Barely 24 hours after a brutal Fans Bring The Weapons match, Nixon Newell came back to Southside and left with something shinier than the thumb tacks she landed in the previous day…
Southside made their first trip to St Neots of the year, headlining with “All Ego” getting a shot at El Ligero’s title, and a women’s tag match that bordered on a parejas incredible affair.
Joseph Conners & Paul Malen vs. HC Dyer & Adam Maxted
Conners was introduced as the Southside champion in keeping with that unhinged part of his persona. Hey, it’s a way to evolve his character and have him lower down the card without it being too jarring.
Ethan Page did commentary for this match, since regular co-commentator Chris Flynn was still out selling an injury from the previous afternoon’s show in Nottingham. We’ll review that eventually! Conners looks to agree with Malen to storm the ring… but he just turns around to stare at his toy belt as Malen throws himself in with the wolves. Dyer and Maxted take down Malen with a dropkick, who then goes back outside to have a moan at Conner… whose belt then gets thrown into the ring, and Conners then tries to hug HC Dyer. That earns Conners a clothesline, as he then escaped a suplex before tagging in Malen… who didn’t.
Maxted comes in and gets a near-fall from an elbow drop as he dropped both opponents with separate bodyslams. Conners got involved to hold Maxted on the apron as he then attacked the Northern Irishman on the floor with the former Southside tag champions taking over from there.
Malen corners Maxted with a backbreaker and some clubbing forearms, before Conners places Maxted on the top turnbuckle for more of the same. Dyer gets baited into the ring so there’s cover for more two-on-ones, before Malen gets a rear chinlock in… and of course, Maxted fights free, only to get dumped to the outside. Maxted makes a comeback from the apron, before a missile dropkick off the middle rope seems to affect “Flex” more than Malen, who makes a tag out first before Dyer finally gets the hot tag. A Goldust-style uppercut from Dyer takes down Conners, who then takes a Michinoku driver for a near-fall.
The former Righteous Army members combine for a big boot/Russian legsweep combo on Dyer, before Maxted comes back into it briefly. A slingshot DDT from the apron takes down Maxted, but Dyer continues the comeback with a double clothesline, before a straight right hand took down Malen. A ripcord Blue Thunder Bomb takes down Malen, but he’s not the legal man… Joseph Conners is, and he tries to attack Dyer with the toy belt. Dyer stops it and threatens to stomp on it, forcing Conners to dive over the belt like he’s Gollum, but that just allows Malen to create a distraction as Conners scored the win with a schoolboy. A decent opener, with the heel pairing cheating to win over the inexperienced-but-improving opponents. **¾
The ever-unhinged Conners decided in retrospect that this tag match was for his title – just so he could call this a successful defence.
Out next was the Guilty By Habit trio – to Damian Dunne’s music and video for some reason. They’re out to celebrate winning the tag titles the prior night, as they introduce their group to the fans. Robbie X was going to face Bubblegum for the Speed King title… but that’s been nixed because management didn’t approve it, so instead, there’ll be a tag title match, whilst Big Grizzly has a surprise match as well.
By process of elimination, we can figure out his opponent: it’s Eddie Edwards, whose challenge to GBH wasn’t answered, as much as it was forced on them.
Big Grizzly vs. Eddie Edwards
At the off, Joel Allen ejects the other two members of GBH from ringside, just as Robbie X was about to create a distraction. Their dismissal still creates a distraction as Grizzly attacks Edwards from behind, before he lands a shoulder tackle to keep the former TNA champion at bay.
Edwards comes back with an inverted atomic drop, only to take a running forearm in the ropes as Grizzly’s eventually clotheslines to the floor. A plancha finally knocks him down as the pair traded blows around the ringside area, leading to Grizzly chopping the ringpost. Eddie chops Grizzly in the aisle, then sends the big Welshman back inside, only to be knocked back down with a big boot as the referee seemed to distract him.
