Basically if you’re not familiar with the event, Progress Wrestling from the United Kingdom channelled their inner Nick Fury and assembled an Avengers-like Crew of Superstar Talent to come to three promotions in Australia and take on some of Australia’s best and brightest. Pro Wrestling Australia had the honour of being the Sydney/NSW promotion involved and also being the final stop on the tour. They were ready with their own line up of wrestling superstars, who were more than ready to take it to some of the best wrestlers not only in independent wrestling, but on the planet.
Firstly, I just want to state how amazing the video packages were throughout the entire show. Shout out to the person/people responsible as they were phenomenal! From the opening package, through to the Main Event of the evening, every video got the crowd very excited for what they were about to witness. But I guess the best way to tackle this recap is to go in chronological order, so let’s get into it.
So after the lights went out and we were treated to the first of our wonderful video packages, Progress Co-owner Jim Smallman made his way to the ring, whilst one of his partners in crime Glen Joseph, made his way with PWA’s own Matty Wahlberg to the commentary table. I am certainly looking forward to re-watching the event on ‘Demand Progress’ and hearing the commentary of these two gentlemen as well as Concrete Davidson, who replace Matty Wahlberg after intermission.
Jim opened the show like any other progress show, speaking and joking with the crowd and throwing out a few of his signature catch phrases, including the one rule of Progress (‘Don’t be a Dick’) and also pointing out the rest of the crowd needed to buy approximately six people drinks as they were the only ones who had been to a Progress show before. Jim poked a bit of fun at the diversity in the crowd, as some of the tickets were purchased by The Star for guest of the Casino, so it provided a really interesting contrast in the crowd, the hard core indie wrestling fans to the attendees who probably had never seen a wrestling show in their entire life. Jim’s banter and ring announcing is fantastic on the Progress shows in general, so I am so glad that he took the time to come to Australia and give us the same experience we would with a UK show. Jim also pointed out the counter that would be used for each Progress x PWA match to determine brand superiority.
WWE United Kingdom Champion the ‘Bruiserweight’ Pete Dunne v Caveman Ugg
The opening contest of the evening was a battle between Caveman Ugg and the WWE United Kingdom Champion, the Bruiserweight Pete Dunne. This match was a real power contest, with both men trying to impose their will on the other, with the some signature joint manipulation from the Bruiserweight and the signature strength of Ugg. Like the match, the crowd was very back and forth on this match, with Bruiserweight chants being equalled with Ugg ones. Ugg did all he could to put Dunne away, but unfortunately met his Bitter End as Pete Dunne hit his signature finisher and picked up the win.
1. Pedigree from Pete Dunne for a near fall.
2. Fantastic crowd interaction between Pete Dunne and the show crowd with the best moment available on Pete Dunne’s social media page.
3. Pete Dunne laughing at Ugg’s look to only have the smirk removed from his face once the match commenced.
Pete Dunne def. Caveman Ugg by Pinfall (Bitter End)
PROGRESS 1 – PWA 0
4 Corner Tag Match contested under Lucha Libre Rules: The Velocities v Conco and the Fudge v Four Nations (Madison Eagles and Adam Hoffman) v Juan Direction
The second match of the evening was a PWA match between four of the promotions great tag teams, contested under Lucha Libre Rules. Basically what is meant by this is as follows (taken from Wikipedia):
“when the legal wrestler of a team touches the floor outside the ring, a teammate may enter the ring to take his place as the legal competitor. As the legal wrestler can step to the floor willingly, there is essentially no need for an actual tag to a teammate to bring him into a match.”
Some of the crowd around me was a little confused with the rules of the match and why the referee wasn’t keeping track of the legal combatants, however they most likely were not aware of the Lucha Libre rules, hence the confusion. It was a fast paced, frenetic contest, which saw all Wrestlers get a taste of the action which led to an entertaining clash. All teams performed strongly, but when the dust settled however, it was the Velocities who picked up an important win in their quest for Tag team glory.
