Thursday 28 February 2013

John Cena vs. CM Punk – Early Match Of The Year By Nick Mason

 Monday Night Raw was golden this week, and in my opinion was the best of the year, showcasing a broken Lesnar face, a Triple H Pee stain and a banned piledriver. 

WWE have released some exceptionally graphic images in regards to Lesnars injury, he suffered a severe cut to the back of the head which caused blood to rush out of his skull, and I don’t think it was a blade job, pure toughness. Testicular fortitude some might go as far as saying!

But now onto the main point of this post, and if you’re a Cena hater, you might want to read on, because the main point of this post is Cena vs. CM Punk on raw. This match was pure golden to myself and other wrestling trainee’s alike, both superstars showcased unpredictability and great technical ability making the match very interesting to watch. We may have seen a banned move in this match, but who cares, nobody is injured, and John Cena added another move to his arsenal when he pulled off a power bomb.

For those who didn’t know, the Piledriver was banned when done in this form due to Owen Hart and the Stone Cold situation all those years ago when Stone Cold actually broke his neck after completing this manoeuvre. The crowd really summed up why a move such as this was needed to re awaken the fans of old, and add the unpredictability factor to a match. It is also worth noting that the move is only banned in this form, therefore allowing the Undertaker and Kane to perform the Tombstone Piledriver as normal.

Just a for the record, I am not a John Cena hater, nor a John Cena lover, I purely like his wrestling ability and his amazing ability to perform when needed, this match really displayed why someone like Cena is one of WWE’S top faces and will be for some time to come, he really needs the WWE championship around his waist, we must remember that he hasn’t had a significant run as champion for well over a year now.

This RAW IS a must watch, and I will study this for a good amount of time because there was so much goodness in this episode of raw and I hope they can build on this on the road to WrestleMania.

Thanks once again for reading this entry!
Nick Mason

Wednesday 27 February 2013

The Indy Corner Presents......10 Questions With Brian Elliott Editor of FSM.

Check out The Indy Corner on iTunes - LIKE us - Follow us on twitter @TheIndyCorner

Thanks for joining me today Brian, everyone will know you as the editor of FSM which covers all aspects of pro wrestling but today we'll talk about the indies.

1. So Brian, what year did you begin watching the indies and what promotions etc?

I was lucky in that I was made aware of ECW way back in 1993, and I'd even read about the Tri-State Wrestling Alliance before that. Some of it was pretty wild content for a 12-year-old! Smoky Mountain Wrestling was also producing some great stuff. It was a great time to want to learn more about the business.

2. From around this time any standout matches or workers come to mind?

Nobody had ever seen anything like Sabu in 1993, and unless you were a real old-school, Jack-Brisco-or-nothing kind of fan, you watched him in awe. A year or two later, ECW gave amazing technicians like Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, and Eddy Guerrero a shot, and in Smoky Mountain The Rock'n'Roll Express and The Heavenly Bodies (both with Stan Lane and Jimmy Del Ray) were capable of great matches. If you put me on the spot and asked me to name a memorable match, I'd say Sabu vs. Terry Funk vs. Shane Douglas from The Night The Line Was Crossed. Don't forget the amazing promos thereafter.

3. Even though they made it to PPV in 1997, ECW were basically an indy, I began watching them in 94, what about yourself and any standout memories?

Pretty much covered it in my last answer, but I have to say that, for me, most of the magic of ECW was gone by the time they hit pay-per-view. The shows didn't look the same as the dark, dank early recordings from the ECW Arena. With those, you got the feeling you were watching someone special, that no-one else really knew about.t.

4. When we hit the 2000's the indies really became prevalent and following the King of The Indies tournament ROH was formed and I for one was hooked. Although very substandard where production values go, the in-ring action was superb, thoughts on the early days of ROH?

The early days of ROH were far removed from the indies of ten years beforehand, probably because the talent in 2002 ROH was mostly new, whereas the likes of ECW and SMW were filled with veterans who could still go, given the correct platform. That's not to take away from ROH, because with Low Ki, American Dragon, and Chris Daniels around, the matches were great. It was remarkable that Eddy Guerrero participated, too.

5. Staying with ROH, they have seen a number of changes over the years both with talent, bookers and management tell us, in the 11 year history of the promotion what was your favourite period from the company and why?

It would be difficult to look past Bryan Danielson's initial title run from 2005-2006, and of particular note to me were his bouts with Colt Cabana and Nigel McGuinness, which were remarkable for different reasons. Danielson showed that he had so many strings to his bow in this period; it's no surprise that he's been a success in WWE, even if we occasionally mourn that those ROH-style epics are largely not going to happen in WWE.

6. Another top indy company in the last 10 years or so has been PWG, they used a lot of the ROH talent and still do, I know you're a big fan of the PWG product tell us some of your favourite matches/moments from their shows and why you rate them so highly.

It's funny, because PWG has forced me to re-think what I like and don't like as a wrestling fan. Ever since I started watching Japanese wrestling at age 12, I valued workrate very, very highly, and I admired Chris Benoit's endeavour in the same way that I did, say, Roy Keane, even though I knew that wrestling wasn't a true sport. But PWG blends hard-hitting wrestling and humour so well, and constantly features little twists on moves and spots that we've seen for years in wrestling, and sometimes I can't help but really enjoy silly spots that the sports fan in me should hate. I highly recommend PWG to anyone who feels that wrestling isn't for them anymore.

7. In the UK we have some tremendous workers and promotions and without me alienating any some who get a lot of coverage on the Internet etc are Southside, PCW, Fight Club PRO & PROGRESS, what do you make of the scene at the moment and from what you have seen tell us what you've enjoyed etc.

A lot of people don't realise it, but we're on the cusp of a glory period for British wrestling right now. That's not to be taken as a suggestion that wrestling is going to be back on ITV anytime soon, because it's not, but it's a reference to the great shows taking place all over the country at the moment, from any number of excellent groups. Right now, you could decide not to bother checking who's on the card and still be virtually guaranteed a great time at Southside, PCW, PROGRESS, ICW, NGW, Fight Club: PRO, ATTACK! Wrestling, Revolution Pro, and others. It's a great time to be a UK wrestling fan.

8. I will ask you like I'll ask anyone involved in the British scene, there have been a lot of imports over here in recent years, do you think this is a good thing for British wrestling, where do you stand on the subject?

I love seeing the imports come in and work with UK wrestlers. Not all of the imports are equal in meaning to everyone, but how can you argue with Prince Devitt showing up in Southside to battle El Ligero? Or Adam Cole versus MK McKinnan at Fight Club:PRO? From a fan's perspective, it's fantastic, and while UK promotions should always have a backbone consisting of local workers, when great talent comes in to work in the UK, it can only be a good thing.

9. Rockstar Spud is someone I know relatively well and I have seen him take his character to new levels over the last 12 months, how do you think he'll get on over in TNA?

I'm slightly concerned as to how he'll be booked in the States, especially considering that the U.S audience hasn't seen British Bootcamp, and doesn't know him. But if Hulk Hogan keeps to his word, he can have a role to play in TNA, and I have a lot of confidence that he can do a great job there.

