Thursday, 30 November 2017

NXT 276 Review // Tyler Bate & Trent Seven vs. Pete Dunne & Mark Andrews


The last month on NXT...

272 Review // saNItY vs. The Authors of Pain
273 Review // Roderick Strong vs. Adam Cole
274 Review // Andrade Almas lays out Drew McIntyre in the middle of the ring
Takeover: WarGames Review // The Undisputed Era vs. saNIty vs. Roderick Strong & The Authors of Pain
275 Review // Pete Dunne vs. Johnny Gargano

On 30th November 2017, WWE aired its 276th episode of NXT, taped at the Aztec Theatre in San Antonio, TX on 17th November. Our main event saw the United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne reforming Flips and Forearms with long-time rival/frenemy Mark Andrews again the team of Tyler Bate and Trent Seven or as we know them, Moustache Mountain. The card also featured Mae Young Classic winner Kairi Sane taking on The half of the Iconic Duo she hasn't beaten, Peyton Royce & a rematch between Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) and Tino Sabbatelli & Riddick Moss. But was it any good?


Street Profits def. Riddick Moss & Tino Sabbatelli // Pinfall




It was only at NXT 274 that we last saw these two teams and much like that match, it's Dawkins and Moss who start, they lock-up to begin as Dawkins powers Moss to the corner, clean break but Moss slaps Dawkins who pushes Moss out of the ring, it's at this point I need to point out how bad Moss' facial hair is but if we take continuity, it's impressive that he grew it in two weeks, waistlock takedown by Moss but Dawkins responds with two of his own, one more time chants lead to another waistlock takedown, whip and a shoulder barge into a bodyslam from Moss but Dawkins follows with one of each for the goateed dickhead, tag to Ford and Dawkins uses a back body drop to allow Ford to hit an elevated spinning splash but a leapfrog and a slam from Sabbatelli takes him down, I guess Sab is tagged in now, they run the ropes and Ford hits a double dropkick before Moss and Dawkins are back in allowing the Profits to hit a double flapjack sending Moss out of the ring while the audience adore the Profits, giving us a convenient time to go to some ads, back from the break and Ford is about to do a springboard when Sab elbows him off the apron, rolling Ford back in, Sab keeps him grounded and indeed, pounded, whip to the corner and in comes Moss as the former American Footballers hit tandem strikes and flying forearms, Moss taunts Ford by grinding above him, he tries to get up but just gets punched, Moss taunts Dawkins by doing the pudding-stir thing, Ford is back up and tries to escape, hitting some nice slaps but Moss levels him with a running back elbow for a 2, Moss keeps Ford down till he goes for a charge, Ford dodges, using the opening to hit a hot tag to Dawkins as Moss tags in Sab, Dawkins brings the swag like nobody can hitting forearms, dropkicks and a bulldog to Sab, spinning stinger splashes to both men, Sab hits a back elbow and rushes straight into a mega punch from Dawkins for a pin but Moss breakes it up and knocks Ford off the apron, Dawkins fights off both men, throwing Moss out and rolls up Sab for a 2, a quick elbow by Moss staggers Dawkins allowing Sab to pin him as Moss holds down the feet from outside but Drake Wuertz notices and disallows the pin, Ford takes out Moss outside, heads back in, Dawkins tags in Ford and they hit the Spinebuster-Frog Splash combo for the pin . 

Street Profits continue to impress with their ability to get the crowd behind them and Ford, if handled right, could be a mega-star in waiting. This as tag matches go, was as standard as they get, not really seeming all that different from the last time the two teams faced each other. It might be that I'm still struggling to be impressed by the heel team but this is a feud that has managed to only really successfully put the winners any higher in my rankings. Let's hope as a rivalry, this is either going to kick up a notch or move on.

Moustache Mountain are backstage being interviewed about their match later with Pete Dunne and Mark Andrews, Trent talks about how just a few weeks ago Peter had a chance to save Wolfgang from the Undisputed Era but just took his title and did one, it didn't sit well with them and they want to teach him a lesson, in regards to Mandrews, well, they aren't even a real tag-team but Moustache Mountain are.

Mandrews is asked why he's teaming with Peter, it's because if they win, he gets a title match. Simple as. 

There's a Lars Sullivan hype-up package. He sure is a big lad.


Kairi Sane def. Peyton Royce // Pinfall




The Duo are in matching I Heart Billie/Peyton vests, they're adorable, bit of tussling into a straight forearm from Royce to start and a whip into a hip toss, Royce goes for another but Sane transitions into a wheelbarrow roll-up by Sane for a 1.5, they run the ropes as Sane catches Royce with a headscissors and a dropkick for a 2, a spinning heel kick by Royce gets a 2 but a roll-up by Sane also gets a 2, Royce beats down Sane, leaving her lying on the floor into the ad-break, back from the break and Royce has Sane's head on lock, Sane powers to her feet and rolls up Royce for a 2, Royce puts her down with a kick, she whips Sane to the corner but Sane dodges, hits a gutpunch and a spear , gutpunch and a spear, she follow with forearms and a running blobkbuster sending Royce to the corner for the baseball sliding elbow, goes up top, possibly for a standing elbow drop but Royce dodges and hits a knee strike for a 2, she tries to follow with kicks but Sane catches and lays into Royce with axe kicks, stomps and rolling forearm, Kay is up on the apron but Sane knocks her down and hits the (*sigh*) Insane Elbow for the pin. 

Yeah, sure, it's another win. Sane, while hyped up as an insane talent from Japan has been having to work too much of the standard from-below babyface match and has yet to be given a real chance to impress with much of her offence in this match being leverage pin attempts. I wanted to like this a lot more, especially because The Iconic Duo's heel act is superb when on form but this didn't utilise their strengths enough and while it gives another win to Sane, didn't really improve anyone's standings.

Next Week: Ruby Riot v Sonia Deville: No Holds Barred & Andrade Almas has a Championship Celebration.


