We’ve a ladder match for the PROGRESS tag titles, a loser-leaves-town match, and the four quarter-finals as the second day of Super Strong Style 16 2022 upped the ante.

Quick Results
Ladder Match: Chuck Mambo & TK Cooper defeat Dan Moloney & Man Like DeReiss and Charlie Sterling & Nick Riley in 14:24 to win the PROGRESS Tag Team Championship (***¾)
Big Damo pinned Dean Allmark in 5:25 (**¾)
Super Strong Style 16 2022 Quarter-Final: Gene Munny pinned Malik in 9:24 (**¾)
Luke Jacobs pinned Big Guns Joe in 9:39 (***)
Super Strong Style 16 2022 Quarter-Final: Chris Ridgeway pinned Charlie Dempsey in 11:06 (***½)
Callum Newman, Danny Black, Joe Lando & Maverick Mayhew pinned Jack Evans, Maggot, Rickey Shane Page & Robbie X in 12:12 (***¼)
Alex Windsor pinned Raven Creed and Eliza Alexander in 10:41 (***)
Super Strong Style 16 2022 Quarter-Final: Warren Banks pinned Kid Lykos in 5:10 (***½)
Super Strong Style 16 2022 Quarter-Final: Johnny Progress pinned Aramis in 9:55 (**¼)
I Quit Loser Leaves PROGRESS: Spike Trivet defeats Cara Noir in 33:44 (***)

Holy hell, it’s almost four hours long… We’re back at the Electric Ballroom for a card that’s got more than just tournament matches today… on tap we’ve got a ladder match for the PROGRESS tag titles, an I Quit main event, plus the four quarter-finals… After a clip reel from night one’s matches, commentary, as usual, comes from Hustle Malone (once he’d remembered his new nickname) and Olie Spring. But first, we’ve another video package, to hype up our opening match…

Ladder Match for PROGRESS Tag Team Championship: Sunshine Machine (Chuck Mambo & TK Cooper) vs. Smokin’ Aces (Charlie Sterling & Nick Riley) vs. The 0121 (Dan Moloney & Man Like DeReiss) (c)
This was set up after Sunshine Machine and the Aces went to a double pin, then a wacky time limit draw on the prior chapter show…

We open with a set play as Chuck Mambo climbed TK Cooper’s shoulders, looking to grab the titles as everyone else went out for ladders. The other teams try to sandwich Mambo with ladders, but he just uses them like makeshift stilts, before he leapt off them with a Reef Break into Charlie Sterling as Moloney and Riley decided not to just pull the proverbial rug from under his feet. Mambo uses the ladders for a back elbow, then for a step-up lucha armdrag that threw Moloney into a ladder that’d been propped up into the corner. Another trip up the ladder sees the Aces tip the ladder as Mambo fell back into that propped up ladder… out goes Chuck, in comes TK to eat a spinning enziguiri, then a Spanish Fly as the Aces had their shot to climb. They’re cut-off as Man Like DeReiss cleared out Riley with a dropkick into the ladder, before he hit a pop-up powerbomb to Sterling, who then got slung into another propped-up ladder.

DeReiss scales the ladder, but leaps off for a ‘rana to TK… Moloney tries to make a save, but gets sent outside for a Reef Break off the apron from TK. Back inside, TK heads up for a shooting star press to DeReiss on a ladder, before the Sunshine Machine climbed ladders so two of them had a shot at grabbing the belts… only for Moloney to stop the pair of them. He’s dropped and sandwiched between the ladders, as the Aces join them on the rungs. It leads to the “he’s Samoan” headbutt to knock down the Aces, before Moloney effectively bench pressed the ladders to dispatch TK… then Mambo… who styled it out for an attempted springboard to the Aces on the floor, but they counter THAT into a superkick-assisted tombstone, with a lot of shouting on commentary.

