The Defiant/IPW rivalry continued again this week, as Defiant somehow were goaded into putting temporary control of the company on the line in this week’s main event.
We’re still in Leeds for this week’s episode, and we open with a promo from IPW owner Billy Wood. He’s just twigged that IPW have the Defiant title, so they’re holding it hostage. He challenges Martin Kirby to face Mark Haskins tonight… with a shot at the Defiant title going to Kirby if he wins. If he loses, Defiant loses all control to IPW until the Chain Reaction iPPV.
Last week’s recap sees Zack Gibson getting challenged by Rampage along with Travis Banks getting screwed over by the Prestige again… Your usual commentary team are still here. I don’t think Dave and James have budged an inch since last week. They put over the Haskins/Kirby match as the most important in Defiant history. It’s a short one, so I’ll give them that. After my computer blue screens, we’re back with Alex Gracie’s open challenge.
Alex Gracie vs. Rampage
The open challenge is just a regular match, and it’s a welcome return for Rampage… who returned last week, so I’m kinda hoping that this was taped first.
Gracie’s very uneasy when the bell rings, cowering away from Rampage before trying for a takedown. It’s stuffed, as he instead tries to slap Rampage, and after a chase scene, Rampage plants Gracie with a powerslam. More beating’s followed by more chasing as Rampage jogs around ringside… Gracie hides, but Rampage is smart to it and sneaks up behind him with a chop to the back. Gracie escapes an apron piledriver before ducking a boot as Rampage hits the ringpost, and now we get the comeback, with Gracie throwing Rampage onto the ramp as he looked for a cheap countout. It doesn’t work, and Gracie tries to go for a pin… barely getting a one-count as he tried to continue the fight back… and instead takes a kick to the head for his troubles.
Rampage hits back with a series of slams, before he’s forced to shove away a rather hopeful Fall From Gracie attempt. More of the same follows, before Gracie spits in Rampage’s direction. Yup, he’s done screwed up… but Rampage goes to grab Gracie’s nunchucks, which causes a ref distraction that Gracie tries to steal the win from with a low blow and a roll-up.
Gracie tries to hit his finishers, but Rampage easily counters them and finishes off the self-labelled legend with a piledriver. Pretty enjoyable, and I guess Alex Gracie is still the deluded job guy? Let’s see how long this go around lasts… **¾
We barely have time to let that sink in as we cut to Zack Gibson in a stairwell. He’s there with an unnamed guy who’s apparently one of Rampage’s trainees. Zack calls Rampage out, and Rampage runs to the back as Gracie’s still staggering away.
After an advert, we’re in the same stairwell, where Primate and Jimmy Havoc are talking ahead of their match with the “wrestling tourists” Aussie Open. I’m pretty sure the past regime took away some of those “British jobs” with shorter-term imports…
Aussie Open (Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher) vs. Jimmy Havoc & Primate
Fun fact – Mark Davis’ first big exposure in Europe came as part of WCPW back in the day. We can’t quite pull the “bad casting!” card, since WCPW never used him again after that… The Aussies are part of the IPW roster in this story, and are the default bad guys.
From the off, IPW are portrayed as goons as Robert Sharp and Chief Deputy Dunne bump into each other as they try to jump the Defiant tag champions. It’s bedlam once the bell goes as Fletcher eats a powerbomb from Primate, before Jimmy Havoc launched into Dunkzilla with a face-washing boot.
Outside, we see that Kyle Fletcher towers over Primate… so of course, Davis does too as he wanders over to grab a bit of the guard railing to throw onto Primate. We’re quickly into more weapons, so I’m assuming this is a hardcore match, as Davis works over Primate with a chair. Fletcher tries the same, but he ends up having to whip Primate into the crowd.
Primate quickly returns as Jimmy Havoc grabs a ladder for… reasons. They don’t use it just yet, as Primate’s lap of honour into Aussie Open ends with them superkicking him first, before their attempt to mock ends courtesy of a save from Jimmy Havoc, who keeps taking potshots at Sharpe and Dunne at ringside. Havoc’s around-the-ring cardio ends with a poke to the eye, and yeah, there’s some for Sharpe and Dunne, before the tag champs finally took it back to the ring. A double stomp through a chair to Fletcher gets Havoc a near-fall, as the Aussies rebound with a pop-up Ace crusher to Primate as the tit-for-tat continues… with IPW again looking like the poorer relations at times.
