3CW had one eye on the future as Alex Gracie returned to the promotion after six months away for Revolt.

This was the second show in as many weeks for 3CW, with the prior weekend seeing them save the show for another promotion… “Standing Room Only” wasn’t up on VOD when we wrote this, but we’ll cover that in a catch-up piece shortly… The main event of 3CW’s return to Middlesbrough was meant to have been a 3CW title match with Rampage defending against Alex Gracie… but an injury to the champion meant that Gracie ended up putting his title shot in the line in our new main event.

We’re in the Astoria in Middlesbrough, and commentary is being handled by a new three-man team, with Tom Campbell and Mike Groom joined by G-Man, who’s gone from being behind a camera to behind a mic. And a ring binder.

Nathan Cruz vs. Lucas Steel
After debuting in 3CW at Enthrone, Lucas Steel has been given a pretty big challenge here against “Professional” Nathan Cruz.

Steel starts by taking Cruz into the corner before a shoulder tackle sent the NGW champion to the outside. Cruz takes his time getting back into the ring as he sized-up the newcomer… but again he’s taken into the corner as Cruz sneaks in a cheapshot to get free. That offence quickly stopped as Cruz found himself on the apron and was almost punched off, but he’s able to get back in and corner Steel for some mounted punches…

Only to get launched across the ring as Steel showed off his strength. Steel keeps up on Cruz with some knees in the corner, before an Irish whip rocks Cruz into the opposite corner. A  back elbow from Cruz looked to stem the tide, as he rebounded from a sidewalk slam to pick his shots… selling the fear of his much larger opponent. Both men kicked each other at the same time, looking like a double low blow, but the referee barely acknowledges it as Steel just knees and clotheslines Cruz out of the ring.

Cruz ends up suckering Steel into the corner, but an attempt to crotch him in the ring post backfires as Steel pulled Cruz into the post. From there, Cruz grabs the referee for a distraction… and when that’s sorted itself out, Cruz grabs a handful of hair to turn things back around with some more boots and a rear chinlock as he tried to squeeze the life out of Steel.

Steel fights back though, before he’s caught with the Thanks Tully slingshot back suplex for a near-fall. Regardless, Steel’s right back with a shoulder charge out of the corner, before his superplex attempt was headbutted away, with Cruz looking to go flying… connecting with a swandive headbutt for a near-fall. An attempt at the Show Stolen’s avoided by Steel, who’s back in with more shoulder blocks and a flapjack, but his attempt at a powerbomb’s escaped as Cruz punches his way free.

Cruz heads up top again, but this time his crossbody’s caught and turned into a Big Ending as Lucas Steel picked up the massive upset! As a match, this was pretty simple, but Nathan Cruz did everything in his power to make Lucas Steel look like a million dollars… and he succeeded to. Give him time, and I can see Steel being a big name, but he’s only just starting out, so slowly-slowly, eh? **¾

Leon Mercer invades the commentary table, with Mike Groom leaving in disgust.

Dragon Aisu vs. HT Drake
Eye spy with my little eye, some recycled Damned Nation titantron footage! It’s a rare singles match for Dragon Aisu as HT Drake and Satchel Jones look to be eyeing up a tag title shot.

Drake’s having to stick and move early on before he hauls Aisu down to the mat with a waistlock… but Aisu’s back to his feet, only to get taken down with armdrags and dropkicks as the momentum swung back and forth. Aisu’s caught in a corner with a forearm, but he quickly returns the favour before throwing Drake to the outside. The tables turn again on the outside as Drake’s able to connect with a knee off the apron as he took the fight to the tag team champion… but back in the ring Aisu kicks the rope into Drake’s groin as he took over again.

Aisu does his damndest to keep Drake at bay, raking the back, then dragging his eyes across the rope for some old school goodness, before a simple chop just knocked Drake down to the mat. More chops seem to rile up Drake as the pair went toe-to-toe, ending with a springboard crossbody/elbow from Drake that nearly wins out. A backdrop suplex sees Drake haul up Aisu, before Aisu escapes a full nelson with a mule kick low blow.

The referee remonstrates with Aisu over it… so Aisu kicks him blow, even more blatantly, giving the referee no choice but to call for a DQ. Hey, he even kicks the ref in the nuts and hits a Dragon Driver to boot. In for a penny, in for a pound! This was alright, but it didn’t get out of second gear as the match was more about the ending and the storyline than anything else. **¼

Satchel Jones hit the ring to make the save, catching Aisu with a superkick to send him packing.

Dove Pro/Union Pro MAX Championship: Naoki Tanizaki (c) vs. Martin Kirby
This sticks out like a sore thumb, eh? Naoki Tanizaki’s summer tour of the UK was coming to a close, so he’s defending his Dove Pro and Union Pro titles against the man who helped him over here… Martin Kirby!

