Here are five things you need to know about British wrestling this week:
1) A wrestler beat The Wrestler at York Hall
When Revolution Pro Wrestling owner Andy Quildan announced that, due to him securing a return date from New Japan, the Summer Sizzler main event between champion Zack Sabre Jr. and challenger Katsuyori Shibata would be for Sabre Jr.’s undisputed British heavyweight title, the obvious result of the match was thrown into question.
Sure, Sabre Jr. had weirdly lost to Kurt Angle a month before, but that wasn’t a title match, and with no chance of a title defense you’d hardly expect Shibata to be given a victory.
Quildan’s negotiations changed all that and, although Sabre Jr. did in fact beat Shibata, it made the match a thrilling affair which could have gone three, four, or five times as long without any loss of interest or quality.
Although Shibata didn’t win the title, a New Japan wrestler did win a championship, as Will Ospreay (and, yes, that still sounds weird) beat Pete Dunne in the match of the night to win Dunne’s undisputed cruiserweight title.
Ospreay then cut a promo on Vader, his opponent at RevPro’s next event (August’s Uprising). Dunne will be looking to rebound at that event when he faces Ricochet. Also announced for that show is Marty Scurll vs. Chris Hero, and Sabre Jr. defending his title against Jeff Cobb.
The sell-out Sizzler also featured New Japan’s Tomohiro Ishii downing Josh Bodom in a hard-hitting contest, Sha Samuels cheating to beat new TNA signee Moose, Marty Scurll defeating “Speedball” Mike Bailey, and Matt Sydal winning a David vs. Goliath encounter with Big Damo.
After that match, Samuels attacked Damo as the latter was giving what seemed like a farewell speech and that could possibly parlay into a match at Uprising, too.
RevPro return with a TV taping at the Cockpit on August 7th, with Scurll vs. Jay White already announced, and then Uprising on Friday August 14th, their fourth York Hall show of a very busy year.
Summer Sizzler is already available to watch on RevPro On Demand.
2) The opener stole the show at Fight Club:PRO
Yes, the opening match on Fight Club:PRO’s Rage Against The Death Machine in Wolverhampton last Friday was a show-stealer.
But that might be less-surprising when you learn that it was Zack Sabre Jr., perhaps the finest technical wrestler in the world right now, against the hotly-tipped Travis Banks, in an encounter that started out as a very scientific affair and exploded into the British Strong Style that FCP prides itself on presenting.
The unique Fight Club:PRO atmosphere – photo by Shauna Askew
While Sabre Jr. and Banks took the crowd’s applause, Trent Seven and Sami Callihan took the headlines, engaging in a textbook BSS battle for the Fight Club:PRO Championship, which had been vacated earlier in the evening by MK McKinnan on medical grounds.
Seven and Callihan fought all over the ringside area, through the crowd, and all over the Fixxion Warehouse, before Callihan pinned the FCP owner to win the belt.
Given the unenviable task of following Sabre Jr. and Banks, Chris Brookes beat Clint Margera in a No DQ match, which involved a screwdriver, lemon juice, bottle caps, and drawing pins, with Margera left a bloody mess at the end as Brookes stood sneering.
Elsewhere on a very solid show, Lee Hunter and Dan Moloney fought to a no-contest, after Wild Boar & Jim Hunter got involved, with Lee being piledriven through the merchandise table, and Pete Dunne pinned Tommy End after End got accidentally distracted by the referee.
End received a farewell reception to which he enigmatically responded, “it’s like you guys think I’m going somewhere.”
Fight Club:PRO have just launched their On Demand service and all their shows can be seen there.
3) The Righteous Army are no more
As part of a weekend double shot in Stevenage and Sheffield, Southside Wrestling champion Joseph Conners found his Righteous Army faction in a battle to the death with El Ligero and friends, with the future of the Army hanging in the balance.
Conners assembled Paul Malen, Kay Lee Ray, & The Pledge to defend his cause, while Ligero recruited long-time pals Nixon Newell, Martin Kirby, & also Hardcore Holly. It was Ligero & Kirby who were left standing at the end, last eliminating Conners, to force the dissolution of the heel faction.
Mark Haskins, Robbie X, and a Nerf gun – photo by Brett Hadley
That match came at the climax of the weekend’s first event, Gunning For Glory at the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage, and was supported by a full card of the usual Southside action.
There were wins for Mark Haskins (over Robbie X in a Stevenage Street Fight), Pete Dunne (against Lucha Underground‘s Killshot, Shane Strickland), and Sami Callihan, who beat Zack Sabre Jr., while The London Riots and The Intercoastal Violence Connection engaged in an arena-wide brawl which left a door dented and children in tears.
The show also featured Tommy End, DJ Z, D-Lo Brown, and Will Ospreay, and Alex Gracie continued his losing streak against former WWE legends, this time losing to Billy Gunn (with Hornswoggle as special guest referee).
The next night, in Sheffield, Conners defended his title against Billy Gunn and declared that the belt would never leave his waist. It was not the only title defended on the night, as Sami Callihan put his AAW Heavyweight Championship on the line against Tommy End, earning a pinfall victory to take the title back to Illinois.
