All the belts are up for grabs as 1PW continues their comeback with a one-night tournament for the World title, in addition to a scramble match, a ladder match and a gauntlet.
1PW World Heavyweight Championship Tournament First Round: Will Ospreay pinned Bobby Fish in 12:05 (***¼)
1PW World Heavyweight Championship Tournament First Round, No Disqualification: Mark Haskins pinned Ulf Herman in 8:34 (**¼)
1PW World Heavyweight Championship Tournament First Round: Lance Archer pinned Nathan Cruz in 9:38 (**¾)
1PW World Heavyweight Championship Tournament First Round: Cara Noir submitted Martin Stone in 13:13 (***)
Ladder Match: Leon Slater & Man Like DeReiss defeated Ace Austin & Chris Bey, FLash Morgan Webster & Mark Andrews and Zachary Wents in 19:41 to win the 1PW Tag Team Championship (***¼)
Robbie X won the 1PW Openweight Championship in a scramble match in 20:00 (***½)
Lizzy Evo won a gauntlet match in 18:54 to win the 1PW Women’s World Championship (**½)
1PW World Heavyweight Championship Tournament Final: Will Ospreay pinned Cara Noir, Mark Haskins & Lance Archer in 14:55 to win the 1PW World Heavyweight Championship (***¼)
It’s been a while since I sat down and watched a “full” 1PW show – having been impressed by the Will Ospreay/Robbie X match from Lincoln that they dropped on YouTube recently, I thought it’d be worth taking in the show that crowned a bunch of new champions. For those unfamiliar, this isn’t 1PW’s first rodeo. Far from it. Rebooting in October 2022 after 11 years away, there was a warranted degree of cynicism – but to their credit, the “new new” 1PW’s packed in crowds between Doncaster and Lincoln… and with titles having obviously been vacated in 2011, the need was to crown a set of new champions, in addition to 1PW’s first women’s champion.
We open with an inspirational video package of old-1PW footage, including a thumbtack/fire table spot that is burned into my memory from back in the day… jumping into decidedly-higher-quality footage from nu-1PW… and we’re off to the Doncaster Dome, with Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts providing sponsorship. Joe Dombrowski’s on commentary, while Stevie Aaron’s our ring announcer. Just like old days. What isn’t “like old days” is the 1PW set-up, which is reminiscent of an Attitude-era Raw, with the video screens and side bars.
1PW World Heavyweight Championship Tournament First Round: Will Ospreay vs. Bobby Fish
This was Ospreay’s first match back after recovering from a shoulder injury… and it’s quite the style clash.
Ospreay tried to neutralise it, taking Fish outside for a plancha in the opening seconds before chops and kicks led to a stand-off of sorts. Fish was hell-bent on going after Ospreay with kicks, including one that was more or less a leg sweep on the apron, as Fish worked to keep Ospreay on the mat. A handspring enziguiri turns it around for Ospreay, as did a flying forearm to the back of the head, before Greg Burridge – who’s taken a ringside “coaching” role with Ospreay here – tried to gee him onto victory. Fish has another burst of offence, but Ospreay cuts off the kicks with one of his own.
Fish tries again with an avalanche Falcon arrow, which nearly won it, before Ospreay almost won with a Darby Allin-like bridge out of a heel hook. In the end, a Hidden Blade booked Ospreay’s final berth after a pretty solid sprint – even if you never bought Fish winning. ***¼
Post-match, Stevie Aaron gets a word with Ospreay at ringside, but the house mic’s not gotten patched into the live feed as Ospreay declared himself the “one pro wrestler” to take the title.
Backstage, Jessy Maria’s instantly interrupted by Vicky Haskins who introduces Mark Haskins… his match is now no-DQ against someone who’s very familiar with relaxed rules.
No Disqualification Match, 1PW World Heavyweight Championship Tournament First Round: Mark Haskins vs. Ulf Herman
A battle of two 1PW originals – I’m old enough to have seen Haskins as a “chav” back in the day in Doncaster… and Ulf Herman spit fire to Rammstein.
