Thursday, 30 June 2016

TV Review: IMPACT Wrestling #624 - EC3 v Galloway v Lashley (James Marston)

After a belter of an episode last week, how would TNA look to capitalise? With a big three-way title match in the main event, this was gonna be another strong episode...or was it? 

The aforementioned three way main event would see Lashley hold onto his TNA World Heavyweight Championship, taking advantage of Drew Galloway nailing Ethan Carter III with a Claymore Kick to hit a spear on both opponents, before pinning EC3. As TV main events go this was a bloody good showing from all three men as they told a nice story and kept a solid pace. Having two babyfaces and a single heel could have been the matches undoing, but the ground work had been put in last week with Galloway and EC3 clearly not seeing eye to eye, and built on here, with the fan favourites working together to try to keep Lashley out of the match, so they had more of an opportunity to tear each other a part. My main complaint here is that everything needed more time to fully develop, with the ending feeling a little rushed, an extra five minutes and few more convincing near falls and we'd have had a brilliant match here. 

Whilst the main event was to the point, the same can not be said about the opening segment. X Division Champion Mike Bennett, Maria Kanellis-Bennett, Lashley, EC3, Billy Corgan and Galloway were all involved in what essentially boiled down to Corgan booking a Number One Contender's Battle Royal for Bennett's title, before a brawl would eventually lead to Galloway accidentally nailing EC3 with a Claymore Kick. At times it felt a little directionless, and despite strong performances, from Bennett in particular, almost everything needed to be tightened up and streamlined. A lot of the stuff like Galloway and EC3's accident was unnecessary because the building blocks were already in place from last week and without a date set for Destination X, Bennett's involvement with Lashley lacked urgency. 

You thought the Hardy Boyz were done with their feud? You were wrong. This feud will never end. Ever. As has been the case for months, this was complete and utter lunacy. Matt Hardy being driven around ringside by Reby Hardy in what he referred to as his "chair with wheels", as he ranted about his previous matches with Jeff and all other manner of things in his ridiculous voice was so bizarre, but completely entertaining at the same time. Despite the madness, the angle actually played out quite simply with Matt baiting Jeff, before using Reby to attack his brother from behind after doing a Linda McMahon and rising from his chair with wheels. The two will face off "one last time" next week, apparently, at their own home in North Carolina. It's being billed as "Brother Nero: The Final Deletion" because why the fuck wouldn't it be? 

King of the Mountain Champion Eli Drake's Fact of Life talk show segment was back this week with James Storm turning up as the eventual guest. I say "eventual" because before Storm would interrupt we'd get a promo from Drake about mashed potatoes. Yeah, mashed potatoes. It was actually very entertaining and completely different from pretty much anything anyone else is doing. The segment for took a dive when Storm came out, because similar to the opening segment, it felt flabby and could have done with a bit of a trim. A feud with Storm could do good things for Drake's career, and with Storm eventually hitting a Last Call Superkick on Drake to close the segment, it looks like we're heading that way over the next few weeks, at least.

Braxton Sutter would become the number one contender to Mike Bennett's X Division Champion by outlasting Trevor Lee, Andrew Everett, Eddie Edwards, DJ Z, Mandrews and Rockstar Spud in an over-the-top Battle Royal, only to be attack by the Helms Dynasty and  therefore losing in his immediate title match, and Bennett retaining the title. The battle royal was a fun bout, with a lot of talented performers in there. It was great to see Mandrews get some screen-time and he made a real case for deserving more focus with a series of action with Lee and Everrett that was among the best in the match. The angle with The Helms Dynasty was done well and actually protected Sutter from a loss to Bennett, allowing him to keep the momentum of winning the battle royal. 

Sienna retained the Knockout's Championship over Gail Kim in a match that aired on the show. Not a whole lot of interesting wrestling content here, with the sole highlight of the match being a nice reversal of a crucifix into a powerful Samoan drop from Sienna. The bout was fairly short and never really looked to get out of first gear as Jade came out to neutralise the distraction from Sienna's valet Allie, only for Marti Bell to attack Jade, which lead to eventual distraction that'd allow Sienna to hold onto her title. I absolutely hated Monty Brown's Pounce finisher so the fact that Sienna is now using it as The Silencer made me put my head in my hands and cry a little. 

It was the dream match we've all been waiting for as Grado, Mahabali Shera and a newly packaged Tyrus would go over Al Snow and The Tribunal in six man tag action. Yay. The crowd tried to chant "USA" at one point, which considering there was a Scotsman, an Indian and an American on one team and two Frenchmen and an American on the other team made literally zero sense. The match wasn't terrible, with some nice ref distraction and heely goings on from the Tribunal and Snow and a decent hot tag from Tyrus. The end of the bout was a bit messy though, before Tyrus would win with a weak looking World's Strongest Slam.  


ATPW Scale Rating - 4.79/10

Not a great show this week, with a few clunky segments and matches that could have done with a bit more thought and tidying up. I think the best way to describe this show was that it felt very "first draft". Some good ideas, but a lot of flab. The main event and the mental Hardyz segment keep it from turning into an utter mess. It's ironic that the one thing that felt like it was overly cut short was the one part of the show that really excelled at what was done. With a bit more main event this show would have been much improved.

Wrestle Ropes' Ready for the Weekend: July 2016 Week 1 - ATTACK!, LCW & RevPro

This week's edition of Ready For The Weekend shall be seeing us firstly heading to Bristol for ATTACK! at The Trinity Centre. Then we're off to Leicester for a stacked LCW event before we round off the wrestling weekend in London at the Cockpit Theatre for RevPro. Phew! Right that's the itinerary out of the way, let's get Ready For The Weekend!

The weekend kicks off on Friday night when ATTACK! Pro Wrestling cross the border into England and head to The Trinity Centre in Bristol for 'RaffleMania II: Stripwrecked'. 

The event will see the continuation of the ATTACK! Championship tournament with an opening round contest between Mike Bird and Zack Sabre Jr taking placing. These men are both well known to the Attack! Pro Wrestling fans with Bird being a foundation of the promotion while ZSJ's star continues to shine brighter with every passing week. Bird has finally put his issues with "Flash" Morgan Webster to bed and will be looking to focus now on winning some championship gold. However, he'll have to bring his all against ZSJ who is currently in the WWE Cruiserweight Classic as well holding the top titles in PWG & RevPro. ZSJ will be looking to add more accolades his to resume but a win for Bird would be a huge statement to everyone else in the tournament. 

