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Sparkling in the Darkness
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29th-Aug-2016 03:11 pm - Our kind of revolution
First of two wrestling show reports as we've had a busy few days :) Last week, we went to see Revolution Pro Wrestling in Portsmouth. A family-friendly company often loaded with big import names, has a strong working relationship with New Japan and some kind of WWE connection too. The fun of these shows is seeing all the kids running around and getting involved, having a top time.

We went because there was a good lot of matches on the card we were interested in, specifically several featuring Progress Wrestling talent and one or two imports we were interested in. I was happy to see the British Young Lions in action (Jake McCluskey and Bruce) as we've only ever seen Jake play the hero elswhere so to see him be so laughably awful and smug was wonderful. He and Bruce are also known as Liquid Dreams in another promotion - characters who were in a boy band and now wrestle. They played their parts brilliantly here and won against two of the two young up-and-comers. Both Jake and Bruce was good solid wrestlers too so it was really good to watch them team together. A really fun way to hype up the crowd and get the show started.

One of the reasons we went to the show was to see Jay White wrestle. A New Zealand wrestler who is currently working in New Japan, White is on his foreign excursion - time spent away from New Japan overseas to season him. He's a built bloke and agile and he got to face one of the UK's best in Mark Haskins. Haskins has been tearing it up for months now, a massive part of Progress right now, having brilliant match after brilliant match. I imagine it must have been exciting for both to face each other - White to face someone so well thought of and Haskins to face someone fresh. A really good technical hard-hitting match, really appealed to me and Anthony, got us properly involved. They were definitely well matched and knew how to get the crowd's attention, all of ages, which is quite a feat when the kids and parents are expecting something more WWE-like, more character-driven, less serious wrestling. Hope White gets booked more in the UK and of course it's always a pleasure to see Haskins work.

Marty Scurll was in the house! Only a truly vile villain in Progress, elsewhere he's a more lovable nasty. Here he faced Moose, a former NFL player, recently joined TNA in America after a very successful spell in ROH. Wasn't sure if he'd appeal but he has such easy strength - he's built like a barn - but also some surprising swiftness. And he's so lovable, so comfortable in front of the crowd and getting them going with the catchy 'Moose!' chanted with a fist pump action. Even Marty found himself doing it and implored the referee to help hold his hand still to stop it happening, which was awesome. Moose messed up one spot but Marty worked well with him and overall the match was a surprising success for Moose who came out of it well. Marty put him over very well on the mic after too. Marty is one of the best and being able to work with everyone and make them look good is such a huge important skill.

Big Damo's last RevPro match. The rumour is he's off to the WWE. Damo is enormous, his body covered in hair and with long hair and a sizable beard too. He's also very agile as well as strong and is such a talent, I'm not surprised WWE have snapped him up. He took on his former trainee Psycho Phillips - whose gimmick is basically he's unhinged but it's not all that convincing, I've seen Jimmy Havoc mate, that's psychotic! Anyway, it was a good solid match to end Big Damo's RevPro career. He gave a lovely heartfelt speech after. That was likely the last chance we'd have to see him live and it was so bittersweet. I'm thrilled for him to be moving on in such a way but I've loved watching his development over the years in RevPro, Progress and ICW. He will be missed.

The Legion of Lords made themselves known - Lord Gideon Grey and Rishi Gosh. Grey insulted owner and ring announcer Andy Quinlan for not giving them a match tonight and Quinlan's reply was interrupted several times by Rishi Gosh having amazing tantrums on the mic, resulting in him eventually tearing off his outfit - to reveal wrestling gear underneath - and demanding a match at the next show against Quinlan. Instead, Quinlan revealed that they'd both be facing Ryback - an enormous wrestler, recently released from WWE. The crowd went mad. Andy's not a fan of the Lords or Ryback so wasn't impressed, though he did laught a lot at Rishi's fits. I love the Lords, they're extremely entertaining and I love watching them and they really do work the crowd beautifully.

