Thursday, March 23, 2017

PROGRESS Chapter 11: To Fight War, You Must Become War Review

Jimmy Havoc makes his first defense of the PROGRESS Title against Zack Sabre Jr.!

PROGRESS Chapter 11: To Fight War, You Must Become War
Islington, London, England 1/26/14

Before the show officially begins, I feel obligated to show this cool video package, which highlights the Jimmy Havoc story up to this point.

1.) PROGRESS Tag Team Title Tournament - Semi-Finals - Dave Mastiff & Stixx vs. Team Screw Indy Wrestling (Mark Haskins & Nathan Cruz): ***1/2

This is the third match in the PROGRESS Tag Team Title Tournament. Based on what happened at the last show between The Bhangra Knights & The London Riots (their tournament match ending in a double count out), the Finals to crown the first-ever PROGRESS Tag Team Champions will now be a Triple Threat Tag Team Match. Once again, Katherine Rose does the introductions for Nathan Cruz & Mark Haskins. They would jump Stixx during his entrance, before Mastiff came out. The heels ganged up on him a little bit, but Mastiff soon ran out to even the odds, and the match got going. In one funny moment during the match, Cruz tried to escape Mastiff's grasp, but Mastiff held on to Cruz's tights, which led to his ass being exposed to the world. This tag team match was actually a little bit better than I was expecting. There was some good action from start to finish, and they also managed to tell a solid story, as Cruz & Haskins isolated Stixx, which built to a hot tag to Mastiff. At one point, towards the end of the match, Mastiff went for a cannonball in the corner on Nathan Cruz, but Rose got in the ring and covered up Cruz, preventing Mastiff from hitting the move. It looked like Mastiff was going to take out Rose, but then Cruz took him out. Haskins then went after Stixx, and pinned him to score the win. Again, this was better that I was expecting.

2.) Natural Progression Series II - Quarterfinals - Josh Bodom vs. “Flash” Morgan Webster: ***1/2

Up next, we have the first match in the second Natural Progression Series Tournament. Both of these men would go on to make a bigger name for themselves on the UK scene, but at this point, they were two young guys fighting for the same prize that went to Mark Andrews. This was another really good match. There was some very nice back & forth action throughout this one, and both guys got the chance to shine here. Webster would ultimately get the win, but Bodom showed a lot in defeat. A great showcase for both guys. They really won the crowd over.

3.) Noam Dar vs. El Ligero: ***1/4

This is a rematch from the first match in PROGRESS history. They also had a PROGRESS Title Match at Chapter 7. Dar was just coming back from (I believe) a pretty bad collar bone injury. There was some good action throughout this one, and as a whole, I would say the match was good, but it just went WAAAAY too long. I don't know the exact time of the match, but I think it went (at least) twenty-five minutes, maybe more. Again, the match was by no means bad, and there were a number of highlights, but they really needed to shave ten minutes off of this one. Both guys worked hard, but again, the length of the match hurt it significantly. Towards the end of the match, El Ligero went for the C4L, but Dar countered it into a rollup, and managed to get the win.

After the match, Dar took the mic and talked about his recovery from injury. He said he wasn’t worried about contracts, TV deals, or excursions overseas. He was worried about being here. The only contract he’ll sign is one that’ll allow him to stay here and do what he does best, on a “jobseeker’s allowance” (I think that's what he said). Dar closed by saying something about a lightsaber. Basically, he said he wants to paint it purple like Mace Windu, because he’s a bad motherfucker. It was pretty hard to understand Dar (in this particular promo) with his thick Scottish accent.

4.) PROGRESS Tag Team Title Tournament - Semi-Finals - F.S.U. (Eddie Dennis & Mark Andrews) vs. The Swords Of Essez (Will Ospreay & Paul Robinson): ***3/4

This is the fourth and final match in the first round of the PROGRESS Tag Team Title Tournament. Early in the match, Eddie Dennis pulled out a Rey Mysterio mask and put it on. He then started doing some lucha. The start of the match was definitely more lighthearted, but once things got more series, and the pace picked up, this turned into a really good match! There was a ton of crazy action in this one, particular in the closing stretch. All four guys are incredibly talent, and they all did a great job here. In the end, Andrews pinned Ospreay with a springboard hurricanrana into a pin for the win. I believe this was the third time that Andrews had pinned Ospreay in PROGRESS. Robinson shook hands with F.S.U. after the match, though Ospreay appeared to be visibly frustrated.

This meant that the next show would feature a Triple Threat Tag Team Match with Project Ego, Team Screw Indy Wrestling, and F.S.U. to crown the first-ever PROGRESS Tag Team Champions.

