Jenny and I had the chance to see PROGRESS ENDVR:6 tonight in Balham which is literally 10 minutes up the road for us so was a nice easy drive but there is something to be said for those memorable 4-5 hour drives all over the UK in order to support British independent wrestling. On that note if you are unaware of PROGRESS ENDVR it’s an event aimed to showcase new and upcoming talent from their Projo think NXT but with the atmosphere a heavy metal concert crossed with improv comedy but more on that later.
The Bedford in Balham provided a unique atmosphere for wrestling as it used to be a globe theatre so the ring is fully surrounded on two tiers giving fans a great view from the floor or from the balcony which is where wrestlers entered from and added even more interaction for fans to enjoy. After the pre-show soundtrack which included The Smiths, Blur, Prodigy and Drowning Pool which would really set the tone for the night the first contest was:
Ali Armstrong vs Xander Cooper.
This was my first time seeing either of these wrestlers live and I was impressed with what I saw. It was a comedy vs serious wrestler match but with some spots I hadn’t seen before. Ali Armstrong has great comedy timing in his performance and good chemistry with his opponent Xander Cooper who between them knew how to work the crowd which is obviously very important being the opening contest. Ali Armstrong picked up the victory after a muscle buster from the corner to Xander Cooper, his victory however was short lived when Jimmy Havoc made an early appearance telling Armstrong he was missing the fire from his performance and hasn’t improved since they lost a tag match over a year ago. The Omega blindsided Armstrong from behind taking him out and stood dominant over him. Havoc told him he had invested all his stock in Omega before leaving flipping off the crowd all the way to the back.
Steve Burden vs Jack Jameson
The match got under way after Burden had wished syphilis on a fan and compared beards with other Progress fans. This contest was back and forth, physical and hard hitting throughout with both big men pulling out some great offence including a vicious donkey punch (don’t know what that is? Google it!) to Jameson who then locked in an ankle lock but Jameson was able to get to the ropes to break the submission. Jameson picked up the win after Burden went for the ankle lock again but was thrown into the turnbuckle and staggered into a devastating power bomb which did nothing to help Jameson’s comparisons to Diesel! A great physical contest between to big men who celebrated together knowing that on another night this much could go another way. On a side note when two wrestlers are on the turnbuckle with the combined weight of god knows how many hundreds of pounds yells at you to move in your seats…you move, don’t freeze like I did!
Pastor William Eaver vs Eddie Dennis
As soon as a hymn played out over The Bedford Theatre it erupted with applause and cheers for Pastor William Eaver who besides being a heel is clearly becoming a fan favourite with The Progress fans especially after his showing at Thunderbastard. Andrew WK’s ‘Party Hard’ played next to a great ovation with Eddie Dennis making his entrance who is a giant of a man able to high five fans up on the balcony from the turnbuckle! Once Eddie Dennis had clarified with the fans he wasn’t in fact wrestling Jesus the match got underway. This featured an exchange of chops more vicious then others I have ever seen! The action was fast and brutal between the two but Eddie Dennis picked up the win but came back to shake hands with Pastor who really gave everything to this contest who showed he will be big part of Progress’ future.
Omega vs Mark Hendry
A real David vs Goliath contest this one with Hendry wisely exploding out the box with a massive drop kick taking Omega to the floor but this would be the only time Hendry would have a real as advantage in the match! Within seconds Omega had the upper hand following a tackle into the corner followed up with an exploder suplex prompting a ‘Please Don’t Die’ chant from the fans. Following what was a completely one sided beat down on Hendry he started to show some life reversing a shell shock into a hurricarna but then missed a top rope moonsault leading into perhaps the nastiest spinebuster ever executed in a wrestling ring. Omega hit the shell shock and picked up the three count but he wasn’t done and locked in a submission on the beaten Hendry. Ali Armstrong made the save chasing Omega out of the ring before challenging him to a Lumber Person match because as Armstrong put it the roster has men and women! Omega then spat at Armstrong before retreating into the back.
What followed was an open forum from Tom Irvin who simply put is a character based on the BNP but played without any subtlety at all. The crowd were hostile towards him immediately with chants I can’t well repeat on here. His racist and xenophobic promo was cut off by Nor De Silva who took offence to Irvin’s ranting and started an impromptu match between the two which was pretty one sided as soon as Tom Irvin put the brakes on De Silva’s high flying style.
Darrell Allen vs Damon Moser (No DQ and No Count Out)
What started off as your normal No DQ match ended rather abruptly after what seems like a legitimate injury to Darrell Allen allowed Damon Moser to pick up the win after several chair shots and even a Casio Keyboard to the back. As of writing this there was no confirmation of Allen’s status and I would like to wish him well no matter what the outcome is! He talked to the fans after the match documenting his recent troubles in Progress including losing to Rampage Brown, injuring himself at the recent Sonipshere shows and again at Chapter 14. The fans did their part and gave him a great reception on the way out.
Pollyanna vs Rhia O’Reilly (Special Guest Referee Rosie Leigh)
Let it be said any wrestler who has dubstep Game of Thrones theme as their entrance music is alright by me and Pollyanna really took it to Rhia O’Reilly and it wasn’t long before this match was being fought in amongst the fans. Rosie Leigh managed to call the match right down the middle despite Rhia O’Reilly believing she couldn’t. Pollyanna picked up the win after O’Reilly charged into the turnbuckle and fell backwards over Pollyanna who quickly rolled her up for the three count. After the match O’Reilly took issue with Rosie Leigh and dropped her with a DDT before leaving.
PROGRESS Champion Jimmy Havoc & Paul Robinson vs Will Ospreay & Joey Lakeside
Not to be undone by some of the already great entrance themes Will Ospreay and Joey Lakeside entered to Five’s ‘Everybody Get Up’ and I sang along to every single word with no shame whatsoever! The mood changed instantly as Jimmy Havoc and Paul Robinson entered with even more security on hand as both men will give as much as they take from the fans. Havoc and Robinson blindsided Ospreay and Lakeside and proceeded to isolate Lakeside and give him one hell of a beating for a good ten minutes leaving him with red whelps all over and even several cuts down his back. Once Ospreay got into the match he exploded with his unique offence and changed the ride of the match in their favour but Joey Lakeside ended up taken a Shooting Star Press aimed for Ospreay’s former partner Robinson which allowed Havoc to pick up the pin and once again leave Progress fans with the familiar sight of him standing tall over his opponents. Robinson continued the beat down on Ospreay after the match while Havoc cut a promo about how at Chapter 15 in the 8 Man Tag Match his team are just that a team but Ospreay’s partners will throw him under the bus to win Havoc’s title.
I had a very enjoyable time at PROGRESS ENDVR:6 with 8 very solid matches and a great main event setting up for Chapter 15. The crowd were their usual crazy selves and I wouldn’t want it any other way. For just £8 we got to see some promising new talent and UK Indy stars and I would highly recommend making your way to ENDVR if you can’t make the Progress main shows but even if you can please don’t dismiss the ENDVR shows!
Thanks for reding, Geraint Lewis (@GeraintL) and Jenny Goswell (@JGosPhotography)