My love hate relationship with the wacky business that is professional wrestling continued a couple of weeks ago (29th October) as my driver (@PhilJones77) and I made the 90 minute drive to Swindon for the latest show from 4 Front Wrestling.
Now I have to be honest, I knew two things about this show before traveling down. I knew Dick Togo was working it as part of his retirement world tour and some guy called Prince Devitt was going to be there. That’s all I knew but these two things were enough to make me part with my money, a feat that is rarely duplicated. As some of you may know I have interest/obsession with the way shows are produced and much to my own chagrin am hyper critical of bad staging, poor microphone/sound system and most of all, my numero uno pet peeve on wrestling shows is a poor ring. So you have to be surprised that coming out of this show I have nothing to complain about and ask anyone that knows me I like to complain! The show was unbelievably well produced on a level I’ve not seen in the UK since the “glory” days of the UWA. The guys and gals running the show were extremely professional throughout and a pleasure to deal with. It may sound like I’m “putting them over” and I am, if 4FW (@4FW) is anywhere near you, hell even if they’re not it’ll be worth your while. One last thing I have to make comment of is how great the audience was for large portions of the show, they knew most of the guys and knew the storylines that were in place and were very vocal which helped the show a great deal.
The first match of the six match card pitted the former Ring of Honor Pure champion, John Walters against Joel Redman. I cannot say enough good things about this match, I loved it. I’d obviously seen Walters during his ROH tenure but this was the first time I had seen Redman but definitely not the last. Both are mechanically very good indeed with Walters having more personality but that will come for Redman over time. The two worked very well together with some really beautiful reversals and nothing obviously botched. With it being a technical match it did take the crowd a little while to get into it but the guys did their job with Redman winning with a small package.
Next up was the first of two tag team “attractions” of the evening. Jack Dynamo came out first and did a really good job of explaining his recent heel turn on former ally The Saint, which cost the former the 4FW heavyweight title. For someone not aware of the storyline going into the tag match, this promo was excellent and certainly helped with the storytelling of the match for a newbie. The match consisted of the aforementioned Dynamo tagging with current 4FW champ JD Knight against the saintly one and the recently returned Eddie Ryan. Again another fine match with all four wrestlers doing a great job but I have single out Dynamo for his great facials and selling when Saint was tagged in. A lot of the match was Ryan working with the dastardly heels for large portions and teasing the tagging in of The Saint which got the crowd into it until the roll up finish at the end with the bad guys stealing the pin.
The last match before the intermission was current K-Dojo “student” Owen Phoenix versus the reigning IWGP Junior Heavyweight champ Prince Devitt. Devitt played heel to the generic babyface of Phoenix and seemed to have a blast in what is an unusual role for him. Phoenix is very vanilla at the moment but working and learning with the K-Dojo guys is only going to benefit him and you can see the potential that he has, nice smooth movements and transitions between moves so I’m eager to see him reach his potential. The match was good from start to finish with some really stiff chops from Prince and a couple of double foot stomps from the top rope to lead to the bloody Sunday by the Irishman for the pin.
First match after the interval was fellow Welshman Wild Boar against Jason Larusso. This was decent and Wild Boar certainly has potential but nothing between these two really struck me. This could be just because it was straight after the break but whatever the reason nothing caught my attention until the finish, which saw Larusso hit an ace crusher for the face win. Another tag match next as The Professor and Matt Lomaxx against the Asian duo Ho Holun and So Sai King. The work in the match was alright, nothing fantastic but nothing bad either. The two major positives for me were The Professor’s facials that reminded me of William Regal’s which is high praise indeed and then we have the greatness of Ho Holun. He has amazing presence and is highly entertaining, especially when you compare him to his tag team partner who apparently was a huge fan of the now era Masahiro Chono. Finish saw The Professor package piledrive Holun for the win for the bad guys.
The final and main event of the evening as former WWE superstar Dick Togo went head to head with Behnam Ali. This was part of Togo’s retirement world tour and all I can say is I am very glad I saw this match and shake the man’s hand and say thank you for his incredible efforts through the years. At 42 years old and 20 of them in this business, he gave everything of himself to make this match the best it could possibly be, including juicing for the added drama and it worked beautifully. They took the crowd by surprise by brawling to the outside near the start of the match and again that only added to the excitement. The style that Togo has worked for his career isn’t the most conducive for long term health but he hasn’t lost much speed and more than makes up for it with being smart and doing things at the right time. The highlight for me came in the middle of the match with a sequence that follows, both guys on the apron and Togo gets knocked down, Ali runs and gets launched into the corner post. Togo gets to his feet the does a gorgeous rolling senton for a huge pop. After about 30 minutes of really good action the finish saw Togo hit his famous top rope senton for the 1-2-3.
In true Jerry Springer style my final thoughts are that bell to bell this was one of the best shows I’ve seen in an awful long time and I’m very glad that I made the trip and I’m certain I’ll be making more in the future, at least until I move back to Texas! @Theszbien signing off!