With a name like that, can you guess who the international star is?
Harlow’s Paringdon Sports Club was the venue for IPW:UK’s latest entry onto FloSlam – a tape-delayed outing – once again featuring Pete Dunne on dark-match duty. I’m never going to understand why the videographer requires an intro video of his own, but at least it serves as an intro of sorts for the show itself.
Connor Hunter & Maverick Mayhew vs. #CCK (Chris Brookes & Kid Lykos)
Good lord, Hunter and Mayhew look like they’re kids, especially up against Lykos and Brookes. They’re jumped by #CCK at the bell, with Hunter taking a nasty spill to the outside by Lykos.
Mayhew lands a dropkick on Brookes, then a springboard flipping armdrag – for the hell of it – before Lykos takes a standard armdrag, then a wristlock, before Hunter tags in. Lykos slaps Hunter, before he avoids a series of kicks and tries for a back suplex… before Hunter comes back with an enziguiri for a near-fall.
Lykos blocks some kicks from the rookies, who come back with a dropkick to Lykos before a spot of double-teaming see Lykos take a double hiptoss and a double dropkick for a near-fall. A blind tag from Brookes helps him set up Hunter for a Codebreaker, then a back senton as #CCK take over on the youngsters, as Hunter gets the dreaded wet willie.
Brookes continues with a camel clutch, before Hunter’s thrown into Lykos’ boot as Lykos baits Mayhew into the ring… which just allows for some double-teaming from #CCK and a top rope stomp for a near-fall. Lykos’ dropkick gets a near-fall as he continues to wear down Hunter with a chinlock, before Brookes returns to get another two-count out of a suplex.
The match continued in this pattern, until Lykos called for a brainbuster, only to get rolled-up. A second attempt is swerved, before the third one is reversed as Hunter finally tagged out Mayhew, who sprung into Lykos with a dropkick. Brookes takes a clothesline and a corner forearm, as Mayhew followed up with a roundhouse enziguiri to the lanky Brookes.
#CCK head outside, and they get met with a pair of topes, before Lykos is double-teamed in the ring, as he takes a top rope ‘rana from Mayhew. That gets the youngster a two-count, before Brookes is thrown outside as Lykos takes an assisted Shiranui for another near-fall. This time Brookes clears Hunter from the ring, before Lykos drills Mayhew with AR Fox’s Lo Mein Pain. A Magic Killer gets a near-fall, but Mayhew makes another comeback, only to get caught in the Ink Bomb (Gory Bomb x Blockbuster) as #CCK get the win. A really fun opener, with Mayhew and Hunter getting a lot more offence in than I figured. **¾
Nick Andreas vs. Oliver Peace
Andreas has a rugby gimmick, and he’s up against the hometown favourite Oliver Peace, who’s taken into the turnbuckles at the bell, only to rebound with a crossbody off the top rope.
Andreas starts to work over Peace’s thigh and knee, forcing a rope-break from a leg grapevine, before using the ropes to wrench away at Peace’s knee some more. A schoolboy gets Peace a quick two-count, but Andreas quickly goes back to the knee, following up with a diving chop-block for a near-fall.
The two head outside briefly, before Andreas scores a diving shoulder tackle to a sitting Peace, following up with a conversion kick to the back. Peace makes a comeback with a clothesline, then a back elbow, before he looked to go for a butterfly suplex… but Andreas again kicks away at that left leg to take Peace back to the mat. Andreas goes for a single leg crab from there, falling back to the mat as he cinched it in, forcing Peace to tap. Not a bad match, but it did little for me – neither of these gimmicks really sold me. **¼
While it’s on my mind, when have kayfabe two-sport superstar gimmicks ever worked? I like football (both the proper “English” kind and the American kind), but I wouldn’t automatically have an affinity to any wrestler whose gimmick was based on them supposedly playing another sport. Particularly if said gimmick isn’t exactly subtle (CHIKARA’s “Mr Touchdown” need not apply here!)
The Monsters (eXodus & Snare) vs. Tom Dawkins & Mike Broly
Another match full of guys I’ve not heard of… so Cagematch tells me that eXodus used to be known as Blok Busta in a previous gimmick. A name I’ve only ever heard of via the infamous UKFF’s ShitArse 50 list in 2008, where Mr Busta placed in FOURTH. Their opponents here are Mike “The Strike” Broly and “Blackbelt” Tom Dawkins, with the former doing a knock-out winning streak gimmick.
eXodus is dressed all in black, whereas Snare has a black singlet and a mask… and yeah, this does scream a little “indy”. God knows what the American viewer on FloSlam is making of this all. The martial arts duo land a pair of dropkicks early on to take the monsters to the outside, where Dawkins follows up with a tope con hilo, before returning to the ring as he stopped Broly’s superkick, instead trying to hit a guillotine brainbuster onto eXodus.