Girls action had Zoe Lucas - cheerleader gimmick - vs Bea Priestly - sneery gorgeous redhead. I've seen both wrestle before but it was still great to see them again. Zoe has improved a lot, she's still learning but she's definitely getting there and the crowd can't help but cheer for her. Probably helps that she doesn't bring actul pom-poms to the ring anymore. Bea is so fantastically mean - taking out her chewing gum and stuffing it in Zoe's mouth before taking it back herself - and has got that character down brilliantly. She needs more in-ring seasoning too but she's found a character that fits and works and is definitely getting more bookings now. She's done Progress already and hope she does more. The match itself was a bit lumpy, they're both still quite early in their careers but the only way to get better is to wrestle more and I can already see their improvement. Go on, girls.

Main event was the for the Cruisweight Championship - Will Ospreay defending against Pete Dunne. They've faced each other a lot recently and it shows in how smoothly they work together. A really great match to end the night. Will is on such a high right now - blazing a trail in Japan, possibly getting a contract in America, people around the world learning who he is - and almost everyone is thrilled to watch him. His high-flying moves are so astonishing and unexpected and inventive and he can work with so many different kinds of wrestlers, such a skill. And he has such sympathy, people really want to cheer him on the whole and want him to succeed. Pete is a bruising character and is a great foil for Will, he's also reached a new level of interest and infamy thanks to his turn into the Bruiserweight. I'm super pleased for him, he deserves it all. Another great match from both of them. Post-match, Pete beat up Will, leading to Moose coming out to make the save and Will to float the idea of them teaming together. Could be awesome indeed.

Outside of the wrestling, I got to chat to Jay White - who was charging £5 for a photo so no, though he was very nice and clearly pleased to be there. I actually got to talk to Mark Haskins - he never personally sells his merch at Progress so I've never gotten to talk to him before. He's lovely and shorter than Anthony, to Anthony's amusement. I also got to chat to Bea, I've enjoyed her work in other companies so it was really nice to get to tell her that. Anthony's friend from hockey was there so it was good to catch up with him too and talk wrestling. Another really solid fun evening, though the little boy and mum next to me didn't agree. They left during the interval. The boy really wasn't enjoying himself, criticising the referee the whole time and the mum clearly didn't know a bit about wrestling. I think the boy had only ever been to WWE shows because British wrestling, while this was a family friendly show, it is all a bit different. But that doesn't mean it's bad, it can be just as exciting. For me, it's even more exciting - seeing talent change and develop, making friends, enjoying that atmosphere. There's really nothing quite like it.
Title: Man's Best Friend
Fandom: WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment)
Characters: Sami Zayn/Adrian Neville
Rating: G
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Warning: Puppy play.
Summary: Sami Zayn is feeling beat up – of course it's thanks to Kevin Owens. Kevin is always hurting him, even when he's not there. Luckily for Sami, Adrian Neville is there, wearing his collar, perfect delightful company.

No strings, no painCollapse )

26th-Aug-2016 05:09 pm - Goodbye to an old soldier

The official goodbye is done.

It was Stepdad-In-Law’s funeral this week and was definitely a very heavy day. We travelled to Mum 2’s the day before so she’d have people in the house overnight in the morning. Anthony’s sister arrived for the evening too and we all went out to dinner in a very nice quirky pizza restaurant, situated in the old fire station. Amazing food, we had a chocolate pizza for dessert. Also a very noisy joyful birthday party was going on at the next table and they insisted on giving us a huge slab of their homemade birthday cake, which was fun. We had a really riotously fun evening, so many laughs, exactly as Lee would have wanted it.

The day itself, the house was soon full of close family. I wore a simple grey work dress I bought recently at a charity shop, leather jacket and work heels. I also wore a bold purple lipstick as it made me feel confident and Lee would have definitely teased me about it so it felt right. Anthony wore a suit, which he hated, but looked very smart. Everyone did. Anthony, his mum, his sister and Lee’s two kids all went in the funeral car together; us plus ones went in a car together too. There were so many people at the church, it was wonderful. Of course there were Royal Green Jackets in their matching blazers and berets – the part of the army Lee served in, if you need a reference they’re the group that Richard Sharpe was part of and yes, Lee was a huge fan of the Sharpe TV series. The Green Jackets formed a guard of honour for the coffin which was lovely and emotional.

