NORTH’s Halloween show saw the return of some familiar faces – as the promotion looked to wind down the year.

Since this summer’s closure of Defiant, NORTH has pretty much become the only game in town as far as Geordie wrestling goes. So, let’s see what’s gone in on Tyneside since we last dropped in. As always, NORTH comes from the Warehouse on the Newcastle part of the banks of the River Tyne. Commentary’s from Botchamania Maffew and Tom Campbell, who’s really standing out from the pack here with his ring announcing style. Nothing against Stevie Aaron, but this is like apples and oranges…

Promoter Andrew Bowers gets cut off from a speech by HT Drake, and we’re straight into the action…

HT Drake vs. Will Kroos
Kroos has been chipping away in the Northern Graps, and is coming into this on the back of a win at NCL.20.

Kroos is a pretty big lad, and he’s got the strength to match as he stopped Drake’s clubbering with a gutwrench powerbomb, before he teased a dive to the outside. Drake hit back after getting into the ring, hitting a draping DDT and a Quebrada for a near-fall, before a full nelson was attempted. Kroos rolls free, but couldn’t avoid a spinning heel kick, before he unloaded with chops on Drake. One in the corner’s ducked, but Kroos counters back with a bodyslam, then booted Drake’s springboard away in mid-air. Oof. We finally get that Kroos dive next, as he lands next to Dr. Harvey Wippleman, but back inside Drake lands on his feet from a German suplex, and came right back in with a Destroyer.

Kroos stuns us with a reverse ‘rana as both men were left laying. A shotgun dropkick has Drake sailing into the corner for a cannonball, but a staggering brainbuster from Drake gets him back in it, before he leapt into a wacky uranage for a near-fall from Will. Drake stays down as Kroos climbs up top, but Drake shoves the ref into the ropes to crotch the big man, before he went outside for a chair…

Drake wraps it on Kroos’ head for a Coast to Coast, but Kroos just throws it at him… and there’s the DQ finish. Inexperience there from Kroos costs him, while Maffew sums up how it went down by calling it “shite”. Hopefully there’ll be a rematch – Kroos impressed me here, but there’s a lot of polishing to be done. **½

The Rawk ‘n’ Cole Express (Cole Quinzel & Scotty Rawk) vs. Deadly Sins (JK Moody & Kane Khan) vs. The Lost Boys (Fraser Thomas & RUFIO)
It’s a NORTH debut for Quinzel and Rawk, who’ve been featured more locally for NGW.

The early exchanges between Quinzel and RUFIO are interrupted by Khan, who was thrown outside, before Thomas and Rawk came in and traded armdrags before a small package led to a kick-out and another stand-off. JK Moody intervenes and gets dispatched, before Rawk and Cole worked over RUFIO with some quick double-teams. Finally the Kiwis interject again, and again they’re taken out with duelling enziguiri and duelling topes, as Cole and Quinzel add to it with moonsaults off the ring posts.

The Kiwis mount some offence back inside, with a step-up forearm from Moody into Quinzel in the corner, before Khan’s spinebuster almost put Cole away. Moody keeps going with a Blue Thunder Bomb as Quinzel was taking a beating… while Scotty Rawk was losing at the mind games that Moody was happily playing. Finally Cole gets free as he pushes away Khan, allowing Rawk to come in with a missile dropkick to the Deadly Sins. Things go a bit wild as Rawk goes for a tornado DDQ on Moody, but everyone’s missed a blind tag as RUFIO’s in to try and pick the pieces, almost snatching the win with a back suplex/neckbreaker version of the 3D.

Khan’s back in to get some stuff in, handing half-nelson suplexes out for fun, almost taking out his own man among the frenzy, but it led to the Deadlyh Sins getting knocked around as all six men were in the ring. Quadruple superkicks get rid of the Kiwis, but they’re quickly back in with a dropkick-assisted Psycho Driver on Rawk, before Moody was taken out with a sit-out tombstone from Frasier onto his own man, a la Shigehiro Irie. A Parade of Moves breaks out back inside, before Fraser polished off Rawk with the Fire Thunder driver… and that’s all. Some lovely pop-corn graps here – lots of moves, but perhaps having two debuting teams in the same match took the crowd out of it in terms of connections. **¾

Laura Di Matteo vs. Gia Adams
Maffew does a funny, mentioning how Laura’s worked for a lot of companies that’s shut down… and some that still actually run!

Di Matteo starts out by grabbing a waistlock, but Adams breaks free and grabs a side headlock, only for Laura to get free as the pair went move-for-move. Laura edges ahead, choking on Gia in the corner, before some headscissors were caught and turned into a powerslam for a near-fall. Laura’s back, tripping Gia into the ropes before a diving uppercut got just a one-count. Di Matteo second guesses on an enziguiri and misses, as Adams replies with a crossbody for a near-fall, only to get caught with a retaliatory dropkick as the pair continued to go tit-for-tat. A series of clotheslines from Gia led to a spinning sidewalk slam for a two-count, but Laura’s able to respond with a thunderous missile dropkick for a near-fall.

