Since we always review Southside out of order, we’re going to go back to Nottingham for their first evening show of 2017: Sucker For Pain.
We were there live in Nottingham, so this’ll be a recap of the matches, including the hectic Fans Bring The Weapons main event… but first, we’ve got Alex Gracie out to be a pain in the arse. During the afternoon show, Southside’s regular commentator was injured, so Gracie’s out to fight the “What?” chants and replace him. Cue uneasy facial expressions, a la McMahon and Austin. The Rushcliffe Arena in Nottingham was filmed with the house lights on, making the video screens pretty much invisible on camera.
Inter Coastal Violence Factory (Chris Brookes & Travis Banks) vs. The Filthy Kliq (BT Gunn & Stevie Xavier)
Brookes and Banks try to shut down the show before it gets going, pulling up empty seats and picking fights with fans.
When we get going, Brookes and Xavier trade wristlocks, before Brookes gets up from a takedown and takes Xavier into the corner as the pair hit duelling forearms and kicks. They hit duelling kicks to the point where referee Joel Allen is needed to moderate a ceasefire, but they quickly run into each other with clotheslines as both men tag out.
Gunn and Banks neutralise each other early, but it’s Xavier who cheats first by attacking Banks from behind, before he tags in and lays into Banks with shots, as the latter then tags in Brookes and we get a double-tea, camel clutch/dropkick combo. It’s not long before we see the wet willie as Xavier gets it in the ear, but the Scotsman comes back with a reverse DDT/Downward Spiral combo before tagging in Gunn.
A series of chops to Brookes sees Gunn follow-up with a springboard cross body, before an enziguiri knocks Brookes into the corner. Another step-up enziguiri comes next, as a high Codebreaker off the middle rope almost decapitates Brookes, who then takes a diving dropkick from Xavier for a near-fall.
Brookes takes out Xavier on the outside with a tope as Travis Banks returns for a reverse leg sweep and a diving knee, only to run into a bicycle kick from Gunn, then returning the favour with a springboard roundhouse out of the corner. Banks gets caught in a Fireman’s carry, but he shoves off Gunn into Xavier as a low blow sets up the Scotsman for an elevated Codebreaker for a near-fall.
Gunn fires back with a series of chops to Banks and Brookes, before pushing the two into each other. Xavier low bridges Banks to the outside, which leaves Brookes open for a receipt low blow, and that’s enough for the win. Decent enough for an opener, with the Filthy Kliq out-doing Brookes and Banks at their own game. ***
Travis Banks carries Brookes to the back as he sells the low blow… and the Christmas weight! We then jump to Alex Gracie struggling with a microphone, and he’s hijacking the next segment to do the ring announcing. Gracie calls the fans “a bunch of marks” for one-falling… before tagging all of entrances by claiming he’d slept with everyone in the match. Which got him a swift kick to the groin… goodnight Gracie!
Queen of Southside Championship: Kasey Owens vs. Melina (c)
Melina got some weird cross-faded music that ended up with her WWE theme, and she starts by hiptossing Kasey, then landing a dropkick to send the Belfast native to the outside.
Melina ducks a shot as Leah accidentally hits her sister, before Melina flies in with a seated senton off the top for a near-fall. Leah trips Melina in the ropes as Kasey looks to capitalise, getting a two-count out of it, before she whipped Melina hard into the corner. A side slam gets Kasey a two-count, as Leah gets involved again, choking Melina in the ropes, getting a two-count from those shenanigans.
This continues for a while as Melina gets choked in the ropes again and again, before a dropkick to the back sees Kasey get yet another two-count. Kasey goes to the corner and catches Melina with an over-the-ropes armbar, before a missile dropkick sends the champion back onto the apron, eventually getting a two-count after Leah pushed her back into the ring.
Melina starts a fightback with a couple of kicks and a snapmare, before a clothesline takes both women down. Kasey comes back with some leaping knees in the corner that almost win it, before Melina counters a slam with a roll-up… but Leah’s on the apron for a distraction. A side-step sees Kasey knock her sister off the apron, before a Sunset Split picked up the win. Decent enough as a one-sided affair that ended with Melina getting the win with her move, but it was what it was. **¼
After the match, Leah jumps Melina and kicks her out of the ring, and we fade to our next match – editing out the announcement of Melina and a mystery partner vs. the Owens Twins on a future show.
