PROGRESS Chapter 87: Breadknife (3/31/2019)- London, UK
OPENING SEGMENT- good
DNR are out to complain about not being in Super Strong-Style 16, even though they are booked on the shows. They make a challenge on that show to Eddie Dennis, Jimmy Havoc, Mark Haskins, and Mark Andrews. They use NXT UK nicknames to mock the three who are in NXT UK. I guess they think they’re David Starr now. Dennis comes out and explains away why he has been friendly with Chuck Mambo elsewhere (Mambo came to visit him after his injury). I’d rather they just ignored elsewhere and went by “only PROGRESS is canon” if they can’t give us an answer that solidly explains everything.
Anyway, Dennis is injured again, but he announces that he has found a replacement in the big match. Cue El Ligero running out and attacking the heels from behind with a chair. I’m fine with this attack from behind because DNR have done worse to El Ligero (beat him up and hit his horn off) and El Ligero would be outnumbered here.
SUPER STRONG-STYLE 16 QUALIFYING MATCH: David Starr vs. Connor Mills- 6.75/10
WINNER QUALIFIES FOR THE FOUR-WAY PROGRESS WOMEN’S TITLE MATCH AT A LATER SHOW: Kasey Owens vs. Nina Samuels- 7/10
They managed to take my default assumption going into this match that Owens had no chance and completely smash it by the end.
LAX (Ortiz & Santana) vs. CCK (Chris Brookes & Jonathan Gresham) (w/Kid Lykos)- 3.5/10
A bunch of time is wasted on goofy comedy, because apparently some people like to see slow forward rolls more than they like to see actual wrestling at their wrestling shows. We finally get to some wrestling… and they’re back to the f*cking rolling again. KNOCK THAT SH*T OFF! Oh my G-d. Now Gresham and the f*cking REFEREE are arguing over who should be allowed to participate in this roll-fest.
After wasting the first ten minutes of the match, we get the actual wrestling match. Some stuff happened. Eventually Kid Lykos tried to throw Gresham a stapler but it went over his head and Santana caught it. If my enemy was right behind me and had a dangerous weapon, I would move as quickly as I could to either disarm him or get away from him. But I’m not Jonathan Gresham. Gresham instead took the time to frown at Kid Lykos before SLOWLY turning around to stare at Santana. Santana, for his part, instead of acting quickly to attack his opponent with this weapon, waits for Gresham to turn around so that he can wag his finger at him before trying to attack Gresham with the stapler. The stuff they did after that (a great battle with both guys trying to turn it on the other) was great, but it was completely undermined by what came before it, with the stapler not being treated as dangerous or something in need of any urgency of movement just so we could get some comedy in.
A kick to the head and Double Underhook Piledriver Combo was broken up by Santana’s new-found super strength, as he, while standing on the outside, managed to push Chris Brookes- who was in the ring and lying down other than being propped up by one forearm, hard enough that Brookes took a bump half way across the ring and landed on the pin. Are you f*cking kidding me?
At this point it turned into a proper wrestling match again, with Ortiz as the babyface in peril and the heels working over his knee. Then they started doing spots and mostly forgot about that. Then we started getting bullsh*t like Gresham breaking up a count by sliding under the referee’s arm and stopping it from hitting the mat, as if this didn’t clearly constitute a wrestler putting his hand son the referee in an effort to interfere with the referee’s ability to do his job and thus should result in an immediate disqualification. Now we’ve got Lykos pulling the referee out of the ring (at least he got ejected for this, and they did keep the plausible deniability of the referee not actually seeing who grabbed him). Meanwhile, Ortiz is running around doing spots- including a Codebreaker- not selling his knee one bit. Oh look. The injured knee is back when he does an up-and-over on Gresham. This allows Gresham to grab waistlock… but Ortiz immediately counters with a go-behind. So much for that injured knee meaning anything.
More spots happen. Gresham hits Ortiz with a shooting star press and he kicks out, at which point Gresham gets up and makes the goofiest face possible while staying frozen in place. He eventually moves and now locks in a figure four. Ortiz makes it to the ropes. Gresham won’t break the hold, but doesn’t get DQed even though the referee is looking right at them the whole time. Instead it’s time for the submissions on the floor spot, and the count-out rules have now started to apply. Why is that rule being enforced but rules regarding DQs aren’t? Speaking of things that should be DQs, Ortiz is throwing soda/beer/whatever cans at Gresham and hitting him with them. That should be a DQ, too.
