Practically Progress In Every Way | The PROGRESS Prerogative Ch 29

We are back, back, back with the PROGRESS Prerogative. This is the column in which Pro Wrestling Post reviews each of PROGRESS Wrestling’s Chapters in turn. We are well into the era of The Villain as Marty Scurll reigns as PROGRESS Champion. He’s had a rocky time of it since Chapter 28 though as he was pinned in short order by Tommy End (Aleister Black). He’ll face that same wrestler in the main event of Chapter 29, and the outcome may be rather different this time around. We also have qualifying matches for WWE’s inaugural Cruiserweight Classic – that’s the one that TJ Perkins went on to win. There’s all of that plus a whole lot more, so let’s dive in. This is Practically Progress In Every Way.

PROGRESS Wrestling Chapter 29: Practically Progress In Every Way. April 24th, 2016. The Electric Ballroom, Camden, UK.

Before the matches begin we have two important announcements. Natural Progression Series 4 is set to crown the first-ever Women’s Champion for PROGRESS. No start date is announced, but they have a plan in place. Next, Mark Haskins gets on the microphone and shares his belief that he will capture the PROGRESS Title one day. In order to do that he wants to be entered into this year’s Super Strong Style 16 – Jim Smallman agrees to his request. To the matches!

Big Damo vs Michael Dante – PROGRESS Atlas Division Group Stage

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Damo and Michael Dante kick things off proper with an Atlas division match that I would say is the very definition of big lads wrestling. They absolutely knock the stuffing out of one another, smashing into each other in a fashion that feels primal. One simple spot that I particularly enjoyed saw Damo hit Dante with a European uppercut to the back of the head.

The result of the Dutchman dropping to his knees had a real visceral quality to it. Ultimately this one comes down to one big move to lay the other man out. Countering Damo’s Belfast Plantation, Dante hits the ropes and drills the Irishman with a great spear to get the pinfall, and the two points. It could be rather helpful for PROGRESS to have produced a graphic with the standings in the Atlas division, but hey ho. A good, solid match to kick off the show.

Zack Sabre Jr vs Flash Morgan Webster – WWE Cruiserweight Classic Qualifier

Zack Sabre Jr and Flash Morgan Webster compete for a spot in WWE’s Cruiserweight Classic next. The match is embedded above and I would advise you to give it a watch. Sabre is an absolute animal during this one; he stretches Webster as hard as he can and hits him with a brutal double underhook suplex. I think Flash really struggled from that point onwards as he looked to have injured his shoulder, probably got winded, and generally had his bell rung. Inevitably from that point, it’s ZSJ’s match for the taking. Take it he does with the move that we know today as Orienteering With Napalm Death. An excellent, brutal matchup in which Sabre proves he’s one of the finest wrestler’s going then, now, forever.

Practically Progress In Every Way

Jack Gallagher vs Pete Dunne – WWE Cruiserweight Classic Qualifier

Pete Dunne and Jack Gallagher vie for the second spot in the Cruiserweight Classic, and you can watch that match above. This is a far more evenly fought contest than the one that preceded it. Gallagher works over the Bruiserweight’s legs to prepare him for the King Crab, whilst Dunne manipulates Gallagher’s joints. It’s the Gentleman who advances to Full Sail as he gets the tapout from a kneebar to end an excellent match. Although Dunne was the loser here it’s ironic that he would soar to far greater heights than Gallagher. I really wish WWE would do something productive with Jack – he’s a tremendous professional wrestler.

Pastor William Eaver vs Damon Moser – Natural Progression Series Final

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Natural Progression Series 3 concludes as Pastor Bill Eaver clashes with Damon Moser. There’s a nice, gradual build in this match that gives it a pleasing old-school feel. As graduates of PROGRESS’s training school (the ProJo), both show off their fundamentals in the early going. They go back and forth before transitioning to a touch of brawling around ringside. Yes, the Pastor does go flying into the crowd at one point. No, he does not get suspended as a result. The final sequence sees each man jockeying for position frantically trying to hit their finishing move. It really does have a clear three-act structure, this match, and works really well. Eaver comes out on top after a Clothesline From Heaven is enough to keep Moser down for the three count. An excellent showing from both wrestlers.

