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Thread: Ed Reviews Everything

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    Ed Reviews Everything

    So the idea for this thread is that it's a place for me to randomly post reviews of wrestling matches from different eras, different promotions and different countries and at the end of every match say whether I'd add it onto a list of my all time favourite wrestling matches which will be updated in the opening post. The plan is for the list to be ranked as I go along and cap it at a certain number so I'll eventually have to make a decision to cut a match to add another match to my list, but it'll be a long time before the list gets fleshed out so I'll decide later whether that element of the thread is going to go ahead.

    What I've found over the years is that I've got wrestling ADD so to speak, where I'll be into a wrestler or a promotion for a week, binge watch them, think about turning it into a long form review project and then halfway through the planning stage just give up on that idea because I'm sick of watching that wrestler or that promotion and I want to watch some other shiny new toy instead now. In the last year career retrospectives on AJ Styles, Shawn Michaels and Randy Orton were planned and researched only to move onto watching something completely different before I published the first review. I had planned to review all of wXw's 16 carat tournament but that obviously hasn't happened yet, and my puro reviews get updated maybe once a year, so I'm kinda shit at sticking to a project which doesn't bode well for this. The thread will be really useful to put out my thoughts on a random match out there that I've watched before the idea of writing about it has become unappealing.

    Inspiration for the thread comes a little from Shock's 30 Day lists projects, Jim's PPV reviews and Steve's recent attempt to condense the 2016 indie matches he's watching into an ongoing list.

    ---

    Ed's List of Favourite Ever Matches:

    #1 - AJ Styles Vs Samoa Joe (TNA Turning Point 2005)
    #2 - Sasha Banks Vs Bayley (NXT Takeover Brooklyn)
    #3 - Bryan Danielson Vs Nigel McGuinness (ROH Unified)
    #4 - WALTER Vs Ilja Dragunov - (NXT Takeover 36)
    #5 - Brock Lesnar Vs Daniel Bryan (WWE Survivor Series 2018)
    #6 - Brock Lesnar Vs CM Punk (WWE Summerslam 2013)
    #7 - The Undertaker Vs Triple H (Wrestlemania 28)
    #8 - David Starr Vs Joey Janela (Beyond Wrestling Americanrana 2019)
    #9 - Bryan Danielson Vs Nigel McGuinness (ROH Driven 2007)
    #10 - The Shield Vs Team Hell No and Ryback (TLC 2012)
    #11 - Sasha Banks Vs Becky Lynch (NXT Takeover Unstoppable)
    #12 - Eddie Guerrero Vs Rey Mysterio (WCW Halloween Havoc 1997)
    #13 - Kevin Steen Vs El Generico (ROH Final Battle 18/12/10)
    #14 - Randy Orton Vs Christian (WWE Over The Limit 2011)
    #15 - Dolph Ziggler Vs Alberto Del Rio (Payback 2013)
    #16 - Combat Toyoda Vs Megumi Kudo (FMW 7th Anniversary Show)
    #17 - Genichiro Tenryu Vs KENTA (NOAH 8/10/05)
    #18 - KENTA Vs Low Ki (ROH Final Battle 17/12/05)
    #19 - Kenta Kobashi Vs Stan Hansen (AJPW 5/9/96)
    #20 - Kenta Kobashi and Yoshihiro Takayama Vs Mitsuharu Misawa and Jun Akiyama (NOAH 2/12/07)
    #21 - WWE Championship Elimination Chamber 2019 - (WWE Elimination Chamber 2019)
    #22 - Triple X Vs America's Most Wanted - (TNA Turning Point 2004)
    #23 - Bret Hart Vs Shawn Michaels (9/11/97)
    #24 - Bryan Danielson Vs Nigel McGuinness - (ROH Weekend of Champions Night 2)
    #25 - The Hart Foundation Vs Stone Cold, Goldust, Ken Shamrock and Legion of Doom (WWF Canadian Stampede)
    #26 - Jimmy Havoc Vs Will Ospreay (Progress Chapter 17)
    #27 - Eddie Kingston Vs Mike Quackenbush (CHIKARA High Noon 13/11/11)
    #28 - AJ Styles Vs Tetsuya Naito (WrestleKingdom 9 4/1/15)
    #29 - Ilja Dragunov Vs Zack Sabre Jr (wXw World Tag League 2015 Night 2)
    #30 - Zack Sabre Jr Vs Tommaso Ciampa (Progress Chapter 24)
    #31 - Randy Orton Vs Christian (WWE Money In The Bank 2011)
    #32 - Ric Flair Vs Bret Hart (WWF 12/10/92)
    #33 - Atsushi Onita Vs Terry Funk (FWA Origin 4th Anniversary Show)
    #34 - The Von Erichs Vs The Fabulous Freebirds - WCCW 12/8/83
    #35 - Shinjiro Otani Vs Kendo Kashin (NJPW 8/12/97)
    #36 - The Great Sasuke Vs TAKA Michinoku (M-Pro 15/12/94)
    #37 - Jack Gallagher Vs Chad Gable (205 Live 16/7/19)
    Last edited by Ed; 08-24-2021 at 06:29 AM.
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    Re: Ed Loves Wrestling - (Definitely Not Another List Thread)



