Thursday, July 31, 2014

PROGRESS Chapter 13: Unbelievable Jeff! Review

Prince Devitt vs. Zack Sabre Jr.? Count Me In!!

This is my first time checking out an event, of any kind, from the British Independent Scene. The story with this show was that this particular promotion, PROGRESS, decided to release the event for free on Youtube, due to some audio & video problems that occurred with the show. It featured Price Devitt vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (which was really appealing to a lot of us fans here in the United States), as well as other British Talent that I was familiar with (Martin Kirby, Kris Travis, Pete Dunne, Mark Haskins, Tommy End, El Ligero & Mark Andrews), so I decided to check it out. How can you go wrong with free wrestling?!

PROGRESS Chapter 13: Unbelievable Jeff!
London, England 5/18/14

1.) Rampage Brown vs. Darrell Allen: ***

Commentary mentions that Rampage Brown is a former PROGRESS Champion. A pretty solid opener here. Brown looked really impressive as a power guy in here, while Allen looked good in here as well. Brown is apparently facing Samoa Joe at the next PROGRESS Show, so this was a good way to built him up.

2.) Natural Progression Series - Pete Dunne vs. Robbie X: ***1/4

From what I can gather, The National Progression Series is a tournament for younger wrestlers, where the winner gets a future title shot. This was a pretty good match. I've seen Pete Dunne before in Wrestling is Cool, but Robbie X was also very impressive in here. Both guys looked really good. I should note that the crowd was really awesome here. At one point, Robbie X's face got all red, and the fans responded by singing "He's got Red on his face" to the tune of "He's got the whole world in his hands", which was awesome. Dunne scores the win.

3.) Michael Gilbert vs. Eddie Dennis (aka "Eddie Mysterio Jr."): **

The story with this one was that Gilbert is an ultra-serious wrestler while Dennis is more of a funny guy. Before the match starts, Dennis cuts a promo, and proclaims that he'll be wrestling as his alter ego, Eddie Mysterio Jr. (complete with a Lucha Mask)! This was an ok match. I get what they were trying to do here, but I don't think it clicked very well. The fact that it was a pretty long match didn't help either. Gilbert eventually gets the win.

4.) #1 Contender's Four-Way Elimination Match - Screw Indy Wrestling (Mark Haskins & Nathan Cruz) vs. Swords of Essex (Paul Robinson & Will Ospreay) vs. Project Ego (Kris Travis & Martin Kirby) vs. London Riots (Rob Lynch & James Davis): ***

The winners of this will be getting a future shot at the Tag Team Titles (Currently held by Mark Andrews & Eddie Dennis). It is also being contested under elimination rules (I'll come back to that in a second). For the most part, this match was a lot of fun. The action started heating up right from the get go and, predictably, it turned into a mad scramble, with bodies flying every which way. Then the eliminations came. Screw Indy Wrestling & Project Ego were eliminated by Double Count Out, which was completely ridiculous, and killed the crowd a bit. With this, it came down to London Riots & Swords of Essex, but then, Paul Robinson turns on his partner Will Ospreay!! He walks out on Ospreay, leaving him to fight London Riots on his own. He actually is able to stand his own for a few minute, with the crowd really added to it by chanting "Sword of Essex" (singular). However, it only delayed the inevitable, as London Riots got the win.

After the match, PROGRESS Champion Jimmy Havoc comes out, and has London Riots (they're in a heel stable together) to tie Ospreay to a chair. Havoc says that bad things will happen to people the fans like if he doesn't get some respect. He pulls out a knife and looks like he's going to physically torture Ospreay, but thankfully several babyfaces come out from the back and make the save. Ospreay is spooked at what almost happened to him.

5.) Tommy End vs. El Ligero: ***1/4

These are two guys who I've heard a bit about, but that I've never actually seen until now. This was a very solid match. El Ligero looked good with his high flying while Tommy End got to display his power and other things. Both guys were impressive. The match initially ends in a DQ when Michael Gilbert interferes, but El Ligero doesn't want to win by DQ, and wants the match restarted. It is, but El Ligero shortly thereafter taps out to a Dragon Sleeper from End. This match was going well until the finish. That's the second match in the row that featured some poor booking in regards to a finish/elimination.

Afterwords, Gilbert attacked El Ligero, and lays him out. 

6.) Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Prince Devitt: ****

This is a big dream match in a lot of people's eyes. I've heard a TON about how great Zack Sabre Jr. is (he mainly wrestles in Pro Wrestling NOAH), and of course well all know what Prince Devitt has done. Devitt comes out dresses as The Joker from The Dark Knight (complete with face paint), which was badass!! I really enjoyed this match. Devitt is without a doubt one of the best in the world at what he does, but Zack Sabre Jr. showed why he deserves to be included in that conversation. Great action in this one. The crowd was really into out, and both guys looked awesome. Devitt is eventually able to hit Bloody Sunday score the win in this epic encounter.

7.) PROGRESS Championship - Ladder Match - Jimmy Havoc vs. Mark Andrews: ***3/4

Apparently the actual title is being represented by a contract on a clipboard (which says "I.O.U. One Title") for some reason. Havoc kind of looks like a British Version of Jimmy Jacobs, while I know Andrews from Wrestling is Cool (where he teamed with Pete Dunne). This was a really good brawl of a Ladder Match. Much less high flying in this one, as they focused more on beating the crap out of each. A number of spots involving the Ladder, and several tables were broken. Eventually London Riots come out and help Havoc, but Pete Dunne & Eddie Dennis come out to help their stablemate Andrews! This leads to Andrews climbing a big Ladder and hitting a big dive onto everyone!!! It then looks like Andrews is going to win, but then Paul Robinson comes out, and officially aligns himself with Havoc's group by attacking Andrews! This leads to Havoc climbing the Ladder and retaining his "title" to close the show. 

Overall: 7.5/10

My first experience watching a wrestling show from the British Independent Scene was an interesting one. Obviously the big appeal here is Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Prince Devitt, which I think definitely delivered, being the MOTN without a doubt. The Main Event, despite the interference (which will bother some) was a really fun brawl that had a lot of cool spots in it. The undercard was fine on the whole, though there were several matches that had booking issues (some of which were legitimately upsetting) that definitely hurt the show in the end. Despite the negatives, the crowd on the show was awesome. It seems that British Wrestling Fans are really responsive to wrestling, no matter if it's WWE, TNA, or a local independent promotion. They were into the show pretty much from start to finish, which really made it more enjoyable. In closing, this was a solid show that was really helped by the two Main Events. Plus, it's free wrestling, and you really can't go wrong with that.

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