RADICAN’S REVIEW – Progress 30 “Super Strong Style Day 1” – Hero, Tommy End, Callihan, PROGRESS Tag Title main event; Overall Review

By Sean Radican, PWTorch columnist


RadicanSean_profilePROGRESS WRESTLING REVIEW
CHAPTER 30 – “SSS 16: DAY 1”
MAY 30, 2016
LONDON, ENGLAND

The event is available to watch on-demand at Demand-Progress.com.

Jim Smallman kicked off the Super Strong Style show, as he usually does. He seemed to be in a rush due to a delay to start the show due to issues with the ring.

(1) Mark Haskins vs. Pete Dunne in a SSS 16 First Round match. Dunne was booed when he was introduced. Haskins was massively cheered. Haskins wiped out Dunne with a big dropkick off the ropes during the early going. Dunne managed to bait Dunne into taking a DDT through the ropes back into the ring after a chase around ringside. He made the cover, but Haskins managed to kick out at 2. Dunne worked over Haskins’s leg as the crowd taunted him with chants. Dunne slapped Haskins lightly across the face, which only fired Haskins up.

Haskins eventually caught Dunne with a leg lariat and both men were down. Haskins hit a modified fisherman buster and grabbed a single-leg crab, but Dunne fought out of it. Haskins hit a roll through DVD on Dunne a short time later, but Dunne managed to kick out at 2. They went back and forth and Haskins hit a sick counter on Dunne and grabbed a leg triangle, but Dunne managed to get to the ropes. Dunne grabbed Haskins’s arm and bit his fingers, so Haskins returned the favor. Both men traded big shots. Haskins countered a pump-handle suplex and hit a series of big moves capped by a rollover into an arm bar submission that was good for the win.

WINNER: Mark Haskins at 9:50

Star rating: (***1/4) – This was a hot opener. The finishing sequence wasn’t as smooth as Haskins would have liked I would imagine, but this was a fine way to start the tournament.

Smallman mentioned that a man that missed the second night of the tournament last year was in attendance with his wife this year to celebrate their anniversary, which got a big pop from the fans.

(2) Mikey Whiplash vs Damon Moser in a SSS 16 First Round match. Whiplash is not popular and the fans chanted “f— you Mikey” before the match started. Whiplash started the match by wiping out Moser with a big running kick to the head. Callihan must have been mad when he saw that. Moser mounted a comeback and hit a big back breaker over his knee for a 2 count. Moser then began peppering Whiplash with the Danielson elbows to the side of the head. Moser caught Whiplash with a straight right a short time later that grounded him.

Whiplash went for a second rebound lariat attempt a short time later and connected, but Moser managed to kick out. Moser fired back and connected with a huge dropkick in the corner. He went for a coast-to-coast dropkick a short time later, but Whiplash got out of the way. He followed up with the Cactus elbow off the apron a short time later. It appeared that Moser was about to lose via count out, but he managed to beat the ref’s count to get back into the ring. Moser kicked out of a double powerbomb from Whiplash at 1. He flipped off Whiplash, who picked him up and hit a DVD for the win.

WINNER: Mikey Whiplash at 4:35 – This was fun while it lasted, but there wasn’t a whole lot to invest in here. The announcers tried to frame Whiplash’s purpose in this tournament to get a measure of revenge against Tommy End.

Kenny Williams was doing a Back to the Future gimmick complete with a hover board that didn’t really hover. Williams was clearly the fan favorite here, as Zack Gibson was roundly booed by the fans during the formal introductions. Gibson cut a promo and said Gibson is good, but he is just that much better than Williams. He said he was going to make Williams tap out to him.

(3) Kenny Williams vs. Zack Gibson in a SSS 16 First Round match. Williams got the better of Gibson during an exchange and he pointed at his imaginary watch, so Gibson kicked him all the way into the corner. Williams mounted another comeback a short time later and hit a springboard elbow for a 2 count. Williams kept rolling out of the ring once Gibson got the upper hand. Williams went under the ring and surprised Gibson with a dropkick through the ropes, but Gibson caught him going for a dive and slammed him shoulder-first into the floor. Gibson went right back after Williams’s arm inside the ring.