The whole church service was incredibly emotional, lots of crying and also lots of laughter as stories in the very thorough eulogy were told. The coffin had wreaths on and Lee’s Green Jacket beret. The vicar leading the service was an army padre so was exactly the right person. Anthony sat with his Mum and sister, I sat a couple of rows away, just the way the seating worked out. Anthony did the Bible reading and did it very well. When the coffin entered, it did so to ‘Over the Hills and Far Away’ by John Tams, the Sharpe theme song and a song I’ve always loved and think is just beautiful. It was absolutely fitting and perfect.

The last post was played by the buglers, first time I’ve ever heard that happen at a funeral. Gave me goosebumps. The coffin exited to ‘Black Night’ by Deep Purple, a favourite of Lee’s, which made us all smile. Everything was a bit rushed at the crematorium – they have to be regimented there as there’s so many services to get through. As we were late arriving, we had less time than planned so some songs that were played were only part played. It was still moving and well done. ‘Cosmic Dancer’ by T Rex, Lee’s very favourite band, was played at the end. Perfect.

The wake was held at the conservative club, where the Green Jackets in the area socialise. A lovely spread of food was put on and we all heartily tucked in. There was a lot of laughter and talking and sharing of stories. It was a really good time, which must sound odd, but it was. It was a good party, exactly what Lee would have enjoyed. I really did enjoy myself, chatted to a lot of folk, though needed to take a time out towards the end to just have some space and time to myself after such an intense day. Most people had left by then anyway so I didn’t feel bad about it. Anthony and I left soon after, in order to have a quiet evening as we had work the next day.

It’s now our new normal. A world without him in it. It’s going to be hard to get used to but there’s no other choice. Anthony’s mum is coping but of course misses him like hell. She wears his wedding ring on a chain around her neck. We will have to learn to include her even more in our lives now, though we won’t be the only ones to do so. She will be supported. A wonderful poem was read out at the church service, about how we choose to remember Lee, to focus on the tears and sadness of his death or the joy of his life. We’re going to choose the latter.

21st-Aug-2016 02:00 pm - Don't let go
My feet are still hurting but it was a wonderful wedding we attended yesterday. Couple of Southampton friends who've since moved away. The bride is American - they met when she was over here to study - so the groom will be moving to America as soon as possible. Their relationship has been a lot of time apart. It's the smallest wedding I've ever been to with only five rows of chairs used at church but everyone was very enthusiastic and happy to be there. The bride wore a lovely cream lace dress, strapless with a minor train and her hair very simply styled in a ponytail. A modern take on a traditional dress. Her three bridesmaids wore short deep green dresses and looked lovely. There were four best men, all very dapper with yellow rose buttonholes.

I wore my short white city-scape dress while Anthony wore his usual black suit and white button-down shirt, this time with the purple tie from our wedding. He loathes wearing a suit but does so with very bad grace at weddings. On this occasion he also wore a Jimmy Havoc 'I Hope You Suffer' shirt under his button-down and a Defend Indy Wrestling wristband, to make himself feel more comfortable. Certainly made me happy.

The ceremony was lovely and relaxed, beautiful jolly worship and even a quote from the Eleventh Doctor read out right at the end - 'Hold hands, that's what you're meant to do. Keep doing that and don't let go. That's the secret.' A couple of friends very kindly gave us a lift to the reception venue - a small hotel with lovely staff and an open bar for the occasion which is rare at a wedding and very nice too. There was much Doctor Who stuff at the reception; Doctor Who and sci-fi themed confetti strewn across the tables and a magnificent Doctor Who wedding cake - bow-tie round the middle, 'Hello Sweetie' plus Ten and River Song sillouettes on top, and high Gallifreyan icing. Truly amazing. Anthony and I LOVED it. It was also extremely delicious to eat; I had a piece of vanilla sponge and a piece of chocolate sponge, I had to hunt a server with a tray down for the latter lol.