Joseph Conners vs. Andrew Everett vs. Gabriel Kidd vs. Ethan Page vs. Alex Gracie
Conners was out with his “new” belt – the toy World Heavyweight Championship title with “Southside Champ” written over it on a sticker. Of course, this was a non-title affair, as the crowd chanted stuff like “where’s your title?” and “Toys r’ Us” at him.
This was originally meant to be a five-way, but with changes to the card seeing Stevie Xavier moved out of this and into the opening tag, we saw Alex Gracie hobbling out to take the spot instead. Everyone threatens to do a Melina and kick Gracie low, which just leads to referee Joel Allen to exclaim “stop kicking people in the dick!” Quite…
The bell rings, Gracie takes off his turtle neck, and it starts with him taking shots from everyone bar Ethan Page… who just stands in the corner until he dumps Everett and Kidd with a double clothesline. This turns into your typical multi-man match, with Everett flying in to take down Conners with a dropkick, before he’s flipped into the ropes by Gabriel Kidd.
An uppercut from Kidd knocks down Everett’s springboard attempt, before Ethan Page comes in and sets up an accidental DDT spot. Alex Gracie comes in and takes over on Page, before his faked-out dive ends up with Page press-slamming him onto a pile outside the ring.
Andrew Everett’s next with an Asai moonsault, before he returns to the ring with Kidd for a 450 Splash – but he rolls through, only to be flipped inside out by a diving knee. Alex Gracie drops Kidd with Eat Defeat, before an O’Connor roll ends with a slingshot DDT by Conners as the match turned into another parade of moves, including Page’s “Tanned Sheamus” kick.
Gracie lands another Eat Defeat on Everett, only to get caught with a push-down stomp from Conners, who then dished the same to Kidd and Everett. Page takes down Conners with an Iconoclasm, sending him into Kidd and Everett before a top rope leg lariat gets Gracie a near-fall. Gracie eventually dumps Kidd with a belly-to-back piledriver, before Everett gets a belt shot from Conners plastic belt.
Ethan Page no-sells a bunch of those belt shots, then hits him with the Rock Bottom… Kidd gives Page a Stunner, before an overhead kick from Everett and a shooting star press connects on Kidd. Alex Gracie tries to steal the pin, but Everett reverses it and schoolboys Gracie for the win. Good stuff, even if it felt a little spotty by the end. ***½
Southside Tag Team Championship: Damian Dunne & Robbie X vs. Chris Tyler & Stixx (c)
The gimmick from the afternoon show continued as Damian Dunne was virtually dripping in baby oil. After some matches at the end of last year where Dunne was scouting a partner for this match, his tag team partner here was Robbie X. Who wasn’t in any of those “scouting” matches…
Robbie came out with Big Grizzly, both wearing nWo-style “GBH” (Guilty By Habit) shirts as a faction was revealed by way of t-shirt. This was Stixx’s final match, which meant that he got his own entrance… as did Chris Tyler (and his insanely-long entrance). Unfortunately, what it also highlighted was that Stixx’s entrance was just the first verse of Three Days Grace’s “Break”… with awkward looping.
Before the match started we had Big Grizz attacking Stixx from behind as he entered the ring, taking him to the outside and beating on him. Grizz gets ejected from ringside as Stixx is left laying next to his title belt by the big guy – and we end up starting this as a handicap match for the tag titles.
Tyler launches into Dunne with clotheslines and an enziguiri… then hits a Miz-like clothesline in the corner before an enziguiri keeps the challenger on the back foot. A top rope crossbody collects a near-fall as Dunne tags in Robbie X, who suffers a similar fate courtesy of a PK and a standing moonsault. Robbie then charges Tyler into the corner, and now it’s virtually a handicap match here as the new team of Guilty By Habit wear down Tyler two-on-one.
We get the “I kicked my partner” spot instigated by Tyler, who continues his comeback with topes to Dunne, then Robbie, before a superkick and a satellite DDT almost retains the titles. From there, Tyler’s mugged two-on-one as the crowd chanted “we want Stixx” whilst his partner takes a beating for an extended period of time.
