After making their debut in July, Newcastle-based NORTH Wrestling returned in November for a wild sophomore show, “They Will March On”.

Just like the first, this show is up on YouTube for free – so let’s dig in!

We’ve got Stevie Aaron as ring announcer for the Bonfire night show… which is a little weird given he’s one of the faces for another group in Newcastle. After a plug for NCL.3 (which’ll be happening on February 11, for anyone in the area), we get a video package on Rory Coyle ahead of his match tonight. Coyle reminisces on what happened to Liam Slater and Dom Black at NCL.1 – but Bás Bán won’t be there, which is good as it means I don’t have to dig those accent characters! Rory asks to be blessed as he’s about to sin tonight…

Rory Coyle vs. Pastor William Eaver
Eaver starts the match by trying to pray for Coyle, inviting his opponent to bow down and pray… but instead Coyle slaps him away and the pair trade wristlocks to get us going. After a waistlock, Eaver goes into a test of strength, and eventually forces Coyle to his knees in prayer.

A couple of shoulder tackles and a loose sidewalk slam later, and Coyle spilled to the outside, where he fell for a faked-out dive from the Pastor… who went outside anyway, only to get shoved into the ringpost.

The dark venue makes it tough to see what’s going on, as Coyle peppers Eaver with forearms on the outside. The Pastor returns the favour with a open-handed chop, before offering Coyle up to some fans to have their go as well. Back in the ring, Coyle unloads with forearms to Eaver, before a running clothesline gets him a solid two-count over the former PROGRESS champion.

Eaver hits back with a back elbow and a big boot out of the corner, before missing a springboard crossbody off the middle rope. From there, Coyle grounded Eaver with a rear chinlock, before sending him into the ropes for another back elbow. Coyle seemed to have the better of Eaver as he went to choke the Pastor with his wrist tape, but it was second time lucky as Eaver finally landed that crossbody.

Eaver follows up with some avalanches to Coyle, before going up top for a diving uppercut, before hitting a backbreaker and a Fisherman’s suplex for a near-fall. The Pastor called for the Last Supper (crucifix powerbomb), but Coyle backdropped out of it, and eventually got back to his feet to land a DDT for another two.

A crucifix (of course) gets Eaver a near-fall as the match seemed to be heading towards a crescendo, before Eaver backed into a corner and flipped out of a reverse DDT and landed the Clothesline from Heaven for the win. This was a nice opener – some moments which looked a little off, but the crowd were into it, which always helps. **½

After the match, Coyle dumps Eaver with another DDT to show he’s a sore loser, before he drops him mid-reverse DDT and leaves the Pastor laying in the ring in a crucifix pose. On his way out, Coyle gets into it with a fan, and dumps him with a forearm smash… this angle got a little bit of play when it happened, largely because the whole “wrestlers attacking fans” thing is a line that shouldn’t be crossed unless there’s provocation. The fact that the “fan” was carried away without looking too worse-for-wear probably didn’t help. Hey, it gets Coyle over as a loose cannon, but it’s shaky ground to be treading on in my view.

Before we could get to the next match, Stevie Aaron is interrupted by “Bodyguy” Roy Johnson’s music, and I guess that’s just an early cue…

Roy Johnson vs. Alexander Henry
Johnson’s out in a Crystal Palace/Yohan Cabaye shirt, just to wind up the locals in Newcastle, and before he can cut a promo, Alexander Henry’s music hits… but then they stop it. Formats, everybody!

Johnson’s pre-match promo established him as a heel since he couldn’t understand the fans (or vice versa), before he pulled the plug on a Wasteman Challenge. After asking for an opponent, we once again get Henry’s music, and this time he comes down to the ring. Henry cuts a crowd-pleasing promo, and tells Johnson he’s here to beat people up… and now we have our match!

Johnson attacks Henry in the corner to start us off, using chops, before Henry reverses it and gives the Bodyguy some chops. Henry went for a tope, but stopped short as the Bodyguy moved… then hit it moments later as he launched into Johnson with a tope. They stay outside as Johnson throws Henry into the ringpost, then back into the ring where he kept on top of him by whipping “The Class Apart” into the turnbuckles.

