If anyone knows anything about British sitcoms, even the slightest glimpse, then they are guaranteed to know about Fawlty Towers
– the show about a terrible hotel. It’s incredibly funny and brutal, written by John Cleese and his then-wife Connie Booth, and was only one short series long and as such, has never faded into diminishing returns. It’s always stayed bright and vivid in people’s minds, as something never bettered.
One of the four regulars was Andrew Sachs, as hapless Spaniard Manuel. Many of the laughs come from Manuel not being able to grasp what he is being told, answering much with a quizzical gormless ‘que?’ John Cleese, as the raging Basil Fawlty, was very violent in the role, particularly towards Sachs, thumping him and picking him up and dropping him. My clear memory of an episode is when Basil is trying to get Manuel to clean the windows and Manuel can’t understand the instructions so Basil picks him up, carries him bodily into the dining room full of shocked guests, puts him down beside the windows and grabbing Manuel’s hand with the cloth in it, physically showing him he means Manuel needs to clean the windows.
While Manuel is clearly frustrating for his boss, Sachs gives him an endearing quality and a likeability that audiences can’t help but love. It’s this role that Sachs will be remembered for, now that he has passed away. It burns bright in everyone’s mind when thinking of Sachs’ work, though of course he did more. Sitcoms, more than anything else, tend to pause someone in the public’s mind, keeping them in that image forever, thanks to how popular they are, how much that role is loved. A blessing and a curse.
I remember him in a kids TV show, about pirates living in a suburban street, as one of the ‘normal’ neighbours, long-suffering husband to a snob. I vaguely remember a learning kids TV show, the sort they’d show on weekdays for kids too young for school, something about him having magic powers. I can’t for the life of me remember what it was. I know he did a great deal of theatre and radio work – most recently he was part of the cast of the audio play version of Neverwhere
by Neil Gaiman, which I still want to listen to. I know he took part in two Doctor Who
I was never a huge Fawlty Towers
fan; my mum and brother are though. That kind of humour just doesn’t appeal to me or my Dad, the unpleasantness and the unhappiness. But there were moments I enjoyed and that I remember today with much laughter. And I always felt sorry for Manuel, being at the mercy of the impatient violent Basil, so desperate to social climb, so completely unable to. I felt sorry for Sachs too, being smacked about with so much gusto! I know he was enormously talented. RIP.
: The Whole BottleFandom: Lucha UndergroundCharacters:
Jeremiah Crane/Ivelisse VelezRating:
: I own nothing.Summary:
Jeremiah Crane hadn't been looking for a girl, he'd been looking for a fight. So had Ivelisse. They both find one and each other.Author Note
: Written before the Jeremiah & Catrina scene in episode 3x13. So I guess this might be AU now.
Read it here
I am not an enormous fan of Joss Whedon. I enjoy a lot of what he does but his opinions on religion and God and also some of the happenings in his TV shows and films have definitely put me off the older I’ve gotten. I own the short-lived series Firefly on DVD, I was introduced to it by a friend who showed me episodes when I went visiting folk who were still part of the university I’d recently graduated from. I was hooked by the space-Western style and by the characters.
I was very intrigued by Shepherd Book.
Ron Glass, the man who brought him to complex life has died. It was a fascinating character, someone who’d lived a dark life before (that we don’t get many details of) and who now looked to live a life of faith and sacrifice. Someone with a sense of humour and not afraid to live differently to the rest of the crew, to stand up for what he believed in. He was strong in a physical sense but with a wonderful twinkle too and a warmth and a love that made me want to hug him and thank him. Positive representations of faith, a faith that struggled sometimes yes but still a strong loving positive faith, are not easy to find.
I think most people remember the moment in ‘Safe’ where River tried to ‘fix’ the Shepherd’s Bible, rewriting stuff and crossing bits out because it doesn’t make sense to her ultra enhanced logical brain. But the Shepherd points out that you don’t fix the Bible, it fixes you. Later in the same episode, River is terrified by the sight of the Shepherd with his long white hair unbound, standing up crazily, like a halo, like a scary wild man. It’s a very humorous scene, especially when Shepherd and Zoe try to subsequently persuade River out of hiding. I also love the scene in the pilot where Inara, a Companion, a geisha-like profession held in great esteem but one that the Captain degrades as w, talks to the Shepherd who visits her shuttle. Inara is sure he’s there to tell her of the wickedness of her ways but he’s there simple to offer her food as she was missing at dinner and not to judge her.
