Remember those “winds of change” we talked about with Travis Banks at Chapter 64? The breeze became a gale as the PROGRESS champion took on Flash Morgan Webster in his latest defence…
For the final time before WrestleMania, we’re back in Camden’s Electric Ballroom – and we’ve got a new plug for Super Strong Style 16, which is in just over a month. There’s a lot of water to pass under the bridge first though… Glen Joseph and Dahlia Black are on commentary – with this looking to be the permanent team going forward.
Rob Lynch vs. Doug Williams
This was Lynch’s return to chapter action (his first since losing at Chapter 53 against someone we don’t talk about these days). Remember Valhalla? Lynch got a loud cheer on his entrance and some “welcome back” chants as life after the Riots well and truly got underway.
Lynch had wrestled earlier in the month on a PROGRESS Dome show against the now-retired Primate, as he made his own return to action following a serious shoulder injury. His opponent here was Doug Williams, a man who is in the midst of what some are surmising is a “retirement tour”. This was a bit of a weird one to watch live, as the good guy versus good guy didn’t generate that a strong reaction for either man once the bell went.
The pair kept it grounded early, with Lynch rolling Williams around the ring… only to get caught in a seated surfboard as commentary played up the student vs. teacher element of this match. When Lynch did waver from his game plan, Williams landed a forearm to stop a dive, but Lynch slowly started to use his size to try and keep the veteran at bay.
Doug slowly worked back into it, throwing Lynch with a back body drop before a diving uppercut earned him a near-fall, but Lynch is right back with an overhead belly-to-belly, a big boot and a death valley driver, before missing a springboard moonsault. That opened the door for Doug, but the Chaos Theory is blocked… as was a Bomb Scare knee drop, as Williams missed before running into a spear for the win. This was alright, but there was no obvious story in the match for folks to sink their teeth into. **¾
The post match saw Lynch bow to Williams, who later was caught on camera making motions as if to say “one more time, and that’s it”.
Ahead of the next match, Jim Smallman snuck in the news that Killer Kelly had to sit out the next match after getting cut at wXw the prior night. Charlie Morgan filled in for her.
Millie McKenzie vs. Chakara vs. Charlie Morgan vs. Martina
This was effectively a tornado tag between Millie, Martina and the “House of Couture”, who had Jinny on the outside, still with her arm in a sling.
I’d forgotten just how… bland Martina’s sound-alike theme was here. Still, she got a good reaction for her first appearance at the Ballroom in over a year, which surprised me looking back. I’m also hoping that Martina getting pelted with her glow sticks was a sign of affection… either that or the Irish crowd from the 16 Carat Gold afterparty stormed the Ballroom in disguise. Martina’s offer of pre-match drinks didn’t go down too well, as she only managed to coerce Millie into some underage boozing… which ended when the House of Couture jumped them before the bell. A running knee gave Glen a chance to shout out Martina’s upcoming tour of Japan, but her rope running cardio just meant that she needed a drink to complete a dive.
Rather than duelling Bronco Busters, Martina ripped a page out of CCK’s book, using Millie as a makeshift Lykos… but her back gave out. I thought it was the wolf that usually got hurt? Either way, her back recovered for long enough for her to try a sunset bomb on Chikara… which worked so well that Glen burst out laughing on commentary. In contrast, the “Worst Girls” of Chakara and Charlie started to pick apart on McKenzie, before the predictable happened: they began to argue over who’d get the win.