Tyler Bate & Trent Seven def. Pete Dunne & Mark Andrews // Pinfall




This is surprisingly a first-time recorded match between these four, though F&F have taken on Bate along with fellow UKCT competitor Dan Moloney under their Young Wolves guise in Southside Wrestling previously. Dunne and Bate start and they lock up, Dunne powers to a front chancery, Bate tries to escape but Dunne rolls with, Bate escapes and gets a lateral press for a 1, they break with begrudging respect, Dunne backs off going for a tag to Mandrews but uses it as a fakeout to punch Bate's lights out, like a prick, actual tag to Mandrews who goes for a craat hold, roll through snapmare into flips, yet more flips and a dropkick by Bate, Euro uppercuts force Mandrews to the Mountain's corner to give Trent a tag, fireman carry slam sets up Bate for a shoulder lift reverse meteora and a senton from Trent for a 2, he whips Mandrews to the corner but Mandrews flips away hitting a dropkick for a 2 and immediately going for an armbar, tag to Trent who goes for the fingers in a manner much like a prick, Trent escapes with some of the best chops in the game, he goes for another big chp but as Dunne blocks, he uses the fake-out into a DDT for a 2, Dunne is back up and Trent walks into a back elbow for a 2, tag to Mandrews who comes in but the ref didn't see it and sends Mandrews back, DUnne uses the distraction to hit a thunderous forearm on Trent into the ad-break, back from the break and Dunne is doing what Dunne does and wrenching the fingers, tag to Mandrews and an arm-trap legdrop earns the Welsh high-flyer a 2, back into the transitional armbar and Mandrews powers Trent to the corner but Trent forearms Mandrews away, Dunne tries to tag but Trent blocks him, Mandrews runs back for a monkey flip but Trent catches him, blind tag by Dunne and he hits a backstabber on Trent into an unintentional diving double knees combo, some painful joint manipulation as Dunne kicks at the shoulder joint, tag from Mandrews who takes over on the shoulder, slapping tag from Dunne who tells Mandrews to fuck off out his ring and keeps kicking Seven's shoulder but Wolverhampton's finest powers out and hits a Seven Star Lariat giving him the opening to tag in Bate, who grapples Dunne in the corner with his feet and hits a knee, second-rope diving uppercut and a running corner uppercut, a whip by Dunne sends Bate to the corner, he runs at him but is caught into a delayed exploder suplex and a standing SSP for a 2, picking up Dunne, he goes for a Tyler Driver but Dunne escaps and tags Mandrews who kicks Bate on the apron, flips over him, grabs him into a wheelbarrow roll-up double stomp and a standing corkscrew moonsault for a 2, rushing Bate in the corner he hits another grappling knee before climbing up but Mandrews hits an enziguri before going up top, setting up for a rana but Dunne tags from behind, throw him he says, 'k' says Mandrews as they hit a frankensteiner-tiger driver combo for a 2, Dunne slaps and kicks Bte on the floor till he's picked up and Bate introduces Dunne to Bop-BANG allowing for a tag to Seven for a snap dragon suplex, tag to Bate and they hit a STO-powerbomb combo, Bate gets a jacknife cover but Mandrews breaks it up, Trent goes for a slap but Dunne catches it and throws it at Bate with a slap of his own before hitting a step-up enziguri on Trent but Bate hits Dunne with a rolling kick, Dunne crawls to the tag, Bate tries to stop him getting him in a deadlift, Dunne gets the tag but not before Bate Germans him, Mandrews hits a moonsault for a 2, back up top and he goes for an SSP but Bate dodges as Mandrews lands on his feet running into a long-ass aeroplane swing from Bate, Dunne tags in, rolls up a dizzy Bate for a 2, forearms Bate into the ropes but Bate hits a shoulder rebound forearm and a Tyler Driver '97 for the pinfall. 

This could not have really been more fun, there can be gripes about this, namely it could have done with more Trent Seven, it had a lot of Trent Seven but you can never have enough Trent. For the second week in a row, they've let Pete Dunne take the main event and the UK talent has been really excelling with every opportunity they've been given creating a fast-paced, exciting tag match and the storytelling, especially between Dunne and Mandrews was superb with Mandrews trying to win because he wants his title shot but not wanting to go full-heel because, well, he's not there yet. While presumably with a win here and no televised rematch yet, we have to assume there's a Dunne-Bate singles match on the horizon, I'm going to keep saying it, NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia, can we please have Dunne v Seven v Bate v Mandrews? Please?

Post-match, Mandrews goes to help Dunne up post-match but Dunne rushes him with a forearm to the back of the head and sulks out like a prick but he's back in and hits a Bitter End before posing with his title, like a prick.

On The YouTubes



So it's not too much of a spoiler to say that there'll be a match to determine a new no.1 contender to Andrade Almas' NXT Championship is it? Well tonight, there's going to be a battle royal to determine who gets a spot in a singles match to get a spot in a fatal four-way to get a singles match. That's not complicated right?

Finally...


A mixed bag this week as the first two matches ranged moment-to-moment from serviceable-to-disappointing but that main event was so much damn fun. At this point, I don't know why they don't just go all out and make a weekly show. I know it's because money but still. This was nicely stitched together, taking some house show matches and using them to create space until NXT proper returns next week. Do seek out that main event but maybe skip straight to it.

Review by Jozef Raczka (@NotJozefRaczka)




The Worst Title Runs in WWE History


7th November 2017. The day that many people felt they could tune into Smackdown Live once again. After a period of nearly six months as WWE Champion, Jinder Mahal finally dropped the title to AJ Styles in the first ever world title change outside North America in a move that surprised many but relieved. With a random push to the top after years of being a jobber, the return of an infamously bad gimmick match and an almost infamously bad wrestler, to casual racism and xenophobia, it was a truly a reign that will leave a bad taste in fans' mouths for years to come. Despite that, it's not the only time a title reign has completely flopped, so this month I am taking a look at some world title reigns that fell completely flat on their face.

