Wrestling Night in America Reunion: PWTorch columnist Greg Parks is joined by former PWTorch columnist Pat McNeill for a full match-by-match preview of WrestleMania 36
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RADICAN’S PROGRESS CHAPTER 61 REPORT
JAN. 14, 2018
AVAILABLE WITH SUBSCRIPTION AT DEMAND-PROGRESS.COM
Jim Smallman introduced the show. He said someone was off the card with an injury. Mark Andrews came out and explained he had hyperextended his arm in his first match of 2018. Eddie Dennis interrupted and said if Andrews was ever his best friend, he would give him a match. Dennis listed out all the reasons why he was upset with Andrews. Dennis tried to bait Andrews into a match, but he refused and left the ring. Dennis promised he would do something at every show to ensure he gets his match with Andrews.
(1) Progress Tag Team Champions GYV (Zack Gibson & James Drake) vs. Mustache Mountain (Tyler Bate & Trent Seven). Before the match, Bate pretended to take a call from Triple H. He mocked Drake and Gibson. He called Gibson the guy from ITV. Gibson got on the mic and said he had no time for jokes and the fans booed. He said he would do his talking by winning matches.
They did a lot of comedy early and then the match got really good. GYV got the heat on Seven and he made the hot tag to Bate and the action really picked up from there. Bate went for his dive takeout, but Drake hit him with the belt and the ref didn’t see it. Bate countered a pinning combination, but Drake dove in with Seven trying to hold him back and rolled Gibson on top at the last second. He then held off Seven as the the ref counted the pinfall.
Winners. James Drake & Zack Gibson to retain the Progress Tag Team Championship
Star rating: (***1/2)
(2) Chris Ridgeway vs. Drew Parker. Parker is the mystery replacement for Andrews in this match. This started out and it looked like Ridgeway was going to outclass Parker with his submissions and strikes. The announcers said Parker had made his name in death matches. He is much smaller from a muscular standpoint than Parker. He seemed to always get himself into trouble when he tried to strike with Ridgeway. The announcers said both men needed a win to cement their spots in Progress as the match wore on, but it seemed obvious Ridgeway was going to get the win in the end. Parker had other things in mind as he used his athleticism to get the upper hand on Ridgeway late and after taking a ton of punishment, he put Ridgeway away with a 450. The announcers said this was a big upset and the fans came alive for Parker’s win.
Winner: Drew Parker
Star rating: (***3/4) – Always thrilling to see matches like this where a new talent gets over.
(3) Bea Priestley & Nina Samuels vs. Charli Evans & Millie McKenzie. This was fantastic. Evans and McKenzie controlled the match early until Priestly tripped Evans from the floor. They built up Evans making the hot tag perfectly and when McKenzie finally tagged in she ran wild with these incredible high angle Germans. McKenzie is clearly a future star and she finished Samuels off with a Coventry destroyer after some great action leading into the finish.
Winners: Charlie Evans & Millie McKenzie
Star rating: (***1/2)
(4) WWE UK Champion Pete Dunne vs. Joseph Conners. Conners hit Dunne with a chair to the back during the ring introductions. He then mocked Dunne’s pose with the WWE UK Championship. The ref called for the belt when Dunne got to his feet and Conners went right on the attack. Dunne quickly caught a kick and pulled Conners right into a headbutt. He tossed Conners into the chairs in the crowd multiple times and the fans fired up. The announcers said Conners had taken every shortcut possible while mako by his way to this match. They went back and forth on the floor and Conners took control after hitting a tilt a whirl slam on the floor. He put a beating on Dunne inside the ring and said he’s been waiting for this for 12 months. He said he was going to take his title. He said everyone is welcome and asked Pete if that was true. Dunne got up and nailed him with an enzuguri. He got an armbar on Conners and then reversed his positions and snapped Conners’s fingers apart. He followed up with a Liger bomb for a 2 count.
Conners fired back and hit a sunset bomb into the turnbuckles followed by a dive to the floor. Conners tried to climb the ropes with Dunne, but he countered it into a powerbomb off the turnbuckles. Dunne hit a doublestomp off the top into a senton for a near fall. They exchanged clubbing blows. Conners suddenly hit a back breaker and went to work on Dunne with punches, but Dunne walked into them and sent Conners flying across the ring with a forearm. Conners grabbed the ref and hit a low blow and a pedigree for a near fall. Dunne spit out his mouth guard and bit Connors’s ear. He got a standing kimura, but Conners’s dumped him to the ground and got a 2 count. Conners missed a dive to the floor. Dunne grabbed him and hit a tombstone on the floor. He then hit the bitter end for the win.
