Super Strong Style 16 continued with the quarter-finals – and a stacked card that saw PROGRESS say a couple of goodbyes… including to the Atlas division.
Yes, that is a FOUR HOUR run-time on the VOD. Live, you also had to add in a 40-minute interval… Of course, we’re back at Alexandra Palace for a prolonged “ohh” and “hiya” as Jim opens up with a roll call of “places people have travelled to see this show from”, which felt like one of those “name as many things as you can” games. Pointless? I don’t think the Black Country is a real place…
Once we get past the John Cena cosplayers (in 2019) and the rest of Jim’s opening spiel, it’s time to get to the action on this monstrous nine-match card. I see how the four hours built up… Commentary’s with the rotating foursome of Glen Joseph, Matt Richards, Callum Leslie and Frasier Thomas.
Aero Star vs. Daga
We open with some lucha goodness between two folks eliminated in the first round…. Although Aero Star eliminated his light-up aerosol, while keeping his glowing codpiece.
Aero Star confounds Daga early with some lucha rolls around the ring… but he celebrates too soon and takes a superkick. I wonder if lucha commentary screams “what a heel”? Aero Star rebounds with a many-jump springboard ‘rana and a springboard tornillo as he brought the flash to the match, ahead of a dropkick from Daga to cut him off at the pass. Daga took Aero Star up top as he looked to unmask his foe, before he instead pulls him into a Tree of Woe for a baseball slide dropkick. Aero Star begins to fight back, ducking punches as a bell clapper led him into a trust fall off the top rope into Daga. A dropkick takes El Jefe outside for a step-up crossbody to the outside.
Back inside, a spear from Daga’s good for a near-fall, before he gets caught with a springboard DDT from Aero Star. A satellite DDT’s next for another near-fall, before Daga made a comeback with kicks and a stomp, then a deadlift Doctor Bomb for a near-fall. Aero Star rebounds with the springboard rolling thunder cutter, only to run into a pop-up death valley driver as both men were left laying. A top rope ‘rana from Aero Star spikes Daga for a near-fall, following up with a big splash off the top for the win. This was fine – starting out hot, but quickly cooling as the pace dialled back. **¾
Post-match, they stare daggers at each other (ahem) before commentary laid a not-too-subtle hint about them tagging up together on night three.
Super Strong Style 16 – Quarter-Final: Kyle Fletcher vs. Jordan Devlin
The crowd’s hot for this one, as was Kyle, who took Devlin into the corner in a rather measured manner.
Rather than shoot back, Devlin keeps the pace low as they felt each other out, with Kyle landing a shoulder tackle before a roll through took him into a Quebrada that had Devlin back on the mat. In response, the Air Jordan uranage and standing moonsault sends Fletcher scrambling for cover… which didn’t last long as Devlin followed him out with a PK off the apron, then an Orihara moonsault, before a 450 splash out of nowhere led to a near-fall.
Devlin stays on top of Kyle, taking him into the corner for chops, before Fletcher’s attempt to counter out of a suplex led to him catching Jordan with a Michinoku driver for a near-fall. A slingshot cutter from Devlin’s caught, but Kyle can’t capitalise instantly, as Devlin gets thrown onto the apron… where he quickly returns to hit that slingshot cutter for a near-fall anyway. Back inside, another exchange led to Kyle planting Devlin with a Ligerbomb for a two-count, but Kyle takes too long heading up top… and gets caught with a gamengiri from Devlin. Jordan tries to bring Kyle down, but a Spanish Fly and another slingshot cutter come up short as Kyle lands his flying cutter for a near-fall. Devlin hits back with a Destroyer and a moonsault off the top, but it’s not enough…
Fletcher mounts a comeback, but the pair end up reversing tombstone attempts before Kyle blocked a standing Spanish Fly… then had to block a package piledriver before he spun Devlin into a tombstone for another two-count as the pair looked to fight back up to the mat, exchanging palm strikes almost for fun… before a pair of superkicks from Kyle get met with a thunderous headbutt from Devlin, who fell on top of Fletcher for the win. Not exactly a decisive win, but this was a war – albeit one that looked a little rough around the edges at times. Kyle’s losing nothing in defeat, but having just regained the tag team titles, it was perhaps unrealistic to expect him to go far. ****¼
Paz gets bullied into wearing a lucha mask to do a 619… and ends up crotching himself in the process.
