NORTH made their return to Newcastle in July – and a month on, their 5th show is out, with plenty of familiar faces!

We’ve got better lighting and commentary for this show… with voices provided by Maffew of Botchamania and Tom Campbell. You may remember him as the guy who did the spoof commentary on the infamous Kriss Sprules vs. Cage Tyler match…

The show opens with NORTH owner Andrew Bowers addressing the crowd, only to be interrupted by Spike Trivet. He’s got two “public school friends” with him in Benji and Zeo, and yes, he’s absolutely loathed in the Labour heartland of the north-east. Someone in the crowd chants “who are you?” at Trivet, and promptly gets sprayed with a mouthful of Prosecco.

Trivet’s opening promo has him call the Newcastle crowd “Mackems” – which he somehow doesn’t get killed for – before getting serenaded with the Jeremy Corbyn song. Before he can get into too much trouble, his opponent comes out for the opening contest…

Spike Trivet vs. HT Drake
Spike jumps Drake as he’s probably sick of that Saliva song from playing… but Drake comes back with a diving knee before teasing a dive as Trivet’s public school friends pulled him away.

Trivet ends up surprising Drake with a diving dropkick before wearing down the local lad with a cravat, throwing in some knees for the heck of it. Some diving double knees get Spike a near-fall, but Drake fires back with a spinning heel kick, only to get thrown outside so Spike’s mates could get a few kicks in.

After being rolled back in, Drake takes K-Kwik’s old finisher – the sit-out front suplex – for a near-fall, as commentary tells us that Drake’s been wrestling for longer than Trivet’s been alive. I know Cagematch isn’t a complete source of truth, but Drake should have no problem beating this four year old!

Drake makes a comeback as he capitalised on Trivet playing to the crowd, dumping him on the top rope for a neat take on the Coast to Coast dropkick! Spike’s school friends get involved as Drake caught what Maffew called a “Flying Tory” and dumped one of them onto the other with a death valley driver.

Trivet takes advantage of all those distractions with a tornado DDT for a two-count, before Drake ended up snatching the win with a full nelson into a bridging German suplex. Decent enough for the opener, and I like the twist to Spike’s character here, having his own entourage. ***

After the match, Spike and his posh friends looked to square up to Drake, only for “England’s Hardest Men” – a pair of security guards called Shreddy Brek and Lou Nixon – to come in and make the save. Spike does a runner as Benji and Zeo take a pasting… an interesting debut all round, I’d have to say.

Little Miss Roxxy vs. Candyfloss
Candyfloss was a late-ish sub for Nina Samuels, who broke her ankle in the run-up to this show. Roxxy doesn’t take kindly to “wrestling a child”, and slaps her viciously.

Candyfloss drops down next to Roxxy and tries to go for a La Magistral roll-up… but Roxxy counters it into an armbar before the rookie comes out with an airplane spin!With both of them dazed, Candyfloss goes on all fours to sucker Roxxy into pratfall, only for Roxxy to come straight back with a drop toe hold into the corner… where Candy’s choked on.

Roxxy roars back with a clothesline into the corner, before Candyfloss decides to stop things… so she can offer Roxxy a lollipop from her kneepad. It’s a miracle it’s not been smashed to pieces! Instead, she tells Roxxy she can’t have it “because you’re a bitch”, and gives her a high kick instead… but Roxxy just knocks her off the apron after recovering.

The pressure keeps up as Roxxy chokes Candyfloss in the ropes, before trapping her there for a dropkick as Roxxy showed her mean side… before tripping Candyfloss and grabbing a front headlock… but Candy rolls out into an armbar, forcing Roxxy into the ropes. Candy goes back to the armbar after an armdrag-turned-facebuster attempt, but Roxxy rolls her up for a near-fall to break the hold.

Candy keeps up with a corner dropkick, then a diving dropkick as she then went up top for a double stomp to the back… but she barely grazes Roxxy, who comes back with a backcracker for another two-count. Roxxy then goes to the corner and threatens to choke Candyfloss with a necktie, but she’s thwarted… before going back outside for a weapon. The camera misses her hitting Candyfloss, and it seems that Roxxy wrapped her belt around her hand and punched Candyfloss with it. That’s a blatant DQ, and a rather underwhelming end to a match that was quite alright given the experience levels involved. **½

Ahead of the next match, Danny O’Doherty comes out – he’s not had a good time of it lately in NORTH, having lost to Martin in a “Cans on a Pole” match. He’s got a new tag partner here… it’s the Muscle Cat, of the WWE UK Championship Tournament fame.

