Progress Chapter 102: Bang Tidy
February 2, 2020
We’re in Cardiff, UK at the Tramshed. Crowd is fired the fuck up. Loads of crowd noise.
Commentary comes from Glen Joseph & Fraser Thomas. The latter if very, very softly spoken. Host in the ring is Matt Richards who keeps it nicely short!
Chris Ridgeway vs. Elijah
Elijah comes from Dragon Pro. You may have seen him in Attack where he’s been a fairly important cog in that machine. He’s working heel here, which is where he’s most comfortable. He’s been in Fight Club before but this is his Progress debut, which is fair fucks as we’re in his back yard. Riddy has been off working for NOAH and his kicks are now stiff as hell.
With spots up for grabs you’d think Ridgeway would be gunning for a top tier place in ‘Gress but his focus seems more on Japan and on self-improvement. This is a perfectly fine opener although a key moment, a missile dropkick to the knee, doesn’t work. Riddy compensates by belting Elijah whenever possible. Some of the kicks are savage. It’s an opener that lives up the Bang Tidy show moniker. Elijah gets punted in the head and the German suplex finishes. Riddy played this like a silent assassin. Dismantling his opponent. Very good opener. Elijah may have gotten a little too much of the match but it was a solid debut for him.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Progress Proteus Championship
Paul Robinson (c) vs. Danny Jones
Another Welsh lad who Progress haven’t booked much and he only won once, which was against Eddie Dennis where Eddie got disqualified in a matter of seconds. That was his last booking; July 2018 (bar a pre-show battle royal outing at Wembley). Robbo is actually able to unleash his natural heel persona here in a heated contest.
Danny has started his year basically in All Japan, which allows Glen to list off AJPW guys he knows. This unfortunately includes Atsushi Aoki who’s dead. I don’t think he’s been training with Aoki (unless you include his 2017 run over there of course). Jones, in keeping with his Japanese roots, is clearly the superior man here as a young heavyweight facing a junior. Robbo draws tremendous heat and Jones looks very good taking the match to him. There’s something to be said for a home town advantage! Robbo has to cheat, with a low blow, and rains elbows down for the referee stoppage. Danny Jones best showing in a Progress ring by a country mile. Robbo hugely at home as a heel here.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Mark Andrews vs. Ilja Dragunov
Dragunov beat Andrews in a matter of seconds at the last show and they play off that. The wheels come off the match when Ilja randomly starts selling his leg although no move led to it. Looks like Andrews fucked up and forgot a pre-planned spot. The irritating aspect is Ilja then just going and doing all his tiger feint stuff anyway and the leg is fine. Not only was the spot bad but it ends up being useless. They keep trying to recover and keep going back to the leg. Yeah, I don’t want to see that. What else have you got? They do some standard Indie dumb stuff like Ilja rolling through a superplex only for it be countered into Stundog Millionaire. I’m sure that sounded cool backstage but I’m not liking it.
This being the big ‘pre-intermission’ match means they have to shoot for the stars but in all honesty I preferred the match that lasted a couple of seconds in Camden. Ilja runs into an Eddie Dennis exposed turnbuckle and the Shooting Star finishes for Mandrews. This got off to a bad start and got progressively worse. They had some good ideas but they were lost in a sea of bad ones. The really bad news is this was the super workrate match for people like me and it didn’t land.
Final Rating: **1/4
Post Match: Gene Munny, campaigning for a spot in SSS16, is seen handing out little flags around ringside and he sneaks into the ring to push his agenda.
Progress Tag Team Championship
Jordan Devlin & Scotty Davis (c) vs. Anti-Fun Police
This is a lot of fun. AFP tend to lean on the comedy but they’re both very capable pro-wrestlers and they demonstrate that here by taking it to the champs. Dunne is at his creative best, even if some of his spots are ludicrous. The Chief doesn’t really get the props he deserves as a worker. Devlin is exceptional as always. The way he ran up Santos’ back to hit a Spanish Fly on Dunne was breathtaking and I hate that move! Package Piledriver kills of Dunne and the champs retain. Great little match here and if you’ve only ever seen AFP as a comedy team this might be a bit of an eye opener.
Final Rating: ***3/4
Progress Women’s Championship
Jinny (c) vs. Gisele Shaw vs. Dani Luna
Dani is a local girl so she’s naturally the most over. As with Robbo we get a proper heel champion in their correct role. Gisele Shaw is much improved over the past year although she still has a few issues. She has a lot of snap on her bumping and her offensive moves, when they connect, look crisp. It’s when she’s missing moves, intentionally, that there’s an issue. They never look like they’re intended to connect. The rebuilding of the UK women’s scene is one of the trickiest parts of the WWE scene takeover. Even Dani Luna has been headhunted and she’s barely broken into Progress. Anyone that gets a tiny bit of traction seems to get offered a deal.
I appreciate the effort put on here and the attempt to rebuild a scene that’s been devastated…but it’s a disjointed match. Multiple person matches are generally harder to put together and that’s in evidence here. It is, however, the best Luna has looked in a big promotion. The finish is super flat with Jinny putting Dani away with the Acid Rainmaker. The staredown between Jinny and Gisele afterwards implies a potential singles match between them next. Should be better than this.
Final Rating: **3/4
Progress World Championship
Cara Noir (c) vs. Chris Brookes
Squid boy is off to Japan so they ran a weird worked shoot thing on Twitter with Brookes calling out Progress management for not giving him a chance to say goodbye. It was dumb and bad but at least it led to this. If I’m booking here Cara gets a clean, decisive win to establish his title run. Afterall Brookes is leaving anyway so who cares?
Brookes’ persistent assaults outside of the ring draws the ire of Cardiff and turns the crowd against him.
It helps that he gets into it with official Chris Roberts, who’s on home turf. A babyface referee? Whatever next?
Brookes does an excellent job of targeting Cara’s foot after he accidentally kicks the ring post. It makes good logical sense to go after an obvious weakness. They keep up the body part work all match too and I’m left questioning why anyone would wrestle barefoot given the obvious downside to it all. It’s a really good match until Roberts gets dragged into Swan Woo.
I don’t like ref bumps and it’s especially weak in Cara’s establishing title defence. Here Kid Lykos gets to run in and they do a second ref with Joel Allen going to count and Roberts pulling him out of the ring. I would not have had Brookes get a visual pin on Cara Noir but that’s just me. I’m not saying your new champion always needs to be heavily protected but within reason you don’t want to make him look weaker than he needs to. They have a big spot with drawing pins but Cara doesn’t land flush on them first time so they do a different spot and that looks painful. Brookes gets trapped and taps out. This could probably have lived without the excessive booking but it was a good effort from both guys.
Final Rating: ***1/2