Our first look at Riptide’s 2018 offerings, and it’s another return to Brighton as qualifying for this year’s title tournament got underway, while Jack Sexsmith suffered yet more heartache…

Deep Six opened with a video recapping the Jack Sexsmith/Spike Trivet feud so far, as our main event today is Sexsmith and Ridgeway against Trivet and Damon Moser.

Flash Morgan Webster vs. David Starr
Ooh, I do like the submarine motif here… Webster tries to address the crowd before the match, but they’re understandably angry at him after the events last time out. Flash addresses David, “if that is your real name”, to remind him that he hates everything about Brighton.

Starr laughs in “Morg”’s face, plugs his Twitter, before offering to help Webster with some “immersion therapy”, which Starr explains for the benefit of Flash… and Martina. It’s a leather jacket, which riles up Flash, even more so when Starr puts it on. Slicked back hair has the same effect, as do sunglasses, as Greaser Starr is a step too far for Flash… and the match begins in earnest!

Starr has trouble getting his jacket off, but he’s able to knock Flash to the outside with a dropkick before a dive out misses… putting Starr in the path of a forearm from Flash, who then tries to suplex him off of the camera platform. That doesn’t work, as Flash then tries to leap in with a Strangler guillotine, before Starr charged him into the ring apron instead.

A spinning back suplex onto the edge of the apron is next, before the Pretty Pumped gets a near-fall back in the ring. Webster tries to make a comeback, whipping Starr into the corner, but a big boot puts a halt to things as Webster gets lifted onto the apron, where he grabs some hair before trapping Starr’s arm in the turnbuckle padding.

Webster keeps up with a low dropkick, but Starr’s up before the ref can even make a count as the crowd started to get on Flash’s case. A Special Brew Flip finally gets Flash a one-count, before a Brit Pop Drop brings that up to a two-count as Starr was finding himself on the back foot. The pair trade shots as Starr fought back to his feet, knocking Flash loopy with a right hand and some chops, which built up into a Violence Party and a back elbow before the Han Stansen lariat flipped Flash to the mat.

Starr tries to haul Webster into a Blackheart Buster, but Flash escapes… only to get caught with the Product Recall for another near-fall. The Product goes for the Blackheart Buster again, but Flash escapes and tricks Starr into the hands-up headbutt before the Eton Rifle almost ended the match in his favour! Webster spits at Starr as he railed on the Product – and the crowd – and that just fires up Starr… chops back-and-forth give way to forearms as the match turned into a hockey fight without the ice… before Flash finally got tricked to be on the side of the rockers, declaring his love of AC/DC, Joan Jett… and then, he comes around. Reverse psychology just makes FLash head outside as he grabs a chair from the crowd, and swings it at Starr… but David ducks, the chair hits the rope, and we get the comedy ka-bong rebound… then again when Starr does it!

With both men knocked loopy, Webster tries another headbutt, but he can only do a Flair Flop instead, before he’s tripped into the ropes as Starr makes a comeback with a Cherry Mint DDT, and a JML driver for a near-fall. Flash tries a low blow, before going for the chair… which is taken away, so he uses Arabella (his moped helmet) on Starr, before dragging him down into a Strangler, urging the referee to do the arm drop gimmick to force the stoppage. A really good story-based match, with the rocker/mod stuff playing well with the crowd, as Flash came into his own as a devious cheat. ***½

Kurtis Chapman & Lord Gideon Grey vs. Big T Justice & Omari
Before the match, Chapman decided to step away from being a keyboard warrior, and threw out some verbals towards Eddie Dennis, who was injured… and gave him best wishes in making his mortgage payments. Yeah, that’s a little low!

Chapman’s happy they’ve gotten a match at Riptide, but it was meant to be against Omari and Millie McKenzie, but some injury-enforced changes to the card saw him replaced with the injured OJMO, who was in turn swapped out for Big T. Gideon talks to “Ojmo” (said as a word), and offers him some protection: bubble wrap! Cue more piss taking from Gideon, as the cameraman decided to film Chapman’s crotch for… reasons.

