It’s back to Northallerton, and it’s pretty much all change for 3CW as two titles changed hands on Euphoria!
The opening video reveals that the 3CW women’s championship tournament continues here, while Gabriel Kidd calls himself the Lifeboatman. That’s… a nickname, I guess? Tom Campbell and Mike Groom are on commentary here, as they run down the card before pitching to the first match.
Dara Diablo vs. Screwface
This was Diablo’s debut in 3CW after appearing at “Draw The Line” to reignite his old feud with El Ligero from NGW – and it’s an odd choice of opponent as Screwface made his return after a few months away.
We start with a tie-up as Screwface is taken into the corner, but he returns with a right hand as we’ve a rather measured start as Diablo grabs a headlock, before shoving off Screwface, who returns with shoulder tackles and clotheslines to send the debutant to the outside. Screwface follows Diablo outside, throwing him into the ring post, then back inside for a flying clothesline as we get our first near-fall. An eye rake from Diablo resets things as they keep it simple, with Diablo throwing Screwface to the outside… but he’s back in with a schoolboy for a near-fall as the momentum continued to swing back-and-forth, with Diablo getting a two-count moments later from a neckbreaker.
An Irish whip into the corner gets Diablo a near-fall as Screwface tries to mount a comeback, landing a suplex, only to get charged into the corner as neither man was able to keep hold of the advantage for any period of time. Diablo busts out a Michinoku Driver for a two-count, but Screwface fired back yet again with clotheslines out of the corner before a bicycle kick sent down Diablo, as did a spinebuster, as Screwface slowly edges ahead.
Diablo responds by hanging Screwface’s neck across the top rope before he goes under the ring for a chair… Screwface lands a punch to disarm Diablo, before the referee disarms him of the chair. A low blow’s next, as was a spinning Flatliner, and despite kicking out at three, Screwface was pinned as Diablo took home the win on his debut. A bit of a weird-looking finish after an even, basic match that the crowd ate up. **
Martin Kirby vs. Justin Sysum
This was painted as Sysum’s biggest chance in 3CW to date, as a win over the former champion could propel him up the card. Kirby jumped Sysum to try and stop the crowd cheering both men, but it didn’t work as well as expected as the crowd cheered Kirby’s offence regardless.
Kirby knocks Sysum to the outside, where he chokes him against the guard rails, only for Sysum to strike his way back into the match. Back inside, a clothesline takes Sysum down again as Kirby keeps it simple, only for the Hammer to reply with a dropkick as Kirby tried to buy himself some time. Kirby’s antics didn’t work as he got taken into the corner for some mounted punches, before a gorilla press slam dumped Kirby squarely in the middle of the ring. The former champion uses his experience to take over, clubbing away on Sysum with forearms, before his punches were caught as he was met with an overhead belly-to-belly!
Sysum catches a leapfrog, but Kirby escapes and lands an enziguiri before a dropkick puts the Hammer down for a near-fall. Kirby tries to flip over Sysum after catching a kick… but it backfires as Sysum mounts into a clothesline-laden comeback, scoring with an Exploder out of the corner for a solid two-count. More suplexes follow as a Fisherman’s suplex nearly put Kirby away, as did a Falcon arrow, as Sysum tries to follow up with the Thor-50 splash… but Kirby rolls away and then rolled up Sysum with his feet on the ropes to steal the win. A good match as you’d expect from these two – nice and basic, and again, were playing the crowd like a fiddle. I do wish they’d quit turning Kirby like he was the Big Show though! ***¼
We already know one semi-final in the 3CW women’s championship tournament, and now it’s time to start building the other semi-final…
3CW Women’s Championship Tournament Quarter-Final: Charli Evans vs. Erin Angel
Charli’s slowly appearing more and more as a “bad guy” in the UK, which was a weird thing to see after her initial run. She’s disgusted at the few in the crowd who dared cheer her…
It’s another debut here, with Angel making her first appearance in 3CW as she made a rare trip up north. Charli powders to the outside at the bell as she tries to frustrate Angel, before pulling a boo-boo face at those in the crowd who told her she sucked.
