We’re back for a look at Wrestle Carnival’s second show, as the new promotion looks to find their feet with some influence from ROH past and present.
Chantal Jordan & Lion Kid pinned Terry Isit & Joe, Brady Phillips & Ivy and Charles Crowley & Clementine in 10:26 (**½)
Chris Ridgeway defeats Carlos Romo in a submission match in 15:17 (***¼)
Will Kroos pinned Kyle Kingsley in 6:29 (**¾)
Session Moth Martina pinned Heidi Katrina & Alexxis Falcon in 10:13 (**¾)
Hyan pinned Alex Windsor in 13:02 to retain the Heart of SHIMMER Championship (***¼)
Joe Hendry pinned Leyton Buzzard in 12:20 (***¼)
Gisele Shaw submitted Kasey Owens in 13:54 (***)
Doug Williams pinned Dean Allmark in a Pure Rules match in 15:19 (***)
Wrestle Carnival’s back at the Portland Centre in Nottingham for a show that’s had some coverage on ROH’s Week by Week webshow… I’m a little late in getting to this, so let’s scratch the surface. Commentary comes from Dave Bradshaw and James Kennedy.
We open with a recap of what happened last time out, and then we’ve 3D animations of the card on a virtual marquee before we head into the venue…
Charles Crowley & Clementine vs. Terry Isit & Joe vs. Brady Phillips & Ivy vs. Chantal Jordan & Lion Kid
“Oh you like Lion Kid, do you?” “No”. Harsh words from that guy in the crowd, as Crowley goes all pantomime on us to explain his pairing with Clementine. Hey, if it works for the crowd, it works.
Crowley still had Lion Kid’s mask, so he can’t join the match… and for some reason we don’t even have a bell, so I’m timing this from when Chantal Jordan first shoved Crowley. They stick pretty closely to the “two in at a time” rules, without too much in the way of that staple of “people breaking up pins”, nor did we have the mixed-tag rules.
Kennedy on commentary keeps playing up that Isit doesn’t have a tag partner – because Joe’s dressed as John Cena, and we can’t see him. Seemingly a Falcon arrow from Phillips landed badly as Isit seemed to jack his knee on the landing… eventually he’s helped outside as Joe took over, running wild as we built up to a Five Knuckle Shuffle that apparently affected everyone.
Crowley gets up and looks to unmask Joe, but gets caught with an Attitude Adjustment for a near-fall. More unmasking attempts are stopped as Chantal Jordal breaks it up, then chucked Lion Kid’s mask “to the back”, which conveniently led to the arrival of Lion Kid, who ran wild, specifically on Crowley, choking the living daylights out of him.
A Fisherman Driver from Chantal Jordan nearly gets the win, as Terry Isit hobbled in to break up the pin, then hit a DDT. Lion Kid’s in to go for Sliced Bread on Isit – but it lands badly because of the knee injury – before Clementine saved Lion Kid from a baseball bat attack. I’m sure her tag partner will be thrilled. Even more so after Clementine used it, before an X-Factor Tombstone almost got the win. Joe and Isit look for dualling death valley drivers, but to no avail as Chantal Jordan fought free… and rolled up Isit for the win. **½
We instantly cut backstage as Terry Isit shoos away a medic for his bad knee, only to be approached by Crowley and Clementine. They introduce themselves despite just having been in a match, before offering to team up with Isit as they’re looking to put together a group of likeminded wrestlers.
Submission Match: Carlos Romo vs. Chris Ridgeway
It’s a Wrestle Carnival debut for Romo, who’s back in the UK after he returned to Spain during the pandemic… and it’s a tricky debut as Carnival are carving Ridgeway out as a submission match specialist.
Ridgeway looked to control the pace early on as the feeling-out process began in earnest. An ankle lock from Ridgeway’s quickly given up – without a rope break – as the pair sent early warning shots, before Romo switched from a Boston crab into a toe hold. Ridgeway escapes for an ankle lock, but it ends in the ropes, as did quite a lot of the early going.
