PAC is back in Defiant, as his quest for competition continued against a debuting Robbie X.

The start of the show gives us some confirmed matches for the Magnificent Seven show in Sunderland in two weeks’ time – Rampage defending the Defiant championship against Rory Coyle, and we finally see ELP getting his shot at Martin Kirby’s Internet title.

From there, it’s a recap of past shows, and into titles as we’re still in the compact venue in Newcastle. Dave Bradshaw and James R. Kennedy tell us about the Rampage/Coyle match we were just told about, before hyping up the debuting Robbie X… who faces PAC. I think he may be overshadowed…

Omari vs. El Phantasmo
Phantasmo’s still looking for his glasses, but in the meantime he’s having to make do with some finger glasses…

It’s a rather low-key start as Omari and El Phantasmo largely avoided each other’s offence, with ELP cartwheeling out of some headscissors before they broke into a series of dropdowns and pinning attempts, including a rolling small package that trolled the ref. From there, the pair trade monkey flips before Phantasmo went to work over Omari’s wrist and fingers, setting up his favourite journey – a brief rope-walk into a ‘rana!

Omari’s right back with a slingshot off the apron into a stomp on Phantasmo for a near-fall, before he deadlifted Phantasmo off the mat and into a Doctor Bomb for another two-count, albeit to silence. A crucifix bomb from Phantasmo proved to be a worthy counter to the O-Zone, before a springboard crossbody and a Quebrada picked up a two-count… just as No Fun Dunne wandered out.

Phantasmo spots him in the aisle, but Dunne’s got something behind his back… and it proves to be a distraction as Omari caught him with an electric chair facebuster for a near-fall. Dunne slid in the glasses… and Omari’s caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, as Phantasmo punched out Omari before taking the win with a frog splash. A tidy match, but one that the crowd struggled to get into since it was between two good guys. **½

Post-match, Omari chases Dunne to the back, and ELP celebrates with his sunglasses.

Backstage, Drake’s with Lana Austin and Conor Renshaw. They’re interrupted by Adam Foster and Simon Miller, who’s got the sack o’ lollipops. Lana draws a red one, so she’s not in the match… Conor draws yellow, as does Drake… and we’ve got ourselves a Newcastle vs. Sunderland brawl that’ll bleed into a match later. I’m sensing a theme in this Magnificent Seven field, which is confirmed as: Benji, Drake, Visage, Conor Renshaw, Man Like Dereiss, Los Federales Santos Jr. & MJF.

They recap Lana Austin and Lizzy Styles’ run-in from last week, which led into Lizzy Styles introducing herself via a promo.

Conor Renshaw vs. Drake
Conor’s upgraded from the “jobber tron”, but he’s hardly getting a good reaction in Newcastle. Yep, Stevie Aaron saying “Sunderland” woke the crowd up.

Remember when Drake was crying about not having his initials? Well, those are in the past. He gets a huge pop for just being from Newcastle, and we start with Renshaw taking Drake into the corner with a tie-up. Yeah, Conor’s not helping himself here, and he’s taken down with a headlock as Drake eased into a lead.

A head kick from the apron leads to Drake crashing and burning from a springboard spinning heel kick… but he’s right back in as he snapmares and kicks Renshaw in the back. Renshaw looks to get his own back, but he makes do with a powerslam after catching a crossbody from Drake. Drake then caught Renshaw up top, crotching him on the turnbuckles before another springboard into the ring saw Drake lose his footing. Not a good night to be a flying Drake…

Another head kick keeps Renshaw on the top rope, as a cutter brought him down for the win. Eh. They tried, but it wasn’t a good day at the office for the deputy. **

Next: a training montage with Benji, who I think may have recorded his audio in a shed… it’s camp, cheesy, and excellent stuff as Joe Hendry acted as his coach. Then, General Ameen’s mad at how his assistant stole “his lollipops” gimmick before he gets interrupted by the South Coast Connection, who tell him about the teams they’ve beaten. Ameen reacts like he’s not seen any of this, but he then gives them a tag title shot next week. Uh oh.

John Klinger vs. Adam Foster
The latest go around of the Macho Man tribute tour sees the former “Bad Bones” take on the assistant to the assistant to the General Manager… Adam Foster. Perhaps better known as Shreddybrek in some circles.

Foster starts with a headlock and a shoulder block takedown to knock the beanie off of Klinger’s head, eventually sending the German outside. Klinger throws a chair in, but the ref catches it… so Klinger tries again. This time, the ref doesn’t try his luck. Klinger storms the ring and gets tossed outside with ease as Foster then gave chase, only for the tables to turn as Klinger took him back inside for a double sledge off the top rope.