We finally got going with Evans charging Angel into the corner, before the favour was returned. Charli tries to restrain Erin with a full nelson, but she escapes and goes to a headlock takedown, which Evans countered out of with headscissors, only for Erin to keep up with the submissions before she shoves Charli into the ropes… and gets met with a shoulder tackle. Another goes around sees Erin land a crossbody for a near-fall, before charging Charli into the corner ahead of a bulldog out of it for another near-fall. Evans turns it around though as she begins to work on Erin’s arm, bending the wrist backwards in an armbar attempt before stomping on the hand.
Erin switches it around, taking Angel into the corner for some forearms, before thwarting a comeback by going up top for another crossbody, this time scoring a near-fall. Evans escapes another charge into the corner and waffles Angel with a bicycle knee for a two-count, before being pulled into an X-Factor as Angel almost scored the upset. The finish came when Angel tries to go for the Unprettier, but Evans escapes and hits a Downward Spiral for the win. Another basic, slow-paced match, but the crowd were into this one throughout… it seems having a few loud folks in the right places can boost things, eh? **½
After overcoming the Rogues Gallery in a streetfight at Draw The Line, the Dormo Dynasty got a little too arrogant and talked their way into a match against the entire tag team division… and a couple of new teams as well.
3CW Tag Team Championship Gauntlet: Dormo Dynasty (Chris Whitton & Kid Richie) (c) vs. Prince Ameen & Amir Jordan vs. Ace Athletic (Ace Matthews & Benji) vs. HT Drake & Satchel Jones vs. Rogues Gallery (Stan Kellitt & Leon Mercer) vs. Sons of the Damned (Dragon Aisu & Rory Coyle)
We have a random draw to decide the first two teams, and oh boy, the champions were out at unlucky number one! First up for them is the pairing of Prince Ameen and Amir Jordan, who are finally teaming after their feud over the 3CW North East title came to an end.
The champs go through their usual delaying tactics, going to the floor as they tried to wind up Amir and Ameen before we got going. There’s pratting around from both sides as Richie slips as he flung himself into the ring, while Ameen struggled to hold the ropes, as we finally get started with Richie and Jordan… as the latter dances his way out of trouble before punching the Kid out.
A nice sequence follows as Amir leapt into some headscissors, only to get kicked on the apron as the distraction put the champions ahead. Richie’s back suplex gets a couple of near-falls, ahead of a double-team elbow drop that keeps things in the champs’ direction… at least until they bump into each other, allowing Jordan to hit a Downward Spiral before fighting off Whitton to land a crossbody off the top for another two-count.
An Ace crusher next from Jordan left Richie down, before he tags in Ameen for the Magic Carpet Ride, and that big splash eliminates the champions! They’ve got sour grapes though as they laid out Ameen and Jordan after the match, with Whitton flattening Ameen with a back senton, giving the next team out an easy task… lucky Ace Athletic, eh? With David Graves out injured, they’re represented by Ace and one of the Benjis here… but they take so long to introduce themselves, Amir Jordan recovers and launches into Ace at the bell. A hiptoss from Jordan gets a near-fall before Benji threatened to use his bucket on Amir, only for some distractions from the rest of Ace Athletic to help turn things around. Matthews’ suplex gets a near-fall as Ameen wanders in to break up the cover, but he can’t stop the cheating behind the ref’s back from Other Benji. First Benji tags in to lay out Amir with a snapmare and a kick for a near-fall, before Ace is back to almost fall to a sunset flip.
Ace rolls to the outside as Benji’s forced to intervene, and that led to some more double-teaming of Jordan… at least until Amir slingshots in with a neckbreaker. Tags bring in Benji and Ameen, with Ameen going quickly to a Samoan drop before teasing another Magic Carpet Ride… but Ace Athletic pull Benji out of the ring to safety. Apparently there was a tag into Jordan, whose ascent up the ropes goes awry when David Graves knocks the rope with his crutch… and the elimination follows moments later when an O’Connor roll by Jordan is kicked out of, sending him head first into a clipboard shot before Ace rolls up Jordan for the win. Shame there was literally sheets of evidence that the referee ignored here!