I only saw Ron Glass in one other show – Agents of SHIELD, another Whedon project. But I know he had a long and impressive career and that he was particularly known for starring as one of the detectives in police procedural Barney Miller (1975 – 1982). I know he was loved by the people that worked with him. I know I am grateful for Shepherd Book.
I went into November's PROGRESS show with an absolutely streaming cold, my nose running like a tap, passed onto me by my husband. But I refused to let that prevent me from attending the show lol. We stopped off into Boots at Waterloo station and got some cold & flu pills and a lot of balsam tissues. My poor nose was rosy and so very painful by the end of the day.
Our lovely friend C wasn’t with us for this show – work had nabbed him. In fact we won’t see him at a PROGRESS show until January now. In the queue, we got chatting to a couple of guys behind us; for one of them it was his first Camden show, having only been to Manchester shows before. They were in good spirits and we had fun chatting with them about all things PROGRESS and indeed wrestling as we ate lunch. Once the doors opened, the queue moved quickly, a real Godsend. But once inside coowner Jon made it clear that people were still sitting in the wrong seats – most likely on purpose because they want a better seat than they paid for – and that the new system is in danger of reverting to the old one. Oh dear. I do hope it doesn’t!! I like the quick way we now get into the building, especially in the cold weather.
It was a very different show to normal as the winners of each match – except the women’s match – would all compete in the main event, to crown a new champion, as Mark Haskins had to relinquish the belt due to his injuries. So every match was high stakes. They started with a bang as FSU (Mark Andrews & Eddie Dennis) took on the South Pacific Power Trip (TK Cooper & Travis Banks) for the number one contenders slot for the tag team titles. It would have been the Hunter Brothers but one of them is seriously injured so FSU replaced them. Get well soon, Jim! This was a match filled was great moments – like Dahlia Black being powerbombed over the top ropes and onto Banks and Cooper on the outside. With the exception of Cooper, the others all work together quite regularly elsewhere so they know how to make each other look great. The aspect that really stood out was Travis Banks’ ear bleeding profusely – it’d gotten mangled badly in a match the previous day. He had it bandaged from the start of the match but the blood ended up soaking his neck and shoulder! It really was disturbing.
The other tag team match that night was British Strong Style (Pete Dunne & Trent Seven) defending the tag team titles against former champions the London Riots (James Davis & Rob Lynch). Lynch had a face guard on, due to the severe cheek fracture he suffered in September. It was another tough blunt match from these four, who really do make me wince, including a spot where they all chopped a ring post when someone else ducked and all four ended up the hand of someone else – biting people has been Pete’s schtick for a while. The crowd really love getting under Pete’s skin by chanting ‘Peter’ at him, he reacts brilliantly, looking furious and stepping out of the ring to confront fans. There’s so much delighted hate for him, which is exactly what a villainous character needs. I still hate booing for Trent as I adore him so much but he’s great in a villainous role that he plays nowhere else. The Riots sadly lost again but it was wonderful to have them back in the Ballroom. Some say they’ve growna bit stale and need to refresh their act. It would be as good a time as any. They’re still Progress’ number one tag team, I have faith they can reinvent themselves and remain relevant. Frankly, I love them either way because their passion is always clear and they always give everything.
The mighty Joe Coffey was in action against Pastor William Eaver, accompanied by Sebastian. It was a good little match; always wonderful to have Coffey in action in Camden and it’s good Eaver’s getting the chance to wrestle someone so enormously good. I was interested to see where they’re going with the ‘Sebastian owns Eaver’ storyline. Thankfully it doesn’t seem like they’re going to go the route of ‘Sebastian choosing what Eaver wears and says’ which would have been unenjoyable, the sort of thing WWE would do. Yes, it’s the most sports entertainment angle in PROGRESS right now but it’s working so far. Eaver cheated to win, by using Coffey’s trunks for leverage in the pin, which neither ma was happy about. It became clear why it’d happened after - Sebastian announced that he would be in the main event not Eaver, which the crowd hated. Mission accomplished lol. He’s so good at getting everyone to boo him, yes that is a talent in this business lol.
In women’s action we had the undeniably wonderful Nixon Newell against debuting Katey Harvey, an Irish wrestler who works in a tag team with Pollyanna elsewhere. Part of her outfit was just one sleeve which was silver and caused many chants from the crowd, comparing her to the Winter Soldier for example. Harvey is a good solid wrestler for sure and Nixon continues to be an inspired delight, leading the crowd in singing her bouncy entrance theme – ‘C’est La Vie’ – and being so good in the ring, smooth and believable and tough while still being immensely likeable without being sexualised at all. She’s like a British Bayley in a way, only not skewing so young. I’m really hoping she gets to the finals of this Women’s Championship tournament because any time we get more Nixon is a really good time.
