We’ve got two matches this week, as Zack Gibson makes his NGW return on the latest episode of British Wrestling Weekly.
The show starts with Joe Hendry coming out to his ICW theme with NGW logos plastered over it (I guess they couldn’t use the slightly-altered WCPW video??). During the entrance, we get a sit-down promo with Joe Hendry with the words “Next Week” plastered in the split-screen… eh?!
“Grab the Belts” singles match for the NGW Tag Team Championship: Joe Hendry (c) vs. Stixx
This is a singles match for the NGW tag titles… but it’s not a standard match, it’s more of a kinda-a-ladder-match as the two title belts (including the one Stixx stole a few weeks back) will be held over the entrance way. Whomever gets the belts first sees their team recognised as the NGW tag team champions (Stixx & Colossus, or Team Insane Fight Club).
Was Vince Russo anywhere near this booking meeting?!
The match starts with the belts being held above the entrance ramp, and the match immediately bleeds to the outside as Stixx looks to grab the belts, but he instead throws Hendry back inside for a wrestle. A shoulder tackle takes down Hendry, who grabs an ankle as Stixx tries to leave the ring, before Hendry’s attempt to leave ends when he’s hiptossed back in.
This is reverse battle royal logic, isn’t it?
Both men trade uppercuts for a spell, then chops as Stixx takes Hendry into the corner. The Scotsman comes back with an eye rakes, then a suplex, before a back elbow takes down Stixx. Hendry doesn’t look to chase for the titles, as he stomps away on Stixx, and that proves costly as a suplex from Stixx leads into a break.
Thankfully we’re still with the same match after the show returns, and we see Hendry having trapped Stixx in a sleeperhold… and after releasing, Hendry decides to play to the crowd rather than run for the titles. Finally he leaves, but Stixx rushes out and clotheslines him before throwing Hendry back in. They brawl around the aisle-way, as Stixx hits a 619-esque kick on the apron, before throwing Hendry back to the ring as he looks to finish off the tag champion with a shoulder tackle.
A slam from Stixx gives way to a diving clothesline, before a leap over seems to jar Stixx’s knee. After another slam, Stixx wanders up the aisle, and is joined by Hendry who targets that knee as the big man goes for the titles, only to collapse after knocking down Hendry with a right hand. They head back to the ring where Stixx throws Hendry’s face into the apron, before crawling back in… and Hendry catches him, only for a fallaway slam to be countered… but Stixx’s knee buckles once more.
From there, Hendry throws Stixx out the other side of the ring, before he pushes the referee into the ropes as Stixx’s knee gets hung up there. With the big man incapacitated, Hendry goes to the aisle and nonchalantly unhooks the belts to retain. A decent enough match in spite of the restrictions, but that stipulation… did anyone see Vince Russo in Hull just before Christmas?! **½
RJ Singh and his Future stable come to the ring. Singh takes the mic and addresses Stixx – but weirdly not that career-ending-match in PROGRESS a few years back! After declaring how proud he is of Stixx, Singh bemoans how wrestling “has treated (Stixx)”, then wonders how long Stixx has left before retiring. This leads to Stixx being offered a spot in the Future, and they cut to a break before we find out what happens next.
We return as Singh has his hand out for Stixx, but instead Stixx declines. If you’ve followed wrestling for any length of time, you’ll know what happens next: Stixx and RJ shake hands, and the Future rush the ring as Stixx gets beaten down by the entire group. Caden Lay looks to leap onto Stixx’s knee, but the Proven come out to make the save, posting Alex Gracie, before turfing out the rest of the group, leaving Singh with April Davids and Little Miss Roxxy. In the end, Singh calls them off, in order to prevent any non-TV-friendly intergender violence.
Next week we’ve got Nathan Cruz vs. Matt Myers for the NGW title – but first, a brief sit-down promo with Myers.
Zack Gibson vs. Rampage Brown
Clipped entrances mean that Rampage is already in the ring for our main event, and we start with a lock-up as both men try and force the other into the corner. They break free, and they move to shoulder tackles… which quickly degenerates into a slugfest until Gibson powders to the outside.
Rampage joins in as they continue trading shots, ultimately returning to the ring to beat the ten-count. Gibson fires back with forearm shots before he rolls up Rampage and keeps rolling into a Shankly Gates attempt as they go to a break with Rampage dumping Gibson with a back suplex. They return as Rampage stomps away on Gibson, but the Scouser comes back briefly, until a big lariat takes him back down.
Rampage grounds Gibson with a rear chinlock, before Zack fights his way free with some closed fists, before a jawbreaker gets him some separation. We’re back to the trading of forearms, as Gibson takes Rampage into the corner for some stomps before he hits the Ticket to Ride (Code Breaker) for a near-fall.
The Helter Skelter (twisting suplex) gets another near-fall for Gibson, who tries for the Shankly Gates, only for Rampage to back him into the corner for a break. More forearms rock the pair, before a back suplex dumps Gibson on the mat after he’s given a hot shot. Rampage hits a Falcon arrow as he looked to force a standing 10-count, then again with a Samoan drop, as this quickly resembles a last man standing match.
Gibson keeps fighting back, and demands that Brown keep on with the strikes, and Rampage obliged with some clubbing shots to the back of Gibsons’ head, only to be given some Snake Eyes as a counter to some mounted punches. A double clothesline knocks both men down, and that seems to be enough as both men fail to beat the ten-count… so this match ends in a draw! A good, hard-hitting outing, with a result that would invite a rematch, but given how absurdly stretched-out NGW shows are, it’ll be a long while before we get the next chapter in this. ***
Clearly, both men “just” missed the ten count, as they pulled themselves up and launched back into each other with punches and kicks, before Gibson backdrops away from a piledriver as security ran out to separate the pair. Okay, I say security, I mean “three trainees in NGW green shirts”.
Another decent episode of NGW, even if the result of the main event was a little flat… and as for that “tag team title” match… I’m all for innovation, but that “grab the titles” match just didn’t work for me. Sorry! At least next week we’ll have a good match with what I believe is the season-ending show, as Cruz/Myers is the final match from “Eternal Glory”… and since NGW isn’t taping another Hull City Hall show until April, we’re in for another stretch in between seasons…