Main photo by The Ringside Perspective’s Oli Sandler
Here’s five things you need to know about British wrestling this week:
1) Bubblegum triumphed in PCW’s big tournament weekend
Preston City Wrestling’s Kris Travis Memorial Tournament can be summed up in one sentence: they courted controversy, confused with a title change, and delivered a great weekend of wrestling for the fans who attended.
The controversy was present before the opening bell had sounded — the event, despite being named for the sadly deceased star, and featuring him heavily in advertising, was not a charity fundraiser.
Rather, it was intended to pay tribute to a man who considered PCW his home promotion. Clumsy social media contact didn’t help, but there were charity t-shirts on sale at the event and a collection bucket passed around raised some much needed cash for cancer charities.
That late good work was undone for some, though, by the angle they ran at the end of the show. Opinion is split on whether it was in bad taste, and new booker Greg Lambert couldn’t have intended any offense, although some was obviously taken.
Bubblegum, after beating Kenny Williams in the tournament final, and making a heartfelt speech in honor of his friend Travis, was attacked by T-Bone, and they did an injury angle which some felt was in poor taste. Only ticket sales for future shows will tell whether the gamble was worth it.
Bubblegum celebrates his win — photo by Shauna Askew
The tournament delivered some strong action, with Penta El 0M — the former Pentagon Jr. — and Chris Ridgeway making strong impressions. The former made the semifinals, alongside Dean Allmark, as PCW shuffle their pack ahead of any contract complications which may be caused by the WWE UK and other deals.
One slightly odd moment, which caught the fans by surprise, was a Tag Team title change, with The Spirit Squad taking the belts in a three-way from the UK Hooligans and champions Joey Hayes & Martin Kirby (probably the man most closely identified with Travis and making his sole appearance of the weekend to drop the belts). The Squad will return in April, and face the UK Hooligans again, with the Knight brothers putting their PCW careers on the line.
The weekend also saw wins for Colt Cabana, Charlie Sterling, MVP, T-Bone (in a match with Sterling where the top rope broke!), and PCW Heavyweight Champion Iestyn Rees, and the promotion return on April 2nd.
2) Pete Dunne returned to ATTACK! for a special one-off
Having lost a ten-man elimination match where the captains were subject to a loser leaves ATTACK! Pro Wrestling stipulation, WWE UK star Pete Dunne has been absent from the promotion he co-founded’s cards since late November.
At Gorilla Pressed & Deep In Conversation in Bristol last Saturday, however, and with the approval of the fans in attendance, he returned for a special one-off appearance, teaming with Nixon Newell & Kay Lee Ray against #CCK & Shay Purser.
The match won’t make videotape — ATTACK! seemingly not on that short list of approved promotions — but Dunne was there to even up the sides after heel referee Purser — ironically following the evil alignment as a result of Dunne’s actions last year — joined with Chris Brookes and Kid Lykos to attack Newell and KLR.
The forces of good won the day and the ATTACK! fans relished a chance to welcome back, albeit temporarily, one of their own after his recent success.
Chief Deputy Dunne with the ATTACK! title — photo by Kyle James
Purser had earlier made his presence felt, claiming to be the longest-standing ATTACK! official in attendance, and therefore able to strip the ATTACK! 24/7 Champion — fan Warren Owen — of the title and award it to himself. He was confronted by fellow referee Chris Roberts, who declared Purser a “little bastard” and then introduced the original little bastard, the former Hornswoggle, who helped Owen regain the title.
That wasn’t the only title change, as Eddie Dennis successfully defended his ATTACK! Championship against a debuting Jimmy Havoc in a wild deathmatch, only to give in to the challenge of Chief Deputy Dunne of the Anti-Fun Police and lose the title due to the interference of the heel turning Brothers of Construction.
The show also featured a barnstorming win for Ryan Smile over Mike Bird, Chief Deputy Dunne beating Drew Parker (this time believing he was The Drew Meanie), and a first main show win for Elijah Dahl, who defeated “Raving” Danny Jones.
