SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
PWTorch columnist Sean Radican reviews Progress Wrestling Chapter 20 featuring a big main event of Will Ospreay challenging for the Progress Title. Plus, other big matches from London, England…
Jim Smallman came out to “For Whom The Bell Tolls.” He got a huge pop from the sold out crowd as he got ready to introduce the show. Smallman said Dave Mastiff was off the show, but he had replaced by Pastor William Eaver, who would face Noam Dar instead. The fans chanted “He’s working on the Sabbath.” He said he was also shaving his wife’s head for charity today as well. He said she would be donating her hair to make wigs for kids. Smallman made a Hogan joke that made the crowd gasp. The fans chanted that they aren’t race. Smallman said fans not participating in the chant are definitely racist. Smallman said this show had sold out in 21 minutes. He also mentioned there was a new commentary team. He said there would now be a 2 person commentary team. He then brought out Glen Joseph and R.J. Singh to call the action.
(1) Pastor William Eaver vs. Noam Dar. The fans chanted back and forth for Jesus given Eaver’s striking resemblance to him. This is Eaver’s main card debut. Eaver shook hands with Dar and they moved Dar’s hands into the prayer positon. Dar caught Eaver with a dropkick during the early going and he rolled to the floor. Dar booted Eaver off the apron and then caught him with a dive through the ropes. The crowd fired up big with Dar in control. Eaver fired back and hit a huge axe handle for a 2 count. Eaver went up to the turnbuckles a short time later, but Dar surprised him with a big running dropkick. Eaver fell to the mat and began selling his leg. Dar got a knee bar, but Eaver eventually got the ropes. Dar went for a double stomp on Eaver’s leg off the top, but missed. Eaver caught him with a back breaker, but Dar caught him with a cradle for a 2 count. Dar hit a series of strikes, but Eaver nailed him with the clothesline from heaven out of the corner for the win. That’s a surprise.
Dar recovered after the match and help up a Progress Wrestling shirt that said Chapter 1 on the back. The fans applauded and he left.
Winner: Pastor William Eaver
Star rating: (**1/2) – This was good, but short. Dar did a good amount of damage to Eaver’s leg before getting caught with a huge clothesline, which gave Eaver the upset win.
(2) Mike Hitchman vs. Bubblegum vs. Flash Morgan Webster vs. Kyle Ashmore in a Four-Way Cruiserweight match. Bubblegum tried to take on all three of his opponents during the early going. He hit a vile maneuver on Webster in the corner. Everyone went after Bubblegum, who took a combination of moves in the corner and went to the floor. Webster stood tall after hitting a double arm drag on Hitchman and Ashmore. Ashmore powerbombed Webster onto his knee a short time later and the fans gasped. The action continued at a fast past. Eventually Ashmore ended up alone in the ring with Hitchman and he sent him to the floor. Ashmore hit a slingshot corkscrew to the floor and didn’t fully rotate before landing. Both men appeared to be shaken up, but they were alright. Webster set up for a dive, but Webster nailed him with a double handspring kick to the face. Bubblegum set up for a pedigree on Webster, but he countered it and went to town on Bubblegum with some punches from the mount. They did a big sequence where everyone hit big moves and Hitchman ended it with a huge clothesline on Ashmore and everyone was down on the mat. The fans went nuts as everyone attempted to regroup. Bubblegum spit on Ashmore and Ashmore fired back and nailed him with a standing Spanish fly. Webster caught Hitchman with a big running knee, but he rolled to the floor to avoid the pin. Webster went up top, but Bubblegum cut him off. They went back and forth and messed up a couple of spots. Webster eventually got caught in the ropes before hitting a reverse hurricanrana on Bubblegum. Webster then hit a big flip dive to the floor to wipe out everyone. Morgan went up top, but Bubblegum ran into the ring and jumped off Ashmore’s back and nailed him with a kick to the head.
