We come at last to the final chapter before Super Strong Style 16 drives us to the conclusion of our retrospective. Both tag team titles and the Progress Championship are on the line as the company throws everything they can at Havoc to try and put an end to him. But is it enough? Let’s see.
Zack Gibson vs Damo O’Connor
Sha Samuels’ Open Challenge
Sweet Jesus vs Sumerian Death Squad (No. 1 Contendership match for Tag Team Championships)
Rampage Brown vs Mark Haskins (No DQ)
The Faceless vs Eddie Dennis and Wild Boar Mike Hitchman (Progress Tag Team Championships)
Bubblegum vs Flash Morgan Webster
Jimmy Havoc vs Marty Scurll vs Noam Dar vs Will Ospreay vs Dave Mastiff vs Paul Robinson Elimination Match (Progress Championship)
1. Big Damo O’Connor
The opening match of this chapter is another one of those retroactive recognition moments for me. I’m a big fan of the SanitY stable in NXT (at least before they made the move to Smackdown and the company had absolutely no idea what to do with them) and Killian Dane in particular. The man formerly known as Big Damo has a speed that makes his size even more intimidating and it made him a bonafide star in “NXT Takeover: War Games.” So seeing a younger Damo here was a treat.
Damo and Zack Gibson (who finally shaved his head, on his way to being the bearded bastard that we’d all love to boo) but on a pretty decent match, seeing Damo explode out right in the beginning.Gibson eventually gains a bit more control, targeting Damo’s arm. Damo fires back, eventually countering Gibson’s Ticket to Ride (a mid-rope codebreaker) by straight up catching him. Gibson succeeds the second time, stunning Damo enough for Gibson to hit a Spinning Suplex…for a one count!
In the end, Gibson had to resort to cheating, pulling a fork from his boot. The ref immediately confiscated it and removed it from the ring, only for Gibson to pull another fork from his boot and jab at Damo’s eye behind the ref’s back. One Penalty Kick later sees Gibson get the victory, but in no way that makes the Beast of Belfast look weak. Hats off to a nice promotion debut, Damo!
2. Sumerian Death Squad
We’ll talk about this a bit further down with The Faceless, but as we get towards the end of this retrospective, a lot of events are going to start to happen that will have real payoffs in a Post-Chapter Twenty Progress. Case in point: Chapter Eighteen saw the full debut of the Sumerian Death Squad tag team, composed of the already debuted Tommy End (Alesiter Black) and Michael Dante taking on the tag team of surfer dude Chuck Mambo (whose entrance is one of the few times a beach ball at a show is tolerable) and Pastor William Eaver, the team called Sweet Jesus.
Basically, it’s the Bible Studies Kid and the Stoner Kid vs. the School Goths, except it’s more Wrestling Jesus and the Goths are big and terrifying.
Okay, it’s more than that, as Sweet Jesus jump SDS at the bell (oh, Jesus is a Heel in this match). There is a nice pace to this match, control doesn’t stick long with either side. Attempts at double-teaming are powered out of, such as Mambo using his speed to counteract against both End and Dante or End surviving a Tree of Woe spot and powering out at the one-count. There are a couple of close near-falls, such as End barely kicking out of the Pastor’s Clothesline from Heaven. In the end, the Sumerian Death Squad take the win with the Black Mass, and will move on to challenge for the tag shields but, like with Big Damo, in now way that made Sweet Jesus look weak.
3. Dead in the Dirt
This is the final nail for Screw Indy Wrestling as Rampage Brown and Mark Haskins take each other on in a No Disqualification match. As is tradition, this match is pretty damn violent, such as Rampage delivering a Michinoku Driver on Haskins onto a chair or when, near the end, Haskins decides to grab some coat hangers and uses them to pull Rampage’s bloodied mouth open and pour salt into it. In the end, Rampage puts his former stable mate away with a piledriver onto a chair.Continued below
While Rampage won this vicious match, it did set something else up: Mark Haskins’ resilience and his status as the Almostman. For me, Haskins is one of the most underrated wrestlers in the world and he has always been fingertips away from greatness. This is the story that’s going to follow Haskins in the Post-Havoc world that will eventually lead him to winning the big one.
4. The Problem with the Faceless
This Chapter had the Faceless defend their Tag Team Championships against the team of former champ Eddie Dennis and “Wild Boar” Mike Hitchman. It’s a decent match, even though it ended with a ref bump and the third Faceless interfering, but it was definitely quality tag team wrestling. However, it was at this point that something is becoming more clear:
The Faceless were kinda lame.
I’m not saying that they were bad wrestlers, but the whole gimmick started with some intrigue as to the identity behind the masks. But the gimmick leaned too much into that whole “Hacker/Anonymous” schtick that was tired even in 2015. When you have a crowd chanting “Shit London Riots,” something isn’t as good as one thinks. I suppose it is a good thing that (spoiler), the first night of Super Strong Style 16 (next week’s review) will see them unmask, because the gimmick really ran out of steam quick.
5. Throwing Every Weapon at the Enemy
Mastiff. Scurll. Dar. Ospreay. Robinson. Havoc.
Let’s get it out of the way: if you have a good hour to kill, I highly recommend watching this match. It is pure chaos from bell to bell. Alliances form and crumble, with Mastiff and Scurll beating the piss out of Havoc outside, only for Scurll to belt Mastiff with his Umbrella (Scurll’s Villain gimmick even more pronounced than ever) and Ospreay and Dar make a somewhat stable alliance. An interesting thing to note: Ospreay and Scurll never team up in this match. It doesn’t seem like much, but it does feel like a long-growing seed of their rivalry that spreads between Progress, Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Just a neat tidbit.
The final three are -of course- Havoc, Ospreay and Robinson. It is here where things get real interesting when Robinson tries to pin Havoc, but only for a two count. Havoc gives Robinson one of the biggest death glares ever before the two reconcile… which is just enough for Ospreay to shove Havoc aside and eliminate his former tag partner after and Essex Destroyer. We’re down to just Havoc and Ospreay again, with Ospreay managing to get Havoc down and in the drop zone for the 630… but again, Will hesitates. He manages a shooting star press, but it’s only enough for a two count. Havoc then blasts Ospreay with the Acid Rainmaker.
Havoc grabs a microphone and tells Ospreay he’s never getting his hands on the title before demanding Jim Smallman approach the ring. Havoc places Ospreay’s mouth on the bottom rope before telling Smallman this is what’s going to happen to everyone Progress throws at him… before Havoc stomps Ospreay’s mouth into the rope. One Acid Rainmaker later and it’s over. Havoc, once again, gets away, despite everything thrown at him. As Havoc and Robinson continue to beat on Ospreay…Flash Morgan Webster’s music plays.
The Natural Progression Series winner comes out, but doesn’t leave the stage. He doesn’t want to beat Havoc this way, especially with Robinson there. So Flash brought a bit of an insurance policy… as James Davis and Rob Lynch, the London Riots, come out of the crowd, cricket bats in hand and lay waste to Havoc and Robinson, the two that left them in the dirt in Chapter 15. The crowd pops massive for the now fully Babyface turned Riots, as they shake Jim Smallman’s hand, the match is set: Night One of Super Strong Style 16 will see Havoc and Robinson face the London Riots!
This is it. All the pieces are set for the first iteration of Progress Wrestling’s mega multi-day tournament, Super Strong Style 16. Jimmy Havoc is becoming more and more unhinged as Regression continues to fall apart. Buckle up. We’ve got three more shows to cover, and some great wrestling to cover and the end to a story twenty Chapters and three years in the making.