Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Guest Article: Running the Ropes with Marc P - Part 4

I haven't been to wrestling training for a month or so, for various reasons, so, I thought I'd tell you guys something that happened to me recently instead.

"Really enjoyable first half, great stuff in the ring and I haven't made any mistakes yet!!"
I have no idea why I wrote that on Facebook at the intermission of my second ever Southcoast Wrestling appearance, lord only knows that writing something like that means that its only a matter of time until something goes very wrong. For me the matter of time was the length of the intermission, so approximately 20 minutes!

When I got the gig of ring announcer I knew that being in the public eye for long periods meant that I would have to look the part so dug out my Granddads old suit. Anyone who knows me will know that dressing smartly isn't really my style, I'm a jeans and hoody kind of guy. The flip side of dressing in the way that I do means that when you do put on the suit everyone is surprised but that's beside the point. The point is that I was in my suit, looking great and feeling great after watching three good matches, having some banter with the crowd and, as mentioned, not making a single mistake. 

I make my way back to the ring to the chords of "Dalton Wants It All", ROH wrestler Dalton Castle's theme music and welcome the fans to the second half. Our first match of the half is a gauntlet match so I run down the rules of the contest then introduce the first 2 competitors. Then it happens! As I step through the ropes I hear what in my head is the loudest thing ever, my wonderful suit trousers decide that THIS, is the moment that they want to try and make a desperate bid to become 2 individual trousers and split from the crotch to the left knee!!!!

Marc <3 Dalton Castle

Now obviously I cannot show any emotion as I step off the apron and return to my seat but boy did I panic when I sat down and saw that my boxer shorts were on show, I had only one thought running through my head at this moment...


A quick think made me think that I could cover the rest of the gauntlet match at the table, but the main event of the evening was a title match and there was no way I could do that from ringside. The sound guy for Southcoast, an awesome man called Marty  had a solution, SOME SAFETY PINS!!!! Aww yeah it's all good thinks I! A few moments later and my pants are back together and I'm set to go. Or so I thought! 

There's more Southcoast action in February!

As the first wrestler was eliminated I stood up to announce wrestler number 3, confident that my lovely grey boxers wouldn't be on show, and, of course, all FIVE of the safety pins came a pinging out one after another! Back to square one eh folks?! At this point I can literally only think of one thing. Knowing that I had a few moments until the next wrestler came out I ran backstage, showed the bewildered promoter what had happened and put my jeans on faster than I probably ever have at any point in my 33 years! 

I went back to my seat, flashed a thumbs up at Marty and carried on my ring announcing duties for the rest of the night, including shaming a guy for swearing during the raffle by getting him into the ring and making him apologise to the boys and girls and doing my best work to date with the in ring introductions to the main event. 

I recently spoke to my friend Chris Brooker. Chris works at a few promotions and does a spot of ring announcing from time to time, he assured me that you aren't a proper ring announcer until you've split your pants, so I guess that makes me a proper ring announcer. Chris did it on his first! 

Blu-Ray Review: WWE Sting: Into the Light

WWE's Sting: Into the Light is out now on DVD and Blu-Ray from and all other good home video outlets. The set includes a brand new documentary on the 2 time NWA World Heavyweight Champion's career, including footage surround his WWE debut at Survivor Series 2014. There's sixteen complete matches on the DVD spanning the Stingers career in MSW, UWF, NWA, NJPW, WCW and WWE, with an extra four bouts included on the Blu-Ray...but is it any good?

The Documentary

The documentary kicks of the set, in a pretty familiar style for these types of releases. There's a look at Sting's career as a whole (although don't get your hopes up for too much TNA coverage), mixed in with specially filmed footage looking at the build towards The Icon's signing with WWE. The true highlight for me was Sting sitting down to watch some of his most famous matches (with Luger vs. The Steiner, vs. Hogan at Starrcade 97 and more), allowing for a real insight into how those bouts were put together. There's also a strange pleasure to be found in watching the Vigilante enjoying his own contests. 

I found that certain elements were pushed a little too hard to fit the narrative that had been chosen, like how much kids loved Sting (there's a lot of interviews about this) to build towards his Crow transformation. Whilst Sting comes across as a humble ("what an honour to have a match with Triple H"), at times his faith is pushed a little bit too much for my taste. I understand the idea of giving an insight into someone's private life, but these were the only sections that turned me off this set, coming across as a little too preachy.

The documentary as a whole is an easy watch and fires along at real pace, with plenty of treats for all the little Stingers out there along the way. 

The Matches

The first bout to really get your teeth into see's The Blade Runners (Blade Runner Sting & Blade Runner Rock) battling Tracy Smothers & Ricky Gibson (MSW, 2/3/1986) in a basic tag match, with a lively crowd. A UWF Tag Title encounter with The Stinger teaming up with Rick Steiner against Tim Horner & Brad Armstrong has it's moments, but is a mostly slopping affair, that more than outstays it's welcome. The booking is weird and whilst there's clearly potential in the the future Icon he's clearly still too green to carry a bout of this calibre. 

The first great match here (and almost certainly the best on the entire set) is a classic encounter with Ric Flair over the NWA World Heavyweight Championship (NWA Clash of the Champions #1, 27/03/1988). Whilst Sting has clearly improved ten-fold by this time, it's the Nature Boy's brilliance that shines through here, as his selling allows The Stinger to look every inch of the star he needed to be. The back and forth technical wrestling builds and builds to a thrilling climax, with excellent use of the old-school time-limit concept, that has a fully invested live-crowd begging for more. It's a lengthy epic that some fans may find hard to adjust to, in comparison to today's WWE product, but if you stick with the action you'll be rewarded.

