PROGRESS Wrestling‘s two day tour of the United States concludes in Boston, as Pete Dunne selects WWE Superstar Jack Gallagher to be Travis Banks’ next opponent, and British Strong Style defend their tag team championship against Ringkampf. Read on for match ratings and a full review of the show.
(Winner via pinfall: Jeff Cobb)
(Winner via pinfall: Dakota Kai)
(Winner via pinfall: Jack Gallagher)
(Winner via submission: Matt Riddle)
No Disqualification Match
(Winner via pinfall: Jimmy Havoc)
Tyler Bate & Trent Seven (C) (“British Strong Style”)
WALTER & Timothy Thatcher (“Ringkampf”)
PROGRESS Tag Team Championship Match
(Winners via pinfall: British Strong Style)
After the dramatic events leading up to and taking place at PROGRESS: NYC, you’d have hoped for a somewhat smoother time for the PROGRESS Wrestling team ahead of PROGRESS: Boston, but sadly that wasn’t the case. A nightmare time travelling meant that the team didn’t exactly get much sleep (to put it mildly!), and Jim Smallman opened the show letting everyone know just how eventful this short tour of the US had been for him and his company. As you’d expect from PROGRESS though, none of this affected the show in any way.
A slightly smaller card than we are used to these days, and a much shorter runtime for the show than we’ve had in quite a while, but what we got was all really strong entertainment. From Mark Andrews and Jeff Cobb’s fun opener (never did I think we’d see that match when I first saw Cobb in 2016!), to a really tough and aggressive women’s three-way, the show opened strong and continued that way.
Jack Gallagher and Travis Banks was a slow burner, taking its time to show us some technical wrestling to start, something we perhaps haven’t seen so much from Banks in recent months as he’s been deployed into striking matches with his opponents. At one point, I feared that the match wasn’t going to work, and that both men wouldn’t click, but then I thought better of it, and realised that they wouldn’t be starting the match this way if they didn’t plan to go crazy later on. And crazy they went.
Seeing Jack Gallagher perform as a more complete wrestler than he does in WWE really makes you see the difference between what that company do and what the independent promotions do. He switched to the style so effortlessly, like he’d never been gone, but still did enough of the little quirks that he has in WWE now to show us that he is that same Gallagher. His performance across both PROGRESS shows was superb, and hopefully we will get that match between he and Pete Dunne at some point. One thing these two Gallagher matches have shown me is that he has the potential to be a huge name on the indies if he ever finds himself leaving WWE.
The promo following their match, which had Gallagher putting over Banks big time, did a good job of adding to the Dunne/Banks feud that is going to headline the Alexandra Palace show. I initially had a fear that the two US shows would exist in their own little bubble, but that’s not been the case whatsoever, and they have added a great deal to the ongoing storylines in the company.
Riddle and Stone put on a brutal match to open the second half of the show and, for me at least, it was the best match of the night. Stone is a tough bastard, but I’ll be damned if I can work out how the hell Riddle can put himself through matches like this on a daily basis. His body must hurt. I could’ve done with a little less respect being shown between both men after the match, but that’s a grievance I have with such post-match activities in general, not just here. I’ve no idea what Stone and Riddle’s history is, as far as previous matches on the independent scene, but after seeing this one I’d definitely want to watch more from both men, be it historic matches or future ones.
My feelings on the Havoc and Gibson match are a little mixed. I want to like Havoc, and as a character, I do. But his style of matches, at least those he has in PROGRESS now, are often crazy hardcore ones which are the type of wrestling that doesn’t appeal to me anymore. Havoc himself is great though, don’t get me wrong. This whole match just lacked any real heat for me, and I found my mind drifting onto other things. Maybe that’s just my poor attention span though!
The main event was your typical British Strong Style affair nowadays. Cowardly heels getting their comeuppance right until they sneak a win out of nowhere, which is what wrestling is meant to be, no? That’s what I often saw when I was growing up, anyway!
Seven and Bate are great, and the latter in particular has really been enjoyable in his heel role as of late. My feeling is that 2018 should see PROGRESS push Bate as a top babyface star, but for now I’m happy to see him and Seven start fights with 16 year old fans at ringside, or their mothers beside them. Glorious stuff, honestly.
The set up at the end for a triple threat match at Alexandra Palace certainly gets this fans attention. I’m sold on Riddle at this point, and Thatcher is someone I loved watching back in EVOLVE Wrestling, so seeing those two go up against WALTER will be great fun, especially given I’ll be seeing it live in person!
Good show. NYC steals it, if we are comparing, but both shows gave us some absolute blinders. Ally Pally gets closer and closer…
Match of the Night
Martin Stone vs. Matt Riddle