Sheffield isn’t exactly the first place you’d expect to see a first-time contest between two of Europe’s more strike-happy wrestlers… but here we go!
2019 saw the creation of two somewhat high-profile promotions in England – at least among certain circles. Wrestle Gate Pro took the route of booking high profile names and swinging for the proverbial fences with documentaries and planning out over half a dozen shows… while Breed took a more measured route in comparison, going more for local publicity and names that perhaps attracted a more niche audience.
Their second show, Never Fight a Man With a Perm, comes from Sheffield’s City Hall. Commentary comes from two people who aren’t identified…
Ilja Dragunov vs. Chris Ridgeway
There’s a weird charm to the entire aesthetic of this. “Quaint” is could be an insulting way to describe it, but it’s nice to see a new promotion looking to make a mark without having ideas above their station.
Ridgeway trapped Dragunov in the corner early with kicks, but Ilja’s back with lariats and a forearm from the apron, before he brought himself back into the ring with another lariat. Both men goozle the other, but it’s Ilja’s back chop and back senton that edged him ahead, as the Russian looked to work the arm among what felt like a crowd that had some kids chanting “hard as fuck” at Ridgeway. Bizarre.
A cravat from Dragunov has Ridgeway down to his knees, but he eventually let go so he could light up the Cumbrian with chops in the corner. Ow. An ankle lock from Ridgeway quickly ended in the ropes as he looked to mount a response, perhaps leading to him being a little salty as he peppered Ilja with kicks and stomps thereafter, but some elbows from Ilja tried to restrict all that. Dragunov hoiks Ridgeway to the top for a chop, but a missed one left Ilja prone for a hanging choke. Ridgeway lets go and gets caught with an enziguiri before a superplex from Ilja left both men on the mat. From their knees, they resume strikes, exchanging forearms back and forth, upgrading to chops and kicks as they tried to end the other. A head kick looked to work, but a leaping enziguiri from Dragunov stopped Ridgeway briefly, as did a Saito suplex… but Ridgeway pops right back up and hits one of his own.
Except Ilja gets back to his feet too, and worked his way into a knee lift that nearly put Ridgeway down. More kicks from Ilja has Ridgeway on all fours once more, but he gets back up and catches another back chop and responds with some more kicks, dropping Ilja with a hook kick and a German suplex for a two-count. Dragunov tries to laugh off Ridgeway’s offence, which just prompted another barrage of kicks that sent him outside… and somehow Ilja’s back on top with a tope to the outside. Back in the ring, Ilja aborts a leap off the top as Ridgeway dropped him on his dome with a brainbuster… and clung on with a front facelock, only for Ilja to escape into a Chernobyl Bomb for a near-fall.
Ilja heads up top, but his back senton overshoots Ridgeway, who caught him with a rear naked choke… only for Ilja to stand up and dump him into the buckles with a death valley driver. A Coast to Coast followed for another two-count, before Ilja’s set-up for Torpedo Moscau was blocked by a head kick… A second crack misses as Ridgeway rebounded out of the corner with a PK, before he forced a flash stoppage with a rear naked choke. The bloodied-up Ilja’s neck looked to swing wildly when that hold was put on, which made the stoppage believable… but this was a match that Ridgeway did a lot of defending in before he made the most of his opening to win. ***¼
In a bubble, this was a pretty good match – albeit one that fell into the trap of not being any obvious part of a storyline outside of “can Ridgeway become a title contender?”. Still, as my first sight of Breed, they seem to be getting things right, in spite of their relative newness. Give them a shot – watch the match on YouTube, and if you like what you see, head down to their shows!
- Watch this match free on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tojcFE69Tk