Whilst all the trademarks are present when The Franchise of WCW's bout with Great Muta (NJPW Starrcade 1991- 21/03/1991) doesn't quite hit the spot as a standalone contest. However, the tag bout that follows is another terrific effort out of Sting, as he tags with Lex Luger against The Steiner Brothers (WCW Superbrawl - 19/05/1991) in a pacy, back and forth face vs. face encounter over the WCW World Tag Team Championships. A Submit or Surrender contest with Cactus Jack (WCW Power Hour - 11/1991) isn't the greatest example of the style, but is a welcome change of pace. There's no commentary for a bout with Rick Rude (WCW Clash of the Champions #21 - 18/11/1992), due to Jesse Ventura being part of the announce team, but this actually ends up working in the matches favour. A masterclass in why being over is so important, as the crowd eats up every minutes of what is a fairly basic encounter, loudly cheering on Sting and getting on Rude's back throughout. 

A clash with Vader over the WCW International Heavyweight Championship (WCW Slamboree 1994 - 22/05/1994) has another hot crowd, with the two character slotting together nicely, even if it struggles to reach the heights of their Strap match from SuperBrawl III the year before. An obligatory match with "Stunning" Steve Austin (WCW Saturday Night - 08/04/1995) is a disappointing confrontation, in which the duo take some tame to connect, after a pretty sloppy opening. A pre-nWo, tweener version of Hulk Hogan (with Randy Savage) provides an intriguing contest (WCW Monday NITRO #21 - 20/11/1995), that includes some surprisingly good technical wrestling and is only let down by it's TV finish. A massive jump forward to a clash with The Giant over who got to hold the WCW World Tag Championships (WCW/nWo The Great American Bash 1998 - 14.06.1998) is our first look at "Crow" Sting, in what is a short, but enjoyable, story-driven contest.

There's a big match feel as The Vigilante and Goldberg make their way into the arena for a WCW World Heavyweight Championship contest (WCW Monday NITRO #157 - 26.04.1998), with a lively South Carolina crowd helping to make the build up feel extra special. It's a shame then, that the match is mainly used to build Goldberg as the World Champion, but this does mean we get an awesome example of Sting's selflessness as he bumps around for Big Bill. A title match that doesn't disappoint however, see's Sting tackle Diamond Dallas Page (WCW Monday NITRO #189 - 26.04.1999) in one of the best bouts to be broadcast on NITRO. Arguably Sting's last truly great bout, there's a cracking mix of technical wrestling, brawling, dramatic near falls and a lively crowd, whose pop for the finish is incredible. 

It's a shame that the DDP bout wasn't the last WCW contest on the set, as whilst another WCW World Heavyweight Championship bout, this time opposite Bret Hart (WCW Monday NITRO #213 - 18.10.1999), isn't bad, it never threatens to break out into anything of interest. The set jumps to Sting's WWE debut then, joining the Team Cena (Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan, John Cena, Ryback & The Big Show) vs. Team Authority (Kane, Luke Harper, Mark Henry, Rusev & Seth Rollins), Traditional Survivor Series Elimination tag match in progress (WWE Survivor Series 2014 - 23.11.2014) with only Dolph Ziggler and Seth Rollins left, and whilst the booking for the guys involved in the match is questionable, the reaction for the Icon is marvellous and he plays his part perfectly.

The ridiculousness of the entrances for a match with Triple H (WWE WrestleMania 31 - 29.03.2015) are presented in their full glory here and if for some reason you missed them earlier in the year, you're in for a treat here. In his first WWE bout, the Stinger does himself proud opposite the Game, in a silly run-in filled No Disqualification clash, looking like a star on the biggest stage available. Whilst some of the excitement of the bout is removed on a second viewing, it's still an entertaining bout that carries the time it was given well.

Blu-Ray Exclusives

Teaming up with Dusty Rhodes, opposite Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard with the NWA World Tag Team Championships on the line (NWA Clash of the Champions #2 - 08.06.1988) gives us the best of the Blu-Ray exclusives, with plenty of old-school heel tactics and a build to a fantastic hot-tag, only being let down by a TV finish. Sting's next opponent is Flyin' Brian (WCW Saturday Night - 07.11.1992) features some decent action, but could have been a whole lot better considering the talent in the ring. A decent TV clash with Scott Steiner (WCW Monday NITRO #37 - 27.05.1996) features some big moves from both men, as part of the build to their SuperBrawl tag match. A nothing clash with Booker T (WCW Spring Stampede 2000 - 16.04.2000) only stands to highlight just how much WCW was fucking up during this time period.

A "face-to-face" confrontation with Triple H (WWE Fastlane 2015 - 22.02.2015) is a curious addition, and whilst it goes a little too long, features plenty of interesting visuals as the pair built towards their WrestleMania 31 collision. A back and forth with Stephanie McMahon (WWE Monday Night RAW #1139 - 23/03/2015) is a much better example of the genre with Stephanie putting in a stellar performance with a terrific script, and a lively Los Angeles crowd. 


This is another stellar addition to the WWE Home Video catalogue, with the documentary providing an enjoyable look at Sting's WCW career and his signing with WWE and a varied selection of matches. Three truly great matches (vs. Flair on Clash of the Champions #1, with Luger vs. The Steiners at SuperBrawl and vs. DDP on Monday NITRO #189) are included and with pretty much every other bout having something to enjoy (vs. Vader at Slamboree '94 and with Dusty Rhodes vs. Anderson and Blanchard at Clash of the Champions #2 standing out as the best of the rest of the set), making this a very easy watch from start to finish.

Whilst there were elements that could have been improved upon for my personal tastes, like the heavy focus on Sting finding God, I'd recommend any fan of Sting or WCW picks this up on either Blu-Ray or DVD, it also works as a terrific introduction for younger fans, in way that the previous WWE release "The Best of Sting" match compilation didn't quite manage. 

A big thanks to WWE Home Video and Fetch FM for our copy of this release. 

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Guest Article: The Women of WWE - Part 4 (Lily Lestrange)

Remember that time when I said that I was done with my "Women Of..." series on this guest blog? I LIED.

In all truth, this blog was meant to be something completely different but with time constraints (i.e. me gallivanting about for NXT, doing Christmas stuff and just general arsing around) I didn't get round to doing it. Card subject to change 'n' that. SO, since I had the pleasure of watching the NXT women at both the Glasgow and London shows, I thought I'd do a general wee thing about them and how bloody good they are.

