PROGRESS Chapter 55: Chase The Sun Review

PROGRESS has probably been the most consistently excellent promotion on the planet this year. Every show seems to have at least one standout match and they have been growing at a rapid pace. It's genuinely heartwarming to see a success story like this in wrestling. This is their biggest show ever and the card is absolutely stacked. We are sold out in front of 2000 members of the PROGRESS Ultras, let's do this.

PROGRESS Tag Team Titles, Ladder Match - British Strong Style vs C.C.K

This is what you call kicking off strong. With how well the main event has been built it is easy to forget how good the build for other matches has been. They go to the floor immediately and brawl until a ladder is brought into the ring. Trent Seven then proceeds to dragon suplex Lykos into a ladder that is set up on it's side. Fuck. We get dives to the outside and Lykos sets up a ladder against against the ropes and uses it for an assisted tornillo. 

Back in the ring Tyler Bate hits a tandem big swing/airplane spin to both members of C.C.K. Bate is a strong dude. He then does the Terry Funk ladder special, taking out everyone including his own partner. He tries again but gets caught and Lykos hits the ladder with a chair. C.C.K then hit the Sick Fucking Tag Move off a ladder. 

This match has kicked into hyperdrive now. Lykos hits a tornado DDT off a ladder and Chris Brookes hits a springboard cutter. Bate returns with a double lariat. He picks up a ladder but Lykos climbs it while he is still holding it. Seven enters the ring and the two of them lift the ladder while Lykos is standing on it and proceed to dump out of the ring onto the ring crew. 

We have a ladder set up in the ring now and Brookes is climbing it but gets cut off by Bate. Bate sets up a ladder between the original ladder and the ropes and tries to give Brookes a Tyler Driver but Brookes fights it off. They battle back and forth until Brookes counters a Pedigree attempt into a backdrop, sending Bate into the other ladder. This allows Brookes to collect the titles, and C.C.K are your new champs.

That was an action packed, breathless way to start the show. Excellent ladder match between two great teams. ****1/4

PROGRESS Women's Title - Toni Storm vs Dahlia Black

There is a nice moment before the match where Dahlia goes and kisses boyfriend TK Cooper, who is in the crowd and can't compete due to injury. Toni Storm's entrance music is brilliant by the way, in case you didn't know. They start the match with some good back and forth technical wrestling. Storm showboats too much during the hip attack, allowing Black to hit a pair of shotgun knees.

Black misses a cannonball senton and Storm takes advantage by hitting a leg capture German suplex. They trade strikes until Storm manages to hit a nasty looking buckle bomb followed the Strong Zero, but it only gets two! Storm goes for the Strong Zero again but it is countered into a roll up for another two count. Dahlia hits a back kick, cannonball senton and the Dark Side Of The Moonsault for a good near fall. 

Dahlia goes back up top but Storm cuts her off and hits a sick German suplex off the second rope. She follows this up with two Strong Zero's and Dahlia is dead. Toni Storm retains the title. This was a strong match. It wasn't a blow away match but both women came out looking good. ***1/2

Following the match Jinny attacks Dahlia, attacking the previously broken leg. She wraps a chair around the leg and stomps it. 

It's time for the Zack Sabre Jr Open Challenge. We get umbrellas on the video screen which can only mean one thing, The Villain is here in full top hat and plague mask regalia. Huge pop from the crowd.

Zack Sabre Jr vs Marty Scurll

I have seen this match more times than I can remember but it is always top notch so I have no problems with this. Scurll immediately drills Sabre and we are go. I can go through this match and map out what happened but it seems a bit redundant. This is not a match that featured a whole host of big spots, it was a match that featured a high standard of wrestling.

Sure, Marty got in all of his spots, the finger snap and trapping Sabre in the apron etc., but really this was a back and forth clinic from two men who know each other as well as they possibly could. Hold for hold, strike for strike, really good match overall match. Sabre Jr won with the European Clutch. ****

After the match Scurll cut a promo saying that this would be his last match in PROGRESS for the foreseeable future. He had to be on the biggest show in company history though.

Deathmatch - Mark Haskins vs Jimmy Havoc

They show an excellent video package prior to this match. Why anyone would ask for a deathmatch against the current Tournament Of Death champion is beyond me. Havoc comes out dressed all in white, carrying an axe. That's ominous. Haskins comes out and Havoc tries to hit him with the axe immediately. Here we go.

To the outside from the off and Havoc is collecting the plunder. Haskins sets up a chair but gets stapled in the face. Haskins retaliates by stapling Havoc in the forehead and hitting him with a guitar. Unlike Jeff Jarrett's guitar this doesn't break. Havoc goes for a suicide dive but ends up eating a frying pan to the face. Havoc is bleeding quite heavily.

