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Before WrestleMania I thought I'd watch the latest PROGRESS show or at least the key bits. Before we get into the wrestling, can I just say, the acoustics of this show are terrible. I couldn't hear what the fuck Jim Smallman was saying. Also no Haskins on this show? Where is he?

Anyway the matches, surprisingly we kick off with a Title Match with British Strong Style technically defending their belts but not really as it doesn’t seem like they care if they’re champions or not for any reason other than the money. That opening bit with the towel was hilarious and Bate is looking awfully handsome now he’s gotten a bit scruffy I guess to separate the heel in PROGRESS from the face in WWE… despite apparently the two things being connected? I don’t know. It was a good match and a solid way to kick off the show regardless.

Next up I watched PROGRESS Number One Contender, Mark Andrews, take on a whole new Will Ospreay who I like very much indeed. This match almost felt like that trope in anime where the hero needs to fight his inner self and overcome it so they can go on and face the big bad. It was an epic match and I can forgive Havoc coming in to upstage everyone at the end because it tied into the main event and the continuing evolution of Ospreay and Havoc. This new heel Ospreay is perfect in ways I could have never imagined.

Then finally, speaking of the Big Bad and Jimmy Havoc, we have the no DQ Main Event. Which was basically what they last match was, until it wasn’t. In terms of the actual match, it was a weird one. I mean don’t get me wrong it was awesome but also oddly bloodless which took away from the match a lot, I felt. It had some of the most brutal spots on paper that I’d seen outside of some backwater promotion built on hardcore but in the execution it just seemed weird that neither man looked particularly hurt. Especially Dunne who walked off like he’d wrestled a regular match. But even Havoc, it took a frying pan to the head (of all things) very late in the match to give us some claret. Maybe it’s the WWE influence creeping in but I felt like this should have been a bloodbath and because it wasn’t that harmed it for me. Then again Havoc’s hardcore match against Scurll way back was underwhelming in similar ways. In terms of matches like this in PROGRESS it feels like Havoc peaked as he was curb stomped through light tubes. Shame, that.
If this is Manchester, the acoustics are always the same on Ondemand. They sometimes improve mid way through show but they are generally terrible...
 

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SLAVE.
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If this is Manchester, the acoustics are always the same on Ondemand. They sometimes improve mid way through show but they are generally terrible...
Yeah it was the O2 in Manchester. It also made it quite hard to work out what people were chanting too.

PROGRESS 46 dropped, I watched the show over the course of the weekend. This was my payday weekend so some of it I was watching while my head was swimming as I was hanging out my arse so I might need to watch this again, no real complaints with that as the show was stacked, but these are my initial thoughts.

Never actually watched a Ringkampf match before but I got introduced to both members in the form of two singles matches. Both against guys I’m really glad to see in a PROGRESS ring again, Haskins of course coming off that neck injury and Riddle finally defending the Atlas title in a PROGRESS ring after defending it on a world tour.

Speaking first of that Haskins/Axel Dieter Jr match – and perhaps most importantly Haskins’ entrance – it was… okay. It had some great standout sequences but I dunno something just felt off about this match as an overall package. There were some really flat moments in between those standout moments, maybe the two of them just don’t have a lot of chemistry between themselves.

The Walter/Riddle Atlas Title match on the other hand was basically fucking perfection. Walter and Riddle went to war with one another, I pretty much uniformly adore every match involving Matt Riddle, he’s a God damn prodigy and along with Shibata, he’s my MVP of 2017. He hasn’t been in the business very long at all yet I’ve seen few wrestlers who can tell a better story than Matt Riddle, period.

On a similar sort of vein as Haskins/Axel, The Hunter Brother and British Strong Style put on a solid, stiff, affair but there was so much messing about that I don’t think the match as a whole was nearly as good as some of the individual sequences and exchanges. Those PROGRESS Tag Title belts are beautiful though.

