After last week was the Liquid Dreams show, FIGHT! Nation’s Wednesday Night Wrestling returns to wrap up the Lethal Lottery tournament.
We open up with a recap of last week’s Lethal Lottery set-up and matches, with commentary-free highlights of both of Liquid Dreams’ losses. Guess they’re not going to have their chance to “together be greatest British heavyweight champion of all time”…
Tonight’s remaining match is James Castle & Psycho Phillips vs. Sammy Smooth and Sid Scala… and we’ve also got Mark Haskins defending his British heavyweight title against Joseph Conners too!
Smooth and Scala have a new sit-down interview recapping their match from last week, whilst Castle and Phillips do the same. Scala offers some gems like “that Phillips lad’s a big bugger”, which is only funnier because of the accent.
Sid Scala & Sammy Smooth vs. James Castle & Psycho Phillips
In real-time, Phillips and Castle may have just stayed in the ring as this immediately followed their win against Liquid Dreams.
Phillips and Smooth start off… but after some stalling, Castle gets impatient and tags himself in. Castle grabs a headlock, before knocking down Smooth with a shoulder tackle. Smooth hits back with an armbar whilst keeping Castle held in an Overdriver/Play of the Day position. Scala tags in and eventually enters the ring to resume the armbar, wringing Castle’s left arm a few times before poking him in the eye.
Smooth comes back in to chop Castle as the commentator goes on about what awaits one of these four guys – a title shot. A roll-up gets Smooth a near-fall after a test of strength, before Scala comes back in and lands a flying elbow to the head of Castle off the top rope. Castle tries to avoid an Irish whip, and eventually reverses it as Psycho Phillips scares Scala to a stop… and tags himself in as we go to a break.
Back from break, Phillips stands on Scala’s head by the ropes, before the smaller Scala tries and fails to get some distance by stamping on Phillips’ feet. Castle tags in and pounds on Scala, before quickly tagging out again to Phillips. Scala takes a poke to the eye from Phillips, then some chops, before a clothesline gets Psycho a near-fall.
Scala continues to take a pounding as Castle and Phillips get into a brief shoving match, leading to Scala dropkicking Castle into Phillips, but he can’t make the tag out as Castle popped up to knock Smooth off the apron. Castle’s attempt to clothesline Scala in the ropes failed as Sid low-bridges him, but Phillips stops him from making the tag briefly, until an elbow smash leads to Smooth finally making a hot tag.
Smooth takes Castle into the corner with a barrage of repeated uppercuts, finally knocking Castle down for a near-fall as Phillips makes a save. A miscommunication leads to Phillips clotheslining Castle to the outside, but Castle inadvertantly pulls Scala to safety after an attempted double team. Regardless, Phillips lands a chokeslam on Smooth, before Castle’s running diving knee took out his partner… and that lets Castle make the cover for the win. Psycho Phillips and James Castle will face each other down the line for a shot at the title… and with the crowd noise replaced by background music, we see the winning team get in each other’s faces before they walk off. As a tag match, it was decent enough, but it certainly didn’t have the feeling of a “final”, and you could tell that the live crowd were starting to get bored of these guys by the end. **¾
We go to clips from a sit-down interview with Mark Haskins, who puts down Joseph Conners for being self-centred and manipulative. Conners gets one too, and he’s here for the FIGHT! Nation title, as anyone else in the group should be… and that match is up next!
FIGHT! Nation British Heavyweight Championship: Joseph Conners vs. Mark Haskins (c)
We have a fair bit of stalling here as Conners plays to the crowd, before Haskins takes him down and works a headlock into a crossface in the opening minutes of the match.
After rolling the crossface, Haskins gets a one-count before Conners rolls to the outside to create separation. From a test of strength, Conners cheapshots Haskins, and takes the champion into the corner to stomp a mudhole in him. Haskins fires back and delivers an instant receipt, before a bodyslam gets the champion a one-count.
The pair trade chops in the corner, before Haskins takes down Conners with a snapmare and a dropkick, forcing the challenger once again to exit the ring. Conners returns and rakes away at Haskins’ eyes after the referee for some reason left the ring to chase after Haskins (who’d gone after Conners). Why didn’t the referee just stay inside and start a countout?
A back suplex gets Conners a two-count, before he throws Haskins to the outside, and follows him out, dropping Haskins neck-first across the guard railing. Conners drops Haskins with a back suplex on the apron after deciding against rolling him in, before he demands that the referee stop the count and ask Haskins if he quits. I didn’t think submissions counted outside the ring?
After making it back inside the ring, Conners slaps away at Haskins, before an attempt at the Righteous Kill DDT is shoved away, only for Conners to land a bodyslam for a near-fall. Another commercial break follows, and we return to see Conners walk over Haskins, before Conners picks up Haskins for a short-arm clothesline that gets him another near-fall… and another.
Conners dives onto Haskins with a grounded chinlock, but eventually the champion grabs the bottom rope to force the break. With Haskins on his knees, Conners continued to pepper the champion with punches, but Haskins fired back up as the pair traded forearms back and forth, before a single leg lariat dropped Conners.
Haskins drops Conners with a clothesline for a near-fall after some attacks in the corner, before the champion catches a headscissors takedown and turns it into a suplex for a near-fall. A kneedrop from Haskins keeps Conners on the mat, before Haskins runs off the ropes for a roll-up into the death valley driver, but Conners elbows free and hits a butterfly suplex for a two-count himself.
Conners splashes Haskins in the corner, then drops him into the turnbuckles with a crucifix powerbomb, before a Michinoku driver got Conners yet another near-fall. Some elbows in the corner from Conners lead to him charging Haskins, but the champion ducks out and rolls up Conners in a Stretch Muffler, only for the challenger to reach for the ropes to break it up.
Haskins tries to suplex Conners back in, but he takes a hot shot over the top rope. Conners misses a charge into the corner, and allows Haskins to hit the outside-in dropkick into the corner, before another single leg lariat gets the champion another two-count. Conners elbows out of a pump handle driver, but he’s rolled up as Haskins locks in the Sharpshooter… but yet again, Conners grabs the ropes.
Haskins avoids a ref bump after Conners had pulled the official in front to block an avalanche, as the challenger lands a double stomp out of the corner, then a lariat as Haskins just about kicked out in time. Conners went for another crucifix buckle bomb, but Haskins hits a hurricanrana to avoid it, then a kick to the chest before the roll-through Death Valley Driver secures the win. This started out pretty slowly, but it quickly kicked into a higher gear and got really good. I’m not too sure where the whole “referee joins the wrestlers on a chase, a la Benny Hill” and “ask the guy to submit outside the ring” spots came from, but neither of them made sense within the traditional context of wrestling, and the latter particularly in a title match. ***¾
As a show, this was a bit of a mixed bag. The Lethal Lottery final was technically fine, but it badly suffered from a crowd that had seen three tag matches out of four matches on the same show. Still, kudos to FIGHT! Nation for trying something different, and for once the warring partners storyline actually was relevant!
Since it’s my favourite topic, the commentary on this show, particularly at the end, was bordering on toe-curlingly bad, with the hyperbole having been turned up to 10. In the early stages, we were being sold that just about any move could win a match, which makes sense, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a body slam win a title in the opening moments! Again, I wasn’t enthused by the commentary continuing over the title screens, as FIGHT! Nation seem to work off the idea of “show the match, the finish, then cut away as quickly as possible”.
With any luck, future tapings may change this formula, but for me it really kills the importance of these matches when you see next to none of the aftermath or celebrations.