Sunday, 20 May 2012

PROGRESS Chapter One DVD Review By Shaun Nichols

This was the first PROGRESS wrestling show that was held on March 25th from Islington. The show was based around an 8 man tournament to crown the promotion's first champion.

The first match was El Ligero vs Noam Dar, Ligero was the clear fan favourite in this match and it took approximately a minute before we saw our first dive to the floor. Dar played his role rather well as the heel who interacts with the fans and earning himself such chants as 'Scotland is Shit' and 'Deep Fried Mars Bars'. Dar spent most of his time working on Ligero's legs in a bid to slow down the high flyer through good basic offence. Fans reacted well to this and generally they were quite happy to react to what they were seeing. Ligero advances to the final after catching Dar with a springboard DDT.

Up next was 'The Showstealer' Nathan Cruz against Colossus Kennedy, both men cut promos before the show. Kennedy looked like he was reading off a card, Cruz's effort was very good as the cocky heel and he's clearly got personality. Cruz's outfit instantly led to a 'Shit Zack Ryder' chant, now imagine how offensive that is. Kennedy got a 'Funkasaurus' chant which he didn't know what to make of it. He looks like a combination of the Big Show and ECW's Roadkill.

It seems strange to have a 360lb and 6'6 man playing babyface and although he had a decent agility he seemed a bit out of his depth here. Cruz bumped around a lot in the earlier stages before being able to ground the big man. Cruz advanced after a dropkick to Kennedy's knee followed by a kick to the side of the head.

Comedy was theme next as Colt Cabana faced 'Loco' Mike Mason who's gimmick is that he acts like a dog. Early fun saw Cabana use tennis balls to distract Mason to the point where Mason was running around ringside trying to catch them. Fans loved this by the way, back in the ring Cabana dominated the action with good solid mat wrestling. Mason made his comeback thanks to interference from his manager Becky James, Cabana while selling told Mason he was a 'Bad Doggie'. Cabana looked to have it won with the Billy Goats Curse but James again interefered allowing Mason to use his metal dog collar and punch Cabana in the head with it for the upset win.

Change of direction next in the final qualifying match we had tag team partners squaring off as Zack Sabre Jr took on Marty Scurll, this was excellent and great mixture of old school British mat wrestling, stiff kicks and the occasional really big move to keep the fans interest building. They were also giving a good 20 minutes making it comfortably the longest first round match. There was a lot to enjoy in this but among the highlights were a very nice Dragon Suplex from Sabre Jr, a sitout powerbomb into an armbar also from Sabre Jr. Fans were in the camp of Zack but then again he didn't appear on ITV's Take Me Out. Scurll got the win after reversing a backslide into a roll up of his own for the clean pinfall. This was a match that you should go out of your way to see.

Before we get the final there is a 3 Way for the BCW Scarlo Scholarship title, that as to be the worst name ever for a title surely? The champion is Xander Cooper and he's defending against Zack Gibson and Darrell Allen, Allen is the fan's favourite as he comes from London. Taking into account the lack of experience this was a fine effort but I really don't need to see an enzuguiri every minute of the match. Allen nearly won with a 450 splash which he actually mistimed and could have seriously hurt himself, Cooper retained by stealing the pinfall on the prone Gibson.

Before the final we get the presentation of the Champions Staff (no title belts in PROGRESS), fans soon start a chant of 'Nazi Staff' which was something else but understandable if you've seen it.

The final is an elimination match which pits Ligero vs Cruz vs Mason vs Scurll. The opening 10 minutes is basically a brawl round the building, including trips to the bar and the Ladies toilets, due to the filming positions that was used a lot of this was missed. Note to the company, unless your going to change how you film the show then avoid doing arena brawls.

The match settled down into the ring which also seems strange when you have had chairs used and then it suddenly starts to look like a regular tag team match. Ligero got a lot of time to showcase his stuff which is a clear giveaway that he's eliminated first which he was after Cruz kicked him in the head. Ligero didn't take this well and in the melee that followed Mason was pinned by Scurll after a roll up.
This left Scurll vs Cruz which in my opinion was the right way to go and they were given about 10 minutes as the final two men, fans stayed with this although they decided to have a fairly standard five minutes before they went to the nearfalls. Scurll scored a visual pinfall when he hit Cruz with a Roaring Elbow but the referee wasn't in a position to count. Cruz nearly stole it with a low blow followed by an Ace Crusher but Scurll just avoided the three count. Scurll went for another roll up but as Cruz kicked out , he was met with a kick to the side of his head as he went to get up and Cruz became the first Champion.

On the 2 Disc set we also get a set of interviews with both co-owners, Scurll's post-match comments and interviews with Cruz, Sabre Jr and Cabana so PROGRESS are trying hard to offer fans something more than just the show. The show is available for £10 and due to demand the initial 150 DVD's have already been sold but they will be back in stock on June 2nd.

The second PROGRESS show is on June 24th and they have sold a good number of tickets but they have standard tickets (£12 each) and standing tickets (£8 each) still available. With the main event pitting Nathan Cruz defending against Marty Scurll in a 2/3 falls match. The show was an entertaining affair and looks to be even more fun if your able to attend these shows live as the company seems to understand how important the fans are and how they can help to benefit the product. They also seem to be aware that they shouldn't try to charge ridiculous amounts of money, as front row tickets were priced at a respectable £17.

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