RADICAN’S 5/5 Progress Wrestling SSS 16 2018: Day 1 report – Devlin vs. Bate, Morgan vs. Lee, Ohno vs. Brookes main event

By Sean Radican, PWTorch Columnist


RADICAN’S PROGRESS WRESTLING SUPER STRONG STYLE 16 2018: DAY 1 REPORT
MAY 5, 2018
ALEXANDRA PALACE
LONDON, ENGLAND
AVAILABLE TO VIEW WITH SUBSCRIPTION AT DEMAND-PROGRESS.COM

Welcome to PWTorch.com’s coverage of the fourth annual SSS 16 event, which is spread over the course of three days at Alexandra Palace in London, England.

Jim Smallman introduced the show and said today would see the card split with four SSS 16 first round matches followed by an intermission and then the last four SSS 16 first round matches.

(1) WWE UK Champion Pete Dunne vs. Doug WIlliams in a SSS16 First Round match – Non-Title. This is an amazing generational clash between Williams, one of the forefathers of modern U.K. wrestling, and Pete Dunne, one of the top faces of the current scene in the U.K. Williams worked over Dunne’s arm during the early going. He hit a shoulder tackle off the turnbuckles a short time later and continued to try to work over Dunne on the mat. Dunne got on top of Williams and tied him up before biting his foot. Dunne fired back and set up William’s arm on the mat and kicked it at a bad angle. The announcers mentioned Progress bought their own ring and it’s bigger than the ring that they usually used. Williams fired back and went to work on Dunne. He hit a belly-to-belly suplex for a 2 count. Williams came off the top and ate a big forearm from Dunne for a 2 count. Dunne got a hold of Williams’s fingers a short time later and bit them before snapping them apart. Williams fired back and hit a suplex and then a big knee drop off the top for a near fall! He went for chaos theory and hit it, but Dunne’s foot was on the rope! They went back and forth and Williams went for a second Chaos theory, but Dunne turned it into a pinning combination for the win.

Winner: Pete Dunne to advance to the second round of SSS 16

Star rating: (***1/4) – Williams looked really good here and he had Dunne on the ropes, but Dunne managed to counter his finish into a pinning combination to get the win.

Beach Balls filled the air as Chuck Mambo made his festive entrance. Zack Sabre Jr. was out next to a big pop.

(2) Chuck Mambo vs. Zack Sabre Jr in a SSS16 First Round match. Mambo wrestled with a serious edge as Sabre tried to pick him apart on the ground during the early going. Mambo tried to monkey flip Sabre off of him, but Sabre countered it and maintained the hold. Mambo sued the ropes for leverage and this time Mambo nailed the maneuver. A short time later he hit a tumbling dive to the floor to wipe out Sabre and the fans exploded. Mambo got on top of Sabre and went for the surfboard. Sabre got pissed, but Mambo managed to get Sabre in the surfboard. Sabre suddenly grabbed Mambo’s leg to free himself and he then stomped on Mambo’s arm and the fans booed. Sabre’s glared at Mambo as he began tying him up in knots on the mat. Sabre seemed disgusted that he had allowed Mambo to get the better of him on the mat. Mambo fired back with a slap, but Sabre raked his eyes and stomped him down to the mat. Mambo hit an overhand chop and Sabre fired back again and got the octopus position. He eventually went all the way around Mambo and took him down to the mat. He grabbed a rings of Saturn variation, but Mambo managed to get to the ropes.

Mambo fired back and got a tilt a whirl back breaker. Mambo went on the attack and eventually hit a blockbuster out of the corner. He followed up with a meteora. Mambo’s nose was busted open at this point. Mambo hit several forearms on his knees. Sabre blocked a kick and hit a dragon screw. He then hit a HUGE kick to Mambo’s chest. Mambo cursed Sabre, who nailed him with another kick. Sabre hit a third kick to the chest, but Mambo kicked out at 2! Mambo fired back and hit a Gory special for a 2 count. He hit a double knee to the gut out of the F5 position. He set up for a springboard frog splash, but Sabre got his knees up and followed up with a PK for a near fall. Sabre looked furious. The fans chanted for Mambo. Sabre toyed with Mambo’s head with light slaps. They traded slaps and Mambo duked a kick and got a bridging rollup on Sabre for a 2 count. Sabre kicked out and tied up Mambo in a pretzel. He eventually got a nasty dragon sleeper for the win. WOW!

