Tuesday 24 April 2012

SouthSide Wrestling Presents Speed King (22/4/12) Review By Adam Joyce

Here we have The Rockstar Spud - Picture credit to Brett Hadley

This past Sunday I decided to spend my afternoon at a little show up in Nottingham that was being run by Southside Wrestling by the name of Speed King. I feel that opening sentence may have sold the promotion short so I'll try and expand. Being Essex based Nottingham is a bit further than just round the corner but SWE put on a consistently good enough product I was happy to make the long trek to catch the show. The show itself was certainly designed to have mass appeal. While Southside usually manage to bridge the gap between the family and internet market, delivering a product which appeals to both without either really being left behind, one look at the concept behind this card screams a show aimed squarely at the smart crowd.

The concept was a simple one; a cruiserweight title tournament, with the final being a six man elimination, featuring some of the top cruiserweights in the country. On Previous shows there had been various teaser matches featuring a number of the talent involved which went down well. Now was to see how it would fill out an entire show.

The show started out with a lot of promise as TNA’s Mark Haskins took on the mysterious Ego Dragon. For those who are unaware of SWE the Dragon is a masked man that seems to be a true Southside home grown product. Haskins really shone here looking flawless, proving as to why he’s consistently doing so many international tours while at the same time exposing the rest of the world to how much talent we have here on our little island. Ego Dragon played the heel perfectly with subtle cheating and constant stalling. In the end it would be those cheating ways that led the Dragon to victory following a low blow and a roll up.

Next up was a triple threat featuring Bubblegum, Max Angelus and Danny Chase. This was an interesting one for me personally as I’ve not come across Chase before, but I am familiar with the other two. I know Bubblegum best for his FWA run a couple of years back but the character being shown this evening was far removed going the direction of a mouthy chav who’s mic work and constant stalling got under the skin of the crowd more than any amount of cheating ever could. Max is also a stand out for me as he really seems to have something intangible about him; I’ve even seen a few non wrestling fans be converted by some of his ring work, which is no small feat.

As for the match itself I will say this up front that the more three ways I see the more I dislike them because so many fall into the same formula of two in, one out, and switch. To the credit of the guys involved they tried to avoid this but past a point it did start to slip in there. One thing that really stood out for me was a tower of doom attempt that Bubblegum managed to prevent with a hurricanrana on Angelus fresheding up what has become a tired spot over the last decade or so. Angelus was eliminated shortly after following a DQ when Stixx ran in with a chair that Angelus grabbed only for Bubblegum to claim that he caused the cut that had become prominent on his eye. Shortly after Bubblegum got the win with a double foot stomp much to the disappointment of the crowd.

The next match was Marty Scurll taking on Robbie X. I think both of these guys are really talented. My only flaw with either is Robbie’s look. I’ve always felt he looks like a kid playing wrestler, which is a shame as he is such an amazing talent. Both competitors tried to make it stand out by making it more kick centric then the previous matches on the show, as you would expect from one half of the LDRs. After some great back and forth action Marty picked it the win with his backbreaker finish.

Next up was Noam Dar, or Doam Nar if you follow Spud on Youtube, taking on the Rockstar himself. This one actually stood out from the other first round matches as it had a sense of heat attached to it following Spud’s attempts at baiting Dar through Youtube and Twitter, and judging by the crowd’s reaction at least a vocal percentage of them had seen at least some of those comments. This was my first time seeing Dar live and I can see why people think so highly of him. The match differed from the rest of the matches in that it was a lot more ground based with Dar showing his more technical prowess and Spud just being Spud. Eventually Dar got the win following a heel hook getting the loudest reaction of the night. It was classic putting over of a young guy that a lot of bigger promotions seem to have lost the art of.

I’m going to input a big criticism here. With a reaction like that this defiantly should have been a pre-interval match, both because a big reaction like that helps sell merch (it’s all to do with higher blood pressure making people prepared to buy more) and because anything that follows is instantly overshadowed a little. I understand not wanting to have first round matches in the same half as the final but there’s a simple answer to that, just have a second interval. People’s attention spans will start to wane after a while, especially with all the matches being fast paced affairs. It’s surely more beneficial to have them catch their breath so it doesn’t make other matches suffer due to lack of crowd interest.

El Ligero came out next against Martin Kirby. While I remember this being a solid match between the two, as you’d expect from one between two who know each other so well, a lot of the details escape me due to my mind still being on the previous match. They did manage to bring the crowd back into it towards the end with some solid ring work. The finish of the match came after the two did a solid display of counter wrestling with various holds and pin falls before Ligero pinned Kirby with a backslide.

