It’s time to step into the world of one of Britain’s brightest wrestling promotions as we take another look at Progress Wrestling as we take a look back at Chapter Ten of their ongoing saga, Glory Follows Virtue As If It Were It’s Shadow.
The show began with Dutch star Tommy End taking on Mikey Whiplash.
The proverbial short and sweet opener was a very solid encounter. These two could have been mirror images of each other, not just in their ring attire but with the way they exchanged holds early on.
Whiplash has improved no end since the last time I saw him. Mind you, that was eleven years ago when he was getting squashed by Jake Roberts on an All-Star show in Croydon. He impressed the hell out of me here with the way he worked over End’s arm, and with the way he worked the crowd.
But sadly, despite this promising performance on his debut it was End who emerged victorious, taking the winning pin after a top rope stomp to Whiplash’s bread basket.
Then it was on to the quarter finals of the Tag Team Title tournament as Martin Kirby and Kris Travis of Project Ego took on Grado and Mad Man Manson.
This has to be one of the most surreal matches I’ve ever seen. It was also one of the funniest. Mind you, neither of those things were surprising considering Grado and Manson were involved.
To describe everything that happened would be somewhat difficult, but if I told that that a conga line broke out at one point would you believe me? The line featured all four wrestlers, most of the Progress management team, as well as numerous fans as they went right around the hall before they returned to the ring, and just as all seemed right with the world Kirby delivered a low blow to Manson and rolled him up for the three count.
It was back to singles action for the next match as Screw Indy Wrestling’s Nathan Cruz faced Doug Williams.
Before the match began SIW’s new ring announcer Catherine Rose tried to introduce Cruz to the crowd. I would tell you what she said, but the crowd were so loud I couldn’t hear half of what she was saying.
The match itself was quite good. Williams, still miffed at Cruz’s interference during his title match against Rampage Brown, attacked before the bell. slowing the pace right down as he tied his man in knots.
The Showstealer eventually made his comeback, and with the lovely Miss Rose providing a moment of distraction the pace quickened as both men brought out their big guns. Eventually Williams started to impose his will on the proceedings, and after taking Cruz down with a top rope back elbow he sealed the deal after connecting with the chaos theory.
It was then time for another member of the Screw Indy Wrestling faction as Mark Haskins came out for his open challenge. Haskins had interrupted Jim Smallman’s introduction at the beginning of the show to issue the challenge. Head honcho Smallman promised to find Haskins an opponent, and you can probably imagine his surprise when Smallman introduced ROH star Adam Cole.
What followed was a very entertaining encounter. These two matched up perfectly as Haskins worked over Cole’s arm early on before Cole fired himself up for his comeback, and it was from that moment on that things got even better.
But with both men coming extremely close to getting the pin it was the visiting American who took the upper hand near the end, connecting with a superkick to the back of Haskins’ head before taking him down with a brain buster to his knee for the winning pin. Afterwards the crowd rose as one to give them a standing ovation.
Then it was back to the Tag Team Title Tournament as R.J. Singh and Darrell Allen of the Bhangra Knights faced the London Riots’ James Davis and Rob Lynch.
This one had a very interesting beginning. Before he introduced them Jim Smallman asked the crowd to turn their backs on the Riots as they made their entrance. They followed his instructions to the letter as they greeted Davis and Lynch with a “f**k the Riots” chant.
When the serious stuff began it was a battle of finesse against rough-housing. The Knights took the riots down with a variety of fast paced moves, but it wasn’t long before Lynch and Davis were using Singh for target practice.
Thankfully for the Bhangra boys this didn’t last very long, and after Singh tagged Allen the match broke down, with the referee counting both teams out as they brawled around ringside, much to the annoyance of the fans.
The brawling continued after the bell as the fought right out of the front door. This annoyed the fans even more, and while Smallman explained that he couldn’t re-start the match because they were brawling in the street. It was then that a fan suggested that he book a street fight between the two teams. Smallman took him up on that suggestion, promising the match for Chapter Twelve.