    So you may of missed if it you haven't been watching WWE in the last few months (and well done if you haven't and put that time to better use), but Triple H and Undertaker are having their last ever match in Australia. Forget the end of an era happened and that Shawn Michaels is coming out of retirement for that Saudi money - final means final this time (hopefully). WWE put a collection of HHH/Taker matches up on the network this week and I decided to watch all their big matches again to prepare for next Saturday, so that's where this thread starts.


    Never doubt WWE's ability to make a video package that totally overhypes something and makes it feel 100 times more important than it actually is. There's a two minute clip introducing this collection of these guy's matches that is very flashy and exciting to the eyes and the tag line is 'one of the greatest rivalries in WWE history' and I think every wrestling fan would know that's not the case. It would be like Sky Sports having an advert for Liverpool Vs Arsenal and describing it as one of the fiercest rivalries in premier league history. No, they're just two big football clubs that have been in the same league forever and happen to play each other a lot and not often is it actually for anything super important. To neither man is the other one their best or even most memorable opponent. When you think of Undertaker opponents you think of Shawn Michaels or Kane, when you think of Triple H opponent's it's Shawn Michaels or Rock. It's so manufactured and in keeping with WWE's marketing.

    1st April 2001
    Undertaker Vs Triple H - Wrestlemania 17

    Undertaker was granted this match when Kane threatened to throw Stephanie off a flight of stairs; if WWF Commissioner William Regal had denied Undertaker his request then the butterfly effect would of meant no womens revolution. Motorhead play Triple H to the ring which on the Triple H mania entrance scale is fairly tame. One positive thing I will say about this match is that there was more intensity for the start of this match than you'd see for very personal feuds in 2018, Taker doesn't wait for a bell, he just keys on Hunter with punches outside the ring. The generosity towards this match ends there. Mike Chioda takes the idea of the ref bump to absurd levels as he is down for about 10 minutes from just colliding into Triple H which allows them to brawl through the crowd till they reach a jungle gym which JR calls a camera tower. Triple H nails Taker over and over again with chair shots which I'm sort of enjoying because it's brutal but it's a dated attitude era spot. And then the big spot happens where Taker chokeslams Hunter off the 'tower' into a sea of fans or so it would appear from the first camera angle. This structure was no higher than the top rope and the replays show he falls into a crash pad a couple feet below. Taker then jumps off with an elbow drop onto Hunter that resembles two boys mucking about on a bouncy castle this pad is so springy. They get back into the ring and Chioda is STILL not moving. The one spot in the match that I actually think is pretty creative and good is when Hunter counters the last ride with a sledgehammer shot to the head just in the nick of time which busts Taker open. It's a great nearfall that would of come off huge if the streak was a thing at this point, but becomes wasted when Taker is declared the winner in the blink of an eye after this spot. The sledgehammer is such a corny weapon because being hit on the head with it should at best crack your skull open and at worst kill you, but Taker one minute later after suffering this trauma incident to his head is on his feet winning the match with a Last Ride. The sledgehammer can go in the bin along with Jimmy Havoc's Halloween costume prop ax.