Speaking of the tournament, Wild Boar and Eddie Dennis have already secured their place in the next stage of the tournament. They could find themselves as tournament opponents in the near future, but this Friday they shall be on opposing teams when Boar and CCK's Chris Brookes and Kid Lykos face the trio of Dennis and The Brothers of Construction in six-man tag team action. The B.O.C. and CCK also have previous between them. CCK won the Attack! Pro Tag Team Championship from The B.O.C., who have yet to get the chance at getting the gold back. A win for The B.O.C. could slingshot them straight back into the title picture. There is a lot of variables in this match with tournament competitors and tag teams fighting over gold. Could go either way this one. 

This Friday will also see a rematch from Attack! Pro Wrestling's last event at Walkabout in Cardiff as Tyler Bate will compete against Travis Banks. These men tore the roof off Walkabout last time so we hope that The Trinity Centre in Bristol have checked theirs as we could see history repeat itself once again this Friday.

Match Card

Attack! Pro Wrestling Championship Tournament Opening Round
‘Ginger Jesus’ Mike Bird vs Zack Sabre Jr

Six-Man Tag Team
CCK (Chris Brookes & Kid Lykos) & Wild Boar vs Eddie Dennis & The Brothers Of Construction (Lee & Jim Construction)

Travis Banks vs ‘Textbook’ Tyler Bate

Bayside High (Nixon Newell & Mark Andrews) In Action

Moving on to Saturday and Leicester Championship Wrestling are at Brockington College in Leicester with 'Summertime 2016'. 

At LCW's last event, 'Aftermath', White Tiger defeated LJ Heron and in the process became the number one contender for the LCW Young Guns Championship. Well now he is going to get his chance to win the championship when he faces TK Hayward this Saturday. The LCW fans have been behind Tiger for a long time and have wanted him to have this chance. Hayward has went to great lengths to remain champion and he'll be looking to do the same on July 2nd. Only time will tell whether Tiger and his unanimous support will be enough to dethrone the current champion. 

Alexis Rose and Toni Storm have been at each other's throats for a number of months now with wins being exchanged back and forth. Rose wants another match with Storm and she's going to get it but with the added elements of Xander Cooper as her partner and Tyler Bate joining with Storm. While Cooper may be a help to Rose, Bate is an equal counter to that advantage. The Rose and Storm rivalry looks set to create another chapter this Saturday. 

The main event this Saturday will see the current LCW Heavyweight Champion; Stixx in action when he joins with Joseph Conners to challenge Cy Gregory and Marc Massa of DNA for the LCW Tag Team Championship. The match was made a few weeks ago after Gregory failed to win the LCW Heavyweight Championship from Stixx. DNA are indeed a very slick team, hence why they are champions, however their opponents have both held the LCW Heavyweight Championship, Stixx being the current champion. DNA winning would be a huge feat for them and something they would no doubt be sure to boast about. If Stixx and Conners win, they could well become the most dominant team in LCW history.

Match Card

LCW Tag Team Championship
‘The Heavyweight House Of Pain’ Stixx & ‘The Righteous’ Joseph Conners vs DNA (Cy Gregory & Marc Massa) (c)

LCW Young Guns Championship
TK Hayward (c) vs White Tiger

Alexis Rose & ‘The Man For All Seasons’ Xander Cooper vs Toni Storm & Tyler Bate

HC Dyer vs Paul Malen

Open Challenge
Ladz Ladz Ladz (Zak Northern & Gabriel Kidd) vs ???

Finally we round off the wrestling weekend in London at the Cockpit Theatre with Revolution Pro Wrestling. Amazingly this will be the tenth event that RevPro have held at the Cockpit Theatre in what seems like still a new venue for the promotion. The match card for the show however feels very familiar with it being stacked full of British stars. 

For a number of weeks, The Legion Of Lords' Rishi Ghosh and Lord Gideon Grey have been campaigning for an Undisputed British Tag Team Championship match. This Sunday they will get their wish when the challenge Charlie Garrett and Joel Redman for the gold. The L.o.L. truly believe they are the best and their run of wins can't be argued with. The champions can't be dismissed easily either though as they defeated the longest reigning champions in RevPro history to become the champions. The L.o.L. want championship gold badly, Garrett and Redman will have a real test of their hands to show they want to remain champions even more. 

Originally at RevPro's last event at the Cockpit Theatre, Mark Haskins was scheduled to face Trent Seven. However due to illness, Haskins was not able to compete and the match did not take place. This Sunday, Haskins is back and he's 100%! Add in the element and Seven also bring his A game any time he's in the ring and we have the makings of a show-stealing match when The Super Don faces The Star Attraction. 

The main event this Sunday will see the current Undisputed British Heavyweight Champion; Zack Sabre Jr join forces with the number one contender to the champion, 'The Villain' Marty Scurll in a reformation of The LDRS. Their opponents will be the duo of Jake McCluskey and Kieran Bruce. McCluskey and Bruce are a slick tag team who have found success in various locations in England. This will be the biggest match of their career but the one chink in the armour of the The LDRS is the relationship between Scurll and ZSJ right now. Scurll's actions of late have been questionable and not to the liking of ZSJ. Scurll has told his partner that there is nothing to worry about but does the champion 100% believe that and trust 'The Villain'? We might find out this Sunday.

Match Card

The LDRS (Zack Sabre Jr & ‘The Villain’ Marty Scurll) vs Jake McCluskey & Keiran Bruce

Undisputed British Tag Team Championship
Legion Of Lords (Lord Gideon Grey & Rishi Ghosh) vs Charlie Garrett & Joel Redman (c)

‘The Bruiserweight’ Pete Dunne vs Noam Dar

‘The Knightsbridge Fashionista’ Jinny vs Zoe Lucas

Trent Seven vs ‘The Star Attraction’ Mark Haskins

'The Phoenix' Jody Fleisch vs Josh Bodom

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, interviews, exclusive columns, reviews, reports and results!

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

TV Review: WWE Monday Night RAW #1205 - Styles v Ambrose (James Marston)

With the major news of Roman Reigns' wellness policy violation and resulting 30 day suspension, how would WWE look to bounce back from losing a third of their next PPV's main event? Stick your critical hats and your analytical socks on and strap yourself in for this week's Monday Night RAW review! 

Rightio, let's chat about that main event. A first time ever clash between WWE World Heavyweight Champion Dean Ambrose and The Club's AJ Styles. First off, having the stipulation that had Styles won he'd be added to the WWE Championship match on 24th July was a great piece of booking, turning a good main event, into a meaningful main event. Ambrose and Styles seemed to connect in the ring early, running through some nice series' of action, transitioning from move to move with ease. A sequence that would begin with Styles rolling through Ambrose's diving elbow drop into a pinfall, before both would hit signature strikes was a personal highlight. Also, whoever decided Seth Rollins should be on commentary deserves a pay rise, because he bought an extra level of drama, having to cheer on his most-heated rival, because of his desire to keep the title match at Battleground down to as little many guys as possible! 

