Rob's Guide on How to Progress through PROGRESS

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Rob's Guide on How to Progress through PROGRESS

Post by Robareid » Wed Jul 01, 2015 3:07 pm

Cheesy title I know...

These days PROGRESS really has a lot of buzz around it, and it's not just from London or even just the UK anymore. The brand has got to the stage where most wrestling nerds have heard about it, at least from what I've seen from my bubble, and worldwide people are starting to check out what all of the fuss is about.

Luckily enough, PROGRESS recently launched their own on demand service 'Demand Progress', so for the low price of just £5 or $7.50 you have full access to every show they've ever put out. However, they've got about 25 shows up there, and that's just enough that most people won't want to go back and watch all of them but not too man that it feels impossible that you should be able to get a good grasp on their complete history. That's where reviews come in, they tell you what you can skip because it's bad and unimportant, and what to watch.

What I'd noticed though is that, while now they're getting some good current coverage especially from Voices' own Oli Court, there's a bit of a gap on the reviews of the historical stuff. If somebody wanted to venture through the archives of PROGRESS shows they'd pretty much be on their own until about Chapter 17 (although TJ Hawke did do a few reviews of some of their earlier shows on 411).

So that's what this is going to be. I'm venturing through the PROGRESS backlogs, and compiling a guide on what you should watch in order to see all the greatness of the PROGRESS, understand all the storylines, and skip all the shit.

This will not be a series of reviews, mostly because I'm too lazy but also because I want to get through watching the entire history of a promotion relatively expediently and writing full reviews for every show would slow me down significantly. I plan to have this all caught up towards the end of July, and will continue to update it when newer shows come up after that. Feel free to post in this thread, I don't need to post this whole thing uninterrupted, in fact I'd love to see that some people actually care about this and I'm not doing this for nobody.

I've done this so that as long as you don't go past the post where you're up to it's spoiler free. So if you're watching through you can read the post about the chapter you're on before watching it without getting spoiled for that chapter, just don't go past that post. Also, in each post I often use spoiler tags which are designed to be clicked after you've finished watching the match they are a part of.
Last edited by Robareid on Wed Jul 01, 2015 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Rob's Guide on How to Progress through PROGRESS

Post by Robareid » Wed Jul 01, 2015 3:40 pm

Types of Show First off, I think it's important to establish that PROGRESS run three different tiers of shows.

1 - Chapter Shows

This is the core of PROGRESS, their main shows. As of writing there have been 19 chapters and 20 shows (Chapter 19 was a two night tournament), all but one of which are available on Demand Progress. The one that isn't is Chapter 13, and that's because there was a problem in filming it so was released on youtube to everybody for free because they didn't feel right charging for it. These shows so far have all taken place in London at progressively larger (no pun intended) venues, although it has just been announced that from December forward PROGRESS will be expanding and they'll start running some Chapter shows up North in Manchester starting with Chapter 24. These will make up the bulk of the guide.

2 - Festival Shows

PROGRESS also runs shows at festivals, last year (2014) they went to two festivals (Download and Sonisphere) and put on mini cards (I think they're usually about four matches) several nights in a row. Last year these weren't recorded, and thus aren't on Demand Progress so won't be a part of this guide, but this year they did record the Download Festival shows although they're yet to go up. They'll probably be a part of the guide at some point, but maybe not straight away depending on when they go up and how good/important they turn out to be.

3 - ENDVR

These shows are the PROGRESS training school's, affectionately named the Projo, shows. So far there have been 11 ENDVR shows, and from ENDVR 7 onwards they're going to be all up on Demand Progress, although there's more of a delay on these shows than the Chapter shows so currently they only have ENDVR 7, 8 and 9 up. The Projo really has churned out some fantastic talent in such a short time of being in existence, and from all reports these ENDVR shows are a lot of fun, especially live. However you don't really need to check them out unless you're a real hardcore PROGRESS fan, so these shows won't be a part of this guide. Any ENDVR guy who really starts to impress will soon make it onto the Chapter shows anyway.

