Southside Wrestling wrapped up their 2016 in the town of St Neots with their latest Ill Manors card.

It’s your usual mix of former WWE names and good workers – with a women’s match being your main event between Kay Lee Ray and Nixon Newell.

Joseph Conners vs. MVP
Joseph Conners, who lost his Southside title to El Ligero on their 6th Anniversary show, is finding himself jerking the curtain here against former WWE/TNA/New Japan star MVP.

They start with promos and boo/yay stuff, before going to a grounded style, swapping headscissors and wrist locks. MVP takes an early advantage as he dropped Conners with a plancha, but the former champion fought back with a rake to the eye as he took advantage of an out-of-position referee.

From there, Conners keeps the match slow with plenty of chinlocks, but the tables turned when he tried – and failed – to mock MVP with the Ballin’ elbow. MVP makes the comeback from there, hitting a clothesline, an overhead belly-to-belly and finally the real Ballin’ elbow. The end came when MVP hit a Playmaker, before seeing a second one countered… but Conners tried to follow up that counter with a top rope splash which sees him land on his feet and try for a Righteous Kill DDT, only for MVP to switch that into a curb stomp for the win. Decent opener, even if the finishing sequence was a little weird in hindsight. Now the story is Joseph Conners’ potential losing streak – and what’ll happen now Joe’s without the belt. **½

Marshall X & Alex Gracie vs. Hornswoggle & Gabriel Kidd
WCPW represent! Okay, Alex Gracie’s not quite a Prospect-level jobber here – as the “Noisy Boy” here actually wrestles in those Matt Striker-esque trunks here. I’m not sure why his entrance video looks like a carbon copy of the Southside “screensaver”, but there you go.

There’s a massive pop for Hornswoggle, which shouldn’t be a surprise given that this is the perfect fit – a mixture of kids and casual fans pervade Southside’s fanbase… and that is by no way a bad thing. There’s a long delay here as the heels take their time disrobing, which leads to Hornswoggle dropping an elbow on Gracie’s gear a la Ric Flair.

The gaga continues as Kidd bites Gracie’s arse-face trunks, then goes airborne with a tope… just as the commentary team point out that none of these guys are exactly known as winners here. Alex Gracie takes a “nip toss” from Hornswoggle (basically, Hornswoggle grabs the nipples and throws him to the mat), before Kidd does the same thing, as he then sidesteps a charge from Marshal and Alex on the floor, as they crash into each other.

Eventually Kidd found himself on the defensive, with Hornswoggle inadvertently causing a distraction. Gracie blocks a tag out and drops kidd with a knee, but kidd hits back with uppercut to Marshall. Hornswoggle tags back and kicks away at Gracie, before the heels try to double team – ending with Gracie kicking Marshall low. Kidd comes in with a Finlay roll, as the tadpole splash from Hornswoggle gets the win. Basic stuff, but it worked for this audience – how well it helps everyone else in the match is debatable! *¾

Paul Malen vs Alex Maxted
Maxted made his name recently on the ITV reality show Love Island, and is making a go of the whole wrestling thing. He’s got the physique that 10-15 years ago, would have gotten him signed by WWE in a heartbeat.

Malen is an 11-year veteran of the UK scene, so this could easily be seen as a “walk through” match for the newcomer. There’s simple heel stuff as Malen spits at Maxted then attacks him from behind, but the big guy comes back with clotheslines and a massive elbow drop.

Malen tried to leave, but Maxted brings him back in… and my God Maxted tried a springboard. He misses and takes a clothesline, as Malen starts to work over him in the turnbuckles. A jaw breaker gets Malen a two count, before he choked Flex with some rope in his trunks. The referee stops another choke with wrist tape, but it’s another cover for the rope choke.

Eventually Malen is caught with the rope as Maxted makes a comeback with a missile dropkick, then gets a two with a swinging side slam. A jackhammer gets Maxted similar results, before Malen used the referee as a human shield to avoid another springboard. With the referee thrown aside, Malen kicks Maxted low, then hit the big boot for the win. It did its job – a somewhat fool proofed match to give Maxted experience. It worked somewhat, but whilst this wasn’t Malen vs a broom, Maxted has a ways to go… *¾

Southside Championship – El Ligero (c) vs Travis Banks vs Paul London
El Ligero has an open challenge here for the Southside title… and the open challenge didn’t specify that it had to be a single match. London came out singing, and he once again wrestled in his onesie.

Travis Banks attacked London as they teased having El Ligero sing, and apparently this is the match that should have been Ligero vs. Pete Dunne… except Dunne was already double-booked for a show in Ireland for OTT that same day. Banks had a spell of domination, rolling into London with a cannonball dive, before going after Ligero and throwing him outside the building. Hasn’t Ligero had that same trouble in Southside already this year??

