PROGRESS made their presence felt in New Orleans over WrestleMania weekend, and—while this show comes across as somewhat weird on video—it’s not bad at all. Let’s get to it.
PROGRESS Tag Team Title Match: Trent Seven & Tyler Bate (Moustache Mountain, both vegans!) vs James Drake (vegetarian!) & Zack Gibson (c, Grizzled Young Vets) ***1/2 As can be expected from these charismatic pairs of wrestlers, the prelude to the match was extremely entertaining. The match itself was good, but not particularly memorable. The crowd seemed surprisingly (if only relatively) dead for a lot of the match, though maybe that’s just an audio issue with the recording of the show.
Mark Haskins (vegan, w/ Vicky Haskins) vs Will Ospreay ****1/4 Really good high-tempo action, with fun heeling from Vicky. They really kept up the intensity in this match without having it feel like a poorly-paced spotfest.
WALTER (vegan!) & Timothy Thatcher (Ringkampf) vs David Starr & Keith Lee **** Keith Lee and David Starr are two of the most charismatic guys in wrestling, while WALTER & Thatcher are two of the most credible. It’s kind of hard to screw that up as a matchup, even if Lee’s involvement was apparently on short notice.
Thunderbastard Match: Austin Theory vs Chris Brookes vs Darby Allin vs Jeff Cobb vs Joey Janela vs Maxwell Jacob Friedman vs Parrow vs Rickey Shane Page I honestly didn’t like this match very much. It just felt very meandering, mostly due to the format.
Jinny & Mercedes Martinez vs Toni Storm & Shazza McKenzie *** Martinez & Storm started with some fantastic mat wrestling for a crowd that seemed quiet (but out of interest rather than boredom: not unlike how a Stardom crowd might react). However, after Toni tagged out, this lost a lot of momentum for me. It wasn’t bad; it just ended up feeling a bit aimless.
Matt Riddle vs Jimmy Havoc (w/ Vicky Haskins) ***1/2 Totally good action, but by this point in watching the show I’m just wondering how this venue feels so dead when folks aren’t chanting. I don’t know if it’s got anything to do with the audio issues that prevented commentary’s inclusion or if the building’s acoustics are unflattering for pro wrestling or what.
Pete Dunne (vegan!) vs Mark Andrews vs Flash Morgan Webster (w/ Vicky Haskins) ***3/4 Very good action throughout. And, hey: a “that’s not vegan!” chant at Dunne when he started doing some finger biting. This match was slightly on the spotfest-y side, though (especially when contrasted with Ospreay/Haskins from earlier).
Eddie Dennis Promo **** Dennis’s angry/jealous/bitter rants on recent PROGRESS shows have been brilliant, and this is no exception.
PROGRESS World Title Match: Travis Banks (c, vegan!) vs Shane Strickland ***1/2 Perfectly compelling action, but it was for a relatively quiet crowd that seemed really restless: I could swear that dozens of people were leaving during this match and—seeing as the biggest shows weren’t until the following two days—I can’t completely understand why (the Friday RevPro show, maybe?). For a show that had a weird vibe (at least on video) from top to bottom, I can’t say I’m shocked that even this main event felt a little flat. While I thought this match was good, I didn’t love the finish; it felt somewhat anticlimactic.
Finally, as always, we like to do a weird little report on how “veg-friendly” any given PROGRESS show was. This show had 8 matches, and 5 of them (63%) featured at least one vegan! The show featured 29 wrestlers total, and 6 are vegan, with 1 vegetarian (21% vegan, 24% veg*n).
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