We’re off to IPW:UK for the first time, and their debut on the FloSlam platform with Supershow 5, featuring a brutal main event with Jimmy Havoc.

The promotion’s year-ending card from Rochester, Kent, featured appearances from Matt Riddle, Cody Rhodes and a match to crown a new women’s champion, after the group stripped Mickie James of the belt after two months as a WWE return came calling.

The show opens with an interesting video sequence featuring stills of the IPW:UK roster based on the theme of shattered glass, which may well be some pre-show stuff that Flo have forgotten to snip out if their EVOLVE 74 video was anything to go by! We’re also doing without entrances it seems… but hey, we do have a familiar voice on commentary, in the form of BritWres’ Dean Ayass!

Joseph Conners vs. Tom Dawkins
This match was laid down by Jimmy Havoc, after Dawkins wanted a title shot… and the match started off hot as Dawkins took Conners to the outside with a dropkick, before blocking a leg sweep on the apron to come down to the floor his way.

Conners caught a leap-over from Dawkins and dropped him with a Snake Eyes in the corner, before laying into the black belt with some elbows in the corner. A tiltawhirl slam takes Dawkins down for a near-fall, as Conners continued to wear down Dawkins with a grounded sleeperhold. Another tiltawhirl slam is blocked, with Dawkins coming back with some headscissors, then an enziguiri from the apron as he finishes off with a single-leg lariat off the top rope.

Conners ducks a pair of kicks to the head, but can’t avoid a third as Dawkins goes for a pin from a standing shooting star press, getting a two-count in the process. A push-down stomp sees Conners get back into things, then a choke-bomb gets the “Righteous Killer” another near-fall. Dawkins manages to mount another comeback though, and gets the win with another head kick, then an over-the-knee brainbuster. Short, but a nice, hot opener for the live crowd. **¾

IPW:UK Women’s Championship: Tennessee Honey vs. Pollyanna
We actually get entrances here, and the graphics remind me a LOT of the WrestleMania X7 nameplates… The winner of this gets the title, and this would be Tennessee Honey’s third reign with the belt if she did get the win.

Pollyanna tried for the belly-to-back piledriver early on, but Tennessee Honey rolled out into a near-fall as Pollyanna went for an early finish. They traded stiff chops from there, both to the front and back, which made Pollyanna’s backless ring attire a massive target for the Peckham cowgirl.

A double stomp gets Pollyanna a near-fall as she grew tired of having her back slapped, following up with a wrenching Japanese stranglehold, with some knees into the back of the Honey for extra pressure. Tennessee Honey flips through and applies the hold to Pollyanna instead, as they go back and forth, ending with Pollyanna getting caught on the top rope for a superplex. We get the “count ahead of the ref, and shout “Moose!”” tripe here, before Tennessee Honey gets up and hits a rolling neckbreaker, then another neckbreaker gets a near-fall.

Pollyanna comes back with a double knee strike in the corner, and then the Pollinator gets a near-fall as Honey blocked the Finish Her… before unwisely leaping onto the top rope, where she was caught for another Finish Her, but switched it into a Code Red for another two-count. Tennessee almost gets it with a lariat for a near-fall, so she tries for another superplex, but Pollyanna shoves her down and completes it with a del Rio-esque double stomp.

From there, Pollyanna went for the Finish Her, but Tennessee Honey wriggled out… so Polly just sat down and folded her forward in a body press for the win! A solid match, which told the story of Polly going for – and missing – the Finish Her, before changing her game plan to get the W. **¾

After the match, Tennessee Honey shoved away, then hugged Pollyanna – who celebrated to the crowd, only to be interrupted. Out came Amazon, who came into this show as a tag team champion (filling in for the Swords of Essex later in the show). Apparently Amazon thinks of herself as the number one contender for the title, having won a tournament in October, and demands her title shot now. Pollyanna dives on her, so I think in wrestling speak, she accepts?