Super Strong Style 16 – Quarter-Final: Trevor Lee vs. Ilja Dragunov
Trevor Lee was back at his “point to the letters on my jacket” best here, which got the crowd baying for Ilja to do his thing. Well, until Trevor Lee babyfaced himself by tossing his water bottle and have it land upright. Which the crowd cheered. Sadly, we only had the hard cam footage of the flip…
Anyway, Lee grabs the mic and cuts a promo, acknowledging that “Ill-jah” works for NXT “but not the good one”. After some more blathering, Lee asks for a fair match… which amounted to Ilja getting wound up, and after he shook Lee’s hand, we get a low blow and a near-fall thanks to the ref being unsighted by Lee’s ring jacket. After kicking out, Ilja spikes Lee with a death valley driver in the corner, before a back senton and a Torpedo Moscau completed the squash. Ilja’s in the semi’s, and Trevor Lee’s done.
Jinny vs. Martina
The winner of this one gets added to the four-way for the PROGRESS Women’s title on night three – and there’s a brief altercation between Martina and Laura di Matteo during the former’s entrance.
A big spear from Martina sees her start this one hot, as some ground and pound has Jinny instantly backing into the corner. The pace stays high as a roll-up into a knee strike keeps Jinny by the ropes, where she’s met with forearms and uppercuts before a trip led to Martina pulling Jinny to the outside. On the floor, an Irish whip from Martina sees Jinny get extra familiar with the ring post, before Martina set up for a suplex into the front row… but Laura di Matteo makes the save and ended up taking that suplex instead. A brief comeback from Jinny ends when Martina lands a neckbreaker, before a series of forearms has Jinny on the back foot once again ahead of a back cracker.
Martina keeps up with an abdominal stretch driver for a near-fall, before a satellite DDT turned it back around for the former PROGRESS Women’s champion. An Acid Rainmaker’s enough for a near-fall for Jinny, who rolls Martina into a seated surfboard… but when that doesn’t work, Jinny goes for a ‘rana, only for Martina to counter it into a Lion tamer. Jinny looked to crawl to the ropes, but Martina pulls her away before Laura di Matteo helped by pulling Jinny to safety. As Martina protested, Jinny catches her low ahead of a rolling Koppo kick for a near-fall, before Martina launched one more comeback, connecting with a springboard Seshbreaker. Di Matteo again gets involved, but a headbutt sends her to the floor as Jinny tried to steal the win with a roll-up… the ref spots her feet on the ropes and stops the count, allowing Martina to snatch the win with a schoolboy roll-up. This was fine, but the crowd struggled to get into it in the early stages. Now… what’s next for Jinny? **¾
Well, Laura di Matteo abandoned Jinny afterwards, as she was left to raise Martina’s hand. That caught everyone by surprise, as did the hug… as we saw a curtain call from Jinny, seemingly marking her farewell from PROGRESS.
A hype video built up the first half main event. You’d get two of those today, since I guess these matches are more important than the tournament?
No Disqualification: Do Not Resuscitate (Chuck Mambo, Drew Parker, Spike Trivet & William Eaver) vs. Jimmy Havoc, Ligero, Mark Andrews & Mark Haskins
This was built up as the “dinosaurs of PROGRESS” taking on the new blood… but the storyline so far was more like the New Blood against the Millionaire’s Club in terms of results.
The bigger room meant that we couldn’t hear Eaver’s portable boom box (which is a goddamned mercy)… or perhaps the entrance music’s been dubbed into the live mix? Eddie Dennis was dragged onto commentary, having been forced out of this match due to injury. That’ll play into something…
The PROGRESS Originals jump start the match as Jimmy Havoc made a beeline for Drew Parker… and yeah, with eight bodies, this broke down pretty fast. Havoc and Parker return to the ring as everyone else brawled in the crowd, meaning we could see Jimmy Havoc headbutt a drawing pin into Drew Parker while commentary were seemingly hell bent in getting their exposition in. The early stages of this had the crowd cheering, but there was just way too much going on for anyone to react to… Christ knows how this came across live with multiple things to focus on at the same time. It settles down again as Ligero and Trivet hit the ring, with Spike crotching Ligero into a Tree of Woe, only for Mark Andrews to save Ligero from a champagne bottle shot, landing a leaping enziguiri for good measure.
