It’s been a bit of a trend lately for British promotions to post matches in full for free online… this week on Random Reviews, we’re going to take a look at a couple of them.
James Drake vs. Jack Gallagher (FutureShock Wrestling Uproar #88; May 22, 2016)
This match comes from FutureShock’s “Access Adrenaline” series – and sees Gallagher challenge Drake for the FSW Adrenaline title, complete with a graphic that reminded me heavily of Raw’s graphics from the early 2000s.
Stockport’s Guildhall was the venue here, and this was the main event of this particular show. Gallagher’s introduced as a former Futureshock champion, and also a Cruiserweight Classic qualifier. Drake tosses his belt into the air a la Tetsuya Naito, something which the commentator decries.
Gallagher heads towards Drake, who instantly goes between the ropes to avoid contact, then goes into a lock-up. Drake’s taken down with a headlock for a near-fall, but he counters out with some headscissors, only for Gallagher to flip his way out of them. Another headlock follows from Drake, who gets shot into the ropes before knocking Gallagher down with a shoulder tackle, and then going for the headlock takedown… and of course, Gallagher escapes by doing a headstand and walking on his hands out of the hold. Glorious stuff.
Gallagher follows with a double leg takedown as he then tied Drake in a knot, before sitting on him for added insult. Eventually, Gallagher frees Drake by kicking him in the arse (hashtag Bishop Brennan), sending an emasculated Drake to the floor. After a while, Drake returns to the ring and drills Gallagher with an uppercut, before a snapmare takedown and a shoulder tackle gives Drake a brief advantage, only to be pushed out of the ring by Gallagher’s legscissors.
Drake hangs out by the commentary table, whilst Gallagher patiently waits in the corner. They resume again, and Drake suddenly becomes very hesitant… at least, until he pokes the eye of Gallagher. Some ground and pound follows, and Drake twists Gallagher in a neck crank before landing an elbow drop. A forearm to the back of Gallagher follows, as does a huge pendulum backbreaker.
Drake keeps on top with a snap suplex for a near-fall, then he goes for a wristhold, but Gallagher blocked it and took him into the corner for a rope break. Gallagher gets knocked to the apron with a big boot, before Drake lands a slam and an elbow drop in the ring for a near-fall. Another snapmare follows, but Drake misses an elbow, and gets taken down with a series of dropkicks.
Gallagher lands a cross-body block for a two-count, before a back body drop leads to a variety of pinfall attempts, and one tired referee after the pair roll around the ring. From nowhere, Gallagher grabs a single-leg crab, but Drake is able to crawl to the ropes for a break.
Gallagher misses a corner dropkick, then takes an enziguiri before a roll-up from Drake scores a near-fall. A discus lariat also sees Drake come close, before the pair switch waistlocks to the point where Drake’s sent to the outside, and is met with a sliding dropkick from Gallagher.
Drake’s rocked with an European uppercut on the floor, but out of nowhere, Xander Cooper runs out and shoves Gallagher into the ringpost. Good to see Xander’s still around! Despite that, Gallagher beats the count-out, and escapes a DDT attempt, before flying into Drake in the corner with a dropkick.
With Gallagher seemingly regaining the upper hand, Xander Cooper then climbs into the ring and boots Drake… and there’s our DQ finish. Cooper exits stage left, and Drake’s announced the winner and still champion. The match was fairly good once you got past the stalling, but I’m rarely a fan of matches that go any decent period of time (15+ minutes in this case) and end with a cheap finish. ***½
Project Lucha Underground (Martin Kirby, El Ligero & Shane Strickland) vs. The Swords of Lightning (Mark Andrews, Will Ospreay & Paul Robinson) (Pro Wrestling Chaos – Wrath of Khan; July 23, 2016)
The Bristol-based Pro Wrestling Chaos posted this match in full over on their Facebook page – if you want to play along… the rest of the show will end up on their YouTube channel too, due to a technical problem with their hard camera.
We start with the “one fall” bollocks from the crowd, and they announce Shane Strickland as being from Lucha Underground. The commentators – Dave Mercy & Ben Hallam – seem to have done a special taping for this Facebook post, which was a nice customised touch. Sadly, the sound quality was a little off, with .
Andrews and Ligero start off, and the commentators acknowledge their past together, which according to CageMatch only consists of a “recent match in PROGRESS”, which was actually long after this was taped. This is being done under Dragon Gate/lucha rules, so there’ll be no tags needed.
