Davis and Ridgeway strike hit their way to a classic
The main event of the show saw the final of the Natural Progression Series match between Mark Davis and Chris Ridgeway. When the draw for the tournament came out, this was the match that made many salivate. The hard as nails 'Smash Mouth' Chris Ridgeway and the big hitting 'Dunkzilla', Mark Davis. There was a real big fight feel to this one, and it was brutal from start to finish.
Due to Ridgeways hard-hitting style, the size difference between him and his much bigger opponent wasn’t as obvious as I thought it would be and he hit as hard, if not harder that Davis throughout. Using his technical ability to ground his opponent early on, it soon turned into a strike battle. With Ridgeways stiff kicks against Davis’ brutal chops, and every strike had the crowd on the edge of their seats. This is my kind of wrestling, two tough buggers just hitting each other as hard as they can.
From start to finish, everything in this match looked brutal, painful and awesome, and after a great closing sequence Davis won after hitting a tombstone. In doing so he joins the likes of Mark Andrews, Flash Morgan Webster and Toni Storm in winning the Natural Progression Series. I was a little surprised that Ridgeway didn’t win, with Davis being tied up in the tag division with Aussie Open it seemed to make more sense. Mark Davis has been on a great run this year though, and if a singles push in the cards for him then I would be totally on board. Great match that I highly recommend.
Is Ospreay heel or face? Nobody knows
Will Ospreay defeated Jordan Devlin in a hell of a match that had the fans going crazy. As someone who doesn’t watch much OTT, I never quite understood the hype around Devlin. My exposure to him only really being his WWE UK performances and his occasional match in Progress, none of which really set the world alight. I feel this was his coming out performance here in Progress, though, and since he was facing Ospreay, it always had the prospect of being a great match.
Fast-paced action from the start, Devlin held his own against the aerial assassin and it seems he had finally put the bargain Balor vibe behind him. Ospreay recently stated that he was unable to compete in his scheduled Wembley match with long-time rival Jimmy Havoc, but he played into the feud throughout. Hitting a series of Havoc moves towards the end and almost picking up the win with the rainmaker.
The match was a strange one in that Ospreay seemed to playing the role of a heel, even though he came out as a face and has been a face since returning to the company at the end of last year, and my confusion grew at the end when after he had won the match, he shook hands with Devlin and urged the crowd to cheer for his opponent, before suddenly realising he was a heel 10 seconds ago and decided to hit one of the ring crew with a rainmaker. He continued his attack on the poor guy before Paul Robinson ran to the ring to break up the attack. It seems the Havoc angle is very much alive and while Ospreay face/heel Big Show type change confused me, this was a really entertaining match that was easily Devlins best match since making his debut for the company.
Laughs aplenty as British Strong Style take on The Besties
The British Strong Style teams of Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate and Trent Seven faced the American contingent of the Besties in the World and Josh Alexander. The Besties recently made their Progress debut at the world cup event, and their rather awesome entrance music has made them firm favourites with the Progress ultras. They were joined by another rising US Indy star in Josh Alexander. As per usual, there were plenty of pre-match shenanigans from Bate and Seven and with their newly won NXT tag titles they were in a very playful mode.
This was a mad match that got a little too close to silly territory at times for my liking, but once the comedy was out of the way things picked up and got a lot more serious, with all six guys putting a good old action packed strong styled tag team spectacle that Progress are so good at. Alexander, in particular impressed and I would love to see him back for a possible singles match with Dunne. Trent Seven got the victory for his team after hitting the burning hammer on Josh Alexander.
After the match, Pete Dunne took to the mic and said that he keeps getting harassed about some guy called Ilja. This brought out wXw promoter Christian Michael Jacobi, who teased that Dragunov was there, before telling the fans that if they want to see Dunne vs Dragunov, then they would have to pay to see it at Wembley. Jakobi then told Dunne that he was nothing more that an overrated backyard wannabe and he gave him slap for his troubles. Slapping the bruiserweight is never a good idea, and Dunne then chased Jacobi out of the building, before telling everybody that at Wembley he is going to beat Dragunov before kicking Jacobis teeth down his throat.
Travis Banks defeated Chuck Mambo in the match that was supposed to be the main event, only for Banks to come out a match early and demand he have his match right then, so the winner of the NPS couldn’t cash in their title shot at the end of the show. Mambo had earned the title match after winning the recent Progress World Cup tournament. Since both Sexsmith and Mambo have now had title matches recently out of almost nowhere, I am guessing that Roy Johnson and Pastor William Eaver may get their title matches soon, continuing the tradition on lower card Progress originals getting title matches with pretty much no build whatsoever. I do like Mambo, and after his performance against Zack Sabre Jr. at SSS16 and in the World Cup, I would love to see more of him on the show on a regular basis. It is more than likely though that much like Spike Trivet after his win over Havoc at Chapter 71; he will go back to appearing on the Dome shows with the odd appearance at Chapter shows.
Doug Williams defeated Michael Dante in his first defence of the Atlas title he won at Chapter 69. This was a pretty good opener and gave Williams a decent first defence against a former tag champion in Dante. The new era of the Atlas Division is still finding its feet, so it’ll be interesting to see where the Williams reign goes from here.
Laura Di Matteo defeated Charlie Morgan by roll up after constant shenanigans from Morgan's House of Couture team mates. After the match, there seemed to be some dissent between Morgan and House of Couture leader Jinny.
Eddie Dennis came to the ring to inform us all that since he is now cleared to compete, he is back in Progress. He said he has waited 9 months to fight Mark Andrews, and he doesn’t want to wait another 3 to get his hands on him at Wembley.
CCK had their first match in the tag team Thunder bastard series and picked up a win over the still winless team of Maverick Mayhew and Connor Mills in a good match with some decent f*****g tag moves. With Mills and Mayhew still without a win, it seems they may be building towards them either winning the tag titles during the series or going through the entire series without a win before winning the Thunder bastard at Wembley.
Doug Williams def Michael Dante to retain the Atlas Championship
Laura Di Matteo def Charlie Morgan w/House of Couture
Will Ospreay def Jordan Devlin
British Strong Style (Pete Dunne/Trent Seven/Tyler Bate) def Besties in the World (Davey Vega & Matt Fitchett) & Josh Alexander
CCK def Connor Mills & Maverick Mayhew in the Thunder bastard tag team series
Travis Banks def Chuck Mambo to retain his Progress World title
Mark Davis def Chris Ridgeway to win the Natural Progression Series