NGW’s latest series came to a close with a slight change of plan in the Ultimate Showdown!
We’re straight into action here, with commentary teasing “dramatic developments” that took place an hour before air… as Nathan Cruz withdrew himself from the main. Baiting and switching, eh? Apparently Cruz was attacked backstage and taken to hospital, and unlike we usually get in wrestling, there’s no footage of said attack. Before the bell could ring, commentary also tells us that NGW’s executive producer had gone to hospital with Cruz… so the most senior authority figure on hand is the referee. Which was nicely-timed as Joseph Conner’s music hits, microphone in hand, guilt-tripping Myers and riling up Rampage so much they added him to the title match.
NGW Undisputed Championship: Rampage Brown vs. Matt Myers (c) vs. Joseph Conners
Commentary notes that earlier in the season, Myers had a less-than-clean title defence over Joseph Conners. It’s not the only thing they could chuck his way…
Rampage went right for Conners in the aisle, but that brawl was interrupted by a corkscrew plancha from Myers as the action stayed at a heady pace. Some elbows to Rampage were interrupted by Conners, who earned himself a monkey flip from the champion for a one-count, before a Myers Stunner was pushed off into a clothesline from Rampage.
We’re back to Rampage and Conners fighting in the corners, with the pair trading blows, before Conners had to fight away from a piledriver attempt. Myers returns with a missile dropkick to the pair of them as commentary all but said that it was Conners who injured Nathan Cruz as the show headed into a commercial. Please let it return to the match… they do!
After the break, we’re back with Rampage chopping Conners as Alex Shane on commentary threw in another wrinkle – saying that Nathan Cruz apparently had checked himself out of hospital. Given the state of the NHS, I’d have said it was more likely he just decided against queuing… Conners was getting set up for a superplex from Rampage, but Myers returns to turn it into a mini Tower of Doom followed by a spell with all three on the mat that would have been a better fit for the commercial break… but what can you do? All three trade blows as they fought back to their feet, before a Myers Stunner shocks Conners, before Rampage eventually took one as well!
The landing for that one seemed to tweak Myers’ knee, but he was able to make the cover… only for Richie West to pull the referee out of the ring. Hey, there’s a face that’s not been on TV all season! Myers, like a Yorkshire Sami Zayn, looked displeased at that, and threatened to punch West… only for it to lead to Rampage charging at the ring post before Conners tried to nick the win with a roll-up on Myers.
We then get a ref bump as Conners avoids a Myers Stunner, only to charge into Steve Lynskey… and with the ref down, Myers lands a Downward Spiral and a “Greetings From Awesometown” springboard moonsault for a visual pin as the babyface forgot the referee had been squished just seconds earlier. When even commentary is saying “I can’t keep up with this”, even as hyperbole, it might be a sign there’s too much going on in one match!
With the ref still down, Myers tuned up the band for another stunner, but then the lights go out. For heaven’s sake! They come back up with Conners out of the ring and Screwface in it… he sprays Myers with green mist, before throwing him over to Conners for the Don’t Look Down DDT… but Liam Slater runs out to make the save, dispatching of Screwface with a tope! The ref’s just about stirring as Conners gets up and nails the Don’t Look Down, but Myers kicks out after a slow two-count… and now Nathan Cruz is here? Straight out of the A&E queue, Cruz makes a beeline for Conners, throwing him to the outside… before tending to Myers, right as Rampage Brown got back into the ring.
We get the camera panning as the original three-way line-up stands in the ring, but the peace is quickly shattered when Cruz kicks Myers low! The Show Stolen follows, and Rampage stands by as Cruz scores the pin to win back the titles. Eh? How does that work? The show ends with Nathan Cruz holding the NGW title belts aloft, as it seemed that he, Rampage and Richie West were together as a unit. Weren’t Cruz and West feuding against each other as part of the NGW/Control storyline previously?
As a match, this was alright, but horribly, horribly overbooked, particularly when you throw in the needless twists and turns that were on commentary. Four run-ins, a ref bump, and the match is won by a guy who wasn’t in the match when it started. **
Having been a fan for over 25 years now, I can shrug my shoulders and go “eh, someone wanted an Attitude era-style match”, but this probably confused the living hell out of any newbies who were watching. Commentary painted this as “two seasons in the making”, but with barely any reference to that prior NGW/Control storyline, this totally went over my head as the season came to a rather bitter end.
NGW have said on their social media that they’ll be back soon for a new season – and I’m hoping there’s more up-to-date content as this season was based around a show that was almost a year-old by the time it wrapped up. While the concept of Nathan Cruz as a heel champion is intriguing, I was very much against the ADD-heavy route they took to get there.