A double backflip kick from Andrews stops Mambo and Eaver briefly, only for their celebrations to be stopped by Havoc and Haskins dumping them with suplexes. Mambo’s slingshotted into a forearm, before a sit-out death valley driver as Havoc and Haskins took control… and now it’s plunder time as tables get pulled from under the ring. Parker stops Havoc in his tracks with a leaping double stomp as commentary drops in how this is Drew Parker’s final UK show before he goes to Japan – so this’d be the final chapter of Do Not Resuscitate, at least in this form. While DNR get chairs, Vicki Haskins pulls out some barbed wire bats for the originals… with Ligero getting a barbed wire cricket bat. Because… Yorkshire?
The ring clears as we’re left with Drew Parker one-on-four… but he rolls away instead as commentary tried to get the “Lady McDeath” tagline over for Vicki Haskins. Drew returns… and low blows Havoc as DNR found a proverbial second wind, which led to Mambo dropping Haskins with a Chuck You onto a chair. Parker ups the ante after Eaver whips Havoc with a belt, as he places two chairs open on their sides before Havoc’s thrown onto the structure. A crucifix bomb from Eaver takes Havoc onto the two chairs again for a near-fall, before DNR set up a wacky ladder bridge in the turnbuckles.
Jimmy’s placed across the top of the ladder bridge, but he’s able to crotch Drew Parker to save himself as he made a comeback, catching Mambo with a rolling death valley driver onto Eaver for a near-fall. Ligero and Andrews come back to dropkick ladders into the crotches of Trivet and Parker… but they’re right back to throw chairs as DNR again looked for the advantage, with Spike Trivet going for scissors so they could repeat the de-horning of Ligero. Of course, that doesn’t happen again as Spike then tried to spray champagne into his face. He’d have needed bloody good aim to get through the eye holes of the mask…
Anyway, Ligero ducks, so Parker gets the champagne, and then “accidentally piledrives” Trivet after Ligero fed him his partner. Uhh.
I blink and we’ve got Chuck Mambo having to fight out of a triangle choke from Mark Haskins. Spike Trivet comes in with a baseball bat, only for Vicky Haskins to make the save… pulling Spike into a triangle choke too as he ends up losing his bat. Mark lets go of his hold so he could get the bat and whack Spike with it so hard the barbed wire flew into the crowd, before Mambo with a chair broke it up.
After teasing dropping Vicki Haskins on the stage, Mambo instead drops Mark with a Next Stop Driver before he wandered over to Eddie Dennis to mouth off… and then spit on him. That prompts Eddie to throw aside his headset and head down to the ring, where Mambo just runs away as the rest of DNR have Eddie surrounded. Leave it to Mark Andrews to make the save as the crowd burst into chants of FSU… and they hug. I guess the last 18 months is being retconned then? More on that after…
The crowd can’t celebrate for too long though, as Andrews gets crotched up top before a Benadryller from Parker left him laying. A trio of death valley drivers sent Eaver, Mambo and Trivet off the apron, while Drew Parker was left in the ring to take a Stundog Millionaire, a C4L, and a Kiss of Death for the win. Well, Drew goes to Japan on his back, as this mercifully came to an end.
For me, this was more of a story than a match – with the action seemingly getting shoehorned around callback spots in the match, much to its detriment. The whole DNR storyline never really clicked for many, and while departures on both sides meant that there had to be a blow-off, this match felt like a perfect microcosm of the entire storyline: bloated, unfocused, and never really hitting its spot. As for the reunification of FSU, I’m lost for words. Yeah, they teased a thawing between Eddie and Mark throughout this whole DNR storyline, but this pay-off was a headscratcher and left me feeling rather stupid for investing in their storyline only for it to be undone less than nine months after their big match. This whole thing could have worked, but the execution left so many, including some I’d describe as “staunch PROGRESS loyalists” feeling horribly underwhelmed. -*
For the interests of fairness, I rewatched this match again, after sleeping on it, and my mindset didn’t change. Perhaps live I’d have liked it more, but then again a lot of folks who were there live, whose opinions I trust, were equally down on this – and on VOD, the commentary that really leaned into all of the callbacks just didn’t help matters.
One 40-minute interval later…
Super Strong Style 16 – Quarter-Final: Kyle O’Reilly vs. Paul Robinson
Back to tournament action, and I have to say, given the common theme so far, I’m not liking Robbo’s chances.