Some tiltawhirl headscissors work for Laura this time, but she can’t help running into a spinebuster. A stomp to the foot helps chop down Gia, but not for long as she caught Laura on the top rope and brought her down for a Samoan drop. She follows that up with a uranage and a spiking Fisherman’s DDT… and that’s enough to end this war of attrition! This was a little rough in places, but Gia’s got a lot of potential I feel – and with a big win like this under her belt, 2020 could be the year you start to see her sneak out of the North… **¾

Shreddy vs. MAO
Shreddy’s put with a bag of… something. Perhaps it’s a weapon to lamp Maffew with for calling him a shitarse on commentary? That’s got a rather different meaning…

Shreddy banters with the crowd before the match, then gave MAO a t-shirt… which was just about where the pleasantries ended. The match finally starts with a lock-up as Shreddy shoves MAO away, before a knuckle lock saw MAO eventually bring Shreddy to his knees. From there, the pair trade right hands, before Shreddy blocked a poke to the eye… and tweaked MAO’s fingers to boot.

MAO’s got another hand though, and Shreddy gets his eye poked, but he’s back with hiptosses and slams – including a nice Gorilla press after Shreddy had caught MAO off the top rope. Clotheslines keep MAO down, as did a chinlock as the DDT star was really up against it. Some chops from Shreddy eventually miss as MAO hit back… but Shreddy’s built like a brick you-know-what, so MAO aims a little higher and aims for the throat instead.

A singular chop decks MAO seconds later, getting Shreddy a near-fall, before a suplex and some crossface punches saw him continually club MAO down. After stopping to chalk-up his hands, a deadlift German suplex ragdolls MAO, but he’s back in with knees and kicks to get himself a quick two-count. MAO counters a suplex into a Bunker Buster neckbreaker for a two-count, taking Shreddy outside for a springboard moonsault into the crowd – just about avoiding doom as MAO clipped the balcony on his way down. Back inside, a slam and a split-legged moonsault nearly gets MAO the win, as did a leg lariat… and then we get a cut to… Mortal Kombat?

Shreddy’s almost done for, but he begs for mercy… and instead gets offered a MAO t-shirt. Shreddy takes it, then cheapshots MAO with a ripcord lariat for a near-fall, before he threatened to choke him out with the shirt. The ref removes the shirt, and misses MAO getting blinded by some the weightlifting chalk as a spear gets the win. Shreddy shitarses his way to a win, and this was quite effective, even if the match could have done with being a smidge pacier. ***

Gene Munny vs. Satchel Jones
This was meant to be Gene Munny debuting against Conor Renshaw, but whomever the opponent… Gene’s brought his big boy pants!

Anyway, Conor Renshaw appeared… but the Landed Gentry flanked him and took offence at the “joke” wrestler Gene Munny. I never knew Benji was the second coming of Jim Cornette. Off stomps Renshaw, and in comes a replacement: Satchel Jones! We’ve not seen hide nor hair of him since 3CW went on hiatus, and he’s making his second NORTH outing here. They do some air guitar before the match, but Gene “tosses” it at Satchel before we get going. Imaginary scares!

The Legend of Gene Munny’s made it to Newcastle, as there’s chants of “Sexual Gammon” for him here, and Gene pulls one out of the Martina playbook as he grinds out of a waistlock. A slingshot spear from the apron and a punch gets Gene ahead, but Satchel’s back with a dropkick and a nipple twister as he yanks the tape of off Gene’s bits.

Chops follow, as did a handspring kick to knock Munny to the outside for a tope. Back inside, Gene goes for the air guitar, distracting Satchel for a bit. Gene telegraphs a Fat Morgan Webster and gets rolled up, before a sunset flip ended with Gene.. having his underpants pulled down. Every single pair, until we see the PAT tattoo, which makes him fall down for a near-fall. Gene’s trapped by his own underwear, but he’s able to hit a sweet dropkick in among them all, then a Boom dropkick and a legs-free tope! A quick costume change gives Gene a fair playing field as he hits the Fat Morgan Webster for a two-count, before the Ainsley Lariat’s kicked away.

Jones goes for a kick, but gets powerbombed for a near-fall, then recovers with a top rope ‘rana. Another spinebuster gets Gene back in it though, before we had a tug of war over the air guitar. It wipes out the ref, as Jones uses it on Gene and almost gets the win… one only for Gene to clobber him with the Ainsley Lariat out of nowhere for the win. A satisfying debut for Munny, as Satchel looked good coming as a replacement… add NORTH to the list of promotions I hope to see Gene appearing at regularly in 2020! ***

Two out of Three Falls: TK Cooper vs. Screwface Ahmed
Spike Trivet interrupts before the match – he’s here, but can’t wrestle due to injury. He does the David Starr and stands on the title belt to piss off the NORTHerners. Trivet tells TK if he beats Screwface, he’ll get a shot at the NORTH champion… wasn’t Cooper “Daddy of the North” recently?

