Monday, 18 August 2014

Progress Chapter 11: To Fight War, You Must Become War - DVD Review

It's been a while since The Two Sheds Review has been seen online. Other commitments, some welcome, some unwelcome, as well as sheer tiredness have kept me away from watching an industry I've been following for most of my near 43 years on this planet.

But with my schedule about to become a little more settled it's time to jump right back in, and there's no better place to re-start than in the world of Progress, the hottest ticket in Britain at the moment, as we take a look at the DVD release of Chapter Eleven: To Fight War, You Must Become War.

Disc one began with the second semi-final in the tournament to crown the first ever Tag Team Champions, with Screw Indy Wrestling's Nathan Cruz and Mark Haskins, accompanied by Katherine Rose, taking on Stixx and Dave Mastiff.

I think the Progress faithful described this one better than I could with their "this is awesome" chants. It really was a great show opener with great performances from all those concerned.

It began with the powerhouse team of Stixx and Mastiff doubling up on Haskins to good effect, mainly because Cruz was very reluctant to get in the ring in the first place. But when the SIW crew finally took control Cruz made his way into the match as he joined Haskins in dishing out the punching bag treatment to Stixx.

The Heavyweight House of Pain had countless chances to get back to his corner, and when he eventually made that journey it signalled the start of the all hell breaking loose segment. Big Dave looked good as he added even more power into the equation, and it would have surely been all over for the SIW crew after he took Cruz down with a back suplex into the turnbuckles. But just when he was about to launch himself into a cannonball the lovely Miss Rose put herself in harms way, stopping Mastiff from launching himself.

This proved to be the turning point. SIW upped their game once more, and it wasn't long before Haskins took Stixx down with a Michinoku driver for the three count and win.

The tournament action continued with a first round match from the 2014 Natural Progression series as Josh Bodom faced Morgan Webster.

Short and very sweet would be the best way to describe this particular encounter. The two debutants certainly came away from this one having given the faithful a brilliant first impression.

It began with some sound technical exchanges before Bodom controlled the majority of the action with some nice looking power moves, including an extremely powerful kick with a right foot that any Premier League footballer would be proud of.

Webster's comebacks were impressive, but they were few and far between as Bodom's power advantage kept him in control, but in the end it was the smaller of the two men who gained the win after Webster came off the top rope with a 450 splash for the pin, with both men getting a much deserved standing ovation afterwards.

The first non-tournament match of the show followed as El Ligero went up against Noam Dar.

Friendly rivalry was the order of the day in this one, their third meeting under the Progress banner, and it was a hell of an encounter. Ligero has taken a lot of flak in recent months for the supposed perception that he can only wrestle in one style, but if anything this match showed that he's more than just a one trick point.

Both guys put in great performances in front of a very appreciative crowd in a match that almost had everything. We had some nice technical exchanges, a spot of brawling in the crowd, a spot of high flying, and a nice exchange of submission holds. And let's not forget how the tension was turned up a little when Ligero began working over Dar's previously injured shoulder.

As for the ending, it just seemed right. Having failed to put his man away with his C4L off the ropes Ligero went for the move again, but Dar caught him at the second time of asking and rolled him up for the three count, the first time he'd beaten Ligero on a Progress show.

Afterwards, yep, you guessed it, the fans gave them the second standing ovation of the show.

It was back to tournament action for the next match at the third semi-final in the Tag Team Championship tournament as the Swords of Essex, Will Ospreay and Paul Robinson, faced FSU's Eddie Dennis and Mark Andrews.

If anything this was even better than the first tag match, and when the fans chanted "this is awesome" a part of me felt that that particular chant didn't really do this match justice.

These four put on a truly breathtaking encounter that certainly ticked all the right boxes. The team work was tremendous, and the performances were just so good. So good in fact that all commentator Jimmy Barnett could say at times was "f***ing hell!"

To list everything great about this match would take far too long, although I must make mention of the Eddie Mysterio Junior moment. But now I've done that let's skip right to the end and how Andrews took Ospreay down with a springboard hurricanrana for the winning pin, earning the third and final spot in the championship final.

Oh, and guess what? Yep, another standing ovation.

Disc two began with Rampage Brown taking on Tommy End.

This no frills affair began when Brown tried to kick End's head off before the bell sounded, and from there these two basically tried to beat the proverbial out of each other, with both guys putting in great hard hitting performances.

There were a few nice high spots, particularly when End connected with a moonsault as Brown stood on the floor, but for the best move of the match came when End tried to take his man down with a hurricanrana, with Brown countering with an awesome looking powerbomb.

The end kind of signified what this match was all about. End went for another high spot with a springboard off the ropes, only for Brown to take him out with a powerful lariat as he came down for the winning pin.

The main event saw Zack Sabre Junior challenging Jimmy Havoc for the Progress title.

Lots and lots of stuff to talk about with this one. After Havoc's controversial actions over the last couple of shows co-owner and ring announcer Jim Smallman wasn't taking any chances, employing two of Progress' trainee wrestlers as his personal bodyguards. He then went on to anger the already angry Havoc by announcing Marty Scurll as the special referee.

What followed as a great piece of storytelling in the ongoing saga of Jimmy Havoc's defection to the dark side. It was a great back and forth saga with tons of great moves and a finish that was played out perfectly.

This one began with Havoc trying to use his supposed friendship with Sabre and Scurll to worm his way out of the match. The ploy didn't work, and the technical niceties from their first encounter under the Progress banner soon went out of the window as they tried to kick each other's heads off.

To say that Havoc was the most hated man in the room that night would probably be an understatement. Everyone was rooting for Sabre, but the only problem was that Havoc just wouldn't stay down, and his new attitude meant that he would do anything to keep a hold of the title.

Although he had pretty much played it by the rules for most of the match Havoc's dark side really came to the fore after Sabre accidentally kicked Scurll in the head, knocking him out momentarily. Havoc quickly took advantage of the situation and connected with a kick south of the border.

Then things began to really break down. One of Smallman's bodyguards grabbed the Nazi staff....I mean Progress title staff and held it in place when Havoc took Sabre down with a reverse piledriver-type thing. By this time Scurll had recovered, and when Sabre kicked out of the pin Havoc's temper boiled over, and after a brief shoving match between champion and referee Havoc took Scurll down with a death valley driver, taking him out of the equation.

So as Havoc's new ally took out his fellow bodyguard the champion gave Smallman an ultimatum, get in the ring and referee the match or he'd choke Sabre to death. Smallman reluctantly agreed as Havoc applied his hold, and although Sabre held on for as long as he could his limp arm went down for a third time, giving Havoc the title retaining submission win.

Disc two is where you'll find the extras, which include, as always, Mr. Smallman's show introduction, and a Metallica sing-a-long.

In conclusion - do I really need to write this piece? You've probably guess what I'm going to say at the end of this thing, after all, this is a review of a Progress show, especially when you consider that half of the matches got standing ovations.

So let's just cut to the chase, give the match of the night no-prize to the Swords of Essex/FSU tag match, and give the entire show the big thumbs up.

With thanks to the powers that be for supplying a copy of this release. Progress Chapter 11: To Fight War, You Must Become War is available to download, or purchase on DVD if they've got any copies left, by visiting www.progresswrestling.com.