After the initial pilot episode left me underwhelmed, we take a look at the second preview episode for IPW’s forthcoming new series.

Like the first pilot, we go straight to the ring for our opener…

Lewis Howley & Sammy Smooth vs. Bhangra Knights (Darrell Allen & RJ Singh) vs. M&M (Connor Mills & Maverick Mayhew)
It’s a triple threat tornado match, and we start with the male stripper-like team of Howley and Smooth, who do have quite a history in IPW. Chief Deputy Dunne’s on commentary for this match.

M&M start off by superkicking Howley and Smooth to the floor, before the Bhangra Knights flew in… only to find themselves outclassed by the younger team as M&M sent Singh flying with a double-team hiptoss. Kicks follow, before an assisted moonsault from Mayhew has RJ rolling to the outside, before an attempted pair of topes was cut-off by the former Collective team. Commentary reminds us Smooth and Howley used to be tag team champions, and they work well with a nice assisted lungblower on Mayhew, then an assisted lawn dart/uppercut combo that gets them a near-fall. Dunne mentions an ongoing storyline that saw some masked men attack the Anti-Fun Police, causing an injury that led to Santos “snapping a tendon in his foot”.

Meanwhile, in the ring, Connor Mills is thrown into a wall off-camera, before the Bhangra Knights combine on Lewis Howley with a pair of low dropkicks for a two-count. Mayhew tries to springboard in, but he’s caught into the corner for a gamengiri from Allen, ahead of a rope-hung double stomp as the Knights kept control, leading to a wheelbarrow cutter as Dunne seemed to be having too much fun on commentary.

With M&M out of the picture, the four remaining men tee off on each other, until Connor Mills returned with a crossbody off the top to the Knights. Smooth and Howley look for a double-team suplex, but Mayhew makes the save and takes them down with a springboard moonsault out of the corner, which finally led to a dive as Mayhew’s sent flying with an assisted flip dive to the floor. Mills joins in too with a corkscrew Asai moonsault as we took the WWE trope of going to a break with the match on the floor! Don’t worry, they’re still there when we get back. It’s like they were frozen in time! Back in the ring, Mills takes a Yakuza kick in the corner to spark a Parade of Moves, including a nice escape from a folding body press from Sammy Smooth, before Connor Mills returned to help Mayhew’s tornado DDT on the Collective.

A second one on the Bhangra Knights is countered into a brainbuster as we keep going, only for Smooth to get taken out by Howley by mistake… allowing Mayhew to blast Howley with a push-down stomp ahead of a corkscrew Burning Hammer from Mills for the win. This was a nice, energetic tag match – my only complaint was that there were perhaps too many bodies flying around, but this was an eye-catching outing for all. ***

Post-match, two masked men attack Mills and Mayhew… Chief Deputy Dunne hits the ring with a chair and sends the guys packing. They take the mic afterwards, calling themselves the SCTO – Seize Control Take Over. That’s a mouthful.

Rob Sharpe vs. Fowler vs. Dread Callier
Sharpe’s opponents don’t get name plates, but I’ve seen one of these guys before as Fowler (in GOOD, and at PROGRESS), so I’m going by what Cagematch lists. Sharpe’s double-teamed from the get-go, but he pulls his opponents into each other. A Pete Dunne-like forearm nailed “one of his competitors” before a fallaway slam gets rid of Fowler. Callier eats an Exploder as Sharpe’s just squashing these guys with German suplexes, finishing off with a stacked-up German suplex before a tombstone puts away Callier.

Well, that got Sharpe some TV time, but in his feud with Jack Sexsmith I’m not too sure what the squash does.

James Castle gets a barely audible backstage promo as he responds to David Starr’s challenge… he promises to go through Starr to make a name for himself, “next week”.

Kip Sabian vs. Will Ospreay
Kip went into this as the IPW champion – this is a non-title outing, and since this was taped, Kip’s dropped his title. Ah well.

We’ve got about twenty minutes left on the show when this hits the ring, so we’re getting plenty of time for the main event. The pair share a handshake before the bell, before we start with a tie-up as Ospreay gingerly took Sabian into the ropes for a clean break. Another tier-up ends with Ospreay trying to slip behind Sabian, forcing Kip to powder to the corner… then to the outside as Ospreay turned it up a notch.

Back in the ring, Ospreay catches Sabian with some right hands, before a kick to the calf sent the champion staggering into the corner for more kicks. Forearms follow, before Sabian kept up with Ospreay’s rope running, catching him with an enziguiri as the New Japan star was on the top rope. That sends Will to the outside, where Kip follows with some stomps and forearms, before throwing Will onto the entrance stage.

Chops follow as Sabian takes Ospreay around the ringside area, but once a chop hits the ring post, Sabian’s suddenly on the defensive as he played a game of cat and mouse. A springboard missile dropkick finds its mark as Sabian was having to stick and run, following up with a grounded octopus as Sabian too the match to the mat. Ospreay tries to break the hold via the ropes, as we go into and out of a commercial break. Forearms are traded after the break, but Sabian edges ahead with a poke to the eye, only for a handspring enziguiri from Ospreay to find its mark on the rebound. In the corner, Ospreay blasts Sabian with an uppercut before Kip avoids the Shibata-ish dropkick, only to end up taking an over-the-top 619 and a springboard forearm as Will almost took the win.

After the kick-out, Ospreay tries to lift up Kip for a Storm Breaker, but Sabian slips out and takes Ospreay into the corner ahead of a nice tornado DDT as the referee had to start a standing ten count. They don’t need it though, trading another barrage of forearms that left both men loopy, so they trade from forearms to kicks, with Sabian a hiptoss knee before running into a Rainham Maker for good measure. From there, Ospreay lifts up Sabian for a Storm Breaker, only for Sabian to counter into a ‘rana for a near-fall before a bicycle knee clocks Will… who then backflips over a clothesline and into a sit-out powerbomb for a near-fall. After the kick-out, Ospreay goes for an OsCutter but it’s countered with a neckbreaker, before Sabian comes close with a cross-legged brainbuster (the name of which I couldn’t make out on commentary… slow down!). A PK’s also good for a near-fall, before Sabin’s attempt at the Deathly Hallows (sit-out Burning Hammer) is blocked, with Ospreay catching him with a Robinson special instead on the way down.

Ospreay drags himself onto the apron from there, but he’s caught up top with another gamengiri as Sabian fought back, only for Will to slip free and tease a Cheeky Nando’s. Another knee blocks that as Sabian avoids the kick, before catching Will with a knee to the back of the head, then the Deathly Hallows for the win. A really enjoyable main event, but my word that commentary was unbearable at points – nothing’s allowed to settle, but at least I came in expecting that. As for the match, this would have been a star-making performance, but IPW perhaps isn’t watched enough these days to truly do that. ***½

We quickly fade to black… and since I watched these, it turned out that IPW were redoing these tapings, as they held a taping on January 16 to generate some fresh content ahead of going live on the UK’s Fight Network in early February (so before you read this!). Hopefully they take a different format, because the current presentation certainly doesn’t feel like episodic TV, and more like “here’s bits from a show we’ve randomly thrown together).

Still, another British promotion getting TV coverage is a good thing, but by this point in 2019 we should be long past the point of believing that TV is a holy grail anymore.

  • Good news! Not to give away spoilers or anything, but IPW held a new set of tapings for this TV show – which debuts tonight (February 8) at 9pm on the Fight Network in the UK!