Show Date: 24/1/16
PROGRESS is a London-based company that has been leading the way in the rise of the BritWres scene in recent years. The shows have an underground, punk-rock like feel to them and the company has often been called the PWG of the UK. This was their first big show of the year, and the first show of theirs that I have ever seen, main evented by a PROGRESS title match between long-time rivals Marty Scurll and Will Ospreay in what is sure to be a classic match.
The show starts with PROGRESS co-owner Jim Smallman welcoming the audience to the show and generally hyping up the crowd. This was a fun way to start the show and makes the company feel more human.
The Origin (c) (El Ligero and Nathan Cruz) vs FSU (Mark Andrews and Eddie Dennis) (PROGRESS Tag Team Championship)
I don’t know a huge amount about Cruz and Dennis but Ligero and Andrews are great high flyers so I had high hopes for this match. And boy did this live up to those high hopes, this was a crazy jr tag title style match with a lot of insane spots. I wasn’t a huge fan of the finish as Cruz hit Andrews with the safest looking tombstone onto a trash can lid I’ve ever seen, but I’ll take a safe looking spot over an unnecessarily dangerous one any day. Nathan Cruz retains after pinning Mark Andrews with a Tombstone onto a trash can lid *** ¼
Damian Dunne vs. Tyler Bate (Natural Progression Series III Quarter Final Match)
The natural progression series is a tournament for trainees from the PROGRESS school (or ProJo) or other young British talent with the winner getting a shot at the PROGRESS title. This was a pretty good straight wrestling match which unfortunately the crowd wasn’t super into. It’s incredible how good Tyler Bate is at just 18 years old. Dunne did nothing for me in this match and I am a little upset he won to be honest. Damien Dunne advances with a springboard codebreaker ** ½
Michael Dante vs. Rob Lynch
Both of these men having been feuding alongside their respective tag partners, Dante with Tommy End forming the Sumarian Death Squad and Lynch with James Davis forming the London Riots. The winner of this match got to pick one of the two stipulations for their upcoming tag match. This was a straight up fight between two big men and was fun as hell to watch. Stiff looking strikes were flying everywhere. Rob Lynch pins Dante after a spear ***
Lynch gets on the mic after the match and announces the stipulation he is picking is a TLC match, which sounds like it could be awesome.
Zack Gibson vs. Mark Haskins (Number One Contender’s Match for PROGRESS Title)
Gibson’s gimmick seems to be that he is a Liverpool fan, even coming out to You’ll Never Walk Alone, which is such a hilariously local gimmick. Haskins has him arm taped up, apparently after a match with Kenny Omega. We got some great matwork to start this match and then Gibson worked over Haskins’ injured arm. Haskins worked from underneath very well here and Gibson had a lot of great innovative offence that I enjoyed. Things became much more back and forth later on in the match with a lot of stiff strikes. Haskins’ transitions and submission wrestling here was phenomenal to watch. These two men put on a great match to be proud of, Haskins really is a special talent right now. Haskins makes Zack tap to a Stretch Muffler **** ¼
Paul Robinson vs. Flash Morgan Webster
This is the first match back after intermission. Robinson had a lot of heat coming into this match, and while I don’t really like Webster I have to admit the crowd seemed to be into him. I wasn’t really super into this match. We got a lot of character work from Paul Robinson who looked very good here, but something just did click about this for me and I don’t know why. Flash Morgan Webster wins by DQ ** ½
Dahlia Black (w/TK Cooper) vs. Toni Storm vs. Jinny (w/Elizabeth) vs. Pollyanna
Fun, chaotic four way match. Some of the girls, mainly Dahlia Black and Jinny, looked a bit green but the other two more than made up for it. Lot of good character work again from Jinny. Jinny pins Dahlia Black with a Backstabber ** ¾
We get some Marty Scurll promos to hype the main event, these promos were honestly some of the best I’ve seen from an indie talent in a while. Marty really has a hang on this Villain character.
Will Ospreay (c) vs. Marty Scurll (NoDQ)(PROGRESS Title)
This match had a real big fight feel to it at the start. This wasn’t quite as good as their RevPro High Stakes match, it was a very different match to that, but was also incredible to watch. The story of this match was Ospreay throwing all of his flying at Scurll and even bringing a hardcore style we don’t normally see from Will but not being able to overcome Scurll’s aggressive style. The finishing stretch was absolutely incredible with Ospreay refusing to give up after everything Marty was throwing at him. Marty’s destruction of Ospreay after hand cuffing him was almost uncomfortable to watch and Ospreay again refusing to give up until he had no choice was some of the best babyface work I’ve seen in a long time. Go watch this match. Scurll makes Will Ospreay submit to a crossface chickenwing **** ¾
Very good show top to bottom with only one or two matches not really delivering. The main event was another classic match in the series that Scurll and Ospreay have been having. Great stuff.