Haskins attacks Herman from behind to get us going, but Ulf’s big boot sends Haskins packing. Baseball slides see Herman wreck the guard rails ahead of a tope from Haskins, while a second one’s swatted away with a bin shot.
Herman’s bleeding early amid the plunder, as Haskins kept looking for legal shortcuts… before having chairs and bins passed to him by Vicky Haskins at ringside. Two chairs get placed on their sides by Haskins… who eventually took a sidewalk slam into those suckers. Vicky trips Herman pretty much straight away afterwards, but it’s shrugged off as Herman caught off Haskins and superplexed him into a pair of chairs. Vicky Haskins pulls out a fire extinguisher after Ulf had gotten a table. She knows what could be next… as did the crowd, whose chants for fire were met with Vicky blasting Ulf with the extinguisher, before a low blow and a Busaiku knee got Haskins the win. This wasn’t bad, but it felt like a bit of a greatest hits of Ulf – with the negativity coming when Vicky stopped anything close to a table spot. **¼
Post-match, Ulf vowed to come back stronger than ever…
We’re then backstage with Jessy and Greg Burridge… Greg’s a little lost for words though and walks off.
1PW World Heavyweight Championship Tournament First Round: Nathan Cruz vs. Lance Archer
Cruz was apparently shocked at the news that his manager, Matt Myers, was banned from ringside. I mean, Myers wasn’t with him, so it can’t have been that much of a shock. Maybe Chuck Wood’ll make an appearance?
We’ve got Found Plunder before the bell as Rich Swift confiscates some brass knuckles from Cruz before the bell… and it’s all Archer from the off. Cruz tries to cut off Archer, but runs into a big boot as Archer threatened to shut this one down in a hurry. Archer takes things outside, where he continues to lay waste to Cruz around ringside… Cruz manages to find a way back in, catching Archer out with a plancha before posting the big man. Cruz demands the referee count faster, but Archer makes it back to the ring in time, prompting Cruz to dig deep for a swandive headbutt off the top… which gets a one-count.
A chop block from Cruz takes down Archer – and disappointingly didn’t get any “that’s a 15-yard penalty” lines from commentary. Those were a bit of a sore point for Cruz’s Jets last year… staying on the knee before we got a ref bump after Archer shoved Cruz away. Some pickpocketing gets Cruz his brass knuckles back, but Archer cuts him off with a chokeslam as we get my favourite… a visual cover while the ref’s obviously down. Cruz uses the knuckles anyway, then pulled the referee over to count the pin… but D’Lo Brown’s music and entrance surprises everyone, including the ref, who stops counting. Why? He hits the ring and berates Cruz, before pulling out a ref’s shirt from his hoody. A big boot and a lariat from Archer lands, and that’s your lot as D’Lo holding a ref’s shirt apparently makes his count valid. Until the D’Lo stuff, this was fine, but the last few moments were a big ol’ “not my graps.” **¾
Archer gets the mic after the match, but again, it’s not patched through to the live mix.
James Storm, Lance Archer, Trey Miguel, Zachary Wentz and Shigehiro Irie are all announced for Devil’s Due in Lincoln in June…
1PW World Heavyweight Championship Tournament First Round: Cara Noir vs. Martin Stone
The last of our first round matches, and we’ve got… shadow puppetry with Cara Noir?
