Progress: New York City hit Demand Progress today, so let’s get right into it, shall we?
After Jim Smallman’s usual (and lovely) introductory patter that I generally don’t recap, Pete Dunne comes to the ring. He says even if he wasn’t injured, he wouldn’t be wrestling tonight. He’s the highest paid sports entertainer on the show, he sells more merchandise than anybody, including the company, so why shouldh e come to the ring and risk his body for us?
He owns Progress, he owns New York, pro wrestling belongs to him, Progress is his, WWE is his, everything is Pete Dunne’s.
This brings Jack Gallagher down in fighting trim. He tells Dunne to mind his language before contesting the idea that Dunne owns any of that. He didn’t see him at TV last week, for one. But he knows he’s not medically cleared to wrestle (a word Jack can say here!), and he wants to extend a hand in friendship and maybe they can do this in the future.
Peter, predictably, swats his hand out of the air and takes his leave with his title belts. Jack says he’s here for competition, which brings his old rival Zack Gibson down. New York gives Zack the welcome he is most accustomed to as he launches into his spiel about being number one in a variety of places.
He adds a new verse running down the New York crowd for being a parody of the UK’s great wrestling scene and then telling Gallagher that he watched the last six months of his career and he’s a parody of a professional wrestler now. Jack rebuts, saying this isn’t 205 Live, this is Progress and lands a headbutt! We have a match!
Jack Gallagher vs. Zack Gibson
The action spills outside, diving knee, Jack well in control until Gibson puts a hammerlock on and slams him arm-first into the barricade! Into the rail on the far side, arm-first again, uppercut, back inside and a nearfall off a lariat. Zack continuing to target the arm, wrenching and barring, getting disrespectful and shoving Gallagher by the head.
Turning into forearms but Jack gets fired up, Gibson knows he has to put him away, goes for Helter Skelter, Gallagher reverses to a straight suplex! Strike rush in the corner, boot to the face, just a nearfall! Zack back at it, nearly gets Shankly Gates, nearly gets Ticket to Ride, Jack ducking and dodging, he fires off a headbutt… NO GOOD!
Gibson spits in his face, wrenches the arm to reverse a butterfly, elbow right to the face, up for the Tombstone-style Codebreaker… NOT ENOUGH! Forearm for uppercut, the gentleman pulling ahead but Zack cuts him off and they shift into a straight forearm exchange. Cross chop to the throat gets another headbutt in return and both men are down and out!
On their knees, trading slaps into uppercuts, just clubbing the hell out of each other, Gibson lands a lariat, looking for a capture brainbuster but Gallagher reverses to a guillotine choke! Zack flags, trying to find and escape but he doesn’t fail, suplex reversal, Jack on his feet! Another headbutt sends Gibson to the corner, the running dropkick follows… ZACK GIBSON SURVIVES!
Zack bails, Jack throws a suicide dive, Gibson catches him… HELTER SKELTER ON THE FLOOR! Back in, Ticket to Ride… JACK GALLAGHER LIVES! The Shankly Gates are in but he can’t step over, Gallagher reverses to a pin for a nearfall, uppercut backs him in the corner, Zack to the corner again, the running dropkick connects, Jack climbs…
Jack Gallager wins by pinfall with a torpedo-style diving headbutt.
Holy crap, that ruled. Being a replacement match and all, not one person could have blamed WWE Superstar Jack Gallagher (good gravy, typing that is fun!) if they had done like eight minutes of mat grappling and called it a day… but they didn’t. They went hard, they went big, and they had a hell of a match to kick the show off with. Full points, lads.
Dahlia Black & Dakota Kai vs. Deonna Purrazzo & Jinny
Black and Jinny to start, Dahlia having a bit of fun with her old pal in the feeling out, ducking and dodging, trading quick nearfalls off of pinning predicaments. Eventually Black gets tired of it and requests assistance getting up before tags are made. A bit of light lucha, Kai throwing arm drags and dropkicks, quick tag to Dahlia and they have Deonna isolated.
Repeated double knees set up the cannonball but it’s only good for a nearfall. Kick rush, snapmare, off the ropes, blind tag, Penalty Kick to the back, Dakota in with one to the front but it’s not enough to put Purrazzo away. Deonna rallying, targeting the head, tag to Jinny and she keeps the assault on, stomping away at the midsection of the erstwhile Evie.
Flash kicks find their mark, STO backbreaker, a kick right to the jaw, only a nearfall and Kai blocks the follow-up with a jawbreaker, tagging Black back in. Whip into a reverse roundhouse, but Jinny catches another kick and lands a dragon screw on the bad leg! Stomping away as referee Brandon Tolle tries to check on Dahlia, pulling her into the middle of the ring to more directly target the ankle, but the cover’s only good for two.