Having enough of the rope breaks, Ridgeway stomps on Romo’s elbow, then followed up with Kitchen Sink knees before Romo instantly got to the ropes to break up a crossface. Yet another rope break stops a STF, before a grounded Octopus from Romo ended up with Ridgeway rolling towards safety. The pair trade kicks to the back as we went tit-for-tat, but Romo fakes out a kick to the back and pulled in Ridgeway for a Dragon Sleeper. Yeah, the ropes. Armbar? Yeah, the ropes. It’s creating a lot of opportunity but not allowing much flow, so Ridgeway instead opts for moves, hitting a pair of Dragon screws ahead of an ankle lock, but Romo uses legscissors to counter out, only for Ridgeway to go back to the ankle lock, dragging Romo down with him.
Eventually, Romo stretched for the rope, before he landed a chop and a rapid twisting neckbreaker. Romo tries to roll out of a Kitchen Sink knee, but Ridgeway keeps rolling and grabbed a crossface, which Romo countered into one of his own. A rear naked choke and an armbar keeps Romo ahead, before the Spaniard opted to whip Ridgeway down by the arm.
Another armbar ends in the ropes, as Ridgeway looked to get back in… swiping Romo down to the mat. Ridgeway followed in with a PK, then a series of suplexes, before Ridgeway finally put in another crossface – with crossface punches in the build up seemingly being the difference maker as Romo tapped. The story of both men working other the other’s arms and neck was told well, but that opening series where every submission attempt ended in the ropes – while it told the story of neither man wanting to give an inch in the early going – was a little irksome. ***¼
Post-match, Ridgeway called out Jonathan Gresham ahead of their match at “Pure” in October… and then we abruptly cut to a promo video for that match.
Kyle Kingsley vs. Will Kroos
Kingsley’s got a large mallet with him, giving me flashbacks to the Estonian Thunderfrog in CHIKARA…
Kroos looked to dominate early on, taking Kingsley outside for a back suplex onto the edge of the ring. Kingsley tries to fight back, but gets caught in a camel clutch, before Kroos just chucked him into the turnbuckles for a two-count. A roll out of a slam gets Kingsley a two-count, before a big boot took him right back down.
Kroos’ splash to Kingsley’s back in the ropes nearly puts Kyle away, but Kingsley fires back with kicks before he mounted Kroos’ back… a sleeperhold comes to nothing as Kroos nearly wins with a lariat, but Kingsley’s backbreaker nearly gets him the win as the match remained finely poised.
From there, Kroos’ running death valley driver spikes Kingsley between the top two ropes, before the sitout tombstone got Kroos the win in a short, impactful match. Christ, that death valley driver into the corner looked brutal… **¾
Post-match, Adam Bolt – identified as a local wrestler – came to check on Kingsley. Bolt’s scared away as Blake and Kroos sandwich Kingsley with shoulder tackles, before a Doomsday Blockbuster made sure Kingsley was done… before Bolt dropkicked Blake out of the ring. He’ll be the next one to die on these shows, I fear…
We cut outside the venue again as Will Kroos calls out Adam Bolt. Blake’s also a little upset, and challenged Bolt to a tag match. You know, I like these segments, but at least put them a little after the match so it doesn’t look like they’ve suddenly teleported away from the ring!
Alexxis Falcon’s next outside to mock Martina for “drinking a few cans of cider” to get where she is. Good fire. Then we randomly get a shot of Falcon’s jacket for a split second…
Alexxis Falcon vs. Heidi Katrina vs. Session Moth Martina
Katrina’s back looking for a win after Gisele Shaw shut her out in that best-of-three falls match last time out…
After a lot of stalling, Falcon powdered to the outside as she wanted to see “who the better blonde is”. Fair enough. Martina screams as she charges at – and bounces off – Katrina, before she went for a swig of beer… but Falcon comes in to stop it, only to have the beer spat in her face. Cue a series of double-teams on Falcon as Martina struggled to haul up Falcon at first… before Katrina ran in with a dropkick to Martina. That partnership’s clearly dissolved as Falcon was outside for a spell, returning to snatch a two-count with a neckbreaker on Martina, then a shotgun dropkick, but Katrina’s back in to help pair up with Falcon.
A double-team suplex dropped Martina for a stacked-up two-count, as Martina continued to get bounced around the ring… and of course, we get the eventual breakdown in communication between the baddies as they first tried to one-up the other, before Falcon tried to upset Katrina with a roll-up.