More underage drinking from Millie fired her up though, and set off Suplex Millie with some gusto, even taking down Martina for a near-fall as everyone else was left laying. Martina set up for a wombstone on Charlie, producing groans all round, but at least it connected… before Jinny screamed abuse from ringside, distracting Martina as Millie was left to fend for herself for a while, before ultimately falling to a DDT from Charlie Morgan. So the replacement gets the W, and more tellingly, it’s two wins in a row for Charlie over Millie, as the House of Couture looks strong – right as Jinny returns from injury. ***
Post-match, there was a bit of an unsavoury scene with Jinny and someone from the crowd – which was quickly cut away from as Glen left commentary to tend to things… along with security and ring crew. In the meantime, Martina and Millie just watched on from ringside as Millie yet again was tempted into having a drink…
No Disqualification: TK Cooper vs. Chris Brookes
This seemed to be the natural conclusion to the storyline that we’ve had the last few months – TK and Brookes fighting for the affections of Travis Banks. Except they’ve both been unable to beat him, so I guess this was to determine a pecking order, and bragging rights…
No introductions here, as Brookes leapt into TK from the off, as we quickly got into the Brookesing… but TK reversed it and gave him an early taste of his own medicine. Kid Lykos tried to interfere early as well, but it doesn’t work as Brookes gets back to his feet, before being forced to avoid being powerbombed through some chairs on the floor. It was going to get a lot more violent before it got better.
Brookes set up two chairs on their side, like how Bad Bones does, but he’s dumped onto the side with a Falcon Arrow-like suplex as that backfired badly. As Brookes recovered, TK grabbed a staple gun, before wandering off to the merch table for a photo of Travis Banks in one of the weirder ways to declare your affection for someone. The match ground to a halt as TK looked for some handcuffs, which he eventually used as he tried to cuff Brookes to the ropes… which doesn’t work, so he just tried to staple that photo to Brookes’ head.
Yeah, Brookes was bleeding a little, but that spot loses all effectiveness when the photo doesn’t stick. Brookes fought back,with the cuffs falling off in the process, before dragging TK into position for a wet willie. Except it’s not a finger in the ear we get, it’s… a hammer to the teeth, the nose, and a staple to the tongue. Yep, that’ll mess up your mouth!
Brookes gets a table, but that also backfires a little, as he’s eventually sent through it with a Spanish Fly off the apron. Holy God, that impact was loud.
Back in the ring, we get more plunder, which also works out badly as Lykos tried to hit TK with a chair… only to get caught inbetween it with an axe kick. That’s certainly one way to shut down the pro-TK chants, I guess. Rather than take care of his wolfen friend, Brookes grabbed a bag full of thumb tacks, but for some reason an avalanche Praying Mantis Bomb was attempted… and TK counters with a superplex instead. Hey Chris, perhaps stop bringing plunder into the match – it really isn’t working for you here!
A Kiwi Krusher into the tacks follows as those pins went flying into the air (and into the crowd) for a near-fall, before Brookes avoided a Slice of Heaven and dumped TK into the pins with a Praying Mantis Bomb for… a two-count?! How?! Instead it’s an Octopus stretch that gets the win, but not before Brookes dragged himself into the tacks while amping up the pressure… and that, my friends, was a war. The crowd definitely woke up for that one, and the question now is… where next for both guys now this score has been settled? ***¾
PROGRESS Atlas Championship: Rampage Brown vs. WALTER (c)
Some fourteen months after losing the title, Rampage gets his first chance at regaining the Atlas belt – having beaten Roy Johnson at a Dome show for the shot. Problem was, he’d have to go through WALTER to regain the strap… a man he already had two wins over in prior outings.
WALTER took the fight to him early on, but an early chop attempt was a swing and a miss, before he refused to budge at Rampage’s shoulder tackles. A massive boot took Rampage’s face off, as the Austrian tried to chop his challenger in half… and yes, we had plenty of those chops from both men. Rampage was starting to make a mark, literally, but WALTER outdid Rampage in height and weight, which put the challenger in a rather unusual position of not being the biggest man in the match.
With that advantage in hand, WALTER was breezing past Rampage, throwing in suplexes along with his reliable chops… oh, and some clubbering forearms to the chest. It was almost too easy for WALTER here, especially compared to the last man he defended his title against… Another big boot swatted away Rampage as he leapt off the middle rope, before WALTER tried to follow up with a RINGKAMPF German, only to get met with a back suplex.