Tyler barely kicks out of a spear from Dunne when Robbie threw the 19-year-old in Damian’s direction, but that prompts a fight back as Tyler’s then dropped with a rope-hung DDT for another two-count. Whilst the commentary played up Tyler unseating the odds, the crowd just kept chanting for Stixx – and just as Tyler took out Dunne and Robbie with a back cracker and reverse ‘rana respectively, the big man returned!
Stixx tags in and spears Dunne, before dropping Robbie with a crossbody in the corner. A big back body drop sends Robbie flying, as both of the challengers take repeated elbows to the chest… but we stop short of the “ten” chants” as Stixx lands the Black Hole Slam before Tyler hits a moonsault to the floor on Dunne. Stixx and Tyler looked set to retain as Tyler landed the 450 Splash on Robbie, but Dunne piggy backed onto Stixx, falling onto the cover to stop the pin. They try again, with a superplex attempt to Robbie going awry as Robbie hits a sunset flip powerbomb after Dunne shoved Tyler to the mat… but Stixx kicked out of a Dunne springboard Codebreaker!
A pair of double superkicks take down the champions, as Dunne gets another springboard Codebreaker, and a bridging German suplex ends the dream as Robbie X ensures that Stixx retires with a defeat. This was a pretty good story-driven match, with Tyler trying his best and ultimately coming up short once his (beaten down) partner returned… although the on-demand did suffer, as the live announcement of “if Tyler and Stixx wins, Tyler will be allowed to name a new partner and keep the titles” didn’t come across. That (to me) would have made me expect a loss, but nevertheless, a good last showing for Stixx. ***½
Stixx then had his farewell speech, as he urged the fans to back Tyler – who Stixx told to become a singles star, rather than worry about the tag titles.
The second half of the show started like the first: with Alex Grace coming out, this time in a Nottingham Forest shirt, still selling the low blows from earlier in the evening. Gracie’s going back on commentary…
Southside Championship: El Ligero (c) vs. Eddie Edwards
This was initially announced as a non-title match, but Ligero agreed to put his belt up against the recently-unseated Impact Wrestling champion. Alex Gracie got fed up of commentating on Ligero teasing downing a beer, so he stormed off and took the pint for himself.
Ah, Alex Gracie really is a loveable pain in the arse, isn’t he?
Ligero starts the match by slapping a fan’s wrist for being on his phone, and we have a slow start as we have a tie-up before both men just take a breather so Gracie can have a pop at a loud fan nearby. They have another breather as Ligero goes outside, and referee Joel Allen takes over… before promptly dispatching of Edwards with a shove-off from a collar-and-elbow tie-up. An exasperated Gracie comes in and adds to Alex’s day of misery by throwing him out of the ring.
The match resumes with Ligero taking Edwards into the corner, before they work a monkey flip into some near-falls, then a double bridge and a handshake, before Edwards rolls up Ligero for a near-fall at the end of another sequence of chain wrestling. Ligero returns the favour with a rolling cover, only for Edwards to take over with a wristlock as he lifts Ligero into a tree of woe for a basement dropkick.
Edwards heads outside and gets slung into the ring courtesy of a fan for a Drive-By dropkick for a near-fall as Eddie followed up with some chops and a horn-pull. Yep, that’s making Eddie a heel – tugging at the horn! Ligero responds by tripping Edwards into the ropes, before a snapmare and a low dropkick barely gets a two-count for the champion. Eddie comes back with a plancha, then a leaping forearm into the corner and a top rope ‘rana for another near-fall. A Blue Thunder Bomb gets another two-count as the crowd surprisingly struggled to get into this.
Ligero blocks a backpack stunner by shoving Edwards into the corner, as Sliced Bread #2 gets him some separation. That almost didn’t last long as Edwards caught him with a roll through Boston crab, but Ligero rolled out and eventually hit a Code Red as they exchanged more back and forth near-falls.