Martina capitalises on the Three Stooges-like argument with a crossbody out of the corner, as she sparked her comeback, featuring a twisting neckbreaker for a near-fall. Forearms keep Martina ahead, before she caught Katrina with a double jump Seshbreaker out of the corner for the win. They told a good story here, even if this one felt like it could have gone a little longer, as Martina finally got her debut – and a win. **¾
Heart Of SHIMMER Championship: Alex Windsor vs. Hyan (c)
This was billed as the first time that the Heart of SHIMMER title had been defended internationally… and I’m now wondering why nobody else had that idea…
This was one of Windsor’s first singles match back after several years out, but was no stranger to SHIMMER having worked a few matches there before injury hit. The feeling-out process sees Windsor pull ahead with a waistlock takedown, before a Test of Strength ended with a monkey flip from Windsor for a bunch of two-counts.
The quick pins keep coming as Hyan and Windsor looked to win it early, before we reached a stand-off to an appreciative applause. Hiptosses and back elbows take Windsor down for a two-count, but almost a Judas Effect elbow from Windsor turns it around, with low dropkicks earning her a two-count.
Windsor stretches out Hyan on the mat, but the champion fought back with a Northern Lights after Windsor gave up her search for a submission. A stunner from Hyan left both women down, but Hyan manages to build anew with a Wasteland and a legdrop for a near-fall, before Windsor’s electric chair drop almost led to a sudden win.
Windsor stays ahead, until a spinning rack bomb from Hyan gave us another two-count… but Windsor takes inspiration with a Blue Thunder Bomb, then a regular powerbomb as Windsor came closer to the win… only for Hyan to hit back out of nowhere with a Glam Slam for the win. This was a pretty good back-and-forth match, with Windsor coming a lot closer to the win than you’d expect, but Hyan secured the second defence of her title in style. ***¼
Post-match, Windsor cheapshotted Hyan.
Outside, we get a promo from Leyton Buzzard – the man, not the place – as he threatened to upset Joe Hendry in his first match in 18 months. As for Hendry, he’s told us he’s reinvented himself…
Leyton Buzzard vs. Joe Hendry
These two have form – with Buzzard costing Hendry his ICW career in July 2019… meanwhile Hendry’s “reinvention” came in the form of hair dye, a barbed wire bat and a new nickname: “The Answer.”
The bulked-up Hendry scored almost a chokeslam takedown to start as Buzzard tried to jump him, but a pop-up ‘rana takes Hendry outside ahead of a tope. On the floor, Hendry posts Buzzard, before things went back inside, with Hendry turning a crossbody into a pancake.
An Irish whip bounced Buzzard into the corner, with a suplex keeping Hendry ahead, until a pop-up death valley driver from out of nowhere put Buzzard back in it. Buzzard’s missile dropkick keeps him ahead, before a tornado DDT attempt was easily blocked and turned into an inside cradle. Finally Buzzard hits a DDT after Hendry telegraphed things, but Hendry powered back in with elbows and hiptosses, before an ankle lock was rolled away,
Hendry quickly regains the upper hand with a fallaway slam, while chops and uppercuts just rared up Buzzard… whose clothesline just earned him a chop from Hendry. A Codebreaker from Hendry nearly ends it, before he took Buzzard up top… but that superplex is thrown away as Buzzard leaps off the top, eventually coming back in with a cutter.
Buzzard flips with a running shooting star press and a springboard moonsault, but those aren’t enough for the win, and when Hendry threw Buzzard off the top rope, it looked pretty much like Leyton’s steam had run out… a counter into a Code Red gave Buzzard more hope, but in the end a lariat and eventually a pop-up powerbomb put Leyton away. A decent match, but in Wrestle Carnival both men came in cold – run this back in a few shows, with both men presumably having gotten more familiar with the audience (and in Hendry’s case, fleshed out the new character), and this could connect a lot more. ***¼
Gisele Shaw vs. Kasey Owens
Shaw’s the baddie where having attacked Martina on the last show… and she jumps Kasey before the bell here too.
Shaw swarmed Kasey into the corner when we got going, but the Belfast native’s able to trip Shaw into the corner and hit a slingshot dropkick there for a quick one-count. Kasey had the best of the early going, before Shaw knocked her off the top rope and down to the floor.
