PROGRESS Wrestling Chapter 34 – Keep It Unreal Preview
August 14, 2016
We Write Wrestling – @WeWriteWrestlin
Sunday 14th August marks the upcoming date in which PROGRESS Wrestling make their eagerly awaited return to The Ritz, in Manchester. Sunday marks the 5th time in which
the London-based company makes the 160 mile journey to the Northern Quarter. To round these milestones off, Sunday 14th August also marks the 2nd sell-out the company
has achieved at The Ritz, alongside their debut show in Manchester. Though a run of 3 shows without a sell-out may have seemed problematic, and a discouraging sign,
this statistic not only showcases why the company’s investment in a 2nd location has paid off, but has also ensured Manchester has acclaimed 4 dates for the 2017
calendar year of PROGRESS.
8 matches have been announced. 8 matches which have been met with increasing anticipation. 8 matches which showcase such variety that only PROGRESS is able to deliver
on a constant, and consistent basis. “Big lads” wrestling, intergender tag matches, championship matches, matches between those who are yet to deliver their talents
on such a platform, and matches between those who have earned themselves the monikers of being the best wrestlers on the planet.
Let’s take a look, shall we?
PROGRESS Atlas Title Round Robin Tournament Block B Match
Joe Coffey vs Michael Dante
The ATLAS tournament came about as opposed to the Cruiserweight Classic. If the men under 205lbs were being given their own tournament, surely it’s only fair that
those significantly larger than 205lbs get their own tournament? And so, the ATLAS tournament was born. 8 wrestlers. 2 groups of 4. Round robin style, with the winner
of each group proceeding to have a wrestle at PROGRESS’ biggest ever show, Chapter 36 at the Brixton Academy. 2 points for a win, and 1 in the event of a draw, due to
the 15 minute time limit.
And so it happens Chapter 34 plays venue to the final ATLAS group matches. Up first, the B block match, which pits Joe Coffey against Michael Dante. Joe Coffey sits
pretty, heading the group with 3 points, attained following a draw against Rampage Brown, and a tag victory, in which himself and Big Damo were victorious against
Dante and Rampage. Despite his relative youth within PROGRESS, debuting back in February, Coffey is yet to have been pinned, or submitted. His appearances, fleeting
as they may, have seen Coffey unbeaten. A draw will be enough, for Coffey to advance to Brixton, but don’t expect the Scotsman to unveil a conservative game plan. If
Coffey has demonstrated one attribute within his PROGRESS career, it’s a constant willingness to finish an opponent. Coffey must draw a balance between aggression, and
energy conservation wisely, if he is to reach the final. No small task, given the caliber of his opponent.
Michael Dante was the former partner of Tommy End. Tommy End has enjoyed a multitude of success within PROGRESS, SSS:16 winner in 2016, and a man whom has challenged
on numerous occasions for the PROGRESS Championship. Tommy End would not be enjoying this level of success, without Michael Dante. Dante is a hard, unforgiving
challenger. Like Joe Coffey, Dante boasts an unbeaten record within the ATLAS tournament, in particular, his performance against Big Damo is to be noted. It took Dante
only 8 minutes to put away the former ICW Champion in Damo. Though Dante is unable to continue tagging with End, the impact left by the Sumerian Death Squad has
translated beautifully for Dante into the tournament. Dante must win in order to seal his ticket for Brixton, and though Michael Dante has never been a man in need
of motivation, the opportunity to become the first ATLAS Champion is not one he will allow to get away.
This match will be physical. It will be excruciatingly hard-hitting, and will probably feature multiple incidents which inspire the timeless “BIG LADS WRESTLING” chant.
With both men knowing exactly what they must do to ensure their place in the finals, expect this one to be a belter.
South Pacific Power Trio vs Jack Sexsmith, Roy Johnson and Pollyanna
6 wrestlers, whom have an axe to grind with one another. The answer? A chaotic 6 man tag team match. Simple, yet ever so effective.