O’Reilly starts out quickly with a snapmare and a kick to the back of Robinson, who was frustrated from the off. So he heads outside and looks for plunder, only to head back to the ring as Kyle held the ropes open for him. Robinson goes for a kick, but it’s easily caught as O’Reilly again frustrated the former tag team champion with headlock takedowns. Robinson tries to suplex his way out of it, but O’Reilly holds on as escaping the ring proved to be Robinson’s only escape. A back suplex takes Robinson outside as Kyle reapplies the headlock on the floor for the irony… only for Robinson to shove him into the ringpost to make him pay for his cockiness.
Back in the ring, Robinson worked over O’Reilly’s left leg using a shinbreaker, but Kyle manages to get free and end a series of strikes with a legsweep. Rolling butterfly suplexes keep Robinson at bay, ahead of a released suplex for a near-fall, before Robinson looked to head up top… only for his spear to get caught, as O’Reilly countered with a guillotine choke. That one ends quickly in the ropes, as Robinson manages to force another opening with a satellite DDT as Robinson seemed to be rolling back the clock to his earlier years.
Robinson goes back to work on O’Reilly’s legs, as Kyle tries whatever he could to get free from a Figure Four… but in the end he returned fire with fire as he bit Robinson’s finger to try and get himself free, before rolling the hold as Robinson ended up needing the ropes. Another exchange ended with O’Reilly landing the Nigel – the rebound lariat – before he found himself on the top rope as the tit-for-tat nature continued with a nice headscissor takedown off the top from Robbo.
The Robinson Special’s next for a near-fall, but O’Reilly’s forearm shot to the back of the head looked to have him back in it, only for a small package to derail him. Robinson looks to snatch a win with a step-up curb stomp, but O’Reilly avoids it and grabs a knee bar for the quick submission. A really good back-and-forth outing as Robinson tried everything he could to get past the NXT star… but even rolling back the clock didn’t get the job done. ***½
Paul Robinson hung back after the match… and was interrupted by Jimmy Havoc with a microphone. He loved his music so much he demanded it be cut off, as Havoc decided to fill the blank spot next to his name for his final match on night three. There were some names Havoc wanted to face on his final night, but instead he chose Paul Robinson in a death match to finally put all the old Regression issues to bed once and for all.
Super Strong Style 16 – Quarter-Final: Travis Banks vs. David Starr
Ever the troll, Travis Banks came out in one of Starr’s “INDEPENDENT” shirts – which prompted Starr to come charging out into Banks, taking him outside at the bell so he could remove said shirt and whip Banks with it.
Banks manages to turn it around with an apron PK and a low-pe as the match stayed on the outside, with Starr having found his way into the second row, unintentionally, of course. The brawl continues on the outside, but when they did make it back inside, Starr quickly hits back with a Product Recall for a near-fall. Starr looked to follow that up with a Blackheart Buster, but Banks blocks it as the pair end up going into each other with clotheslines. A headbutt looked to weaken the former PROGRESS champion, who again avoids the suplex as clotheslines reset them… only for Starr to hit the cartwheel kick before Banks hit a pair of German suplexes. A Han Stansen puts a stop to that, as Starr went for the Kaepernick powerbomb, but Banks again escaped as duelling clotheslines leave both men laying.
The Violence Party of chops and forearms take Banks into the corner, but the Kiwi’s back with a shotgun dropkick and a double stomp after having briefly had in a Lion’s Clutch. The match ends seconds later with a Euro clutch, but both men had both shoulders down… and it was obvious, so the crowd don’t react. They announce it as a draw, except Uncle Jim orders a restart “because this is a tournament and we need someone to progress”.
So the pair resume by windmilling at each other with punches, before Banks threw Starr outside… only to charge into a Cherry Mint DDT on the apron. Starr returns inside for a Slice of Heaven for a near-fall… then counters with a Blackheart Buster for a near-fall before a crossface has Banks scrambling for the ropes. The hold’s transitioned into the Lion’s Clutch as Banks got to the ropes, then rolled outside… where Starr joined him as the pair fought up the aisleway, trading chops and headbutts.
