Before PROGRESS’ first flirtation with celebrity at Chapter 13, they went back to Balham for another ENDVR show, featuring the final PROGRESS matches of a few guys. For now, anyway. Never say never, and all that!
ENDVR 4 dispenses with any form of opening, as we go straight into action, and apparently these are qualifiers for the Natural PROGRESSion Series.
Lucha Dave vs. Shen Woo
Hey, they’ve gotten new nameplates for ENDVR here, which animate and look flashier than the main chapter ones. Well, apart from chapter 12’s neon nameplates…
Lucha Dave starts with a very un-lucha like headlock, before a wheelbarrow roll-up got him the first near-fall of the day. Woo got the upper hand with some power spots against the smaller Lucha, and he largely kept Dave grounded, quickly cutting off any comebacks before any momentum could be achieved.
Woo drills Dave with a series of kicks to the chest, which leads to one inevitably getting caught, as he finally strings some moves together. A neckbreaker from Woo cuts off Dave again though, and after an attempt at a 619, Woo hits the Chinese Whisper (Bray Wyatt’s Sister Abigail) and gets the win. Decent opening match, but nothing too notable here, save for this being the last time we’d see Lucha Dave… **
We get a promo video for Isaac Zercher, voiced over by Jimmy Havoc. Zercher is the end of the evolution, and he’s the Omega. They reveal here that Zercher – acting as a security guard – was the man who let Havoc in the building on the night he won the PROGRESS title. Havoc’s annoyance at PROGRESS booking the likes of Ali Armstrong over “real prospects” (my words). In 2016, this could hold some truth… This is the start of the Isaac Zercher push against fellow Pro-Jo graduates, and it’s a challenge to see if anyone can last five minutes with him. So, who’ll it be?
“The Omega” Isaac Zercher vs. Tyson James
Zercher’s entrance music starts off like a heart monitor. And then flatlines… My ears did not like that one! Turns out his opponent is Tyson James, who’s already been flattened by Paul Ryker and Krysis on earlier ENDVR shows.
Predictably, this was a major squash. Tyson got a two-count out of the gate with a schoolboy, but he was ragdolled for the rest of the match. A massive spinebuster, a capture suplex, and a series of short-arm clotheslines all wrecked James, before Zercher used him as weight for some squats en route to a Shellshock for the win. Needless to say, Tyson did NOT last the five minutes. *
Ali Armstrong came out after the match, and I guess he has a death wish? Armstrong asked how long Zercher was in there for (Glen Joseph said 2:45), and so Ali demanded that Zercher make up the rest of the five minutes. Armstrong was apparently injured, but he got in the ring anyway and we have a second match?
“The Omega” Isaac Zercher vs. Ali Armstrong
Armstrong rips off his shirt and throws it at Zercher as we’re gonna get the final 2 minutes of Zercher’s five minute challenge here. I don’t think it was meant to work like that? The pair trash talk each other, and nothing happens until the time limit runs out. No rating, since this wasn’t really a match.
Zercher attacks Armstrong after the match, and catches him in a Triangle armbar as the ring fills up. Finally they separate, and Zercher leaves the ring.
Bhangra Knights (RJ Singh & Darrell Allen) vs. Will Ospreay & Joey Lakeside
The winners of this one will enter the number one contender’s match for the new PROGRESS tag team titles at Chapter 13… Lakeside is subbing for Paul Robinson, who was apparently hospitalised earlier in the week.
Simple stuff to start with, before Singh and Lakeside shared a few back and forth pinning attempts – or as Jimmy Barnett on commentary put it “I heart indie roll-ups” – before they teased their own variants of the Camel clutch. The tempo quickened when Allen and Ospreay came in, but neither man’s aerial-inspired offences (or “flippy shit”, according to a fan) led to an advantage… until Allen suckered Will with a dropkick.
The Bhangra Knights worked well together, as you’d expect from a more established team, and they had long periods of offence, including the “double Ethnic submission” – the Camel Clutch/single-leg crab combo. Joey Lakeside worked an innovative submission hold on Singh, remniscent of the first half of Baron Corbin’s End of Day. Singh made a comeback with a moonsault press, and was helped by an errant corner strike from Ospreay into Lakeside.
Allen popped up from a top rope rana and followed into Ospreay with a roundhouse kick, only to take a reverse ‘rana from Will. The Essex boys drilled Allen with a low crossbody/enziguiri in the corner, before Lakeside wiped out RJ Singh and a fan with a tope con hilo through the bottom rope!
In spite of that, Singh overwhelmed Lakeside with a Falcon Arrow for a near-fall, before a Cobra Twist and a Singh-ton Bomb got the Knights another two-count. Lakeside missed a top rope elbow onto both of the Knights, before we got a ref bump as the Knights went for a Bhangra Buster. Damon Moser (of all people) ran in and kneed Darrell Allen in the head as the referee was laid out, leaving Allen prone for a stuff wheelbarrow facebuster and a double superkick as the makeshift team win.
Decent enough match, with the Damon Moser story building more, and I’m guessing that the continual stuttering of the Bhangra Knights will lead somewhere. **¾
Afterwards, Moser got on the mic and taunted Darrell Allen from the balcony. Darrell accepted, and at some point down the line, that’s going to be a match.
Chuck Mambo vs. Mark Hendry
A face vs. face match for a spot in the Natural PROGRESSion Series. They hug it out from the start, and work a test of strength in the early going.
