After a great show the night before, Progress wrapped up their Super Strong Style tournament in front of over a thousand fans at the Alexandra Palace. There was a change to the show, as Tyler Bate had to pull out due to him suffering an injured shoulder in his quarterfinal win over Kassius Ohno on day two.
Ohno takes advantage of Bate absence
Roy Johnson held another Wasteman Challenge. Last years was a nice bit of comedy relief and this one was even bigger. The challenge was answered Chris Brookes, Kassius Ohno, Angelico, Chuck Mambo, Jordan Devlin and David Starr. After dropping some sick bars, Jim Smallman announced that all seven men would compete in a scramble match, with the winner taking Tyler Bate's spot in the semi-final of the Strong Style tournament. This was fun, with everybody getting their stuff in. Ohno dropped everybody with a series of elbows before pinning Jordan Devlin to move into the semi-finals against Zack Gibson.
Super Strong Style Tournament
Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Keith Lee in the first semi-final match. I’ve seen these two battle a few times before and it’s no surprise that it’s always pretty awesome. While Zack is known primarily as a technical wizard, he is also a world class striker and he went strike for strike with his WWE bound opponent, which may seem like a good idea against anybody else but against the big Texan it’s never going to end well. Lee looked like he had the match won but a ground zero attempt was reversed into a roll-up for the three-count. Zack moves onto the final. Good, but short match that never really got going.
Kassius Ohno defeated Zack Gibson in the second semi-final. Gibson had a bit a theme in his pre-match promos throughout the tournament, attacking the fans for loving their Indy darlings in his wins against Joey Janela and Pete Dunne. Well, they don’t come more Indy darling than the former Chris Hero and the knockout artist was looking to take full advantage of his second chance in the tournament. Repeated interference from James Drake throughout got him sent to the back by the referee which distracted Gibson long enough for Ohno to hit a Death by Elbow for the win, to move onto the final to face Zack Sabre Jr.
Zack Sabre Jr. vs Kassius Ohno
These two had one of my favourite matches last year in Evolve and I was thrilled to get to see them wrestle again. While Ohno only got this far due to Bate’s injury, it was almost a perfect end to a great three days of wrestling. The commentary team mentioned that they had wrestled each other 12 times before, with six wins a piece making this the decider. The sight of a New Japan contracted wrestler taking on a WWE contracted wrestler in the final of an Independent wrestling tournament shows exactly how crazy wrestling is right now.
The match itself had everything you would expect from these two. Submissions, strikes, mafia kicks and a whole lot of chops were delivered as two of the best wrestlers in the world showed us all exactly why we all love this business so much. A great back-and-forth exchange saw Sabre roll up Ohno with a bridge for the win to become the winner of the 2018 Super Strong Style 16 for the first time.
After the match, Sabre and the fans showed their appreciation to Ohno with a standing ovation. For while he may not be the most appreciated guy in the WWE, on the independents the guy is a god and every fan in attendance was happy to see him perform again. Sabre took the mic afterwards and simply said ‘Wembley innit’. So as expected, Zack Sabre Jr. will be taking his Progress World championship match at Wembley Arena in September.
The Eddie Dennis and Mark Andrews saga continued with Andrews final having enough and agreeing to fight Eddie, as long as he stays away from Progress until he is cleared to wrestle. Eddie didn’t take kindly to this, and he attacked Andrews on his way to the back. A match between the pair seems to be building towards Wembley and if it’s anything like the build up it will be bloody awesome.
wXw promoter and owner, Christian Michael Jakobi made an appearance to send a message to Pete Dunne. The Bruiserweight was unable to make the show due to a family emergency but Jakobi sent out a message to the WWE UK champion, telling him that he has to prove himself to be the best wrestler in Europe and that he had a challenge for him from the current wXw champion, Ilja Dragunov. Whether this is building towards their Wembley show or even a wXw event this is a dream match that is sure to be incredible. The prospect of a Progress vs wXw feud is also an interesting thought.
Joey Janela defeated Jimmy Havoc in a death match that had more weapons and blood than I could ever do justice. These two had a similar match for Progress in New York last year and this was equally as violent. After the match, Havoc cut a promo on Jim Smallman telling him that even though guys like Havoc and Haskins helped build the company, they were constantly overlooked for imports and bigger names. This led to Will Ospreay coming to the ring. He told Havoc that they were both there at the start of Progress, but Ospreay has progressed while Havoc has regressed. He then laid out a challenge to Havoc for Wembley in September, telling him he wanted to see the real Jimmy Havoc.
WALTER got revenge on TK Cooper for his interference in WALTERS title match the night before by quickly dismissing the Kiwi with an STO. After the match, Travis Banks told WALTER that as long as WALTER holds the Atlas Division Championship he shouldn’t be allowed to challenge for the world title again. This prompted WALTER to hand the title to Jim Smallman, seeming to vacate it, before he chased Banks to the back.
Kassius Ohno def Jordan Devlin, Chris Brookes, David Starr, Angelico, Chuck Mambo and Roy Johnson in a scramble match to move onto the semi-finals of the SSS16 Tournament
Mark Haskins & Flash Morgan Webster def Connor Mills& Maverick Mayhew
Zack Sabre Jr. def Keith Lee to advance to the final of the SSS16 Tournament
Kassius Ohno def Zack Gibson to advance to the final of the SSS16 Tournament
Joey Janela def Jimmy Havoc in a death match
Toni Storm def Charlie Morgan to retain the women’s championship
WALTER def TK Cooper
Zack Sabre Jr. def Kassius Ohno to win the 2018 Super Strong Style 16 tournament
What did you think of Chapter 68 weekend? Let us know in the comments below!