That left us with Banks and London, and already Banks’ ear was bleeding. Banks raked the back of London, who then hulked up for some reason, before being knocked woozy with a forearm that eventually knocked him to the floor. London was thrown back in, but he just log rolls himself to the other side of the ring as he suckered Banks into a trio of superkicks, then a slingshot roll-up for a near-fall.

Banks fired back and went up to the announce table to grab the title belt… but Ligero re-emerges through the curtain and drops Banks down the stairs with a shot, and into the path of Paul London. Ligero flies off the stage with a flip senton into his two challengers, before aborting a Mexican Wave attempt to Banks.

Back in the ring, Banks takes a reverse DDT and a Shiranui for a near-fall as Paul London looked to be MIA, and sure enough as I typed that, London slid back in and dropped Ligero with a Dodon after Banks shoved out of an Ace Crusher. Banks tried to finish Ligero with a brainbuster, but Ligero wriggled free as the faces dropped him with a pair of superkicks.

Banks takes a shooting star press off the middle rope from London for a near-fall, before London ducks a dropkick off the apron from Ligero, who then rolled away from a Shooting Star Press. Banks flew in with a roundhouse out of the corner to London, but then was caught with the C4L as Ligero retained. A fun triple-threat – nothing sensational here, but nothing outwardly offensive either. Given this wasn’t the main event, I had no issues with a ten-minute world title match. ***

David Starr vs. Damian Dunne vs. Sean Kustom vs. Chris Tyler
Way too many nicknames for David Starr… who didn’t ingratiate himself well in St. Neots, by the look of it!

All action from the start as Tyler, Starr and Kustom swapped around a three-way waistlock as Damian Dunne missed a crossbody into the trio. Starr scored an early one-count on Tyler as those two traded some indy-riffic back-and-forth pinning attempts. Dunne finally came in and had some success with shoulder charges at Starr, who was then made to eat some used chewing gum…

Starr hit back with a never-ending series of forearms in the corner, then spat the gum back to Dunne, before they both exited the ring as Kustom and Tyler took over in the ring. An overhead kick in the ropes rocked Kustom, but he fought back with a rolling forearm and a leaping neckbreaker to Tyler, before taking a stiff DDT on the apron from Starr.

All four men returned to the ring as the faces, then the heels, took over, before the heels were sent to the floor for a pair of topes from Tyler, then Starr. Tyler’s then dumped to the outside with a lariat on the apron, but he recovers and drops Starr with a moonsault off the middle turnbuckle to the floor. The ring again filled up as Kustom and Dunne teased a superplex on Tyler, before Starr ran in to complete the Tower of Doom spot… but Tyler held on, and hit a 450 on Starr afterwards for a near-fall.

Starr turned Kustom inside out with a huge lariat for a near-fall as the Aussie took a battering for a while. Tyler hits an enziguiri and a back cracker, but Damian Dunne threw out Tyler as he tried to steal the pin on Kustom. Dunne again tried to surprise Tyler with a roll-up, again getting a near-fall, as Tyler took a barrage of punishment from Starr, only to turn a tiltawhirl into a DDT. For some reason the referee went to check on Starr, which allowed Damian Dunne to come in and kick Tyler low, then land a springboard Codebreaker for the win. A really good four-way, even if it got a little formulaic at times… ***¼

Robbie X vs. HC Dyer
Robbie came out with a kendo stick, despite losing to Mark Haskins last time out in a Kendo stick match. Dyer is the former Pledge, and he’s still got that Money in the Bank briefcase.

Dyer easily shoved away Robbie early on as the youngster succeeded with the power game, then again with a back chop and a hanging vertical suplex for a near-fall. Finally, Robbie started to mount a brief comeback, kicking away at Dyer in the corner, before working away at the youngster’s fingers.

A dropkick from Robbie X gets a near-fall, as the commentary team seem to suggest that Robbie X chased Mark Haskins away from the company after losing that Kendo Stick match. So, definitely not injury related then? Robbie wears down Dyer with a rear chinlock, but Dyer fights up and lands a rolling forearm, then a dropkick of his own to take down his opponent.

A scoop slam from Dyer almost ends it, but Robbie comes back with a series of forearms and a bicycle kick in the corner, before a missile dropkick got Robbie a two-count. After a forearm loosened Dyer’s grip on the ropes, Robbie went for an Irish whip, but it was blocked and turned into a wheelbarrow neckbreaker for a near-fall by Dyer. Robbie blocks a Rainmaker and hits a neckbreaker for a near-fall, before trying for a schoolboy with a handful of tights. That only gets him a near-fall, before Dyer hits back with a Blue Thunder Bomb for the win. Good stuff from an ever-improving Dyer. **¾

Falls Count Anywhere: Kay Lee Ray vs. Nixon Newell
Before the match, Kay Lee took the microphone and revealed she had an ace up her sleeve: she’s got a replacement referee in the form lf Alex Windsor. Undeterred by that announcement, Newell proposed a Falls Count Anywhere match… so how does that jive with the advertised Last Woman Standing match? Answer – it doesn’t! It’s now falls count anywhere instead!

