British wrestling is on the agenda once again as we step into the realm of one of the most popular independent promotions on the planet, which isn’t bad considering they’ve only held a handful of shows. It’s March 2013, and Chapter Six in the ongoing saga of Progress Wrestling, entitled We (Heart) Violence.
We begin with disc one, and the match between Noam Dar and Dave Mastiff, with the winner getting a shot at the Progress title.
This proved to be a nice little opener. When the action got underway Dar found himself running into the proverbial brick wall that was big Mastiff, and when that particular tactic didn’t work Dar decided to go for the foundations instead by working over the big man’s leg.
Mastiff soon worked his way back into the match, but it wasn’t long before Dar was working over the limb again in preparation for the champagne super knee bar, but when he applied the hold big Dave countered with a heel hook/ankle lock, forcing a rope break.
The big man was quickly back on his feet as he pushed for victory, a victory which would have surely come if Nathan Cruz and his bodyguard not appeared on the scene. With the distraction in place Dar was given time to recover so he could roll the big man up for the three count, with a little help from the bottom rope. As for Cruz and his bodyguard they headed back to the hills after a job well done.
Then it was on to the Natural Progression tournament and a first round match between M.K. McKinnan, making his promotional debut, and Paul Robinson.
Short and sweet is the best way to describe this one. They began with a nice exchange of holds, but when things went against him McKinnan decided to resort to strikes to take the advantage.
This took the action up a gear or three as they put together some fast-paced sequences with near falls aplenty, and as both guys began to pull out all the stops with some very nice moves it was Robinson who began to take the upper hand, finishing his man off with a top rope leg drop for the winning pin.
Nathan Cruz then made his second appearance of the evening as he faced Jimmy Havoc.
Having seen all of Progress’ previous shows I found myself quite looking forward to this one, and I have to say that those feelings of anticipation were highly justified, because this was a very good match.
Cruz played the part of villain perfectly, constantly taunting Havoc about his past hardcore leanings, even going as far as to offer him a steel chair at one point. But despite all of this Havoc chose to play it by the rules as he took the former champion to the limit.
It almost worked for him, because no matter what Cruz did he couldn’t put Havoc away. Mind you, it didn’t help his cause at all that he went for several sloppy covers, but that’s heels for you.
Havoc almost got the win when he took Cruz down and applied a crossface, but the Showstealer managed to get back to his feet so he could reverse the positions and take Havoc down with a tombstone piledriver. A three count later and Cruz had the win.
But that wasn’t the end of things. Cruz then called his bodyguard into the ring, with the big man taking him down with two chokeslams. With their job done they calmly left the ring, leaving Havoc lying in a heap.
The final match of disc one saw the London Riots taking on the Hunter Brothers in a weapons match.
If you wanted to see great technical exchanges then this definitely wouldn’t be the match for you. However, if you want to see two teams kicking the proverbial out of each other then you’ll love this one.
Basically what you’ve got here is one big fight. A re-match from Chapter Four, these four guys knocked seven bells out of each other with a variety of weapons, including the obligatory baking trays, a road works sign (you know, the one with the bloke putting up an umbrella), an XBox, some computer keyboards, a few hubcaps, a Guitar Hero controller, a chocolate Easter bunny, and a traffic cone. In fact when the Hunters took out one of the Riots with a double atomic drop onto the cone it was one of the most unique things I’ve ever seen.
As far as violent matches go it was strangely compelling, probably because Rob Lynch and James Davis are so damn good at playing the heavies, and while the Hunter boys may come across as a cut-price Hardy Boys they did their job pretty well.
The somewhat psychotic Riot boys took the win in this one, isolating one of the brothers by taping him to the ring post so they could take out the other with their assisted sit-down powerbomb-type thing.
Disc two began with the debuting Mexican Eagle taking on Mike Mason in what was billed as an inter-species challenge match.
You’re probably wondering why this was billed the way it was. The reason our esteemed commentator Jimmy Barnatt gave was that Mexican Eagle was an eagle, and that “Loco” Mike had dog DNA in him.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s get on to the match. For the most part this one was played for laughs. There was a nice promo at the beginning from the Eagle in his faux-Mexican accent, and when Mason entered the ring he found himself chasing a tennis ball that the masked man had thrown into the crowd.