Bubblegum went up top, but Ashmore cut him off. Bubblegum blocked a superplex and hit a big slap to the face. They went at it up top again, but Bubblegum crotched Ashmore by slipping under him. Hitchman then pulled Bubblegum’s tights down and nailed him with a big German. Hitchman and Ashmore hit a flipping spiked package piledriver on Bubblegum. Hitchman sent Ashman to the floor and made the pin, but Morgan came down off the top with a 450. He then made the cover on Bubblegum for the win.
Morgan shook hands with Ashmore after the match and then Hitchman as well. They then left the ring and he celebrated alone.
Winner: Flash Morgan Webster
Star rating: (***1/4) – This was a really fun match with a lot of fun spots. The match wasn’t always smooth, but the finishing sequence was fun.
(3) Sebastian (w/Tom Irvin) vs. Damian Dunne in a Natural Progression Series Quarterfinal Round match. Sebastian is wearing a soccer uniform. The winner of the Natural Progression Series will get a shot at the Progress Championship. Sebastian dominated the action during the early going. Dunne rolled to the floor and kicked Irvin right in the nuts. Good for Dunne! Sebastian checked on Irvin and went to get back into the ring, but he walked right into a big knee from Dunne. The fans started to sing to rally behind Sebastian. Dunne held the advantage for a long period of time. Sebastian took several knees to the head and chess.
Dunne went for a springboard, but Sebastian ducked it and surprised him with an enzuguri. Sebastian surprised Dunne with a STO a short time later for a 2 count. Dunne fired back and hit a spear. Dunne then got a pair of scissors and went to work on the top turnbuckle. The ref tried to put the padding back on. Irvin and Dunne hit the Dudley’s headbutt to the crotch spot. The fans shouted for them to get the tables. Irvin went to get the table, but Irvin caught Sebastian with a springboard double knee driver for a near fall. Sebastian fired back and hit a flipping GTS for the win.
Winner: Sebastian to advance to the Natural Progression Series Semi-finals
Star rating: (**1/2) – This was a good back and forth match. They didn’t do a lot to get me invested into the match and it felt a bit disjointed at times, but overall it was enjoyable.
Jim Smallman mentioned that the Tag Titles had been taken by customs from the Sumerian Death Squad. He said if the Hunter Brothers would, they would get an IOU.
(4) Progress Tag Team Champions Sumerian Death Squad (Michael Dante & Tommy End) vs. The Hunter Brothers (Jim & Lee Hunter). This is The Hunter Brothers’s debut at The Electric Ballroom. Both teams shook hands before the match began. The SDS were very over with the crowd. Lee and End had a great exchange early before coming to a stalemate. The Hunter Brothers worked together to take down End and Dante. They hit a giant swing into a dropkick on End and he ended up on the floor. The fans fired up and began chanting for The Hunter Brothers. Another portion of the crowd began chanting for the SDS. Jim and Lee tagged in and out to work over Dante in their own corner.
The fans tried to rally behind End by chanting SDS. End fired back on Lee, but he grabbed his leg. End rolled Lee up for a 2 count. End finally rolled over Lee and tagged in Dante, who ran wild on Lee before knocking Jim off the apron. Dante then hit a big flap jack and a clothesline on Lee, but Jim made the save. The Hunter Brothers fired back and hit an neck breaker into a back breaker on Dante for a 2 count. The Hunter Brothers isolated Dante in the corner and went for a hurricanrana/frog splash finish, but End stopped Lee from hitting the frog splash. The Hunter Brothers hit a neck breaker/senton combination on Dante and he rolled to the floor.
