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Five Thoughts on Progress Wrestling, Chapter Three: “Fifty Shades of Pain”

By | June 9th, 2018
Posted in Television | % Comments

We are now on a steady beat as we enter Chapter Three, which sees our Champion have the deck stacked against him and the promotion’s first Hardcore Match. How does it fare? Let’s take a look.

Once again at The Garage. Tonight’s Card:

Paul Robinson vs Noam Dar
Mark Andrews vs Xander Cooper
London Riots vs Bastard Squad
Jimmy Havoc vs Jon Ryan
Rob Cage vs RJ Singh
Lion Kid vs Stixx
Dave Mastiff and Greg Burridge vs El Ligero and Nathan Cruz (w/ Marty Scurll as Guest Referee)

1. A Battle for a Belt

So, the match between Mark Andrews and Xander Cooper was for the BWC Scarlo Scholarship Championship (which you can watch for free on Progress’ YouTube channel). Current Champion Andrews defending against former Cooper, who attacked Andrews in Chapter Two. This is a little feud that has been on the backburner in the six months in which Chapters 1-3 took place. It’s a simple story of a vicious former champion wanting his belt back and a well-liked champion have to endure the storm. As discussed, Andrews is the first real underdog that Progress had, and he shows that in taking some severe strikes (including a wicked Straightjacket into a Backstabber) but still comes out on top. Andrews’ continues a steady growth that will continue over the coming chapters.

One thing though, and this is a personal thing. Look, I like indie shows. I even like rowdy indie shows. I hate the “You Fucked Up!” chant. Maybe it’s because, despite it all being a work, wrestling is… you know… dangerous and when a wrestler does fuck up, someone can get really hurt. So, when a bunch of people shouting that they fucked up (which I’m sure they get) just comes off as very disrespectful to me.

2. “Scum! Scum! Scum! Scum!”

Oh, hi London Riots.

Contrary hi speed and acrobatic first two matches, the match between the Riots and the debuting Bastard Squad (Danny Garnell & Darrell Allen) is a brawl. It starts with the Riots immediately going on the prowl, including Rob Lynch delivering a massive Fire Thunder Driver onto Garnell on the concrete outside the ring area and Allen countering a James Davis’ Pop-Up Powerbomb into a Hurricanrana. Despite this being the Bastard Squad’s debut, they do work well together and provide a decent challenge for the Riots. Allen in particular showing a lot of fire to try and combat two have clear disregard for rules. But it’s around the time that Lynch delivers a Belly-to-Belly Suplex from the top turnbuckle onto Allen that this match outcome becomes inevitable. Try as they might, the Bastards succumb to the Riots, who give Garnell a beating after the match has ended (including Lynch smashing his cricket bat into a chair over Garnell’s leg!). Like Andrews’ is slowing establishing his pluckiness, the Riots are establishing themselves as the dominant evil in the blooming tag division.

3. Violence

“Strictly No Blood, No Hardcore” Match? The crowd sure was sad, demanding “We Want Blood!” for the Jimmy Havoc vs Jon Ryan match. But no, Jimmy wants to prove that he doesn’t need hardcore as he faces another one of his original teacher, Jon Ryan, who’s not happy that Jimmy went to Danny Garnell for advice. Despite Ryan wanting his head, Havoc wants to show Jim Smallman that he’s a technical wrestler so he can get respect that. The match starts very ground-based, lot of grappling and holds. However, the match isn’t too long before Jimmy Havoc wins!

When a livid Jon Ryan smashes a frying pan into Jimmy’s face!

Three minutes in an Jimmy wins by disqualification. The fans are shouting for hardcore when a bloody Jimmy crawls back into the ring to grab the mic to demand that Jim Smallman make a hardcore match between him and Ryan. Despite Progress supposed to being about Strong Style wrestling, Jim just tells Havoc to fucking kill Ryan and the first hardcore match in Progress history is on.

Now, I understand that hardcore matches aren’t for everyone, and I understand that there can be little appeal for some with Ryan smashing Jimmy’s back with a kendo stick or Jimmy using a cheese grater on Ryan’s forehead. I get it. Me, I enjoy them when a story or character calls for it and for this, something as personal as the embittered teacher angry with his student and the student trying to get some damn respect? But in this brutal match, the student isn’t able to surpass the master, just as bloody at then end, puts Jimmy Havoc away with a Package Tombstone Piledriver into a pile of thumbtacks, transitioning straight into slamming Jimmy through a barwired board.

Continued below

As I said, this kind of violence is not for everyone, but this was easily match of the night, both competitors getting standing ovations from the crowd as Ryan and Havoc hug it out and Jimmy declaring this crowd is the best crowd that he’s ever been before. Havoc is getting over and building an even bigger following by showing how tough he is.

4. Tag Team Main Event

There is something interesting about this match that I hadn’t thought of. Nathan Cruz is the heel champion in this main event tag team match and, he realistically has the deck stacked against him. He’s teaming with El Ligero, who is Number One Contender to Cruz’s championship after winning his match in Chapter Two. Cruz is also facing the team of Greg Burridge and “The Bastard” Dave Mastiff, two big, vicious bastards. On top of that, the referee is none other than Party Marty, who was cheated out of the Progress Championship twice. It’s a reversal of the norm; where usually a babyface would have to somehow overcome all these odds.

Having said that, despite all the little threads incorporated into this match, I’m afraid to say that it was just okay. It’s the weakest main event Progress has had so far and perhaps it’s because the previous tag team match between the London Riots and Bastard Squad, not to mention the Havoc/Ryan match, were so good it kind of stole the thunder from this match. It’s not a bad match and it has some good moments, like the deteriorating partnership of Cruz and Ligero and Mastiff suplex both Cruz and Ligero at the same time. It just had an unfortunate placement.

5. The Light’s Time

It’s the post-match angle that interests me more. After his defeat, Cruz gets on the mic and goes on a tirade that it doesn’t matter. Why? Because he’s Progress Champion. So he’s better than Mastiff. He’s better than Burridge. And he’s most definitely better than El Ligero. That brings Cruz’s former partner back out and a brawl begins. It gets bad enough that staff have to separate them. Jim Smallman gets on the mic and makes it official: El Ligero. Nathan Cruz. The Progress Championship. Chapter Four. It’s been bubbling since the beginning of Progress, and now it’s ready to blow.

//TAGS | 2018 Summer TV Binge | Progress Wrestling

Ken Godberson III

When he's not at his day job, Ken Godberson III is a guy that will not apologize for being born Post-Crisis. More of his word stuffs can be found on Twitter or Tumblr. Warning: He'll talk your ear off about why Impulse is the greatest superhero ever.


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