Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Kamikaze Pro Monster Live Review

In front of their biggest Bournville crowd to date, Kamikaze Pro presented Monster at Cadbury Club. Headlined by an appearance former NWA World Heavyweight Champion Abyss, the show also featured a number of established and up and coming British names including Relentless Division Champion Marshall X, Chris Brookes, Clint Margera, Damian Dunne, Dan Maloney, Ethan Silver, Project Lucha, Ryan Smile, The Hunter Brothers and more in action.




Kamikaze Pro Ring Announcer/General Manager Lawrie Neal opened the show with his usual energetic opening, in front of a congregation that featured a nice mixture of familes and adult males who were very receptive from the beginning.

A Monday Night RAW-esque opening segment followed, with current Kamikaze Pro Champion Robbie X accompanied by his cohorts from So Scandalous. It was a simple but effective segment, with the group running down their achievements in the promotion and seemingly now going by the name The Bigger Picture, before Neal snapped and placed Robbie X's title match with Kay Lee Ray as the opening bout of the show. Whilst the three Bigger Picture teammates all put in competent efforts on the microphone with maybe a little too much shouting, it was Neal that put in the star performance here for me, being both believable in his role of down-trodden boss man and getting the crowd hyped for the upcoming clash.

One Fall Match for the Kamikaze Pro Championship
Robbie X (C) 
vs. 
Kay Lee Ray




This match worked like a charm, for one simple reason, it's easy to hate Robbie X and it's easy to cheer for Kay Lee Ray. The two performers took advantage of a crowd that was completely into everything that was going on to put together an enjoyable encounter. Kay Lee especially put in a strong performance, with some superb facial expressions getting over her frustration and pain when unable to put Robbie X away with a series of nice near falls. Whilst the wrestling was solid throughout, it was the big highspots that stand out amongst the crowd, with both wrestlers taking big bumps during with Kay Lee getting sent into the ringside chairs standing out as particular highlight of the bout, for sheer visuals alone. Unfortunately the finish didn't quite work for me, as Kay Lee seemed to have the contest finished with a Gori-Bomb, only for Ryan Smile to jump up on the apron as the referee was about to count to three. It's about points like this when it becomes difficult to suspend disbelief, as I couldn't get my head around the referee not just counting to three at this point. Things would have been just fine had Smile pulled the referee out of the ring instead, surely? With Robbie X retaining his title thanks to a school boy roll up, it was a shame to see a match that was entertaining, end with the unsatisfactory finish.

Winner - Robbie X via pinfall

One Fall Tag Team Match 
Omari & Liam Doyle 
vs. 
"The Polish Punisher" Mika & "The Wolf of Wall Street" Elliot Jordan




This is a difficult one to review, because it features four competitors from Kamikaze Pro's training school, all of whom have had limited experience in front of a live crowd. However, due to this encounter being featured on a main show, and not on separate academy match or as a pre-show, it would unfair of me to review it in a fashion different from how I would approach any other contest on the card. To their credit, all four of these men were nicely over with the Cadbury Club, with Omari especially seeming to have special connection with the crowd. All four also looked very comfortable in front of a crowd, with Mika and Elliot Jordan looking strong and confident in their character during a smattering of interactions with those at ringside. 

The match was a basic tag team contest structure, with Doyle taking the majority of the beatings from the heel duo. It was a shame to see Doyle's gimmick (that of a drunken Irishman) never really play apart in the bout, in which anyone else could have been playing Doyle's role. Also, after taking a rather long beating, for Doyle to seem perfectly fine after the hot tag was a real shame, essentially rendering the previous sequence redundant. Not having Doyle take a swig from his whisky bottle to fire himself up again seemed like a missed opportunity. A handful of the bumps weren't as crisp as they should have been, with the finish seeing Omari hit an awkward Modified lifting reverse STO (think NXT's Baron Corbin's End of Days) standing out. Whilst Doyle, Omari, Jordan and Mika all showed some potential here, there's still a long road ahead for these four trainees.


Winners - Omari & Doyle via pinfall


Six Way Elimination Match for the Kamikaze Pro Relentless Division Championship
"Bad Man" Marshall X
vs.
"All Day Star" Ryan Smile
vs.
"Number 1" Damian Dunne
vs.
Ethan Silver
vs.
Dan Maloney
vs.
Chris Brookes




Almost as if Kamikaze took notes from our Fight Club: Pro review last week, this match was made an elimination matchup and given plenty of time. There was strong performance from all involved, but Ethan Silver's outing in the early section of the contest jumps to mind straight away. Silver took an extended beating from the likes of Damian Dunne, Ryan Smile and their untrusting ally for the bout, Dan Maloney. Silver's stature made him the perfect guy to have this spot, bringing to mind TNA's Mark Andrews in his ability to garner support from the crowd from taking a beating. His sequence with Dan Maloney a little further into the clash showed an ability to mix it up with the bigger man, and create an exciting back and forth sequence. 

The match kept a great pace throughout, with things ebbing and flowing nicely, with some exhilarating dive sequences that one would expect of a division entitled "Relentless", with Smile's conhilo over the ringpost being the cream of the crop (even if the pop didn't further his cause as a top heel in the company). Alongside those highspots, there was a lot of storyline and character development, with the continuing efforts of Smile, Dunne and Maloney to dominate Silver and Brookes, whilst Marshall X did his best to stay out of everyone's way, with the bout sharing similarities with a tag team elimination encounter at times. 

