Rory Coyle’s first title defence against Rampage headlined in a no-DQ outing as Defiant made their return to Leeds.

We’re at the O2 Academy in Leeds for Defiant’s third Lights Out iPPV. As ever, Dave Bradshaw and James Kennedy are on commentary, and it’s straight into action…

Defiant Internet Championship: Sean Kustom vs. Martin Kirby (c)
Originally meant to have been Lucky Kid challenging, an injury meant that a debuting Sean Kustom was called in as a late replacement.

Kirby mocks Kustom as if he were Kofi Kingston (man, that’s a lot of K’s), as we get going with something of a slow start. In a grounded headlock, Kirby complains that Kustom’s pulling his hair (err…), before the Aussie fought back into a headlock of his own. Kustom keeps up the offence with a slingshot neckbreaker and a tope, sending the champion into the barriers ahead of a frog splash for a near-fall. The pair struggle over a suplex until Kirby just pokes Kustom in the eye, before he decided to go all Bushwhacker. I think Defiant’s mixed up Australia and New Zealand… and that’s an argument I’ll leave them to have!

Kirby heads out for some water… which he drizzles onto Kustom from above, and my word, this is getting a reaction out of this Leeds crowd. A back roll from Kirby led to a lifting reverse DDT onto Kustom’s knee for a sickening landing… and a near-fall, before Kirby managed to hit back with a twisting Blockbuster for a two-count of his own. More back-and-forth led to Kustom leaping over Kirby neatly for a sit-out powerbomb, before he dumped him with a Thunderbuster for another near-fall.

Kustom ducks away from a Sable Bomb, but ends up caught in the ropes with a Dragon screw before Kirby rolled him through into the Prestige Lock – another name for the Edgucator – as the Aussie’s forced to tap. This was a really good opener by Defiant standards, complete with a hot crowd. Hopefully this isn’t one and done for Sean Kustom, as he seemed to fit Defiant like a glove. ***¼

John Klinger vs. Joe Hendry
Hendry gets a shot at Gabriel Kidd “down the line” if he manages to deal with the “John Klinger Problem”. That’s infinitely a better name that the “Badness”, by the way…

Of course, we get a new Joe Hendry video, which poked fun at Klinger’s Macho Man cosplay as Joe Hendry’s heart went on… into an Art Attack that perhaps wasn’t kid friendly. Hendry stormed the ring as the match started suddenly, settling down into Bones getting mocked by the Leeds crowd. A poke to the eye of Hendry sent the Scotsman down, as did some German suplexes, before some double axehandles off the top continued to have Hendry on the back foot. Hendry tried to fight back with uppercuts, only to get taken down with a missile dropkick back inside as Klinger kept going.

Klinger nearly wins with a guillotine, only for Hendry to suplex free and continue to build up steam with a clothesline and a DDT. The pair trade ankle locks before Hendry caught Klinger with a Freak of Nature… but the fallaway slam sends Klinger rolling to the outside, only for the German to respond with a slingshot spear. Klinger’s caught on the top rope with an avalanche Freak of Nature for a near-fall from Hendry, only to come back with a half-nelson suplex. A missed flying lungblower leaves Klinger in trouble as an ankle lock’s reapplied… with Hendry holding on as Klinger eventually tapped. A well worked grudge match as the “John Klinger Problem” is finally vanquished… for now, I guess? ***

David Starr vs. Gabriel Kidd
Commentary was playing up how Starr seemed to be turning into a “choke artist”, given how he’s losing the big ones lately… and we start in the aisle as Starr met Kidd on his way out.

The fight’s taken onto the stage before the bell as Starr threatened to suplex Kidd into the crowd. That doesn’t happen, although they do brawl through the crowd as the mobile camera crew were caught on the hop. They finally get back to the ring, as Starr quickly exits with a tope, before Kidd’s attempt to fight back saw him clothesline the ring post… all before any ring bell sounded! Starr tries to charge at Kidd, but gets lifted into a back body drop on the outside, before the match started when Kidd rolled Starr into the ring… and quickly leapt on him with a Boston crab. After getting to the ropes, Starr used some strikes and a cartwheel kick to catch out Kidd, following up with the Product Recall in the ropes for a near-fall.

Thunderous chops from Starr looked to have Kidd on the back foot, but the pair kept on swinging before Starr finally started to pick his spots. Focusing on Kidd’s arm, Starr almost got caught before he began to unleash with some Han Stansens, clobbering the “Young Bull” before he ran into a discus lariat for a near-fall. Kidd quickly followed back with a sit-out powerbomb to keep the pressure building, before a sleeperhold sapped Starr… who escaped and hit a Blackheart Buster and a lariat for more near-falls. With the ref unsighted by Kidd, Starr’s clocked with a low blow then a piledriver… and yep, the prophecy was true. David Starr falls again, as Gabriel Kidd continues to bolster his CV in a solid match, but yet the Defiant crowd still don’t see him as a killer bad guy. ***

Jody Fleisch & Jonny Storm vs. Dynamic Duo (Mark Billington & Thomas Billington)
We’ve not seen the Billington boys since the post-Magnificent Seven episode of Loaded… while whomever does the lower thirds perhaps needs to re-check Storm’s Twitter handle against his first name…

This is definitely an acid test for the Dynamite Kid’s nephews, as we start with Fleisch cartwheeling past Thomas, whose early attempts to engage Jody came short. Quick tags bring in Mark and Jonny, who quickly reach a stand-off, as those tags seem to be punctuating the early going. A roll-up from Storm nearly puts away Thomas, before Mark caught Jody with a tope on the outside… but Fleisch is right back in with dropkicks as the constant tags killed any kind of flow here.