Deonna in, continuing to just savage the leg, stomping and wrenching, spinning toehold into the figure four leglock Ric Flair style! Black rolls through and reverses the pressure, forcing Purrazzo to the ropes! After the break, Deonna knocks Dakota down from the apron to deny the tag and resumes the attack on the leg.
Jinny legal, wishbone the legs, stomping and standing, wrenching the leg over the ropes for even more damage! Desperate for the tag, Jinny grinds her face into the mat and posts the knee straight into the mat repeatedly, but even after all this, the cover only gets two. Drawing Black to her feet, Jinny lays forearms in but Dahlia manages to dig deep for one of her own in return!
She blocks the Acid Rainmaker, duck under, cobra clutch backbreaker to a cobra clutch DDT but Black can’t capitalize! What she can do is make the tag at the same time as Jinny does! Kai in like a house afire, facewash gets a nearfall, going for TTYL but Jinny breaks it out and lands a roundhouse! Dahlia in with a dropkick, Purrazzo cuts her off with a Mafia Kick and Dakota completes the circle with one of her own!
All four women to their feet, pairing off and trading forearms, off the ropes and Deonna and Jinny land stereo German suplexes! Jinny passes Black to the apron, dropkick to the knee, she goes for a Penalty Kick off the apron but is met with a trip, Kai hits the Rock Bottom backbreaker, nobody home on the Mafia Kick, Purrazzo capitalizes…
Deonna Purrazzo & Jinny win by pinfall with a neckbreaker from Purrazzo on Dakota Kai.
Well that was a hoot. Building so much of it around Dahlia’s injured ankle was inspired, given Purrazzo’s strengths and Jinny’s natural aura of evil and spite.
Donovan Dijak vs. Timothy Thatcher (Progress Atlas Division Championship #1 Contender’s Match)
Intense grappling early, Tall Don holding his own. Eventually Thatcher catches a kick and Dijak backflips out of it and the heat turns up, corkscrew senton atomico into the turning falling splash is good for a nearfall but not enough for the contendership. Tim off the ropes with the belly to belly suplex, Don blocks a whip and scoops him up for a spinning front slam!
Thatcher on dream street but he has the wits about him to counter a goozle into an arm wringer and put Dijak into the post arm-first. Divorce Court to a double wristlock, trying to push through the full Kimura lock but Don blocks, Tim shifts to a cross armbar and Dijak finds sanctuary in the ropes.
Kicking away at the arm, Dijak fighting back however he can but the former Evolve World Champion pummels him with forearms in return. Looking for the butterfly suplex but Tall Don takes a knee to block and instinctively hits a lariat with the bad arm only to regret it! Forearms with the bad arm, Thatcher hits his enzuigiri for a one count, manhandling Dijak and keeping him down for repeated covers.
Knees to the back, Don throwing desperate strikes, Tim draws him up, body blows into the Karelin lift, but again, only a nearfall. Clubbing at the arm, back to the butterfly and Dijak backs him into the corner to force the break. Don using his left hand, risking the right only at the end of chains when he knows he can afford the shock to the system, kick to the throat, knees in the corner, huge release suplex!
Calling for Feast Your Eyes but Thatcher blocks with a headlock and turns it into a sleeper hold. Dijak flags but doesn’t fail, backing Tim into the corner to try and break, where the Ringkampf man lets go for a second but immediately locks it back on! Using the arm as a lever to escape, superkick, fireman’s carry into the spinebuster… NOPE!
Calling for the goozle but he used the bad arm, Thatcher escapes, Fujiwara armbar denied, Don off the ropes, Cyclone Kill! Dijak up top, moonsault… NOT ENOUGH! Feast Your Eyes, Tim catches the knee, big slaps but Dijak catches him in the chokebreaker! Slow to capitalize with the arm in pain… STILL NOT ENOUGH! Thatcher has the Fujiwara armbar locked in in the middle of the ring!
Crawling for the ropes, to his feet, Argentine backbreaker rack… FEAST YOUR EYES! THATCHER GOT HIS FOOT ON THE ROPES! Thinking about the moonsault again, wondering what he has to do to put Timothy Thatcher away when Stokely Hathaway gets on the apron! Stoke’s interference gives Tim time to recover as Dijak hits Spiral Tap on nothing!
Thatcher has the sleeper but Dijak breaks with a backpack cannonball! Shaking his fist, trying to fire himself back up but Tim slides in and grabs the Fujiwara! NOWHERE TO GO! IT’S OVER!