Williams tried to mount a comeback, but got caught with a huge lariat that turned him inside out. Both men went back and forth and Williams hit a modified code breaker with one leg and a superkick for a 2 count. Gibson went for a springboard, but Gibson nailed him with a clothesline and double underhook powerbomb for a 2 count. Gibson escaped an arm submission and got a pinning combination for a near fall. Williams hit a top rope ace crusher a short time later for a near fall. Williams pulled the ropes low on Gibson and hit a diving DDT through the ropes and the fans went nuts. Gibson pulled the ref in the way and then shoved Williams into the ringpost. He then applied a nasty arm submission on Williams to get the win.

WINNER: Zack Gibson at 10:23

Star rating: (***1/4) – Good showing for Williams here. I didn’t think he would win, but he made some fun comebacks and had Gibson in trouble a couple of times before Gibson had to resort to heel tactics to get the win.

(4) Jack Gallagher vs. T.K. Cooper (w/Dahlia Black) in a SSS 16 First Round match. Cooper and Black kissed several times during his entrance. She doesn’t look like his type of girl, but who am I to judge? Cooper then jumped Gallagher during his entrance as he posed for the fans. The ref backed him off and Smallman did the intros. Gallagher got to his feet and was wobbly. He immediately got an ankle lock on Cooper, who barely managed to get to the ropes. The announcers mentioned Cooper had won a battle royal to qualify for the tournament.

Meanwhile, Gallagher is in the WWE Cruiserweight Classic this summer. Gallagher worked over Cooper’s legs for several minutes. He got a nasty figure-four leglock variation with a bridge and the fans applauded. Gallagher kissed Black’s hand on the outside as she tried to distract him, which allowed Cooper to nail him with a dropkick through the ropes. Cooper showcased some standard heel work with a chin lock to wear down Gallagher. He went for a swanton, but Gallagher got out of the way and went on the attack. He finished off Cooper with a huge drop kick in the corner as Cooper was blowing kisses at Black after getting the upper hand.

The announcers mentioned it would be Gallagher vs. Gibson in the Quarterfinal round.

WINNER: Jack Gallagher at 6:21 – They kept this short and sweet. Gallagher is a good technical wrestler and Cooper is a paint by the numbers heel.

(5) Big Daddy Walter vs. Dave Mastiff in an Atlas Championship Group Stage/SSS 16 First Round match. The Atlas Tournament is a point based tournament. Both men traded shoulder tackles until Mastiff hit a knee to the stomach. Walter caught Mastiff coming off the ropes with a big slam and followed up with a big leg drop, but Mastiff kicked out at 1! Walter hit a gut-wrench suplex on Mastiff a short time later for a 2 count and the fans exploded. Mastiff ended up low-bridging Walter a short time later. He followed him to the floor and drove him into the ringpost.

It was announced that 5 minutes in the 15 minute time limit had expired as Mastiff continued to work over Walter. Walter tried to mount a comeback, but Mastiff held onto the ropes and hit a big Earthquake style splash on him for a 2 count. They battled up top and Walter fought Mastiff off and nailed him with a dropkick. Walter went on the attack and hit a butterfly suplex that caused the fans to gasp, but Mastiff kicked out at 2! They went back and forth and Mastiff caught Walter with a Finlay roll and a back senton for a 2 count. Mastiff set up for a charge across the ring, but Walter surprised him with a dropkick out of the corner. Walter went up top, but Mastiff cut him off. They went back and forth in the corner. Mastiff caught Walter with a headbutt and hit a huge superplex and both men were down! Holy s—! These two guys are really doing big-man wrestling proud.