EDIT: They also now run a trainee show a tier below ENDVR called PTNTL. Not taped though, so not included here.

The one show that doesn't fit into any of these three tiers was the PROGRESS World Cup. This was a 2014 one night tournament with participants each representing a different country that took place during the football (or soccer if you think football is a sport played primarily with your hands) World Cup in 2014. It's basically a Chapter show in all but name, and if I remember correctly the only reason it isn't a chapter is because it was announced after Chapter 14 despite taking place before it, so they didn't want to go to the effort of renaming Chapter 14 to 15 and the confusion that might cause. I could be remembering incorrectly though.

EDIT: PROGRESS also had a match at the 2016 WrestleMania weekend WrestleCon Supershow for their title, which is also included in this guide.

Between the shows the PROGRESS narrative is progressed (again, not an intentional pun) through youtube videos and also the occasional long-form interview piece that goes up on Demand Progress. These will be a part of this guide, along with links.
Last edited by Robareid on Sat Jul 11, 2015 1:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Rob's Guide on How to Progress through PROGRESS

Post by Robareid » Wed Jul 01, 2015 4:35 pm

Image

Chapter One: In the Beginning...
Championship Qualifier: Noam Dar vs. El Ligero
Good opener, well worth a watch. ***1/4

Championship Qualifier: Nathan Cruz vs. Colossus Kennedy
Both guys have a promo at the start, both are worth watching, Cruz's because it's pretty good and Kennedy's because it's so bad. Probably give the match itself a skip. Cruz wins and advances to the final.

Championship Qualifier: Colt Cabana vs. Mike Mason
RJ Singh had to pull out, so Mike Mason took his place. Entirely skippable, Mason advances via valet interference.

Championship Qualifier: Marty Scurll vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Great match, especially considering that this was three years ago before Sabre had settled into NOAH (think he'd just come back from his first tour) and Marty had found himself. A very British match, especially at the start. Definite watch. ***3/4

BWC Scarlo Scholarship Championship Triple Threat: Xander Cooper (c) vs. Darrell Allen vs. Zack Gibson
For those who don't know, the Scarlo Scholarship belt was a belt that wasn't attached to any one promotion but instead toured across the UK with whoever was the champion and was competed for by graduates from British Wrestling Council certified schools. This was a fun little three way between three rookies, and while it wasn't the most crisp of matches it was entertaining. ***

That was particularly interesting to see because two of the guys stuck around in the short run and have since tailed off, that three way was one of the three's only PROGRESS match for a long time but has become a regular roster member this year.

PROGRESS "title" is revealed
Definite watch. The "title" is very cool, Jim Smallman is great, the crowd are great.

Four Way Elimination match to crown the inaugural PROGRESS Champion
► Show Spoiler

Match is very skippable, there's lots of boring crowd brawling. Watch the first two eliminations (at 1:42:00 till 1:44:00) because they're important storyline wise. Then watch the finishing stretch (1:51:30 onwards) again mostly for storyline understanding.



Not the best first show, but there's good stuff there. Crowd was clearly great from show one.

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Re: Rob's Guide on How to Progress through PROGRESS

Post by Robareid » Wed Jul 01, 2015 4:51 pm

Progressing from Show to Show: Chapter One -> Two There were a couple of YouTube videos that move the story forward between the first two shows.



Probably worth watching, although it's basically just a standard challenge promo (although weird that it's a heel Champion challenging a face challenger).






Definite watch all of these. It's the start of the best storyline the company has ever done and is still continuing to this day. For reference Jimmy Havoc, a deathmatch wrestler on the UK scene, had started a twitter petition to get himself booked for PROGRESS. It starts off as comedy, but trust me, this turns into an amazing serious storyline down the line.


And finally:

100% skippable, basically just explaining why Sabre Jr. wouldn't be at Chapter 2 (he'd just started to get booked with NOAH).