1. Entrances – Some phenomenal wrestling entrances from all four teams, with special mention of Concrete Davidsons’s bike, which was used by Tyler Bate in some backstage shenanigans.
2. Crowd member sitting behind me, losing his mind about how “Jacked” Madison Eagles was. Many a profanity was used by them, but I understand as she looked incredible and could legit kick any of those guys rear ends into oblivion.
3. Juan Direction – Everything about these guys was incredible and captured the attention of everyone, including Jim Smallman and Glen Joseph. Their entrance was absolutely epic, as was their performance.
The Velocities def Conco and the Fudge, Four Nations (Madison Eagles and Adam Hoffman) and Juan Direction.
‘King of the Goths’ Jimmy Havoc v ‘Tuff Stuff’ Ricky South – No Disqualification
In the promotional video for this match, ‘Tuff Stuff’ Ricky South said to Jimmy Havoc “Let’s have some fun” and it was fun watching this match from my end, but I imagine this was hardly the case for the two competitors. Jimmy Havoc entered first, making a beeline for the underneath of the ring, removing a large quantity of chairs and a staple gun, showing the crowd he was more than willing to give Ricky South what he asked for. Jimmy then proceeded to stare at the stage, awaiting the entrance of ‘Tuff Stuff’. Ricky South came out to the Gloria Gaynor smash “I Will Survive” and honestly, I just wanted that for the guy. He even paid tribute to his own insanity for requesting this match with an “Aladdin Sane” David Bowie lightning bolt on his face. The contest was brutal, with both men enduring significant punishment. Jimmy Havoc received Staples in the head whilst Ricky South was Death Valley Driven into a collection of chairs. Chairs were thrown and swung, eyes were poked, papercuts of death were dealt and we even saw the emergence of a pride flag table. Ultimately the Pride table would be the deciding factor in the contest, with Jimmy Havoc on the receiving end of an incredible top rope piledriver through the table to end the match and defeat Jimmy Havoc at his own game.
1. PRIDE TABLE! ‘Tuff Stuff’ telling Jimmy he was going to ‘taste the rainbow’
2. ‘Jimmy F!@#ing Havoc’ chant matched with ‘Ricky F!@#ing South’ chant.
3. Jimmy placed an incapacitated Ricky South on a chair on the outside of the ring and proceeded to run clockwise around the ring which looked like we were going to see a running move, however Jimmy stopped in front of ‘Tuff Stuff’ and poked him in the eyes.
’Tuff Stuff’ Ricky South def. Jimmy Havoc via Pinfall (Top Rope Piledriver through table - taste the rainbow)
PROGRESS 1 – PWA 1
Impromptu Over the top rope Battle Royale – Featuring PWA Roster Members (and a surprise PROGRESS wrestling appearance)
Michael Spencer interrupted Jim Smallman and basically demanded a match as he is the Prince of Wrestling. We then were graced with the presence of several PWA roster members and former Progress Tag team champion ‘Battle Tested’ Rob Lynch! This match had some great spots including Rob Lynch Spear, but ultimately a crafty Michael Spencer eliminated the final competitor to win the battle royale and further establish himself on the PWA roster.
Michael Spencer’s Frieza inspired attire. The crowd picked up on it too and had some fun banter with him.
PWA’s great talent on display! I’m glad PWA did this match and allowed more of the roster to get a showing on this monumental card as PWA has plenty of talent!
‘Battle Tested’ Rob Lynch! Was awesome to see him on this card and he was excellent in the battle royale
Jack Bonza and Mick Moretti aka Four Nations v Tyler Bate and Trent Seven aka Moustache Mountain
This had the best video package of the lot in my mind. Short and sweet. If you have not seen it, google it as it is fantastic. Jack Bonza and Mick Moretti came to the ring first to their awesome version of 7 Nation Army. But in the battle of the entrances Moustache Mountain picked up the win. Trent Seven and Tyler Bate came out in their hotel dressing gowns, each going to either side of the stage and waving to each other. They then proceeded to wave and greet all of the fans, before rolling into the ring and Seven iconically throwing the towel against the ring. This match had it all, great spots and even better humour. It was a fun match and these two teams were great together, feeding off each other which led to a thoroughly enjoyable match. PWA would have been very happy with the outcome, with the 4 Nations picking up the win and cranking their music up loud in celebration of their huge win!