Before I do that, it's important to note what classes as a bad title reign. I'm not talking about reigns that have lasted a day or even five minutes before a Money In The Bank cash in. They didn't last long enough to be good or bad. I'm talking about the reigns that were either a bad idea or poorly executed. So, here we go

Sheamus – WWE Champion (2009-2010)



I'm putting two title reigns together here but do you remember either of them? I didn't think so. This was the start of a trend that became all too common an occurrence in this time period, where people were handed the title when they weren't ready and never really recovered fully. Sheamus debuted on the 26th October and by December he had beaten John Cena to win the WWE Championship, retaining the title by disqualification against Randy Orton at the Royal Rumble before losing it the next month and regaining it again only to defend in multi-man matches and play second fiddle to the Nexus and John Cena storyline. Both these reigns completely destroyed any momentum that he had when joining the roster before he was turned into King Sheamus shortly after. It seems the worst thing that can happen to someone is for WWE to be high on them at times.

Kevin Owens - WWE Universal Champion – (2016/17)



When Kevin Owens won the Universal Championship for the first time on August 29th 2016 by defeating Roman Reigns, Big Cass and Seth Rollins in a fatal four-way match, the internet was awash with excitement. It was something different and it was another one of the indy darlings that have made it. What followed wasn't exactly the greatest few months in the world for the title, with Owens friendship with Chris Jericho taking precedence of a title that was in its infancy. Endless defences against Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins followed, with the reign fittingly ending with a 30 second loss to a 50-year-old Goldberg. Certainly not one of the better ones.

The Rock - WWE Champion (2013)



This one was bad for me for the precedent it set. It was the first time that WWE decided to give the title to someone that wasn't on the full time roster and since then, we've had Brock Lesnar, Triple H and Goldberg all go into each Wrestlemania since with a world title in tow, and Lesnar looks set to do so again next year. This one also stands out like a sore thumb because it saw the end of CM Punk's year long plus reign in order to build to an anticlimatic rematch that nobody wanted to see in Wrestlemania 29's Rock v Cena II, and may very well have been the beginning of the end for everyone's Straight Edge Superstar. I love The Rock, but this wasn't needed.

The Great Khali - World Heavyweight Champion (2007)



If this one doesn't speak for itself, I don't know what does. The problem with this one is that they gave a guy that legitimately cannot work and gave him the championship. Hideous feuds with Rey Mysterio and Batista followed, before it all ended with a whimper when Batista won the title in a triple threat match at No Mercy 2007 after a two month reign. This never needed to happen, and I very much doubt anything like it will again.

Diesel - WWE Champion (1995)



One of two mid-90s selections on the list, this year long title reign has lived in infamy because it took place in the WWE's least ever successful year. Despite having Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels at his disposal, Vince McMahon was determined that Kevin Nash was the next face of the company in 1995 and seemed hell bent on making him so no matter the consequences. Sound familiar? Nevertheless, despite the fact that Diesel was completely stripped of his personality during this run, he wasn't helped by the fact that WWE's roster was extremely thin at this point, and title defences against the likes of Mabel and Sid weren't going to do anyone any favours.

Hulk Hogan - WWE Champion (1993)



Another one that was obviously going to be on the list. After eight years in 1993, it had appeared the WWF had finally moved on from the Hulkamania era in the wake of their steroid trial, with Bret Hart holding the title for eight months prior and set to defend the title against Yokozuna in the main event of Wrestlemania 9, a new generation of superstars were getting a chance to shine. That is, until Hulk Hogan returned to the company and decided he should be champion, randomly winning it out of nowhere by beating new champion Yokozuna in seconds in the main event. It was the icing on the cake to what was certainly one of the lesser Mania's. Despite what I said about The Rock, you could also argue that the precursor nearly 20 years prior, with Hogan not appearing on TV once over the course of his title reign before dropping it to Yokozuna at King of The Ring 1993 and leaving the company altogether.

Rey Mysterio - World Heavyweight Champion (2006)



It was a travesty that Rey Mysterio's first ever world championship reign happened in the circumstances it did, with it being a product of Eddie Guerrero's tragic death in 2006, and the fact that WWE never planned by making him look like a joke afterwards proved it was never what was wanted in the first place. Mysterio looked a pathetic champion week after week and feuded with the likes of Big Show, Mark Henry and The Great Khali before his reign was ended by King Booker at The Great American Bash 2006.

Triple H - World Heavyweight Champion (2003)



Now, I'm actually a big fan of Triple H's but that doesn't take away from the fact that his 280 day title reign in 2003 was mostly awful television. Fresh off the back of the Katie Vick angle only months before, HHH proceeded to have two awful matches with Scott Steiner in the first two PPVs of the year that ended any hopes Big Poppa Pump had of a successful WWE run, before halting Booker T's momentum by defeating him at Wrestlemania 19, taking on his old buddy Kevin Nash and then halting Goldberg's momentum by defeating him in an Elimination Chamber match, whilst injured in 2003. Goldberg eventually ended the run with victory at Unforgiven 2003, but nonetheless, this is a reign that few will remember fondly.

Article by Andy Phillips (@AndyP_GY)


BritWres to Impress Preview // RevPro // PCW // FutureShock [Dec '17 Wk 1]


Welcome back for another edition of BritWres to Impress, as we preview the biggest, brightest and best professional wrestling on offer in the United Kingdom this week. As we begin December, we've got another eclectic bunch of shows to look at. We'll be looking at a pair of double headers beginning with Revolution Pro Wrestling's BWTI debut with Contenders 17 in Portsmouth on Saturday and Live at the Cockpit 23 in London on Sunday and then focusing on another BWTI debutante Preston City Wrestling with a pair of shows, starting with Joey Janela's Big Top Adventure on Friday in Blackpool, Lancashire and then onto Live! on Saturday in Wrexham, Clwyd, before concluding with a look at Futureshock Wrestling in Manchester for Reloaded #4, also on Sunday. So lets get into it, here is the BritWres to Impress for the first week of December 2017!

