We’re back to PROGRESS’ “developmental” group for a look at ENDVR 9 from 2015 – featuring the debut of a fast-rising Bodyguy.

After ENDVR 8 was held at the Garage in Islington, we’re back to the Bedford in Balham for this latest show, which opened with Ali Armstrong in the ring. Ali’s promo is quickly cut-off by some dubstep Swan Lake that signalled the arrival of Tom Irvin. Yep, he’ll be providing ring announcing instead of Ali, and Irvin’s brought with him a brass megaphone along with a hideous shirt.

This was the start of Irvin’s run as a Geeze – an act that’d get him and Sebastian quite a lot of play in 2015. Jimmy Barnett on commentary shoots on people who “too sweet” in public, before introducing a “bellend” in Sebastian (his words, not mine!).

Sebastian vs. Mark Hendry
Seb’s out with Darrell Allen after their little angle at the end of ENDVR 8 where they beat down Zack Sabre Jr… and this could be taken as quite the fall from main event to opening match. Irvin and Sebastian played off each other quite well, and it’d be fair to suggest that this could be a squash given that Hendry has been picking up losses since overcoming Thomas Cartelle back at ENDVR 3 a year earlier.

The match gets going with a knee to the face of Hendry from Sebastian, who then grabs for the microphone and belittles Hendry as being nowhere near his level. Sebastian’s mad that he’s not getting respect… and he singles out Pastor William Eaver. Early seed-sowing, eh?

Hendry kicks Sebastian from the apron to bring that rant to a halt, but Seb catches him off the apron and powerbombs him back there. Seb “too sweets” Tom Irvin as he takes Hendry back in, landing a suplex and an elbow drop as he maintained control of the match. More mic work as Sebastian takes a shot at the crowd’s chants, before landing some running boots in the corner.

Hendry’s bleeding from those boots, and more mic work leads to Sebastian screwing up his lines by saying he’s the best country to come out of the ProJo… before correcting himself saying he’s the best wrestler to come out of the country in a decade. Sebastian takes Hendry to the outside, but Seb’s caught with a kick and an Ace crusher on the apron, before a crossbody gets Hendry a near-fall. They go outside again where Sebastian’s thrown into the ringpost, but he recovers inside to land a hiptoss backbreaker for a two-count, before a slam leads us to the so-called Greatest Move Ever – the backheel to the head.

Hendry comes back with an enziguiri before catching Sebastian with a Code Red for a near-fall. Out of nowhere, Hendry drags down Sebastian and grabs the Rings of Saturn, only for Darrell Allen to get on the apron to distract the referee. Hendry breaks the hold and eventually superkicks Allen, before going for the Rings again… but this time Sebastian avoids it and lands a reverse STO for the win. Once the shenanigans were done with, this was quite a decent match – which only makes Sebastian all the more infuriating to watch. **¾

Tom Irvin pretends his back’s gone “because he’d carried the roster for four months”, before moaning about his lack of Twitter followers as he threatens to pee in the ring unless he gets more followers.

By the way, this looks like being the first PROGRESS show to have been presented in the current format of a “single take”, instead of the usual indy format of cutting out everything before the bell.

Jinny & Elizabeth vs. Mischa East & Pollyanna
This was the debut for the future Laura Di Matteo, and the continuation of the Jinny/Pollyanna feud that got going back at ENDVR 7. Some stalling at the start was broken by Pollyanna attacking Elizabeth from the apron as payback for her getting a clipboard smashed over her head last time out, and Elizabeth replies by… slapping Mischa. East comes back with a bodyslam before tagging in Pollyanna for a slam, and then Polly tags back out as they go back and forth with slams.

It’s Slam City from Pollyanna, as Elizabeth is kept well away from a possible tag out, and this crowd is counting down the slams for the Italian. A double suplex gets Mischa a two-count, before Elizabeth finally tags out to Jinny who puts the boots to East. Jinny goads Pollyanna into the ring, but of course the referee stops her as the crowd cycle through chants of various discount stores and charity shops in England.