Many things would go on in the closing stages of the match and it's aftermath, as we knew this was never going to end with a clean pin and do a funky jig to end the show. The rest of The Club were out to cause trouble and John Cena weren't having none of that, so arrived to take Gallows and Anderson out of the picture, only for Styles to become distracted and allowing Ambrose to hit Dirty Deeds to keep Styles out of the title picture. A bit of an unwieldy finish this one, not particularly overbooked, but it could have been done a little tighter with a bit of tweaking. The show would finish with Rollins hitting two pedigree's on Ambrose in the ring, whilst The Club dismantled Cena on the entrance. 

Whilst Styles was facing Ambrose in 1st time match, Cena had his chance to earn a place in the 24th July title match, opposite Rollins in a bout happening on TV for the 13th time since 2013. Cena and Rollins are always good for an entertaining match, aren't they? Yes, they are. There wasn't a whole lot of new material here, with the duo pulling on their wealth of experience with each to simply produce almost condensed "best of" bout. The first third of the bout even borrowed from Cena's recent match with AJ Styles (and many before it, I'm sure) with Cena looking to hit his regular comeback sequence and in particular, the five knuckle shuffle, with Rollins cutting him off at various points throughout it. Rinse and Repeat. The main thing that stopped me from enjoying this match completely, was just how loud and blatant Cena was when calling his spots. 

Whilst JBL was marveling at Cena's "thick wrists (and) huge hands", The Leader of the Cenation and The Aerialist were stringing together some brilliant flurries of action, including the build toward Cena hitting an Attitude Adjustment for the strongest near fall of the clash. Of course, in almost a mirror image of the main event finish, but without the clunkiness, we had The Club head to ring side, with the distraction allowing for Rollins to nail Cena with a Pedigree for the three count. Obviously, having the show end with no change to the next PPV's title match, means that this was entirely a case of filling time with another three editions of Monday Night RAW heading our way between then and now, but hey, it was at least an entertaining waste of time!

So, if you thought spending half an hour of time on, what was essentially the same storyline, was a bit too much, that would be forgetting that we'd need an extra fifteen minutes to set up the two matches at the start of the show. I'm definitely being more than a little harsh, but spending a third of the show on the same thread is perhaps a little excessive. It perhaps signposts how reliant WWE is right now on it's top four (or five with the absent Reigns) guys right now. With the draft coming up next month, WWE will need to start making more use of it's supporting cast, with the likes of Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens being at the front of the queue. 

The segment itself was broadly entertaining, mostly in a "look at all these guys coming out and staying stuff" kind of way. Seth Rollins addressing Roman Reigns' 30 days suspension was the highlight, as he kicks off the show by ripping into Reigns' Twitter statement over the incident. For me, whilst Rollins handled the promo as if it were a shoot, it sounded like the words were coming from the office to put Reigns in his place for the embarrassment he'd caused the company. Either way, it got a great reaction out of the crowd and it'll be interesting to see the kind of reaction The Big Dog will get when he returns on PPV. Ambrose, Styles and Cena would follow Rollins out, with Stephanie McMahon eventually making the matches talked about further up this review. 

The highlight of this episode for me, was "The Highlight Reel" (sorry) as Chris Jericho welcomed Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens for a brilliant talk show segment. From Y2J telling the crowd to "quiet" repeatedly, which set the tone for the segment perfectly, to Owens remaining completely silent whilst Zayn attempted to get a reaction from him by telling his rival to "Grow a set" before Owens would launch into a tirade that mixed fact with fiction superbly. I think, the part of the promo I liked the most was just how relatable the emotions involved were. I'm sure everyone has had a friend that they feel has done something to turn against, whether that be true or not. The finish of the segment where Zayn and Owens would unite to kick Jericho in the face was well-timed and felt completely right for the kind of feud that they're having. 

In another case of treading water, we had women's tag bout with Paige and Sasha Banks tagging as a duo for the first time since a 2013 episode of NXT to take on Women's Champion Charlotte and her pal Dana Brooke. Nothing wrong here at all, all four women put in a good effort and it sort of followed on from last week's episode, but it didn't do a whole lot to further the storyline. Basic tag format, with Paige working as your Anti-Diva in peril, before Banks would clean house and pick up a submission victory with the Banks Statement. Nothing that will be remembered by next week, but it was nice to see Banks get a decisive victory on WWE's flagship show.  

A variation on a theme here as we got another tag bout, with four guys looking to establish a spot higher up the card as Cesaro and Apollo Crews over came former League of Nations compadres, Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio. The main narrative throughout the match was "The Celtic Warrior" and "The Essence of Excellence" not being the best of pals anymore, because...because they just aren't...okay? Basically, Sheamus decided to tag in when ADR was going for his Tree of Woe diving double foot stomp situation and ADR just had enough of Sheamus being a wazzock, so tagged him and then smashed him in the face with an enziguri. Both looked like dicks, so who knows where WWE will take that feud, maybe they'll use it to separate the pair in next month's draft. Crews would get the win for his team with an impressive spin-out powerbomb on Sheamus.

Filed under "No one gives a fuck" is Titus O'Neil's problems with United States Champion Rusev. Bless O'Neil for trying, but he just isn't a good enough performer on his own. The match was put together well enough with "The Real Deal" going nuts from the beginning, but I just didn't believe that he was actually all that bothered. Plus once Rusev got in control, O'Neil was wooden as hell and I just couldn't bring myself to get behind. A countout victory following a double clothesline spot on the outside hardly does him the world of good either. 

Another quality non-wrestling segment would be The New Day's "roast" of The Wyatt Family. What's better than a roast? Why toast when you can roast? Just a complete jamboree of excitement as the trio ripped into their new foes for having poor hygiene and lacking positivity. I'd worried last week about whether the two teams promo styles would be able to gel without either being harmed in the process, but when Bray Wyatt would interrupt and cut a mesmerising promo about his problems with New Day, I was pretty much convinced that this feud would have some legs. Xavier Woods clearly being terrified of Wyatt's group adds an interesting layer to proceedings and helped to keep thing grounded.