That didn’t quite work out, as the superkick-assisted brainbuster went awry with Broly kicking his own partner, as eXodus booted Broly for a near-fall. The Monsters double-teamed Broly, as Snare got a two-count from a simple bodyslam, before eXodus tagged in and landed a double axehandle to Broly. Somehow Broly gets a two-count from a roll-up, as eXodus takes him into the corner to choke him in the ropes.
Snare comes in and misses a charge… allowing Broly to dive into his corner to tag nobody in particular, which meant that he had to deal with eXodus again. A wishbone leg splitter and a legdrop takes Broly down for a two-count, before eXodus shoves Dawkins off the apron. Another suplex from Snare gets a near-fall, before Broly finally lands a kick to the head as he finally tagged in Dawkins!
Dawkins takes eXodus into the ropes with some dropkicks, before a springboard roundhouse knocks the masked man down. A pop-up knee just angers eXodus, who goes for a chokeslam, but it’s countered into a ‘rana as Snare comes in and takes another kick. A running shooting star press on eXodus gets Dawkins a near-fall, before Snare pulls him out… but Snare takes a PK off the apron before an enziguiri to eXodus gets Dawkins back on top.
Dawkins aborts a double stomp off the top before tagging in Broly, but not before a springboard moonsault sees both men crumble to the floor. eXodus turns around into a tornado kick from Broly, and that’s apparently enough for the knock-out as the referee waves this off. Well, without being too harsh, I can certainly see why eXodus made that list all those years ago – when a guy his size isn’t even good enough to catch someone without crumpling to the mat, you have problems. The Monsters didn’t get any reaction from the crowd, until their manager “Mr Line” took the tornado kick after the match.
This was wrestling’s equivalent of a badly-refereed MMA match with a guy getting beaten on before scoring a lucky punch KO. Broly and Dawkins looked decent bumping around, but this match was no showcase for them. *½
Damian Dunne vs. MVP
Ooh, Damian Dunne’s taking his ATTACK! gimmick on the road here, as he’s billed as “No Fun” Damian Dunne. Without the ATTACK! background though, this threatens to come across like that gimmick Adam Rose had before he left WWE…
From the opening lock-up, MVP’s shoves Dunne into the corner, before he makes Dunne leap for a test of strength that doesn’t go his way. For some reason, MVP gets the crowd to chant “Si”, to which Dunne throws a fit at the crowd for speaking in Spanish. Dunne takes over with a headlock, but he’s easily dumped onto the top rope by MVP, before Dunne gets slammed… and rolls to the floor to avoid the Ballin’ elbow.
MVP returns Dunne to the ring, but he spends too long on the apron talking to the fans, as a dropkick from Dunne sends him back outside. Dunne takes over with some axehandle smashes, but MVP fights back only to get knocked down with a dropkick for a near-fall. Dunne runs the ropes to try and wind up the fans, before rushing into a cover for a near-fall, as he works over MVP’s nose, removing that breathing strip.
MVP’s sent across the middle rope as Dunne slides outside and delivers an uppercut, before an eye rake takes MVP down once more. Dunne escapes a Drive By boot in the corner, which injured MVP’s knee, and gives “No Fun” Dunne a new body part to target. MVP manages to launch a comeback with some punches and clotheslines, before he finally takes down Dunne for the Ballin’ elbow!
After that, Dunne’s picked up for a Fisherman’s suplex for a near-fall, before the Playmaker gets another two-count for the former WWE, TNA and New Japan star. Another Playmaker is blocked and met with an enziguiri from Dunne, who rushes in with a springboard Codebreaker for a two-count of his own, before MVP comes back with a Drive By kick out of nowhere for the win. Not bad, but this started way slowly before picking up a little at the end. ***
We get clips from an IPW:UK event in Tonbridge, Kent, where the former Tennessee Honey tells the fans why she turned heel. Despite one lone child’s voice piping up to say “we don’t care”. She’s a strong independent wrestler who needs no fans, but she needed Sammy Smooth to hold her back from going after some hecklers. She’s now Livvii Grace, and she threatens to make an impact in Harlow despite not being booked.
