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PROGRESS Hello Wembley results: WALTER vs. Tyler Bate

PROGRESS Wrestling presented its biggest-ever show as the promotion came to the SSE Wembley Arena on Sunday, September 30.

Chuck Mambo won a pre-show battle royal

Mambo won by last eliminating Spike Trivett. Both of the finalists are two of the hottest prospects in British pro wrestling, especially as their characters are more colorful than the average indie wrestler. Mambo is a surfer whose entrance sees fans throw beach balls into the ring. Meanwhile, Trivett plays a blueblood advocate for Britain’s Conservative Party, down to talking about wrestling a “Strong and Stable Style” in a riff on an old political slogan.

Big T. Justice, Chris Ridgeway, Damon Moser, Danny Duggan, Danny Jones, Darrell Allen, David Francisco, Drew Parker, Mad Man Manson, Rickey Shane Page, RJ Singh, Roy Johnson, Sid Scala, Stixx, The OJMO, TK Cooper, and William Eaver were the other participants. 

Unlike the main card, the battle royal is available to watch now.

Mark Haskins defeated Matt Riddle

Haskins won a very good opener between babyfaces whose styles meshed well. They are apparently good friends outside the ring, and there were plenty of spots where they would anticipate and evade each other’s strikes.

It's worth noting that Riddle has new entrance music and already looks a fair bit bigger but is still wrestling without boots on.

PROGRESS Women's Champion Jinny defeated Toni Storm and Millie McKenzie in a triple threat match to retain her title

This was originally going to be Jinny vs. Storm before Storm’s recent injury led to them crowning a new number one contender as a contingency plan. So late was the switch to the triple threat that the advertisement in the latest Fighting Spirit Magazine still had the match listed without McKenzie’s participation.

Despite being a late addition, McKenzie was clearly the crowd favorite. The match was the weakest on the show, which to be frank, is unfortunately typical of PROGRESS’ women’s division. They had a fairly standard triple threat where they took turns to leave the ring and the other two wrestled. Only when McKenzie started hitting suplexes would all three be in the ring for a prolonged period of time. It was a bit cliched, but probably necessary to avoid the heel champion being outnumbered by her babyface challengers.

Throughout the match, Jinny’s House of Couture henchwomen would try to interfere, drawing Candyfloss and Laura Di Matteo out to even the score. However, Di Matteo attacked Storm -- helping her former mentor Jinny win the match.

The strengthened House of Couture were then sent fleeing by the debuting Jordynne Grace.

Trent Seven defeated Doug Williams to win the PROGRESS Atlas Championship

For the uninitiated, the Atlas Championship is reserved for wrestlers who weigh more than 205 lbs. Since he won the vacant title in May, Williams has promised to retire from pro wrestling as soon as he lost it. That final match would come here, with Seven winning a fun match with a crossbody.

This match had a little bit of everything, with the challenger playing the subtle heel throughout. Despite Williams having telegraphed his impending retirement with numerous final appearances across the UK, the fans bought into several of his near falls, especially the second time he hit Chaos Theory.

Williams and Seven embraced after the result, and then the roster came out onto the stage to applaud Williams.

Jimmy Havoc defeated Paul Robinson in a no DQ match

This was originally scheduled to be Havoc vs. Will Ospreay, but the latter’s New Japan commitments meant he was unavailable, something that he made his unhappiness about clear on social media.

Robinson is Ospreay’s former tag team partner and had been working as a road agent for PROGRESS. After interactions with both Ospreay and Havoc, he was appointed the special guest referee of their two-out-of-three falls match in August. He attacked Havoc at the end, costing him the third fall and setting up this match.

In a sign of what was to come, Havoc deliberately came out wearing white trousers and with his face and torso covered in white body paint. This was a bloody battle that had the intensity that high-profile death matches in non-specialist promotions sometimes lack. They did relatively little walk and brawl, instead preferring to attack each other with weapons in or near the ring.

The most noteworthy of the spots involved fluorescent light tubes, which were used liberally as the match neared its end. Both wrestlers were sent back-first into them, with Robinson’s back being left a bloody mess. The end came when Havoc curbed stomped Robinson’s face through two light tubes, before hitting the Rainmaker.

A wild match, that astonishingly, may have been only Havoc’s second most violent match of the weekend.

Intermission

After the intermission, Jim Smallman revealed that the official attendance was 4,750. That’s a number which manages to be both an astonishing achievement and something of a disappointment. When the show was announced, it was billed as the biggest UK indie show in the past 30 years, which clearly set the target of beating the 6,193 that ICW’s Fear and Loathing 9 achieved. The failure to do so has necessitated an awkward late shift to talking about it being the biggest English indie show in the past 30 years.

Still, considering that with the half-exception of Riddle they brought in no imports who aren’t a regular part of the British scene (even Bandido and Flamita have wrestled extensively for other promotions this month), whereas ICW used former WWE legends to draw casual fans, it’s a very impressive number.

While there was no announcement of a return to SSE Wembley (indeed in his opening remarks Smallman said that this may be the biggest show they ever do), they did announce that Super Strong Style 16 would return to Alexandra Palace for the second year in a row. Former PROGRESS Champion Travis Banks then came out to confirm that he would be a competitor in that tournament.

Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of the segment was that it confirmed that the promotion would not use Banks' recent injury as a way to return him back to the babyface ranks after his botched title reign, with him turning the crowd with an arrogant promo.

Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis) defeated Bandido & Flamita, Chris Brookes & Timothy Thatcher, Connor Mills & Maverick Mayhew, David Starr & Jack Sexsmith, Grizzled Young Veterans (James Drake & Zack Gibson), The 198 (Flash Morgan Webster & Wild Boar), and The Anti-Fun Police (Chief Deputy Dunne & Los Federales Santos Jr.) in a Thunderbastard match to win the PROGRESS Tag Team titles

A Thunderbastard match has basically the same rules as Lucha Underground’s Aztec Warfare matches -- it’s a Royal Rumble with pinfalls, submissions, and disqualifications replacing over the top rope eliminations. Bandido & Flamita were the champions heading into the match.

This had a wealth of talent, sometimes too much for the crowd to properly concentrate on the action inside the ring, especially after Gibson got the fans riled up with his usual promo. Perhaps the highlight of the match was when all competitors took turns to dive over the top rope, culminating in the superheavyweight Los Federales Santos Jr. launching himself through the ropes.

The finish came when Aussie Open defeated former champions Grizzled Young Veterans when they hit the Fidget Spinner on Drake to win their first titles since moving to Britain last year.

One note of caution is that it seemed Davis injured his arm, with him being sidelined for a prolonged period of time and asking the referees to bring him ice to apply to his arm immediately after the match finished.

Pete Dunne defeated Ilja Dragunov

Before the match began, we got a very good video package and a promo from wXw's Dragunov. That decision would prove controversial later. Dunne had not performed at the weekend for Fight Club: PRO, even being pulled from an announced match against CIMA, which naturally led to rumors that he was carrying an injury. With the one exception of limping while going to the top rope, he seemed to be moving fine.

This was a very good match that built in intensity as it went on. The point it hit high gear was when Dunne held Dragunov’s arm and started repeatedly kicking him in the head, attempting to force the referee to stop the match. Dragunov responded by trying to do the same with Jon Jones-style elbows to the face. They then traded headbutts, with the welts on each of their foreheads telling you where they were connecting. It was a match that epitomized strong style.

For the finish, Dunne trapped Dragunov’s arm and then began manipulating his hand to force the submission. They warily shook hands afterwards.

Eddie Dennis defeated Mark Andrews in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match for a future shot at the PROGRESS World Championship

We were treated to another video package before the match. This would prove problematic as the show crashed through the 8:30 p.m. finish time that PROGRESS had advertised, meaning that some fans who were relying on public transport to get home had to leave before the main event. It was, however, a very good video package.

This was a clash between former tag team partners that was a year in the making. If Williams vs. Seven echoed Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels, this feud was clearly inspired by Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart, with Andrews refusing to fight his former tag team partner for several months -- until the provocations became too much.

They had a fun match that never quite captured the right tone for what was meant to be a bitter grudge match. The key issue was that not only did the standard TLC spots detract from the sense of realism, but the tables supplied by PROGRESS repeatedly refused to break. There were several spots where that happened, with one table managing to withstand someone being thrown into it three times. That unfortunately made the match seem a bit silly, with fans at one point chanting “Table is our champion.”

Still, the action was great with notable spots including Andrews doing a swanton from a ladder on the outside that was a clear tribute to Jeff Hardy at WrestleMania 2000. Likewise, Dennis put Andrews through a table from a ladder with a super Death Valley Driver. Dennis would ultimately secure the contract to earn himself a future title shot.

PROGRESS World Champion WALTER defeated Tyler Bate to retain his title

This was originally scheduled to be WALTER vs. Zack Sabre Jr., but Sabre's very important New Japan commitments in Long Beach stopped him from headlining the biggest English independent show in 30 years.

That said, there was always a suspicion that Bate had been the original plan, with an injury having forced him to withdraw from the Super Strong Style tournament that crowned the number one contender. Bate earned the title shot by being the only person to win three consecutive singles matches during August.

Two violin players played extracts of WALTER's music before the match, inspired by NXT having done similar entrances for Shinsuke Nakamura. The Ringkampf theme doesn’t quite suit the presentation.

This was a fantastic match that by the end had turned a partisan crowd into one loudly cheering for Bate. As one would expect, the large size difference between the two men was a key story of the match, although it would instead provide the opportunity for Bate to show his freakish strength. Perhaps the most impressive moves were him successfully deadlift suplexing WALTER, completing two airplane spins, and hitting the Tyler Driver '97.

The finish saw WALTER increasingly focus on wearing down Bate with repeated submission attempts, including multiple applications of his sleeper. Bate finally separated himself from WALTER, only for the champion to counter with a piledriver for the three count. A somewhat surprising finish to what was an instant classic that will hopefully be a springboard to Bate being pushed more strongly as a singles wrestler in PROGRESS.

PROGRESS Wrestling’s Hello Wembley will shortly be available to watch on video on demand through Demand PROGRESS.