Tyler Bate Airplane Spin with Trent Seven Assist
Trent Seven deadweight spot and his signature bowling spot
Cheer - Boo crowd reaction involving Moretti and Bonza respectively, with Bonza threatening to throw the match.
Jack Bonza and Mick Moretti aka Four Nations def Tyler Bate and Trent Seven aka Moustache Mountain via pinfall
PROGRESS 1 - PWA 2
Toni Storm © v Jessica Troy for the Progress Women’s Championship
We were spoilt even more when we received a Progress Women’s Championship title defence, when Toni Storm took on the challenging Jessica Troy, who believed she would be the woman to halt Toni Storm’s reign of dominance. Jessica put up a valiant effort, even locking in her signature Submission, but in the end Toni Storm was able to secure the win in Sydney and continue her dominance as one of the best wrestlers on the planet.
Having Toni Storm return to Australia after establishing herself as one of the best wrestlers going today.
Her taking on the very challenging Jessica Troy, who represents Australia very well on the global stage.
Seeing Strong Zero in the flesh! Plus who doesn’t love a Toni F!@#ing Storm Chant!
Toni Storm © def. Jessica Troy to retain the Progress Women’s Championship
PROGRESS 2 - PWA 2
Unsocial Jordan and Snapchad © v Carter Dreams and Matty Wahlberg aka the Babes for the PWA Tag Team Championship
SMS - Unsocial Jordan and Snapchad made relatively quick work of the Babes - Carter Dreams and Matty Walhberg hitting a double team on Carter Dreams for the win and retaining their tag team titles in a dominant victory.
Cheerleaders and Confetti Cannons: The Babes had a hell of an entrance, complete with Cheerleaders, Harley Wonderland and Confetti Cannons! What more could you ask for!
SMS - Unsocial Jordan and Snapchad are a superb tag team and if they were going to pick a particular moment to show that in a dominant way, they chose the right event. I personally love their ‘Stand With SMS’ gimmick, it has an ‘Anonymous’/ V for Vendetta feel. It is awesome. Serious Heel Heat too!
A PWA title defence on the card. It was great to see the PWA tag team titles defended on the card, considering no other PWA titles would be defended that evening and there had already been a Progress title defence on the card.
Unsocial Jordan and Snapchad © def. Carter Dreams and Matty Wahlberg aka the Babes to retain the PWA Tag Team Championship
Exhibition Contest between Progress World Champion Travis Banks and PWA Heavyweight Champion Robbie Eagles
With the scores locked at 2 a piece it was down to the main event of the evening to separate the two organisations and the best was certainly save until last. Progress World Champion Travis Banks took on PWA Heavyweight Champion Robbie Eagles in a match for the ages. The match was fast paced, high energy and had the crowd going the whole time. The match see sawed back and forth and both men threw everything in their repertoire at each other in an attempt to get the win. Banks would eventually break the deadlock with a super Kiwi Crusher off of the top rope followed up with the Lion’s Clutch to pick up the submission win in an incredible contest that has to be seen to be believed.
The Whole Match…when it comes out on demand, WATCH IT!
Jim Smallman gave his endorsement of Robbie Eagles at the end of the show, meaning we might see him appear in the UK sooner rather than later. Jim Smallman thanked everyone for supporting Progress and reminded that crowd the importance of supporting their local promotion.
All in all it was an incredible show of which my review did not do it justice. When it comes out on PWA on Demand or Demand Progress I will be definitely be firing it up again as it was an amazing show and I feel so privileged to have been there!