Hey guys and gals! Welcome back to another edition of The PROGRESS Prerogative. I just want to thank everyone that sent me a message/DM to say how much they enjoyed it, and that includes some of the talent mentioned in the piece. Thanks folks, you’re words mean so much to me! Right in front of you is PROGRESS Wrestling’s Chapter Four: The Ballad Of El Ligero review, but before we start let’s fill you all in with some background information –
So only the two months have passed since Chapter Three and this time it features 15 wrestlers that petty much make the backbone of the promotion going forward for the next 18 months or so. Making its debut is the Natural PROGRESSion series. A tournament to find the best up and coming British wrestlers. It’s a tournament that is still active to this very day and really has unearthed some fantastic talent over the years.
Enough of the history lesson, here for your delectable pleasure is my review of PROGRESS Wrestling Chapter Four: The Ballad Of El Ligero…..
Chapter Four: The Ballad Of El Ligero
Sunday November 25, 2012
The Dome, Tufnell Park, London
RJ Singh vs Paul Robinson
A nice quick fun opener to start the show. Robbo really looks like the babyface in peril at times – it’s amazing to know that he soon enough becomes one of the most vicious heels in the UK.
Paul gets a lot of offense in this match, much more than his first showing at the last chapter. A higher paced match definitely shows off his athleticism. Flipping out of head scissor takeovers, springboard, and top rope maneuvers….He looked like he had been around Will Ospreay 😉
As is usual with Rj’s early PROGRESS work, his entourage once again helped him and got involved in this matchup. As Robbo was setting Singh up for his version of the 619, Shah Boudica instead took the move which allowed RJ to hit a picture perfect Gory Buster, straight into his Ethnic Submission for yet another tainted win. But a win’s a win, right?
Winner – RJ Singh
Post-match, Boudica and another member of the Entourage began to beat down Paul but were then sent packing from the ring as RJ extended his hand in offer of a handshake. Could Singh be turning face soon? Or is it just a ruse?
Noam Dar vs Jimmy Havoc
The story of the plucky underdog Havoc plays out once again here. Oh, I can’t wait for Chapter Nine!…..but that’s a story for later down the road.
Again Jimmy tries to show the PROGRESS fans and the world that he’s more than a deathmatch wrestler. He trained with Fergal Devitt and Zack Sabre Jr dammit! Waistlock takedowns, side headlocks, sleeper holds. All moves you wouldn’t see in hardcore wrestling. Jimmy was trying to turn on the style and impress at the early goings of this match.
It was great to see Dar not only carrying on his great heel work, but also the way he tried to turn this into a hardcore match while Jimmy was intent on wrestling the “right” way. Noam introduced a sack of pins (thumbtacks) into the ring, and Havoc was tempted to use them by hitting Dar with a Death Valley Driver onto them but was stopped by the referee. Jimmy came to his senses and began to sweep away the pins to the outside! That’s how badly he wanted to prove to everyone that he had changed his ways.
Then all of a sudden the match had an Eddie Guerrero feel to it. As the referee was distracted removing a chair, Dar threw a briefcase at Jimmy who caught it just was the referee turned back around. He instantly DQ’d Havoc and awarded the win to Dar! But then Jim Smallman got involved and explained the situation and got the match re-started, which made you believe that Havoc was going to get his first Progress victory. But he couldn’t capitalize and eventually tapped out to Dar’s Champagne Super Knee Bar submission.
Winner – Noam Dar
Natural PROGRESSion Series
Mark Andrews vs Will Ospreay
Here’s another quick match which highlighted just how explosive and athletic both these soon to be superstars were/are. As I mentioned in the intro above, this tournament was founded to find the young stars of the future, and in it’s first ever match we find that in bucket loads!
If you were expecting that athleticism I spoke about to start this match off, you’d be disappointed. Following on from Jimmy Havoc’s lead, both high flyers brought their mat based game. Mark and Will showing from an early age that they’re more than what you think they are.
Eventually, the acrobatics kicked in and we’re off to the races with who can outdo who the most. Andrews with multiple head scissors, sentons, and reverse ‘ranas. Will had his superior cardio and complete disregard for his safety. You could see the beginnings of a great long-standing rivalry between these guys as the match went on. Always trying to outdo each other at every point of the match. A wheelbarrow, double stomp, senton from Mark was met a few minutes later with a tiltawhirl DDT and brainbuster combo from Will. Seriously this match, for as short as it was, was bloody great!
But the slightly more experienced Mark picked up the win and advanced into the second round when he countered Will’s 450 (he landed on his bloody feet!) into a springboard Dragonrana for the pinfall victory. I could watch them go another for another five minutes easily and it wouldn’t have lessened the match. Great stuff from the “rookies”!
Winner – Mark Andrews
Stixx vs Marty Scurll vs Dave Mastiff
Another multi-man match as the co-main event during the Ballad of El Ligero. Many would moan at that it was lazy booking, but not me. This had some great storytelling and advanced the main event picture. So boo to the doubters!
Back to the match, and it looked like Stixx was ever so slightly inebriated making his way into the ring. Especially as he began doing a very awkward Ric Flair impersonation followed by trying to bodyslam Mastiff. A sober Stixx wouldn’t even think of doing that!
The bigger guys went at it hammer and tong. Really laying into each other just like the crowd were baying for. Shoulder tackles, strikes of every description, and both men were still standing when the dust had settled. It’s unfortunate that the PROGRESS Champion, Nathan Cruz, decided to insert himself into the proceedings by attacking Marty Scurll from out of nowhere. They battled all across the venue and eventually went to the back, leaving Stixx and Mastiff all alone.
A sick looking German suplex into the corner followed by his patented running cannonball gave Big Dave another PROGRESS win. He joins the list of undefeatables that would be watching the outcome of the main event with eager eyes.
Winner – Dave Mastiff
El Ligero vs Nathan Cruz (c)
Easily, in my opinion, the best match in PROGRESS young history up to this point especially now during the ballad of El Ligero. A good old fashioned knock down drag out kinda match that warms my cockles! Full of intensity and ill will (check out what Ligs had been up to at this point by reading the last Prerogative right here).
Cruz demanded that Scurll is barred from ringside or he’d walk out the Dome right now without participating in the main event. Jim Smallman agreed and the match began in earnest. A swift midsection kick by Ligero and the match is instantly outside amongst the fans. after five or six minutes of brawling by the bar, the merch table, and even the stage, they finally make it back into the ring…..
Oops no they’re not! Cruz instantly takes the fight (and that’s what it is, no wrestling science here) back out to the masses! All this animosity and there’s hardly been any in-ring action. That’s how intense this rivalry is. FINALLY, they make it back to the ring and this time the action stays confined within the squared circle. El Ligero channels his inner lucha and takes it straight to Cruz, who replies by bringing his strengths to the show….technical ability.
The match goes back and forward so much that you really don’t know where the winner is coming from. Which is exactly how the finish happened. You wouldn’t have Ligs down as a submission expert but he made Nathan tap out to tight Guillotine choke and become the second ever PROGRESS Wrestling champion!
Winner – And NEWWWWWW PROGRESS Champion, El Ligero
What a debut year for the upstart promotion called PROGRESS! Four shows run in the capital. An area where Jim, Jon, and Glen were told to keep their distance from as they’ll never draw. Pah! 🙂
The last two chapters had the beginnings of some storyline development and the company were showing signs that 2013 could be a huge year for them. Something we already know but I can’t wait to tell you all about it over the coming weeks and months!
As always you can hit me up on social media if you want to talk all things wrestling. I can be found via the links below. So until next week…..ADIOS! This was the Ballad of El Ligero.