Welcome. welcome and welcome once more to The PROGRESS Prerogative. This is the weekly column that looks back at each of PROGRESS’s Chapters, in turn, to give you the skinny on what went down. We are up to Chapter 35, the show immediately before the company’s biggest to date at the Brixton Academy. There are a few bits of business to sort out as far as matchmaking for that show goes, chief amongst them deciding who will compete for the Atlas championship in the tournament finale. That and much more will be finalized right here, right now, so let’s start watching. Here is Writing Nirvana on Other People’s Bags.
PROGRESS Wrestling Chapter 35: Writing Nirvana On Other People’s Bags. 28th August, 2016. The Electric Ballroom, Camden, UK.
Tyler Bate & Damian Dunne vs British Strong Style
Love is Blindness play Trent Seven and Pete Dunne to the ring as they wrestle their first match as a tag team. Their journey began at Writing Nirvana on Other People’s Bags. British Strong Style as they are to be known to get off to a flier as they attack their opponents, Damian Dunne and Tyler Bate, and have a wild brawl around ringside. Damian takes a nasty powerbomb to the ring apron; Pete gets uppercutted from the apron to the floor; Tyler moonsaults from the second rope to the floor… this is wild stuff. When they make it inside the ring and the bell finally rings British Strong Style dominates the action.
There’s a fantastic intensity to both Trent and Pete as they batter their opposite numbers. Of course, hindsight is a wonderful thing, but watching it now it seems obvious that BSS would go on to be the big stars that they are. There are a few Chapters to go before they become a trio, however, and it’s Tyler Bate who takes the loss here. Pete piledrives Damian Dunne on the Ballroom floor to take him out meaning that there is no one for Bate to tag out to.
The young prodigy taps out to a Trent Seven half crab with added knuckle grinding to the knee cap. It’s slightly surprising to see Tyler lose completely clean to the man who betrayed him at Chapter 34 but understand that they need to be put over strong for the post-match angle. BSS confront the PROGRESS tag team champions, London Riots, who had been providing (poor) color commentary during the match. Basically handbags at dawn, the two teams have a brief shoving match on the stage to set up a future match.
Nixon Newell vs Alex Windsor
Jinny joins the commentary table as two women debut when Alex Windsor meets Nixon Newell (now known as Tegan Nox in NXT). It would appear as though PROGRESS is attempting to debut as many female wrestlers as possible in the lead up to Natural Progression Series 4. If you’ll recall, NPS is slated to crown the first PROGRESS Women’s Champion this time around. There’s not a great deal to report on this match, solid though it is, as there isn’t anything to get into your teeth into in terms of story as both women are debuting. Newell wins with a straight jacket German suplex dubbed Nos Da; that’s Welsh for Good Night, FYI.
Eddie Dennis vs El Ligero vs Jack Gallagher vs Zack Gibson
It’s Dave Mastiff’s turn on commentary for the Fatal Four Way between two members of The Origin, half of FSU, and a single Gentleman is up third at Writing Nirvana on Other People’s Bags. There’s a nice bit of comedy at the open of the match as El Ligero and Zack Gibson take turns hitting each other with exceptionally soft blows: think Orange Cassidy if he were a heel. They’re soon broken up by the babyfaces who clear the ring, the surprisingly go after one another. Jack Gallagher gets the better of that and his reward is to be worked over by The Origin lads for a spell.
Eddie Dennis hits several of his lucha spots after making the save before they go directly to the finish which sees Ligs tap out to Gallagher’s half crab. That’s the same finish as the opening contest of this Chapter and of the singles match between Ligero and Jack at Chapter 34. Interesting. Following the decision, Mastiff makes his way to the ring to beatdown Dennis and Jack G with his Origin teammates which angers Jim Smallman. He informs them that they will not continue to interfere in each other’s matches, and that big Dave’s Atlas Division match is next…
Joe Coffey vs Dave Mastiff – Atlas Division Semi-Final
Joe Coffey makes his entrance with all five men still in the ring in such a determined way that I thought this was going to be a very quick match. You know the sort, one move delivered and the pinfall taken. But no, this is a reasonably lengthy/pretty dull match up. Most of the Atlas matches thus far have been absolute duds in my opinion. Coffey takes the win with his discus lariat and advances to the final at Brixton. Mikey Whiplash provided commentary for this one incidentally, and you could barely hear a bloody word he said.
Will Ospreay vs Shane Strickland
Both Will Ospreay and Shane Strickland explode out of the blocks for their inaugural meeting for PROGRESS. This is something truly special and they steal the show. There are innumerable sequences that are expert demonstrations of counters and reversals, all set to the Ultras chanting “Vader hates this”. There are some similarities between this and Ospreay’s famous encounter with Ricochet, but for my money, the action has a more solid feel in this contest. One exchange that flows organically and feels spectacular sees Swerve muscle Ospreay up onto his shoulders, Will then tries to counter with a victory roll, Shane blocks that once Ospreay’s head has dropped, and then launches the Brit into the turnbuckles with a deadlift wheelbarrow suplex.