The Aces use the ladders to clear house, piledriving TK and Moloney onto them, even if giving the piledriver hurt their rears. They superkick away a springboarding DeReiss after that, before they baseball slid a ladder into DeReiss’ nether regions, then set up two more ladders so they could hit their splash/legdrop combo onto DeReiss. Chuck Mambo got back in to take care of Sterling as Nick Riley gets pulled off a ladder into a Drilla by Moloney. Moloney’s back to charge Sterling into the corner with a ladder, only to get the favour returned. Mambo leaps onto the ladder, only to get Blockbuster’d off it by DeReiss. He returns to springboard dropkick the 0121 off the ladder, before Mambo went looking under the ring for… a surfboard?

They bridge the surfboard between two ladders, then add more to create a weird corner-to-corner contraption. Moloney spears TK underneath the surfboard, while Riley stepped up off of Dan’s back to hit a cutter over the surfboard. DeReiss and Riley fight on the surfboard bridge, before there’s an audible crack as DeReiss went for a moonsault off the surfboard to Riley. DeReiss heads back up to fight with Sterling atop the ladder, only to get back body dropped into a bridging ladder. Mambo’s back in to grab Sterling, pulling him off the ladder as TK returned to help with a Designated Driver to shatter the surfboard… allowing Sunshine Machine to race up top to simultaneously grab the titles to win. Lots of oohs and aahs as they delivered some memorable spots, and stuff that you probably should ponder too hard over… but a lot of this just felt like movez movez movez. Live, this would have been a riot, but it didn’t translate to tape, even though it did feel like a big moment at the end. ***¾

Outside, So Cal Val’s with TK and Mambo as they celebrate… with TK saying that the tag team division will continue to be the constant in PROGRESS

Big Damo vs. Dean Allmark
Now for something completely different… and I’m not talking about the weird audio mix that totally wiped out the crowd noise on entrances.

Damo takes things to the corner as he’s patronising Dean early on. Allmark replies with a takedown, but he’s pushed away and taken into the corner, where he’s forced to float over Damo… before a headstand in the opposite corner led to some headscissors. A standing moonsault from Allmark doesn’t even get a one-count, before Damo returned with the leaping crossbody. Damo pushes on with a splash to the back, a pop-up spinebuster and an elbow drop, getting a two-count from it. A guillotine from Allmark stems the tide, but he’s thrown aside as Damo ended up just chucking him through the ropes. Damo chucks Allmark through the chairs after that, before he missed a cannonball, leaping over Allmark in the process.

Allmark heads back to the ring for a body press off the top to the floor, before a Tennessee Jam back inside nearly won it. Going back up top, Allmark leaps over Damo, only to run into a lariat as a Wasteland and a back senton squashed Allmark ahead of a Vader bomb for the win. Fine for what it was as they used this to paint Damo as potentially a title contender, noting the few names that have beaten Allmark in PROGRESS. **¾

Simon Miller pitches to a video of Charles Crowley having a breakdown because he’d been eliminated. Apparently he’s going to turn up and cause chaos, but Elijah’s here too… they argue as Crowley blamed Elijah for his loss, then demanded he leave. As the crowd sang the Eastenders theme. Yup.

Super Strong Style 16 2022 Quarter-Final: Malik vs. Gene Munny
Malik beat Callum Newman to get to the quarters, while Gene Munny had to get past Rickey Shane Page.

Munny caught Malik as he tried a cheapshot before the bell… so Gene takes it to the corner for some mudhole stomping that sent Malik packing to the outside. Munny gives chase, trading strikes with Malik before a teased German suplex on the apron was elbowed out of… only for Malik to hit it anyway. Back in the ring, Malik picks up a two-count, then again from a snap powerslam, before Gene’s comeback ended with a Kitchen Sink knee. Malik stays on Munny, only to get met with a ripcord spinebuster. A T-Bone suplex sets up for a sliding headbutt for a near-fall for Munny, before an Ainsley Lariat was ducked.

