By Liam Byrne @tvtimelimit
Quick Results (bold for best matches of night):
Chris Ridgreway defeated Omari to reach the second round of the Natural Progression Tournament
Roy Johnson beat Pastor William Eaver
Zack Sabre Jr. pinned Trent Seven in a three way contest which included Chris Brookes
Travis Banks defended the PROGRESS Championship over TK Cooper
Toni Storm held on to the PROGRESS Women’s Championship with victory over Chakara
Mark Haskins and Jimmy Havoc beat Mark Andrews and Danny Jones
Flash Morgan Webster defeated Doug Williams
WALTER defended the ATLAS Championship in a hard hitting encounter with Timothy Thatcher
A battle of friends is the overarching theme of Chapter 62: Fear No More, Come To Dust. The two biggest matches on the card saw Travis Banks defend his PROGRESS Title against TK Cooper, whilst the main event would showcase the ATLAS Title as RINGKAMPF members WALTER and Timothy Thatcher met for the gold.
The first match of the night had its own ramifications as Chris Ridgeway and Omari faced off in Round One of the Natural Progression Tournament. Both men are well liked by the fans and spend the opening exchanges trading holds and strikes with Omari’s size giving him an advantage when it comes to blows and Ridgeway coming out on top in the submissions. The idea of parity continues when the men transition from a Ridgeway German into an Omari gutwrench suplex several times in a row, though the last German suplex keeps Omari down. Omari does come close to putting Ridgeway down with a gutwrench sitout powerbomb, whilst a Fujiwara armbar forces the bigger wrestler into the ropes after some nearfalls for Ridgeway following some huge kicks. Neither man can maintain control for long though, as it is Ridgeway having to force his way to the ropes moments later to break an STF. A mid-ring collision of attempted kicks has both men down, but it is Ridgeway who takes advantage with a suplex into a choke for the tapout. A good opener, if a little too reliant on the tropes of independent wrestling: hold trading, strike exchanges, multiple suplex variations, etc.
Two men who don’t often get much airtime relevant to other PROGRESS mainstays are up next as Roy Johnson and Pastor William Eaver face off in the second face versus face contest to open the show. This is as much initially about their characters as we get some laughs for Big Wavy being…well, wavy, and Eaver’s attempts to channel the Lord’s powers into his offensive arsenal. Things go pretty wrong on a no-hands tope by Eaver though, as he hits significantly more of the floor than Johnson, but he manages to get up with only a limp as any suggestion of an injury. Eaver’s leg caught the top rope, massively shortening the distance he got on the jump. However, Eaver barely kicks out of a spinning back suplex – if indeed he actually does – and it looks like the dive took more out of him than first thought. Johnson fights his way out of a Crucifix Bomb and hits the Wavy Tonic for the pin. This was disjointed and possibly cut short due to Eaver’s collision with the floor on the dive.
Three of the biggest names in British wrestling meet in a three way contest next as Zack Sabre Jr., Chris Brookes and Trent Seven collide in another match that is arguably more face on face action. Seven begins the match by ‘winning the Rumble’, with Brookes and Sabre Jr. having to re-enter the ring to let him know he is thinking of the wrong match. A Mexican strike-off occurs to officially begin proceedings, with a round of strikes finishing with Seven dropping Sabre Jr. with a huge chop, before giving Brookes the same treatment. The roundabout nature of the strikes gives way to Brookes and Sabre Jr. working over Seven only, dropping him with a double chop to finally lead to some proper grappling in the middle of the ring as Brookes and Sabre Jr. trade some quick reversals.
An early attempt at an Octopus hold on Seven sees Sabre Jr. break it by turning it into an ankle lock on Brookes, with Sabre Jr. using a bridge twice to avoid strikes whilst putting further torque on his leglock on Brookes. When Brookes gets up, he is able to briefly lock both men in a double Octopus hold, before reversing abdominal stretches leads to a bit of a doe-si-doe situation between Brookes and Sabre Jr. The counters are very unique in this contest: Sabre Jr. stops Seven hitting a piledriver on Brookes with a flying armbar, with the same armbar being broken up by a Brookes senton. The action is coming thick and fast at this point as a combination of moves sees Seven land a short piledriver on Brookes but get blasted with a Penalty Kick for his trouble.
Seven gets nearfalls on both Sabre Jr. and Brookes after two lariats, but an attempt to use a ripcord set-up for his next lariat sees Sabre Jr. slip through his legs, trips him up and bridges into a pin for the three count. A really fun match that utilised the characters and offense of three of the more colourful British wrestlers to generate a contest that was both hard hitting and humorous.