    Does it make the list? - Certainly not

    May 4th 2002
    Undertaker Vs Triple H - Insurrection 2002


    The UK tour in 2002 is more infamous for the 'Plane Ride from Hell' that led to the release of Scott Hall and Mr. Perfect and a bunch of lawsuits, but until I watched this match I didn't know this tour featured Undertaker and Triple H main eventing a pay-per-view where the top rope breaks about 5 minutes in forcing them to wrestle like it's Matt Riddle's Blood Sport. More on that later. Roles have switched here since their Wrestlemania X-7 match, Triple H is the triumphant returning babyface after his career threatening injury in 2001 and Biker Taker is now in full swing as Big Evil, beating respect into people. Taker cost Triple H the Undisputed Championship at Backlash in that crazy hot potato period where there were six different champions from Mania to Summerslam, and so this match is all about revenge for Triple H. Hunter is over big time in London. It's the usual opening minutes of your standard Biker Taker match, he's getting the better of the strikes, he attempts the old school, he does the leg drop on the apron; nothing out of the ordinary. And then Taker's whipped into the ropes and snap, something comes loose on one of the turnbuckles, the top rope immediately loses all it's tension and Taker takes a nasty unexpected tumble onto his back. Jim recently reviewed the god awful IC title Elimination Chamber match from 2015 where four professional wrestlers died on their arse when an unexpected situation arose and they didn't know how to improvise around the problem and it led to some of the most awkward, deer in headlights wrestling you could wish to see, and I don't know if that's put me in a mood to heap praise onto two professionals who successfully navigated their ring malfunction, but fuck I think this is the 2nd best Undertaker/Triple H match ever.

    Once Taker confirms to Earl Hebner quickly that he's ok, Triple H jumps on the opportunity to dominate the match and it takes on this new strange direction that wasn't in the script that switches up their expected formula. Triple H lands repetitive neckbreakers to force Taker to bump on his bad back and Taker sells them like they fucking hurt and he's hot about it - I'M GONNA KILL HIM he yells as he walks into another Triple H attack. It's both common sense and quick thinking from Triple H that wasn't on display at the 2015 Elimination Chamber. The ropes give the match a sense of danger everytime they go into them and at one point Triple H lands in the corner and some bolt of some kind flies out and bangs off the steel steps and the crowd 'OOOOOOO's as the top rope droops even more. Taker doing snake eyes has never seemed more captivating. JR is fantastic at turning this accident into a positive by screaming that the ring can't handle the bad blood between these two. There's even an incredibly smooth counter when Triple H attempts a pedigree, but as he goes to hook Taker's 2nd arm, Taker stands up and spins him around to catch him in a beautiful chokeslam - it's the best finisher to finisher counter in their series of matches, I can't believe they never did that spot at a mania. Triple H picks up the clean victory with a pedigree which goes against the narrative that Triple H has never beaten The Undertaker; I guess to Americans if it happened in England, it didn't really happen.

    Does it make the list? - I'm tempted because this is one of the few Taker/Triple H matches I enjoyed, but I think it's setting a low bar for the list to include it, so nah.

    June 23rd 2002
    Undertaker Vs Triple H - King of the Ring 2002

    God I love the KOTR pay-per-view set with the giant throne. This is an Insurrection rematch, this time for the WWE Undisputed Championship and it's a match with none of the charm of the previous match. The very worst thing a wrestling match can be is boring, and for about 15 minutes Undertaker and Triple H have a boring match. It's not a bad match, it's mechanically sound and there's no botches, but nothing memorable is going on and they lose the crowd about 5 minutes into it. The point where things get irritating is when Earl Hebner takes the exact same ref bump that Chioda took at WMX-7 where he's caught between the turnbuckle and the wrestler being tossed into it. He spends the rest of the match dead and then moving like a slug and making the slowest counts in the world. The Rock shows up to shut up Paul Heyman on commentary who has been accusing Rock of being punked out in the locker room by Brock, but Taker attacks him and at that point the match might as well of been a triple threat Rock gets that involved with both men. Taker wins eventually with a roll up and a fist full of tights that Maryse would be proud of. The only interesting moments of the match involves The Rock's interference which is never a good reflection on what came before it as anyone who saw Wrestlemania 27 can confirm.

    Does it make the list? - No it's a bag a shite.

