Progress Revelations of Divine Love
October 2 2017
We’re at the Dome in Tufnell Park, London for Progress’ first ever women’s only show. Well, not strictly women’s only but almost the entire show is dedicated to a women’s tournament to crown a new #1 contender for Toni Storm’s Progress Women’s Championship. Host in the ring is Glen Joseph. On commentary there is also Matt Richards, pulling silly faces, and Dahlia Black, which is delightful.
Candyfloss vs. Jinny
Candy isn’t even 18 yet (although neither is Millie McKenzie). Jinny is a late replacement for the injured Alex Windsor and the odds-on favourite if wrestling was a shoot. Having just watched Jinny in Germany, her knock-off music for Progress is totally inappropriate. It’s like saying; here’s this big fashionable star…whose music comes from Lidl. Everything about Jinny screams ‘fashion’ so why have her with this cheap music? This was an argument I made all over wXw weekend, because they dub their stuff on VOD, and it still doesn’t make any sense. I’ve never heard a good reason for Progress not dubbing themes.
Candy has wrestled on a lot of undergraps shows but this is arguably her biggest match to date. Candy has a few moments where she’s not in place but Jinny, increasingly becoming a veteran, shoves her into place. There are a lot of minor things that Candy doesn’t do well yet but she’s very inexperienced. Her look and some of her trademarks are good. Dahlia makes some cracking points about natural strength and ring awareness. She’s effective on commentary and analyses the action like a pro. Jinny has come along a lot since her debut but she still has a bad habit of an obvious thigh slap. The rest of her game is solid. Candy targets the arm here, telling a story of working the body part. Which is unfortunately blown by Jinny doing an armdrag, a Japanese one at that, with the bad arm. Candy eats the Makeover (called an “X Factor” by Glen) and Jinny advances. This was riddled with issues, mainly due to inexperience and gaps in logic but at least both the characters are great. Candy needs a year of matches against better wrestlers to find her match structure.
Final Rating: **1/2
Sierra Loxton vs. Millie McKenzie
Sierra is someone I’m not too familiar with but Millie is a Fight Club Pro regular so I’m aware of her ability. For 17 she’s incredibly good. Already one of the best wrestlers in the UK, and therefore in Europe. The crowd erupt into support for Millie and she cracks a smile on the turnbuckles, knowing what a big deal that is.
Sierra’s freaky princess gimmick is a bit strange. She does odd poses but then goes right into a lock up like a normal wrestler. Mind games should extend beyond odd behaviour pre-match. They should go into the holds, at the most basic level. Technically Sierra is capable but I find the gimmick distracting. I find Millie so believable, it’s hard to take that she’s only 17. The way she moves around the ring is so natural and she understands the mechanics of wrestling. Simple things like running the ropes, or selling the effects of missing a clothesline are great. When you’re that naturally proficient at the little things, the big things will come. I love how Millie inserts tips of the hat to her trainer Travis Banks. The intensity is similar but she also lifts bits of Travis’ shtick, which is fine for someone so inexperienced. She’ll find her own identity in time; it makes sense for her to use stuff her trainer uses. Sierra increases her intensity to match Millie and her hip attacks are fucking great. Once they’ve gotten past a few awkward moments in the early going they have a match that belies their relative ages (17 and 19 for crying out loud). Millie advances with the swinging neckbreaker and everyone knows they’ve seen an excellent performance. Millie is the future of British Wrestling and she’s here to stay.
Final Rating: ***1/2
Chakara vs. Zoe Lucas
More names for the future. Chakara is only 17 too. Lucas came through the Portsmouth school and Rev Pro. Seeing as they don’t have a women’s division to speak of she’s been finding bookings elsewhere and has worked for Stardom.
They do a nice bit pre-match where Zoe has brought Chakara a cupcake. “I don’t want it” she yells after selling the effects of it. Meanwhile on commentary Vicky Haskins joins Matt Richards. Chakara has great personality, really outstanding in fact, but her in-ring doesn’t always work for me. I’m not convinced by her selling and her ring gear is distracting. I don’t get the whole ‘holes in tights’ business. It’s a definite look but I’m sure if that’s a good thing or not. Zoe can’t quite get her strike combos together, although she rocks a superb scream. There are definite timing issues regarding strikes. Especially when the striker takes their eye off the prize. I’m convinced both will improve. Lucas was hard done by in Rev Pro. They could, perhaps should, have built around her. Zoe takes the Widow’s Peak and Chakara advances. I’m quite surprised at this outcome but Chakara is a Progress trainee while Zoe is from Rev Pro. Like with Candyfloss in the opener, I’m certain we’ll see improvement from these two. Have Zoe back btw! She’s a talent in the making.
Final Rating: **1/4
Charli Evans vs. Charlie Morgan
Progress have definitely listened to me about dubbing as Charlie gets proper music and it’s then dubbed for the VOD. Yay, that is literal progress! Charli Evans’ music isn’t brilliant but it’s called “I Can Do Anything I’m the Chief of Police” and it’s by a band called “Hark! A Shark!” so I’m won over anyway. Charlie Morgan is the best wrestler you’ve never heard of. It’s really that simple. This is the first time she’s been booked anywhere big and her depth of talent is incredible. She does lucha, she’s technically excellent and she can do face or heel with minimal effort. I’m less convinced by Charli, who doesn’t move as well and doesn’t look as fluid. The only hole in Morgan offence is that her strikes seem somewhat slapdash. Sometimes they’re great and sometimes it looks like she hasn’t decided what to do until mid-strike. Morgan is probably put off by working hurt, she broke her collarbone a few months before this and came back early because it’s Progress and she wants eyes on her. It would have happened eventually because she’s so good. The injury inhibits a lot of Morgan’s offence and it must be disappointing for her that she can’t perform at a higher level. The crowd find a banter level with a “let’s go Charlie” “Charlie sucks” duelling chants. Charli takes it after Morgan yells “I’m Charlie fucking Morgan and don’t forget it bitch” into her face. Even at less than 100% Morgan looked great here.