Andrews and Ligero do a forward roll each, as does referee Mark Parry (whose roll actually was the most crisp of the lot!)… and they’re done. We finally get going, with a tie-up between Ligero and Andrews, and Ligero gets out into a wristlock, which Andrews reverses, before their breathless sequence ended with a schoolboy and a near-fall for Ligero. A wheelbarorw roll-up gets Andrews a near-fall, and then they stand-off to an applause from the Bristol crowd.
Paul Robinson and Martin Kirby tag in – and for some reason Kirby has the Monster energy drink logo on his tights. An attempted hair-pull from both men doesn’t work… they’re both bald for crying out loud! Robinson instead pokes Kirby in the eye and lands a shoulder tackle before missing a leaping forearm into the corner. Kirby replies with a dropkick, and another stalemate leads to tags out to Will Ospreay and Shane Strickland.
After the two men circle each other, Ospreay lands a takedown, then a handspring into a backflip, before Strickland springboards into a wheelbarrow, with Ospreay using the ropes for a springboard armdrag. A Fireman’s carry gets countered into an armdrag, before some headscissors from Strickland sends Ospreay to the outside, where he followed up with a dive that Strickland modified in mid-air to make sure he landed on his feet. So there’s three impressive “stand-off” spots to get us going.
Strickland slides back into the ring, and into the path of a low dropkick from Ospreay, who then takes him into the corner for some chops. Ospreay slips out of a bodyslam attempt, then ducks a clothesline before another handspring attempt was cut off by a dropkick from Strickland. A choke in the ropes follows for Will, and he’s taken to the wrong corner as Ligero and Kirby cycle through some tags, and double team on Ospreay for a near-fall.
Ospreay takes Kirby to the corner and tags in Andrews, who drops a leg on the arm of Kirby for a near-fall, before Paul Robinson comes in and bites away on the ear of Kirby. Another tag sees Kirby bring in Strickland, and he returns the favour from earlier by biting Robinson, before going for a camel clutch that got turned into a crossface punch.
Robinson quickly reversed a waistlock and took him into the corner, bringing in Ospreay, who landed a slam, and then brought in Andrews for the next tag. Andrews landed a forearm shot before seeing an Irish whip into the corner reversed, as the Welshman was snapmared and taken down with a single-leg low dropkick for a near-fall.
Strickland grabs a rear chinlock, but Andrews elbowed out, only to get taken into the corner. Andrews goes flying with a moonsault press out of the corner, switching it into a tornado DDT in mid-air, and finally makes the tag out to Ospreay. Will comes in with chops to Ligero and Strickland, and he pulls off the Kojima rapid chops to all three members of Project Lucha Underground.
Ospreay takes out Ligero and Kirby with a double overhead kick, before taking Strickland down with a Phenomenal Forearm and a standing shooting star press for a near-fall. Robinson comes in to dispatch Kirby, before he slingshots himself over the ropes… for distinctly un-lucha-like eye poke. Ligero kicked Robinson to the outside and took him out with a plancha, before Andrews scored a tope con hilo. Strickland looked to add to the set, and the camera just about caught a Sasuke special, before Ospreay’s attempt to complete the list ended up with Strickland kicking him in the back of the head.
Ospreay recovered as he countered a suplex into a hurricanrana, then finally went flying with a Sasuke special of his own. Robinson lands a nice leaping elbow to Kirby for a near-fall, but Ligero broke it up, before the Swords of Lightning hit a sweet triple team combination. First – Ospreay had Robinson on his back in a Fireman’s carry, and Andrews walked on top of Robinson to hit a cross body to Kirby. Robinson then stood up on Ospreay’s shoulders and hit a body splash to Kirby, who then took a corkscrew 450 Splash. Somehow, Kirby kicked out at two, with Ligero and Kirby being left in the ring with Andrews.
Andrews took a Snake Eyes from Strickland, before being dumped into a gutbuster from Ligero for a near-fall, before Kirby and Ligeor catch a Robinson cross-body, and hit a pop-up uppercut, before Strickland’s reverse STO gets a near-fall as Ospreay breaks up the pin.
Kirby dumped Ospreay with a slam, then mounted the ropes for the Zoidberg Elbow, only for Will to roll to his feet and take him down with a hurricanrana off the middle ropes. Strickland knocked Ospreay down, with Robinson returning the favour, and Ligero rushed in with a superkick. Things got really hard to follow for a while as everyone ran in to land their own superkick, before Strickland took down Ospreay with an enziguiri.
Ospreay retaliates with a crisp one-man Spanish Fly to a running Strickland, but no cover is attempted, and that gives the fans a chance to cheer for everyone.
