The Internet title took centre stage on another tape-delayed PPV as Defiant took their last stop on the road to their Built to Destroy anniversary show.
It’s been yet another transitory phase for Defiant, who seem to have abandoned the concept of weekly TV once again, in favour of just producing monthly shows. The last time they did this was for Road to No Regrets, which was dropped as either separate shows on YouTube, or as a single event on the promotion’s VOD service… this time, it’s VOD-only I’m afraid.
We’re live on tape from the Plug in Sheffield, and there’s already a bunch of people declaring their love for Simon Miller – his self proclaimed “WHY? Section”. Shame there were reports that those signs were handed out beforehand, straight out of that NBC special, “Exposed! Pro Wrestling’s Greatest Secrets”. Where’s the Stunt Granny… As ever, Dave Bradshaw and James R. Kennedy are on commentary, hiding in the shadows.
Aussie Open (Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher) vs. Prospect (Alex Gracie & Lucas Archer)
This was billed as an open challenge, which was answered by Prospect – who were teaming for the first time (in Defiant) in almost a year. That drew a few boos, I’m guessing from those who weren’t so thrilled at the reset button having been pushed.
Lucas Archer started, but was quickly put on the back foot as a low dropkick from Fletcher and a back senton from Davis earned an early near-fall, but Prospect were able to turn things around as Alex Gracie tagged in and took Fletcher into the corner for some stomps. Prospect were already misfiring as a team when Fletcher shoved them into each other, before taking them outside for a dive, earning him a near-fall as Archer was thrown back into the ring.
Again, Aussie Open focused on Archer, whose comeback was short-lived as Dunkzilla lit him up with chops. A double-team Go To Sleep from Fletcher gets another near-fall, as Archer was limited to flash pin attempts. He was able to escape a double-team spinebuster as the tag was finally made out to Gracie, who lit into Davis with kicks and knees with an intensity that we’ve rarely seen from the self-professed Legend. Only thing was, Gracie tried too much and his slam on Davis was blocked… but that only delayed things as Dunkzilla ran into a slam anyway. A lariat from Davis ends Gracie, as Archer eats a flapjack, before that double-team spinebuster almost ended the match… Gracie blind-tags back in as Fletcher looked to lawn-dart Archer, but Prospect swing it back around with an Eat Defeat/side Russian legsweep combo for a near-fall.
Davis is back in to punch out Archer, before Gracie escaped the Alphamare Waterslide and teased a Fall from Gracie. That too is blocked as the Aussies give him a Fidget Spinner for the win. Pretty much a glorified squash, but Prospect had some good moments in there – albeit brief! ***
Post-match, Archer and Gracie were left in the ring… Archer shoved away Gracie as it seemed that time really wasn’t healing all wounds. Lucas gets the mic and expressed his frustration at losing a non-title match. The crowd didn’t seem too bothered, as Archer told the crowd that Gracie had “been there for him” during the last year. He calls back to Gracie turning on him, which made the whole “being there for him” comment wacky, before vowing to “iron out” their issues so they can get stronger as a team. There’s a challenge laid out for a match between them at Built to Destroy, as they return to the scene of the initial split.
Defiant Women’s Championship: Lana Austin vs. Millie McKenzie (c)
Holy reverb at Lana Austin’s music! In Defiant, she’s yet to record a win, which tends to be the case in any promotion whose women’s division is largely based around a champion and a range of supporting characters… so this would point to it being a bit of a squash in the making.
Except Millie gives Lana a title match because she eliminated her at the No Regrets rumble. O-kay?
Lana tried to nick the win early with some pinning attempts, including a sunset flip out of the corner, but Millie’s able get on top, shrugging off hip attacks and a kick to the back before working her way into some Angel’s Wings. The German suplex is teased, but Austin gets to the corner and onto the apron, where she suckered Millie for a PK and some brawling around ringside. They return to the ring, with Lana staying on top with some kicks, as a forearm snuffed out Millie’s attempted comeback, following up with a neckbreaker for a near-fall. A spear from Millie gets her back on track though, as those German suplexes come into play, before she dragged Austin to the mat in a Million Dollar Dream, only for Lana to get to the ropes.