We had a big debut –Matt Riddle. A former UFC fighter, Riddle has become a big star in American company Evolve (which has very close ties with WWE) due to his great mat skills and undeniable charisma. He’s the most chilled out sweet dude and wow, has only been training in wrestling for 2 years. He’s going to go to WWE; no doubt, he’s going to be amazing there. He faced our very own Will Ospreay, still chasing the PROGRESS win that’s eluded him since his return this year. It was an amazing idea – two of the hottest most-talked-about talents in the world right now, in a PROGRESS ring, facing each other for the very first time anywhere. Riddle was as fantastic as advertised – Anthony’s been a fan for a while – and played brilliantly off Ospreay. Both came out of it looking top drawer. Riddle’s star power is off the charts, he’s so smiley and happy (he was let go by UFC for his pot smoking and yes, that vibe completely comes across lol) and so delighted to be wrestling and loved all the chants from the crowd. Ospreay lost again and appeared frustrated but still shook Riddle’s hand. Match of the Night for sure.
Jimmy Havoc vs Marty Scurll. Jimmy got a standing ovation again. To be there in the Ballroom, getting goosebumps and applauding and thinking so hard ‘you DESERVE this’, it’s one of my favourite things ever, singing along to ‘I Hope You Suffer’. The love for Jimmy is off the charts and the two of them are gold together in the ring. Vicious and uncompromising and believably furious. This was the match I was really looking forward to and it didn’t disappoint. They’ve known each other for years and it really showed, the crowd loved every beat of it. Once again, it showed that if a company wants most of a crowd to actually boo Marty, put him in the ring with Jimmy. The match started with an aping of the recent WWE shocking Goldberg victory over Lesnar (two Spears and a finisher) which the crowd just loved and I was thrilled to see Jimmy win – by pretending Marty had hit him with an umbrella (a la Eddie Guerrero) and getting Marty disqualified. It was one of the most glorious moments and made me incredibly happy. A most unexpected and wonderful match ending.
The main event had a lot of time to breathe and boy did it work –a seven man elimination match. Marty attacked Jimmy before he got to the ring though, taking Jimmy out of the match for quite a while. There was also a brilliant moment where Sebastian was talking to all the other villains in the match and trying to get them to follow his lead, instead they all exited the ring and left him there alone with Matt Riddle. Wonderful. I was quite afraid Sebastian would win – he is booed most loudly of anyone right now and understandably as he’s brilliant in his role so would make a truly detested champ which is always a good idea as people will pay to see him lose – but thankfully he was eliminated after Jack Sexsmith attacked him during the match and Jimmy finished him off. This led to a wonderful little moment where Jack sauntered off; stopping to nod at Pastor William Eaver who was at ringside to reluctantly support Sebastian and the Pastor swatted him firmly and thankfully on the arse in thanks. Marvellous. I hope this leads to a Jack vs Sebastian rivalry; I assume Jack interfered as he’s a fellow ProJo trainee like both Eaver and Sebastian and doesn’t want to see Eaver abused and humiliated in such a way. It’ll be interesting to find out.
The match was very well put together – the more competitors in the ring at the same time, the more complicated it gets. There was another wonderful moment where the crowd started singing for Riddle – using the chorus of the song ‘Gold’ by Spandau Ballet, only replacing the world ‘gold’ with ‘bro’. It’s the word Riddle is most associated with, using it all the time, even his merchandise sports it. Now, he didn’t really get that we were singing for him to start off with, he wouldn’t know the song for a start, so one of the villains in the ring had to subtly signal it was all for him. The adorable dawning delight on Riddle’s face as he got it and started dancing along was really something to behold. Oh yes, he’s one of us now : )
It ended up, after eliminations, being down to Jimmy Havoc vs Pete Dunne with Trent Seven still at ringside. And here’s where things got swervy. Tyler Bate – Trent’s former tag team partner that he turned on to tag with Pete in PROGRESS – ran down to the ring, tearing off his shirt, ready to take on both Pete and Trent who were cowering in the corner. Everyone was cheering, loving the surprise appearance. Then Anthony whispered to me urgently ‘Tyler’s going to turn’. And he did, he turned and punched Jimmy! He’s become a villain! Joining British Strong Style and shortly after Pete pinned Jimmy to become the new PROGRESS Champion. It’s very much deserved – this year has been a breakout year for him and he’s incredibly good at the Bruiserweight character.