Let's face it; from looking at past events, NXT are absolutely spanking the main roster at everything. Storyline, character development, the wrestlers and the matches they put on... it's just brilliant. Every minute detail of the show is cleverly thought out and the delivery of the product just blows everything else about the WWE out of the water. There's no fannying about with 20 minute promos at the start of every show, no ridiculous storylines and an hour of the show isn't made up of ridiculous adverts. Everything about NXT just works.

Something that ring announcer Greg Hamilton said at the Takeover show last week before they started recording really got me. It was the tiniest, most daft little thing but it got me buzzing more than anything that's happened on Raw in the past 6 months. When I write this you'll be thinking "what the fuck is all the fuss about ya daft cow?" but bear with me. He said, "the Superstars and women of NXT are backstage and they can't wait to come out and show you guys a good time", or something along those lines. See that though? The WOMEN of NXT. Not Divas. Women. They don't want to produce what the main roster are... they don't want Divas. They want a new breed of female wrestler and they're doing a brilliant job at it, and they're making sure that we know that they're different. That's my take on it anyway, but it got me giddy.

Of course, it doesn't matter what you call them. NXT Women, WWE Divas, it's all irrelevant. They could be called the Lassies of NXT, the Pink Glittery Mammary Glands of WWE... IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT THEY'RE CALLED. What matters is that the storylines they're put into and their delivery of it; their performance. Their heart, their soul, their rock 'n' roll. Their passion. Their charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent. Their... ach, I digress. The point is, recently called up wrestlers aside, the NXT women have been outperforming the main roster ladies for a good long time.

One of them in particular has stood out, more so than ever over the past year. The world's best and most enthusiastic hugger, the woman who has more hairbands than actual strands of hair (and that's a lot of lovely, silky hair)... The darling of NXT and our current NXT Women's Champion, Bayley.

Bayley's come a long way from her humble beginnings in NXT in 2012; her development as a character has been outstanding to watch, a true underdog who fought tooth and nail to get to the top. She started out as a fangirl who doted on the other wrestlers then from there she constantly relied on the friendships she formed with other bigger, stronger, more confident people to get by. She started by aligning with Alicia Fox and Aksana, then after Charlotte started picking on her she moved on from person to person in an attempt to get away from her and that's basically been the story between them ever since. Their feud has been crucial to both of their careers and it never got boring; it allowed Bayley to move on from being the little girl she was at the start to being the woman and Women's Champion that she is today and it gave Charlotte's character a lot more depth. At first glance it just seemed like Charlotte was a bully, merely picking on Bayley because she was young and fearful and well, because she could. Charlotte was the Regina George of NXT and Bayley was a dweeb who ate her lunch in toilet cubicles and wore socks with sandals.

As the feud moved along, it became more apparent that Charlotte wanted Bayley to become better, more confident and less scared. She pushed her and kept pushing her until Bayley eventually started biting back. She saw something in Bayley, a great contender in the battle for the title... and in the end she was right. Bayley went from hardship to hardship, with her injured knee and her friends constantly picking on her and eventually turning on her, and in the end it was all worth it when she defeated Sasha Banks to win the title. Not only that, but she beat everyone who had ever given her any grief for not being "good enough" in the process. And she's been continuously getting better ever since; unlike most champions who usually plateau after a certain amount of time, Bayley has done nothing but improve. She and Sasha Banks were the first women to ever compete in an Iron Man match, not only in NXT history but in WWE history.

The best thing about it though, is that Bayley has stayed true to who she was all along: a positive, cuddle-daft, wacky-inflatable-arm-flailing-tube-man-loving cutie pie with a heart of gold. Not once has she sacrificed her goodness to get to the top, and that's why everyone loves her above everything else.

What is currently lacking though, is a serious contender for her title. We've seen her defend against Alexa Bliss, Eva Marie and Nia Jaxx so far... but nothing has been good enough to stick. Her last title defence was against Nia Jaxx at Takeover in London and despite Bayley doing well in it, I doubt it's a feud that will last much longer. I've no doubt that she'll have that belt for a good while yet but at the same time, we want to see a decent feud come out of it too. The two people I had in mind were Emma or Asuka but they're both currently kicking lumps out of each other so who knows what's next for the champion. It would’ve been nice to see her feud against her old pal Becky Lynch but she’s been banished to the confines of the main roster.

All I know is that 2015 has been an outstanding year for wrestling, especially for NXT. They've grown from being developmental, the "feeder school" for WWE, to their own strong brand who are about to conquer the globe. I can't wait to see what happens next for them.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

The Merch Table with Craig Hermit #2 - WWE NXT, PROGRESS, Noam Dar, Joe Hendry & Christopher Saynt

This week with the festive period upon us, I've decided to look at individual wrestlers and promotions know, T-shirts, Hoodies and much much more.

So let's start with a wrestler who's merchandise is almost as famous as he is, that man is Noam Dar. is the site where you will find multiple variety of fantastic T-shirts available in Unisex sizes from S to 3XL priced from £15 and above. A superb Black or White Tee (pictured) featuring YOU ONLY LIVE FOREVER print in either white or gold on black or blue on white is available. 

Now available is the Super Comfy 300GSM Cotton/Polyester Hoodie with two front pockets, contrast white Zip & featuring Gold sheen DAR Logo on front chest and back waist "LIVE FOREVER" logo. This is available in Unisex sizes S - 2XL priced at just £30.

Another star whose merchandise has caught my eye is 'Local Hero' Joe Hendry, another man who has joined bigcartel, and you will find a range of Hoodies, T-shirts, bags and more on

My choice is the new Zip Hoodie "For only the most dedicated Local Hero fans, the zipper hoodie comes complete with small logo on the front and a giant one on the back, so there is no doubt who you've chosen to support. Join the hen-party today and invest in this iconic piece of wrestling apparel" available in sizes M to XL priced at £30, also his 'Local Hero' T-shirt is available as well from sizes S- 2XL priced at £15. 