Back in the ring now, Edwards gets worn down in the ropes, before a big legdrop gets Grizz just a one-count. A crossbody from Eddie’s caught and turned into a fallaway slam for a near-fall, as the big guy takes him down into a surfboard stretch, then a rear chinlock. Of course, Edwards fights out, but he’s taken into the corner for an avalanche and an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. A second avalanche misses, and the comeback starts as Eddie lifts him up for an enziguiri and a top rope ‘rana!
Edwards runs into Grizzly with a forearm, before landing a Codebreaker off the middle rope for a near-fall. Grizzly catches Eddie up top with a forearm, but he’s shoved down with a headbutt, only to roll away from a double stomp and go for a chokeslam. Edwards counters that chokeslam into a sunset flip for a near-fall as he comes back with some chops, only to run into a successful chokeslam.
Despite that, Grizzly only gets a near-fall, so he comes back with a suplex… but Eddie flips out and invites Grizz into a missed avalanche as the rebound sees Eddie get a near-fall out of a Blue Thunder Bomb. Damian Dunne and Robbie X come out to ringside to interfere, but it backfires as Grizzly charges into Robbie – who was trying to hold Eddie in the ropes – as the Boston Knee Party gets Eddie the win! A pretty good big guy/little guy match, getting Big Grizz over well in defeat. ***¼
Alex Windsor & Rosemary vs. Ruby Summers & Melina
Well, this is a weird pairing, given that Alex Windsor got misted by Rosemary during the prior evening’s show in Nottingham…
The babyfaces are attacked at the bell, and we’ve got Nixon Newell replacing Ethan Page on commentary here. Melina and Ruby head to the outside, as they sidestep a charge from Windsor and Rosemary, before Melina armdrags Windsor all over the place back inside.
Something close to a leapover in the corner sees Melina roll through into some ground and pound, before a short facebuster gets Melina a near-fall. Rosemary provides a distraction so Alex can pull the hair back as the heels take over on the Queen of Southside. A sidewalk slam takes down Melina as Rosemary is forced to tag in Windsor, who looked to go up top… but she just leaps down into a boot to the face.
Windsor staggers from that and she’s wobbling for a while. In the middle of this, nobody does anything as she staggers around, finally dropping to the mat as Ruby Summers tagged in to make a cover. Summers leaps into Windsor with a clothesline in the corner, then a dropkick for a two-count, before landing a missile dropkick to keep up the offence. Rosemary comes in and threatens to mist Ruby, but that’s just a distraction as Summers gets attacked from behind, leading to a snapmare and a kick to the back for a two-count. A rear chinlock keeps Summers down, as Rosemary just suplexes the relative newcomer around with ease. Summers takes an avalanche in the corner, then an Exploder out of it as she’s continually taking offence… until she hiptosses Alex Windsor, but that doesn’t lead to a tag out as Rosemary rushes in and knocks Melina off the apron.
Ruby’s kept in the wrong corner as Rosemary catches a Muta Lock on her, but again Alex Windsor begs to tag in once Rosemary’s softened down Ruby. Windsor comes in, and collides into Summers off the ropes. That finally leads to Melina getting the hot tag, striking away on Rosemary before she’s kicked into the ropes. Some double knees to the back lead to a headlock driver for a two-count as Windsor breaks up the count, before a diving dropkick sees Rosemary fall back on herself. They scream at each other as Melina tries to kick her back down, before deciding to hit a short DDT instead. Ruby comes in again with a Codebreaker, before they both hit the Sunset Split on Rosemary at the same time.
Melina’s dispatched by Windsor, who then tags herself back in to steal the pin after Summers takes an F5 from Rosemary. A decent outing, and without being too harsh, this is the best I’ve seen of Summers in her few outings… **¾
Southside Speed King Championship: Chris Tyler vs. Andrew Everett vs. Bubblegum (c)
Oh God, it’s that stupidly-long intro again – maybe Chris is just a huge fan of Chesney Hawkes?
