On the 1st of September 2013, PROGRESS ran their first ENDVR show. The idea behind it was the opportunity to give trainees from the PROGRESS training school a showcase in front of an audience, whilst mixing with some name wrestlers from the main roster. Without knowledge of the quality going forward of the shows, it feels like a good idea at this point in PROGRESS’ evolution – if you are going to be developing young talent, why not put out a show in a smaller venue, with less expectation, to allow them to practice their craft in front of an audience?
Due to the nature of these shows, I’m not expecting top quality wrestling per se. However, it will be a good opportunity to spot the stars of tomorrow, and even potential wrestlers who make the PROGRESS main roster in the years to come.
Lord Jonathan Windsor vs Joey Lakeside
In a clever, yet not all too unpredictable move, the first match in ENDVR’s history sees two men who are already flirting with the main roster. Lord Jonathan Windsor had even wrestled on the most recent http://tvtimelimitremaining.co.uk/making-progress-chapter-8/ show, with Lakeside making his PROGRESS debut at http://tvtimelimitremaining.co.uk/making-progress-chapter-7/
I’ve already waxed fairly lyrical about how much I enjoy Windsor wrestling, and this is a very solid and enjoyable ENDVR debut match. Lakeside shows off his skills early with a tope suicida, yet we see a fairly methodical Windsor beatdown for the most part. A headbutt to the gut is an unorthodox way to grab control, and he continued to work on Lakeside with his rolling snapmare/spinning Euro uppercut combo and two vicious kneedrops. One complaint I’ve had is the lack of some bigger moves in LJW’s repertoire, yet he does whip out a unique leg trip into jawbreaker across his knee – contrived, but interesting nonetheless.
Lakeside seems like he is going to be a good face in peril, and he already has the crowd firmly behind him. A brief rally sees him lock in a single leg Boston crab, but Windsor cuts this short with a big side suplex. The finish sees Lakeside rock Windsor with a superkick and synching back in the half Boston for the submission victory. On the totem pole of PROGRESS, Windsor is probably higher than Lakeside, but it makes sense for the first ProJo trainee to get a victory on the trainee show.
Chuck Mambo vs El Pantera Negra
A Cornish surfer goes up against a masked luchador in our second match of the night, and I feel that the opportunity to see some of the more ‘interesting’ gimmicks will make this ENDVR watch through worthwhile. Mambo instantly gets the crowd behind him (not bad for a guy who is apparently filling in at short notice), even if the gimmick is a little bit of a grower. After a trading of holds section, Mambo grabs a couple of quick pinfall attempts before Pantera lives up to his name with numerous scratches across the chest and back of his opponent! An interesting offensive move, that’s for sure.
After a missed Negra dive, Mambo locks him in the Inner City Surfboard, a move that already gets a small pop from the crowd having been teased earlier in the match. Negra shows his own submission skills later in the match with a straitjacket choke. Mambo seems to have the match under control following an atomic drop, inverted atomic drop and back suplex in quick succession, yet is caught on the top rope and rolled up by Negra for the three count. The match was never going to set the world alight, but Mambo did enough to keep the crowd involved. It will be interesting to see whether we get more from him as ENDVR continues to progress.
Tyson James vs Krisys
Tyson James is a trainee who comes out to ask for a match. Krisys is a brick wall of a man who looks like he eats men like James for breakfast. There is only ever going to be one outcome. James is valiant in defeat, but Krisys does just launch him around the ring with huge clotheslines, a fallaways slam and a gorilla press slam. In short order, a running Liger Bomb does for James, and we have an interesting new monster with a great look and some potential on the loose.
Ali Armstrong/Jimmy Havoc vs The Burden of Justice
We are treated to an Armstrong training montage first, which is in itself a thing of genius. Armstrong is someone I’m looking forward to seeing more from, as the plucky wrestler who just gets nothing right. In the early going, we see Armstrong roll numerous times for no apparent reason, missing a legdrop twice, and even falling over when given a hot tag! The dynamic of Havoc and Armstrong is interesting, as Havoc seems constantly frustrated by Armstrong’s inability to do basic things in the ring, even going as far as to atomic dropping Armstrong into the legdrop he missed to show him how to do it!
The dynamic between the two members of The Burder of Justice is also interesting. Phil Ward controls Steve Burden, with Ward portraying a corrupt office of some sort, Burden a criminal (if I remember correctly and have understood it correctly…). Throughout the match, Ward spends a lot of time telling Burden what to do, often to be met with grudging acceptance from his tag partner. Armstrong is the natural face in peril, and even when he gets on offense, things don’t work out – an airplane spin on Ward sees Ward fall on top of Armstrong for a two count!
