff just doesn’t feel important – and that’s an entire presentation thing. I just don’t get the feeling that there is any long-term direction going on here – whereas other promotions at least look like they have some inkling of what their next big title programmes are. When the time comes (if it comes) to return to crowds, it almost feels like we’re going to need another reboot just to close the door on this era.