PROGRESS Chapter 9: Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kick Me, Kill Me
Islington, London, England 9/29/13
1.) Dave Mastiff vs. Tommy End: ***1/2
Tommy End was making his PROGRESS Wrestling debut here. I thought this was a very good opener. There was a lot of fun action throughout, and it served its role well as an opener. I think Dave Mastiff has been a pretty underrated part on some of these early PROGRESS shows. He never has the best match of the night, but his matches are almost always good, and the crowd is always into him. After some solid back & forth action, Tommy End was able to put Mastiff away to score the victory in his PROGRESS Wresting debut. This was a strong first outing for End, who got “Please Come Back” chants following the match.
2.) Natural Progression Series - Semi-Finals - Eddie Dennis vs. Paul Robinson: ***1/4
The winner of this match would go on to face Mark Andrews in the Finals at Chapter 10. This wasn’t quite as good as the opener, but I thought this was still a pretty solid match. There was a big size difference in this one, and they managed to play off that big man/little man dynamic pretty well. The match featured some sold action, but we did get a few lighthearted moments, which isn’t that much of a shock (as both are babyfaces). At one point, Robinson just curled up into a ball like a turtle hiding in its shell in an attempt to trick Dennis, but the larger Dennis just picked up and dropped him hard. The match did have one or two rough spots, but for the most part, it was good. Paul Robinson eventually got the win, punching his ticket to the Finals of the Natural Progression Series.
3.) Triple Threat Match - Mark Haskins vs. Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Ricochet: ****1/4
This was a pretty random Triple Threat Match, with regards to the competitors involved, but it ended up delivering in a big way. I thought that this was awesome!! There was incredible action throughout, and the crowd loved it. All three guys had moments to shine here, and this was easily one of the best matches I’ve seen on a PROGRESS Wrestling show (thus far). There wasn’t much of a story behind this one, but it definitely delivered when it came to producing some amazing wrestling. Zack Sabre Jr. would ultimately get the victory.
Jim Smallman has the injured Jimmy Havoc come out to help him with the raffle. After the prizes were given out, Smallman asked Havoc about how long it’ll be until he’s back in the ring.
4.) Nathan Cruz vs. Stixx: **
So I guess the storyline here is that Stixx is working his way through the members of Team Screw Indy Wrestling. Before the match, Cruz cut a promo, where he talked about Team Screw Indy Wresting were not the bad guys here. They’re trying to save the wrestling business. He mentions how people like Mark Andrews & Will Ospreay would ask him for advice, and would then later ignore what he told them. Cruz said that he paid his dues and became a Pro, and he gave Stixx one more change to join Team Screw Indy Wrestling. Cruz just kicked him low instead, and the match got underway. Truthfully, the promo from Nathan Cruz was a lot more interesting that this match. As a whole, I thought this was pretty boring. It just went way too long, and it wasn’t interesting at all. Stixx winning here made sense, since the remaining member of Team Screw Indy Wrestling he hadn’t faced yet was PROGRESS Champion Rampage Brown, but that doesn’t change the fact that this match wasn’t good.
5.) Six-Man Tag - Grado & The Bhangra Knights (Darrell Allen & RJ Singh) vs. Project Ego (Kris Travis & Martin Kirby) & T-Bone: **3/4
Grado was revealed to be the mystery partner for The Bhangra Knights. He was replacing Danny Garnell, who was injured. This was a fun six-man tag. Of course, this turned into a comedy match, which is no surprise when you consider who was involved. T-Bone was the only serious guy involved, so it was interesting to see how he reacted to all of this wackiness. At one point, Project Ego messed with the venue’s lights in an attempt to distract Grado. In a pretty weird moment, the match initially ended in a DQ when The Bhangra Knights refused to let go of a double submission hold by the referee’s count of five, giving the win to Project Ego & T-Bone. They then just decided to restart the match as if nothing happened. It was the only moment of the match that felt out of place, but for the most part, this was fine for what it was. Project Ego & T-Bone would get the win anyway when Travis rolled up Grado for the pin.
After the match was over, two guys with black hoodies and face masks ran into the ring and attacked The Bhangra Knights & Grado. They revealed themselves to be The London Riots, who had their last matches with the promotion back at Chapter 8. They got in the face of Jim Smallman, but then Jimmy Havoc came out to make the save with his pink steel chair. Smallman said PROGRESS doesn’t need The London Riots, who’ve done nothing but insult the company. He said that PROGRESS is about all the fans who come out to every show, and great competitors like Jimmy Havoc. Then, Havoc attacked Smallman with the pink steel chair!! He gave him several shots with the chair, as well as The London Riot’s cricket bat, while The London Riots held back The Bhangra Knights from making the save. Havoc then took the mic, and said that he’s not Smallman’s mascot. He felt insulted when, after telling Smallman about not being able to wrestle on this show due to an injury, he was asked by Smallman about who he could get to replace him. Havoc called all of the fans cunts. A fan threw a beer at him, and Havoc threatened to slit his throat. Havoc then talked about he’s been trying to focus on being a technical wrestler, but then Smallman put him in a Death Match when he didn’t want to be in one (since he wanted to leave that part of his career behind him). He said that he respects The London Riots, and adds that he’s going to do what he wants from now on, and gives Smallman a big slap in the face. Havoc then leaves through the crowd with The London Riots. This was an incredible segment, and is probably one of the biggest moments in the history of PROGRESS Wrestling.
6.) PROGRESS Title - Rampage Brown vs. Doug Williams: ***1/2
I guess Doug Williams earned this title shot by virtue of his victory on Chapter 8. This was a pretty good main event. There was a lot of solid action throughout, and as a whole, it was an entertaining title defense. At one point, Williams appeared to take a nasty bump after missing a dive through the ropes, but he managed to recover. Ultimately, Rampage Brown got the win to retain the PROGRESS Title. Again, I thought this was very good, but on this show, it’s going to be overshadowed by the amazing Triple Threat Match from earlier, the incredible angle with Jimmy Havoc, and even the debut of Tommy End.
This was a show that didn't feature a ton of amazing matches, but in this particular case, I think that's ok, because of the incredible angle involving Jimmy Havoc. If you're someone who's a longtime fan of PROGRESS, or if you're someone that's just starting out, that angle is probably what you'll end up remembering this show by. As far as the matches themselves are concerned, you did have one fantastic match, which was the Mark Haskins/Ricochet/Zack Sabre Jr. Triple Threat Match, and two really solid matches in Dave Mastiff vs. Tommy End & Rampage Brown vs. Doug Williams. The rest of the card isn't that memorable.