We’re going back a year to review an emotional card from Southside, as a fundraising show would end up being an unexpected tribute event.
Held in the town of Huntingdon on March 31, this show took place hours after news broke of the untimely passing of Kris Travis. Accordingly, the show opened with the entire roster coming to ringside – some in pink shirts – as the company held a ten-bell salute in his honour. A video package follows with moments from Travis’ career, including a lot of stuff from 1PW – which I really wish was still available on DVD, or in any format. Southside and Preston City Wrestling footage is in here too, as well as some clips from his British Bootcamp 2 appearance in TNA. That bit was quite sobering, as Mark Andrews was on this card too, and they cut from that TNA footage to a tearful Andrews at ringside.
After a fade-to-black, it’s into our first match – and for this show we’ve got Rickey Shane Page on commentary. Page was in the middle of a brief tour of the UK, and for some reason he wasn’t booked for a match here?
Dan Moloney vs. Alex Gracie
Yep, the same Dan Moloney who did the WWE UK tournament! And yes, the same Alex Gracie who’s more noted for being one half of WhatCulture’s Prospect tag team. Gracie bends over in front of a woman in the front row, who responds by booting him in the rear… then flips him off. Might be an idea to abandon the whole “get someone to pick your sunglasses up” act today!
Gracie gets the microphone, and is immediately heckled as he goes face-to-face with Moloney. Apparently “being really bad is going to be really good”, and we get going with Moloney chasing Gracie to the outside. Okay, we’re not really going yet as there’s a lot of stalling, before Moloney takes Gracie into the corner with a tie-up. From there, Dan takes Gracie’s leather jacket and threatens to rip it by posing in it, but Gracie replies with a takedown and a toe-hold… only for Moloney to power free. A headlock from Gracie gets a similar result, before Moloney gets a schoolboy for a two-count. Grace heads outside and tries to get into it with someone in the crowd, again with little success.
We finally resume back in the ring as Moloney powers out of another headlock, eventually dropping Gracie onto the apron. Dan holds the ropes for Alex to get back in, but Gracie cheapshots him on the way back in as “the Don” takes over, using his boot to choke Moloney on the bottom rope. Moloney turns the tables, sending Gracie into the ropes before a monkey flip saw Alex catch his knees on the bottom strand. Gracie then gets dropkicked to the outside, before he crawls under the ring to avoid Moloney, and he rushes in to roll him up for a near-fall. Another sunset flip gets a two-count, before Moloney blocks an inside cradle and turns it into a delayed Jackhammer. Dan misses a moonsault off the middle turnbuckle, and falls to a snap side slam for a near-fall from Gracie.
Moloney comes back with some forearms and a pump kick, before an airplane spin into a TKO gets the win. Pretty basic and full of gaga, but given the circumstances of the show, we may be in for a lot of this. **¼
Ruby Summers vs. Nixon Newell
This was a non-title match, so Newell had nothing to lose going in against the debuting Summers. On commentary they note that Newell won the title in a wacky ladders/no DQ/falls count anywhere match – one we’ll go back and review someday for the insanity of it.
We get going with basic holds, as Summers’ hammerlock is turned into a headlock by Newell, before Summers gets a roll-up for a one-count. Newell reverses a wristlock with ease, but Ruby gets it back before she trips Nixon in a bid to go for an STF… but Nixon fights back into a headlock takedown. Summers escapes with some headscissors, but Nixon quickly kips up out of them as they go back to working wristlocks. An armdrag sends Nixon into the corner, before Summers comes back with a monkey flip out of a knuckle-lock, which led to some near-falls, a duelling bridge out of it.
Summers whips Newell into the corner for an eventual leap-over as the champion lands a chop… before we get some more armdrags and a dropkick from Nixon for a two-count. Another whip into the corner from Summers leads to a snapmare then a dropkick as the relative newcomer got a two-count, before a suplex-turned DDT gets another one-count. Newell dodges a charge in the corner, and the pace quickens with some charging elnbows in the corner, before a kick’s caught and turned into a reverse leg sweep, as a Shining Wizard gets a near-fall.
