This week’s Matches of the Week include contests from PROGRESS, EVOLVE, Lucha Underground, NXT and Fight Nation.
PROGRESS Chapter 37
James Drake vs Fabian Aichner
Both James Drake and Fabian Aichner made their chapter show debut in impressive fashion. Aichner, who was eliminated in the first round of WWE’s inaugural Cruiserweight Classic, was outstanding here and was clearly working for a regular spot on the PROGRESS roster. Evidently, the wrestlers eliminated from round one of the CWC were limited to merely acting as a body for the advancing star to use. At Chapter 37, Aichner was doing some batshit crazy stuff. For a muscular man, Aichner moves with elegant ease and has a penchant for flying. On various occasions, Aichner used the ropes as a springboard to set up dives and moonsaults.
Drake looked good too, even if he was outshone by Aichner. Drake established himself as a chicken shit heel, constantly attempting to evade Aichner’s offence and using chicanery to gain and maintain his advantages. Drake evaded a frogsplash before taking advantage with his finish (not sure of name/how to describe) to secure the victory. This match a fantastic showcase of both men, establishing Drake as an opportunistic villain and Aichner as high flying daredevil prepared to sacrifice his body to gain a victory. Hopefully both will be back in PROGRESS soon.
Matt Riddle vs. AR Fox
Matt Riddle is on his way to big things. He has been having nothing but fantastic matches in EVOLVE, got the rub from Johnny Gargano on his final night and in my opinion would be a great choice for the next EVOLVE Champion. Riddle once again has had a great match tonight taking on Drew Galloway replacement, the returning AR Fox. Fox didn’t hold anything back showing that his new stint in EVOLVE is starting on fire. Very good back and forth action with high impact moves and some close, edge of your seat near falls. Riddle seemed to shine here, often leaving his normal in-ring element of style. I think in the future, that is where Riddle is destined to thrive. By the seat of your pants type action where you adapt as you go. A quick learner in every aspect. In the end, Riddle locks on the Bro-Mission to pick up the victory. After the match, DUSTIN attacked Riddle with the help of Fox. Riddle is saved by his fellow Catch Point members ending any rifts that may have existed between Riddle and the faction. Catch Point lifted their hands in victory to close the show.
Mil Muertes vs Prince Puma
Arguably the biggest and most destructive feud in Lucha Underground, these two finally got their highly anticipated rematch. These two wasted little time in trying to destroy each other, Muertes’ size and punishing aggression squared off with the speed and agility of Prince Puma, and it did not disappoint. Puma went to backflip off a wall once the fight spilled to the outside but as he turned back around, Muertes hit Puma with a gut busting spear to instantly take control of the match. As Catrina stood watching in silence, the fight spilled onto the bleachers as the devastating brawl ended up in the crowd. As Muertes turned his back, Puma caught some serious air time, flying from the crowd to down the man of a thousand deaths. Puma rolled Muertes back into the ring before Muertes narrowly rolled out of the way of a 630 flip from the top rope. Mil came flying back into this match by reversing a discus boot with a devastating forearm.
Just as the match looked like it would be over, Puma worked his way out of a flatliner and utilized that speed to find himself in a position to land the 630 once more, only this time he nailed it and picked up the victory. Another fantastic match to close the show. This is the weakest Mil Muertes has looked in a very long time, it seems his stint in Cuerno’s office really took it out of him.
Josh Bodom vs Mark Andrews
Not only is Mark Andrews one of the best high fliers in the world but he is also one of the best underdogs in the world. Although Bodom is a similar size to Andrews in terms of height, he must weigh 20 lbs or so more than Andrews. Bodom is pretty good at controlling the pace of a match and Andrews is excellent at comeback spots. This was the dynamic upon which the match was founded. Bodom provided a good base for Andrews to fly from, he delivered a powerbomb to the knees for a near fall. Apoplectic, Bodom attempted the powerbomb again but was reversed. Bodom and Andrews traded reversals and near falls before Andrews secured the victory following a standing shooting star press.
Otis Dozovic and Tucker Knight vs Austin Aries and Roderick Strong.
Small guys versus big guys was the basic template for this one. Or experienced guys versus big strong guys, take your pick. Lots of clever moves from the smaller Aries and Strong, countered by the power moves from the big guys. Decent match, possibly a little predictable. Aries and Strong work very well together, as you’d expect, and in the end their experience and skill overcame the larger team. Roderick Strong pinned Tucker Knight after a dropkick.
Team Aries will now face TM-61 in the next round. That should be a great match.