Eventually a wrestling match broke out, and the action was pretty solid, and at one point the Eagle tried to invoke the spirit of the late, great Eddie Guerrero. Eagle grabbed the dog collar and chain that Mason’s wife Becky used to lead him to the ring, and when she jumped up on the ring apron to complain Eagle tossed the chain to Mason and fell to the mat.
When the referee turned round the first thing he saw was Mason holding the chain and the Eagle lying flat on his back. But being the wise man that he is he wasn’t buying this for one second.
So as he returned the collar and chain to Mason’s corner the bigger plan was revealed as the Eagle got out the ukulele he’d brought to the ring with him and clobbered Mason in the head. When the referee turned round he saw the Eagle covering Mason, and a three count later the masked man had the tainted win.
His work was far from over though. As he made his way to the back he picked up Mason’s girl and carried her backstage over his shoulder.
The penultimate match saw Mark Andrews and Eddie Dennis of Team DEFEND going up against the Bhangra Knights, R.J. Singh and Darrell Allen.
Good natured sporting action was the order of the day in this very enjoyable encounter, with good performances from all four men.
The opening exchanges between Andrews and Allen were worth the price of admission alone, but the dynamic changed drastically when Andrews tagged his much bigger partner into the ring.
This was the first time I’d seen Dennis in action, and although he looked a little green around the gills at times he put in a pretty good effort. His early exchanges with Singh were very good as he showed what a great prospect he was.
Singh was the first one to receive the punching bag treatment before he got the hot tag as the Knights metered out the same treatment to big Dennis. This eventually led to the all hell breaking loose segment, which featured lots of high flying and some nice doubling up until the Knights took Dennis down with their bhangra buster for the pin.
And afterwards, in the ultimate show of respect, the teams exchanged merchandise in the form of T-shirts.
The main event saw Ricochet challenging El Ligero for the Progress Wrestling Championship.
This match kind of reminded me of the good old days of the Frontier Wrestling Alliance, where they’d bring over a top non-WWE American star to challenge for their title, and if Ricochet is one of the best on the indies at the moment then I have to say that reputation his highly justified.
This match could be the best thing I’ve ever seen in a Progress ring. From top to bottom it was filled with an absolute ton of great action. Ligero, as always, put in a very impressive performance, and in Ricochet he had the perfect opponent.
Some of the moves this American pulled off were amazing. Adrian “Pac” Neville may be known as the man that gravity forgot, but this guy Ricochet is definitely a serious challenger to that title.
I really can’t speak too highly of this match. I really can’t. There were just too many great things I could mention, and if I did this review would probably top 4,000 words.
By the end of the match these two had the fans eating out of the palm of their hands, and it seemed that they didn’t care who won and who lost. But there had to be a winner, and the big tick in the “W” column went to Ligero as he took Ricochet down with a reverse hurricanrana and sealed the deal with a springboard DDT for the pin, with both men receiving a much deserved standing ovation from the Progress faithful, with Ricochet getting a “please come back” chant.
Disc two is where you’ll find the extras, and there’s over an hour of them, including numerous interviews, Jim Smallman’s always hilarious show introduction, an excerpt from his stand-up comedy routine, and part two of “Things Jim Smallman Can’t Get Into”.
In conclusion – those cheeky blighters have gone and done it again, haven’t they?
Progress Chapter Six is another great release from this very young company. Everything about this just screams quality, from the wrestling to the commentary of Jimmy Barnatt (who is in no way related to co-owner Jim Smallman), to the production and to the DVD extras. In fact if I go on like this it would probably take you two more days to read this thing.
As for my match of the night I already had a shortlist of two before the main event, but then El Ligero and Ricochet blew everything else out of the water, so it’s classic that I’m giving my match of the night no-prize.
So with all of that out of the way there’s just one more thing left to do, and that’s to give this release the big thumbs up.
With thanks to the powers that be for supplying a copy of this release. For more information on how you can obtain a copy then please visit www.progresswrestling.com.
By day I’m an unemployed retail worker, and at weekends I volunteer at a local museum, but by night I’m the author of The Two Sheds Review, Britain’s longest running professional wrestling and mixed martial arts blog. Visit my site at www.twoshedsreview.vze.com. It’s been online in one form or another since June 2000!