A Parade of Moves make this one hard to follow, ending when Havoc avoids another pop-up Ace crusher, before Primate goes airborne with a tope into Davis, Dunne and Sharpe. That left Fletcher in the ring as he ate a Destroyer and the Jig ‘n’ Tonic, but Dunne pulls out the ref to break up the count – the same Steve Lynskey who screwed over Chris Ridgeway two weeks earlier (which commentary doesn’t twig) – before Havoc takes an errant chairshot from Primate.
With Havoc down, Primate eats a Fidget Spinner as the Aussies go for more plunder in the form of a table. They set it up, but in the end don’t use it as Havoc takes another Fidget Spinner – with the IPW crew giving the crowd a proverbial middle finger by teasing and not delivering the table spot. This was decent enough, but massively spotty and plunderiffic. If you’re not a fan of bedlam matches, then you’ll loathe this. ***
Havoc shoved away Primate as they had a tiff after the match… but they hug it out.
After a plug for the theme song, Zack Gibson’s back with a “trainee” – clearly wearing a security t-shrit – as Gibson throws the unlucky whomever-it-was into the ring. Gibson’s got another long promo, tearing into Rampage, calling him “another wrestler” as opposed to the monster that the crowd thinks he is. Gibson tells Rampage that he’ll never be Liverpool’s Number One. Perhaps if he gimmicks his home town?
Apparently Gibson’s been to Rampage’s training school, and this security guard proves Gibson’s a better trainer than Rampage. Zack gives him a “free, private lesson”, which is the Shankly Gates. All of a sudden we cut away as Rampage pulls up in a car, running into the arena… and I’m guessing Rampage is a quick driver because in the space of 20 minutes he’s gone from knowing where Zack was, to being told “hey, he’s in the arena” and doing a U-turn to make it back there.
Again Gibson runs away, presumably to fix the time-space continuum, as Rampage finally tends to his trainee.
We’re back in that stairwell again as Martin Kirby says he doesn’t care about that IPW/Defiant feud. He tells Joe Coffey he’s only interested in this so he can get a title shot. Coffey’s impressed by that attitude, and I’m wondering if this is a side effect of that massive concussion that led to Kirby being written out only weeks ago? Coffey again throws out the “tourist wrestler” line, as he gets really rared up…
The Prestige (Joe Hendry & El Ligero) vs. Joe Coffey & Travis Banks
Coffey’s out to announce that he’s making use of that power Stu Bennett gave him, by granting himself a tag team partner. It’s no longer a handicap match, and commentary has to awkwardly cover why Martin Kirby (who gets chants but is in the unannounced-to-the-crowd main event) isn’t the choice.
Instead, it’s Travis Banks!
Hendry and Ligero storm the stage, and eventually end up fighting around the ringside area. The crowd don’t seem to react much as Banks trips Ligero before unloading away with some kicks, before a low-pe sent the Prestige pairing into the guard railings. In the ring, the two Joes are in, with Ligero temporarily breaking it up as he jumps on Coffey’s back. That distraction gave Hendry a way back in, while commentary notes that BT Gunn’s not here to complete the former Prestige quintet as he has a concussion. Hopefully not transferred in kayfabe from Martin Kirby…
Hendry continues to wear down on Coffey, hitting a back elbow for a two-count, before rolling the Iron Man into an ankle lock. To little reaction. Coffey rolls through it before he trips Hendry for a Boston crab, but they’re way too close to the ropes as Ligero rushes in to break it apart. The Prestige exchange frequent tags as Banks is left helpless on the apron, but there’s not much happening as El Ligero tries – and fails – with a Boston crab, with Coffey shoving away.