The issues between SPPT member TK Cooper and Jack Sexsmith had been long occurring, simmering on the ENDVR shows, and occasionally transitioning onto the main chapter
shows. TK eliminated Sexsmith in a battle royal, allowing him to enter the SSS:16 tournament. Upon Cooper’s first round elimination, Sexsmith chose to not hide his
feelings, showing obvious delight in Cooper’s inability to qualify. Their rivalry looked as though it would come to a head at Chapter 32, yet with Sexsmith primed
to take the victory over Cooper, the match was interrupted by the debuting Travis Banks, whom decimated Sexsmith with a stunning lariat. Banks’ interference allowed
Cooper to pick up the victory on this night. At Chapter 33, the most recent show, Roy Johnson, the unofficial badman of PROGRESS, hosted another version of the
Wasteman Challenge. On this night, Jack Sexsmith came out to answer. His less than flattering comments in regards to the SPPT drew the ire of the trio, whose entrance
segwayed into a tag team match. With the assistance of Dahlia Black, it was again the SPPT whom left with their hands raised.
Pollyanna and Dahlia Black certainly carry an issue between them as well. Another rivalry which bubbled in ENDVR, before hitting the chapter shows. The two squared off
in mixed-tag action at Chapter 26, with Pollyanna seemingly finishing Dahlia off, following a pinfall victory. The two met again at Chapter 31, with an added
stipulation. If anyone interfered within their match, both women would be fired. This stipulation eventually drew out Jinny (more on her later), yet with the
stipulation crossing over to Jinny, Pollyanna and Dahlia were able to finish the match. Again, Pollyanna secured her 2nd pinfall victory over the New Zealander, though
it’s evident their personal battle is far from over.
This is certainly an interesting match. Whilst Pollyanna and Dahlia know one another inside out, the teaming combinations of Sexsmith/Johnson and Cooper/Banks are
inexperienced working as a team within the PROGRESS environment. Though at the most recent ENDVR show, Sexsmith/Johnson secured victory over Wonderland, their tag
team is still very much a work in progress. Except a lot of madness with this match.
Jack Gallagher vs El Ligero
Two men whom have become two of the most well-known wrestlers across the British wrestling scene square off in Manchester.
Jack Gallagher more than follows his “extraordinary” nickname. A fantastic technical wrestler, making his namesake at Futureshock Wrestling, before excursions to Japan
lead to heightened prominence up and down the country, Gallagher had already become a beloved member of the PROGRESS roster before his Chapter 29 showing against
Pete Dunne. It was at Chapter 29 in which he secured his place in the WWE Crusierweight Classic, an event in which Gallagher has developed his reputation even more,
with praise and compliments for his performance flooding in over social media. A performance so impressive, it garnered acclaim from RAW GM Mick Foley, stating his
desire to see Gallagher appear on RAW. Gallagher is also a man on a hot streak in PROGRESS, his last outing saw him defeat arch-nemesis Zack Gibson through method
of submission, and heading into Brixton, Gallagher will be looking to showcase the skills which has made him one of the hottest commodities in the British wrestling
scene. With his name already announced for Brixton, this matchup may go some way in determining Gallagher’s role at PROGRESS’ biggest ever show.
El Ligero has done it all in British wrestling. He was won championships across the country, has been responsible for some of the best matches in recent memory, and
has the title of being the man to wrestle the single most matches within the span of a year. Ligero has held PROGRESS gold, a former winner of the PROGRESS
Championship, as well as being a 2x Tag Team Champion, yet he isn’t a man whom will show any regard toward Gallagher’s recent fame. The last few months inside
PROGRESS haven’t been ones to remember, for Ligero. Losing the tag championships alongside Nathan Cruz at Chapter 30, before having defeat inflicted upon him
by Mark Andrews at Chapter 33 mean that he comes into this match with a point to prove. Can Ligero best Gallagher without the aid of his Origin stablemates? Will he
have to employ dubious tactics in order to stop the momentum of Gallagher?