IPW:UK Women’s Championship: Pollyanna (c) vs. Amazon
From the tope, Pollyanna rolls Amazon into the ring and misses a double stomp. Amazon goes after Pollyanna with a chope, then hits a Samoan drop as we still waited for a referee to come out. Finally Steve Lynskey came out, just as Amazon blocked the Finish Her, and lifted up Pollyanna into a choke bomb for the win. Well, that was short and sweet – it certainly got over Amazon as a monster champion, that’s for sure. (Not Rating)

All-England Championship: Zack Gibson vs. Scott Star (c)
This belt apparently has lineage dating back to the FWA in 2001 – when it was created as a title for Scotty Rock in the early days of that group’s TV show. Zack Gibson was challenging for the title here, and it’s good to see he’s a heat magnet here here.

Dean Ayass explains the Liverpool thing to international viewers, and Gibson goes on to do his usual pre-match promo, to a cacophony of boos, including the line “soon to be ITV’s Number One”…

Gibson targeted Star’s left arm early on, but took a monkey flip out of the corner as he took too much time waiting on Star, who popped up with some armdrags. A standing moonsault misses, but Star lands on his feet anyway, before getting kicked in the chest as he tried for a headscissor takedown on the Scouser.

Gibson controlled a lot of this match, blasting Star with forearms, but the youngster eventually gave as good as he received, only to see a tiltawhirl DDT attempt turned into a Shankly Gates-esque armbar. Star goes outside with a moonsault press to Gibson, before finally landing that satellite DDT for a near-fall back in the ring. Star tried for a standing shiranui, but Gibson takes him down and started to slap away at the grounded champion… until he hit back with the standing shiranui – known as the Falling Star here.

Scott then climbed up onto the supporting scaffolding in the building, before dropping down with a Wrecking Ball back senton that missed. Gibson smelled blood and went for a Helter Skelter, but Star switched it into a small package and snatched the win. A decent match, one that I’d have liked to have seen go a little longer. ***¼

Cody Rhodes vs. Will Ospreay
Cody came out as a Bullet Club member – and with the WCPW Internet title too. Whatever happened to his Global Force belt, or is it a case of “wear the one more people will recognise”? In IPW:UK, Ospreay is firmly established as a heel in the Swords of Essex, and if you’re wondering how heel vs. supposed-heel is going to play out, especially when Heel Will was announced as a member of babyface CHAOS in New Japan… well, we’re about to find out.

Ospreay Naito’d Cody’s WCPW title, then went full-blown heel by mocking Cody for “too sweet”’ing fans in the front row. They then spent a while as Cody leapt in off the apron to cheers, before Ospreay finally tied-up with Cody and took him into the corner… following up with a totally unclean break.

Cody responds to a mock “too sweet” by uppercutting Ospreay and hitting a boot to the midsection a la Goldust, but Will kicked Cody to the outside, then threw in a tope, and a cartwheel and an axehandle as Heel Will Don’t Do Flips! Rhodes replied with a Disaster Kick and a leaping plancha to the floor, before using a fan’s walking stick to jab Will in the gut.

Ospreay replied by dumping Cody on the top rope, then dropkicked him back to the floor, as he went to work on Rhodes’ left knee by ramming it into the ringpost. A headbutt to Rhodes drew chants of “Ospreay”, which wound-up Will even more, so he slammed Rhodes down hard and looked to up top… but Cody popped up to crotch him on the top turnbuckle.

Rhodes brought down Ospreay with a hanging superplex, before Ospreay switched out of a Cross Rhodes, only to be dropped with a reverse STO for a near-fall. Another Cross Rhodes was blocked and met with a knee strike as Will followed up with a Cheeky Nando’s for a near-fall. Some chops came Rhodes’ way, but he caught a handspring Pele kick and dropped Ospreay with the Cross Rhodes for another near-fall.

A top rope moonsault saw Rhodes completely miss, as the pair went to trade kicks, ending with a Disaster Kick and a Figure Four from Cody. The pair exchanged slaps mid-hold, before going back to their feet for forearms and kicks, as Rhodes knocked Ospreay down again with a spinning Alabama Slam. After the kick-out, Ospreay dumped Rhodes with a knee strike, then the Rainham Maker (ripcord into a Pele kick) for another near-fall, as Dean Ayass seemed to go MIA on commentary, just as Cody Rhodes blocked an OsCutter and turned it into the Cross Rhodes for the win. Well, that may have been Cody’s best match outside of WWE… Impressive without going totally heavy on the WWE-style shtick. ***¾

After the match, Ospreay shook Cody’s hand… then kicked him low. Like a true heel. May be worth bookmarking that one if you’re meant to be heel as part of the Bullet Club, Cody…

10,000 Cuban Peso Open Challenge: Cuban Heat vs. Santa Claus
This is a bit like that Braun Strowman match – last ten minutes or get the fall, and you get 10,000 Pesos. Which is about £300… Cuban Heat was out with his associates – “The Banker” Marc Lloyd and his bodyguard, Big T – and cut a brief promo similar to Armado Estrada as he invited out his opponent: Santa!

