Less than a week after their debut show, Lucha Forever returned to action with an enjoyable Sunday night show in Manchester.
“Smaller, but just as mighty” is the tagline for these shows as “Lucha Live” looks to pack as much a punch as the top tier shows. These are going up for free on YouTube, as opposed to FloSlam. This show’s at the Frog and Bucket in Manchester – a really small and intimate venue that promises to stand out either way!
“Magic” Mark Adams and Harvey Dale are handling commentary again, and I’m hoping they’re not as insufferable as they were towards the end of the debut show. MC Rob Maltman opens up the show by asking if we’re ready for some fun… and that’s the cue for a siren as Chief Deputy Dunne’s out to spoil the party!
Chief Deputy Dunne vs. Brendan White
Dunne uses his siren to shout down those who shout “one fall”… and now he’s my latest hero! “Bronco” Brendan White is his opponent tonight, somewhat of a regular in the Welsh indy scene, but he’s jumped by Dunne as soon as he hits the ring. White hits back though, sending Dunne from corner-to-corner, only to be taken down for some knee drops as Dunne asserted his authorit-ah.
A pendulum backbreaker gets a near-fall, but White comes back with more Irish whips between corners, before landing the White Out (a spinning Big End). White rolls the dice for another two-count, before Dunne comes back with a rope-hung DDT that almost ended it. A springboard Codebreaker’s turned into a monster Bossman Slam from White… but another springboard Codebreaker is successful as Chief Deputy Dunne gets the win. Decent for an opener, but pretty short too. **¾
After the match, Dunne blasts White with the megaphone for good measure.
Chris Ridgeway vs. Bubblegum
This has the potential to be really good, with Bubblegum one of the best in Britain, whilst Ridgeway has a reputation for being under-rated.
Ridgeway starts with a front facelock takedown, but Bubblegum’s wise to it as the pair do a good grapple, only for Ridgeway to try and escape by clawing at Bubblegum’s nostrils. This descends into a kit of kicking, before Ridgeway takes some chops in the corner. Someone taunts Ridgeway by saying he “kicks like a girl”, but that fan doesn’t come in to try it out, so Ridgeway kicks Bubblegum to the mat.
A handspring roundhouse from Bubblegum gets him back in it, before a dropkick from the ring to the floor knocks Riddy off the apron. Back inside, that’s good for a near-fall, before Bubblegum grounds Ridgeway in an abdominal stretch, but the roles get reversed as Bubblegum’s caught in a grounded armbar, with some added forced-flipping off for the hell of it.
Bubblegum slaps his way free, only to be taken down for some stomps to the head, then a running kick to the chest. Those kick eventually rile up Bubblegum, who comes back with an enziguiri before a bunch of forearms give way to a duelling boots as both men were left laying.
A step-up knee in the corner and a bulldog get Bubblegum in front, as does an enziguiri out of the corner, and a massive X-Factor-esque facebuster, before he heads up top for a double stop for another near-fall. Ridgeway blocks a powerbomb with a headbutt, before a Saito suplex and a gutwrench powerbomb gets him a two-count… but from the kick-out, Riddy gets a leglock in that eventually forces a rope break.
It’s all Riddy from there, scoring a two-count from a bridging German suplex, but Bubblegum hits back with a Burning Hammer… and that’s also kicked out of! Ridgeway pushes away a top rope ‘rana attempt, then sidesteps a charge as he rushes into Bubblegum with a release German suplex, before countering a handspring off the ropes into another German suplex. A brainbuster only gets him a one-count, before a Gotch piledriver is enough for the win. This was really good stuff, with Ridgeway and Bubblegum giving as good as they got – this is a match that’s well worth your time! ****
After TWO MATCHES it’s “half time”, so they cut to a highlight package from their debut show. It was a good music video, but I’m guessing the call to cut a match (a four-way between Omari, Lloyd Katt, Elijah and Jigsaw) wasn’t made until the edits started?
Kip Sabian vs. Josh Bodom
Sabian has a prepared introduction for Rob Maltman to read him, but the crowd’s too busy ragging on his gear. They try and do the Tony Chimel high-pitched “super” stuff for Sabian’s “Superbad” nickname, and I’m thankful YouTube lets you skip!
Josh Bodom’s his opponent, which gives us a weird alignment given how hated he generally is. Bodom drills Sabian with a forearm before a kick to the back sends Kip running for the hills. He returns with a springboard rana, before a leaping leg lariat rocks Bodom… until another kick from Josh sends him to the floor.
Sabian taunts the crowd, but manages to work away as Josh went for the Bliss Buster. The next bit of stalling comes as Kip hugs the referee, before he thumbs Bodom in the eyes, allowing him to hit a step-up knee in the corner en route to a bulldog. A side Russian legsweep sees Sabian set up for a grounded Octopus hold, before throwing Josh face-first into the corner, and it’s all Kip Sabian here. Sadly, the crowd were just not wanting to connect with this.
Sabian kicks away the leg of Bodom to send him into the middle turnbuckle, before a rope hung neckbreaker earned him a near-fall. A pair of bicycle kicks knock Sabian to the floor, where he’s met with a front flip senton by Bodom, who followed in with some chops around the ringside area. The Bliss Buster gets Bodom a near-fall back in the ring, but Sabian avoids a powerbomb and runs into another Bliss Buster… he pushes it away and goes for a springboard Dragonrana, which Bodom turns into a Bodom Breaker for a two-count!