Considering that we were in Middlesbrough, in front of an ultra-casual fanbase, a lot of the crowd seemed to love Tanizaki, even bringing streamers for him too! Kirby played the villain here, not too happy with the streamers, but he’s on the back foot from the off as the pair swapped wristlocks and hammerlocks during the feeling-out process, which ends with the now-traditional double dropkicks. From there, Kirby offers a handshake, but his fingers were crossed so he cheapshots Tanizaki… but Tanizaki’s able to put the brakes on for a while, only to get caught in the corner with a shoulder charge.

An abdominal stretch to Tanizaki almost ended in a pin as Kirby hauled him down to the mat, following in with some body scissors as the champion made it to the ropes. Just like that, Tanizaki turns the tables around with a double handed chop, but that just angers Kirby who bounced him with a backbreaker for a near-fall. Tanizaki’s again holding to the ropes, before he reverses an Irish whip… and then takes down Kirby with a diving boot!

Tanizaki tries to force a submission with an Octopus hold, but Kirby gets to the ropes before he suckered him in with an enziguiri. Forearms from Kirby keep the champion rocked, but some kicks get caught and Kirby gets trapped in a Paradise Lock! Complete with humiliating arse smacking before a double stomp freed him! Trapping Kirby in the corner, Tanizaki followed up with a step-up knee before the Casanova Shining Wizard drew a near-fall…

So Tanizaki tries to up the ante, but Kirby blocks it and counters with a Sable Bomb for a near-fall. A neckbreaker keeps Tanizaki down as commentary described the titles slipping away from him… but he’s back in with a forearm before a suplex gets reversed as somehow Tanizaki clung on, and instantly comes back with another Casanova and a Gotch tombstone as Kirby was finding himself on the back foot.

There’s not long left though as Tanizaki goes for the head again, dumping Kirby with a Jig ‘n’ Tonic for the win! I’ll be honest, for most of his UK tour I’d not been sold on Tanizaki, but this was a really good match. Try not to think of the logistics of Martin Kirby as champion, and you’ll be watching a cracker of a match. ***¼

A video package recaps all of the shenanigans with Ace Athletic against Amir Jordan, all the way through to Benji somehow winning the 3CW North East championship last time out.

Ace Athletic (Benji & Myles Kayman) & Dara Diablo vs. Amir Jordan, Sugar Dunkerton & Prince Ameen
Well of course, on World Cup quarter-final day, you had to have “It’s Coming Home” as someone’s theme music… except Benji couldn’t take the glory as Ace Matthews and co interrupted him. “Youth Team Benji” is out with proper gear and a proper name: Myles Kayman.

Ace Matthews berates Benji for the hell of it, before vowing to ban VAR in wrestling. We’ve a trios match here, and Ace Matthews has hired someone since the “first team members” of Ace Athletic are still hurt… it’s Dara Diablo, who’s feud with El Ligero was wrapped up in short order last time around. Their opponents mostly love to dance, and get carried away with the football… which didn’t age really well, did it? It’s Amir Jordan, Sugar Dunkerton and Prince Ameen!

Anyway, once we finally get going, Benji takes down Dunkerton with a waistlock… but you get the impression they’re not taking it too seriously as Benji tries to beat Dunkerton with some dance moves… and it’s not working as a conga line breaks out mid-match. What in the world?! We resume with armdrags and dropkicks from Dunkerton as Benji was scattering… with Myles Kayman forcibly tagging himself into the match.

He’s quickly raked on the front and back by Dunky, as “Benji 2: Electric Boogaloo” gets isolated, with Amir Jordan scoring a hiptoss for a near-fall out of the corner. Commentary’s arguing over nipples as Ameen tags into poke Kayman in the eye, and now a football comes into play as Myles gets it kicked into him in the corner. Dara Diablo comes in and turns things around on Amir Jordan as Ace Athletic and co had the former North East champion on the defensive.

There’s interference from Ace Athletic on the outside, which leads to calls of VAR from the crowd… and so the referee wanders out to check the instant replay. While he does that, Kayman beats down on Amir Jordan, before the ref returns to “send off” Ace Matthews and David Graves. Regardless, Amir’s still double-teamed before he brings Sugar back in to take Benji and Dara down for an accidental DDT on each other.

Cue more arguments, with Dunkerton sticking his oar in before he’s met with a pair of dropkicks. The ring fills as things go a little wonky, with Sugar and Ameen doing the panto spot… just as Amir Jordan rolled into the ring for a double rolling neckbreaker! Kayman’s in with a crossbody off the top for a near-fall as the pin’s broken up… leaving Myles 1-on-3 down, with a top rope senton from Jordan getting the win. This was most definitely a match that was “of its time” and full of shtick… as a match, I felt it was a little disjointed, but hey, the crowd ate it up, so it hit its goal I guess. **

Kanji vs. Little Miss Roxxy
It’s a 3CW debut for Kanji, who’s out of the House of Pain school in Nottingham.

We open with Roxxy working the arm of Kanji, but this crowd were largely silent as Roxxy tried to get them into it. A front headlock is finally escaped by Kanji, who goes back to the arm, only to get taken back down with an armdrag as the back-and-forth continued. Kanji explodes out of the corner with a roll-through into a dropkick, before she slides under Roxxy ahead of a legdrop for a near-fall.