And you may gave noticed the name Big Cartel appearing several times, well who are they?

"For nearly a decade, creative people from around the world have used Big Cartel’s simple tools and resources to build a unique online store, manage and sell their work, delight their fans and customers, and run their business their own way"

Continuing the Scottish contingent featured so far, I direct our attention to Christopher Saynt whose new line of T-shirts available in sizes from S-XL priced at £15 and badges are £1.50 as well. And you can contact him via his twitter page @chriSaynt

Targeting Wrestling Promotions, we look at a promotion's merchandise that has continuously sold their wrestling events in record time, that is Progress.

Chapter 24 "Hit the North" DVD.

"Our Manchester début was just a little bit special… and you can now PRE ORDER the limited edition 2-disc DVD. PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS WILL NOT BE SHIPPED UNTIL JANUARY. Order before the end of December 16th to get a £1 discount (usual price £14)."

RESTOCKED Ramones Progress T-shirt.

"We had our Ultras vote on their favourite t-shirts from past PROGRESS designs and we have decided to reprint the two most popular.  As we pride ourselves on being Punk Rock Pro Wrestling, our version of the classic Ramones logo initially sold out a long time ago.  It’s now time to bring it back, so make sure that you get one for yourself before they’re gone permanently again!"

Available in Unisex sizes S - 3XL also in Lady Fit T-Shirt Sizing S-2XL priced at £17.

And as WWE NXT has arrived, I thought just in case you missed what you wanted from the merchandise stand, here's a selection of things that caught my eye as well at

William Regal "Made in England" Authentic T-shirt available in sizes S - 5XL as well as the Finn Bálor "Bálor Club" Unisex Lightweight Full-Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt, "Our Unisex zip hooded sweatshirt is made with soft, lightweight fleece and a slim fit. Features jersey lined hood, heavy gauge  drawcord with metal eyelets, #5 metal kissing zipper and 1x1 ribbing at cuffs and waistband", available in sizes XL- 2XL priced at £44.

And finally Daniel Bryan "Yes!: My Improbable Journey to the Main Event of Wrestlemania Book"

"One of WWE's most unlikely champions of all time and also one of its most popular, Bryan has proved to the world and to all of WWE that looks can be deceiving. Just ask anyyone who's ever underestimated him . . . right before he went out and whipped the WWE universe into a frenzy.

This is Bryan's behind-the-scenes story told for the first time ever by the "YES!" Man himself---from his beginnings as a child wanting to wrestle to his ten years circling the globe on the independent circuit and his remarkable climb to the upper ranks of WWE."

So, that's the Table for another time...

Craig Hermit


Guest Article: Holding Out For A Local Hero (Billy Strachan)

From the country's capital, Edinburgh, Joe Hendry (Local Hero) is a name that is fast becoming known for being one of the most gifted wrestlers in Scotland, if not the UK. From his dazzling entrances to his charismatic showmanship, Joe Hendry (Local Hero) has what it takes to be a future cornerstone of professional wrestling.

It's incredible to think that Joe Hendry (Local Hero) has been wrestling for less that five years, having already held many titles and having outstanding matches on a regular basis. It's little surprise that Joe possesses a jack of all trades ability to adapt to any opponent, using his power and size to muscle opponents, to using his technical ability and wrestling to twist opponents, something which has also seen him win a silver medal in amateur wrestling in 2015.

His trophy cabinet is building up with titles from Reckless Intent, Scottish Wrestling Entertainment, Pride Wrestling, Scottish Wrestling Alliance and Pro Wrestling Ulster. Competing all over the UK from the North East of Scotland for Rock N Wrestle to down in England for Tidal, NGW, HOPE and Alpha Omega. Joe Hendry (Local Hero) has even been wrestling into Europe for RWA in Romania and PWU in Ireland.

It's not down to just his flashy entrances, or his sharp promos, Joe Hendry is one of the hardest working wrestlers in the country. A true student of the game, Hendry regularly travels to seminars all over the country to learn from the best in the world. Something that Joe clearly strives to be. Through matches with the likes of Doug Williams, Crime Time and Damian O'Connor you can tell that Joe Hendry (Local Hero) absorbs so much information that flows over into this next match and his next and so on and so forth. Even from his early promos he gave an aura of invincibility and being a big deal. Not through being cocky, or looking down on others but in the presentation of his work. The man is a credit to Scottish professional wrestling.

As his wrestling ability grows, so do the entrances. Never short on confidence, we've recently seen more creative entrances from Joe Hendry (Local Hero) in Insane Championship Wrestling, raising the ire of his opponents with parody entrances or find inventive ways to shoehorn his name into classic songs. In front of 4000 screaming fans in the SECC, we even saw Joe Hendry makes his entrance in a Hendry ball.

You may've spotted Joe Hendry (Local Hero) on your TV screens having made appearances on WWE television as part of Adam Rose's Rosebuds, the pink suit cladded Hendry was grabbed by Jack Swagger during the segment, this lead to Joe Hendry (Local Hero) rename himself as no longer just a Local Hero but a Global Hero. He would return to our screens as Rusev's Russian advocate (along with Lionheart). With this strong build and great presence, it's hard not to think that Joe Hendry (Global Hero) is on WWE's radar.

I have had the pleasure to watch Joe Hendry (Global Hero) compete in many promotions and I can safely say he is one of the best in the country. Much like the others that have been featured in this guest slot, he is another that is starting to really get his name out there and one that will be on everyones lips in the very near future. He has an "IT" Factor that draws you in and keeps you watching throughout. He can work the crowd to perfection and keep everyone entertained whether he wants you to boo or cheer.

In the spirit of Christmas I will leave you with Joe Hendry's original Christmas gift.

Until next time…

- Billy

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Wrestle Ropes' Ready for the Weekend: December 2015 Week 2

This week's edition will be slightly different from normal as we won't be looking at one show from Friday, Saturday & Sunday. Instead we'll have a brief look at all the shows taking place. Let's get Ready For The Weekend!