Mambo gets some early near-falls, but neither man was able to maintain an advantage. Hendry worked as a defacto heel since he wasn’t getting much in the way of cheers compared to Mambo. Chuck scored a near-fall with a cool looking body-press, before Hendry reversed a surfboard – to a chorus of boos.
After kicking out from a standing moonsault, Mambo dropped Hendry with a tiltawhirl backbreaker, then a slingshot into a neckbreaker for another near-fall. The Mambo Number Five (a series of five kicks) got Chuck another two-count, before Hendry made a comeback with a Rough Ryder leg lariat for a near-fall. In the end though, a missed Quebrada gave Mambo the opening for a Romero special/surfboard, pulling Hendry back so far his shoulders were on the mat for the win. That was rather enjoyable towards the end, and a really unique twist to the common-or-garden surfboard. ***¼
We see a video recapping what happened at ENDVR 3, where Steve Burden accidentally nailed “Warden” Phil Ward during the main event six man-tag. That lead to Ward slapping Burden, and we get a promo from the Warden as he tries to justify his actions. Warden says he holds the key to Burden’s freedom in his hand, and he’ll teach him the meaning of “hard justice”. The TNA show?
Phil Ward vs. Steve Burden
“The Warden” grabs the mic before the match and sort-of apologises. Burden wasn’t too impressed with the “I hold the key to your freedom” line, as apparently his parole is over. He gives Ward a document, which referee Marc Parry looks over… and part of me wishes that piece of paper said something like “STEVE BURDEN IS FREE”, but written in crayon.
We get going with a load of back elbows from Burden, who grounds and pounds Ward. See, this is how a blood feud is meant to start, not with a tie-up or flippy moves! Ward slips out of a crucifix bomb and goes to the outside. Burden gets cut-off as he tried to climb the turnbuckles, and that leads to a spell of offence from Ward on the outside, mixed with a lot of stalling.
Back inside, Ward hits a neckbreaker, before some missed chops leads to a spinebuster from Burden, and then some boo/yay punching sequences. A bridging Northern Lights suplex gets Burden a near-fall, before Burden got a receipt from ENDVR:3 by slapping the taste out of Ward’s mouth, with a spin-out crucifix powerbomb getting him the win. This felt brief, but decent enough – this was also Ward’s final match for PROGRESS too. **½
Pastor William Eaver vs. Josh Bodom vs. Eddie Dennis
As one-half of the PROGRESS tag champions, Dennis was by far the most established here, and he started against Eaver, before Josh Bodom ran in to cut off a pin. Yep, this is standard triple-threat fare, with someone almost always having a breather.
Dennis powered through Bodom with a slam from a leapfrog, before Bodom opted to leap out to take down Eaver with a tope. Bodom took a battering on the top rope with a big boot from the Welshman, before Eaver snuck into the ring and dropped the pair with a nice double rope-hung neckbreaker. Eaver took over for a bit, fish-hooking away on Bodom, but that spell ended after Dennis returned to the ring.
Eddie took down Eaver and Bodom with the fallway slam/Samoan drop combo, but Eaver scored an uppercut to the back and an Axe Bomber/Pope-ish Hammer for a series of near-fall. A douple dropkick from Bodom took down the other two, before he enjoyed a brief spell of offence with clotheslines and dropkicks.
Eaver takes a hiptoss into a knee lift for a near-fall from Bodom, before Dennis picks up Bodom, for a Giant Swing… which gets turned into a slingshot after Eaver clotheslined the Welshman. Eaver nearly loses Bodom on a crucifix powerbomb, but Dennis breaks it up before giving him a crucifix bucklebomb into Bodom.
Eaver flips out of a Next Stop Driver, and but ends up taking a German suplex after a Bodom sunset flip propelled the Pastor. They continued to work some intriguing three-way sequences, before a Bliss Buster from Bodom went a bit botchy, with Eaver falling to the outside rather than taking the piledriver bump.
A swinging powerslam in the ring nearly won it for Dennis, but seconds later a Next Stop Driver got the W for the tag team champion. That was a fun main event, but my video says there’s nine minutes left? ***½
This’d be Josh Bodom’s final match under the PROGRESS banner, and since he’s become a bit of a staple with local rivals Revolution Pro Wrestling, it may be a while before he returns. Or possibly because he’s vocally shouted down the promotion. Possibly that!
So, what happened in those final nine minutes? Well, Eddie Dennis climbed the turnbuckles and actually went into the balcony. Christ, he’s a tall bugger. Them, the ring gets surrounded by some guys in masks. One of them, wearing an Ultimate Warrior t-shirt (who passed away days earlier) unmasked as Jimmy Havoc as he and the London Riots triple-teamed Dennis.
James Davis flattened Dennis with a Finlay roll, before a Rob Lynch spear and an Acid Rainmaker from Havoc finished him off. Isaac Zercher came out to add to the destruction, but instead he just took the microphone from Glen Joseph. Havoc held a belt around Dennis’ neck and went to choke him as Havoc cut a promo ahead of his ladder match with Mark Andrews at Chapter Thirteen.
This was an effective way to end the ENDVR show and cross-promote with the main shows. As a promo, it was the closest you’d get to an American-style promo on a PROGRESS show, since those tend to be reserved for YouTube clips during the build-up to shows. I really enjoyed this, because it was different. And it worked!
All-in, a fun, well-paced but swift show. Sure, the action wasn’t as refined as some of the main shows, but you’ve got to expect that with these trainee shows, especially when the goal is to create and develop new talent.