“This is PROGRESS…. This is PROGRESS”. So since Shoot Talk #3 there was the incredible Progress Wrestling Chapter 36, RAW’s first exclusive PPV since the brand split and the fallout of that on RAW and another stellar Smackdown. Welcome to Shoot Talk #4.
PROGRESS Wrestling Chapter 36: We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Room… Again
Wow. Simply wow. This was my first PROGRESS event (So apparently I owe a round to the regulars), and it was one heck of a spectacle to make my debut at. The atmosphere before the show began was electric. Everyone around us was buzzing with excitement. The intro video package to Drake ‘Started from the bottom” genuinely could induce goosebumps to wrestling fans. Seeing some of the talent that this really quite new British wrestling promotion has had on their card was incredible. It definitely increased the hype in the crowd and by the end of it everyone was on their feet chanting.
Unfortunately the hype did come crashing down within 20 seconds of the 3rd bout which featured Pastor William Eaver vs Sebastian as the first clothesline that connected on Sebastian knocked him out. It was bizarre as Eaver went for a cover straight away. You loudly heard the ref count 1… 2… and fully expected the kickout at 3, but it never occurred. At that point there was an awkward murmur going around Brixton if this was a botch, but it soon became apparent that this was a serious situation. Jim Smallman came to the ring and addressed the crowd that this was a genuine injury and to show some respect to the situation as a handful of the crowd were chanting for Eaver to do one more clothesline. Once you saw PROGRESS staff scrambling to the back to get paramedics to the ring in a hurry it added more worry to the room. Jim insisted that we take a break, go get a beer and talk amongst ourselves while they dealt with Sebastian. Fortunately good news from this as he was carried away he was awake and responsive even giving fans the middle finger on his way out. Kayfabe not broken here.
This show would also see the final PROGRESS appearance of 3 stars who are off to WWE. Tomasso Ciampa, Jack Gallagher and Tommy End. They each got a great send off. The Ciampa vs ZSJ match kicking off the 2nd part of the show felt like a true spectacle to be part of.
At the end of the show, Jim had the 3 wrestlers that are heading to WWE in the ring for one final goodbye along with some of the wrestlers from backstage as the crowd applauded them for their contributions in getting PROGRESS where it is.
An incredible show to attend, and what a show to go to for my first PROGRESS experience.
WWE Clash of Champions
Well after PROGRESS and a few beers down we opted to try and stay awake in London and watch Clash of Champions at our hotel room. This did prove somewhat difficult as at points in the night we all felt the need for a snooze. Some more so than others. There wasn’t much to say about this PPV really. The surprises being that New Day retained the Tag titles as it felt that The Club should have definitely taken them at this PPV. And Roman Reigns dethroning Rusev to become United States Champion for the first time in his career. The Cruiserweight Championship featured and they continued to make it feel separate by having purple ring ropes and theme again. The most annoying part and possibly scary part of the night was Cesaro vs Sheamus in the final match of the best of 7 series. Firstly the scary. Cesaro almost killing himself. WWE continued to show replay after replay of it in different angles and each view of it made us wince. How he came away from this unscathed is a miracle. The annoying part. The match ended in a no contest. WWE somehow managed to turn a best of 7 series into a 50/50 booking with it finishing 3-3. The worst of this is the outcome revealed on RAW which we’ll get to.
Tough Start for Cruiserweights
The CWC at Full Sail University was incredible. The crowd for the most part were all incredibly appreciative of what the cruiser weights accomplished. There was the odd moment where Perkins got a few boo’s from the odd smark, but can’t win them all. Unfortunately the crowd at main shows are taking a little while to warm up to the new division on RAW. Last week’s fatal 4 way debut was a great start featuring 4 of unquestionably the main players in the cruiser division in Cedric Alexander, Rich Swann, Gran Metalik and Brian Kendrick. The RAW just gone featured 2 cruiser weight segments and unfortunately the crowd took the opportunity to completely shit all over them. TJ Perkins made his RAW debut as the champion and had to endure chants of CM Punk among other wrestlers from a crowd that just did not seem to care. It’s a shame as these guys and this division is capable of wonderful things as evident from the incredible CWC. Hopefully this week was just a one off shit crowd and the cruiserweights will start to get more appreciation that they do justly deserve on the main roster.
As good as keeping their division separate on RAW is and keeping their theme different to RAW, it might help to see the wrestlers mingle more with the main roster talent in back stage segments. Both Neville and Sin Cara are on RAW, so why not have a brief section of an overwhelmed Alexander walk past Neville who gives him a nod as a face move or a questionable face as a heel move? Enzo Amore could possibly be thrown into the division too, to add ‘pops’ to the crowd. Enzo’s music blasts, he comes down and does his thing on the mic and then announces that he’s eyeing a prize, that prize being TJ Perkins Cruiser Weight Championship. To keep the cruiserweight division pure to only the new guys that WWE signed, you don’t have to give the belt straight over to a Neville or and Enzo, but just get them into the fray to mix it up a bit? Something that can bring the 2 parts of the show together and give the general audience something to see that the Cruiserweights are a main part of RAW as a whole despite their own colour brand and scheme.