Winner: Pete Dunne to retain the WWE UK Championship
Star rating: (***3/4) – This was a really good match. I had a bit of a hard time getting into it because I had a hard time believing Conners would win. Conners did put in one hell of an effort to use every dirty trick he could to get the job done, but fell short.
(5) Adam Brooks vs. Will Ospreay. Ospreay came out with the IWGP Jr. Hvt. Championship. This is Brooks’s debut in Progress. These two have wrestled multiple times in singles and triple threat action in MCW in Australia. Brooks mocked Ospreay’s springboard taunt, so Ospreay dove into the ring and kicked him in the head. Brooks caught Ospreay with a flatliner on the floor when he tried to nail him while he was seated in a chair. Brooks went for a running charge on Ospreay, who popped out of the chair and hit a belly to belly suplex sending Brooks into a sea of people and chairs. WOW! They went back and forth inside the ring. Brooks slid around Ospreay and he did a handspring off the ropes, but he did another one a short time later and nailed him with a spinning kick. Ospreay set up for the rainmaker, but Brooks drove him into the corner.
Ospreay appeared to land badly on his shoulder. He went for a space flying tiger driver, but Brooks got out of the way. He ran into the ring and hit the Sasuke special and the fans went nuts. They went to a crazy counter exchange. The fans went nuts as they went back and forth. Brooks hit a shotgun dropkick, but Will countered him and hit a stunner that left both men down on the mat. Wow! They went back and forth. Brooks tripped Ospreay and spit in his face. Ospreay nailed him with a huge elbow. He then went to town on Brooks in the corner. The ref tried to stop him, but Ospreay shoved him away. Brooks went for a low blow. Ospreay blocked it, but Brooks poked him in the eye and went up top for a code breaker out of the corner for a near fall! The announcers said that Ospreay went to his promotion and took his title and Brooks wanted revenge. Ospreay suddenly hit the Essex destroyer for a near fall. He hit the Robinson special and went for the OsCutter, but Brooks popped up and pushed him into the ropes. Ospreay appeared to catch his legs in a bad way between the ropes. Ospreay fired back on the apron and set up on the top rope, but Brooks crouched him by pushing the ref into the ropes. Brooks did a lock celebration as the announcers said the ref could DQ him. Brooks hit a big combination of moves capped by a code red on the apron. He then hit a swanton off the top, but Ospreay kicked out! WOW!
Brooks undid one of the turnbuckle pads. The ref went to put it back on. Ospreay went for a rainmaker, but Brooks reversed it into a rainmaker kick to the groin. He grabbed an inside cradle, but Ospreay kicked out! Ospreay suddenly powered up and hit a rainmaker. He then hit a decapitator elbow to the back of the head for a near fall. He then hit lo mein pain for a near fall. Ospreay went right to the OsCutter for the win! WHAT A MATCH!!
Winner: Will Ospreay
Star rating: (****1/2) – This was one hell of a match. Brooks took shortcuts to try to win the match and he mocked and taunted Ospreay throughout, but Ospreay came out on top on the end. The counter Wrestling in this match was on another level.
Ospreay shook Brooks’s hand after the match before leaving the Tongan. The announcers said Ospreay was back to stay in Progress. The fans chanted for Brooks once he recovered and they indicated they would like him to come back. He pointed at the Progress logo and gave the thumbs up to a standing ovation.
Smallman led the crowd in doing the glorious pose complete with the spotlight effect.
(6) Mark Haskins & Jimmy Havoc (w/Vicky Haskins) vs. Aussie Open (Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher). Fletcher played to the crowd after they came to a stalemate and Haskins jumped him. Fletcher fired back and hit a dropkick to Haskins’s knees. Davis, who is a large man, tagged in and took some big chops from Haskins and then obliterated him with a chop of his own. Havoc tagged in and took a huge chop and tagged right back out. Havoc distracted Fletcher and Haskins sent him the outside. Havoc nailed him with a suplex on the floor right away. They wied out Davis on the floor and then tossed Fletcher back into the ring to work him over. Havoc sent Davis to the floor. Fletcher, who was in bad shape, crawled over and made the tag to Havoc, who got into the ring and put the boots to him. Davis finally got the tag and hit both of his opponents with a diamond fist in the corner. He ran wild hitting a one arm powerbomb on Havoc while also wiping out Haskins.