Gresham eventually released the hold to get back into the ring… and it actually resulted in a count-out. As you might expect, this finish was roundly booed by the crowd. Yeah… this SUCKED. Like their previous match, this came off as WAY too much of guys putting on a performance for a crowd and nowhere near enough of an actual sporting contest. This time, though, they went even more in that direction, doing the various stupid things they did that make no sense if this was real, but get pops from the crowd so they decided to do them. Throw in the wasting ten minutes with comedy bullsh*t in the beginning, and you’ve got yourself a terrible waste of OVER HALF AN HOUR.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- Santana cut a promo demanding a rematch where LAX has a counter to Lykos. At this point, I don’t want to see these teams wrestle ever again. They would eventually get around to that match, but it would take a good six months.
ANGELICO vs. T.K. COOPER (w/NIWA)- 6/10
NIWA was clearly seen by the referee trying to kick Angelico in the stomach (and even connecting, though Angelico was able to grab the leg afterwards) but there was no DQ. Other than that spot, this was fine. The story was NIWA’s interference costing Angelico, and eventually this played into the finish.
SUPER STRONG-STYLE 16 QUALIFYING MATCH: Lucky Kid vs. Tristan Archer- 6.75/10
Most of this was a great “big heel vs. small babyface” match with Lucky showing off his ability to absorb punishment and getting his back worked over, but there were a few times in the middle where it turned into way too much of just guys trading moves.
TLC MATCH FOR THE PROGRESS WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES: Swords of Essex(c) vs. Aussie Open- 5.5/10
We started off with several minutes of gaga from the heels while a dueling chant was going on. That was very annoying to have to sit through. Unfortunately, turned out to be a very appropriate start to this match.
This was a twenty-minute street fight that was stretched out into a forty-five-minute ladder match. To pad the match out to make it last that long, they went SOOOOO F*CKING SLOW between spot or had the heels just flat-out waste time jawing with the crowd. There were also only about three attempts to get the belts, so while there was definitely action and there were people taking big, scary bumps and getting hit with weapons and so forth, there was no real drama. There was no rush of “oh my G-d he’s going to get the belts… NO!” No really peaks of excitement; just a flat line of “oh, I guess they’re going to do a bump off the stage now.”
The absolute worst part of this was the last few minutes. Ospreay and Robinson were on top of the ladders when they saw Fletcher just barely able to crawl into the ring and a snail’s pace. Instead of one of them going down to take him out and the other getting the belts, they both got down and started taunting him and giving him those stupid New Japan “paintbrush kicks” where instead of kicking the downed opponent full force in the face to try to win the match, they lightly push the opponent with their foot several times and allow him to fire up and get back to his feet , because while the mat might say “King of Sport” the real king is Dave, King of Distributing Snowflakes and that’s what Dave likes.
Anyway, we got that sh*t for a bit. Then it progressed to draping Fletcher over a chair while Ospreay slowly took his belt off so he could whip Fletcher. Of course, Ospreay took forever to getting around to do this, which allowed Mark Davis to leap into the ring and selflessly cover his partner’s body with his own, because apparently that’s better than trying to punch the opponent’s in the face. The heels stood there and considered the situation for a while before just whipping Davis, making Davis look like an idiot. The heels took forever to do more things before the babyfaces put them through a bunch of stuff and Aussie Open finally beat the Swords of Essex after failing so many times before, and I’m apparently just supposed to ignore that the only reason the babyfaces won was because the heels decided to be sadistic idiots instead of trying to win the match, which absolutely killed it.
Yes, crowd reaction is important, but this match took the question for crowd reaction too far. It began to feel like I was watching a performance where the goal of the performers was to milk every last drop of reaction that they could out of the crowd, when what it should have felt like was two teams TRYING TO WIN THE MATCH, with the crowd reactions being caused by but ultimately incidental to the things the wrestlers did, instead of feeling like the wrestlers were doing the things they did for the purposes of generating a reaction.
This was a BAD show from PROGRESS, and almost certainly the worst one I’ve ever seen from them. This show was built around two big tag team matches, and both of them did not even come close to delivering. The other stuff was meh to good, but on a six-match show with two mega-hyped matches, having neither of them deliver is a death sentence. The fact that both of those matches succumbed to the same flaw only makes it more frustrating. Wrestlers need to stop doing things just to get a reaction of that thing doesn’t make sense within the confines of a fight. It’s not about the pops; it’s about the emotional investment of the fanbase.
NJPW, PROGRESS, RevPro, CMLL, etc
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Hold #712: ARM BAR!
FIP in 2005
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FIP in 2005
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