Both men got up and exchanged blows in the middle of the ring. Mastiff finally ducked a lariat and hit German, but Walter got up and hit a lariat! Mastiff cut right up, but Walter hit a judo throw and applied a variation of the bank statement for the win!

WINNER: Big Daddy Walter at 11:13

Star rating: (***1/2) – I was surprised when the announcers mentioned this was Walter’s first win in Progress. This was a ton of fun to watch, as I don’t see many true big man vs. big man matches on the indies. Walter was really impressive here hitting some sick power moves that had the crowd gasping. I really did think the ring was going break when they did the superplex spot late in the match. Overall, this was short, but very good.

A graphic aired of the updated graphics for the SSS 16. The matches tomorrow will include Haskins vs. Whiplash, who will face the winner of Gibson vs. Gallagher. On the other side of the bracket, only Big Daddy Walter has advanced and he will face the winner of Hero vs. Andrews.

(6) Chris Hero vs. Mark Andrews in a SSS 16 First Round match. The fans were really jacked up for the beginning of this encounter. Hero offered Andrews a handshake after they came to a stalemate. Andrews hit an arm drag, but walked right into an elbow from Hero. Hero hit a big running kick on the apron a short time later that sent Andrews to the floor. Hero dominated the action for several minutes, but Andrews countered Hero and rolled through on him right into a standing double stomp. Andrews hit an enzuguri on the apron and hit a flipping hurricanrana over the top to the floor. Wow! Hero fired back a short time later and hit the cyclone kill for a 2 count. They went back and forth and Andrews countered the death blow and hit an inverted hurricanrana for a near fall.

Hero lifted Andrews up and hit two release suplexes for a near fall. Andrews tried to go for a hurricanrana, but Hero blocked it and locked in Andrews’s arms with his legs and hit a sick jumping piledriver for a near fall and the fans lost their minds. They went back and forth and Andrews hit a German. They went back and forth trading blows in opposite corners. Andrews went for a moonsault and Hero caught him, but Andrews turned it into a tornado DDT. Andrews went for a SSP off the tap, but Hero caught him in a cravat and hit a cravat buster. He then turned him inside out with a rolling elbow and Andrews kicked out! Hero then lifted Andrews into a spiked tombstone for the win. Wow!

Hero left the ring, but ended up coming back down to ask the fans to applauded Andrews, which was a nice touch. Andrews recovered inside the ring and got a huge ovation.

WINNER: Chris Hero at 16:11

Star rating: (****1/4) – Fantastic match. The fans were really into the match. The first half of the match was the standard Hero formula with Hero hitting bit strikes and kicks. The second half of the match saw Andrews sign with some great high-flying. The action down the stretch was really well done and the crowd ate it up. Hero faces Walter tomorrow in the quarterfinal round of the tournament.

(7) Sami Callihan vs. Matt Cross in a SSS 16 First Round match. Both men are making their Progress debut in this match. Both men traded dives during the early stages of the match. Cross finally sent Callihan flying into the crowd with a huge dive. Callihan hit a couple of running chops and then got a running start around the ring and hit a huge running flip kick. Cross mounted a comeback and went to work on Callihan back inside the ring. Both men ended up going back and forth and they went for a bicycle kick at the same time and connected, which left them both down on the mat as the fans fired up.

Callihan countered Cross up top and eventually connected with a Liger bomb. He got the stretch muffler, but Cross rolled through and got a 2 count. Cross hit a handspring ace crusher a short time later for a 2 count. They battled up top again and Cross pushed Callihan off and hit a SSP, but Callihan got his foot on the bottom rope and the ref saw it just in time. Both men traded bicycle kicks. Cross turned Callihan inside out with a bicycle kick, but Callihan hit a low blow that the ref couldn’t see and a double underhook piledriver for the win.

The fans chanted “please come back” at Cross after Callihan had left the ring.

WINNER: Sami Callihan at 10:06.