The Miz would return this week and instantly have to defend his Intercontinental Championship against...erm...Kane. Yeah, Kane was back in action. Miz had been AWOL for over a month and we hadn't seen Kane in the ring for another month on top of that, so obviously the crowd gave them nothing. Completely dead. You can't really blame them either. "The Big Red Machine" beat the shit into Miz for a couple of minutes, before Miz would leave the ring because of Maryse supposedly injuring her ankle. Another bit of filler that did very little for either man and took a big chunk out of the prestige of the title, after it had already taken a hit for not appearing on TV for a month.

Enzo and Cass get their own little portion of the review, because Cass is seven foot tall and you can't teach that, so I'm told. The duo have got a new Mexican Wave gimmick, which will be much cooler when they don't have to tell the crowd to do it. After a lightning quick victory of some guys called Carlos Corty and Mitch Walden, Enzo & Cass would be confronted by the returning Social Outcasts. Again, not a whole lot actually happened, as the duo would manage to keep Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel and Heath Slater at bay, before telling them the one word that describes them. 

ATPW Scale Rating - 4.92/10 

This wasn't a good show. It wasn't a bad show. But it was a show. Styles vs. Ambrose was a good main event, Rollins vs. Cena was a good semi-main, the opening segment started things off well and Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens stole the show with their performances on the Highlight Reel...but not a whole lot actual happened. I mean, two and a quarter hours of content felt like it didn't actually move us anywhere. Everything felt very static, especially in the two tag bouts. Obviously with three more episodes to go until the PPV, this was always going to be the case, so perhaps we should just be happy that it wasn't really shit? The two matches with WWE Championship consequences probably made up for the lack of movement.

Opinion: WCPW Loaded or How the Fanbase are now Running the Asylum (Jozef Raczka)

There's a fascinating phenomenon that becomes engaged the longer a fanbase is established; eventually the fanbase can begin to take control. We saw it happen with the reboot of Doctor Who as Russell T Davies and Stephen Moffatt are both open life-long fans of the programme, who've gone from writing fan fiction to controlling the actual product. It blurs a line, when the fans take over where does the line between legitimate product and unofficial fan production end? This brings us to  WhatCulture Pro-Wrestling (WCPW), an offshoot of Whatculture - the website formerly known as Obsessed with Film that changed it's name when it became obsessed with everything and realised they can make list articles about it. In 2014, they set up a YouTube channel, Whatculture WWE, delivering video versions of the lovely list-icles and eventually spinning it off into videos of 'How They Would Have Booked...' Or 'How They Should Book, wrestling news and even PPV predictions with their on-air talent developing something of a series of wrestling personae. Now two years later, their YouTube channel has more followers than TNA so they took the only natural next step: they've set up their own promotion in an attempt to become a serious force in UK wrestling and to prove they're not messing around, they've got El Ligero on their first taped show in one of what was probably three shows he worked that day.

Now various technical elements can be excused for being a bit rough at first. During backstage promos, clearly they haven't got much room on their green-screen because everyone is packed into a small cube and as a result, the blocking suffers. Often people seem to come in and have their back to the camera in order to fit in which results in the mic failing to pick them up (sadly resulting in us missing some of the beautiful singing voice of Joe Hendry). Their backstage interviewer constantly bobs around mugging to camera but also out of shot in a way that irritates because if there's a static camera, you learn the edges of the space and you stick to them, damnit. Also the lighting needs some adjustment as during these sequences, there are often shadows obscuring faces and the occasional block of loose pixels. It's slightly surprising as their on-channel green-screen work has always been impressively smooth and high quality but despite having given an extended bit of criticism here, it's only their first show. If it's the first of many, I'm sure they'll improve quickly.

Another issue that they will have to approach is the on-air talent. The wrestlers themselves are obviously all pros but some of the Whatculture personalities fail to translate their YouTube shtick into the in-ring action with 'King' Ross especially going overboard on the 'heel' antics on commentary. Ross and Simon Miller do a decent job of calling the action but for my money, there was too much 'colour' added with the two of them talking over people talking in the ring and during entrances. You know how annoying it is when Michael Cole drowns out the eeriness of Bray Wyatt by talking about how eery it is? Imagine that but with two of them talking incessantly over another classic Hendry singing entrance (luckily, WCPW have provided the commentary-free clip of that entrance on their channel). Equally there's a general tone of 'smark' to the product, which lends itself further to a feeling of fan-service but does occasionally also seem like at least someone on creative probably drops insider terminology on a daily basis and thinks using WWE wrestler's indie names is hilarious.

The Matches

Adam Pacitti introduces himself as the general manager and WCPW. He hits the right level of sincerity for the crowd who are clearly all fans of the channel (because why else would they pay to see it?) and doing some real palm eating. There seems to be a genuine excitement, especially for the announced appearance of Damien Sandow at next month's tapings. We transition into:

Match 1 - Triple Threat Elimination Mach - Alex Gracie (W/ Lucas Archer and James R Kennedy) v Gabriel Kidd v Joseph Conners

This opening bout featured some interesting storytelling as for the most part Kidd and Conners teamed up to keep Gracie out of the match and level the advantage of him having a stable.  Gabriel Kidd was particularly impressive, his red trunks helping this comparison, reminding me of a young Daniel Bryan with the commentary team doing their best to put him over as a newcomer playing with scene veterans and holding his own. Joseph Conners showing some truly hard-hitting offense including a fantastic springboard DDT onto Gracie while he had Kidd in a small package pin. Sadly, the match was broken up just as it was starting to get interesting as Kidd was pinned following a Righteous Kill DDT from Conners before Gracie would go for a roll-up, Conners kicks out at two, has a short comeback before Archer and Kennedy invade the ring and lowblow Conners leading to a disqualification. It seems a bold and maybe reckless move to make the first match of your new promotion have a screwy finish. Sure it could be used to build storyline with the efforts of Conners and Kidd to remove Gracie but once one of them is out of the way, Gracie's gang pounced. It's more about introducing what you do, it sets a precedent. It said, at least to this humble reviewer, that individual match quality isn't as important as overall product. This may pay off in the long run but left me feeling a tad deflated.

Joseph Conners wins via DQ (6.33)

Match 2 - Martin Kirby vs El Ligero

This was a fun, comedy match by the two performers with Kirby playing a fun jealous heel. Ligero got a much bigger reaction from the crowd so Kirby twice locked up with Ligero, transitioned to a headlock, bounce off the ropes, shoulder tackle and launched into extended celebrations that would make Bo Dallas say 'well that was excessive'. From here the match launched into a story of Ligero outwrestling Kirby at every point pulling off some lovely highflying offense including a particularly crisp hurricanrana so Kirby responds by trying to imitate Ligero. The highlight of this match comes when Kirby climbs the top rope looking to Triple H with a bottle of water only to spew it onto Ligero, he goes to repeat the indignation only for Ligero to leap up and uppercut the mouthful of water over the crowd. The match hits it's finish when Kirby lines up Ligero for a sable bomb, Ligero reverses, hits a tornado DDT for the pin. This might have been a better choice for the first match as it had everything you want from an opener: high energy, big spots, got the crowd excited and a big, clean finish. Sure it could have done with a bit of tweaking in some of the more awkward comedy spots, Kirby's attempts to replicate Ligero did lead to some clumsy dead air but for the most part, a good showing for both men.

