Will Ospreay (c) vs Marty Scurll
No Disqualification Match for the PROGRESS Championship
Electric Ballroom, Camden, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
(reviewed 01/06/2017) Woof, the promo package for this match really exposes these two as Not Good at promos. Thankfully, their body language and general demeanor in the ring brings the hype, though I have my reservations based on other matches these two have had. They get right to it with spots and reversals and the like. Ospreay mainly sticks to his usual highflying, which allows Scurll to get the upper hand throughout much of the opening portion of this match, as he applies a variety of reversals and cheap shots to get ahead. The young highflyer hits a whopper of a moonsault off a railing at one point in a great high spot, but Scurll quickly recovers with his finger-breaker gimmick. Back in the ring, he continues to go after the champ’s hand and arm, and Ospreay responds to this limb work by doing no less than three handstand spots in his comeback, not selling any of it in the slightest. Fucking amateur. Ospreay tries to keep things going with more of his typical offense, but it only serves to illustrate that Scurll has him scouted, as he reverses everything the champ throws at him. Things are evened up a bit when Ospreay hits a desperation headbutt, though Scurll responds in kind out of spite. A big sequence of reversals all around, much of it the same sequence as their High Stakes match, sees Scurll lock in a chickenwing for a bit, but Ospreay frees himself and hits an indie kick for a double down after another sequence of reversals. Scurll brings like six umbrellas out from under the ring for some reason, and Ospreay responds by sliding a table into the ring. They both forget their respective weapons/furniture, though, and go at it in a hokey, slow hockey fight. After connecting with a knee lift, Scurll sets up the table before sitting his opponent on the top rope for a superplex. Ospreay frees himself and hits the Cheeky Nando’s before powerbombing Scurll through the table in a somewhat nasty nearfall, nasty because Scurll doesn’t quite land where the table was cut, so he comes down at a weird angle. They fight out on the floor and make their way up to the stage, where Scurll does his finger-breaker spot again before tossing Ospreay through the entrance curtain. Ospreay tries to rana his opponent from the metal entrance arch, but Scurll catches him and powerbombs him through the commentary table a few feet away. Back in the ring, Scurll hits a Tombstone complete with Taker pin theatrics, but it only earns him a two count. When the referee goes to check on Ospreay, Scurll whacks him with an umbrella, which is certainly a curious choice. Ospreay then recovers and traps Scurll in a crossface, using one of the umbrellas for leverage, forcing Scurll to submit but the referee is still out. Scurll low blows the champ and hits him with an Essex Destroyer, with a second referee running down to the ring to count, but it’s only worth a two count. Ospreay springs up out of a tornado DDT in the rough modern equivalent of the Davey superplex spot, but when he goes for a suplex, Scurll reverses it into his goofy Falcon Arrow into chickenwing spot. Ospreay survives a pair of hand raising spots, the second of which includes a series of Danielson-esque elbows to the face, hitting a roundhouse kick and springboard cutter to turn things around. A shooting star press to Scurll’s back and Red Arrow would act as a big nearfall here if not for everything else these two have no sold in this match, and Ospreay’s facials afterward don’t help to sway the tide of excess. Following a tornado DDT through the corner post, Scurll sneakily retrieves a pair of handcuffs from under the ring, clocking Ospreay with them before cuffing the kid’s hands behind his back. They take their sweet time with this series of spots, milking it for everything they’ve got, which would probably work if these two were good actors in any sense. Scurll breaks five or six umbrellas over Ospreay’s back and head for a nearfall that would feel big if they weren’t fucking umbrellas, but he quickly slaps on another chickenwing, and Ospreay has no choice but to surrender. I’d probably call this match better than their High Stakes bout, in that it was a much well-defined (and vaguely entertaining) narrative and was far less excessive for the sake of excessiveness, though this certainly goes overboard by what I would imagine are most standards. What’s more, it’s also much more theatrical than the High Stakes match (which is, in part, due to the narrative structure, but also due to PROGRESS’ general booking and cinematic direction) and that weighs heavily on me, though probably less so than an endless deluge of spots that I can’t be forced to care about. Outside of the excess and general problems that these two always have with selling and gimmickry and lack of any sort of realism or authenticity, outside of all that, this is a fairly good match, or a fun one at least. But I can’t pretend like those problems aren’t present.