This week on Defiant – David Starr tries to solve the “John Klinger Problem”.

We open with a recap of Rory Coyle winning the Defiant title a week ago at Magnificent Seven, as we then head inside Northumbria University in Newcastle. Dave Bradshaw and James R. Kennedy are on commentary, but first… Rory Coyle’s in-ring promo! He’s introduced to the ring, with a graphic that oddly doesn’t list him as champion, before declaring that he finally won the big one. Coyle rails on the fans for chanting for him when he’s “ruined” the company, then on management for not making him the “face of WhatCulture” back in the early days of WCPW. He’s a little gotten to at having to wait 801 days for his chance, while the fans watched the thigh slappers.

The crowd’s a little weird as they laugh off Coyle’s remark of him sending Primate “on the high road where he deserves to be”. Coyle then turned on the crowd for not appreciating Rampage… and this is a really odd promo that seemed to confuse the crowd. They perk up when General Ameen came out, as the Defiant GM reminded us of all of the shortcuts Coyle took to win the title. Coyle teases throwing away the Defiant title or to “turn up on a Wednesday night on the network” as Ameen then told him he wouldn’t strip him. Instead, Ameen’s got an idea: he’s going to make a movie of his own. A superhero movie, in fact, as Rory Coyle’ll defend the Defiant title against Justin Sysum at Lights Out. That didn’t get the reaction I’d expect.

Backstage, El Phantasmo tells us he’s in a four-way with Chris Brookes, Mark Haskins and Robbie X in a match to decide who’ll face PAC at Lights Out. He mentions an Internet rumour about him, and says that winning that four way will show us why he’s in-demand. Robbie X has his promo in the same stairwell, as he wants another chance to face PAC.

Conor Renshaw vs. Benji
Renshaw’s out in red and white as they are really leaning into the Sunderland/Newcastle stuff. Shame he’s still wearing the dodgy underwear… and that’s coming from a Sunderland supporter!

This match is for Benji’s Magnificent Seven briefcase, which he’s already tricked out with stickers which make me miss 3CW. Renshaw jumps Benji as he was taking his jacket off, clubbing into the briefcase holder before he got caught with some headscissors. A crossbody out of the corner’s caught and turned into a powerslam from Renshaw for a near-fall, right as the crowd noticed “hey, he looks like Where’s Wally!” Benji tries to fight back, and succeeds with a wheelbarrow roll-up before he’s dumped with a side suplex for a near-fall. A chokeslam from Renshaw’s avoided as Benji flipped out, before he made his way onto the top rope for a flying ‘rana… following that up with another trip up top, which Renshaw tries to cut of, only for Benji to hit a sunset bomb off the top for the win. This was good while it lasted, but it felt way too short considering what was on the line. **¾

Stevie Aaron interviews Benji after the match, telling him he can cash the briefcase in on any champion. The crowd call out suggestions like a gameshow, but Benji’s not really thought about it as he teases cashing in tonight. Aaron reckons Benji’ll cash in against Martin Kirby, but them reminds himself he could also do it against Rory Coyle.

We get a replay from Magnificent Seven, where John Klinger attacked Simon Miller’s perma-injured shoulder with a chair. Backstage, Miller’s licking his wounds as David Starr rocks up in his new “PROGRESSIVE JEW” shirt. Starr wants to fight Gabriel Kidd tonight, but Miller won’t sign it… until Starr beats Klinger tonight. It’s like a video game goal: “beat Klinger by submission to get your match”.

Anti-Fun Police (Drake & Los Federales Santos Jr.) vs. Jack Sexsmith & Visage
Santos gets a promo before the match, calling Sexsmith and Visage “not a real tag team” because they don’t have a name. Santos then wanders into a trap, saying that they’re only together because “they’re… proud”, before Jack spitballs a variety of team names, before revealing that they’re known as “the Tuck Shop”.

Drake and Santos jump them for that announcement, as Santos tried to end this one early. Sexsmith gets double-teamed for a spell, but manages to escape with an Asai DDT to Drake, before Visage came in and caught Santos with a forearm after unsighting him with his wig. Drake gets a headscissor of the top, sending him awkwardly into Santos on the way down, before a pump kick set up an accidental DDT. Visage tries his luck with some kicks, but he’s caught with a Drake’s Landing German suplex for a near-fall, as Sexsmith made a save… and got thrown outside for it. Another Drake’s Landing attempt ended when Visage pushed Drake into Santos in the corner, before Sexsmith came in to hit a Big Double Stompy Move (with a leg sweep from Visage for the hell of it) for the win. So a debut win for the Tuck Shop, and I have a feeling this’ll be a team that could cotton on in this environment. **¾

Post-match, Dunne berates Visage and Sexsmith for having “too much fun”, then slaps them. I guess that’s a direction for the future?