This turned out to be a base for some comedy, which ended when Cuban Heat jumped Santa as he led a “ho ho ho” chant. Santa scores a couple of shoulder tackles, then a hiptoss, and I think this Santa might just know what he’s doing… oh man, it’s “Bodyguy” Roy Johnson!

As soon as Santa disrobes, the Banker gets on the apron for a distraction, but Johnson hits back with some elbows and a shoulder tackle off the middle rope! A backbreaker gets the “Wavy Santa” a two-count, but he misses a shoulder charge and hits the ringpost in the process.

Cuban Heat takes over from there as he pounds on Johnson in the corner, before a bridging suplex earns a near-fall. Johnson counters a rear chinlock by picking up Heat and throwing him down, before launching into a series of clotheslines, ending with a flapjack. Bodyguy then looks to hit his Last Set (Big Ending), but has to take down the Banker with a superkick, before Bgi T runs in and waffles Body Santa with a briefcase. From there, it’s simple as Cuban Heat just applies the Superman Stretch (grounded full nelson) to score the win. You could tell some of the crowd knew who Johnson was, but a lot of this was met with silence… I’d need to see a few more outings to see whether that’s a Cuban Heat thing or a crowd thing. **¼

Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Matt Riddle
Matt Riddle’s remembered his chant from his last visit to the UK, and boy, he’s thrilled to be back.

Dean Ayass noted that both men wrestled for PWG “last night” – which depending on how you handle time differences is correct; late Friday night in Reseda was the early hours of Saturday in the UK; around 36 hours before they wrestled here. Riddle took down Sabre early with waistlock takedowns, but Sabre more than matched him in the early going, grappling with Riddle in search of a leg lock whilst Riddle tried for an armbar before they ended up in the ropes. We saw another attempt at an armbar as Riddle monkey flipped Sabre into the hold, but they were too close to the ropes. So Riddle just picked up Sabre and rattled off a series of rolling gutwrench suplexes! As you do!

Sabre stayed on the defensive, taking some double knees and an Exploder suplex, before Riddle hit a leaping back senton for a near-fall. A series of kicks, a la Shibata, finally saw Sabre flip back into action, as he leapt into Riddle with an armbar in the middle of the ring, but Riddle countered the hold and dropped Sabre with a Fisherman’s brainbuster for a near-fall.

A long series of strikes sent Sabre down, but he was able to get his knees up to another back senton, before rushing into Riddle with a PK, then again with a European uppercut as Riddle suddenly found himself well on the back foot. Sabre snapped away at the fingers of Riddle as he sat on top of Riddle in an armbar, before a leg twist tried to snap the arm of the former UFC star.

The pair abandoned the grappling for some strikes, which ended when an overhead kick was caught by Sabre and turned into an ankle lock, but neither man was able to maintain a hold for too long. Both men catch kicks at the same time, before slapping the other to the mat simultaneously, as they then follow up with heel hooks on each other at the same time! Riddle slaps himself free, albeit briefly, before Sabre kicked himself out of harms way.

Sabre then goes to that hold that makes me run to Wikipedia for a copy and paste job, as Hurrah! Another Year, Surely This One Will Be Better Than The Last; The Inexorable March of Progress Will Lead Us All to Happiness follows… or the Octopus hold to everyone else! Some headscissors come next as Sabre switches up into a triangle armbar, which is broken up by way of a powerbomb. Riddle then looks for a double underhook powerbomb, which he switches in mid-air to the Bro-mission for the instant tap-out. That was beautiful! ****¼

IPW:UK British Tag Team Championship: London Riots (James Davis & Rob Lynch) vs. DND (Cieran Donnelly & Danny Duggan) vs. Swords of Essex (Amazon & Will Ospreay) (c)
So, in IPW:UK, the tag team titles are held by the Swords of Essex – who are using the Freebird rule here, as the originally advertised team of Scott Wainwright and Amazon ended up being Amazon and Will Ospreay in the pairing of folks doing double duty! Apparently IPW:UK promoter Dan Edler booked Wainwright when he was injured, and Paul Robinson was MIA… so they’re the only Swords left.

