The PROGRESS Prerogative – Chapter 5: For Those About To Fight, We Salute You

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Photo /@KHsNotebook

Welcome one, welcome all – everyone is welcome! Welcome back to the latest edition of The PROGRESS Prerogative (after a bit of a gap). Week by week, we will review each PROGRESS wrestling chapter in chronological order. It’s the first show I’ll be reviewing after Mark Blake did such good work on the first four Chapters. This should be a lot of fun.

As a side note, the win-loss records displayed with the wrestler’s name banners need to make a comeback. And away we go.

Chapter Five: For Those About To Fight, We Salute You
Sunday, January 27, 2013
The Garage, Islington, London

Photo/@ThisIs_Progress

Danny Garnell vs Stixx

Stixx begins the match by gaining some heat. He performs some clapping push-ups in the center of the ring and tells the crowd that he left London due to the city is full of pillocks. Simple and effective heel heat there folks!

Garnell takes over and shows the crowd that technique can beat power with headlock takeover suplexes as the crowd is chanting “Zangief” at Stixx. For those that aren’t au fait with video game characters, Zangief is a huge Russian wrestler in the Street Fighter Series, and Stixx bares a striking resemblance to him.

Photo / dailystar.co.uk

The match quickly flows back and forth when Stixx’s power game comes to the fore and he takes control. Lots of big moves back and forth, with Garnell showing an impressive range of suplex options? Would sir care for the Northern Lights or the Fisherman suplex? Some genuinely nice sequences in this one. It makes you wonder whatever happened to Stixx in particular. He’s definitely got the right stuff.

The finish comes when Garnell hits a nice tornado DDT from the middle rope to his opponent. Nice to see a move considered reasonably basic being used as a finish too.

Natural PROGRESSion Series First Round
Lord Jonathan Windsor vs Mike “Wild Boar” Hitchman

The Natural Progression Series gets cracking with Wild Boar and Lord Windsor next. The tournament was established to shine a light on up and coming stars on the scene. The winner would then get a title match of their time and choosing. Quite the opportunity to be gained in NPS, then.

Some ‘hilarious’ crowd shouts of ‘iechyd da’ towards Boar. For those unaware, iechyd da means cheers in Welsh. Speaking as Hitchman’s fellow Welshman, I can honestly say I’ve never used the phrase. Except to explain how I never use it.

But that’s by the by. It’s great to see a very young Wild Boar flinging himself around, trying to execute his cradle piledriver at the earliest opportunity. The full character isn’t quite on display yet, but Boar has always been a rock-solid wrestler, and quite underrated. Lord Jonathan Windsor is on the other end of the spectrum. There’s not a lot to his offense, but he does a nice line in Regalesque facial expressions.

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Photo / @WILDBOARhitch

The best sequence of the match sees the two men brawl out into the crowd. On the raised stage area, Wild Boar makes an attempt for his Trapper Keeper finisher. He doesn’t hit it, but it’s still a great moment. The finish is a bit of an odd one. It’s the old Bret/Bulldog Summerslam 92 finish with Windsor claiming the win. Boar’s shoulders are clearly up, however, and the crowd reacts with confusion. A bit of a head-scratcher, but Rod Zapata must have taken note. Zing!

Nathan Cruz vs Rampage Brown

Nathan Cruz is a guy I’ve never really gotten. I can see that he’s a solid hand, but he’s not somebody that’s missed as far as today’s PROGRESS product goes. Rampage Brown, on the other hand, is very much missed. Making his PROGRESS debut here, I think the last time he wrestled for the company was at Chapter 69. Both a literal and figurative powerhouse of the Britwres scene, Brown is someone who brings a legitimacy with him.

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Photo / @ThisIs_Progress

The Nathan Cruz vs Rampage match had been set up by PROGRESS champion El Ligero. This was part of a feud between Cruz and Ligero where they would book one another’s matches. This trope would be expanded upon significantly in Pete Dunne and Travis Banks’ feud in 2017.

Rampage starts strong, with his trademark bulldozing style. He runs straight through the Showstealer with shoulder tackles, clothesline et al. It’s an explosive start to the match, with strong support for Brown in the crowd. Fairly soon, Cruz takes control and slows the match right down. Methodical offense ensues, as Cruz employs ground-based offense to keep his opponent off his feet. It’s psychologically sound, if unspectacular to watch.

The final stretch sees Rampage unload the heavy artillery. A liger bomb, back suplex off the top, and a jackhammer are all employed. Interestingly, from that last one, Rampage stops covering Cruz at the count of 2. Traditionally a heelish move, perhaps that’s a sign of things to come. Cruz claims the victory following a rollup, with the assistance of holding the middle rope. Quite a decent match there, in all fairness.

