After IPW invaded and tore apart Defiant last week, how does the home team hit back? Well, with a not-really-hardcore Hardcore title match!

Do you think they’ll ever update that opening “we are defiant” video that’s already ageing badly?

We open with a replay of last week’s invasion, complete with all the tie choking and canvas ripping as IPW – complete with several as-yet unestablished names on their side – looked to take over… today though, we’re in a new location (Leeds), with a repaired canvas! Dave Bradshaw and James R. Kennedy are bickering on commentary from the start… which is promising.

Jimmy Havoc’s out first, along with Primate, Joe Coffey and Martin Kirby. Hey, I thought he was out for an indeterminate period of time? They play the concussion story on BT Gunn, before Havoc invites out the IPW mob to explain their actions. With some referees trying to stop them, we get Mark Haskins, Chris Ridgeway, Damian Dunne, Rob Sharpe and Aussie Open on the stage… Haskins cuts a promo putting over IPW as the breeding ground of some of the best in the world, which is where Jimmy butts in to remind us that he was their champion for over two years. Yeah, about that casting…

Haskins takes another shot at Defiant, noting that they had a Pro Wrestling World Cup without any of the guys on the stage. There’s quite a bit of verbiage which mirrors what the initial feelings were about WCPW/Defiant a year ago, when they were truly the disruptive kid in the classroom that is the wrestling scene.

Chris Ridgeway’s next to talk, and he’s got his eye on Primate’s Hardcore title. Tonight, in fact. Primate just headbutts him, and this just ends rather awkwardly as the IPW mob back away.

Liam Slater vs. Gabriel Kidd
Kidd’s in no mood to hang around as he rushes the ring, and takes down Slater before he’s even taken off his jacket. Commentary’s saying that this is Kidd’s way of getting payback for the still-kidnapped Prince Ameen, and a big back body drop sends Slater rolling outside for cover.

After draping Slater across the guard rails, a Cactus Jack-esque elbow follows from Kidd, who them gets into a shoving match with Pastor William Eaver… and that provides a chance for Slater to attack from behind. Back in the ring, Slater chains together a powerbomb and a half crab as we get a brief submission attempt, before Slater seems to be looking for advice too much as he’s caught up top and press slammed down.

That gave Kidd a chance to mount a comeback, courtesy of his diving boot, before faking out a punch so he could trick Slater into a DDT. Again Slater runs into a boot as Kidd stays on top, pulling Liam into a camel clutch… which he releases when Eaver shoves Prince Ameen’s carpet into the ring. The distraction works as Kidd again focuses on Eaver, before Slater got the win appropriately enough with a crucifix bomb and the “Holy Headbutt” swandive off the top. This wasn’t too bad actually, especially considering both guy’s ages… although the “where’s Ameen?” story does feel a little off. ***

Little Miss Roxxy vs. Xia Brookside vs. Millie McKenzie
Hey Roxxy has new music – she’s no longer borrowing Drake’s theme! We’ve also got music and an entrance for Millie McKenzie, who’s been given the tag “21st Century Bad Ass”. Stop making us feel old! This is also a debut for Xia Brookside, who interjected herself in things as Millie and Roxxy had a staredown. Millie’s gone straight for her German suplexes, throwing Xia, then Roxxy around, only for the latter to come back in with a backcracker out of the corner as we stuck to the two-at-a-time formula.

After a spell, Brookside makes a comeback, landing a head kick for a near-fall as Millie breaks it up and replaces Roxxy briefly, as a swinging neckbreaker’s broken up at the count of one. We’re back to Roxxy and Millie trading blows again, with Roxxy raking away at the newcomer in the ropes, before a dropkick gets… yep, a broken-up cover.

Xia’s back to take her shots, including a running knee into the corner and a running facebuster and a lungblower… but Millie’s back to capitalise as she spears Xia before ragdolling her into a German suplex. A second’s broken up by a Capoeira kick from Roxxy, but her attempt to capitalise off the top rope ends suddenly when Brookside throws her down – much like her father used to back in the day – as the Iconoclasm gets the win. Pretty decent bell-to-bell, albeit a little spotty, but this crowd largely didn’t seem to care much. It’s yet another loss for Roxxy, which means the new group is much like the old one. **¾

Drake’s next up backstage, and he’s got another match with Mike Bailey. He’s threatening to break his leg since he didn’t do it properly last time…

David Starr vs. Chris Brookes
These two had a hell of a match for PROGRESS two days after this, so I’ve got high hopes, even though Starr’s got El Ligero out to keep up the “is he, isn’t he?” story with the Prestige going.