Eddie Dennis took the mic after the match. He promised that F.S.U. would become the first PROGRESS Tag Team Champions. He then talked about the crowd chanting “PROGRESS Champ” at Mark Andrews. Dennis talked about the attack by Jimmy Havoc & The London Riots back at Chapter 10. He said that they stole something that Andrews had worked so hard to earn. He invited the three of them to show up at ENDVR: 3 (for those who don't know, ENDVR is basically the developmental brand of PROGRESS, as they featured both established talent as well as new talents from the PROGRESS wrestling school, called the Projo), and added that he doesn’t want a wrestling match....he wants a fight!

5.) Rampage Brown vs. Tommy End: ***1/2

Tommy End has had a number of good outing since he made his debut in PROGRESS. Meanwhile, his opponent on this show, Rampage Brown, is coming off losing the PROGRESS Title to Mark Andrews at Chapter 10. As far as this match is concerned, I really enjoyed it. It was a hard-hitting affair, and it featured some very nice action. Brown would ultimately get the win here, but Tommy End looked strong in defeat.

Rampage Brown took the mic after the match. He gives credit to End for being a tough opponent, but then turns his attention to the PROGRESS Title. Brown said that he didn’t agree to that title match at Chapter 10, and he vowed to get the staff back.

6.) PROGRESS Title - Special Guest Referee: Marty Scurll - Jimmy Havoc vs. Zack Sabre Jr.: ***1/2

Zack Sabre Jr. has his half of the GHC Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Titles from NOAH with him. Smallman says that the usual head referee isn’t comfortable with being the referee in this match after being attacked by Jimmy Havoc back at Chapter 10. He then announces Marty Scurll (Zack Sabre Jr.'s longtime tag team parter) as the special guest referee. Havoc took the mic after Scurll came out, and said that he & Zack Sabre Jr. didn't need to fight, since they both have titles. He said that they’re “mates”, and added that they should just fuck off and go get drinks at the pub. Zack Sabre Jr. refuses, and the match gets going.

I actually think it's pretty cool that they had a special guest referee for this match, as these two had a very good technical match back a Chapter 7 with Nigel McGuinness as the special guest referee. Obviously, this time around, they're facing off under very different circumstances. While this wasn't quite as good as the match they had at Chapter 7, I still thought this was a really good match. Havoc played his role as a heel well, while Zack Sabre Jr. showed some incredible babyface fire. You could criticize Marty Scurll a little bit here from a logic standpoint, as you might wonder why he didn't just do fast counts if Zack Sabre Jr. tried for a pin attempt, but honestly, I didn't mind the fact that Scurll pretty much called this right down the middle. 

Towards the end of the match, Scurll got accidentally taken out by Zack Sabre Jr. via a kick. The "technical wizard" got Havoc in a submission, and the champion tapped out, but of course, Scurll was out, and couldn’t see the submission. Zack Sabre Jr. tried to revive Scurll, but this gave Havoc an opening, and he hit a low blow. Havoc followed this up with a Go Home Driver on the PROGRESS Title Staff after one of the Projo Trainees slid it into the ring. After Scurll finally recovered, he shoved Havoc, and the champion responded by taking him out. Havoc then took the mic, and tells Jim Smallman to call for the end of the match, or he’d kill Zack Sabre Jr. by choking him out. Zack Sabre Jr. managed to put up a brief fight, and it looked like he might break the hold, but he ultimately passed out, and Havoc retained the PROGRESS Title. Again, the match was (mostly) good, but the shenanigans at the end did hurt it a little bit, in my eyes. With that being said, I will give them some credit, as the ending of the match was actually very well done.

After the match, Jimmy Havoc got the mic back, and said that Jim Smallman was stupid if he didn’t think he’d have someone to help him win this match, even with The London Riots banned from ringside. He said that he’ll show Smallman respect once he showed him respect, and told everyone to fuck themselves before leaving. Following the champion's departure, Smallman took the mic and said that he and the PROGRESS management would make sure that Jimmy Havoc’s life was a living hell as long as he was champion. He adds that they’ll do everything in their power to make sure he loses that title. Smallman then thanked Zack Sabre Jr. & Marty Scurll for their efforts, as well as the fans for coming out.

Overall: 7.75/10

While Chapter 11 wasn't quite as good as Chapter 10, it was still a very solid outing from PROGRESS. If there's anything you could say about this show, it's that it was incredibly consistent. No match fell below ***1/4, but unlike Chapter 10, this show didn't have that one great match that cracked the **** mark. F.S.U. vs. The Swords of Essex was the best match on this particular show, while Noar Dar vs. El Ligero was probably the lowlight of the show, mainly due to it's length (again, it was still a fine match). I enjoyed the main event, but shenanigans did take it down a notch for me (though the finish did make up for it, to a degree). As a whole, this was another PROGRESS event that, with a ton of really good matches, was relatively easy to watch.

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