10. Finally Brian, I talked about imports earlier, Kevin Steen is coming to the UK this year for Southside and PCW where do you stand on the Steen front, many like him but there are some who think he is in a position maybe he shouldn't be for various reasons, I personally enjoy his stuff, how about yourself?

I like Kevin Steen a lot, although I find his character much more three-dimensional in PWG than in ROH. He's in the midst of what should be a great feud with Adam Cole in PWG, and I'm looking forward to seeing how that plays out. He wrestles Jay Lethal this weekend for Ring Of Honor, and whether he loses or retains the title, I do wonder what opponents are going to step up and have an engaging feud with him there. ROH has a lot of great talent right now, but the group needs a new spark.

Thanks for your time Brian, the floor is yours to plug anything you want.
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Thursday 21 February 2013

Dragon Gate UK Tour 2013 Preview By Aiden O'Brien

 Since 2009 the best shows held in England have featured the names Shingo Takagi, CIMA, Susumu Yokosuka (now known as Jimmy Susumu), BxB Hulk and Naruki Doi. The trilogy of matches between Shingo and Yokosuka that featured in all three previous DG UK tours produced THE best match I have ever seen live - If not at all - As Shingo got the final victory in a epic and fitting conclusion. No annual DG UK tour was keenly felt in 2012 as A-Merchandise took a step away from putting on live events that year so that when Dragon Gate return to these shores, anticipation is at an all time high, perhaps even more so than before that initial Dragon Gate UK show held in November 2009. Their return is only one day away and I for one could not be any more excited to be at Broxbourne Civic Hall Friday and Saturday nights the 22nd and 23rd of February and then Sunday at Castleford.

On the first UK show The Lion Kid made his debut in the dark match and Marty Scurll and Mark Haskins both appeared on the main card. All three have retained their positions on subsequent tours and now they are seen on equal footing to the Dragon Gate roster members. Mark Haskins spent almost a year going back and forth between Japan and England before being signed to TNA, Lion Kid spent three months in the DG dojo and Scurll is fresh off appearing on TNA's British Bootcamp. Added to the UK main show roster this year is 19 year old Scottish stand out Noam Dar who made his first DG UK showing in a win in the Nottingham 2011 dark match and a wrestler who is tipped for great things, both at home and internationally.

Along with the five Dragon Gate staples on all previous DG UK shows mentioned earlier, Masaaki Mochizuki, YAMATO and Akira Tozawa all make their DG UK returns and American stand out Ricochet makes his DG UK debut. Also scheduled for the show was the generic luchadore El Generico but his WWE signing unfortunately scrapped that idea so instead Genki Horiguchi (now known as Genki Horiguchi H.A.Gee.Mee!!) returns to DG UK after appearing in the very first official DG UK match as a very suitable last minute replacement. In the dark matches Martin Kirby, Stixx, Johnny Storm and Dean Allmark all make returns to DG UK.

A lot has changed since the last time Dragon Gate visited these shores. The Blood Warriors vs Junction III feud has ended so CIMA and Naruki Doi return to my favorable roles in front of the fans. BxB Hulk and Akira Tozawa remain as hated in Mad Blankey as they did the last time they were in England. Mark Haskins may no longer be signed to TNA but has been on a mission to show what TNA is missing in that time, and the same can be said for Marty Scurll who missed out on winning TNA's British Bootcamp.

The main event of the first night is a first time ever filmed singles match between Shingo Takagi and Ricochet in what will be his European debut. At the last Broxbourne show we witnessed Shingo defeat PAC in a power vs speed battle in the main event and I have no doubt that Shingo/Ricochet can match that contest. In a rematch of last years King Of Gate's final Akira Tozawa faces Genki Horiguchi H.A.Gee.Mee!!. Genki came out the victor in that match but both could not take the Dream Gate Title away from CIMA's waist. Speaking of the man himself CIMA faces BxB Hulk, Mark Haskins and Marty Scurll in a four-way in which the stakes couldn't be higher for Scurll as losing this match ends his DG UK career. The UK guys Lion Kid and Noam Dar both face challenges from Naruki Doi and Jimmy Susumu in singles matches, but whereas Dar's match begins his Trial Series to earn his spot on the DG UK roster things couldn't be more personal for Lion Kid and Doi as last time in Broxbourne Doi tried to remove Kid's mask when he was part of the villanous Blood Warriors. But the match I am most looking forward too, out of perhaps all the matches this weekend is Masaaki Mochizuki vs YAMATO. These two have incredible chemistry in the ring against each other and their three matches in 2010 and 2011, two being for the Open The Dream Gate Title, are three of the best hard-hitting wars you will see in any promotion let alone just Dragon Gate.

Saturday Night is highlighted by Shingo again in the main event as this time he faces Akira Tozawa. Both men debuted in Dragon Gate after the Toryumon split so this is the first time two DG roster members face each other in England who weren't part of the Toryumon generation, and it's the main event of the night. They can't be considered generation rivals as a few years separate their debuts, but since Tozawa returned to Japan in June 2011 he's found himself across the ring from Shingo on many occasions in singles, tags, trios and assorted other matches, but this is the first time they'll face each other in a non-stipulation main event. If any match could beat Mochizuki/YAMATO as MOTW then it's this one. In the semi-main, providing he wins the night before, Scurll faces the biggest challenge of his life as he faces current Open The Dream Gate Champion, CIMA in a singles contest. These two traded pins over each other on the last tour so the result could go either way, Scurll will be fresh off survival but another loss puts him in the same position the next night whereas CIMA needs to show dominance as Dragon Gate's Champion. Two rare singles matches between Jimmy Susumu against YAMATO and Ricochet vs Horiguchi also feature, the last time to my knowledge Susumu faced YAMATO was in America in March 2010 for YAMATO's OTDG Title, and I have no prior knowledge of Horiguchi and Ricochet ever facing each other in a singles match before. In another four-way Haskins and Hulk again feature but this time Lion Kid and Doi bring their issue from the night before into the fray. And in the opening match, Noam Dar prepares for the beating of a life time as he faces Masaaki Mochizuki in what should be an incredible opener.

Closing the weekend out UK rivals Shingo and Susumu will reunite their Junction III team from 2011 and face *the* team in not only Dragon Gate but Dragon Gate USA as well, The Spiked Mohicans, CIMA and Ricochet former Open The Twin Gate and Open The United Gate Champions. This is a rare opportunity to see both teams reunite and as the only tag match of the weekend expect to see the fast paced hard hitting action seen in Dragon Gate's tag matches. In more rare singles matches Naruki Doi faces Masaaki Mochizuki, the last time these two faced off in Japan was during the King Of Gate 08 finals in which Doi's win propelled him to defeat Shingo Takagi and begin the longest reign of any Open The Dream Gate Champion to date. And Horiguchi faces BxB Hulk, again I can't remember a high-profile singles match between the two taking place. Lion Kid and Noam Dar end the weekend the same way they started on Friday by facing the best in Dragon Gate as they will face Tozawa and YAMATO respectively. And Castleford will begin the main show by featuring what may be the last DG UK match of Marty Scurll if he loses to CIMA the night before as he will face Mark Haskins, the history between these two teams in The LDR's vs The Thrillers feud being well known so a win will be highly sought after by both men, regardless of the cost.

