For the first time ever, the stars of the UK’s Progress Wrestling promotion represented their home promotion in Canada. Zach Sabre Jr., Jack Gallagher, Mark Haskins, El Ligero, Mark Andrews, and The London Riots (James Davis and Rob Lynch) spent three nights in the GTA, taking on the stars of Smash Wrestling.
Smash vs Progress Wrestling: Night Two in Toronto
- I attended Smash vs Progress Night One, and Smash vs Progress Two which took place Saturday and Sunday. Unfortunately I was unable to attend Smash vs Progress Uncensored in Oshawa on Friday. Speaking to fans who went all three shows, they were all strong, but Oshawa’s was a clear third place of the three.
- I will try to avoid giving spoilers (results wise) in the article. You will be able to check out all three nights via Smash on Demand. Where the results of Title defenses on Night One, effect Night Two, there might be a subtle spoiler. I also will have to give away some, not all, of the memorable spots in order to make the article have some content.
- Your Night One Review is found here.
Night Two Notes
When the cards were announced, Night Two looked better than Night One. Attending both nights, Night One was the better show. While Night Two features the best match of the weekend, Night One had a better show top-to-bottom. This is not to say Night Two is bad, it is not. In fact it was still extremely good. It just wasn’t quite the perfection of Night One.
The Night Two crowd was hotter than your average Smash Wrestling Crowd, but it wasn’t quite as hot as Night One either. There were a few factors for this. Unfortunately it seemed that the majority of the fans who seem to start cheers and chants got seated relatively close together, whereas on Night One they were spread out all through the gym. This created less interplay between fans, but it was just one factor. Others will be discussed in the various matchs.
El Ligero vs Franky the Mobster
In the previous review I spoke a lot about El Ligero, and how his comedic heel act is extremely entertaining. I won’t get too far into that again here.
Franky the Mobster has long been someone else that I am a fan of. He is built like a truck, but plays more of a comedic character than the big brawling wrestler you would expect. While he is a very good worker in the ring, it is his humour and charisma that really stand out.
This match was a very good comedy match, and featured some excellent spots. However, it did not work quite as well as the Ligero/Uno match from night one. A major factor playing against Ligero and Franky was the placement on the card. Night One featured a number of intense matches before switching to the comedy. The crowd was brought into the show and the high energy harnessed, then it was brought back down, and then up again with the card’s main matches. Here we had comedy right off the bat, and it just didn’t work as well despite the best efforts of both competitors. The match itself was good, and it was really funny, but there was just a certain amount of crowd interaction missing.
Well Oiled Machines vs Super Smash Brothers vs London Riots
This match put all three teams in their element. They are three hard hitting tag teams, and match featured plenty of brawling both inside and outside the ring. Its incredible how easily Evil Uno went from being a comedy wrestler on Night One, to wrestling strong style on Night Two. It really shows his versatility in the ring.
Speaking of versatility, “Psycho” Mike Rollins went from a technical match against Jack Gallagher on Night One, into this match on Night Two. Very different styles but both worked for him.
The Riots were the stars of the match and really worked hard in this one. You can even see some affects of a move gone wrong.
— Rob Lynch (@RobLynchRIOTS) September 19, 2016
John Greed vs Jack Gallagher
John Greed‘s tag team partner Sebastian Sauve was originally booked in this match, but gave his spot up to his fellow “Overdog” during Night One. The change up created a interesting dynamic. Gallagher is of course the Extraordinary Gentleman, and a member of the new WWE Cruiserweight division on Raw. Greed is billed as weighing in at 295 pounds. Clearly we have a size mismatch.
The two do an excellent job of telling a story that revolved around Greed’s size and power advantage, and Gallagher’s attempts to counteract it through technical work and speed. I was skeptical upon first hearing this match-up, stating that it would either be great or fall flat. It did the former, and was very enjoyable to watch.
Segment: Tarik Makes an Open Challenge for The Legend of Smash, Facade Answers
The key to this segment was that it did a great job of developing the characters of Tarik and Facade. Over the last several months, since the dissolution of the stable Fourth Gun, Tarik has gone from being “just a guy” to a smarmy, cocky heel. Bringing some personality has really added to my interest level in his matches. Tarik has always been technically sound and this really helps.
In Night One’s review, I talked about my issues with Facade’s character. He went a long way to starting to address them in this segment. He moved past the very two-dimensional Neon Ninja character this weekend and began to add some real depth to his personality and motivations. Good job, and we’ll look for more of the same going forward. I still say a costume, song and nickname change might help, but this is a step in the right direction.
Kevin Bennett vs Mark Andrews
Once again the hottest the crowd would be all night, was when they were swearing, chanting hatred, and ripping on Kevin Bennett. The man inspires more visceral responses than any one else on a Smash show. Bennett is doing an incredible job as a heel, and now carrying around his number one contender contender clip board (its never been expressly stated, but I assume this works like a Money in the Bank Briefcase??) he can generate even more heat. One can only imagine if he cashes this in after a long hardfought title match, and gets a cheap victory. The crowd will freak.
The match featured Bennett’s typical heel tactics, and Andrews high flying babyface comebacks. The two really play off each other well, and its definetely something you should check out.
Zach Sabre Jr. vs Tyson Dux
The re-match of their opening round bout at WWE’s Cruiserweight Classic. These two showed why they are amongst the best wrestlers in the world and had the match of the weekend. It was an absolute gem. They showed how much farther they can get into telling a story, into developing a match and into working the psychology when given 25 minutes instead of the 5 minutes that they were give at the CWC for TV reasons. The Best Match of the Weekend and Not to be missed.
Speedball Mike Bailey vs Mark Haskins
When this match was announced, I was really looking forward to it. Bailey’s unique style, incorporating his martial arts background and quick feet are a treat to watch. He’s been high profile on the Indy scene, and for good reason. This was his second crack at the Smash Title (he faced Johnny Gargano in 2015) and both were excellent matchs.
Haskins matches Bailey step for step in speed, but has a completely different style. The blend of strong style, technical mat based wrestling, and arial work meshed well with Bailey and created a memorable match. If there is one complaint, its that it just wasn’t quite long enough.
Brent Banks vs “Hacker” Scotty O’Shea – Fans Bring the Key Boards Match
For fans of hardcore wrestling, and plunder this match really delivered. O’Shea and Banks beat each other over the head with keyboards, swinging for the fences and causing some real damage. When they got tired of going for home run swings, they took the pieces of the shattered keyboards and found new and inovative ways to torture each other with shards of plastic, and other assorted goodies. The match was very good, but the finish leaves something to be desired. That said, the reasoning behind the finish is easy to understand, and advances the storyline.
One small question I have following the card
Veda Scott was in the building. She was selling merchandise at intermission. The previous night we saw her cut a promo (via video) to promote Smash’s next show, The CANUSA Classic, at where she will be wrestling on Team USA on October 22nd. Why not bring her out to the ring to cut a quick promo to promote the event? What is the point of having her there, if you don’t use her at all?
If you havent checked out these two companies, you are missing something, and the Smash vs Progress weekend delivered in a big way. Night One was the better of the two shows, but Night Two was still a very, very good show and should be something you check out on the in-demand services. Its certainly worth the time and money invested.