Elizabeth tags back in and drops Mischa with a forearm, but East’s kept as far away from Pollyanna as possible as the taunts to Jinny are like water off a duck’s back. Pollyanna can only watch as Mischa’s pounded on and double-teamed, as a diving dropkick and a double stomp gets a near-fall. The referee misses a tag from Pollyanna and then reprimands her wrongly as the heels drag Mischa back to their corner.

Mischa finally fires back, but takes a back elbow from Elizabeth before rolling out of a sunset flip to dive in with a shoulder to the Italian. East then tags in Pollyanna, who grabs Elizabeth as she’s seconds away from her own tag out. Elizabeth’s taken into the corner and draped across the middle turnbuckle for a double knee strike that gets Polly a near-fall.

East follows up with a big splash off the middle rope – but Jinny pulls Elizabeth to safety as the rookie comes up short. Jinny then dispatches Pollyanna to leave East one-on-two… but Mischa ducks a slap as Jinny takes the shot instead! Mischa fires back with corger charges, but her wheelbarrow takedown is caught as Jinny and Elizabeth combine to dump her with a double-team DDT instead.

That gets the fashionista and her PA a two-count, but Mischa comes back with a back cracker and after both women look to be taking an age to get up, Pollyanna gets in and blatantly pulls the referee aside… so he can’t see Elizabeth tagging out. Two can play at that game! The crowd pop for that turnaround, along with Polly’s fake tag, as she then ducks another clipboard shot. Mischa trips Jinny as she tries to intervene, but it’s to no avail as the Pollinator gets the win for Polly and Mischa. A fun match with some good interplay between both teams – and from day one you can see the seeds being sewn for the Elizabeth blow-up the following year. ***¼

Paul Robinson vs. Ali Armstrong
Yeah, I can now see why Ali was looking to just be a ring announcer tonight! This is the first time the “Regression” name appears, as Robinson’s out in a PROGRESS shirt with that name on tape over the logo.

Robinson shoves Armstrong into the ropes during his entrance, and we get another jump start as the crowd taunt Robinson on the broken nose he got two months ago aagainst Noam Dar. Of course, Armstrong goes after the nose and scores a shoulder tackle, then a back body drop before he goes for – and misses – a diving headbutt. Yep, it doesn’t work for Honma either!

Robinson heads outside as he tries to hide away from an Armstrong dive, before he instead pulls Ali into the ringpost. Some stomps on the apron follow, before Robinson grabs a rear chinlock in the middle of the ring. Armstrong comes back with an airplane spin after he countered some mounted punches in the corner, but Robinson wriggles out into a roll-up for a near-fall.

Robinson stands on Armstrong for a one-count, before he drops a pair of knees onto Ali, then takes Ali into the ropes for some choking. A dropkick gets Ali back into it, along with a hiptoss, but another airplane spin is blocked as Robinson’s taken to the top rope… and then it’s third time lucky for the spin! Armstrong turns it into a death valley driver, before a snap German suplex off the ropes gets a near-fall on Robinson. Armstrong flattens Robinson with avalanche in the corner, but another Irish whip is reversed…until Ali catches him in a Muscle Buster attempt. Robinson leaps over him and lands a short DDT after some kicks, but that’s only good for a near-fall. An Olympic Slam gets Ali a near-fall after he countered a hammerlock DDT attempt, before he goes for the Muscle Buster, but Robinson rakes the eyes to free himself, then windmills into Ali with some punches.

That barrage gets Robinson a quick two-count… so he follows up by tying Ali’s boots together. Ali’s got nowhere to go, and he’s caught with a leaping curb stomp for the win. Decent match, and an inventive finish as Robinson came up with new ways to cheat for his win. Sadly, this’d be Ali’s final match for PROGRESS due to an injury that forced him to hang up the boots way earlier than most would have wanted. **¾

Somehow, Elizabeth’s clipboard from earlier was still in the ring – which referee Marc Parry finally got rid of as Tom Irvin went for a pint.