Next out are the team of HT Drake and Satchel Jones, but they’re out glad-handing rather than going straight to the match. Once they hit the ring, they went after Ace Athletic, sending them into the corner, then into each other, before a backdrop from Drake and a double stomp off the top from Satchel forced a near-fall out of Ace. They keep Ace isolated as Drake and Jones exchanged frequent tags, before another O’Connor roll looked to lead to a repeat finish… but Drake catches the clipboard and goes after the injured Graves.
Ace Matthews slides out to catch Drake unawares, leading to some double-teaming on Drake. A ‘rana from Benji nearly puts away Drake for a two-count, while Ace returns for some more shots… but Drake escapes and makes the hot tag to Satchel, who wiped out Benji with rolling Northern Lights suplexes. A powerbomb/neckbreaker combo puts Benji down, before Other Benji gets on the apron… then gets thrown into the ring for a distraction as Graves uses his crutch again, sending Jones down as Benji opts against using the crutch to hit a diving knee off the top, then a wacky satellite DDT to dump Satchel on his head for the next elimination!
The fifth team out were the Rogues Gallery of Leon Mercer and Stan Kellitt, who corner Benji. He shakes their hands, so Ace forces a substitution out of anger, and in comes Other Benji, figuring that we couldn’t have two good outings in the same night? Other Benji is really mouthy, but he can’t back it up as Ace Athletic become comedy goofs, while commentary reveals Other Benji’s “other name” (Olly White). The bell rings to confuse everyone, but they ignore it as the Rogues shrugged off a slap from Other Benji before throwing him across the ring with a suplex.
The Rogues continue to knock Ace Matthews off the apron as they landed a backdrop suplex/neckbreaker to Other Benji for a near-fall… but a distraction allows Other Benji to hit a springboard elbow as he tried to mount a comeback in line with Coach Graves’ orders. Other Benji goes up top, but he fails to catch a bucket that Graves threw at him… sending Other Benji down to the mat as the Rogues picked up their easiest win yet.
We’re down to the final team as the Rogues took on Dragon Aisu and Rory Coyle – who usually would be on his own now Bás Bán is gone. It seems they’re trying to rebrand Aisu, with commentary calling him the Man in Black, and he’s all over the Rogues early with chops as the retooled Damned Nation tried to make light work of the former tag champions. Coyle eats a sandwich of clotheslines before Aisu comes into attack Kellitt from behind, putting the Sons ahead as they double-teamed him with little mercy. A back suplex from Aisu left Kellitt down before he mounted a comeback, only to get taken down again with a spinebuster-like takedown. Finally Kellitt makes a comeback, but in the meantime Coyle’s gone behind the referee’s back and swiped Leon Mercer with Aisu’s cane… giving Kellitt nobody to tag out to!
With the ref remonstrating with Coyle, Aisu hits a low blow on Kellitt… and with the referee checking on Mercer on the floor, Aisu uses the cane on Kellitt, causing him to land nastily, bending his own knee back on itself. Aisu and Coyle beat down on Kellitt as the referee waved off the match, as the Sons of the Damned were awarded the titles while Kellitt was taken to hospital. That was a sickening finish… souring what had been a decent gauntlet match with some bright spots from Benji, who was the star of the match. **¾
We’ve a video building up Jetta’s return from the broken wrist she got at the 3CW Christmas shows last year. Ironically in Northallerton, so tonight she makes her return to the promotion in the same venue.
