3 Favourite Wrestling Matches (I Saw Live) in 2017

So last Sunday (at the time of writing) I saw my last wrestling card of 2017 – with PROGRESS Chapter 59: Whatever People Say We Are, That’s What We’re Not in Sheffield crowning off a year in which I’ve seen 14 shows over 6 companies (though, to be fair, technically was 13, as one show I was a roster member for). It seems a lot less than I thought I’d seen, but turns out I didn’t do much at the beginning of the year.

Interestingly, as a year for a whole, it’s been – strange. First off, the most shocking moment was when “The Word” Rudy Wynne made his long await, chubby bearded arse comeback at Britannia Wrestling’s Against the Odds 2. Considering the length of time since I last stepped foot in a ring, I didn’t embarrass myself I don’t think, and I was welcomed back with open arms by the very friendly and talented roster. I hope I didn’t stink up the joint!

Also, looking back, the match quality has been good. Great in fact. Better than last year. But I feel that to actually pick 3 matches that made me go crazy or jump out of a seat, with a few notable exceptions. The matches I list below are matches that I – as a jaded wrestling fan – enjoyed and became unglued to at certain points during 2017. My goal is to actually become a fan again, rather than rate on workrate or some sort of points scoring for artistic impression, the top 3 matches listed below are matches that all had me smiling, cheering and generally going crazy over at certain points during the match.

First off the Honourable Mentions though. These are matches that I thought that were good, and stood out on their respective cards. I’d highly recommend checking these out: South Pacific Power Trip vs. British Strong Style (PROGRESS Chapter 45: Galvanize), Soner Durson vs. Marc Morgan (BWP: Against The Odds), Mike Bird vs. WALTER (PROGRESS: Cologne), Laura Di Matteo vs. Toni Storm (PROGRESS Chapter 52: Vote Pies), The Band vs. Dan Evans & Natalie Wild (BWP: Summer Break) and literally the entire of PROGRESS Chapter 57: Enter Smiling.

Very, Very, VERY Honourable Mention Trent Seven vs. Wolfgang: ICW Fight Club on Tour – Manchester

If I was to be asked who my favourite wrestler is in 2017, I’d probably say Trent Seven. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him had a bad match, and probably PROGRESS Trent Seven is my favourite wrestler – the beard, the dad bod, he just seems – so achievable. Plus he’s older than me too so it gives me hope that there’s still a run left in me. His “Yeah, I’m basically WWE, deal with it” is brilliantly played, especially as a good guy, has me in stitches.

Up until recently, the main event of the first show of the year (and first ICW show) was in the top 3. The reason I enjoyed it? The match was so much different to what we are used to seeing in Manchester – a kind of Hybrid British Strong Style (no pun intended) of people being hit hard and dropped on their heads. This was more of a hardcore match, that was brutal for what was effectively a house show taping in Manchester in front of a smallish crowd on a Sunday night. This was very watchable and I suppose also being front row and having two big bastards fighting above you was an incredible sight. It was a very good match and an end to a decent show.

3. Adam Chase vs. Chris Ridgeway – PROGRESS Chapter 59:Whatever People Say We Are, That’s What We’re Not

Last year, I picked James Drake vs. Fabien Aichner as my third favourite match of the year, beating Adam Cole vs. Will Ospreay at PROGRESS Chapter 40: Intercepted Angel. The reason being is that it was so unexpected. A match that comes out of nowhere to impress me kind of engrosses me more than when two seasoned veterans put on a match.

So fast forward to PROGRESS Sheffield, and some background. First off, Britain was in the middle of a snowstorm that engulfed pretty much half the country. This meant that people couldn’t get to Sheffield, including some of the wrestlers. This included the entire of British Strong Style, Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster. 4 WWE UK guys and a participant in PWG’s Battle of Los Angeles. So quite a few heavy hitters.

A few wrestlers though stepped up, and one that did was a Spanish wrestler by the name of Adam Chase. He stepped in against Chris Ridgeway at such short notice and had an incredible match. To go from a lukewarm polite applause to having the entire of the o2 Academy in Sheffield on their feet in 5 minutes was very impressive, and after 10 or so minutes of cracking action Ridgeway won. This match was so unexpected, but announced that Adam Chase belonged in PROGRESS. It was great, and I enjoyed it immensely.

You can see this match on Demand Progress.

2. Travis Banks vs. Matt Riddle – PROGRESS Chapter 52: Vote Pies

A lot of PROGRESS has been the Travis Banks show this year, his rise to the World Championship has (for right or wrong reasons) dominated a large amount of the stories surrounding PROGRESS. This was after his Super Strong Style 16 victory for Banks and the story was Banks and PROGRESS Champion Pete Dunne putting together each others matches. Whilst Banks gave opportunities to Dunne’s opponents, Pete Dunne usually put Banks in difficult matches. This I believe was the first or second match for this.

