Welcome back aboard the PROGRESS Prerogative for Chapter 18. This is the column that takes a look back at each of PROGRESS’s Chapters in order and recaps and reviews exactly what happened there. We’re very deep into the Jimmy Havoc/Regression storyline at this point, and things are beginning to build towards a conclusion. Let’s dive into the show.
PROGRESS Wrestling Chapter 18: The Show We Can’t Call PROGRESSlemania For Legal Reasons. March 22nd, 2015. The Electric Ballroom, Camden, UK
Damo O’Connor vs Zack Gibson
Big Damo O’Connor makes his PROGRESS debut opposite NPS finalist Zack Gibson to kick things off. You will probably recognize him as NXT’s Killian Dain.
The babyface takes control from the get-go – and with gusto! He launches himself at Gibson with a shotgun dropkick and pushes him to the outside. He then absolutely wipes the Scouser out with a cross body straight into the crowd! Madness!
O’Connor goes to the well one time too many when he tries to shoulder tackle Gibson on the corner post but finds nothing but cold steel.
From there Zack focusses his attack on that injured shoulder and arm – a sound strategy. He hits Damo with kicks and punches and tries his best to keep the big man on the deck. Again, it’s a sound strategy and shows why Gibson is now a top guy.
It’s not long before the Irishman makes his comeback though. He hits a stomach-clenching senton from being stood atop Gibson for a two count. It would be Gibson who claimed the win though, with the aid of a foreign object. He distracts the referee (Paz) by producing a fork from his right boot.
Whilst Paz disposes of that, he produces another fork from his left boot. One jab to the eye and a Penalty Kick later and Gibson has the three count. A decent little match to start us off, with a particularly hot opening few minutes.
Kyle Ashmore vs Sha Samuels
This is Sha Samuels’ open challenge which is answered by Projo graduate Ashmore. The East End Butcher starts off strong and takes the fight straight to the debutante. It’s fairly rudimentary offense, but when it gets the job done who can argue with it? Ashmore soon gets some hits in and of particular note is the corkscrew plancha he hits. He must have got four full rotations on that, which is incredibly impressive.
He follows that up with several other big moves such as a running knee strike and standing shooting star. This is certainly an impactful debut and credit to Sha Samuels for giving the younger man so much of the offense. The inevitable happens, though, when the Butcher claims the victory.
He delivers a nasty looking piledriver to Ashmore to claim the three count and have his hand raised. That was an excellent showcase match for a new talent, and Sha looked great too. A success for all involved then.
Sweet Jesus (Chuck Mambo & Pastor William Eaver) vs Sumerian Death Squad (Tommy End & Michael Dante)
At Chapter 17 Tommy End (Aleister Black) said that he would return – but not alone. And so Michael Dante joins him to debut one of the most notorious tag teams in Europe: The Sumerian Death Squad. What an absolutely awesome name for a tag team! Their unfortunate opponents are the Sweet Jesus combination of Chuck Mambo and William Eaver. Sorry lads, sometimes you just can’t seem to catch the breaks.
Well, I say that but it’s actually Sweet Jesus who takes the fight to SDS. Mambo and Eaver take turns hitting Tommy End with big shots. They tie him in the tree of woe and hit a dropkick followed by a diving headbutt, but to no avail. From there they try to take End’s legs out, negating his strike based offense.
A smart strategy for the second match in a row. It all builds to the hot tag to Dante who runs wild with brute force. He takes out Mambo with a series of shoulder blocks and sends the Pastor to the outside with a clothesline.
Tommy End re-enters the fray but gets turned inside out by an Eaver lariat. That kicks off into all four guys going a bit mad and brawling with one another. Mambo gets lobbed outside and SDS goes to work on putting away Bill. They hit Dead Man’s Trigger – a German suplex followed by a powerbomb onto a backstabber! They follow that up with Black Mass.
This is different from the spin kick that End uses in WWE today. Here he launches Eaver up into the air for Dante to catch in a powerslam for the win. Wow, what a debut! SDS is now number one contenders to The Faceless’ tag team titles, also.
Rampage Brown vs Mark Haskins – No Disqualification Match
I’m not sure why this feud is being prolonged as long as it has been. Screw Indy Wrestling ceased to be a thing some time ago, and this is essentially picking the bones of that faction. Nevertheless, Rampage Brown and Mark Haskins are both excellent professional wrestlers though, so at least there’s that.
And entirely in keeping with the previous matches, this starts at 100 miles per hour. Rampage smashes Haskins with a series of shoulders to the midsection before the bell. Haskins retaliates with a dropkick followed by regular kicks. This is going to be good.
