We’re going to take a look at something different this week, with a fairly eventful show from Southside Wrestling – Retribution 7.
Southside Wrestling Entertainment, to give them their full name, have been running shows since October 2010, and largely stick to southern England, with shows in towns like St. Neots, Stevenage and Bedford, whilst they have also tried to run as far north as Nottingham and Sheffield.
This show, from St Neots, features five fly-ins (not counting Tommy End, since he’s pretty much “an adopted Brit”), and a rather unexpected surprise in the form of a fire alarm death match (not quite!). If you want to watch along, the only (legit) option online is through Southside’s On-Demand channel – https://vimeo.com/ondemand/demandsouthside – which gives you access to all of SWE’s back catalogue for £5.99 a month (no per-show pricing here, unfortunately).
Tommy End vs. Martin Kirby
This started out quite technical as Kirby looked to keep his distance from End’s vicious kicks. It ended up being Kirby who connected with the first head kick of the match, but after landing his “Puppy Power” charge into the corner, End drilled him with a kick for a near-fall.
After that kick, it was all Tommy End for a while, with a brief comeback from Kirby coming to a screeching halt with another kick to the chest. Kirby nearly takes the win with a Falcon Arrow for a near-fall after countering an avalanche from End with an elbow, but End went back with some kicks, only to miss a double stomp off the top.
Kirby gets another near-fall from a slingblade, before End wriggles out of a Sable Bomb and gets a two-count of his own with a pump kick. However, after a fireman’s carry facebuster and a superkick, Kirby gets the Sable Bomb at the second attempt and scores the win. Decent opening match, no-frills, but that’s exactly what you’d expect as a curtain-jerking match. ***
After the match, End took the microphone and acknowledges that this was his last match in Southside. He recounts his SWE career, fighting against feedback, and thanks the promotion for giving him the chance to make it to the next level. End puts over Kirby as the MVP of British wrestling, before they head to the back.
Kay Lee Ray vs. Jessicka Havok
Judging by the boos, Kay Lee Ray is a heel here in SWE, and she’s finally ditched the old ring gear had. Her opponent here is former TNA star Jessicka Havok, who’s sporting blonde hair.
Ray tries to attack Havok from behind, but it’s no-sold as a big boot knocks the Scots-woman down. There’s a lot of stalling on the outside as Ray takes a couple of moves then rolls to the floor, before Ray starts to kick away on the legs of Havoc.
Ray tries for a Gory bomb, but of course she’s got no hope, and takes a bunch of kicks, before wheelbarrow’ing Havok into a facebuster for a near-fall. Havok makes the ropes from a single-leg crab, before she goes under the ring for some plunder in the form of a chair. That’s taken away from her, and it gives Havok an opening, catching a crossbody off the middle rope, which gets turned into a fallaway slam. An STO backbreaker and a clothesline sends Ray into the corner, and in place for some boots to the face, before Havok misses a third attempt.
Ray gets the chair again, but is stopped by the referee, before being clotheslined to the outside. As the referee for some reason takes the chair onto the stage, Ray goes under the ring again and grabs a second chair, uses it on Havok, and that’s all she wrote. A disposable match, for me, with Havok being something of a disappointment compared to those early days in TNA as their latest monster. *¾
Afterwards, Kay Lee Ray gets the feedback-filled microphone and cuts a promo, talking about the Queen of Southside title match tonight… but before we can get anywhere, Havok chokeslams her to get her heat back.
Before the next match, Pete Dunne gets the microphone, and declares himself the number one contender to the Southside title. Okay then.
Pete Dunne vs. El Ligero vs. Sami Callihan
Callihan’s out with the Rockstar Pro Wrestling title, for whatever reason… Callihan starts by drilling Dunne with a Yakuza kick, and this looks to be your usual triple threat, with one guy out on the floor selling whilst the other two stay in the ring. Yet Callihan was the first one out, despite delivering the stiffest move in the opening seconds!
After a brief exchange, Dunne hotshots Ligero, which leads to Callihan running in and dropping him with a knee strike, then a death valley driver, before Ligero returns and tries for the C4L, but he has to turn it into a sunset flip with a load of near-falls from back-and-forth reversals. All three take turns in and out of the ring, and we get some dives to the outside, before a half nelson suplex on Dunne almost gets Callihan the win.
Both Dunne and Callihan trade waistlocks, before Ligero’s springboard kick drops Callihan, with Dunne countering a C4L with a forearm smash. A pop-up into a forearm gets Dunne a near-fall before he snacks on Ligero’s fingers – something which Ligero quickly gives a receipt for.