Lana tries to nick the win with a roll-up as she found a second wind, walloping McKenzie with a discus forearm, before getting a near-fall out of a side Russian legsweep. In the end, Millie gets a roll-up for a near-fall as the referee held up the count despite Lana’s shoulders being down, as as Millie finished her off with a Saito suplex for the win. A good, spirited effort, hampered by an iffy finish – this is why WWE refs are told to call it as if it’s real, “plans” be damned! **¾
Post-match, Austin snapped and wiped out Millie with a DDT, before laying out Millie with a chair shot. Useless Referee does nothing but watch, so I’m guessing she’s sticking around?
We’re taken backstage… well, inside a van, as Jay Melrose has his old WCPW tag title belt on show. It’s apparently his office, something that No Fun Dunne is bemused at. Dunne’s mad at how Martin Kirby has a title match and he doesn’t… in comes Kirby, who’s clearly on better terms, as Melrose tells Dunne his match is now.
No Fun Dunne vs. Jack Sexsmith
This was Jack’s singles debut in Defiant, having made his debut in the No Regrets Rumble. Commentary goes straight to the “he likes to have fun” trope for Jack, saying “he’s happy go lucky… seems to enjoy being alive”. So, the opposite of Tim White, eh?
Dunne attacks Sexsmith in the corner before the bell as he put the boots to him, while the crowd tell him he’s not a real policeman. Sexsmith recovers with an atomic drop and a slap to the butt, before nailing the Pearl Neckbreaker… but Dunne shoved away from Sliced Bread and hits an enziguiri to restore order. Sexsmith gets choked in the ropes while James Kennedy on commentary seemed to be rather averse to using his full surname. Dunne’s all over Sexsmith, but some chops allowed Jack to get in a misdirection roll-up and a diving boot as he mounted a comeback, landing a knee to the head and a superkick. Second time was the charm for the Sliced Bread, but it’s not enough and Dunne comes right back in with a springboard backcracker.
Dunne tried for the False Alarm Enziguiri, but Sexsmith plants a kiss on him instead, then the LGBDT before going top… but Dunne shoved the ref into the ropes to crotch Jack, before a springboard lungblower gets the win. A decent showing for Dunne, but I was sorely disappointed that commentary didn’t touch on the more diverse parts of Sexsmith’s character that just about every other promotion’s used. ***
Defiant’s doing a tournament in July – the Ringmaster tournament. It’s a two-day affair, so it’s not going to overrun their usual programming like last year’s World Cup did!
Chris Brookes & Kay Lee Ray vs. Jimmy Havoc & Mark Haskins
Commentary notes that Kay Lee Ray’s got a shot at Jimmy Havoc’s Hardcore title at Built To Destroy, so this is a warm-up of sorts as we get another iteration of, erm, CCKay?
Havoc and Haskins were jumped during their entrance as Brookes and Ray brought the fight to their opponents, only for Havoc to get the first blow in when he slammed Kay Lee onto the entry ramp. She’s back on her feet though as we continued the brawl, with Haskins and Ray getting slammed onto the stage, before Havoc takes out Brookes with a chairshot. WHen they return to ringside, Useless Referee gets wiped out with a PK, before Haskins superkicked away a CCK elevated lungblower.
A punch lays out Brookes, but Mark Haskins can’t get a pinfall counted as the referee’s still out as commentary suggested that the former tag champions were falling out. Havoc kicking the referee low made sure the match still wasn’t starting, as the brawl took out the cameraman, before eye pokes and chops kept Kay Lee Ray and the official down. The bedlam continues in the crowd as Kay Lee leaps off the crowd barrier into Jimmy Havoc – barely in view of the hard camera – before brawling into a photo booth. I wonder if they had any shots taken? Back towards ringside, Mark Haskins wiped out the referee again as he caught Brookes with the misdirection tope, as the focus turns to Kay Lee Ray with some papercuts.
Eventually Kay Lee fired back on Haskins, but a kick to the leg stops that as we’re again taken back into the crowd as Kay Lee Ray found her way onto a sound desk, and leaps off it into the former tag champions. Again we’re back to the ring as Kay Lee tried to overwhelm Havoc and Haskins, and when Chris Brookes returned things took a turn for the worse as the elevated lungblower was stopped.Brookes gets slingshotted into a Havoc death valley driver, and now we’re looking for the referee again to count the pin.