I’m thrilled for him but horrified that Tyler has gone dark side. He very very rarely plays the villain and while yes, I’m pleased Trent and Tyler are back together in PROGRESS (they still tag together everywhere else) I hate that I have to boo them both now! As Anthony says, PROGRESS are breaking my heart. He guessed Tyler was turning by the way from the way Tyler was positioned in the ring, a demonstration of just how much wrestling the two of us watch lol. Jimmy magnificently played the underdog this match, in a different way than he ever has before in PROGRESS, like back when he was the lovable loser and then the monster champion who was outmatched without his army or vicious cheating. He’s an absolute fan favourite now but he’s not pandering to the crowd. He acknowledges them when he stumbles his way to the entrance ramp post match, thrusting his fists in the air but that’s it really. He’s still a monster in the ring but he’s our monster. And man, does that feel amazing.
I think Pete will be a terrific champion; he’s booed very loudly, the crowd love to taunt him, and PROGRESS have obviously brought Tyler into the group so that he can take over as tag team champion with Trent while Pete concentrates on the PROGRESS title. These three are rising stars on the UK scene and around the world too and I cannot wait to see what they do next in PROGRESS. Of course I’m especially pleased for Trent. And should Mark Haskins return to wrestling, to PROGRESS, Pete is the perfect opponent for him to face for the title he never actually lost.
I didn’t chat to many wrestlers as I was so full of cold I didn’t want to infect them. It’s a shame as Matt Riddle was there with his merch, as all imports are lol, and Anthony said hi to him and chatted for a bit. We also chatted to Mark Andrews who sounded really rough; clearly he was having health (or hangover lol) problems. It’s a real shame that we don’t get to chat to folk like Travis or Trent at PROGRESS – as they’re particularly despicable villains, their merch is on the table but not sold by them. Interestingly, for the first time since he turned full nasty villain, Marty Scurll was behind the table selling stuff. Also Will Ospreay was there and now charges £5 for anyone wanting a photo taken with him using their phone. He’s a big enough worldwide star for that to make sense sadly. I also got to meet the boyfriend of a friend of mine, who was lovely which is great as she really deserves a good one. She sits front row; her chair got destroyed three times that night thanks to wrestlers leaping out of the ring to the outside. One of the company coowners told her she’s not allowed to sit front row anymore lol but she’s already bought a front row season ticket for next year : D
So for the next show, I hope for no colds! That show, late in December post-Christmas, is also a complete mystery show – no wrestlers or matches are being announced beforehand. So we’ll have no idea who or what we’ll be seeing. I expect things will be on the ridiculous side seeing as it’s so close to Christmas but I also expect very good entertaining matches. Someone suggested that we should see at some point Jimmy & the Riots vs British Strong Style. That’d be amazing, Regression reunited as fan favourites and no doubt it’d be a hard-hitter and utterly enthralling. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
A bit behind with my wrestling reports! Last week, we were thrilled to go to London to see Revolution Pro-Wrestling – a company we’ve only watched before in Portsmouth. Their London shows always sound much more our style but we’ve not been able to make them before due to timings etc. Every year they do a couple of Global Wars shows, which feature a lot of talent from New Japan Pro Wrestling. RevPro is the only company New Japan works with so it’s the only way to see the talent from that company perform in the UK. I was very keen to get Anthony to a Global Wars show as he’s a huge New Japan fan, though he’s not keen on RevPro’s storytelling and way of booking matches ie who wins and loses at their shows.
We spent a chunk of the day with Anthony’s Dad, meeting him in London for lunch at the Maple Leaf pub which unsurprisingly is Canadian in all ways – I had amazingly tasty poutine – and spent time at the National Gallery, where we looked at the paintings we really wanted to see rather than trying to see everything there because wow, there’s really a lot! I was so excited to see Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, you can see the thickness of the paint and the brushstrokes it’s amazing. I am so moved by the impressionists rather than anything hyper-realistic. That room was my favourite for sure. Later, Anthony and I had a lot of fun at the V&A Museum which currently has an exhibition all about childhood games. We got to play lots of them and learn even more about their origins, it was such a delightful experience. V&A always has such interesting exhibitions. I especially loved the paintings interpreting fairytales, loved how they reminded me of the darkness of those stories and the interesting ways the artist had interpreted them.
So the show. The biggest problem was security; it took ages to get into the venue – York Hall, which is a very famous boxing venue. First they patted you down, then they very thoroughly searched bags. Some people got patted down more than once! Apparently it’s the new rules for the venue because of problems they’ve recently had. Okay for some events I can understand but not RevPro. There were some drunk lads yes but families too and really, no one was gonna pitch anything in the ring or start something. It just wasn’t that kind of crowd. I think RevPro were annoyed about it too as the owner who does the announcing did not sound pleased on the microphone when he explained the show would start later due to new security measures they hadn’t been told about.
