GOOD returned to Wolverton for their final show of the year – and it was full of your usual insanity as we had the Gene Munny Tournament of Excellence!

Granted by GOOD management at the last GOOD show (but only because Gene Munny had them over a barrel), we had this tournament to determine Gene’s next challenger. The show opened with the news of Millie McKenzie and Chief Deputy Dunne having to drop out of the show. Millie was replaced by Charli Evans, while Dunne’s replacement was a surprise… and came with a heap of shade.

Gene Munny came out after that, flipping over the GOOD sign in the entrance-way to reveal the letters GENE (in not quite the GOOD font). If I wasn’t sold on this show before, I am now! Gene tells us the layout of the tournament – basically there’s a bunch of matches, scrambles, tags and one-on-ones, with the winners making it to the final.

Qualifier: Alex Cupid vs. Charli Evans vs. Darrell Allen vs. Jack Sexsmith vs. Sierra Loxton vs. Veda Scott
Sexsmith was the surprise replacement for Dunne here, but first we had a lengthy Darrell Allen promo that saw him take aim at having to wrestle women in the same match. Hmm.

We start with a superkick from Sexsmith to Allen, only for Jack to get shoved outside by Charli Evans as the bedlam ensued. Charli and Sierra Loxton double-team Alex Cupid taking him out of the ring, but then they take aim on each other, with Loxton scoring with a legdrop for just a one-count.

Sexsmith returns, but his attempt at an atomic drop backfires as Loxton’s backside is made of steel… so he lands a Pearl Neckbreaker instead. Veda Scott comes in and lands a ‘rana off the middle rope, then a dropkick as the revolving door effect continued, with Alex Cupid landing a backbreaker and a bodyslam. A legdrop and a big boot follows, but Scott rolls outside as Darrell Allen came in to calm things down with a headlock.

Cupid catches a crossbody, but gets tripped and rolled through into a camel clutch… which Allen screamed “matchka” while doing. I guess for the Rusev rub? Cupid stands up and backs Allen into the corner only to take a reverse spin kick as Charli Evans came in. Allen holds her back by the head, but can’t avoid a chop in the corner before some headscissors drew a two-count. A modified single leg crab followed, but rather than help, Sierra Loxton grabs Charli’s arm and wrenches it as we built up the Human Centipede of submissions… that Sexsmith broke up when he grabbed a chair and threatened to use it… because he doesn’t know submissions? That’s a damning indictment of one of his trainers…

Jack gets rid of the chair before the women hit a trio of German suplexes to clear the ring. Loxton then sent Scott and Charli into corners, so we get a cavalcade of hip attacks. Sexsmith wants in too, and gets some, which sees him Hulk up… and collapse out of the ring. Changing tack, Loxton dives, as does Veda Scott, with the help of Alex Cupid, who then nails a flip plancha to the outside. Back inside, there’s a series of clotheslines before a Veda cutter and a shining wizard knocks Cupid outside… Loxton gets rid of Veda with a spear as a Parade of Moves ensured, featuring Darrell Allen missing some Razzle Dazzles en route to a DDT from Charli Evans for the win! An enjoyable outing that could have been better as a scramble, but since the final was one… best not to overdo it! ***

Waistcoated Gene Munny’s back out to introduce the next match, but first he tells us he’s taken Mike Bailey out of the tournament.

Qualifier: Owen Charles vs. Brendan White
With no referee on hand, Gene offered to become the referee against the man he’d “lariated more times than I can count”.

White’s quite distracted by the crowd’s catcalls, which also took aim at Munny, sending how he’d officiate things. When we got going, Munny ignored all of the cheating from White, including hair pulling during an armbar, but Charles looked quite comfortable in there, fending off the Welshman with a pop-up dropkick ahead of some European uppercuts in the corner.

