It’s back to the “secret” NGW show in Liverpool again for this week’s British Wrestling Weekly.
We start with the news that Nathan Cruz has petitioned for a match against Joseph Conners this week… and despite it being granted, Conners made a late demand and “threatened to pull out if it wasn’t met”. Kudos for trying to paint Conners as a conniving heel, but those details are sort-of meaningless when NGW exists in its own bubble, largely extraneous from its own shows.
We’re taken to Mark Labbett in front of a green screen to explain what’s happened with Joseph Conners. Labbett says that the proposed match with Cruz received “great interest from NGW fans”, but Conners wants Cruz’s title rematch – and if he doesn’t get what he wants, “he’ll happily disappear for the rest of the season”. Cruz accepts the challenge, but Labbett adds another caveat: if Conners loses, he’s gone from NGW for good.
An interesting stipulation, given how the WWE UK contracts have affected other promotions.
Screwface vs. Zack Gibson
The winner of this faces Rampage Brown in the finals of that impromptu tournament for a spot in the Davey Boy Smith Memorial Tournament. For once, Gibson gets cheered as he’s in his home city!
From the opening tie-up, Gibson takes Screwface into the corner, but Screwface rebounds back immediately, only to get taken down with an armdrag. A straight right cuts off Gibson’s arm twist as Screwface works over Gibson’s arm in the ropes, but Zack comes back with a hiptoss before Screwface takes a Machine-like bump to being thrown into the top turnbuckle.
Gibson confronts Conners on the outside, but that leaves him open for a baseball slide dropkick from Screwface, as Conners dumps him across the crowd barriers – prompting no change in reaction from the audience – before Screwface heads outside to put the boots to him. They brawl around the ringside area, before Screwface takes him back inside and stomps on the head as he maintains the advantage into the commercial break.
After break, it’s as you were as Gibson takes a back elbow and a sit-down splash for a near-fall, then a back senton for another two-count. A rear chinlock keeps Gibson grounded, but that’s the cue for him to fight out with punches, then a jaw breaker, as Screwface staggered into the corner. Gibson restarts his comeback with a chop to the throat and the Ticket To Ride for a two-count, before he tries for the Helter Skelter.
Screwface fights out of that spinning suplex and gets a pop-up powerbomb for a near-fall, but he counters a ripcord knee strike and lands the Helter Skelter before wrapping in the Shankly Gates. Joseph Conners gets on the apron briefly, but the distraction is for nought as Gibson reapplies the Shankly Gates, only for Conners to run in and attack Gibson for the DQ. Nathan Cruz rushes out to make the save, and there’s the build for the main event. A decent enough match, but I’m not sure how much of the crowd noise in this episode was legitimate and how much was canned, but it was distracting as hell hearing the same droning noise with oddly-delayed reactions to only some events in the match. **¾
Joseph Conners grabs the microphone and said that because Gibson “needed help from Nathan Cruz” and because he didn’t beat Screwface, he should say “goodbye to the Davey Boy Smith Cup” and face Gibson instead. Cruz stops Zack from answering, and insists that he doesn’t throw away the Davey Boy Smith Cup “for an idiot like Joseph Conners”.
Thankfully there’s no change, and we still have Cruz and Conners – although this felt like some stuff had been edited out to suit what’d already been shared on TV.
They replay the end-of-match attack that we just saw for some reason, and after a commercial break, it’s main event time!
Joseph Conners vs. Nathan Cruz
Per the earlier ruling, if Conners wins, he gets Cruz’s rematch at the NGW title… if he loses, he’s gone from NGW.
A cautious start sees both men trading holds as Cruz and Conners exchange wristlocks and full nelsons. They continue to go move-for-move until Conners elbows out of a waistlock, before he takes Cruz from corner-to-corner, only to get shoved into the ropes as a high knee takes down the Righteous One.
Cruz snapmares Conners out of the corner, then hits a dropkick for just a count of one, but he keeps up by whipping Conners from corner-to-corner as the show goes to another commercial. We return with Conners on top briefly, as Cruz countered a whip into a vertical suplex, before landing a slingshot senton for a near-fall.
Conners elbows Cruz in the ropes, but ends up taking an enziguiri and a neckbreaker, before he chases Conners outside the ring, which just ends with Cruz getting thrown into the crowd barrier as Conners again takes over, targeting Cruz’s ribs with a stretch against the ringpost. After being dragged back in, Cruz found himself clotheslined for a two-count, as Conners cranked away on the former champion’s neck in the middle of the ring.
Cruz fights free and scores a sunset flip for a two-count, but Conners again stays on top of Cruz, biting the ear as he takes Cruz into the corner for some more clotheslines. Another Irish whip sends Cruz into the corner for a near-fall, before another rear chinlock keeps Cruz grounded. Finally, Nathan hits a jawbreaker to free himself, before he sidesteps Conners who goes to the floor as they tease running out of TV time.
It looks like Cruz has a second wind as he charges Conners’ head into the turnbuckles, before a crossbody and a slingshot back suplex gets him a near-fall, before Conners slips out of a suplex, only to get caught in an O’Connor roll for a near-fall. Cruz drops Conners across the top rope for a knee strike as we get a near-fall with the credits rolling, and just like last season, we’ve got a match bleeding between shows. (No Rating… until next week!)
With next week being the series finale, I guess they needed another hook to drag us back in – with title shot vs. career being that hook. For me, this felt like “just a show”, with that mini-tournament always going to end up as another rematch between Gibson and Rampage in the finals.
Next week’s finale looks to be an interesting show though, with Gibson and Rampage likely to put on another good encounter, whilst we see what on earth happens with Joseph Conners and Nathan Cruz.