Starr jumps Brookes before he can get in the ring, taking him into the guard rails with a tope as the Product looked to end this one real early. Brookes quickly gets in control though, and works Starr into the camel clutch for a wet willie, before his offence rudely end courtesy of a Ligero trip.

Ligero’s kept in play for a while as he stomps away on Brookes on the outside as Starr had the ref tied up… and those cheap shots keep coming as Ligero almost does as much in this match as the Product! A Violence Party from Starr keeps Brookes in the corner, but the fightback starts with some rights, following by a missile dropkick… only for his attempt at a slingshot cutter to get stopped as Starr countered with the Product Recall.

After some more trolling from Ligero outside, Brookes starts to mount a comeback, using Starr against himself as the Product dove into Ligero… before following up with a slingshot cutter for a near-fall. Starr tries to steal it with a small package, but he just gets sent to the outside with a knee as Brookes looked to go flying… only to get caught with the Cherry Mint DDT instead.

Starr rebounds there with a lariat and a Blackheart buster, but it’s only good for a two-count, before Brookes counters away and grabs an Octopus hold. Ligero provides another distraction that Brookes falls for, but an O’Connor roll only gets a two count before Brookes wins… with Death By Roll-Up! Another fun match, as you’d expect from these two, but the Ligero interferences brought it down a tad. ***½

Starr and Ligero instantly beat down Brookes after the match, which leads to the save from Travis Banks as it looks like we’re getting this flavour of CCK in Defiant while Lykos is down. Joe Hendry appears and threatens to have the Prestige beat down Banks so badly he’s got to go back to New Zealand… in fact, anything to remove him from Defiant.

More interruptions come as Joe Coffey appears on the stage, randomly passing on a “Merry Christmas” to the crowd for an episode that was taped two weeks before but aired two weeks after the festivities. Apparently Stu Bennett’s agreed to give Coffey a handicap match against Ligero and Hendry in two weeks’ time, along with a Defiant title match for Travis Banks against Austin Aries. So… Coffey was pseudo-GM for the night? I guess they never did free Stu from that office in Birmingham!

Defiant Hardcore Championship: Chris Ridgeway vs. Primate (c)
Rob Sharpe and Damian Dunne were out with Ridgeway, so perhaps interference is on the cards?

Clotheslines and forearms get us going as we quickly see both men get sent outside after duelling clotheslines. The contest continues there with a hockey fight, before Primate’s sent into the guard rails, which again fly up into the air. Ah, memories of nearly getting caught by a flying railing at 1PW… Primate takes some more of those guard rails, before a kick to the chest nearly propelled him into the crowd.

Back in the ring finally, and Primate catches Ridgeway with a spear before an attempt to choke him led to the champion getting caught in a triangle armbar. Hey, this is a Hardcore match… where’s the gratuitous baking trays? Primate powerbombs out of the armbar, before missing another spear as Ridgeway tried to make a comeback, only to see himself trading German suplexes.

Ridgeway edges ahead with a ripcord into a kick as he nearly snatched the win, before going to some ground and pound on a defenceless Primate. The crowd chanted “we want hardcore”, clearly upset that Wilko’s finest cookware hadn’t come into play, but the match abruptly ends not long after when Primate drags Ridgeway into a rear naked choke… and referee Steve Lynskey rang the bell instantly.

Yup. They Montreal’d IPW. Except commentary didn’t play it up, which you’d expect as they’re pro-Defiant. This was totally not the match you’d expect for the Hardcore title, which makes me wonder… why was it? When the entire template for Defiant’s Hardcore title has been plunder, it’s so jarring to see a match that doesn’t even tease it. **¾

Primate looked confused, and that screwjob leads to the IPW mob surrounding Dave Bradshaw on commentary as the show came to an end.

Next week: Drake vs. Mike Bailey (again), Flash Morgan Webster returns to take on Zack Gibson, and Travis Banks gets his Defiant title shot against Austin Aries.

The follow-up to the IPW invasion was rather meek, I felt, with the opening segment being rather dismissive of the guys who caused a trail of destruction. I get it’s Jimmy Havoc’s nature to not give a damn, but the way Mark Haskins’ threat of “burning this place to the ground” was handwaved showed just how much contempt the IPW mob were held in. Perhaps future weeks will see that status change, but for now it sure does feel like the IPW invasion is only good for sneak attacks and little else.