After a brief comeback ended with a missed elbow drop, Johnson took Henry into the corner for some punches and an old-school pendulum backbreaker to pick up a near-fall. Henry elbows himself out of a rear chinlock, but runs into a Samoan drop before Johnson makes an old-school Jericho-esque cocky pin for a near-fall. More chinlocks follow, but again Henry works free and starts trading uppercuts and forearms, before decking Johnson with an enziguiri. Henry hits a pair of avalanche clotheslines before flying off the middle turnbuckle with a shoulder tackle, then lands a pair of atomic drops and a double legdrop to Johnson’s groin. Another atomic drop, another double legdrop, before Johnson blocks a swinging side slam and counters with a full nelson slam on Henry for another near-fall.

Johnson looks to finish him with the Last Set (Big Ending), but Henry works free and drills the Bodyguy with a package piledriver for the win. Good stuff, as Henry showed he can hold his own in singles action (having only seen him in tags with the Primate before this). Both guys are early in their careers, but they’re going well for their experience. ***

Paul Robinson vs. The Primate
Stevie Aaron actually identified Robinson as one-third of the British Triangle Champions… you know, those titles that haven’t yet been defended anywhere. Still, Robinson brought his belt out with him, so I guess this counts as an appearance.

Robinson leaps into Primate at the bell and windmills punches at him. As Primate gets to his knees, Robinson hits a low dropkick and makes the cover… and that gets him the three-count. What?! Did NORTH give the WhatCulture guys the book for Primate here? Had this not been before Survivor Series, I’d have said that it was a homage to that… but there’s a plan behind the madness. (Not Rating)

Primate took the microphone for a profanity-laced promo aimed at Robinson… suggesting that he didn’t come all this way “to win by default”. Hey, I’m trying to keep this somewhat safe-for-work! Primate then suggests that they do this again, except it’s no DQ, falls-count-anywhere… and since Robinson jumps on him for more windmill punches, I guess it’s on!

Falls Count Anywhere: Paul Robinson vs. The Primate
Primate this time stands up and turns a low dropkick into a pop-up powerbomb, just as the crowd chant “throw him in the Tyne”, which is a new one for me.

The pair go outside the ring and brawl around the crowd, where Primate lifted up Robinson by his neck like a billy would go at someone small. Primate then threw Robinson out through a fire door as they fought into the streets… and I just realised that the NORTH Wrestling venue was literally a converted warehouse on the banks of the River Tyne. This could get very interesting!

Robinson seemed to be more in his element as they brawl into a car park, before Primate picks up Robinson in a fireman’s carry and marches him towards the river. A front suplex sees Robinson land on the wrong side of the railings by the river, as he returns to the pit-like atmosphere to go back to business. Primate slams Robinson onto a crowd barrier… before the baying crowd get it a second time. They return to the building, we think, as the mobile camera picks them up by the merch tables. The camera barely picks up Robinson gouging Primate, before he tries to suffocate the Primate by forcing something in his mouth.

Primate recovers with another neck slam, lifting Robinson onto the bar, before the two engage in a slug-fest up there, with Robinson falling to the floor below. The Primate carries him and drops him onto something, and we now finally get near the ring once again! More shots are exchanged as Robinson tries to rip off Primate’s nose, before he goes up top for an elbow drop, which gets him a two-count.

Robinson slaps Primate repeatedly, before a swing and a miss leads to a German suplex attempt, but Robinson again gets free and drops Primate with a clothesline. Another top rope elbow’s caught as Primate then hoists up Robinson into a hanging vertical suplex, before a spear obliterates Robinson for the win. A fun, violent brawl, something both of these guys are great at doing believably! ***

Liam Slater & Dom Black vs. Damian Dunne & Clint Margera
You know that meme where Thomas the Tank Engine is somehow a truck? That Vengaboys song haunted my dreams for a while… and now it’s back as Slater & Black’s theme!

Slater gets the microphone and refers back to the attack from the Sons of Ulaid at the first NORTH show. He mentions that they wanted a no-DQ match, but Rory Coyle’s already wrestled and the other one isn’t here, so they have an open challenge so the Slater/Black pair can get some experience. What follows is some silence, as Damian Dunne comes out – I guess his theme’s already gotten NORTH a YouTube copyright strike? Dunne slates the crowd for confusing Birmingham with Essex, before revealing his partner as Clint Margera.