The whole thing was very casual - a few tables, barely enough room for everyone to squeeze into any one of the rooms, no seating plan. The list of speeches was long - father of the bride, groom, sister of the bride, all four best men, father of the groom. Each speech was short and the father of the bride basically did a brief toast instead - apparently in America there's more toasts than speeces which is a nice idea I think. Not all of us sat during the speeches as there just wasn't room, we were in the room with the bar and it was a lovely relaxed atmosphere. There was dancing after the cake was cut, I chatted to people and was very grateful for the very strong free wifi, always a plus for me. The meal a bit earlier was a BBQ with lots of different salads and Anthony refusing to kiss me after I ate my beloved pickled onions lol. Also a table of cheese and fruit appeared later so I was very happy to dig in there. Bliss.

The couple in question are massively suited to each other and had organised a really wonderful day. It was a delight and honour to be part of their special day. I ended up with a raw spot on my right foot from the shoes and wow, felt so exhausted when we got home, had to drag myself into the shower and sleep much sooner than planned. But for the best reasons. A blessed beautiful day. The sort of wedding I seriously enjoy.
Title: Tricky Games
Fandom: The Hobbit
Characters: Dis, Balin, Bard, Tauriel, Thranduil, Fili, Kili, Bilbo, Dwalin, Dain, Sigrid, Tilda, Original Characters, contains some Kili/Tauriel, Thorin/Bilbo, Fili/Sigrid
Rating: G
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Summary: Once Dis receives word, she makes for Erebor, determined to see her gravely-wounded sons and brother, determined to unpick and rebraid the mess her brother has made. There’s none more equal to the task.

Read it here.
15th-Aug-2016 09:36 pm - Baking therapy

This weekend was more baking; definitely something I needed this past week. Baking therapy! I tried out another new recipe from my newest recipe book. This was oatmeal spice cake, which involved baking with molasses, something I’ve never done before. Our usual supermarket didn’t stock any, but a local independent one did so I was happy to support local business and get the ingredient I needed.

The cake turned out really well and actually came out of the tin really easily, always a concern. It tasted sweet but not sickly at all, unlike the birthday biscuits which were so super-sweet lol. It had a different taste to other baking I’ve done and Anthony and I really liked it. Definitely a good dessert to do for people who don’t like their desserts to be too sweet. Good one for a party too as it can be cut up into even smaller squares than I did. It’s sticky but a good finger food and so tasty. Very much recommended.

14th-Aug-2016 02:11 pm - R.I.P Kenny Baker (1934 - 2016)

He was an important part of Star Wars. As a child, I had such love for R2-D2, whose beeps and clicks I always felt I could understand. There was emotion there, somehow, and a pert little personality. It's a character so many people still love now. I smile when I think about him.

He was several other productions I have a lot of affection for - the films Willow (1988), Labyrinth (1986) and Flash Gordon (1980), and the BBC TV production of The Chronicles of Narnia (1989).

Rest in peace, Kenny Baker.

Title: Beyond The Glass
Fandom: Lucha Underground
Characters: Melissa Santos, Ivelisse/Son of Havoc/Angelico
Rating: T
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Summary: The Temple lets Melissa Santos listen. It doesn’t protect her but she prays and listens and tries to understand, especially on days when the tide is rising and she and others need to run between moments.
Author Note: Set after season two.

The tide continued to rise.Collapse )

9th-Aug-2016 09:19 pm - Rest In Peace

I knew as soon as Anthony answered his phone.

