Keith Lee vs Travis Banks
Electric Ballroom, Camden, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
(reviewed 10/03/2017) Great bit of work, this match. This is a Pick Your Poison gimmick, where Pete Dunne was able to pick Banks’ opponent in advance of their title match at Chapter 55. Likewise he’s on commentary for this match and does a fairly good job. As for this match itself, it’s a delight. The matchup works to the strength of both men but also works within a fun narrative, in that Keith is a wildly popular debuting foreigner who the fans want to see do well and Banks is an equally wildly popular world title challenger who does best when he’s struggling against a great opposing force. Banks’ wild Kiwi Buzzsaw offense is at its best here and if there’s one person in the world who can make a smaller man’s offense look believable and exciting, it’s Keith Lee. Likewise, Keith basks in the glory that is the PROGRESS ultras and takes joy in destroying his opponent to the tune of their chants. Banks survives it all, though, even kicking out of a moonsault at one in a silly moment. When Dunne fears that Banks may, in fact, win this match, he scurries down to the ring with a sledgehammer and threatens Banks when the New Zealander sees him coming. In turn, this allows Keith to recover from Banks’ earlier flurry of offense and connect with a powerbomb and a jackhammer for the win. Bit of a flat, clichéd finish, but a lovely match here for the most part. Two guys doing what they do best in front of a raucous crowd that eats it up. Can’t get much better than that.