Marshall X would go on to retain his title for the second time, after things had been whittled down to just he and Brookes. Marshall's performance throughout the whole match, in term of character, made this finish extremely satisfying to watch, whilst also getting a great reaction from the crowd. From staying out of the ring for as long as he could, to stealing a pinfall on Silver after a disqualified Maloney had attacked Silver with a TKO, to getting Smile disqualified by throwing Smile a steel chair with the referee's back turn (Marshall had already hit Brookes with the chair), it was difficult not to be frustrated to see Marshall not get his comeuppance at the end of the contest, in all of the right ways. 

Order of Elimination

1st - Maloney via disqualification
2nd - Silver via pinfall (from Marshall X)
3rd - Dunne via submission (from Brookes)
4th - Smile via disqualification
5th - Brookes via pinfall (from Marshall X)

Winner - Marshall X

After, the match, Lawrie Neal announced that Marshall would defend the title at Brute Force in Great Barr on August 29th, against a returning Pete Dunne. With Neal referencing that Dunne was still in China, Dynamite coming out and battering Marshall X got a great reaction from the crowd. With the two both hot with the crowd in their respective roles, their bout on August 29th may very well steal the show.

The interval was a length half an hour, that did seem to go on for an age. Lawrie Neal welcomed us back to the show, in a shortened version of his opening for the first half, which was much needed after that lengthy interval.

One Fall Tag Team Match for the Kamikaze Pro Tag Team Championship
The Hunter Brothers (C)
vs.
Project Lucha




It would be almost impossible for these four men to have a bad encounter, wouldn't it? One of the most established tag teams in the country and two of top singles stars in the country, this was a smooth, quick paced tag team match that worked well as the opener for the second half of the show. A back and forth affair that saw both teams trading tags, and seemingly just having a great time inside the ring working with each other (as their Twitter accounts would stand testament to). A highlight for me was a spot that saw Martin Kirby through Jim into the bar area (almost the whole width of the building), allowing Lucha to dominate and get a very nice near fall because of it.

When the contest finished following the Hunter's swing into low dropkick signature double team move on Kirby (even this was a call back to an attempt at the move earlier on in the match) I'd have to say I was a tad disappointed. I wasn't entirely ready for things to end and was expecting both teams to really push things into the next gear for another three or four minutes before the close of the bout. That's more of a statement on my sky high expectations of all four men, than it does for the actual match itself. It would be great to see these two teams go at it again in a different slot on the card, or even without the lengthy interval before hand which, alongside both teams working babyface, took a little out of the crowd. A good tag team contest, that could have been better.


Winners - The Hunter Brothers by pinfall

One Fall Match
Sebastian Radclaw Ruby Summers
vs.
"The Chavette" Chardonnay




With Sebastian Radclaw off the show, this match took a bit of turn becoming a "Fighting Females" division matchup with Ruby Summer stepping in to replace Radclaw. A rather basic match would follow, with three errors that stand out in particular hurting my enjoyment of proceedings. Firstly, Chardonnay kicking out of a well-done Fisherman's suplex bang on the count of two felt like a huge waste of a big move that could have worked as a nice false finish, and secondly, the referee counting a pinfall on Ruby when her shoulders were clearly off the mat, and finally, the finish of the contest that saw Chardonnay lock in a crossface with Ruby's legs way past the ropes, and instead of Ruby calling for the ref to break the hold with Chardonnay moving her to middle of the ring and getting more heat doing so, Ruby moved her legs inside the ring and held them up in the air away from the ropes, before tapping out. 


Winner - Chardonnay by submission 


A wild raffle appeared, much to the wonderment of all in attendance.

Monster's Ball 
"The Monster" Abyss
vs.
Clint Margera




If you came to this show to see Abyss then you wouldn't have been disappointed by this one, as it worked almost as "Best of Abyss" situation with The Monster running through a series of his best-known spots and moves, including ending up with chair to the nads, chokeslam, black hole slam and an appearance of his favourite weapon Janice, the only thing that was really missing here was a Shock Treatment. That isn't to say that Clint Margera was merely there to make up the numbers and take Abyss' offence, the Wolverhampton fellow look impressive in there also, bringing out a number of weapons that suited the match-type. The start of the bout with Margera standing face to face with Abyss was a great moment, that was well-performed by both men.

Exactly what you would have expected if you were aware of either man, a brutal hardcore clash that spilled across the Cadbury Club, including a spot that saw Abyss go through a table on the outside. Steel chairs, baking trays, tables, thumb tacks and Janice all sent the crowd into a wild frenzy, as everyone in attendance lapped every moment of this match up with "Holy Shit" chants a plenty, especially when Margera took a chokeslam onto the tacks for a near fall. The finish came soon after as Abyss hit a Blackhole Slam to pick up the victory, much to the delight of the Bournville crowd. It was an occasion where having the import go over the regular was the right thing to, with Abyss putting Margera over after the contest, and putting him over strong. It would seem Margera has turned babyface in Kamikaze Pro, a role that he excels in for Fight Club: Pro up the road in the Wolverhampton, so it will interesting to see how his character progresses in the promotion over the next few months.

Finally...


In front of an animated Bournville crowd, Kamikaze Pro provided an enjoyable show, that had a little bit of something for everyone. The three title matches all provided plenty of entertainment with the Six-Man Elimination bout narrowly claiming the Match of the Night from me. Abyss came across as a hard working import, who seemed out to help the promotion and Clint Margera, rather than just take an easy paycheck. The other two matches weren't close to being able to compete with the rest of the card, but at least the four trainees continued to show promise in their on-going development.

The record crowd (just under 300 people) inside the Cadbury Club shows that Kamikaze is doing something right in Bournville and I'm pretty certain the majority of those in attendance will be back on 27th September when the company rolls into the venue again, and on the strength of this show, they may bring even more with them. 


ATPW Scale Rating - 5.42

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