The pair went up to trade forearms with each other, before Ligero runs into a superkick as he thought he’d tripped Edwards with a 619-like sweep on the floor. Ligero knocks Edwards down with a springboard enziguiri as both men end up collapsing to the mat, and all of a sudden GBH hit the ring as Dunne, Robbie and Grizzly attack to force a no-contest. Well, the match was meandering around without any real urgency to it. It was decent, but it didn’t built to anything really… ***
So the gimmick here is that Guilty By Habit are going around ruining everything?
Someone in the crowd chants “restart the match”, which Ligero quickly begs them to stop. Edwards asks for a rematch, then offers out anyone from GBH for a match on the next night’s show.
Marshall X vs. Colt Cabana
When Alex Gracie is calling you a buffoon and mocking your gimmick, you know there’s an issue here! Marshall X is one of Southside’s comedy jobbers, for want of a better term, and since he’s in this spot against Colt Cabana, this is going to be played for comedy.
Marshall gets into Colt’s face as we wait for the bell to go, and a simple shove sends Marshall into the corner. And again. Then Colt just stamps on his foot and gives him a good, old-fashioned clip around the ear. Some stomps in return fail as Colt lays into him with some chops as Colt just frustrates “Badman” Marshall X.
Colt joins him outside, and when he’s rolled back in, he just log rolls to the other side of the ring… and again, and again, doing his best to keep away from Marshall. An elbow drop off the middle rope misses as Colt rolls up with a crucifix pin for a near-fall, before a “Superman” lunge gets another near-fall.
They go back outside again, where Colt runs into the ring post, and that’s where Marshall pulls away on the arm. Back inside, Marshall continues to work on Colt’s left arm in the ropes, before Colt rips off Marshall’s du-rag… and if you thought taking that off hurt the gimmick, Gracie’s commentary added a few more shovels of dirt on top of it! Marshall chops away on Colt in the corner, who’s doing the blindfold spots with the du-rag as if he were Jake Roberts at WrestleMania. A single-arm DDT takes down Colt for a two-count, but Cabana comes back with a straight left-hand as he fixes the do-rag properly, before he drops Marshall with a Bionic elbow.
It’s still massively one-way, but Marshall lands a knee to the head and a butterfly suplex for a near-fall as he tried to make a comeback. A senton off the top misses after some comedy, and Colt sweeps the legs before getting the Chicago Crab for the submission… taking Marshall’s shoes for the win too. Total comedy, and it was just “a match”, but it worked in this spot. **½
Joel Allen strutted in Marshall’s shoes after the match – shoes that Colt threw to the back as we had a weird cross-fade to a pre-match angle. One of the Southside regulars was celebrating a birthday, so he got the treat of Alex Gracie singing. And thrusting. Joel had enough of this, and superkicked Gracie to end his night of in-ring action on a low note.
Fans Bring The Weapons: Kay Lee Ray vs. Nixon Newell
We got a “please stay in your seats” warning before the main event, which saw Nixon Newell jump Kay Lee Ray in the ring as the Scotswoman awaited her opponent.
There’s an instant two-count from a roll-up as Newell takes Ray to the outside, and there’s plenty of fans offering weapons, such as a traffic cone which gets shoved into the midsection, then onto Kay Lee’s head, like a yellow witch! A Kendo stick is used to choke Kay Lee, who just grabs it and whacks Nixon with it, before throwing away a fan’s drink.
A wet floor sign’s whacked into Nixon’s shoulder, but she comes back with a pair of shots with baking trays to the head, before Kay Lee whips her into the ring post. An umbrella’s sent into Nixon’s midsection as Kay Lee throws away a cheese grater, before a box of Ferrero Rocher is smashes into Nixon’s head, sending chocolates everywhere!
More baking trays follow as they wander to the back of the arena, as Kay Lee’s thrown through a fire door. Nixon has one of the chocolates, before a Yorkie’s thrown into her as the commentary team go mobile, watching Nixon using another traffic cone, then slam her onto the floor.
A yoga ball comes into play next as Nixon re-enacted a Fail Army video by charging into her with it, before Nixon uses an old vacuum cleaner that a fan brought, utilising the power cable to tie the Scotswoman into a chair… just so she could go for (and miss) a cannonball senton.