On Friday night, Rock N Wrestle will be at the Ironworks in Inverness with Winter Slam 2015. The show will feature TNA & NXT star, James Storm who will be facing Kid Fite. Grado shall also be in action on December 11th as he competes against Liam Thomson. Fans will get to be involved as they choose the stipulation of the match between Aspen Faith and Crusher Craib. The Rock N Wrestle Highland Champion, Jack Jester, Big Damo & BT Gunn are also scheduled to appear during the show.

Heading south to Bristol and Pro Evolution Wrestling will be at the Merchant's Academy. Pro Evolution Wrestling have had a great year, delivering shows month in, month out. At their last show, Justin Sysum defeated Joel Redman to become the new Pro EVW Heavyweight Champion, proving that anything can happen at any show.

Another promotion that has had a killer year has been Britannia Wrestling Promotions. On Friday night they will host the last show of 2015, which marks their 7th year as a promotion. Lots of feuds and lots of fights have taken place this year. Chances are that more will take place on December 11th in the Penyffordd Legion.

Moving on to Saturday and RAD:PRO Wrestling are back at the Chuter Ede CA in South Shields with the season finale, EmbryoniX 3.9. The show will feature Mr Society defending the EmbryoniX Championship against an opponent to be announced on the night. The winner of that match will want to keep an eye on the over the top rope battle royale as the winner will be the new number one contender to the EmbryoniX Championship. December 12th will see former allies Paddy Flannagan and Vulture face off after Vulture joined the Social Order. All those matches plus James Scott, Steve The Pirate and a lot more will be in action.

Pro Wrestling Elite are at the Citadel Leisure Centre in Ayr on Saturday night with Jingle All The Galloway. They have a packed card with the main event seeing Drew Galloway face Dave Mastiff. Grado will also be in action defending the Pro Wrestling Elite Heavyweight Championship against Joey Hayes. Speaking of heavyweight, Damo, Joe Coffey, Iestyn Rees & Noam Dar will also compete in a four-way match. Action from NXT's James Storm, Wolfgang, Chris Renfrew, Mark Coffey, El Ligero and Joe Hendry guarantees a cracking show in Ayr.

Not content with one nigh of action, Pro Evolution Wrestling move on to Worchester on Saturday night with another show. As we said before, Pro Evolution Wrestling have had a great year and they'll look to end it on another high, this time at Perdiswell Leisure Centre.

Leicester Championship Wrestling are at the home of Brockington College on December 12th with their final event of the calendar. Christmas Cracker 15 will see all of LCW's championship on the line with Joseph Conners defending the LCW Heavyweight Championship against Alex Gracie. The Hunter Brothers will challenge DNA's Cy Gregory & Mark Massa for the LCW Tag Team Championship. Finally, Chris Tyler will be in action as he defend the LCW Young Guns Championship against Paul Malen. Even more action takes place with Stixx, Xander Cooper and many more in competition.

Finally finishing up the weekend and Tidal Wrestling host Silent Nightmare – End Of Days at the Leeds University Union. The show will be main event by Dara Diablo defending the TCW Championship against Liam Lazarus and El Ligero. This match would be show-stealing on any show but with the added dynamic that there shall be no DQ or count out in the match, this may indeed be the End Of Days. Speaking of championships, Sam Wilder will be defending the TCW Open Championship for the first time. His opponent is the ever growing and evolving Chris Ridgeway. If Wilder is successful in his defence then his Proven partner, Caz Crash will then defend the championship against Dan James later on in the night. It's another packed show from Tidal Wrestling with Tommy End, Rampage Brown, Martin Kirby, Nathan Cruz, Pete Dunne and Joseph Conners being just a few of those in action.

That wraps up this week's preview of the weekend's wrestling schedule. Of course, there are many more events taking place over the three days. To find out more about the shows we've highlighted here as well as all the others, check us out at for the latest show and match announcements, British Wrestling event list and more!

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Guest Article: You Ain't No World Champ, Bruv aka Too Many Limes, Too Many Times (Sean Taylor-Richardson)

When I penned an article for this fine website a few months back, the premise of which was to consider who would emerge from the dust to rule an apocalyptic post-Cena world, I cast my eye over several possible candidates. The Shield boys were obvious picks to evaluate; so too was Wyatt while even my outside bet for future ‘Mania headliner, Big E, got a look in. But I didn’t pick the recently anointed World Champ, Sheamus. But then, no-one ever picks Sheamus do they?

Well, Vince does. Quite regularly in fact. Sheamus’ stats are impressive: four time World Champion; two time US title holder; and a Money in the Bank, King of the Ring and Royal Rumble winner. Even Michael Bay picks Sheamus (or at least his casting agent did): the Irishman will play Rocksteady in the next Ninja Turtles film (I always saw him as a Bebop myself). To make serious in-roads in such competitive industries, the Celtic Warrior must have some talent and real presence in front of a camera. He has certainly had some great, physical matches against diverse opponents. He has an interesting, unique look, cuts a very respectable promo and had a theme song ripe for parody. And did you know, he has threatened to hurt Gary Neville. Repeatedly. Shouldn't we at least grudgingly respect this guy by now?

Well it seems that many don’t: I was in New Jersey in April 2013 when the crowd (rather unfairly) gave Sheamus and Orton both barrels. Months of disinterest gave way to an outpouring of pure disdain. More recently, I witnessed the online vitriol (the most vicious of all vitriol) when he a) won MITB in June and b) cashed in the briefcase at Survivor Series. Sheamus is not popular amongst hardcore devotees. But is that on the performer or is it the fault of the machine that backs him?