Except Kay Lee Ray removed Haskins from the ring, and our referee finally gets some retribution by kicking Havoc low. The bell finally rings, and Brookes snatches the win with a roll-up in eight seconds! A pretty fun brawl, but since the official match was just a roll-up, that’s all this segment was!
Hey, we’re not getting any awkward videos shoe-horned between every match. Great!
Defiant World Championship: Joe Hendry vs. Rampage (c)
Before his match, Hendry grabbed a sign from the crowd and called it slanderous. He turned the promo to talk of fans who used to criticise his in-ring work… and then shot that down by saying that an ovation at ROH put paid to that. I don’t think that’s what the knock is on him these days…
Chants of “Yorkshire” drown out Hendry for a spell, and I’m fixing to hit fast-forward on this stream. Hendry reckons it’s time to return the Defiant title to its rightful owner: himself. Apparently the fans are just a loud minority, but hey, it’s a nice touch for him to do a promo that’s almost as long as our reviews! This segues into an episode of the Joe Hendry show, and that’s the point where I start scrobbling through the stream…
HOLY CRAP THIS GOES ON FOR TEN MINUTES. Finally Rampage comes out, as he basks in those “Yorkshire chants”, which is the cue for Hendry to get the match going. Except there’s more stalling after the bell, because we’re getting the “Joe Hendry Show Live”. Thankfully Rampage ends the story of Hendry’s life with a pump kick and a piledriver and that’s a squash. Bye-bye!
We’re back in Primate’s van, as he’s visited by Chris Brookes. He’s looking for something new after spending ages with temporary partners… but he’s given a tag title match, with another replacement partner “someone from the animal kingdom”. Please let it be Big Grizzly or Wild Boar. The scene fades away on Melrose talking to his mask, so we’re going down the same route as Mick Foley as GM?
David Starr vs. Martin Kirby
Holy reverb, Batman! David Starr’s music drowns out Stevie Aaron at first until someone finds the volume sliders…
The crowd can’t pick a favourite, so both Kirby and Starr play it up before we get underway, with Starr taking down Kirby for a side headlock and all your usual stuff after that – escapes, shoulder tackles and poses! They keep it pretty basic, swapping shoulder tackles before Starr took down Kirby in a hammerlock… which gets escaped as the feeling out process continued in earnest.
Eventually some criss-crossing in the ropes was stopped with a Thesz Press from Starr, before his attempt at Pretty Pumped was countered… and we’re back to headlock takedowns and escapes before a well-received stand-off! Another go around ends with a back elbow from Kirby, then a spinebuster, as Kirby looked for the Zoidberg Elbow. Yeah, it misses as Starr kicks him into the ropes, before taking him into the corner for a clothesline as a cravat kept Kirby subdued.
Kirby’s able to back body drop out of a Cherry Mint DDT before he rolled Starr up into a neckbreaker for a near-fall. He goes for the Zoidberg again, but this time Starr rolled away and throws Kirby onto the apron for a springboard clothesline. The Product Recall’s next, as are some clubbing lariats and elbows, before falling for the False Alarm enziguiri.
Starr nearly gets the win when Kirby’s dive was countered into a Cherry Mint DDT, but the match becomes rather more even when Kirby hits a brainbuster, then a superkick. The Blackheart Buster turns it back the other way for a near-fall, before another Kirby comeback led to a Sable Bomb for the win. This was a nice little match that had plenty of energy and fire – Starr perhaps had a little too much considering Kirby’s got a title match in a few weeks… but on the whole this was the best thing on the card so far. ***½
We’re outside the venue again as Jay Melrose, drinking a can of Monster, stops Lana Austin. She tries to brush off what she did earlier, but she’s given a 30 day suspension… which rules her out of Built to Destroy. I guess she’s not coming back anytime soon…
Chardonnay vs. Bea Priestley
The winner of this faces Millie McKenzie at Built to Destroy – and it’s a debut for Chardonnay who’s back in the UK after a tour of STARDOM. She’s introduced as a member of Queen’s Quest (as was Bea), which I think may have been the niche-est reference of the evening.
Bea Priestley has new music and an entrance that was so grandiose, it perhaps telegraphed the winner.