Dom Black starts a c-word chant at the Midland pair, and it’s safe to say this match really isn’t child-friendly. Or this crowd! We finally get going as Dunne kicks away at Slater, then grabs his wrist… only for Slater to reverse it and take down Dunne with a suplex. Slater then succeeds with a back elbow and a slam, then again with a diving headbutt for a near-fall on Dunne, before Black was tagged to tease a low blow… except the referee stopped Slater from making the punt.

Black then hit a reverse leg sweep and a headscissor takedown before finally landing an armdrag to take Dunne into a chinlock. Slater returns as Dunne takes a wishbone leg splitter, before avoiding an atomic drop and tagging in Margera, whose first act was to dropkick Slater into the wrong corner.

Dunne tags back in, but walks straight into an airplane spin and a suplex from Black for a near-fall, before taking Black into the corner and forces Black to eat some used chewing gum for the hell of it. The heels keep Black isolated, but after he avoids some double-teaming, a hot tag is made to Slater who drops Dunne with a Finlay roll, then with an elbow drop for a near-fall.

A superkick-assisted suplex gets a near-fall for the babyfaces, but Margera comes in and lays into the pair of them with forearms and chops. Another clothesline from Margera misses as Black lands a crossbody instead, only to take too long to get up and ends up taking an enziguiri from Dunne instead. Black rebounds by blocking a springboard uppercut though, and nails Dunne with Eat Defeat, before tagging in Slater to land a swandive headbutt fo ra near-fall.

Margera broke up that pin, then tagged himself in, only for Black to drop him with a Stunner… and then the lights went out! A creepy video with Bás Bán dancing with a mannequin played to leave Slater and Black confused… and when the lights came back on, Damien Dunne schoolboy’d Slater with a handful of tights for the win. I wasn’t too keen on the distraction finish, but it was good to see the Sons of Ulaith feud continue in more than just a throwaway reference. ***

After the match Dunne cheapshots Margera then legs it for some reason… and this leads to a match being announced for NCL.3 – Dunne vs. Margera.

We’re meant to have a women’s match next, as Martina came out, only to be interrupted by Danny O’Doherty. He makes his way to the ring to declare that he’s “come home to Newcastle”, before sharing a drink with Martina… and there’s a disturbing number of people who want to see men kicked in a part of the body they don’t have. Apparently Danny wanted to sign someone who “was everything Martina wasn’t”: Roxxy.

Martina vs. Little Miss Roxxy
I believe this was one of Martina’s first matches in England, having done some dates for PCW earlier in the year. The character certainly translated well away from OTT, that’s for sure. It’s a wonder what a shared love of alcohol does!

Martina started by knocking Roxxy out of the ring, before laying into O’Doherty with chops in the corner, sending him rolling to the outside… he then rolled back in to take a Bronco Buster. Roxxy returns and drops Martina with a Code Breaker, before we get some ground and pound. Roxxy chokes Martina in the ropes, then snapmares her to the mat for a couple of kicks as the crowd sing the theme to the BBC sitcom “Only Fools and Horses” for some reason.

Martina makes a comeback with a knee strike, but O’Doherty gets on the apron and sprays her with beer, then holds her in place for a back cracker from Roxxy. That gets a one-count – but no loud cheer as is usually the case for one-count kickouts, as Roxxy goes back to Martina in the corner with stomps. A fisherman’s suplex gets another one-count, before we finally see someone being kicked in the… well, you can guess by now from the crowd chants!

Roxxy keeps on top of Martina with more kicks to the groin area, and O’Doherty actually is coaching her to kick there… until Martina catches one and replies with a forearm. Then a kick to Roxxy’s groin, before hitting a swinging neckbreaker for a two-count. O’Doherty gets involved again, this time accidentally spraying the ref with beer, before taking a clothesline from a resurging Martina.