IPW:UK All-England Championship: Jordan Wade vs. Scott Star (c)
Wade is the other half of the Ruckers, with Nick Andreas. He too has the “former rugby player” gimmick, along with the note that he was banned for “excessive violence”. Didn’t Cesaro already do this? The All-England Championship is the same title (albeit a different physical belt) as what the FWA had back in the day… which is a nice tie-in to our upcoming look at the old FWA TV series.
Wade charges Star into the corner to get us going, but he had no answer for a headscissor takedown and an armdrag from the champion, who just popped back up from a shoulder tackle. A standing moonsault, then a standing shooting star press gets Star a two-count, as he leaps off the top rope and gets drilled with a spear for a near-fall. Star gets kicked to the outside as Wade teases throwing him into the crowd, before he just rolls the champion back inside, as a front facelock keeps Star on the mat. A jawbreaker frees Star, who springboards into the ring with a monkey flip to Wade, then tries for a cross body out of the corner, but Wade catches it and turns it into a Jackhammer-esque slam for a near-fall.
A kick to the back keeps Star down, who then sits up out of the Tree of Woe before flying back in with a missile dropkick. Star flies in with a forearm and a dropsault to take Wade down, as a satellite DDT forces the Rucker to the outside, where he’s knocked down via a moonsault off the apron. Star’s Shiranui attempt is blocked, as Wade comes back with a pop-up uppercut and a Swing Low suplex (spinning suplex) that almost gets him the win. At the second attempt, Star hits his Falling Star (standing Shiranui) for a near-fall, before he drags Wade towards the corner for as he looked for his Wrecking Ball back senton… but Wade crotches him! Wade comes back with a Fireman’s carry/spinebuster slam for a near-fall, but his attempt at a cannonball in the corner comes up short, as he misses, allowing Star to hit the Wrecking Ball for the win. A good title defence, with both men getting their stuff in – which was more important for Wade, given that this was perhaps his highest exposure to date. ***¼
After the match, Star gets the microphone and accepted Sammy Smooth’s challenge of a match… on condition that it’s a table match. Star snuck in the line that “Dan Edler already approved it”, which seemed like a pointless Russo-esque shout-out. They cut-away from Dean Ayass’ commentary to flash up the graphic for our next match…
IPW:UK Women’s Championship: Nightshade vs. Chakara vs. “Amazon” Ayesha Ray (c) vs. Livvii Grace
This was originally a three-way, but before the match could get going, some music hit… and just like the promo beforehand hinted, it was Livvii Grace, who calls Nightshade “Lampshade” and Amazon “eBay” as she moans about not having her rematch. So she adds herself to this match…
Chakara runs straight at Amazon, but the 19 year old easily gets swatted away and dumped with a fallaway slam. Livvii and Amazon lay into each other whilst Nightshade watches on… before she rushes in with a jawbreaker before Grace’s German suplex takes down Amazon. A clothesline from Nightshade gets her a one-count, but Grace comes back with some knee strikes, before Chakara mounts a brief comeback.
Nightshade takes down Chakara with a Sister Abigail-like move, then lands a Fisherman’s suplex for a near-fall as Amazon breaks up the cover. Grace leaps onto Amazon’s back with a sleeperhold, but she’s shaken off as all Chakara and Nightshade land a pair of rope-hung neckbreakers out of the corner. Amazon dumps Chakara and Nightshade with a suplex at the same time, before a chokebomb from Amazon takes down Chakara for a two-count as Grace broke up the pin, throws Amazon outside, then steals the fall to win the title! Well, that was way too short to be anything… disappointing, but this was more storyline than anything else. **
Dean Ayass on commentary tells us that this is all we’re getting from Harlow, so we’re getting some extra matches to fill the time in, which is odd, considering this is just a VOD and not a live PPV…
Sammy Smooth vs. Tom Dawkins
This was taped February 12 in Tonbridge, and it’s one of Smooth’s first matches after his heel turn. He’s out with Livvii Grace and a golf club, harkening back to that turn. Smooth forces our un-named ring announcer to say something to rile up Dawkins, which feels like a heel tactic that a main event heel shouldn’t be pulling, but who am I to judge?