Anyway the show itself was truly great. It really showed us what RevPro can do when they’re not so concerned with trying to appeal to everyone ie their family-friendly shows that are a real hodge-podge. It was utterly thrilling to be there in person and see a legend like Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger wrestle. He’s been wrestling for decades and is now in his fifties, still wearing the wonderful colourful bodysuit and mask and delighting crowds the world over. He was the one Anthony was absolutely thrilled to be seeing live and it was so surreal to see him there, taking on Marty Scurll in a funny and great match. It was great seeing Marty do his lovable villain character compared to the darker nastier version he is in Progress and how well Liger worked with him. What a milestone for Marty, getting to face someone that legendary and to win.
Trent Seven and Tyler Bate were there and working with David Starr to take on three Japanese wrestlers from a villainous stable, including Naito, the big villain who is a very Western-style character, arrogant and so charismatic. I was astonished by how good he was – on screen I’d not been that impressed with him. But wow, yes, his character work and in-ring ability is top stuff. He may well do very well in America if he ever decides to work there. Also he’s so young, you don’t realise until you see him in person. One of his teammates was a character called Evil – yes, really – who enters in a hooded black cloak and who wears laser pointers on his fingers so that when he makes a clawed hand gesture during his entrance, he flashes green light from his fingers. It’s pretty much hilarious in its awfulness.
It was a very entertaining match where everyone got the chance to shine – I was much more impressed by Sanada than when he was with TNA in America, now he wore a skull mask to the ring and looks much more solid, intimidating and impressive. It was a delight as always to cheer on Trent. We got a brief chat with him in the intermission – the merchandise table was completely rammed with fans so he was the only one we got to talk to. He gave us hugs and talked about what a mad time he was having, facing the New Japan chaps in this blockbuster year he’s had. Ah we’re so proud of him.
My match of the night was Chris Hero versus Ishii. Hero is having one of the best years ever for an independent wrestler, knocking out terrific matches everywhere with all kinds of wrestlers, the sign of someone truly special. This was no different, especially as he was facing one of pro-wrestling’s toughest. Ishii’s nickname is ‘The Stone Pitbull’ and it’s with very good reason. He hits hard and appears to have no neck, seriously one of the most intimidating guys in pro-wrestling because you just know he’s be able to more than take care of himself in real life. It was a match that had stacks of building astonishing moments and wow what insane chemistry. It really was something wincingly brilliantly to witness. Brutal and brilliant.
Also the main event, unsurprisingly, was terrific - Zack Sabre Jr defending the RevPro British Heavyweight Title against Shibata. Now Shibata was the New Japan star I was most looking forward to seeing. He’s very handsome and has a very stripped-down gimmick – he just wears black trunks, is always serious and focused and his nickname is simply ‘The Wrestler’. Yup. As someone said, he looks like if he wore a suit he could very feasibly look like a member of the Japanese mafia. He just eminates danger. He’s an incredibly striker and unsurprisingly had an amazing match with Sabre Jr who is the best technical wrestler in the world today. They’d faced each other for RevPro earlier in the year so it was great we got to be there for their second ever meeting. It didn’t disappoint in the slightest; terrific technical sequences and striking face-offs that really did seem painful. These two need to face each other more often. I’d watch it for sure.
As soon as the bell rang for the end of the main event, we headed for the exit and ran up the road to the nearest tube station, as there was a limited amount of trains heading our way home once it was past 10.30pm. Amazingly we got all the way back to Waterloo and had time to grab a baguette before getting on the train, which was also going all the way to the little local station we like to use that’s a short walk from our house. The only downside was the pretty drunk group in our carriage who kept singing! Ah well, the dangers of getting a train later at night lol. Still, we didn’t think we’d make that train before the show so we were very pleased. If possible, we’ll definitely take in a Global Wars show next year in York Hall as it was quite the experience to see some amazing Japanese wrestlers (I’ve only covered highlights, there were a lot more matches) and to see them mix it up with some wonderful British talent. Another reminder of just how much I love pro-wrestling :)
- Tags:family, the hubby
- Music:Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home) - Paul Young
: Your TurnFandom: The HobbitCharacters:
Fili/Sigrid, Kili/Tauriel, Bard, Dis, Tilda, Bain, BalinRating
I own nothing.Summary:
After several letters and the idea raised of a betrothal, Fili and Sigrid finally meet for the first time since before the battle. Sigrid has questions and Fili has quiet hopes. It's a good match.Author Note:
Sequel to Yours In Friendship
Read it here
This past weekend it was time to try out another new recipe, this time for lemon crumb squares. This meant making a crumbly biscuit base which would also be the topping and a lemon filling. It actually wasn’t too complicated to make and I had a great baking tray to use for it which made everything easier – a great tray for tray bakes. The filling is tart but not sour and works wonderfully with the sugary biscuit base and is once again a sweet dessert that isn’t sickly at all. I cut it up into small finger-food squares for church, where it was gobbled up. I get such satisfaction out of baking and a real feeling of help emotionally, for church and for wrestling shows, and really want to do more of it but there’s never enough time so I will have to pace myself!
