3CW’s first trip of the year to Darlington saw new champion Rampage Brown have his first defence, as Martin Kirby provided the challenge.
We open with Gangster’s Paradise, but it’s not Allysin Kay – it’s the opening video package highlighting the events of the last few shows. Alex Gracie was scheduled to have had an instant rematch, but injury forced him out with Kirby getting his spot instead. Tom Campbell and Mike Groom are back on commentary, and we’re straight into action!
Joseph Conners vs. Justin Sysum
After a mammoth showing against Keith Lee, Justin Sysum’s got a more manageable opponent here in the shape of Joseph Conners… who’s weirdly in the opener after playing a part in that new trifecta that snatched control of the 3CW title a month earlier.
They keep things simple early, with Sysum and Conners trading holds, but it’s Conners who’s playing catch-up early as he fell to the outside from a Sysum dropkick. Back inside, a bulldog’s countered into a back suplex of sorts, as Conners took control, dropping a couple of elbows on the way to a near-fall.
A Sysum fight back’s delayed as he swapped out strikes for a release Fisherman’s suplex, before a three point stance led to a leaping clothesline and an Exploder suplex as Conners was rocked. A Ki Krusher almost gets the win for Sysum, only for him to get low bridged to the outside as the Hammer fell to the floor.
Sysum responds with that leaping spear from the floor, but his 450 splash misses as Conners comes right back with a slingshot DDT. When that gets a near-fall, Conners is nearly suckered into a small package before the Hammer of the Gods clothesline drew Nathan Cruz and Rampage Brown out to ringside for a distraction… which Conners duly took advantage of as he nails Sysum with the Don’t Look Down DDT for the win. Decent enough as an opener, and a good way to establish this new trifecta for new fans. **¾
The truck shows us a video from last summer’s 3CW Revolt, with Grado being offered a spot in Ace Athletic. After being told to lose weight, ended up throwing Ace Matthew’s face in that cake, and eight months on… we have this!
Ace Athletic (Ace Matthews & Benji) & Chuck Wood vs. Amir Jordan, El Ligero & Grado
There’s a gimmick here as both teams are allowed to use substitutes – a nice touch! Prince Ameen’s out on commentary, replacing Mike Groom, which might be a giveaway… especially since he’s instantly badmouthing Amir Jordan to keep that on/off feud going.
Apparently there’s two Benjis today, and we get a video from David Graves (who’s out injured) bragging about him being the big hitter of Ace Athletic because he beat Luke Menzies last time out. He’s got a substitute, and the addition of checkered shirts and a beanie hat gives it away: Chuck Wood, the wrestling lumberjack!
Chuck Wood, eh? That name is Amazing…
We finally start with Chuck Wood and Amir Jordan, with Chuck chopping away at the arm of Jordan to knock him down ahead of some slams and shoulder blocks. Jordan’s back with a nice hiptoss and a dropkick, before Benji and Ace somehow tagged in together… only for the pair of them to completely miss with shoulder tackles on Ligero. The gags continue as Matthews struggles to lift up Grado in a German suplex, before he and Ligero take Matthews down for a double elbow for a near-fall.
Things go from bad to worse as Benji gets knocked outside as Grado unleashed with Dusty punches and Bionic Elbows ahead of the double noggin knocker between the Ace Athletic guys. All of a sudden, Dara Diablo appears in the aisle with an El Ligero mask… which earns him a plancha as the pair of them fight to the back… somehow not being a DQ as the ref completely missed it all.
With a man down, Jordan dives onto the Ace Athletic team as Grado decides to… leap off the apron. Eh, it makes the crowd happy, but I’m not a fan. Grado tries to get Prince Ameen in as a substitute, but Ameen refuses as Amir has to deal with distractions. Ameen says on commentary that he really wants to see Jordan get his backside kicked, and he’s watching it as Matthews’ sliding lariat nearly gets the win.