3CW Women’s Championship Tournament Quarter-Final: Rhia O’Reilly vs. Jetta
Rhia’s playing the villain here, badmouthing the crowd as Jetta received a positive reaction on her return. This is such a weird alignment considering their roles elsewhere…
Stevie Aaron’s on commentary, and is pretty buoyant considering he just saw a guy’s leg bend back awkwardly on itself. We started with Rhia bulling Jetta into the corner, as Stevie Aaron offered to pay whatever it took to bring Kate Nash to 3CW. I think another group might have first dibs on that… Jetta nearly ends it early with a sunset flip, before Rhia slowly pratfalled over her for another near-fall, as Jetta followed up with another sunset flip that ends in the ropes. Rhia can’t get out of the blocks, but she sidesteps as Jetta charges into the corner, before shifting her focus onto Jetta’s healed-up arm.
A Finlay roll follows from Rhia for a near-fall, but Jetta mounts a comeback with a neckbreaker, only to get taken into the ropes as Rhia turned things around again, following up with a snapmare and a Mr. Perfect-like neck snap for a near-fall. O’Reilly keeps up with a rear chinlock, then some hair-pulling as she continued to get the crowd on her back, ahead of a curb stomp for a near-fall.
Jetta climbs the ropes in a bid to fight back, and it works as she nails the Diamond Dust flip neckbreaker for a near-fall, before following up with clotheslines and chops. Rhia tries to catch her with the Rhiadjustment DDT, but Jetta escapes and earns herself a cradle suplex as O’Reilly came closer and closer to victory… before countering out of another Finlay roll into a back cracker and the Jetta lock – a Japanese stranglehold – for the submission. Another basic match, but it played well with the crowd… and hey, why break your back if the crowd likes the simple stuff? Rhia just seemed to be thrilled to not have to come back to Northallerton, and I can’t say I blame her! **¾
A promo follows from Gabriel Kidd, where they go back to prior events with Si Swan’s fake retirement and return. It was a ruse on Gabriel Kidd, who labels himself the Lifeboatman. I’m still none the wiser…
Si Swan vs. Gabriel Kidd
Swan was out with the rest of the Dormo Dynasty, sans the belts they’d lost earlier, and he’s in Kidd’s face early on, only to get thrown to the outside.
Kidd follows him out as he opted not to give Swan a breather, following up by kicking Swan out of a chair at ringside as the rest of the Dormo Dynasty tried to sneak up behind him. That distraction gets Swan a way back into it, rolling Kidd back inside, only to get caught with some uppercuts instead. Kidd goes for a suplex, but Chris Whitton provides a distraction… and allows Swan to attack Kidd from behind once again. Whitton and Richie interfere liberally, but Kidd’s still able to nail a suplex as he’s down for ages, before leaping over Swan in the corner to respond with some Dusty punches.
A lariat in the corner follows as Kidd sent Swan back into the corner, ahead of a big body slam. Kidd follows up with a tope to the outside on Whitton and Richie, as a crossbody off the top gets a near-fall on Swan… only for Si to return with a Fireman’s carry, which Kidd escaped from. Kid Richie tries to trip Kidd in the ropes, distracting Gabe for a spinebuster as Swan nearly got the win, following up with a powerbomb that Kidd backdrops out of.
Kidd launches another comeback, but Whitton gets involved again, only to get shoved down by the “lifeboat flan”… and that led to something more overt as Whitton and Richie pull Kidd out of the ring as he was about to win, and there’s your blatant DQ. Well, it was always three-on-one, and despite the basic style of the match fitting in with the tone of the show, I couldn’t get on with how slow-paced this was. *¾
So that’s the Damned Nation/Sons of the Damned and the Dormo Dynasty as evil groups in 3CW… if only we had a group banding together against them?
3CW Championship: Joseph Conners vs. Luke Menzies vs. El Ligero vs. Rampage Brown (c)
Our main event is an elimination match, as commentary teased this being Luke Menzies’ final match before heading to WWE, and what a turn-up it would be for him to win the 3CW title on his way out. The post-match photos, by the way, made me realise that these 3CW belts are the old 1PW titles with a new coat of paint. At least some good came out of those straps!