White charged back out of the corner to shoulder block Charles as the crowd, bizarrely, broke into Gillberg chants. The match heads outside, where White dumped Charles on the apron with a back suplex as Gene started an exaggerated count-out, which Owen beats… and of course, he’s thrown back out as Gene didn’t quite figure out that he should just fast-count him. Once he figured that out, we’re into the land of fast counts as Charles has to kick out at two from a slam, before Gene’s officiating resorted to him asking Brendan “are you doing anything illegal?” and taking him on his word. We’ve got slow counts as White stands on Charles in the corner as the fix threatened to be in… but Charles hits back again with a missile dropkick, then a Shibata-ish dropkick before White retaliated with a shotgun dropkick for a delayed two-count.

An Exploder followed as Charles was dumped on his head, again for a near-fall, as Munny begged White to “take out “Charles. That led to a springboard moonsault that misses, as Owen has one last crack at things, landing a gamengiri and a slingshot lungblower from the apron, before a rolling frog splash drew a standard two-count. Munny gets in Charles’ way as he prepared to finish off White, and the distraction worked as Brendan hits a wheelbarrow German suplex before ripcording Charles into a Black Hole Slam for the win. This was alright for what it was, but Charles never really put up enough of a fight to make you think he’d get past the heel ref. **½

After the match, GOOD management get their own back on Gene Munny – by reminding him that the guy he’d pulled from the tournament would be wrestling later on. It’s Mike Bailey vs. Gene Munny later on… which led to Bailey coming out and bowing.

Qualifier: Beano vs. Mike Bird
The battle of NP44 starts with a lock-up, which Bird countered into a wristlock as they headed to the mat, where Bird outwrestled Beano as he picked up a couple of near-falls early.

Beano tries his luck second time around, but Bird takes him down in an armbar before a roll-up gets a near-fall as Bird headed outside after he got distracted by the crowd. He returns and nearly got the win with a prawn hold as they were swapping holds and banter, before Bird started to try his luck with shoulder tackles… only to get met with a Beano dropkick.

Beano keeps up with some corner dropkicks for a near-fall, before clocking Bird with a discus forearm in the corner. There’s a cutter too for Beano, but Bird gets a foot on the rope… and began a comeback as he took Beano into the corner for some chops ahead of a two-count as the match went back to the mat. Bird grounds Beano with a chinlock, but Beano breaks free with a jawbreaker before missing a charge into the corner. Heading up top, Bird lands a knee drop for a two-count, then worked an armbar as Beano had to scramble to the ropes. Another fightback from Beano had Bird going into the corner, where he’s met with a pair of high knees, before a leaping Flatliner drew a near-fall.

A clothesline from Beano sends Bird outside for a tope, before he returned for a flying DDT off the middle rope that gets him another near-fall. Beano measured up for one more shot at Bird, but it’s ducked as Bird instead cornered him for a back elbow before a clothesline and a springboard elbow drop got Bird a near-fall. Beano tries once again, taking Bird up for a superplex, which came off after they negotiated the low ceiling… but Bird’s up at two and instantly spiked Beano with a piledriver as the near-falls kept on coming. A suplex from Bird’s escaped… and from there Beano scored with an O’Connor roll for the win. This was technically sound, but without knowing who was meant to be cheered and booed, this came across as an exhibition rather than anything more serious. **¾

Qualifier: Ashley Dunn & Jayde vs. M&M (Connor Mills & Maverick Mayhew)
The winning team gets into the finals, and it’s a welcome return for Jayde, who missed out last time with injury.

Jayde worked over Mills early on on the mat, but Mills gets free and rolled her down for a two-count before he looked to work over her wrist. Oh, and her hair too. A side headlock from Jayde keeps Mills back on the mat, but he gets up and catches her with a hiptoss before following up with some chops in the ropes.

Mills fought back, prompting Jayde to tag out… and so we end up with Dunn and Mayhew coming in, as they had a brief shoving match before we ended up with shoulder tackles. Eventually they take each other down, then land dualling kip ups before Mayhew scored with a simple scoop slam. Mounted punches are next, only for Jayde to break them up… and take some of her own. M&M combine for an assisted standing moonsault on Dunn for a near-fall, but Brendan White – at ringside to accompany his BAD stablemates – gets involved as Dunn’s able to take over.