The match gets a little hard to watch as commentary goes way overboard on the whole “you’re not going to help, Ameen?” wrinkle, with the crowd starting to join in egging on Ameen. In the meantime, Jordan almost gets the win with a sunset flip, but Benji stops him from tagging out to Grado… and there’s more interference from “Other Benji” as the interminable peer pressure continued until an enziguiri from Jordan finally prompted Ameen to throw down the headset and tag in.
Clotheslines, elbows and a wacky back heel kick saw Ameen clear house… a spinebuster lays out Chuck Wood before Ameen sidesteps away from Other Benji. Ameen gets his magic carpet, but rather than do the Whole New World splash, he tags back out before Grado nails Wood with an Ace crusher as Jordan’s senton bomb got the win. Ignoring the side story, this was a pretty decent match, but the whole “will he, won’t he?” was quickly becoming a chore to listen to. Subtlety was long thrown out of the window when Ameen finally tagged in. **¼
More peer pressure follows after the match as Amir gets Grado to dance, followed by Chuck Wood before Grado decked him with another Ace crusher. Ameen still won’t dance, as he walks away in disgust while Amir Jordan and Grado have a ball.
From the production truck, we’re told that 3CW will be introducing a women’s championship. Sammii Jayne’s got a bye to the semi-finals, where she’ll face the winner of Shax and Little Miss Roxxy… who face off next!
3CW Women’s Championship Tournament Quarter-Final: Shax vs. Little Miss Roxxy
Roxxy’s out on her own here, having been seconded by Satchel Jones and HT Drake in the past few shows – and she’s back in the relatively unfamiliar role as a babyface. This was the fourth meeting between the two, with NORTH having had them face off twice, while BEW paired them off the weekend before this.
From the off, we’ve got Roxxy and Shax going hold-for-hold, as Roxxy scores with a headlock takedown before she headstands out of some headscissors as Shax decides to just throw fists. Roxxy’s back with a rolling neckbreaker, but Shax heads outside for a breather… only to get caught as Roxxy catches her with chops by ringside.
Somehow, Shax makes it back inside first and catches Roxxy with a draping facebuster on her way back in. The debuting Shax keeps a little bit of control, but the crowd weren’t cottoning on as one kid in the crowd was really screaming his support for Roxxy… and it paid off too as she nails some clotheslines to get right back in it!
Roxxy corners Shax with a splash and a back elbow before nailing a Fisherman’s suplex out of the corner for a near-fall, but Shax is right back with a roll through into a running double knee strike to get her a two-count. A handstand Scorpio kick from Roxxy sets her up for a back cracker, but she can’t make a cover, and has to make do with a drop toe-hold to take Shax into the corner.
Shax escapes out of an Electric Chair, but she manages to catch Roxxy in the corner with a lungblower to come closer to victory. Roxxy’s quickly back in with a running kick in the corner, before… the hell? Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex?! One of the last folks I’d expected to have borrowed from Manami Toyota gets the win, as Roxxy booked her spot in the semis. A fun match, and I’m curious to see how the rest of the brackets fill out. **¾
Street Fight for 3CW Tag Team Championship: Rogues Gallery (Stan Kellitt & Leon Mercer) vs. Dormo Dynasty (Kid Richie & Chris Whitton) (c)
The pre-match video package bleeped out a naughty word that had been left untouched all the way throughout. The Rogues empty out some plunder and wait in the ring with some Singapore canes for their opponents… who come out in balaclavas with baseball bats. Not at all ominous, eh?
Stevie Aaron joins on commentary in place of Mike Groom here, except Chris Whitton hijacks the headset and gets slapped by Leon Mercer as the challengers jump their opponents. Kellitt goes straight for a table that was under the ring as Whitton and Richie head to the ring to arm themselves with chairs. They hit the ring and avoid chairshots and start to unload with canes and chairs on Whitton… before Richie gets a cane shot to the gut as well.
