One more time, seemingly for the last time?
So, our final match (for now) was the main event of PROGRESS’ “big September show” in 2019. Alexandra Palace was the venue, but by the end of the night, the vaunted Starr/WALTER feud would simply be used as a bridge…
PROGRESS Unified Championship: David Star vs. WALTER (c)
The preceding video package for this focused on this being Starr’s 13th attempt at beating WALTER one-on-one… although Starr himself seemed to be keener to use the setting for one great big “Unionize” protest. I mean, you can’t complain for him using the moment… but it’s “Unionise” over here.
WALTER boots Starr before the bell, but almost succumbed to a Code Red as Starr started the match off hot. They spill outside, with Starr chopping and clubbing WALTER around the ring, only for WALTER to turn around, teasing a powerbomb into the front row that Starr escaped from… before his tope was caught and turned into a throw into the crowd. Back inside, Starr tries to throw chops, but WALTER just bullies him with a chop and a kick to the back, before he pinned Starr into the corner with a litany of chops, following that with a nasty boot to the mush. The crowd gets behind Starr as he tried to fight back, but WALTER’s chops were just too much as the Austrian took him outside for a powerbomb onto the edge of the ring.
Yep, it’s already looking depressingly familiar.
A slam and a sit-down splash from WALTER back inside draws a two-count, following up with a Boston crab… but Starr gets to the ropes as more chops leave him on the deck. Starr tries to reply with Han Stansens, which have WALTER wobbly, before a German suplex dumped WALTER on the deck. Body blows from Starr have WALTER covering up, but he’s quickly caught with a rear naked choke, before Starr flips out of a RINGKAMPF German and hits a cartwheel kick on the way to a Randy Savage elbow drop for a near-fall.
Starr sidesteps a shotgun dropkick from WALTER and begins to charge back in with Han Stansen lariats… only for a lariat from WALTER to turn the tables once more as the Austrian got a near-fall. A small package nearly gets WALTER the win as he looked for a Product Placement, planting WALTER for a near-fall, before Starr teased a Pedigree… …and got lifted back into a goddamn Jig ‘n’ Tonic for a near-fall. Regardless, Starr’s up to land a Pedigree seconds later, before another Han Stansen dropped WALTER for a near-fall. Starr looks to force WALTER up for a Blackheart Buster, but ultimately got drilled into the corner with a shotgun dropkick before another powerbomb led to a near-fall!
WALTER stays on Starr with a rear naked choke, but he can’t quite sink it in at first before he shook Starr to the mat. The ref checks the arm, but Starr fought free… and got spiked with a Fire Thunder Driver almost instantly for another near-fall. Frustrated, WALTER heads out and grabs the PROGRESS title belt, but Starr ducks the belt shot as a big boot wipes out the ref! Starr has no issue using the belt himself as it softens up WALTER for a Blackheart Buster… but Joel’s still down and unable to make the count. So close, but so far, Davey. Eventually, a second referee appears as Chris Sharpe’s shoved through the entryway… and this is where things take a turn. Cue Eddie Dennis’ music, as he appears with a piece of paper in hand.
That piece of paper is Eddie’s contract from Wembley – it’s got two weeks’ left… so he’s cashing it in now. So much for that retirement from PROGRESS a few months back.
PROGRESS Unified Championship: David Star vs. WALTER (c) vs. Eddie Dennis
As Eddie stays on the stage, he mentions that three-ways are no-DQ. A masked man enters with a chair and whacks Starr in the back as WALTER’s teleported away…
The chair’s placed over Starr’s neck as the masked man revealed himself to be Mark Andrews… Eddie stands on the chair and covers Starr, and we have a new champion. The disembodied voice of Jim announces the new champion without the kind of shock you’d have expected in the past, as it’s down to Glen on commentary to be shocked as the crowd were sort of into Eddie as champion.
So, that main event was something, eh? Technically it’s another “loss” for David Starr against WALTER, which some cynics will point to Starr “just being there so Eddie could win the belt”. Given the lack of build for the advertised main event, it’s hard to argue… I mean, it’s not like this match had the sense of optimism that (say) Starr vs. WALTER at 16 Carat Gold this year had. Heck, it had more of a feel of a “hey, we’re doing this match because we can”, kind of like when Beyond and Fight Club Pro piggiebacked onto the match a year ot two ago. Mixing the two matches into one, I’d have to go for the proverbial Gentleman’s Three, since Starr never looked like a threat, and in hindsight this was just a way to get the belt onto Eddie. Starr, as witnessed by the build, was an afterthought. ***
So, at time of writing, this was the last time these two faced each other… and not just because of the coronavirus. That’ll date this piece in years to come! WALTER didn’t return to PROGRESS to get a rematch, instead returning in February 2020 as an injury replacement for Travis Banks with the Anti-Fun Police… and with David Starr having left the promotion by then, well, the list of promotions both men were working in was razor thin… and even then, OTT hadn’t booked WALTER since WrestleRama 3.
In the current wrestling climate, the “cash in” match looks to have been the final time we’ll see Starr and WALTER in the same ring as one another. Perhaps a little disappointing given how hot their feud had been until this final chapter.
An interview Starr did with Jamesie of POST Wrestling in late 2019 revealed that wXw had “given up” the option of having Starr’s win in a wXw ring perhaps tipped off his wXw days were numbered. Could this be the modern day, indie equivalent of Tommy Dreamer vs. Raven, without the “sports entertainment” stuff, and without the proxy for Dreamer (Starr) ever getting the win? On this form, more than likely – but it’s a hell of a body of work that rewards with each viewing, and one that will be talked about for years to come.