The call came on Saturday - Anthony’s stepdad had passed away. As some of you know, he had been seriously ill for 5/6 years - retaining fluid, diabetes, serious heart problems, having all his toes then both his legs amputated. He had gone into hospital recently, for the first time in a year, to sort out his medication as one was reacting badly so he needed to go off it which meant he was retaining fluid and gaining weight again. He hated being back in hospital. He was never an active man but being unable to readjust his own position in bed, not being able to do anything for himself, had gotten him very down and depressed. Being back in hospital because he was always afraid he wouldn’t come out.

He was chirpy the day he died though, joking with the nurses and very happy when they weighed him as he was told he’d lost a good amount of weight. He was going to ring his wife to tell her. He had lunch and pressed the ‘nurse call’ button. By the time they got there, he had passed away. So it was quick, maybe even painless.

We went to the hospital to be with family and to say goodbye. I’ve never been in a room with a dead body before and it was the strangest feeling. Uncomfortable at first. He looked peaceful, like he’d sit up at any moment. His wife didn’t want him to be alone so someone stayed in the room the whole time. I was there alone for a bit. I cried, thanked him and said goodbye.

He was a man who’d truly lived in the army – his regiment was the descendent of Richard Sharpe’s – from that wonderful Bernard Cornwell book series. I don’t know too many details from those days, only that he once got blown through a shop window. And that he clearly really enjoyed those days – used to play so many battleground computer games and watch war movies. He stayed in touch with buddies from that time and many of his Facebook photo posts were photos from that time.

My favourite memories of him are the funny dark-humour times. He was not a politically-correct man, quite unsurprisingly, so Anthony and I often told him off for things he joked about. But there were times he really did make me laugh. When I wandered around his back garden one day, he called over, pointing to one spot and then another ‘that’s where I’m burying the dog, and that’s where I’m burying the wife. And you think I’m joking!’ I knew he wasn’t. Also the time he fooled his beloved dog Spike by shouting there were cats in the back garden. Off bolted Spike, not joining us back in the living room for about fifteen minutes, with a look on his face of ‘you lied to me!’ Lee looked back, saying ‘oh there were none out there, were there?’ with a grin.

And most of all, the time when he was using crutches, I believe only one leg had gone then. We were at the wedding of Anthony’s cousin, at the end of the evening reception. Gwyneth and Mel were still saying goodbye to people, the rest of us waiting outside, when Lee suddenly declared ‘sod this’ and off he went, at alarming speed on his crutches across the grass towards the car, me running behind him to try and make sure he didn’t do himself harm, Anthony laughing behind me as he went to find the stragglers. It makes me grin even now.

He was, as Anthony said, ‘a bit of a character.’ We didn’t share many of the same interests at all but I really did enjoy his company. I can still see him presiding over the barbecue in his back garden, even when his legs were gone, there he was, trying to keep his stumps from getting too hot. I once proposed to get him a peg-leg and a parrot when he lost at least one leg, because my sense of humour can be dark too. Anthony reckoned his Mum wouldn’t like that but then she held a pirate-themed party for her husband’s birthday that year : )

He was father to Claire and Marc, grandfather to three grandsons, stepfather to Melissa and Anthony, and husband to Gwyneth. He was loved by a great many people. He lived a very full life, we’re just so sad it’s over now, before we’d had the chance to say goodbye, before any of us were ready. Because he seemed to be getting better, ready to come out of hospital. Things had been stable for so long, we’d forgotten the fact that danger was always there surrounding him, thanks to his weakened worn-out body. He’ll miss Melissa’s wedding this year and Claire’s wedding next year.

Please keep the family in your thoughts, especially Gwyneth. And raise a glass to Lee, an old soldier.

2nd-Aug-2016 09:29 pm - Good is still great

The annoyance of this wrestling date day was travel. The London tube line that takes us and everyone else to the station closest to the venue – literally a few doors down – was closed as there was maintenance being done all weekend. Of course whenever they would have done it, it would have been a difficulty for someone, but yes, it was very annoying they’d chosen a Progress Sunday for it! Anyway, we had warning so we got the train an hour earlier than usual and pootled about St Pancreas train station for a bit as it’s very pretty and I liked exploring it. Then we made for Euston station, where we walked to Camden. It was boiling so we slathered on the sun cream and got ourselves in the usual jolly queue to get in.