Also This Week 


Friday // Fight Club: PRO Infinity 2017 // Wolverhampton // fightclubpro.bigcartel.com

Sunday // Pro Wrestling 4 U Ho Ho Ho Let's Go // Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire //  facebook.com/prowrestling4u

Saturday // HOPE Wrestling Evolution 54: Broken Bones Matilda Left a Note and a Rose... // Leicester // hopewrestling.co.uk

Saturday // Revolution Pro Wrestling Contenders 17 // Portsmouth // revolutionprowrestling.com

Sunday // Revolution Pro Wrestling Live at the Cockpit 23 // London // revolutionprowrestling.com


As the dust settles from the massive Global Wars 2017, RevPro is back for their final shows in Porstmouth and at the Cockpit of the year. 

The Portsmouth show is a smaller affair, featuring up and comers, clashing with regular roster members. The scheduled card so far see's Andy Boy Simmonz tag with Ian Logan to take on Johnny Rocket & Timo, whilst Zan Phoenix goes one on one with Rishi Ghosh in an intergender showcase.

One group who had an amazing Global Wars was CCK. Travis Banks and Chris Brookes put away Rocky Romero & YOSHI-HASHI on Night One before Lykos joined them in picking up a victory over Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI and Gedo on Night Two. The Legion of Lords didn't have as good a time, with Chief Deputy Dunne and Lord Gideon Grey falling to Gedo and Toru Yano on the first show, but with Rishi Ghosh returning for the first time since Dunne joined the group, maybe they'll find a new groove here. The other pressing matter is that Kid Lykos has suffered another major injury last weekend and will be unable to join Brookes and Banks for the match. Who will CCK draft in as a replacement? How will that effect their rhythm as a trio? How will Dunne try to stop anyone from having fun? There's lots of questions to be answered at the CCKpit on Sunday, but it'll no doubt be entertaining finding out! 

It appeared that "Flash" Morgan Webster had Josh Bodom's number in RevPro. Webster defeated Bodom in August 2015 in Sittingbourne, then a month later in a triple threat with Mark Haskins in Broxbourne, January 2016 saw Webster advance past Bodom in a tournament to crown a new British Cruiserweight Champion at the Cockpit, before Webster returned to the promotion with a victory over the then British Cruiserweight title holder Bodom this October. Since then their feud has escalated, with Bodom getting disqualified in a title match in Cardiff two weeks later and then cost Flash a match with El Phantasmo at last month's Cockpit show. Things seemed to be setting up for an all-out war between the two over the belt, but then Global Wars when Ryan Smile walked out as British Cruiserweight Champion in a match also including El Desperado. So now we have Webster vs. Smile for the strap on Sunday. They've clashed in ATTACK, SCW, Kamikaze Pro and FIGHT! in the past, including a couple of title matches, but at the Cockpit the stakes may never have been higher. Expect these two high-flyers to put on a spectacular showcase in the intimate theatre.

Josh Bodom will also be action, tagging with new partner Zack Gibson to take on Aussie Open's Mark Davis and Kyle Fletcher. Whilst Bodom's fortunes where mixed at Global Wars dropping the Cruiserweight belt, but also picking up a big win against former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Rocky Romero, Gibson did not have the same fortunes taking two straight loses to Yuji Nagata and Toru Yano. They'll both be looking to use that weekend to push on as a duo and stop Aussie Open from regaining the momentum that they came into the promotion with in September. Either way it'll be a fascinating clash of styles and personalities. Another fascinating clash sees a debut and a return. Martin Stone has been absent since beating Eddie Dennis in August, spending time working in America for WWE, Beyond and MLW, in the mean time "Smash Mouth" Chris Ridgeway has been killing it in PCW, SWA, Southside and all over the country. The two go head to head at the Cockpit and considering how these two hit, they could very well tear each other apart!

Also Jinny prepares to be the first woman to wrestle for RevPro in York Hall on 8th December with a clash against Charli Evans, El Phantasmo goes up against Kurtis Chapman and RJ Singh faces Rob Lias.

Friday // Preston City Wrestling Joey Janela's Big Top Adventure // Blackpool, Lancashire // prestoncitywrestling.com


Saturday // Preston City Wrestling Live! // Wrexham, Clwyd // prestoncitywrestling.com


When PCW returns to Blackpool for the first time since August, the Lancashire fans are in for something a little bit different. Anyone who caught the Game Changer Wrestling show Joey Janela's Spring Break during WrestleMania weekend in Florida will know exactly the kind of madness to expect from Joey Janela's Big Top Adventure

Janela has had a breakthrough year in 2017, tearing it up in Beyond, CZW, AIW and elsewhere for his hardcore style and off the wall imagination. One of the elements introduced at his Spring Break was the mystical Invisble Man. At Big Top Adventure, the Invisible Man returns to go one on one with Janela. Yes, Joey Janela is having a singles match with the Invisible Man. The Invisble Man is literally...an...invisible...man. If you're someone who struggle to suspend your disbelief this will almost certainly not going to be the match for you. But if you're not a Jim Cornette type and can enjoy the more bizarre areas of the art form then you should have a whale of a time! But who could come out with the win? That's the real question, that will be answered on Friday, when the unstoppable force meets the invisible object! 

Spring Break saw Marty Jannetty, Glacier and Dan Severn make appearances and Blackpool will be treated to some more wrestling "legends" when Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake and Virgil hit the Tower. A smorgasbord of guys who were below average for the 1980s, but this is gonna be retro and cool and stuff, probably. Virgil tags up with Danny Hope and Joey Hayes to take on Big T Justice, Sheik el Sham & Dave Birch in a match that is certainly happening this weekend. I have no idea where to even begin when previewing this, to be honest. The Models are comedy gold and Virgil used to managed Ted DiBiase back in the day, so there's that. Lots of comedic potential that will hopefully be realised on Friday night!

