It’s time to end 2020 with a bang. Yes, I know it’s January 1st… we take a look at a Charles Crowley production from Britwres.
We all know the meme. “Britwres is dead.” Whether you take that on face value as “the scene’s totally dead”, or add a little nuance to it as in “it’s not what it was”, there’s no doubt that last year did a number on the scene, with the economic impacts of the pandemic mixed in with the loss of trust brought about by the revelations during Speaking Out.
With the vast majority of British promotions having been unable to run for most of 2020 (and those that did all-but-certainly without fans), up-and-coming wrestler (and actor on the side…) Charles Crowley set up an IndieGoGo campaign to help fund an event that would be posted on New Year’s Eve. It’s a cinematic match, so adjust whatever expectations you may have…
Of course, with the current world scenario, precautions had to be taken – and we get a disclaimer ahead of time to settle the minds of anyone wondering if this was truly “an outlaw mud show,” as some would say.
We open, in a field, with shots of damaged trees and two balloons blowing in the breeze. The camera pans to Elijah, who’s brought his RSVP card, having found the world’s smallest carnival tent, which was being tended to by a wind up monkey. You know the ones – those that typically live in Homer Simpsons head, clanging cymbals. Elijah gives his name and climbs in, teleporting into a nondescript room.
Other characters start to appear – Gene Munny and his big boy pants, Martina, Bobbi Tyler, Kanji, Clementine, Warren Banks, Big Guns Joe, Kid Lykos II, Visage, Big T, and finally referee James Greenwood. Oh, and Mad Kurt too, who dabs… until we hear a drum beat, as it’s Charles Crowley pulling the proverbial strings for the “culmination of 2020.”
“You want to wrestle, so badly, so very badly.” Those last three words and the cut to the shot of Mad Kurt could be taken in so many different ways… “The rules are simple. Last wrestler standing enters 2021 a winner.” Ding ding. Watching this first time around, my Spidey senses were tingling that I recognised the venue, just from the darkened room and some things in the background. We’ll get to that…
The action starts with Elijah knocking down Gene Munny as background music’s piped in. Cue war cries, cue bedlam, and music that almost sounded like a 16-bit rendition of Metallica’s Master of Puppets. Charles Crowley escapes through a fire exit as Kanji pushes Elijah into a stage… which she then springs off of into a stunner. Before Big T just chopped her. Big Guns Joe is using Clementine as a barbell, but gets rolled up for a two-count as this was more like a wrestling match for a brief second. Visage’s leg lariat drops Clementine for another two-count, while Gene Munny… gets cracked from behind with a keyboard from Mad Kurt. It’s ignored as Gene turns around and delivers the delightfully-named Ainsley Lariat to apparently kill the keyboard warrior.
Elijah spots that open door and heads outside into the car park of the Craufurd Arms near Milton Keynes – the home venue of GOOD Wrestling. He spots Crowley up on the roof, but Bobbi Tyler pushed him down to the car park… as Elijah then headed up top for a fight scene, ducking Bobbi’s golf club and knocking her down as referee James Greenwood had gotten bored of the mayhem in the other room and headed for the roof. Just in time to make a two-count. A shotgun dropkick from Charles Crowley drops Elijah, who then pops up and eventually got enziguiri’d. Crowley goes to help up Tyler, but instead slapped her and ran back into the main room… just in time for the fight to spill towards the bar, as Clementine, Big Guns Joe and Big T were scrapping. I guess the latter two wanted the rights to “big” in their name in 2021? Meanwhile, Martina’s grabbed a beer from behind the bar…
Big T spills Martina’s drink, and gets bottled. In slow motion. Martina throws Clementine into the bar too, then headbutted Joe before settling down for her can of non-specific. Which Elijah boots out of her as she was mid-drink. A new entrant arrives: a late, pogoing Chuck Mambo, who surveys the scene like a ring full of CRITICAL’d wrestlers in Fire Pro… and he opts to pogo his way into the main room.
Where Charles Crowley had laid out a table full of snacks for anyone who was hungry. Warren Banks just powerbombs Mad Kurt through through through through through the wood, which made Charles sad. Gene Munny boots Mambo off of his pogo stick, then used a Figure Four as Kanji dove in to stop Mambo from tapping… but that just sparks the ridiculous chain of submissions, with Mad Kurt revived enough to dab. Having clearly made up, Big T, Big Guns Joe, Elijah, Clementine and Martina reminisce over their lockdown lives, with Martina having drunk enough beer to legally become beer. It turns into an argument, stopped by Cassius doing a good Peggy Mitchell impression… ordering everyone out of the pub. So they head back to the main room for a fight.
Back inside, Bobbi Tyler suplexed Crowley on the floor as we’re back to the bedlam… which then took a new direction after the arrival of… Cara Noir?! Everyone freezes as Cara leaps off the stage and runs wild, striking in time to his music, ending with a big headbutt as Mad Kurt died again. Cara and Elijah trade strikes before referee James Greenwood’s shoved into the path of some big boots by Mad Kurt… exploding his head in the process.
Everyone’s ears ring, and now this turns a little bit Battle Royale as it’s literally a fight for life. Visage’s neck gets snapped by Clementine, who then finds the monkey from earlier… which turns her into confetti? Big T falls onto Big Guns Joe and Kid Lykos 2, killing the former… as Lykos then dug a hatchet into Big T’s back?!
Visage’s wig chokes out Lykos seconds later, as Crowley pulls out Big T’s heart to make sure of his exit, while Gene Munny choked out Warren Banks with a dog collar. It’s a beautiful sort of violence… and then I end up losing it at the sight of Chuck Mambo pogoing over Kanji to death… before he pogo’d into the night.
Martina has another drink, but ends up exploding into a glass as she turned into beer… while Mad Kurt tweeted Charles Crowley. Live, this synced up beautifully, as Crowley’s eyes, erm, pop out? Mad Kurt tries to run away, but is immediately confronted by Dan Moloney of all people, and after whispering “boom” to Dan… he’s killed with a Drilla piledriver. As you were!
Back inside the Craufurd, Gene Munny has a swig of Martina, who apparently chokes him from the inside as their never-ending death match seemingly got an ending? Bobbi Tyler’s back, pissed off at not being able to kill Crowley… and gets electrocuted after swinging her golf club into a grid. Elijah and Cara Noir are among the last left, with Cara Noir trying to rip his head off… only for Elijah to hit a head shot of his own.
Except Cara Noir rises from the dead and explodes as Elijah’s sent flying out of the carnival tent, back into the field he started in. Except the RSVP card he still had blew up, taking Elijah with him as Britwres was left as a smoking pair of boots in the field…
Result: BritWres Died at 17:31
Roll credits, and… wait, is that Great Khali? They’ve had a Cameo from him exclaiming that “BritWres is dead… or is it?”, as he rubs his hands to close out the show. Is Great Khali going to save BritWres?!
As a slice of escapism, “You Are Cordially Invited” was a good 20-odd minutes of a show that quite possibly won’t be for everyone, depending on where you sit on the whole trend of cinematic matches. You’re not tuning in to this for a wrestling classic, but since the trend started with the Undertaker/AJ Styles match at WrestleMania, I can’t recall enjoying a cinematic match as much as I did this.
This show also perhaps served as a reminder that, while it was done tongue-in-cheek, “BritWres” as we knew it really ought to be consigned to history. The scene that brought us the heights also brought with is a since-uncovered seedy underbelly – and while there is of course talent there to keep the scene alive, perhaps it’s time to put the contraction of “BritWres” to bed – if only to give the names that remain a chance to escape the shadows of the past.