Big kudos must be given to the security staff who got us in really quickly, a vast improvement from the previous show where it took forever as a poor girl on duty for the seated tickets hadn’t been taught how to use the ticket barcode scanner. Anyway, in we rushed, just me and Anthony as our friend C was at a friend’s wedding. Oddly enough the seat next to me remained unoccupied throughout the show. No one sat there, so it was like C was there in spirit : )

Overall, I’d class this as a good show rather than a great one and there’s nothing wrong with that. Not every show can be heightened and spectacular, there needs to be quiet low points in order for a story to work, ridiculous heights just cannot be sustained. There were no terrible matches, no awful moments; it was a good enjoyable show. It was definitely a show full of surprises.

At the start, Jim Smallman told us a friend wanted to say hello. Instantly-recognisable entrance music hit – belonging to William Regal, current WWE NXT General Manager and all round British wrestling legend. Anthony swore the loudest I’ve ever heard him swear; Regal is one of his absolute favourites. And there he was, Mr Regal, on the Progress entrance stage to say hello. – he and Jim know each other from the comedy/spoken-word circuit, Jim’s other job is as a stand-up comedian and he has opened Mr Regal’s shows when he toured the UK. Mr Regal then went to stand with the other friends and family of talent. He apparently was in the UK to watch lots of different British wrestling shows and take in the wrestlers and the skills they have. Very exciting and a moment I won’t soon forget.

The opening match, I was super interested in as it featured so many favourites. Dunne Brothers Pete and Damian vs Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven and Tyler Bate). Damian has become a good friend recently thanks to the time we spend messaging each other and I love watching all four wrestle, especially as tag team wrestling is my favourite of all wrestling. It was a good match, featuring Tyler getting isolated and beaten down. When Trent was eventually tagged in, here was the shocker – he turned and suddenly punched Tyler and then Pete kicked Damian somewhere very painful. Trent and Pete exited the ring to shake hands on the entrance stage – a new team? Seriously, a shock. They’ve always been opponents everywhere. And Moustache Mountain are a beloved and massively popular team around the UK and beyond, for Progress to choose to split them up is a really big leap of faith. If it’s not broke, why fix it? Progress always like to do things differently. Trent has never played the villain before anywhere so I’m pleased for him, he’s always a favourite and I want nothing but the best for him and this could be so interesting. I have no idea where it’s going and I like that. I’m assuming Pete and Trent will eventually challenge the Riots for the tag team titles, which would be very interesting.

The Riots themselves were in action, against American team War Machine, who are two huge bearded fellas. Understandably, it was a heavy-hitting match with some amazing power moves, though it weirdly ended with JD of the Riots rolling up one of War Machine, holding onto a handful of tights, very much a villain move. Personally, I don’t actually mind as just because the Riots are no longer villains doesn’t mean they’re good people. I appreciate the shades. Still Progress said on Twitter afterwards that they’d reviewed the end of the match so I assume there will be a rematch, likely in Manchester – the next Manchester show is less than two weeks away. I hope so as War Machine were thoroughly accepted and both said on Twitter how overwhelmed they were by the reception they got and how much they loved Progress, you’re welcome, lads : )

Zack Gibson vs Jack Gallagher was as awesome as the two of them always are together, having faced each other at SSS16 and a lot in other companies. Gibson did a new twist on his recent trend of giving the exact same speech prior to his matches by getting Jim to do it for him, then grabbing the mic, claiming Jim hadn’t done a good enough job and doing it all again himself. The boos were volcanic, overwhelming, I’ve not seen such a reaction in Progress for anyone else before. It’s amazing, especially as Progress fans like cheer the people we’re meant to boo, so it’s a really good job by Zack. Also Jack reacted brilliantly, going up the entrance stage, pantomiming along to Zack’s speech. The match was of course technically flawless and very amusing and Gallagher won this time which I assume means we’ll get a rubber match in September at Brixton, possibly a submissions match. I could watch them fight all day. Every wrestler has one or two opponents who bring out the absolute best in them and these two definitely do that for each other.