Danny O’Doherty & Saxon Huxley vs. Amir Jordan & Dom Black
I’m surprised that Dom Black’s willingly taken a tag match after Liam Slater turned on him so brutally last time out.

Danny O’Doherty blends the Sandman and Triple H’s entrances together – downing a can of beer, bashing it on his head, then spraying it out. We’re almost ten minutes into the segment when we get our first hold, with Huxley grabbing Jordan’s arm… but Amir cartwheels free of the wristlock and dances away.

After styling out another armdrag, Jordan flies into Huxley with a dropkick before tagging in Dom Black… who has similar success with elbows into the corner. Unfortunately, he tries to shoulder tackle Huxley, who shrugs it off and clotheslines him hard. Jordan gets tagged back in after Black avoids a back body drop, and so far the only success these guys have had against the Muscle Cat seems to have been with dropkicks.

Huxley dumps Black with a sidewalk slam after making light work of Jordan, and that suddenly means Danny wants to come in… as he traps Black in a Sharpshooter, as I’m sure Tom Campbell’s having flashbacks to a prior life. Black pushes out, and that just gets Huxley back in the match to wear down Dom some more with gutbusters.

It’s incredibly one-sided, to the point where you’d think this is a showcase for Huxley… who tagged in O’Doherty again to pepper away with body blows to Black. Dom escapes and finally tags in Jordan, who manages to dropkick Huxley into the corner, before slipping out of a slam. Instead, Amir goes up top for a big crossbody… that barely gets a one-count!

Jordan slingshots back into the ring, and rolls up into a neckbreaker for a near-fall as the good guys were on the ascendency for a change. Black takes down Saxon again with a ‘rana as he and Jordan clotheslined the Muscle Cat to the outside… and then we’re left with Danny O’Doherty who ate a running Hart Attack!

Jordan looks to finish him off with a senton bomb, but Huxley pulls out Jordan at two before charging him into the ringpost. Dom’s wiped out with a pump kick, before the Shattered Illusion backbreaker leaves Black down for O’Doherty to make the pin. This was a bit rough in parts, but Huxley looked good when he was on offence… even if this whole thing seemed to be a way to get O’Doherty over some more. **¾

After the match, a man dressed in black hit the ring and attacked Dom Black. Of course, it was Liam Slater, wearing a WCPW t-shirt. He’d previously vowed not to turn up at the show, but of course it was a ruse for a man who drew plenty of anti-WCPW ire from the crowd and commentary. Just a shame he’s not been on WCPW lately, eh? Slater’s apparently saying he can provide the company with better production and better wrestling “for a price”, which draws out the NORTH owner to inform Slater that he’ll have a match later tonight.

Liam Slater vs. Screwface
Well, this looks like it’ll be a squash… but Slater quickly headed to the outside as he ran away from Screwface. Unfortunately, it meant that this ended up outside as the roving cameraman picked them up back at ringside, where Screwface flung Slater off the stage and onto the top rope.

Slater begs off and gets a sit-down splash for his troubles as commentary runs down the “characters” of the other group. Slater manages to get back by choking Screwface with his t-shirt, only for Screwface to blast him with a bucklebomb before getting dumped into the ropes again.

Screwface drives a knee into Slater in the ropes, before a ripcord big boot and a series of knees left Slater down for the Oppenheimer (Roll the Dice) for the win. A blatant squash and a way to get plenty of shots at the “other company in town”. Can’t complain!

Sons of Ulaid (Rory Coyle and Bás Bán) vs. Joe Biggs & Lewis Ryan
There’s something about this that screams “mismatch”, although it looked a little less lop-sided when Coyle came out with a mannequin instead of Bán… although it was wearing Bás’ mask.

A punt kick from Ryan sent the mannequin flying as we started out really with a two-on-one handicap against Coyle. Biggs and Ryan were billed on commentary as coming from nearby South Shields (which led to one in a long line of local references, it has to be said), and poor Coyle found himself being thrown into each of the turnbuckles.

Biggs nails a missile dropkick sending Coyle to the outside for a tope con hilo that got him a near-fall. A springboard moonsault gets him a near-fall, but Coyle somehow tags the mannequin back in… and then the lights go out. Weird video hits, and now the real Bás Bán is out! He ragdolled Biggs with an Oklahoma Stampede, then beell threw Ryan for the hell of it as the rookies become human crash test dummies.