It may not read as anything overly special, but they take their time with the sequence and appear to be genuinely battling for position and leverage. Superb. Towards the end of the match, the Aerial Assassin hits a 450 splash that seems to pop something in his shoulder and he rolls outside. He’s out there for long enough to make it seem like a shoot, but when he eventually does roll back into the ring the sneaky lad attacks Strickland with vicious boots.
As Ospreay stomps down on his defenseless opponent the crowd turns on him – a surprising development for PROGRESS’s former savior. Despite that brief flurry, it’s Shane Strickland who picks up the win. Following a countered Oscutter, what I can only describe as a low-level, One-Winged Angel. A wonderful end to a truly spectacular match; bravo to both men. Following the decision, Ospreay grabs the microphone and acknowledges that he is yet to win a match in PROGRESS in 2016. He’s taking a break to concentrate on his New Japan commitments, but he will return.
Writing Nirvana On Other People’s Bags
Mark Haskins vs Mikey Whiplash
There’s a fundamental issue with Mikey Whiplash’s character that we don’t think some realized prior to this match. He is painted and costumed to appear satanic, indeed he’s billed as hailing from the seventh circle of Hell. That’s all fine. But whenever he speaks he sounds like a normal guy. Here he calls Mark Haskins “a bitch, just like your wife,” both before the match begins and during it. It comes across as completely incongruous with the impressive visual of the man that he speaks as though he’s on an episode of Jeremy Kyle.
Having said that, this is Whiplash’s best in-ring performance for PROGRESS by a country mile. Haskins seems to bring the best out of him as they have an extremely competitive, back and forth match that the crowd is well into. Seeing as Haskins is heading towards a shot at Marty Scurll’s PROGRESS Title it isn’t surprising to see him go over here. He secures a verbal submission after hooking both of Whiplash’s arms for his float over armbar.
Writing Nirvana On Other People’s Bags
Rampage Brown vs T-Bone – Atlas Division Semi-Final
Either Rampage or T-Bone will join Joe Coffey in the Atlas Division final at Brixton. Coffey appropriately provides color commentary for this semi-final. This is a lot better than the first semi-final, but it’s still very punched, kick, shoulder barge, oosh! Having said that there are a few nice spots such as T-Bone hitting a nice standing dropkick and dropping Rampage right on his head with a brainbuster. Nice and nasty all at once. Anyway, Rampage gets the win following a devastating piledriver to set a date with Joe Coffey at Brixton.
Before the main event, we get a segment with Sebastian who explains his actions from Chapter 33. He calls out Pastor William Eaver, the man whom Sebastian cost the PROGRESS title. Seb explains that he cost Eaver the title because he took his place in the fan’s hearts. He is also a man with a terrible secret that only the former Geezer knows. He offers Bill a steel chair to strike him with if he can bear to have his secret released, which Eaver refuses to use. The segment finishes with Sebastian pummelling the Pastor with the chair and Pillmanising his arm. One of my favorite storylines in PROGRESS history has just started with a bang.
Writing Nirvana On Other People’s Bags
Mark Andrews vs Marty Scurll (c) – PROGRESS Title Match
Marty Scurll makes his final title defense before Brixton against Mark Andrews. Haskins returns to provide color commentary for the match. Let’s be honest, this match is an entirely foregone conclusion as the main event for Chapter 36. This was set several shows back. That does not stop it from being a very well worked. It was a competitive contest, however. Both wrestlers really put a shift in. It looks for one moment. As though Mandrews has won the belt off the back of a picture-perfect shooting star press. Referee Chris Roberts counts to three and the crowd pop huge. However, Roberts then notices the Villain’s foot on the bottom rope. We bloody hate you, Roberts! Scurll swiftly locks in the chicken wing from there to claim the tap out victory. But that’s not all.
The Origin make their way down to the ring and somehow back down the PROGRESS champion.
This is The Origin who have lost every match they had on this same show. After Scurll takes a powder The Origin start to beat down Mandrews. Eddie Dennis, Jack Gallagher, and Damon Moser run in to make the save and brawl out into the crowd/ether. The greatest song of all time (Andrew WK’s Party Hard) plays for the duration of that brawl incidentally. Marty Scurll then re-emerges and locks Mandrews back in the chicken wing. He’s saved by Mark Haskins this time around who levels the champ with a pinpoint superkick. That was an action-packed, angle heavy ending to the show, but d’you know, we’d liked it.
And that’s everything for another wonderful week of PROGRESS viewing of Writing Nirvana on Other People’s Bags. The table was set nicely for the company’s biggest show to date. This was done rather well with tournaments, angles, and promos all featuring prominently. The show also proved that active wrestlers should not be allowed at the commentary table in BritWres. Christ, what a train wreck that gimmick was (except for Jinny – she was very good). We’ll be back with a watch along with an edition of the Prerogative next week. As the show is available on YouTube you can watch the show ‘with me’. Readers can come to watch to see where the next phase of PROGRESS will take us. Until then, take care of yourselves, everyone.