All three men trade forearms, then windmill punches, and a trio of superkicks leads to everyone crashing to the mat simultaneously. Ligero turns a Drop Dead into a reverse ‘rana, before another C4L is countered with a pump kick to Callihan, only for Dunne to land a double German suplex out of nowhere. Ligero reverses another Drop Dead, and just about gets the Mexican Wave, only for Joseph Conners to run in and break up the cover and wipe out Ligero with the SWE title (which looks to be the old WCW big gold belt…) Callihan takes out Conners with a tope, before returning to the ring to drill Dunne with some knees, then a powerbomb, then a crossface for the instant tap-out. This was actually quite enjoyable, once you got past the early stages of “one man takes a rest while the other two fight”. Strange that Callihan won if they were building up Dunne/Conners though. ***¼
Southside Wrestling Tag Team Championship: Travis Banks & Chris Brookes vs. Stixx & Flips (Stixx & Chris Tyler) (c)
Thankfully, that’s Chris, and not Cage Tyler of the “Big ‘un in Wigan” fame from back in the day. Brookes and Banks bring in a pair of toy WWE tag title belts from the crowd, and try to put those on the line too, which was a nice heel move. As was Banks using a foam finger to wind up some of the crowd…
Banks and Brookes stall for ages, leaving the building briefly, and we start when Chris Tyler crashes over the top rope onto the challengers, after leaping off of Stixx. The champions work over the heels in the opening stages, with Travis Banks nary getting a shot in anger on the champions.
Finally the heels get some offence after Brookes tripped Tyler from the outside, and Brookes kept up the offence inside and out, with the youngster getting chokes as the challengers kept Stixx at bay. After Banks made an error in trying to punch Stixx, the big guy countered and got the hot tag back in, charging Brookes and Banks into the corners. Stixx lands a TKO on Banks, who landed on top of Brookes for a near-fall, before Banks turned Tyler inside out with a lariat.
Brookes spits at Stixx, which sparks a chase around ringside, ending with an Asai moonsault by Tyler. A double superkick takes down Tyler for a near-fall, before they hit a Gory bomb on Tyler, who landed across Banks’ knees for another near-fall. Stixx spears Banks as they tried for it again, before a Finlay roll into a 450 Splash from Tyler seals the win for the champions. A fun tag team match, with Banks and Brookes working really well together – Banks is sure building up an impressive run of matches during his time over here! ***¼
SWE seem to be using a “present the whole show, but with some edits” format, which included them fading out a commentator during his recap. Odd.
Match of a Thousand Tacks: Joseph Conners vs. Abyss
Conners’ SWE title isn’t on the line here, and he’s firmly on his own after the Righteous Army were forced to disband earlier in the year. Not to be outdone with gold, Abyss is out with his TNA tag team title belt. Not sure which’ll be seen as more valuable in 2016…
Abyss starts by laying into Conners with chops, and he tries for a chokeslam early on. Conners avoids it, but he gets backdropped into the crowd, where most of this match actually takes place. Abyss uses a fan’s walking stick on Conners, before kindly giving it back , as the brawl goes towards the stands, and through the merchandise table.
Back in the ring, Conners climbs the ladder and misses a legdrop off the top, before we get an incredibly awkward ref bump as Conners puts the brakes on, but Abyss sort-of-does but the ref still goes down. I think we’re 0-2 in corner spots after Havok took the awkward “missed” facewash earlier on… Abyss gets a chokeslam after Conners was going for a belt shot, but of course, no ref! Abyss misses a belt shot, and then takes the SWE title to the head, and finally the ref wakes up to count a near-fall.
That would have been anticlimactic, a 10,000 Tacks match won without a single tack being used!
Now we get the backpack full of thumbtacks, as Conners pulls it out from under the ring, and scatters them across the ring. I wonder if anyone from St Neot’s Trading Standards counted those drawing pins? Not to be outdone, Abyss pulls out Janice (the board with a nail in it) from under the ring, only for Conners to grab it and climbs the ladder with it. El Ligero runs in and grabs Janice, which gives Abyss the chance to pick up Conners from the ladder for a chokeslam into the thumbtacks for the pin. Hey, we got what was advertised, but this wasn’t much of a match – Conners didn’t exactly come off as looking strong here, taking a lot of punishment, but they at least had the storyline out of having Ligero’s distraction cost him the match. **½
Conners slowly leaves the ring, making a point of spinning around ringside to display the thumbtacks in his back, before grabbing the mic and declaring his hatred of the fans.
The next match was originally going to be Alex Windsor challenging Jade (of TNA) for Southside’s women’s title – called the Queen of Southside Championship. However, before the match could get going, Kay Lee Ray heads out and asks if “this mic is working for me right now”. Well, at least it was.
Ray wanted her rematch, since she’s apparently not had one since losing it in a ladder match, but Jade yanked the microphone away from her. Jade then accepts, and turns this into a three-way… so we have this instead:
Queen of Southside Championship: Jade (c) vs. Alex Windsor vs. Kay Lee Ray
The two heels try to work over Jade, but we quickly go to Windsor vs. Jade after Ray had taken a spill to the outside. Kay Lee Ray repeatedly tries to get back into the ring, but gets knocked off the apron twice before finally getting back into things, stomping away on Jade in the corner.
