Here’s five things you need to know about British wrestling this week:
1) IPW:UK’s biggest show ever ended in confusion
Ahead of their impending 12th anniversary, IPW:UK ran their biggest show ever — funnily enough called Biggest Show Ever — at the Electric in Brixton last Sunday. The show was headlined by an IPW:UK Heavyweight title match between interim champion Joseph Conners — defending on behalf of the injured Jimmy Havoc — and Sammy Smooth, who had won a shot at the belt at Supershow 3.
With Smooth’s allies The London Riots acting as special enforcers, the challenger beat Conners but only after all manner of shenanigans involving referee Artemis, Adam Maxted, Havoc, and IPW:UK owner Daniel Edler, who counted the winning pin. Havoc then refused to hand over the belt and the company has since ruled the match a no-contest. The situation with Havoc should be resolved soon, however, and Smooth will no doubt get a shot at the real champion down the line.
The promotion warmed up for the Brixton show with one of their smaller-scale Future brand shows at the Snodland Community Centre on Saturday night, albeit a smaller-scale show, which featured Lucha Underground star PJ Black, who beat Scot Star, and main show regulars The London Riots, tag team champions DnD, and the Dunne Brothers.
DnD also defended their belts at Brixton, and fell to the Swords of Essex — comprised of Paul Robinson & Scotty Wainwright — who became the new champions. IPW:UK’s Women’s title was also on the line at Brixton, and Tennessee Honey retained the championship by submitting the veteran Jetta to extend her two months-plus reign.
As with most special shows, the company brought in some overseas guests for Brixton, with PJ Black making another appearance, this time beating Ricardo Rodriguez (who subbed for the absent Paul London, who was himself replacing the originally-announced Low-Ki!), alongside the first UK indie date for the third version of Carter, EC3, who pinned the ever-unpopular Zack Gibson.
The show was rounded out by a six-man featuring the final in-ring appearance of Tom Irvin, as the GZRS & Sid Scala beat Lionheart & The 55 from ICW, a tag team victory for The London Riots over The Ruckers, and a 10,000 Cuban Peso Challenge which saw Cuban Heat pin RJ Singh, but only after his feet were on the ropes.
The show will soon be available on IPW:UK On Demand, and the promotion are back on September 4th in Tonbridge, with Timothy Thatcher advertised.
2) Sir Reginald Windsor won a class war at Lucha Britannia
Nestled away in a disused railway arch in London’s east end, Lucha Britannia’s 25 shows a year largely go unnoticed by most British wrestling fans. Their adventures take place in what they dub the RetroFutureVerse, and the characters featured rarely venture outside that bubble (although the wrestlers portraying them have featured some of the UK’s best). Even less frequently do those from the outside make it into Lucha Town, with Juventud Guerrera the only one seemingly able to do it on a regular basis.
La Diablesa Rosa takes flight — photo by Al Veryard
Last Friday saw the latest in their ongoing, unnamed series of episodes, and was topped — as always — by a defense of the Lucha Britannia Championship, held by La Diablesa Rosa since mid-March. Her opponents on this occasion were the silver lizard, Lagarto de Plata, and a man who counts Brexit amongst his hobbies, disgraced toff Sir Reginald Windsor.
When the dust — and glitter, from the earlier interval cabaret act — had settled, Windsor had the title, and became the 12th luchador to win the belt, from a list which — whisper it! — also contains the alter-egos of Paul Robinson, Greg Burridge, Will Ospreay, Jimmy Havoc, and RJ Singh.
The show opened with the debut of London School of Lucha Libre graduate Muñeca de Trapo, who beat seven other luchadores — including Pure Britannico, Marduk Malik, and former champions Fug & Cassius — to win the opening Lucha Chaos contest.
Lucha Britannia presents intergender wrestling as nothing out of the ordinary, and although Muñeca de Trapo is small, even for a female wrestler, the match was delivered in such a way that her win, and the moves executed to even the biggest rival, did not seem unrealistic. Marduk Malik then returned for the second contest of the evening, against his Acolyte, who the resurrected Sumerian god beat and punished for continually letting him down.