Newell calls for the finish, but Summers pushes her into the corner to avoid a Destroyer. Summers lifts Newell up top and gets a Fisherman’s superplex for a near-fall, before Ruby goes to the top rope and misses a splash that I guess was meant to be Alexa Bliss’ old Sparkle Splash. It didn’t look good at all, more of a falling cartwheel than anything, and that left Ruby vulnerable for a superkick and the Cross Rhodes for the win. It might have been the occasion, but this wasn’t good – a lot of Ruby’s offence looked off here, and this just did not click. ¾*
The Righteous Army (Joseph Conners & The Pledge) vs. White Tiger & Cedric Alexander
Conners came out with a Kris Travis t-shirt and placed it on the commentary table during his entrance. Pledge would later become to be known as HC Dyer after the Righteous Army brokeup, and White Tiger has apparently been around since 2003, mostly wrestling in a bunch of promotions in the Midlands and in his native Scotland. Kayfabe!
Pledge and Tiger start with Pledge taking the masked man into the corner, before they switch hammerlocks back and forth. A shoulder tackle sees Pledge knock down Tiger, but a series of armdrags force the Pledge into the corner, with a rana taking him down for good measure! Tiger picks up Pledge in a Fireman’s carry, before Pledge tags in Conners, who’s instantly taken down with a dropkick… Cedric comes in for more of the same, prompting the commentator to exclaim how easy Cedric was beating the promotion’s champion.
An armdrag from Alexander leads to him tagging in Tiger for another armdrag as Conners continues to take a lot of offence. Finally Conners makes the tag out to Pledge, who drops a knee onto Tiger for a near-fall, and now it’s the Righteous Army who are taking over as White Tiger’s kept away from his partner. Alexander breaks up a cover after a Conners backbreaker, but Tiger quickly goes down to a jumping knee strike from Pledge for another near-fall. Cedric was kept on the apron for a long time as the Righteous Army continued to wear down Tiger, as Pledge picked up a couple of near-falls from a relatively simple bodyslam. Conners taunts Alexander again, and that gives Tiger a chance to make the hot tag as Cedric chops away on Conners in the corner, before ducking away from a clothesline from Pledge.
Cedric drops Pledge with a spinning suplex, then dumps Conners with a Michinoku Driver for a near-fall as his flurry of offence turned the match around. An enziguri from Alexander drops Pledge again, but Conners comes back with a float-over butterfly suplex to get a near-fall. Alexander makes a blind tag as the Righteous Army still focus on him… which leads to a double dropkick from Tiger and some charges in the corner. Pledge dumps Cedric to the outside, before Tiger counters a double suplex into a double neckbreaker on the Righteous Army.
Conners dumps Tiger with a push-down stomp in the corner, but he turned around into a Lumbar Check as Alexander then took a boot from Pledge. A leaping forearm followed, before a ripcord Blue Thunder Bomb sent Cedric down. White Tiger picks up with a death valley driver to Pledge, before Conners lands the Righteous Kill DDT out of nowhere for the win. A pretty good match, with the Righteous Army rolling on in Southside – as we get some frantic back-and-forth camera switches. ***½
Tyler Bate vs. Travis Banks vs. El Ligero vs. Mark Andrews
This was billed as an international four-way, with Ligero representing Mexico. Kayfabe! Banks gets in the face of a few fans, and tells them to stop cheering him. It works too!
Banks talks down to everyone in the match, so he just gets booted and thrown to the outside by Andrews, who follows him out with a plancha. Tyler and Ligero get going in the ring with a series of headlock takedowns and escapes, before they stop to throw Travis outside again, with Tyler this time throwing in a plancha. Ligero and Andrews work the headlock series, getting a couple of near-falls, including a flurry of back-and-forth rolling one-counts just to troll referee Shay Purser! Banks comes back and continues the gag by being thrown outside yet again, with Ligero finishing off the hattrick of planchas as Andrews gets booted in a headlock by Tyler Bate.
Tyler then gets thrown to the outside by Ligero, as Travis Banks finally gets some action in as he sent Ligero to the floor… before missing a plancha as Ligero, Bate and Andrews got away from the flying Kiwi. Everyone finally returns to the ring as Banks fights off a series of avalanches in the corner using his elbow, and then he goes up top and misses a cross body as the three babyfaces duck. Yeah, on a night where another Travis was being remembered, it’s not really been this Travis’ night.
Andrews lands a Northern Lights suplex on Ligero, before a wheelbarrow and a bulldog gets Bate onto Ligero for a near-fall, as Banks tries another comeback, and succeeds with a rebound roundhouse kick out of the corner. A spinning torture rack is blocked by Ligero, who then low bridges Banks outside yet again, before Ligs hits a somersault plancha onto the trio outside.