Gideon bows… and gets met with a Big T Destroyer. Yep, I wasn’t expecting THAT! Nor was Chapman expecting Big T to palm strike away Kurtis’ keyboard before killing him with a chop. Omari has a go next, landing a low dropkick as the match got going, sending Chapman to the outside, before keeping on top of him with more chops back inside.

A low bridge from Grey sent Omari to the outside, as did a keyboard shot as Kurtis had the referee otherwise engaged… Chapman actually got into it with the ref, and it almost led to their downfall as a clumsy roll-up nearly put him away. Hey, Chapman’s getting a lot of heat for something so simple, like berating an always-out-of-place referee. Grey’s in next to keep up on Omari’s arm, just in time for Big T to return… but Chapman’s back in control with headscissors before a blind tag from Gideon kept Omari on the defensive. For a second, as he made the tag into Big T, who did Big T things.

Chops and avalanches almost led to the end, but Grey rakes the eyes to escape a Dominator, before he struggled to lift up Big T… who had no problem stacking them up on his back before landing a Samoan drop for a near-fall… because Chapman pulled out the referee. Omari’d had enough of that as he laid waste to him, but instead Gideon and Chapman go after OJMO’s broken wrist, leading to Eddie Dennis coming out from the crowd and punching out Gideon.

Chapman tries to lay out Eddie with a keyboard shot… but it doesn’t work as Eddie returns the favour, giving the keyboard warrior a taste of his own medicine. Somewhere in here, Gideon hits OJMO low, while Chapman was bleeding from that keyboard shot… but he’s able to be lifted up into a Sega Mega Driver on Omari for the win. This was fun as an end-to-end bit, but there was too much of the outside-the-ring stuff, hurting the flow of the match. God, those keyboards are going to be the end of Kurtis, aren’t they? **½

Jinny’s out next, complete with a floaty name-plate. Add her to the injury list at the time, meaning her match with Chris Brookes was off. She lamented her misfortune, as she was looking forward to wrestling Brookes after being in the main event last time here, before putting over her replacement: Millie McKenzie. Jinny then proceeded to thank the fans… then talk about her trainer Jimmy Havoc, who she asked out to thank him face-to-face. This was so weird to see given Jinny’s usual character, but it was nice to see a one-off break! They have a moment… then Jimmy drops her with some forearms, as he was still smarting from being beaten by his own move last time out.

Before too much damage could be done, Toni Storm’s out… and this is our match!

Jimmy Havoc vs. Toni Storm
The big selling point of Riptide is the way they film stuff – it’s not the “point a camera at a ring” method, or the “let’s zoom in way into their nostril as they hit their finisher” school of thought. It’s nice and arty, and it really came across well when Storm rushed the ring to get us going…

A back body drop judders the ring as Havoc’s sent flying, as he powders to the floor, only to cut off a dive as he proceeds to whip Toni with his jacket. Storm replies with a tope after Jimmy got into it with someone in the crowd, before they went back and forth with right hands, as Havoc took the match to the bar, where Martina was made to give Toni a drink… A drink that Toni eventually spat back at him, only for an eye poke and a double stomp off the top to get him barely a two-count as the match continued to shift. Toni makes a comeback with a flurry of strikes before dumping Havoc with a German suplex, as she then was forced to avoid some Acid Rainmakers, eventually turning one into another German suplex into the corner.

The neckbreaker slam’s next for Toni, but it’s not enough, so she floats over into a bridging armbar. Havoc gets the rope break and catches Toni up top, bringing her down with a nasty rope-hung DDT… but still, it’s not enough! More Rainmaker attempts led to Havoc getting a backslide for a near-fall, before Toni kicked out and got up for a Strong Zero for another near-fall, as the back-and-forth continued with a Jig ‘n’ Tonic from Havoc.

