“The funeral of Rampage” on Loaded this week led to a fork in the road as Defiant continued on their path to Leeds.

With the eyes of just about everyone else distracted by WrestleMania in New York, the latest episode of Loaded perhaps went under the radar. We open with the reap from last week, before cutting inside the O2 Academy in Newcastle, where there’s a casket with castors on it. Rory Coyle, complete with a burlap sack on his head, comes out along with a bunch of minions dressed in his t-shirts and lumberjack-like shirts.

Coyle pitched to a tribute video of Rampage, edited and played in the style of WWE’s “in memoriam” videos, complete with a talking head. Rory Coyle. He’s brought “extras” who’d honour Rampage, so he could lay him to rest, much like Primate. Rampage signed a WWE deal?!

Coyle’s eulogy is starting to wander into Michael McGillicutty’s “Genesis of McGillicutty” promo when one of the goons removes his hood… his burlap sack… and then his balaclava, to reveal Justin Sysum. The crowd popped for that, but Sysum’s attack on Coyle is eventually quelled by those goons, who moved in in unison to swarm him. Rory uses the Doink arm and some jumper cables to choke down Sysum, before he threw him into the (empty) coffin and then poured “petrol” on it. There’s a lot of petroleum-based abuse in wrestling going on between Defiant and MLW.

As he was about to drop a lighter on it, Rampage’s music and video hits. Where the bloody hell was he before? He swings a chair at everyone to clear the ring before he rescued Sysum who almost came out swinging. Cue Prince Ameen’s music, as he comically declared this was “brilliant”, because he wants to solve a Rory Coyle problem. By having them both take on Rory Coyle at Lights Out… except Sysum wants to thank Rampage for saving him, so he offers to wrestle him for the sole right to challenge Coyle.

Not only does that make sense, but I smell a rat there.

Backstage, Robbie X is moaning to Man Like Dereiss about how he’s not able to build momentum in Defiant. Dereiss has a similar problem, but their whinging is stopped by Mark Haskins’ pep talk… and books a mini-series. Robbie vs. Dereiss with the winner facing him down the line. O-kay..

Kanji comes out for commentary…

Lizzy Styles vs. Laura di Matteo
Billed as a number one contender’s match, we see Lizzy Styles getting trolled by a fan who held a sign proclaiming their support for Everton FC. She never did get that sign…

Styles attacks Laura before the bell with chops and forearms before the Italian caught her with a legscissors roll-up for a near-fall. Laura gets pulled out of the corner for a near-fall for Styles, then again with a suplex as Kanji bemoaned her own lack of confidence. Laura catches Lizzy with forearms in the corner, but they’re quickly returned as the pair continued to go back and forth. A crossbody out of the corner gets Laura a near-fall, but neither woman could keep the momentum going as the advantage kept switching around.

Di Matteo lands a missile dropkick off the top for a near-fall, before a tornado DDT got countered into a Northern Lights for a near-fall, as a German suplex and a punt kick led to the win. This was nice and even, but a little rough at times… but let’s be real, when you’ve got an unsure Kanji sounding scared on commentary, it was almost telegraphing who was going to win. **

Post-match, Styles snapmares and kicks di Matteo again before she drew on the Italian’s forehead. We never did get a clear shot of what she wrote…

Stevie Aaron interviews Lizzy Styles afterwards from the safety of the floor, before she commandeered the mic and claimed that Kanji was faking her injury earlier. They’ll fight at Lights Out. I’m not so sure if Lizzy backing down from Kanji saying “fight me” was a good idea, given how beaten down Kanji’s been in terms of confidence.

Backstage, Benji interrupts Prince Ameen on the phone. He’s got something to show him… Adam Foster’s been laid out in a loading bay, and has his arm trapped between some palettes.

John Klinger & Gabriel Kidd vs. Joe Hendry & David Starr
Huge credit to Stevie Aaron for reading the entire list of nicknames despite having to run for his life as Starr and Hendry rushed the ring. That made me laugh…

Klinger’s sent outside quickly as Starr and Hendry were almost fighting among themselves to figure out who’d fight Gabriel Kidd. Hendry and Starr forcibly tag themselves in as Kidd was cornered… but that just led to an argument that saw Starr taken to the other corner as the crowd continued to mock Kidd. Klinger tags in and lands a double axehandle off the top… but Starr got free after Klinger accidentally knocked Kidd off the apron, before making a tag out. Hendry’s in with uppercuts and a neckbreaker, before he had to deal with an onrushing Kidd as the referee was doing rather badly with only keeping it one-on-one.

Hendry goes for a Freak of Nature on Klinger… who lands on his feet and hits a low blow, and there’s your blatant DQ. Not much of a match until the DQ I’m afraid, more of a preview for the iPPV – but this probably wouldn’t make you want to buy it. **

After the match Klinger looked to put the boots to Hendry as the crowd chanted for Simon Miller – who was watching from ringside – to get involved. Instead, Klinger slid out as David Starr came in to be a human shield. The Anti-Fun Police wander out, for reasons, and join in the attack, as this became a 5-on-3 mugging, with Drake taping Joe Hendry to the top rope. Simon Miller tries to make a save, but he’s just stretched and hit in the shoulder with a chair.

Gabriel Kidd gets a mic and rips into David Starr for “finally being here” and “not crying for not being able to beat WALTER”… or for whatever happened on Twitter. Starr fought back, but just gets thrown into the ring post as Joe Hendry’s worn down with a chair, before Miller gets finished off with an elbow drop to the shoulder by Klinger. That shoulder’s never gonna heal at this rate. Kidd keeps talking as he took credit as “I, the jobber” choked out Starr. He claims to be the best wrestler Defiant’s ever seen, before lifting Dave Mastiff’s old nickname. This whole bit went about ten minutes, which was about twice as long as it needed to be, and ended up drawing more of a mocking reaction than any kind of heat for Kidd, as we’re left wondering just how the Anti-Fun Police played into this.

Next week: Justin Sysum vs. Rampage for the right to face Rory Coyle for the title at Lights Out… Man Like Dereiss vs. Robbie X for the right to face Mark Haskins at Lights Out… and Jack Sexsmith challenges No Fun Dunne for the No Fun Championship.

The penultimate Loaded before Lights Out was a curious episode – the in-ring left a little to be desired, while the main event storyline just dragged on for far too long.