Jayde riles up Connor Mills as Mayhew was choked in the opposite corner, allowing Dunn to come in with a side headlock along with some additional cheating as the referee kept missing Dunn putting his feet on the ropes. Mayhew fights out of it, but runs into a Snake Eyes and a big boot, as a Dunn legdrop drew a near-fall. Mills tries to get ready for a tag by fighting off White at ringside, but he can’t avoid Jayde from pulling him off the apron. That allows Dunn to hit a spinning tombstone for a near-fall, before Dunn goes for a chokeslam… which Mayhew flips out of and lands an enziguiri instead as the tag’s finally made. The proverbial house is cleared by Mills as he went after Dunn and Jayde in opposite corners, eventually scoring with a flying back elbow on Jayde… who wasn’t legal.

Dunn tries to make a save, but ends up hitting Jayde before a Ligerbomb gets Mills a near-fall. Mayhew tries to get involved with assisted headscissors, but it backfires as they’re countered into a death valley driver as the BAD edge ahead… and quickly get pulled back as M&M’s assisted headscissor/DDT gets a near-fall, thanks to Brendan White pulling out the referee.

Mayhew wipes out White with a plancha at ringside, as the ring stayed full… leading to Mills leaping into a Jayde cutter. A Mayhew superkick stops her in her tracks, before he removed her wrist support… truly villainous! He puts it on for a Roman Reigns-ish superman punch, only for Dunn to wipe him out with a F5 before a Destroyer from Jayde, and a butterfly Destroyer got the BAD the WIN. This was also fairly solid – with the BAD establishing themselves as bad guys here; and it was nice to see Jayde being on an equal playing field here too. ***

Qualifier: Chuck Mambo vs. TK Cooper
In the midcard… geddit? They’re interrupted before the bell rings by Anthony Mafia and Warren Banks who try to interject themselves in the tournament by turning this into a tag team qualifier. Unlike past times, their attempt to force themselves onto the card backfire, and so the singles match remains.

So we begin with TK and Mambo doing a bit about their web series and merchandise before the bell, as the pair start off with a series of pinning attempts as they tried to keep it short. Roll-ups were the order of the day before TK catches a superkick… then gets tripped into an eventual Romero special. TK hits back, crotching Mambo in the ropes before following through with a suplex. A German suplex into a uranage from TK’s good for a near-fall, but Mambo responds by lifting TK onto the apron then dropkicking him off of it. They brawl around the room, but throwing heads into padded walls wasn’t exactly going to cause damage… unlike TK chopping the ring post!

Cooper replies with more chops, which actually hit skin rather than metal, as TK started to edge ahead – furthering things when he stomps a mudhole in Mambo. A leaping shoulder tackle from Mambo gets him back in ahead of a tiltawhirl backbreaker, following up with a Blockbuster off the top rope. The Reefbreaker followed for a near-fall, before Mambo’s Bad Burrito is blocked and turned into a jack-knife pin for a near-fall.

TK blocks an O’Connor roll as he tried to get back into it, only for Mambo to land the Bad Burrito for a near-fall. A missed dive off the top opened up Mambo for an axe kick as TK tried to finish him off, following with a moonsault for a near-fall. There’s a release Tiger suplex from TK, a half-and-half from Mambo… and then a Chuck You for another near-fall, only for TK to shove Mambo to the outside as the pair looked to go back-and-forth.

Catching Mambo in the ropes, TK lands his corkscrew legdrop for a near-fall, then the Samoan headbutt before Mambo just rolls up TK for the win. Again, this was fine, but it seemed like the crowd didn’t “get” the story behind them being pally before turning on each other as they tried to make the final. ***

Gene Munny vs. Mike Bailey
This was Gene Munny being sentenced to death, if you believed his demeanour going in. Either that, or Mike Bailey was going to kick the Certificate of Excellence off of him.