Windsor breaks up a cover after a Pele kick from Jade, and the two heels work over Jade with a double team suplex. Jade makes a comeback, but a hair pull from Ray sends her to the mat as Windsor gets a near-fall. A double team flapjack nearly saw Jade take a Sabu-like bump, but the champion makes takes out Windsor with a DDT, before Ray’s enziguiri takes her to the outside.
A cannonball from Windsor keeps Jade down, but the champion escapes from Windsor’s clutches as a tope from Ray goes awry, with Jade following up with a dive of her own. Jade ducks out of a pair of forearms from the heels, then dishes out some kicks as the Windsor/Ray alliance continued to stutter. Windsor drills Jade with a Blue Thunder bomb for a near-fall, before Jade caught a kick from Ray and turned it into a powerbomb for two-count herself.
For some reason, Jade came down off the top rope to save Windsor from a Gory Bomb, instead working with Ray for a double-team DDT, before Ray blocked a package piledriver and hit the Gory Bomb on Jade to win the title. That felt a little short for a championship three-way, but it was enjoyable while it lasted. I’d have liked to have seen more effective double-teaming from the heels before they broke up… ***
Up next is Southside’s Money in the Bank match. It’s a silver briefcase with MITB drawn on it, and the winner gets a title shot for any SWE belt at any time in the next year. Nixon Newell’s in there, as are Damian Dunne, Tyler Bate, Mark Haskins, Robbie X, and the soon-to-be-renamed “The Pledge.
As soon as the bell rang, we got… a fire alarm. Newell knocked Dunne out of the ring with an enziguiri, before we were left with Haskins and Bate in the ring, looking at each other in bemusement. They traded forearms, before the building actually got evacuated!
The cameras rolled as everyone – including the wrestlers – ended up leaving the building, which made for some unusual viewing. We cut to the outside where Will Ospreay and Travis Banks (of all people!) seemed to be doing a headcount… and in front of the evacuated crowd at the Priory Centre in St. Neots, Sami Callihan ends up recording a video about this whole thing.
Improvisation becomes the name of the game for a while as Joseph Conners and Will Ospreay got into it… and then Ospreay grabbed a toy Hardcore title belt from the crowd, declared himself the first 24:7 champion… and we had an impromptu series of matches!
SWE 24:7 Championship (Not Really…): Will Ospreay (c) vs. Andrew Everett
Everett wins with a roll-up on the road outside the Priory Centre.
SWE 24:7 Championship (Not Really…): Andrew Everett (c) vs. Mark Haskins
Whilst recording, Sami Callihan whispers something to Mark Haskins, and he’s next… and quickly gets the roll-up, but no longer had the referee counted three…
SWE 24:7 Championship (Not Really…): Mark Haskins (c) vs. Joseph Conners
Joseph Conners snuck in and schoolboy’d Haskins in the road to “win” his second title. Conners celebrates on the car, but Haskins has taken Conner’s proper SWE title.
Conners complains to an elderly woman in a wheelchair about it all, and after going to face Haskins, he gets surprised…
SWE 24:7 Championship (Not Really…): Joseph Conners (c) vs. Sami Callihan
Tazmission from Callihan, and referee Joel Allen drops the arm three times, and the bare-footed Callihan is the new champion…
SWE 24:7 Championship (Not Really…): Sami Callihan (c) vs. Mark Haskins
…for like three seconds as Haskins superkicked him and became a two-time not-really champion.
SWE 24:7 Championship (Not Really…): Mark Haskins (c) vs. Will Ospreay
Kick, wham, Stunner. Billy-boy doesn’t make the cover though, instead he picks up a kid from the crowd to make the cover, and Sami Callihan parades the kid as the new champion, just in time for everyone to be let back inside. Well, perhaps not, as we’re still outside for an impromptu meet ‘n’ greet with Will Ospreay.
Ospreay grabs a fan to cut a promo on Joseph Conners – in a PG manner – before Will goes back to the fan who won the last ever 24:7 title – Lewis! He cuts a promo on Mark Haskins, and finally we’re heading back inside.
Well, before we go back inside, Damian Dunne and Tyler Bate trade punches over a flowerbed. Nixon Newell cuts him off with forearms, and we return through the back of the building as Bate has Dunne in a headlock.
Oh my word, kudos to all involved for making chicken salad out of chicken… y’know where I’m going here. Wrestling at its finest, if only for everyone’s ability here to keep a show going at all costs.
