Last time I interviewed Eddie Dennis (for Spandex, Screw Jobs and Cheap Pops), he was telling me that he’d readjusted his goals in wrestling in order to prioritise his personal life and his day job.
And since then his in-ring career has gone from strength to strength – most recently taking on Doug Williams at PROGRESS.
“That’s the first time I’ve wrestled an established TV talent,” he says. “I’ve wrestled guys who have gone on to be on TV, like Joel [Redman, now Oliver Grey in NXT], but never someone who is already established. Doug is probably one of the biggest active British names – [William] Regal, maybe, is the only person above him in the echelons of British wrestling, so how could you not be excited about wrestling him?”
Dennis is now facing Darrell Allen at PROGRESS’s new ENDVR show, aimed mostly to showcase the promotion’s promising trainees, and mixing them up with talent from the main roster.
“It’s exciting – Darrell and I are both involved in the training of the PROGRESS trainees,” he says.
“At the last PROGRESS show, we both got to wrestle Doug, and that was really cool; and now we’re the main event at the first ENDVR show. We’ve legitimately never been in a singles match before, so that’s something that’s new; and my only appearances on PROGRESS so far have been that triple threat with Doug, a tag match – which also featured Darrell, and a four-way dance, which involved Darrell! So I’d like to think there are some people who’d like to see us one on one.”
Dennis originally started going to the ProJo just to train at its dedicated facility in South London – easy to travel to from his south-west London base. Since then, he’s been helping out at sessions and leading some drills – “I’m a schoolteacher. It’s easy to do.”
And thus ENDVR has been born.
The complete card hasn’t been announced yet, but there will be a singles match between Jonathan Windsor and Joey Lakeside – the one PROGRESS trainee to make it to the main roster so far.
“I suspect the rest of the card will be trainees who are ready for it against London-based PROGRESS regulars, because that’s what generates the best possible matches,” he predicts. “I think it’ll be full of good matches.”
Basically, the concept is that ENDVR will be the NXT to PROGRESS’s RAW – it’s under the same promotion banner, but it’s about getting newer talent ready to work in the right style for the main cards.
“ENDVR will be a smaller crowd, with talent cutting their teeth – those who impress there will find themselves on PROGRESS shows,” he says.
So what next for Dennis? Is he rethinking his career goals again? “I wanted to wrestle an established talent. I can tick that off, which is pretty awesome,” he says.
“So I’ve trained someone for their first match; I wrestled one of the most respected guys in the country, someone who’s been on TV, who’s been to Japan, who’s been in Ring of Honor. Plus I’m really proud of Defend, I’m proud to establish something completely different.
“And sometimes,” he muses, “you sit down and think, ‘Well, I wonder if I COULD make a go of this full-time…'”
If you fancy seeing the next wave of new wrestling talent, ENDVR1 launches at the Bedford, Balham, at 4pm on Sunday 1st September.