Another baking tray and an umbrella get used again as Nixon tried to fight back, but that Kendo stick kept things even as Nixon was again whipped into the ring post. Kay Lee grabbed a fan’s crutch, and swung for her… but Newell ducked as the metal crutch snapped in two! A hockey stick’s used to trip Kay Lee for a near-fall, with a Shining Wizard getting another near-fall, before Kay Lee blocks a Destroyer and comes back with a Gory Bomb… for a one count!
A headbutt sets up Newell to try again for a Destroyer, and despite pulling it off, she only gets a two-count as Alex Windsor comes out to break up the pin. Windsor’s got a bag in her hand… and we know what that means in wrestling!
Drawing pins! Thumb tacks! Whatever you want to call those sharp implements!
Newell eliminates Windsor with a dive into the aisle, as they all fight outside, with Newell being thrown into the apron before she’s thrown next to a rather bemused fan, only to to take a chairshot to the head as Kay Lee disappeared to come back with a ladder. The heels disappeared again and returned with a weird trolley contraption?!
Newell dumps Windsor and Ray with superkicks, before Alex takes a shot with a wt floor sign, and a headbutt with a cycling helmet. Nixon then disappears and comes back with… a leashed Rosemary! The Decay member sprays Kay Lee, then Windsor with some mist, as the pair are chased to the outside.
We’re taken to the isometric camera as we barely see a tin of Quality Street chocolates used to smash around the head of Ray, who then gets sent into the crowd once more. Another attachment from the vacuum cleaner’s used, as the pair brawl to the back of the building, where the bar comes into play! Kay Lee uses a baking tray to stop Nixon jump down onto her, but instead of pulling her down, Kay Lee tries for a suplex off the bar… which is blocked and countered as Newell chokeslams her through a gimmick table!
After that, Nixon drags Kay Lee back into the ring – and into the thumb tacks – before Newell gets caught on the top rope and press slammed into the thumb tacks! This quickly took a turn for the gruesome… Still, Newell kicked out from the tacks spot, and Alex Windsor was quickly neutralised as Ruby Summers came out and hit her over the head with a chair before taking her to the back.
We’re left with Nixon and Kay Lee again now, as a roundhouse kicks Newell another near-fall, as she takes to throwing chairs from the crowd. This quickly turns into a Terry Funk situation, as the ring fills with chairs… although that was more to cover the drawing pins than anything more sinister.
So, with a pile of chairs in the ring, Nixon goes for a Destroyer, but it’s countered and turned into a Gory Bomb! Somehow Nixon kicked out at two, then again after a senton bomb, so Kay Lee goes back for the ladder, and we know what that means! Kay Lee tries to set up for a Gory Bomb off the ladder, but Nixon pulls her down to move the ladder, only to get another chair thrown at her as she went to the top rope.
Kay Lee bridges the ladder across the middle turnbuckle and looks for a superplex, only for a headbutt to drop the Scotswoman as Nixon comes back with a Destroyer off the ladder into the chairs… and that’s enough for the win! That was bloody insane – and given the ending, I’d imagine this’d be the end of their feud in Southside.
I’m not sure how to rate this – at times, it was tough to watch live, but this was a hell of an outing and a good spectacle of a main event. Just one word though: ouch. So many times, ouch. ****
What Worked: As weird as this sounds… Alex Gracie was one of the stars of the show here. On the surface, his constant appearances may have been a pain, but they were all entertaining, and considering that he continued to sell things (at times inadvertently, given that the commentary is almost never turned off), it made for a hell of a night’s work.
What Didn’t: the Ligero/Edwards match was a bit weird to watch, and the fact that it just built up to a screwy finish felt like a waste. I get they had to build up Guilty By Habit, but could they have not just thrown in another match rather than turn a title match into filler. Speaking of GBH – you couldn’t tell on the on-demand, but why were they selling t-shirts for a group that hadn’t debuted?
One final nitpick: why did they edit out the storyline from the afternoon of Nixon Newell “almost not being cleared” to wrestle after an attack? The only reference to that came after the main event had concluded…
Thumbs: Up – a solid show from top to bottom, capped with a spectacular main event which is worth the money alone.
This show can be streamed via Southside’s Vimeo channel – as part of their £5.99/month subscription fee