For my money, WWE have had two real opportunities to effectively get Sheamus over as a bona fide main eventer: both times they started well but both times they stumbled. Opportunity number 1: following a brief stint with the ECW brand, he debuted on Raw in 2009 and was pushed hard as a smash mouth heel, squashing opponents and taking out Jerry Lawler in a dramatic angle at MSG. He even won his first WWE title from John Cena within four months; a quicker rise to the title scene than Brock Lesnar’s journey in 2002. Now that all sounds like a platform for wowing the audience and establishing a star but in reality, his win over Cena in a tables match was presented as a fluke as John simply fell through the table. Sadly flukes do not make smash mouth heels look legit. Indeed by the summer of 2010, he had lost any edge that he may have had, winning his second title from Cena, this time following a Nexus beatdown. The Irishman literally pinned Cena and then ran away from everyone in the ring. All remaining credibility was lost when a few months later, having dropped the title after a bland reign, he was saddled with the worst gimmick in wrestling: the losing streak.

After a prolonged spell in the mid card, where even-steven booking stalled his progress, he got his second chance. Whilst his winning the Rumble in 2012 wasn't overly dramatic or memorable, at least it didn’t lead to near rioting (see Batista/ Reigns) and WWE felt confident that fans would get behind their man handing out an 18 second mauling at Mania ’28. Now whilst the match in question was unpopular (and lay the seeds of the Yes movement that would run for two years), Sheamus escaped reasonable unscathed from the debacle. His subsequent world title run was solid, the best of his career. Yes, his belt was secondary to Punk’s WWE title but he was presented as a force, kind of like a strong Intercontinental champion from the late 80s/early 90s. Good matches with Del Rio and Ziggler were complimented by legitimately great matches with Bryan and Big Show. That’s right, Sheamus gave Big Show his best ever WWE match at Hell in a Cell 2012 as the two competed in a real thriller. It was here that WWE took the belt from him- in hindsight prematurely. Had they left it for a few more months and programmed him with notable stars, he could have made that final leap, demonstrating the consistency required to fully earn the respect of the audience. Winning a feud against a credible heel (either Orton or Jericho would have fit the bill) could have cemented the likeable Irishman as a main eventer. Not the next Hogan or Austin by any means but a solid alternate to John Cena.

As Sheamus went from world champ to perennial mid-carder to suddenly world champ again, it’s easy to blame inconsistent booking for his rather subdued status in the game. But it’s not just that: Sheamus is to some symbolic of the WWE machine. Whilst he did his time on the Indie circuit, it was in the UK and Ireland- he never had a run with a recognisable US outfit that would automatically make him an indie darling to the hardcore fans. When he debuted on WWE television, he was seen as another big guy with a strange look, plucked from no-where and pushed to the moon. Rumours that he was Triple H’s gym partner probably didn't help matters as whispers of favouritism accompanied his push ahead of more seasoned performers.

Despite the misgivings of many and the mistakes of the past, Sheamus is back on top. For now. His recent promos have been lively but still veer into comedy too much. The League of Nations gimmick seems to be an attempt to disguise his lack of heat and legitimacy as a threat to Reign. My guess is that the run is short lived and Roman wins the gold at the Rumble and moves onto Brock Lesnar. Where does that leave Sheamus? Well, Wrestlemania is in Dallas, Texas. Whilst he won’t wrestle a match, Stone Cold Steve Austin will appear in a heavily promoted angle and he will need a heel whose ass he can kick. Sheamus 5:15 might be the man for that gig.

Long term, it’s hard to see him as a regular main eventer that will truly win over the fan base. There have been too many false dawns with this performer for us to take him really seriously. That said, expect the “fella” to be around for a while yet. He’s a steady hand who can give rising babyfaces a rub and he and Barrett could do something fun with the Tag straps. There’s also the small matter of a feud with another Irishman in 2016: Finn Balor. So Sheamus will be fine- a good company man with a major movie on the way, his career will most likely be Hall of Fame worthy, albeit not in the headline spot. The real lesson here is for the Fed: if things had been handled different between 2009-2012, if some long term planning had been implemented, then maybe the cash in last month would have been met with real excitement and not such apathy.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Live Review: PCW/ROH SuperShow of Honor II - Show 3

Would PCW and ROH be able to keep up things and improve on the previous two shows that weekend? Dave Mastiff would defend his PCW Heavyweight Championship against PCW Cruiserweight Champion Adam Cole in a Thirty Minute Iron Man main event, Noam Dar would tackle surprise opponent Drew Galloway, F.W.B. (Bubblegum, Iestyn Rees & Team Single) would engage with Dave Rayne, The Hooligans and X-Pac in eight man tag action, with six other matches including the likes of reDRagon, Dalton Castle, Martin Kirby, Roderick Strong and Cedric Alexander all also in action. 

Just like Show 2, a six way contest was used to open up the show, with Dalton Castle, Cedric Alexander, Silas Young, Martin Kirby, Ashton Smith and Charlie Garrett battling it out. Slightly longer than the first six man, I was a little confused that performers were having to tag in and out of the contest, whilst the previous six man was a free for all. My confusion didn't last long however as the bout was blink and you'll miss it fast, chock full of flips and big moves, just what you'd want from this kind of bout. Both Dalton Castle and the Interracial Love duo of Charlie Garrett and Ashton Smith stood out in particular with The Peacock of Professional Wrestling continuing to have the crowd in the palm of his hands with his silly antics and IRL using the match to put a spotlight on the relationship between the tag team, including a cheesy hand-holding dive to the outside. A big thumbs up for Castle getting the victory as after hitting his Bang-a-Rang spinning facebuster to Silas Young! Like a broken record, however, I have to point out how much I'd love to see the bouts go a little longer and also have some kind of consequence behind them.

ROH World TV Champion Roderick Strong and Lionheart's singles bout was a strange one for a number of reasons. A section were both men attempted to hit the Styles Clash on each other was cool, but I felt super uncomfortable when a section of the crowd began to chant for AJ Styles, due to the NJPW star actually injuring both men with the move. However, the crowd were on form for the rest of the contest and gave it a real boost, as they turned Strong's shitty little boots babyface, seemingly out of sheer disdain for the PCW regular. Unfortunately, it felt like the pair didn't manage to get out of 2nd gear, and despite the wrestling being perfectly fine, at times I felt like the duo were treading water until the finish. Lionheart walking out of the contest and getting counted out was a frustrating watch, but should hopefully increase the heat levels for the former PCW Heavyweight Champion heading into 2016 and give the former Champion more storyline involvement in 2016.