And of course while not the Main Event, we had probably the most important match on the card in Ospreay v Havoc and my new match of the year so far. If this is really the end of their feud and the end of Ospreay’s time in PROGRESS, it was the perfect ending for one of the best feuds in wrestling in recent memory. The match was full of breathtaking moments and was just so much fun. All the crazy ass “weapons” brought in by the fans which got fully utilised for both an absolute bloodbath but it was also an absolutely fantastic wrestling match in between all the hardcore bits as well. You know Dean Ambrose looks at matches like this with a long sigh.

Speaking of the actual main event, Pete Dunne and Mandrews stole the show at the UK Tourney and on NXT a few months back now (I think?) and Mandrews just came off the back of the match of the year quality match against Ospreay at the last Chapter (which I guess is weird as it seemed like it was just sorta thrown together), now Dunne and Mandrews go face to face in PROGRESS for the first time and honestly I thought this match was a bit of a dud.

I just really didn’t care for all the antics in the match and the match was kinda botchy and scrappy in places too. PROGRESS is really killing my interest in British Strong Style and Dunne especially, why do they book him so weak when we know he’s an absolute monster? This is just like what WWE did with Owens and the Universal Title. I get that British Strong Style are their big bad stable and this is a good way of generating heat but surely there are better ways of doing this? Every successful title defence from Dunne just feels like a storytelling dead end. If it takes having the titles taken off of British Strong Style so they can rebuild themselves, then I’d honestly be okay with that at this point. It is funny because the commentators basically point this out themselves, too.
 

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THE NXT CHAMP BAYBAY !
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Anyone in here seen Chapter 40? More specifically Adam Cole v. Will Ospreay from that show? Most here know I'm WF's resident Adam Cole mark and I wanted to hear people's thoughts on it. Me personally I had it in my top 3 matches of 2016.
 

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Anyone in here seen Chapter 40? More specifically Adam Cole v. Will Ospreay from that show? Most here know I'm WF's resident Adam Cole mark and I wanted to hear people's thoughts on it. Me personally I had it in my top 3 matches of 2016.
Great match, waaaaaaaay better than their NJPW encounter, not sure if I'd call it a MOTY candidate but 2016 was just so good for wrestling anyway.
 

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THE NXT CHAMP BAYBAY !
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Great match, waaaaaaaay better than their NJPW encounter, not sure if I'd call it a MOTY candidate but 2016 was just so good for wrestling anyway.
Defintely, I didn't think their NJPW match was bad it just left a lot to be desired. This one however lived up to everything I thought they could do and more. Ospreay himself even said it was one of his favorite matches he had last year.
 

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Great show

Riddle vs WALTER was quality

The Ospreay vs Havok match isn't really my thing but making it loser leaves town halfway through was brilliant and the match they had from that point was awesome. Also... Grandfather clock. Fair play.

Haskins with his lad was really cool

I really hate the whole "you won the title.... oops foot under the ropes" thing but apart from that Dunne vs Mandrews was immense.

Progress, especially considering all the talent it's lost, has been on a great run for ages. Makes me so anxious over the WWE relationship.
 

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SLAVE.
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Just finished watching PROGRESS Orlando and I thought the show was a massive disappointment if I’m honest. Not a horrible show but given that it was Wrestlemania, the card is so stacked and given the kind of goods PROGRESS seems to deliver on the regular the whole show just gave me an overwhelming sense of “meh”. Matches felt overlong, sluggishly paced and lacked that usual fire that seems to make PROGRESS matches feel so special.

The best match was probably the main event for the PROGRESS Title, where Haskins effectively first won a handicap match against British Strong Style but then got beaten by Dunne alone. Wrestlingwise this was an incredible match and I suppose in kayfabe it’s logical that Haskins’ neck would be the deal breaker but I dunno, I just didn’t like the booking here. You’ve been booking Dunne like such a bitch for so long now, Haskins gives him his absolute all and Dunne just kicks out of everything and wins the match like some kind of superman.

It’s just so conflicting and it has been through his reign, is Dunne a badass monster of a heel or another cowardly bitch heel? He can’t be both.