Rob Lynch and Danny Duggan started off, trading shoulder tackles, before Lynch took him to the ground with a headlock, and then launched into forearm strikes. Lynch rebounded out of the corner with a lariat, but was taken down with a dropkick as Lynch then rolled to the floor to check on his eye injury. Both teams tagged out, so we got Davis and Duggan for more of the same until a leapfrog was turned into a slam, with Davis following that with a back senton. Donnelly came in to hit back with some headscissors, before the two men went at it with forearms… and safe to say, Donnelly lost that particular battle.

After hitting a double dropkick to the Riots, Duggan tagged in and dropped Davis with an inverted atomic drop, then a low dropkick for a near-fall, before Will Ospreay low bridged Donnelly as he went for a double team neckbreaker. On the floor, the Swords threw Donnelly into the crowd, leaving Danny Duggan briefly on his lonesome. Duggan didn’t do too badly, and was able to tag back out to the resurging Donnelly, who dumped the Riots with a double DDT, but he’s quickly flattened with a pop-up uppercut as Will Ospreay finally comes in to break up a cover.

Lynch misses a spear on Duggan in the corner and takes a knee strike, then a knee drop to the back of the head as Ospreay plays chicken, but only leads DND into the path of the Riots. Donnelly takes a District Line powerbomb, before Duggan blocks a second, as DND hit the superkick-assisted brainbuster as Ospreay again breaks the count. Ospreay kicks both of DND low – but there’s no DQs, remember – before jabbing Lynch in the eye, and kicks Davis low again. Heel Will Ospreay, everyone!

The end came when Ospreay was thrown into Amazon, then slingshotted into a devastating spear from Rob Lynch, and the Riots won the titles! Short and sweet – I really enjoyed the heel Swords not getting involved unless they had to (especially with the double duty stuff), which all made sense… especially since that pairing never had met before this show! ***½

The tag titles weren’t present to be awarded, so instead we got a challenge: London Riots vs. DND in a TLC match… so the Swords seem to be ruled out of the title scene for the forseeable future then. For some reason, they faded out Dean Ayass as he plugged the TLC match, which I can only guess was unintentional.

I Quit for IPW:UK World Championship: Sammy Smooth vs. Jimmy Havoc (c)
Remember Deuce and Domino? Well, that’s Sammy Smooth’s gimmick, without the obnoxiousness…

This was the first time that Havoc defended his IPW:UK title this year after returning from injury… and of course, he came out wearing a Santa hat. Smooth had a “win” over Havoc, or at least, his replacement Joseph Conners earlier this year, but the title change was later ruled out. They started hot as both men traded blows early on, with Havoc having promised a “bag of tricks” for Smooth… and within seconds he reached for the bin bag to grab a baking sheet. A baking sheet that was used to swat Smooth out of the air as he went for a tope. No quit meant more pain, as Havoc then upgraded to a frying pan, which Smooth grabbed hold of and wrapped around the champion’s head. They headed towards and behind the bar as Havoc took swigs from a fan’s drink before using a drinking mat to whip his challenger with. Smooth slipped off the bar as he went for a crossbody, which just meant more punishment from Havoc, as he tossed his challenger into the crowd.

Smooth returns the favour, sending Havoc deep into the crowd, before he grabbed a table from under the ring… which Havoc just shoved back under there. Instead, the champion grabbed a chair and threw it at Smooth, who then came back and missed a stomp off the ring apron as the challenger again crashed and burned.