Some right hands and a suplex put Foster down, but another double sledge is caught and turned into an overhead belly-to-belly by Foster… who then runs into Klinger’s boots in the corner. “The Badness” misses a knee into the corner as Foster scored a splash into the corner for a two-count, only to get sent outside after Klinger kneed him in the back.

Foster’s left on the outside as another double sledge to the floor finds its mark, and almost wins the match. An attempt to throw Klinger outside proves to be a bad idea, as Klinger comes in with a slingshot spear, the Wrecking Ball knees and then the Self Justice flying lungblower, before Klinger headed up for a Macho Man elbow for the win. Eh, this was one-way traffic, but this did nothing for me. Nor for much of the crowd, it felt. Perfunctory, but this Macho Man tribute act is not clicking with this crowd. **

After the match, Klinger dragged Foster, then left the ring as a fan gave him a chair. They knew what was next. Simon Miller rushes the ring to prevent more damage from behind made, and as Klinger went for him… the lights go out. A promo from a raspy Justin Sysum appears. He’s angry… oh and he’s facing “the average German” at Magnificent Seven.

They run through the Magnificent Seven card:

Defiant Championship: Rampage (c) vs. Rory Coyle
Defiant Internet Championship: Martin Kirby (c) vs. El Phantasmo
Justin Sysum vs. John Klinger
Magnificent Seven Match: Benji vs. Drake vs. Visage vs. Los Federales Santos Jr. vs. Conor Renshaw vs. Man Like Dereiss vs. MJF

Backstage, Santos and Drake learn about Spanish and food, when No Fun Dunne runs in and collects his troops. They run downstairs as Omari runs… upstairs. Doh.

Next week: David Starr vs. Joe Hendry… Kanji & Bea Priestley vs. Lana Austin & Lizzy Styles… and Aussie Open defend the Defiant tag titles against the South Coast Connection.

Robbie X vs. PAC
It’s a Defiant debut for Robbie X, who’s still got his WOS mask… but he takes it off during his intro, thankfully.

We start with PAC taking Robbie into the corner, before he got a little distracted with someone in the crowd. They resume with Robbie flipping his way free of a wristlock, only for PAC to take him back into the corner and cheapshot him. From there, PAC turns up the pace with a cartwheel dropkick, before he threw Robbie into the ropes, which led to a handspring from the Lincoln native and a cartwheel dropkick of his own.

Another handspring from Robbie’s cut-off with a low dropkick from PAC, before he found himself flung into the turnbuckles. The referee tries to admonish PAC for choking, but instead PAC ends up taking Robbie back into the corner before he began to wear him down with stomps.

A snap suplex from PAC drops Robbie again, with the Geordie following up with a charge into the corner. Some forearms finally wake up Robbie, who responds in kind before PAC cut him off… ducking underneath a handspring, only to get knocked off the apron with a handstand kick as Robbie finally made his mark with a tope on the outside.

Robbie catches a kick and pulls down PAC, before coming right back with a corkscrew enziguiri… a tornado DDT finally hits as those ropes proved to be someone else’s undoing tonight. PAC rolls onto the apron to avoid a flying Robbie off the top rope, suckering him in as Robbie’s dropped across the top strand as PAC lands a 450 splash and a sit-out powerbomb for a near-fall.

Robbie’s already on the proverbial jelly legs, as PAC was freely taking shots ahead of a lariat that just flipped Robbie inside out. Just like that though, Robbie catches PAC on the top rope, bringing him down with a death valley driver before a Spiral Tap almost caused the upset. PAC’s back in with the Rings of Saturn, and that’s enough for Robbie to quit… a decent match, but one that I felt was lacking a little. Still, it’s not like the result was in any doubt, and a PAC appearance in Newcastle was always going to go down well. ***¼

PAC refuses to let go, but there’s no reversal of the decision as the show faded to black…

…or did it? Rory Coyle’s in his video editing den, with another tape, this time for Rampage. There’s covert footage of Rampage locking up his wrestling school, as Coyle offered an explanation. Apparently the fans don’t care about Rampage, nor do they appreciate him. There’s a cheeky dig at thigh slappers here from Rory, who’s trying to incite the “violent Rampage”… and that really is the end of the show.

Well, the in-ring may have been lacking until the main event, but this another by-the-numbers episode of Defiant that continued to build to the Magnificent Seven… but are still feeling like they’re some way off from grabbing the “floating” casual crowd. There’s something about that Magnificent Seven match that really has set me off – and I don’t know whether that’s the match they’re going to deliver (a bait-and-switch), or whether MJF being the ringer is too obvious in that line-up. We shall see…