Kirby stands up first with Andrews as they trade forearms, and that turns into a battle of forearms amongst everyone in the match, and a six-way stand-off. More forearms, followed by a bunch of superkicks, before Kirby and Ligero blocked a dual Oscutter attempt from Ospreay. Strickland runs in with a dropkick in the corner, sending Ospreay into the path of a pumphandle facebuster from Ligero, and a combination Sable Bomb/curb stomp from Kirby and Strickland.
Andrews leaps in to make the save as Ospreay was all but done for, and the Project Lucha Underground team all go for suplexes, which all get reversed into stunners from the Swords of Lightning. That would have made sense, had they not all been back to back with each other – leaving no room for the suplexes to get finished. Ligero and Kirby get taken out with a tope con hilo and a corkscrew dive by Andrews and Ospreay, whilst Strickland takes a diving spinning kick from Robinson.
Ospreay runs back in and drills Strickland with an Oscutter, before Andrews’ shooting star press ends up being enough for the win. A fun, enjoyable spectacle, but don’t you dare watch this whilst trying to be logical, because there are some parts of this that will anger you. ***¾
Kay Lee Ray vs. Jade (Southside Retribution 6; August 9, 2015)
Okay, we’re cheating a little here, but SWE – aka Southside – posted this on their YouTube channel as this was apparently their 500th match. For those who don’t watch TNA, Jade is the former Mia Yim, whilst Kay Lee Ray has wrestled all around the world, and made brief appearances in TNA last year via their British Bootcamp show.
KLR went into this as the “Queen of Southside” – their version of the women’s champion –
and the commentator says that she’s the only woman to have held the Queen of Southside belt. Fortunately, that didn’t mean the title had been held by men before, she simply was just the first (and at the time, only) champion.
The commentators recap how Jade won a four-way the previous night, and we’re underway! Jade offers a handshake, but Ray slaps it away, and takes Jade into the corner.
Jade shoves Ray away, and immediately Ray goes between the ropes looking for a breather, and then drops to the floor. Jade tries to go to the floor to follow her, but she’s stopped by Ray’s cornerman – The Pledge – who takes a slap for the hell of it. Every time Jade tries to slide in, Ray’s looking to stomp away, so Jade just trips her and rolls in as they go back and forth with pinning predicaments for a load of near-falls, ending with a backslide from Jade for a two-count.
Jade lands a hurricanrana, then a kick for a two-count, before she lights up Ray with kicks to the chest. A dropkick cuts off Jade briefly, but she replies in kind for a near-fall, and Ray again rolls to the outside to get some distance. Kay Lee Ray rolls under the ring, but the Pledge creates a distraction as Ray comes into the other side of the ring and clotheslines Jade.
Ray pulls Jade’s hair whilst standing on it, then grabs a rear chinlock to keep Jade on the ground. Jade fights out, but a hairpull gets her back on the mat. The Pledge gets in a shot as he chokes Jade over the middle rope, and that lets Kay Lee Ray stomp away in the corner. A snapmare follows out of the corner, before Ray runs the ropes and slides into… a rear chinlock.
The referee does the arm-lifting spot, but Jade fights free and uses a jawbreaker to get out of the chinlock, only for a clothesline from Ray to send her back down for a near-fall. Ray throws Jade to the outside, then distracts the ref, giving the cover for the Pledge to put some more boots to Jade on the floor.
Jade just about gets back into the ring at the count of nine, and sparks a comeback with strikes, only for a kick from Kay Lee Ray to get countered with a spinning heel kick as both women collapse to the mat. They both get to their knees and trade slaps, before Jade throws several kicks to the chest and then goes for a German suplex as the Pledge grabs Ray’s legs and pulls her out of the ring to safety.
Kay Lee Ray again went under the ring, but Jade turned around and levelled her with a dropkick upon Ray’s return, before some more kicks take down Ray and the Pledge. Ray elbows out of a German suplex attempt, then takes a gutwrench suplex, but Ray does kick out at two.
Jade tried for a package piledriver, only for Ray to backdrop out of it and follow up with a Gory bomb in the middle of the ring, but again, Jade kicked out at two. Ray sets up Jade near the corner, then mounts the turnbuckles, but the senton bomb misses, and Jade lands the release German suplex, and the package piledriver, but the Pledge gets on the apron and somehow the referee doesn’t even try to count.