El Ligero wins via pinfall (9.30)

Match 3 - Prince Ameen vs Joe Coffey

Ameen comes out and gives a promo that gets no reaction from a crowd who make Full Sail seem pleasant. Ameen gets in one clever line as he responds to a 'what' chant by pointing out they mean to chant 'WhatCulture'. Then out comes Joe Coffey. They have a match that shows off Coffey's resiliency, speed and strength and Ameen... He has one decent Spinebuster. The finish comes after Coffey sets Ameen up for a discus lariat but Ameen rolls out of the ring and gets counted out. This now makes two out of three matches ending in a screwy fashion. Once again, it might pay off in the long run but in the immediate, did nothing for Ameen who presents no effective or impressive offense.

Joe Coffey wins via countout (6.05)

Main Event - Joe Hendry vs Big Damo (Jack King as special Enforcer) for the position of Jack's champion and a shot at the WCPW WHC.

In the booth, Simon and Ross are joined by Whatculture's top heel, Adam Blampied. Hendry has one of his trademark singing entrances that is interrupted by Damo dragging him out from backstage. The two brawl for a while outside the ring till Hendry throws Damo inside. The two have good chemistry and a strong back and forth with some highlights including a massive running crossbody from Damo and a superb fallaway slam by Hendry. Sadly it comes after a ref bump causing Jack King to slide in and play ref as the ending is marred by a chair Damo pulls out, Hendry dropkicks the chair into Damo, Hendry and Jack tustle over the chair and Damo uses the distraction to hit The Ulster Plantation and get the pin. That makes three of four matches in their first show without clean finishes. The pre-match brawl outside the ring and the actual in match action itself is lovely and I liked the unity with Jack King, presenter of wrestling news show The Fast Count, hitting multiple fast counts when forced to step in for the referee who seems to be out for hours but it would have been preferential if they wanted Jack to be the referee, to just make him special referee and skip the ref bump shenanigans. It overbooks what could have been a promising, if surprisingly brief match.

Big Damo wins via Pinfall (6.37)

The show's ending segment is where everything begins to click. Pacitti returns to the ring to unveil the WCPW WHC belt, of course just as he's celebrating this moment, out comes Adam Blampied with his contender for the title, Rampage Brown. Blampied plays off the crowd better than any of the other non-wrestlers especially when someone in the crowd starts jibing him for being a 'cut-price Bischoff', he comes into his element. Rampage also is allowed to look like a monster knocking out two refs, looking like he murdered one of the 'stage crew' with a piledriver before tearing up the cardboard belt that was used as a championship on the YouTube channel. This move feels particularly well targeted as WhatCulture fans gave Blampied a Rollins-esque hero's entrance, by the end of the segment there were boos-a-plenty and even a chant of 'fuck off Rampage'. If they wanted to make people buy the team of Brown and Blampied as heels, it definitely worked.

I'm going to eschew the ATPW tradition of putting a grade at the bottom here because it feels unfair to even try and place this fledgling promotion on the scale for it's debut. It had enough promise to suggest they might keep going for a while and certainly, the in-ring camera crew deserve praise for some particularly well placed and edited action, especially by independent standards. It can be forgiven for its weaknesses because it was just its first episode and nothing's going to be perfect at first. 

What holds it together is a certain disbelief that it exists. A website expanding to feature a wrestling section is fine, that spinning off to a YouTube channel makes sense but them expanding into their own promotion is insane. These are people that love wrestling, that watched the WWE and became fans, that created a fan product that became legitimate and has now pulled in it's own fans who have in turn created fan product that could become legitimate. As a wrestling show, it wasn't the best but as a snapshot of a unique moment in time, it was fascinating. It presents a unique position of a certain 'Hey look ma, I made it' attitude that makes fans feel so close, they could almost take it and make it themselves. This isn't just them wrestling in their back garden with their friends in a trampoline, this is a proper company that in its next round of tapings has Sandow as well as Jay Lethal, Noam Dar and Will Ospreay. They've managed to create something real and that's a lot more than most fans can say. Give them time and space to grow, and maybe someday we'll be saying 'WCPW, that's where the big boys play'.

Photo Credit: WCPW & Bob Dahlstrom

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Live Event Review: Kamikaze Pro 3rd Anniversary Show - Robbie X v Margera (James Marston)

With three years of experience under their belts, Kamikaze Pro returned to Meadway Sports and Social for the first time since March to celebrate that very achievement. With a strong crowd on hand, could the West Midland promotions create the party atmosphere that the achievement deserved? Let's take a look.

As usual, we start off by talking about the main event, which saw Clint Margera do what the likes of Kay Lee Ray, Andrew Everett and Angelico and many others had been unable to do and remove Robbie X from the top of Kamikaze Pro's mountain in his fifteenth defense of the belt. I think that the length of the title run and just how all-encompassing Robbie's faction, The Bigger Picture have been in Kamikaze Pro over the last year or so, gave the match a real sense of momentum changing, managing to rouse a tired crowd and create a brilliant atmosphere inside Meadway Sports and Social. The moment when Margera pulled the gold belt down from the ceiling had most of the building on it's feet, which was a credit to the work that was put in over the last 18 months or so. 

A big part of the match was The Bigger Picture being banned from ringside, of course, being the dastardly bastards that they are Marshall X and Damian Dunne came out to cause problems anyway (I can only imagine that Ryan Smile was too good of a guy to come out and disobey the ban) because their were no disqualifications so what was anyone going to do about it. Of course, it makes Kamikaze Pro's chief (and ring announcer) Lawrie Neal look a bit dim, but it got a bucket load of heat for the Bigger Picture and an even bigger reaction when The Hunter Brothers came back out to even the score and added to that sense of momentum that I spoke about earlier on.

As one would expect, this was a fun-filled, high spot-laden encounter, that made full use of the TLC gimmick and then some. Margera's known for his death match exploits and that was used well here with a series of unique moments that got brilliant reactions from the crowd. A russian leg sweep on the merch table, a big back body drop onto a ladder in the corner, a bump onto a conveniently placed ladder bridge and the cream of the crop, Robbie X holding onto the ceiling as Margera grabbed his leg and sent him swinging and then crashing through a table below. A couple of big chair shots and some brawling thrown into the mix and what we had was a very enjoyable main event. 