Mark Haskins faced a returning Will Ospreay for the number one contendership for the Progress Championship. Will got a huge ovation, returning for the first time since leaving to work in New Japan earlier this year where he’s become known worldwide, rightly so. Fans filled the ring with streamers as he stood with arms outstretched. It was another expected riveting match from the two of them, with Will showing slightly villainous tendencies. I think he’d make an interesting heel – arrogant from his new success perhaps. Could be awesome. Mark is so technically gifted and Will such a superb high flyer, they meshed incredibly well together and really did put on a terrific show. In the end, Mark was victorious and then gave an impassioned speech, detailing how he craves the Progress title and how he would have his title shot at Progress’s biggest ever show in September in Brixton. He deserves so much to be champion; I really hope his time has come.

The ridiculousness that was the Wasteman challenge happened again – ‘Bodyguy’ Roy Johnson challenged anyone in the back to a rap battle, in his own hilarious style. Roy has come on leaps and bounds, he’s so good on the mic and is a solid wrestler but he’s definitely an entertainer first and that’s okay. Speculation was rife beforehand about who would answer and everyone was surprised when everyone favourite pervert Jack Sexsmith appeared. Surprised, because he’s answered a Waste Man challenge before, on a Progress developmental show. But after first trying to sing Roy a love song – which Roy called off, not amused at being referred to as ‘chocolate bear’ while everyone else was in fits of laughter – Jack decided to drop some rhymes about the South Pacific Power Trio – TK Cooper and Dahlia Black and the recently debuting Travis Banks. Jack did some funny and very explicit rhymes about how both TK and Travis have both....enjoyed Dahlia (I’ll draw a veil there). This brought out an outraged Dahlia, who had to be held back by TK and Travis, leading to TK and Travis beating down Jack. Roy, having been told it wasn’t his beef, left the ring but came back when fans implored him not to abandon Jack. So it became a tag team match, the TK and Travis winning by cheating of course, their run of beating Jack continuing. It’s annoying sure, but it’s building to an eventual stupendous victory for Jack. I’m sure at Brixton it’ll be an intergender tag match involving Pollyanna too and I really hope Roy and Jack team together again as their chemistry was really wonderful and together they could be awesome and push each other up a level. It also gives Roy a continuous story to be involved in other than just doing his challenges now and then. Probably my favourite segment of the whole night.

And the main event – Pastor William Eaver defending his title against former champion Marty Scurll. It was a decent match; Eaver is clearly not yet ready for a sustained main event run, it was obvious how much smoother and more seasoned Marty is and Eaver was obviously tired by the end but it was a good spirited fight that everyone was absorbed by. Would the Pastor keep the title? Marty did all his usual villainous tricks but when the Pastor seemed like he might actually retain, a voice called his name over the PA system. No, the voice said, this isn’t God, but it’s pretty f***ing close. And out walked, unbelievably, Sebastian.

Let me explain, you may recall, in show reports past, me describing a tag team called the GZRs, daft silly lads called Tom Irwin and Sebastian, loved by the crowd, not for the wrestling but their antics. Well, they stopped working for Progress earlier this year because, it is strongly rumoured, at short notice they decided to work on a show for another company when they were booked on a Progress show. This is very bad business and understandably, it was believed, Progress decided not to use them again, a huge shame after the training that Progress had given them and how well-known they’d become via their work in Progress.

So, everyone assumed, we’d never see either of them again. But we didn’t think we’d see Nathan Cruz again either for similar reasons and he appeared to similar overwhelming shock last year. Was this all a grand secret scheme by Progress from the very beginning? A friend who knows these things claims not. Sebastian was clad in a tailored suit and spoke about a secret of the Pastor’s that he knows and will declare to the world, distracting Eaver and allowing Scurll to lock on the Chicken Wing submission and get the win and the title back, making Scurll the first ever two time Progress Champion. Kudos to him.