Timothy Thatcher wins by submission with the Fujiwara armbar, becoming #1 contender to the Progress Atlas Division Championship.
An excellent match, from Dijak using his power for the early advantage to Thatcher going ham on the arm, to the way Don sold the arm, not simply letting it hang limp and useless from the first damage but trying to use it strategically for added power when he knew he’d have a second to recover from the pain, to Dijak leaning into the flying late trying to find any edge to grab onto. One of my favorites of the year thus far.
Stokely gets on the mic to celebrate and talks about when Tim’s going to cash in his title shot. It’s certainly not going to be at this dump, it’s going to be at Alexandra Palace at Chapter 55!
Jimmy Havoc vs. Joey Janela (No Disqualification Match)
Charging in at each other with stereo pump kicks, Joey thinks fast and lands a knee that sends Jimmy outside and follows it up with a suicide dive! Havoc fires one off in return and we get a brawl on the floor. Jimmy goes under for plunder and comes up with a REALLY beat-up table, setting it up at ringside.
Janela cuts him off and sets him up in a chair, around the ring for a boot, thinking about a second and he gets it without issue! One time too many, Havoc catches him with an elbow and runs around the ring himself only to settle on an eyepoke. Back in, Jimmy throws a chair at the Bad Boy but is cut off by chops and forearms before he can set up whatever he’s thinking.
Comeback, Joey seated in a chair and Havoc hits a monkey flip that takes the chair with him! A dropkick knocks Janela out of it, diving double stomp connects for a nearfall and Jimmy heads back outside for more plunder, coming up with a door this time. Charge in the corner, Joey picks him up and powerbombs him into the table! Havoc tries to pop right back up but immediately fails and the Bad Boy gets a cover for a nearfall.
Pushing chairs together, Janela sets Havoc up in the corner and climbs after him, thinking about a superplex, Jimmy blocks… FLIP DDT OFF THE TOP THROUGH THE CHAIRS! JOEY JANELA LIVES! Jimmy in with slaps, Joey has uppercuts, kick for kick, Acid Rainmaker blocked with an elbow strike, stereo rolling elbows and both men are out on the mat!
Another Acid Rainmaker countered into a California Roll, Janela takes him to the apron… DEATH VALLEY DRIVER THROUGH THE TABLE TO THE FLOOR! Back in the ring, Joey thinks fast… SPINNING PACKAGE PILEDRIVER! YOU CANNOT KILL JIMMY HAVOC! THE BAD BOY HAS CINDER BLOCKS! HE SETS TWO OF THEM ACROSS THE BACK OF JIMMY’S HEAD BUT HE GETS UP, ARRANGES THEM ON THE CHAIRS… PRESS SLAM INTO THE BLOCKS! SOMEHOW NOT ENOUGH!
Pumphandle powerbomb, another nearfall… HAVOC TAKES JANELA’S SHOE OFF AND BITES HIS FOOT! THE OTHER PIGGY GOES TO MARKET AS WELL! HE’S GOT TACKS! Manhattan Drop reversed to a sunset flip, Jimmy succeeds on putting Joey’s feet into the tacks with an atomic drop! GERMAN SUPLEX INTO THE CINDER BLOCKS! WRISTLOCK…
JIMMY HAVOC WINS BY PINFALL WITH THE ACID RAINMAKER!
Incredible. There are very few people on Jimmy Havoc’s level as far as taking a deathmatch and turning it into an escalating serious of increasingly nauseating spots without ever losing the thread of a pro wrestling contest, and Joey Janela is one of ’em.
Austin Theory vs. Keith Lee vs. Mark Andrews vs. Mark Haskins
All three smaller men attacking Lee to start but he shrugs them off and goes to handing out double overhand chops in each corner! Biels follow, thinking about a dive but Theory and Haskins form an alliance and take him out. Austin with the double cross, Andrews in to take him out with a Frankensteiner, and Haskins cuts him off with a dropkick in turn!
Suicide dive on Theory, one for Lee, White Lightning returns the favor with a dropkick… TOPE CON GIRO! Haskins got away… another suicide dive! The two UK lads jockeying for position, Andrews knocks Haskins aside, Theory in, slingshot stomp, wristlocks lifted into a suplex, Haskins back in with a double stomp! Andrews gets most of a Tiger feint kick before slingshotting in, Haskins throws him aside, thinking suplex, STUNDOG MILLIONAIRE!
