We kick off the show with Zack Gibson, who is clearly the biggest heel possible in front of the Manchester crowd. It is glorious. He explains that it is bullshit that they have to defend their titles in a round robin tournament. He is not wrong. Imagine if Okada had to defend the title during every match of the G1.
Thunderbastard Tag League - Aussie Open vs Mills & Mayhew
This was a high paced start to the show. It didn't really have any story or anything but it was a fun spotfest. Gibson does some entertaining commentary too. Aussie Open picked up the win, as expected. ***
Zack Sabre Jr vs Mark Andrews
This was a fun, technical match that you don't see as often as some others on the UK scene. The main concern was that it was pretty obvious that ZSJ was going to win as they are not going to have him lose heading into his title match at Wembley. ***3/4
David Starr vs WALTER
There is a touch of what the previous match had here, in that it is unlikely that WALTER loses at this stage, but they actually steered into it and it provided a really good story. The match itself was always likely to be good as these two have great chemistry. While not their best match against each other, it was the best match on this show. ****1/4
British Strong Style vs Jimmy Havoc, Mark Haskins & Flash Morgan Webster
This was originally meant to be a 6-man tag but Trent Seven is injured so he can't compete. He says that he will be back for the BSS vs Undisputed Era match at the WWE UK show, though. The match suffers a touch from the handicap stip and it feels a bit run of the mill, which is a shame for a BSS match. ***
After the match, CMJ makes his presence known and has his face to face with Pete Dunne. He says that Dunne has failed to answer the challenge he laid down at the last show and now it is too late because ILJA DRAGUNOV IS HERE! CMJ says that he doesn't want the match to happen in this shithole, it deserves to take place for the big money at Wembley. I love everything about this. The match should be amazing and CMJ is doing a wonderful German version of Paul Heyman. Aces.
PROGRESS Title Match - Travis Banks vs Jack Sexsmith
I had no idea what to really expect from this match, other than the fact that there was basically no chance that Sexsmith would win. What we got was a weird match, in which Sexsmith gained Roman Reigns levels of kickout ability, despite it not being believable in the slightest. Sexsmith also put in one of his worst performances in a while, noticeably messing up on a few occasions. Despite this the crowd gets into it and make this seem better than it actually was. ***
PROGRESS Atlas Title - Rampage Brown vs Doug Williams vs Joseph Conners vs Rob LynchAfter WALTER gave up the title they needed a new champion, but I thought they would put some more thought into it than this. I'm not overly enamoured with any of the competitors here, and none of them seem like a worthy successor to WALTER. The match was fine but nothing better than that. Williams won for the feel good moment. **1/2
PROGRESS Women's Title - Toni Storm vs Jinny
This match had the best build of anything on this show but, unfortunately, it also has its issues. It was expected that there would be interference, but there was so much of it that it never really had the structure of a big title match. That is a bit of a shame really but hopefully Jinny's title reign will have better moments than this. **1/2
Overall Grade - C+
A show where the second half was significantly worse than the first. It's not a great sign when all of the title matches underwhelm but at least there were some great moments in the first half.