It possibly says a lot about TK Cooper’s challenge for the PROGRESS World Title that it is up before the end of the first half, but to even be in this position is testament to his development over the past couple of years. Technically, a fourth face versus face match in a row, it begins with a show of affection that gives way to a Cooper punch after using the schoolboy rule of the finger/thumb circle being seen by Banks. To make this match work, it needs a fast start to up the intensity in order to detract from the relationship between the two, and that is what it gets. We see Banks land two suicide dives, Cooper Samoan drop Banks into a set of chairs and TK then use the security guards to block some thrown chairs for him.
Cooper is the underdog, but he takes the contest to Banks with a two count off of a tiger suplex. Both men end up down on the canvas following some big strikes, with a strike exchange taking place whilst on their knees. Multiple superkicks have Cooper rocked but his ‘Samoan ancestry’ protects him long enough to land a headbutt and a suplex into the knees combination that earns him another nearfall. It is Cooper who is pushing the pace at this point with two counts off of another Samoan drop and a chokeslam, catching Banks coming off of the top rope.
A one man Spanish fly gains him the latest nearfall and receives a ‘This is PROGRESS’ chant, yet it also sparks Cooper to grab the title and threaten to use it to end Banks’ reign. Chris Brookes, Banks’ other partner, hits the ring to halt Cooper’s attempts, but the challenger does hit a Northern Lights Bomb for another close fall before locking in an Octopus hold with added middle finger aimed at Brookes. The distraction of Brookes at ringside – who pulls out the referee in an effort to cause a disqualification – gets too much for Cooper, who lands a suicide dive but gets caught with a Kiwi Krusher for a two count, though it sets up for The Lion Clutch submission which ends the contest.
Things are not over though as Brookes and Cooper end up in a shoving contest, with Banks taking a big punch to the face in his efforts to split them up. This leads to him also getting involved as security flood the ring to try and break up the fracas. Interestingly, Cooper’s loss gets a lot of boos, though it perhaps is due to the shenanigans that occurred around it as much as any hatred towards the finish. The match was good, if not great, yet this is at least firing up the PROGRESS Title picture after a bit of a lull following Banks’ ascension.
The second half begins with an open challenge for Toni Storm’s PROGRESS Women’s Title, though it is an injured Jinny who initially walks out to address that it was supposed to be her chance at the title. The replacement was due to be Millie McKenzie, but Jinny tells everyone that she is the number one contender, she gets to decide who gets the title shot (McKenzie was legitimately injured as well). Jinny’s choice? Chakara, a wrestler who has begun to make some waves in recent months.
Chakara comes out of the blocks quickly with a spinning forearm and a neckbreaker on Storm as she was perched on the second rope. The challenger gets caught with a powerbomb into the bottom buckle but as the match spills outside, Storm ends up getting sent into the ringpost. Chakara continues to put the pressure on Storm with a double knee to the stomach after a brief Storm flurry, whilst there is some brutal snap in a T-bone suplex for another nearfall. The champion is not out of it though, as she fires off numerous forearms to the face, a hip attack in the corner and an air raid crash onto the knee for two.
A Gory bomb and a hammerlock DDT wrestle the control back in favour of the challenger as Jinny continues to stalk the ringside. Inevitably, Chakara can’t stay with Storm forever and the champion retains after a German suplex and the Strong Zero piledriver. Jinny re-enters the ring and kicks Storm several times before looking to retreat as Storm begins to fight back. However, this leads to Nina Samuels jumping Storm from behind and all three women beating up Storm. A decent match that showcases Storm, continues to develop Chakara and builds a storyline to Jinny’s return.
Arguably the most in-form team in PROGRESS at the moment, Jimmy Havoc and Mark Haskins, are up next against Mark Andrews and Danny Jones. Wherever Andrews is, Eddie Dennis is sure to follow and he heads down to the ring before the match to address his former partner. His beef seems to be with Andrews pissing on the memory of FSU by turning it into Andrews and any inserted Welsh wrestler. Dennis gets in Jones’ face and reiterates his desire to follow Andrews around the world until he gets the match he wants.
This all leads to Havoc and Haskins jumping FSU 2.0 (according to the commentary team and much to Dennis’ chagrin as he joins them) from behind. Jones is initially isolated after Havoc and Haskins hit a double boot at ringside on a seated Andrews, with Havoc also wiping Jones’ facepaint off in a show of disrespect. Quick tags keep Jones in the heel corner, though a no-sold German suplex leads to Jones landing a Dragon suplex on Havoc to leave both men on the canvas.