    Speaking of Wrestlemania 27 in a seamless link....

    April 3rd 2011
    The Undertaker Vs Triple H - Wrestlemania 27

    For the first time on pay-per-view it's the old school Undertaker gimmick against Triple H which does make for a different story because now Undertaker is much tougher to beat, near impossible in a streak match so on paper Triple H has never looked more of an underdog. For my money this is the most disjointed wrestling match I can ever remember because the first half of the match is nothing like the second half of the match and that's not a good thing. I'm sure there's plenty of examples of a great match being ruined by bad booking or interference right at the finish, or a match ending abruptly because of a bad injury like Owen Hart Vs Austin; those things are understandable. In terms of a great match falling off a cliff halfway through and only the two wrestlers in the ring are to blame, this stands pretty unopposed I feel.

    The start of the match is incredible. It's utter chaos as they go through the Cole Mine, take crazy back bumps off tables, the amazing spinebuster through the Spanish table. For the first time on this show you feel like you're watching an epic match that's going to go down as one of the best of 2011, in fact it's the first time these two feel like they've got a great match in their locker. Triple H is going all out for the streak and will not show the concern that Shawn Michaels showed for Taker in previous years; he doesn't care about putting on a show for the audience, if he has to win ugly he'll win ugly, but he'll be immortal if he claims the streak. When Triple H brings the chair into the ring, that's where this whole match turns to shit and I haven't see this match in a number of years and it's even more infuriating now than the last time I saw it. They go into the laziest finisher spam section of a match you can imagine where a finisher will be delivered, it's kicked out of and then they stall for 30 seconds before another finisher is performed and rinse wash repeat. That five minute section where it's just last rides, chokeslams, pedigrees and a whole lot of lying around on the canvas is the Taker Streak match formula at it's worst. Then Triple H batters Taker over and over and over against with the steel chair and when Taker tries to get back on his feet, Hunter yells at him to stay down - which kills the mood a little when Triple H was supposed to be this heartless bastard that wasn't going to show Taker any mercy in his quest for the Streak. I will say this, the tombstone from Triple H has everyone in the arena on their feet and fearing the worst. Taker looks very vulnerable at the end of this match so the opportunist last throw of the dice going for Hells Gate is a clever way to end things; I'm too fucked to stand up so I'll beat you on my back. They go for the artistic moment ending where Triple H reaches out for his trusty sledgehammer only to lose grip before tapping out which I actually love because it's no holds barred and Hunter reaching the ropes won't help him escape. So I guess that's two positive moments to gleam from a frustrating last 15 minutes.

    Does it make the list? - Nope, there's a lot to like about it, but probably even more to dislike about it.

    April 1st 2012
    The Undertaker Vs Triple H - Wrestlemania 28


    Undertaker is the best wrestler at expressing himself without saying anything. You see it when he reveals he's now cut his hair off, stares a hole into Triple H's soul and then slowly raises his gaze up to the HIAC as if to say 'I'm ready for this, are you son?'. The supernatural parts of his character are never what draw me to Taker, it's his old man badass attitude. This is a match all about pride. Undertaker demands the match because while the record books show he won at Wrestlemania 27, symbolically he lost because for the first time ever he couldn't walk out of the ring at Wrestlemania, he was reduced to needing help that the loser Triple H didn't. On this night he needs to put that embarrassing memory to rest by being the phenom again, and win in a more convincing fashion than just survive by the skin of his teeth. Triple H shows pride in going down swinging; this time when he's in the hells gate, he doesn't tap out, he'd rather risk passing out than to give up all over again, and right at the death he gives Undertaker a defiant DX chop because he can't bear the pity from his opponent. Triple H is much improved in this match from WM27 because this time he is unforgiving in how he destroys Taker and doesn't show him the concern he did last time, he knows he needs to push through and be more ruthless this time. In fact a lot of things are much improved in this match, namely how the last 5-10 minutes isn't just spamming finishers, they build and react to them better this time. There's this amazing moment where both men are down towards the last few minutes, and Shawn is in the corner watching them struggle to even get off the mat and even though their bodies are shot, their minds are still saying fight on; Taker reaches out to pull Hunters hair and Hunter shoves him away, then Taker tries to grab his arm and Hunter pushes him off again, and Shawn is just shaking his head thinking when is this going to stop, they're both fucked but their minds are too stubborn to stay down.