The PCW Heavyweight Championship is also on the line as T-Bone puts the title on the line against the man he took the belt from in October, Iestyn Rees. Both men spent time as the FWB faction that was rampant on PCW shows in 2015, but have since been part of fiery rivalry. The two clash in a Street Fight on Friday night, which promises to be a violent, hard-hitting affair between two heavyweight brawlers. There's also a match between two men who know each other very well as Scarlet & Graves duo Dezmond Xavier and Zachary Wentz go head to head. The two are known for their risk-tasking as a duo, so this should be a spectacular blink and you miss it contest. Xavier got the victory on a joint PCW/CZW show in Liverpool in November 2016, so Wentz has something to prove when they go head to head again in Lancashire.

The rest of the card includes a triple threat that may well steal the show as Bubblegum returns to face Chris Ridgeway and Ashton Smith, whilst Martin Kirby, Lionheart, Matthew Brookes, Tal Benham, Arcadian and Phillip Michael have a six man Ladder match. The whole event is available on PPV through Powerbomb.TV

There's nothing announced for the free show in Wrexham on Saturday, but the promotions first and only trip to Wales in 2017 is scheduled to feature the likes of Joey Janela, T-Bone and Dean Allmark are all scheduled to appear.

Sunday // FutureShock Wrestling Reloaded #4 // Manchester // futureshockwrestling.co.uk



FutureShock Wrestling returns to 53Two Theatre in Manchester and their bringing former ROH World Champion Jay Lethal with them. It's been three month's since FutureShock were in Manchester, but they're back with another hot card of family-friendly action. 

In November, T-Bone's FutureShock Championship match with Ashton Smith ended in disqualification when T-Bone introduced the champion to a steel chain in Stockport. With Smith obviously wanting some revenge on the WWE UK competitor, things are set to taken up a notch on Sunday as the two take part in the most appropriate match available, a chain match. The match would seem to favour the rougher T-Bone, who has in the past used No DQ matches to his advantage winning a Street Fight against Mark Massa in April 2016, as well as putting away rival Rampage Brown in Trailer Park Street Fight in August. Smith is going to have to dig deep and find something to get passed the 6 footer from Worcester on Sunday. Who knows whether he'll be able to do it, but it should be fascinating to watch him try.

Jay Lethal has collected titles wherever he's gone in wrestling. In ROH he took the World, Television and Pure Championships, in TNA he took the X Division title six times, as well as the World Tag Team straps with Consequences Creed, as well as the World Heavyweight Championship in the now-defunct FWE. Now he's coming for Xander Cooper's Adrenaline Championship. The last time Lethal was in FutureShock, way back in March 2013, Xander Cooper was just beginning to find a foothold in the promotion as a singles star, having won the Trophy tournament the previous November, but since then he's developed massively, developing the Uprising faction, taking the FutureShock Championship from Jack Gallagher and is now in his second run as Adrenaline Champion. Cooper is also no stranger to defeating International stars however, he took the title from WWE United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne in October (in three way including Soner Dursun) and having manager Bobby Gage by his side means that he always has something up his sleeve if things don't quite go his way. This could be the proverbial chess match come Sunday night in Manchester. 

There will also be two more First Round matches in the Legacy Tournament. Joey Hayes and Abel Stevens have already qualified for the next round and on Sunday, Soner Dursun will take on Kenny Williams in what is sure to be an aerial showcase. Up and comer JJ Webb is also scheduled to take on the reinvented Thomas Wolfe as the competition continues to throw up intriguing combinations. Cyanide will look to keep his path of destruction going as Joey Hayes steps up following his victory over Damon Leigh, whilst Lana Austin puts her Women's Championship on the line against Molly Spartan.

Thanks for checking out BritWres to Impress this week, hopefully we've helped you find the right show for you. Don't forget to send your reviews in acrossthepondwrestling@hotmail.co.uk. 

Article by James Marston


Infinity 2017 Tournament Preview


Whilst I'm not ready for it to be the final Fight Club: PRO show of 2017, I am super pumped for the 2017 edition of the Infinity tournament. FCP has been riding a wave of momentum in 2017, moving to a bigger warehouse and consistently putting on sick af shows, in front of one of the best audiences in the UK. So as they look to end the year with a bang, they present us with their signature singles tournament, that has been running since 2011. With a brand new format for 2017, replacing two four-way elimination semi-finals and a singles match final, we have four singles match semi-finals and a four-way elimination final. Simple enough and allows for more action across the card and hopefully wider storytelling potential come the main event. Previously the tournament has been won by a list of names that are synonymous with the brand. Current WWE United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne, Trent Seven, Travis Banks, Chris Brookes, MK McKinnan and Clint Margera have all walked out with the trophy in years gone by, but who could possibly follow in their foot steps? Although the line-ups are yet to be announced, we know who our eight competitors will be, so lets take a look.


Kay Lee Ray




The current WCPW Women's Champion made her FCP debut last October and has quickly cemented herself as a regular member of the roster. Her high-flying daredevil style has made her a favourite in ICW and Southside, including capturing the ICW Women's Championship and only last week winning the Queen of the Ring tournament with consecutive wins over Toni Storm, Lana Austin and Kasey Owens. However, she is three matches without a win in FCP and is also yet to have an intergender one on one match in the promotion, which could put her at a disadvantage depending on the first round draw. Converting her undoubted tournament credentials into the very different environment of the Infinity Tournament will be the Scot's key to victory on Friday.


Travis Banks





Where to begin with Travis Banks in FCP?! He turned up in February 2016 and rocked our respective worlds. Killer matches with the likes of Zack Sabre Jr., Sami Callihan and Tyler Bate lit up shows in the Planet and Fixxion and Banks' losing streak angle became one of the hottest stories in British wrestling by the end of 2016. That culminated in the dramatic victory at last year's Infinity tournament, as he defeated Trent Seven in a ridiculous final, before winning the title from Pete Dunne four months later. Since then Banks has exploded all over the country and beyond, doing bits for PWG, PROGRESS and wXw. His tournament acumen has grown, winning Super Strong Style 16 and reaching the semi-finals of the Battle of Los Angeles in what has been an incredible year for the Kiwi Buzzsaw. His crisp offence and hard strikes, ability to draw an audience deep into a match and a never say die fire make him a perennial favourite, but could Banks be the first ever two time winner of Infinity?  