Malik lifts Munny to the apron, then avoided a slingshot spear… only to get met with a slingshot tope to the outside. Back inside, a low dropkick sends Gene into the buckles ahead of a ripcord rolling elbow from Malik for a near-fall, before Malik pulled Gene up by his collar for some punches. A series of rabbit punches to the back of the head nearly ended it, but Gene powers up for an Electric Chair drop. A half-and-half suplex is shrugged off by Munny, as was a dropkick, before a snap powerbomb landed. A short Ainsley Lariat followed, and that’s it as Munny booked himself a spot in the semis. **¾

Outside, So Cal Val’s with Gene Munny, who’s icing his left hand… and notes he’s not been pinned or submitted this year, reckoning he’ll go all the way.

Luke Jacobs vs. Big Guns Joe
Joe was a replacement for Jonathan Gresham, as this was a bit of a warm-up ahead of Jacobs’ title defence against Axel Tischer on day three. For some reason, Joe was announced as the challenger, despite this not being a title match?

We open with a lock-up as Jacobs backed Joe into the ropes with ease, before an attempted shoulder tackle from Joe earned him a slam. He pulls down the straps in anger, throwing some forearms before Jacobs threw back in kind. A series of knee strikes, then more chops have Joe doubled over… before he sprung back with a shoulder tackle that took Jacobs to the outside. Back inside, Jacobs trades more forearms before he suplexed Joe into the buckles. It’s good for a one-count, before a sunset flip from Joe rolled through into a Boston crab attempt. Jacobs pushes him away, then hit some overhand chops, a Saito suplex before an overhead Exploder throw saw Joe dig his way back into it.

Joe keeps going with running elbows and uppercuts, before he blocked a chop from Jacobs and turned it into a capture suplex. A big boot has Joe rocked, but his overhead belly-to-belly dumped Jacobs into the corner for a near-fall. Jacobs returned fire quickly with a big boot, a German suplex and more chops, setting up for a teased Saito superplex to the floor… but Joe punches free. A lariat knocked Joe off the top though, only to return with a belly to belly superplex that nearly won it, then a pop-up powerbomb, and a Boston crab. Jacobs escaped, taking things outside for a chokeslam onto the apron, ahead of a death valley driver into the crowd… then back inside for a folding powerbomb for a near-fall. One big lariat followed, then a piledriver, and that’s your lot. Big Guns Joe put up more of a fight than many expected, but in the end Jacobs found the extra gear to get the W. ***

Jacobs gets the mic afterwards and went to send a message to Axel Tischer via the camera… who appeared on the stage and suggested he speak face-to-face instead. Tischer took a jab at Jacobs for originally challenging Jonathan Gresham to a match that’d have taken his focus off his title defence. Jacobs’ response was to declare that North West Strong stood tall, and was better than Tischer’s previous group RINGKAMPF, “which is now defunct because of your corporate sell-out bitch leader.” At least he didn’t bring up SAnitY…

Super Strong Style 16 2022 Quarter-Final: Charlie Dempsey vs. Chris Ridgeway
Dempsey got here with a win over Charles Crowley, while Ridgeway beat Dean Allmark on night one.

The pair grapple into the corner to start, with Dempsey swinging on the break before he got a playful slap in return in the ropes, before Ridgeway took it to the mat. He’s met with headscissors from Dempsey, but Ridgeway escapes… only to get his legs tied up by Dempsey, who turned it into a bow-and-arrow hold. A half crab follows from Dempsey, then a STF, before Ridgeway’s knuckle lock tried to force a pin, only for Dempsey to bridge up and maneuver into a cross armbar. More headscissors followed from Dempsey, but Ridgeway escapes and drilled Dempsey with forearms from above, before getting some palm strikes in return as they ended up separating.

Kicks from Ridgeway drop Dempsey, but one’s turned into a Dragon screw… which Ridgeway handily returned seconds later. Dempsey takes it back to the mat as standing switches led to a bridging German suplex from Ridgeway for a two-count. It’s returned as Dempsey drew a near-fall as the pair continue to trade Germans, leading to near-falls from both men. Dempsey kicks out and rolled into a Fujiwara armbar, breaking it to throw some Danielson elbows on the mat, before he muscled Ridgeway into a Tiger suplex for a near-fall. Dempsey adds a Cattle Mutilation from there, spinning around into a Fujiwara armbar… then into a knee bar… before moving into a chicken wing… except Ridgeway was by the ropes to force a break.