Matt Walters & Earl Black Jr. vs. “Flash” Morgan Webster & Kyle Ashmore
A new team here sees the Natural PROGRESSion Series 2 winner Webster tagging with Kyle Ashmore – after what would be a career-ending back injury to Ashmore’s last partner, Steve Burden.

Black starts with a drop toe hold to Ashmore, but the bearded one returns and gets a snapmare then a kick to the back on Black, but the second-generation grappler runs into a nice ‘rana from the ground that sees Ashmore effectively DDT Black. Walters comes in and heads for Morgan Webster, but “Flash” comes back with a springboard armdrag then his Special Brew Flip (imploding standing senton).

Walters shoves Webster into the ropes and knocks him down with a clothesline, then a running headbutt into the corner before Webster elbows him. A bodyslam gets Walters a two-count as the defacto heels wear down on Webster, with a diving dropkick getting Walters another near-fall.

Webster manages to break free and slingshots into the ring for a roll-up to get a to-count on Black, before he makes the tag to Ashmore who clears house. A double underhook backbreaker gets Ashmore a near-fall, as he then throws Black into the turnbuckles and onto the apron, ending with a dropkick that sent him to the floor. Black recovers with a forearm smash to prevent a dive, and from there Black grabs a rear chinlock for a brief moment, until Ashmore elbows himself free.

A spinning heel kick gets Kyle a two-count, but his beard ends up being used on him as Walters pulls him into the ropes by the facial hair. Ashmore hits back eventually with an enziguiri before tagging in Webster, who flies in with a dropkick to Black before a flying forearm takes down Walters. Morgan decks Walters with a combination of strikes for a near-fall, but Walters shoves Flash into the corner to knock Ashmore off the apron.

Flash comes back with a moonsault that almost saw him spike himself on his head – but Black came in to do the job with a DDT before the parade of moves continued with a facebuster from Walters. Webster fights back up against the “Dark Wolf” Walters, unloading with a series of headbutts before being sent to the outside as Ashmore turns around into a back suplex/neckbreaker combination.

Webster returns with more forearms though, and he’s dumped to the floor yet again as the heels keep targeting Ashmore… but Kyle ducks a charge as Black knocks Walters to the floor, and the comeback continues! Webster with a top rope ‘rana to Black, followed by a 450 Splash as Kyle Ashmore’s tornillo kept Walters outside – and “Flashmore” pick up the win! A fun match, with Webster taking a beating and coming out strong in his first appearance since winning the NPS. ***¼

Joey Lakeside vs. Shen Woo vs. Micky Pearson vs. Harry Sefton vs. Daytona vs. Roy Johnson
A rare six-way scramble here in PROGRESS, featuring the last match in PROGRESS for Joey Lakeside, and the debut of “Bodyguy” Roy Johnson! Okay, everyone bar Lakeside and Woo were debuting here, but most of the participants here didn’t do that much more after this.

Pearson goes straight for Lakeside during the intros, and Harry Sefton looks an awful lot like Hayden Yorke (he of the fancy jacket in ENDVR fame from 2016; and yes, we know…); Daytona looks like a slimmed down WALTER, and so far I’m struggling because very few of these guys have their name on their gear. The match started with Daytona kicking off Sefton’s head, whilst Woo suffers a similar fake by Lakeside. Pearson tries to roll-up Johnson early on before peppering him with punches in the corner – but the Body Guy recovers and then chalks his hands for some chops in the corner.

Pearson’s knocked to the outside by Johnson as Lakeside and Sefton come in to double-team the powerlifter, only for a pair of enziguiris to take him down. Daytona takes them down with lariats, before he boots Shen Woo to the mat for a near-fall. A triangle choke from Pearson cuts down Daytona, only for Johnson to break it up… and we see the Irishman bounce between Johnson and Daytona’s forearms.