Winner: Zack Sabre Jr. to advance to the second round of SSS 16

Star rating: (***¾) – Tremendous performance from both men with Mambo refusing to be intimidated by Sabre. Sabre got angrier and angrier as the match went on. Mambo really delivered in a big spot here.

(3) T.K. Cooper vs. David Starr in a SSS16 First Round match. Cooper kicked Starr in the head as Jim Smallman did his lengthy introduction. Starr fired back and hit a running kick that sent Cooper off the apron to the floor. Cooper fired back and hit a neck breaker for a 2 count. They went back and forth trading blows. Starr eventually hit a back elbow, a short clothesline, and then turned Cooper inside out with a suplex to complete his comeback. Cooper missed a kick in the corner. Cooper no-sold a German and hit a big right hand and an axe kick for a 2 count. Starr hit the product recall through the ropes a short time later for a 2 count. They battled up top a short time later with Cooper having the upper hand. Cooper wanted the Spanish fly, but Starr pushed him off and hit a splash out of the corner. He made the cover, but Cooper kicked out and rolled over and got on top of Starr for a near fall of his own. They went back and forth off the ropes. Starr ate a headbutt, but bounced off the ropes and turned Cooper inside out with a clothesline.

Both men were down, but they got up and began exchanging blows. Starr hit a series of chops and strikes in the corner and let out a scream. They went back and forth and Starr went for an inside out clothesline only to eat a forearm from Cooper. Cooper went up top and hit a 450, but Starr kicked out. They went back and forth off the ropes again. Cooper hit an elbow and went for a suplex, but Starr countered it and dropped him head-first right over his knee for the win.

Winner: David Starr to advance to the second round of SSS 16

Star rating: (***½) – This was really good from start to finish. It felt like the match was a bit disjointed at first, but they settled into a nice back and forth pace that saw both men trading counters until Starr got the win.

Cooper was shown walking with his head down to the back after the match.

(4) Mark Andrews vs. Angelico in a SSS16 First Round match. Eddie Dennis came out shortly after the match started to boos. He sat in the front row to take in the match. Andrews was distracted and Angelico told him to focus on the match. This is Angelico’s Progress debut.Angelico controlled the action for a long period of time shortly after Dennie came out. Andrews mounted a comeback and hit a kick to Angelico’s head. Andrews followed up with a sick satellite headscissor variation. Andrews hit a twisting moonsault press a short time later for a 2 count. They went back and forth trading pinning combinations. Angelico blocked a sunset flip attempt and hit a double stomp that left both men down on the mat as the fans fired up. Angelico went for a running crucifix bomb into the corner multiple times, but Andrews managed to block each attempt. They ended up going at it up top. Angelico had Andrews on his shoulders, but he punched his way free. Andrews got on Angelico’s shoulders and he tried to counter it. Angelico blocked a hurricanrana off the top, but Andrews countered a powerbomb attempt into a code red for a near fall! WOW! Andrews tried to spring out of the corner, but Angelico nailed him with a jumping knee strike. Angelico then countered a suplex into a stunner. Andrews went up top, but Eddie Dennis distracted him from the floor. Andrew then went for the SSP and Angelico got out of the way. Angelico went for the crucifix buckle bomb and hit it. He made the cover and it was good for the win.

Winner: Angelico to advance to the second round of SSS 16

Star rating: (**1/2) – The action was solid, but the fans seemed to be waiting for Dennis to interfere and never really got into the action.

After the match, Dennis tried to explain why he got up and looked for his phone while Andrews was trying to finish off Angelico. Andrews glared at Dennis from the apron as they talked things over.

Smallman threw to a trailer for upcoming episodes Progress Wrestling’s original series called Freedom’s Road. Smallman said that he hadn’t seen the trailer until now and he had no idea what those f—ers were doing.

(5) Jordan Devlin vs. Tyler Bate in a SSS16 First Round match. Devlin hasn’t been in Progress for over a year. The fans were split chanting for both men. They had a great exchange to kick the match off. Both men went for piledriver variations and came to a stalemate. Bate hit a knee drop to the back of Devlin’s head out of the corner. Bate caught Devlin trying to surprise him in the corner with a charge and he hit a big suplex. He followed up with a standing SSP for a 2 count. They had another incredible exchange that started with pinning combinations. Devlin blocked a rebound lariat and turned it into a dragon suplex! Bate followed up with a slingshot cutter a short time later for a 2 count. Bate started leaning into Devlin’s kicks a short time later. He fired up and Devlin went for a headbutt, but Bate distracted him and hit a straight right. Bate hit the rebound clothesline a short time later and both men were down. Bate went up top and Devlin pushed the ref into the ropes to crotch him and the fans booed.