Back inside, a missile dropkick from Ligero knocks down Banks, as everyone goes airborne ending with a diving uppercut from Bate. Banks then goes up top, and he misses a big splash as everyone rolls away. Ligero and Andrews tee off on each other with forearms, before Banks and Bate cut them off with a pair of single leg Boston crabs… which they briefly hold before they tee off on each other with uppercuts. That gives way to a pair of schoolboys from Andrews and Ligero, as the tempo picks up… and Banks finally dumps Andrews with that helicoper spin out of a torture rack.
Bate drops Banks with a backbreaker before going into a series of indy’riffic near-falls with Ligero… and that actually ends the match as one of the sunset flip reversals gets a three-count! I don’t think I’ve ever seen that spot get a win – but I’ll take it. Largely a comedy match, but again given the circumstances, this was the right kind of tempo for the live crowd. ***
Pete Dunne vs. Blake
This was billed as an open challenge for the “Young and Bitter” Pete Dunne – it’s amazing to see how far his star’s soared in the months after this. His opponent here was Blake. No, not the former NXT tag team champion, but rather the debut of a hometown hero.
Dunne jumps Blake at the bell with a headbutt, before he throws Blake into the turnbuckles. Blake comes back with a clothesline and a slam, then finally with an armdrag that almost bled into a uranage. They head outside, where Dunne misses a clothesline before cheapshotting Blake as he went to chop him by the ringposts. Eventually Blake ducks as Dunne chops the ringpost, and the pair of them head into the crowd as Dunne’s sore hand is used to throw Blake into the front row. Blake comes back with a slam on the floor, but that comeback ends when Dunne grabs a headlock and markes his opponent around the rind, before throwing him back into the front row once more.
Blake returns the favour as they return to the ring, where he walks into a DDT for a two-count from Dunne, who followed up with some knee stomps and finger biting. From there, Dunne grabs a wristlock and torques away on Blake’s arm before the local lad comes back with an atomic drop and a back senton. An avalanche in the corner sees Blake get on top again, but Dunne backdrops his second charge onto the apron.
Blake recovers with a corkscrew blockbuster neckbreaker off the top rope for a near-fall, before a pumphandle into a flapjack gets Blake another two-count. Dunne takes a clothesline then another pumphandle, but it’s countered into an inside cradle as the future “Bruiserweight” snatched the win. At under ten minutes, this was on the short side, but good for what it was. **¾
Chris Brookes vs. Mark Haskins
Brookes heads to the outside almost immediately as he pulls someone from the crowd to help with some leg stretches. He then gets into it with a fan, who actually climbs into the ring at Haskins’ request – and this is a weird way to start a match.
When they finally lock up, Haskins tries for a wristlock as he takes Brookes into the ropes for a break. Wash, rinse and repeat, this time with a waistlock takedown into a guillotine as Brookes got a leg out to break the hold. Back in the ring, Brookes grabs a headlock before getting sent into the ropes as Haskins makes a comeback with a kick to the chest, before a stiff kick to the back sends Brookes down.
Brookes goes for another headlock to keep Haskins at bay, but the “Star Attraction” works free and stomps down the arm before attempting a Fujiwara armbar. Haskins gets sent onto the apron before getting caught on his way back in with a kick to the head, as Hasking was hung up on the middle rope on his way to the floor. Haskins is dumped onto the apron with a knee breaker, before Brookes used the ringpost to wrap Haskins’ leg around as the “Calamari Catch King” does his best to take those kicks out of Haskins’ game. That continues in the ring as Brookes drops a knee onto Haskins, before catching him in a bridging Indian deathlock. Eventually, Haskins pushes free and scores a roll-up after Brookes bounded off the ropes, but Brookes hit back with a Dragon screw for another near-fall.
Brookes followed that up with a single leg crab, focusing again on Haskins’ left leg, but Mark manages to get the ropes to break the hold. Haskins struggles to get to his feet, before he drills some forearms into Brookes, ending with a couple of kicks from that injured left leg that sent both men to the mat. After leaping over Brookes in the corner, Haskins rolls through into a Sharpshooter, but the injured knee means that Haskins couldn’t get all of it on, as Brookes squirmed to the ropes.