After Pearson’s sent to the outside, the two big guys exchange shoulder tackles, before Johnson blocks a chokeslam and goes for the move that’d become the Last Set. Daytona blocks that as both guys go for a clothesline at the same time, which leaves Pearson free to steal a near-fall from it. Lakeside whacks Pearson with a forearm after that near-fall, before Sefton makes the save from a suplex to start off some Essex-style double teaming.

Sefton and Lakeside try for near-falls on Woo after they broke up each others covers, before dropkicking Daytona and Johnson off the apron. Woo comes back with a superkick to Sefton, before Lakeside enters a striking exchange with him, before a kick grazes Woo en route to a single leg crab. Sefton grabs Shen’s hand to prevent the tap-out, but Pearson breaks up the hold and then sends Johnson to the floor as Lakeside and Sefton dove from opposite corners onto the pile below! The Essex lads return to the ring to double team Johnson, but Roy moves as Lakeside takes the fall, before Sefton eats a pumphandle into the Last Set! Another one follows for Lakeside, but Daytona returns to pound down on Johnson… who tries for the Last Set, only for Pearson to hit Johnson low.

Daytona dumps Pearson with a chokeslam, before being sent to the outside by Sefton as Woo snatches the win with a spin-out reverse DDT. You know the drill with these multi-man matches – this one was more than just a spots, but it was tough for anyone to stand out in this. ***

Isaac Zercher vs. Eddie Dennis
Dennis manages to get chants of “baldie” started to get under “The Omega”’s skin before the bell, before he points out that “he’s strong… but I’m tall!”

Zercher’s strength comes into play at the bell as he double-legs Eddie during the opening introductions, as he pounds away on the Welshman, before a short-arm clothesline forces Dennis into the ropes. After missing with a swinging lariat, Zercher’s taken down with a ‘rana, then sent to the outside with a clothesline as Dennis flew with a somersault plancha to the floor! Dennis notes “that flippy nonsense is easy… I don’t know what Mandrews is making all the fuss about”, before returning to the ring to get a two-count from a knee drop as Zercher heads to the outside again. Eddie follows him, but his dive off the apron is caught, as the Omega charges him between the ring post and a supporting beam, before a cocky pin just gets the Omega a one-count.

Inside the ring again, a waistlock grounds Dennis, before an Exploder forces a two-count out of the Welshman. After taking an Irish whip into the corner, Dennis eats a back elbow before he resists another whip, instead breaking free with a forearm before a T-bone suplex takes him across into that corner anyway. Eddie gets a boot up block a charge, but it’s caught and turned into a capture suplex anyway for a two-count as Zercher does his best English-Tazz impression.

A release German suplex sends Dennis flying… as does a second, and this is quickly becoming squash match territory. Eddie finally wrestles out of a third German suplex and flips the Omega inside out with a German of his own, but that’s only a brief relief as he’s charged back into the corner, before a sunset flip is blocked. Eventually, Dennis lands a forearm as the pair trade blows, then chops, before back-and-forth forearms result in Dennis finally taking down Zercher with an atomic drop.

A diving clothesline keeps him down, and gets Eddie a two-count, before a charging back elbow and a hiptoss gets another near-fall. After getting backdropped onto the apron, Dennis is on the defensive again, as he takes a superplex off the apron back into the ring, before a Shellshock from the Omega is blocked, ending with Eddie taking a spinebuster instead. Zercher goes for the Shell Shock again, but Eddie slips out and hits a rolling elbow to the back of the head, before some back and forth ended with Eddie landing the Next Stop Driver for the win. That was a nice come-from-behind win with Zercher looking impressive in what’d be his final singles match on a regular PROGRESS or ENDVR show. ***½

PROGRESS Tag Team Championships: Sweet Jesus (Pastor William Eaver & Chuck Mambo) vs. The Faceless (c)
Last seen feuding with Tom Irvin, Chuck Mambo’s now teaming with Pastor William Eaver for the first appearance of “Sweet Jesus”… and somehow they’ve managed to get a tag title match?