The next match was the first chance for the PCW faithful to get a good look at what War Machine (Raymond Rowe & Hanson) can do as they went two on two with IWGP Tag Team Champions reDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly), after the duo had been in the middle of an eight man tag on Show 1 and then a Four way tag on Show 2. But boy was it worth the wait. This was sheer unadulterated silliness, as the two teams went back and forth with various striking combos, whilst War Machine provided a number of power moves that made it look like the ring could collapse at any moment. Hanson's deadlift german suplex and samoan drop combination was stupendously well executed, and made the big man look like an absolute beast. As the near falls rolled in, the crowd got hotter and hotter, and whilst the well-known reDRagon remained the most popular of the two, the cheers for War Machine became noticeably louder as the contest went on, creating a great atmosphere inside Evoque. Hanson and Rowe went on to pick up their second victory of the weekend, following a Powerbomb and Splash combination, with Fish and O'Reilly allowing the big men to look incredible as they head towards an ROH Tag Team Championship bout with The Kingdom at ROH's next PPV, Final Battle.

The first and only singles bout of the weekend for former PCW Cruiserweight Champion, El Ligero came opposite former ROH World Tag Team Champion, Kenny King. The biggest talking point coming out of the contest was an angle where The Pretty Boy Pitbull seemed to have tweaked his knee off a dive, and was being carried away at ringside, only for him to attack Ligero from behind. There was some decent heat for King and the moment added the fuel that the contest needed, with The King of the Night dominating for some time. Ligero fighting from underneath allowed for some lovely action inside the ring as the Mexican Sensation attempted to find a comeback from somewhere. When Ligero did manage to pick up the win with the C4L, I couldn't help but feel that the match would have been so much better with an extra five or even ten minutes of action. The two were just about beginning to explore what they could do together in the ring and given some extra time they could have produced something really quite special.

BONUS MATCH, BAYBAY! Yes, unannounced before the show, F.W.B's T-Bone, Rampage Brown, Bubblegum and Iestyn Rees turned up and with Joanna Rose questioning whether their scheduled opponent Dave Rayne had been able to find any partners, we were about to witness something pretty damn special. The former PCW Cruiserweight Champion had an ace up his sleeve and announced The UK Hooligans (Roy Knight & Zak Knight) and the duo got the crowd going nuts, returning to the Evoque for the first time since early June. But if the crowd thought that was it, they were sadly mistaken as Rayne made easy work of a promo introducing, former WCW World Cruiserweight Champion, X-Pac! The crowd couldn't have gone more nuts if the Hooligans were handing out Snickers. Okay, maybe that's a lie because there was even more nutty goodness when 4 time WWE Intercontinental Champion, Scott bloody Hall was announced as the manager for the babyface team! That's one hell of a bonus match.

The crowd were stupidly hot for the tag bout, keeping up an energy throughout as they ran through their song book for the various competitors in the match. It was clear that all eight men were having a lot of fun out there and this reflected back on the bout, which was so very fun to watch. After a short face shine from X-Pac, it was Roy Knight who worked the Hooligan in peril role, with F.W.B. taking advantage of a ringside brawl to take control and then using a number of classic heel tactics to stay in control. I love me some old-school heel tactics in a tag match, keep the ref distracted and then take advantage and keep the ring cut in half, lovely stuff. The one disappointment for me, was that the hot tag that had been building for a while was completely wasted as the crowd was busy singing Bohemian Rhapsody to wind up Iestyn Rees (who looks a bit like a modern Freddie Mercury) and what should have been a big moment with a giant pop was left feeling flat. Partly down to some fans being easily distracted by a sing-song and partly down to the performers not paying enough attention to the ebb and flow of the crowd. After awkwardly standing at ringside for most of the match, it was awesome to see Scott Hall get involved, as Rees gave him some abuse and got a tooth pick to the eye for his trouble, before taking an X Factor and staring at the lights. 

Jay Lethal and Joey Hayes' ROH World Championship match was a strangely structured contest. Hmmm...I'm not sure that's the correct description, but basically Jay Lethal was mainly cheered, whilst Joey Hayes was getting some decent heat, whilst both had been presented as heels (or at best tweeners) on the earlier shows. But we got Lethal locking on chinlocks and steadily wearing down Hayes, before Hayes launched into a babyface comeback (Even shouting "I'm a babyface" whilst doing so, clearly noting the lack of crowd support). This meant that the crowd became weird throughout, how exactly are they supposed to cheer Lethal whilst he's working a wear down hold? Maybe the pair were expecting the crowd to quickly side with the underdog Hayes, but from the entrances it was clear who Evoque was behind and the two should have had enough experience to change things on the fly to suit the crowd. Despite all the moaning, the finishing sequence of the match showed some real quality, as Hayes went for a number of Crossfaces, with Lethal managing to escape and hit a Lethal Injection to retain his title.

Continuing the theme of his weekend, Sha Samuels dominated Delirious in a character driven contest. The pair chatting to each other in their trade mark style made for an entertaining spot, with Delirious' insane rambling matching up well with Samuels gruff and speedy cockney. Delirious running around the ring to evade Samuels was a highlight for me, as it was so simple in it's execution, but allowed both performers to show off the psychology of their characters. In his longest contest of the weekend (just over 7 minutes), Samuels continued his unbeaten streak as Delirious succumbed to the Sleeper Hold, like so many before him. 

Ever heard of Jack Baron before? No, neither had I when the PCW trainee cut a promo on the big screen revealing himself as Noam Dar's opponent for the evening. But as the skinny and excitable lad made it to the ring, he was attacked by a mystery assailant. That mystery assailant was Drew Galloway! A great surprise appearance, that got a big reaction from the crowd, before Galloway delivered a killer, curse-laden promo. The former WWE Intercontinental Champion's delivery was pitch perfect, rising and falling at the right points, full of passion and there couldn't have been a better way to fly straight into the third match of the series than Noam Dar coming out to get some. 