A double chokeslam drops Ryan, and that’s enough for the win as Coyle uses the mannequin for the cover. Well, it gave the newcomers some hope, but the Sons of Ulaid were more than a match for them in this brief outing. **¾

After the match Rory Coyle gets the mic and threatens to go all “Shane Douglas” on us. Thankfully he’s nowhere near any title, so he can’t throw that down. Instead, he tells the crowd that the Sons of Ulaid that they came to NORTH because they were hungry… and now their tastes are turning to Octopus and Wolves – we’re getting the Sons vs. CCK next time out!

Nathan Cruz vs. Eddie Dennis
This was originally booked as Nathan Cruz vs. Primate… but Primate’s MIA, so Eddie Dennis is our replacement. Complete with Andrew WK!

We had an even start… until Eddie flipped into the ring as he started to do his Eddie Mysterio shtick. The big lad flipping sent Cruz to the outside in fear, but that just earned him a couple of forearms as the Welshman followed him out. Eddie uses a fan’s wheelchair as a weapon, before asking the fan to run him over… and the fan obliges! Joe, you’ve got competition!

Cruz fires back from that, and ends up on the stage where his attempt at a piledriver’s countered into a camera-shattering backdrop. Back in the ring, Cruz manages to catch Eddie with a springboard dropkick, before a slingshot back suplex gets a near-fall – as commentary tells us that’s called the “Thanks, Tully”.

Cruz stayed on top of Eddie, scoring with a low dropkick for a near-fall, before he unwisely slapped Eddie. Cue the comeback with chops and forearms, before a diving clothesline takes Nathan scurrying into the corner. A swinging side slam follows, as Eddie takes Cruz outside for a tope con hilo, before he rolled Cruz back inside for a top rope elbow drop that almost wins it.

A jack-knifed pin almost nicked it for Cruz as the pair teased several finishers, before a roll-up with a handful of tights got Nathan a near-fall, only for him to follow up with a leap into a big forearm. Dennis rebounds with a back suplex and a stalling Fisherman’s suplex for a near-fall, before he gets planted with a Codebreaker for another near-fall.

Eddie shrugged that off and stalls Cruz back into the ring with a superplex, but he can’t capitalise as the pair pulled themselves back up into an endless series of forearms. Cruz tries to switch it up into a Codebreaker, but instead had to make do with a figure four that almost pinned Dennis. Eventually we get a rope break, much to Cruz’s chagrin, and that eventually leads to a ref bump as Cruz sidestepped a charge into the corner, meaning Eddie flattened the ref.

Cruz tried to cheat with a low blow… but Dennis catches it and instead pulls him up for the Severn Bridge buckle bomb, followed by the Next Stop Driver! But then Eddie makes the cover, and there’s no ref… and then the lights go out. Cue a run-in from Screwface, which is really just a distraction for a low blow as Cruz hits it, then the Show Stolen… but Eddie kicked out at two!

The match continues, but Screwface hopped onto the apron as he ended up misting Cruz, giving Eddie a chance to land a second Next Stop Driver… but Screwface pulled out the ref and attacked Eddie as the match was waved off as a no-contest. Up until the finish, this was fine, and I’m guessing is setting up for something down the line? ***½

Screwface and Cruz attacked Eddie in the corner, before Amir Jordan and Dom Black make the save. By which I mean, they ran in and were shoved away before finally making some headway as Eddie Dennis made a recovery. That ends when the bad guys come out in the form of Saxon Huxley and Danny O’Doherty. HT Drake comes out to even things up, and he actually out-fought Cruz and Screwface for a bit, dropping Screwy with a Codebreaker as the fight spilled around ringside.

Eventually the good guys stood tall, and celebrated as NCL.5 went off the air – a bit of a weird ending, but a pretty solid show. The commentary from Tom Campbell and Botchamania Maffew wasn’t as bad as you’d have feared for a debut effort, with plenty of local flavour (albeit you could argue a few that’d be lost on fans, and for those who are tempted to put this in the same bracket as Mauro Ranallo… all I can say is that I’m all for references that are from a local promotion. Pity Me, for the win!)

NORTH return on September 9 with CCK taking on the Sons of Ulaid, whilst Flash Morgan Webster and Martina are also slated to make an appearance (judging by the poster). It’s a night of good wrestling in a really intimate atmosphere – and for those of you who are perhaps put off by other promotions’ sterile nature… get yourself down to a show like this!