Referee Marc Parry doesn’t start counting, so Starr takes it onto the entry ramp as he teased a powerbomb, making do with a suplex instead as a loud thud rang around the venue. That was also the cue for the ref to return to the ring and start the count… which was accompanied by boos, even more so when Banks hit a suplex of his own to stop Starr from making it back in… and we get to the double count-out. So, based on the precedent of just a few minutes earlier, we’ll resume, right? Of course not, it’s announced as a double count out, and Uncle Jim doesn’t seem too bothered with the “we need a winner”, until Starr and Banks had another pull-apart… so he ruled that both of them progressed to a three-way semi. Why didn’t they just do that originally? A decent match, but the booking on top of it kinda killed the crowd a little. I’m starting to see why people there live were saying “it was a good show until booking happened”… ***½
Chris Brookes, Artemis Spencer & DJ Z vs. Chris Ridgeway, Lucky Kid & Darby Allin
We’ve a lucha rules trios match here for the heck of it, and it’s weird that Chris Brookes and Lucky Kid are on opposite teams. Not that there’s sour grapes here among the pot luck drawing.
We start with DJ Z going for his airhorn… and getting kicked in the face as Chris Ridgeway wasn’t down with any of that. The lucha rules mean that the bodies fly around here… and we got a quick meeting of Brookes and Lucky as the Alexandra Palace crowd chanted for Schadenfreude.
They high-five, but Brookes tries to surprise Lucky with a roll-up. He can’t help it. In response, Lucky scores with a pair of low dropkicks to take Brookes outside for a faked-out dive… which was the cue for DJ Z to come in and catch Lucky with an Awful Waffle knee to start a brief Parade of Moves, which saw DJ Z somehow pick up a pair of two-counts, simultaneously on Lucky and Ridgeway.
The Parade continues as Lucky Kid shoves DJ Z into Spencer, before hitting a dual pin of his own that Brookes had to stomp to break up. Lucky becomes a weapon as Brookes slingshots him into Darby’s nether regions, before a rope-hung neckbreaker drops Lucky… and we keep going. German suplex attempts, a flip Stunner… and a lucha armdrag/headscissor takedown. Yup, it’s fast and furious stuff, if not the wrestling equivalent of Chinese food that quickly dissipates after whatever this equivalent of a burp is.
Ridgeway tries to calm down the tempo with a Dragon screw before he peppered Spencer and DJ Z with mid kicks by the ropes, before a leg-capture German suplex nearly puts Brookes away. From there, Ridgeway goes for an ankle lock, but DJ Z is in to break it up, since lucha rules means this may as well be a trios tornado match, I guess? Lucky gets alarmed by DJ Z’s airhorn as we began a series of dives, with Darby Coffin Dropping to the outside, as Spencer followed up with a Spiral Tap to the floor. Ridgeway teases a dive, but just baseball slides into a rear naked choke on Spencer. Back in the ring, a double stomp, a frog splash and a spiral tap connect from Brookes, DJ Z and Spencer respectively for near-falls, before we were left with Lucky and DJ Z in the ring… superkicks from Brookes and Spencer snuff out a handspring back elbow, before Brookes and Spencer propelled DJ Z high into the sky for a mind-losing ZDT that almost won the match.
Christ, that was amazing.
It doesn’t get the win though, as Lucky Kid recovers and hits a La Mistica on Spencer, before an axe kick from Ridgeway and a skateboard stomp from Allin led to the finish, where Spencer tapped to an ankle lock. This was fun, but save for that massive ZDT you’ll probably struggle to remember much of this. ***
A video package sums up the events of Trent Seven’s attempt to dominate PROGRESS “on my own” – which led to his gamble of putting his Atlas title on the line in a title unification match.
PROGRESS World Championship x PROGRESS Atlas Championship: Trent Seven (Atlas) vs. WALTER (World)
Unless there’s a draw, the Atlas title goes away tonight after what’s billed as “the biggest title match in PROGRESS history”.
Surprisingly, this is the first one-on-one singles match these guys have had, with their last singles match being a three-way for the wXw Unified World Wrestling title, randomly held in Fight Club Pro, with Dave Mastiff being the third man… back in 2011.
