Friday, 4 March 2016

Live Event Review: VII Pro A New Genesis (Dickinson vs. Smile *VII Pro Championship*)

On 26th February 2016, VII Pro Wrestling presented their first show of 2016, A New Genesis, at Dawley Town Hall, Dawley, Telford, England. The show featured Ryan Smile defending the VII Pro Championship against Beyond Wrestling regular Chris Dickinson and Chuck Cyrus teaming with the debuting Kelly Sixx to tackle Dan Moloney and Wild Boar as The Facesmashers had their first match as team outside of Fight Club: Pro...but was it any good? Let's find out. 

a new genesis match card

Match 1 - Tag Team - Yolo Squad vs. "Flash" Morgan Webster & "The Ginger Jesus" Mike Bird

Match 2 - Singles - Jinny vs. Dahlia Black

Match 3 - VII Pro British Lions Championship - "The Calamari Catch King" Chris Brookes (C) vs. "White Lightning" Mark Andrews

Match 4 - Tag Team - The Facesmashers vs. "Mr. Massive" Chuck Cyrus & Kelly Sixx

Match 5 - Singles - "Number One" Damian Dunne vs. TK Cooper

Match 6 - VII Pro Championship - "The Dirty Daddy" Chris Dickinson vs. "The All Day Star" Ryan Smile 

fast-forward...A slightly awkward intro the show from announcer Paul Winstaley lead us into the first action of the night...

the yolo squad defeat morgan webster and mike bird

A cracking opening to the show, as Drew Parker and Ethan Silver of the Yolo Squad went over Morgan Webster and Mike Bird in a well put together tag bout. Parker took on the face in peril role here, after an extended period of shine for the Squad, seemingly playing off their experience as a team as opposed to the newly formed Webster and Bird duo. Bird taking on more of a comedy heel role and shouting in a strong Welsh accent "What are you doing, Webster?" played off this idea nicely. The Dawley crowd was loud from the very beginning getting behind the teenage duo, as Bird & Webster used a cacophony of heel tactics to take and then remain in control of Parker. A particular highlight involved Webster using his jacket to cover Parker's face and allow Bird to take advantage. 

Whilst Webster and Bird have been known to pull out flashy offence, they kept things pretty simple here, meaning that when Parker managed to tag in Silver, the crowd was red hot for his exciting series of moves. It had been a while since I'd gotten to see the Yolo Squad in action, and I was impressed with just how much they have improved over the last twelve months. Their offence looked a lot crisper, and they both seemed much more comfortable playing to the crowd. They've developed a lot of sweet tag moves as well, that work well with their current characters. A Samoan Driver/Double Stomp combination, with the Stomp transitioning into a hurricanrana on the other opponent was particularly impressive. By the time the Yolo Squad had picked up the victory with a Double Stomp/Neckbreaker combination, all four men had produced a satisfying opening contest, that had the crowd hooked throughout, but somehow I still felt like they'd only just scratched the surface of what they could do together. 

jinny defeats dahlia black

Now would be the moment to say that I love the crowd that turns up at the Dawley Town Hall. Two debuting wrestlers here could have lead to an awkward silence, as I've seen in other promotions across the country, but luckily that's not Dawley's bag and they gave Jinny and Dahlia Black a lot of noise throughout. That isn't to say that these women didn't put up a solid contest, because they really did, rising up to match the crowd, in a physical and character-based encounter. Jinny has her snobby fashionista character completely nailed, and was continually talking throughout the match, either to the crowd or her opponent, clearly getting across her persona to a new audience. It was interesting to see Dahlia as a protagonist after seeing her at PROGRESS in Manchester a few weeks ago as TK Cooper's distinctly annoying girlfriend and tag team partner, and whilst I found her ever so slightly generic here, it worked for the family crowd. Slightly short, but with plenty of action, Jinny picked up the win with a Rope Hung Sitout Facebuster, following an eye poke. I think most of Telford would agree with me when I say that I hope both women are bought back by the promotion in the near future, with clashes among VII Pro's previously used talent like Nixon Newell, Toni Storm and Lana Austin going towards creating a strong women's division.

chris brookes defeats mark andrews to retain the vii pro british lions championship

Despite working together in various promotions across Europe since 2013, this was surprisingly the first collision between current VII Pro British Lions Champion and TNA star Mark Andrews. First encounters can be a bit hit and miss, sometimes matches that have potential fall short due to a duo's unfamiliarity with each other. However, that wasn't the case here as Brookes and Andrews found some good chemistry in the ring, meshing their different styles together to create a pleasing first half main event that once again had the Dawley crowd whipped into a frenzy. The opening set the stage for what was to come, with Brookes gaining good heat by threatening to walk out, and continued stalling, whilst also stopping Andrews hitting any of his exciting moveset. With Brookes continually denying fans the visual feast and frustrating the crowd even more, it was a shame that when Andrews did hit a version of the skateboard hurricanrana he's been using on TNA television recently, that it didn't quite come off as well as it could've. 