The Limitless One back in, he draws White Lightning right up into an electric chair… POISON FRANKENSTEINER! Triple dropkicks knock Keith back out of it before Andrews sets ’em up and knocks ’em down for a nearfall. Haskins back body drops Andrews outside, he lands an enzuigiri, nobody home on the dive, jackknife pin, Haskins bridges up but Theory breaks it with a standing moonsault… NO GOOD!
Enzuigiri ducked, Haskins gets the bridging Fujiwara but White Lightning makes the save! Frankensteiner attempt but Haskins stops him short and turns it into a Boston Crab on top of Theory, who gets added in with a reverse chinlock! Lee back in, powerbombing Haskins into the corner, passing Andrews into him but Austin stops him short with a rolling blockbuster!
Haskins in, spiking the unproven young man with a fireman’s carry Michinoku Driver! Andrews with a boot up on the charge but Haskins cuts him off, AVALANCHE FRANKENSTEINER! KEITH LEE CATCHES MARK ANDREWS INTO A POWERBOMB CLUTCH BUT WHITE LIGHTNING ROLLS THROUGH TO ANOTHER FRANKENSTEINER! Off the ropes for a crossbody, bad idea, Mark catches him, swings him around but Haskins hits a superkick to assist his fellow Mark in hitting a crucifix driver!
Another superkick for Andrews, one more, roll through to the Death Valley Driver but White Lightning reverses with a Stunner! Up top, Theory cuts him off, thinking superplex when Keith rolls up… TOWER OF DOOM! HE TOOK A FEW STEPS INTO THE MIDDLE OF THE RING BEFORE DROPPING THEM WITH THE POWERBOMB WHAT EVEN?! IT AIN’T OVER YET!
Lee and Haskins facing off, Mark throwing chest kicks, a knee to the gut, off the ropes… POUNCE! Pulling Haskins over, thinking Doomsault… NOBODY HOME! FLIP PILEDRIVER FROM HASKINS! ROLLING THUNDER DROPKICK FROM THEORY! KNEE FROM HASKINS! HE BLOCKS THE SPINNING ARGENTINE POWERBOMB AND LOCKS THE SHARPSHOOTER ON IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RING!
Mark Haskins wins by submission with a Sharpshooter on Austin Theory.
This match was stupid in the absolute best possible way. Just four dudes breaking physics over and over again at incredible speed, really good stuff.
British Strong Style (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) (c) vs. South Pacific Power Trip (TK Cooper & Travis Banks) (Progress Tag Team Championship)
Bate and Banks to start, trading pins early and a rolling sunset flip leads to a stalemate and tags being made. Seven fooling around, so Cooper plays the circle game with him and lays him out with a punch. Trent heads outside, Tyler in, right hand, thinking about a dive but Travis cuts him off with a kick! Kiwi Buzzsaw with a suicide dive and TK heads up top for the corkscrew moonsault that dislocates his ankle.
The match is ruled a no-contest.
…but Travis Banks isn’t done with British Strong Style! He gets on the mic and says instead of going to the back, he wants ’em in a handicap match! Jim polls the crowd and makes it official!
British Strong Style (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) vs. Travis Banks (Handicap Match)
Ducking a lariat from Dunne and Travis hits a suicide dive on Banks and Seven! Taking it to ’em two for one on the floor but their numbers catch up to him and he takes a beating against the barricade. Elbow and a boot pull him back into it but it’s a hard fight all the same. Back in the ring, trading shots with Trent, and Seven catches him with a DDT on a fakeout in order to make the tag.
Snapmare, Tyler in with a dropkick to the back of the head that gets a one count! Scoop and a slam, Earthquake splash but he doesn’t weigh enough for THAT and so Banks comes back with those buzzsaw chest kicks. Bate picks the leg and makes the tag, Seven coming in and choking Travis over the ropes while simultaneously chopping his crotch.
Trent gets into it with referee Brandon Tolle and Dunne takes full advantage, chewing on and wishboning the Kiwi Buzzsaw’s fingers! Continuing to work Banks over, wheelbarrow seated senton into a folding press for a nearfall. Disdainful kicks and slaps from both BSS men but Travis just gets fired up! Chest kicks for everybody!
Duck a forearm, German suplex, corner-to-corner uppercuts, leg kick stacks ’em up and the cannonball takes ’em out! Coast to Coast, Kiwi Krusher… HE HAD IT WON BUT PETER YANKED TOLLE OUT OF THE RING BEFORE THE THREE! BRANDON TOLLE EJECTS PETE DUNNE! Too little too late, perhaps, because Seven hits him low, Pedigree, double pin… TRAVIS BANKS KICKED OUT AT ONE!
Duck a lariat, Slice of Heaven, dump Tyler…
Travis Banks wins by pinfall with a lateral press on Tyler Bate.