Everett starts by grabbing a headlock on Bubblegum, before he’s shoved off into Tyler, as the 19-year-old tries (and fails) to get some near-falls against the other two. There’s a lot of three-way spots in the start, before we go back down to standard triple-threat fare, with exchanging hiptosses and dropkicks just leaving Tyler and Bubblegum prey for a springboard dropkick from Everett.
Everett kicks away Bubblegum as he gets a standing moonsault on Tyler for a near-fall, only for Tyler to recover with an enziguiri. The TNA star tries to springboard back in, but he found himself knocked off the apron with a dropkick from Bubblegum, who went back to for a couple of near-falls. Bubblegum kept dropkicking Everett to the outside as he tried to keep this a singles match, and that tactic allowed Bubblegum to hit a spinebuster and a Ricochet-esque People’s Moonsault for another two-count on Tyler. A leapfrog from Bubblegum’s caught by Tyler, who takes him down for an elbow drop and a back suplex for a near-fall as those two went back and forth for a spell.
Everett trips Tyler and drags him outside, but that just puts the American into the path of a tope from Bubblegum. Back inside, Everett avoids some kicks from Bubblegum, before drilling the champion with an enziguiri as Bubblegum rolled to the outside… and into the path of a moonsault from Tyler whose attempt to upstage the “Apex of Agility” is outdone by a springboard tornillo to the floor. For some reason Everett tried to cover Bubblegum on the floor, but the referee just shrugged his shoulders. Back inside again, Tyler gets a two-count with a bridging German suplex, before Bubblegum’s handspring overhead kick took down Tyler. A ‘rana from Bubblegum takes Everett into the ropes, as the champion followed up with an ushigoroshi onto Tyler… who rebounded with a backcracker.
Tyler could only get a near-fall from that as he looked to kick Everett back outside again, just so he could finish off Bubblegum himself. A jumping Phoenix splash to Bubblegum misses, as Everett misses a shooting star press… which gives Bubblegum the chance to hit Tyler with a 619, then follow up with a top rope DDT and another 619 to Everett for the win. This was fine – at times it felt a little disjointed and cold as a three-way babyface match, but what they did was sound. ***
Southside Tag Team Championship: Guilty By Habit (Robbie X & Damian Dunne) (c) vs. Nixon Newell & PJ Black
This was a surprise match, as Robbie and Damian defended against a mystery pair of challengers… although the reasoning for this particular pairing was never really explained.
Dunne started against Newell, taking her into the corner before whipping her across the ring… only to be leapt over and be given a couple of armdrags. A big boot and a rana off the middle rope gets Newell just a one-count, before PJ Black tags in and instantly ties up Dunne with a pendulum swing… with Nixon coming back in to send her boot into the swinging head of Dunne.
PJ and Robbie X come in, but Robbie takes a stomp to the back as Newell’s dumped onto Robbie with a wheelbarrow legdrop for another two-count. Damian Dunne tags in and levels Nixon with a knee to the jaw for a near-fall, but GBH repeatedly rile up Black so they can attack her two-on-one for a spell.
A bodyslam from Robbie X sees him follow-up with a rear chinlock to Newell, before she fought free and landed a headbutt… then a satellite DDT to leave both competitors down. Finally she tags in PJ, who drops Dunne and Robbie off the ropes, before spinning heel kicks put the champions firmly on the back foot. Black hits a springboard cross body before he tags Newell back in for an elevated crossbody off of the South African’s shoulders. Newell chops and forearms Damian, then lands a step-up Shining Wizard before Black gets a near-fall from a springboard moonsault. Robbie X crotches Black as he was going up for another aerial move, but Nixon rushes in to trip Robbie off the top rope as she gives a top rope ‘rana to PJ onto Robbie, as a double stomp off the top from Newell gets a near-fall for PJ.