The announcers said Devlin is not adverse to winning by any means necessary. They went at it up top and Devil hit a Spanish fly off the top for a near fall! WOW! Devlin blocked a tiger driver 97, but Bate fired back and got the upper hand. A short time later Bate hit the Tiger Driver 97 for the win. WOW!

Winner: Tyler Bate to advance to the second round of SSS 16

Star rating: (***¾) – This was fantastic, although it followed the theme of matches not fully developing on the night when they’re on the verge of getting great. Devlin blocked Bate’s finish multiple times, but Bate ended up finding a way to hit it to advance in the tournament. I would have loved to have seen more of both men in the tournament, so I was torn seeing either guy lose here.

This is Joey Janela’s debut for Progress in the U.K. He did wrestle for them in the U.S. WrestleMania weekend this year. Zack Gibson and James Drake were booed for their entrance and Janela got a good pop coming out.

Zack Gibson cut a promo to massive boos from the audience. He said he is Liverpool’s number 1 Zack Gibson. He went to introduce Drake, but stopped to tell the crowd to shut the f— up. The fans chanted shut the f— up at Gibson. Gibson went to the floor with James Drake to brag about the GYV being the tag team champions of Progress. He said they would soon be recognized as number 1 on the world. He called out Progress management on the mic. The fans continued to boo. He said it’s a joke that they are supposed to pick one person to enter the tournament between them. He said Progress found a spot for Janela, which drew cheers from the fans. He said Progress found a spot for all of the indie darlings, but somehow they made the world tag team champions share one spot. He said Drake was on WWE 205 Live. Gibson said he’s the man that everyone is talking about. He asked Janela if he wants to know which one of them he’d be facing. Drake tried to jump Janela from behind, but he got out of the way. Janela hit dives on Drake and Drake on opposite sides of the ring and it was on. Janela went to toss Drake into the ring, but Gibson cut him off and Drake hit a slingshot splash.

They then began to double team Janela on the floor. They hit a double whip into the steel steps and the fans taunted them by singing a song. The GYV continued to work over Joey on the floor. Gibson held Joey’s head on the side of the ring steps. Drake went up top, but Janela wiped out Gibson and then tripped Gibson on the apron. The announcers said he knows Gibson or Drake has signed for the tournament, but he didn’t look to see who was officially in. Janela and Drake brawled up to the stage. Janela tossed Drake off the short stage. He then hit a big cannonball splash off the stage. Janela landed on his feet, ran down to the ring and around it, and hit a cannonball splash off the ring steps onto Gibson and the fans went nuts! WOW!

Janela tossed Drake into the ring. Gibson got on the mic and said they hadn’t said who was going to be officially in the tournament yet. Janela turned around to look at Gibson and Drake surprised him with a heat seeking missile in the corner. There was still no official bell to start to the match. The fans chanted bulls—. Janela fired back on Drake and hit a German into the turnbuckles. Gibson got into the ring and Janela wiped him out as he talked to the ref. Janela went up top for a moonsault, but missed. The announcers said there had been no official bell. Janela and Drake traded superkicks, but Drake got the better of the exchange. Drake missed a 450 and Gibson came in and attacked Janela from behind. The fans booed. The ref admonished Gibson. Drake got on the mic and said they had never announced who was official in SSS 16. Drake said Zack Gibson was in SSS 16 and told him to call for the bell. Drake and Gibson begged the ref to start the match.

(6) Progress Tag Team Champion Zack Gibson (w/James Drake) vs. Joey Janela in a SSS16 First Round match. Drake said he had a WWE contract and he wouldn’t lie to the ref. The ref called for the bell. Janela got a rollup for a near fall. Gibson got a leverage pin a short time later and it was good for the win.

Winner: Zack Gibson to advance to the second round of SSS 16

Star rating: (n/a) – This was more of a long angle than a match. Janela had a really good showing while brawling one on two against GYV, but ultimately they used the numbers game to advance Gibson in the tournament.