Dante blocked a dive from Lee and then Jim. Lee ended up trying to break up a pin on Lee, but he nailed Jim with a splash off the top. End was set up behind him and he nailed him with a round house kick. He then covered Jim for a 2 count. The Hunter Brothers hit End with several big double maneuvers capped by a stuffed tombstone piledriver off the turnbuckles, but Dante made the save. Holy s—t! End fired back and hip tossed Lee onto Jim’s knees. Dante hit a huge half and half suplex on Jim and Lee managed to break up a sure pin a short time later and the fans went nuts again. End and Jim ended up alone in the ring. Both men began trading forearms. The continued to strike and Jim ran in and hit a superkick, but End nailed him with a big knee to the head. Lee took a big combination of moves from SDS capped by a double stomp from Dante off the top for a near fall. The SDS then nailed Lee with the anti-hero for the win. Holy s—t!
The SDS applauded The Hunter Brothers as they stood on the stage and looked back at the ring after the match. The announcers hinted we might see another match between these teams at some point in the future.
Winners: Michael Dante & Tommy End to retain the Progress Tag Team Title
Star rating: (****1/4) – This was an amazing back and forth contest between these two teams. They had some incredible back and forth exchanges and The Hunter Brothers appeared to be on the verge of winning several times before the SDS put away. The Hunter Brothers had a couple of big mistakes during the match, but they rebounded late. The near falls in this match were insane as well. This is a match well-worth checking out.
They went to a video for the Pollyanna vs. Ginny feud. They each talked about what they liked about each other. Ginny said she hates people that aren’t fashionable and that’s where their feud began. A graphic said a Progress Original: Rivalries for Pollyanna vs. Ginny would be added to demand-progress.com in the near future.
Smallman said the winner of the upcoming Thunderbastard match would get a title shot of his choosing. He said it wasn’t a MITB situation, but instead he had to announce when he wanted his title shot. Joseph got into the ring. He said two men would start in the ring and every 2 minutes a new person would enter the match. The last man standing via pinfall, submission, or count out would be declared the winner. He talked about the Progress Training School. He said the first Progress Training School graduate, Ali Armstrong had gotten injured and came to training too soon and injured himself again. Ali has to choose between wrestling and his career and he said it looks like the first graduate of the Progress Wrestling School won’t be able to wrestle. He said Ali is one of the few people he considers a friend. Glen asked the fans to give him a round of applause. The fans gave him a big pop. He got into the ring and gave Joseph and Smallman a hug.
Nathan Cruz’s music played and Joseph got upset. He made his way down to the ring. Cruz got on the mic and the fans booed. Joseph grabbed the mic away from Cruz. He said he didn’t care who he is and nobody talks to Armstrong like that except for him. He told Cruz he wasn’t going to be in the first, but now he would stay in the ring and face another graduate, Damon Moser.
(5) Tom Irvin vs. El Ligero vs. Mark Haskins vs. Eddie Dennis vs. Nathan Cruz vs. Rampage Brown vs. Damon Moser vs. Marty Scurll in a Thunderbastard match. It started out with Moser vs. Cruz. Moser was ejected from The Faceless on the previous event and he went after Cruz with great fury. Moser is lucky Cruz missed a kick because he didn’t duck when they went to a rollup spot. Of course, the next wrestler out was Cruz’s partner El Ligero. Joseph really did Moser no favors after all, as this will give The Origin a numbers advantage. Moser took a bunch of tandem moves from The Origin and Ligero made the pin to eliminate him. The next man out as Rampage Brown, who got a big pop from the crowd. The Origin tried to jump him on the floor, but he wiped them both out. Brown hit them both with huge powerbombs inside the ring a short time later and the fans fired up.
The announcers pointed out that Cruz, Ligero, and Brown were the first three Progress Champions. The numbers game caught up to Brown and Cruz wiped him out. Mark Haskins ran down to the ring and the announcers mentioned that several wrestlers in the match used to be in the Screw Indy Wrestling faction (Cruz, Brown, and Haskins). Cruz wanted them to work together, but Brown and Haskins began taking turns tagging him with kicks and strikes. Haskins and Rampage then went at it. Haskins sent Brown to the floor with a big jumping knee, but Ligero cut him off from going for a dive. Ligero set up for a springboard dive, but Haskins jumped up and hit him with a big sunset bomb off the ropes. Holy crap! Marty Scrull came down to the ring as the next entrant. The announcers mentioned at the first Progress show the title match came down to Cruz and Scurll. Scrull ran wild and took out several men with dives to the floor. He hit a dive on Ligero and sent him into the ring. He went for the chicken wing, but Ligero countered it into a rollup for a near fall.