Two of Southside’s other titles were not defended, but news of their futures did break with Alexis Windsor becoming the number one contender to Jade’s Queen Of Southside Championship by beating Kay Lee Ray, Kasey Owens, & Nixon Newell, and Fenix being announced as the third contender into October’s Speed King tournament.
Fenix will also work Southside’s other dates that weekend, across St Neots, Nottingham, and Sheffield.
A falling out with Ryan Smile did not mean that the Second City Collective’s tag team titles weren’t on the line, as Damian Dunne was forced to team with Alex Gracie against Stixx & Chris Tyler, and the unfamiliar partnership fell apart as the challengers won the belt.
The show also featured D-Lo Brown, Martin Kirby, Shane Strickland, El Ligero, and Mark Haskins. And the Intercoastal Violence Connection beat the New Age Kliq, cementing their claim to be number one contenders to the tag team titles.
All Southside shows are available on their On Demand service, and their next show is in St Neots on August 7th.
4) Ospreay and Smile tore the house down AGAIN
With their newly-crowned champion Clint Margera not in attendance, Kamikaze Pro-Wrestling chose to headline their second visit to the Coventry Empire with a re-match from March’s show when Will Ospreay fought Ryan Smile.
These two have fought and teamed over in Dublin for Over The Top Wrestling, but have rarely encountered each other in the UK of late, although the aforementioned clash at Kamikaze Underground did thrill those lucky enough to see it. The same was true of Friday’s encounter, as Ospreay earned the pinfall at the end of an incredible match.
The first two matches on the show featured talent doing double shots with Fight Club:PRO later that night, as Marshall X & Damian Dunne beat the Wolverhampton-bound Hunter Brothers to win the tag team titles, and Dan Moloney beat Pete Dunne before both men jumped in a car and raced up the M6.
March’s show was titled Underground because it had Angelico and Shane “Killshot” Strickland on the card, and Strickland returned for Underground II, beating Kay Lee Ray in an intergender contest.
The show, which also had appearances from Martin Kirby, El Ligero, Hardcore Holly, and DJ Z, featured a homecoming for Jetta, after her recent unretirement, who beat Nixon Newell.
Kamikaze return this Sunday, July 17th, with Lo Down at the Cadbury Club in Birmingham, headlined by a Kamikaze-Pro Championship Last Man Standing match between Clint Margera and Robbie X.
5) The South Pacific Power Couple claimed another title (and other stuff)
As well as making an impact in PROGRESS, the South Pacific Power Couple, TK Cooper & Dahlia Black, have been making trouble in WrestleForce, earning death threats (!) and stares of hatred from family-friendly crowds across the Southeast.
Last Saturday, on WF’s show in Hemel Hempstead, Black won the WrestleForce women’s championship from Ayesha Rae, joining Cooper who won the company’s British Championship (renaming it the New Zealand championship) last month.
Cooper successfully defended his title in Hemel, seeing off Lewis Howley, on a show which also saw Tom Dawkins defeating Kyle Ashmore, and Matt Walker beating Oliver Peace, before the good guys team of Dawkins, Peace, Howley, & Rae beat Cooper, Black, Walker, & Ashmore in an eight-man elimination match to close the show.
WrestleForce are next in action on July 23rd in Lymington, Hampshire.
Warming up for their next big show at the MECA in Swindon in October (with Dick Togo and Ultimo Dragon), 4-Front Wrestling visited the venue last Saturday for Ultimate Supremacy 2016, main-evented by a 4FW title match between Saime Sahin and JD Knight.
Sahin won the title at the MECA in January and has seen off all-comers since. He will face Tiger Ali in October after seeing off Knight.
There was a title change on the show when RJ Singh & Rishi Ghosh beat the Hunter Brothers to win the 4FW tag team belts, but the biggest interest was probably on a match between former WWE compatriots, as Matt Sydal beat PJ Black.
The show also featured Doug Williams and Tiger Ali, and will be available from 4FW’s On Demand service soon.
Zack Gibson locks the Shankly Gates on Joey Hayes – photo by Sarah Hollywood
After a break since November last year, the New Wave Wrestling Alliance burst back onto the scene with Back In The Saddle at the Victoria Baths in Manchester on Saturday.
The show finished with a bang, a six-man tag pitting Joey Hayes, Ashton Smith, & Sam Bailey against Zack Gibson & The Island Brothers, which was set up after Gibson attacked Smith and Bailey during their match with the Brothers and changed the proposed Gibson vs. Hayes main event.
The show was opened by CJ Banks defeating D-Lo Brown (who then raced down to Stevenage for Southside), and also featured Matt Myers beating Nathan Cruz, Danny Hope pinning Xander Cooper, and a women’s tag team match which was won by Leah Owens & Lucy Cole when Violet Vendetta came to ringside and distracted Lana Austin & Xia Brookside.
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NWWA are back on October 29th with a Nine Lives Halloween Spooktacular.