Andrews finds his way into the match, hitting a wheelbarrow bulldog on Havoc and Stundog Millionaire on Haskins, whilst a pinfall following backpack stunner/double foot stomp combination on Haskins needs to be broken up by Havoc. The match has fallen apart as Havoc and Haskins hit the assisted Teabag Driver, only for Jones to catch Havoc with a falcon arrow and Andrews to eventually drop Haskins with a Stundog Millionaire. Vicki Haskins attempts to get involved fail this time, with Havoc instead getting stuck in a tree of woe and Haskins almost needing to tap out to a dragon sleeper by Jones.
The ref’s inability to control the contest allows Haskins to hit Andrews with a low blow after the face steps into the ring to break up a sharpshooter. This leaves Jones isolated long enough to get a kiss of death from Vicki and the Acid Rainmaker/kick combination for the three count. There is a brief beatdown at the end of the contest, but it doesn’t last. Dennis uses his position on commentary to sarcastically clap Andrews as they leave. A good match, but nothing special – just stoking the fire for the eventual Andrews/Dennis contest.
Two men on losing streaks are in the semi-main spot as Doug Williams takes on Flash Morgan Webster. Williams completely outworks Webster in the opening exchanges, using every day of his twenty five years of experience in the business to his advantage. Webster does begin to feel his way into the match, using a majistral cradle for two and utilising an armlock to slow Williams down. The first high spot fails spectacularly as Webster misses a Rude Boy moonsault as Williams moves out of the way with ease. A brutal Irish whip into the corner – twice – and a back suplex have Williams firmly in control and working the back.
Using his speed to keep distance from his opponent, Webster hits the Rude Boy moonsault but Williams overpowers the Mod with a Gory bomb setup onto the top rope and a superplex. A series of reversals near the ropes leads to a Webster suicide dive and a headbutt whilst at ringside. Webster then makes a huge mistake by jumping at Williams, who throws him into a set of chairs with a T-bone suplex. As it looks like Webster might be counted out, Vicki Haskins makes her second appearance of the night, which causes the referee to halt the count. Webster gets a two off of a roll-up on a distracted Williams, before The Strangler forces the submission.
Webster denies to Williams any knowledge of Haskins’ involvement, but a good little match with the hint of a turn has possibly put some spark back into Webster’s recent PROGRESS involvement.
The big boys are out to play in the main event as teammates WALTER and Timothy Thatcher duke it out for WALTER’s ATLAS Title. There are no handshakes between the wXw Tag Team Champions as Thatcher is all business as he tries to win the gold. This is all about the grapple and the struggle, with the occasional chop and forearm thrown in. Multiple ground and pound strikes from Thatcher raises the intensity as WALTER forces his partner back in the corner with knees and chops that have Thatcher down on his knees, the chest red raw already. A European uppercut halts WALTER briefly, but the continued chops end up cutting open Thatcher’s chest as it looks like his eyes are threatening to roll back into his head.
The chops continue at ringside as WALTER stalks him in front of the fans, although a missed chop sees WALTER’s hand collide with the ringpost! Thatcher seizes the opportunity by attacking the hand, with any chops by WALTER now causing the champion immense pain, as does a suplex onto the floor. Back in the ring, a top wristlock continues the damage, but an attempted belly to belly fails as WALTER lands on top of Thatcher for a two count. Thatcher has more success with a German suplex, only for WALTER to pop up and hit one of his own.
Uppercuts and chops continue to rain down as the chants increase in volume. WALTER grabs a nearfall with a German and a butterfly suplex before locking in the sleeper, whilst the champion then needs to find the ropes to break an arm submission attempt from Thatcher and kick out of a floatover butterfly suplex. A huge lariat allows WALTER to hit a powerbomb, but Thatcher turns the pin into an armlock. WALTER transitions to a sleeper; Thatcher puts on an armbar; WALTER stomps on his head to break the hold.
Just as it looks like the ref might call the match off, Thatcher gets up and pops WALTER in the mouth with a huge right hand before nailing a backdrop suplex. A second attempt ends up with WALTER shifting his weight once more to land on top, whilst a blocked chop then sees WALTER chop Thatcher in the forehead instead! A sitout piledriver isn’t enough; a second powerbomb finally is to put Thatcher away. An incredible match.
Not only do we have an excellent main event, the show as a whole moved a lot of angles in the right direction. Considering it felt like the promotion was in a bit of a lull in recent months, the movement in terms of Banks’ title reign, Jinny/Toni Storm, Webster’s potential turn down the road and the continued stirring of Andrews/Dennis leaves a lot of irons in the fire for the next few shows.