1,079 days after WALTER unified the Atlas title with the PROGRESS World title in 2019, the Atlas championship belt has a new home.
PROGRESS Atlas Championship Tournament Semi-Final: JONAH pinned Rickey Shane Page in 9:19 (**¾)
PROGRESS Atlas Championship Tournament Semi-Final: Luke Jacobs pinned Warren Banks in 10:56 (***¾)
Raven Creed pinned Nightshade in 8:02 (**¾)
Danny Black pinned Spike Trivet in 8:55 (**¾)
Big Damo & Axel Tischer pinned Adam Maxted & Joe Hendry in 14:19 (**½)
Joe Lando pinned Vaughn Vertigo in 6:58 (***¼)
Gene Munny pinned Kid Lykos II in 9:35 (**¾)
PROGRESS Atlas Championship Tournament Final: Luke Jacobs pinned JONAH in 15:16 to win the PROGRESS Atlas Championship (***½)
Hustle Malone and Olie Spring are back on commentary from the Dome in Tufnell Park, London… once we get past a highlight video that was meant to recap night one, but didn’t show any of the results.
PROGRESS Atlas Championship Tournament Semi-Final: Rickey Shane Page vs. JONAH
JONAH qualified via beating Schaff in Defy a few months earlier, while RSP beat Joe Hendry and Will Kroos to make it to the semis.
JONAH starts by working the arm and wrist of RSP, who kicks his way free… only for JONAH to go back to the same arm, before a side headlock led to RSP rolling things to the mat as he snuck in an early two-count. That gets chants of “305”, which would be a reference, had 205 Live not ended two months prior. We get shoulder tackles from there, before JONAH pushed away a RSP leapfrog, only to eat an enziguiri. Page squashes JONAH in the corner, but can’t get a suplex off as a snap DDT took down the 44OH-er. RSP returns with a running crossbody, only to run into a goddamn body attack from JONAH. A chinlock keeps things on the deck, while an uppercut-like elbow snuffed out RSP’s attempt at a comeback.
RSP snuck back in with a back suplex, while a senton bomb nearly won it, as did a suplex-throw… before JONAH blocked a chokeslam with a headbutt. A Fireman’s carry slam and a back senton turned it around, as JONAH builds up with a lariat… only for RSP to hit back with almost a Sister Abigail. Another trip up top from RSP leads to the rope-walk frog splash for a near-fall… a back senton off the top misses, allowing JONAH to charge in with a spear as he ended up taking the W with the Tsunami. **¾
So Cal Val’s losing her voice backstage with RSP, who’s still sore from that Tsunami and wants to come back… luckily for him, he’s in Super Strong Style. We then cut to JONAH backstage who reckons the title has his name on it.
We’re back as they’re fixing the ring…
PROGRESS Atlas Championship Tournament Semi-Final: Luke Jacobs vs. Warren Banks
Jacobs beat Big Damo to get here, while Banks beat Axel Tischer. Commentary notes the “North West Strong” hunt that Banks went on during the Peckham shows, which is a nice touch…
The crowd’s split for this one, and we start with Banks and Jacobs locking up into the corner. They break as Jacobs tries for a takedown, which gets stuffed as the pair looked for an opening. Shoulder tackles follow as Banks chipped away at Jacobs, eventually keeling him over before Luke got caught with a leg lariat… only to charge Banks down. Luke stays on Banks, stomping a mudhole into the corner as chops and forearms wore down Banks… who snuck in an inside cradle for a near-fall. Low dropkicks see him build up steam, before the pair traded chops in the corner. Jacobs takes a whip to the corner a la Bret Hart, only to recover with a WALTER-like chop in the ropes as he then barged Warren to the floor.
Jacobs mocks everyone as he teased a Destroyer on the floor, but Banks counters with a back body drop… only to get smashed into the crowd with a death valley driver. Back inside, a spinebuster gets Jacobs a near-fall as Luke began to measure up Banks for a series of forearms. A big boot keeps it going, as Banks blocks a German suplex… then hit one of his own. A knee drop from Banks targets Jacobs’ lariating arm, as did a running knee, before a tope landed on the outside. A quick return for Banks ends badly though, as a lariat nearly eliminated Banks, as a buckle bomb and a regular powerbomb again drew a near-fall. Out of nowhere, Banks gets a Bullet Vehicle spear in for a one-count, then a Shining Wizard for a near-fall… before a sheer-drop brainbuster from Jacobs drew another near-fall as commentary noted Jacobs was trying to rile up Banks.