Fletcher joined in on the action and hit a double stomp to the back of Haskins. Davis then hit a Jeff Cobb style toss on Havoc. Fletcher hit a big step up dive to wipe out Haskins and Havoc. Davis tossed Haskins into a cutter from Fletcher a short time later for a near fall and the fans chanted for Aussie Open. Haskins saved Havoc from a mo d from Fletcher. They then hit a slingshot stuffed strong zero on Fletcher for a near fall. Haskins went for a slingshot, but he turned it into a destroyer on Havoc. Haskins then hit Fletcher with a DVD driver, but Davis made the save! Wow!! Both teams went back and forth at an incredible pace. Aussie Open hit a tandem spinning powerbomb on Havoc, but Haskins made the save. Haskins avoided a dive from Davis, who crashed and burned. They hit a total elimination acid rainmaker on Fletcher for the win.
Winners: Mark Haskins & Jimmy Havoc
Star rating: (***3/4) – Very good tag team action.
Vicky gave Fletcher the kiss of death. Havoc and Haskins then hit a acid rainmaker combination on Fletcher for the win. The fans gave Aussie Open an ovation once they recovered. The announcers did a nice job during the post-match segment of putting over Havoc and Haskins as a big threat.
(7) Progress Champion Travis Banks vs. Chris Brookes (w/Kid Lykos). The fans chanted CCK as both men went face to face before backing off into their respective corners. Both men shook hands. Brookes surprised banks with a shotgun dropkick. He then hit a big series of suicide dives. They went back and forth on the floor. He argued with the ref. Brooks gave the ref the chair he had gotten and the ref threw it back at him. Banks then kicked the chair into Brookes’s head. Brookes fired back on the floor and tossed Banks into several rows of chairs. Brookes went for a huge wet Willy inside the ring, but Banks blocked it and nailed him with a big forearm. He went for a cannonball in the corner, but Brookes kicked Banks right in the back of the head. Banks no sold 2 Germans. He wiped out Brookes with a clothesline and set him up for a suplex, but Brookes countered it into a brainbuster.
They went back and forth on the apron and then to the floor. Banks ended up hitting a slice of heaven variation to the floor. Banks then hit a DVD on Brookes into a row of chairs! Wow! The fans fired up with Banks in control. They went back and forth trading running kicks. Banks then wiped Brookes out with a sick kick variation. He then hit a kiwi crushed for a 2 count. Banks fired back and went for the calamari clutch. Brookes got to the ropes, but Banks held on. Both men then went tumbling through the ropes together and the fans gasped. Both men beat the 20 count and went head to head while on their knees. They began exchanging blows. Banks went for the kiwi kick. Banks got a modified border city stretch and. Brookes got his feet under the ropes. He then began tapping out and banks thought he had won. Brookes got death by rollup for a nearfall.
Brookes ducked a kick from Banks and hit the praying mantis bomb for a visual pin. No other ref came down to count the pin. Brookes went and grabbed the Progress Championship from Smallman. He took off his CCK gauntlets. Lykos looked on from the floor and shook his head. Banks sat up and the fans chanted no. Banks the. Got right up and hit a shotgun dropkick and double stomp. Lykos slid Brookes a tray and Banks went for the slice of heaven, but Brookes obliterated him with the tray and then hit the praying mantis bomb. The ref slid in the ring to make the count and Banks kicked out at the last second. Brookes put on the calamari catch clutch, but T.K. Cooper ran down and pulled the ref out of the ring. Banks hit slice of heaven and a kiwi crusher, but Brookes kicked out! He then applied the Lion’s clutch for the win!
Winner: Travis Banks to retain the Progress Championship.
Star rating: (****1/2) – Interesting developments here with Lykos and Brookes working together and Cooper coming down to make the save out of nowhere, as the announcers said he wasn’t in the building. Great action and drama here building to the finish.
Banks offered a handshake after the match. Brookes teases leaving and then got back into the ring. He flipped off Cooper and then shook Banks’s hand. Cooper held onto the title when Brooks went to take it from him. He appeared to want a shot at the title. He offered to open the ropes, but Banks ended up leaving on his own.
Overall score: (8.5) – This was a really strong offering from Progress. The show did not have a bad match on the card. The undercard was fantastic with the women’s division heating up and an unexpectedly awesome match between Ridgeway and Parker.
The second half of the show was awesome. The last three matches all delivered, but Ospreay vs. Brooks and Banks vs. Brookes were both excellent. All three matches had a purpose to further the ongoing storylines, but the best match was the main event, as it delivered quality action in the ring and painted Banks as someone with a big bulls eye on his back as Progress Champion being unable to trust anybody and having to take on all comers including his own tag team partners.