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Re: Rob's Guide on How to Progress through PROGRESS

Post by Robareid » Wed Jul 01, 2015 9:23 pm

Image

Chapter Two: The March of Progress
Jim Smallman Pre-Show Hype
Jim Smallman is the owner and ring announcer. His pre-show crowd hype ups are always entertaining, and always worth a watch. Stixx came out to interrupt him and cut a solid heel promo to lead into his match. Everything worth watching here.

Stixx vs. Lion Kid
Stixx isn't very good in the ring for the most part, although every now and again he'll have a very entertaining match that surprises you. This wasn't one of those occasions. Skip this. Lion Kid stole a flash win.

BWC Scarlo Scholarship Championship Match: Mark Haskins (c) vs. Mike Hitchman
Haskins beat former champion Cooper for the title in another promotion. Another entertaining match for the scholarship title that's well worth a watch, despite them probably kicking out of a bit too much. ***1/4

Noam Dar vs. Darrell Allen
A good carryjob by Dar. ***

Jimmy Havoc vs. Danny Garnell
Garnell was Havoc's "retrainer" from the youtube videos. This was an enjoyable match on its own, but was more important as a chapter of Havoc's ongoing story. Don't skip this. ***

London Riots vs. Velocity Vipers
Velocity Vipers feature a nineteen year old Will Ospreay. This was basically just an extended squash where the two big Riots just destroyed the comparatively tiny Vipers. Pretty fun if you enjoy a power squash. Riots have a post match promo too.

Number One Contendership Match: El Ligero vs. Greg Burridge vs. RJ Singh
A solid little three way, despite some very crude humour. The finish and post match is important, so check that out even if you skip the match. ***

PROGRESS Championship Two out of Three Falls Match: Marty Scurll vs. Nathan Cruz (c)
While this wasn't a bad match by any means, it had no business going as long as it did. Nathan Cruz is far too basic a wrestler to be going half an hour. He's not a bad wrestler, but imagine a Darren Young or a Cody Rhodes wrestling a half an hour match. While this is probably the third best match on the show, I wouldn't blame you if you skipped this because of how long it went. If so, watch from 2:09:30 onwards for storyline reasons. ***


No real highlight of this show, but a handful of good matches and some storyline progression (urgh, I swear these aren't intentional). PROGRESS hadn't really found itself yet at this point, and they were still filing through a lot of different talent to trial them all out before refining it into the elite British roster that they have today. The finish to the main event also marked the start of a period of major over-booking which they have fortunately got out of their system nowadays.
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Re: Rob's Guide on How to Progress through PROGRESS

Post by K. Hare » Wed Jul 01, 2015 9:47 pm

This is awesome

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Re: Rob's Guide on How to Progress through PROGRESS

Post by Robareid » Wed Jul 01, 2015 10:06 pm

Yay somebody finds it useful. :)

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Re: Rob's Guide on How to Progress through PROGRESS

Post by Robareid » Wed Jul 01, 2015 10:16 pm

Progressing from Show to Show: Chapter Two -> Three

Just the one video this time.



Not vital, but worth a watch to further immerse yourself in the Havoc arc.

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Re: Rob's Guide on How to Progress through PROGRESS

Post by saviorofstrongstyle » Thu Jul 02, 2015 8:43 am

thank you so much for doing this, this is extremely extremely great, and helpful. I re-signed up to Demand Progress to check out Chapter 19, which I found to be highly enjoyable and now want to work my way through the previous stuff in a more concrete manor. So many thanks for doing this.

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Re: Rob's Guide on How to Progress through PROGRESS

Post by Robareid » Thu Jul 02, 2015 11:00 am

No problem man, more eyes need to be on PROGRESS so I'm happy to do my little bit.

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Re: Rob's Guide on How to Progress through PROGRESS

Post by Robareid » Thu Jul 02, 2015 5:40 pm

Image

Chapter Three: Fifty Shades of Pain
Promo Package
A nice little build-up promo package kicks off the show, mostly hyping up the London Riots vs. Bastard Squad match.