The two Scotsman put on a contest that was completely different from anything that we'd seen across the week end. Full of fire, the two made it feel like the genuinely hated each other as they brawled around the nightclub, battering the shit into each other. The Chosen One hitting a Crucifix Powerbomb through a fire exit looked amazing and may very well have been the stand-out spot of the weekend (that's if you could see it from your seat). The action inside the ring was just as good, if not better, as a battered Noam Dar worked the plucky underdog role nicely, fighting valiantly against the bigger man with the crowd well and truly behind their regular. Following some very near falls for Drew Galloway and some added drama with a ref bump and the re-appearance of Jack Baron, Dar was able to take advantage of Galloway suffering an injured leg after colliding with the ring post, by locking on the Champage Super Knee Bar and getting a submission victory. Galloway's selling prior to the move was spot-on, just liked we'd seen in their previous two bouts earlier in the year and therefore made the finish just that a little bit more satisfying. A huge moment for Dar in PCW, in what had been a marquee weekend for the 22 year old. PCW rarely does bouts with this much aggression behind it and that's why matches like this feel so special. 

Main event time, bay bay! Adam Cole and Dave Mastiff had arguably put on the best match of the 2014 weekender and seeing the pair in a 30 minute Iron Man match with the PCW Heavyweight Championship on the line, was a mouth-watering prospect. It's difficult to review a match like this, because half an hour is such a long time for a wrestling match in 2015 and so much can go on in that amount of time. The crowd were particularly interesting within the first half of the contest. Evoque became pretty quiet and you could hear many people chatting, I would suspect this was down to them knowing the match wasn't going to end for quite some time and that anything particularly important wouldn't be happening for quite a while. This is an experienced crowd who I'd guess have seen way too many Iron Man bouts than they should have and therefore know how things usually go. 

Iron Man bouts are made or broken, on how they are structured, there needs to be accuracy down to the second to keep the crowd engaged and to tell the most interesting story. The wrestling for the first twenty minutes was perfectly fine, but I'm not convinced by where and how the pinfalls came from. Adam Cole took a 2-0 from a small package and superkick combo by the time 8 minutes had passed, but Dave Mastiff had things tied up just 11 minutes later. This sort of meant the bout was back to where it began, with just over 10 minutes to go and whilst both men looked pretty tired, there was no narrative that could have been carried over. As soon as things were even, The One began to work over Mastiff's leg, which made things even more frustrating. I feel if we'd have seen something like this earlier on in the bout then we'd have had a much more compelling outing, especially with the quality of selling that Mastiff is capable of and leading to an even bigger moment when Cole locked in the Figure Four Leg Lock with the clock ticking.

I mentioned those last 10 minutes, with Adam Cole working the leg, and they were much more reminiscent of the bout they had last year, with the two upping the pace and working a number of slick reversals and big strikes, including one outstanding sequence. The crowd began to come to life at this point and gave the contest a boost having soaked up all the action for the previous 20 minutes. The Figure Four Leg Lock from Cole, with Dave Mastiff leading 3-2 was a marvellous moment with Evoque rocking and wanting to see more action. Cole holding onto the hold whilst Mastiff managed to roll to outside of the ring looked bloody awesome. The timing of the final fall was spot on as well, with Cole managing to pull a vertical suplex and drop it into a neckbreaker on his knee to even up the score. A slow burner for sure, but one chock-full of world-class wrestling and with a hot closing sequence.

Of course, that was never going to be it was it? Oh no, siree. After some debate, the contest was restarted under sudden death rules. The section after the restart was blisteringly good, with the two not holding back and at all in trying to get the victory and take the title, with Preston potentially on the brink of destruction. Then it was taken away from us, when that bloke Sha Samuels entered and beat down both guys. It was such a frustrating finish to a match that had gone over half an hour, and whilst it didn't even make that much sense (Why did Samuels wait until the sudden death?) it still got The East End Butcher a whole load of heat and added another chapter in his on-and-off feud with Dave Mastiff. I'd love to know why (in kayfabe) Mastiff and Cole didn't just restarted the match again, instead of getting up, shaking hands and then walking to the back. As much I'd have loved to have had a definitive victory here, here's hoping that Mastiff and Adam Cole will get to wrestle again sooner rather than later in PCW and settle the score....


ATPW Scale Rating - 6.75 (Good-Very Good)

This show was just shy of the high bar set by the first event of the weekend, but was still definitely a good evening of wrestling. The main event contributed massively to the rating because of it's length and whilst I had a couple of criticisms, I still feel that the bout was a quality main event with a nice slow burn build and raucous finish, Noam Dar and Drew Galloway's bout bought an aggression not seen elsewhere across the weekend and Galloway's surprise entrance was worked out very well, the Eight Man Tag Team contest was a lot of fun to watch, plus of course some more surprises in the form of X-Pac and Scott Hall made the in-ring segment incredible to have been a part of and the tag bout between  War Machine and reDRagon also deserves a mention.

Whilst Roderick Strong and Lionheart's contest had it's moments, there's no denying that the bout dragged the ATPW Scale rating down just a little bit, simply because it never really got going. The finish of the show with Sha Samuels causing the Double DQ in Cole and Mastiff's sudden death outing was a little disappointing, especially coming at the end of the show.

There's one more show left to review from the Weekend and that's of course, Show 4. With ROH World Champion Jay Lethal facing ROH World Television Champion Roderick Strong in the main event, Interracial Love tackling Martin Kirby and Joey Hayes, Dalton Castle going one on one with Silas Young as well as five other matches featuring the likes of reDRagon, Adam Cole, Cedric Alexander, Noam Dar and Delirious. Could PCW and ROH end the weekend in style? We'll have a review up very soon.