Uppercuts to the arm prompt Ridgeway to return with a trio of gut shots for a near-fall on Dempsey, then a head kick and a PK for another near-fall. Ridgeway goes back to knuckle locks to force the shoulders down, but Dempsey slaps his way free before his neck bridge was broken up with a stomp to the face. Ridgeway tees up for a punt to the back, before a brainbuster booked Ridgeway a semi with Gene Munny. A nice, even match, with a surprising result for my money – and one I’d like to see them run back down the line. ***½

Outside, So Cal Val quizzes Ridgeway, who said he’d kick Gene Munny “back down to the midcard.”

Maggot, Robbie X, Rickey Shane Page & Jack Evans vs. CPF (Callum Newman, Danny Black, Joe Lando & Maverick Mayhew)
We open with Woodchips and Mulch. No, seriously, that’s the title of Maggot’s theme…

We start out quick with Robbie X and Callum Newman trading shoulder tackles… a missed dropkick from Newman misses as we’re too-quick-to-call as a roll-up drew a one-count and a kip-up. Rickey Shane Page tags in, as did Jack Evans, but Newman escaped the corner and tagged out to Danny Black. Evans calls for a dance-off two minutes into the match, so he can break-dance… Danny Black joins in too, and this descends into a wacky West Side Story, ending with a quadruple low dropkick as Evans was upside down. CPF’s chucked outside for that, with Maggot getting chucked into the kids, before RSP’s tope finds its mark… as did Robbie X’s Asai moonsault… and Jack Evans springboard twisting moonsault.

CPF have their go with an Out of the Black low-pe stunner from Danny Black, an assisted back body drop into the pile from Mayhew, a step up flip senton from Newman, and finally, a shooting star elbow drop from Lando. Back inside, Evans’ leaping knee has Danny Black rocked as RSP tagged in to set up for a stacked up death valley driver to Black and Lando. All of a sudden, Charles Crowley hits the ring like an unwelcome pitch invader. He shoves RSP, which somehow isn’t a DQ. Crowley’s chucked outside as security took care of him while a spinning facebuster from RSP dropped Black. Page suplexes Evans onto Black from there for a near-fall… while Robbie X came in for a snap hiptoss and cartwheel dropkick.

Black’s running koppo kick stopped RSP, as did a short ‘rana… tags bring us to Newman and Maggot, as Newman lands a head kick and that swinging Flatliner. Mayhew’s in, but gets met with an enziguiri and a crucifix bomb for a near-fall, before Mayhew blocked an X-Clamation with a leaping double knees. Robbie X chucks Mayhew into Black in the corner with an overhead belly-to-belly… then nearly put Black away with a Spiral Tap. RSP’s back to go for a chokebreaker, but Black counters with a stunner, before Lando tagged in for a corkscrew Molly Go Round, but Page caught him… only to get met with a DDT for a near-fall. Page decks Lando with a forearm as Evans tagged in, styling out a backflip cutter before a standing corkscrew moonsault drew a near-fall. Another backflip cutter from Lando hits, but Robbie X’s running shooting star press breaks it up as we’re back to movez.

Mayhew blocks an X-Clamation, allowing Newman in with a rope-walk stomp to a hung up Robbie X, before an Awful Waffle from Mayhew to Evans hit… leading to a wacky circus trick as a Phoenix Splash from Newman to Evans – and a pair of moonsaults to the floor – got the win. There was a lot going on in this match, and it made for a bit of a confusing mess. Dance-off? Flippy stuff? Run-in? Get your stuff in? Live, I’d have eaten this up, but on tape… it just didn’t land for me. Get off my lawn, you darn kids… ***¼

Back from interval, we have an announcement… Konosuke Takeshita’s debuting for PROGRESS in August in Sheffield and Newcastle.

Raven Creed vs. Alex Windsor vs. Eliza Alexander
This was Windsor’s first match in the Ballroom since November 2017 – a loss to Toni Storm… and Eliza’s debut under that name here.