The last match of the first half was Pac against Travis. The arrival of Pac seemed to bring a bit more life into the crowd but there was still a feeling of needing a break. Travis played the heel for this match which is interesting as at the last show, down in Huntingdon, he was playing a Face. I understand most people from Nottingham aren’t going to have been at Huntingdon but I can’t be the only one who thinks it’s a good idea to keep character consistency within a promotion. The match itself was a great encounter and the crowd were into it the whole time with Travis playing the egocentric heel perfectly offsetting Pac’s hero face. I thought I saw Pac miss his big floor dive but from what I’ve been told that’s just cause of where I was sitting. The match finished when Pac missed a Shooting star and Travis hit his underhook piledriver in a win that seemed to take quite a few by surprise.

While the match was good there was one thing that really grated with me and that was the f-bombs dropped by Travis at points during the match. Spud had pushed the envelope a bit with his choice of language while facing Dar but still kept it to an acceptable level. When your poster says family friendly on flat out swearing from one of the guys is unacceptable. My language is not the best at times but when I’m commentating on shows I’m always careful on what I say as I’m never seated too far from families and I know it’s their choice to buy the tickets that revenue pay my wages. There was no need for this language here, the match wasn’t especially heated and there was no feud between the two to warrant it. Someone like Travis should know better and I hope there were words between him and the promoter about this. It’s a shame really because it distracted from an otherwise good match but unless SWE start doing shows that come with an age limit then this thing shouldn’t be tolerated because it’s the type of thing that could put parents off bringing their kids back to a return show.

Below is the finish to the PAC/Travis match - video via youtube thanks to Stuart Rodgers

The first match after the interval was a Pro-Wrestling EVE guest match featuring Shanna taking on Holly Rocamora. This match marked Shanna’s return from a major leg injury suffered at XWA back in February. For those who aren’t familiar with EVE this match was a great introduction, the sort of moves these girls threw at each other you most likely won’t be seeing on the likes of Raw or Impact anytime soon. When Shanna missed a top rope cross body only for Holly to follow up with a powerbomb really got a lot of the crowd to sit up and take notice. Shanna followed up by reversing a running powerslam into an impressive looking reverse DDT on Holly for the win. Holly continues to improve and looks like she could be a stand out once she loses her greenness; Shanna has the ability to make everything flow in a match and has the ability to create a strong connection with the crowd given more exposure.

The next match up was a 6-man featuring the winners of the matches from the previous half. Fortunately this was held under elimination rules otherwise it had massive clusterfuck potential. The first elimination happened straight off the bat as Bubblegum grabbed the mic and cut a rap on El Ligero, only for Ligs to schoolboy him before Bubblegum revealed where his REAL hometown was. From there Ego Dragon started working over El Ligero with help from Travis. Dragon eventually cost himself by getting DQ’ed for grabbing a chair and attempting to follow up on the attack he perpetrated on Ligs before their Huntingdon meeting 3 weeks prior. Travis immediately capitalised on this with a roll up. Dar managed to tap Travis out, shortly after, with his heel hook leaving him and Marty 1 on 1. Marty and Dar went almost 10 minutes of solid back and fourth action, at one point it looked like Dar had Marty trapped in the heel hook but Marty eventually got to the ropes. Marty shortly after hit the over the knees backbreaker (while still selling the heel hook) for the win much to the appreciation of the crowd making him the new Speed King Champion.

Immediately following this Scurll cut a promo saying how great it was to be champion and how he’d be more than happy to give Dar a rematch. Whether or not this was planned is uncertain but it has been announced that the rematch will be at St Neots on May 27th. Speaking of Scurll and confrontations Spud had a confrontation with him resulting in Spud overturning the merch table after accusing Marty of being too afraid to face him.

The show itself was a great show and is defiantly worth a look when it comes out on DVD. All the matches are consistently good to great and all the workers busted their asses trying to make each match different. The Eve match was a great choice as the style and look of both girls fit the way the show was put together. The only real flaw that I’ve not put in so far is doing an all cruiserweight card is not matter how much the workers try the matches run the risk of always starting to blend by being constantly at that one pace. An advantage of watching the show on DVD is that you don’t have to do it in one sitting and so you can appreciate each match individually. Another flaw was the layout of the venue, because it was quite open the crowd did seem a bit lost in the middle of it. Bearing in mind this was a pretty packed crowd but they seemed a little unsure about being in such a vast space. As a result the only matches that seemed to get a reaction were the ones featuring Pac, Haskins and Spud as well as picking up as the main event went on.

For straight up match quality this show is top notch. I would be more than happy to watch any of these matches if they came up on a compilation DVD I was watching. For such a new company it was a brave concept to go with and overall they did really well with it. This is a great show so I would recommend tracking down when the DVD gets released; it just might be advisable to watch it in a couple of stages so you don’t miss any of the highlights.

For information on the release and all their upcoming shows check www.southsidewrestling.co.uk

Hope you enjoyed the review, I can be found on twitter @EI_J and please LIKE http://facebook.com/TheIndyCorner

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