A good show-case for the Relentless Division here, as Tyler Bate won his first singles championship in Kamikaze Pro, by outlasting champion Ryan Smile, Chris Brookes and Omari in a Four Way Dance. The action was kept pacy throughout, with lots of dives and the obligatory multi-man Russian leg sweep thrown in for good measure throughout. The set-up of the match with Smile as the lone villain, lead to things feeling a little bit off-kilter throughout the earlier portion of the match, with Brookes even having to side with Smile at a point in the bout, which seemed to lead to a little confusion in the crowd. It did lead to a nice tower of doom type spot though, so swings and roundabouts. 

The order of elimination, however, was spot on for me, as Brookes would be the first to head to the back, after a kick to the nads from Smile. Omari managing to get to the final three raises his profile in the promotion, and spending as much time as possible in the ring with the likes of Smile, Bate and Brookes will only help him as he continues to develop. He'd eventually succumb to a springboard cutter from Smile. This brought us to the last two, with the stage set rather nicely. You had Bate as the last remaining hero, looking to vanquish the despicable Smile, who had shown he would do anything to win. Of course, with the match balanced the way it was, Bate was always going to win here, but the pair ended the bout with a flurry of crisp and frantic action, with "Text Book" earning a brilliant near fall off a stalling brainbuster, before eventually winning the belt with a lariat that turned Smile inside out. A future match between Bate and Smile could steal whatever show it's placed on.

The other title on the line at the 3rd Anniversary Show saw The Hunter Brothers and The Bigger Picture's Damian Dunne and Marshall X end their ladder match in a draw, with each team pulling down a title belt each. Man, I hated this finish. It's been done a few times in various ways and every time it makes me groan just a little bit louder. The worst thing about this for me, is that I could see it coming. As the match drew on, as Marshall X and Hunter #1 battled upon the ladder throwing strikes back and forth, and then suddenly both grabbed for a title above them, it was almost always clear exactly where the match was heading. In my opinion, results like this only stand to diminish the ladder match as a concept, just as every time there's a screwy finish in a cage match damages the appeal of that match-type. The company now has to craft something a bit more satisfying in an upcoming rematch in Coventry.

Despite the finish, the rest of the match had it's moments. Damian Dunne was the matches MVP for me, being involved in pretty much every major spot in the bout, taking a backbody drop onto a ladder, as well as delivering a backstabber onto a Hunter holding a ladder, before flipping the move to hit a lung blower to pull another Hunter who was a few rungs up. Despite a couple of stand out moments, I felt this one never really looked to be taking things to next level, perhaps this was down to Dunne and Marshall X being an unfamiliar tandem (despite their Bigger Picture affiliation) or maybe because there was a need to hold back a little bit of creativity to allow the main event to stand out more. 

There was another four way bout on the show, as Elliott Jordan continued to gather momentum, in a comedy-based match which would also involve Sid Scala, Liam Doyle and a debuting Lewis Howley. If you're a fan of funky gimmicks then you'd have been in your element here. Scala rocked up a yellow scooter, playing homage to everyone's favourite Trotters with a wheeler dealer/hat wearer gimmick. Doyle rocks a "King of the Gypsies" gimmick, which basically boils down to him being a drunk Irishman. Howley hails from The Playboy Mansion and doesn't like his face being touched. It's perhaps ironic that the least defined gimmick here is that of the victor, as I'm yet to work out who "The Wolf of Broad Street" actually is...other than the fact that he's got an "upside down face", which is more the crowd's creativity than his own.

The bout stuck to showcasing the interactions between the four characters, as Scala and Doyle formed a bond over their hats, whilst Howley desperately tried to keep his face from being hit. It didn't reinvent the wheel and certainly wasn't a exciting as the other four way on the show, but it wasn't supposed to do that. As comic relief it worked well enough, with a few chuckle worthy moments, whilst the completely random obsession with hats had the crowd losing their sweet little minds. These are four competitors who are still growing and developing their personas in the business and at times that showed here, with perhaps the full potential of the storytelling never quite reached a peak, especially with the time the match was afforded.

El Ligero has been undefeated in singles competition since May 2015 and he'd continue his Kamikaze Pro streak with a victory over Jody Fleisch in a high-speed outing here. If you had been new to either guy, the pair set out their stall as early as possible here, with a smashing opening, exchanging holds with ease and getting the crowd nicely warmed up for the second half. The rest of the match was performed with just as much ease from both men, as they put on a clinical junior heavyweight style match without seemingly breaking a sweat. The only moment of the bout that saw either put a foot wrong was Fleish cracking the back of his head on a wooden chair after hitting a lovely asai moonsault, which seemed like a bit of back luck rather than a legitimate mistake.

There was nice narrative added in the later exchanges, with Ligero looking to hit his Frog Splash on a number of occasions, either to be cut off by Fliesch or to end up getting his opponents knees driven into his gut. This built nicely towards the finish, with Ligero having to go all out in an attempt to keep "The Phoenix" on the mat, hitting a timely superkick, following it up with a belly-to-back piledriver before ascending to the top rope to finally hit a Frog Splash to gain his fifth win in a row in Kamikaze Pro. Whilst most of the action here was of a high quality, Fleish's tweener character seemed to hold the match back at times and I feel that had we seen him shift to either side of the fence then it would've benefitted the bout in terms of crowd reaction and perhaps even have allowed the in-ring action to be pushed to the next level. 

Lana Austin would have a technically sound, if not uninspiring, match with Alex Windsor, with the debutant eventually tapping to a modified sharpshooter. For some reason, I struggled to engage with this one, maybe it was because it never seemed to find a storytelling groove or that Windsor came across as a bit of a babyface by default because of Austin's over-the-top spoiled child gimmick, or perhaps it's because that whilst nothing stood out as particularly bad in the match, nothing actually really stood out that much at all. Probably not helped by being the seventh match of eight on the show either.

The opening match of the show saw current Money in the Bank briefcase holder Dan Maloney pick up a flash victory over Jonny Storm, in an energetic opener. There were a lot of ideas in this one, with the main piece of storytelling involved Storm's obsession with Maloney's MITB briefcase. For me, I think this was over-played for what it was and became a frustrating distraction from the stellar in-ring action that the pair were putting on and made Storm look a bit of an idiot for constantly going after the case when he was in clear control of the match. It seemed like the crowd grew tired of the idea fairly quickly as well. I was much more interested in Maloney's work on Storm's arm, which after being initially sold well by Storm ended up being dropped quickly.