I've been fortunate to attend every single Dragon Gate UK show to date and this weekend's line up's and the talent on the shows means that this may end up being the best DG UK weekend to date. We can only hope we don't have to wait over 15 months for the next set of shows as I guarantee you that every single person in attendance and those who buy the DVD's after the fact will be desperate to see Dragon Gate return to these shores once again.

Tuesday 19 February 2013

The Indy Corner Presents....10 Questions with El Ligero

Pictures (c) Tony Knox

1. Welcome Ligero, tell the readers when did you break into the business?

I started training in January 2001 in a school in Sheffield that my cousin and I had seen advertised in WOW Magazine. I'd wanted to be a wrestler since the age of 8, and it was really lucky that I was able to find a school only an hour away from me. The school was an affiliate of NWA Hammerlock, and was ran by a guy called Alan Johnson, with the occasional appearance from Johnny Moss.

2. Any standout thoughts from your training?

Haha, yeah, I was awful! I was very much into my ECW when I started training, so I was a big fan of big moves and daft stunts etc, and I never had any real grasp of psychology etc. But to be fair, at the school, we weren't ever sat down and given the insight of how a match is constructed etc. The school was very technical based, which in hindsight, I do wish I had paid more attention to. I could do a backflip, but wasn't too interested in learning counters and holds, which is a very ignorant way to be. It took a long time, and a lot of guidance to finally pick up a solid grasp of psychology.

3. Over the years you've been involved in some great feuds, one I witnessed some years back was with RJ Singh which included him cutting off one of the horns from your mask, memories of that angle and feud?

It lasted forever and never ended! I've actually recently just watched back the FWA DVDs from their return in 2009, so I've just had chance to relive the angle. I enjoyed it, I honestly did. Singh is someone I've always liked working with, and there were some really decent moments in the feud, it's just a shame the FWA went the way it did, and the feud ended up losing a lot of momentum, and was watered down before it could be finished, with the seemingly random inclusion of Nathan Cruz. Cruz is a fantastic talent, but it just went from an intense blood feud to 'oh, just do some triple threat matches'.
The horn cutting angle was memorable though, and got a couple of photos in national newspapers and magazines!

4. You've wrestled all over the UK and Europe, ever any talk of you working in the US?

I actually wrestled in the US in September 2004 for NWA Wildside, and another company called BWA. I wrestled in strip clubs and car parks in Atlanta. It was bizarre. But, as far as other places go, I've talked to the likes of PWG, ROH, CZW etc, it just comes down to the money.

5. Staying with the US, what's your opinion of wrestlers from the UK who fly themselves over there to work for indy companies, there have been some notable British workers who shall we say have shown their disdain for this, where do you stand on the subject?

Haha, I thought we'd be getting to this. That's kind of what I mean by it coming down to money. Companies like ROH, CHIKARA etc have shown interest, but I guess I'm of the opinion that if a company wants you enough for a couple of shows, they'll pay for you. British companies do it with imports, so why not the other way around? Am I a big enough 'name' to get flown out to those countries or is my work good enough? In the eyes of those promotions, not right now. But then it's up to me to get to that stage, not to rush it by flying myself out.

Look at someone like Kay Lee Ray, who went to Japan for a month and had her flights, accommodation etc paid for by the company, and was paid properly for all her matches. That's the right way to do it, and it goes to show it is possible still. I understand completely that it's a different ball game in some ways these days, and people are entitled to do as they wish. But I'm not big on the idea of paying to go and work 2 or 3 shows abroad just so I can say I have.

But that's just my opinion, and who am I? Everyone has different viewpoints, and everyone is entitled to one.

6. Another subject that has had some attention recently is the use of imports in British wrestling. You yourself have wrestled quite a few but the the detractors say they are taking a spot off a British guy, my views are well-known on the subject, what are yours?

My views are this: if you bring over two imports and put them on with each other, what's the point? Unless its an ultra special occasion and you're using it for your draw I mean. But, if you bring over imports and put them on with homegrown talent, and it gives them a big experience, a chance to learn and potentially open doors elsewhere, it's great for all involved.

7. On a lighter note, 2 years in a row now you've been number 1 in the UKFF top 50 British wrestlers list, do you take much stock in this and how have the boys reacted each time the list comes out?

It's nice, don't get me wrong. Both times have come as a big surprise, as I rate so many people in this country above myself that it's ridiculous! I think I bring something to the table, but I'd never tell someone 'oh, I'm the best in the UK', especially just because a couple of online polls say so. It's a really nice acknowledgement from fans who use those forums, but there are some who are so talented, but don't get the acknowledgment they should (Robbie Dynamite, Rampage Brown, James Mason etc), so it's not definitive by any stretch. Some people congratulate me, some people make very funny YouTube videos about it haha.

8. You are currently the PROGRESS champion, this promotion is just 5 shows old but has a tremendous following, you've been there since day one, thoughts on what Jim, Jon & Glen and the wrestlers bring the fans at every show?

The atmospheres at those shows are just fantastic. The crowd, which sells out before the doors even open, come to the events to have a great time, and not just to 'get themselves over'. The company is easily one of my favourites to work for at the moment, and it's cool how they've done something different to everywhere else with me.

We get treated so well by management there, and the atmosphere is great that everybody goes out and works their arse off.

9. You'll be facing US indy star Ricochet at PROGRESS chapter 6 on March 31st which should be a great match, what I want to know is, you have wrestled some big international stars and you are booked to in the future but is there anyone you haven't faced yet or book to so far you would like to face from abroad or the UK?

I wrestled Davey Richards back in January 2007, and I've always wanted a chance to wrestle him again. Other than that, I'd like to wrestle Adam Cole, as he seems to be someone who is on fire at the moment, as well as a couple of the Dragon Gate guys.

10. In closing, as an established worker on the British scene, who do you see coming up who you think has a bright future?

I always seem to answer this with Nathan Cruz, but I think that everyone is aware of him now. Noam Dar is obviously someone on everyone's lips at the moment too.

But as far as up and comers, Mark Andrews is a great young talent who could do good things. Davey Blaze up across the border has a hell of a look to him. There's a young man who I train called Sam Wilder who has so much potential for someone so new to the game. There's some great young talent out there.

Thanks for your time today sir, the floor is yours to plug any twitter/facebook accounts or anything else.

Thanks for having me! Feel free to join the El Ligero fan page on Facebook, and follow me on twitter @Ligero1

WLH Exclusive Announcement Number 2 For Southside's Speed King 2

Current TNA Star to debut in Southside’s Speed King 2 Tournament!

