Mark Haskins and Zack Gibson headline the latest episode of Wednesday Night Wrestling, as FIGHT! Nation launches into their most wrestling-heavy show yet.
The show opens with Sid Scala ranting. Apparently there was a tag team match booked, with Scala and Sammy Smooth set to take on Brucey and Jakey of Liquid Dreams. Sammy’s been laid out, but in lieu of footage, this is what we get…
The pre-match graphics tell us that the Scala/Smooth team have been labelled “Smooth Traders”. Unfortunately, FIGHT! Nation have taken one of Vince McMahon’s favourite lines, as we’re told that Sammy Smooth’s been “taken to a local medical facility”, so Sid Scala’s going to have to find a new partner.
We see clips of the match between these two teams from their Lethal Lottery match several weeks ago, and Liquid Dreams shake off the loss by saying that “they weren’t a real team” then.
Liquid Dreams (Jakey & Brucey) vs. Sid Scala & ???
After the bell rings for the “handicap match”, both of Liquid Dreams corner Scala, but he ducks under them, and quickly gets overwhelmed. Early double teaming sees Sid eat a pair of chops, before another duck under fools Liquid Dreams as they end up sharing a springboard crossbody.
Our commentator again struggles to say “Brucey” (unless his name really is Bruce-key and only the commentator knows it?), as Scala kicks his flat cap off of the head of Jakey. Who apparently becomes “Jake-sky”. Are Liquid Dreams Russian now?!
Jakey distracts the referee as Brucey tries to throw Scala into the ringpost, but Scala swings around the post and surprises him with a poke to the eye. Jakey gets one too back inside the ring, before his attempt to block it… just ends with him getting both eyes poked at once.
Brucey trips Scala as he went into the ropes, and this was pretty elementary for a while as Liquid Dreams picked him apart. Scala rolls him up for a near-fall as a surprise, but Brucey punches away as he makes a tag to Jakey, and we go to a break…
There’s a weird edit when we come back from commercial as Ricky Slatter bellows “Liquid Dreams” and immediately springs back into calling the action without taking a breath. Brucey and Jakey do their cartwheels around Scala for the hell of it, and end with just a stomp to him. Scala tries for a comeback, and he connects with an enziguiri to Brucey, before stomping on Jakey’s foot.
Jakey clotheslines Scala to the mat again for a couple of pinfall attempts, before he chokes him in the ropes once more. Scala takes a hard Irish whip into the turnbuckles, as Liquid Dreams do that repeating leapfrog thing that again is all show and no go. Scala makes another comeback, sidestepping a charge from Brucey that leads to Jakey accidentally headbutting his partner low.
Scala runs out of the corner and propels himself off of Brucey with a leaping clothesline into Jakey, then lands a missile dropkick to Brucey as Lewis Howley runs from the back and is apparently Sid’s stand-in tag partner.
Lewis tags in, and the referee lets this stand as Howley cleans house. Brucey’s clotheslined to the floor, before Jakey takes a Blue Thunder bomb for a near-fall. Howley falls to an Eat Defeat from Brucey, and then a double-team superkick, but he still kicks out. A big splash from an Electric Chair position misses from Jakey, as Brucey gets taken to the outside by Scala… in the ring a dropkick takes down Jakey, as Scala tags back in for a rocket launcher that gets the win! That was incredibly oddly booked… having Scala more than hold his own against the Liquid Dreams tandem did nothing bar highlight their status as comedy losers, whilst Lewis Howley’s late appearance as a fill-in raises more questions than answers. Until you realise that “live” he’d wrestled two matches earlier. **¼
This may be nit-picking, but if you’ve got a commentator who repeatedly has issues with an act’s name, do something about it. It doesn’t necessarily have to be “get rid of the commentator”, but perhaps changing the names may help? After all, Kieran sounds more of a boy band-ish name than “Brucey”… Not sure what you can do about “Jake-sky”, apart from have them become a Russian boy band with Cossack dancing?
Hopefully this isn’t foreshadowing, but during a plug for tickets, Mark Haskins was shown with the FIGHT! Nation title for a show on October 15 and November 19, but not on October 23… Inconsistency, or hot-shot booking? We’ll see!
We’ve got a promo now from Zack Gibson, that was only missing 700 Londoners booing him. Haskins says he can’t stand Gibson, whilst Zack really wants that belt. Haskins puts this match down to a battle of the Shankly Gates and the armbar, and with a shade under half an hour left on the video, our main event is next!
Next week sees Psycho Phillips and James Castle have their Lethal Lottery finale.
