We take a look at the start of PROGRESS’ 10th anniversary week, with an all-women’s show topped by Martina challenging for Gisele Shaw’s title.
Mercedez Blaze & Taonga pinned Charlie Morgan & Jetta in 7:14 (**½)
Alex Windsor pinned Holidead in 15:33 (***¼)
No Disqualification: Alexxis Falcon pinned Lana Austin in 14:16 to retain the TNT Women’s Championship (***¾)
Skye Smitson pinned Laura Di Matteo in 9:11 (**¼)
Trish Adora pinned Rhio in 10:47 to retain the Pan-Afrikan World Diaspora Wrestling World Championship (***¼)
Gisele Shaw submitted Session Moth Martina in 13:31 to retain the PROGRESS Women’s Championship (***)
We’re at the Dome in Tufnell Park, London for the first of the anniversary week shows from PROGRESS. Yes, I know I’ve already reviewed the 10th anniversary show – these dropped on VOD in reverse order…
Jade Walford’s our host for this show, while commentary comes from the pairing of Jayde and Socal Val.
The Royal Aces (Charlie Morgan & Jetta) vs. Mercedez Blaze & Taonga
We’ve some lighting issues during the introductions, but they find 50p for the meter so we can see some wrestling…
Blaze and Taonga jump Jetta and Morgan before the bell, but get run into each other as we got going with Jetta scoring with a snap suplex. Blaze’s low bridge takes Jetta outside as she’s then chucked into the side of the ring, with Taonga picking up the pieces for a two-count, before shoulder charges in the corner angered Charlie Morgan.
Morgan inadvertently distracts the ref as Blaze and Taonga double-team Jetta, leading to an old school rope rake to the eye. A hip attack in the corner stuns Jetta ahead of a spear off the middle rope from Blaze for a two-count, while Taonga came in to stomp a mudhole in Jetta. A sleeperhold keeps Jetta down as Jetta eventually fought back, swinging Blaze with a neckbreaker to buy her some time. Charlie Morgan runs wild after tagging in, scoring with clotheslines and a springboard crossbody, but all four women stay in the ring as things break down until Jetta and Morgan combined for a step-up clothesline into the corner. Taonga’s dropkick took care of Jetta, while Blaze’s knocked Charlie into the corner ahead of a butterfly suplex into the buckles.
A shotgun dropkick from Taonga followed, but Jetta breaks up the cover, before Blaze got caught with a handful of tights as she tried to pin Morgan. An inside cradle in response gets Morgan a near-fall, before a snapping DDT from Blaze spiked Charlie… with Blaze putting her feet on the ropes to make sure she got the win. **½
Holidead vs. Alex Windsor
This was a change from the advertised line-up, with Lizzy Evo being replaced by Holidead here…
Opening with a tie-up, both women break free before they lock up around the ropes… breaking once more. Changing tactic, a side headlock takedown from Windsor gets her ahead, before Holidead took it to the corner for a break, before shoulder tackles led to Holidead pulling ahead.
Holidead takes it to the corner with forearms, but Windsor’s slingshot roll-up from the outside in nearly stole a win from out of nowhere. Armdrags are next as Windsor stayed on top with a low dropkick, taking Holidead outside for a cannonball off the apron. A cross-chop from Holidead gave her an opening as she proceeded to break the ref’s count… then marched Windsor towards the stage for some more chops. Windsor fights back in kind with chops of her own, as they went up to the stage for a suplex, which was blocked as Holidead went back to a cross chop. Holidead’s bounced off the side of the ring as Holidead took things back inside, if only for some clubbing forearms to the chest and a legdrop to boot.
More legdrops follow back inside en route to some headscissors, before another legdrop on the apron missed. Windsor capitalises with a low dropkick to the back, before her apron PK was countered with a leg sweep. Holidead continues to beat on Windsor, before she went into the corner for some stomps. A missed shoulder charge from Holidead gives Windsor another opening, pulling Holidead down with a single leg before a bow and arrow hold turned into a roll-up for a near-fall. A quick back elbow from Holidead gets her back in it, as she proceeded to roll Windsor into a seated surfboard stretch.