The Ballroom was just full of shock at Sebastian’s reappearance. I honestly thought he’d retired – his tag team partner Tom has – so to see him come out like that, full of a very different kind of swagger, was wow, a brilliant move. A feud between him and Eaver would be very interesting, as long as the Pastor’s secret isn’t anything distasteful (there were several folk in the crowd shouting about, well, the issues that clergy have had with the law over the past few years, shall we say). I’m taken aback and very interested in what will happen next. Eaver was never suited to a long run as champion – his current skill level just isn’t up to it and they need a strong champion for the big Brixton show, a strong Villain for Mark Haskins to square off against.

Sadly, none of the wrestlers worked behind the merch table this time. I had a chat with Helena, wife of Jon one of the company co-owners, she’s always behind the merch table bless her. She was in good spirits and we chatted about the Progress women’s fit t-shirts on an American website that I’ve been buying. I also chatted to Kate Lomax, the fab artist who painted the oil painting of Tommy End that we won in May. She was there selling her stuff for the first time and was pleased to meet us in person after chatting to us via Twitter before. Later, she said she sold a few paintings that night and hopes to do it again. If you’ve ever seen Fergal Devitt (currently Finn Balor in WWE), she did his body paint for UK independent shows before he went to WWE.

I also had a quick chat with Damian Dunne. It was our first time chatting in person, we chat almost daily via messenger. As he’s quite shy, he doesn’t tend to come out before the shows to mingle with fans but he popped out for a hug and hello with me and to say hi to Anthony. I worried it might be awkward as we’re both bad at the whole social interaction thing but it wasn’t; it was lovely. He’s always admirably open with me when we chat online, about how hard he finds some aspects of being a wrestler etc, and I’ve really valued his friendship. I only want the best for him and really hope his career continues to grow. He absolutely deserves it.

I got to see my usual girls, getting hugs and lots of chat. S was full of her usual exuberant stories about who she’d met recently – she knows basically everyone in British wrestling and is viewed largely as an adorable little sister by them all – and B had stories of his wrestling training. V and I commiserated about our matching social anxieties and feelings of inadequacy. I got to meet N for the first time in person, sadly only a quick chat as her friend came over to announce how drunk she was so that was that conversation over lol. I really do miss them all between shows.

I also baked biscuits – birthday cake biscuit from my new baking book – and handed foil-wrapped numbers to Damian, RJ (one of the commentators), and to Jon Briley one of the co-owners, who works absolutely tirelessly. The other two co-owners all say that he does most of the work and I love his humour and attitude. The biscuits were full of sprinkles, sandwiching butter frosting, and so turned out so sweet but were an excellent sugar boost mid-show for us, we always tend to flag then. The recipe called for twice as much dough to be used per biscuit but that produced huge sandwich cookies so I cut the amount down and got much more familiar-looking sizes. We have some big cookies left over to eat this week : )

There has been massive news from Progress since the show. The 2017 show dates are now available and Super Strong Style 16 next year will be three days, not two. Sadly we will definitely miss day 1 – the Saturday – as Anthony’s stepsister is marrying that day *sigh*. So we shall redouble our efforts to make days 2 and day 3. Anthony is so cross about it all – SSS16 is the biggest event of the year for Progress - but we shall deal – there are some things you cannot wriggle out of and that kind of occasion is one of them. This is also not the kind of thing I can complain about on Facebook because the bride-to-be is friends with me there, as is most of Anthony’s family and yes, some fights I will not start. Hopefully we should make all other London shows. They will continue to do shows in Manchester every other month, except for two months when they will do shows in Birmingham instead. As one falls close to my birthday I might try to make a long weekend of that one. So that’s three different cities they will be doing shows in next year, I am so proud of them, of their growth and awesomeness. That’s what matters, not how many shows I can or cannot make. Anthony and I plan on getting London season tickets again, of course ;)

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