Wrestling’s Last Hope can exclusively reveal that the latest entrant into Southside Wrestling Entertainment’s Speed King 2 Tournament on 25 May in Nottingham is Zema Ion.

Zema Ion who is 26 years old has been in TNA since 2011 when he competed in a tournament in the company’s Destination X event competing with outstanding talents such as Jack Evans, Low Ki and Austin Aries.

Later on in the same year he competed in a gauntlet match to determine rankings in the X Division during which he eliminated Southside’s own Mark Haskins before being eliminated himself by Jesse Sorenson, this left him fifth in the rankings system, he then competed in a five way ladder match won by Brian Kendrick, however all of this time Zema was improving rapidly and following a heel turn he then entered into a best of three series with Anthony Nese to determine the number one contender for the X Division Title, Zema won this series to enter into a four way match up for the title along with Kid Kash, Jesse Sorenson and the eventual winner Austin Aries.

Zema though was not to be stopped he had a further five unsuccessful attempts to take the X Division title in various different types of matches before he entered into an Ultimate X match along with Kenny King,Mason Andrews and Sonjay Dutt, this time the rapidly improving Zema Ion emerged victorious and he became the first ever Filipino to win the TNA X Division title.

This gave Zema Ion such an injection of confidence which meant that when combined with his ever improving ring skills he successfully defended his X Division title on five occasions including defeating another Southside star Doug Williams by submission (the submission impossible). Eventually it took a legend in Rob Van Dam to relieve Zema of his title 98 days after he won it but what a talent this young man is.

Before Zema joined TNA he learnt his craft by wrestling in promotions such as CHIKARA at the age of 18, at the age of 19 he wrestled in Japan learning the style there, also at the age of 19 he formed a tag team with Jason Gory and faced off against the Kings Of Wrestling.

Commencing in 2008 Zema worked in Mexico learning yet another style, match up’s there included facing off against the likes of El Generico, La Parka, Jack Evans and Extreme Tiger amongst others.

Back in the states in 2010 he won the IWC Super Indy Championship winning a three way with Azrieal and Johnny Gargano.

He has seven known finishers and three known signature moves, his finishers range from high flying splashes to running double knee to an opponent in a rana pin through to the submission impossible.

All in all Zema Ion is going to be a fearsome competitor at Speed King 2, he brings with him a winners record,international experience on three different major wrestling nations, experience from matching up with the world’s best and beating them, tremendous in ring versatility due to his wide ranging learning experience and an attitude which borders on cockiness but is in reality supreme confidence in his own talent and justifiably so!

Zema of course enters a tournament which even before his inclusion is packed with the very best from all around the world in this style of wrestling.

To date named are:-

Samuray Del Sol

Dean Allmark

Zack Sabre Jr

Marty Scurll

Jay Lethal

Noam Dar

El Ligero

MK McKinnan


Robbie X

Mark Haskins

Zema Ion

2 other names still to be revealed....

This whole show is going to be absolutely epic, often when the wrestlers for a show are announced before you know the matches you hope that wrestler a faces off against wrestler b so that it is a good match, in this event I really do not mind who faces who, it makes the mind potentially explode with the possible match ups here, it is like a computer game where you create your favourite wrestlers and match them up against each other as in reality those matches would not happen however Speed King 2 is going to make some of those dream match up’s become reality and right in front of your eyes if you are fortunate enough to have a ticket.

Stars are featured from all around the globe, TNA, Ring Of Honour, Dragongate and CHIKARA are all represented but what is as exciting as anything is the fact that the UK talent on this show has the opportunity to prove to a global audience that it has what it takes to match up with the best from these illustrious promotions.

Saturday May 25th at the Rushcliffe Arena in Nottingham at 7.00pm this global feast of wrestling commences, on the night the format is as follows:

Seven first round matches, the seven winners then go into a seven way final, the winner is crowned as the new Southside Wrestling Entertainment Speed King Champion, an accolade which very clearly is going to be highly prestigious given the entrants.

In addition after the first round matches are complete and before the final happens there will be a tag team match from the Pro Wrestling Eve Women’s Division which will feature some of the very best female talents out there currently, that too is going to be something very much worth watching it will certainly include the very best female talent from around the world.

At the same venue on the same day commencing at 2.00pm there is a Queen Of The Ring Tournament happening with Pro Wrestling Eve putting on a tournament where eight leading women will compete for the Queen Of The Ring title, it truly will be a day for Kings and Queens in Nottingham! If you would like to book tickets for the Queen Of The Ring tournament please go to

To book tickets for the Speed King event and the front row is already sold out please go to or look up Southside on facebook, you can also follow for future announcements on the handle of @southsidewe.

If you would like to be the first to hear future exclusives or to enjoy articles on wrestling please follow myself on @shadetheshoot or the editor/owner of the site @WLHSTU and his podcast @TheIndyCorner

Friday 15 February 2013

The Indy Corner Presents......10 Questions With Tyler Bate

(Above: Tyler pictured with former ROH wrestler Brian 'Spanky' Kendrick)

Q: You're only a young man now but who have been your wrestling influences growing up?

A: I have always been a big fan of the Japanese guys like Kenta, Nakajima, Shingo Takagi so on so forth...

Q When did you decide being just a fan wasn't enough and you wanted to train to be a wrestler yourself?

A: The idea of becoming a wrestler myself came when I was just 14 and luckily for me there was AWW training just up the road from where I live.

Q: Fight Club: PRO fans will know you have trained under them so tell us who trained you at FCP and any thoughts of when you first started?

A: All of the guys from Fight Club: PRO have helped train me to the product I am now from Trent Seven to Dave Mastiff to Hunter Brothers etc.

Q: Is FCP the only ones to of trained you, if not tell us about any more?

A: Like I said in the previous questions no FCP aren't the only ones who trained me, I originally started at AWW and trained with those guys for about a year and then I heard that NSW had opened up their training and stuck with those guys for a short while until they got shut down unfortunately. Eventually I found a true home with the FCP guys and knew that it was right for me.

Q: You have done some training with Eddie Edwards which I myself was present at, I have to say, you were the best student in that class, what was it like learning under Eddie?

A: Thank you and it was a great pleasure learning from such a great in ring performer of his status. Eddie Edwards is an awesome character both inside and outside the ring and that is why I have so much respect for him.

Q: Have you had any other bits of training from the imports like Gresham or anyone else, if so, thoughts?

A: Yes, there are several big imports I have trained with like Gresham as you said, Michael Elgin, John Walters and Douglas Williams and all of those guys have taught me what they have to offer in pro wrestling.

Q: You have wrestled for Great Bear Promotions including a very good match with Chris Brookes, memories of the match and working with Chris?

A: I loved working with Chris Brookes at Great Bear because we have such a good chemistry inside and outside the ring. Although he can at times be a little snug, he is great to work with and I look forward to working with him sometime in the future maybe even at Fight Club.

Q: After being around the FCP shows for a while now, recently at the 'No DQ' show you got to step into that environment for the first time wrestling Dan Maloney, how did you feel leading up to the match and tell us how you think the match went?