What followed was two of PROGRESS’ brightest stars of the year that weren’t in British Strong Style legitimately beating the living bejesus out of each other. This was simple, and even though it had a screwy finish the first 10 minutes of the match which had me jumping and screaming made it my favourite singles match of 2017.

You can see this match on Demand Progress.

1. wXw – Shortcut To the Top Match

It is hard to do Royal Rumbles. I should know, I bloody agented one not a million years ago. Having 30 men queued up, keeping an eye on cues and generally making sure everything goes well (clue: it usually doesn’t) is hard work. So I have a lot of respect even for the terrible Rumbles WWE put on occasionally.

But when it goes right, oh does it go right.

I travelled to Cologne for the PROGRESS/wXw double header, but whilst I went for the PROGRESS, the better show was the wXw one. The weekend culminated with a cracking rumble that had 30 top stars from all over Europe, a few surprises, a few fun eliminations, and a genuinely brilliant story told from #1 all the way through to the end. Furthermore, it was the culmination of a great weekend, where I met some great people, and whilst it may not be at the top of many lists, everything about that weekend was perfect. After all, wrestling is meant to be fun.

wXw Shortcut To the Top is available on wXwNOW.de.

Those are my three top matches for 2017, what are yours? Please leave them in the comments below!

PROGRESS Wrestling Events Calendar for Google Calendar (and others)

So I was…volunteered…recently to create a PROGRESS Wrestling Event Calendar to showcase all the events on Google Calendar (similar to how football teams have done). The hope is that once a year it’s updated with the show dates once known, that way if you’re planning holidays or less important things such as weddings you don’t book on the date of a PROGRESS show. It isn’t perfect (I’m sure I switch between 2 or 3 different times, and I haven’t included the shows for the end of 2017 I don’t think), but it should give you a rough idea of when PROGRESS have shows.

How to Install

Click here to download the ics file

Here’s how I’ve installed it in the systems I’ve used and tested with. Of course, I’m testing with systems I own.

Google Calendar

Click to download the file, and then go to Google Calendar, click “Settings” and then the “Calendars” tab. Create an empty calendar (call it PROGRESS Wrestling or something). Click Import Calendar. Browse to the file downloaded, upload it into the empty calendar created, and it should sync.

Android Phones

Download it and it should sync with your chosen Calendar App.

Apple Mac

Click to download the ics file. The file is downloaded, click to open it and it opens in Calendar for Apple Mac.

Questions?

I’m going to try and keep it up to date, but this is more of a labour of love rather than anything more than that, so please be patient (I run a business and have a day job too). But any questions (as well as any corrections) feel free to drop me an email and I’ll try and get back to you. Though to be honest I’m utterly crap at answering emails at the best of times. But yeah, this is a fan project, be sure to check out PROGRESS’ stuff as it’s mint.

Also if you want to buy me a drink (a few people have suggested it). Yeah, sure! Cheers! Mine’s usually a Tuborg. I don’t go to Camden Shows but usually in the shows up north.

Getting to 100

So, I had a realisation a few weeks back at The Kensite Stadium (home of the mighty Atherton Collieries FC) that I had been to a lot of football grounds. 94 in fact.

That’s quite a lot. Not as many as some, but a fair few, probably more than the average fan. Truth be told, the amount of football I’ve watched has dropped considerably, largely because Colwyn Bay FC have been poor the past few seasons (suffering two straight relegations after I waxed lyrical about their great escape a few years back), international football has been amazing (but there’s only a few games per year you can get to), and of course, love for the graps.

But, call me a bandwagon returner, but Colwyn Bay’s season has started…okay. We’ve looked pretty decent in parts, so I’ve turned my eye back to the old mistress that you never quite got over. But looking at the amount of grounds I’ve been to, there’s a fairly big number on the horizon.

100.

I’m currently on 94. After consulting with a friend it was decided that 5 didn’t count as I didn’t see a game there (Everton, Benfica, Bayern Munich, Anderlecht & Barcelona). As such, I’m on 89 as of time of writing.

I reckon I could hit 100 before the end of the season.

I worked out that I’m likely to hit 92 by Christmas (I’ve a wedding to go to and the day before is Chesterfield vs Morecambe, Hertha Berlin are playing in the Europa League when I visit Berlin, and a friend has invited me to New York Stadium to see Rotherham vs Shrewsbury Town). I reckon I could hit the last 8 before the end of the season.

There is one caveat to this though. Since most of England discovered that Ben Woodburn cannot play for them, Wales may qualify for the World Cup. It’d be quite nice if my 100th ground was actually in Russia seeing Wales play in a World Cup final, now, wouldn’t it?

But that’ll be known long before the end of the season. We’ll jump that hurdle when we get to it. But yes. 100 football grounds before the end of the season. Let’s go!

3 Best Video Games I’ve Played In 2017

Yes. I’m well aware that 2017 isn’t over yet, but I’m not sure what else I’m going to play this year, and in a vain hope to blog more here, I’m going to run 4 posts a year. Four posts! The first is end of September, where I share my favourite games of the previous 12 months, before the Christmas rush.