Roxxy returns fire with headscissors, then a release suplex and an avalanche in the corner as she worked up into a wheelbarrow bulldog for a near-fall. We burst into some near-fall attempts from both women as they looked to roll each other up, with a bridging backslide from Roxxy almost leading to the win.

Kanji mounts a comeback with a dropkick, then a spinebuster, but it’s nowhere near enough as Roxxy’s able to shrug it off, landing a back cracker for a near-fall. A kick takes Roxxy down, but Kanji perhaps took too long to decide on a moonsault… she misses, and gets caught with a tornado DDT as Roxxy followed up with a Muta Lock for the quick submission. A decent, by-the-numbers win for Roxxy here – although one that the crowd seemed to struggle to get into. Kanji did alright in her debut, but she barely had any offence or any chance to highlight herself here. **

A video package is played highlighting how Alex Gracie lost the 3CW title last year – and sidestepping the brief reign of Luke Menzies – how Rampage ruled the roost. The main event here was meant to see Gracie challenge Rampage, but an injury meant that Alex Gracie instead put his title shot in the line instead…

However, before we can get going, Gabriel Kidd hit the ring and tells us he’s looking to make his mark in 3CW. He’s here, in his gear, and he wants in on the main event… asking ring announcer Stevie Aaron to insert him into the match. It’s agreed, so we now have a four-way!

Gabriel Kidd vs. Joseph Conners vs. El Ligero vs. Alex Gracie
We’re told this is an elimination match, which seems to be a trend at 3CW’s Revolt shows… with Ligero and Gracie having done both of those.

It’s Ligero and Conners who start, with Conners catching Ligero with an elbow early on… then some more in the corner before Ligero lands a spinning heel kick. It looks like we’re under lucha rules as Conners powders to the outside, prompting Kidd to come in and take Ligero out… which in turn allowed Gracie to come in and eventually take down Ligero with a double-leg.

The fast-paced revolving door stuff continued for a spell until Conners was booted on in the corner… with him eventually getting taken outside for a PK as Ligero ends up flying into an uppercut by Kidd on the floor. All four men exchange shots around ringside, with Gracie weirdly taking Ligero up to the bar so he can grind a packet of crisps in his face… while Conners’ backdrop suplex on the apron probably caused more pain.

We continue as Ligero leaps onto a crowd barrier and cannonballs into the pile, as they eventually returned to the ring. A low kick from Ligero stuns Conners, but Kidd’s in to try and pick up the pieces amid another Parade of Moves as all four men were laid out. The slugfest continued until Gracie leapt into Conners with a knee… but Kidd’s right back in as he hit his waistlock takedown to dump Ligero onto Gracie, before Kidd opted not to dump Gracie on his head, turning a Ganso Bomb into a regular powerbomb for a near-fall.

Conners comes back with the Don’t Look Down… but Ligero elbows out and works his way into a slingshot cutter instead. He looked to go off the top once more, but out comes Dara Diablo to distract him, allowing Conners to hit the Don’t Look Down for a delayed three-count. Guess that feud wasn’t really killed off anyway!

Conners rages at the referee for the count, but ends up turning around into some ground and pound from Gracie… who then nearly loses with a schoolboy from Kidd. After that, Conners returns as he tried to keep the advantage over Kidd and Gracie, while throwing out some rather risque comments by 3CW standards. It nearly costs him as another Kidd roll-up gets a near-fall, before Alex Gracie’s repeated attempts to return were quickly snuffed out by Conners.

Another Kidd comeback ends with a lariat in the ropes, but he returns the favour as Conners rolled to the outside, just as Gracie tried to surprise Gabe with a roll-up. The pressure mounts from Gracie, whose leg lariat and standing splash gets a near-fall, before he runs into a high boot from Kidd. Gracie returns the favour, then catches Kidd with the Fall From Gracie… only for Joseph Conners to steal the pin as we’re down to our final two! Conners continues to put the boots to Gracie, before a piledrivers backdropped out of as another Gracie comeback began in earnest. The Sole Food from Gracie dumps Conners as he snarled back into life, squashing Conners in the corner repeatedly before an overhead belly-to-belly suplex surprised the Righteous one.

Gracie looks to dive into the ropes, but he ends up crotching himself as Conners took advantage with a crucifix buckle bomb and a lariat… but it’s not enough as Gracie gets up in plenty of time. Conners again runs his mouth and nearly pays for it, as Gracie again goes for him and lands another Fall From Gracie… and that’s your lot! A spirited main event, and an outing that kept things ticking along nicely in several storylines. Alex Gracie remains your number one contender, while Gabriel Kidd boosted his stock a little… but what is it all for if he’s nowhere near a title picture, or indeed, the regular roster? ***

Revolt was a pretty solid show – and one that had an eye on the future. Lucas Steel, while still extremely raw, looks to be a really good prospect for the future – and outings against folks who make him look real good (like Nathan Cruz) can only help. Gabriel Kidd’s appearance in the main event was a little odd, but if this is parlayed into a regular role, then this could well be the start of something big in 3CW.