Chops from Jacobs keep Banks at bay, but one’s eventually countered into a Metre Burn ripcord knee, only for Jacobs to hit a pair of superkicks… then kick out of a backslide before coming close on a piledriver. A Burning lariat follows, and that’s Luke in the finals after a humdinger of a sprint. That’s double heartache in a month for Banks, who I’m hoping gets his day in the sun soon, lest he become the new nearly man of PROGRESS. ***¾
Post-match, the Kid Lykii hit the ring to beat up Banks as Luke Jacobs just watched on… he’s invited in by the wolves, who he beats up as Lykos II got powerbombed onto Lykos I.
Backstage, So Cal Val interviews Warren Banks, who vowed to remove Kid Lykos heads from their bodies… then Simon Miller gets interrupted by Lana Austin. Lana lifts a fan’s European title on her way out, then demanded someone give up their seat so she can get into the ring. Apparently she was meant to face Raven Creed… but has had to drop out with “injury,” so instead she’s paid off her friend to take her spot – Nightshade!
Nightshade vs. Raven Creed
It’s a PROGRESS debut for Nightshade, against a Creed who’s 2-2 from her days on those Peckham shows.
A dropkick surprises Nightshade at the bell, as Creed looked to work the arm and fingers of Nightshade… who bails outside and avoided a dive. Instead, Creed follows her for a headbutt and a chop, before Nightshade blocked an Exploder on the floor. Eventually, Creed gets posted, but beats the count-out as Nightshade pounces with some stomps and a hiptoss. More hiptosses keep Creed down, as did a gutwrench suplex, before an attempted comeback ended with another Exploder into the corner. Nightshade followed that up with running knees to the back of a kneeling Creed, then a German suplex, before an attempted Nightmare was escaped.
Creed countered that with a German suplex, then a shoulder charge and uppercut in the corner, before a stomp off the middle rope caught Nightshade. A forearm from Nightshade gets her back in it as the pair trade strikes, then headbutts, which nearly won it as Creed fell on Nightshade for a near-fall. A spear from Nightshade lands, but a second one misses as Creed went for the Hell Mouth… Nightshade again avoids it, but ran into a knee before the Hell Mouth death valley driver finally got the win. **¾
Backstage, Nightshade rants to So Cal Val about her loss, but Lana Austin’s angry about it. Nightshade wants another shot at anyone on the roster… and then we get Raven Creed’s promo, as she’s buzzing about having wrestled in front of a PROGRESS crowd. Raven wants to raise hell…
You know, these promo bits are a good idea, but we don’t need (almost) everyone getting them after their matches. Pick one per match, maximum.
Spike Trivet vs. Danny Black
Spike’s still got Cara Noir’s mask with him, while Danny Black’s got Joe Lando with him… but only as far as the stage.
Black ducks a clothesline as Trivet tries a cheapshot on his way to the ring, only to take Trivet out with an enziguiri. A tope follows in the crowd, as the pair head up onto the stage as Black’s suplex attempt was fought out of. Spike’s caught with a ‘rana as he composed himself by the ring, before he returned to post Black ahead of a Saito suplex on the floor. Getting someone’s chair, Trivet whacks Black’s leg against the ring steps as the match hadn’t officially started… but Black, of course, wants to start the match, even if he were on the defensive. Trivet suplexes Black into the buckles, before he drilled a forearm into Black’s neck… and then the lights went out.
Of course, Spike’s mocking the crowd by making them think Cara Noir’s coming… but that just earns Spike a 619 as he took his eye off the ball. He quickly recovers focus with a T-bone suplex, before Cara Noir emerged through the crowd. Facepaint and all. Cara’s got a chair, but opts to just sit on the stage as Trivet put the boots back to Black. Black counters a Birthright into a ‘rana for a near-fall, then hits an enziguiri, before a spear’s countered with a knee. Spike slaps back, only to get caught with a Codebreaker. Blacks’ caught on the top rope with an uppercut, then laid in some forearm sas Black was again pulled up for the Birthright… but Danny slaps free, only to take a DDT.