In what was arguably the biggest match of his career to date, Kamikaze Pro Live! Champion Mika would fall short in a straight-forward encounter with the much more polished Pete Dunne. Mika seems to be learning fast inside the ring and will certainly have learnt from being in the ring with Dunne. My mine gripe with this match was Mika's pre-match promo, as "The Polish Punisher" used the EU Referendum result as fuel, describing how Polish people would still come over to "steal jobs". Politics and wrestling have been uneasy bedfellows numerous times throughout the years, but I was just glad the crowd descend into a series of xenophobic chants as after seeing the UKIP "Vote Leave" flags that decorated the buildings exterior.

Right at the top of the show, The Bigger Picture were out in force, interrupting Lawrie Neal's introduction of the first match. The group got some big heat from the crowd as Ryan Smile cut a promo about the group's dominance and all their multiple championship reigns within the promotion. Not a whole lot happened here, it was the group coming out, saying "We're Awesome" and then leaving, but it did set-up the story for any newbies in the audience, which is always a good thing. Thinking back on this segment, I can't help but wish that it had been book-ended at the end of the show by the group being left without a single title around their waist. 

ATPW Scale Rating -  5.25/10

I think the 5.25 rating really sums up what this show was for me, just above average. The main event TLC and the Four Way Dance were both good matches, that offered something different in their slots within the second half. The ladder match had it's moments, but was unspectacular and featured a groan-worthy finish. With the exception of El Ligero vs. Jody Fleish, anything below that level on the card was just kinda okay. Nothing to get excited about, but nothing all that bad either. Technically sound, but with a lack of creativity, perhaps? 

This being said, I thoroughly enjoyed my evening at Kamikaze Pro, because it was wrestling. Above average wrestling. Will I remember much of what happened on the show? Probably not. Especially from the undercard. Did I have a good time? Yeah, fo' sho'. And that's the most important thing, people. 

Sunday, 26 June 2016

iPPV Review: PCW Tribute to the Troops 3 - Samuels v Galloway (James Marston)

It was a historic night for European wrestling as PCW presented the first iPPV event to be broadcast in HD. With 3000 fans on hand at the Preston Guild Hall and their usual mix of imported and home-grown talent, could PCW host a show to match this history making feat? Let's see.

Drew Galloway challenging for Sha Samuels' PCW Championship acted as the show's main event, with Galloway having earned his title shot earlier in the month in a ten man gauntlet at PCW's regular venue, Evoque. The first few minutes would involve some interesting pieces of booking as Samuels' faction, The Firm (The London Riots & Sammy Smooth) would end up getting removed from the ringside area for continual interference. This would be followed by ring announcer and Co-General Manager, Joanna Rose, announcing that she'd "just been informed" that the match was now a "No Disqualification". I struggled to work out the logic of having The Firm removed from ringside to then have the match declared No DQ before they'd even made it behind the curtain. Surely, The Firm just turn straight back around and head to the ring at this point? 

Galloway and Samuels would seem like a good fit inside the ring and when they got the chance to get at it, they did manage to show just a slice of what they are capable of. The duo brawling around the crowd was a difficult thing for the PCW cameras to pick up, especially with the seemingly poor lighting of the guild hall, but what could be seen looked like a lot of fun as the two really went for each other. There was a great sequence of action inside the ring also, perhaps the best piece of wrestling on the entire show as well, where Galloway would pull off a butterfly suplex out of the tree of woe position, before Samuels would duck a Claymore Kick attempt, only to leave himself wide open for piledriver from Galloway for a strong near fall. 

The closing part of the contest played up the No DQ element with The Firm finally coming back out and Samuels nailing a low blow on Galloway. There were a lot of twists and turns with Galloway able to take out both The London Riots and Sammy Smooth with a tope conhilo, before escaping the aforementioned sleeper hold. Galloway got a strong reaction for his near fall off a Tombstone Piledriver, which seemed to have convinced Preston that the match was over. After such a strong near fall, I was hoping to get a stronger finish that would manage to push the bout to the next level, instead Samuels simply locked in another sleeper hold to claim the victory, which felt just a little flat to me. 

Lots of things would happen after that and eventually we'd see Noam Dar win the PCW Championship for the first time, fresh from competing in the WWE Cruiserweight Classic in Orlando. The last part of the show was a real clusterfuck, with The Firm attacking Galloway, T-Bone, Bubblegum and The Hooligans would make the save, before PCW owner Steven Fludder would get on the mic and demand a re-start, also adding Dar to the match. Firstly, Fludder said he didn't want a "screwjob" finish on his first iPPV, when there wasn't actually a screwjob finish. Then I don't quite get the kayfabe logic of bringing Dar out after the first match had taken place. Dar would win by locking the Champagne Super Knee Bar on Samuels, whilst Samuels had a sleeper hold on Galloway. 

Oh my life, The Hooligans vs. The New Age Assholes was a painful 25 minutes of television. 25 minutes. 25 minutes. But the match itself was way under five. So what exactly happened the rest of the time? I don't even know. My notes say "much dicking around". That's about right. Mr. Anderson dicked about for a bit, Billy Gunn dicked about for a bit and The Hooligans dicked about a lot. There was a lot of dicking about. Anderson and Gunn somehow even managed to make the combination of their pre-match schtick painful to watch as they both dragged it on for forever. Having come directly after a non-wrestling segment, to have this much fannying around was more than frustrating. 

It was great news to find out the Zak Knight can do a back flip, despite being by his own admission "fat". It would have been better news if he did it in the match and that this didn't lead to everyone else in the bout going to the top rope to pretend to do a moonsault. This was after the Hooligans had aimlessly wandered around ringside drinking beer and looking like The Bushwackers if the Bushwackers were from Norwich. I've seen these guys put in great performances in the ring for PCW, but I'd much prefer to see them focus on what they do in the ring than whatever this was. Maybe it came across better in the hall, but this kind of thing is not well suited to iPPV. 

So, after so much stalling, the match itself would be good right, right? Think again squire, the match was probably worse than all the stalling. I'd have preferred everyone in the building to have tried to do a backflip than watch this match again. The finish was perhaps the only notable piece of action as Roy hammed it up, with wobbly legs and such, en route to falling between Anderson legs, before Gunn would deliver a Famouser. I don't think my description does justice to just how bad this was to watch. The Hooligans would go on to win with a school boy roll up on Gunn, taking advantage of the shenanigans. This was everything I've ever complained about PCW for, tied up in one match. 

