PROGRESS Wrestling Chapter 44: Old Man Yells At Cloud. 26th February 2017. The Electric Ballroom. Camden, UK.
We’re back with another edition of the PROGRESS Prerogative. This is the weekly column that looks back at each PROGRESS chapter in turn and gives you the lowdown on what went down. This week we present Old Man Yells At Cloud. The big story coming out the last Chapter saw both Flash Morgan Webster and former PROGRESS champion Mark Haskins return from injury. Rescuing Jimmy Havoc from a post-match beatdown by British Strong Style, the three men formed an alliance to take on the lads who hold all the gold. That massive six-man match headlines the show, plus there will be the return of Shane Strickland (Isiah ‘Swerve’ Scott), the debut of Jordan Devlin, another round of Natural Progression Series 4 and much more besides. In the high pitched words of Brock Lesnar, let’s do thiiiiiiis.
Old Man Yells At Cloud
Damon Moser vs James Drake
James Drake makes exceedingly short work of Damon Moser in the opener. A brief flurry on the outside of the ring for Moser, lashing JD into the post and crowd, gives way to the quick finish in the ring. Mr. Mayhem hits a DDT for the pin in just a few minutes. This is Moser’.s final match on a full PROGRESS Chapter – a strange fate for a graduate of their training school. And, as Glen Joseph notes on commentary, WWE is very high on James Drake…
Old Man Yells At Cloud
Session Moth Martina vs. Da,hlia Black – Natural Progression Series
Ireland’s finest leaves her 36 children at home alone in Dublin, as Session Moth Martina makes her PROGRESS debut to take on Dahlia Black. This year’s Natural Progression Series has been running along quite nicely, although some matches have shown less quality than others. No danger of that here as both have honed their craft very well up to this point. As you might expect from a Session Moth match, shenanigans abound with her producing a pouch of tobacco from her tights, seducing TK Cooper, and downing several cans of the good stuff.
Black plays the comedy foil expertly and is always in the exact right spot for the gags to land as they should. As it all wraps up, referee Chris Roberts finds himself on the wrong end of Martina’s amber mist. His temporary blindness allows TK to slide into the ring and hit Session Moth with a straight right hand. Dahlia scrambles over and gets the slow 1, 2, 3 to advance to the next round of NPS4, and is one step closer to the gold.
Old Man Yells At Cloud
Jordan Devlin vs. Travis Banks
Another big debutant from across the Irish Sea next as Jordan Devlin clas.hes with Travis Banks. A bit of a change of pace from the match that came before as the Irish Ace and Kiwi Buzzsaw go hell for leather from the get-go. This is really Travis Banks’ coming out party as a top star for PROGRESS, the Ultras firmly behind after he sends TK Cooper to the back. The wrestlers are evenly matched and seem always to have an answer for the other’s offense. There are plenty of traded forearms, complete with ‘yays’ for Trav and ‘boos’ for Jordan. Dives to the outside are executed at a ferocious speed with Devlin taking the brunt of the impact on both his and his opponent’s efforts.
There’s a slightly dicey moment when Banks lands right on top of his head off a German suplex, but it seemingly doesn’t affect him in the moment as he kicks out strong. Indeed, he rallies from that point of peril to come back and claim the win with the slice of heaven kick from the second rope. The Ultras roar their approval for a new babyface star in the making and respectfully applaud Devlin also. Banks and Devlin would go on to face each other in many other promotions, including WWE, and Trav rates the Irish Ace as his greatest opponent.
Speaking to NZPWI he would say “every time we’ve had a match, I think, if I had to pick an opponent he’s probably the easiest wrestler that I’ve ever ,wrestled, y’know what I mean? We just click, we have chemistry.” Nary a more accurate word spoken.
Sebastian makes his way to the ring to address Pastor William Eaver next. Despite Sebastian holding shocking information over his head, Eaver struck Seb with a right hand at Chapter 43. Carrying a homemade kendo stick, Seb demands that Bill come out from the back to take his punishment or he will have him thrown in jail. Naturally, that prompts the Pastor to make his way down to the ring.
He’s compliant, with Sebastian’s request and drops to his knees to take his lashi,ng. Just as the first strike is being teed up, Chuck Mambo‘s music plays over the PA. It would seem as though Chuck has visited his local library and become quite an expert on law. He informs Seb that it has been over 150 days since the first accusation against Bill, therefore charges cannot be pressed. Also, what Seb has been doing to Bill constitutes blackmail and so Seb is the one who has been breaking the law. Pastor makes a beeline for Jim Smallman: Jim then announces that t,hey will face off in the ring right now in a no DQ match.
Old Man Yells At Cloud
Pastor William Eaver vs. Sebastian – No Disqualifications
This is as close to a double murder as it’s possible to have without intentionally trying to hurt your opponent – holy hell. Seb begins by launching steel chairs straight into Eaver’s face, one of which hits his forehead awkwardly and cuts him open hard way. A good start then. Outside the ring Seb continues to batter Bill with chairs until its suddenly reversed into a running razor’s edge into the crowd.
They go about eight rows deep, and both land hard on the chairs – Bill looks slightly out of it, as though he may be concussed. Back in the ring, Sebastian tapes Eaver to the ropes and cracks him across the back with his homemade cane. He thrashes the cane wildly and it cuts open Bill’s back in several places really severely until Chris Roberts stops him. That allows the Pastor to come back and dump Seb lo,wer back first onto an upright steel chair.