We start with Alexander getting bounced between Windsor and Creed, before her spilling outside left those two to go at it. A slingshot roll-up from Windsor gets a two-count, before an armdrag rolling through into a low dropkick nearly put Creed away. Alexander’s back for a roll-up, but Windsor rolled through to hit a thrust kick instead, then went back to Creed… only to get charged into the corner instead. A headbutt from Creed knocks Windsor down, then Alexander… Windsor throws one in as Creed decked Alexander once more… before pulling them both up for forearms. Creed and Windsor trade forearms, losing Alexander as she went up for a missile double dropkick, before corner-to-corner uppercuts kept Alexander ahead. Alexander suplexes Creed into Windsor in the corner, but it’s only good for a two-count, as she then focused on Windsor for a spell.

Standing switches led to Alexander shoving Windsor into Creed… only for a follow-up crossbody to be caught as Windsor’s fallaway slam knocked Creed down for a couple of two-counts. A Sharpshooter’s broken up by Alexander’s running knee as a Parade of Moves breaks out, leading to Creed and Windsor trading forearms until Alexander again broke it up. Kicks and headbutts lead to all three collapsing to the mat… we resume with Windsor catching Alexander on the top rope, looking for an avalanche side Russian legsweep, but Creed pulls them down for a double avalanche German suplex instead. A Busaiku knee from Creed keeps her momentum up, leading to the Hellmouth on Windsor for a near-fall before Lana Austin teleported in from nowhere to pull the referee out.

Fed up with Austin’s ongoing interference, Creed pulls her into the ring… only to have her strait jacket thrown in her face. A rolling forearm from Austin dropped Creed, who’s then put in the strait jacket, only to headbutt Lana, then Alexander, ahead of a dropkick as Creed broke free of her jacket… kinda. She’s still got the arms tied, so Creed tries to choke out Windsor with her sleeves… only to get headbutted and dumped with the side Emerald Flowsion for the win. The Austin stuff in the middle kinda put the brakes on this, as we’re seemingly heading into Austin/Creed in the near future. ***

Lana Austin remained at ringside afterwards to hug Windsor… but the credit-claiming ended when she was dumped with a forearm.

Super Strong Style 16 2022 Quarter-Final: Warren Banks vs. Kid Lykos
Warren overcame Big Damo to get here, while Kid Lykos’ first round win over Maggot set this up – a chance for Banks to get some payback after Lykos cost him a sure PROGRESS title win back in March.

Warren Banks tries to end Kid Lykos II with a running knee in the corner before the bell, but Lykos I jumps Banks with a superkick early on… then a springboard body press to the outside. A Casanova knee followed back inside for a near-fall, but Banks slammed back with a Meter Burn knee, a German suplex and a Shining Wizard to the back of the head for a near-fall. A leaping knee from Lykos earns him a superkick, then some Snake Eyes and a cut-throat neckbreaker for just a one-count, as Lykos’ shoulders weren’t down. Banks teases a spear, but Lykos rolled him up for a near-fall, then took him up top for an avalanche brainbuster, which eventually came off. As did a regular brainbuster, but both times, Banks kicks out.

A Fisherman buster from Lykos could have gotten the win, but Banks rolls outside. He caught Lykos with a pair of Bullet Vehicle spears on the outside, before a third one back inside got the win. Just over five minutes, and this is what you wanted – a lovely sprint to put Banks into the semis and keep him in with a serious shout of winning the tournament, in spite of the injury… ***½

Outside, Warren Banks tells So Cal Val he doesn’t care who he’s facing in the semis now he’s evicted Kid Lykos from his mind.

Super Strong Style 16 2022 Quarter-Final: Aramis vs. Johnny Progress
Warren Banks awaits the winner of this in the semis… once we get past dualling chants.

Opening with a Test of Strength, Johnny breaks Aramis’ bridge for an early pinning attempt, before a handspring and armdrags led to Aramis’ handspring headcissors and a stand-off. Johnny cheapshots on a handshake, then took Aramis into the corner… only for Aramis to flip free.

