It’s back to Balham for our latest look at PROGRESS’ back catalogue, with their seventh ENDVR card.
PROGRESS posted this show on their YouTube channel for free and it’s quite notable, since it featured a lumberjack main event, and the wrestling debut of a certain future GZR.
The YouTube video opens with beardy Jimmy Smallman, who introduces this as PROGRESS’ “Just Get Presents For No Reason” gift to us all. It’s also a way to plug the promotion’s “biggest ever ENDVR” in January 2015, as the show gets moved to PROGRESS’ original home of The Garage.
Super Oktane vs. Eddie Dennis vs. Pantera Negro
Super Oktane is an alien wrestler… Pantera Negro is a black panther… and tonight, Eddie Dennis is Eddie Mysterio Jr.
We start with a Mysterio throwing Pantera to the outside, before getting a back elbow from Oktane, who decided to dive onto Negro on the outside. Oktane comes back with an armdrag, and gets one himself from Eddie before we get a three-way stand-off. Eddie and Oktane combine to give an armdrag to Pantera, before trying for near-falls. Oktane complained about Eddie winding him, and this turned into a bit of pantomime… until the part where Eddie levelled Oktane with a forearm strike. Negro takes down Eddie from there and rams him into the ringpost, only to get met with a slam and a spinning elbow from Oktane.
Oktane misses a slingshot into the ring, and gets caught with a standing sleeper by Negro, who proceeds to get a dos-count out of a Russian legsweep. Pantera rakes the back of Oktane, before he gets a shoulder charge from Eddie, and a slingshot into a sunset flip which eventually earns Eddie a near-fall. Eddie busts out the fallaway slam/Samoan drop that “always happens in my matches”, and that gets him another dos over Pantera… then again over Oktane. A 61-knee attempt from Eddie is cut-off by Pantera, who gets a Blue Thunder Bomb for a near-fall. Eventually, Pantera gets the 61-knee, before a Shuranui from Oktane knocks him out of the ring.
A second Shiranui from Oktane’s blocked, as Eddie counters into the Next Stop Driver for the win. A thoroughly entertaining opening bout. **¾
As an aside, I really love the gags that were liberally spread through the commentary here. I wonder if Jimmy Barnett has a side gig?
They put up a graphic for Jinny vs. Pollyanna, and we get Jinny chewing out one of the fans for their outfit. Jinny takes the microphone and cuts the kind of scathing promo on the crowd that she’d become known for. We’re told that Jinny won’t be wrestling because of an injury, and this is where the “Tesco Value” chants seemed to be born. Jinny takes a shot at Pollyanna by saying she looks like a man – and in return Pollyanna says that she won’t wrestle “a dog with three legs”. Cue a pie-face, before Jinny leaves her laying with a pair of Facelifts (X-Factor of the middle rope).
In retrospect, it’s amazing to see how a show from November 2014 laid the seeds for something quite fantastic down the road.
They next air a promo for Sebastian, with various clips of some of PROGRESS’ high points. Introduced as “Kensington’s Finest”, Seb reckons he’s more than a man, and talks about “the disease of the dull and the dim”. He’s lied and cheated along the way, but he reckons that’s better than “living in a bedsit and taking the bus every day”. Seb reckons PROGRESS is full of “C-class competitors”, and promises to show us what a superstar is. It’s certainly a better spin on the “better than thou” gimmicks that we’ve had before…
Darrell Allen vs. Sebastian
They start with some arm wringers, before Allen arm whips Seb to the mat. Seb stands on Allen’s hand a few times, whilst Jimmy Barnett busts out another gem on commentary
“Sebastian looks like Joey Barton… it’s up to you to decide which of them is more of a gobshite…”
Back to the action as a headlock takedown from Seb is countered with some grounded headscissors, but Seb works back up, only to get rolled back down as he scrambled for the ropes. Seb rushes into a drop toe hold as Allen rolls him up for a two-count near the ropes, with a prat-fall leading to a jack-knife pin for another two-count. Sebastian makes a comeback with a drop toe hold that sent Allen into the turnbuckle, and in place for a running knee. After choking Allen in the ropes, George The Bodyguard (a man dressed as a bouncer, and in Seb’s corner too) gets involved. Allen replies with a superkick to Sebastian’s knee, and then with an Octopus hold which is broken via the ropes.
