Saturday, December 9, 2023

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Jinny, Jordynne Grace and the possibilities of the PROGRESS Women’s Championship

A little over two months ago, a fateful acid rainmaker folded Toni Storm in half and gifted Jinny the victory in her triple threat title defense that also included Millie McKenzie at PROGRESS Wrestling’s Chapter 76 show, Hello Wembley. It wasn’t Jinny’s arm delivering the catastrophic blow, though. It was Laura Di Matteo, in an unexpected heel turn, that saw her rise to her former tormentor’s defense and help her retain her coveted title.

Celebrations were short-lived, for there was a new kid on the block ready to make an example of the nefarious House of Couture, the Texas native Jordynne Grace. While Jinny and Di Matteo escaped the carnage, Grace made a spectacle of the remaining members of Jinny’s entourage. Thus, the stage was set for what will most certainly be the feud of 2019.

The build has been slow, but rest assured, it’s there. Be ready when it pops off.

Since Wembley, the PROGRESS Women’s Championship has been in a holding pattern. With no clear number one contender set, the promotion has spent their last few shows trying to figure out that question.

Chapter 77: Pumpkin Spice PROGRESS saw a barnburner between The White Witch of PROGRESS, Isla Dawn, and McKenzie, who was ultimately short-changed in the Wembley title match, end in a disqualification when Jinny and Di Matteo attacked both competitors. House of Couture members Charlie Morgan and Nina Samuels then retaliated, seeking revenge for Jinny’s impromptu dissolution of their stable.

It was a messy end to a strong match that strategically ensured two promising young stars didn’t receive losses, while the promotion sorted out their contender issues. The situation also put Jinny in a feud that would shelf the Championship until these issues could be resolved.

Dawn would go on to build her title case, beating Lana Austin in front of Austin’s hometown crowd. Then came Grace. In what was supposed to be a triple threat with McKenzie, Grace made her debut against the rolling Dawn and stymied her.

Grace looked dominant against a young woman who was looking to be one step away from a title shot. With elegance and power, Grace tore into the White Witch to booming pops from the crowd before forcing Dawn to tap to a mighty bear hug.

Not only did Grace leapfrog Dawn after one showing, but on Dec. 3, PROGRESS announced that Grace would face former champion Storm at Chapter 81: Pour Some PROGRESS on Me. If that is not a signal that the promotion has big plans for Grace, we don’t know what is.

So, where are we now? Two months have gone by since the last talk of the Women’s Championship. Jinny recently participated in an Instagram Q&A session, stating that one of her goals for 2019 is to win the NXT UK Championship, while adding that she doesn’t care who her next PROGRESS defense is against, “Because whoever it is, I will beat them!”

With so much focus on NXT UK these days, it’s not a stretch to consider that Progress may be preparing for when their stars might be ready to take a full-time leave. If so, the promotion has built themselves a strong set up for a passing of the torch in their Women’s Division.

The House of Couture, which features NXT UK roster members Morgan and Samuels, is all but dead as Jinny and Di Matteo won their blow off match at Chapter 79: One Big Neck With Sausage Hands. Should Grace beat Storm, she has all the momentum and fan enthusiasm to carry her straight to a title shot with Jinny. Finally, if PROGRESS is truly ready to be bold and pull that trigger, Grace is the perfect hero to topple Jinny’s reign of terror.

This arrangement could build as slowly as it’s built so far. Let Jinny play the mind games she does so well. Let the match be a truly visceral, special experience. Ultimately, Grace is poised for a moment of triumph.

It’s all there. A clean exit for a star ready for a bigger pond and a perfect jumping point for a grinder ready to bask in the glory of her hard work. We just have to wait and see.

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