Jordan Devlin 




*Cheesiest line of the article alert*...The fans may make fun of Jordan Devlin's perceived massive fucking head, but there's also no questioning that Devlin has massive fucking potential. The OTT star has impressed repeatedly in FCP with sleeper outings with Travis Banks and David Starr, whilst also showing multi-man acumen by winning his debut six way scramble in May and a three way in July. The sole Irish participant in the competition started strong winning three of his first four matches in FCP, but his fortunes since then have been less favourable with three defeats on the bounce, meaning his momentum heading into Infinity isn't what it would've been had the tournament in the summer. Devlin is capable of putting on great matches with a vicious, technical style, but has a lot to prove in Wolverhampton this Friday. Will that translate into a big victory? We'll have to wait and see.


Dan Moloney





Of all the competitors in the tournament, Dan Moloney has been in FCP the longest by quite some way, making his first appearance way back in February 2013. Since then Moloney has gone from strength to strength, developing a penchant for turning on tag team partners, as Tyler Bate found out in 2014. A split from Facesmashers partner Wild Boar in September last year (after a fantastic feud with The Hunter Brothers) would see Moloney really come into his own, not just going undefeated in one on one action (a run that actually went back to December 2014) and defeating the likes of Mark Andrews, Fire Ant and Andrew Everett along the way, but also improving almost every element of his game, all whilst the crowd revelled in the fact he was wearing short boots. A feud with Barely Legal (Shay Purser & "Session Moth" Martina) has derailed Moloney slightly, including the loss of his undefeated streak, but that could also mean we see even more violence out of the WWE UK competitor. 


Mark Davis





One of FCP's newest regulars, Mark Davis has found most of his UK success tagging with Kyle Fletcher as Aussie Open. Title wins in ATTACK and HOPE  have seen the duo rise up the British tag ranks at record pace, having only tagged for the first time in July. Whilst the two have impressed with their all-action tag team style, they actually had their first match in FCP against each other, when the two tore the (Wrestle)house down in June. Unfortunately for the Aussie, that was his last and only win in FCP as despite the wild and entertaining natures of Aussie Open's tag matches they've fallen to Moustache Mountain, OI4K and the Callous Hearts. Davis has also dropped a couple of multi-man contests. Davis' participation guarantees those in attendance some marvellous action, but whether he's able to break his duck and pull out a victory is another kettle of fish.


Omari




Having begun to impress in Birmingham-based Kamikaze Pro against the likes of Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate and David Starr, Omari made his FCP debut last October with a dark match win over TK Cooper and has made FCP his home in 2017. After coming up short in last year's tournament in a four way including the much more experienced trio of Trent Seven, Mikey Whiplash and Joe Coffey, Omari continued to develop and garner crowd support throughout 2017, transitioning out of opening (and often dark) match multi-mans with fellow up and comers to marquee matches with Pete Dunne, Shane Strickland and Travis Banks. Most notable though was Omari's spectacular victory over former ROH star Keith Lee in July. The victory got an electric reaction from the Wolverhampton crowd and showed that on his day Omari can hang with just about anyone on the indy circuit. Whilst he's three without a win since, there's every chance that the Big O could pull off another incredible upset on Friday night. He'll have the swell of the crowd support and the reaction to an Omari win may well surpass the atmosphere that was present after his victory over Lee.

Kyle Fletcher




The other half of Aussie Open, Kyle Fletcher has to be considered the tournaments underdog, with no singles match victories in FCP. In fact, his only win came in a trios match, teaming with Omari and Millie McKenzie against now partner Mark Davis, Shane Strickland and Fire Ant in August. Aussie Open have had success elsewhere, but in Fight Club: Pro things haven't been as easy and that narrative translates to Fletcher's solo performances also. One of the most entertaining performers on the roster, with a fast-paced, highflying style, the Aussie Arrow is often the show-stealing performer wherever he goes, but can he pull one out the bag and steal the Infinity trophy? 

Millie McKenzie 




The tournament wild card is Millie McKenzie, having only made her debut in June in a losing effort to Kay Lee Ray. As an FCP trained performer, McKenzie has a massive connection with the FCP faithful, as fans attempt to jump on the hype train early for the 17 year old. An impressive weekend at September's Project Mayhem with a shock win over Jessica Havok and Kay Lee Ray in a three way and a powerful performance in a seven way contest that featured the likes of David Starr, Mark Haskins and Jordan Devlin and was eventually won by three time Open the Dream Gate Champion CIMA propelled her further into the collective consciousness of the BritWres community, with many making her their one to watch for 2018. We may still be in 2017, but with McKenzie's tenacity and brutal suplexes, it would be a fool who wrote off from a potential upset. 

The tournament is perhaps one of the most open for quite some time, with a number of potential winners amongst the pack. There's a tonne of stories that could be told with any one of the competitors winning or anyone of the competitors going out early or having a run through the final etc. I'm looking forward to seeing how FCP go about this, as they look to set the tone for the company going forward into next year.