Black continues to kick away at Robbie, but he hits back with an enziguiri before he throws Black into a Dunne spear for a near-fall. Robbie comes back with a German suplex, as Damian hits a bridging German of his own, again for a two-count, before he stops himself short of giving a springboard Codebreaker to Robbie. An enziguiri from X is followed up by an X-Express, but Black counters it into a neckbreaker as Newell tags in and lands a Welsh Destroyer for the win! We have another set of new tag champions, after a really good intergender (sort-of) tag match. ***½
Throughout this, Rob Maltman on commentary was dropping hints about how Nixon winning a “men’s” title would only serve to annoy Kay Lee Ray – who up until this point was the only female in Southside to have done that (having held the Speed King title in 2014). So perhaps the Sucker for Pain weapons match wasn’t the blow-off afterall?
Alex Gracie vs. Colt Cabana
After spending all of the Nottingham show being a pain in the arse, we had just the one outing for Alex Gracie here, as Colt Cabana picked up some kids from the crowd and paraded them around.
The match started with Colt spanking Gracie as he was expecting the referee to pat him down. Colt blames it on referee Joel, whilst Joseph Conners on commentary took shots at Joel’s side-business. Gracie goes to the commentary desk for a microphone, and if you weren’t expecting a comedy match already, then what on earth were you expecting?
Gracie went into the crowd to wish someone a happy birthday… he drags the (un)lucky one into the ring, along with a chair, before he puts Colt’s headband onto her. As a blindfold. They play some music so he can dance for her… but before he gets going, Colt pulls a switcharoo and blindfolds Gracie… and he likes it! Colt gets the lapdance instead as Gracie twerks into the turnbuckle, before Gracie continues to lapdance a now-empty chair to reveal his face-on-arse-trunks.
Finally Gracie pulls off the bandanna and realises he’s been had, before he’s slapped into a chair, then out of the ring, as Colt then forces a lapdance onto Joel Allen. Alrighty then!
Colt cakes Gracie into the crowd, where he gets a few chops from Sarah (I believe the wife of the promoter) as payback for that lapdance from earlier. Gracie struts as he collapsed to the ground, and finally our match starts as a kick’s caught for a long ha-ha spot. Colt runs around the ring with that held leg, tripping up Gracie and sending the pain-in-the-arse to the outside.
Colt grabs some kids from the crowd to help with a game of cat and mouse, and all this is missing is the Benny Hill music! Colt rolls in, then out, of the ring as Gracie misses an elbow drow, but he comes back with Eat Defeat for just a count of one. Gracie takes Colt into the corner, then dropkicks Colt into the front row, and that just leads to Colt rolling back and forth across the ring for the ha-ha spot.
Gracie tries a stomp off the top, and misses only for Colt to roll all over him, and that seems to be the last straw as Gracie grabs a chinlock instead. Colt elbows free, but he quickly runs into a snapping side slam for a near-fall. Gracie goes up top once more, but he leaps into a boot… then throws it back and gets caught with the other one! Cabana fired back with some shots as he Dustys it up, finishing the trip to the pay window with a Bionic elbow!
Colt goes up and misses a stomp, instead just flopping on top of Gracie into a body splash for a near-fall, before he eventually trips Gracie for the Chicago Crab… but Alex works free! A schoolboy out of the corner almost gets a win as Joel Allen spots Gracie’s feet on the ropes… Gracie shoves the referee, who pushes him back into a pratfall as the Chicago Crab is reapplied for the win. Take out the ha-ha spots, and this was a pretty good match in truth! This weekend of shows has increased my appreciation of Alex Gracie, it has to be said… **¾
Southside Championship: Ethan Page vs. El Ligero (c)
Well, you can’t have “Battle of the Egos” without “All Ego”, can you? During the entrance, El Ligero swapped title belts with a fan, the poses some more after Page ribbed him about it.
Joseph Conners interrupts proceedings when they declare this as a title match, as he claims that Ligero is a delusional fraud. Hah! Ligero gets that kid’s replica belt from earlier so everyone has a title… Conners calls it a knock off of the WCW title belt, and he then gets dispatched as he tried to celebrate with his toy belt… which Ethan Page punts onto the stage!