They look a little further ahead than Lights Out for May’s No Regrets show in Manchester, featuring the No Regrets Rumble… then we transfer to a Lizzy Styles promo. She’s pissed off about Kanju dropping out of Magnificent Seven due to injury. Styles wants a title shot, and is a little aggrieved with Laura di Matteo coming in to try and steal her thunder. Which leads to…

Lana Austin vs. Laura di Matteo
Austin starts by grabbing hold of a headlock, taking di Matteo down to the mat as the Italian’s attempt to escape just came to nought.

Di Matteo mocks Austin after throwing away a lock-up, which prompted Lana to flip her off. She slaps away an armdrag attempt, only for Laura to finally hit a few before a dropkick sent Austin to the outside… but Lana pulls di Matteo onto the edge of the ring, seemingly busting her lip open. A chair’s used, but Laura just gets pushed out of it before she returned to the ring and went flying with a lowpe. The ref kicks the cameraman as he slid in to make a two-count, but Lana fought back, trapping Laura in the ropes with an elbow drop for a two-count of her own. A superplex variation drops di Matteo off the top rope, only for Laura to make a comeback as she pulled Austin into the grounded Octopus… but Lana escaped and eventually powerbombed her way free.

Laura responds with a tornado DDT for a near-fall as the momentum continued to swing… but not for much longer as the grounded Octopus is reapplied for the submission. A decent match on paper, but one that the crowd took their sweet time getting into. **½

Stevie Aaron’s out again to interview Laura, but Chris Brookes hops the guardrail and snatches the microphone. Brookes snatches a headset and expresses his disgust for the four-way he’s in next week, as he unpacks his anger on Defiant management. It’s almost like the famous Bret Hart promo, just without a cage and without the crowd being in on it, as Brookes shoves away di Matteo afterwards. Perhaps tipping the hat, but Brookes was wearing Schadenfreude gear here…

Backstage, a red-eyed Mark Haskins talks up a potential match with PAC as he tells us how things have changed since they last met one on one in 2012… oh, and he’s pissed off with how PAC’s able to walk back into a scene and be loved.

Team Whitewolf’s in a locker room talking about their screwy loss to Aussie Open last time they were here. They want a tag title shot, next week, with a different referee. Also next week: Lizzy Styles vs. Gia Adams, plus that four-way for the right to face PAC.

John Klinger vs. David Starr
Starr waited for his nicknames to complete before he charged at Klinger, starting the match with chops and forearms that the German returned.

A kitchen sink knee to the gut put Starr down on the mat though, before a standing frog splash drew a two-count. Starr catches Klinger in the corner and slams him into the ropes, given the former wXw champion an awkward landing. Clubbing lariat-like shots batter Klinger from pillar to post, but a missed swing leaves him open for a string of German suplexes, sending Starr outside for a double sledge off the top rope. The crowd tries to get behind Starr as he started a chop battle with Klinger… something Klinger tried to stop with a headbutt, only for Starr to rip away his shirt and keep on choppin’. More chops from the former Bad Bones follow, as do some elbows, before Starr gets caught with a half nelson suplex out of nothing. He’s right back with more shots, then a running Destroyer to send Klinger to the outside.

Klinger virtually sandbags Starr as Starr tried get the submission win… eventually the count’s broken, but Starr just left Klinger on the apron as the German came back with a slingshot spear. Up next, Klinger goes up top for the Descent into Badness/Macho Man elbow, which misses as Starr rolled his way into the “Republican Remorse” – the old Edgucator to you and me, as Klinger is forced to tap. A nice little main event as Starr hopefully gets what he wants. ***

Post-match, Klinger attacks Starr as the fight continued, only for Gabriel Kidd to join in the beating. Joe Hendry rushes in to make the save before he and Starr had a little shoving match of their own to end the show.

Loaded this week was a solid show – despite the crowd reaction issues persisting, the in ring was again solid for “TV wrestling”… and there’s hints of a few changes down the line with Chris Brookes perhaps/maybe teasing a whole new attitude in the promotion.