In the build up to this, PROGRESS have tried to turn WALTER heel through Trent’s promos – since he’s only appeared in the company once this year. It didn’t quite work as WALTER got cheers for his entrance, as did Trent, so it’d be up to WALTER to revert to his bullying tactics if he’s meant to get the crowd on his back. We’ve a measured start here as commentary tried to weave a story between RINGKAMPF and British Strong Style, but the action in the ring sees Trent getting sent to the ropes early on as he tried to take WALTER to the mat. When that didn’t work, Trent fired up… only to get taken down with a forearm from behind as we started to see the more callous WALTER.
WALTER gets caught with a series of chops, before Trent finished the hattrick with a shot to the leg and a DDT as he caught the NXT UK champion off guard. Following him outside, Trent’s quickly forced to duck as WALTER chops the ring post, but a big boot from WALTER in the ring manages to buy him time as neither man was able to command things in the opening stages. Returning to the ring, Trent throws a chop, but is instantly felled by WALTER’s retort, as the Austrian threatened to assert himself on the match. Slamming Trent, then grinding a boot into his head, WALTER really started to rough up the Atlas champion with knees to the back, before a STF ended in the ropes. Trent tries to fire back with chops, but a Gojira clutch is instantly applied… and broken in the ropes as Trent found himself in the relatively unfamiliar role of the plucky underdog here.
A head and arm choke from WALTER keeps Trent on the mat, as does a chinlock, before a German suplex just folds Trent in half. Boots from WALTER keep Trent on his knees, before a chop battle actually had WALTER backed into the corner, ahead of a clothesline from Trent, sending WALTER outside for a low-pe. He throws WALTER back into the ring, following back with a Dragon suplex as the Atlas champion finally got some notable offence in. A headbutt from Trent knocks WALTER away from a possible superplex effort, before Trent decided to go flying with… a Whisper in the Wind?! There’s a more orthodox shotgun dropkick from WALTER, then a powerbomb for a near-fall after Trent’s Jeff Hardy impression went south. More chops from WALTER have Trent back on his knees, but there’s replies as Trent looked to spark something within himself… only for the WALTER chops to put him down again.
Yet Trent still keeps trying, showing he would not be denied, because all he’s got left was his pride as the back and forth chops led to both men collapsing as Trent swung for one more. Still, they would rise up, as WALTER used a kick to Trent’s back before he had to absorb some lariats. A big boot just sends Trent into the ropes for a lariat, but he follows that up with an Emerald Flowsion for a near-fall as the gap in WALTER’s armour was starting to grow. Trent swings for a chop, but can’t avoid a Gojira clutch… instead teasing a Burning Hammer as WALTER just overpowers him with some clubbing blows before the Gojira forces Trent into the ropes. Ever so slowly, that crowd’s turning on WALTER, who builds up with a German suplex and a boot to the head. More clotheslines to the back of the head fell Trent, as does a Saito suplex before another bit of babyface fire sees Trent dive in with a clothesline… only for a powerbomb to take Seven down for a near-fall.
Out of nowhere, Trent flips over WALTER and lands a pair of Seven Star lariats, before a piledriver almost led to the title change… but WALTER gets a shoulder up as you perhaps sensed that was the moment the crowd began to lose hope. Repeated chops from Trent are stopped when WALTER shoves Trent back… and into the referee who took a nasty spill for good measure.
From there, WALTER heads out to grab the two title belts before he flipped off the crowd… they had a tug of war for the two belts… but WALTER lets go as the ref gets up. We get an Eddie Guerrero moment as the ref caught Trent with the title belt… and in among the distraction as Trent handed the belt back, a big boot and a Gojira clutch drags Trent to the mat. The referee’s checking on Trent as WALTER squeezes tighter, doing the arm drop gimmick… but he missed Trent having the sole of his foot on the rope as he ended up waving off the match. Glen lost his mind on commentary, as did the front row fans who saw the foot on the rope, while everyone else seemed to sing along to the RINGKAMPF theme. A really good main event, just let down with a finish that was far from decisive for “the biggest title match ever”. ****
Night two of SSS16 was a much stronger show than night one, with matches that stood out from the back… but was also a card that was let down, as I was initially told “thanks to the booking”. Having watched it back on VOD, it’s hard to disagree – I’d not been sold on the whole DNR story from the off, and the nature of what could well have been their blow-off was always going to be a struggle… let alone before the match was stuffed full of callbacks and other “moments”. Add in the fact that “WWE wins, lol” largely continued in the tournament matches, and we had a show that was more like the PROGRESS of old, but sadly with echoes of the “current generation” that has turned off so many.