This is another styles clash, with Stone having seemingly missed all of 2022 (per Cagematch) with injury. They keep it grounded to start, with Cara Noir looking to wear down Stone, before Stone pulled down a leapfrog attempt moments later. Stone took control as they brawled around ringside, retaining control back in the ring as he worked over Cara’s bare feet. Stone gets a shoe from a fan in the crowd… and as luck would have it, it fits Cara. Cinderella WILL go to the ball! It sparked Cara back into life as a neckbreaker picked up a near-fall, only to get wiped out with a clothesline. Another clothesline out of the corner’s good for a near-fall, while a crossface pushed Stone closer to victory… but Cara rolled out and fired back with a pair of the Swan Woo dropkicks before a rear naked choke out of the corner forced a quick stoppage. This one ended suddenly – which that choke should do… ***
We’ve got another post-match mic job, but Martin’s barely audible, so I’m going to hit fast-forward…
Backstage, Zachary Wentz tells us that Trey Miguel isn’t at the show… so he’s going to be representing the Rascalz in the ladder match by himself.
Ladder Match for 1PW Tag Team Championship: Zachary Wentz vs. Subculture (Flash Morgan Webster & Mark Andrews) vs. Bullet Club (Ace Austin & Chris Bey) vs. Boisterous Behaviour (Leon Slater & Man Like DeReiss)
We’ve got two teams here that hold gold in other promotions – and a Rascal who’s got a massive hurdle to overcome here.
Things spill outside in the opening minute, as Wentz tried to sneak up the ladder as the odd one out, but Subculture get rid of him as Slater and DeReiss cut off some more ladder scaling. Webster straddles a ladder and gets it pulled into his groin repeatedly by DeReiss, before Mark Andrews continued to buck the ladder. Wentz has another flurry, but Bey and Austin come in to try their luck, but it’s too early as Bey jumps down as the Bullet Club tandem instead went after the NORTH tag champs (that’s the “smaller promotion” that was referred to… which felt a little unnecessary) in Boisterous Behaviour. It doesn’t work in their favour this time, but it’s Subculture in to circle the ladder and break up the lads’ climbing attempt, with some help from Bey and Austin.
The odd man out in Wentz returns, but he needs a ladder for himself… he’s able to clear everyone off, but Austin propelled Bey into a neat cutter for Wentz to stop that. Austin and DeReiss scrap atop a ladder, but Bey pushes the ladder away as we kept plugging on. Things get a little innovative as DeReiss and Slater combine for a powerbomb/Blockbuster off the ladder, then a 3D, before Subculture returned to stop them in their tracks. Austin and Bey look to interject themselves again, sandwiching Andrews with knees on the apron before Bey scaled a ladder on the outside… and crashed and burned as he looked to leap onto Andrews in the ring. Referees instantly helped Bey to the back, as Wentz tried to clear a path through by himself… culminating in him dropping a ladder onto Slater.
Dani Luna’s out to shove Wentz off a ladder as he was about to secure the titles… then help Subculture, who I guess turned baddies here? DeReiss is trapped under ladders… but he manages to knock Webster and Andrews down before clearing house on Subculture… Slater’s in for an over-the-ringpost tope con giro, returning to the ring as they climbed the ladders for the final time, grabbing the tag titles to win. Sadly, the Chris Bey bump is probably going to be the main takeaway here, but this was a pretty decent ladder match. ***¼
Vignette time… Mike Bailey, Lance Archer, John Morrison and Rhino are headed to 1PW Know Your Enemy… at a date TBC.
1PW Openweight Championship: Robbie X vs. Callum Newman vs. Scotty Rawk vs. Lio Rush vs. Luke Jacobs vs. Frankie Kazarian
We’re running under WWE’s “Championship Scramble” rules – so we’re getting 20-minutes here, no matter what, with the last person to score a decision winning the title. There’s no “pin the interim champion” stipulation either…
They’ve got a clock on-screen throughout, which was a good touch for the inevitable clock-beating drama late on as everyone paired up to begin with. Much like the preceding ladder match, things were a little close with the cramped ringside space, so everyone heads in to whiff on their moves before the indie-riffic dropkick stand-off took place. Out of the six names here, Rawk’s perhaps the one I’m the least familiar with, but he impressed early on in the match, before Newman and Robbie X turned up the tempo and ended up kicking each other in the head. Luke Jacobs goes nuts with German suplexes as he stacked up everyone but Kaz into the corner for some baseball slide dropkicks, ahead of a powerbomb to Rawk at 4:49 to become the “interim” champion.
