The Garage, Islington, London.
Screw Indy Wrestling (Mark Haskins & Nathan Cruz) w/Katherine Rose vs. Stixx & Dave Mastiff. (Progress Tag Team championship tournament match semi-final):
Screw Indy Wrestling appear to have a good tag team psychology going and employ the tried-and-tested tactic of ‘frequent tags whilst isolating one of their opponents from his corner’. Stixx is the man stuck in mid-ring for the most part with Mastiff having the occasional hot tag and ring-clearing rampage spots!
Stixx and Mastiff seem determined to light up their opponents’ chests with spiteful full power slaps and knife-edge chops at every opportunity. The baying crowd chanting “one more time” after each chop lands and echoes doesn’t help the recipient’s predicament!
The ending came as Cruz bundled Mastiff to a brawl scenario at ringside leaving Stixx exposed in-ring. Haskins saw the opportunity and duly provided a series of quick bone-crunching moves to enable him to get the pinfall.
Joshua Bodom vs. “Flash” Morgan Webster. (2014 Natural Progression series match):
Both men are making their Progress debuts in this match and start cautiously exchanging basic wrestling manoeuvres, rest holds and wrist-locks. Webster seems to be mostly on the receiving end of these exchanges but shows some moments of flair in escaping the various holds.
Perhaps taking exception to this perceived cockiness and strutting by Webster, Bodom unleashes a few powerful strikes and picking up seamlessly where Stixx and Mastiff left off some full-blooded chest chops. This culminated in a brutal full force kick to the back of Webster who legitimately had an angry looking red boot print for the remainder of the match!
But style was to conquer over brute force on this occasion as ultimately “flash” lived up to his moniker and hit a 450 splash from the top rope to wrap up the debut victory.
El Liguero vs. Noam Dar.
This match is billed as the pair’s third encounter in a feud spanning 2 years. Both wrestlers have a great knowledge of each other’s style and have various moves scouted ahead making this a very even affair as things begin to unwind.
The move/counter-move pacing means the match runs long and becomes a test of stamina as much as anything else. Liguero hits a few luchadore-esque moves and Dar has a couple of near misses after cinching in an ankle lock or two. The crowd meanwhile have fun with what has become known as Dar-a-oke (you take a song or theme tune that can be performed in a series of “DAR”s – it makes sense when you see/hear it!).
As the match enters what would be its final phase it becomes apparent that Noam’s arms and/or shoulders don’t appear to be holding up very well (this is his first match back from injury) and that point is not lost on Liguero who now targets this weakness. Left with a depleted arsenal of head butts, kicks and sheer willpower Dar somehow picks up a very unlikely win via a roll-up pin.
Swords of Essex (Paul Robinson & Will Ospreay) vs. FSU (Mark Andrews & Eddie Dennis). (Progress Tag Team championship tournament match semi-final):
We begin with a flurry of moves from both teams all performed at an electric pace so much so that the 6 footer Eddie Dennis resigns to the fact he may not be cut out for these cruiser weight matches anymore. Luckily Eddie knows someone who can handle such matches… he then pulls out a lucha mask and announces himself as “Eddie Mysterio Jnr” giving him an instant injection of much needed pace leading into a teased 619 move set up before the mask gets removed.
The craziness and creativity continues in what is already an excellent match from all involved – I lost count of the amount of flips and hurricanrana’s on display! Will Ospreay performed an insane moonsault from the top rope to the outside like it was nothing. Big Eddie picked up both swords and equally tossed them the length of the ring with relative ease!
Sadly all good things must come to an end as Andrews proved by acrobatically dropping Ospreay onto his head from the ring ropes to provide the 3 count and a win for FSU who progress to the final of the tag team tournament.
Rampage Brown vs. Tommy End.
It’s back to the hard-hitting action now as the massive Brown takes on the educated feet of Tommy End. True to form End lashes away at Brown with the various kicks in his wheelhouse. The usual thigh-slap added sound effects are gone and replaced with the dull thud of flesh hitting flesh that can only come from pretty legit strikes!
Rampage eats up the offense before mounting a vicious barrage of his own. With End prone on the outside Rampage decides to recklessly hurl himself from the top rope into End and the poor crowd at ringside – it was a miracle if no one got hurt as a result (Brown included).
My friend and I also had a near miss at exactly this point after a chair collapsed right in front of us. Not a result of anything to do with the event itself but more a case of a large fan sitting on a flimsy folding chair– it was a pure You’ve Been Framed moment without the £250, Harry Hill voiceover and canned laughter.
My attention was back on the ring long enough to see End leap from the top rope only to get caught with a Rampage clothesline mid-flight and get knocked out for what was to become a 3 second nap.
Zack Sabre Jnr (challenger) vs. Jimmy Havoc (champion). Progress Wrestling Title match:
Jim Smallman has his own security detail for the match as it is obvious Havoc has nothing but bad intentions towards him from previous encounters. Even Referee Chris Roberts has decided he doesn’t feel safe in the ring with the maniac Jimmy has turned into prompting the need for a guest ref…
It’s revealed to be “Party” Marty Scurll of “Take Me Out” and “British Boot Camp” fame who will be taking up this mantle. He is wearing what appear to be pyjama bottoms causing heckles from some of the fans.
Scurll calls for the bell as Jimmy grabs a mic and offers to buy both men in the ring a pint “we’re all mates and these fans don’t deserve to see us fight” he reasons. Sabre declines the free beverage in favour of his title shot.
Jimmy is on the back-foot as Sabre lets fly with some stiff shots – I’ve almost become used to the hard style on display by this point but can’t help but note that Sabre’s kicks have a certain punt-like quality that may render them as even more painful. The crowd (at least for the vast majority) HATE Jimmy so sympathy from elsewhere in the building is unlikely.
Havoc is being systematically destroyed as Sabre begins propping him up against the apron and posts outside the ring before letting fly with repeated kicks. Havoc finally manages to avoid an incoming kick leaving Sabre’s shin to rattle against the steel of the exposed ring post!
Referee Marty tries to buy Zack a little time after this impact by reminding Havoc of his earlier “friendship” speech but he is having none of it and attacks the injured leg with purpose. Marty continues to impose his presence in the hopes of saving Sabre any unnecessary torture when he gets struck by a wayward kick from Sabre who himself is attempting to fight off Havoc. Marty rolls out of the ring and shows no signs of getting up.
With no referee there was a suspicion that the London Riots might emerge from somewhere but instead there was a fracas amongst Jim Smallman’s own security guards that resulted with the Championship staff being slid into the ring conveniently for Jimmy Havoc to be able to spike Zack Sabre Jnr’s head onto it.
The security guard gives Havoc a thumbs up before leaving the building – clearly this was some kind of set-up! Havoc grabs a microphone and invites Jim Smallman to either disqualify him (meaning he would keep the title) or referee the remainder of the match himself. To add a time penalty to his decision Jimmy Havoc stated he would choke Zack to death in the meantime before proceeding to apply a rear naked choke to the downed Sabre.
Jim Smallman quickly stepped in for the briefest of refereeing duties as it became clear Zack Sabre Jnr was mere seconds away from being completely unconscious. Sabre’s arm dropped three times leaving Smallman no choice but to award the match to his arch-nemesis Havoc.
– By Paul Gillings