At the last stop on the road to Chase the Sun at Alexandra Palace, Pete Dunne looks to get into the head of Travis Banks one last time before their championship match. Trent Seven faces Chris Brookes, and Tyler Bate takes on Kid Lykos, with the winners of each match being able to insert a stipulation into their upcoming PROGRESS Tag Team Championship match. Flash Morgan Webster sits down with Jimmy Havoc and Mark Haskins, in an attempt to calm the growing tension between the two men…
(Winner via submission: Strangler Davis)
Winner decides stipulation #1 for PROGRESS Tag Team Championship match at Chapter 55
(Winner via pinfall: Tyler Bate)
#1 Contender Match for PROGRESS Women’s Championship
(Winner via pinfall: Dahlia Black)
Winner decides stipulation #2 for PROGRESS Tag Team Championship match at Chapter 55
(Winner via pinfall: Chris Brookes)
Zack Gibson & James Drake (“Grizzled Young Vets”)
Mark Andrews & Eddie Dennis (“FSU”)
(Winners via pinfall: Grizzled Young Vets)
(Winner via submission: Timothy Thatcher)
Pete Dunne & Travis Banks
Mark Haskins & Jimmy Havoc
(Winners via pinfall: Pete Dunne & Travis Banks)
Go to your God like a Soldier had a lot of work to do. As the last show before PROGRESS Wrestling‘s biggest event of the year, it needed to put the final touches on the current ongoing feuds, set up some other matches, and generally just make you want to part with money to see the big show itself (a fact lost on some, who are currently on Twitter asking to share someone’s Demand Progress account so that they can watch it without paying a dime). With all that in mind, I can happily say that Chapter 54 was an absolute success.
The unexpected win for Dahlia Black over Jinny sets up an interesting PROGRESS Women’s Championship match at Chase the Sun, and likely shocked quite a few people. It has been expected that Jinny will take the belt off Toni Storm at some point, so Black’s win threw a welcome spanner in the works as far as that thinking goes, and now leaves us clueless as to who comes to on top, as Black is on the rise and Storm’s post-Mae Young Classic future is a mystery to all. I lean towards saying Storm will be with us a while longer (thank God), but Black has been great in her last two PROGRESS matches, so I welcome the uncertainty going into that match.
I was pleasantly surprised by Timothy Thatcher and Doug Williams. On paper, this didn’t seem like a competitive bout to me, but it really turned out to be something wonderfully competitive and I loved the subtle reactions Thatcher was proving throughout the match, as he himself was surprised at what Williams was bringing to the table. Thatcher’s overconfidence at the start made for a great story, and although his win came, it did not come as easily as one might’ve thought and it became a nice solid piece of business for him on his way to Chase the Sun.
I’ve recently praised Zack Gibson’s heel promos, but Trent Seven might be just as good but in a completely different way. If you didn’t laugh out loud when he announced that the tag team match at Chase the Sun would be a Punjabi Prison match, then you just aren’t a true wrestling fan, and his real announcement that it would instead be a “falls count anywhere…in the ring” match was gold too. I wish he could bring this persona to WWE, but it probably wouldn’t work quite as well without the adult language and vile physical behaviour. Still, here’s hoping he gets to adapt it for the big stage at some point.
Seven actually had one of the best matches he’s had all year, perhaps the best, as he lost to Chris Brookes, who in turn changed their Chase the Sun title match into a Ladder Match. The work here was superb, and it felt like serious stakes were at play. With all the hysterical antics Seven has been involved in the past 4 months, it’s easy to forget that he’s actually a bloody good singles wrestler, so this match was a solid reminder of what he can do.
I wasn’t so into the Kid Lykos/Tyler Bate match, which seemed to have a lot of big and impressive moves, but not a lot of psychology going on. That isn’t a criticism of either man, just an observation of how the match played out. For me, Tyler Bate has been Top 3 in the world for match quality in 2017, so perhaps my level of expectation from him is unrealistic sometimes, but he’s just that damn good and I love watching him wrestle. His heel work is now superb too, and is wonderfully cocky and arrogant in how he carries himself.
For me, the most successful part of this show was the Jimmy Havoc and Mark Haskins development. Their promo segment with Flash Morgan Webster was hilarious, but in a way that didn’t betray what they were trying to accomplish, and I love that both men’s unfinished business with the PROGRESS World Championship is what finally set this feud off for real. On that point too, it’s once again reminded us that should Travis Banks successfully win the championship at Chase the Sun, he has some ready-to-go challengers in-waiting already.
The main event progressed as you’d expect, with Havoc and Haskins finally going off the boil with each other, and Dunne abandoning Banks until the moment Dunne could steal the win for himself. His post-match beat down of Banks and his allies (CCK) with the sledgehammer was a lovely way to end the show, and I absolutely loved how he attacked Dahlia Black prior to it. From the moment he took out Black, Dunne went from that bad guy you want to see get his comeuppance, to that piece of shit scumbag who you want to see get the shit kicked out of him. I suspect that was the intention.
I will be at Chase the Sun, and I can’t tell you how excited I am for it, as the card looks to be one of the best I’ve seen assembled in 2017. Even if Chase the Sun is only able to be equally as good as Go to your God like a Soldier, that will make this fan happy, but one gets the feeling it’s going to end up being one of the best professional wrestling shows of the year. In 2017, that is quite an achievement.
Match of the Night
Trent Seven vs. Chris Brookes