Probably the second best match on the card was the Atlas Title match but that is mostly because I’m a massive Matt Riddle mark and was happy to just watch him work while this match took an absolute lifetime seemingly to really get going.

Plus more than the other matches I felt like this one delivered the most once it got there. There was some clunky stuff, mostly from Seven, but some of the bumps and stiffness here were just crazy. Maybe it’s just because of what I know him as but I definitely prefer Seven as a team wrestler, rather than a singles guy. It wasn’t that his performance here was bad or anything I just think it wasn’t nearly as good as his work when he’s got Dunne, Bate or both to work off of.

Outside of that no real one match stands out but the show had plenty of moments. Zack Sabre Jr. getting busted open, seemingly the hard way, added a lot to the otherwise mostly middle of the road match against Jimmy Havoc. It’s a shame that such a landmark match is so easily forgotten.

I also thought it was really cool a WWE Title was defended at this show, too, and Tyler Bate’s crazy power on display was a lot of fun. He seemed to deadlift Andrews with ease, at some points snatching him out of the air and others just ripping him from the canvas and all the moves were executed so well. Maybe it’d be too dangerous but I’d love to see him use that deadlift brainbuster as his finisher, was a thing of beauty.

Is there any point in watching that Evolve v PROGRESS show? I'm guessing one promotion isn't going to exclusively put the other over and I'm guessing no titles are going to change hands, right?
 

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Every fairytale needs a good ol fashioned Villain
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So I've lived out here in England for about 7 months now and have slowly been getting into the UK scene of promotions. Progress is one of the last major ones I gotta check out in person and plan on doing so this fall. I've been watching more and more videos on youtube and I'm on the verge of getting their on demand monthly subscription. It seems like it's worth it for the $8 a month. Would yall suggest catching up on more recent stuff or going all the way back to the beginning?
 

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Roy "Gambit" Mustang
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So I've lived out here in England for about 7 months now and have slowly been getting into the UK scene of promotions. Progress is one of the last major ones I gotta check out in person and plan on doing so this fall. I've been watching more and more videos on youtube and I'm on the verge of getting their on demand monthly subscription. It seems like it's worth it for the $8 a month. Would yall suggest catching up on more recent stuff or going all the way back to the beginning?
I am personally only up to Chapter 17 but yes even if the production values are not the best there are still great matches and the Fall of Jimmy Havoc storyline
 

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Every fairytale needs a good ol fashioned Villain
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I went ahead and got the subscription. I'm almost through chapter 3 now but must say I've been enjoying these shows.
 

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SLAVE.
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Not really sure why it’s on PROGRESS’ demand service but I ain’t complaining because I got to watch the “WrestleCon Super Show 2017” which I know Meltzer raved about. What a card, too. Talent jumbled all over the place.

Now I’ve seen the show, I definitely feel like the show kinda peaked after Team Ospreay v Team Ricochet. I have no idea why this wasn’t the main event, it was genuinely one of the best wrestling matches I’ve ever watched and will most certainly be right up there when it comes to my discussions about the best matches of the year for sure.

But it wasn’t just that, the first half of the show also delivered the awesome Low Ki/Shane Strickland match and the opening tag match and the Bobby Lashley v the guy who plays Matanza in Lucha Underground for the TNA Title were both heaps of fun.

The second half of the show basically became a DDT PPV for about three matches and then basically just transplanted a Lucha Underground match into the WrestleCon show. I’m sure there are audiences for this stuff but I have no interest in DDT and if I wanted Cage v Mundo, I’d just watch Lucha Underground directly, as this wasn’t as good as any of their “proper” matches from the actual promotion.

Speaking of the actual Main Event… honestly kinda sucked. Given that on paper the match sounds like an absolute dream, it’s amazing how poorly it was executed.
 

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SLAVE.
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New PROGRESS dropped yesterday. What a HUGE show for PROGRESS and nothing is within their control. I wonder what this means for the future of PROGRESS. Paul Robinson is retiring, South Pacific Powertrip’s visa ran out and Axel Dieter Jr. is apparently WWE bound. That is a huge blow for a company who has lost a huge amount of talent over the last few years and will potentially lose even more yet.