Richie’s set up in the corner as he has an open chair smashed into his nether regions, with Whitton taking more cane shots to the front and back. A White Russian legsweep to Richie nearly gets the Rogues Gallery their titles back, but Mercer grabs some vinyl records and whacks them over Whitton’s head as Tom Campbell almost bawled his eyes out on commentary. Kid Richie draws the line at a Phil Collins record… which gets returned to the radio DJ.
A ladder comes into play next, but the Dormo Dynasty use it to their effect as Whitton German suplexes Richie into a moonsault on the challengers… that’s almost throwing back to the prime of Jonny Storm and Jody Fleisch! The ladder comes into play again as Mercer’s slammed onto it before a Whitton senton gets a near-fall, and the double-teaming moves onto Kellitt.
Whitton calls for a table, but Mercer saves his partner from a superplex through it, using a baking tray as Kellitt uses a powerbomb to put Richie through it… only for Whitton to pull the ref out to save the titles. The Rogues nail Whitton with a Hart Attack clothesline to keep the near-falls going, as Kellitt looks to go up top… because he’s seen Richie laying on a table on the outside.
Richie moves away as Kellitt crashes and burned with a thud, leaving Mercer in there on his lonesome to take some Singapore cane shots for another near-fall! More chairs get thrown in as the champions set up four chairs for a landing pad… with Mercer taking a death valley driver onto the quartet of folded chairs for the win. A decisive win for the Dormo Dynasty after a nice little plunder-filled match – a little violent by 3CW standards, but you have to wonder where the Rogues Gallery go now after coming up short here. ***
Well, Chris Whitton declares that the Rogues Gallery won’t be getting another title shot, after the ringside camera (among the interlacing) caught a shot of some of the records smashed during the match.
Sons of Ulaid (Bás Bán & Rory Coyle) & Chris Renfrew vs. Screwface, HT Drake & Satchel Jones
Yay, I get to reach for ALT and 0225 a lot! This is meant to be the Sons of Ulaid against Drake and Jones… Rory Coyle gets the mic beforehand but the crowd chant “Kill All Gimmicks” at him first. Coyle gets the “who are ya?” treatment, as Chris Renfrew comes out from behind to attack Drake and Jones… only for Screwface to make a save as I guess this becomes a trios match?
The match spills onto the outside as Bán and Screwface trade blows… Satchel Jones leaps over Bán and nails a bodyscissors takedown, only for Coyle to take an enziguiri. Coyle blocks a monkey flip and levels Satchel with a clothesline before Drake nearly schoolboy’d Coyle for the win.
Drake nails a springboard spinning heel kick to send Coyle packing, but Renfrew’s straight back in to knock away another springboard, before the stunner levelled Drake. Screwface keeps the revolving door going, escaping another Stunner as Renfrew powders to the floor… and providing a distraction as the Sons of Ulaid attack Screwy from behind.
Screwface’s chain comes into play as Bán and Coyle tried to clothesline him with it… it backfires as Screwface pulls them into each other ahead of a ripcord bicycle knee. A Cross Rhodes to Coyle’s stopped when Renfrew runs off with Screwface’s chain and box… and that leaves us with the original tag match, with Drake countering out of an Air Raid Crash before landing a lungblower as Satchel’s double stomp keeps Coyle down. Drake puts the finishing touches on with a twisting senton, and that’s enough for the win! I don’t think the first bell rang, but whatever… I’d not be surprised if Drake and Jones get a tag title shot soon, but it’d be too quick given how little experience Satchel has had. This was largely a throwaway match that was more storyline than anything else, keeping the Renfrew and Screwface story going. **
Nathan Cruz vs. Luke Menzies
Cruz is still the Showstealer in 3CW, rather than the Professional that he is… just about everywhere else, which is odd since the deal with the trio of Cruz, Rampage and Conners is that they’re “underappreciated”. There’s one loud kid who gets into it with Cruz, which is a nice touch.
It’s all power early from Menzies, who frustrated Cruz into throwing a chair towards the commentary desk, before he returned to the ring to try and keep control of the former rugby league star’s wrist. It didn’t go too well, as Menzies uses his power again to charge Cruz into the corner before sending him flying with a back body drop.