It’s back to the chops though as WALTER found a way back in, aiming for the throat, but Rampage almost nicked the win with an Andre slam! In response to Rampage’s piledriver tease, WALTER obliterates him with a boot, a German suplex and a lariat, before another chop battle just led to WALTER taking a back suplex. Another piledriver attempt is backdropped out of, and that seemed to be the end for Rampage, as he ate a shotgun dropkick and a powerbomb, before a Gojira clutch led to a referee stoppage. A fun match if you love big lads beating the crap out of each other – although there was such an abundance of chops, I could see why some wouldn’t like it. That’s WALTER pretty much sweeping the division… so what next for der Ringgeneral? ***½
Natural PROGRESSion Series Quarter-Final: Danny Duggan vs. Danny Jones
Duggan beat Sid Scala at a Dome show to qualify, and I have to say, there was a lot about this match that just didn’t click for me. Maybe it was the concept of a guy who I saw at my first PROGRESS show (ENDVR) almost two years earlier being in a tournament that’s all about relatively new and upcoming talent…
Perhaps it was the fact that the match was thrown out there cold, with Hacksaw Jim Duggan chants thrown at Duggan, “Let’s Go Danny” and “both these Dannys” chants for the pair of them. It’s a little wacky, and from the look on Duggan’s face, a little irritating, but eventually a story was shoehorned into this after a long stretch of striking and mat-work that the crowd struggled to get into. Beyond those chants, of course. That story came in the form of Eddie Dennis, who came out after a Dragon suplex left both men laying, just so he could lend some support. Albeit in a rather obnoxious manner.
A judo-style throw gets Jones ahead as he tried to tie-up Duggan in a modified calf slicer, but Eddie gets up to “offer more support”, only to get shouted down. That gave Duggan a chance to make a comeback, and he quickly gets the win with an O’Connor roll, getting an extremely muted response for that. It’s a shame the match was background noise, but I guess they needed to extend the Eddie/Mark storyline while the latter was in the States. **½
Post-match, Eddie Dennis tries to speak, but the crowd drowned him out. Eventually, Eddie tried to put the blame on Mark Andrews, as “Danny’s trainer wasn’t there”. A nice attempt to turn another person against Andrews, and a rather passable Gene Snitsky impression to boot, before Jones threatened to take out his anger on a healing-up Dennis.
Elimination Match for PROGRESS World Tag Team Championships: Sexy Starr (Jack Sexsmith & David Starr) vs. Jimmy Havoc & Mark Haskins vs. Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson & James Drake) (c)
After beating the Anti-Fun Police last time out, Jack Sexsmith’s challenge for a shot at Havoc and Haskins somehow morphed into them being added to this tag team match – and thus getting a crack at Drake and Gibson’s newly-labelled world tag team titles.
I guess taking them to China makes them so, eh?
Mark Haskins’ prowling around the ring put off the champions’ entrance for so long that their music played in full. Yep. They took their time! They also sparked rage when Gibson grabbed the mic to interrupt David Starr’s List o’ Nicknames so he could go on his usual soliloquy, this time taking shots at wrestlers doing Destroyers, and “paying for their own flight to Japan, because that’s what wrestlers do”. Eh, there’s a grain of truth in what Gibson says, and it’s always the truth that generates anger.
The match started with Gibson and Drake refusing to wrestle, instead teasing that they’ll wrestle the winners in a mini-gauntlet… which is what started as Haskins and Havoc went after Sexsmith, then Starr in an insanely frantic opening period that ended with Sexsmith… running into an eye poke. There’s almost an early elimination as an assisted Sliced Bread from Sexy Starr nearly out away Havoc, but that seemed to be the cue for Zack Gibson to break his promise and come in as an early prize.
Mark Haskins comes out with his traditional misdirection topes, which somehow still seem to catch people off guard, as the former champions began to target David Starr. A roll through death valley driver and a flying stomp from Haskins and Havoc respectively led to a kiss of death from Vicki… but Starr somehow escaped an Acid Rainmaker before Havoc was put away with the Climax – a BDSM-assisted Product Placement – for the first fall! That roar for the elimination, eh?
With the match down to Sexy Starr and the champions, it was Drake who took a beating with a Cherry Mint and LGBDT, before Jimmy Havoc pulled out the referee after a Climax looked to have had the titles won. I guess that beef between Havoc and Sexsmith is far from over, eh? Distracted, Sexsmith was quickly taken advantage of as the champions ripped into him, scoring with a lungblower out of the corner, before a Victory roll almost caused the shock. Instead, Sexsmith’s dumped face-first on the mat as Drake goes for a 450 splash and misses, turning around into superkicks instead and Han Stansen lariats as the challengers continued to push the issue.