The mood lightens briefly as Haskins shoots Havoc in the dick with a nerf gun and hits him with a toy dinosaur. Havoc fights back and lays in a few frying pan shots of his own. They brawl to the stage and Haskins gives Havoc a DVD off the stage through a table.

Haskins sets up two cinder blocks between two chairs but ends up paying for it as he gets powerbombed through it. He's fucking dead. Havoc tapes Haskins arms together and proceeds to give him a series of papercuts between his fingers, on the sides of his mouth, and on his tongue. He then literally pours salt in the wound. Jimmy Havoc is a sick motherfucker.

Haskins takes more of a beating, including a DDT onto a cinder block and an Acid Rainmaker but he won't give in. This just annoys Havoc, who tries to decapitate him with the axe. Haskins escapes the murder attempt and puts Havoc through the table. This allows Haskins' wife to come to the ring to cut his arms loose. She tells him not to use the chair and instead goes under the ring to retrieve a barbed wire baseball bat. The ref tries to be the voice of reason but she slaps him.

Haskins starts to beat the shit out of Havoc with the baseball bat. He then gets a barbed wire board and dumps Havoc on that. It takes more than that to keep Jimmy Fucking Havoc down though. Haskins knows what will finish this, thumbtacks. He's wrong.

Havoc hits a dropkick but lands in the tacks. He manages to hit two DVDs on Haskins into the thumbtacks followed one into the barbed wire board but Haskins still isn't done. You're going to have to kill him. Havoc say okay then, and hits him with a barbed wire bat assisted Acid Rainmaker for the win. 

Holy fucking shit. That was absolutely insane. If you want to know see a grudge match that comes across like two men who truly despise each other then this is it. This is top level deathmatch stuff. Ultraviolence mixed with storytelling and psychology. It was something else. ****1/2

Jim Smallman is out after intermission to announce that next year PROGRESS will be hosting a show at the Wembley Arena. That is unbelievable. To the best of my knowledge a British wrestling show hasn't been held there since the World of Sport days and this show will definitely be better than Big Daddy vs Giant Haystacks. The only other companies to run Wembley between then and now are WWE, TNA and WCW. Fantastic news.

PROGRESS Atlas Title - Matt Riddle vs WALTER vs Timothy Thatcher

We get another video package, this time presented in an 80s VHS style and it is brilliant. Riddle decides to get a few shots in on the two Ringkampf members but Thatcher dumps him into the buckles. He and WALTER then shake hands and beat the shit out of each other. Thatcher immediately looks like he has bad sun burn on his chest. I love this shit.

Suplexes for everyone, fuck yes boys. Riddle deadlifts WALTER, the man is a beast. Nobody has the upper hand in the suplex game so they switch to strikes. Riddle and WALTER try to see who can chop the other so hard that they develop a Kofi Kingston chest. 

Thatcher eats a big knee from Riddle but he can't capitalise as WALTER hits him with a German. That just made Riddle angry. They all try to go for Germans but in the end WALTER just Germans both of them at the same time causing Riddle to land on his head. And I've just realised I'm making some weird high pitched noises. Fuck me, this is good. Big lads wrestling.

The two Ringkampf members go back to beating each other black and blue. Thatcher makes the noises of a dying man. More suplexes and a Gojira Clutch from Walter but Riddle breaks it up with a top rope senton. WALTER and Riddle have some back and forth before Riddle hits the Bro 2 Sleep followed by a bridging German but Thatcher breaks it up.

Riddle hits a Gotch Tombstone on Thatcher but WALTER breaks it up with a German suplex. WALTER hits the powerbomb but Riddle is back up. This infuriates WALTER who flips Riddle onto his head with a stiff as fuck lariat. Matt Riddle cannot be killed! 

WALTER tries to chop a hole through time and space but Riddle retaliates by trying to knee WALTER's head off his shoulders. He sets WALTER up on the top rope and goes for a Tombstone but WALTER reverses it and hits a FIRE THUNDER DRIVER! He's dead Jim, WALTER is your new Atlas champion.

Holy shit. I fully appreciate that I am going to like this match more than other people might but it hit the spots that I want from my big man matches. Lovely stuff. ****1/2

Following the match Wolfgang makes his PROGRESS debut to state his intent to challenge WALTER for his newly won title. That'll do for a first feud.