    This match is stacked with callback spots. There's the hells gate where Triple H reaches out for the sledgehammer and drops it again, there's the barrage of chair shots to the back, there's the constant pleas to stay the fuck down and just take the loss that falls on deaf ears every time, and there's even the way Triple H has to clutch at Taker's gear to bring himself to his feet before dying to a tombstone in the same way HBK died 2 years earlier. Something I haven't mentioned in the other reviews is that every single time Undertaker goes for Old School, Triple H drags his arm to counter it and Taker takes a huge fall to the canvas; this match Taker finally hits Triple H with the old school. It's the smallest detail that is easily missed if you haven't recently seen the previous matches, but it's something else that adds to the feeling this is a recharged, refueled, back to his best Undertaker who swept through the opening five minutes in full control.

    Shawn Michaels is the man with the target on his back when it comes to the major criticism of this match. I can see why people might find him a distracting factor in this match, but to me the role he plays in the match as the conflicted referee is necessary to making this match so great. It's slightly unbelievable to think the streak match could end this way, but the idea that Shawn is asked to call the match off because Undertaker isn't going to stop even when he can't stand up is an interesting story that's never been told before, and again it comes back to pride because Taker demands Shawn lets the match continue at several points because he'll fight to the death for his streak and to rebuild his reputation. The Sweet Chin music into the Pedigree is THE best nearfall in a streak match - there's no debate in my mind on that. So Michaels acting is a little goofy, that's in keeping with most of his acting during his in-ring days and at least he's putting effort into the conveying his side of the story; he's watching his best friend and a man he greatly respects go to war over this holy grail that cost him his career and he ALMOST in a flash of anger taints the streak forever with the superkick after Taker pushes his buttons. This might push other people's buttons, but I can't think of a better use of a special guest referee ever, this is the one streak match that is unlike any other.

    The post match is powerful and so easy to buy into the idea that it was an end of an era with Taker helping Triple H back to his feet and Taker and Shawn helping Triple H back up the ramp for a curtain call. The reason the match was happening was because Taker was embarrassed he needed help to leave the ring a year ago, and now here he is after going to hell and back, being the one to do the helping because Triple H is the one suffering now. It's a moment of overwhelming mutual respect from Undertaker, and character wise it's like he's had a cathartic experience to conquer his demons from the year prior. The crowd eat this up and it's the most natural standing ovation part timer Triple H has ever got.

    Does it make the list? - Absolutely, precious few matches at Wrestlemanias since 28 have felt this important and delivered such a powerful story, and six years later I think I love it even more than the first time I saw it.
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    Re: Ed Loves Wrestling - (Definitely Not Another List Thread)

    God bless you for rewatching some of those.

    I'll say this for Wrestlemania 28. It's not their worst match, not in a world where King of the Ring 2002 exists. It's never a good sign when the best part of your match is a guy who isn't even in the damn thing.

    I don't mind WM27 too much. The first 15 minutes is fantastic, although the second half is very pretentious, which is a criticism is give to the 28 match too.

    Never enjoyed WM17. The sledgehammer shot is cool but other than that it's a dull brawl.

    Sent from my Moto E (4) Plus using Tapatalk





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    Re: Ed Loves Wrestling - (Definitely Not Another List Thread)

    what about shotgun Saturday night

    I don’t think the 28 match is “great”.
    -------
    Quote Originally Posted by RaiZ-R View Post
    What the fuck is happening to you guys? I once got a blowjob where she used her teeth a little bit too much and I ended up with a bloody dick, I still enjoyed the blowjob up to the point I started bleeding. I can honestly say that I have never had anything I would call a bad blowjob, that wasn't a great experience but up until I started gushing blood I was having a great time!
    Spoiler:


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    Re: Ed Loves Wrestling - (Definitely Not Another List Thread)

    Have to agree with pretty much everything you've said there Ed. It's kind of going full circle again with HBK having an involvement in the upcoming match again...I do wonder if they'll end up recycling some of this stuff for the Saudi audience as they know it works.
    I have a plan so cunning......