It doesn’t take long for the action to spill to the outside, and the two guys continue to knock lumps out of one another. Rampage comes out on top following the traditional crowd brawl. He searches under the ring and pulls out Chekhov’s table, which sits at ringside until later. Haskins seems to legit catch Brown with a kick to the face, and Rampage gives him a hard slam on the floor as a receipt.
Haskins hits a nasty looking double foot stomp from the stage to the floor. Seems like these two aren’t on the same page for a spell, and they’re hitting each other with potatoes.
Mr. Underrated dominates rampage for the following five minutes or so with stiff kicks and chokeholds. He brings the table into the ring and props it up in the corner, whilst staying in firm control. Before the table can be used a steel chair sees some serious action.
Rampage leathers Haskins with it over his back then drops him onto it with a Falcon Arrow. This match will be leaving a mark on both men – it’s brutal. It only gets worse for Haskins as he gets power bombed through Chekhov’s table. Twice! Good God, he broke him in half!
That’s not quite it for Haskins though, as he produces a bag full of coat hangers (?!) and fishhooks Rampage with one. He then emerges with a bottle of Saxa salt and shoves a handful into Brown’s bloodied mouth! That is Haskins’s last missive, and he is soon dispatched with the match-winning piledriver onto a steel chair. That was a brutal, heavy-hitting match, and it was great! Hopefully that’s the end of Screw Indy Wrestling too.
Eddie Dennis & Wild Boar Mike Hitchman vs The Faceless (c) – Tag Team Title Match
In keeping with the festivities, Eddie Dennis and Wild Boar attack The Faceless before the bell sounds. Dennis and Hitchman are a hastily assembled team following Mark Andrews’ departure for pastures new. Their unfamiliarity shows in the early period as The Faceless separate the pair and set to work on Boar’s knee.
That reduces Hitchman’s ability to charge around the ring like his animal namesake – sound strategy yet again. There are a lot of pleasing, common factors between matches at Chapter 18 and it’s great to see.
When Eddie Dennis finally gets tagged in he runs wild with his signature moves. He hits a running clothesline, sidewalk backbreaker, and somersault plancha to have The Faceless reeling. Although a Next Stop Driver gets foiled, Eddie and Boar continue their run of offense. They hit sequential European uppercuts and shoulder tackles in the corner followed by Hitch’s jumping senton in the corner. That only gets a two count.
The tide turns in the favor of the champions when the third member of the Faceless clocks Boar with half of the tag shield. That puts his featureless buddies on the front foot and they go back to work on Hitch. They soon finish him off with the backpack stunner/double foot stomp to retain the tag titles.
That match had its moments for sure, but this Faceless gimmick isn’t really catching fire for me so far. We wait with bated breath to see what’s next for them.
Flash Morgan Webster vs Bubblegum
Bubblegum makes his PROGRESS debut opposite NPS winner Flash Morgan Webster next. Bubblegum is a guy that I’ve always enjoyed when I’ve seen him for PCW, so I’ve been looking forward to this.
Strangely, both wrestler’s wait for the bell to sound before attacking one another in this match. What a novel concept. It’s Flash who takes the advantage to start as he goes for his whip dragon arm drag, inside out senton and a high knee. The Ultras at this point are chanting ‘he’s just a rent boy’ at Bubblegum to the tune of his entrance music by Dizzee Rascal.
Bubblegum takes charge and slaps on a few different rest holds, which is a bit of a change of pace. We’re talking a seated abdominal stretch, neck crank – the Baron Corbin specials basically. Things liven up when Flash attempts a poisoned ‘rana but has that countered into a One-Winged Angel: very nice.
BG clatters into Webster with a double stomp from the top rope but then runs straight into a beautiful springboard poison ‘rana. Second time was the charm with that one. An equally beautiful 450 splash seals the deal and Flash has his hand raised in victory. That was a decent little showcase for both men, but I would have liked to have seen a touch more from Bubblegum.
Jimmy Havoc (c) vs Marty Scurll vs Noam Dar vs Will Ospreay vs Dave Mastiff vs Paul Robinson – PROGRESS Championship Match
Holy mackerel, what a lineup this main event has! Jimmy Havoc defends against perennial challengers Marty Scurll, Noam Dar and Dave Mastiff in an elimination match. Fellow Regression member Paul Robinson is on hand to back him up, but will he be more hindrance than help?
You’ll never guess what happens before the bell rings to kick this off. Mastiff only goes nuts and attacks Havoc, doesn’t he? You have to admire the consistency of that opening salvo throughout Chapter 18. Jimmy gets knocked to the outside by Mastiff, Marty gets rammed into the post and Dar gets swatted aside as the Ultras go crazy. Wrestlers pair off and brawl in the crowd – Marty pokes Jimmy in the nuts with his umbrella – it’s madness!