Headscissors from Johnny take down Aramis, before Aramis finally scored it at the second attempt. Aramis takes off his jacket as Johnny blew himself up… then took things into the corner for a head kick. Johnny slides through the ropes, then vaulted over a 619 as a floatover gets turned into a rolling Alabama Slam from Johnny. A Shining Wizard’s good for a two-count, before Aramis crotched Johnny in the ropes to block a Starship Pain. He countered back out with a reverse Spanish Fly off the top, landing in a crossface, rolling through with Johnny as things end in the ropes. From the apron, a cartwheel kick knocks Aramis down ahead of a slingshot corkscrew splash, before Johnny went up and had the crowd count down a move off the top rope.

Aramis tries to capitalise, eventually scoring with a Code Red for a near-fall, before Aramis shoved away Johnny’s springboard. That leads to a senton bomb into Johnny on the floor, following with a satellite DDT back inside for a near-fall, before he moonsaulted into Johnny’s boots. From there, Johnny rolled Aramis into the corner for a Starship Pain… but Aramis stopped him for another inverted Spanish Fly… only for Johnny to pop right up, hit a reverse Finlay roll, taking things back into the corner for the Starship Pain, which Aramis rolled away from. Johnny eats a gamengiri from the apron before Aramis’ springboard something or other took them both down. A spinning rack bomb’s next out of Aramis, but Johnny’s up at two, and with Aramis arguing with the ref, Johnny’s able to catch a kick and turn it into a Skayde special for the pin. This was rough in a few places, with that opening stretch really feeling all over the shop. **¼

Outside, So Cal Val’s with Johnny Progress, who’s now facing Warren Banks in the semis tomorrow. He turns it into a bank joke, and that’s all I’ll say on that.

We’ve a video package next ahead of the main event, as it’s someone’s last night in PROGRESS…

I Quit, Loser Leaves PROGRESS: Cara Noir vs. Spike Trivet
There’s been “f*ck you Spike” placards handed out around the Ballroom for this, one of which he rips up…

Spike slapped Cara early on… it’s returned, so they go back-and-forth with those, then with uppercuts before Spike stomped on Cara’s bare foot. A shotgun dropkick takes Cara into the corner, before a return’s caught as Spike snapped Cara’s toes. Cara gets back up with running forearms in the ropes, only to get ragdolled with a Saito suplex, quickly getting up to hit back with a German suplex on the rebound.

A headbutt stuns Spike ahead of an axe kick, so Spike just punts Cara in the balls before hitting a Birthright… only for Cara to hit an over-the-knee brainbuster in return. Kicks from Cara led to the referee asking Spike if he quit, and I’m not quite sure if that response was aimed at the ref or at Cara Noir…

More kicks follow, this time to the back, before a thrust kick to the head looked to lead to a package piledriver, but Spike escaped and walloped Cara with forearms to the upper back. Cara keeps wrist control for some kicks, but Spike pulls him into a lariat ahead of a Titanic that led to Cara refusing to quit. Spike aims for Cara’s bare feet again, stomping on the ankle before he torqued the knee around the rope, biting the feet of Cara as well. Just because. There’s more toe wrenching as the referee tries to get a response out of Cara, who ends up pulling Spike outside… where he instantly goes under the ring for a chair, but Cara dropkicks it out of Spike’s hand, and instantly Spike’s bleeding from the mouth.

Cara Noir grabs a pair of jeans from the crowd because it’s now a street fight… putting them on leads to him whacking Spike in the head with a chair, before he suplexed him into the seats. By the bar, Spike’s thrown into a wall, across the bar… as Spike comes back with a bottle, and glassed Cara with it. One of the shards was used to dig at Cara, before Spike stripped off Cara. Just the jeans, thankfully. The pair fight up towards the stage, where Spike grabbed a chair and whacked Cara by the stage steps… then dropped him with a Gotch piledriver by the commentary desk. In the middle of Spike going back to ringside, you can clearly hear someone shout “your economic policy doesn’t always guarantee growth,” which is one of the weirder crowd shouts you’ll hear on this. Spike’s pulled a table out from under the ring, before he went after Cara… who’d disappeared.