Understandably, Munny’s petrified of the barrage of kicks coming his way, but the referee starts the match anyway, prompting Gene to beg for clemency… then try and run away. He returns to the ring and scarpers at the first kick Bailey throws. It’ll be the first of many, despite Munny working a wristlock, as Bailey rolls free and lands another kick… and another! After every kick, Munny goes to the ropes before telling us he’s “seen the strong styles”, daring Bailey into throwing another kick to the chest. He guts it out… then falls like a tree to the outside so he could scream it off. Bailey follows him out there to throw some rights before a kick’s caught, allowing Munny to charge him into the post as there’s finally a glimmer of hope coming his way.

That glimmer got even brighter when Gene lands a slingshot spear and the Gammonball imploding senton… for just a one-count! From there, Gene force-feeds Bailey his own foot, as I have flashbacks to Jerry Lawler and Bret Hart in the mid 90s, while Bailey fires up with chops. How’s that for your strong stylings? Munny threw one back, but it hurt him as much as it did Bailey as we had an exchange that ended with a diving boot for a near-fall for Gene.

Munny calls for the Ainsley Lariat, but Bailey replied with a diving kick of his own, as he then unleashed a series of kicks ahead of a running corkscrew press that almost put Munny away. A spinebuster sees Gene reply for a two-count, but he’s met with an enziguiri and another mid kick before Bailey lands a delayed roundhouse buzzsaw kick for a two-count as Gene’s hand was outside the ring.

Gene tries to run away, which gives us the obligatory car park fight… but for some reason Gene just makes it to the backstage area as we see the folks warming up for the main event as they come back out through the entrance way. A cavalcade of kicks stomps the Ainsley Lariat, as does a German suplex and a PK, but Gene somehow kicks out at two before he began another comeback, landing an Exploder for a near-fall.

Gene heads outside again, grabbing his Certificate of Excellence belt. He decks the referee, then gets knocked outside by Bailey, who lands a Golden Triangle moonsault in the narrowest of spaces, following up with some more kicks around ringside, before they headed back up onto the stage as Munny lands a tombstone… hoping that it’d be enough to get Bailey counted out. It wasn’t.

Gene brought a chair into the ring, but all he did was sit on it as Bailey came back and quickly blasted Munny with the moonsault knees. OWWWWW. The shooting star knees miss as Gene lands a belt shot while the ref’s removing the chair, only getting a near-fall out of it, before he set up for the Ainsley Lariat. Again, Bailey avoids it and kicks Munny’s legs out… but another kick’s caught and turned into a powerbomb for another near-fall. A full nelson followed, but Bailey powers out and into the ropes… prompting Gene to pull him away before landing some cravat knees, before another Bailey kick set up for the shooting star knees off the middle rope that provided a crushing blow, and a near-fall!

We get a very rare crowd shot from that, as Bailey comes back with even more kicks, before an attempted German suplex is switched out of, as Munny hits a mule kick and the Ainsley Lariat for the win. Holy crap, that was GOOD. With such a perceived difference in class between Munny and Bailey, very few people have Gene a chance here… and while this was undoubtedly the dirtiest of dirty wins, it’s still a win as Gene showed he could hang. And take a beating. Buy the VOD and WATCH THIS MATCH. ****

Scramble Match – Final: Ashley Dunn vs. Beano vs. Brendan White vs. Charli Evans vs. Chuck Mambo vs. Jayde
We have a bit of a square-off as the BAD waited outside the ring, with Beano, Mambo and Charli trying to goad them inside.

When the good guys looked to start on the outside, the BAD jump them, at least until Charli Evans leapt on them from above… followed quickly by Mambo as we went instantly to the revolving door format. Jayde’s in with a pop-up atomic drop to Mambo, then a running knee, sending him outside as Evans returned. Charli’s got forearms and chops for Jayde, who retaliated by sending the Aussie into the corner, only to get met with another knee as the unofficial Scrambo Queen quickly followed up with a single crab.