(7) Keith Lee vs. Flash Morgan Webster (w/Vicky Haskins) in a SSS16 First Round match. Webster nailed Lee with a suicide dive as he made his entrance. Lee fought him off, but Webster ran back into the ring and hit a dive through the bottom rope. The fans fired up and chanted for Lee. Lee tossed Webster back into the ring, but Webster got right up and nailed him with a big flip dive to the floor. The match officially started and Webster went for a cover for a 1 count. Webster went for the strangler multiple time, but Lee fought him off as the fans sang for him. Webster finally got the hold for a long period of time, but Lee eventually drove him into the corner. Webster went for a sunset flip out of the corner, but Lee blocked it. He then dragged Webster up and POWERBOMBED THE LIFE OUT OF HIM. Webster’s sell job on the powerbomb was a BILLION STARS, as he bounced to his feet and went tumbling to the floor after Lee hit the powerbomb. Haskins tossed Webster back into the ring to beat the ref’s count. Webster escaped Lee’s double chop in the corner and fired back with some chops of his own, but Lee shook him off and hit a BIG double chop. Webster fired back again with some big chops, but Lee hit a pair of knees and a big punch. He then decked Webster with another HUGE double chop. A short time later Lee hit a crazy one-armed biel that sent Webster nearly all the way across the ring from one corner to the other. The fans started singing for Lee again with Webster on wobbly legs.

Lee ducked a charge in the corner. Lee blocked a springboard moonsault out of the corner and hung onto Webster, who eventually countered Lee by hitting a huge DDT. Webster hit a series of running forearms in the corner. Lee eventually came out of the corner and nailed Webster with a HUGE POUNCE. Lee went to lift up Webster, but Webster countered the spirit bomb into a dragoncanrana for a near fall. WOW! Lee got out of the way of a 450 a short time later and wiped out Webster with a clothesline for a 2 count. Lee went for the spirit bomb, but Webster turned it into a code ref for a near fall! WOW! Webster went up top and appeared to hit shadows over malice, but Lee caught him on his back and got up and hit a spirit bomb for a near fall. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

Lee stood over Webster, who flashed two fingers at him. Lee got Webster up on his shoulder and slammed him into the top turnbuckle. Lee missed a charge into the corner and Webster hit a running knee a short time later. Webster hit a third running knee and went up top. Webster hit shadows over malice. He went back up top and hit it again on Lee, who was on all fours. He turned Lee over and made the cover for a near fall. Haskins got up on the apron and yelled at the ref. Webster got his helmet as Haskins continued to distract the ref. Webster went to hit Lee with the helmet, but he couldn’t do it. He dropped the helmet, but Lee surprised him with ground zero for the win. Haskins yelled at Webster from the floor after he lost the match.

Winner: Keith Lee to advance to the second round of SSS 16

Star rating: (****) – This was a really good match. Lee’s power was on full display here and Webster tried to jump him to get the upper hand, but when it came down to it at the end of the match, he was unformortable with cheating with the help of Vicky Haskins. Both guys really played their respective roles well in this match.

After the match, Haskins shook her head at Webster and left without him.

It’s time for Chris Brookes vs. Kassius Ohno in the main event. Brookes came out first to a good pop from the crowd. Kassius Ohno was out next to a big pop from the crowd. He also got a HUGE Ohno chant during the formal introductions.

(8) Kassius Ohno vs. Chris Brookes n a SSS16 First Round match. Matt Richards joined the commentary booth for the main event. The announcers mentioned that Ohno is one of Brookes’s wrestling heroes. Ohno offered a handshake and Brookes accepted. Brookes had the upper hand during the early stages of the match as he worked over Ohno’s arm. They went to an exchange off the ropes and Brookes went for a leapfrog, but Ohno simply booted him right down to the mat. Hero connected with a big rolling kick to the head a short time later that grounded Brookes. The announcers said usually Brookes is the veteran in most situations, but in this case he might be finding himself nervous going up against Ohno. Ohno eventually went for a back senton, but Brookes got his knees up and hit one of his own. Ohno simply got up, hit a straight right, and then a senton for a 2 count. Ohno continued to pepper Brookes with kicks to keep him grounded. He then went up to the second turnbuckle and connected with a giant leg drop for a 2 count. Ohno taunted Brookes in the corner. He then slapped him in the face. Brookes fired back and returned the favor. Ohno grounded Brookes with a forearm, but Brookes blocked a cravat attempt and eventually got a bridging pin for a 2 count. Brookes hit a kick to the head and then a pair of knees to the head on Ohno, who was up against the ropes. Brookes then hit total anarchy off the second rope on Ohno and both men were down. WOW!