An errant superkick from Drake decks Gibson, who then took a Blackheart Buster as Sexsmith was still down on the floor, but in the end it’s Drake who gets the win, countering the Pretty Pumped into a double-team lungblower as the champions retained. This was a fun sprint at points, with Sexsmith and Starr looking good before ultimately falling when the numbers game worked against them. Question is now… what happens to the tag titles as the Grizzled Young Veterans have yet again cleared the division? ***½
PROGRESS World Championship: Flash Morgan Webster vs. Travis Banks (c)
So many moving parts were in play here – Flash came out with Vicki Haskins, in a moment that made me wonder how many promos or shows I’d slept through… but he sent her to the back as he demanded that he be allowed to win the title by himself.
Meanwhile, Travis Banks was more than keen to play up to the growing number of fans who were on his back, first by Roman Reigns-ing it up with a Superman punch, before he leaned into it with the Reigns pose. Flash was going into this battle scarred, thanks to a match with WALTER just 48 hours earlier, and he was struggling out of the blocks here, with Banks threatening to make light work of Webster, before opting to Brookes him into the crowd.
Back in the ring, Webster tried a comeback, but Banks went after his ankle to cut him off, as the crowd slowly turned on him the more and more one-sided this match became. Webster eventually came back with a series of forearms and a knee into the corner, before some Angel’s Wings produced a statement in the form of a near-fall… but Banks is right back on him with a trip and a cannonball.
Banks even apes Webster’s Brit Pop Drop, nailing the ushigoroshi for a near-fall as the offence began to mount once again, but some topes from Webster took Banks deep into the crowd, only for a senton to crash and burn as Banks got his knees up. After a Kiwi Krusher didn’t work, Banks tries for the Lion’s clutch, but Flash gets to the ropes and starts a comeback, almost getting the win with the Strangler, only for Banks to get to his feet and charge into referee Marc Parry to break it up.
That was the eventual cue for TK Cooper to come down, spearing Flash as the Roman Reigns love-in continued… yep, that’s a way to keep feeding Banks with that hatred. And dodgy renditions of the old Shield theme…
The reformed South Pacific Power Trip looked to hit a double-team DDT, but Webster escaped and hit Banks with an Eton Rifle, then the Shadows over Malice senton bomb for a MUCH DELAYED three-count, thanks to the arrival of Chris Roberts. Except… it wasn’t to be, no matter how loud the crowd’s roar was. We had a Dusty finish (if you will), with the revived Marc Parry calling that Banks’ arm was under the rope, so we had to restart… and the real finish wasn’t much long after, as Banks reversed a wheelbarrow roll-up for the pin.
As a match, this was fine – I don’t think anyone bought that Webster was winning the title, and the cheer he got for the win was more for the shock than anything… but, oh, the boos when Banks got the win. It’s working. ***½
Post-match, Banks took the mic and sarcastically thanked the crowd for supporting his title reign. Overbearing, much? “PROGRESS is my yard”, reckoned Banks… but someone begged to differ. Cue Allegro con fuoco. Cue more earsplitting. Cue der Ringgeneral. WALTER was here to shut up Banks, and I guess THAT’S what’s next for the Atlas champion. An increasingly delusional champion, who found that there’s an answer to a Superman punch. CHOP.
Chapter 65 was a solid show, and one that kept things bubbling along as PROGRESS prepared to enter a string of marquee shows. WrestleMania weekend, Super Strong Style and the big Manchester show, all in the next seven weeks or so… it’s a bit of a shame that the “blow-off” between TK and Brookes couldn’t be held off, or that outside of the PROGRESS men’s and women’s title matches, we’re still a little light on teases for that Manchester show, but with so much water to go under the bridge, it’s hard to tip a hat without giving away everything.
- “Chapter 65 – Have Some Faith In The Sound” is available now via Demand-PROGRESS.com – either to rent, buy, or as part of their monthly subscription service.