We also suffered a power cut on Saturday night. We’ve had a couple already this year and ever since I’ve kept the number for our power company in my work handbag, in a place I’ll always be able to find. So I called them up and let them know – they said there’d been no other calls yet and there needed to be more for it to be treated as a problem in anywhere other than our flat, ie the engineer wouldn’t be sent out for a few hours yet as it seemed like a comparatively small problem. I could hear other flat residents just downstairs talking loudly so I nipped out to chat to them; yes their power had been cut too so I got them to call the power company as well. I felt very alone in the pitch black and read by the light of my penlight torch after sticking towels around the base of the fridge freezer. The power came on again eventually when Anthony and I went to bed but we both had trouble sleeping, both tense and worried about the situation, and sure enough at 2am, both of us awake, we noted the power had gone off. Anthony called the company this time – an engineer had fixed the problem earlier so the call was closed as far as they were concerned. They sent another engineer out and by the time we woke up on Sunday, the power was back on.
Our power company is actually very good – their phone operators are always personable, never feels like they’re reading lines off a prompt and they actually sound interested. And they always explain things and do get stuff sorted. I hate having power cuts; makes me feel so helpless and worried and completely alone as suddenly all contact is rather impossible in a way that really upsets me as I don’t know when it’ll end and I always worry about the freezer defrosting. The power problem previously was a hairline fault in a cable which couldn’t be found when the power was actually on so if new fuses wouldn’t hold, they said they’d have to keep the power off in order to find the fault which could take hours. In the meantime, they’d tell our local depot that the problem needed to be located which while the power was on would take some time. Apparently this is the problem they're still trying to fix and they've got a special fuse in now that will switch the power back on if a cut happens again as they continue trying to sort out the problem. I worry about it.
The second of the wrestling events I went to at the end of last month was our usual monthly Progress Wrestling show. It was getting cold weather-wise and I ended up sitting down on the cold pavement during the queuing as my legs were so sore but once the doors opened, we were gotten in quickly – season ticket holders just had to show their season tickets and were then waved through, rather than their names laboriously found on a list and ticked off. That only left those who had printed a ticket for the show to get the barcode scanned. Everything was happening an hour later too for some reason – doors opened at 3pm for a 5pm show start. Not sure why. The clocks had just gone back so maybe that was why? I assume the security team (who are an independent company hired by the venue) didn’t want to lose an hour.
I’m so happy we got to see The Hunter Brothers wrestle again – the first time they wrestled for Progress in over a year – and we got to see the New Nation (Alexander Hendry & The Primate) debut for Progress against them. First negative – part of Primate’s entrance is him spitting out water, from the entrance ramp. The crowd are stacked right up against the entrance ramp and he really spits the water far, we all got covered in it and found out fairly rapidly that the water was coloured red. Thankfully it easily washed out! Unusual way to start the show with two non-regular teams for Progress but they put on a great busy match, clearly eager to impress. I can’t get over how Alexander Henry launched himself from the top turnbuckle in a twisting crossbody to the floor – he’s not a small lad at all! Hopefully we’ll have both teams back in Progress soon as we need more tag teams and both are great fits for the company.
Women’s action saw forever enemies Pollyanna and Jinny clash in the first round tournament match to crown the first ever Progress Women’s Champion. They were super aggressive and really did throw a lot of power moves at each other; startling and impressing everyone there until Jinny snuck a rollup victory. It felt sort of rocky to start with but eventually reached a really impressive peak. There were some rather drunk idiots chanting stupid things during this match; I wasn’t close enough to hear them but heard about it afterwards. Thankfully they were amusing no one but themselves. Many were surprised that the first round match was Pollyanna vs Jinny as it was assumed they’d likely be the finals – the two originals who the Progress women’s division was built around. This does open things up. And very exciting it is too!