Ohno went to the floor and Brookes nailed him with a big flip dive over the top to the floor. Brookes went up top, but Ohno got up. Brookes jumped over him only to walk into a straight right. They went back and forth and Ohno walked right into a Michinoku driver for a 2 count. WOW! Brookes tried to lift Ohno to his feet. He went for a butterfly, but Ohno got out of it and nailed him with an elbow. Ohno then set up for a piledriver, but Brookes countered out and hit a superkick. They went back and forth and Brookes got a pinning combination on Ohno for a 2 count. Ohno then got up and hit a release suplex on Brookes and both men were down. Brookes caught Ohno with a slingshot cutter. He went to pick Ohno up, but Ohno nailed him with a roaring elbow that left both men down on the mat. The fans fired up and chanted this is Progress.

They went back and forth and Ohno hit a pump kick, but Brookes fired back as the lights went out momentarily. Brookes ended up hitting a brainbuster for a near fall and the fans fired up once again. Brookes got a reverse octopus to stretch Ohno’s arms, but he couldn’t get the right leverage. Ohno shook him off and hit an atomic drop and another big elbow. Ohno went for death by elbow, but Brookes rolled him up for a near fall. Ohno blocked a knee and eventually hit death by elbow. He went to make the cover, but Brookes surprised him by hooking his arms and getting a pinning combination for a near fall. WOW!. The fans started an Ohno chant as he went back to pick up Brookes. He nailed Brookes with an elbow and yelled at him to fight. Ohno hit a huge overhand smack to Brookes’s back. Brookes fired back only to take a straight right. They went back and forth and Brookes countered several elbow attempts from Ohno. Ohno fired back with a kick on Brookes against the ropes. Ohno then hit a leaping death by elbow for the win. WOW!

Winner: Kassius Ohno to advance to the second round of SSS 16

Star rating: (****1/4) – This was fantastic. Ohno is just a monster in the ring and wrestles like a true heavyweight, which made things very difficult for Brookes here. Brookes had a great showing, but couldn’t overcome Ohno’s striking in the end.

After the match, the fans chanted for Brookes. Ohno got on the mic and said he leaves for a year and the fans have a new favorite Chris. The fans sang you’re not Chris anymore at Ohno. Ohno asked Brookes to sit down in the front row. Hero said on Sept. 12 he will have been wrestling for 20 years. The fans applauded. Ohno said it has been 20 years of the best generation of pro wrestlers. Ohno said guys that succeeded in gymnasiums and bingo halls. He said guys succeeded when they got that WWE contract. Ohno said this wasn’t going to be a cliche speech for Brookes. He said he’s been in the ring with some bad mama jama’s. Ohno said he’d been hit hard by guys like Samoa Joe, Daniel Bryan, and Cesaro. Ohno said he had been in the ring with the late great Mitsuharu Misawa. He said the last kick Brookes gave him was the hardest he had ever been hit in his goddamn life. Ohno said if he didn’t have 20 years of muscle memory and experience all over the world, he would have lost to Brookes. Ohno said he had known Brookes, who would ping him on AOL Instant Messenger. He said he was proud to share the ring with Brookes on this night and he would be proud the next time he shared it with him. Ohno went to the floor and banged hands with the fans and Brookes before heading to the back. Brookes then headed to the back to close the show.

Overall score: (7.5) – This was a really good start to the tournament with nearly every match delivering and holding down it’s spot well. Chuck Mambo had a star making performance against Zack Sabre Jr. on the undercard, but the show closed strong with two fantastic matches, as Keith Lee vs. Flash Morgan Webster and Kassius Ohno vs. Chris Brookes were the two best matches on the show.

I really enjoyed the look and feel of the production from Alexandra Palace in London. The show is shot to have an almost cinematic feel. Progress has come quite a long way from their very first show in 2012.

The mix of talent for this tournament is fantastic and it’s hard not to get swept up into wanting to see nearly everyone advance. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the tournament has in store for us given how nicely the first show set the table for the next two days of SSS 16.

For more information on Progress Wrestling, visit progresswrestling.com.

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Contact Sean at pwtorchsean@gmail.com. Follow Sean on twitter HERE. Follow and like Radican’s Wrestling Community Facebook.com HERE

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