    #ShadeWinsLOL

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    Re: Ed Loves Wrestling - (Definitely Not Another List Thread)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tennessee Nicky View Post
    what about shotgun Saturday night
    I did actually watch that (and the Kuwait cup match) because originally this was supposed to be review of the collection itself until I saw the amount of TV matches they had. It's a quick watch that is worth it for Undertaker going down the wrong escalator and ending up in a crowd of fans that he has to barge his way through to get to the ring
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    Re: Ed Loves Wrestling - (Definitely Not Another List Thread)

    January 25th 2015
    Jimmy Havoc Vs Will Ospreay - Progress Chapter 17

    For better or worse, Jimmy Havoc will always be the wrestler associated with Progress the most. Before the explosion of interest in the new wave of BritWres with guys like Zack, Marty and Will, Jimmy is the reason why any buzz for Progress existed in their first couple of years with his feud with Jim Smallman/Progress itself and his rise to the championship. The story was that Jimmy was brought into Progress for their Chapter 2 show after the promotion were inundated with requests to #BookHavoc. Havoc wanted to use Progress as a company where he could redefine himself as a wrestler, he didn't want to do death match wrestling for them, he wanted to do technical wrestling and be respected for his craft, particularly after receiving praise from Nigel McGuinness. Yet owner Jim Smallman kept booking him in deathmatches against his wishes and at chapter 9 he turned heel by attacking the beloved owner and compere. From there on, Jimmy turns into, for lack of a better description, a fucking cunt of a character as the champion and leader of the main heel faction at the time, Regression. While this is all going on a guy barely out of his teenage years, Ospreay, is a babyface on the rise and ends 2014 battling with Regression and earning a title shot as we head into 2015.

    Lets get the one negative I had about the match out of the way. Right at the start Ospreay is beaten up by Havoc's goon Isaac Zercher before the bell, but when the bell does ring, Ospreay isn't showing much effect of that attack and holds his own with Jimmy so it felt a little pointless to have that pre-match attack if there's no selling of it. It's very weird to watch young Will Ospreay, I don't go back and rewatch 'fairly recent' wrestling matches too often, so the 2014-2015 rough around the edges but obviously talented Will Ospreay I haven't seen since in a long time. In this match he's actually less flashy than he is now, I don't feel like I'm watching a guy who's moveset is tailored to wow the fans with athleticism and not be so much about hurting his opponent. None of his standard closing stretch moves of today are on display here which makes everything feel incredibly fresh. However, some 2018 traits are still on show with the infamous Ospreay blood curdling screams. One of the best parts of the match is when Jimmy bites on Will's ear and as the blood trickles down his ear and neck, Ospreay is screaming like he's being decapitated like a Saw victim. It's not the type of typical blood spot you'd see in a match, but Jimmy Havoc isn't a typical wrestler so it showcases he's bit of a psycho of a villain, more Villain than Marty Scurll could ever be, and that 21 year old Ospreay is probably biting off more than he can chew entering into this sick world and going up against him one on one.

    Ospreay's story in this match is that the finishing move he thinks is going to defeat Jimmy Havoc, the top rope 630 splash, is the exact same move he almost broke his neck on in 2014 and so now understandably has some PTSD when he thinks about attempting it now. There's about three times in the match where he goes up to the top rope ready to hit his finisher, and he hesitates and it allows Jimmy the chance to get back to his feet and the opportunity is gone. To me that's more believable a reason to be scared to perform a move than when Billly Kidman didn't want to hit the shooting star press all those years ago because it injured his opponents; in the moment should you really be that worried about hurting your opponent? but having those doubts about your own personal safety and potentially ending your own career before it's even begun? yeah I buy that a lot more. When Will reaches the point in the match where he plucks up the courage to perform the move, Havoc gets out a toolbox and dismantles the top rope so that Will can't use the move now even if he had the balls to risk hitting it. Ring destruction can be more trouble than it's worth, see something like Ciampa/Gargano where they ripped up the canvas to expose the wooden base, but when it's someone as despicable as Havoc and there's a storyline reason to remove it (take Ospreay's finisher out of the equation) it works and really adds something to the match. It's another opportunity to highlight Will's innovation as he composes himself enough standing on the middle (now top rope) to perform a high risk move. Ultimately Ospreay goes down, but he does so in a way that enrages Havoc as he kicks out at one for the acid rainmaker. A second acid rainmaker finishes the job and keeps the title around the waist of Jimmy fucking havoc.