Ligero accidentally hit Cruz with a springboard kick when they were going after Scurll. Eddie Dennis was the next entrant and he got a big pop. Haskins went for a dive, but Dennis caught him and slammed him onto the apron. Dennis hit a Razor’s edge into the turnbuckles on Haskins, but Cruz went after him from behind. Dennis fired back and lifted Cruz and Ligero. He then nailed them with a double fallaway slam and the fans went nuts. Dennis covered Cruz, but he kicked out at the last second. The final entrant in the match was Tom Irvin. The fans went insane for his music playing. He came out with Sebastian and they shared a beer before coming down to the ring. Irvin began hitting stunners on everyone and the fans went nuts. Ligero blocked a stunner, but Irvin managed to roll him up with a small package to eliminate him. Cruz nailed Irvin with a kick to the head from behind to eliminate him. That was sad. Dennis came back into the ring and stood behind Cruz. Dennis planted Cruz with a big uranagi. Denis no sold a big clothesline from Rampage a short time later. Rampage hit a second big clothesline, but Dennis kicked out at 2.
Dennis then hit the next stop driver and eliminated him much to the shock of the announcers. Cruz hit show stolen on Dennis a short time later to eliminate him. The fans booed as the match was down to Haskins, Scurll, and Cruz. Scurll stacked up Cruz and Haskins in the corner. Cruz popped up and hit a suplex on Scurll for the tower of doom spot and the fans went nuts. All three men went at it and Cruz ended a big sequence with a kick to Haskins’s head. Cruz hit show stolen on Scrull, but he kicked out at the very last second. The fans popped big and Cruz so disbelief, which allowed Scurll to roll him up with a crucifix pin. The match came down to Haskins and Scrull for the right to face the Progress Champion.
The fans chanted back and forth for both men. Haskins blocked a huracanrana from Scrull and he locked in a stretch muffler, but Scurll got the ropes. They rolled away and went back and forth. Haskins escaped a chicken wing and stomped on Scurll’s arm. He went after Scurll’s arm, but Scrull fired back and hit a diving uppercut for a near fall and the fans applauded. The fans really fired up and chanted back and forth for both men. They went back and forth and Scurll hit a big DDT. Haskins countered the chicken wing and got a school boy for the win. The announcers mentioned that Scurll had been the runner-up in the first Thunderbastard as well.
Haskins told Smallman he would face whoever the champion is at the next show and the fans roared.
Winner: Mark Haskins to earn a future shot at the Progress Championship
Star rating: (***1/4) – This was a fun match with a red hot crowd. The match really heated up when Irvin came in and eliminated Ligero. The rapid-fire eliminations after that weren’t ideal, but overall this match was a lot of fun with some good storytelling elements as well.
A fantastic video package aired chronicling the Ospreay-Havoc feud during Havoc’s reign as Progress Champion.
Jim Smallman brought out the London Riots first, who were the enforcers on the outside for the main event.
Ospreay made an elaborate Assassins Creed entrance for the main event. Several men in bloody masks came out and lined the stage. Havoc then came out and flipped off the crowd. Havoc sent his cohorts away after he got into the ring. Smallman then did the formal introductions. Ospreay got a big from the crowd as Havoc glared at him. Havoc was then showered with boos when he was introduced. He also announced that Havoc permanently resides in Camden.
