This afternoon saw PROGRESS hold their sixteenth “ENDVR” show – basically their version of NXT (before it became full of ex-TNA guys), in front of a packed crowd at The Garage in Islington, London.
We’ll post a more in-depth review of the show once it’s gone up on Demand-Progress later this week (assuming Glen Joseph’s hungover commentary wasn’t bad enough to need re-recording!)
The show opened with a decent match between two debutants – Hayden Yorke and Dillon D’Angelo. Yorke won, but I would dare say that this “I’m better than you” gimmick needs a lot of work.
Second up was what I felt the best match on the show, between Pollyanna and Dahlia Black, with Jack Sexsmith as the special guest referee. Sexsmith threw out TK Cooper from the ringside area immediately, and after we got past the shenanigans, Pollyanna and Black put on a heck of a match, with Pollyanna having the match won, only to have to settle for a disqualification win when TK Cooper ran back in. Hopefully this holds up on video, and isn’t one of those “better live than on tape” deals!
T-Bone and Iestyn Rees’ Atlas Tournament match was as hard hitting as you’d expect, with T-Bone coming close to personally moving the ring after taking several Irish whips into the turnbuckles. T-Bone took the win, and increases his placing in the Atlas tournament to four points, following two wins from two.
The 30-minute Iron Man match between Sweet Jesus (William Eaver & Chuck Mambo) and the Dazzler Team (Earl Black Jr & Darrell Allen) was a bit of a weird one. Not least for the free countdown app that was projected onto the screen with a threat of, erm, adult pop-up adverts possibly appearing… Unfortunately, Iron Man matches have a habit of having the crowd “tune out” for large periods of time. The opening five minutes of the match were all comedy and stalling, with Chuck Mambo bringing a massive bag of fruit with him… he ate a couple of bananas, and threw the skin into the ring, and we genuinely got the “slip on a banana peel” finish for the opening fall, before some more fruit – a pineapple to the face of Darrell Allen – earned a match levelling DQ. For me, the finish was anticlimactic – with dives to the outside earning the Dazzlers a count out win with just seconds to go.
By the way guys, if you want that pineapple back, tough luck!
The second half of the show featured a Battle Royal for the final spot in the Super Strong Style 16 tournament later this week – TK Cooper threw out Jack Sexsmith last to claim the win, after Sexsmith had been selling for a lot of it on the floor. Cooper was an unpopular winner, but given that half of the battle royal were debutants (or at least, on their first show) the picking here were slim!
Our semi-final spot was the angle between Jinny and Elizabeth – and they finally did the turn, with Elizabeth slapping Jinny and breaking free. This got the loudest pop of the entire show – justifiably (hey, who knew a long-term, slow build storyline would work?!) They rechristened Elizabeth here as Laura Di Matteo, presumably not related to the former Chelsea midfielder.
Ian’s note: at the end of this segment, they had Elizabeth/Laura leave the ring, with her old “Elizabeth” entrance video playing in the background. The video faded away as she walked by, which makes more sense from a kayfabe perspective than having a new one already cued up. Holding my hands up here, I thought it was a mistake playing it to begin with, but creatively that wasn’t what they were aiming for. Or, as I said in my original review – “Unfortunately, on her exit, they played the old Elizabeth video for the new Laura, but hey, kayfabe means that nobody knew this was coming, right?”
Finally, the main event saw Paul Robinson go over “Wild Boar” Mike Hitchman in a chain match that was violent, featuring a hangman shot, a couple of “lets throw the other guy through many rows of seats” spots, but no blood, which I found odd for such a match. It was entertaining as you could get with the stipulations, but Robinson taking the win felt a little deflating.
– This event should be uploaded to Demand-Progress.com in the coming days – once it’s up, we’ll have a full review online!