Day two of Super Strong Style 16 sees the final matches of the tournament, but also sees the first women’s match on a Progress Chapter show and a change of titles. All of it serves as the set up for our grand finale in our penultimate Summer TV Binge retrospective.
Tournament quarter-finals, semi-finals and final
5-man scramble match
The Origin vs. Sumerian Death Squad for the Progress Tag Team Championships
Pollyanna vs Jinny – No Disqualification
1. The Start of a Rivalry
Most of the quaterfinals matches in the tournament are decent matches, the small downside of day-long tournaments being that starting matches have to leave something in the tank since certain wrestlers will have multiple matches in one day. However, there is one quaterfinal match that stands above the other three: Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Tommaso Ciampa. It is the last of the second round matches, and isn’t really long, but from a technical perspective, probably the best match of the tournament.
The match starts out very ground-based, the two feeling each other out. Both can twist and duck around one another, trying to get an advantage. It earned a “Both These Guys!” chant from the crowd, which Ciampa replied “And the Ref!” before the two began to tease a triple threat lock up with Paz. The match began turning up the intensity after, with Ciampa going for multiple four counts while stamping into ZSJ’s neck. ZSJ counters it into an armbar onto a standing Ciampa, who smashes ZSJ between the ropes to break it.
Back and forth these two went, and it was when ZSJ slipped out of an attempted Project Ciampa to counter with two penalty kicks I realized something: the crowd. Progress Crowds can be a bit rowdy and vocal. Sometimes it’s great, but on more than one occasion during this retrospective I’ve had problems at time with them. Here, for a good portion, they’re quiet, but it’s not because they’re bored but because they are laser focused. And when Zack finally got his win, forcing Ciampa to tap to a double armbar, the place erupted in appreciation for both wrestlers. This match showed two workers who so obviously enjoyed working together and would be a start of a three-match series between the two, the other matches being at Chapter 24 and Chapter 36. I highly recommend seeking them out.
2. The First-Ever Historic Never Before Seen Concept of Women’s Wrestling
I’ll be honest: Progress’ women’s division on their shows can feel a bit… sporadic? That’s not a slight at the talent at all. They’ve had and have some great wrestlers in the mix and, as we’ll talk about, their first women’s match on a Chapter show is great. But the focus can be a bit on and off at times (for example, they didn’t crown a women’s champion until Chapter 49, which was in May 2017). If there was one part that I’d love to see Progress improve, it’s here.
But onto the match itself: a No Disqualification match between babyface Pollyanna and dastardly heel Jinny. I should note this is the first women’s match on a Chapter show. Both these women have had wars on Progress’ ENDVR shows (their house shows/developmental shows that I honestly don’t keep up with that much because of time), but commentary does a fair job of informing us on the history.
This may be a No DQ match but it’s not just a brutal spotfest… okay it is with Pollyanna delivering a wicked slam on Jinny on the ring edge and Jinny going Full Tommy Dreamer on Polly’s back with a Singapore Cane. But the two show their ability to tell a story of Good vs. Evil with Polly’s consistent babyface rallying and Jinny’s attempts to keep advantage in her corner (including strategic use of her PA, Elizabeth). In the end, the greatest advantage in this match was its simple storytelling with Polly finishing Jinny off with a a powerbomb through a table Jinny herself set off, completing an underrated match and the start of a new division.
3. Wait What?
So, Sumerian Death Squad beat The Origin for the Tag Team Championships.
The match wasn’t bad, with the story of Damon Moser becoming more and more hesitant to cheat for Cruz and Ligero, the end result being Moser being expelled from the group. The problem though is that we just had the Origin unmask themselves the day before, set up their mission statement, and then twenty-four hours later, instead of reaffirming their dominance and establishing themselves as the next big group, they lose.Continued below
The Origin does eventually become more of a threat, but the rushed reveal of who they are really made the start of their story a rough one. They would eventually win the tag shields back at Chapter 23, which just makes them losing it here a bit more annoying. As I said, the match they put on wasn’t bad, but with all the great matches in the tournament and the first women’s match, the story of The Origin ended up being the weakest part of Super Strong Style 16 2015.
4. The Final
Sixteen started, but over two days it would be narrowed down to Will Ospreay vs. Zack Sabre Jr. The winner would challenge Jimmy Havoc for the Progress Championship. From a storytelling perspective these two were the perfect wrestlers to make it to the end. Both of them have the biggest links to Havoc; with Ospreay failing twice to beat the champion and ZSJ being Havoc’s former best friend and also being the one to fall in Havoc’s first title defense. It is aerial acrobatics versus technical wizardry in this final match of the inaugural Super Strong Style 16.
The match starts frantic, with an exchange of kicks before Ospreay hurricanrana’s ZSJ on the outside before pulling him back in for a near fall. From then ZSJ puts on the breaks, trying to take Ospreay’s big advantage -his speed- away from him. He goes to work on Ospreay’s arm, kicking the elbow and stretching it, just doing whatever he can do inflict damage. And on top of that, Ospreay’s continuing hesitance on the top rope comes into play, having him endure a headbutt on the top rope from Zack. But we finally see that hesitation begin to erode away when Ospreay goes to the top and hits a Shooting Star Press onto ZSJ followed by a Red Arrow to win and become the first Super Strong Style 16 winner! A really good match, and a show of respect between the two…
…why is there still ten more minutes on the show?
5. Prelude to the End
Ospreay’s victory is short lived when the remnants of Regression -Havoc, Robinson and Zercher- come down. Zack tries to back Ospreay up but both of them get taken out by Acid Rainmakers. There’s no London Riots or Flash Morgan Webster to cash in this time. Havoc is on the warpath now, verbally attacking Jim Smallman, his wife and the entire Progress crowd. The crowd have been chanting everything from “Jimmy Jimmy You’re a Cunt!” to eventually “Boring! Boring!” So Jimmy decides to spice it up, as Robinson puts Ospreay’s mouth against the bottom rope like in Chapter Eighteen… and Jimmy goes under the ring and grabs an axe.
It’s honestly one of Havoc’s best promos as he lists his demands, including a pay raise (Because he’s the top merch seller and “You can all go ‘He’s lying’ but you all paid to see me. So you should all line up outside and suck my fucking dick.”) and the most important thing: his match with Will Ospreay at Chapter Twenty will be a No Disqualification match. As he presses the axe against the back of Ospreay’s neck, he taunts him, that this was what will happen to the Aerial Assassin should he show up at Chapter Twenty. Jim Smallman though, has had enough. Havoc’s reign -at this point over five hundred days- has gone on long enough. Smallman gives Jimmy his demands, however, he adds the caveat that the London Riots will serve as special enforcers to make sure Regression keep away.
This is the conclusion to Super Strong Style 16, as Will Ospreay gets to his feet, yelling at Jimmy Havoc that Chapter Twenty will be the last time he raises that title. Everything since Chapter Two, from when these two debuted, has been on the path to this. Chapter Twenty. “Thunderbastard: Beyond Thunderbastard.” Ospreay. Havoc. No Disqualification. Winner takes all.