Coffey fires back with a wheelbarrow swing into a facebuster, and finally Banks tags in to unload with kicks on Ligero and Hendry. An errant Ligero kick gets rid of Hendry, before he’s tripped into the cornered Hendry as Banks followed in with a cannonball. Banks keeps up with an accidental Asai DDT from Ligero to Hendry as they get the bumbling fools treatment, added when Coffey built up Ligero to accidentally DDT Hendry.
Quit it with these “oops, I made you attack your own guy” spots!
Coffey does the giant swing/airplane spin spot before tying up Ligero in a Boston crab… and with Hendry tied up in a Lion’s Clutch, the submission quickly follows. Pretty decent, but man, this crowd did not care one bit about the Prestige. **¾
A plug for the Chain Reaction iPPV follows, confirming the appearance of… Austin Aries! Millie McKenzie! David Starr from a while back… and Zack Gibson. No matches, yet.
Mark Haskins vs. Martin Kirby
If Haskins wins, IPW control Defiant for the next three weeks… if Kirby wins, he gets a title match against Austin Aries. I predict a run in (or ten).
Haskins jumps Kirby at the ball, kicking him in the back to get the match going… but Kirby’s quickly back with a Thesz press before taking Haskins around the ringside area. There’s the obligatory barricade spots, with Kirby giving Haskins a back body drop into the crowd, before diving over it to take out the IPW invader with a body press.
They return to the ring as Kirby keeps control, at least until Haskins shoves away a suplex and puts Kirby into the ropes for a cheeky kick. A double stomp on the apron keeps Kirby down, as does a kick to the back, but again the crowd are barely mustering a boo here as Haskins starts to decimate the former WCPW GM. Kirby finally puts the brakes on and clubs away at Haskins, eventually hitting a tiltawhirl backbreaker before pancaking Haskins out of the corner. A running shoulder charge and a Slingblade keeps Kirby ahead, before a call for a Sable bomb ended up leading to some counters and a leaping neckbreaker by Kirby.
One missed enziguiri turns things again though, as Haskins capitalises on Kirby with a Star armbar, but that’s broken via the ropes. Kirby tries for another roll-up into a neckbreaker, but Haskins counters it into a crossface, then a double armbar as the rope break finally happens. Kirby finally gets off that enziguiri to take Haskins outside for dive, following back in with a Rocker dropper for another near-fall.
Another Sable Bomb’s called for, but Haskins ducks away before he grabs a “steel chair”. I don’t even think the frame was steel for God’s sake. Haskins uses it to wipe out James Kennedy, which doesn’t generate the cheer you’d expect for someone who’s been a heel commentator… as crew come out to help Kennedy, Haskins dumps Kirby with a death valley driver on the apron, then in the ring for a two-count.
Bryan Danielson elbows to the head of Kirby follow in the ring, and they re-do the “Kirby’s concussed” angle as Haskins goes for the Sharpshooter, forcing the referee to stop the match. Haskins wins, and IPW has control for the next few weeks. That got a smattering of boos, as the IPW mob – including Austin Aries – appear at ringside to gloat. As for the match, it was fine, but there was a lot that didn’t click. But hey, at least we had no run-ins, so I lose that bet! ***¼
So, I assume we’ll have new logos and the like next week, or will it just be Defiant under new-new management?
Next week: Chris Brookes and Travis Banks takes on The Prestige – officially labelling David Starr joining El Ligero there – while Millie McKenzie faces Xia Brookside, and Mike Bailey cashes in his Internet title shot against Zack Sabre Jr.
It’s a point we’ve already made – but this IPW/Defiant “invasion” doesn’t seem to be resonating with the live crowds. Why would it? This was filmed one week after the Defiant rebrand took place on iPPV. Those episodes of Defiant where the IPW invasion kicked into gear hadn’t aired yet, and thanks to the promotion’s “please don’t spoil” policy, only the deepest parts of the internet even knew this was happening.
So yeah, you rebrand your promotion and in your third show back, you’re treating fans to a chapter of an invasion storyline with little content. A storyline against another promotion that is itself undergoing a makeover, with a change in names and faces on their roster as well. Again, I’m not saying the storyline is rubbish, but I can dream of how much better the crowd reactions would have been had either side been properly established.