Toni kicked out at one from that, but it was her final hope as Havoc finally nailed the Rainmaker for the win. Decent back-and-forth action, without even hinting at the “uncomfortable” nature that intergender matches can sometimes be. See, it really is all about the presentation of it… ***

Brighton Championship Tournament Qualifier: Cara Noir vs. Lion Kid vs. Veda Scott vs. Candyfloss vs. Roy Johnson vs. Chuck Mambo
Mambo was a late addition to this, but the broccoli he’d brought out surely wouldn’t win over many people in the match…

Veda Scott stamps on a beach ball because she hates Chuck, kicking him in the head … and so our scramble gets going with a Candyfloss dropkick as our favourite Parade of Moves got underway. Backbreaker from Johnson, a wheelbarrow armdrag from Mambo, who then delivered his Bad Burrito gutbuster, holding Johnson down for a flying stomp from Candyfloss.

Cara Noir’s in next to dropkick Candyfloss into the corner as someone throws in a can of energy drink, something that Cara and Lion Kid miss as referee Shay Purser finally got rid of it. Lion’s pulled into a surfboard from Mambo, proving that lions can indeed surf, before this turns into a chain of submissions that rather resembled a wedding party that gets too drunk and has too much fun with the Gap Band’s music. At least until Cara Noir returned and licked everyone…

Things picked up again when Mambo coerced Candy into a dive… but she gets tired, and needs sustenance. Mambo’s broccoli wasn’t the best idea, but he does have some sweets instead, which did the trick! Veda’s in to do some rope walking, with the ref’s help, before leaping into the pile on the floor, before Lion King looked to finish off, only for Cara Noir to cut him off. A kick to the back from Cara left Lion Kid reeling, but he was able to escape a package piledriver and roll up Cara for a near-fall… only to be instantly hit with a neckbreaker as the revolving door returned. Veda Scott saves Candyfloss from a licking, and ties up Cara Noir in an Indian deathlock while giving Candy a German suplex for good measure. Roy Johnson tries a two-for-one as well, but his DDT to Veda and Lion Kid’s helped by Mambo’s flying knees as the match kept going.

Lion Kid escapes a Bad Burrito before giving Mambo some Sliced Bread, as we went through another Parade… with Cara giving Candy a package piledriver, before another Bad Burrito from Mambo laid out Veda. We’re all outside as Mambo flew into Johnson, giving Lion Kid a chance to climb up some well-placed chairs, before pulling out a stuffed Lion, as the Circle of Life led to a crossbody into the pile.

As everyone was singing, Cara Noir took Candyfloss back to the ring, but instead of a package piledriver he takes her onto the top rope for a piledriver off there instead. She blocks it, shoves him down, and leaps into a Destroyer as Cara was left laying… only for Veda Scott to steal the cover and get a near-fall. Candy wasn’t having any of that, instantly going for an armbar after the kick-out, forcing a submission – and gaining a place in August’s Brighton Championship Tournament to boot! A fun scramble, without too much of the usual “move move move” format. ***¼

Chris Brookes vs. Millie McKenzie
Our replacement to the originally-scheduled Brookes/Jinny outing, and after the opening handshake, we started with Brookes taking Millie’s arm and working her down to the mat.

She tries to return the favour, but Brooks seemed to be mocking her in going along with it, before walking to the ropes for the break. A headlock’s next, but Brookes has no trouble getting to the ropes from that either, and he proceeds to do the daftest thing possible: pat Millie on the head in a patronising manner! McKenzie snaps back with some kicks, only for him to go back to the arm… but Millie gets free with some headscissors, sending Brookes to the outside, only to get dragged out before she could do a dive. We’re back to the arm as Brookes bends it around the post, before his attempt to throw Millie back in led to her swivelling and landing more headscissors instead.

Millie has trouble trying to suplex Brookes back into the ring, which is ironic, but his back body drop attempt is countered… only for him to trap her in the ring apron for a stomp to the head. The wet willie’s next, after Lykos egged on Brookes, and it’s back to one-way traffic as Brookes tried to tear away at Millie’s head. A fightback from Millie looked to be short-lived, but she takes Brookes outside for a tope, as she started to edge ahead, switching a wheelbarrow driver into a top rope bulldog for a near-fall!

Brookes launches a comeback, coming close with a slingshot cutter, before the rope-hung neckbreaker’s countered… but Brookes decides to go for a German suplex instead. Bad idea. Millie popped right back up, only to get caught in an Electric Chair… and another German suplex, which she’s back up from as a shotgun dropkick and a satellite DDT left Brookes down.

Millie’s cutter gets a two-count, before she surprises Brookes with his own Octopus submission! He powers out of it and throws Millie down, but she’s able to rebound with a slow mo Code Red for a near-fall after looking to have tweaked her knee… We’re all about the near-falls as Brookes tried to kick off Millie’s head, before the Praying Mantis Bomb spiked her for the win. Really good match, but Brookes was in control from the off – even managing to avoid those Germans! ***½

Travis Banks vs. Mike Bailey
As you’d expect here, the feeling out process started with some feinted kicks, before Bailey quickly worked up into some kicks… which just riled the Kiwi early on, as those kicks were eagerly returned.

A low, diving dropkick quickly followed as Banks left his Canadian foe on the mat, but Bailey’s right back with more kicks to return the favour as he tried to put his foot through Banks… and we’re back-and-forth with those! Chops come next, before Banks catches one and drags Bailey down into an attempt at the Lion’s Clutch, forcing a rope break in the process.

Bailey dragged himself to the outside, but he’s just in the path of some low-pes, before Bailey kept up the motif with an Asai moonsault as they decided to brawl in the crowd, and onto a… window ledge?! Chops and kicks sent Banks back to the floor, as Bailey… moonsaults down as well! More kicks and chops follow around ringside, as we get… foot cam? A picture-in-picture view of the cameraman holding Bailey’s foot as Banks took over. Finally back in the ring, Banks keeps up with the kicks, before Bailey tried to mount a comeback… but yeah. More kicks. The noises certainly were impressive, but I’m starting to get fed up of typing “kick” over and over again. It’s definitely a trap that Bailey has a tendency to fall into…

Some more chops keep Bailey in the corner, as Banks runs in with uppercuts before tripping Speedball for a cannonball, which almost ended badly as Bailey leaned into it. From the near-fall on that, Banks went for the Lion’s Clutch again, but Bailey escapes and hits a popped-up dropkick, before going back to the kicks. Banks sweeps the leg, but runs into the fallaway moonsault slam, before rolling up Bailey into a superkick.

More back-and-forth elbows gave way to a German suplex from Banks… but Bailey’s right back on his feet for a German of his own, which Banks returned the favour on as he gets up and hits a lariat for good measure. Yes, there’s more kicks and forearms, which Bailey wins out on, before taking Banks into the corner for a roundhouse kick… only for the shooting star knees to miss as Banks returned with a Slice of Heaven for a near-fall.

Another Slice of Heaven’s caught, but Banks tries to elbow out of an Electric Chair… only to get taken back to the top rope as an overhead kick rocked him there. Bailey tries for a moonsault fallaway slam off the middle rope, and gets it, but Banks kicked out at two, before a head kick and moonsault knees garnered another near-fall. A flurry of slaps into a Kiwi Krusher gets yet another two-count for Banks, before two Slices of Heaven and another Kiwi Krusher gets the same result…

Bailey gets to the rope from a Lion’s Clutch, only to get rolled into the middle of the ring as the hold was kept on. Banks is back with more chops, taking Speedball into the corner, but his follow up went badly wrong as Bailey took him down for standing moonsault knees, before shooting star knees crashed Banks to the mat for the win. This was pretty good, but there were large sections of this that almost bored me. Like the repeated kick exchanges. At times, Bailey is one of the world’s best, then there’s matches like this which do nothing for me. ***½

Spike Trivet & Damon Moser vs. Jack Sexsmith & Chris Ridgeway
Just like a blood feud should, the match started with Jack Sexsmith rushing the ring and taking down Spike as the action spilled to the outside.

Sexsmith offered up Moser for chops from the crowd, but he breaks free as the match started as one of those “where should I look?” affairs, with an awful lot going on. Moser ends up taking Sexsmith to the bar, where Eddie Dennis was still pulling pints, and beyond through to “Merchandise Village”, where Jack gets slammed right in the middle. Using his own merch, Jack unsights Moser for a while, while Ridgeway took Trivet back to the ring for some more kicks.

Jack’s tagged back in to land a stomp to Trivet’s arm, but Spike’s right in with a forearm as the tables quickly turned around, as Jack’s isolated in the corner for a spell. With the crowd’s chants of “Peter Rabbit” distracting Spike, Sexsmith tries to make a comeback, but that ends with Moser coming in as the beatdown continued in earnest, with Trivet continuing to wear down Sexsmith. Eventually Sexsmith fought free and tagged in Ridgeway, who gleefully dumped Spike with a German suplex, before handing out something similar to Moser… followed by a nasty axe kick to the head. Trivet tried to catch out Ridgeway, but he’s met with a Kamigoye-like knee, before the villains double-teamed him again, this time with Spike poking the eye and hitting a forearm ahead of K-Kwik’s old Hat Rack Crack sit-out suplex.

Moser’s back in to pick apart Ridgeway with more kicks, before some choking in the ropes led to him making the hot tag out, with Sexsmith taking down Trivet with a pearl neckbreaker… while DDT’ing Moser at the same time! With Ridgeway and Sexsmith on top, they tee off with kicks onto their opponents, sending the crowd wild, before they exchanged a kiss… to which the crowd wanted “one more time”… and they got it!

Dives came next, with Ridgeway’s tope hitting the mark, as did Sexsmith’s cannonball senton, before Sexsmith returned to the ring to superkick the majority out of Trivet… except referee Shay Purser was woefully out of position, and could only get a two-count out of it. Ridgeway looked to be hurt badly, and needed to be tended to by Sexsmith as the match ground to a halt. That meant Sexsmith had to carry on on his own, putting the boots to Spike, but the numbers game caught up with him as Ridgeway was carried away.

Trivet hung Jack in a Tree of Woe, but only so he could spray Prosecco (or whatever’s in his fancy bottle) in his face, while Moser went Coast to Coast with a headbutt for a near-fall. Ridgeway slowly made his way back to the ring, right as Jack was getting worn down… and of course, that was the cue for a comeback from Sexsmith! A double Sliced Bread took down Trivet and Moser, just in time for the hot tag to be made…

But it’s a hoax! Ridgeway hobbled in, and then wiped out Sexsmith with a spin kick to the head! The crowd booed as Ridgeway showed he’d fooled them all, before hugging Moser and Trivet. He “tags” Sexsmith back in, and it’s elementary from here – Trivet hits the Birthright butterfly backbreaker, and that’s all. An excellent story, with Ridgeway – the guy Jack thought he could trust – turning on him, and now… Jack’s got an even bigger mountain to climb in Riptide! ***½

Post-match, Trivet took the mic and accused the crowd of cheering Sexsmith because they were scared to boo him. Controversial! Another fightback from Sexsmith is quickly snuffed out courtesy of a Gotch piledriver, as Trivet vowed to buy everyone he needed to get to the Riptide Championship.

This was a solid, solid show from Riptide – offering something for everyone, without necessarily being patronising or too “in your face”. Whereas some other promotions seem to be offering “just matches”, Riptide’s got enough in terms of characters and storylines to keep it interesting without oversaturating things. Spike Trivet calling himself out as the favourite for the impending Riptide Brighton Championship Tournament is certainly bold – but I’m pretty sure there’ll be some who’ll want to make sure that this isn’t an easy ride for him. No matter how he spends his money…