Final Rating: ***
Charli Evans vs. Chakara
This is after the interval but it is strange going right back to Charli Evans. On the upside it does give her more of a break before the final. Chakara is a little hurried in the early going but nails her heel point; “go back where you came from”. Sensational heel stuff. Charli manages a good combination of fatigue selling and fiery defensive attitude. Chakara looks happier here than against Zoe. She’s more aggressive and takes dominating the match in her stride. Charli looks equally comfortable working from underneath and she basically hits two moves in the match. The second being the Chickenwing Facebuster, which gets the pin. This was solid but unspectacular.
Final Rating: **3/4
Jinny vs. Millie McKenzie
The Jinny-Dahlia storyline is clearly not done as they pull faces at each other pre-match. Jinny is in no mood to let Millie settle and she jumps her before the introductions. They do a great early spot where Millie attempts a tope but Jinny moves and it’s Jinny who hits the No Fucks Given Tope! The speed of it reminded me of Laura Di Matteo on her early freakishly fast tope phase.
Millie is clearly a threat for Jinny, which is why she’s so aggressive. Both in cheating and legal moves. Jinny knows she has to up her game to beat Millie.
Jinny feels Millie’s wrath for this taking horrific bumps off German suplexes, including one right on her neck. Which is what happens when the person taking the bump gets overly enthusiastic about taking a spot! Jinny then decides to flip bump a Diamond Cutter, which could have gone badly wrong. Acid Rainmaker and a Style Clash finishes for Jinny. This was intense. Jinny really stepped her game up to meet the challenge of Millie McKenzie. Although there’s no doubt who’s been the stand-out on this show; Millie McKenzie, future of British Wrestling.
Final Rating: ***1/2
David Francisco vs. The O.J.M.O. vs. Mauro Chaves vs. Charlie Carter
We have a break from women’s action but the referee is Gemma Johnson so women are being represented. The rib is that men are in the buffer match. The OJMO, the “living meme” brings the fun, and also a slightly worrying standing SSP where he leg lands across Francisco’s face.
Chaves shows how seriously we’re taking this match by grabbing a bag of curly kale and shoving it into his opponents mouths. High spots with kale is it? It’s distracting as they’re all chewing away on kale for a minute after the spot. Gotta get those super food benefits. The OJMO is the fastest man in the match and his running dropkick impresses me. He also manages to flip bump onto his head. That’s where his character lives. On the edge of reason. The match is very movesy but it finishes on a high with Francisco hitting the Curb Stomp. Everyone else was debuting. Carter looked technically good. OJMO was very entertaining. There’s a lot of promise. This was very clearly a match where the participants were inexperienced. Considering the lack of experience it was pretty good but you could tell Daryl Allen was the trainer of at least one wrestlers.
Final Rating: **1/4
Jinny vs. Charli Evans
I really appreciate Jinny living her gimmick by wearing three different outfits during the tournament. Because this is the tournament final “there must be a winner”. So someone is walking out of here with their hand held high. Charli shows far more intensity here than during the tournament, showing how her confidence has grown and how important this match is. Charli still works from underneath due to her size and Jinny is a total bitch in dominating the match. Jinny is game to get the match over and she takes a couple of tasty bumps into the chairs. Jinny’s timing is very good on the bigger spots. Her big roundhouse kick is a beauty. Charli seems to be keen on taking a thrashing in every match and working from underneath. She builds that sympathy through a combination of selling, selling and more selling. Jinny just gives her a fucking kicking. The Rainmaker on the stage is wonderful. It’s punishment from a total bitch for the sake of it. Dahlia Black has seen enough and strolls down to the ringside to lay Jinny out with a chair. It’s the difference maker. Normally I’d complain that the face needed help to beat the heel but Jinny is a bitch and brought it on herself. Charli nails her with the Chickenwing Facebuster and scores the upset win.
Final Rating: ***1/4
You should probably ignore the snowflakes on this show’s review. It’s not what women’s wrestling is about right now. It’s about building characters, building brands and working towards a higher standard in the future. I’m pleased to see Progress doing a women’s show and I’m glad it was well attended and well received. I thought Millie McKenzie was the stand-out here. Her technique is way above where she should be at this stage of her career. Charlie Morgan would certainly have gone deeper into the tournament were she fit, I feel. Those are the two names that stand out for me. Jinny is already there. Everyone else has varying degrees of potential. I’m thrilled that Progress can put a women’s show on like this though and nothing on the show was bad, which is a tremendously good sign. You couldn’t say that about Progress’ NPS for women. Some of those matches failed quite spectacularly. This was much better and more consistent in terms of delivery. Women’s wrestling is getting quite the rub at the minute and I’m glad the standard is improving because of that. People are patient and willing to accept it’ll take time to get to a higher level. If people persist with it, that will happen and that’s very exciting.