Again, Spike’s preoccupied with Cara Noir, and ends up eating the Out of the Black springboard cutter for a near-fall. Spike retaliates with a kick to the ankle he injured before the start of this, only for Black to hit a rolling Koppo kick… as a second Out of the Black’s swatted away with a forearm. Spike lands a cross-legged Falcon arrow for a near-fall, then baited Cara Noir again… but the self-imposed distraction just makes Spike snap again, as he goes for Black’s nose, before a Birthright drew another near-fall… because Trivet broke his own cover. Spike leaves the ring to confront Cara… but gets caught with a diving cutter on the floor from a resurging Black, who followed with a Madame Guillotine, then a Hell’s Kitchen (Bloody Sunday) for the win. Much like in the Peckham days, Spike Trivet beats himself with his own actions, which kinda takes the shine off of Black’s win – only his second in front of crowds. **¾
Black leaves, as Spike then grabbed Cara’s mask… and smashed it with chairshots. Cara sells it like Damien was getting squashed by Earthquake, then fired up as he hit the ring to brawl with Spike. We enmd the segment with Cara Noir emptying the bag, revealing shattered glass from his mask, before security stopped him from hitting a package piledriver onto the shards. There’s elements of this that aren’t exactly my kind of wrestling, but the crowds are reacting to this…
Yep, So Cal Val’s with Spike Trivet backstage to keep the format going. Spike’s more proud that he got Cara to snap than anything else…
They show clips from during the interval of Chapter 132 where Joe Hendry and Axel Tischer were being separated by security. I’d probably not have aired it, but that’s just me as this is apparently leading to a match….
But first, Simon Miller announces Cara Noir vs. Spike Trivet for their May show… then plays some better quality footage of Will Kroos and Axel Tischer talking after their match. Kroos couldn’t make the match, so Tischer has another idea… who just happened to be off-camera. It’s Big Damo, as SAnitY reunions are all the rage in British promotions.
Axel Tischer & Big Damo vs. Adam Maxted & Joe Hendry
The crowd went wild for Tischer and Damo, while Simon Miller again asked the crowd to treat him with respect if they wanted to see his custom entrance. In the form of exactly 48 seconds of rapturous applause. He times it, but of course the applause didn’t suit him, so he’s going to listen to his entrance on his headphones again. I mean, in lieu of Hendry singing over production music (like Tischer’s theme), this is going to be his bit.
Hendry’s got a surprise partner here, in the form of Adam Maxted, who’s apparently going to be coached by the Scotsman. Anyway, we get going with Tischer and Hendry, with the latter using a waistlock takedown as he had the German flailing for the ropes before he landed a Fireman’s carry takedown. Tischer retaliates with a snapmare and the old RINGKAMPF pose, before Maxted tagged in and took down Tischer with a shoulder tackle. Cue posing. Tischer leaps over Maxted in the corner, then hit a forearm and a leg lariat for just a one-count. A chinlock keeps Maxted down as Big Damo tagged in to compare muscles with his fellow Ulsterman. Maxted cheapshots Damo, but gets caught with a tree slam and a leaping elbow drop for a two-count.
Damo tries to follow up with a running crossbody, but Maxted caught it and hit a fallaway slam, before a moonsault out of the corner drew a one-count. Hendry’s back in with a headbutt for Damo, and a hug for Maxted, as those apparently count as tags. Damo switches around as he got free to tag in Tischer, whose enziguiri took care of Maxted ahead of uppercuts in the corners. A front facelock suplex sends Maxted flying, before Hendry came in… and took a neckbreaker. Maxted’s knocked off the apron with a springboard dropkick, as the former SAnitY lot… do the RINGKAMPF pose. What, you thought they were diving? Tischer’s baseball slide heads for the apron as Hendry puts a beating to him, before he frogmarched Tischer around ringside and into a chair as a step-up dropkick from Maxted met the German.
Damo heads over and whacks Hendry with a chair on the floor… the ref sees it, but it’s not a DQ, because commentary get to make a SAnitY pun. Back in the ring, Hendry’s stalling suplex drops Tischer, while Maxted bounced Tischer into the buckles. Hendry’s back for a chinbar, then a tiltawhirl sidewalk slam on Tischer. Hendry tries to cheapshot Damo, but to no avail as the big man gets the tag in anyway, laying out Hendry with a discus clothesline. A slam and a legdrop lands, while Maxted takes a Michinoku driver onto his own man… then popped up to break up the pin. Tischer’s flying uppercut (or a Blockbuster) takes care of Maxted briefly, who then missed a dropkick before he ate a back cracker and back senton combo.
Hendry’s back, but is instantly dropped with a German suplex for a near-fall, before Hendry nearly won it with the SummerSlam 92 finish… but he only hooked one leg! Instead, Tischer kicks out, then took a Codebreaker as Maxted dropkicks Damo off the apron… then hit a springboard dropkick to set off Hendry’s powerbomb for a near-fall. A nice chokeslam from Hendry to Damo sparks a Parade of Moves, which breaks down… Maxted and Hendry hug, but it’s broken up with German suplexes, before a suplex/slam combo – the Purge – got the win. This went a little long, with the crowd burning out before the finish, as the former WWE lads leave with the win. **½
You know what’s next… So Cal Val with Adam Maxted and Joe Hendry. It’s the promo they posted a week before this was uploaded – the one where Hendry announced themselves as a tag team under the name “Swipe Right.” I mean, calling the PROGRESS fans “lefties” is certainly a move Ned Flanders would approve of.
ANOTHER promo now, with Damo and Tischer. Damo puts over Tischer outside the ring, and teased going for the PROGRESS tag titles.
Joe Lando vs. Vaughn Vertigo
This was Lando’s singles debut for PROGRESS, while Vertigo was making his main PROGRESS debut, having worked on their co-promoted shows with SMASH all the way back in 2016.
Opening with a handshake, Vertigo trips Lando early on before Lando returned with a legsweep and a backflip into a low dropkick. A Pele kick from Vertigo lands, as did a powerbomb counter out of a ‘rana attempt as he looked to put Lando away early. Vertigo’s slam and elbow drop keeps Lando down ahead of a springboard moonsault for a near-fall, before Lando fought out of a cravat and chopped Vertigo. Vertigo leaps over Lando and pulled him into an Edge-o-matic out of the corner. Lando caught a knee, swept the leg then hit a stomp before clotheslines and a springboard Meteora had the Canadian down. A tornado DDT’s next, but Vertigo’s attempt to make a comeback sees him eat an enziguiri on the top rope as a Pudgie Plex – fallaway moonsault – nearly wins it.
Lando returns to the top rope for a shooting star press… it’s abandoned as Vertigo returned with a Helluza kick, a half-and-half suplex and an over-the-knee brainbuster… but Lando kicks out at two. Vertigo heads up top for his next big move, but he’s again caught… a top rope ‘rana’s blocked as Vertigo hits a Vaughn-ton Bomb (Shadows Over Heck), then a Shining Wizard for another near-fall. Vertigo pulls down the knee pad, eventually hitting a knee strike before a snap German suplex from Lando took things outside. Cue a moonsault off the ring post, then a shooting star elbow back in the ring… and that’s your lot. This was good as far as turning an indifferent crowd into reacting, as Lando got a win on his singles debut here. ***¼
What, no backstage promos?!
Gene Munny’s introduced next… he was meant to have wrestled Jonathan Gresham in a “win and get into Super Strong Style” match for Gene. Booking-wise… that raises a LOT of issues with me, but they’re doing that on May’s show, so I’ll save my whinge for then. Gene’s more than a little sore that his original match is off, but Gresham’s got another month to prepare… and Gene’s more than confident he’ll be in Super Strong Style 16.
Kid Lykos II interrupts alongside a limping Lykos… and this is our replacement match, after Lykos II ripped the tail off of Gene’s ring jacket. He’s laid out for it, and off we go!
Gene Munny vs. Kid Lykos II
Lykos II’s dropkicked off the apron as we start on the outside… with Gene teasing a suplex onto a chair… but instead he does a lap around the ring with Lykos II upside down.