Hanging up Windsor in the ropes, Holidead scores a running knee before she got hung in the ropes… allowing Windsor to add in a fallaway slam. A Fisherman’s suplex is blocked, but Windsor finds a way in with a headbutt before they hit duelling big boots. The pair fight back to their feet, but Holidead’s ahead once more, only to get taken into the corner for some clotheslines. Windsor kips up, but got pushed into a spinebuster… she shrugs it off and lands a tornado DDT, before a swinging Flatliner from Holidead almost won it. Another headbutt from Windsor helps her free, as a Ki Krusher got the win in an even outing. Run this one back in front of a bigger crowd, because this was a fantastic scrap for the place on the card. ***¼
No Disqualification for TNT Women’s Championship: Lana Austin vs. Alexxis Falcon (c)
An offering from PROGRESS’ sister promotion here, with a feud that’s gotten some buzz in the North West getting an airing in London. We do get a pre-match video package, covering their interactions in PROGRESS…
Austin cheapshots Falcon as the referee was parading the title belt before the match, and we get going with Austin steaming out of the corner with a clothesline. A snap suplex and uppercuts lead to a basement dropkick for an early one-count as Austin clearly was looking to win this in short order. Heading outside, Austin pulls a chair from under the ring, but Falcon’s dropkick stopped her from using it as the champion opted to roll outside and grabbed two chairs of her own. Alexxis took too long getting plunder as Austin jumps her again, taking her into the crowd for chops… before Lana got distracted by “a fan” wearing an Alexxis tee. Commentary corrects themselves as it being PROGRESS management wearing the shirt (Lee McAteer), and yeah, I could do without this aspect…
Falcon whips Austin out through some doors, before they fought towards the merch table in front of more of PROGRESS management, as a scarf was used to drag Alexxis around the floor. More chops follow as they fight around ringside, leading to Lana trolling the fans. More plunder comes out, but Austin has a bin dropkicked into her, before that bin was put over Lana… and beaten on with chairshots. A drawing pin-encrusted Croc comes out next, which Falcon puts on and kicked into Austin’s face. Lana rolls outside and was met with a splits legdrop… but back inside, a forearm gets Lana a two-count, before she stacked up some chairs in the corner for a dropkick to Falcon’s face.
Falcon escapes a DDT and came back with a back cracker, then a German suplex, before a rolling neckbreaker onto a chair nearly won it. Austin escaped a hooking Flatliner and headbutted Falcon to the mat for another near-fall, before she headed outside for a bag. More drawing pins? Nope, it’s Lego (or your favourite non-branded brick-based toy)! Falcon’s able to capitalise with a tornado suplex into the bricks, which referee LK quickly clears up as Falcon finds a bag of her own… which had drawing pins in it. Falcon tries for a superplex into the pins, but Austin slips out and hits a powerbomb out of the corner instead.
Austin drags Falcon through the pins before she got a two-count… Austin pushes on with a draping DDT onto a chair, but still Falcon kicks out, and found a way in with a hooking Flatliner off the ropes that Austin narrowly kicked out of. So Falcon makes use of the plunder again and hits another swinging Flatliner into the chair, finally getting the three-count. I wish they’d been able to show some of their TNT stuff in the hype video, but this was a fantastic plunder match that even got the quiet ones in the crowd going. Hunt this one down on the Network! ***¾
Skye Smitson vs. Laura di Matteo
A warm-up of sorts for the four-way on the anniversary show later in the week… that was for a shot at the women’s title.
We start on the mat, with di Matteo tripping up Smitson, only to get caught in a front facelock. A hammerlock helps Laura get free, before a wristlock took Skye to the mat ahead of an escape, ending with Skye just punching di Matteo in the face. Forearms offer a reply, as did armdrags and a dropkick, before a snapmare and a sliding clothesline drew a one-count. Uppercuts in the corner from Smitson put her ahead, as did a dropkick, before stomps kept di Matteo on the mat. A big boot does the same, before a deadlift gutwrench suplex slung di Matteo across the ring for a two-count. Body blows keep di Matteo in the corner, before she snapped back with a Flatliner into the buckles.