He follows up with a clothesline from Heaven to get the win and his revenge over his oppressor. After the victor has departed, Jim Smallman instructs the ring crew to escort Sebastian from the Ballroom. They drag him kicking and screaming from the ring as the crowd voice their approval. That marked Seb’s last appearance for PROGRESS as he quit the business to travel the world, and what a hellacious finish it was too.
Mark Andrews vs. Shane Strickland
After the crew has cleaned the debris from the ring, Shane Strickland returns to PROGRESS to take on Mark Andrews. Somewhat surprisingly, given the combatants, the action starts nice and slow with some chain wrestling on the mat. Mandrews seems to frustrate Swerve here as he comes out on top after gaining the first pinfall attempt. They pick up the pace a touch and run the ropes, trading arm drags, and headscissors – there’s a beautiful structure to this match from the get-go.
They then enter the section of the match where they try to out-fly one another. Hurricanranas dives outside, superplexes – it’s a game of one-upmanship for a good stretch. The escalation of wrestling styles reaches a climax with an out and out vicious brawl. Strickland batters Mandrews with right hands; Mandrews stomps on Strickland as he lays prone on the mat. Damn, it’s a thing of beauty. Mandrews, the current Thunderbastard lest we forget, takes the win with a shooting star press after a cracking contest. I’d recommend seeking this one out.
El Ligero vs. Nathan Cruz
The Origin finally implodes as the de facto leaders El Ligero and Nathan Cruz clash. They have a rock-solid if unspectacular match that begins with a nice bit of comedy from Ligero as he tries to embarrass Cruz. When things take a turn for the serious, it’s the Showstealer who exerts himself the most as he keeps Ligs grounded and wears him down methodically. The Mexican Sensation rallies and hits his trademark lucha offense, culminating in a huge splash off the top rope.
After that fails to get the job done, Cruz retakes charge and slaps on figure four in the middle of the ring. Unfortunately for Cruz, he is hoist by his own petard in this instance as Ligero manages to reverse into a small package to eke out a win. Cruz isn’t happy about that and attacks the victor immediately following the bell and rips his mask off. It looks as though the issue between these guys is far from over.
Jack Sexsmith vs. Zack Gibson
Jack Sexsmith’s rise through the ranks of PROGRESS has been a gradual one, and he finds himself in a prime spot opposite Zack Gibson on this show. For the most part, his role here seems to be to play the babyface in peril. It makes perfect sense as Gibson is excellent as the bullying heel, and Jack plays danger perfectly. Liverpool’s number one controls the majority of the match by wearing down Sexsmith’s arm – setting him up for the Shankley gates. Once Jack makes his comeback, he scores a couple of near falls and nearly gets the tapout with a crossface cocko. Shockingly, Gibson hits a ticket to ride suplex on the bare floor to secure the intentional count-out victory. Similar in structure to the Paul Robinson vs. Spud match from Chapter 42, this sets up a rematch down the line very nicely indeed.
Old Man Yells At Cloud
Jimmy Havoc, Mark Haskins & Flash Morgan Webster vs. British Strong Style
British Strong Style makes a statement during their ring entrance as they pause on the ramp. Pete Dunne poses with the PROGRESS title as Trent Seven and Tyler Bate throw the tag shields to the floor, and Bate disappears back through the curtain. He re-emerges holding the WWE UK title over his head to a mix of cheers and boos. Havoc, Haskins, and Flash were presumably discussing strategy while this was taking place. The rules of the match have it that if any of the babyfaces score a pinfall or submission over any of BSS, then they will earn a PROGRESS title shot. If BSS should pick up the win, then the person who has been defeated is disqualified from the PROGRESS title picture for six months.
The lads from the Midlands kick things off by charging and kicking all three opponents in the crotch simultaneously. That gives them the advantage which they use to attempt a triple pedigree – really leaning into that WWE angle here. Flashkins and Havoc counter and lay into Pete one after the other until Flash goes for a pin. It’s Jimmy Havoc who breaks that exposing the disunity in the team as they each vie to score the decision. Ruh-roh.
BSS rally on the outside and try to end things early: Pete hits Flash with a bitter end onto the apron; Tyler hits a suplex onto the apron on Haskins, and Trent drills Jimmy with a German onto the apron. Yikes, he has broken backs and necks for everyone! BSS keeps the pressure on in the ring as Seven hits Havoc with a piledriver, then Tyler buries him with a tombstone for a near fall.
Haskins Gains The Advantage
Things settle down from there into a more conventional tag match as Mark Haskins takes charge of Tyler Bate and gives him a pasting. He very nearly gets a tapout too off the back of a sharpshooter, only to be saved at the death by the Bruiserweight. They trade moves back and forth with acid rainmakers, pedigrees, and capoeira kicks being dished out left, right, and center. It’s breathless stuff from all six men.
The finish comes out of nowhere as Pete is about to finish Flash off, Havoc dives in and scores an acid rainmaker and gets the pin on Dunne! His teammates aren’t best pleased, but Jimmy Havoc is the number one contender once more. He announces that he’ll take his shot at Chapter 45 in Manchester, and it will be a deathmatch. Very nice indeed. And a very lovely main event to another excellent show from the men and women of PROGRESS.
That’s all for another week from us. We’ll be back next Monday with our review of Chapter 45, and we hope you’ll be back with us. Until then, take care out there, everyone.