The Billingtons try to club away on Storm on the outside, only to get stopped by an Asai moonsault from Fleisch. Back inside, Storm assists on a German suplex/moonsault combo on Thomas for a near-fall, but Mark’s back in with a missile dropkick as Thomas kept up the attack with a swandive headbutt for a near-fall. The finish came not long after that when the Billingtons seemed to be going for a version of the Hart Attack on Fleisch – but Storm stops them as a small package from Jody got the win.

This one never ever got going, and felt too much like a series of spots rather than anything that ever resembled a competitive match. Not one for anyone keeping a scrapbook of matches this year, aside from the “past meets the future” part of it. *¼

Defiant Women’s Championship: Lizzy Styles vs. Kanji (c)
Well.. we don’t get a match as Kanji came out with her arm in a sling. Leeds aren’t exactly compassionate as one guy in the crowd could audibly be heard not wanting to hear any “sob story”. Kanji claimed she’d broken her hand, which didn’t exactly go down well with Lizzy, who responded to having her latest title match cancelled by… slapping Kanji in the face. That brought out General Ameen, who responded to Styles’ demands to be given the Defiant Women’s title by… vacating the belt, and setting up an instant match for the belt against Lana Austin.

Defiant Women’s Championship: Lizzy Styles vs. Lana Austin
Lana started this one out hot, charging into Styles with a snapmare and a low dropkick as commentary filled in the blanks on their past storylines.

Things cooled down a little as Styles took control, pulling Austin out of the corner before a suplex led to another in a line of near-falls. A missile dropkick out of the corner keeps Austin down, before she escaped an attempt from Lizzy to pull off her eyelashes again. That was the cue for Lana to fight back with an elbow, before she shoved away Styles on the top rope. She eventually followed in with a jack-knife pin for a near-fall before the match spilled outside… where Styles whacked Austin with the timekeeper’s bell. Something that just about EVERYONE missed…

Austin shrugged off the shot and scored with a small package for a near-fall, before a running knee (or a forearm, if your biology is off) led to the win. This was disappointing – it had such a hot start, but petered out so badly. *¾

El Phantasmo vs. PAC
Their third meeting in as many weeks, thanks to Rev Pro and Fight Forever having the same idea…

The pace starts out slowly as a pro-PAC crowd saw him pulled into a bow-and-arrow hold en route to a stand off, before a springboard crossbody out of the corner led to an early two-count for Phantasmo. A chop led to some a springboard ‘rana as ELP teased the rope walk, but a gamengiri from PAC and a slingshot cutter prevents a dive from the Canadian. PAC follows Phantasmo outside with a Sasuke special that almost went awry… and that almost led to the finish as ELP had to dive in at 9.9 to beat the count. All that got him was some choking in the ropes, before he got free and hit a springboard kick to knock PAC off the top rope. Dives follow, including an Asai moonsault off the top rope, before a big splash back inside led to a near-fall.

Some boots from ELP keep PAC at bay, before Phantasmo talked his way into trouble… sparking PAC to come back with a German suplex and a powerbomb before he got caught in a Rings of Saturn. After getting free, PAC has to battle an inside cradle before Phantasmo struck back with forearms as the match remained insanely even. ELP again crotches PAC up top, but can’t take advantage as PAC switches around and hits a monster of a reverse ‘rana off the top… only for ELP to land on his feet! The whirlibird neckbreaker’s next as ELP finds a second wind, landing a senton and springboard moonsault for a near-fall, but he got caught next with an avalanche brainbuster from PAC, before a Red Arrow led to the win. Easily the best match on the card, but like most of PAC’s indy run so far, it didn’t set the world on fire. If you’re still holding a candle for the flippy PAC of old, then I don’t know what to tell you… ***¾

Robbie X vs. Mark Haskins
A match inspired by Mark Haskins’ pep talk on Loaded a few weeks back, this was Robbie X’s latest chance to prove himself in Defiant.

It starts out a little scrappy as Haskins took Robbie X into the corner, almost trying to provoke some kind of reaction… which it did, as Robbie X floated out of a headlock and applied one of his own as he tried to put away Haskins with a cheeky crucifix pin.