As everyone filters back into the building, the match picks up where it left off…
Money In The Bank Match: Nixon Newell vs. Damian Dunne vs. The Pledge vs. Tyler Bate vs. Robbie X vs. Mark Haskins
Bate and Haskins trade shots on the outside as Pledge and Robbie X are the last two to make their way back in. Haskins takes down Bate with a dropkick, before Robbie X comes in… and is made light work of by Bate.
Newell takes down Pledge with a cross body, then a reverse neckbreaker, before Damian Dunne nailed her with an uppercut. Haskins returns and tried for a pumphandle driver on Dunne, but had to make do with a dropkick to the seated Haskins instead.
Pledge drills Haskins with a spinebuster for a near-fall – and I’m guessing this is a one-fall to a finish match, as Robbie X broke it up. Haskins leaps over Pledge as he goes to the outside, before X gets a dropkick for a near-fall. Dunne surprises X with a springboard codebreaker, then gets a two-count on Haskins, who eventually fires back and gets a dropkick to send Dunne to the outside. Pledge creeps back in, and falls into the roll-through Sharpshooter, but Pledge is able to grab the ropes to force a break.
Haskins gets an outside-in dropkick to Pledge who was caught in a Tree of Woe, before Bate suplexed Haskins into Pledge. Bate takes out Pledge, Dunne and Haskins with a tope, before Haskins follows up with one of his own. Robbie X teased a moonsault off the top, but changed his mind and found himself knocked into the pile by Nixon Newell, who ended up doing the top rope moonsault herself.
Newell landed the Welsh Destroyer on X, before a spear from Damian Dunne took her out of the equation. A deadlift Saito suplex from Bate did the same for Dunne, before Pledge took him out, only to see a spear on Haskins turned into an armbar. Robbie X broke up the armbar with a Kendo stick shot to Haskins, before the pair ended up brawling to the back.
Back in the ring, Dunne backdrops Newell to the floor, before Tyler Bate lands a kick off the top to the back of Dunne. Pledge comes close with a roll-up on Bate, but took a back elbow off the middle rope, then a deadlift German suplex before kicking out. Pledge reverses a rolling German, then lands Blue Thunder Bomb to win. Well, he’s going to get a new name (which is good, since “The Pledge” makes no sense outside of that Righteous Army storyline), but as a match, this was alright. The crowd took a while to get back into it after the fire alarm, but the dive spots towards the end helped immensely. ***½
Southside Speed King Championship: Will Ospreay vs. Andrew Everett (c)
“How to say Cruiserweight, without saying Cruiserweight”… Ospreay’s announced as a former 24:7 Hardcore champion (nudge nudge, wink wink).
Everett starts by drilling Ospreay with an enziguiri in the corner, then a moonsault to the outside, before a shooting star press almost wins the match in the first sixty seconds for the champion. They tease using Ospreay’s head to set off another fire alarm, before Ospreay chops away at Everett in the ring. A handspring into a roundhouse kick knocks Everett down, before Will lands the springboard forearm for a near-fall.
Everett ducks a Rainmaker, then lands an overhead kick, but Ospreay comes back with the Bloody Sunday reverse DDT for a near-fall. The OsCutter’s blocked out of the corner by Everett, who knocks him down into a Tree of Woe, then follows with a Coast-to-Coast dropkick to Ospreay’s midsection.
After the kick-out, Everett tried – and missed – a 450 Splash, before Ospreay’s Cheeky Nando’s kick was blocked. Everett drills Ospreay with a reverse ‘rana, but Will comes back with a one man Spanish Fly. A nice looking spike hurricanrana gets Everett another two-count, before missing a Cheeky Nando’s, which Ospreay eventually hits for a near-fall.
Another OsCutter is blocked, but Ospreay lands on his feet from an attempted super reverse ‘rana, before he succeeds with the OsCutter out of the corner for the win! Ospreay becomes a two-time champion, from a match that felt just about the right length. Maybe not the insane sort of stuff we’ve seen from Will before, but a really good main event. ***¾
Everett flips off Ospreay afterwards, and the new champion cut a promo to close the show, referencing the fire alarm, and brings Lewis – the final 24:7 champion – into the ring. Will gets the crowd to chant the kid’s name, as the show ended with a round of applause for the entire crew, and a dance party set to Uptown Funk.
One of the big knocks against SWE is their over-reliance on fly-ins, which has led them to some sticky situations, in particular with TNA. However this show, whilst TNA-heavy, certainly didn’t feel like they were pandering to the imports at all, with the only questionable match being Joseph Conners’ loss to Abyss, but at least that had the massive asterisk of El Ligero next to it.
A lot of times, I see shows which I guess “must have been fun” live, but a lot of that didn’t translate through the medium of video. At least with this show, Southside put on a fun card, and left the fans with something to remember from just about every match. And if that isn’t what going to watch wrestling is about… then what on earth is?
If Southside are near you, I thoroughly suggest giving them a shot!