An eye rake and an enziguiri from Sebastian gets him a two-count as the match keeps going back and forth. Seb sets up for the “best move ever”… the People’s Elbow, except with a backheel to the head instead. Allen’s whipped hard into the turnbuckles, before Seb awkwardly misses a top rope elbow.
Allen mounts another comeback with the Razzle Dazzle roundhouse kick for a near-fall, before taking an armdrag into a backbreaker as Seb comes close too. Teasing an Ethnic Submission, Sebastian gets reversed and actually taps out… but more interference from George leads to the referee missing the tapping… Seb then accidentally collides with his bodyguard and gets caught in the Allen Key (inverted figure four) for the win. A decent debut from Seb. **
Jimmy Havoc vs. Pastor William Eaver
Needless to say, this wasn’t a PROGRESS title match! Eaver promised to show Havoc the way… and instead got flipped off. A shotgun dropkick from the champion took down Eaver at the bell, before he declared “I am your God now.”
Another dropkick followed to the back of Eaver’s head, but a Popeish Hammer from the Pastor followed as a counter to the Acid Rainmaker. Eaver gets a backbreaker for a near-fall, but Havoc again recovers to start choking him in the corner. It’s all one-sided for a while, at least until an Acid Rainmaker’s countered with a schoolboy for a near-fall. In the middle of the match, Havoc engages with the fan in a debate about religion, all whilst chopping Eaver in the corner. After some more stomping, Eaver makes a comeback and countered another Acid Rainmaker with the Clothesline from Heaven, before they traded forearms back and forth. At least until Havoc dropped the Pastor with a rolling elbow.
Eaver surprises Havoc with a fisherman’s suplex for a two-count, before a crucifix powerbomb is countered with a belly-to-back suplex, as Havoc gets another near-fall from a double stomp off the top. Another Acid Rainmaker is blocked as Eaver finally gets the crucifix powerbomb for a two-count. The Pastor goes to the top in search of a finish, and connected with a swandive headbutt that got him another near-fall. Eaver leaves the ring as he went up to the balcony… and missed a headbutt off the upper deck. Havoc picked apart the pieces by finally hitting the Acid Rainmaker, getting the win. A much more even match than I expected, but PROGRESS had plans for Eaver – and squashes aren’t usually their thing. ***½
Angels of Retribution (Steve Burden & Kyle Ashmore) vs. Jon Ryan & Damon Moser
Moser and Burden locked up at the bell, before a quick slap saw Moser scurry out of the ring… and return to take a hard lariat from the “Free Man” Burden.
Ryan and Ashmore worked for a spell – with this being Ashmore’s PROGRESS debut – ending with a ‘rana from Ashmore taking down the returning veteran. They work headlock takedown/headscissor spots back and forth, with Ashmore turning a headstand flip out of some headscissors into an impromptu piledriver on Ryan. Moser and Ryan worked as heels, double-teaming Burden in the corner as Ashmore inadvertently diverted the referee’s attention, and the momentum remained against Burden for a while. A hair-pull from Moser took down Burden again, as Ashmore was again baited into the ring to set up for some more double-teaming.
Ashmore finally made a blind tag in, and dropped a slingshot elbow on Moser after a fallaway slam from Burden. A standing moonsault gets Ashmore a near-fall as Ryan breaks up the cover, before Moser went back to work with a straight right hand. Ryan and Moser worked over Ashmore for a while, before an enziguiri took down Moser.
Steve Burden tags in again for a series of clotheslines on the heels, with an Exploder-turned-uranage getting him a near-fall on Moser. The Angels followed up with some Snake Eyes, then a lariat on Moser, before Ashmore lands a running shooting star press for a near-fall. Ashmore went for a corkscrew moonsault, but he missed, which led to a knee trembler from Moser, then a torture rack from Ryan that flipped into a gutbuster from Moser… and finally a German suplex that earned Ryan the win.