The show will also feature appearances from former ROH World Champions Low Ki and Homicide, former CHIKARA Grand Champion Eddie Kingston and the current Fight Club: PRO Champion Chris Brookes (supposedly with broken CCK partner Kid Lykos in tow). What these four will be up to has yet to be announced, but it's FCP it'll be fucking brilliant whatever happens. If it sounds like your bag, there's still tickets available at fightclubpro.bigcartel.com

Preview by James Marston (@IAmNotAlanDale)



205 Live 53 Review // Cedric Alexander & Mustafa Ali vs. Drew Gulak & Tony Nese


The last month on 205 Live

205 Live 50 Review // Enzo Amore Welcomes the UK Championship Division to the 'Zo Show
205 Live 51 Review // Kalisto vs. Drew Gulak
Survivor Series 2017 Review // Kalisto vs. Enzo Amore // Cruiserweight Championship
205 Live 52 Review // Akira Tozawa vs. Drew Gulak // Street Fight

As 205 Live celebrated a year on the WWE Network, Lexington, Kentucky was our host for this week's episode. The show featured The 'Zo Train's Drew Gulak and Tony Nese going up against Cedric Alexander & Mustafa Ali, ahead of the four facing off in the Semi-Final of the Cruiserweight Championship #1 Contendership Tournament on Raw next week. But was it any good? Let's take a look! 


Drew Gulak & Tony Nese def. Cedric Alexander & Mustafa Ali // Pinfall



Drew Gulak has steadily risen to being the most over element of 205 Live, due to his undeniably great character work and weird charisma, that was on clear display here. Whilst the tag team match was nice build up for Raw's tournament semi-final, it was the pre-match promo that was the real highlight. Fuck, I love Gulak. With ab king Tony Nese by his side, Gulak explained that the team were called "Team PowerPoint" due to Nese's power and Gulak's points. The former CZW World Heavyweight Champion was on fine form here, to the point that he received a "PowerPoint" chant from the Lexington crowd and then quickly told them to shut up, because chanting is against his rules. Magnificent. The match was a solid affair, with a decent story of Cedric Alexander and Mustafa Ali struggling to work cohesively with the four way in the back of their minds. The stretch saw a good near fall for AliXander with it seeming like they'd finally got their act together with a diving crossbody doomsday device, before Nese got a flash pin on Ali, after Alexander was knocked off the apron, in a neat swerve finish.


Kalisto def. Gentleman Jack Gallagher // Disqualification



This was a decent technician vs. luchadore outing, with a couple of good spots, as well as the beginning of a new feud as The Brian Kendrick attacked Kalisto for the disqualification. Prior to that Kalisto and Gentleman Jack Gallagher had worked really well together, with a lovely sequence to open proceedings as they exchanged holds and got over the contrasting styles. The standout moment of the match was the work the pair did in the ropes, which was creative and distinct, with the contest being worth checking out for that moment alone. The finish saw The King of Flight running through Gallagher after escaping a gorgeous straightjacket surfboard, hitting a Listo Kick, Basement rana and Salida del Sol for what was looking like a decisive victory until Kendrick got involved. Gallagher and Kendrick have perfected the bully beatdown recently and this was another well put together situation as Kendrick used his jacket to restrain Kalisto so Gallagher could headbutt the fuck out of the former United States Champion. Kendrick's non-title feuds on 205 Live have been some of the best work on the programme, so here's hoping this one with Kalisto continues the Man with a Plan's excellent form.

Rich Swann def. Noam Dar // Pinfall




A solid outing for Rich Swann to set him up for the final of the Cruiserweight #1 Contender's tournament in two week's time. The contest was a relatively simple affair with some stalling from Dar, Enzo Amore interference allowing the Scot to take control, before Swann fought back to get a clean win with a Phoenix Splash. There was a nice little bit of narrative involving Dar having suffering an injured knee on Raw, resulting in Swann targeting the leg at points, with the injury playing into the finish as Dar struggled to lock in a submission and a kick to the leg gave Swann some space to eventually pick up the win. Dar sold well throughout and it made him much more sympathetic when Amore was berating him for being a loser after the match. Swann and Dar could have a much better contest under different circumstances, but this bout did what it had to do.


Hideo Itami is Coming Soon! 



Finally...


A good outing for 205 Live, with a crowd that was more into the action than recent week's. Despite a lack a genuine consequences, there was some nice build for the tournament semi-final on RAW, an interesting new feud beginning between Kalisto and The Brian Kendrick, whilst Rich Swann was also given some extra momentum ahead of his #1 contender's match in two weeks. The matches were all easy watches, with a handful of creative and exciting moments, but none are worth going out of your way to see or particularly memorable. 

 Review by James Marston (@IAmNotAlanDale



Wednesday, 29 November 2017

SmackDown 954 Review // Randy Orton vs. Kevin Owens // No Disqualification


Lexington, Kentucky was our location for this week's SmackDown as the brand picked up momentum heading towards 17th December's Clash of Champions PPV. The show featured Randy Orton squaring off with Kevin Owens in the main event under No Disqualification rules, with Sami Zayn barred from ringside as The Viper looked to gain revenge on Owens for his involvement in SmackDown's loss at Survivor Series earlier in the month. There was also more depth added to the Women's division as the team of Liv Morgan, Ruby Riott and Sarah Logan, now going by the collective name The Riott Squad stepped in with three of the women they assaulted last week, Natalya, SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair and Naomi. But was it any good? Let's take a look!

Shane McMahon turned the tables on Kevin Owens [Kevin Steen] and Sami Zayn [El Generico]
then...
No Disqualification // Kevin Owens def. Randy Orton // Pinfall



The opening segment felt unnecessary and followed the tired pattern that's been seen for months with Shane McMahon skipping out to open the show and talk aimlessly for a bit. Honestly, the job that McMahon did here had already been done in the show's opening video package and him recapping storylines is a waste of everyone's time. The tension between McMahon and Daniel Bryan continued to be played up, but feels a little bit forced at this point. To be honest, there whole conversation felt convoluted and revealed very little information about anything. We did, however, get the news that Sami Zayn would be banned from ringside for Kevin Owens vs. Randy Orton and the match would be No Disqualification. This whole segment could've been boiled down to a short backstage skit, a WWE.com article or just a tweet, with the screen time going to any one of the actual wrestlers.