After some more work on the mat, Haskins gets sent outside, but he’s quickly back in with a misdirection tope that caught out the production crew. An errant chop hurts Robbie some more as Haskins continued to slow it down, looking for more deliberate attacks rather than anything too flashy. Haskins works over the arm, eventually leading to a bridging armbar… but Robbie X was too close to the ropes and easily got the break.

Elbows from Haskins continued the breakdown of Robbie X, who manages to switch places by knocking Haskins off the apron with a handspring kick before he followed in with some topes. More trading places led to Robbie X completing the hattrick as he almost took the win with a shooting star press, before a chop battle seemed to fire up Robbie X some more. Robbie X keeps up with what looked like a cross-armed piledriver into a brainbuster, before a powerbomb attempt got countered into a triangle armbar. It’s escaped as Robbie backflipped again and caught Haskins with a buckle bomb, before the X-Clamation (handspring cutter) got countered into another cross armbar.

More back-and-forth led to both men booting themselves simultaneously, only for Haskins to get back up first to land a pumphandle driver for a near-fall. From there, a roll-up death valley driver gets another near-fall for Haskins, before he got caught on the top rope with an overhead kick and a death valley driver as the momentum swung wildly… but Robbie X took too long going for a shooting star press… as Haskins rolled outside. Robbie rolls him back in, but misses whatever it was he was going for, jarring his knee on the landing as Haskins capitalises with a Sharpshooter for the quick submission. This was a nice struggle of a match, but you never really got the impression that Haskins was ever in too much trouble in this one. ***

No Disqualification for Defiant World Championship: Rampage vs. Rory Coyle (c)
Rampage met Coyle in the aisle and brought the fight to the champion before we even got close to the ring.

A clothesline from Rampage took Coyle into the crowd as we found that “lights out” also described how the crowd was lit. It also meant that we barely saw Rampage’s leap into the crowd to take out Coyle, as the brawling continued towards the bar area. Coyle throws something at rampage… exactly what, we don’t see because all the cameras can catch is the crowd around the two wrestlers. We finally get a camera there to get a decent shot of Rampage whipping Coyle through some chairs, before Coyle got thrown into the side of the ramp as the crowd applauded… probably because they got back to a well-lit area. Finally they hit the ring, and now the bell goes!

Coyle whips Rampage into a chair that’d been wedged in the turnbuckle, before the crowd burst into laughter as Coyle headed onto the stage for some plunder. Namely, his burlap sack of tricks. Two VCRs get thrown from under the ring as Coyle whacks his Doink prosthetic arm onto one of them that’d been pinned onto Rampage’s hand… which gave the nice spectacle of the arm flying into the air before Rampage made a comeback by chucking those tape players at the champion.

Rampage then goes all Doink when he uses the arm on Coyle, before Coyle used a chair to swat away a dive. Coyle digs a little deeper as he uses a hurling stick on Rampage ahead of a full nelson slam, before he found some tape and… had some trouble gaffer-taping Rampage to the ropes.

In the end, Coyle undoes a rag from his arm and looked to turn it into a fireball, but Rampage kicks it away and hits a series of back suplexes for his troubles. More plunder follows as Rampage uses a chair on the champion, before he teased a piledrive… landing it on the ramp before he rolled Coyle back into the ring, where Rampage puts that hurling stick to good use (even if the referee out of habit tried to force a break with a five count). A hurling-stick assisted side Russian legsweep follows as Rampage decides to raid Coyle’s box of tapes… and finds some handcuffs? Rampage cuffs Coyle’s hands behind his back… which seemed to be the cue for Coyle’s goons to come out. One of them unties Coyle and gives him the title belt, which Coyle quickly used to drop Rampage before the Dip In The Lake (Air Raid Crash) gets the champion a near-fall.

The goons come in to hold Rampage up as Coyle blasted him with a tape, while one of the goons seemed to think he was in the Nation of Domination. They celebrate as Rampage got back to his feet and cleaned house, before dropping Coyle with a uranage for a near-fall, with the goons breaking up the pin… they’re quickly taken care of though as Rampage ends up booting a tape into Coyle’s face. One more hurling stick shot and a DDT later, and we’re still waiting for a pin, before Coyle DDTs Rampage onto a VCR for another near-fall. We’re not having to wait too much longer though as Coyle tries to suffocate Rampage with some shrink wrap… Rampage escapes before he throws some VCRs at Coyle ahead of a piledriver for the win. A rather satisfying brawl, albeit one that was a disaster as we can add Defiant to the long list of promotions who seem to get caught out when it comes to filming crowd brawls. ***¼

I don’t think this is any kind of blow-off for Coyle, but it is striking to see how Coyle is received in Defiant against, say, NORTH Wrestling. We’ve not had the story arc of Coyle being a cult leader-type figure – he’s just been dropped in as that, with the crowd not really having much to work with. Whether that continues after this brief title reign remains to be seen…

On the whole, Lights Out was a good show from Defiant, and one that I feel is going to end up sailing under a lot of radars. If you fast forward past the women’s match and the tag match – neither of which really landed and at times felt out of place in 2019 for different reasons – this was perhaps the best show in Defiant’s recent history.