This match was the longest thing on the show, and it was kept slow and methodical – but not in a bad way. The inexperience of three of these men wasn’t particularly evident, and the lower pace made this a nice change from the rest of the show. ***
Next up was a segment with Tom Irvin. Legend had it that his promo during his ENDVR:6 debut led to the entire show being held back from Demand PROGRESS – and to this day, it’s still not on there. Irvin’s in the ring in a suit, and before he’s given the microphone, Glen Joseph warns him that he’s listening…
Irvin recapped his “manifesto for Britain’s future”, and how he beat up Nur de Silva at the last show because he interrupted him. This apparently led to Irvin getting some stick online, and the promo turns into something that sounded like the ravings of a UKIP politician as if they were delivered by Ricky Gervais… and that earned a suitable response from the crowd too. Chuck Mambo interrupts Irvin, and actually busts out some swearing. I’m not used to hearing that out of him! This leads to a “you’re not PROGRESS” chant, and the two get into a brief shoving match. Irvin leaves without any argument, to a chant of “you’re just Farage’s boyfriend”. That was certainly an intriguing character, albeit one that didn’t last long.
Chuck Mambo vs. Earl Black Jr.
Black starts by taking down Mambo with a waistlock, before the Newquay surfer goes to a wristlock for a spell. Mambo uses Black as a human surfboard, before kicking out Earl’s legs en route to a Meteora knee strike for a near-fall.
Chuck tries for the Mambo Number Five kicks, but Black rolls to the outside where he ends up cutting off a dive. Earl controls Mambo in the corner before a series of rolling Germans end up with Mambo reversing things and throwing Black to the outside. We finally get our dive, as a tope onto Black was wonderfully timed with some glass smashing.
Black hits Mambo as he tried to springboard back in, and scored a near-fall from a suplex. Mambo pushed out of a Sharpshooter attempt, before decking Black with a big boot, then using a Russian legsweep to set up for another Meteora. Tom Irvin returns to ringside, and his presence for once doesn’t distract Mambo, who succeeds with his Mambo Number Five combination of kicks. Irvin nonchalantly puts Earl Black’s foot on the rope to break up the pin – yet that doesn’t cause a DQ – and that got Mambo distracted sufficiently for a schoolboy roll-up to get Earl a debut win. A decent match from the debutant, which was exactly what you’d expect from these sort of shows. **¾
They don’t follow up on the Mambo/Irvin story here, as we instead head to our main event.
Lumberperson Match: Ali Armstrong vs. Isaac Zercher
Everyone else who was on the card tonight acted as lumberjacks, and we started with both men teeing off on each other.
Armstrong quickly found himself on the defensive, as Zercher ragdolled him and laid into him with punches from above. Zercher knocks Armstrong off the apron and into a sea of babyface lumberjacks, before being rolled-up for a near-fall by Ali. The punishment continues with elbows and shoulder charges by Zercher, before a lariat from Ali knocks Zercher to the outside.
Back inside, Armstrong and Zercher muscled each other with suplex attempts, before Zercher threw Armstrong across the ring with an Exploder. A second Capture suplex gets Zercher a near-fall, before an Exploder superplex is blocked by Ali, whose sunset flip attempt is blocked… but Ali gets a belly-to-belly for a near-fall. Armstrong went for the Gains Bomb, but Zercher rolled out of the ring to avoid the impact, and ended up starting a fight with some of the babyface lumberjacks, until Armstrong took everyone out with a somersault plancha. A missile dropkick sends Zercher into the corner, as an Angle slam almost won it for Ali.
Zercher returns with a clothesline, before slipping out of a Fireman’s carry and hits Ryback’s Shellshock. Armstrong pops up and drops Zercher with a German suplex before they go back to laying into each other with forearm smashes. Armstrong ends that sequence with a rebound lariat, before a standing Shiranui gets him a near-fall.
Ali keeps up with the lariats, but Zercher fights back from a Muscle Buster attempt, before almost pinning himself as a triangle choke was turned into a pinning attempt. Zercher virtually blasts Armstrong through the mat with a huge spinebuster, before a second Shellshock gets another two-count. After that, Zercher heads to the outside and shoves down some of the lumberjacks, before going under the ring for two steel chairs.
Marc Parry gets shoved down as Zercher uses the chair on Armstrong, and we get the lumberjacks flooding the ring for a good old fashioned brawl… and this gets waved off as a no contest. It was entertaining enough until the non-finish, and the more I see of Ali Armstrong, the sadder I get thinking that his career ended up being curtailed. ***
Zercher ends up taking a chairshot and an Angle slam onto a chair anyway, but this feud must continue! Armstrong gets the microphone after the match as we see Irvin and Mambo fight out of the building, and we get a challenge from Ali as he suggests a no-DQ weapons match for the next ENDVR show… and it’s on!
This was another fun ENDVR outing from PROGRESS – business as usual, eh?