The match started in a friendly manner, with Chardonnay and Bea exchanging holds, before a ‘rana took Chardonnay into the corner ahead of a snapmare and a missed PK… which was countered into a roll-up for a near-fall. Bea tries a springboard, but she’s kicked away from the ropes and eventually met with a Dragon screw as Chardonnay looked to work on Bea’s knees.
Priestley’s taken into the corner for some choking, as Chardonnay trapped her knee in the rope for another dropkick, ahead of a Boston crab attempt as Chardonnay tried to force a submission. Eventually Bea pushes out then mounts a comeback with a back suplex, then a spinning heel kick to trap Chardonnay in the ropes for a near-fall. A series of forearms keeps Chardonnay rocked, but a headlock suplex is able to give her a near-fall out of nowhere.
Bea mounts another comeback, kicking Chardonnay in the ropes before going up top… but she’s caught… only ot shrug off a superplex and shove Chardonnay down for a double stomp. That barely gets her a near-fall, as Chardonnay’s latest comeback’s shrugged off, allowing Bea to go for another stomp… only to get caught with a spinebuster that almost ended things. A stomp off the top rope connects as Bea got back on track, before a curb stomp earned the win. This had a few rough spots, but Bea has improved massively from even the last time she was in Defiant… and that match with Millie McKenzie has quite a bit of potential, as long as it goes longer than their last Defiant outing! ***
We’re in the GM’s van again, and he’s on the phone to someone. Joe Hendry barges in and is moaning, as he’s want to do. Melrose insists that Hendry calls him Mr. Primate… Hendry’s what I believe the kids call “gotten to”. He wants to have the Defiant title awarded to him… or at the very least, have Defiant schedule another show so he can win the title. Melrose points out that Hendry’s the quickest loser in any Defiant title match in history, but still gives him the match he wanted: it’s Hendry vs. Will Ospreay at Built to Destroy for a shot at the Internet title… because he’s no longer part of the world title picture.
Drake & Gabriel Kidd vs. Prince Ameen & Simon Miller
After his debut in the No Regrets Rumble, Simon Miller’s got a tag team match here as they build up the rivalry with Drake that sparked in that match. Gabriel Kidd’s still got no music, while Miller’s brick-wall singlet and the head-slapping mannerisms continues to invite Ryback comparisons. I wonder if that’s the end goal? Ryback vs. Si-back?
It isn’t a shock that Miller got the loudest and most sustained reactions so far, but at least this YouTuber’s wrestling. Prince Ameen started, but he wanted to face Gabriel Kidd… who wanted no part of him. Instead, Ameen took down Drake with an armdrag and tagged in Miller… who got a good reaction for just standing there (albeit with Ameen cheerleading). Drake piefaced him, then got a receipt as the pair whipped each other into corners, with Miller landing clotheslines, elbows and a slam.
Drake fired back with forearms to the back as Kidd tagged in, but a double-clothesline is powered through as Miller hit one of his own. A back suplex keeps Kidd down, as Miller was all about the offence, while Ameen seemingly didn’t want to join in. There’s a distraction from Drake which help turn things around, as we’re back to Drake wearing down on him with uppercuts and forearms to the back.
A chinlock keeps Miller on the mat as the bad guys stayed in control, keeping Miller in the ring for extended periods as they ran through the old school playbook. Rope burns to the eyes, choking in the ropes and the like, despite the crowd providing support. Miller’s perhaps kept in a touch too long as both opponents did the “you don’t deserve to be here” stuff, before Kidd slapped Miller silly.
Eventually Miller mounted a comeback, only to get clubbed down as he finally reversed a suplex. Both men tag out as Ameen’s hot tag helped him clear house, dropping Drake with a knee, before a neckbreaker in the ropes drew a near-fall for Ameen. Kidd tried to come in and break up the pin, but he scurried as soon as Ameen got to his feet, which meant that Drake was on his own as Ameen hits a spinebuster before going up top for the Magic Carpet Ride.
Except Kidd whacks Ameen in the back with a chair, and there’s your cheap DQ. Not much of a match to be fair, with Miller spending what I felt was way too much time in the ring on the defensive for a tag match… but it’s a case of baby steps here. I hope. **
Post-match, Kidd kept pounding on Ameen in the ring, before Simon Miller made the save. A chairshot from Drake actually bust Miller open at the back of the head… and now I know why we were getting people searching for “Simon Miller head injury” last week here. You sick so-and-sos. The ring’s left stained with Miller’s blood as the bad guys left… only to be confronted by Jay Melrose on the stage, who put them both in matches at Built to Destroy as (HT) Drake faces Simon Miller, while Ameen and Kidd finally face off. I’m not too sure how advertiser-friendly Melrose’s catchphrase is, but as a no-nonsense GM (at least in the arena) it sorta works.