A: Coming up to my debut at FCP I was very excited and was looking forward to the match against Dan Maloney since as some people know we have trained together for some time now. I feel the match went okay but could of gone a little better in ways but overall I feel the match was a good, solid contest.

Q: You're only at the start of your career, you will continue to grow and get better but what are your aspirations in wrestling, travel around the UK, go to Japan, go to the US for the indies or even bigger?

A: Well I want to do it all in pro wrestling. I would like to do some work around the UK, Japan, US indies and even bigger. My biggest aspiration as I'm sure 99% of wrestlers feel the same, I would like to eventually become a WWE superstar and become a worldwide icon.

Q: And finally, following on from that question, who in the next say 2 years would you like to face on the UK scene?

A: There are a few people I would like to work with on the UK scene like Dave Mastiff, ZSJ, Noam Dar, Gresham etc, I would also love to do some more work with Josh Bodom.

Thanks Tyler, I'd just like to thank you for time and wish you all the best for the future.

Thanks Stu, no problem buddy.

Thursday 14 February 2013

Rev-Pro 'No Holds Barred' (10/02/13) Review By Aiden O'Brien

Pictures Provided By @MattMatt316

Rockstar Spud winning TNA's British Bootcamp may be the best thing to happen to the promotion's he's due to appear on before he fly's out to America as both Fight Club: Pro and RevPro enjoyed a larger audience than usual. In fact this was one of the largest crowds RevPro has attracted in a while so as a result it seemed like everyone on the show stepped it up a few notches and they may have produced one of the best Sittingbourne shows I've seen in quite some time. Ordinarily I feel the strength of the shows at Sittingbourne depends on the quality of imports on the card and the matches they are in. August had Gargano and Devitt, October had Generico and Jerry Lynn, November you had Tajiri and Devitt and December you had Elgin and Devitt and usually the imports are in the best matches of the night (With the exception of December in which LDR's vs Ego was a genuine MOTYC). So when I tell you that the weakest match on the six match card of this show was the only one to feature an import (Colt Cabana) I mean it to say that the UK guys *really* stepped it up.

To begin the show Mark Haskins took the mic before his opponent for the evening El Ligero could come out to call Ligero a cheat for costing Haskins the chance to beat Prince Devitt for the Undisputed Cruiserweight Championship at the previous show (In reality it was a four-way elimination featuring Devitt, Haskins, Ligero and Noam Dar in which Haskins eliminated Ligero first via low-blow and Ligero came back out at the end of the match to prevent Haskins from hitting Devitt with the Title belt) and that tonight he would cave Ligero's skull in and remove his mask. Haskins has become a lot better and more natural on the mic and has made a point since TNA released him in August to be in the match of the night and give the strongest performance possible. And Haskins stayed true to his word, attacking Ligero before the bell even rang and was extremely aggressive with kicks to the downed luchadore. Ligero fought back and when Haskins attempted his kip-up evade superkick combo, Ligero got in a crafty kick to the guy. Haskins took to outside the ring and Ligero then attempted a dive to the outside only for Haskins to meet him with a forearm smash. Haskins then placed Ligero onto the ring apron and although Ligero attempted to use that to his benefit, Haskins knee met his face with a sickening thud. Outside the ring Haskins drove Ligero face first into the ring apron and the turnbuckle post, again showing every intent to follow through on his pre-match promo. Inside the ring it was a battle of survival for Ligero as he had to wait for opportune moments where Haskins made mistakes and Ligero was able to take advantage. Haskins resorted to attempting to move the mask of Ligero so after Ligero made his big comeback, hitting a splash from the top rope from a near-fall, Haskins later distracted the ref so he could kick Ligero low. It looked like he was about to powerbomb Ligero but instead yanked the mask free from his head and rolled him up into a small package for the three count as Ligero desperately attempted to hide his face and then immediately had the Mexican flag he brought to the ring draped over his face by the ref as soon as Haskins left. Fantastic start to the show between two of England's finest wrestlers right now and after that result, you know the issue between the two is far from over as while Haskins attempted to cave Ligero's skull in and did remove his mask, Ligero survived it all and Haskins had to be under-handed in order to win the match.

While Haskins/Ligero was a slow burner between two of England's best junior heavyweight wrestlers, Will Ospreay was able to have an exhibition of his aerial talents in his win over Wild Boar. This was Ospreay's RevPro debut after making a name for himself as a fast-rising cruiserweight wrestler in promotions such as IPW:UK and Progress Wrestling and his initial match-up against Noam Dar may not have afforded him the chance to show him at his best. Noam would have worked the knee and limited Ospreay's offense so against Boar, drafted in as a last minute replacement, Boar worked as a base to ground Will so that when he was able to fly - And believe me he's called an "Aerial Assassin" for a reason - It looked all the more impressive. Ospreay performed a high jump moonsault over the top rope to Board outside the ring in the first few minutes of the match. He was able to leap off the top rope to avoid a charging Boar, rotate several times in mid-air before landing on his feet and then immediately turn his body around to his a spinning enziguiri kick to Boar. And in the coup de grace of the match a 630 senton from the top rope sealed the deal so Ospreay made an immediate impression in his RevPro debut. Everything he did looked crisp, there was no hesitation or nerves as Will presented himself in the best way possible to wow the Sittingbourne audience. But it took Boar as an opponent to act as a base in order to make Ospreay look so good so special mention has to be made in regards to Boar making Ospreay look a star.

In the match before intermission Colt Cabana defeated Dave Mastiff, T-Bone and Rampage Brown to become the number one contender to Sha Samuel's Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship in a match to take place on March 31st. Cabana used to be a regular to these shores prior to his signing to the WWE but now his trips over here have become less frequent and more special. In fact it had been 3 and a half years since Cabana was last in Sittingbourne so the crowd were very happy to see him, although Dave Mastiff as former Champion had his fair share of supporters. With four big heavyweight's in the ring at the same time all four men spent time against each other, no alliances were made with such a high prize at stake. Mastiff hit an insane running crossbody onto Brown, the sight of such a large man flying at a target like that is an impressive sight. Colt hit his punch, Dusty elbow onto all three. There was a Dragon Gate-esque spot in which one man hit a running clothesline onto the other in the turnbuckle, a third then hit that man with a clothesline and then a fourth hit the third with a clothesline. When the fourth man went running to the opposite buckle, the third returned the favour with a clothesline, then the second hit the third and the original man attacked at the start got his revenge by getting the last laugh with a clothesline. Mastiff hit his cannonball senton onto T-Bone in the corner, he had Cabana and Brown together in another corner and was preparing to do the same to them when Andy Simmonz, former wrestler and current RevPro commentator and manager of Big Van Walter snuck into the ring and eliminated Mastiff by throwing him over the top rope. Understandably a naturally irate Mastiff chased Simmonz to the back, a conclusion between Mastiff and Walter's month long feud all in the waiting with their eventual first time singles clash. From there it wasn't long until T-Bone was eliminated as well, Cabana hitting a very shoddy and weak looking Go To Sleep onto him, only for Rampage Brown to steal the pinfall itself. With only Cabana and Brown left, the crowd was 100% by the Chicago, Illinois native and in the end the dreams of Brown debuting and immediately becoming #1 contender to the belt were destroyed when he went to the top rope and Cabana simply pushed him out of the ring so Brown was at least able to remain strong in defeat.