Ashley Dunn broke that up and took Charli into the corner for some boots, following up with a double knee-drop as we had another switcheroo. In comes Beano to square off with Dunn. Some strikes led to Beano landing a discus forearm then a pair of leaping boots into the corner before Dunn tries to cut him off… only to miss a standing moonsault as Beano landed a sliding flatliner instead.

White – in his second pair of trunks of the evening – slid in and lands an ushigoroshi on Beano, before Mambo returned to superkick everyone. He looked for a cover on Dunn, but White just German suplexes him away as the BAD worked together – snuffing out some one-on-three offence from Charli Evans courtesy of a headbutt from Jayde. A chop from Jayde followed, prompting Beano to return… and get taken care of as the BAD started to triple-team everyone. Evans is the first victim, despite her effort to fight back as she has Dunn accidentally DDT Jayde, before she rolled up White for the first elimination. Now I see the Gillberg comparison. White clotheslines the taste out of Charli’s mouth not long after, as Jayde gets the next elimination with Eat Defeat.

White refused to go to the back, prompting Mike Bird of all people to come to the rescue and take White away. That distraction allowed Mambo to roll up Jayde for the next elimination, leaving us with Mambo, Beano and Ashley Dunn as our final three. We have our brief Royal Rumble-like staredown as Dunn charged out at them both, but he runs into a pair of boots before Mambo lands a Reefbreak and a Chuck You ahead of a springboard frog splash as Chuck can only get a near-fall.

Mambo looked for a Bad Burrito, but Dunn slips out and after throwing him into Beano in the ropes, he makes the most of the no DQ nature of the match by kicking Mambo low and rolling him up for the pin! We’re down to Dunn and Beano to decide who challenges Gene Munny in January… The final two brawled around ringside, with Beano getting chopped… but he fights back as their tour of the room continued, heading up onto the apron as they throw rights at each other. Beano looked to finish him off with a pump kick, but it’s caught and turned into a leg sweep on the apron as Dunn tried to follow up with a lawn dart. That’s avoided, so he hits a low superkick and a DDT for a near-fall, before going up top as Dunn negotiated the low ceiling… but he misses as Beano instead nails a spinebuster.

That’s good for a near-fall, which Beano looked to follow up with his rope-hanging uranage, only for Dunn to slip out and counter with a reverse uranage. A discus lariat’s next for a near-fall, before Beano blocks another low blow from Dunn, countering it into the rope hung uranage… and that’s enough for Beano to get the win! A pretty good scramble match all things considered, although that spate of quick eliminations is one of my pet hates I guess… still, the tournament did its job and actually built up to a contender, so that’s a huge win. ***¼

Gene Munny comes out pretty quickly, still licking his (many) wounds from his match with Mike Bailey… to present him with a miniature trophy for winning the tournament. Oh the shade! We had the obligatory stand-off that ended with Beano stomping his trophy into the mat… before he threw Gene’s certificate at him, “because I don’t want it”. Erm, so why fight in the tournament?!

While one night tournaments can be a bit of a slog, particularly those which involve the wrestlers facing off multiple times in one night, the Gene Munny Tournament of Excellence didn’t seem to bear those hallmarks. Sure, you had guys wrestling twice in one night, but since most of the qualifiers were multi-man matches, the load was shared, so you didn’t need any marathon performances across the show.

Not to beat the tired horse, but with the wrestling landscape looking to change in 2019, promotions like GOOD may be one the kind of company that you’d expect would struggle. That being said, it’s not like they’ve relied on folks who are contracted to WWE, instead using a mix of talent from across the UK – and the overall irreverent nature of the promotion (attributable in part to Gene Munny being Gene Munny) should see GOOD stand out. It bloody should – we’ve got a season ticket for them next year!

Even if one night tournaments aren’t your bag, hop over to GOOD’s Pivotshare – to buy this show and take a look at one of the best matches in Gene Munny’s career.