When they finally get going, Page tries to mock Ligero by lifting him onto the top turnbuckles and ruffling his non-existent hair like he’s a youngster. Ligero’s response? To go to the crowd to grab a chair… so he can stand on it and be taller than “All Ego”. So Ethan jumps and wobbles the chair in a bid to make Ligero bump, so the masked man just gives up. Ligero then gets a piggy back on Joel Allen for a lock-up, but Page forces them both into the corner before he shrugs off some shoulder tackles from Ligero.
Ligero finally succeeds after he clipped Page’s knee, before a leap over in the corner saw the Canadian crumble to the mat with his bad knee. The match crashes to a halt as Ligero calls for some medics – which comes out in the form of Gabriel Kidd, Chris Tyler and Colt Cabana, who helps Page to the back – but it was a ruse, as Page cheapshotted Ligero and stomped on him on the stage.
Well, that’s one way to get the crowd to boo you!
Page throws Ligero into the ringpost as the fight continued in the crowd, then next to the fire escape, as I had flashbacks of a fire alarm show last summer. They end up in the stands as Page threatens to suplex Ligero on the stairway, but it’s blocked as Ligero tries to throw him off the side until they both just head back into the aisle.
Page picks up Ligero and charges him into the side of the stands, then into the seating deck as Page rains down punches from above before they finally head back into the ring! Ligero counters a suplex with a knee to the face, then gets a near-fall with a roll-up before Page takes over once again on the masked champion. A stalling suplex follows next as the camera twists in time to the bump, before Ligero counters a superplex with a powerbomb out of the corner!
Ligero collapses to the mat as he can’t make the cover, but he gets back up to sweep Page’s legs and hit a missile dropkick as that back seems to be improving. A Shiranui is successful, but it’s only good for a near-fall as Page had to kick out of a tight roll-up, before he blocks a C4L DDT and delivers a gutwrench flapjack for a near-fall. Page hits a big powerbomb for another two-count, before a blocked attempt at his Spinning Dwayne (uranage) ended up with a ref bump.
Ligero chopped away at Page, who came back with his Tanned Sheamus (Brogue kick). With no referee, Page headed to the commentary table to grab Ligero’s title belt… but he mocked Joseph Conners’ plastic belt, which meant that the former champion came down to get involved too. Conners has his plastic belt, but Page just stares at him in disbelief before shoving him down… Conners hits Page from behind, but it’s shrugged off. Unlike the low blow.
That gives Ligero the chance to hit the Mexican Wave splash off the top, but the referee is still down as there’s a visual pinfall… and Damian Dunne comes out to attack Ligero, before he lands a belt shot. Dunne drags Page on top of Ligero, but by the time the referee wakes up, Ligero’s able to kick out at two. Dunne then attacks the referee, but Gabriel Kidd makes the save by booting Dunne, only for Page to get rid of him as Ligero lands an enziguiri to take the Canadian to the outside.
This continues to get ridiculous as Alex Gracie appears and immediately gets thrown to the floor, as Ligero climbs up top and lands a flip senton to the floor. Big Grizzly emerges next and tries to chokeslam Ligero, who flips over then takes Page into Grizzle with another Tanned Sheamus, before a wheelbarrow roll-up gets the win!
This was a weird one to watch – fun to watch in points, but massively overdone in terms of run-ins and interference by the end. ***¼
What Worked: At least they established GBH as a force, but it was weird seeing them go from something of a joke to lackeys for Ethan Page (briefly) in that main event.
What Didn’t: After months of Damian Dunne being portrayed as an undercard joke, I was hoping that Guilty By Habit was a chance for him to turn the corner. I guess not… I’d have preferred them to have gone the other way on the Saturday show – have Stixx go out on top, then have Tyler pick a new partner and perhaps lose the belts there.
Thumbs: Middle, leaning up. There was nothing horrible on this show, but nothing that screamed “must see” either – but at a shade over two hours long, this was paced well and an easy watch if you have a subscription to Southside’s Vimeo channel.