We’re in the Electric Ballroom in London for Chapter 72 Got Got Need. England is in the grip of World Cup fever, this show happening right after England bested the mighty Panama 6-1.
Chapter 72: Got Got Need
June 24, 2018
Watch: Demand PROGRESS
Jim does his usual crowd interaction selecting a couple who got married yesterday and a bloke in an Adam Cole t-shirt.
Doug Williams def. Michael Dante
Dante is a weird case study of the scene improving around a dude and him just standing still. Also if there’s ever a modern ‘Marty Janetty’ comparison to be had it would be him and Tommy End. Tommy has become NXT Champion and is destined to be a main card star for many years in WWE. Dante is in the opening match at PROGRESS and is frankly lucky to be that high up the card. Doug is 45 years old and this is probably his farewell tour as a big star. The wear and tear of a long career shows in his every move. His mobility is not what it once was. If you watch the interview that Glen Joseph did with Doug you’ll know he’s suffering from various injuries, especially a bad shoulder that Dante works over. The story is that Doug will keep wrestling as long as he’s Atlas champion. The match is sluggish but luckily the fans are invested in Doug and the storyline. Bomb Scare finishes. **1/2
Laura Di Matteo def. Charlie Morgan
It’s nice to have Laura back as the PROGRESS women’s division was increasingly becoming Toni Storm vs. House of Couture with nothing else happening. Due to most of the division being in a stable Laura finds herself in the same spot here. Charlie Morgan’s act is better suited to EVE where she’s their Ace. Here she’s playing second fiddle to Jinny and being used as the workhorse. Almost in the Arn Anderson enforcer position, which I kinda dig. This leaves Nina Samuels and Chakara standing around in the background a lot. You’d think the story is building to all the other women of PROGRESS teaming up (Toni, Millie, Laura and someone else) to offset this power base Jinny has established. The match is better when they just ignore those outside the ring and rely on the technical nous of the wrestlers. The match is a little clunkier when they’re standing up and especially setting up interference spots. Laura does a good job of being distracted by Jinny, playing into their long-standing feud going back some two years. Morgan and Samuels end up colliding and Laura gets the fluke roll up. Which is fine because she had the match won with a submission that was broken up illegally. **1/2
Will Ospreay def. Jordan Devlin
This got incredible buzz and was widely embraced as match of the night, although some OTT fans are pissed off that PROGRESS did the match before OTT had the chance to. Presumably because they knew it would be great. Everything Ospreay touches is gold at the moment (with the possible exception of taking it easy against Taichi) and Devlin is on this run of proving himself to the various naysayers he collected after the WWE UK Tournament. Ospreay definitely gets a mixed reaction but this is the most popular Devlin has ever been. Ospreay has learned how to bask in the boos, which is the best for his mental health. Ospreay is clearly irked, in character, by Devlin’s popularity and they start to do some crazy counters. When the pace gets going in this match it showcases both talents but for those who are still thinking Devlin is average at best it should be an eye-opener to how good he actually is. The Spanish Fly where they both land on their feet is insane. The Stormbreaker counter into Code Red is also tremendous and it ends a sequence of moves that causes a standing ovation. Ospreay deliberately uses the Acid Rainmaker to screw with Jimmy Havoc, which is a nice touch on top of the battle with Devlin. Ospreay being a dickhead for the sake of it and overlooking his current opponent allows Devlin to get these insane counters (the Destroyer, the reverse rana etc) before Ospreay catches Devlin right into the Stormbreaker for the win. The start to this is deceptively slow but the last five minutes or so is Will at his best. Elaborate planning, crazy spots and someone who can keep up with him. ****1/2
Post match Will batters a trainee with the Rainmaker and Curb Stomps the poor guy on the rope. Paul Robinson runs in for the save! He’s a PROGRESS producer and he’s having none of this.
British Strong Style def. Josh Alexander & Besties in the World
Following that last match is pretty tough so PROGRESS bring out the big guns. By which I mean the NXT Tag Team titles around the waists of Tyler and Trent. Even though the show they won the on hadn’t aired at this point and, to make matters more complex, they’d actually lost them again on a TV taping too. This is some WCW taping level of bullshit! Suffice to say the BSS lads are pretty damn over. It’s very weird seeing them mock the Undisputed Era, continuing a feud that’s going on in a different promotion in a different country. Tyler seems to have forgotten his gear and wrestles in a pair of shorts, drawing yet more chants of “it’s coming home”. Oh yeah and there was a match! Dunne has recently moved up another level and he takes Fitchett to school here. The BSS multi-man matches tend to include a lot of shtick and your mileage may vary based on how into it you are. I know a lot of people are and I do enjoy it but I know plenty of people who hate it. If you like it, you’ll like this match. If you don’t? You probably won’t like it. Whether it’s the shoe throwing, Tyler doing Mr Socko or Trent having pubic hairs picked out of his teeth this is banter heavy. This is probably not the match Josh Alexander was hoping for. The match moves on from banter and into legitimate back and forth with the North Americans forcing the pace. Tyler just goes along with it, despite wearing only one shoe, and his ducking and weaving while out-boxing Josh is pretty impressive. Tyler is effortlessly good. The match is very long and drifts in and out of the rules. Josh acquits himself well, deadlifting Trent off the canvas at one point, before getting caught in the Burning Hammer. This was nuts. A little something for everyone. Again, whether you like this or not is dependant on whether you like the BSS trios formula. ***3/4
Pete Dunne wants words about Ilja Dragunov but Christian Michael Jakobi is here! He calls Pete “an overrated backyard wannabe”. CMJ gets a slap in before running for the exit. Pete stopping just short of chasing him down Camden High Street. Before the second half can get underway Eddie Dennis shows up. He’s been medically cleared to wrestle but that coward Mark Andrews isn’t here.