Practically Progress In Every Way

Pollyanna & Jinny vs Dahlia Black & Elizabeth

Practically Progress In Every Way
Photo / Portriat Of A Wrestler

Bizarre booking next as Pollyanna teams with arch-enemy Jinny to face heel Dahlia Black and babyface Elizabeth (Laura Di Matteo). There doesn’t appear to be any benefit to having either of the babyfaces teaming with a heel, so why weren’t they booked in a traditional way? It really distracts from a match which, in fairness, is quite basic in any case. It’s none of the wrestlers’ fault; the match is allotted just over five minutes from start to finish so there’s no chance for anyone to really tell a story. Indeed, the match exists to have Jinny’s former assistant hit her with a back cracker for the win to further their feud. Fair enough, but couldn’t Elizabeth have done so whilst teaming alongside Pollyanna?

Practically Progress In Every Way

Rampage Brown vs Joe Coffey – PROGRESS Atlas Division Group Stage

Rampage Brown and Joe Coffey go to war in the second Atlas division match of the show. Unlike the first match of Chapter 29, this one is less about high impact and more a subtle tug of war for the advantage. Lots of unsuccessful shoulder tackles, tests of strength etc. It really does feel like a battle of the bulls with each man jockeying to push back against the other’s momentary advantage.

The writing seems to be on the wall from the moment that Jim Smallman announces that five minutes are remaining. Remember, in the group stages of the Atlas division, a time limit draw results in both wrestlers getting a point apiece. And so that proves to be the case here as time is called as Coffey and Rampage lay on the mat chopping at each other’s chests. Their eyes meet in a steely gaze after the decision has been rendered – clearly, this is an issue to be settled at a later date. A good match which has a slightly disappointing finish, but one which will make sense at a later date.

Practically Progress In Every Way

FSU & The London Riots vs The Origin

Practically Progress In Every Way
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Eight-man tag action ensues as FSU and the London Riots square off with all four members of The Origin. Due to The Origin getting the jump on their opponents before the bell, this is actually a 2 vs 4 match for the most part. Mark Andrews and Rob Lynch are the two chaps who escape the initial battering only to be dominated in the early going. Lynch and Andrews do have some choice spots, such as going for the Next Stop Driver, but are largely overpowered. When James Davis and Eddie Dennis eventually make their way back to the ring the match becomes incredibly fast-paced.

Bodies are flying everywhere with Dave Mastiff and El Ligero particularly impressing with their speed. Spot of the match sees Nathan Cruz take a superplex from the top rope to the floor, with his fall only being partially broken by the rest of the combatants. And it’s Cruz who eats the pinfall after the Riots nail him with their catapult spear. With that pinfall comes the announcement that they are the number one contenders to the PROGRESS tag titles. A very good match with a hot, and very popular, outcome.

Practically Progress In Every Way

Tommy End vs Marty Scurll (c) – PROGRESS Title Match

Practically Progress In Every Way
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In the main event, Marty Scurll defends the PROGRESS title against the man who pinned him in rapid order at Chapter 28, Tommy End. In kayfabe, the reason for Marty fairing a lot better here is due to the benefit of foresight. End was a surprise opponent in the champion’s open challenge then, but now Scurll knows what to expect in advance. And so it that the Villain dominates the early going of their contest. He has the Dutchman on the back foot straight away, wearing him down both in the ring and out. A brawl through the crowd sees Marty backdrop End through a steel chair to the floor and land with a gross thud. Scurll keeps the advantage for so long that it seems as though his victory is assured, but The Antihero has plenty of fuel left in the tank.

Once he gets a foothold in the match, End picks Scurll apart piece by piece. This is the best performance by the challenger inside a PROGRESS ring to date. His strikes take Marty apart at every turn and it looks as though the champion has no answer. Save for one desperation Chicken Wing, from the halfway point it never looks as though the champion will retain the title. Annoyingly, after a rather excellent match, the finish is not a good one. End hits Scurll with the Black Mass kick only for the lights in the Electric Ballroom to go out. When they come back on Mikey Whiplash is standing in the ring with a steel chair and hits Marty Scurll across the back for the disqualification. A DQ in a title match, main event!

On commentary, Glen Joseph informs us that Whiplash is already entered into this year’s Super Strong Style 16 as End demands to be entered also.

And that’s it. I understand that a long-term story is being told with End’s pursuit of the PROGRESS title, but this is still a really flat ending to the show. That’s a shame because the main event, indeed the whole show up until that point, was really great. I suppose we’ll have to see End and Whiplash settle their sudden score at SSS16 next time.

That’s all for this week, folks. Hopefully, you enjoyed it despite me souring on the climax. Like I say, it is in service of a longer storyline. I’ll be back next week with day 1 of Super Strong Style 16. Have a great week!