Eventually, Armstrong is able to hit a move of note (a reverse DDT) to allow him to make the hot tag to Jimmy. After this, the match breaks down with the ref losing control, allowing Ward to knock out Havoc with a handcuff shot. Armstrong is tied to the ringpost with electric tape, but Havoc somehow manages to kick out at two! He hits a rope assisted backstabber on Ward and a lungblower on Burden, only to get dropped with a German suplex followed by an ace crusher when checking on Armstrong in the corner. This is enough for the victory, and Havoc’s losing streak continues away from the main PROGRESS shows. Still, a very entertaining match, mostly due to the interplay between Havoc and Armstrong.
Danny Garnell vs Damon Moser
For someone I didn’t know before my run through of PROGRESS, I’ve consistently been impressed by Garnell. In terms of technique, he is one of the more impressive men on the roster, with everything he does effective and crisp. In the opposite corner is Damon Moser, a man who, based on the video before the match, seems to be playing the ‘intense heel’. Both men are of similar size, but start with a sequence of trading holds that belies their relative size. Moser takes control and begins to attack Garnell’s arm, a relatively sound gameplan considering the impact of Garnell’s suplexes.
Moser works over Garnell, only for Garnell to duck a clothesline and plant Moser with a neckbreaker. A fisherman, northern lights and back suplex complete a triumvirate of suplexes from Garnell, all executed with perfection. Moser has one last flurry, catching Garnell in an armbar in an effort to make him submit, only for the more experienced man to make it to the ropes. An Irish whip is reversed by Garnell, allowing him to plant Moser’s head into the mat with a DDT. Three seconds later, and Garnell has picked up another victory. I’ll be interested to see Moser in action down the line – outside of the arm work, there was limited opportunity to see what his overall repertoire might be like.
Thomas Cartelle vs Mark Hendry
Mark Hendry requested this opportunity to take on ‘the biggest bully’ ENDVR can find. Initially, this seems like it will be Thomas Cartelle, only for Cartelle to introduce Paul Ryker to the ring, a bigger and scarier prospect by far. I like that there feels that ENDVR is going to also run with its own storylines – it needs that to make it seem more than just a trainee show and a legitimate prospect in the eyes of fans. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure about Hendry – I can’t imagine a gimmick or situation where I will consider him as a viable wrestler – there is just something a little off about his demeanour that makes it hard to buy into. Maybe that will come with experience though.
The match centers around Cartelle’s interference to help the already bigger man beatdown on Hendry. Any flurries by Hendry are stopped by Ryker’s general size (he almost takes Hendry’s head off with a clothesline following a missed charge into the corner) or by Cartelle at ringside. In and around these shenanigans, Ryker does his best job to throw Hendry around and garner sympathy for the smaller man, but the crowd never really feel like they are into the match in the same way they were for Armstrong, Krisys or Mambo earlier. A powerslam after Cartelle gets involved one more time is enough for Ryker to pick up the victory.
Eddie Dennis vs Darrell Allen
Two of the middle card guys from the PROGRESS roster that both have a lot of upside, Eddie Dennis and Darrell Allen make natural main eventers for this first ENDVR show. Not only do they add an element of star value, they have been having a friendly feud on the main card, so a one on one encounter makes a lot of sense. The initial trade-off is fairly equal, and it soon moves on to the battle of Allen’s speed versus Dennis’ strength.
There are moments in this match where I see the Dennis that I want to see – for a guy his side, I feel like he should be throwing people around the ring and using his strength advantage a lot more at times. A backbreaker followed by a deadlift gutwrench in tribute to Cesaro show his capabilities, and a roll through of a crossbody ending up with Allen getting dropped with a swinging backbreaker is a particular highlight. Allen uses his kicks to fight back, although he does show a certain amount of strength in lifting Dennis up in a twisting brainbuster, an impressive move considering their relative sizes.
The finish is built well, with a crucifix powerbomb into the corner allowing Dennis to head to the top rope. A missed elbowdrop makes me feel that Allen is going to pick up the win, but he is too slow getting to the top rope and gets caught by Dennis. A superplex without a release allows him to roll through and land God’s Last Gift for the three count. A very good match, topping a card that, whilst not full of the best wrestling you are ever going to see, was a fun and diverting hour and a half. Roll on ENDVR 2!