Atlas Champion Rampage Brown put out an open challenge for his title which was answered by German wrestler Bad Bones which was a big surprise. He’s a big lad who can move quick, able to throw himself through the ropes to the outside for example. It was his Progress debut and everyone was very impressed as he got a ‘please come back’ chant from the crowd. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy his work so much but I did. The big lads matches are still a real highlight of Progress shows and I can’t wait to see who else enters Progress to challenge for the Atlas belt. Definitely hope we get Bad Bones back again, would love to see more of his work.
I was super excited that we got Matt Cross back in Progress – he debuted for us in May this year – and that he was facing Mark Andrews so it was two of the world’s best high-flyers facing off for a title shot in Smash Wrestling in Canada who they are both regulars for. They really didn’t disappoint. They had terrific in-ring chemistry and were so fluid together, hitting amazing high spots and gasp-worthy moments, all building to a great finish. It was a fantastically-put-together match, not just a highlight reel. We all hoped they’d be amazing together and they were.
Tables match! The aim being for both members of a team to be put through a table in order to win. South Pacific Power Trip vs the Shirtlifters. There is a real well-paced rivalry here that’s added nice dimensions to Jack Sexsmith (he’s a total equal opportunity pervert but will not stand for girls getting punched in the face by TK Cooper who is helping out his girlfriend Dahlia Black). We assumed the Shirtlifters would finally win against the Power Trip but it wasn’t to be surprisingly. There were great table spots – first one was Dahlia Black, accidentally knocked from the ring apron by her other half, sending her flying off and crashing through a table set up on the outside. All the credit in the world to Dahlia; what a nasty-looking bump to take, tough girl! Only one table was a problem; Roy Johnson had to be tackled through it several times before it smashed. A great storytelling match which made everyone look good. Also once the Power Trip staggered away victorious, the Ballroom gave Johnson and Sexsmith a standing ovation. Richly deserved, these two have proved they’re more than just hugely entertaining characters – they can work hard and well in the ring and be serious when needed.
Paul Robinson back in the Ballroom is always a treat – firstly because he has one of the best entrance themes (‘Let ‘Em Come’ by Scroobius Pip, who is often present in the Ballroom to watch shows as he’s a massive wrestling fan) and secondly because few are as good at being nasty as Robinson. He’s someone who actually gets entirely booed, rare in Progress. His match with Pastor William Eaver was a good little encounter that Robinson won with a Curb Stomp. What was really interesting was what happened after – Sebastian appeared, in a neck brace. For those of you keeping count, he was legitimately injured at Brixton last month at the very start of his match with Eaver, calling the match to a halt. Sebastian claimed his solicitor says he’s got a good case against Eaver but instead Sebastian is gonna own Eaver now, unless Eaver wants to see him in court. It was another great unpleasant arrogant promo from Sebastian who absolutely gets the crowd hating him (in a very different way to Robinson). It’s the most WWE-style story Progress are doing right now and it’ll be interesting to see where they take it, especially as both talents involved are early on in their careers.
Ah the main event. Mark Haskins vs Marty Scurll vs Jimmy Havoc for the Progress title. The most exciting thing was Jimmy entering to a huge ovation, a standing one. His first time in Ballroom for over a year. He’s never been a hero in the Ballroom, it must have felt wonderful to enter to that, to know how loved he is. He’s a monster but he’s our monster. He still came out to the same music, wearing the same gear. He’s still Jimmy Havoc; he’s just focused in a different way now. The most fascinating thing for me was watching him get in the ring and square up to Jim Smallman – his long-time enemy – and then respectfully nod. Apparently Jim said to him ‘welcome home.’ The match itself was really intense, all three intent on proving themselves the best and of course Marty and Jimmy were also intent on destroying each other. There were great moments like Jimmy setting up a bunch of chairs on the floor and then being sent sprawling off the ring apron onto them and seeing Jimmy subtly encourage the crowd to cheer more was just wonderful.
It was a tough match, no frills, that ultimately Haskins won by locking Marty in an excruciating-looking Sharpshooter. Then, the real intrigue. Jim Smallman was doing his usual post-show wrap-up when Haskins reappeared. He got in the ring, holding the belt with great emotion, kissed it and left it in the ring, exiting up the ramp to backstage. Glen left his commentary position, Jim grabbed the belt and ran after Haskins, both clearly desperate for answers, leaving remaining company coowner Jon to disperse the crowd. The next day, everything was heartbreakingly revealed. Haskins has to take time off to heal serious neck issues – some days he wakes up unable to feel his fingers. His doctor has told him not to wrestle again. I’m sure if he can find a way to come back, he will though. Wrestling is incredibly difficult to walk away from; it gets into your blood.
