Gabriel Kidd and Joe Hendry locked horns in an iron man match on this week’s Loaded – with the loser having to leave Defiant.

We open with a backstage promo from David Starr, addressing his failures in the past and how the “nearly man” stigma is over. He puts it down to the independent movement behind him, and vows to leave Built to Destroy as the Defiant champion.

We’re inside a sweltering Stage 2 in Newcastle, as a warm summer’s afternoon minus air conditioning made for quite the conditions. Dave Bradshaw and James R. Kennedy are on commentary, building up to our match of the night…

But first, Lana Austin has a backstage interview (with I believe Chelsea, who doesn’t get the lower third) where they bring up CJ Banks making his debut. They say without saying that CJ Banks and Lizzy Styles are a couple… as Visage walks in to ask for a favour. Jack Sexsmith is out for six months with a knee injury, and it seems like Visage wants Lana to join the team. We go blurry for a second before they announce next week is CJ and Lizzy vs. Lana and Visage.

A video package builds up the main event…

Iron Man Match: Joe Hendry vs. Gabriel Kidd
The loser leaves Defiant “for good”. They’re going to the Craufurd?!

Kidd’s out in his new SPLX hoody, as Dave Bradshaw ran down some of his highlights in Defiant/WCPW, including beating Cody Rhodes. Hendry charges in at the bell as the pair are throwing bombs in the opening minutes, but we quickly have a fall as Joe Hendry and his golden trouser score with a roll-up to make it 1-0.

He tries for an O’Connor roll, but Kidd clings onto the ropes before a lungblower sends Kidd outside, where he’s met with a plancha. Back inside, Kidd picks his spot with a lariat, and that makes it 1-1. To utter silence… then boos. A running boot trapped Hendry in the corner ahead of a forearm, before he used his boot to choke Hendry on the ropes.

Hendry makes a comeback with a neckbreaker before he hauled up Kidd for a German suplex, sending him outside as we cross the five minute line. Kidd gets thrown into the ring post before Hendry broke what looked like a non-existent count, only to get chopped through a crowd barrier. Literally. The pair brawl into the crowd, who finally woke up for it. They head back to the ring, as Kidd grabs a chair, but has second thoughts as he turned around into a flurry from Hendry.

A butterfly suplex into a knee has Kidd down… but he’s back in with a chairshot for the bklatant DQ as it’s 2-1 Hendry. Rather than wait for Hendry to get back on his feet to restart the match, Kidd goes for the cover and makes it 2-2. A tombstone makes it 3-2 to Kidd… and now we’re past the 10 minute mark.

Hendry rolls outside for some respite, but rolls back into some ground and pound as Kidd looked to put the Scotsman further behind. Back outside, Kidd drops him over the crowd barriers, before they returned inside with a Boston crab as Hendry had to drag himself into the ropes.

Hendry tries to chop his way back, but a forearm from Kidd just drops him to the mat before a slingshot DDT onto the apron has both men back on the floor. They head into the crowd as we’ve passed five minutes without a fall, with Hendry stoking a fire with a brief comeback, traping Kidd with an ankle lock in the crowd, only for him to roll through and send Hendry into the guard rails.

The ref’s not counting because I guess a double count-out adds nothing in the scheme of things. Meanwhile, Kidd’s destroying more of those flimsy barriers before he rolled Hendry back in to score a near-fall. Chops and clotheslines see Hendry fight back, before he ran into a big boot from Kidd… who goes for a rear chinlock to try and squeeze Hendry to sleep, rather than go for a pin.

We cross the 20 minute match as Kidd went for a pin, but Hendry kicked out and came straight back in with a suplex for a near-fall. Hendry’s starting to seem desperate as Kidd was kicking out of his every move, before a diving boot from Kidd almost increased his lead. Some forearms keep Hendry in the corner as Kidd started to play dirty/dirtier, only for Hendry to surprise him off the top rope with an avalanche Freak of Nature for another near-fall.

A second Freak of Nature’s turned into a Darkness Falls, and that spinebuster variant makes it 3-3!

We’re into the final five minutes, and now the crowd are starting to get into it. Kidd flips off Hendry, then spits on him to anger the former champion. We’re back to uppercuts between the two men, then chops, before a snap brainbuster got Kidd a near-fall. Another tombstone attempt’s countered into an ankle lock, which Kidd resisted before tapping with a minute to go. Hendry’s 4-3 up!

Kidd’s chasing the game here, throwing forearms and uppercuts, but he shoves Hendry into the ref after avoiding a Freak of Nature. There’s a low blow and a tombstone, but Hendry kicks out with 15 seconds to go… more shots follow as we count down… and rather than go for a pin, Kidd tries to pick up Hendry, who sandbags him as time runs out. Joe Hendry wins, and Gabriel Kidd is out of Defiant after a pretty good iron man match – it’s just a shame that crowd don’t tend to get into those until the final 5 minutes, despite them front-loading the falls in the opening third of the match. ***½

Hendry leaves, jubliant, while Gabriel Kidd is disconsolate in the ring as the crowd sing the goodbye song. Prince Ameen comes out, as they give us the callback to Kidd’s start in the old WCPW. Ameen bows before Kidd, who returned the favour, before they hugged. The man servant, who became the man, is now out of Defiant.

Kidd has a farewell speech, where he put over Defiant and WCPW for giving him his first big break. He’s not wrong. For all we maligned WCPW in the early days, Kidd was the one name they made from scratch. Kidd gets cheers as he thanks the crowd and exited stage left as the show faded to black.

As a farewell, this was a solid episode of TV that wrote Kidd out of the company – although I am a little sad that this particular arc of the story was rushed, having gone from elimination in the rumble, to the challenge, to the match in less than eight days. Whether this is a long-term farewell remains to be seen, especially since it appears that Kidd is slowly appearing in some higher profile promotions in 2019 (Rev Pro and Fight Club Pro to name the obvious two). While he may not have reached the apex in Defiant, it was probably time for a break since, without becoming champion, Kidd had done just about everything he could have in this promotion. As for Joe Hendry… what lays next for him remains to be seen.

Next week: Rampage defends the Defiant title against PAC, Carlos Romo takes on Sean Kustom and Man Like Dereiss in a three-way, and we have mixed-tag action as CJ Banks and Lizzy Styles face Visage and Lana Austin.