That distraction allows Joseph Conners to slide into the ring and hit Jade with the Righteous Kill (double arm DDT), and that lets Kay Lee Ray steal the win. The match wasn’t too bad, but that finish was all kinds of horrible. Distraction finishes are rarely good, and I don’t get the logic of a referee not making a count because someone climbed onto the apron. I mean, why?! **¾
The GZRS (Tom Irvin & Sebastian) vs. The Hunter Brothers (Jim Hunter & Lee Hunter) (HOP:E: Welcome To The Freak Show; November 21, 2015)
We end with a match from the House of Pain: Evolution promotion (and their YouTube channel), and boy, isn’t this suddenly relevant?! HOP:E usually run out of Nottingham, but for this show they were in Milton Keynes, in a venue that looked like a knock-off of the nightclub that Preston City Wrestling run in – the one with the chandelier.
This was the HOP:E debut of the GZRS – the comedy duo of Tom Irvin and Sebastian that made a name for themselves, then disappeared off the British wrestling radar. Someone on (or near) commentary forgot to put their phone on silent, as the “ping” for a Facebook message was heard loud and clear during the GZRS’ entrance. The GZRS are over, I guess, but this is pure comedy, and hey, there’s Mark “Paz” Parry as the referee again, and he helps Irvin climb into the ring as he blinded himself with his shirt whilst doing a Fabrizio Ravanelli “shirt over the head” spot.
The commentators are really non-plussed about the GZRS, before they launch into an expletive-loaded bit about how they love Ricky Steamboat. Well, you’re not getting the under 18s crowd with commentary like that!
The Hunter Brothers still haven’t made any effort to make themselves distinct, and we’ve got to struggle to remember that “Lee’s the one who has a gap between his boots and knee pads”… and if I get the names wrong, it’s because I’m not about to rewind and correct the commentary team. Lee grabs a mic and cuts a promo to sarcastic clapping from Sebastian, as both of the GZRS applaud every time Lee speaks, before going a clapping lap of honour around the ring. I’m getting bored now.
The crowd clap when Lee tries to speak, and he references that the GZRS used the World Cup 1998 theme song. Lee says that their ring song was appropriate, since England failed at the World Cup, just like they’re about to. Cue more claps, cue more boredom, and about time too, we have a match!
The Hunters take the GZRS into the corner, but they slide to the outside as both of the Hunters get crotched in the corner, albeit with the help of fans. We can’t count this as one of their spots since they did bugger all, right? Jim grabs a chair from the crowd and sits on it to sell, whilst Jim takes a double-team dropkick in the ring.
Lee gets caught in a chokeslam by Tom, but he reverses and tags in Jim, who hits a slingshot senton, and takes off his t-shirt. Now we have no way of identifying them, I guess. Lee grabs a chokeslam, and Irvin escapes, before landing a bodyslam. Irvin climbs up to the second rope and starts singing “I believe I can fly”, before and misses an elbow drop that didn’t look that good.
Sebastian tags in and takes down the Hunters with clotheslines, then an enziguiri to Lee, and then he goes to a chokeslam on Jim. That gets blocked and the Hunters go for a double suplex, only for Irvin to slide in as the two teams try for double-team suplexes that don’t go anywhere. Referee Paz adds himself, and the GZRS finally suplex both of the Hunters as one of the commentators bemoans more outside interference.
The Hunters kick away a back body drop attempt, before both teams accidentally kick each other, then the referee as the commentator can’t get over how everyone’s “getting kicked in the willy”. Everyone – including the referee – takes a bump from that, and the crowd does the standing ten count, before they stagger to their feet… and fall down again. Give me Big Daddy vs. Giant Haystacks over this anyday…
Sebastian gets up and grabs Lee in a chokeslam… and this quickly ends up in a four-way chokeslam stand-off, and everyone bumps at the same time for the chokeslam. Everyone does the Undertaker sit-out laugh spot at once, before doing the throat slits, and the Hunters slap the GZRS down.
The Hunters do the Dudleyz “Wassap” headbutts, but the GZRS reverse it and we end up with one of the Hunters headbutting the other one below the belt. Sebastian calls for the Slip n Slide… it comes into the ring, and it’s moistened with a pitcher of something, before the referee slides head first into Jim Hunter’s nether regions.
A chokeslam to Lee follows, and Sebastian grabs the referee’s hand to make the cover, and it’s all over. Thank Christ. Usually, comedy wrestling works when the guys can work… but this was horrendous. Some of the spots looked awful (I swear, I could do a better elbow drop from the middle rope, and I’ve never set foot in a wrestling ring). The jokes behind the four-way chokeslam and the four-way “Undertaker SummerSlam laugh” spots were products of the time, (even if this happened three months later after those memes were a thing) – and sadly, it even sounded like the crowd didn’t react as they expected. Unless HOP:E dubbed it out, I didn’t hear anyone laughing. ½*
Still, at least nobody from that team are about to be put into a high-profile singles feud in a major promotion. Oh…
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