I’m not going to lie, this year has been dominated hard by Overwatch, as it’s been the game I’ve played more than any this year, but it was featured in the last rundown from the turn of the year, so that does not count. Instead I focus on games that I’ve played this year. Please note, these are games I’ve played, and not necessarily released this year, though in this list it’s only really applicable to one game.

3. Bricks Breaker Puzzle (Mobile)

Making it’s way into the third spot is this rather fun little puzzle game – Bricks Breaker.

Imagine a cross between Puzzle Bobble and Arkanoid. You control a stream of about 50 balls and you fire up to hit a number of blocks, each with a number on it. The blocks need to be hit by that number of times for them to be destroyed. There are special blocks, powerups, as well as the blocks slowly making their way down the screen. If the blocks hit the bottom, it’s game over.

This game has taken hours of my time since discovered in May, it’s so simple and yet so addictive. You can play one off games or games for an hour. It’s so much fun and so time sapping and yet so very, very simple. Well worth downloading for free.

It’s ad supported, which can get a bit annoying over time (hence it’s location on this list), but it’s so addictive you can forgive it.

You can download it now for iPhone and Android Phones.

2. Mass Effect: Andromeda (Xbox One)

Wait, hear me out on this (and there will be spoilers). Mass Effect: Andromeda is not as good as Mass Effect 2, but it is not a bad game.

I feel the original trilogy built up to a fever pitch that it was never going to live up to the hype, and I feel that it took away with something that was actually – once you got into it – a pretty decent game. It is rushed in parts, but generally if Mass Effect: Andromeda is the last Mass Effect game, I would be incredibly sad.

The actual colonisation part is average at best, and you shouldn’t do all the missions because they drag, but the characters and the actual side stories about the Ryder family, Jien Garson and the Initiative, the Archon and the relationships with the Kett, it’s actually a very solid story with strong characters. I really want to see it develop, as I feel there is things that could make a second game interesting. Couple that with decent combat, fascinating characters (I love Peebee), and some really good planets (H-047c missions are great). Also you have the Scourge, as well as the fate of the Quarian Ark. I really believe people didn’t give this game a fair chance. Skip all but the primary missions (there’s a lot of boring missions), get up to 100% viability on all planets, and you get a great game.

You can get Mass Effect: Andromeda for the Xbox One or PS4.

1. Sonic Mania (Xbox One)

Ah yes, if you want a guide as to how to revive a franchise, check out this one EA.

Sonic has been utterly utterly shit for years. Really really bad with few bright spots. It’s been rushed, it’s been buggy, and it’s been absolutely terrible. There have been some bright parts, but overall it’s been largely poor. Compared to Sonic’s Nintendo counterpart Mario, it feels like the blue hedgehog has been whored out mercilessly.

For once though, Sega listened.

Rather than build the game themselves, they handed the blue mascot back to the fans, employing PagodaWest Games and Headcannon – two huge fans of the original trilogy – to make these games.

The results, are stunning.

Sonic Mania is a game that makes me smile. It starts with a wonderful nod to the Green Hill Zone as each zone is split into 2 acts. Act 1 is generally a nod to the original level in the games, and when you realise this it’s incredible and genuinely leads to smiles. And the game goes on and on with this, the Dr. Robotnik Mean Bean Machine nod in Chemical Plant Zone, the Sonic R/CD esque Chaos Emeralds levels, genuinely remembering it’s past in this cracking release.

But all the love in the world these nods wouldn’t mean much if the game was terrible. Thankfully this is not the case. The game is excellent, it’s so well coded and you feel in control of Sonic (or Tails, or Knuckles, should you desire). It’s fast, the music is great, the graphics are great, and if you screw up, it’s you who screws up, not the game. With that said, it’s incredibly tough this game, and Titanic Monach is an incredibly tough level.

There’s so much to unlock, from classic cheats such as the debug mode, to new things including a special zone right at the end for really good players. There’s loads to get in this game, and for around £15, you cannot really go wrong. This has been my favourite game this year.

Sonic Mania is available for the PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.

And You?

What are your favourite games of 2017 (so far). Please leave them in the comments!

Loot Gaming Crate October 2016 – Rumble Unboxing

Happy New Year! We’re still finishing off our 2016 a bit, so I’m taking a look at some of the other boxes I’ve not had a chance to put up. Starting with October’s Loot Crate.

October 2016 Rumble Loot Crate Video

October 2016 Rumble Loot Crate Review

Overall, I was very happy with this box! I love the Overwatch Funko Pop, and the socks are superb! If I wasn’t decluttering, I’d have been keeping the gloves and magnet, but I’m on a decluttering purge. The T-Shirt is nice but not my franchise. And the bandages are cute!

Own Part of the Crate!

From the crate, I’ve put the following things on eBay:-

To to subscribe to Loot Gaming, check out the official site here. You can get $5 off your first crate with that link!