Cesaro & Sheamus Best of 7 Finale And Outcome
So as mentioned the best of 7 series between these 2 finished at 3-3. The match itself for the final was actually entertaining too and was a highlight of the PPV despite Cesaro trying to end it all unintentionally. The finish though oh man. How sour? How do you rectify this? A rematch on RAW that’s a special stipulation or something?
Nope, you simply announce that the result stands and both these guys finished the series in a draw. This series was to give the victor a title shot. Cleverly enough though when announced those weeks back there was no indication on WHAT title shot. You could have assumed for the Universal title, but I never believed that to be the case. If Cesaro was going to win this series, I always thought his shot would be for the US title, or simply just demand a move to Smackdown and take it there (which I would have preferred). Once I got the suspicion that Reigns was going to be leaving COC as US Champion, I began doubting that Cesaro would win the final and Sheamus would have it. Kind of WWE using it as a makeshift back up plan should something happen to the Universal title picture and needed a fall back so Sheamus could be a transitional champion much like his Money in the bank reign last year.
What we actually got was even more hilarious, Cesaro and Sheamus are going to be a tag team (after 7 grueling matches against each other) and their championship opportunity is going to be for the RAW Tag Team Championship. The stupid thing is though, while New Day have gone for so long as champions, beating teams especially like The Club who were initially brought in to look like legitimate threats in the tag division, You can probably call Cesaro and Sheamus winning and ending New Day’s streak.
Smackdown Live Continues to Dominate RAW
As many people have said since the brand split Smackdown has for the majority been the better show. I’ve still enjoyed RAW mind you, but in terms of progressing feuds and reinventing wrestlers, Smackdown with the help of Talking Smack has hand’s down has been the better show. The most recent evidence of this being the week just gone in which RAW was somewhat all over the place following their PPV, whereas Smackdown Live only featured 3 actual wrestling matches with the rest of the show focusing on building feuds. And the 3 sole matches on Smackdown also enhanced the feuds in which the participants were in. The Tag match that seemed a little pointless got the newly heel turn Uso’s an important submission victory over one half of the current WWE Smackdown Tag Champions. The women’s match ensured that Carmela and Nikki Bella’s rivalry is as hot as ever and the main event between Dean Ambrose and AJ Styles with Cena sat on commentary was absolutely sensational story telling.
The ending segments of that match in which both AJ and Ambrose had a pop at Cena only for him to react and clear house was incredible. The heated shoving between Ambrose and Cena before it all kicked off looked intense and both guys really looked ready to smack the crap out of each other.
Then Talking Smack with Cena building this triple threat up was superb. He sold Smackdown as the show for fresh talent looking for an opportunity but why can’t old guard have an opportunity? He brought up how RAW is very much authority orientated and mentioned that old guard or new haven’t got a shot at that main event scene on RAW unless you’re part of the Authorities intentions and name dropped Cesaro as an example of this. It was a nice gesture of Cena to put Cesaro over like that. His constant reminder that he’s one win away from being mentioned in the same sentence as Rick Flair as the greatest of the sport. John Cena once again sounds like a deserving WWE Champion contender and a few months back I wouldn’t of wanted him anywhere near the main titles, but now I have no issue with him being in contention for the top prize.
The other incredible promo to come from Smackdown this week was the Miz and Dolph Ziggler. Some would assume that this rivalry is getting stale now as they’ve battled each other for years within the WWE, but again in part to Smackdown they are not the same midcarders we don’t care about anymore. The Miz has reinvented the IC title and has made the hunt for it something people want. Dolph Ziggler wants it so much he put his career on the line in the promo. Both guys were incredible in that scene with Miz once again shooting truth bombs at Ziggler about his career much like he did to Bryan on Talking Smack. Zigglers passionate defiant response was some of the best we’ve seen of Ziggler in some time. What makes this more tasty is rumours circulating that the contract Ziggler signed last year with WWE was only a year, and that his contract is set to expire soon. It adds a twist to this story if true as you’d have expected Ziggler to win hands down to remain in WWE, but if his contract really is expiring and he’s not set on signing a new one, this could be his final swansong in WWE?
Being given the time to excel is really helping these guys and the majority of the Smackdown roster in general become big stars. Smackdown being about the roster and the stars cutting promo’s rather than an authority or GM figure in the ring every 20 minutes is making the world of difference. I only hope that they somehow find something for Apollo Crews later on as the guy was such a massive talent on NXT.
Book It Vince Results
Well another PPV down and more results in. We gave ourselves a 0 each for the Cesaro result. We all got the woman’s championship wrong too. Mike had a shocker, but with the brand split meaning more PPV’s a year it’s easy to catch up. Here’s the Clash of Champions predictions and scores.
And here are the points after 2 PPV’s (Backlash and Clash of Champions)