Rush and Kazarian come in to change the face of contest, but Rush almost takes a fall courtesy of a F5/Flatliner combo from Callum Newman. Misdirection from Rush gave him an opening, but the match descended into a Parade of Moves once more as we got back to Newman and Robbie X. Robbie X has to abort a Spiral Tap, and ends up getting caught in a Figure Four by Kazarian after a bad landing… but it’s not Robbie X who’s involved in the next decision, as Rawk tried to go after Kazarian, only to get cradled at 9:44 as poor Scotty took the first two falls. Kaz has ten minutes to last, but goes on the offensive as we end up with a stacked-up series of submissions that Luke Jacobs stomped apart.
Rawk tries to make a dent in things, but his springboard’s knocked away by Jacobs as I ponder whether I’d unknowingly sat next to a future Robbie X in the front row back in the day. Anyways, Rawk remains luckless, conceding a third fall as Lio Rush took the interim mantle after the Final Hour at 12:10. Another Parade of Moves breaks out, but this time Rawk actually gets a W at 13:13 after he fell onto Robbie X after connecting with a roundhouse kick. We’re back to the Parade of Moves again, ending with Luke Jacobs spoiling things for Frankie Kazarian, before Lio Rush’s springboard moonsault to the outside caught out Luke. Robbie X had his dive spoiled, but he adds an Orihara moonsault into the pile as everyone negotiated the cramped ringside area. Callum Newman’s got a dive as well, scoring a flip senton, before he blitzed Rawk back inside as an eventual implant DDT got Newman the interim moniker at 16:24. Everyone but Robbie X has had a run as interim champion at this point, but it’s Kazarian who regains “it” with two minutes left after he made Rush tap to a chicken wing.
Kazarian looks to play keepaway to ride out the clock – but he doesn’t have to be beaten to lose the title. Nevertheless, Luke Jacobs snatches “it” at 18:59 with a roll-up, before he rolled to the outside after Robbie X snuck in to hit the X-Claimation. Robbie turned his sights onto Kazarian as we hit the final 40 seconds, avoiding a slingshot cutter before getting a fall with the X-Claimation with 12 seconds left… and was able to ride out the clock to leave the match with the title despite everyone dogpiling Robbie at the bell. As a match, I liked the idea of the timed-scramble, and its execution as it wasn’t a whole lot of dives… mostly because they were toned down because of the tight ringside area. ***½
“Earlier today” there was a press conference ahead of the women’s title gauntlet. Martina and Lizzy Evo argue as background music tries to drown them out… they get have a pull-apart as various officials tried to separate them.
Gauntlet For The Gold for 1PW Women’s World Championship: Lizzy Evo vs. Xia Brookside vs. Millie McKenzie vs. Amale vs. Taonga vs. Dani Luna vs. Martina
We’re running under TNA/Impact gauntlet rules – it’s a Royal Rumble until we get to the final two, which then turns into a regular match with no DQ or count-outs. Lizzy Evo’s in at one, joined by Xia Brookside at two, which is a little nod to the handful who watched NXT UK at the end…
Brookside and Evo trade wristlocks to start, but Xia’s caught on the top rope early… she recovers though with a hanging neckbreaker as the counter brings in Millie McKenzie at number three. D’Lo Brown joins commentary at this point, as McKenzie and Brookside try to gang up on Evo for an elimination. Everyone counts down as Amale joins the fray… Evo tries to charge in with a knee strike in the corner but misses, then jarred her ankle after leaping over Amale. She’s checked by referees at ringside as McKenzie and Xia focus on Amale… and we’re counting again for the entrance of Taonga. We’re rushing through additions it seems, with Dani Luna in at number six as medics tended to Evo.