(6) Progress Champion Jimmy Havoc vs. Will Ospreay in a No DQ match. The announcers said Havoc had held the title for 609 days. He said he had to go through Will Ospreay to become the longest running champion in history. They also said Ospreay had been unable to beat Havoc in two previous attempts. He said this was a different Will Ospreay than the one that had been unable to hit a 630 after injuring himself. Ospreay ran wild on Havoc early and nailed him with a huge summersault dive to the floor. The announcers said The London Riots were there to make sure Regression didn’t interfere. Ospreay tossed Havoc into a section of chairs several times. Havoc tried to fire back and went under the apron, but Lynch stopped him. He went for a chair under the ring, but The London Riots stopped him again. Ospreay set up Havoc in a chair and nailed him with a running dropkick and the fans fired up. Ospreay went under the ring several times and tossed several chairs inside the ring. He also grabbed a table and set it up on the floor. Havoc fired back and went to town on Ospreay with a kendo stick. He nailed Ospreay with the kendo stick to the face and Havoc collapsed. They battled near the table a short time later and Ospreay tossed Havoc into the ringpost. He then hit a diving DDT through the ropes and the fans fired up big time. Ospreay got another table from under the ring and tossed it into the ring. He tried to get into the ring, but Havoc nailed him with a dropkick. Havoc went for a suplex, but Ospreay countered it into a huge falcon arrow into a pile of chairs. He then hit a standing SSP, but Havoc kicked out at 2.
Havoc took control as the announcers talked about Havoc’s descent into madness since becoming champion. Havoc took out a black bag from under the ring and dumped a bunch of tacks out of it onto the mat. Havoc dumped a bunch of tacks into Ospreay’s mouth and punched him in the face. Ospreay ducked the acid rainmaker and went for a handspring, but Havoc caught him and hit a burning hammer onto the chair for a 2 count. Holy s—t! Ospreay countered a DVD into the tacks and hit several big punches on Havoc. He sent Ospreay into a chair set up in the turnbuckles. Ospreay then hit a big running DDT, but Havoc came up short of the big pile of tacks. Paul Robinson ran down and shoved Ospreay off the top and nailed him with a curb stomp. Regression and the Riots went at it on the floor a short time later. Havoc made the cover, but Ospreay managed to kick out at 2. Regression and the Riots brawled to the back leaving Ospreay and Havoc alone in the ring.
They exchanged blows and Havoc hit the acid rainmaker for a trio of two counts. The announcers mentioned Havoc had beaten Ospreay with that move twice. Havoc went after the ref and the ref shoved him right into a rollup form Ospreay for a near fall. Havoc immediately kicked Ospreay in the head. He then nailed the ref with an acid rainmaker. The ref’s shoe came off when he bumped. Ospreay fired back as they battled up top. It appeared Havoc was going for a superplex, but Ospreay fell forward and both men went through the table. Ospreay got a 2 count with another ref coming down to the ring. He hit a SSP and went up again and hit a twisting star press for a near fall. The announcers mentioned Ospreay hadn’t used the 630 since coming back from injury. Ospreay had a huge welt under his eye. He set up the table on the floor and they battled up top. Ospreay tried for a suplex from the apron, but Havoc tripped him in the ropes. Ospreay got hung in the ropes and Havoc came off the top and hit a double stomp off the top that sent Ospreay through the table. Holy s—t! Havoc rolled Ospreay back into the ring, but he kicked out at the last second.
Havoc fired back and hit a running kick to Ospreay’s head in the corner. Havoc hit the acid rain maker on the second ref. The fans chanted for Smallman to come in to ref the match. The announcers said Smallman had been there before when he counted the fall when Havoc won the title. Havoc hit a second acid rainmaker on Ospreay, who kicked out at the very last second and the fans erupted. Havoc set up Ospreay’s head on a chair. He went under the ring and got an axe. The announcers said there is no place for this in wrestling. Havoc set up to hit him with the axe, but Ospreay hit a low blow, an acid rainmaker, a springboard cutter, and a Michinoku driver. The fans fired up huge for Ospreay, but Havoc countered him and hit a third acid rainmaker, but Ospreay kicked out again at the very last second! This is insane! The fans chanted “Jimmy Havoc’s a wanker.” Havoc went for a Styles clash, but Ospreay kicked out of it. He then rolled up Havoc for a 2 count. Ospreay ducked an acid rainmaker and his the Essex destroyer. The fans fired up and got their feet. Ospreay went up top and hit the 630 for the win! Holy s—t! What a match.