#CCK def. M&M
This is Lykos’ first match back in PROGRESS after a serious shoulder injury. He’s done some warm up by wrestling in ATTACK!, Defiant and HOPE over the past week. His injury problems largely stemmed from him not rehabbing enough so hopefully, fingers crossed, he’s good to go now. I like Brookes’ reluctance to tag him in, knowing he’s missed a lot of action. M&M are at a big disadvantage in this tournament in terms of experience and size. Brookes is very dismissive of them, which I appreciate. Both Mills and Mayhew are talented young lads and they’re doing a good job of building a reputation as flippy lucha dudes in PROGRESS. Bulking up is the next, and hardest, step in progressing up the card. M&M get in a decent amount of offence but whenever Brookes gets to isolate Mayhew the win isn’t far away. In fact the match probably rumbles on too long, although I appreciate Kid Lykos needing to get ring time after missing some seven months. Mills eats a brainbuster for the loss. **3/4
PROGRESS World Championship
Travis Banks def. Chuck Mambo
Mambo earned this title shot by winning the PROGRESS World Cup, overcoming evil German Bad Bones in the process. A few months ago people were quite down on Mambo but I’ve seen him working super hard across the UK and I’m pleased for him to get this recognition. The idea behind this going on second from top is that Travis doesn’t want the Natural Progression Series winner to challenge him tonight as there’s a Money in the Bank style cash-in involved. Trav is doing good work as a deluded heel champion who still expects the crowd to cheer for him. It’s certainly helped him to prolong his title reign, which had become stale as an underdog babyface battling the odds. The match is perfectly fine but doesn’t have the feeling of Mambo laying it all on the line to get over like the Sabre Jr match did at SSS16. The feeling, from me at least, is that Banks doesn’t do enough during the normal ebb and flow of the match to make Mambo the underdog challenger. What made Chuck’s match with Sabre great was his fiery comebacks. This is very even. It also gets a bit scrappy during the ref bump sequence. It feels as if one of the lads has lost their way. The subsequent arrival of TK Cooper is predictable and is scrappy too. TK is late pulling Roberts out of the ring and the tease of him turning on Travis is nonsensical and not bitten on by the crowd. The finish is flat too with Banks shrugging off Mambo’s comebacks and finishing with the Kiwi Krusher. I love both guys but this didn’t click as it should have. Mambo ends up bloodied from an errant chair shot too which shouldn’t really be happening in 2018. ***
Natural Progression Series V Final
Mark Davis def. Chris Ridgeway
It’s perhaps a little odd that the NPS5 features Davis, an 11 year veteran who’s been on PROGRESS Chapter shows for 9 months, against Riddy, a 6 year veteran who’s been on PROGRESS Chapter shows for 8 months. It’s not quite how I perceived NPS to be; showcasing the future of wrestling. This is the present. However both guys have certainly earned this spot and haven’t had big international exposure so we’ll go with it. It’s an interesting battle with Davis bringing size and strikes while Ridgeway brings strikes and submission attempts. If I had a favourite of the two it’d probably be Davis for a) his sheer crazy ideas and b) his Big Lad mentality. However Riddy is the better technician and long term I’ll probably end up liking him more. The reckless suplex into the chairs from Davis is amazing looking, although I wouldn’t want to see that as a regular move. It’s far too dangerous. The crux of the match is the chops vs. kicks duel. It’s pretty intense. I appreciate both guys going out there to go to war and make the NPS feel like a big deal. Mark knocking Ridgeway out in mid kick duel is beautiful. As is him punching the ring post. That leads to him bleeding from the hand in a stunning visual. Somehow this turns Davis into the underdog, aided by Riddy kicking the ever loving shit out of him. Ridgeway’s kicks in this are downright tasty but Davis’ punches are outstanding. It’s hard to do a good looking punch but Dunkzilla’s are near perfect. Rolling piledrivers puts Ridgeway away and Davis wins NPS 5. I enjoyed this a great deal. Two guys just wailing on each other. It was very much ‘my graps’. ****1/4
Two great matches on this show. Ospreay-Devlin was world class but the main will stay with me too due to the raw, hungry, smashmouth nature of it. The rest of the show was patchy but any show with two great matches on it is fine by me.