This match poses a multitude of questions for both men, and thus should lead to a fascinating contest. Both men are revered for their style of wrestling, Gallagher
with his ridiculous expertise of technical wrestling, and the high-flying moveset of Ligero promises an excellent mixture of two of the most exciting styles to be
found. Expect this match to be the sleeper of the card
Marty Scurll and Jinny vs Mark Haskins and Laura di Matteo
Two of the hottest feuds in all of British wrestling combine into one at Chapter 34.
At Chapter 33, Marty Scurll reclaimed the PROGRESS World Championship, to become the first man to hold that belt on two separate occasions. On the same night, Mark
Haskins defeated Will Ospreay in a sensational match to earn the right to become the new #1 contender for Scurll’s title. Haskins announced post-match, his title shot
will occur at Chapter 36, in Brixton. Haskins has developed his reputation as being the underrated, nearly man of PROGRESS. Beloved though he may be by the PROGRESS
faithful, Haskins is yet to wear the PROGRESS title around his waist. He has come close, however. Pushing Will Ospreay to his limits at Chapter 21, and the man whom
he could face at Brixton, Marty Scurll was unable to defeat him at Chapter 26 for the title without the assistance of a low-blow. Even in non-title matches, things
have been fighting against Haskins. Illness forced him from competing in the SSS:16, a tournament that many had foreseen Haskins earning a victory in. Yet finally,
Haskins seems to piecing himself together in preparation for the biggest match of his life. He holds the SMASH Wrestling Championship for one, taking the belt
from Johnny Gargano in a sublime match at Chapter 32. He followed up by beating Will Ospreay, a former PROGRESS champion, at Chapter 33. Haskins is right on track
to take the belt on September 25th, and a win over the reigning, defending champion would only boost his championship credentials.
Jinny and Laura di Matteo’s rivalry is a storied rivalry. Months on end, Jinny made no effort to hide her disdain for Laura, her former personal assistant. Constant
instances revolving around disrespect, and mis-treatment towards Laura turned Jinny into a figurehead of hatred, and contempt from the PROGRESS fanbase. And it was
at this point, the cracks began to show. Chapter 28, Laura costs Jinny in her match against Toni Storm, delivering a slap which sends Jinny straight into a
piledriver from Toni. Chapter 29, Jinny and Laura are chosen on opposite teams during a tag-team match. Laura delivers a back-stabber to Jinny for the win. ENDVR 16,
and Jinny not only demands an explanation, but a grovelling apology for her recent actions. Instead, she was greeted by a slap to the face, and eviction from the ring.
The two women collided at Chapter 32, with Jinny dominating, and inflicting punishment upon Laura for long durations of the match, yet at the culmination of the bout,
Laura managed to roll Jinny up, ensuring her victory. Though the PROGRESS audience has seen the temper of Jinny snap throughout her career, the antics she could use
against Laura in this encounter could make her other tantrums pale in comparison.
This again, is another fascinating match. No indication has been provided to suggest how the two teams could mesh together. This match includes 2 feuds in which all
participants despise one another, meaning it will be no shock to see this match break down into all-out chaos. Whatever the end result, this one promises to be a lot
PROGRESS Atlas Title Round Robin Tournament Block A Match
Dave Mastiff vs Iestyn Rees
Group A of the ATLAS group stages reaches pinnacle, with another hoss-fest of a match.
Iestyn Rees is still an unfamiliar face to the PROGRESS crowd. The announcement of his debut coincided with the debut of the tournament he finds himself competing in.
“The Alpha Male” has developed quite the reputation, not merely for his astounding physique, or his “Alpha Lock” finisher, but for the impressive matches, and wins
he has earned whilst competing for the likes of PCW, ICW and even Global Force Wrestling. Though experience within a PROGRESS ring may be counted against him, it will
always be a challenge to rule out a man whom holds victories over the likes of Dalton Castle, El Ligero and Joe Coffey within the last year. Rees hasn’t enjoyed
the greatest of winning streaks inside PROGRESS, however. His debut at ENDVR 15 resulted in a loss to Group A winner, T-Bone, and his chapter debut at Chapter 32
saw himself and Big Daddy Walter being upsurped by T-Bone and Zack Gibson. Though his chances of qualification have been depleted, make no doubt that Rees will be
looking for a big performance against Mastiff to increase his chances of a future return to PROGRESS upon completion of the tournament.
