Progress is the name of the game as we take another look at one of the hottest properties in the indy world right now as we take a look at the two disc Chapter Seven: Every Saint Has a Past, Every Sinner has a Future.
Disc one began with El Ligero defending the Progress title against his number one contender, Noam Dar.
Normally this would have been the main event, but as the show began Dar asked co-owner/ring announcer/sheep wrangler Jim Smallman if his title shot could be the first match on the show. Smallman said it was up to Ligero, and after a hearty “si!” chant from the crowd Ligero granted Dar’s request with a good old fashioned dropkick.
So with all the niceties out of the way these to went on to have an excellent encounter, and it left me wondering just how good the rest of the show would be because of it. Ligero controlled the early going until he missed a dropkick, which led to Dar targeting the masked man’s leg as he looked for his champagne super knee bar.
From there we saw some great back and forth action as it turned into a hard hitting and fast paced affair with numerous near falls. Both guys just kept getting better and better as the match went on, and with Dar getting so close it really looked like there was going to be a title change.
Ligero threw everything at his challenger, but the youngster kept coming back for me, and even when the champion took him down with his C4L DDT Dar kicked out of the pin, giving Ligero the sign that he was number one. At least that’s how it would be interpreted in WWE these days.
So with Dar still dazed Ligero launched himself off the ropes and took him down with another DDT, and this time around that was enough to get the job done as Ligero took the title retaining pin.
Afterwards both men received a standing ovation from the always vocal crowd as the champion shook the hand of his defeated challenger.
Four-way elimination action followed with the final first round match of the Natural Progression tournament as Darrell Allen, Xander Cooper, Joey Lakeside and Eddie Dennis sought to take the last semi-final spot.
This was the perfect follow-up to the title match, a fast paced and hard hitting affair with four great performances. It was great to watch all of these men in action, and the small quirks in the storytelling were a joy to watch. As for the eliminations…..
Cooper was the first man to go. He had actually done most of the work so far, having faced everyone else in the match on a one-against-one basis, but after big man Dennis took both Cooper and Allen down with a German suplex Lakeside tagged himself back into the match, with the rookie rolling Cooper up for the pin a few moments later. Cooper was none too pleased with the manner of his elimination, taking Lakeside out with his lung blower before Dennis and Allen told him where to go in no uncertain terms.
Dennis and Allen then argued about who was going to pin the fallen Lakeside, even going as far as trying to decide who would get the honour with a coin toss. What they didn’t see was Lakeside creeping up behind Dennis, but when the roll-up didn’t get the pin Dennis took the rookie out with God’s last gift for the eliminating pin.
This left Dennis and Allen as the last two, and what followed was a great speed versus power battle. Allen’s hit and run tactics looked like they were going to take the big man down, but it was a second God’s last gift that pinned Allen and saw the Welshman into the tournament semi–finals.
Tag-team action was next as the James Davis and Rob Lynch of the London Riots went up against Project Ego, Martin Kirby and Kris Travis.
Before the match began the Riot boys rather angrily took to the microphone to complain about the way they had been treated and about the lack of a tag team title in Progress before holding their recently won IPW:UK titles aloft and declaring themselves the Progress Tag Champions.
When the match finally got underway it had to be the most unique beginning I’ve ever seen to a London Riots match. The Ego boys frustrated them with their tactics, with Kirby “crying” at one point after Davis hit him with a forearm smash.
But when the action settled down Travis and Kirby showed just how good they were by taking it to the big bullies. However, Kirby soon found himself on the receiving end of the punching bag treatment as the Riots returned to their brutal best.
Eventually Kirby managed to get back to his corner, signalling the start of the all hell breaking loose segment. This was the signal for some great double team work from both units, with the Ego boys impressing the hell out of me once again.
But despite their best efforts the newcomers came up short when the Riots took Kirby down with their district line powerbomb for the winning pin.
Afterwards the Riots tried to intimidate Jim Smallman. The co-owner responded by shoving their wages into their chests before telling them that he and his business partners would get together to give them a challenge for the final match on their contract. Well, that’s not exactly what he said, but some of the sites this review will be appearing on don’t allow foul language.
The final match of disc one saw Zack Sabre Junior taking on Jimmy Havoc. with none other than former ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness as the special guest referee.
Good natured exchanges were the order of the day in this match between good friends. It began with some nice technical exchanges which made this writer hark back to the good old World of Sport days. There were some nice touches here, especially when our special referee gave Havoc the odd helping hand.
The action progressed nicely as Sabre began to work over his man’s arm in preparation for his trademark armbar finisher. Havoc kept coming back though, desperate to secure that first win under the Progress banner.
The nearest Havoc came to getting that win was when he countered an armbar attempt and put Sabre into a crossface, but when ZSJ reversed the positions with a roll up that was the end of that particular attempt.