However, White Lightning is one of the best babyfaces on the circuit at the moment and continued to show this throughout the match, with some terrific selling, as Brookes spent a long spell of action in control. Because of this it's easy to empathise with the Cardiff native and once you've bought into his effort to fight back, you get rewarded with some great high-flying offense. Whilst Mandrews comeback was well done, it was once the pair began exchanging reversals that things reached their peak for me, with a standout moment seeing Andrews turning a suplex attempt into a stunner and also escaping Brookes' Michonoku Driver attempt. After a superb false finish saw Andrews miss a Shooting Star Press before Brookes successfully hit a Michonoku Driver, the closing moments saw Andrews tap out to an Octopus Stretch. Brookes had earlier locked the move in whilst the TNA star was in the ropes, so this was satisfying close to the clash, that bolsters Brookes fledgling run with the British Lions Championship. A great end to the first half. 

the facesmashers defeat chuck cyrus and kelly sixx

Most of my feelings around this match come down to the fact that I find the "Mr. Massive" gimmick to be really, really, annoying. Perhaps, this would be awesome if he was a heel and I'd be able to hurl abuse at him, but as a babyface, I find him almost unbearable to watch. There was a spot in this one where Cyrus went for a suicide dive, only to pretend to be stuck between the top and middle ropes, because he's "massive" and then had to be helped out by Sixx. I'm not sure if this spot went over well with the rest of the crowd as I was too busy cringing my balls off. The things is, when Cyrus was actually wrestling, he's seems to be pretty damn good at what he does. His move-set is sweet, he hit a nice dead lift suplex and a silly, Undertaker-style dive over the top rope, and he also worked hard to produce some cool tag sequences in his first outing alongside Kelly Sixx. 

I've praised Dan Moloney and Wild Boar as team in Fight Club: Pro before, so it was pleasing to see bring their team to Dawley and continue to perform well, under the new team moniker, The Facesmashers. They worked well as the no-nonense side of the contest, initially battering Sixx with strikes and power moves. Moloney continues to develop his character and managed to get more than a chuckle by heckling Sixx with this gem..."I had girlfriend called Kelly once...she was a bitch" The fact that Moloney shouted it while he and Boar were delivering a vicious beating made it even better. The duo dominated the closing stages, with Boar taking Cyrus out with cannonball in the corner, before delivering a package piledriver to Sixx, who eventually submitted to a painful looking hold, whilst Moloney continued to stomp away. They ended up looking like a force to reckoned with, within the promotion, even if this bout felt a tad too long for the characters involved.

tk cooper defeats damian dunne

It wasn't a huge surprise to see TK Cooper answer Damian Dunne's open challenge, after Dahlia Black had been on the card earlier in the night, but the two did put decent short contest together. The crowd seemed to take to Cooper straight away, as he got in the arrogant Dunne's face and pulled out a lot of impressive offence. It helped that Dunne had previously cut a strong heel promo on the crowd, as well being a regular antagonist at Dawley Town Hall. The pop when Cooper managed to get himself a victory, after countering Dunne's springboard codebreaker finish with a jackknife cover was one of the biggest of the night, as I'm sure most in attendance had expected Dunne to win his own open challenge. Having seen Cooper play both sides of the coin at PROGRESS and now VII Pro, I'll definitely be looking out for him on future cards across the country as I feel I've only just started to see what he can do. Cooper has the potential to be capable of much more if given the right opportunity.

ryan smile defeats chris dickinson to retain the vii pro championship

After taking a little while to bed in, the main event of the evening developed into a high quality encounter. I felt like Ryan Smile had to carry the first few minutes of the match, as the crowd was mostly unfamiliar with Beyond Wrestling's Chris Dickinson, being mostly made up of families. Smile remained very entertaining to watch throughout this period, keeping the crowd engaged well. After an early tope conhilo from Smile, in which it seemed Dickinson dropped The All Day Star, lead to Smile coming crashing onto the hard wooden floor with a thud, the two looked to gel much better within the ring and crafted an enjoyable narrative. With a mostly power vs. speed type vibe, Dickinson naturally stepped in a more heel role, with the crowd getting behind their regular and Smile taking a beating from the American star. A reverse boston crab with hard kicks to the back from The Dirty Daddy was the move that made me sit up and take notice. 

In the final third of the contest the action shifted, lifting into a ridiculous pace and with lots of stuff going on. After the referee was knocked down, there were run ins from Dan Moloney, Dahlia Black, Chris Brookes, Ethan Silver, Jinny, TK Cooper and Damian Dunne, who subsequently took out one another, before Dickinson hit a crucifix powerbomb on Dunne over the top rope and onto everyone else at ringside. It was Attitude Era-esque silliness that had the crowd going bananas for each and every run-in. If that wasn't enough, Smile then climbed the stage set-up and leapt off it onto everyone below. At this point I didn't care much for the reasoning behind it or if the run ins didn't particularly make much sense, I was too busy having a bloody good time and it looked like everyone else was as well! After The All Day Star and The Dirty Daddy ran through a series of reversals and big moves, it was Smile who retained his title escaping a Crucifix Powerbomb attempt and getting the win with a roll up to cap of a match that grew into a very good and extremely entertaining main event. 

atpw scale rating - 5.98/10 

I don't think I've ever came away from an event at Dawley Town Hall without feeling thoroughly entertained and of course, this show was no different. The crowd is always up for some wrestling, with a strong family presence and a building that seems to amplify the sound better than pretty much any other I've been in. This was helped out by some quality wrestling action provided throughout the show. For me, Ryan Smile and Chris Dickinson's main event was the best match of the evening (exactly as it should be as a main event) and the two stepped up to the plate in their first encounter, as well as being helped out by a fun run-in sequence. I also wouldn't argue with you, if you preferred Mark Andrews and Chris Brookes' British Lions title bout. Jinny, Dahlia Black and TK Cooper also all seemed to impress on their debuts, whilst the tag team division was strengthened as the Yolo Squad and the Facesmashers were given opportunities to shine. 

Whilst, there was somethings that I either didn't "get" or moments that didn't quite come together as well as they could have, there wasn't a match on the show that couldn't find something to enjoy, as VII Pro produced a varied night of wrestling action.

VII Pro return to Dawley Town Hall on 22nd April for Final Inception. 

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