Star rating: (***1/2) – This was a crazy back and forth match that was short with limited selling. It was thrilling to watch, but I don’t think I’ll remember much about this match other than Callihan turning full heel at the end to get the win. I’m fine with this match as long as there’s nothing else like it on the card.

(8) Tommy End vs. Rampage Brown in a SSS 16 First Round match. Both men went face-to-face and waited until the bell rang to begin exchanging punches. Brown ended up taking End down with a huge lariat for a 2 count. End rolled to the floor, but Rampage followed him to continue the attack. The announcers mentioned that End hadn’t beaten Brown in singles competition in recent years. End mounted a comeback and nailed Brown with a big kick. He went for a moonsault to the floor, but Rampage caught him and launched him into the ringpost. Brown lifted end up and powerbombed him into the apron a short time later. End fired back and caught Brown with a jumping double knee strike. He then hit a short shining wizard that sent Brown into the corner.

The fans fired up and began chanting for End. Brown hit a huge lariat a short time later, but only managed a 2 count. Brown followed up with a piledriver and the announcers said it was over, but End kicked out at the last second. They said usually when Brown hits the piledriver, the match is over, as they couldn’t recall anyone ever kicking out of it in Progress. Brown charged at End, but got caught with a jumping knee. End then locked in an octopus submission on Brown. Brown escaped, but ate a big kick to the head. End came off the top with a big double stomp to Brown’s chest. End then capped the flurry with a jumping knee strike for a 2 count. End then hit a big roundhouse kick to the head for the win.

Post-match, both men staggered around at ringside, but ended up showing each other respect.

WINNER: Tommy End at 7:29.

Star rating: (***1/4) – This was a really good back and forth match, but it was too short to amount to much. End gets a win over a man he hasn’t had a lot of success over in recent years.

(9) Progress Tag Team Champions The Origin (Nathan Cruz & El Ligero w/Dave Mastiff & Zack Gibson) vs. The London Riots (James Davis & Rob Lynch). London Riots got a big pop for their entrance. The crowd chanted a song at The Origin about how they know that they’re s—! Both teams went at it right away once the bell rang and exchanged blows. Order was restored and Lynch went at it with Cruz. They exchanged slaps to the face and then began punching each other at the same time. Lynch eventually caught Cruz with a diving shoulder tackle that decked Cruz. He then began working him over inside the ring. The Riots went for a double dive, but Gibson and Mastiff tripped them from the outside. The ref saw it and tossed them out much to the delight of the crowd. The Riots hit District 9 on Ligero for a near fall a short time later. The announcers mentioned not many people have kicked out of that tandem move.

Davis went for a moonsault on Cruz, but he missed and The Origin began tagging in and out to work him over. Davis mounted a comeback. He sent Ligero to the floor and hit a dropkick off the turnbuckles on Cruz and both men were down. He went to tag in Lynch, but Ligero yanked him down off the apron. Davis mounted another comeback and hit an exploder suplex on him into the corner. Cruz ran into the ring, but Davis ducked his attack and tagged in Lynch. Lynch ran wild on Cruz and Ligero and eventually hit a big release German on Ligero and the fans applauded.

Davis joined in on the fun and helped Lynch hit a double spinebuster on Cruz. The Riots then hit a double tope suicida through the ropes to wipe out The Origin and the fans fired up. Davis went for a slingshot, but Ligero ended up hitting a tornado DDT on Lynch. Ligero hit a big splash on Davis off the top, but he was not the legal man. Ligero ended up kicking the ref right in the nuts. Another ref came down to the ring. Lynch recovered and surprised The Origin with a double spear. Lynch caught Cruz going for a dive and hit a fallaway slam on him into the chairs and the fans went nuts. Wow!