Number One Contender Scramble Match - Chief Deputy Dunne vs Eddie Dennis vs Jack Sexsmith vs James Drake vs Flash Morgan Webster vs Strangler Davis vs Mark Andrews vs Zack Gibson

Three Welshmen, a cop, a hangman, a Scouser and a pansexual walk into a bar. Oh, and James Drake. This is sensible match placement, separating your two big title matches with this change of pace multi man match. Sexsmith gets pride streamers, which he seems genuinely chuffed about, nice touch London. Gibson as per usual has the most heat of any wrestler in the world. Drake gets his heat here too. It's a thing of beauty. Heels the world over would kill for that heat. Gibson telling a member of the crowd to fuck off is tremendous. The best line of his promo is definitely 'I would love to see the size of the bandwagon that brought you cunts here today'. 

This would be near impossible to recap without rewatching parts of it over and over again, there was that much going on. It's chaos, in the best way. Some of the highlights include Davis doing a Gory Special/Boston Crab combination, Sexsmith hitting the double Mr Cocko while simultaneously dry humping Dunne's face, the Boston Crab/Shankly Gates combo, a Pinball Wizard to the floor by Webster and a powerbomb from the ring over the ring post to the floor.

In the end Andrews picked up the win with the Shooting Star Press on Webster. It was a fun sprint with plenty of highspots to keep people entertained. ***1/2

After the match it looked like Webster would attack Andrews but in the end they both hugged. Andrews celebrated but his F.S.U tag partner Eddie Dennis drilled him with the Next Stop Driver. Dick move by Eddie, especially as Andrews had offered him the pin earlier. His heel turn was complete when he knocked the beer out of a fan's hand.

PROGRESS World Title - Pete Dunne vs Travis Banks

So here we go, the match that has been built up since SSS16. Banks is a house of fire to begin, but BSS get involved, cutting off his momentum. Banks goes after Bate and Seven, and Dunne thinks fuck this and goes to leave. BSS return with sledgehammers.
 Chris Roberts has had enough of the shenanigans and ejects Bate and Seven.

Pete Dunne completely loses his shit, beating Banks on the outside and battering any ring crew member he could find. Banks manages to beat the count back in. Dunne takes control, choking Banks in the corner. Dunne tries to get the countout victory again but Banks is having none of it.

They fight to the ropes and Dunne hits a pedigree on the apron. Both men are down. They end upback where they started and...Kiwi Krusher on the apron. Banks tries a cannonball but Dunne catches him and hits a powerbomb. Banks is annoyed by this development and hits the Slice Of Heaven for a near fall. Dunne heads up top and after some struggle hits an X-Plex off the second rope. Not good enough for the win.

Dunne goes for the Bitter End but it gets reversed into a DDT. Banks locks in the Lion's Clutch but Dunne gets to the ropes. Banks goes for a suicide dive but Dunne nails him with a forearm on his way down. He follows this up with a Tombstone on the floor. Dunne drags Banks back in and hits the Bitter End but, nope, Banks isn't done.

Dunne is fucking apoplectic. He hits a Pedigree, fuck you Pete, Banks kicks out at 1. Dunne throws an enziguri but he spanners referee Chris Roberts with it. As there is no ref Dunne kicks Banks in the ballbag. He then hits another Bitter End. We have a replacement ref but Banks kicks out again. 

For some reason the middle rope snaps. Dunne goes to the top anyway. Banks cuts him off and wants to hit a second rope avalanche German but he cant cuz the rope is knackered. He just figures bollocks to it and hits it from the top rope. 

The other members of BSS make their way out and attack second referee Joel Allen. Seven hits the piledriver, Bate hits the Tyler Driver and Dunne hits the Pedigree. Is Banks done? Nope. Dunne drills original referee Chris Roberts with a Pedigree. BSS have the sledgehammer but C.C.K make the save.

Dunne manages to hit Banks with the sledgehammer. 1, 2, nope! Dunne goes to hit Banks with another sledgehammer shot but the ref takes it away. Banks hits Dunne with the sledgehammer and follows that up with a Kiwi Krusher, guess what? Dunne kicks out. Banks immediately locks in the Lion Clutch and Dunne has nowhere to go. He taps. Travis Banks is the PROGRESS champion. 

Well that was fucking mental. I think Banks kicked out of more than anyone before him. A touch too much in fact. The match was really good but if they had got rid of the sledgehammer spots and maybe a couple of the false finishes it would have been better. Pete Dunne's facial expressions were incredible though. He is money. ****

After the match Dunne throws the title at Banks and gives him the nod, letting Banks celebrate with his parents to end the show. 

Overall Grade - A+

Seven matches with none of them being below ***1/2, and five of them being **** or better. That is an incredible standard to maintain. It has something for everyone too, from ladder match craziness to technical wrestling to insane violence. It also featured some good story development and a few debuts/returns. This may well be the most complete show of the year. I cannot recommend this enough.