A couple of backstage segments set us up for a good TV main event, with the highlight being Orton refusing to have an interview as he stormed out of his dressing room heading to the ring. The match followed on from there with The Viper looking extremely motivated and bringing the fire in Lexington as he dominated Owens from the bell. Whilst the reasoning for Orton's anger (Owens cost SmackDown an Elimination match at Survivor Series) is lame, Orton's aggression and physicality sold just how pissed off he was with the former Universal Champion. The two made good use of limited number of weapons, with a number of heavy kendo stick shots and a cool moment when Orton was reaching for the foreign object whilst in a headlock, only for Owens to release the hold, grab the weapon and batter Orton with the stick himself. It was the physicality that drove the match, with lots of brawling on the floor and spots involving the barricade and announce table, but there was also a handful of crisp wrestling sequences, with Orton's snap scoop powerslam standing out in particular. Whilst the two brawling towards the entrance ramp felt contrived, Sami Zayn's involvement (he was only banned from ringside) was obvious and Zayn's chair shots to Orton's thigh were two of the weakest in recent memory, they played an important storyline role in the finish of the bout. Orton was unable to hit the RKO, due his plant leg being injured, before a shot to the injured leg, a superkick and a frog splash gave Owens a big pinfall victory. For the length of the match, they perhaps could have worked a few more convincing near falls into the action and maybe one or two more weapon spots (the crowd wanted tables, dammit), but this was still a very good main event. Where both men slot into Clash of Champions I'm unsure.

The Riott Squad def. Natalya, Charlotte Flair and Naomi // Pinfall



One of the most impressive female debut matches in quite some time as newly christened Riott Squad ripped apart the thrown together trio of Natalya, Charlotte Flair and Naomi. Consisting of Liv Morgan, Ruby Riott and Sarah Logan, the group took out their opponents one by one and took very little offence in return, against the last three SmackDown Women's Champions. Natalya ducked out of the bout after a physical clash with Logan, before Morgan and Logan would dismantle Naomi at ringside whilst Riott controlled Flair inside the ring. I have to say that at points the match felt a little flabby, seemingly unable to decide which highspot on Naomi looked better and doing all three and also taking a little while to transition from that attack to the group finally putting Flair away. Whilst, the Riott Squad have a long way to go in perfecting their act, the presentation of the group was spot on here, as they looked different from pretty much anything that's been promoted with the blue brands females up to now. The promo from Riott before the match also did a quality job of getting over her character and relationship with Morgan and Logan, with the former CHIKARA Young Lions Cup Tournament Champion showing bags of personality. It's an easy  comparison to make but the Riott Squad's segment this week was head and shoulders above what was done with Absolution on Raw the previous night.

"The Phenomenal" AJ Styles def. The Singh Brothers // Pinfall



AJ Styles did an avalanche Styles Clash in WWE. 2017 is freaking spectacular. Fair play to whichever one of the Singh Brothers took the move (coming off the middle rope onto his brother!), with the move coming off a super safe. The match itself did a pretty good job of positioning Styles as the underdog against a pair of lads who have at best been presented as fall guys for Jinder Mahal throughout their run. Styles got sent under the bottom rope and ribs first into the ringpost in a pre-match attack from Mahal, Sunil and Samir, with the Phenomenal one selling the injury well throughout as he fought from underneath against the former GFW Tag Team Champions. After the match, Mahal finally dumped the men who had allowed him to remain the WWE Champion for six months, hitting both brothers with the Khallas. Where this will go in the last two episodes before Clash of Champions, I'm not sure, but I'd be up for a Singh Brothers run in the tag team division if nothing else. Side note: Mahal's legs look like those of another man.

Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods def. Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable // Pinfall



A solid tag team opener here, even if the result is a strange one. The bout was a relatively basic two on two, with Woods working the face in peril role, a couple of underhanded tactics from Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable, before a Kofi Kingston hot tag. The match was elevated by a wonderful sequence between Kingston and Benjamin that went back and forth at pace with a number of crisp reversals. The two have history from their time on ECW together, as well a fair few house show singles matches, so I got a kick out of seeing them go at each other full pelt. The match paced itself well with a hot finish seeing Benjamin taken out with a tope conhilo from Woods, before a wicked version of UpUpDownDown put Gable out. It was an odd decision to have Benjamin & Gable lose here, as they had previously been in a feud with SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Uso that included Benjamin beating Jey Uso last week, whilst New Day have had repeated matches with the champs for quite sometime. Perhaps, WWE is positioning for a triple threat at Clash of Champions, but it's come completely out of the blue.  

The Bludgeon Brothers def. The Hype Bros // Pinfall 



An even swifter squash match for Rowan and Harper as they knocked Mojo Rawley off the apron and ran through Zack Ryder in under a minute with a double crucifix powerbomb. In a dramatic post-match angle, Rawley turned on Ryder during an interview with Dasha Fuentes, before later telling Kayla Braxton backstage that "the landscape has changed" 

The Fashion Files // Sawed


The Fashion Files returned with one of their better episodes in the last few months, as they parodied the Saw franchise and The Ascension apparently died.

Baron Corbin denied Bobby Roode a United States Championship match


Interrupting an interview with Dasha Fuentes, Baron Corbin claimed he was not scared of Bobby Roode, so Roode challenged him to a United States Championship match later on in the show, but Corbin refused.

Finally...


After we got past the opening segment, this week's SmackDown was an entertaining show and whilst nothing was a homerun, there was a lot of second and third base attempts. The two top matches with Owens vs. Orton and the Riott Squad vs. Natalya, Flair and Naomi delivered with plenty of physicality, only being hurt by being slightly bloated at points. The undercard was also solid stuff. AJ Styles' handicap match was booked well and included an avalanche Styles Clash, the New Day vs. Gable & Benjamin bout featured some delightful action, whilst the Bludgeon Brothers looked impressive and Rawley turning on Ryder bought some intrigue to two guys that had been treading water for months. There was also a return to former for the Fashion Files! 

SmackDown 954 gets a thumbs up from me.

Review by James Marston (@IAmNotAlanDale)