Amale flies with a dive before Luna could make it to the ring, but a second one’s cut off as she’s spun into a knee strike by Luna instead. It’s at this point I remember we’ve got over-the-top eliminations, as Luna ran wild until Martina came out to not-Sandstorm. So we’ve got all seven women in the match without any eliminations. Xia’s the first one out after Martina charged her off the apron… Amale’s next after a low bridge from Martina… before Taonga put the brakes on things. Millie McKenzie’s spear softens up Taonga before chucking her out, as Millie then turned her sights towards Dani Luna with a series of German suplexes. Luna retorts with a suplex that threw Millie over the top to the floor… before Martina ran in and lifted Dani over the top. Luna recovers again, landing a powerbomb and a lariat before headscissors from Martina took Dani over the top to the floor… and all of a sudden we’re down to the final two, and wouldn’t you know it, it’s the pairing that had the pull-apart. Funny how that works!
So we’re now dealing with a singles match, with Lizzy Evo having not been eliminated earlier. Lizzy pulls herself up and hobbles into the ring as her and Martina have a scrap. Evo’s knee gives out again as Martina went to take her into the ropes… she stays down as medics check on her, only for one of the medics to run into the ring and clock Martina with a shoe. A chokeslam follows, and Lizzy’s suddenly fit and healthy enough to score the pin – a finish that was a little underwhelming for the match. **½
Post-match, Lizzy celebrates as we’re told the mystery “medic” was Bo – Ulf Herman’s daughter. Lizzy takes the mic to brag about her win…
…we then have a montage of our four tournament finalists warming up… and then plugs June’s Devil’s Due show, featuring Matt Cardona.
1PW World Heavyweight Championship Tournament Final: Cara Noir vs. Mark Haskins vs. Lance Archer vs. Will Ospreay
We’ve not got elimination rules here – it’s one fall to a finish… and they announce at bell time that the winner of this is defending against Matt Cardona at Devil’s Due. It’s such a big announcement it knocks the live mic out of the mix!
The match quickly descends into the “two in, two out” format with Lance Archer dominating early on, before Ospreay and Cara Noir changed up the pace as Mark Haskins seemed hell-bent on stealing the win with roll-ups. Everyone chops Haskins, with Archer sinking him like a stone with a nice overhand chop, before Ospreay and Cara offered the other up for Archer to go after. We’re back to the revolving door as Haskins went to work on Ospreay, setting up for a camel clutch/high-angle Boston crab with Cara Noir. Archer’s back to cut off Haskins, going wild with big boots before we settled down with Ospreay and Cara once more. Haskins cuts off a Hidden Blade, rolling Ospreay into a Sharpshooter, only for Cara Noir to lock in a sleeperhold on Haskins… then Archer to add a claw to Cara.
Haskins pulls ahead with a death valley driver to Cara after that’s all broken, but it sparks up a Parade of Moves, culminating in an Archer chokeslam for a near-fall. Archer bring a table in – because multi-man matches are inherently no DQ – and goes to chokeslam Haskins through it. Vicky Haskins stops him… as did a low blow from Mark, before everyone swarmed him ahead of a Cerberus/Shield powerbomb through the wood. With no Archer, the other three pick up where they left off as we go to the near-falls and replays. Ospreay comes close with a Spanish Fly to Haskins, before Greg Burridge carried Vicky Haskins away as she went to interfere once more. Cara tries his luck with a rear naked choke to Haskins, but Ospreay’s pulled the ref towards him as Haskins was tapping from the choke. It doesn’t count though, and with Cara letting go of the hold, Ospreay charges up with a Hidden Blade to get the win. This picked up going into the final stretch, but by this point on the show I was pretty much done with multi-man matches – perhaps if we’d not had three other forms of the match on the card, eh? ***¼
As a complete package, 1PW is certainly miles ahead of their former selves – with production values streets ahead of anything else in the UK, but some of the booking choices, particularly in overloading a single show with gimmicks matches (even if it was to fill various titles), are absolutely things that your mileage will vary over. Well worth a watch, if only to see an alternative on the British scene…