Eventually, Lykos II escapes and took things into the ring, but gets caught with a suplex. A Finlay Roll takes Lykos II into the corner ahead of a pull-up splash… but it’s booted away, so Gene hits a springboard moonsault instead for a two-count. Kid Lykos gets involved, dragging Munny outside as Lykos II hits an apron PK… then an Orihara moonsault, which gets caught. Lykos saves his tag partner, as Munny’s posted, as things returned to the ring with Lykos II working over Munny’s arm. Munny blocks a suplex, but took a Codebreaker to the arm from Lykos for a two-count, before Munny pushed off a satellite DDT to hit a diving kick. A running punch into the corner and an Exploder out of it has Lykos II flying, as did a spinebuster.
Munny calls for the Ainsley Lariat, but Lykos II kicks it away, then hit an enziguiri before a roll-up nearly caused the upset. A spinning enziguiri’s next, but Munny manages to nick in with a slingshot spear for a two-count. Lykos II caught Munny up top as a Howling was blocked… Munny looks for a James Blunt Force Trauma powerbomb off the top, only to take a Howling anyway for another near-fall. Kid Lykos slides in a chair, which distracts the referee… allowing Lykos to go for a baking tray. Except Warren Banks has it on the stage, distracting both Lykii as Munny hits the Damn Dirty Dog DDT for the win. This… didn’t do it for me. Even if the angle was “Gene’s disheartened by his match being put off” (which it wasn’t), needing a distraction to beat Kid Lykos II does little to boost his SSS16 chances. **¾
You know what’s next. Kid Lykos II backstage with So Cal Val. He’s annoyed with losing, but said that it was only because of Warren Banks… then we’ve Gene with Val, as he’s chomping at the bit for that match with Gresham. Gene notes he has a 4-0 record this year – same as Gresham – and he’s got a date with destiny.
PROGRESS Atlas Championship Tournament Final: Luke Jacobs vs. JONAH
The crowd’s slightly more behind Luke going into this, and he’s got recent-ish tournament success in PROGRESS, having won the Natural PROGRESS-ion Series last year.
JONAH hits a splash to Jacobs in the corner to start, then put a beating to him as a headbutt and mudhole stomping before Luke was taken into another corner. Jacobs gets thrown outside as JONAH continued to club away, before he finally replied with chops. JONAH replies by putting Jacobs into a chair, then charging him out of it… before a charge by the ringpost missed, allowing Luke to strike back. A boot sees Jacobs put JONAH in a chair, as a diving crossbody knocked him out of it. On the apron, JONAH and Jacobs trade right hands, before the Australian hit a DDT onto the side of the ring, before he maintained the focus with a grounded waistlock. Jacobs powers out, but was charged down again as the bigger man was having his way with the Young Gun.
Elbows and stomps from JONAH lead to him just standing on Jacobs’ chest by the ropes, before Jacobs managed to get a boot in as he was left sticking and running. Repeated clotheslines trap JONAH in the corner before he hoisted up JONAH for a spinebuster as the Aussie came off the ropes. JONAH swipes away a lariat, but couldn’t avoid a German suplex, before Jacobs tried to pick up the big man. JONAH tries to headbutt free, then got rolled down into an ankle lock… it’s transitioned into a crossface. It ends in the ropes as Jacobs looks for a Fireman’s carry… but his legs give way as a back senton squashed Luke for a two-count. A powerbomb’s next for another near-fall, before JONAH hits a Jacobs-like lariat for another two-count.
Jacobs gets taken up top for some chops… as JONAH then looked to bring him down with a superplex, which somehow didn’t do in the ring. JONAH gets a delayed two-count off of that, then went for it again… but Jacobs slips down and powerbombs him out of the corner. It’s not enough for the win, so Jacobs hits the lariat for another two-count, before a spear caught him… for a one-count. Jacobs eats a second spear, but kicks out at two, then got up to stop JONAH from hitting the Tsunami splash. Instead, Jacobs brings JONAH down off the top with a Samoan drop, before a hattrick of lariats set up for a running lariat that ended up getting the job done. Luke Jacobs gets the streamers and the title, as he picks up what I believe is his first major singles title in the UK. ***½
There were some flashes of brilliance on this show – mostly in the Atlas matches – but if you’re judging from the wider crowd reactions, there’s a lot of hard work to be done before PROGRESS gets any kind of consistency – in more than just the presentation issues I mentioned last time out. The format they used of “match, promo, still image, promo” got old by the end of the weekender – it’s not a bad idea on paper, but doing it so often loses impact.