PROGRESS Chapter 6: We Heart Violence
Islington, London, England 3/31/13
1.) #1 Contender’s Match - Noam Dar vs. Dave Mastiff: **3/4
The winner of this match will get a future shot at the PROGRESS Title. Both men have claims to a title opportunity, as Dar has been on a winning streak, while Mastiff lost in somewhat controversial fashion when he challenged El Ligero for the title at the previous show (El Ligero got a submission victory, but Mastiff didn’t actually tap out). This was a fine opening match. There was some stalling from Dar at the very start, but for the most part, it featured decent action throughout, and it was fun to watch. Mastiff looked to have the match won, but Nathan Cruz and his bodyguard came out. This distracted the referee long enough for Dar to hit a low blow, and roll up Mastiff (with assistance from the ropes) for the win. The finish hurt this a little bit, but it was still a solid match.
2.) Natural Progression Series - First Round - MK McKinnan vs. Paul Robinson: ***1/2
A signature element of PROGRESS Wrestling is the Natural Progression Series. It’s essentially a tournament that would award a shot at the PROGRESS Title to the ultimate winner. The participants are usually talents who are new to PROGRESS (I think this becomes more clear in future installments of the tournament), so in a way, it could be seen as similar to ROH’s Top Prospect Tournament (though I’m sure most would agree that PROGRESS handles the concept much better). This was a first round match that saw Paul Robinson get the victory over MK McKinnan to advance. This was a really good match. Both guys looked very solid, and it was an entertaining match to watch from start to finish.
3.) Nathan Cruz vs. Jimmy Havoc: ***1/4
Jimmy Havoc, at the time, was presented as the “face of PROGRESS Wrestling”, despite the fact that he had yet to win a match. Here, he took on Nathan Cruz, who was the first-ever PROGRESS Champion. I thought this was a good match, thought it wasn’t quite as good as the match that preceded it. Cruz controlled things in the first half, but Havoc refused to quit, and fought back. Eventually, Cruz managed to hit a tombstone piledriver for the win, meaning that Havoc dropped to an 0-4 record in PROGRESS. Again, I thought the match itself was pretty solid, but it was far from the best thing on the show.
After the match, Nathan Cruz took the mic. He said he just made an example of Havoc, and noted that people like Havoc are what’s wrong with wrestling as a whole. Cruz then has his bodyguard give Havoc two chokeslams before they left.
4.) Weapons Match - The Hunter Brothers vs. The London Riots (James Davis & Rob Lynch): ***3/4
The story here is that (I believe) these two had a match on an earlier PROGRESS show, which The London Riots won. The Hunter Brothers wanted another go at him, so now they’re facing off in a Weapons Match. The London Riots are wearing Orange Polos & Black Track Pants, so they were clearly ready for this street fight, but in their own unique way. This was an incredibly entertaining hardcore brawl. Both teams played their roles well, and used their respective strengths (speed for The Hunter Brothers, and power for The London Riots) to their fullest extent. Weapons used in this match included a traffic cone, a road sign, hubcaps, a Guitar Hero controller, cricket bats, a Singapore Cane, keyboards, an Xbox 360 (provided by Jim Smallman), and a chocolate bunny. Towards the end of the match, Jim Hunter got tied to one of the turnbuckles with duct tape, leaving Lee Hunter alone against The London Riots, and this eventually led to the finish, as The London Riots got the win.
A staple of PROGRESS Wrestling (at least in the early years) is a raffle involving different prizes that the fans in attendance could win. On this particular occasion, some goofball called The Mexican Eagle interrupted the proceedings, and tried to go after a fan who was in the ring to collect his prize. He takes exception to being called a pigeon, and calls out his opponent for their match.
5.) Mike Mason vs. The Mexican Eagle: *1/2
I guess part of Mike Mason’s gimmick is that he acts like a dog. This was seen when The Mexican Eagle got a tennis ball and teased Mason with it. Later in the match, The Mexican Eagle pulls a Eddie Guerrero with Mason’s dog collar, in an attempt to get Mason disqualified. Then, while the referee is distracted, The Mexican Eagle took this opportunity to hit Mason with a ukulele, and got the win. He then stole Mason’s female handler as he goes to the back. This was pretty much a nothing match. You can skip it.
6.) The Bhangra Knights (Darrell Allen & RJ Singh) vs. Team DEFEND (Eddie Dennis & Mark Andrews): ***1/2
These two teams had a “merch-off” to start things off. As a whole, this was a very entertaining tag team match. What helped make it so enjoyable was that it served as a great contrast to the tag team weapons match from earlier. There was a ton of good action throughout, and all four guys got a chance to shine (Of course, Mark Andrews probably shined brightest). In the end, The Bhangra Knights managed to pick up the win. The match might’ve been a little too long, but that’s my only real complaint.
The two teams swapped t-shirts after the match in a sign of respect.
7.) Progress Title - El Ligero vs. Ricochet: ****
Seeing this version of Ricochet was so odd, because this was back when Dragon Gate USA was still going strong. As for El Ligero, this was his second defense of the PROGRESS Title, which at this point, wasn’t actually a title belt. It’s actually….a staff (oddly enough). I thought this was a great match, and it was easily the best match on the entire show. Ricochet was, of course, incredible (as he always is), but El Ligero more than held his own here against the “Future Of Flight”. There was some great back and forth action from the start finish. The fans were really into it, and it definitely delivered as a main event. In the end, El Ligero managed to score the victory to retain his PROGRESS Title….staff. The two men then shook hands after the fact as the show came to a close.
This was a pretty solid outing from PROGRESS Wrestling. The main event delivered, and was easily the best match on the show. There were also a number of really strong matches on the undercard, such as the Weapons Match, The Bhangra Knights vs. Team DEFEND, and MK McKinnan vs. Paul Robinson. Although there was one match that was pretty bad, the rest of the show was good, and as a whole, Chapter 6 was an entertaining show to watch.