It’s a little odd that Rampage was putting his title up in a four-way against a friendly face in Conners, but we’ve not had any feuds defined for Rampage thus far so I guess we had to expect these random matches in the absence of any good guys being on form.
Conners and Rampage double-team Menzies at the bell after Ligero had been knocked onto the apron… but the former rugby league player was able to rebound, taking Rampage to the outside as they brawled, while Conners and Ligero went at it. As with all multi-men matches, we had the revolving door effect, with Ligero kicking away at Rampage when he made it back into the ring, before Menzies took down Rampage with ease as a clothesline and a slam got a near-fall.
Menzies nails a back body drop before going after Rampage with a suplex… but Conners makes the save and gets charged down, before low-bridging Menzies to the outside. A tope’s caught though, but Menzies can’t follow-up as Rampage and Conners double-team him again until Ligero broke it up a flip plancha into the pile! Back inside, Ligero tries to roll-up Conners, before making do with a head kick, only for Rampage to trip him in the ropes as the double-teaming resumes.
Menzies is back with some overhead belly-to-belly suplexes, then some Germans, before countering a C4L from Ligero into another overhead suplex. Conners just about leapfrogs over a spear from Menzies, who hits the ringpost in the process, and that effectively turns this into a handicap match on Ligero as Rampage takes him up for a superplex, which Menzies countered into a Tower of Doom instead. Everyone ends up outside, as Menzies gets double-teamed once again, before things settled down to Rampage and Ligero in the ring… a slingshot cutter from Ligero looked to be enough, but he goes up top for a Mexican Wave on Rampage, only for Dara Diablo to return and shove Ligero off the top, and into a piledriver as Rampage gets the first elimination.
So we’re back to a handicap match as Menzies had to fight off Conners and Rampage, but he ended up getting whipped hard into the corners as Conners and Rampage tried to score pinfalls on him. Stevie Aaron reminds us that there’s DQs in the match… which makes me wonder why Diablo didn’t get a DQ there. It looks like some of the lights have gone out as the ring’s a little darker, as was Menzies’ chances of winning as he took a tonne of double-teams.
Finally Menzies broke free as he sidesteps a lariat from Rampage and quickly dumps Conners with a Jackhammer for the pin! It’s down to him and Rampage, with the champion diving in to pound away on the former rugby league star, but Rampage goes for a piledriver, only for Menzies to escape and slingshot him into the corner as the lights come back on! A clothesline and a slam almost led to the title change, only for Rampage to unsight the referee as he mule kicked Menzies low…
…but as Rampage goes for a piledriver, a photographer leaps onto the apron. I wonder if this third ringside photographer’s going to have an exploding camera, like back in 1993? Except it’s Alex Gracie, whose distraction takes Rampage’s concentration away, and gives Menzies a chance to hit a spinebuster and another Jackhammer to win the gold! Thanks to Alex Gracie, Luke Menzies wins his first singles gold… but in all truth this was effectively a long handicap match until one mis-step allowed him to get back into it in style. Some may not be crazy with the “super Cena-like” ending stretch, but if 3CW are putting all their weight behind Menzies in the short-term, then him being a superman isn’t the worst idea. It’s just a shame the handicap match part of the contest dragged for as long as it did, and the comeback was so short. **¾
So, it’s a pretty hefty changing of the guard at 3CW, with two of their major titles finding new homes – Luke Menzies getting what I believe is his first run with any title, while the latest iteration of the Damned Nation took home the tag titles. While the rumours about Menzies are somewhat true, it’s a chance for him to how what he can do on top of a promotion – even if it’s only for a few months!
As for the show… well, this was 3CW as usual. No blowaway matches, but just about everything clicked with the crowd, and drew the desired reactions; the only exception being the tag gauntlet, which felt a little on the long side for a casual crowd. Next up for 3CW was Enthrone, which took place in mid-May, where the women’s championship tournament will come to a head, while Menzies has his first title defence against Nathan Cruz.