Havoc then dug out a staple gun from his big bag of tricks, and sent several staples into Smooth’s body, who refused to quit. The tables again turned as Smooth took a fan’s reserved seat sign and stapled it it to Havoc’s chest, who then got dumped into the front row for more offence from the challenger. Smooth then went for the table again, but Havoc put it away, before having a change of heart… only so he could try and superplex the youngster through it on the floor though! Wrestling logic almost prevailed though, as Smooth reversed, only to be backdropped into the ring as Havoc went back underneath to grab some steel chairs.

A pair of chairs were set up as a landing area, and since Smooth refused to quit, he took a superplex through them. Havoc runs in with a forearm, before another run sees Smooth backdrop him out of the ring and into that table at ringside… but again, Havoc refused to give up. Smooth hung him in a tree of woe outside the ring, and took a steel chair to the rehabbed knee of Havoc, before going into Havoc’s bin bag, and came out empty.

Or so we thought: Smooth found another bag… with a plethora of drawing pins in it. Since it’s wrestling, they were all scattered into one corner of the ring, before Smooth threatened to DDT the champion into them. Havoc blocked it and tried a Rainmaker, before eventually kicking him low, then grabbed a handful of drawing pins and stuck them one-by-one in Smooth’s forehead. Smooth, instead of quitting, just asked for more… This is disgusting!

Havoc put some tacks into his own mouth and spat them at Smooth, then returned the favour by filling Smooth’s mouth and punched his pin-filled mouth. More tacks came as Sammy Smooth fired back by spitting them into havoc, before finally taking a death valley driver into the drawing pins. My God, the back of Smooth looked like a pin cushion, but he refused to give up!

After ducking a one-man conchairto, Smooth fired back with a Blue Thunder Bomb to Havoc on the drawing pins, then another one onto a folded out chair, before locking the champion in a camel clutch for a few seconds. Smooth went back to the bin bag and this time found a cheese grater. Oh good Lord. This time we got a cheese grater camel clutch, with Jimmy Havoc’s forehead acting as the world’s worst cheese, as Joseph Conners made a run in (complete with a Santa hat) to save Havoc.

Conners then rammed Smooth into a chair, before holding him in place as Havoc threatened to use the staple gun on the little Sammy’s… and since there was no quit, the gun was used on the gonads, then the individual fingers, but again, Smooth wouldn’t quit. A chairshot accidentally took out Conners, as Smooth fought back and used the staple gun to give Havoc another version of the Shattered Dreams. No little Jimmys, then?

Joseph Conners came back in and dropped Smooth with a spinebuster, who still refused to quit despite getting papercuts. And there’s the lemon juice… holy hell! Finally, Scott Star and Zack Sabre Jr head out to make the save, going head-to-head with Havoc and Conners… but with one word, Havoc stuck Sabre on Star, using a rear naked choke and a neck twist to lay out the All-England champion.

Zack Sabre Jr’s aligned himself with Havoc and Conners – and that meant that Smooth had one more man to fend off. Since Smooth didn’t quit, his tag team partner Scott Star took a curb stomp through a chair as the mugging continues. Tennessee Honey came out and was dragged into the ring, with Conners and Havoc setting up for a curb stomp onto a drawing-pin covered chair, and that’s what finally got Smooth to quit. A bit of a let-down, but also fit in with Smooth being a babyface… My God that was twenty-plus minutes of brutality, but it worked in this setting. ***¾

After the match, Havoc lifted up Tennessee Honey… and the pair hugged. That was a ruse! Havoc’s crew has grown two-fold tonight, with Sabre and Honey joining the dark side, as IPW:UK looks set to remain under Havoc’s spell for the foreseeable future. Yet again, the show cuts off as Dean Ayass was midway through promoting their January 22nd show on FloSlam, which I have to think wasn’t intentional…

For a show that’s effectively a debut to a wider market, this wasn’t quite a home run, but a pretty great effort from IPW:UK. Whilst not as oriented towards hardcore fans as the likes of PROGRESS and Rev Pro, their different roster helps set them apart – and gives them a unique calling card for as long as the likes of Sammy Smooth and Tom Dawkins aren’t given prominent roles with either of those groups.

An incredibly violent main event, a technical masterclass with Sabre and Riddle, and nothing even close to a bad match… hell, even Cody had a good outing for all the nay-sayers there! If you have FloSlam, get on this show – you shan’t regret it!