That’s good for a two-count after Laura dragged Skye out of the corner, but elbows and a Fisherman suplex put Smitson back in it. A Japanese stranglehold is countered into a surfboard stretch from di Matteo, who followed up with clotheslines and an enziguiri. Di Matteo adds a swinging DDT, but Smitson clings to the ropes to avoid being pinned, before she countered a tombstone with a roll-up out of nowhere for the pin. **¼
Pan-Afrikan World Diaspora Wrestling World Championship: Rhio vs. Trish Adora (c)
Earlier card changes meant that the scheduled three-way dance for the Pan-Afrikan World Diaspora title was turned into a one-on-one shot for Rhio against Trish Adora…
Adora engages first, grabbing a side headlock on Rhio, only to get taken down with a waistlock as the pair began their feeling-out process. An overhead wristlock has Rhio bridging back down to the mat, while Adora’s push-ups showed off a little. Headscissors keep Rhio on the defensive, but she’s able to get free and looked to wear down Adora with a Japanese stranglehold. Adora escaped and rolled Rhio into a Cattle Mutilation, only for Rhio to break the hold and pull Adora back down in a Cobra clutch. Rolling into the mount, Rhio picks up a two-count, then hit a suplex before a roll-up out of the corner had Adora go from attack to defence in seconds, as another submission attempt came calling.
Rhio can’t keep the hold on as Adora charges back with a crossbody and some cravat knees. A hip attack follows in the corner, then a pull-up powerbomb out of it for a near-fall, before a butterfly suplex and a spinning heel kick got Rhio back at the races. The pair trade shots from there, leading to an enziguiri from Rhio, then an ushigoroshi that almost led to the title change. An Air Raid Crash is next out of Rhio, but Adora still kicks out at two, then returned with a deadlift German suplex, bridging it as Rhio just about kicked out in time. Another Rhio enziguiri lands, but a Bubba Bomb from Adora sees her trap Rhio ahead of a bodyscissor’d cradle for the win. This was nice and competitive, with Rhio looking good throughout – only to fall short at the final hurdle. ***¼
After the match, Adora called out Mercedez Blaze for a shot at the PAWD title on the next night’s Everything Patterned show…
PROGRESS Women’s Championship: Session Moth Martina vs. Gisele Shaw (c)
There’s a definite feeling that the clock is ticking on Gisele Shaw’s reign as champion, since she’s now part of Impact, but at the same time it doesn’t feel like anyone but Kanji is getting built to take the title…
Martina grinds on Gisele to start, then the ref… before she got charged down with a shoulder tackle from a non-plussed Shaw. Gisele tries to grind, but gets rolled up… then ground on. She tries to roll up Martina, but it’s countered as Shaw eventually hit back with chops. A missed charge into the corner allows Martina back in it with some running forearms, then a leg lariat and a Bronco buster. Martina gets a near-fall out of a Fisherman suplex, before she chopped Shaw into the corner. Shaw superkicks away a springboard attempt, knocking Martina down to the floor, as the pair began to fight around ringside.
Martina rolls back in, only to get stomped on as some boot choking saw Shaw begin to chain together offence, Some choking in the ropes keeps the momentum going, then a kick to the back, but Martina’s up at two before she was caught in a chinlock, then an armbar. Firing back, Martina lands some forearms, only to get thrown down before she was trapped in the ropes for a push-down stomp. Shaw gets a two-count out of that, as Martina tried her luck with a roll-up, then a spiking DDT, before the pair traded forearms. Firing up, Martina demands some shots (not the drinks), and gets them before she cracked Shaw with a headbutt… then clotheslines and back elbows, before another headbutt softened up Shaw for a Twister suplex that nearly won it.
A Seshbreaker’s avoided by Shaw, who ends up taking a Famouser seconds later for another near-fall. Shaw blocks a Jager Bomb, then teased a half-and-half suplex, before being pushed off… she recovers with a springboard cutter for a near-fall, before she went for the armbar. Martina rolls free, but got superkicked into the corner, only to return with a Sesbreaker and the Jager Bomb that almost won the title. Martina goes for a swig of beer to help get her over the line, but the beer mist misses and blinds the referee. Shaw capitalises with a low blow, then an eventual knee strike for a near-fall, before the levering armbar rolled Martina into the middle of the ring for the tap-out. A good showing from Martina, but it just wasn’t to be… ***
As PROGRESS’ first all-women’s show (previous cards in a similar vein included a “token” men’s match as a gag), this was an enjoyable card – even if the turnout wasn’t perhaps where you’d want it to be. Lana Austin and Alexxis Falcon stole the show with their no-DQ brawl, even without the ability of showing their non-PROGRESS feud. That being said, PROGRESS have been making strides in making sure they’ve been doing more than those “token” matches – perhaps to the point that in a year or so, this could be run as a regular show, sans gimmicks. And hopefully without it being lost in an overly-busy schedule of cards…