FIGHT! Nation British Heavyweight Championship: Zack Gibson vs. Mark Haskins (c)
Gibson gets ring announcer Chris Hatch to do his promo for him… then he gives up and runs through his usual promo instead. Zack gets drowned out, but it’s nowhere near Electric Ballroom levels. But hey, at least this crowd isn’t as sweary, as they chant “shut the hell up”…
Haskins starts by targeting Gibson’s arm, but Zack reverses it as he seemingly tries for the Shankly Gates early on. A takedown sees Haskins go for an early armbar, but Gibson quickly went to the ropes for a break, before Haskins avoids another attempt at the Shankly Gates.
A low dropkick to Gibson seemingly has him worried that he’s broken his nose, as he rolls to the outside and checks it. Finally after they get inside the ring, Gibson kicks Haskins in the midsection, before a forearm takes the champion down, but Haskins fires back with chops briefly, before another dropkick forces Gibson to the outside. Haskins fakes out a dive by doing a 619-like swing in the ropes, before rebounding and landing a tope to take out the Scouser.
Gibson sneaks back in and flies back out himself… wash, rinse and repeat as Haskins nails a second tope. Haskins misses a dropkick off the top, but counters by rolling Gibson into a Sharpshooter in the middle of the ring, before Zack easily grabs the ropes to force a break. Gibson goes to the outside once more for a breather, and breaks the count as he tries to get into Haskins’ head.
Mark follows him to the outside, kicking away at Gibson’s chest, but Zack counters by dropping Haskins chest-first into the crowd barriers. Referee Steve Lynskey checks on Haskins on the outside, as he’s able to open a bottle of water and have a drink, so I’d guess he’s okay to continue.
Haskins rolls back in but gets stomped on some more as Gibson retains the advantage, before he finally fires back after a series of forearms from the Scouser. They trade forearms, but Haskins is quickly thrown into the turnbuckle for an uppercut, before he fires out with a dropkick to take Gibson down.
From his knees, Gibson takes a series of kicks to the chest, but Zack ducks one and rolls through to attempt a Shankly Gates, but Haskins rolls out and ends up landing a double knee strike for a near-fall. The champion follows up with a tornado DDT attempt, but he gets shoved off as Gibson attempts a Ticket To Ride, but that too is blocked as Haskins grabs an ankle lock, then a Stretch Muffler.
Gibson grabs the ropes to force the break, before he clings onto the strands to avoid an O’Connor roll. Haskins succeeds in freeing him, but an attempted half-nelson driver is elbowed out of, as Gibson hits the Divorce Court for a near-fall. Haskins collapses to the mat as Gibson tried to lift him up, with the challenger’s Tiger Drive attempt turned into a triangle choke upon landing… but Gibson’s effort to break the triangle ended with him being caught in a bridging armbar.
Gibson broke that armbar after getting his feet on the ropes, and after they both worked back to their feet, they again traded forearm strikes. Haskins rolls out of a waistlock, and sends Gibson into the ropes where he’s prone for an inside-out slingshot dropkick, before the champion goes up top for a double stomp. That misses, and after side-stepping a charge in the corner, Gibson tries for a roll-up, but the referee stops the count after noticing Gibson had put his feet on the ropes.
Referee Steve Lynskey shoves Gibson after an argument, which leads to a near-fall, and after Gibson gets sent to the outside, Haskins tries for another tope, but he again fakes out… only for Gibson to catch his swinging legs and grab the champion before dumping him into the barriers once more. Gibson posts Haskins, before he rolls him back inside for a running lungblower and then a cross-legged brainbuster.
Haskins kicks out at two after that flurry, but he’s left laying in the middle of the ring and vulnerable to the Shankly Gates. Gibson grabs the hold, before shoving Haskins down just as he was about to free himself. A second attempt is avoided, and Haskins comes back with some tiltawhirl headscissors, before he floats into an armbar as Gibson frantically taps. A sudden finish to a pretty amazing match that needs to be seen by more eyeballs! ****
Again, the show fades to the closing credits before we can see any of Mark Haskins’ celebration – which is the real downside to these shows. The in-ring action can barely be faulted, but the process of turning live shows into TV shows, and the associated editing required to get them on YouTube (such as the removal of entrances to avoid the promotion getting copyright strikes) has ended up with these feeling like exhibition matches with almost all emotion stripped from it.
Don’t let that put you off though: you really need to see this week’s main event – a match that is going to be criminally missed from a lot of people’s radars.