    Does it make the list? - First impressions, it's better than any Ospreay/Havoc match from 2016-18. Their deathmatches really miss the target for me and this has some really nice themes running through it without devolving into just another Havoc hardcore match. This match makes me want to see another between them where Ospreay does get that career making win. I'd go as far as to say it's my favourite Jimmy Havoc match and a match from Ospreay that I'd prefer to rewatch over some of his more beloved New Japan matches because his performance shows more depth. I'm adding it to the list.

    26th July 2015
    Jimmy Havoc Vs Will Ospreay - Progress Chapter 20

    Six months on and Jimmy Havoc's reign as Progress World Champion has now reached a whopping 609 days and Will Ospreay is back for another shot at the title. That is an incredibly long run as champion, but it's important to remember how infrequent Progress were running shows in these early years compared to today, Jimmy only won the title at Chapter 10 so we're only talking ten shows as champion here which is more digestible compared to say Travis Banks having it for almost 20 shows in half that time. From the great video package and the Wrestlemania-type special ring entrances you can tell that this is a hugely important match in Progress' history, arguably this is their biggest ever match in their 7 year history. Havoc's entrance works with his blend of two AFI songs suitably matching his Gorey psychopath vibe, but Will's doesn't really work at all as there's a geeky Assassins Creed deal going on where two fellow assassins hand Ospreay his special robes, but then still comes out to his regular music Shoot to Thrill by AC/DC in a complete mood shift. There's a time to cosplay as a video game character and it's not when you're about to face your nemesis in a No DQ match.

    There is so much about this match I don't like The London Riots are brought in by Jim Smallman to make sure Will has some back up in case Regression outnumber Will and hand the match on a plate to Havoc, but when Regression leave ringside before the match even starts, there's no reason for the Riots to be there. Worse yet, London Riots are the ones messing around with Havoc, taking weapons off him when it's a No DQ match and allowing Ospreay to use them instead - it just doesn't feel like a babyface move at all, you shouldn't really be stacking the odds against the heel in that situation. There's two different ref bumps in the match, which on one had does give you the symbolism of Smallman having to do the decisive count like he did the night Havoc won the title, but never the less it's still two ref bumps in one match. They botch probably the biggest spot they planned to do in the match when a superplex through a table goes awry, and another table spot is a mean looking double stomp through the table by Havoc, but Will has to do the odd set up where he's holding himself balanced perfectly on the ropes totally exposing his torso literally just so the spot can happen which takes me out of the match to have a cooperative spot like that . Ospreay kicks out of three separate acid rainmakers dotted throughout the match which just has diminishing returns for me. Perhaps the most annoying part of the match for me is when Jimmy pulls out his axe and there's a teased beheading spot; I'm willing to believe a lot of things in pro wrestling but murder infront of a live audience isn't one of them.

    Given the extent of those criticisms, I think it's clear to say that I didn't enjoy this match as much as their first one. I do think it has merits as a match that delivers on the expected amount of violence for the level of rivalry and paying off the previous story of Ospreay having PTSD over the 630 because that's the exact move he uses to win the title and end Havoc's reign on this night. The big positive of the match is how they paid off the 2 year long storyline of Havoc as Progress Champion because that's one of the loudest reactions to a title change you'll see in an arena that small, everyone is going crazy over young Billy being the one to end the Havoc reign of terror. Perfect booking from the Progress team to crown Ospreay as their new babyface champion and this really feels like the end of one era and the beginning of a new era in the company. Come for Jimmy Havoc, stay for this exciting young wrestler who is going right to the top in this business.

    Did it make the list? - No. I guess the best way to summarise it is that it's the weaker match, but the bigger moment. It's no surprise this is the most talked about match of the two because it's the long awaited title change, but I just had too many issues with overbooking the blow off match for the feud. Had I watched this in real time, there's every chance I'd be higher on it if I didn't know the result going in and didn't live through those two years where Jimmy was a relevant part of Progress and I'd of been dying for a title switch.