Friday, October 13, 2017
PROGRESS: Revelations of Divine Love
Though not a PROGRESS chapter, I chose to review this event because A) I love my PROGRESS subscription and B) it features a one night tournament to determine the top contender for Toni Storm’s PROGRESS Women’s Championship.
Glen Joseph handled in-ring host duties with no Jim Smallman tonight. He, Matt Richards and Dahlia Black were on commentary.
Jinny is a late replacement for Alex Windsor, but must be considered the favorite. Apparently, Candyfloss isn’t even 18 years old yet. She got “Candy fucking Floss” chants. Jinny was the arrogant vet, taking Candyfloss lightly. Candyfloss had fun early, until Jinny feigned an injury to goad her in. Jinny brought an added viciousness to her offense. She also made sure to target the arm for most of it. When Candyfloss started rallying, she also went after the arm. Tit for tat. Her rally ended when Jinny crotched her in the corner and hit the X-Factor at 8:51. I liked the story they told and felt the dynamic between the vet and rookie was strong. Candyfloss had some issues throughout, but Jinny did well to help her through her biggest match to date. I’d call it a success.
It looks like McKenzie is also just 17 years old. Sierra’s gimmick is odd and kind of distracting. Their exchanges were rather basic. Sierra used her size advantage to hit a fall away slam and get momentum going. The crowd to be very pro-McKenzie. She kept having comeback attempts cut off until nailing an ace crusher. Loxton came back with hip attacks like her name was Umaga. They looked to really rattle McKenzie. To match Sierra’s higher intensity, McKenzie fired off kicks, before advancing with a swinging neckbreaker in 8:17. I was very impressed by McKenzie. I got some Travis Banks vibes (he trained her) and when Sierra upped the intensity, this got really good. Especially impressive considering how young both girls are.
Chakara is, you guess it, only 17 years of age. I feel old. Lucas was quite popular. They had fun before the match with Lucas offering Chakara a cupcake, which Chakara declined. Vicky Haskins joined commentary for this. There was a fair amount of striking to start, but neither girl really got them going. Chakara showed a lot of fury, though the in-ring stuff came off weak. Lucas missed a spin kick in the corner, but hit it on the second attempt. Then, seemingly from out of nowhere, Chakara hit the Widow’s Peak to advance at 5:15. Decent, but nothing to write home about. This didn’t have a great flow to it. Lucas showed more potential.
The fans instantly had one with dueling “Let’s go Charlie” chants. It then progressed to more positive chants for Morgan. She had the upper hand and was confident in the first exchanges. That confidence was an issue at times. She would take too long to pin or make a nonchalant cover. Meanwhile, there was a sense of fire and desperation from Evans. She’d go for quick covers and felt like she was fighting from behind. Morgan hit an especially brutal looking lung blower for a near fall. Morgan’s overconfidence came into play in the finish, as she shouted “I’M CHARLIE FUCKING MORGAN AND DON’T FORGET IT BITCH!” just before Evans countered her and won via face buster in 6:14. I rather enjoyed this. They told a good story of one person being outmatched, but giving her all, while the other was too cocky. Morgan impressed me in this one.
There was an intermission before this, but on the VOD, it’s strange to see Evans wrestle back to back. You’d think Jinny/McKenzie would go here. Chakara’s attitude made her a good foil for the fiery Evans. Again, Evans kept going for pins. I love that because it really gives a sense of urgency to the tournament. Chakara hit a leg trap exploder for the most impressive move in her arsenal besides her finisher. She was aggressive and also hit a sweet looking double stomp for two. Evans went for her finisher, but Chakara fought it off with forearms. Evans got free of a Gory special and managed to hit her chicken wing face buster to win in 7:07. Pretty good as both girls hot to play the roles they look comfortable in. Chakara looked better this time, while Evans again showed a good underdog persona.
Jinny and Dahlia shot dirty looks at one another during Jinny’s entrance. It’s clear that McKenzie is a threat, as Jinny jumped her with a neckbreaker before the bell. Jinny spent the next few minutes wrecking McKenzie. She even avoided a Millie tope and delivered a fantastic one of her own. For a woman who doesn’t do them often, it looked great. Jinny scolded her, saying the championship belongs to her. Millie fired back with a huge spear to a great reaction. Jinny brought big forearms and Millie gave them right back. She also fired up from a German like Travis Banks and started hitting her own, capped by one into the turnbuckles. When she busted out an RKO, the place believed she had won, but Jinny got her shoulder up. Jinny took a terrifying bump on it, by the way. She had enough of McKenzie and drilled her with an Acid Rainmaker. Knowing Millie was tough, Jinny added a Style Clash to win in 7:15. That should’ve been the finals. Great action, with Jinny looking like an awesome heel and McKenzie showing the best she had to offer. The intensity was great. Jinny showed that, while confident, she was in trouble and made sure McKenzie looked like a million bucks.
A break from the women’s action tonight. Well, the referee was a woman. The fans seemed familiar with these guys, even if I wasn’t. This wasn’t a match to take seriously. They went the comedy route from the start, looking to give the fans a fun little break from the tournament. The OJMO was probably the most entertaining guy here. They called him a “living meme” and he had a good time. While three guys were wrapped up in a multiple cravat spot, Chaves got a bag of kale and fed it to them. I’m not making that up. Everyone got involved in a more traditional tower of doom spot. In the end, after a frenzy of moves, Francisco got the win with a Curb Stomp on Chaves in 10:19. It was fine for what it was, though it went a bit too long. A nice change of pace comedy match. OJMO was the star of this.
Jinny wore a different outfit for each match, perfectly playing into her gimmick. Evans came out of the blocks firing, not wanting to get in trouble and fight from behind like her earlier matches. Jinny cut that run short and took her outside for a beating. She was extra aggressive in her assault around the ring. Commentary hyped up the referee being lenient because, “there must be a winner.” Evans finally got an opening and whipped Jinny into a bunch of steel chairs. Evans did a great job selling the toll her body took over the course of the night. She built a great amount of sympathy, made all the better by Jinny excelling at being a bitch. Dahlia brought out the Acid Rainmaker on the stage. Her antics were too much for Dahlia, who got up from the booth and wiped her out with a chair. Charli hit the chicken wing face buster and scored the huge upset at 15:20. A well done main event. Jinny winning seemed obvious, but she doesn’t need it. She has issues with Dahlia and Toni Storm anyway. This established Charli. Not winning clean was fine here. Jinny deserved some of that from Dahlia and it kept her strong while giving people a feel good finish.
Overall: This wasn’t the kind of show you watch to see incredible matches. It was PROGRESS’ first all-women’s show (mostly) and it was a success. At just two hours, it’s a breeze to watch and nothing is bad. The only match that overstays its welcome is the men’s four way, but that has its entertaining moments. The tournament worked well and introduced me to some new people. McKenzie stole the show, while Charli Evans and Charlie Morgan looked good, too. A strong show.