Post match Cabana took the mic to put over all three of his opponents and state that he considered the UK and England a second home even if he hadn't been back home in a while. He said that while he loved coming to the UK, he was at his stage in his career that he needed something more. He needed to win a Heavyweight Title or else there was no more reason for him to keep coming back to England. But he felt so confident that he could be the man to end Sha Samuels current 21 month reign as Undisputed British Heavyweight Champion that he would never return to the UK if he lost. So the first match announced for the 31st of March event, again in Sittingbourne, was Sha Samuels vs Colt Cabana in a Title vs UK career match for the Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship at a show appropriately titled "High Stakes". March 31st will also see the return of Prince Devit to defend his Undisputed British Cruiserweight Championship.

I'd begged and pleaded with promoters up and down the country to book Zack vs MK in a singles match for over six months. From the first match of MK's I first saw I immediately saw the potential in a match between the two as they both have very similar styles and the same kind of presentation, work ethic and mindset to going all out every match. I got a teaser as they faced off in a tag match for Southside in August and the moments in which they shared the ring were absolutely blinding. So I was over the moon when RevPro announced that finally a singles match between the two would happen. But then after months of waiting for it to finally happen, the expectations I'd built on this match after so long of proclaiming it a UK dream match... Could the reality live up to the dream? Would the match live up to the hype that I'd built up in my head? Yes it damn well did. This match was AWESOME and exceeded my expectations. Zack re-affirmed my belief that he is the best wrestler in England still currently plying his trade on these shores - Although believe me at this rate it's not going to be for much longer as either Japan or America will take him full time in the near future - And that MK McKinnan, along with Noam Dar, is the future of the British wrestling scene.

The match started off intense with both men charging at each other with yakuza kicks at the same time. Then came an insane sequence where both men blocked kicks to the shins, jumped over sweeping low kicks and ducked under high kicks that would have taken each others heads off. MK almost didn't avoid Zack's last kick as it swung wildly and clipped his face as he pulled his head away. Zack even got the first armbar out of the match from nowhere as MK quickly had to get to the ropes. From there they locked up with fingers clasped in a test of strength as then Zack threw MK down onto the ground with a judo throw. They kept a tight hold as MK struggled back up to his feet and then the two exchanged japanese sleeper holds and MK was even able to power Zack above his head and over when they were back to back in lock. Zack then broke that up and that's when the elbows and kicks started. And they were some of the hardest kicks I've ever heard. This was called a "proving ground" match for MK for a reason as not only did he have to prove he belonged in a RevPro ring, he had to prove he belonged in the same ring as Zack Sabre Jnr and survive a beating in the form of stiff kicks and his arm being contorted in ways it should not bend. MK celebrated his 21st birthday only the day before the show so while he and Zack aren't too far apart in age, generation wise Zack is a few steps above so MK had to be aggressive and really lay in those kicks and elbows, and Zack really was encouraging him to bring his best and allow MK's kicks just so he could return with a few receipts of his own. I know it's been said that MK does on occasion have the tendency to botch here and there, but there were only two instances and both added to this match. The first was MK barely moving out of the way of Zack's kick at the beginning of the match, the second came when MK on the top rope attempted to leap over Zack but instead his shins caught Zack's arms as Zack had to raise his arms to protect himself, but Zack then kicked MK on the mat showing that even something less than perfect can still tell it's own story as it showed Zack was above MK and McKinnan still had a lot further to go. Considering they went almost 15 minutes with high-impact strikes, submissions, counters, reversals, technical wrestling all at a fast pace, they never once left the ring outside of Zack's charging kick towards MK at the ropes hitting so hard the momentum took Zack over the top rope in the process. Considering it felt natural for Zack to take the win with how it seemed like he was always a step ahead of MK and that this was MK's proving ground match to show to the RevPro audience what he could do when fully unleashed but against someone who was *the* guy in Sittingbourne, they did have me on a few near-falls with MK's insane reverse rana folding Zack in half, his shining wizard getting a close two count and also MK rolling Zack's arm-bar attempt into a desperation pin-fall that very nearly came close to ending the match. In the end MK survived repeated arm-bar attempts but after Zack's running penalty kick which MK was able to miraculously kick out of, yet another arm-bar with Zack really wrenching and twisting away at the arm forced him into having to tap out. The crowd gave a deserved roaring ovation to the end of the match as a triumphant Zack made the "belt" motion, clearly having eyes on Prince Devitt's Undisputed British Cruiserweight Championship. But as MK stood in the middle of the ring, defeated and with a bloody noise, the crowd gave him an ovation that showed he was to be a future star in Sittingboune and potentially the man to replace Zack down the line if Zack ever leaves these shores full time. Incredible match and you really have to go out of your way to see it. I would pay good money towards a rematch.

After that match a lot of wrestlers would be intimidated to follow that so Project Ego successfully defending the British Tag Team Championships against The Hunter Brothers went down a different path. The Hunters made their RevPro debuts in November against Ego in the promotions debut in St Ives, Cambridge so that match was second on the card in a strong face vs heel dynamic in a simple yet very good tag match in front of a brand new audience. At the December show both teams went all out as The Hunters beat The London Riots in a match that showed them at their absolute best in their Sittingbourne debut and Ego had a genuine MOTYC against The LDR's that was high-end state of the art modern tag team wrestling that showed Ego are at the top of the food chain when it comes to RevPro. Things started gentle with some comedy as Ego declared Hunters to look like "little girls" with their long hair and both Kirby and Travis wrenched an arm each and then planted a kiss on either of Lee's cheeks. On the third attempt Lee was able to duck and avoid both so Ego ended up kissing each other - Kirby claimed Trav slipped the tongue in. After that the two had a very back and forth wrestling match. The Hunters wrenched Travis' arms with multiple tags in and out leading to either man coming down from the top rope with a double axe handle onto the arm. The Hunters hit topes over the top rope to both members of Ego outside the ring. Jim Hunter tried to swing through the ring ropes immediately to DDT Travis only for him to reverse it and northern lights suplex Jim into the turnbuckle. But then when Jim attempted it the second time he finally hit the DVD. The match escalated as it kept building up and up but in the end it was Project Ego taking the win. Very good tag team match. I know a best of three isn't required after Ego took the first time, but I wouldn't mind a trilogy from this series.