Rob Van Dam continued his undefeated record in PCW, making his first appearance since April 2015, to defeat Lionheart in a solid encounter. This was the case of a fairly simple bout, that was done well, with the crowd being at their loudest for the entire night. The duo kept things simple, with RVD able to run through a number of his back catalogue of moves, first as part of the opening face shine and then later en route to sealing his victory with the Five Star Frog Splash. It wasn't particularly exciting as home viewing, but I'm sure it fulfilled most of the fans in attendances needs in an RVD bout. 

I've been fairly critical of Lionheart in the past, but he played his role well here, allowing the crowd to get their hit from the RVD bong and putting in a good showing when called up to go on the offence. He looked vicious on the attack, throwing RVD into the ringpost multiple times to add a bit of urgency to what was a fairly pedestrian bout in general. This was arguably the best booked contest of the night, making the most of it's two competitors and showing up their strengths well. Whilst RVD remains undefeated in the company, Lionheart has now lost six matches out of seven over the last three month for PCW.

For me, the best action of the night could be found in a three way bout between Toni Storm, Carmel Jacob and the debuting Saraya Knight. The three women produced a hard-hitting clash, with some big impressive moves and plenty of action. Kicking off with a lovely German Suplex from Storm, we'd go on to a fisherman's suplex from Knight onto the wooden floor, a nice suicide dive from Storm onto her two opponents and a nasty looking rope-hung DDT from Knight and Jacob to the outside. 

The match did at times feels a little bit disjointed and despite having some cool moments of action, I felt it struggled to buckle down and hit it's stride. This wasn't helped by Knight constantly jumping the barrier to get into it with fans. Perhaps this was due to how the show was presented on iPPV, but there was more than once when we'd miss what was going on in the ring to see Knight throw some beer over a fan. This got even weirder when following Storm being able to pin Jacob for the victory, we'd see Knight jump the barrier again to snog a fan before pushing him to the floor and covering him in booze. I'm all for getting involved with the crowd to generate heat, but this felt like it was to detriment of the action, rather than improving it.

One of the matches that I was most looking forward to on this card was Team Single vs. London Riots as I'm a big fan of both teams and thought that their styles would suit each well and bring us a brutal tag match, with both teams beating strips off each other. On that count I came away feeling a little disappointing with the action. The two teams didn't seem to connect inside the ring as I was hoping they would, with the final few minutes of the match especially ending up in a bit of a mess. T-Bone slipping in a coast to coast attempt, with his opponent in a tree of woe position, before repeating the spot a few moments later was particular let down. 

Where I think the match could have been saved was an early piece of story-telling that seemed to be thrown away way too soon. Rampage Brown would go for a piledriver on the wooden ramp, only to have the move reversed and take a painful looking back-body drop onto the wood. The London Riots could then take advantage of T-Bone and begin to control the match. I was beginning to get into this idea and was hoping we'd get to see some real moments of drama as Brown looked to recover, whilst T-Bone had to fight against both Rob Lynch and James Davis, therefore allowing the crowd to get more and more behind the babyfaces. Unfortunately, Brown seemed to recover way too quickly and the hot tag didn't feel as exciting as it should. Team Single would retain their belt after T-Bone hit an awkward dragon suplex and Brown closed the deal with a piledriver.

The opening contest would be a four corners match with Martin Kirby, Charlie Garrett, Sammy Smooth and Bubblegum all squaring off. This was a tasty start to the show with the four men working hard to produce some pacy action that would warm the hall up nicely. The bout started off slowly, mainly focusing on introducing the face/heel divide as we saw Kirby and Smooth align with each other as Garrett and Bubblegum attempted to fight passed their underhanded tactics. It took a while to really get going, but I feel it was worth it to get the live crowd settled and accustomed to the show style. 

There was some nice exchanges in the latter half of the contest, as the match became saturated with near falls. There was a clever moment where Kirby was unable to complete a tower of doom spot, so had to call upon his tag partner, Joey Hayes, to help him, with Hayes distracting the referee, Joel Allen, by throwing his chest protector into the ring. Hayes would later play apart in the finish, as Garrett would attempt to chase him from interfering in the bout, causing the distraction that would allow Bubblegum to hit a 619 and then a beautiful Shooting Star Press to claim the victory. Based on his performance in the match, I was more than happy when I saw Bubblegum get the win, as he had been the matches MVP in my eyes, pulling out the best looking offence and looking very crisp in everything he did.

So, it was supposed to be Joe Hendry vs. Joey Hayes, but it turned into Joe Hendry and some guy off Britain's Got Talent and Joey Hayes and Martin Kirby. It was bad. Very bad. Firstly, I had no idea who the heels were supposed to be. Kirby and Hayes had been heels in the Four Corners match earlier in the night, but Hendry was singing and bringing out talent show contestants. The Britain's Got Talent fella even did some singing of his own, trying to get the crowd to sing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle's theme, but with the tune being so unrecognisable from the original, I doubt the crowd could even work out what it was. This is a guy that won a competition for singing. Hendry and his BGT friend would win the match after throwing Hayes and Kirby into each other. Yeah. Yeah. 

Chris Masters also made his return to PCW to answer Iestyn Rees' "AlphaLock Challenge". Basically, Rees had been playing a Masters rip-off gimmick and Masters was back to claim it for his own. Masters at least bought some intensity to proceedings as he tried to get at Rees, I suppose. I wasn't a major fan of Masters last babyface run in PCW, so I didn't really get much out of this segment, as he would go on to batter Rees for hesitating to much in putting the AlphaLock on. At least, I got to shout "Dave Rayne" in a room on my own, as Rayne would be the one to re-introduce his former Legion of Boom partner to the promotion.

ATPW Scale Rating - 3.24/10

Yup, that's the lowest score I've given for a Brit-Wres show. Only Halloween Havoc 1998 currently sits lower on the ATPW Scale leader board. This show was not a good showcase for British Wrestling and I do hope that anybody who was checking out their first Brit-Wres show on PPV hasn't been turned off by the shambles that was Tribute to the Troops.

All credit to PCW for trying something new with the iPPV gimmick and the stream was reliable and clear throughout the show. Plus I suppose for £3 for the iPPV and most tickets being free, I guess there is a case to be made for "You get what you pay for here". However, with a huge crowd in attendance and the chance of a whole new audience online, I can't help but feel that PCW should have gone all out and put on at least one match that would create a buzz.

There is a specific market that an online PPV will play to and therefore that market needs to be catered to when choosing this business model. I'd like to think of myself as part of that market (well I bought the show, so I am), but this show definitely wasn't for me.