Frustrated, Bodom goes up top, but Sabian pops up with an enziguiri, only to be shoved away. Another enziguiri follows, before a top rope ‘rana is good for a near-fall. The pair traded forearms and chops from there as they go strike-for-strike, before a pair of Bodom superkicks led to a third one that missed, allowing Sabian to roll him up with a handful of tights for the win. This was fine, good in parts, but there was a lot of stalling in the early going that hampered my interest here. ***
For some reason, the commentary was all over the place here, with the audio being “pure”, echoey and just plain inconsistent through the match.
Lana Austin vs. Bea Priestley
Yep, the trash commentary returned with venom here. Lana’s got her personal photographer, and she “molests the referee”, which is her gimmick. Bea Priestley’s talented, because she can apparently “kick the holy hell out of you with her little finger”. I’m not quite sure how that’s possible.
There’s a long spell of stalling before the match as Lana tries to cheapshot Bea, but the Kiwi’s too smart for it and sweeps the leg, before recovering from a schoolboy roll-up to land a headkick for a near-fall. They head to the outside, but we can’t see what happens as Lana attacks her from behind and gets the upper hand.
Austin lands a few hair-mares, and despite being overtly heelish, the crowd are chanting for her. Even when she sets up for Shattered Dreams and slaps Bea instead. A low dropkick gets Lana a near-fall, but Priestley comes back with a German suplex to throw Lana into the corner.
An arm whip takes down Austin, before Bea followed through with the Rings of Saturn, but Austin managed to get a foot on the ropes to force a break. Bea telegraphs a back body drop and falls into a Northern Lights suplex for a two-count. Austin tries to finish things with a superplex, but it’s countered into a sunset flip powerbomb, only for Lana to stomp free… and get caught in a Cheeky Nando’s!
Somehow that leads to a Del Rio double stomp in the corner, but Lana kicked out, before getting caught in a Kimura for an instant tap-out. This wasn’t too bad – given Bea’s most known as a heel everywhere else, this was a weird role, and the crowd I feel eventually got into it. **¼
#CCK (Chris Brookes & Kid Lykos) vs. Los Gueros del Ciero (Angelico & Jack Evans)
There’s plenty of stalling as Lykos seems to have his feelings hurt by anything and everything the crowd chants at him. When he gets over it, Lykos and Angelico swap some holds, with some see-saw kip ups from Lykos leading to a headscissor takedown on the South African.
Lucha armdrags follow from Lykos, who’s taking the name of this promotion to heart, but a dropkick from Angelico forces Lykos to tag out to Brookes, who plays into a test of strength with Jack Evans, which segues into a dance-off. Luckily, they had Uptown Funk on standby, which let Lykos dance without any fear of being embarrassed… which is handy since he was covered from head to toe in that Power Ranger outfit.
Referee Shay Purser gets involved too, trying a Shay-a-roonie, and then Chris Brookes spoils the party, bringing the serious wrestling back. Which involved a chicken fight! With Lykos and Evans brawling on the top rope while clinging onto the balcony! Things work out so Brookes and Lykos can hit the elevated Codebreaker/back senton combo, before the “Sick Fucking Tag Move” gets a near-fall. I just wish people didn’t try and hop on the bandwagon by trying to recapture lightning in a bottle. You know who you are!
Evans flips off of Brookes into a headscissor takedown on Lykos, but a leg lariat from Lykos catches him for a Magic Killer for a near-fall. Cue a wet willie to Jack Evans from the heavens, and he’s kept far away from his partner, only for him to come back with a slingshot double Blockbuster to take down both members of #CCK.
A head kick brings Angelico back in, who strings together some kicks to take Brookes into the ropes, before Angelico flips up Evans for a standing 450 splash that gets a near-fall thanks to the intervention of Lykos. Speaking of, Lykos gets German suplexed by his own partner after a convoluted exchange, before a stuff backdrop suplex gets a near-fall. From the kick-out, a pair of Octopus holds tie up #CCK, but Brookes is able to stomp Lykos free.
Bad lighting sees us miss a kick in the corner before Brookes flips Lykos into a moonsault on Angelico for a near-fall. A ‘rana from Lykos gets a near-fall on Angelico, and then we get a four-way big boot spot to leave everyone laying! Lykos popped up and found himself shoving Angelico into the balcony, and yes the South African watches Evans take a tombstone for a near-fall, before leaping off the balcony into a crossbody on both members of #CCK.
Lykos counters a crucifix buckle bomb into a headscissor takedown, leaving Angelico alone to take an Ink Bomb (Blockbuster x Gory Bomb) for the win. Whatever happened to Jack Evans? He disappeared as Angelico did the crossbody, and was nowhere to be seen until after the pin. A fun main event with a take-it-or-leave-it dance-off, and it’s nice to see a fledgling group picking some names and giving them wins out of the gate. ***½
After the match, #CCK tried to cheapshot their opponents, but they were outsmarted and sent packing as the Lucha Underground pairing danced to end the show. For a lower-level show, this was a decent outing – especially when you consider that almost all of the big names from the first show weren’t present. Of course, when you load up show #1, that’s always going to be an obvious call-out. In spite of that, this was a fun show, at 90 minutes, for free, on YouTube, it’s worth a shout.
Yes, there were issues: the smaller building meant that there were lighting issues, particularly outside of the ring, whilst those who are looking for a “raison d’etre” for this group are still going to be looking. But you had a hot crowd and some good wrestling – and compared to other shows where you can find yourself with one or the other, you can’t really complain.