The main event was everything a main event needs to be. It had the entire crowd invested whether you were a Spud or Marty fan. This issue had been building for so long now that it had to come to a close before Spud left for America and there wasn't a more fitting place in Sittingbourne almost a year after the physical threads from Spud started to Marty at least year's No Escape 2012 show. This really felt like a main event match. Spud got the loudest ovation of the night and eventhough Scurll was the face and victim in the feud, events dictated in TNA's British Bootcamp meant the crowd was 70/30 in Spud's favour, especially with this likely to be his last Sittingbourne appearance, but Scurll did win the crowd round slightly by the end to a 50/50 split. Spud did well to neither reject nor reciprocate the crowds appreciation, instead he was fully in the task at hand to get his hands on Marty in what looks to be their last ever match after a year plus feud and gain some retribution over his loss to Scurll last time they faced at RevPro in June. It was intense, it was heated, it was more of a scrap and a fight than it was a wrestling match although plenty of wrestling moves were used from Scurll's second rope suplex back inside the ring to Spud and Spud's code red that I'd only seen him bring back to his offense in December. But this match was billed as No Holds Barred so any fancy wrestling skills were largely ignored over punching, kicking, clawing, scratching and biting. They brawled in the ring. They brawled outside the ring. Spud brought a chair into the ring - Not a steel chair, I'm talking about a heavy un-adjustable wooden chair - That he rammed into Scurll's stomach and then dumped it right ontop of his body right on his arm. I can't remember if it was Spud or Scurll - I'm leaning towards Spud - Who brought the back of drawing pins into the ring and then poured them down onto the canvas. Scurll was the first one to really look likely to send the other man down into the pins, but when he had Spud up on his shoulders for a death valley driver, Spud wriggled free and wrapped an arm around Scurll's neck in a sleeper hold. Scurll succumbed and went down onto the floor, but refused to allow himself be beaten by Spud. He powered himself back up, Spud still on his back, and then fall backwards onto the drawing pins with Spud's back taking the full brunt of them. But Scurll wasn't finished there. He brought Spud back up to his feet, declared that their issue, their year long running feud of burning hatred in which Spud had costed him two RevPro Title's and his big moment at RevPro's largest show of the year, was finally over and then picked Spud up with that death valley driver he attempted earlier, Spud for the second time going back first onto those drawing pins and Marty got the three count in a match that lasted over 20 minutes but at the time did not feel that way at all. Great end to the night, it was more story than moves but the big visuals like Scurll telling Spud to his face that it all ended here before the DVD onto the drawing pins will be something that RevPro can use in video packages for years.

This is so far my favourite show of the year. You had a fantastic main event that suitably brought to a close a year long rivalry to an end while being a fitting send off for Rockstar Spud. An incredible exhibition match between Zack and MK in the style of wrestling that I love featuring two of England's best right now. Two completely different yet equally entertaining cruiserweight matches. A great tag team between two of the UK's finest tag teams right now. And a heavyweight four way made special by a rare appearance by Colt Cabana and what his win means for RevPro's next show. This was one of the best Sittingbourne shows I've ever seen and RevPro usually stands for "Pro Wrestling At It's Best" due to featuring the best of England upping their games against the best wrestlers in the entire world. On this show however it was "British Pro Wrestling At It's Best" and really showed just how strong and talented the UK roster is as a whole right now. While the show may have seemed very cruiserweight heavy at first glance, each match had it's own identity and uniqueness so that the entire card was varied. I would urge anyone with a love of BritWres to pick this show up on DVD and be at Sittingbourne on March 31st. Unless that's the day you're flying out to America...... Frack.

Wrestling Legends Split Over Triple H By Shaun Nichols

In the last couple of weeks Triple H was able to do something that most wrestling fans had thought was impossible, he had after several months managed to convince Bruno Sammartino to once again become a part of the WWE family and accept an invitation to join the WWE Hall of Fame. Also he found himself being criticised by Bret Hart in an interview with the UK's Wrestletalk. So let's have a closer look at both of these stories.

First the good news, Sammartino had almost become as well known for his criticism of the WWF/WWE over the last 25 years then as he was for being the legendary WWWF Champion in the 1960s and 1970s. This caused the WWE quite a lot of problems when they decided to launch their own version of a Hall of Fame which started in 1993 with the sole induction of Andre the Giant.

As the years rolled by more voices were raised that it was impossible to treat the WWE Hall of Fame seriously when legends like Bruno Sammartino were missing when in the last few years we have seen the likes of Koko B Ware, 'Hacksaw' Jim Duggan and Wendi Richter. Many of the wrestlers just saw the opportunity of grabbing a quick payday and really didn't see it as anything more than that. More than one inductee has used ebay to sell their HOF ring stating that it meant nothing to them compared to getting inducted into Cauliflower Alley's Hall of Fame.

Sammartino's main objection to the promotion was the blatant use of steroids in the 1980's and he became a regular interviewee when the steroid scandal broke in the early 1990s. He also was very critical of the product in the 'Attitude Era' which he saw as vulgar and was very much reliant on profanity and use of nudity.

Both of those have changed over the last several years, the WWE has gone down a PG road, steroids are certainly no where near the factor they had been in previous decades. A doctor called Dr Maroon who had operated on Bruno a number of times was employed in a key position by the WWE and certainly helped convince him that the company was treating drug use seriously and they were actively trying to stop it from happening. They pointed to Wellness failures which led to suspensions, and should a wrestler fail three times then they would be terminated.

However Sammartino still needed to be convinced, this obviously was not going to be done by Vince McMahon so it was left to Triple H to try and strike a deal. Unlike a lot of the stars of the past, Sammartino was not interested in appearing just for the sake it. He had appeared at a number of ROH shows at the past, in part as a way to convince fans that the ROH product was the best wrestling product.
Even a few weeks ago it seemed likely that Triple H would fail, although they liked one another personally and Bruno saw him as honest and acting with integrity it didn't look all that promising. Bruno had stated that if he didn't agree to be inducted in 2013 then it would be likely that he would never agree to be inducted.

For Triple H this could be argued that this really was a make or break attempt, his two big signings he had made for the WWE in Sin Cara & Kharma which had for various reasons failed. He needed a big win to show that he could get the job done and act in the right way to do so. By getting Bruno into the Hall of Fame and also setting the stage for DVD boxsets, appearances on the Legends Roundtable and maybe tie-ins with documentaries and films which are being made about Bruno is a major coup for Triple H and should be seen as a great success for him.

Less promising for him was Bret Hart's recent interview about him. The timing of it seems particularly strange, Triple H's influence in the company is only going to strengthen in the coming years so from a political point of view it does not make any sense for Bret to be critical of him. There is no indication that Bret is on bad terms with the company as he made a cameo at the Royal Rumble in order to put over Alberto Del Rio as the 'Mexican Bret Hart' and the WWE is scheduled to release another 3 disc boxset this year called Bret Hart: The Dungeon Years which obviously will give Bret a nice payday through royalties.

Although Bret and Triple H are clearly not great friends, some of his comments seemed to contradict one another. He often called Hunter a 'good wrestler' or a 'decent wrestler' but then says he was nothing special and that he just showed up and the WWE made him a star. He then went onto say that Hunter had never had a great match which was quite the statement.