Obviously a terrible situation with TK’s injury, but they did the best they could delivering on the promise of the tag title match in handicap form.
Matt Riddle vs. WALTER (c) (Progress Atlas Division Championship)
Mat grappling to start, back and forth until they reach a stalemate and WALTER is the first to get frustrated, throwing a chop. Riddle ducks, throws a roundhouse that the Austrian ducks and gets hit by the chop and a slam but the followup leg drop comes up empty and Bro comes off the ropes with a forearm. A second try and WALTER has the Gojira Clutch in, Ringkampf rope break, standing switch, Matt with the German suplex!
Off the ropes again, forearms, a few repetitions but WALTER nails him with a dropkick! The action spills outside, trading chops until the big man wipes Deep Waters out with a boot! More chops, ringing out across the arena like gunshots as the blood blisters rise up on their skin!
Back in the ring, Riddle grabbing the leg to block but the champion hits a Karelin lift! Another, thinking about a third but our Bro counters with one of his own! He also gets a second, and hits the high jump senton but it’s only a nearfall. Chest kicks, the sweat spraying off WALTER’s chest. He catches the Pele kick, hits the butterfly suplex, a split-second away from retaining the title!
Sidestepping a charge, Matt hits a German suplex but WALTER pops up! A boot connects, a German in return, Riddle pops up this time! Another German and our Bro lands on his feet! He comes in with the knee and the Ringkampf man lays him out with a right! Powerbomb blocked, the knee connects, fisherman buster but Riddle can’t capitalize!
To his feet, our Bro squares up, in with the knee, hammerfists and stomps to the side of the head but the cover only keeps WALTER down for one! Up top, WALTER cuts him off with a chop, they struggle in the corner a bit… BUTTERFLY SUPERPLEX! NOT ENOUGH TO KEEP RIDDLE DOWN! Looking for a powerbomb, Matt blocks, fireman’s carry, Bro 2 Sleep!
Off the ropes, WALTER lays his challenger out with a lariat! Both men down, trading chops on their knees and to their feet, just absolutely pasting each other as the tempo intensifies! Riddle switches to kicks, WALTER ducks the roundhouse, the Gojira Clutch is back on! Bro throws his way out and locks a triangle choke on!
WALTER posts to his feet and counters with the powerbomb! A second powerbomb into a lateral press… NO GOOD! Champion in with a boot, Riddle in with the Pele kick, a second Bro 2 Sleep into the bridging German suplex… NOT ENOUGH! Up top, diving senton… THE KNEES WERE UP AND THE GOJIRA CLUTCH IS ON WITH BODYSCISSORS IN! RIDDLE DESPERATELY REACHES THE ROPES!
Stomping away at the back of Matt’s neck, WALTER clearly frustrated, big palm strikes, but the knee connects in return! Bro 2 Sleep! Short-arm knee strikes, three in total! Busaiku Knee Kick follows and knocks the champion down! Up top, diving senton connects… WALTER LIVES! Riddle takes his back, pounds him with elbows… THE BROMISSION IS ON! HE’S CHOPPING AWAY AT THE CHEST! WALTER TAPS! IT’S OVER!
Matt Riddle wins by submission with the Bromission, winning the Progress Atlas Division Championship and becoming the only two-time champion to date!
Fantastic match, a perfect companion to their previous match. There, WALTER just had Riddle completely scouted, and here he changed up enough, chopping stuff up and remixing it, to be able to catch the Austrian off-guard long enough to force a submission. And of course, the sheer visceral nature of these men trading chops cannot be denied. Jawdropping every time.
If it weren’t for TK Cooper getting hurt, this might be the platonic ideal of a touring Progress show, and even with that blemish, it’s still an incredible show match-wise. Every match delivered, each in a different way and to a very high level, to the point where picking favorites is just about impossible but I guess for the purposes of a review I have to, and so I’m gonna single out the big lads here.
Two very different matches, WALTER and Riddle as two long-time rivals chipping away at each other and countering counters, while Dijak and Thatcher had a first time matchup built around arm work that I’m really bummed will likely be an only-time matchup given that Tall Don is headed… elsewhere. Because, holy crap, imagining the stuff they did there escalated in a future match gives me chills. Alas.
Storyline-wise, aside from moving the pieces into play for the Atlas title match at Alexandra Palace and deepening the “boy, British Strong Style sure are dicks” thread, there’s not a huge amount of note here, but there doesn’t have to be, because it’s a touring show and Progress are on such an incredible tear as far as their match quality goes.
Check it out on Demand Progress folks, you will not regret it.