Another striking battle ends with Haskins landing a short-arm clothesline for a near-fall, but Brookes comes back as he locks on a knee bar a la Noam Dar. Haskins manages to reverse it and rolls up Brookes for a near-fall, before some kicks from Brookes almost won it. More kicks lead to a draping swinging suplex off the top rope by Brookes, but that gets another near-fall.
Brookes switches into an Octopus hold, but Haskins powers out and stomps on Brookes’ chest, and from there it’s a roll-up into a death valley driver, before the bridging armbar from Haskins forces a submission. An incredible outing from both men which really went under the radar I feel. ****
There’s a crossfade into an announcement that Southside fans had raised £900 – a sum that had been doubled as Woodlands Hospice received almost £2,000 from the show alone.
The Second City Collective (Damian Dunne & Ryan Smile) vs. Stixx & Flips (Stixx & Chris Tyler)
That’s the Second City Collective, and not the “Scond City Collective”, as the nameplate would have you believe. Perhaps the video editor just fancied a baked treat? Anyway, Dunne and Smile’s tag titles weren’t on the line here.
Stixx charged Dunne and Smile out of the ring as they came in, before using the house mic to lead a chant of “Andi Peters” at Ryan Smile. Casual racism, folks!
The bell rings and we start with Stixx and Smile – and a lot of stalling! Smile goes outside and does a comedy spot with a fan in a wheelchair as Dunne has to hold him back. We finally get going as Smile escapes a fireman’s carry from Stixx, before he just flies to the mat from a shoulder tackle. Smile leaps over Stixx and gets confused when the second one doesn’t work… as he turned around into a clothesline before diving out for a tag.
Dunne’s brought in “the hard way” as he takes down a newly-entered Chris Tyler with a shoulder tackle, only for the 19-year-old Tyler to land an enziguiri to Dunne. Damian comes back with an uppercut, before Tyler’s dropkick gets him a two-count as Stixx and Tyler double-team Damian for a near-fall. Stixx hoists up Dunne for a hanging vertical suplex, whilst Ryan Smile’s attempt at making the save sees him pratfall on the middle rope as he crashed to the mat. That suplex gets Stixx a two-count, before he easily drops Smile and Dunne with slams as Stixx and Tyler opt to lay into the champions with elbows to the head, then a diving clothesline.
Stixx actually kips up, but he’s caught by a kick in the ropes by Smile as the Birmingham pair start to double-team the veteran. Dunne boots Stixx in the corner and Smile takes over with some forearms and chops as the champions try to wear down the big guy. A knee drop gets Dunne just a one-count as Smile tries to bait Tyler into the ring… and that just gets him elevated by a Stixx back body drop!
Tyler finally tags in and drops Dunne with some clotheslines, before a snapmare and a PK takes Dunne down for an elbow drop that gets him a near-fall. Dunne takes a back cracker for a near-fall, as Smile interferes and ends up shrieking as he’s chased around ringside… which leads to Tyler running into the path of a massive spear from Dunne. That sees the Second City Collective recover, as Tyler’s kept isolated for a spell, courtesy of a rear chinlock from Smile.
A forearm and a chop from Smile leads to a back suplex as Tyler’s forced to kick out once more. Tyler finally capitalises on the taunting from his opponents to send Dunne to the outside, before an enziguiri to Smile allows the youngster to bring Stixx back into the match – who launched into Dunne with a crossbody that almost broke the corner of the ring off! Stixx’s powerslam to Smile is followed up by a TKO to Dunne for a two-count, but the champions fired back with duelling enziguiris, only for Tyler to set up for one of those “you DDT your partner” spots, courtesy of a neckbreaker to Smile by Stixx. Tyler goes airborne with a step-up plancha to Dunne, before Smile stops Stixx with a Blue Thunder Bomb.
Tyler impresses Smile with a pop-up Destroyer, before taking a springboard Codebreaker by Dunne, as Dunne turns his attentions back to Stixx. A superkick rocks Stixx, who catches another springboard codebreaker and turns it into a Bossman slam. Despite surely having the match won, Stixx pulls up Dunne and drags him into the corner, for Tyler to land a wild 450 Splash that underlines the win. A fine outing from the debuting “Stixx and Flips”, but my word, Tyler’s theme does not fit! ***½
As a standalone show, this was fine. It feels overly harsh to criticise anything on here given the circumstances. Save for the women’s match, which I’d put down to inexperience, the wrestling here was pretty decent, with that Brookes/Haskins match head and shoulders above everything else.