PROGRESS Championship: El Ligero vs Dave Mastiff

PROGRESS champion El Ligero defends against a strangely beardless Dave Mastiff next. The second strand of the feud with Nathan Cruz, Mastiff dwarfs the 180-pound champion.

Ligero starts the match of fast, catching Mastiff with a shotgun dropkick. The champ maintains the advantage for the first few minutes, before absorbing some offense. The crowd is split between the two competitors, as The Bastard takes control. Deliberate, but not plodding, in his onslaught, Mastiff looks impressive here. Ligero mounts a flurry and takes the fight out into the crowd, even burying Big Dave under a swathe of steel chairs.

The highlight of the bout has to be the near 60 second delayed vertical suplex that the challenger nails. Even accounting for the size difference, that’s an impressive sight. The main story of the bout had Ligero repeatedly locking a guillotine chokehold. Unsuccessful on the first couple of attempts, perseverance was the key here. And it paid off as the Mastiff lost consciousness due to the move at the close. An inventive way for David to triumph over Goliath there.

Interestingly, there were quite a few boos from the crowd following the finish. Perhaps that may be the Rey Mysterio effect? Similar to when the crowd turned on Rey for being pushed too hard with a title. In any case, this was an excellently worked match with great dynamics. This would not be the last time they would share a PROGRESS ring either.

RJ Singh vs Darrel Allen

Tag team partners as Banghra Knights, RJ Singh, and Darrell Allen face off next. Singh jaw jacks on the mic to open, seemingly underestimating his opponent. Dazzler comes back, giving as good as he was given and exuding a quiet charisma. He truly is a great talent, Darrell Allen, and he gets to show why here.

Straight from the off, this is the best pure wrestling match of the show. A great quick-fire sequence sees the men trade pinfall attempts. We see rollups, la magistral, a crucifix – all lovely stuff, with silky smooth transitions. One memorable set-piece has Singh say ‘I’m sorry, I love you,’ before attempting a superkick. Lots of fun playful moments such as that in the match really distinguish it.

The only thing to complain about with this one is its brief running time. A nifty running moonsault off the middle rope leads swiftly to the finish. RJ Singh attempts a camel clutch but is countered into the winning pinfall. Great response from the crowd at the finish, and very much deserved too.

There’s a bit of afters as the Bangra Knights’ seconds take a shooing from Singh and Allen. As soon as they hit the bricks, the London Riots make their entrance for the main event. Handbags at dawn as the two teams stare one another down. That will likely be settled further down the line.

Leaders of the New School – Marty Scurll & Zack Sabre Jr vs London Riots

For those who don’t know, in 2018 London Riots’ James Davis was implicated in serious abuse allegations. Not wishing to give the man any more publicity, this will be the last his name will be mentioned in connection with his tag team. His partner Rob Lynch is not implicated in any of the allegations.

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Photo / lastwordonprowrestling.com

The Riots take a lot a lot of the early going in this one, amidst chants of ‘British Bootcamp’. That was TNA’s ‘reality’ tv show designed to find a British star to sign to a contract. Marty Scurll was a featured player on that, alongside eventual winner Rockstar Spud. You might know him as WWE’s multi-time 24/7 champion Drake Maverick. How far the Leaders have come since then.

The early highlight has Scurll power bombing Sabre onto both opponents in turn. The second one could almost be described as an assisted senton. Great stuff. Interesting too, to see ZSJ displaying a touch of the old high-flying. A nice tope and hurricanrana are not what you would expect to see from the Technical Wizard these days. The match then slows a fair bit of the Riots take control.

The London Riots were always fairly exciting to watch, although their skills were mainly brawling. Punch, kick, elbow, spear – you can count the move set on a couple of hands. Which isn’t to say that there wasn’t any skill involved, just that there wasn’t much finesse. And so it proved here, as the heels dominated with a basic but purposeful offense.

The future Villain and ZSJ take control back and hit some scintillating double team moves. It really is poetry in motion watching them flow through the ring. Armbars are attempted. Chickenwings are attempted. ‘This is Progress’ is chanted. It all goes off big time.  The finish comes fairly abruptly when the Riots double-powerbomb Sabre Jr to take the pinfall. A good match overall, but not the Leaders’ best, it has to be said.

And that was PROGRESS. A good show overall, with a match of the night going to Darrell Allen and RJ Singh. The show can be found by subscribing to Demand PROGRESS; lots of other great content there too.

The PROGRESS Prerogative will return with Chapter 6: We [Heart] Violence. I hope to see you all then.

Gif / collegemagazine.com

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