The match starts with Smooth shoving, then slapping Dawkins as he declared himself “the winner”. So Dawkins just boots him in the chest and gives chase to him outside. Of course, Livvii Grace is providing a distraction, grabbing his heel as he went back into the ring, which allowed Smooth to squash him in the corner and almost win it with a roll-up. Smooth grinds a forearm onto Dawkins’ neck before working a bow-and-arrow lock, then switches into an Indian deathlock as he methodically wears down Dawkins’ knees. A knee stomp gets Smooth a near-fall, and this is all one-way traffic so far, as Smooth charges into Dawkins with back elbows, but Dawkins rushes out with a dropkick and a clothesline, before he hits a springboard roundhouse kick!
Smooth cuts that comeback off with a kick to the legs, but a reverse leg sweep from Dawkins sends down Smooth for a kick to the back of the head, before he follows up with a running shooting star press. That’s only good for a two-count from Dawkins, who trades big boots with Smooth, which prompts Grace to get on the apron to interfere again. Smooth capitalises on the distraction with a Blue Thunder Bomb for a near-fall, as Grace throws in the golf club that Smooth used on Scott Star at Supershot 6. That invites Star in to make the save, and this is ruled as a no-contest due to a mixture of Star’s attack and Smooth trying to use the golf club. A decent enough match, but it didn’t build to anything, so it was just a waste of time. **¾
Cieran Donnelly vs. Timothy Thatcher
Billed as the main event from Tonbridge, this was the final match on the show, and oddly one that I have some slight interest in!
Before the match, Thatcher got the microphone and told Donnelly that he recognised that he was a big test for him, before giving him a message from Jimmy Havoc: “hello”. By way of a big boot to the head. A back suplex gets Thatcher an instant two-count, as the pair rolled to the outside, where Thatcher elbowed Donnelly and plastered him with uppercuts. Connelly fought back, but got caught with a chop block and a toe hold back in the ring, before squirming onto his back to get a near-fall over the EVOLVE champion.
Thatcher came back with a wristlock that he tried to tease into a Kimura, but Donnelly was equal to it all, ducking a punch from Thatcher and landing a leaping neckbreaker… before landing a tope to send Thatcher into the front row. A pescado takes him down once more, but Donnelly’s front facelock is easily broken out of by Thatcher, who kneed him in the ribs twice before getting a near-fall out of it all.
Thatcher continued to work over Donnelly with shots, but the tag team specialist managed to sneak in a missile dropkick for a two-count, as he then followed up with a legdrop for another near-fall. Of course, Thatcher didn’t stand for that, and quickly grounded Donnelly with an octopus hold before rolling him back for a crucifix pin, as some rolling side Salto suplexes followed for the youngster.
A sleeperhold attempt was blocked by Thatcher, as he went back to the knees before getting a two-count from a butterfly suplex, then rolled it through into an attempt at a Fujiwara armbar… but Donnelly stood up to foll free as he went back into some shots. Donnelly’s superkicks takes Thatcher into the corner, then to the mat for a two-count, as Thatcher kicked out and grabbed the arm for a Fujiwara armbar, but Donnelly just about grabs the bottom rope.
Donnelly grabs a sleeperhold on Thatcher, mounting the EVOLVE champion, before releasing the hold to go for a leaping knee which misses. That let Thatcher get a back suplex and another Fujiwara armbar, this time in the middle of the ring… Thatcher releases the hold, but rolls up Donnelly instead and that’s enough to get the win. A bit of a flat ending, but a pretty solid match nevertheless. ***¼
After the match, Thatcher suckers Donnelly into a handshake – but he’s jumped by Sammy Smooth and Livvii Grace hitting the ring. The ring announcer awkwardly asks the crowd to “give it up for Cieran Donnelly”, just as Danny Duggan and Scott Star make the much delayed save.
This was a weird show to watch, but hey, British indies on my TV is never a bad thing. “MVP in Harlow” ended up being an odd blend of matches from the eponymous Harlow show plus some filler card a week earlier in Tonbridge. Sad to say though, save for the progression of the Tennessee Honey/Livvii Grace story, this was a throwaway show.
This isn’t meant to be a knock, but IPW:UK sticks out as being markedly different from the rest of what FloSlam offers. Whilst this show was easy to watch, I can’t see these kind of family friendly cards catching on with the FloSlam customer base who’ve paid to see the likes of EVOLVE and FIP. The promotion returns to FloSlam on March 19 for Supershow 7, featuring the likes of Drew Galloway vs. Rampage Brown, DND vs. Kings of the North and Tom Dawkins vs. Timothy Thatcher. That’s on the same night as FloSlam’ll be showing wXw’s 16 Carat Gold finals, which is an interesting clash to say the least!