Championship action followed as Stixx challenged Rampage Brown for the Progress title.
Stixx came into this one with a big mission. Having already beaten the other two members of the Screw Indy Wrestling team he wanted to cause them maximum damage by knocking off the champion. This gave us the relatively simple formula for this match. You had two big guys, more or less the same size, beating the hell out of each other and taking each other down with an array of power moves.
It was simple and highly effective, with both guys putting in good performances. Rampage impresses me more and more every time I see him, while Stixx continues to go from strength to strength.
So after roughly twenty minutes of bone crunching action something had to give. That something was Stixx, who came up short in his quest when Rampage took him down with a piledriver for the title retaining pin.
The main event was the final of the Natural Progression tournament as Paul Robinson faced Mark Andrews.
Now this was good, and I mean really good. It was the perfect end to what had been a great tournament, a match filled with an absolute ton of high flying and high impact moves.
It began with some good old fashioned chain wrestling as they tried to tie each other in knots, and as the match went on and as they went through the gears both guys began to show just why they were in this final. It really was quite breathtaking to watch. Both Robinson and Andrews were impressive in the previous rounds, but they were more than impressive here.
Sadly only one man could go home with the trophy, and that man was Andrews, taking the pin after taking Robinson down with his awesome looking top rope finisher, the lakeside flip ride, not only earning the tournament win and a shot at the Progress title but a standing ovation from the fans as well.
It was then that Smallman revealed that Andrews would get to choose the first entrant for the 2014 tournament, and instead of choosing his tag team partner Eddie Dennis he chose the man he’d eliminated from the company in a previous round, Will Ospreay, re-instating him in the company.
Smallman then congratulated Andrews on his choice, and after reminding him that he could have his title match whenever he wanted Andrews chose to have the match there and then, which led to the second title match of the evening as Andrews challenged Rampage Brown for the Progress crown.
Andrews began by taking Rampage down with dive over the top rope. Rampage quickly took control though as he began throwing Andrews around the ring like a stuffed toy. But when the champion got into a shoving match with the referee over what he thought were slow counts Andrews rolled Rampage up for the three count and the title winning pin.
Then came the shocker. As Andrews celebrated in the ring with his partner Dennis the London Riots attacked, and while they gaffer taped Dennis to the ring post Jimmy Havoc appeared, clobbering Andrews with numerous chair shots as he lay prone on the canvas.
Havoc then reminded Smallman of a contract he had given him before his heinous heel turn, promising him that he could have a match any time he wanted and with any stipulation. Smallman refused at first, but at the cost of several more chair shots to Andrews, and it was only when Havoc poured lighter fluid on the fallen champion that Smallman reluctantly agreed.
Havoc then took out the referee, forcing Smallman in officiating the match himself, but when Andrews kicked out of Havoc’s pin attempt Havoc took him down with a reverse piledriver. Smallman made the count, and Havoc was declared the new champion.
Afterwards an emotional Smallman got back into the ring and apologised for what had happened, promising that he and the rest of the management team would try to find a way out of the situation.
As for the extras, they include Jim Smallman’s show introductions, a feature on the Natural Progression tournament, and interviews with Tommy End, Mikey Whiplash, Grado & Mad Man Manson.
In conclusion – those pesky people at Progress Wrestling have gone and done it again.
Once more I’m in danger of over-praising another one of these shows, because from top to bottom this was filled with tremendous action and drama. All of the matches delivered in spades, and the tense and dramatic ending to the show just added to the overall greatness that Progress gives us each and every time. I really can’t speak too highly of the way those events played out.
As for my match of the night no-prize I’m going for the Natural Progression final between Paul Robinson and Mark Andrews. This style of wrestling may not sit too well with some prominent figures in the British wrestling industry, but it certainly sits well with me.
So with all of that out of the way there’s just one more thing to do, and that’s to give Progress Chapter Ten the big thumbs up.
With thanks to the powers that be for supplying a copy of this release. Progress Chapter Ten: Glory Follows Virtue As If It Were It’s Shadow is available to download from 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!