They announce Stacked will take place on August 26 in Manchester… we’re slowly getting dates onto their books!
Defiant Internet Championship: WALTER vs. Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Travis Banks (c)
The controversy around the Internet title’ll be sorted, they said, as the “interim” champion Zack Sabre Jr. finally had a chance to reclaim his title… although the unification match was muddied by the addition of WALTER after his draw with Travis Banks last month.
The crowd seemed to be backing WALTER from the off, as the three-way started with the Austrian trying to clear the ring as he had it out for everyone. First CHOP! of the night went to Banks, but Sabre wasn’t too far behind as WALTER was all about those gunshot-like chops here. He invites receipts, and finally the double-teaming from the past and present Internet champions worked… but then Banks and Sabre got into their own shoving match as they got into it.
A double shoulder tackle from WALTER puts them both down, as we’re back to the stringing chops, with poor Sabre trapped between a corner and der Ringgeneral. The one-man wrecking crew known as WALTER was making light work of things here, but Banks was able to get in a brief glimmer of hope as he caught WALTER, then Sabre with cannonballs in the corner. WALTER’s back in to try and break up a submission from Sabre, but Banks kicks the hold apart as we’re into the phase of “everyone breaks up pins and submissions”. Problem was for Banks, getting to the ropes made things worse as he gets trapped between the ropes for some crossface punches… as did Sabre, who also earned himself a brutal chop that sent him flying backwards to the mat.
Banks offers himself up for a chop battle, and when WALTER tries to land a boot, the Kiwi counters with a legsweep and a running knee to take the big man to the outside. Instead of going after Sabre, Banks brings WALTER back inside, but a Slice of Heaven’s caught and turned into a Boston crab right in front of Sabre… who takes his time before kicking at WALTER in a bid to break it up. WALTER eventually relinquishes, and we’re back to the chops! Sabre leaps into WALTER with a triangle armbar as he went to powerbomb Banks but that too is countered as Banks eventually turned it into a DDT, as Banks and Sabre now take turns to go at it.
The Euro clutch nearly gets the win for Sabre, while Banks’ Kiwi Krusher gets him a near-fall on Sabre as WALTER dragged himself back into the ring, but only after he dumped Banks with a back suplex onto the apron. Sabre helps to bring WALTER inside with a Dragon screw, but those chops again keep Zack at bay before he asked for more. Which WALTER gladly dished out.
Sabre tries to fight back with another Dragon screw as he followed up with a knee bar. WALTER again chops his way free, but he sees a powerbomb countered into a guillotine choke that Banks broke up with a double stomp as you sensed the end was nigh. Banks and WALTER exchange shotgun dropkicks, as all three men are left on the mat once more, before WALTER gets back up to dish out more of those gunshot chops.
Eventually Sabre has enough and slaps back as this became a three-way slugfest, but WALTER’s right hands caved in their chests once again as he was left standing tall. A double clothesline keeps him ahead, before a Fire Thunder Driver attempt is countered into an Octopus… which is broken up with a Slice of Heaven. It’s getting fast, furious and choppy again, as Sabre tried to roll into a pinning attempt… only for WALTER to snap into a Gojira clutch and there’s our quick tap-out! WALTER leaves with the gold, and that, my friends, was a bloody war and as good as you expected it to be going in. ****¼
Road to Destruction was a solid show to take us into the promotion’s Built to Destroy anniversary show… What you expected to deliver did so in spades, and the match that (on paper, at least) had me fearful wasn’t that bad. If you’ve been put off by Defiant/WhatCulture in the past, you’d do worse than jump back in with this show… at the very least, you should put aside a quarter of an hour or so for the main event. It’s THAT good.
This was definitely one of their stronger shows, in terms of their tapings. Defiant have tended to put their biggest matches at the beginning, which impacts the energy from the crowd. The pacing was much better here, and improved the show in general. Very much looking forward to Built to Destroy!