When the action makes it into the ring things get even harder to track. We head straight into an ‘everybody hit a big strike’ sequence so – Dar takes out Robbo, Ospreay takes out Dar, Jimmy takes out Ospreay, Marty takes out Jimmy, Mastiff takes out Marty. Phew, try saying that three times fast.
That takes us into the diving from the ring onto everybody outside phase. Mastiff launches Robinson out with a Razor’s Edge, but gets stopped by Jimmy before he can do a tope! The champ then superplexes Will Ospreay from the top rope to the bodies waiting below! This match is off the chain and it’s only just getting started.
As the crowd chant ‘die, Havoc, die’ (German, perhaps?), he takes a pasting from Mastiff. He’s only saved by faithful lieutenant Paul Robinson who hits Dave with a low blow then rolls out. Noam Dar rushes in and hits a Shining Wizard, eliminating from the match. One down, four to go.
Jimmy tries to take advantage and roll Dar up as he apologizes to the booing Ultras. That only nets him a two, and Noam takes charge and smashes him with some stiff forearms. Soon enough he has the Champagne Super Kneebar locked in, but just as it looks as though Havoc will tap Mastiff re-enters the ring and cracks Dar over the head. As the Scotsman looks up at The Bastard Jimmy blasts him with a superkick to get the pin and eliminate him. Two down, three to go.
Scurll and Ospreay have a vague handshake to form an alliance against Regression but are immediately separated. The Aerial Assassin gets decked on the outside and the bad lads pick apart Scurll inside the ring. Somewhat surprisingly, this gets broken up by a big Gorilla Press by Scurll to Robbo. He’s not the biggest wrestler ever, but it’s still impressive to see The Villain hold Robinson above his head for as long as he does.
Of course, he gets chucked to the outside straight onto Havoc. Meanwhile, Ospreay is waiting on the top rope to ambush Marty. Scurll moves out of the way as his would-be assailant leaps and they stare each other down. Brilliantly, the entire crowd is chanting ‘that way, that way, that way’ pointing towards Regression who are watching at ringside.
They don’t oblige, instead plastering one another with heavy strikes. Marty dominates their exchanges, at one point hitting around fifteen European uppercuts in a row as he has Ospreay in the corner. Although Will does heed the crowd’s advice and goes ‘that way’ to hit Regression outside, he and Marty cannot be kept apart.
Just when it looks as though Scurll will lock in the Chicken Wing, Ospreay counters into a rollup for the three. Now the Sword of Essex must face Havoc and Robinson all on his lonesome. Three down, two to go.
Things go quite badly for Will for the next few minutes. Jimmy and Robbo take it in turns to spit on him (gross), and give him a ruddy good slapping. Ospreay reaches down deep when being whipped into the ropes and levels Havoc with an Oscutter. Before he can make the cover Robbo launches him to the outside and flips him off.
Then after a moment’s hesitation, Robinson covers Jimmy himself. It only nets him a two count, and Havoc is not very pleased with his right-hand man. In the words of Mrs. Merton, they have a heated debate before shaking hands. Table that one for a later date everybody. Whilst they shake on it, Ospreay re-enters and knock Jimmy to the outside then hammers Robbo with the Essex Destroyer for the three count! Four down, one to go.
Jimmy immediately attacks Will like a madman, kicking and stomping at him so that he can’t get back to his feet. When he does recover enough to hit some offense, Ospreay continues the story of his reluctance to use the top rope. This is supposed to be his only way of defeating Havoc, but he’s lost his confidence following an injury.
Once he gains his composure, Will does a Black Arrow straight onto the champ’s raised knees. That probably didn’t do his confidence much good. Jimmy calls for the microphone from Jim Smallman and taunts him saying he’ll never lose the title. He then makes Ospreay bite down on the bottom rope and stomps on the back of his head. That looked really nasty (but safe), and Will sold it like he was in knocked out – fantastic. One Acid Rainmaker later and Jimmy Havoc retains the PROGRESS Championship.
Doing his chief’s bidding, Paul Robinson returns to the ring to lay into Will Ospreay some more. He can’t defend himself, and looks to be in dire straits. The sound of Flash Morgan Webster’s theme playing is the only thing that stops the beatdown. Flash stands on the ramp and says that he isn’t cashing in his NPS title shot now because that would make him as bad as Havoc.
He says that he will announce the date beforehand and that he and PROGRESS have an insurance policy for when that happens. Cue the return of the London Riots as they storm the ring to clear out their former Regression teammates.
What an explosive ending to an epic main event. Including entrances, it went around 45 minutes and was a little bit of a cracker. As was the show itself, I should add. Next up is Day 1 of Super Strong Style 16, and we have a main event of the London Riots vs Regression already set. I hope you’ll join me back here to look back at that next time. Farewell for now dear readers. Farewell.
Read all of the Progress Prerogative features below:
The PROGRESS Prerogative – Chapter Seventeen: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger