ENDVR returned to its spiritual home in Balham for their 17th card, featuring guests from the Manchester-based FutureShock Wrestling, and a unique spin on a number one contendership.
At this time in PROGRESS’ history, Glen Joseph was on hiatus – after being attacked by Marty Scurll after his title loss earlier in the summer – whilst Jim Smallman was on labour-watch duties, as his wife was expecting “Baby Claudio”. So, in both of their steads, comedian Chris Brooker – also of Futureshock Wrestling – took over MC duties for the evening.
Brooker’s opening pre-amble included a nice way of getting rid of the “count ahead of the ref” gimmick, by threatening to lock the fire exits and burn the place down… well, if it works, why not try it!
Ashmore vs. Soner Dursun
“New jacket, New man” proclaimed the “Hipstar” Ashmore, who was in his first singles match under the PROGRESS banner here for six months – with his last appearance being against Roy Johnson in that outing that saw the pair pull off a double-turn…
Dursun is a regular on the wrestling scene in the north west of England, with FutureShock and Grand Pro Wrestling being amongst his “home” promotions. We’re without commentary for this ENDVR, and we start with Ashmore grabbing a headlock, then a shoulder tackle as he tried to fend off heckles from someone in the crowd who tries to compare him to Uncle Albert from the British sitcom “Only Fools and Horses”
A lot of back and forth in this one, Dursun openly imitates Chris Jericho with a missed quebrada, before hitting a tiltawhirl DDT and a corkscrew plancha to Ashmore. After some brawling outside, they returned as Ashmore went on the offensive, until a missed senton bomb got Dursun back into things, where a superkick and a Northern Lights suplex got him a near-fall.
Ashmore’s leaping knee in the corner looked to set up for a leaping ‘rana – a la Ricochet – but that went wrong, and led to Dursun getting a near-fall. What didn’t go wrong for Ashmore was a brutal pop-up backbreaker, before Dursun almost won it with a standing Shiranui. Soner looked to go up top for the win, but his frog splash misses as Ashmore followed up with a Spanish Fly for a near-fall, before a modified Anaconda Vice earned the win for Ashmore. Decent stuff, even with the slips in the match. Dursun looked good on his PROGRESS debut-of-sorts… **½
Dillon D’Angelo vs. Damon Moser
A potentially awkward face-vs-face match here; D’Angelo’s entrance included a standing flip, much like that of a certain Will Ospreay… a man whose moves he, shall we say, took inspiration from on the PTNTL show that took place just 24 hours earlier.
This one had a quick start as Moser cornered D’Angelo with some shots, before weathering some brief offence and kicking Dillon in mid-handspring. A swinging Fisherman’s suplex gets Moser a two-count, as he followed up with a dropkick into the corner then gets the Coast-to-Coast dropkick for another two-count.
D’Angelo mounts a comeback with some kicks from the ground, before a Marty Scurll-esque superkick to the head for a near-fall. A springboard corkscrew uppercut off the ropes just about hits, before Moser counters a top rope crossbody into a suplex that ends with an over-the-knee neckbreaker. One knee trembler later, and Moser picked up the win. Decent match, but pretty much a glorified squash for a guy who’d end up on the Brixton card a month later. **¼
Bea Priestley & Chakara vs. Pollyanna & Laura Di Matteo
Priestley came out with a Will Ospreay shirt hanging off of her backside – something that she’s actively making a part of her act, embracing the perceived nepotism. She gets drowned out for her pre-match spiel, like a Kiwi Zack Gibson.
As the referee ordered for the bell to be rung, we instead get a surprise appearance from Jinny, who’s actually out in the zebra stripes, and is apparently our guest referee.
We start as Pollyanna takes down Chakara with a lock-up, before they grapple back and forth, reversing waistlocks and wristlocks. Chakara tried to sucker-kick Pollyanna from a handshake, but she gets taken down with hiptosses instead as Di Matteo made the tag in. Jinny stood emotionless as Laura took down Chakara with dropkicks, then again as a drop toe hold sent Priestley to the mat.
Pollyanna comes in to assist Laura with a tiltawhirl onto Priestley, but Jinny takes an age to get down for the count, then counts slowly. That leads to her and Laura going head to head, before Jinny turns her back on some heel double-teaming. Funnily enough, Jinny had no problems with her nails when Laura was getting counted down…
More heel double-teams follow, as Di Matteo was kept firmly on the back foot. A snapmare, then a dropkick from Chakara gets her a two-count, before Laura finally gets some breathing space, courtesy of a tornado DDT out of the corner. Jinny slow counts as both women are down, before they both make a tag.
Pollyanna lays into Bea, before a forearm off the middle rope knocks the Kiwi down. Priestley fires back, misses a kick,then gets knocked down with a discus lariat as Chakara runs in. Jinny watches idly as Laura knocks them both down with a cross body. Priestley catches Laura with a Cheeky Nando’s kick as she took her time in leaving, which somehow ended up getting a chant of “Chicken Cottage” for the low-rent Nando’s kick.
Pollyanna low bridges Bea to the outside, as Chakara’s left alone… but she fights back despite the disadvantage. We get a powerbomb from Pollyanna, with Laura helping Chakara on the way down with a dropkick… but the slow count returns and Chakara kicks out. Jinny’s caught between Laura and Pollyanna, and decides to slap the pair of them.A kick gets caught, which leads to Jinny being set up for another powerbomb… but Bea runs in and pratfalls Pollyanna, leading to a fast-count for the win. This was all storyline, but the inconsistent heel referee is one of the worst things in wrestling. Fast count/slow count all the time, but don’t pick and choose. Shenanigans aside, this was a decent enough match, especially considering the relative inexperience of most of the competitors. **½
FutureShock Wrestling Adrenaline Championship: Chuck Mambo vs. James Drake (c)
Drake throws his title belt into the ring a la Naito, and gets a load of “who are ya?” chants…
Basic stuff early, as Drake applauds Mambo for taking a shoulder tackle, before Chuck takes down the champion with a wristlock. After another shoulderblock, Drake takes down Mambo with a side headlock, only to be tripped and turned into a human surfboard.
Drake’s dropkicked to the outside, where Mambo follows up with his springboard somersault dive to the floor, but a springboard double knee press back in misses and gives Drake a chance for a comeback. An uppercut takes Mambo into the ropes, but Chuck tries to fire back with chops and forearms, before a tiltawhirl backbreaker takes down the champion.
Drake fires back with some punches and uppercuts before a superkick gets Chuck a two-count. An Air Raid Crash is avoided as Drake pushes Chuck onto the apron, before the springboard knee press gets the challenger another near-fall. After an enziguiri and a pair of lariats in the corner, Drake gets another near-fall, before weathering another storm and finally dropping Mambo with a sit-out DDT for the win. Good while it lasted, but Drake had to overcome a major hurdle in being an unknown heel against a local favourite. ***
Wonderland (Henry T. Grodd & Noah) vs. Roy Johnson & Jack Sexsmith
Continuing the theme of FutureShock wrestlers appearing here, their soon-to-be tag team champions make an appearance here. Noah is a guy who carries a teddy bear has a handprint on his face, whilst Grodd is a lot bigger in size and weight, and is out with a gas mask. Very surreal… Meanwhile, Johnson and Sexsmith were reforming their impromptu “Shirtlifters” team from nine days earlier.
Johnson and Noah start, but it’s not long before Noah tries to kiss Johnson’s ear (at least, I think that’s what he tried to do). In comes someone who’d probably have reacted better, and sure enough, after Noah licks Jack, he gets… a big handful of ball sweat to the face. Noah reacts like it was acid, then tags out to Grodd.
Johnson tackles Grodd, before dropping him with a clothesline after some distraction from Sexsmith. Jack tacks in and gets front suplex’d onto Grodd, before connecting with a knee to Noah, then a neckbreaker. Noah starts crying in the ring, before he bites Jack’s hand, which leads to some double-teaming as the weird heels took over.
Sexsmith was kept in Wonderland’s corner for a while, before Grodd dropped him with a side slam for a near-fall. Noah took an enziguiri whilst trying to prevent a tag out, but Jack finally brought in Johnson, who cleaned house. Grodd gets Irish whipped into Noah, with the pile then taking an avalanche in the corner.
Sexsmith gets lifted up for an airplane spin by Johnson, who uses him to knock down both of Wonderland, before Jack drops down through dizziness. Grodd hits back with a hanging tree slam, but gets taken down with a Sexsmith DDT, only for a Noah lariat to take out Jack. Johnson hits back on Noah with a Big Ending, before Sexsmith reaches out for Mr Cocko, and ultimately forces Noah to tap. That was a bit of a weird one – a decent match, but the presence of another alien act kinda hurt this. **¾
As the unofficial Shirtlifters made their exit, a fan in the crowd threw a bra at Sexsmith, who then lifted it like he were the Rock with a title belt… alrighty then!
Now for the double main event – which had implications for Chapter 34: Keep It Unreal just five days later: it’d be War Machine vs. TK Cooper and Travis Banks in singles matches. If one team won both matches, they’d get a tag title shot against the London Riots in Manchester; if the matches ended up tied 1-1, then both teams would get the shot.
TK Cooper vs. Hanson
Cooper tried a hit and run technique at the start, by chopping and shoving Hanson before leaping out of the ring. After a while, Hanson goes on the chase, before shrugging off a series of chops from Cooper. A poke to the eye had an effect, as did Hanson’s reply: a shoulder tackle.
Hanson reverses an Irish whip to send Cooper into the buckles, before cartwheeling away from the Kiwi and landing a clothesline for an early two-count. Dahlia Black interferes to prevent a back senton, and that distraction allows Cooper to hit an enziguiri… only to be immediately charged into the corner.
Cooper avoids a cannonball dive and gets a near-fall from a hanging neckbreaker, before Dahlia interferes once more, grabbing Hanson to choke him in the ropes. Another neckbreaker prompts a fightback, as Hanson deadlifts Cooper from the mat and up into a suplex.
Cooper gets the knees up to block a big splash, but that seems to hurt both men equally, as Dahlia again gets involved, laying into Hanson before Cooper flies out with a baseball slide dropkick. Cooper headbutts Hanson on the outside, before rolling back into the ring. Hanson squashes Cooper in the corner, then backdrops him out, as an Exploder suplex and a swinging slam takes him down once more.
Dahlia again interferes as Hanson goes for a back senton, and ends up being dragged into the ring, but Hanson overwhelmed Cooper… only for Dahlia to get piled on top of her boyfriend for a two-in-one chop attempt. Black rakes the eyes to free herself, and finally she’s ejected courtesy of Jack Sexsmith and Roy Johnson.
With his girlfriend dispatched, Cooper turned around into a sit-out spinebuster for a near-fall. Cooper slips out of a Tiger Driver and gets a two-count from an axe kick, before a sit-down splash out of the corner squashes TK. Hanson climbs the ropes, only to miss a body splash, before Cooper tries – and fails – with a top rope senton. Hanson tries again out of the corner, and again misses, this time with a moonsault.
Cooper finally makes sure someone hits a move off the top, connecting with a senton, but he’s caught on landing by Hanson, who pulls him up into a Tiger Driver for another two-count. From the kick-out, Hanson tries – and misses – a leg lariat, before a Cooper Samoan drop gets him a two-count. TK elbows away on the back of Hanson, but a leg lariat out of nowhere gets the win for the War Machine member – and guarantees his team at least a place in the tag team title match. This was really fun, with Cooper getting a lot more offence in than I expected here. ***½
Travis Banks vs. Rowe
Before the match, Rowe insisted on a handshake – a la Ring of Honor – but instead Banks just flipped him off.
Banks and Rowe started off almost technical, with a tie-up leading to Banks getting taken into the ropes, before he’s easily placed onto the top rope. Rowe toys with Travis, lifting him up and planting him back on the mat from a waistlock, before he’s knocked down with a forearm off the ropes.
Banks misses a crossbody out of the corner, and that’s where Rowe draws the line with technical stuff, as he starts lighting up the New Zealander with forearms in the corner. An Irish whip sends Banks hard into the other corner, but he recovers after Rowe misses a knee strike, and replies with some lariats and a cannonball. They end up outside for a spell, where Banks drills Rowe’s head into the apron.
Back in the ring, Banks keeps stomping on Rowe, before a series of forearms knock him down. Rowe flapjacks Banks, but Travis fired back briefly, only to take a uranage, then a dropkick into the corner. An attempted full nelson bomb is avoided, as Banks slips out and catches Rowe with a brainbuster for a two-count, before throwing the big man out of the ring.
Rowe catches a tope from Banks, who then gets propelled into the apron, before an attempted dive was cut-off by the New Zealander. Travis goes up top, but a flying ‘rana is caught and turned into a powerbomb for a near-fall, before a release German suplex gets a similar result.
Rowe calls for the finish, and goes back to the full nelson, but Banks counters with a Judo throw, before going for some knees to the midsection. A kick to the knee knocks down Rowe, as Banks gets a driving dropkick and then a bridging German suplex for a near-fall. Banks tries again with a crossbody, but that gets a one count as Rowe hulked up, and levelled him with a couple of forearm strikes.
Banks tries to delay the inevitable, but a couple of chops rocks him, before a rolling forearm from Rowe sends him into the ropes, as a knee lift and a full-nelson bomb got Rowe the win and ensured that Sunday’s tag match would be a straight-forward two-on-two affair. Another really good match, as Rowe and Banks clicked well together, in spite of the obvious size difference. It’s a shame these two can’t work together more regularly… ***¾
All in, PROGRESS’ 17th ENDVR show was well worth waiting for. Although the card did have a few sticky moments as the visiting FutureShock talent took a while to get out of the blocks. For a two-hour show, this is something that won’t waste your time, but at the very least, check out the final two matches!