Although Havoc continued to plug away it wasn’t long before Sabre began working over his arm again, and a few moments later he used one of his many armbar variations to finally get the submission win.
Afterwards McGuinness took to the microphone not only to praise the performances of Havoc and Sabre but to praise the current state of British wrestling. Even though he wasn’t competing I swear he had each and every fan in the palm of his hand just by his words alone, which is why they gave him a standing ovation.
Disc two began with Will Ospreay going up against Mark Andrews.
This one had a couple of stipulations. If Ospreay won he would take Andrews’ place in the Natural Progression tournament, and if Andrews won Ospreay would be out of the company.
So with all of the stipulations in place what followed was one of the best things I’ve seen in a British wrestling ring. Mixing solid technical action with tremendous high flying moves this one definitely ticked all the right boxes.
It began with the aforementioned solid technical action, with both guys giving a good account of themselves, before they turned it up to eleven with their high flying and high impact arsenals. It really was a joy to watch as to of the best young up and comers went at it at full tilt.
Both guys came close to getting the pin on numerous occasions, and as the action went into overdrive you just couldn’t tell just who was going to get the win. But then Andrews took Ospreay down with an awesome looking Spanish fly from the top rope. One three count later and Andrews had won, keeping his place in the tournament and kicking Ospreay out of the company.
Afterwards, after another standing ovation from the crowd, Mr. Smallman paid tribute to Ospreay, wishing him well for the future before Andrews raised his hand in the middle of the ring.
The penultimate match saw Danny Garnell taking on R.J. Singh.
Before the match began Singh, garbed in a white dress shirt and flared trousers, took the microphone and told Mr. Smallman that he’d messed up the ring introductions before introducing himself Singhdango.
Well, you do need one short and sweet encounter on every show, and this was that match. We had more solid action from both of our protagonists, and after shedding his dancing outfit Singh got down to business, pulling off some nice moves before the bigger Garnell took control of the action.
Some nice back and forth exchanges followed, but when Garnell connected with his jumping DDT at the second attempt it was all over for the Bollywood star as he fell to Garnell’s pin.
Afterwards a dejected Singh tried to cheer himself up by tangoing with his dance partner, only for the London Riots to storm the ring for the attack. A few moments later they clobbered his left leg with a couple of chairs, and that attack would have surely continued had Singh’s partner Darrell Allen, with Garnell in tow, hadn’t run in for the save.
The final match featured six man action as Rampage Brown, Paul Robinson and Marty Scurll went up against Team Screw Indy Wrestling’s Nathan Cruz, Mark Haskins and their mystery partner, with the man gaining the pin getting a shot at the Progress title.
The question as to who was the mystery partner was quickly answered when Brown attacked Robinson and Scurll, and as the three bad guys continued their attack big Dave Mastiff ran in and proceeded to clean house. Seconds later he was officially added to the match as Robinson and Scurll’s partner.
After everything was sorted out what we got was a rather heated battle. The good guys had their moments early on with Robinson, the smallest man in the match, looking particularly impressive, but it wasn’t long before Robinson and then Scurll took the punching bag treatment, with all three bad guys looking pretty good as a unit.
Scurll getting the hot tag to Mastiff signalled the start of the all hell you know what segment of the match. Big moves aplenty followed as the bodies flew all over the place, and after Mastiff took Haskins out with a cannonball in the corner it looked like he was going to get the winning pin and the title shot.
That was until Scurll broke up the pin, wanting the title shot for himself. It looked as the partners were about to come to blows until Cruz pulled Scurll out of the ring and Brown took Mastiff down with a piledriver for the winning pin and the title shot at the next show.
Disc two is where you’ll also find the extras, and there are plenty of them, including the usual show intro from Jim Smallman, a couple of things from Nigel McGuinness, and a few interviews as well.
In conclusion – these Progress shows are starting to get very, very annoying. Why are you saying this, I hear you ask? After all, you’ve just praised every match to the heavens! Well, it’s because I’m simply running out of ways to say how bloody good these shows are.
I swear that these shows are getting better and better. There wasn’t one bad moment on this DVD, not one, and the fact that several of the matches received standing ovations from the absolutely mental fans shows just how good this is.
As for my match of the night no-prize, where the hell do I begin? There’s seven candidates here, and they were all great, but to settle things let’s give it to the six man tag, not just for the tremendous action throughout but for Rampage Brown’s nifty heel turn.
So with all of that out of the way there’s just one more thing left to do, and that’s to give this release the first big thumbs up of the year.
With thanks to the powers that be for supplying a copy of this release. For details on how to obtain a copy of this release please visit www.progresswrestling.com.
By day I’m an unemployed retail worker, and at weekends I volunteer at a local museum, but by night I’m the author of The Two Sheds Review, Britain’s longest running professional wrestling and mixed martial arts blog. Visit my site at www.twoshedsreview.vze.com. It’s been online in one form or another since June 2000!