Newell started on fire with a Welsh Destroyer and a tope to Kay Lee as they fought around the merch table and into the crowd. Kay Lee tries to whip Nixon down a row of seating, but it’s reversed as Kay Lee spills off the raised seating, before Newell misses a dive onto Kay Lee on the floor. Alex Windsor gets in place for a near-fall, before they exit the arena and fight into the leisure centre’s reception area.

Nixon lands a cross body off of reception, then whipped Newell into the women’s toilets… and the cameraman follows them in as Newell drags them out and into a cafeteria. Hey, they actually leave the building, and we’re back into the outside where we had that wacky Hardcore title feud instigated by Will Ospreay during a fire drill back in July. Nixon takes a massive bump into a streetlight for a one-count as half of the building emptied out after them.

Newell rolls up Kay Lee, but we see a hideously slow count from Windsor, before Nixon whips Kay Lee into a wooden fence. Yet again, Windsor’s out of place, and they tease a Welsh Destroyer, which is blocked and turned into a sunset flip as Nixon gets a long two count out of it. They tease a bodyslam, and it’s Kay Lee who takes it on the concrete for a jokingly slow two-count… at least they’re being consistent with this heel ref act, despite the crowd not getting it.

They brawl through the commentary team as the two women look to get back into the building, and eventually back towards the ring. Since some fans were slow in getting back, Nixon suplexed Kay Lee onto the front row, but it doesn’t lead to a count as Windsor pushes Kay Lee off the chair in a move that actually made some logical sense. For a heel. Kay Lee reverses another Irish whip as Nixon’s posted, before she’s forced to block a Gory Bomb on the outside.

Back in the ring (finally!), Nixon goes for the Destroyer, but it’s blocked and met with a Gory Bomb attempt, only for both women to bang heads. A springboard heel kick gets Kay Lee a quick two-count, before an attempted crossbody is turned into a bridging fallaway slam… but yet again Windsor takes an age to realise there’s a count to be made.

Another crossbody off the top actually gets a speedy two-count as Windsor “hurts her wrist” making the count. During the debate, Kay lee goes under the ring, but couldn’t find what she was looking for, and this just acts as a ruse for a small package and a quick two-count… before Windsor punches out Newell! Windsor grabs a chair from under the ring, but the two-on-one is blocked by Ruby Summers, who pulls Windsor off the apron and throws her into the front row.

Ruby puts on the referee’s shirt, just in time for Kay Lee to land a front suplex on Nixon for a near-fall. Kay Lee doesn’t seem to react too much to Ruby taking over as referee, but she sets up for a Gory Bomb onto the chair, but Nixon counters into a Code Red on the chair for a near-fall. A Shining Wizard misses, as Kay Lee rolls her up for a near-fall, before another headbutt sends both women down to the mat… and now we’re up to the last woman standing part!

Well, not for long: Windsor returns and lays out Ruby with a steel chair, before ripping off the referee’s shirt and resumes her duties. Windsor helps Kay Lee back to her feet, as the two resume a battle of forearm strikes, before Kay Lee dumps Nixon with her own Welsh Destroyer for a fast two-count. Newell returns the favour with a Gory Bomb, but but Windsor takes forever to make her usual slow count.

Nixon goes up top and misses a senton bomb, before Kay Lee followed up with a Gory Bomb for just a one count! Despite the blatant cheating. A savate kick knocks down Newell quickly though, and Kay Lee misses a swanton herself, before Nixon flies in with a Shining Wizard for a near-fall (which had to be a six count in normal terms!). Windsor stands in the way of another senton bomb, which allows Kay Lee to interfere… but Ruby Summers returns to waffle Windsor with a chair just in time for Nixon to land a Welsh Destroyer off the middle rope! Holy hell, that looked great! Ruby grabs the arm of the prone Windsor and makes the three count – and we finally have a winner!

Pretty good story telling here – although the heel ref who didn’t (couldn’t?) get physically involved was wearing thin by the time the finish came. ***½

All in, this was a solid show for Southside to wrap their year with. Yes, some of the early stuff wasn’t great, but the development of Adam Maxted, and in particular a Southside-original in HC Dyer was encouraging, whilst the main event was fun and chaotic. As long as you know what the target audience is, you can’t be disappointed… and all of a sudden, I’m looking forward to that double-header in Nottingham next month!