Roxxy gets whipped into a downed O’Doherty in the corner, but she rolls away before she can take a Bronco buster… and while Martina enjoys her Bronco buster to Danny, Roxxy recovers and tries for a DDT. It’s reversed, but O’Doherty lays out Martina with a beer can shot, and that’s the win for Roxxy. Not much to say about this one – way too much interference, to the point where I was thinking that Danny O’Doherty was meant to be the star here… *

We then get a promo from HT Drake, who bemoans the fact that this is now two shows in a row that his opponent has withdrawn through injury, with Mark Haskins adding his name to Will Ospreay from the first show. NORTH found an able replacement for the main event though…

Nathan Cruz vs. HT Drake
The hometown favourite, Drake, started by being taken to the corner by Cruz from a tie-up. Drake responds by asking the crowd if they want to see him kick Cruz’s head in… a challenge Cruz mocks.

After some back and forth, Drake takes down Cruz with an armbar, but neither man is able to maintain much of an advantage in the early going. Cruz’s toe hold is switched out of as Drake worked up into a waistlock, before Cruz gets sent to the outside after he blocked an O’Connor roll.

Drake follows Cruz to the floor with an Asai moonsault, and they head up towards the sound desk as the pair brawl around ringside. Cruz rolls through the ring to avoid Drake, then takes him onto the stage for a Pedigree attempt, only for Drake to backdrop his way free. After the pair go to the apron, Cruz and Drake traded forearms and boots, before Drake just throws in Nathan rather than going for a now-passe apron bump.

Drake climbs up top and lands a nice flying spinning heel kick for a near-fall, before the then-NGW champion came back with a hotshot and a knee strike to knock Drake down to the mat. Cruz gets a near-fall out of a snapmare and a dropkick to the back, before connecting with a jumping knee strike to keep Drake on the back foot.

The slingshot back suplex off the ropes gets Cruz another two-count, so he changes his game plan and wears down on Drake with a rear chinlock. Cruz blocks a charge from Drake with a big boot, then unloads with some punches from above, before catching another kick as Drake tried a comeback… only to spin him into a clothesline.

Cruz went for a sleeperhold, but Drake instantly turns it into a stunner, as his comeback continued by countering a suplex and hitting a Coast to Coast dropkick after hanging Cruz up in the corner. A bridging German suplex sees Drake get a near-fall, before Cruz decided to use the referee as a human shield to prevent an another aerial move. That just about worked, as Drake punches Cruz off the top rope, before leaping over him, with Nathan coming back with a forearm in the corner.

Undeterred, Drake hits back with a dropkick for a near-fall, only to get caught by Cruz’s Show Stolen for another near-fall. From the kick-out, both men trade forearms and uppercuts, before Drake catches one and turned it into a backslide for another two-count. Cruz’s attempt to hit a knee strike as Drake was caught in the ropes was blocked, but he did hit back with a dropkick as Drake somersaulted into the ring – and that almost won it.

Cruz misses a PK and gets caught with an enziguiri, leading to a schoolboy roll-up for a near-fall before Cruz gets dropkicked to the floor. Drake follows to roll his body back inside, but it’s a ruse as Cruz gets an O’Connor roll for a near-fall, before catching him in an inverted Scorpion Deathlock, forcing Drake to reach the ropes. Another Show Stolen attempt follows, but Drake counters it with a roll-up – and that’s the win! A good main event, with Drake looking infinitely better here than he has in six-months-or-so in that other group in Newcastle… ***¼

After the match, Cruz shakes Drake’s hand, but then kicks him low. There has to be a directive for all heels to hit low blows here, no? The show ends with Drake getting back to his feet before accepting the crowd’s cheers as he went to the back…

What Worked: The atmosphere of the Riverside in Newcastle helps create a nice vibe for these shows, like a rowdier version of Fight Club: PRO… Paul Robinson vs. Primate – I’ve always been a proponent of flash pins to moves that wouldn’t ordinarily win matches. MMA fights sometimes end on “nothing” punches and kicks, so the same should apply in wrestling every now and then. Their “rematch” afterwatch was a joy to watch too, and made sense given that Primate was mad at the quick loss.

What Didn’t: I wasn’t too keen on the over-use of Danny O’Doherty in his segment – I get the heel manager act , but there’s a difference between subtle heel work and the all-out stuff that overshadowed the women’s match.

Thumbs: In the Middle. Sadly, this comes across as one of those shows which would have been better live than on tape. Save for the women’s match, there wasn’t anything bad wrestling-wise, but as always, your milage may very. Bring on the third show – which is in about a month’s time, as we’re posting this. If you’re in the area – get yourself there!