Scary times we’re living in at the moment folks. I hoper everyone out there is keeping their distance/are staying at home and that we’ll all get through this eventually. Let me try to take your mind off things for a short while with the PROGRESS Prerogative, the weekly column that looks back at each of PROGRESS’s Chapters in turn. This week we’re casting our eye over Chapter 34 Keep it Unreal to see where we stand after Marty Scurll regained the PROGRESS Title from William Eaver, and Mark Haskins claimed a shot at that same title at the big Brixton Academy show. And so without any further ado let’s get cracking.
PROGRESS Wrestling Chapter 34: Keep It Unreal. 14th August 2016. The O2 Ritz, Manchester, UK.
Iestyn Rees vs Dave Mastiff – Atlas Division
Iestyn Rees and Dave Mastiff kick the show off with a nice bit of business in the Atlas division. They begin with a nice bit of cat and mouse as Mastiff continually rolls out of the ring to evade the bigger man. That’s not something you can say about big Dave often on either point. It’s an impressive showing from Rees and he really gets has a chance to show what he can do. At one point he catches a Mastiff cross-body block, walks him around the ring, and then launches him with an excellent fallaway slam.
Although it really does appear to be effortless for him his early dominance can’t secure him his first win in PROGRESS. The Bastard traps him in a very sloppy small package for the surprise victory and Atlas points. I bloody hate matches finishing with a small package and there’s been a lot of them on recent Chapters.
Keep it Unreal
Tommy End vs Zack Gibson
Marty Scurll has picked an opponent for perennial rival Tommy End, or should that be opponents? The first man out is Zack Gibson to the usual chorus of boos, but that’s not all. Mikey Whiplash will join him, effectively making this a two on one contest. At least that was The Villain’s intention: as Whiplash makes his entrance Michael Dante enters the fray and batters Whippy back through the entrance curtain to save his SDS brother. A one on one match it shall be then. Naturally, this is all about Tommy End and him asserting his right to yet another run at challenging for the PROGRESS title.
He puts up a helluva fight, but this isn’t Gibson’s night as he takes a mouthful of a spinning kick as he takes the loss. Marty Scurll re-emerges after the decision and says that he will face the Dutchman at a time of his choosing but not for the title. That’s all scuppered by Glen Joseph making his way to the ring and declaring that Scurll defend against both Tommy and Mark Haskins in a triple threat match at Chapter 36 in Brixton. Ruh-roh.
Jack Sexsmith, Roy Johnson & Pollyanna vs The South Pacific Power Trip
Trios action is up next as the feud between SPPT and Jack Sexsmith & Roy Johnson adds Pollyanna to the equation at Keep it Unreal. Great to see her back after an absence of several Chapters (it would be tremendous to see her return one of these days). After a solid bout fought at a constant high pace it is the New Zealanders who claim another victory. The finish is a real beaut though: TK Cooper holds Sexsmith in a fireman’s carry, Dahlia Black hits him with a double stomp from the top rope which then causes Cooper to drop Jack onto Travis Banks’s knees. The three-count is academic after that one wouldn’t you say?
Keep It Unreal
Michael Dante vs Joe Coffey – Atlas Division
Michael Dante’s second appearance of the show sees him facing off with Joe Coffey at Keep it Unreal. Their match is pretty much what you would expect from these two, which isn’t to say that it’s bad just that’s it’s all very rudimentary. Coffey scores the pin following his discus lariat finisher. There’s nothing else of note to report here really.
London Riots (c) vs War Machine – Tornado Rules Tag Title Match
A rematch from Chapter 33, London Riots defend their tag shields against War Machine once again at Keep it Unreal. Now, this is an excellent example of big lads wrestling. All four men hold nothing back as they each do their damnedest to keep the other team down. Highlights include James Davis diving from the raised entrance ramp onto Hanson and Rowe on the floor; Rob Lynch flying from the top rope with a senton to the floor, and Hanson hitting a pop-up power slam to Lynch whilst on the ring apron.
That last one is actually a bit nasty as Lynch comes down hard straight onto the right angle of the apron and rag dolls the arena floor after. The crowd are increasingly on War Machine’s side as the match goes on and seem ready to witness a title change. That wasn’t to be, however: the Riots retain after hitting Ray Rowe with two consecutive District Line powerbombs. That match, if you’ll pardon the pun, was an absolute riot – and it isn’t the last time we will see them go head to head in a PROGRESS ring either. See you in about 17 Chapters time lads 🙂
Jack Gallagher vs El Ligero
During his entrance, El Ligero shows his acting/mime chops as he has an animated argument with noted BritWres fan, Joe Atherton, at Keep it unreal. Atherton plays along threatening to punch Ligero and eventually ‘does’ knocking the luchador straight on his keister. Ligero then makes a big fuss about the floor being wet, complaining to Jim Smallman and motioning for a mop – all done without a single word being spoken. Perfection. Ligs then engages in, for the most part, an excellent comedy match with Jack Gallagher.
There’s a lot of mirror spots where the Mexican Sensation attempts to copy Jack’s evasive maneuvers: the corner headstand, the ball curl – each to highly amusing effect as he is foiled by the G man. A running dropkick in the corner seals victory for Gallagher… but that’s not all. As the winner celebrates by the entrance curtain Dave Mastiff pounces to attack. He and Ligero give each other a sarcastic thumbs up and set about their foe, leaving him lying in the ring.
Mark Haskins & Laura Di Matteo vs Marty Scurll & Jinny
Both teams work together very well in the penultimate contest at Keep it Unreal. Haskins and Di Matteo are a great match for one another with their black ring gear and intensity, and naturally, The Villain and Jinny’s personas fit like a glove. Full speed is the only speed anybody fights at during the match – I don’t recall there being a single rest hold for the duration. Some excellent spots see the heels combining efforts against a single opponent: Jinny working over Haskins; Marty restraining Di Matteo etc. This is a very well worked match, but I just wonder whether they should have held off on the men facing each other in ring until Chapter 36. Saying that the finish is a bit of a doozy as Marty nearly takes Laura Di Matteo’s head off with a superkick allowing Jinny to score the pin.
Keep it Unreal
Will Ospreay vs Zack Sabre Jr
Our main event for Keep it Unreal sees Zack Sabre Jr return from his WWE Cruiserweight Classic success to face off against NJPW’s Best of the Super Juniors Will Ospreay. It was a crazy time in BritWres for the next several years with talent contracted all over the place squaring off on our shores. Not that ZSJ was signed to WWE, but you get what I mean. Another note on Sabre, he enters the match with his head heavily bandaged due to having stitches the day prior. Nearly gone full Terry Butcher he had. You shouldn’t really need me to tell you that Ospreay and ZSJ are both world-class professional wrestlers, but they really are. The story of the match sees Sabre slowly grind down Ospreay, focussing his attack specifically on the neck.
It’s far from being one-sided as Will does get in a lot of his signature hits. A picture-perfect Phoenix Splash, Oscutter, Essex Destroyer – none of them good enough to get the job done. It makes sense as ZSJ has a date set against Tommaso Ciampa at Chapter 36 and Ospreay is not set for anything. And so it is that Sabre gets the win with a cross between an Octopus Stretch and Orienteering With Napalm Death. That makes it two losses on the trot for Will in PROGRESS for those of you keeping count. Where does he go from here? You’ll have to keep reading to find out.
That’s all for yet another edition of the PROGRESS Prerogative. If you’re reading every week thanks for sticking with us during these trying times and recommend the site to your friends. This week we’re going to finish with a word from David Lynch. Take care of yourselves and your loved ones. Ta ta for now.