Dave Mastiff is arguably the best, big-man wrestler in the country. Though his recent loyalty of The Origin has left him an ever unpopular member of the roster, it is
difficult to not admire a man, whom weighs 320lbs, yet is still able to deliver Superplexes, to men of even bigger statures. Similarly to Rees, Mastiff lost his first
match of the group stages, in a fantastic match against Big Daddy Walter, but after his replacement, Zack Gibson, stole the pinfall during the Chapter 32 tag-team
match, Mastiff finds himself sitting on 2 points. Though T-Bone ends the group as winner, victory, or even a draw would see Mastiff snatch the second place spot.
PROGRESS Tag Team Championships
London Riots (c) vs The War Machine
A rematch between two of the planets hardest-hitting tag teams, with a likelihood to descend into mayhem.
Chapter 30, main event. London Riots finally, are able to refer to themselves as the PROGRESS Tag Team champions. Victory over The Origin saw James Davis and Rob
Lynch capture the championships they had been chasing ever since their PROGRESS debut at Chapter 2. The Riots can genuinely claim they have done it all inside a
PROGRESS ring. From one of the most villified tag teams in the company, to the most beloved, the Riots are a fantastic representation of the progress the company
itself has made. And who is to stop them? The Riots have won 5 out of their last 5 matches, including their title win, and the match in which they ended the
Sumerian Death Squad. They’ve fought, and beaten almost every tag team on the roster. Their smashmouth, brawling style has become their trademark, and has granted
them victories over technically proficient tag teams, such as The Dazzler Squad, over brawlers, such as War Machine, and the combination of Jimmy Havoc and Paul
Robinson, and against high-flying teams, such as Project Ego and Swords of Essex. It’s hard to argue against London Riots being perfect ambassadors for PROGRESS,
but their opponents could very well be the tag team to knock them from their perch.
War Machine are former ROH Tag Team champions. An accolade that has been held by the likes of The Second City Saints, The Briscoes, The Young Bucks and The Wolves.
Earning the accomplishment of becoming a ROH Tag Team Champion is a huge feat, a feat indeed, only few will accomplish. In 2016 alone, War Machine have knocked off
the likes of Sabin/Kazarian, The Briscoes, Roppongi Vice and The All Night Express, continuing to earn their reputation as one of the best tag teams in the world.
The two men whom compromise War Machine, Hanson and Raymond Rowe are two excellent brawlers, both capable of inflicting extreme amounts of punishment upon their
opponent, and even putting their own bodies at risk in order to do so. Their conquest to prove themselves as the best tag team in the world saw them come to England.
At Chapter 33, they battled London Riots in a fallacious match, which ended when James Davis landed a schoolboy, complete with gripping of the tights to retain
their titles. Riots had survived, but barely. After reviewing the footage of the match, the ending, in particular, War Machine demanded another chance to wrangle
the belts away from the Riots. Two individual victories against TK Cooper and Travis Banks, respectively, grants War Machine their coveted rematch. However, this
match will be contested under Tornado Tag rules, which in essence, means no rules. No disqualifications, countouts, or tagging, almost confirms this match will be
wild. When you then proceed to throw two of the hardest-hitting tag teams in the world into those rules, you know full well the match is going to be off the charts.
Will Ospreay vs Zack Sabre Jr
BOSJ winner vs BOLA winner, in a match to establish just whom the better man is.