I don't know what Bret considers to be a great match, but I think Triple H has had a number of great matches and I'm not even that big a fan of Hunter. His '3 Stages of Hell' match against Steve Austin at No Way Out 2001 PPV was probably in the top ten matches in the WWF/WWE in the last 15 years. He had excellent matches with Cactus Jack, a shockingly good 60 minute match with The Rock to name some really obvious examples.

Bret goes on to say that he thought Triple H's match with The Undertaker at last years Wrestlemania was probably a 3 or 4/10, due to the fact Bret says he knew exactly what was going to happen before he actually saw it. While most fans rated it well over ****, Bret thought it would be lucky to get ** star rating.

In a later interview he slightly backtracked by saying that he was referring to Triple H's matches in the time they were both actively working for the company which would have been 1995 to 1997. That he hasn't seen Triple H's matches in the last 10 years and that it wouldn't be fair to comment on him but he stands by his thoughts that he was average. That he had never seen Hunter contribute anything creative or suggest ideas for his matches, or that he couldn't change up his style if the fans were not reacting as expected noting Triple H's matches with Bill Goldberg as examples of that.

As I've said it does seem strange that Bret has chosen to be vocal about Triple H in the last couple of weeks, although he seems to have mended his bridges with Vince and Shawn it does not appear that he has done so with Hunter.

Tuesday 12 February 2013

SouthSide Wrestling's Opportunity Knocks (09/02/13) Review By Robert Shade

Follow Robert on twitter @ShadeTheShoot

(All Picture Credits to Brett Hadley)

This show demonstrated all that is good in UK wrestling right now and is the start of what will be an outstanding year for Southside Wrestling, the growth of this promotion given the quality of matches on offer and how smoothly it is put together is assured and I am particulary looking forward to later in the year to Speed King 2 which has the potential to be one of THE tournaments globally for wrestlers to compete in such is the worldwide quality of the card being put together.

Back to this show though.

Opener was a very good match in a clash of styles between two of the UK's best talents T Bone and El Ligero, this match ebbed and flowed until in the end the sheer size of T Bone I think made the telling difference and Ligero left defeated but far from disgraced.

Second match was the second semi final in the mini tournament to deliver the number 1 contender for the SWE title with the opening match being the first semi final, this second match was my first viewing of Jonny Storm who was up against the guy who has to be the most talented 18 year old wrestler in the country Robbie X, this was a match that was bewildering at times given the speed at which moves were executed, it was a technically supreme match up in the end won by Storm but Robbie X in some ways was as much a winner as Storm given the disparity in experience yet how well Robbie held his own a fact acknowledged by the classy Storm holding up Robbie X's hand at the end.

However sadly this moment of British class was soon overshadowed by the arrival of the House Of Pain lowlifes Stixx and his sidekick (boyfriend?) Harvey Dale both of whom go around the country taking on wrestlers much more talented than themselves but obtaining wins by cheating and general underhand methods.

Stixx who lost his title in December fair and square came out moaning like the bitch he is about how it was all so unfair that he was not in the this tournament and because of that later on in the night Storm would pay the price, during this Harvey Dale was looking like a man who was beaten and had lost his mind, this he maintained throughout the night as did his physical closeness to Stixx prompting the endless chants later on of Stixx's boyfriend.

Moving away from that we went onto The Predators defending their tag titles against a new team called Battle Squad Awesome which is comprised of Diamond Dave Andrews and Danny Chase, two guys I have seen on a number of occasions and been massively impressed with, typical of Southside who not only have the top UK stars and imports on but also recognise the best young UK talent and include them on the shows as well, this was a terrific match which went one way then the other, real good old fashioned tag team stuff, BSA certainly had the edge in terms of speed and technical quality but The Predators had the edge in experience and also knowledge of underhand tactics - ironically they also managed by Harvey Dale - see the link with underhand! In the end The Predators suprerior ability to manipulate a referee who needs to remember finishing off his hairstyle before coming into the ring was the telling factor and they retained but Battle Squad Awesome will impress anywhere that they go.

Final match before the interval was the monster Bam Bam Barton against the new Mexicana on the show Loco Imbecile, Bam Bam was scary a huge huge fellow who eyeballed a fan for having the audacity to boo him before the match, Bam Bam at one point I thought was going to tear the ring apart with his hands such was the anger of this beast but Loco who had the crowd roaring with approval managed a roll up and is now in possession of a 100% career win record!

After the interval we had the aforementioned Stixx along with his boyfriend Harvey Dale against the star import Colt Cabana, once the match actually started which took some doing as Stixx could not bear to be parted from Harvey long enough to do a match Colt soon embarrassed his less talented opponent making a mockery of the slowness of Stixx and clearly demonstrating why Stixx needs Harvey Dale to aid him to cheat his way to wins, as the match progressed the atmosphere was electric with chants of Colt Cabana loud and almost lasting for the entire duration of the match, during this Stixx slowly started to gain the edge over Colt using his superior size and strength to advantage whilst on the outside his boyfriend was busy distracting the peacock headed ref Russ, eventually Stixx gained the win due to no surprise here Harvey interfering from the outside, the happy ending to this was that Colt attacked Harvey during all of this and ripped the dreaded tassled shirt to shreds leaving Harvey so emotionally distraught he was in no mood to celebrate the win of Stixx!

Then we came onto the final of the mini tournament after which the show was named 'Opportunity Knocks!' This was a brutal encounter between Storm and T Bone which went all over the arena, included use of tables and the bar, the sheer brutality of this had to be seen to be believed, the technical excellence of both guys as well when in the ring was top class, the crowd were heavily into this match which really did feel like a big match, nobody deserved to lose this but sadly due to the previously promised interference of that showstar for all things bad Stixx came out and ensured that the much more talented Storm lost meaning that T Bone now will have a title shot and also I assume completes the heel turn of T Bone which he had started at the previous Southside show when he attacked his own tag partner Mad Man Manson.

So the main event came, SWE title match, Max Angelus vs RJ Singh, the SWE title is one of the most prestigious titles in the country, partly due to the rise in prominence of the promotion and also partly due to the fact that Southside focus on quality wrestlers being in their title hunt, The match was again brutal, it just shows how important this title is, again it went all over the arena, you just felt that neither guy would give up, signature moves and finishers applied and kicked out of, crowd gasping to believe the quality of what was unfolding in front of them, RJ Singh desparate to obtain this title which would really elevate him in the UK picture such is the prestige attached to the SWE title, Angelus the guy who possesses THE most lethal kicks in the UK refusing to yield, over and over again they went, the crowd wincing at the sheer impact of the moves, the impact noise going through you like a bullet so sharp were the contacts, in the end the man who had waited so long to cash in his money in the bank Mr Angelus emerged victorious to set up I assume a Max Angelus vs T Bone bout at a future event, that is something I want to see!!!

Throughout this show which was a new venue for SWE, the atmosphere was febrile, the whole event felt wild, the crowd involvement was excellent, the in ring wrestling was of the highest quality and the promo's cut as well really went to the core, I shall be back the next time they visit Letchworth the venue delivers and so do the promotion!


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