Smallman smiled and presented Ospreay with the Progress Championship! What a moment. The fans stood and clapped to Ospreay’s music as he celebrated with the title. Havoc went into the crowd and celebrated as the fans went nuts and chanted along with Smallman’s announcement that Ospreay was the new Progress Champion. The London Riots came back to the ring to celebrate as the fans sang Ospreay’s name. What a moment! Ospreay drank a beer and then went into the crowd to celebrate. Ospreay continued to celebrate as the credits rolled. Several members of the roster came onto the stage to cheer for Ospreay.
Winner: Will Ospreay to become the Progress Champion
Star rating: (****3/4) – What a presentation from start to finish. I wasn’t a fan of the hardcore elements of the story at times, but it really worked for this feud and the story they were telling with Havoc’s reign of terror as Progress Champion coming to an end. They positioned Ospreay as a changed man and that was why he was able to survive three acid rain makers before finally hitting Havoc with the 630, which he hadn’t hit since coming back from injury earlier in the year. The crowd heat for this match was tremendous.
Overall Thoughts: (9.0) – This show is all about the main event. The Jimmy Havoc reign of terror as Progress Champion came to an end in spectacular fashion, as he and Ospreay pulled out all the stops in the main event. The undercard was good as well, especially the fantastic match between The SDS vs. Hunter Brothers match for the Progress Tag Team Titles.
With six matches on the card and two matches above the four-star level, there’s not a lot to complain about. The undercard was a bit slow in spots, but there wasn’t a bad match on the card. The match between the SDS and The Hunter Brothers really stood out. It was an amazing sprint that had the fans all fired up with The Hunter Brothers appearing to be on the verge of victory with one or two mistakes costing them at key points during the match.
The Thunderbastard match to determine the next #1 contender to the Progress Championship was entertaining, but it got a ton of time and wasn’t particularly memorable when all was said and done. I wasn’t a fan of the rapid-fire eliminations in the middle of the match, but Haskins, Cruz, and Scrull had a nice finishing stretch before Haskins eliminated Scrull to become the new #1 contender.
I really enjoyed the presentation of the main event. It began with a great video package and then special entrances for Ospreay and Havoc leading into an epic match. The match delivered as advertised and then some. I cringed at some of the hardcore elements used in the match, but it fit the feud and Havoc’s heel character. From what I’ve seen of Havoc, he’s one of the better heels in wrestling. He had a great run as heel champion in Progress and got real heel heat. They pulled out all the stops in this one with the No DQ stipulation and multiple ref’s getting taken out by Havoc before Ospreay finally hit his move to win the match and the title. It doesn’t get much better than this when it comes to storytelling, crowd heat, and in-ring action.
This was a tremendous show with the bulk of my score coming because of how much the main event meant to Progress. It was a huge storyline that was paid off and was given nearly 50 minutes of time between the video package, the match, and the post-match celebration. It is definitely a must-own title from the Progress catalogue. I give this show a high recommendation.
FYI: You can watch “Chapter 20: Thunderbastard: Beyond Thunderbastard” and all Progress Wrestling events on VOD for $7.50 per month at Demand-Progress.com. Right now, you can get your first month of Demand-Progress.com for just $.99 by using the code PWP99CENT when you check out. You can also download the shows on MP4 for a separate fee at Demand-Progress.com. Progress Wrestling has a Roku Channel where you can watch all their available content on VOD in HD as it becomes available. For more information on Progress Wrestling, visit ProgressWrestling.com.
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