I’m utterly heartbroken for Mark. He’s worked so hard for ten years to get where he is today in the industry. He’s finally getting so much tremendous recognition all over the UK (he held five championship belts from five different companies at the time of this show) and starting to get some abroad too. This, and his family, is his life. And it might have been taken away from him. Please keep him and his family in your thoughts.
Outside of the great wrestling, I got to chat to both Mark Andrews and Matt Cross who were at the merch table before the show. Cross said hi and offered an ‘awkward over the table hug’ which made me lol and squee internally, because apparently he recognised me from before. We chatted to him for a while in May as we’re big fans of his work on Lucha Underground and say hi on Twitter now and then. It was lovely to be recognised. He loves wrestling for Progress and that was super awesome to hear. Can’t wait to see him again at a show. Mark was his usual lovely self, chatting, giving me a hug and shaking Anthony’s hand. We told him we’d hopefully see him for an Attack show in December which he was pleased to hear. I was extremely happy to see all my friends, catch up on all the news and just spend time with people I just love the company of. It makes me so happy. I especially enjoyed my hug with R who had told me before he really needed one so we shared a big long hug that he thanked me for afterwards on social media. He and another fan in a wheelchair were dressed as Mario and Luigi (this show was the day before Halloween so there were a few costumes in the crowd) though sadly there was no race around the ring during the interval :D
This one hurts.
I loved Robert Vaughn in so much of his work. I think I first saw him in BBC TV series Hustle
(2004 - 2012), as con man and elder statesman Albert Stroller, which he played with wonderful utter confidence. I totally believed he had been a con man his whole life; living off his own confidence. He absolutely seemed to enjoy his work which was infectous for sure.
I remembered watching The Magnificent Seven
with my brother and being so transfixed by it. Of course we were mostly loving Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen, who spend the whole film trying to outdo each other lol, but I remember Vaughn.
The two main TV series I hold him in my heart for are The Man from UNCLE
and Kung Fu: The Legend Continues. UNCLE
I don't think needs any explanation but he was the wonderful Napoleon Solo, America's version of James Bond on the TV, framed through the Sixties vision of spy-dom. He was so good in that role, debonair, charming but also ruthless in his work and brilliantly partnered by David McCallum as Ilya Kuryakin, his cool Russian counterpart, a time when America and Russian were at international loggerheads to put it mildly. I've always been more of a girl for The Avengers
and for Mission: Impossible
but I do love UNCLE
too. I adore vintage TV, it means more to me than anything modern day, and UNCLE
, and Vaughn, have always warmed my heart. It's a series of its time but that makes it all the more enjoyable, for the escapism and the breathless fun.
I'm aware I am one of the few who loves TV series Kung Fu: The Legend Continues,
a Ninties stew of police procedural and family drama, overlaid with Buddhist teachings. But love it I do. And once again I find myself talking about the two 'Dragonswing' episodes which both star Vaughn as Rykker, a powerful but jaded mercenery who finds himself working with the good guys because he owes the main character for a past debt. I love his assuredness - his first line to Peter in the second episode 'your father's been kidnapped. We'll have to do something about that; it's been disturbing my sleep', how he casually asks Peter to move a little so that he can shoot the armed man hiding a little way off behind Peter, how it's always clear through Vaughn's body language and facial expressions just how dangerous Rykker is (he's definitely no hero) and brings gravitas and believibility to the B-movie style dialogue, and how despite his age, his skills are never once in question. In fact, age isn't even mentioned.
His political activism is to be admired - he has an FBI file of over 140 pages - and I remember being really surprised by it when reading his autobiography a few years ago, just how much of his life was tied up in it. I also loved how he watched an episode of NCIS
- the show McCallum now stars in - and was happy with Kuryakin was mentioned as a wonderful meta moment. I loved that affectionate side of him.
I've always wanted to see Bullitt
. I must pick it up one day.
In 2016, we have lost both Patrick McNee and Robert Vaugh - John Steed of The Avengers
and Napoleon Solo of The Man from UNCLE
respectively. Truly, the world won't feel safe again. I know I won't. I am still processing this truly. I feel I haven't done him justice. I am so sorry and sad that we are without Vaughn now, for all he gave us, over an extraordinary career. Thank you, sir, for all of those missions.
Don't Look AwayFandom:
WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment)Characters:
Sami Zayn/Finn BalorRating
: I own nothing.Summary:
Sami Zayn and Finn Balor both have secret...issues. When both get revealed in one night, they find a way to jigsaw-puzzle it all together and stay whole, together.
Read it here