Noam Dar vs. Paul Robinson
Good little opener. Dar openers are a real highlight on these early shows. ***1/4

BWC Scarlo Scholarship Championship Match: Mark Andrews (c) vs. Xander Cooper
This was fine, but still pretty skippable. Andrews retains with the shooting star.

London Riots vs. Bastard Squad
This was almost a good match, but one or two miscommunications hurt the flow. Watch the post match beatdown from 43:00 onwards.

Jimmy Havoc vs. Jon Ryan
You should definitely at least start to watch this match. When things "change", click the first spoiler.
► Show Spoiler
► Show Spoiler
RJ Singh vs. Rob Cage
Skippable. Singh retains from his ethnic submission after a distraction from his manager. After the match there's a short angle starting at 1:23:30.

Lion Kid vs. Stixx
These two had a skippable match to open the last show, and this is equally as skippable. Stixx wins by powerbomb after jumping him to start.

El Ligero & Nathan Cruz vs. Dave Mastiff & Greg Burridge
Marty Scurll was the ref here, so this match kind of sucked. I hate bias ref gimmicks. Watch from x:xx:xx for the angle and then the post match. Watch from 1:59:30 onwards for the angle.


Not a good show, probably the worse show PROGRESS has ever had, although if you enjoy deathmatches then perhaps you'll disagree. At least these shows will be quick for you to get through if you're following the guide. It gets better, I promise.

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Re: Rob's Guide on How to Progress through PROGRESS

Post by Mike » Thu Jul 02, 2015 6:45 pm

Great great thread. I've caught a few shows, but I love the reviews from the start. Excellent resource.

I actually bought SSS16 because I wanted to have a downloaded copy and it was such a good investment. They have tremendous video quality.

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Re: Rob's Guide on How to Progress through PROGRESS

Post by Robareid » Thu Jul 02, 2015 10:04 pm

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Chapter Four: The Ballad of El Ligero
No 'Progressing from Show to Show' this time as there was no content put out.

Opening Video Package
Very well put together video package put together on Ligero's time in PROGRESS so far. Made the storyline seem way better than it has been.

London Riots vs. Hunter Brothers
Riots finally get to work with a decent team and it produces a fun tag opener. Wish they'd keep better track of who is legal though. ***

Paul Robinson vs. RJ Singh
Another fun little undercard match. ***

Submission Match: Noam Dar vs. Jimmy Havoc
It's so weird to see Havoc working comedy knowing what he is now. Still nothing you should be skipping, show is on somewhat of a roll. ***1/4

Natural Progression Series First Round Match: Will Ospreay vs. Mark Andrews
Two young guys (both of whom have improved substantially since this point) going out there and trying to steal the show. Very good stuff. ***1/2

Dave Mastiff vs. Marty Scurll vs. Stixx
Fun little three way, despite some eh booking. ***

PROGRESS Championship Match: Nathan Cruz (c) vs. El Ligero
Again went too long for a Cruz match, but this was still good stuff. ***1/4


Wow, a show where I said watch everything, that's a first. While there was nothing that was really blow away, this was a consistently very entertaining two hours of wrestling. I'd say it was there first show I'd deem good overall, although you could make the argument for Chapter One.
► Show Spoiler
This was the last show of 2012, PROGRESS' first year of existence. While they were yet to really start blowing people away there's the seeds of a very good promotion here.
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Re: Rob's Guide on How to Progress through PROGRESS

Post by Robareid » Thu Jul 02, 2015 11:59 pm

Progressing from Show to Show: Chapter Four -> Five






A little exchange between Smallman and Cruz that's worth watching as well as an awesome announcement of the main event of chapter five.



The Riots' reply to the announcement. Worth a watch.

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Re: Rob's Guide on How to Progress through PROGRESS

Post by cheapshot » Fri Jul 03, 2015 10:55 am

Great work Rob!
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