NGW revisited a storyline from last season, as Liam Slater finally came face-to-face with his assailant.
The show opened with the footage of the angle with the debut of Screwface. I’ve already talked about how daft it is to debut a character as a mystery man, then suddenly fill in the blanks without so much as a word from the man himself. We had a sit-down promo from Liam Slater, who apparently knew Screwface, and then the usual show open, except this time, there’s no cheerleading Stevie Aaron… it’s straight into action, as Liam Slater’s already in the ring.
Liam Slater vs. Screwface
Joseph Conners came out with Screwface, but started the match watching from the stage. Slater lit into Screwface at the bell, landing clotheslines and forearm smashes as last season’s massive heel looked really vulnerable from the off.
A knee-drop sees Slater get an early near-fall, but Screwface took over after kicking out, working over the Leeds youngster in the corner. Slater fights out of a superplex, knocking Screwface down, but Slater briefly gets distracted by… Joseph Conners clapping. Alright then. Slater leaps over and injures his ankle on landing, so he rolls to the outside.
Slater apparently can’t put any weight on it, so Screwface follows him out and hits a chop block to the left leg. Katarina Leigh, who’s still at ringside after being a guest for last week’s Williams/Cruz match, helps tend to Slater, but Screwface stalked Slater and eventually faced up to Katarina Leigh. She gets a spraying of mist, as the NGW security dump Slater and focus on getting her to the back – just in time for a commercial break.
After commercial, we see that Slater’s finally dragged himself back into the ring, and he shocks Screwface with a schoolboy for a near-fall… but Screwy goes after that left limb with stomps and leg whips. This is quickly becoming like those times I play the WWE 2K games with the sole aim of making a body part go red… usually, I end up losing to a roll-up or something because I wear my character out.
Slater eventually fires back with forearms, then lands an enziguiri with his good foot, but he ends up getting dropped out of the corner with a powerbomb into the turnbuckles. Screwy sweeps the leg then goes for an ankle lock, but Slater gets the rope. Undeterred, Screwface pulls Slater back into the middle of the ring, then reapplies the ankle lock, adding in a leg scissor for extra effect, and eventually the referee waves the match off. Technically this was fine, but this quickly bored me. Perhaps if we’d not had the opening spot with Katarina Leigh to show how “dangerous” he was, I’d not have lost my interest… **
After the match, Screwface beat up and dispatched the ring crew as they tried to tend to Slater… of course, he went after Slater some more, under the order of Joseph Conners, before grabbing a chain from ringside, which he used to try and rip apart Slater’s knee, only for El Ligero to make the save in a vest that was quite an interesting fashion choice!
We move to a sit-down interview with Matt Myers, who’s bemoaning the fact that his first Gen-X title defence isn’t going to have that ten-minute time limit… rather, it’s going to be a four-way ladder match. Ever the babyface, he’s not worried one bit at how the odds are being stacked against him.
It’s now time for the main event… whatever happened to those studio segments this season? After having so many of them last year, it’s odd seeing that they’ve just been replaced so far this season with sit-down promos and replays of old matches.
Joseph Conners vs. El Ligero
We start with mind games as Conners landed the first blow, before Ligero took over with an early Ace Crusher attempt, instead opting to backdrop the “Righteous Killer” to the outside.
Back inside, Ligero gets a near-fall from a missile dropkick, before Conners powders to the outside to avoid a C4L attempt. On the outside, Ligero gets caught, and eventually is thrown into the ringpost, as Conners slowed the pace right down. Ligero tried to fight back with an elbow as Conners charged at him, but again the heel regained the upper hand as he kept wearing down Ligero with punches.
Ligero gets dropped with Snake Eyes on the top turnbuckle, as we head to a final commercial break in the midst of this slow-paced outing. Back from that break, Ligero schoolboys Conners for a near-fall, before the “Righteous Killer” dropped him again with a lariat to the back of the head.
Once again, Ligero tries to fight back with chops, but he runs into a push-down stomp as Conners yet again cuts him off. This is getting dull now…
Ligero blocks a powerbomb and eventually rolls through into a kick as he then picked up a near-fall, before shocking Conners with a C4L… but of course, Conners went straight to the floor after taking the move. After bringing Conners back in, Ligero pulls himself up to the top rope for a Mexican Wave, but Conners popped up to crotch the masked man on the top rope, and then pulled him away for a crucifix buckle bomb.
A Righteous Kill DDT followed, as Ligero was spiked on his head, and that was that. This was marginally better than the Screwface/Slater match – barely more even, but this was so one sided it was starting to bore. **¼
After the match, Screwface came back out to ringside, and motioned to him to finish off Ligero, with a modified nerve hold come Japanese stranglehold. Conners took the microphone and threatened to unmask Ligero – in a promo that I needed two attempts to hear, since the audio reverberated so badly in the building. Liam Slater came out to make a save, before he was stopped with a challenge for a future match between Conners and Screwface against Slater and Ligero, with the heels leaving if they lose… but if Conners and Screwface win, then Slater joins Conners’ stable.
Slater agreed, as the show went off the air, and I guess we have our main event for season 5?
Four seasons in, and we’ve got horrendous in-ring audio? I can sort-of justify it for indy groups that don’t have TV… but for companies who hang their hat on having a TV show, this was inexcusable. Either stick to backstage promos, or make sure the acoustics don’t make in-ring segments inaudible – especially if you have a massive storyline to get across.
As a show, this felt like the polar opposite of last week’s episode. Two storyline-heavy matches were only redeemed by the pay-off of a bigger match down the road – which I hope isn’t as plodding as what we saw here. Not every show can be a home run, but it’s safe to say the in-ring output here just wasn’t for me this week.