Davis and Lynch connected successfully on a slingshot spear attempt the second time around on Ligero, but he kicked out at the last second. Gibson got up on the apron and Lynch speared him off the apron to the floor! Holy s—! Mastiff ran down to the ring and nailed Davis with a kick to the nuts. He then hit him with one half of the tag shields. Mastiff got Cruz from the floor and tossed him into the ring to cover Davis. The ref then got back into the ring and made the count, but Davis kicked out at the very last second. Ligero then jumped the ref from behind and knocked him down. The announcers said The Origin wanted to get DQ’d. Damon Moser, a former member of The Origin came down to the ring and the fans sold shock. He nailed Ligero with a chair shot to the head. He then went at it with Mastiff and they brawled to the back as the fans chanted for Moser.

Another ref came down to the ring. London Riots hit a tandem buckle bomb on Cruz that grazed the ref. They went to make the cover, but Ligero dragged the ref to the floor. Ligero tried to punch the ref, but he blocked the punch and ducked him with a big right. The London Riots hit a slingshot spear Cruz, who barely kicked out. The London Riots music played, but the ref held up that it was 2 as the announcers and the fans sold shock. They hit a second slingshot spear on Cruz, but he rolled to the floor. The London Riots went to work on Ligero as the announcers commended the ref being fair and not counting the 3 on Cruz. Ligero ended up getting put on top and The London Riots hit a super slingshot spear for the win. Wow!

Post-match, Davis cut a promo saying they’ve won all the tag titles in the country, but tonight they won the one that mattered the most. The fans chanted “You deserve it” at them. Lynch then got on the mic and said there’s one thing they haven’t been able to do. He said he had some cold truths to say. He said the last year outside of wrestling had been s—t! He said this means so much to them. He said they might not be the flashiest wrestlers or the flavor of the month, but they are two of the toughest bastards in wrestling. He said it was about time they bring some honor to the ring. He asked how they would evolve next. He said they might make this the king of sports. He said to see what is going to happen people will have to keep watching to find out.

WINNERS: The London Riots to become the new Progress Tag Team Champions at 18:31

Star rating: (****1/4) – What a story. They pulled out all of the tricks with The London Riots finally winning the Progress Tag Team Championships. There was an awkward spot down the stretch with a half ref bump, but this match was so good that it deserves this rating. The near falls, the crowd heat, and the Progress originals winning was fantastic. This was a bit overbooked, but still tremendous.

The show closed with updated graphics for the SSS 16 tournament. The next show will see Walter vs. Hero and Callihan vs. End on one side of the bracket and Haskins vs. Whiplash and Gibson vs. Gallagher on the other side of the bracket in Quarterfinal Round matches.

Overall Thoughts: (8.0) – This was a very good show. In certain cases, the opening round matches were kept very short and most of the tournament action ranged in the three to three-and-a-half star range, which isn’t bad, but I was expecting at least one more really great match out of the opening round.

On the other hand, the crowd was fantastic and the matches were a breeze to watch for the most part. Most importantly, there were two fantastic matches. Chris Hero vs. Mark Andrews was easily the best match in the first round of the 2016 SSS 16. They had a really fun match with Hero controlling a lot of action and Andrews using his high-flying to mount his comebacks. This was really good and the crowd ate up the dynamic between these two in the ring.

The main event was good, as the fans finally got to see The London Riots win the Progress Tag Team Championship from the heel stable The Origin. Progress pulled out all the bells and whistles as they often do when they blow off big feuds. This was really good and the crowd ate it up, but all of the bells and whistles were a bit overblown, especially the ref bumps and the near falls down the stretch. That being said, I still really enjoyed this match and it was a good ending to the show, although I thought Lynch’s play on words referencing ROH, EVOLVE, and NJPW to end the show was a bit much given that they had a really good story going into the match and then decided to try to make it “real” with their post-match comments.

***

[ FYI: This show is only available as a VOD with a subscription to Demand-Progress.com or as an MP4 purchase as well. Progress Wrestling is still taking pre-orders for a limited amount of copies of the entire SSS 16 Tournament at ProgressWrestling.com. Highspots has also recently begun stocking Progress Wrestling releases, so I would anticipate that a Highspots version of this tournament will be released in the near future as well at Highspots.com. ]

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