Spike rolled into the ring, waiting for Cara… who returned bloodied with four chairs on his arms. And a lights show. Spike ducks the chairs that were getting thrown at him, but picking one up allowed Cara to just kick it at him. A shotgun dropkick’s swatted away with a chair, before Spike threw another chairshot to the back. He Pillmanizes Cara’s arm, then the other, before he finished the Pillmanized Garvin stomps by making them Conchairtos. It’s certainly mashing up moves, and better have lasting effects… Getting the mic, Spike threatened the “next phase,” dragging Cara onto the apron… but a teased suplex through the table gets countered into a brainbuster onto an open chair. A chair’s used to choke Spike with, but still, no submission, so Cara pulls out a second table, and sets it up next to the first one. Which was enough for one guy to get the hell out of dodge, and I don’t blame him.

Spike chucks a chair at Cara Noir on the apron, then another, before he bit at Cara ‘s hands. It doesn’t break the grip though, so Cara went for a springboard, only to get pushed onto the apron, where he’s bitten some more. A Rude Awakening neckbreaker takes Spike to the floor, as Cara added a third table to the mix, forcing the ring crew to rearrange some of the seating to make room. Spike’s got a bag and throws it at him… back in the ring, Spike parades the bag and pulls out… a bottle of lemon juice, and countless drawing pins. The pins are scattered across the ring, but Cara jumped into Spike with a Blackout sleeper… and of course, Spike countered by falling backwards, sending Cara into the pins. Christ.

Cara sits up to reapply the sleeper, as Spike then opened a bottle of lemon juice and spilled it into Cara’s eyes… following up as he dragged Cara chest-first across the pins, so he could pour and spit lemon juice into the pincushioned back. With no quit from Cara, Spike rups off the ring apron, then began to undo the ropes tying the canvas to the ring, allowing Spike to pull up the ring apron, then the padding underneath in order to expose the boards in one corner of the ring. Spike throws some jabs, but Cara’s low blow sets up for a package piledriver onto the boards that left Spike a jibbering wreck. It allows Cara Noir to go and grab a mini trampoline, perhaps to do the old Sin Cara entrance on? Jesus Christ, I was joking, but (Sin) Cara Noir sets up for it… and missed a springboard senton, putting himself through the tables. Spike pulls up the limp body of Cara and took it back to the ring, before grabbing another bag. It’s the chain that Spike used to tie Cara to the ropes a few months ago, along with that locket. Cara’s shotgun dropkick delays things, as Trivet ends up chaining Cara’s throat to the ropes again.

Trivet shows off a locket “of the real Tom Dawkins,” as he was then kicked while measuring up a chairshot. Cara’s begging for the locket that’s got the key in… the ref gives it to him, but Cara can’t undo the padlock as he’s met with chairshots. He eventually undid the lock, as Spike then went into the crowd and grabbed Cara’s wife, dragging her against the side of the ring, threatening a chairshot to the head, which forced Cara Noir to say “I Quit” and bring an end to things. There were several moments which were a little too much for my sensibilities – as far as presentation and being cute – but this was what it needed to be in terms of intensity, even if this part of the storyline felt rushed (going from one match in front of a crowd to the loser leaves town gimmick.) ***

The show ends with Spike Trivet bowing to the crowd, as Cara Noir was helped to the back as we fade to black on the mess of the ring, with screwed up signs, empty beer glasses, and the fans chanting “thank you Cara.”

This was a marked step up from the first night, somewhat buoyed by a bigger crowd (even if you couldn’t hear them in entrances, thanks to the weird audio mixing all night long). As seems to be the way with PROGRESS shows, there’s a lot of constituent parts that should be there to build and develop storylines, but – to borrow a food analogy – it just isn’t coming together yet as a complete dish. There’s more I want to say about Spike/Cara, but let this weekend play out on-demand before I say my piece next weekend…