Hello Sheffield and thank you for such a warm and loud welcome back – Chapter 156: Steal Yourself.
Amidst the cheering, it was therefore totally appropriate that Boisterous Behaviour opened the show as we also welcomed the SAJ tag team title holders from Italy – though the VeloCities actually hail from Australia.
A superb example of fast moving, dynamic high flying wrestling took the energy levels to where they stayed for the whole show. The ropes were suitably tested and finally a smart double pin by both Man like Dereiss and Leon Slater brought about the change of champions and showed that occasionally Boisterous Behaviour does pay off.
This was the first time that a non-PROGRESS title change took place since the SMASH WRESTLING belt moved to Mark Haskins after his memorable defeat of Johnny Gargano.
Renee Michelle had debuted the day before and like Session Moth Martina had suffered a loss. This gave both women an extra motivation and two flamboyant entrances certainly showed that.
However, Session Moth’s amusing and persistent execution of her kip ups was not enough as Renee delivered enough pain for the submission win.
The third match heralded the announcement of an exciting new partnership between Pro Wrestling NOAH and PROGRESS.
Japanese legend, Nosawa Rongai, now head booker and producer at Noah and PROGRESS co-owner, Martyn Best exchanged respect in the ring and announced this intriguing collaboration.
The first evidence being the weekend debut of Yoshiki Inamura, with a narrow loss in Birmingham against ATLAS Champion Ricky Knight Jr and his Sheffield opponent being the very affable Irishman LJ Cleary, who took not one, but two chances.
Inamura was supported by the ringside enthusiasm of Nosawa but Cleary took great inspiration as well for the win, and was further rewarded with an International contract from Noah.
Inamura’s performance was also rewarded with an upcoming match against Big Damo, another with ATLAS pedigree, at Chapter 156 : Hungry like the Wolf on 24th September back at the Electric Ballroom.
Echoes of that SMASH title quickly appeared with Mark Haskins facing the hugely impressive structure of AEW superstar Brian Cage. A well crafted pin gave the popular Cage the win.
We were quickly disabused of the notion of having seen the heaviest of the day, as Big Damo and Bullit arrived.
A heavyweight masterclass followed and Bullit’s biggest win of his career was fully deserved, with both men showing raw power and amazing agility.
The wXw Shotgun Championship was at stake next with Gene Munny eyeing Lance Romain’s belt.
Munny’s attempted engagement with the English/German dictionary was not enough for Roman to ignore the plea of “Achtung”, and retain his title.
The Lana Austin Experience does know how to push the boundaries and if LA Taylor thought she did not have enough support from the current Women’s Champion, and her partner Rob Drake, then she also had Skye Smitson as the referee. Don’t you just love stipulation matches?
For Alexxis Falcon came the inevitable defeat, with the odds so stacked against her.
However, Falcon is resilient and showed great post-match guile by extracting a title shot from Austin – with a stipulation. If she loses, that will be the last title shot she ever has.
Some unscheduled brutality on the much-loved host, Simon Miller was delivered by Tate Mayfairs. This feud needs sorting out as it deprived one excited fan of the opportunity of Miller’s iconic and fabled PROGRESS hat.
The final match encapsulated the whole day of brutality, intrigue and agility as Dominatus Regnum in the combined force of Men’s champion Spike Trivet and Tag champions, the Smokin’ Aces faced essentially TEAM LYKOS of Luke Jacobs, Drilla Moloney and the eponymous Kid.
There was not one person or one camera that saw all of the frenzied action, with the O2 Academy barely having enough square footage, never mind square ring to hold the frenzy that developed.
Enough to report that every wrestler highlighted their amazing skills, ability to both give and receive and to deliver an iconic match that left the crowd breathless. Lykos’s reverse roll up, his Lykos Clutch, on Trivet for the pin has set up their Hungry like the Wolf title fight superbly.
So, once again, PROGRESS has delivered two amazing shows outside of London, has seen the energy and passion of their Birmingham and Sheffield fans and has paved the way for some great future excitement for the rest of the year.
Birmingham and Sheffield – we will be back.