Speaking of Axel Dieter Jr. I’m glad he got to go out in the fashion he did. He took a loss, for sure but if this is the last time we see Ringkampf in this form, I think they gave them a great celebration even in defeat. That is one thing PROGRESS do so well, make everyone look great.

It was a great match in general to be honest, PROGRESS is one of the only promotions I can think of where the more men in the ring, the better the match seems to turn out. British Strong Style especially are so great as a unit but at least in terms of their work in PROGRESS, I ain’t all that impressed by them as individuals.

Seems like some seeds are being planted, too and while the constant double crossing and murky motivations are getting a little tired now, I suppose it fitting for British Strong Style to end up destroying themselves than being definitively beaten. I guess it’s coming sooner rather than later, too.

The other big match worth walking about was the battle of the former PROGRESS Champion Marks (sorta), to decide the number one contender for the PROGRESS Title. It wasn’t a horrible match, Andrews certainly did a horrible job in selling the knee (and seriously, is 2017 the year of working the leg? Ugh.) though and botched a few sequences but I felt it was more a match of interesting details than necessarily a match with a great whole. Things like the little threads of respect between the two men threaded through the match, altering the way in which familiar sequences may ordinarily play out which heightened the finish and the fact that both men are so similar in the ring yet so different in how they implement the same kind of things in their arsenal which creates a cool dynamic in a match.
 

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SLAVE.
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So PROGRESS 48 dropped the other day I believe, absolutely drowning in wrestling this weekend, I can’t keep up!

Looked like a really weak card on paper, ended up just skipping to the last two matches on the card. If there was anything else watching from before that, do let us know!

Speaking firstly of Bate/Riddle, it was a weird match because the two men hold four titles between them at this point and yet none of them are on the line which makes you wonder why they are even working a match at all then.

That said, I’m always hungry for more Riddle. I only really get to see him in action thanks to PROGESS or when he works an indie with NJPW talent and I end up loving pretty much every match he’s involved in. Props to Bate too, he seems much more comfortable as his PROGRESS character or maybe just in the PROGRESS environment, showing a lot more charisma than in the always slightly awkward performances in the WWE (until that match with Dunne at Takeover which was just UNPH. But then Dunne seems to get to play his PROGRESS character in WWE, so it’s probably a lot easier for him).

Speaking of this match specifically, as become the norm seemingly with Tyler Bate matches, the match took a while to really relax into a rhythm but once it did the action, excitement and intensity was second to little else. I was impressed that Bate matched that sort of worked-shoot-MMA style thing Riddle seems to do in his matches which makes them so compelling. These two absolutely went to town here, I can only imagine how great it’d be once they get to work a match with a proper finish and actual stakes.

Then of course I watched that main event. After Dunne has been booked like a bit of a bitch through his PROGRESS Champion reign, this was probably one of his better moments. A Triple Threat might be the worst nightmare for a Champion, no disqualification and the fact they don’t need to be pinned or submitted to lose their title effectively makes it a handicap match. A handicap match against someone of the quality of Mandrews and a Haskins on a warpath to reclaim the title he never lost is even worse. As such when Dunne’s British Strong Style mates got involved, for once I really didn’t mind and honestly despite the odds, it was probably one of the least invasive and least direct intrusions by the men yet too.

The match itself wasn’t perfect, there were a few blown spots in there probably because the match moved at such unrelenting pace but when stuff came together, it was just vintage PROGRESS. Pure bliss. Like I always say, PROGRESS is one of the rare promotions which gets better the more people they have in their ring, you just don’t see action quite like this anywhere else. No real two guys work a match while a third rests outside, all three of them are basically active the whole time, working an extra man into familiar spots for magical impact.

I also have no idea who CCK are but that endiing was nuts.
 

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PROGRESS heading to NYC this summer!

 
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