Will Ospreay personifies PROGRESS like no other. Debuting at Chapter 2, in a miserable losing effort to London Riots, nobody in attendance would be able to foresee
the meteoric rise Will Ospreay would make, in a matter of years. The boy, whom suffered a mauling at the hands of the Riots, in 2012, would just 4 years later hold
the honour of winning Best of the Super Juniors. His rise to the forefront of British Wrestling is unparalleled. The speed in which he has developed as a wrestler is
nothing short of staggering. Ospreay, a wrestler whom was unable to register his win in PROGRESS until Chapter 14, is now considered a regular amongst the top
wrestling companies in the world. PWG, EVOLVE, and NJPW all now provide a regular home for Ospreay whenever he isn’t lighting up his fans across the UK. There are
no superlatives remaining to describe the work of Ospreay, a former PROGRESS champion himself, as he continues to prove himself as the best high-flier on the globe.
Zack Sabre Jr, on the other hand, has always been a fantastic fixture amongst PROGRESS shows. Establishing himself as the best technical wrestler in the world for two
consecutive years, as well as being a participant of the Crusierweight Classic, Sabre has long since been regarded as an incredible talent. His work in the last few
years however, has put him above and beyond your average wrestler with some hype behind him. Only an expert of wrestling would be able to attain victories over the
likes of Katsuyori Shibata, Michael Elgin, and AJ Styles. His increasing prominence across the globe has seen his matches in PROGRESS become more and more of a rarity,
yet it also means every time Sabre steps into a PROGRESS ring, he is able to steal the show time and time again. His last appearance in front of this Manchester crowd
goes some way to prove that. His match with Tommasso Ciampa was an instant classic, setting a bar for match standards inside the Ritz that has yet to have been matched
This bout against Ospreay however, may just eclipse it.
This is something of a dream-match, despite the two men sharing numerous encounters within the past 2 years. Sabre defeating Ospreay in EVOLVE, whereas Ospreay took
the victory over Sabre in last years SSS:16 final. Any time these two men share a ring, guarantees can be made in regards to match quality. There is not even
the slightest of chances these two men will fail to deliver expectations. Another clash of styles, which will allow both men to showcase their ability to the fullest
potential. Expect anything, and everything from this match.
Tommy End vs ???
The final match to be announced for the show, is the match with the most questions to be answered.
Tommy End is an incredibly skilled, yet vicious wrestler. Tommy End, when pissed off, is potentially an even more volatile, and damaging individual than he already is.
Tommy End, is grotesquely pissed off. Two title matches, two times he has seen his title aspirations be snatched away from him. Title match defeats at Chapter 29 and
Chapter 32 meant a lack of absence from End, at Chapter 33. However he returns at Chapter 34 with an overwhelming statement of intent. In the eyes of many fans, End
is the uncrowned champion of PROGRESS. He holds a win over Marty Scurll, an emphatic one at that, and neither of his title matches have concluded with a clean result.
With rumours running rampant, questioning the future whereabouts of End, many also hold the opinion that time is running out for End to win the PROGRESS Championship.
If End wishes to change his fortunes, and have one last chance at defeating The Villain, he must overcome an obstacle personally set by our current champion.
And so this is where the intrigue lies. Scurll has promised End one last shot, provided that Tommy can overcome his last roadblock. Scurll will have the chance to
hand-pick one man to fight Tommy End. In the event of Tommy End winning, he will be granted a match with the current PROGRESS Champion. Scurll must now go away,
and consider if there lies a wrestler with the capability of defeating Tommy End. End holds a plethora of victories over some of PROGRESS’ most established names.
In the space of 2 days, he recorded wins over Rampage Brown, Sami Callihan, Chris Hero and Mark Andrews. He stands to gain nothing in defeat, but victory will grant
End the opportunity he craves. Scurll will be full-well aware of such, and the excitement for this match comes in seeing whom Marty will consider an appropriate
opponent for the anti-hero.
This is the end of this preview for PROGRESS Chapter 34 – Keep It Unreal. The show, on paper, looks though it could be a Show of the Year contender, and for good reason.
The show, as mentioned prior is completely sold out, yet any returns may be listed on Twickets. The show will also be uploaded to Progress on Demand after a week or
so, and I would wholeheartedly recommend purchasing a subscription in order to watch not only this show, but every PROGRESS show to date.
Thanks for reading,