PROGRESS Wrestling Chapter 1: In The Beginning Review

 

March 25th 2012, The Garage, Islington

Welcome to the first of what shall be many reviews dedicated to one of the best UK indy promotions around today, PROGRESS Wrestling. Reaching their 4th Anniversary of shows this month, I thought it would be the perfect time to start reviewing their incredible line of shows. We have 26 (Soon to be 27) chapters to get through at this point in time, so enjoy what I hope is a great look back and consistent review column on We Write Wrestling about PROGRESS, and it’s… well… progress.

For more information on PROGRESS Wrestling, including merchandise, the We Demand PROGRESS streaming service, their training school and more, check out http://www.progresswrestling.com/

We of course start, at the beginning, Chapter 1: In The Beginning, and for their first show, it was a success and sold out! With big names on their like Zack Sabre Jr & Colt Cabana, it helped out with attracting audiences, but was it all star power and little in ring glory? Let’s find out.

PROGRESS Championship Tournament First Round:

El Ligero Def. Noam Dar (12:02)

The show kicked off with 4 matches determining who would go to the main event, a fatal 4 way elimination match to crown the first PROGRESS Wrestling Champion. Back then it was a glorious staff with an eagles head on top, dubbed the “Nazi staff” by fans and “It’s not a Nazi staff, it’s regal!” by Jim Smallman, this staff would become a staple of PROGRESS for a few years.

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Oh how times have changed, to think 4 years ago, Ligero would be the fan favourite whilst Dar would be booed. Funny enough Dar wasn’t even doing heelish things, he was heel by default because he was from Scotland, outside of that he abided by the rules and didn’t talk down on the crowd. Got to love English fans. The match itself was very good, a “perfect opener” in terms of being a solid match, but not overshadowing the rest of the card. Noam Dar was young even back then and showed the future star that lied within. El Ligero was a solid high flyer and complimented Dar’s technical style well resulting in a great mesh of sequences and high spots alongside good technical wrestling and mat skills. Ligero picks up the win with his finisher the C4L, advancing to the finals, but this wouldn’t be the last time these two would meet in a PROGRESS ring.

Rating: ***1/4

PROGRESS Championship Tournament First Round:

Nathan Cruz Def. Colossus Kennedy (12:19)

Another solid match between these two here. Nathan seemed to always fit the heel role, his character being dubbed as an ex actor, residing in Beverly Hills and being the “Star Attraction” made him easy to hate with his actor turned wrestler background (In kayfabe) Whilst Kennedy was the big monster you wanted to see destroy Curz which got him an easy face reaction. Kennedy had early control as expected with his size and strength advantage but Cruz was able to out wrestle his way into an advantage. The match is back and forth for a bit until Nathan uses some underhanded tactics to finish off Kennedy with the Shining Wizard finisher and move on to the final.

Rating: ***

PROGRESS Championship Tournament First Round:

Mike Mason (With Becky James) Def. Colt Cabana (10:05)

My least favourite match of the show, but not a bad match by any means. Mike Mason takes on fan favourite and global star Colt Cabana in a sound match with nothing truly wrong with it. Colt has some fun with the referee and Mike using a tennis ball which many laughs and cheers from the crowd. Getting into the actual wrestling portion of the match, Cabana did well as usual whilst Mason was good but not great, he played up to his “Loco” nickname well with out bursts of barking and growling, having to be calmed down by Becky. An unclean finish was needed to make Mike winning look legitimate, using a chain to clonk Cabana and pick up the win. Overall a solid match, but my personal low point of the show.

Rating: ***

PROGRESS Championship Tournament First Round:

Marty Scurll Def. Zack Sabre Jr. (21:40)

My MOTN, a classic PROGRESS match even to this day. Two tag team partners, leaders of the new school, doing what they do best. The only match with no heel vs face dynamic as both men were over like hell. This match was just filled with great sequences, technical wrestling, lovely mat skills and stiff strong style wrestling. These two oozed chemistry as you would expect being tag team partners, Marty picking up the somewhat upset victory considering how far ZSJ would progress in his career in comparison to Marty. Overall a great match, showing early signs that PROGRESS would be a force to reckoned with.

Rating: ****1/4

BWC Scarlo Scholarship Championship – Triple Threat Match:

Xander Cooper (c) Def. Darrell Allen & Zack Gibson (13:44)

BWC or British Wrestling Council was a training school with its own title, the SSC, which would be defended every PROGRESS show to further show the progress of young British talent. Due to the massive gap between shows back then, the BWC SSC was only defended for the first 3 chapters.

A slight step down from the previous match, but a great bridge between ZSJ v Scurll and the main event. A good/great triple threat match. Another match showing us how far PROGRESS has come, Zack Gibson with hair and only being booed because he’s from Liverpool and a face Darrell Allen. Xander made for a good middle man for PROGRESS fan to boo an outsider as he was from BWC, all 3 men gelled well together, Darrell and Zack getting face pops when attacking Xander whilst maintaining a heel v face dynamic when tackling each other. Some good sequences and sound technical skills from all 3 men made this an enjoyable match to watch, even today I say Zack Gibson is one of the most underrated indy talents out there. Xander retained his title, but would he be champ next show? We shall see.

Rating: ***3/4

Main Event – PROGRESS Championship – Fatal 4 Way Elimination Match:

Nathan Cruz Def. El Ligero, Mike Mason & Marty Scurll (26:03)

To cap off an already great show, we had a great main event, slightly below ZSJ v Scurll but still very good. I’d say the only real complaint I had was Mason being there, he just didn’t seem to fit in with the other 3 stars, but I guess they didn’t want 3 faces vs 1 heel. All 4 men had their moments, including a nice spot when Ligero and Scurll take turns chopping Cruz, then get fans to hold him as they chop him at the same time. It started to blend into a tag team scenario with Mason and Cruz in one corner and Ligero Scurll in the other, which helped in making sure it wasn’t just chaos with no real flow and gave everyone some one on one action. Ligero was first to go leaving Scurll in basically a 2v1 struggle for a bit before he eliminated Mason, then Cruz and Scurll had a nice few minutes of wrestling before Cruz picked up the win. Crowning Nathan Cruz as the inaugural PROGRESS Wrestling Champion. Overall a great main event, I wish the eliminations were spaced about a bit more, and honestly I wish Mason hadn’t been there as I feel he didn’t add much to it, but still a nice way to close out the show.

Rating: ****1/4

Final Thoughts

Overall this was a great first show for PROGRESS, not a single bad match on the card, every match having meaning and early characteristics being fleshed out such as Zack Gibson’s proud Liverpool heel persona and Nathan Cruz being one of the long standing heels of PROGRESS. A definite pass, and a great way to start an amazing promotion.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10

Once again for more information on PROGRESS Wrestling, including merchandise, the We Demand PROGRESS streaming service, their training school and more, check out http://www.progresswrestling.com/.

For updates on our newest articles and more, follow @WeWriteWrestlin on Twitter.

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