A spinebuster almost puts Cruz away, but Cruz powders to the outside for a breather… and sneaks in an attack as he shoved Menzies into the ring post after the referee’d tried to get between them. Cruz uses baseball slide dropkicks to try and keep Menzies on the outside, but back inside Cruz uses knee drops to wear down Menzies for a bunch of near-falls.
That one kid by the live mic quickly gets grating as Cruz tries to force a win with a sleeperhold, but Menzies powers back up and charges back with clotheslines and judo throws ahead of a tiltawhirl slam that almost caused the upset. Menzies keeps up with German suplexes and overhead belly-to-belly suplexes, but Cruz avoids a third suplex and heads to the apron to give himself another breather… and that led to the finish too. With the referee trying to hold back Menzies, Cruz dislodged a turnbuckle pad, before baiting Menzies into it… and after Luke bumped into the exposed corner, a roll-up from Cruz got the win. A thoroughly professional outing from Cruz, albeit a basic one – I cannot recall the last time I saw a bump into an exposed turnbuckle being the finish – but this worked in front of the casual audience on hand. **¾
3CW Championship: Martin Kirby vs. Rampage Brown (c)
Originally this was meant to have been Rampage Brown getting a title shot… but having won the title at Hysteria last month, it’s now a first defence as Martin Kirby replaced the injured Alex Gracie.
Nathan Cruz was out with Rampage, but ejected almost immediately as commentary noted that Joseph Conners was conspicuous by his absence. With Cruz gone, Kirby unloaded with dropkicks on Rampage, ahead of a running backbreaker that almost gave us a new champion in short order. Kirby keeps up the pace with some headscissors, but a headlock and a big boot quickly turns things around as Rampage slowed down things.
Methodical stomps keep Kirby down, as does a choke, before a chinlock forced Kirby to break away… only for a running back elbow to put the challenger right back at square one. Some wacky rope running outfoxes Rampage as Kirby’s able to bounce back with a Slingblade, but a back suplex attempt’s countered as Rampage floats over into a crossbody for a near-fall, before Rampage just hurls Kirby to the floor.
Rampage followed him out and dropped Kirby face-first across the apron, before he suplexes Kirby back in after a bid to grab a count-out victory didn’t work. We go back to a camel clutch as Rampage tried to wear down Kirby some more… but some headscissors took Rampage into the middle turnbuckle as another Kirby comeback began.
Shoulder charges into the corner follow as Kirby kept Rampage pinned back, before finally nailing that backdrop suplex. A crucifix and an enziguiri get Kirby some more near-falls, before an X-Factor almost forced the title change as Rampage’s grip on the title loosened… but the return of Nathan Cruz to knock Kirby off the middle rope swung things back around, although Rampage’s uranage only got a near-fall.
Rampage looks to go for a piledriver, but Primate’s music hits… cue everyone stopping and looking at the entrance way, including the referee, but Primate comes through the crowd and nails a spear. Cruz hits the ring as he and Primate fights to the back, just as Martin Kirby crawled over onto Rampage’s prone body… but the referee was woefully out of position as he eventually made a two-count. Not sure why the ref was escorting Cruz and Primate to the back… but there you go!
Kirby tries to finish off Rampage with a crossbody off the middle rope, but it’s caught and turned into a Samoan drop before the piledriver finished off Kirby. No Joseph Conners, as I think he’d dashed back down the road to a Southside show… but it’s not like Rampage needed more help here. A good main event that didn’t go too hard on the interference… but what’s next for Rampage, given that Primate is on the shelf with a broken jaw? ***
Overall, 3CW’s Draw the Line was a solid, yet unspectacular show. We continued to see good performances in defeat from Justin Sysum and Luke Menzies, but you didn’t get the feeling that either of them were anywhere close to snapping their streaks. Similarly, the Rogues Gallery came off well in defeat, but with no other tag teams having been really put together as a threat, 3CW’s next few shows look to be all about building for the future, rather than providing any seismic shifts in the title pictures.