On the previous Lucha Britannia show at the beginning of August, the Fabulous Bakewell Boys finally won a match, after several thousand unsuccessful attempts, and celebrated by buying a balloon.
They attempted to go two-for-two against Hombre del Rocka & Estupido (the latter of whom is the recipient of a popular chant featuring the last two syllables of his name), but they were once again betrayed by Grandpa Bakewell’s mail order Thai bride Lilly Snatch-Dragon, who burst the Bakewells’ balloon (both literally & figuratively) and joined the evil rudos.
I realise that makes very little sense, but if you join the Lucha Britannia crew at their upcoming shows — held the first and third Friday of every month at the Resistance Gallery in Bethnal Green — it totally will.
3) A surprise return put a Smile on the faces of the ATTACK! fans
From the sublime and ridiculous to the ridiculous and sublime, as ATTACK! Pro-Wrestling — who also occupy their own unique, weird place on the British pro-graps scene –presented their second show of the year at the Cardiff Walkabout, much bigger than their usual venues and packed to the rafters with fans eager for some Thank God It’s Not Winter Slam action.
Last Sunday’s show, main evented by an ATTACK!-Pro Tag Team Championship tables, ladders, and chairs match, featured three title changes, a surprise return, and a notable debut, and will soon be available to watch on their On Demand service.
Chris Ridgeway manhandles Splits McPins — photo by Turning Face’s Jim Maitland
The show opened with the first semifinal in their ATTACK!-Pro Championship tournament, with Mike Bird beating Santos Sr. to advance to the final where he will face Eddie Dennis, who beat Wild Boar in the evening’s other semifinal.
This title came about because the promotion were afraid that their usual belt — the 24/7 Championship — had gotten a bit silly, but that championship provided some of the night’s best excitement when the Anti-Fun Police’s Chief Deputy (Damian) Dunne and new recruit Officer (Travis) Banks beat the Brothers of Construction, with Dunne becoming the new 24/7 champion as he pinned Jim Construction to win the bout.
Ryan Smile, last seen leaving the Anti-Fun Police at the last Walkabout show in April (because he decided he liked fun after all), then appeared, and teamed with Lee Construction to beat Dunne & Banks — Smile pinning Dunne to lift the 24/7 title on his return to the promotion.
The main event that topped a show which also featured Pete Dunne beating El Ligero, and Drew Parker winning a six-man which saw the unforgettable debut of new sensation Splits McPins, was a brutal affair, between long-time rivals Bayside High (the team of Nixon Newell & Mark Andrews) and #CCK (Chris Brookes & the dirty wolf Kid Lykos), and when the wreckage had cleared it was Brookes who stood tall — no surprise there — to grab the belts and win the titles for his team.
There’ll be little time to celebrate, however, as the promotion have booked #CCK to face Moustache Mountain on September’s show in Wolverhampton, which is sure to be a bruising encounter.
ATTACK! return on September 17th with their second Club One Hundred show, this time at the Cathays Community Centre in Cardiff. It’s already sold out but keep an eye out for future shows, starting with that Wolverhampton date on September 24th at the Fixxion Warehouse.
4) Dylan Roberts finagled his way to the Grand-Pro title
The height of summer was a fitting time for the culmination of a long-brewing feud between Grand Pro-Wrestling champion T-Bone and Dylan Roberts to come to the boil, and last Friday’s Midsummer Madness at the Rose Club in Hindley, Wigan saw Roberts finally down his nemesis to lift the Grand-Pro Heavyweight Championship.
The win, though, only came as the result of interference by (Alan Alan Alan) Alan Tasker, who had an altercation with T-Bone’s second, Lana Austin, causing the champion to be distracted when Bubblegum came to Austin’s aid. Issues between T-Bone & Bubblegum have been slowly deteriorating and should make for interesting viewing in the coming months.
