This Sunday, the 13th of October, PROGRESS Wrestling returns to its Northern home at the O2 Ritz in Manchester for the second time in 2019.
Following on from the company’s biggest show of the year at Alexandra Palace, those of us planning on making the trip to Chapter 96 are certainly in for an exciting match card. Let’s take a closer look at the matches.
Ilja Dragunov vs. Cara Noir
Cara Noir is the fastest-rising star in British wrestling, and with good reason. The stark contrast between his MMA-influenced in-ring style and the stage-show nature of his character makes for a completely unique type of performer. Noir’s star-making match against NXT’s Pete Dunne at Chapter 95 was great for that reason. Despite having seen very little of Noir’s work prior to that match, Cara Noir was my MVP of that weekend and with the connection, he formed with the crowd, it is easy to see why his upcoming match against Ilja Dragunov has people talking.
Like Noir, Dragunov also pairs a legitimate in-ring style with a somewhat flashy character, though perhaps with more of a rugged edge. The grappling and back-and-forth striking that this match promises on paper is sure to deliver tenfold, and makes the match a potential show-stealer.
Toni Storm vs. Dani Luna
Former PROGRESS and NXT UK Women’s Champion Toni Storm is set to make her return to PROGRESS this weekend as she takes on new fan-favourite Dani Luna. Following a tremendous showing in the PROTEUS Rumble at Chapter 94 and a competitive match against then-champion Jordynne Grace at Chapter 94, it is fair to say that the de facto underdog in this match has the momentum in her favour when compared to Storm’s recent NXT UK Women’s Title loss to Kay Lee Ray and subsequent absence from that brand.
This is as big a match for Storm as it is for Luna. Sure, Dani will want to make a name for herself by defeating the most dominant PROGRESS Women’s Champion in history, but Toni will also want to prove her worth after a long absence from the company. Perhaps she has her eyes set on Meiko Satomura’s title…
The Young Guns vs. Pretty Deadly
This tag team match sees the PROGRESS Chapter debuts of two teams – Pretty Deadly (Sam Stoker and Lewis Howley) and Manchester-based Luke Jacobs and Ethan Allen of The Young Guns. Luke Jacobs had an exceptional pre-show contest with Soner Dursun before Chapter 92 in June, a match which generated quite a lot of buzz in the lead up to the Natural Progression Series. Jacobs’ in-ring movement and offence is often likened to that of early-2000s Bryan Danielson, which is high praise for the Manchester hopeful. Pretty Deadly on the other hand were a comedy act at the 1980s show in May. They have also been featured on NXT UK a handful of times this year whilst still competing in non-WWE affiliated companies such as RevPro. This match is a great opportunity for both teams to show what they are capable of.
TK Cooper vs. Roy Johnson
The whole trip is fine, apparently. At least, that is what TK Cooper would tell you. In the PROTEUS Rumble at Chapter 95, the South Pacific Power Trip seemed to implode as TK Cooper and NIWA attacked and eliminated Travis Banks, costing him his biggest opportunity in months. Whilst there is bad blood in the Power Trip, Roy Johnson is set to have his first singles match in PROGRESS since March 2018, and it comes immediately after he returned to NXT UK last weekend. With Johnson looking to be taken seriously and with a fire lit inside Cooper, this match should not be slept on.
PROGRESS PROTEUS Championship: Paul Robinson (c) vs. Travis Banks
With seemingly no one left to turn to, Travis Banks has to stand on his own two feet as he challenges Paul Robinson for the PROTEUS Championship. To win, he must submit or knock out the champion in his first defence. Since losing to WALTER in Toronto, Robinson has shown a difference in the way he approaches big matches, a calmer, more focused mindset that proved to be effective as he became the inaugural PROTEUS Champion at Alexandra Palace. In facing someone like the Kiwi Buzzsaw, however, Robinson doesn’t have such a big advantage when it comes to intensity, but he can certainly focus on the match laid in front of him whereas Banks might be distracted by TK Cooper and NIWA.
PROGRESS Tag Team Championship: Jordan Devlin and Scotty Davis (c) vs. Grizzled Young Veterans
After killing my voice by winning the NPS and subsequently the PROGRESS Tag Team Championship alongside Jordan Devlin at Alexandra Palace, Scotty Davis is currently on a whole other level. His movement, ground-game and strikes are crisp, clean, and often times frankly insane, making him the perfect tag team partner for Jordan Devlin who in my opinion in the best wrestler on the planet. Winning the titles doesn’t mean it gets any easier for them however, as their first defence is against the Grizzled Young Veterans in Zack Gibson and James Drake, who did what they said they were going to do when they last challenged for the tag team titles. A win here for Devlin and Davis would do wonders for them as they continue to grow and develop as a tag team.
What about Eddie Dennis?
After successfully cashing in his PROGRESS Unified World Championship opportunity during the main event of Chapter 95, Eddie Dennis is set to appear in Manchester, possibly to address his controversial title win with the aid of Mark Andrews. Now that the dust has settled, the reaction from the live crowd will certainly be interesting.
Chapter 96 is sold out however resale tickets may be found on PROGRESS Wrestling’s Twickets page.