Mark Haskins vs Trent Seven
Electric Ballroom, Camden, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
(reviewed 10/02/2017) It’s probably too self-aware for its own good, but for a match that exists in this smarmy, unrealistic, entirely-too-referential world of PROGRESS, this is a whole lot of fun. Haskins nearly makes Seven tap in the first six seconds of the match in a callback to Seven’s defeat back on day one, but the baddie survives and flips the crowd off in the process. From there they march through a series of spots back and forth, both crowd-pleasing strikes/slams/speedy spots and the occasional submission that feels out of place with the pace of this match. Eventually they make their way to the floor, where Seven thinks he’s avoided Haskins’ trickery in baiting him to chop the ring post, but Seven goes for a second chop and hits the ring post all the same. Clever and funny spot, one that feels out of place in a more serious match but I guess works here. After some more comedy on the floor, they make their way up to the stage, where Jimmy Havoc is lounging with the commentary team. Haskins takes the folding chair Havoc’s seated on and looks to hit Seven with it, but Seven low blows him before whacking Havoc with the chair himself and then Haskins. Back in the ring, Haskins briefly regains control of the match until Havoc, storming into the ring with the chair to exact revenge on Seven, accidentally hits him with the chair when Seven ducks out of the way. Seven’s able to take advantage of the momentary confusion and hit Havoc with an Acid Rainmaker (which is both a move he does and Havoc’s primary finisher) and follow it up by slapping the Sharpshooter (Haskins’ own move) on his opponent. Knocked out from the chair shot, the referee quickly calls for the bell. All this reads as an enjoyable match, I guess, and to be sure I did have fun watching it. There’s something about the BSS gimmick and specifically how Seven operates within it and the crowd’s reaction to his matches this weekend that make this feel so plastic and hokey, but if you take it more as a comedy match with some serious undertones instead of a serious match that is, for some reason, focused on slapstick humor, then there’s a lot to like here. What’s more, it kicks off the Havoc/Haskins feud that I’m looking forward to, so if that’s all this match accomplished, then I’m fine with that.