Favourite Five

Five Fantastic Matches From WALTER’s PROGRESS World Title Reign

As WALTER’s PROGRESS Title reigns totals one year, Peter Barnes looks at five best title matches from the last 365 days.

Ever since he debuted at the 2015 edition of Super Strong Style 16, WALTER has been a regular feature of PROGRESS chapters and as of 25th July, 2018 he has been PROGRESS’s world champion.

Verily, it is not the first taste of gold he has had for the company having been the Atlas champion until particularities surrounding a title shot dictated by Travis Banks meant that he had to forfeit it to get his hands on the main title.

Anyone who has even a basic semblance of knowledge regarding the Gregorian calendar will know that WALTER has now surpassed a year at the top of PROGRESS and his reign doesn’t show any signs of abating either. No-one seems to know how to beat WALTER. Maybe, there are some tips to be taken from these matches but even the most experienced seem to struggle – just ask your favourite wrestler’s favourite wrestler.

Given that the man formerly known as Big Daddy Walter has reached this milestone, I thought it best to look back at his top five matches for the PROGRESS title. Anyone who’s read an article by me before may be able to guess one match on this list. However, I promise you that the list is not 5 lots of WALTER’s match at Pumpkin Spice PROGRESS.

Chapter 74: Midweek Matters – Travis Banks (c) vs WALTER

It makes sense to start with PROGRESS’s first and only (to-date) Wednesday show in the UK. Coming into this Travis Banks had gone from beloved champion having dethroned Pete Dunne, to being hated champion. To say Travis Banks had lost the crowd support would be an understatement of the highest order. His antics at Super Strong Style where he walked off with the title to retain via count-out really got everyone’s dander up. This match was consequently made a no count out match, so such shenanigans could not be revisited or employed once more by the Kiwi Buzzsaw.

The match itself featured the supreme strength of WALTER and this match really put across how much of a complete a wrestler he is. Weirdly, Travis looked like such an underdog despite being the heel champion in the scenario. As good as this match is, wrestling also works on feelings, and this had that ‘big-match’ feel. For all the resilience that Travis has, his ability to kick out at one, he was unable to stop Chris Roberts counting to three and sending the crowd into raptures. The combatants really left everything on the line and rewatching the match recently, the crowd reaction for the win really gives me goosebumps.

Chapter 76: Hello Wembley – WALTER (c)  vs Tyler Bate

This match had all the hype and electric violins to have WALTER come out to. The expectation was that Trent would become Atlas champion. Pete would be Ilja, and Tyler would beat WALTER to ensure British Strong Style would walk out holding all the gold. That was how the script went. WALTER, it seems, does not follow scripts.

It was a match that cost £8,000 in fees for over-running. It was a test of stamina for both WALTER and Tyler, where we thought the big strong Conor McGregor act-a-like would get the win. We also presumed that he would have better-staying power than the bigger Austrian. Despite this, WALTER picked up the win in a barn-burner of a match. The only disappointment was that he didn’t hit a moonsault, no matter how much I implored him to.

Chapter 91: Prog on the Tyne – WALTER (c) vs Eddie Kingston

The Mad King of Yonkers was hand-picked to take on the Viennese Bull. For once, WALTER was matched in his ability to perform a chop. Had the Austrian Anomaly met his match? Well, sadly not, but he was unable to bully Kingston around the ring as he did for many of his former opponents.

To say that the match was a titanic struggle between the two would be a disservice to it. The match looks like it’s the hardest test that WALTER has faced yet and for him to come out of it with a victory isn’t a great omen for any future challengers to the throne.

Super Strong Style 16, 2019 Day Two, Title Unification Match – WALTER (c) vs Trent Seven (c)

WALTER came into this hoping to unify the World title with the Atlas title he never lost. Trent was trying to add World gold to his collection and complete the triple crown of having held all 3 titles he is eligible for, thus succeeding where Tyler had failed.

This was a characteristically great match and Trent must be applauded for his efforts in trying to take the titan that is WALTER down. I thought he was truly tremendous in this match, even if he didn’t see it that way at the Junior gig afterwards. Trent was clearly shaken by the loss and, well, didn’t take it well at all.

That said, the match was great and there was a tiny bit of controversy that no-one’s really spoken about since… what’s that? Rhymes with schunboxing? Who knows if WALTER will still be champion by then, but if he is.. Trent would have a great case for a rematch and the taste of gold will be all the sweeter for the previous loss.

Chapter 77: Pumpkin Spiced Progress – WALTER (c) vs Zack Sabre Jr

Zack is God. Nuff said. End of article.

Oh… you want more? Well then.

WALTER took on one of his toughest opponents in the long-limbed technical Stewart Lee fan that is ZSJ. The match presented the classic big man vs technical man matchup, with WALTER’s brutality going up against Zack’s mind-blowing skills with targeting a body-part.

Unfortunately for me, if no-one else, Zack didn’t take the win, plus he couldn’t even blame BORIS JOHNSON at that point. It seems that ZSJ is destined to be cast in almost a gatekeeper role. He is regularly one of the first wrestlers that a titleholder will face-off against, as a competitor of high calibre to cement their reign as prestigious. This means he rarely gets wins but he’s still a star in my eyes.

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