Shaw slows the pace down as she looked to wear down Kasey, racking up a stack of two-counts in the process, before an attempted leap out of the corner from Kasey was swatted away with a kick. Owens is struggling to get out of first gear as Shaw berated the crowd, before Shaw’s slap fired up Kasey.
Owens’ chinbreaker starts a comeback, as did some double knees in the corner, then a Side Effect. A Meteora to the back of a kneeling Shaw nearly gets Owens the win, but a missed kick gives Shaw an opening, as she took down Kasey with a clothesline to the back. A bicycle knee from Owens and a neckbreaker gave her another opening, but a twisting suplex from Shaw shuts that door, as a sit-out powerbomb leads to a near-fall, before she looked to go for Owens’ arm.
Kasey gets free and pulled Shaw into a death valley driver for a near-fall, before an exchange of strikes led to a running knee from Kasey that would have won the match… but Alexxis Falcon runs out to pull the referee out to stop the pin. Amid the distraction, Shaw rolls Kasey into a cross armbar, then repositioned herself into a levering armbar for the submission as it looks like Gisele’s building her own little inner circle… ***
Outside, Dean Allmark’s doing squats as he introduces himself for the viewing audience, citing past opponents who were proponents of the Pure rules style… and then we crash into Doug Williams as the former ROH Pure champion looked to make this the first step into regaining the title.
Pure Rules: Dean Allmark vs. Doug Williams
This was Doug’s first Pure rules match since he lost the ROH Pure title back in 2004 (!), if Cagematch has it right. As usual, we’re dealing with three rope breaks, no closed fists to the face, and the threat of termination from the roster if there’s interference. I assume Wrestle Carnival and ROH’s? Just to future proof…
The early going sees both men looking to work holds, with Allmark slightly edging things as he had Williams down in a side headlock, before Doug tried to roll out of a cravat. A strait-jacket stretch nearly pinned Williams, as Allmark then floated out to reverse it, before we eventually got back to a side headlock as both men looked to find another advantage.
Williams walked into a headstand, and while he caught a kick attempt out of the corner… the ref docked a rope break from Allmark, much to his bemusement. Williams gets punched out as Allmark got his sole public warning after his temper boiled over, before he calmed down and began to work over Williams’ left arm. A cross armbreaker ends in the ropes as Doug burned one of his rope breaks,.
Allmark’s deemed to have used a second rope break to block a sunset flip attempt, as a combination of questionable officiating and rule interpretations were seeing those rope breaks go very easily. Dean forces Williams to give up another rope break after he worked over the arm in the turnbuckles, before a DDT drew a two-count.
Williams is caught in a neck crank, but frees himself and returned with some uppercuts and clotheslines, before an overhead belly-to-belly drew a two-count. An Exploder followed, as did a Tiger Driver from Williams, before he sat down on a roll-up attempt that nearly saw Allmark cost himself the match.
A superplex is blocked by Allmark, who instead flew off the top with an Alabama Jam flying legdrop, with a Muta lock looking to force a stoppage… but Williams gets to the ropes to use his final rope break. Allmark seemed to tease an Overdrive, but instead spins Williams into a clothesline for a two-count, before a camel clutch saw Williams go to the ropes… and the referee tries to call for a rope break? In the end, Allmark tells him that Doug’s got none left… and in the distraction, Williams rolls up Allmark – with his feet on the ropes – and that’s enough for the win. A smart use of the rules for Williams to use the “rope breaks don’t mean anything for me,” but the implementation of the rules really hurt things. Can we have another go around? ***
After the match, Doug and Dean shake hands… and then Joe Hendry comes out for storytime, telling us about how he saw Doug Williams on the Wrestling Channel back in the day. Hendry wants to go to the top, so challenges Williams to a Pure rules match in November… hopefully this time with a ref that isn’t giving away rope breaks so freely!
Two shows in, and Wrestle Carnival is slowly finding its feet as far as what they want to be as a promotion. With this line up – and future cards – it’s pretty clear they’re hitching themselves to the ROH wagon (and that exposure on the ROH webshow can only be a positive). However, the promotion is clearly establishing their core roster – and that’s something that will take time to do.