We’re all action from the off as Screwface got an early fall with a monstrous Cross Rhodes inside a minute. That looked to shake up TK, but he shrugs it off with a leaping leg lariat before Ahmed lifted him to the apron… and ran into a boot. Screwface gets taken down with a springboard moonsault out of the corner, but it doesn’t level things up, and Screwface is right back in with a clothesline for another near-fall. Screwface slams TK to the mat as the New Zealander was on the verge of being shut out. A spinebuster nearly closes the door, before Screwface went for a second Cross Rhodes… TK slips free and corners him with a big boot, before a knee through the ropes had Screwface groggy for a springboard corkscrew legdrop. The scissor kick’s next, and TK levels it up at 1-1!

They immediately resume, with TK landing a second scissor kick and a diving headbutt for a near-fall. Screwface heads up, but gets caught as a Spanish Fly brings him down… but after kicking out at two Screwface pulled TK into a crossface, which he had to break as TK rolled him up. Another kick-out leads to head kicks and a one-count Pedigree, before TK was put away with a violent Cross Rhodes. So violent in fact, it wiped out the cameraman! This was a lovely sprint of a match, which snuffs out TK’s title aspirations – and also sews the seeds for Screwface vs. Spike down the road if they want to go there. ***½

Speaking of Spike, he’s back out to crow, but Screwface cuts him off by demanding the title shot TK would have won. Spike promptly messes himself at the prospect, as Tom Campbell heads out to make an announcement via promoter Andrew Bowers… and Spike’ll have to defend against Screwface on the December show. Spoiler: he didn’t, as he was still injured.

The Landed Gentry (Benji & Zeo Knox) vs. The New Nation (Alexander Henry & Primate)
This was Henry’s first match back after retiring over two and a half years ago…

We start with Benji running away from Primate, before a lucha-inspired sequence ended with Benji getting pancaked. A double-team hiptoss left the Landed Gentry in a rather compromising position ahead of a back senton from Henry, who added a leaping elbow drop for a quick two-count on Benji.

Henry pulls up Benji by the belt to stop a tag out, as the political puns come thick and fast on the way to a stalling suplex. Primate’s in, and throws Benji into Zeo Knox for the tag, and quickly wrestles Zeo down to the mat. Some wrist work follows, but Zeo manages to bail after Henry returned… only to get caught with a tope on the outside. Benji tries to stop Henry with a chloroform soaked rag, but the referee’s too busy holding back Primate rather than dealing with the poisoning going on next to him. That led to some double-teaming as Henry was cornered and woozy. Quick tags help the Gentry work over Henry’s arm – but they got a little cocky and began to take time off to poke the Primate. Literally and metaphorically.

Eventually Henry broke free of a double suplex, but had to leapfrog over Benji to get the hot tag to Primate, who cleared house. A sweet T-bone suplex dumps Benji, while Zeo Knox was clubbed down ahead of a MASSIVE pop-up powerbomb that bounced Benji for a near-fall. Benji responds with a shock Code Red, while Zeo Knox tried to push on… but a blind tag to Henry meant that the New Nation were able to reply with an uppercut-assisted German suplex for a near-fall. A Shatter Machine’s next for Zeo, but the “Plate Bearer” pulls out the ref at two. Cue a Benny Hill chase, as Primate gets his hands on him… the ref’s distracted too though, and misses Benji laying out Henry with a polo mallet for a near-fall.

Shreddy wanders out for a distraction, but that’s not the finish as Benji catches Primate with the polo mallet as he was in mid-air… and there’s the DQ. Ah, we’ve bookmarked the show with DQs, and we close out with the Landed Gentry, Conor Renshaw and Shreddy laying out the New Nation. Until the finish, this was trundling along nicely, but there was no way Alexander Hendry’s comeback match wasn’t going to be used to set up something else. ***

Benji takes the mic and gets drowned out as Primate and Henry continued to be out-numbered. Until Rory Coyle returned and made a save, clearing house before clonking a video tape over Shreddy’s head. Newcastle roared for the return of the first NORTH champion, who declared that he was back because he was addicted to NORTH. That set up for “Hard Brexit” – Benji, Zeo, Renshaw and Shreddy against the “Sick Nation” of Coyle, Primate, Henry and a mystery man… and while they needed tweaks, that proved to be a memorable match, which we’ll get to another day…

At the moment, NORTH is lacking a tentpole star that they can truly call their own – bar Rory Coyle, although he’d only just returned on this show, while their champion, Spike Trivet, has dibs in other promotions. That being said, there’s something about the atmosphere on NORTH shows that comes across well on VOD – the feeling of unity, of the promotion being something more than “just matches”. Some have compared NORTH to the early days of PROGRESS – and while they may be missing the stand-out wrestler to call their own, NORTH really are feeling like they’ve gotten things sussed: they’ve walked before they ran, they’re happy with their lot, and aren’t looking to expand to more frequent shows or new locations.

Amid a landscape where promotions are pausing or closing, going steady with what they have is making NORTH a real dark horse to follow in the new year…