If you have your finger on the Indie Wrestling pulse, you’ll have probably heard that PROGRESS were giving away their Chapter 13 show for free due to issues with their hard camera on the night. I heard this and immediately thought “Yass…I’ll watch the fuck out of that” cause I’d heard numerous good things about PROGRESS, and was particularly intrigued to see Jimmy Havoc morph into the evil probably murderous bastard that I’d heard he portrays in PROGRESS, but I didnae see the show blowing me away as much as it did. Gonnae write a full review of it tomorrow, but for now, here’s some reasons why I think you should stop whitever stupid shite you happen to be doing right now (unless its performing surgery, you should probably finish that first) and watch it until you can’t watch anymore, watch it until yer eyes are bloodshot and weary. Watch it until…well, watch it until its finished. The whole show. Dae it.
1. Rampage Brown
The opening match has Rampage Brown, and Rampage Brown is one of the best at what he does. The thing he does is smashing fuck outta people, in a stylish and safe professional wrestling environment. I’ve still not seen nearly enough of him since first seeing him wrestle Joe Coffey in one of my favourite matches of last year, at SWA in Motherwell, so Chapter 13 helped me see more Rampage, and that in turn made for a happy Friday afternoon. Darrell Allen is pretty fuckin good tae. As solid an opener as yer likely to see.
2. Pete Dunne and Robbie X
Must admit, I hadn’t heard of these two until seeing them both at a recent PBW show, and both were impressive. Nae offence to Robbie X, but Dunne in particular. He has a quirky style and for me has all the ingredients to go a long way. Match was a fast paced belter as part of the Natural Progression series, which sees up and coming wrestlers compete in a tournament for a PROGRESS title shot.
3. That fucking tag match
Wow. I always had a dislike for these fatal four way tag matches after years of seeing WWE do them terribly. Overbooked pish I’d call them, as I puffed on a cuban and looked out the window upon the empire I’d built on misplaced smugness. ICW completely changed my perception on these matches with The Bucky Boys, Sumerian Death Squad, Fight Club, The NAK and The Coffeys all taking in part in some absolutely brilliant matches of that nature, but this might even top anything they’ve served up. This was just fucking….too much. I didnae see any tag match topping the triple threat tag ICW served up in London last month, but this might have actually gone and fuckin done it. A captivating match, and a genuinely chilling ending as Jimmy Havoc stoats out and gives us a wee glimpse of the reasons why everyone seems to fuckin despise him. In an era where wrestling fans like to think of themselves as a bit more clued up than previous generations, for Havoc to evoke such genuine hate takes some doing. He managed my expectations for him as a villain, which also takes some doing, cause I expected him to be fucking good.
4. Michael Gilbert
Another wrestler portraying a vastly different character to the one I was used to seeing, and another one fucking killing it. Him screaming “BE SERIOUS” at Eddie Dennis was hugely entertaining, and Dennis is a massive talent in his own right. Quite literally, as he stands at 6 foot 6, but he’s good at what he does. Naturally funny and relatable. Another one that I need tae see more of. Theres just not enough hours in the day.
5. Tommy Fuckin End and El Ligero
A multinational battle for the ages. As a very real, and very scary dutch wrecking machine, takes on a questionable high-flying Mexican. The match was brilliant. Even if it wisnae, I’d say it was, cause Tommy End frightens the life out me and I really don’t want him to ever kick me in the heid. Or any other body part for that matter. He once said he was ‘howling’ at one of my reviews, and I’ve never been more terrified by a compliment in my life. Tommy fuckin End is nae joke.
6. Joker Devitt is fuckin masterful (and Zack Sabre Jrs awrite tae I spose)
Not even gonnae say much about the match. Yees know that was stellar, cause you aren’t fuckin stupid. Its nae accident that they’ve both been tearing it up in Japan for years, but aye. Devitt as Joker Devitt was perhaps my favourite of the different characters he’s portrayed with this gimmick, because he actually worked some of the Jokers mannerisms into his match, and done it masterfully. Probably just edged out by the tag match for my MOTN, but still a must see. Every fuckin match on this card is a must see right enough. Thank fuck that hard camera failed. We’ve all benefitted greatly from modern technology being a bit shite sometimes (all the time…all the fucking time)
7. Jimmy “The Cunt” Havoc
Firstly, his ladder match in the main event with Mark Andrews is another belter. One of the best singles ladder matches I’ve seen on the UK scene, if not the best, but jesus christ, Jimmy Havoc is far easier to hate than I ever imagined. Having seen him play the happy-go-lucky nutjob in ICW for the past 2 years, I was surprised to hear of his heel turn in PROGRESS, and even more surprised to hear how adept he was and smashing fuck out of promoters, and making people swear at him, but to see it in action, in a match…where you genuinely fear for his opponents safety at times, is quite majestic. He manages to create this air of sheer bastardry, while making his opponent look brilliant at the same time. Andrews continually defied Havocs attempts to disembowel him with tables, ladders, chairs and the occasional limb, before Havoc and pals eventually take the plucky Welshman down.
Last but not least…
8. It reminded me why I love wrestling
Cause sometimes ye can get a bit scunnered with it. Doesn’t happen to me often these days, but a lot of exposure to the major American companies, and the over reliance on villain authority figures for cheap heat can sicken ye a bit. When the ‘right’ guy is constantly overlooked for the guy who sells the most t-shirts, it can make ye wonder what the fuck the point is. Watching ICW a lot made me rediscover my love for wrestling, and my passion for writing, and PROGRESS gave me that same buzz. The main difference being that PROGRESS managed it without actually being there live. For an all seater, the crowd add to the atmosphere brilliantly tae, the pick of the chants had to be “He’s got a red face…on his face” after the crowd noticed Robbie X turning a bright shade of beetroot during his match.
So aye. That’s why I think ye should stop what yer doing and watch it immediately, but don’t take my word for it mate. Fuckin watch it. The noo.