HomeWrestlingBritish WrestlingPROGRESS Chapter 147: Unboxing Live V – Deal or No Deal

PROGRESS Chapter 147: Unboxing Live V – Deal or No Deal

For the first time since 2019, it’s time for Unboxing. A show where nothing is announced and everything is (ostensibly) a surprise. Well, apart from one match. PROGRESS has had an interesting first year under its new management. They’ve regularly put on great shows on the one hand. But have also struggled to clarify their image and present a consistent message of what they’re about. When it comes to show-day though they’ve always delivered something. With a night of pretty much-guaranteed surprises pretty much anything could happen! Welcome, to Unboxing V.

Progress Chapter 147: Unboxing V
CPF (Callum Newman, Danny Black, Maverick Mayhew & Joe Lando)
vs Dan Moloney, Man Like DeReiss, Luke Jacobs and Mad Kurt

Where to start. This is peak Unboxing chaos. First out was CPF, coming out in turn to tease exactly who would be participating in the match. The first surprise of the night came when Joe Lando joined his teammates, ahead of schedule on return from his injury. Great to see him back as he looked poised for a breakout run when he got hurt. Their opponents were an intriguing mix, the sort that one only sees at a show like this. Dan Moloney, Luke Jacobs, Man Like DeReiss (dressed as Del Boy), and a debuting Mad Kurt. Anyone who attends TNG in Manchester will connect these four through there but otherwise they were a pretty disparate group. Kurt was gold throughout the match, swapping places before the match even began with a fan in the front row who was wearing the exact same set of (I guess) pyjamas as he was.

Very entertaining match. Everyone involved knew exactly what their role was, and given how young everyone was, they laid things out well. There was plenty of comedy, and schtick, but balanced with enough wrestling that it never became just a skit or an extended angle. There was a mid-match advert for DeReiss’ merch, the man himself appearing on the big screen in a very well done bit. In the end Mad Kurt bit off a bit more than he could chew and took a series of big moves from CPF for the established quartet to get the win. Eight young men that have got big futures ahead of them for sure and hopefully this will be the first of many appearances for Mad Kurt in PROGRESS.

Progress Chapter 147: Unboxing V
Charles Crowley vs Maggot

The only match we knew of beforehand was the final chapter in an ongoing story between two of the years breakout stars. Both Crowley and Maggot possess an intangible x factor that has endeared them to PROGRESS fans. Months ago Maggot stole Crowley’s hat and jacket and ever since Crowley has been on a journey of rediscovery. This has seen him being reborn as a self-proclaimed ‘God’ after defeating ELIJAH at the last Chapter. Given your writer is pretty sure they were present the first time anyone called Crowley a ‘twat’ it’s been fascinating to see that particular nickname catch on so widely.

Another fun match, both men have got plenty of in ring skill in their lockers that often gets overlooked through the sheer force of their character. There were some smooth counters, Crowley doing the rare thing and going to the top rope, Maggot taking the low road, and even a Star Wars reference (or two). Thoroughly entertaining and a great show of the chemistry these two have. Crowley picked up the win to solidify himself, his star power continues to grow. After the match he teased some future matches, saying he is moving up from Maggots to ‘the bird and the boar’. Intriguing stuff.

Progress Chapter 147: Unboxing V
Lizzy Evo vs Nina Samuels vs Alexxis Falcon

Back to the unexpected. Out came Lizzy Evo and it looked as if she would be joined by Alexxis Falcon as her music started up twice in a row. Anyone who saw their feud in TNT in 2021 or has seen any of their singles matches in other promotions knows how amazing their chemistry is and the tease of them facing off here was just an appetiser. Out came Nina Samuels, who it turned out had locked Falcon in her own dressing room and was taking her place. Not to be side-lined though, Falcon appeared and the match turned into a triple threat.

This meant that we got both a bit of a look at the Evo/Falcon chemistry but also a continuation of the Falcon/Samuels rivalry that has been burning for a few months. Evo might have got a positive reaction on her way out but was quite happy to team up with Samuels for some underhanded double teaming when it suited them to take Falcon out.

A couple of odd moments in the early going where the referee started to count when wrestlers were in the ropes, despite a triple threat being no DQ. Probably just a little oversight as they stopped fairly soon but it broke up the flow a little. Plenty of two on one from Evo and Samuels on Falcon but they did fight and also allowed Samuels/Falcon and Evo/Falcon to have time to themselves. Just when it looked like Falcon might snatch the win with her always vicious looking rope hung DDT Evo swooped in and stole the win. Great to see Evo get a big win to end 2022 and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her in the title picture in 2023.

After the match Falcon gave a genuinely touching speech about how she has embraced her real self, the Disney loving side that dyed her hair to look like Ariel. She thanked Samuels for helping with that realisation but just when it looked like there might be a show of respect on the cards Samuels attacked with a fairly prolonged beating.

It’s the second time in a few weeks that Falcon has been the victim of this kind of situation (it wasn’t in PROGRESS but it was Lizzy Evo last time). The feud between Falcon and Samuels doesn’t look like it’s going away just yet. Worth saying here that one of the biggest improvements in PROGRESS this year has been the fact the women have had things to do outside of the title picture, it was always the biggest issue with ‘old’ PROGRESS and the increased visibility of the incredibly talented female roster has been a delight to see.

Progress Chapter 147: Unboxing V
Tate Mayfairs vs Simon Miller

A good example of a slow burn, fairly subtle, story coming to a peak in a satisfying manner. Mayfairs has been slyly antagonising ring announcer Simon Miller since pretty much day one in the company and Miller had so far reserved his retorts for twitter and some light shade on the microphone. With Mayfairs out looking for an opponent, the time was right for Miller to have his first match in the company. Stripping off the elf costume he’d been wearing (forgot to mention that in the intro) to a big ovation it looked like Miller would quickly batter Mayfairs.

Lots of fighting on the outside before the bell even rang for the match proper. Miller has a tonne of power and with Mayfairs a perfect punch bag this was an enjoyable exhibition of what Miller can bring. Mayfairs controlled portions but was also often seen bouncing around the ring like a ragdoll. That in itself was plenty of comeuppance for the undoubtedly charismatic Mayfairs. After a year where he has broken out by being one of the most irritating and obnoxiousness men in the company, watching him get thrown around with such abandon was quite cathartic.
Eventually though his willingness to resort to some cheap tactics was just enough to give Mayfairs the win, ending his very successful year on a high.

After the match when it looked like Mayfairs would be able to revel in the win untouched but there was another surprise to round off the half. Warren Banks returned, having not been seen since his heart-breaking loss to Chris Ridgeway at Super Strong Style 16. He ran Mayfairs off and looked raring to go for 2023. Miller in turn promised that whilst this had been his first match in the company, it wasn’t going to be his last. On the evidence of the reaction he received, the Ballroom would be pretty happy to see him don the tights more often.

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