Pete Dunne & Travis Banks square off — photo by Tony Knox
Bubblegum had earlier defended his Grand-Pro British Championship, seeing off the challenge of both Bad Lads in a handicap match which came about as a result of an open challenge. The Bad Lads weren’t the only tag team in action, either, as an eight-man tag team match saw the Hate League’s Soner Dursun & Danxig team with Martin Kirby & The Sheikh to beat the Island Brothers & the Midnight Bin Collection.
The show, which also featured wins for Pete Dunne over Travis Banks, and Issiah Quinn against Matthew Brookes, opened with a Fast Track Four-way, the winner of which would be able to challenge anyone of their choice later that night. However, winner Ashton Smith, who beat RJM, Jimmy Jackson, and Joey Hayes, was attacked by RJM before he could announce who he would challenge, and was left unable to further compete.
Grand-Pro return on September 23rd with Battlefield IV and you can see their past shows on their Vimeo service.
5) Haskins retained the Fight!Nation title and starred in their web TV show
Warming up for their biggest show of the year — October’s Road To Gold — Knockout Wrestling returned to the Cemetary Cottages in Barrow on Saturday night with some Unfinished Business.
The show opened with a KOW Championship number one contenders’ match between Shaun Vasey and Laird Grayson, which Vasey won to earn a shot at Dan Moloney’s title, and closed with a tables, ladders, and chairs match in which Moloney teamed with the “Calamari Catch King” Chris Brookes to lose to the YOLO Squad’s Drew Parker & Ethan Silver.
In between, there were hijinks aplenty featuring “Masked Sensation” Nightmare, who won — and then lost — matches to determine if he would join Damian Dunne, Bubblegum, Chris Brookes, and Ricky J Mackenzie in the Road to Gold tournament. Nightmare vowed revenge on head honcho ALP, but finished the night laid out by ALP’s former rival — and new friend — Taylor West. KOW return on October 8th with Road To Gold III.
The New Nation lay a beating on Ashley Dunn — photo by unknown
Fast becoming the new hottest place for BritWres, the greater Newcastle area hosted Absolute Wrestling’s WrestleWatch last Sunday, at the Linskill Centre in North Shields. Featuring Colt Cabana, who is performing at the Edinburgh Festival, the show was headlined by a quarterfinal in the Absolute title tournament, won by Rampage Brown over Chuck Cyrus.
The semifinals of the tournament will take place at ABSOLUTION! on October 22nd, with Rampage joining HT Drake, Bubblegum, and Martin Kirby in the last four. Drake and Kirby both won matches at the start of Sunday’s show (which also featured Lil Miss Roxxy & Kat von Paige), with Drake beating Joey Hayes and Kirby downing NSEREKO after his scheduled opponent, Ashley Dunn, failed to appear.
Dunn did turn up later, when Liam Lazarus unveiled him as his mystery partner, but the duo fell to the New Nation of Alexander Henry & Jason Prime.
Down on the south coast of England, Fight!Nation continued a fine run of shows at the Pavilion in Weymouth last Saturday, for a show main evented by a Fight!Nation Championship match between Mark Haskins and Joseph Conners.
Haskins kept his title after James Castle’s interference saw Conners DQ’d, but the target is squarely on his back and the likes of Doug Williams, Marty Scurll, and Mark Andrews will be queuing up to take a shot.
Castle opened the show by beating Psycho Phill (who will take on Big Damo in the huge Ulsterman’s last RevPro match this coming weekend), kicking off a night which highlighted the promotion’s diverse roster, with appearances from Josh Bodom, the Swords of Essex, Chris Ridgeway, and former TNA star Wes Brisco.
You can see weekly action from Fight!Nation on their website (and YouTube channel), with episode four — which features a previous Haskins vs. Conners encounter from May –having just gone up, and they return this Saturday at My Skate World in Eastbourne.