Only two of the Faceless were out there tonight, and they were called by Eaver for being cowards hiding behind masks. The Faceless attack their challengers at the bell, but the smaller one is left behind in the ring as Mambo goes for a surfboard. He’s released into the path of a Fisherman’s suplex for a near-fall by Eaver, as the match spilled to the outside.

Back inside, Small Faceless chokes away on Mambo briefly, but the Newquay surfer comes back to place him in a Tree of Woe in the corner, where a diving dropkick and a diving headbutt gets the challengers a near-fall. Small Faceless takes some punishment from the challengers, but he fights out of an armbar, only to get caught again with a double-team hiptoss for another near-fall. Finally there’s interference from Big Faceless, as he kicks Mambo in the ropes before tagging in to choke Mambo in the ropes.

Small Faceless throws Mambo down with a butterfly suplex for a two-count, then lands an elbow after a Big Faceless slam as the champions cycled through with quick tags. Mambo comes back with a DDT to Small Faceless, but Big Faceless comes in to knock Eaver off the apron to prevent the tag from being made.

Mambo runs into the knee of Small Faceless for a near-fall as the Faceless keep Mambo as far away from the Pastor as possible. Small Faceless charges into Mambo, then gets a lariat for a near-fall, before a superplex attempt is caught and turned into a Meteora as Mambo blasts his foe with diving knees.

Finally Mambo tags out to Eaver, just as Big Faceless came in and was charged down with shoulder tackles. A Pope-ish Hammer gets the Pastor a two-count, but the Faceless came back with a whip into the corner… only for Eaver to rebound with another shoulder block. In comes Mambo with a dropkick, but a second one is pushed away, only for Mambo to come back and clothesline himself and the Faceless to the floor.

The Pastor comes in and looks like he’s diving… but really Mambo had come back in a round the other side to do the dive instead. All four men end up brawling outside, which gives way to Eaver dropping one of the Faceless into some chairs with a crucifix powerbomb! Back in the ring, Mambo hits the Mambo Number Five kicks, except the fifth one is caught and turned into a death valley driver.

Eaver hotshots the Faceless member on the rope, before Big Faceless takes a superkick for a near-fall. A pendulum backbreaker follows as Eaver holds him in place for a Meteora again, but that pin’s quickly broken up. Small Faceless dumps Mambo with a suplex into an over-the-knee neckbreaker, before they dump Eaver with a spike backpack Stunner for another two-count as Mambo dives in.

Big Faceless is thrown outside again as the smaller one takes a superkick, then a Clothesline from Heaven… but this time Big Faceless pulls out the referee to break up the count, and there’s a DQ finish. A decent match, but a bit of a crap finish, given how many times referees are pulled out on shows without it leading to much. Still, the post-match brawl with the Faceless continued to establish their act, so it wasn’t a dead loss. ***¼

After the match, the Faceless low blowed the Pastor before they dug out their toolbox… but Eddie Dennis comes through the crowd to make the save with a lead pipe! Dennis takes the microphone and says that the Faceless made jokes of how he and Mark Andrews fought for the tag titles. Dennis says he’s due a tag title rematch, but he’s not coming alone, as he’s got a new tag team partner… and he’s Welsh too: “Wild Boar” Mike Hitchman!

So, as a show, this was one that was worth watching purely for storylines – the matches were pretty much fine, especially considering that these shows are mostly meant for development of talent. The seeds were planted for the GZRS, the Jinny/Elizabeth feud, and a feud with Sebastian and William Eaver that wouldn’t kick off for another eighteen months; but with the main focus being on the company’s third anniversary show – Chapter 18: The Show We Can’t Call PROGRESSleMania For Legal Reasons – this was as close to a throwaway as you can get.