It’s already available on ATTACK!’s Vimeo page (minus that six-man) and ATTACK! return this weekend with the sold out, two-day Kris Travis Tag Team Invitational, with all proceeds going to Cavendish Cancer Care.
3) The T-Bone/Rampage feud turned nasty at FutureShock
After returning to the promotion at the climax of their last Stockport show, T-Bone took his feud with FutureShock Champion Rampage Brown to the next level last Friday at the promotion’s Underground 22 in Prestwich.
Teaming with fellow wrong ‘un (and fellow WWE UK star) James Drake against the ITV World of Sport team of Brown & Ashton Smith, T-Bone introduced a metal hook to the proceedings, which saw his team disqualified but left Brown reeling at the display of brutality as a four-man brawl broke out.
T-Bone attacks Rampage with a metal hook — photo by Tony Knox
While Brown was not defending his title, FutureShock’s two other singles champions were. Soner Dursun overcame the challenge of Sam Bailey to retain his Adrenaline title, but Lana Austin’s reign as Women’s Champion ended when April Davids submitted her in the second-half opener.
In other action, Danny Hope defeated Damon Leigh, Xander Cooper & Abel Stevens teamed up to beat “Warrington’s Sexiest Man” Sexy Kev & John McGregor, and Melanie Price’s interference backfired to allow Alexander Henry to beat Henry T Grodd.
You can see FutureShock action on their On Demand service and they return on March 12th in Stockport with Uproar 93.
4) Jimmy Havoc won a shot at the PROGRESS Championship…and it will be a DEATHMATCH!
Throughout his two-year reign as PROGRESS Champion, Jimmy Havoc was never afraid to reach for his bag of tricks, employing tables, chairs, thumb tacks, and even an axe to get the job done when needed.
By contrast, Pete Dunne has relied on his considerable wrestling skills — and some judicious interference from his British Strong Style compatriots — to keep the belt he won last November.
When PROGRESS return to Manchester on March 19th, however, Dunne will have to face Havoc in a DEATHMATCH, the result of Havoc pinning the champion in the main event six-man at Sunday’s Old Man Yells At Cloud in Camden. Havoc — teaming with the returning Flash Morgan Webster & Mark Haskins against the BSS trio of Dunne, Trent Seven & Tyler Bate — chose an immediate title shot, and the fans are solidly behind the former most-hated man in BritWres!
Tyler Bate, WWE UK Champion, returns to PROGRESS — photo by Phil Jones
The Women’s Natural Progression Series, which will lead to the crowning of the first Women’s Champion, concluded its quarterfinal stage, with Dahlia Black needing the help of her boyfriend TK Cooper to defeat the debuting Session Moth Martina. Black joins Nixon Newell, Toni Storm, Alex Windsor, Jinny, and Laura di Matteo in the semifinals, with a format still to be decided.
Cooper’s tag team partner Travis Banks worked his first singles match in the company, beating Jordan Devlin, and receiving cheers when he usually gets jeers from the crowd.
In other action, Mark Andrews, who has a guaranteed title shot down the line as a result of winning’s January’s Thunderbastard match, beat Shane Strickland (who was announced for PROGRESS’ Orlando trip afterwards), James Drake made his London bow by defeating Damon Moser, Zack Gibson won a countout victory over Jack Sexsmith, and El Ligero was victorious over his former Origin tag team partner Nathan Cruz, although Cruz petulantly unmasked the Mexican hero afterwards.
The show will be up on Demand PROGRESS very soon, and before they return to Manchester on March 19th the company have a double-shot of TV tapings for their Freedom’s Road reality show on March 6th and 7th at the Tufnell Park Dome.
5) RevPro thrilled the Portsmouth Guildhall — and their on-demand viewers
With the shows held there of a slightly lesser stature than their York Hall or Cockpit Theatre cards, you might be forgiven for thinking that Revolution Pro Wrestling’s Portsmouth dates are skippable, and the lack of videotape emerging from those affairs could bear that out.
However, last Friday’s Guildhall show not only delivered a star-packed smorgasbord to the promotion’s south coast fans, it was also available to watch on RevPro’s On Demand service before the weekend was out.
Fans there live — or watching at home — were treated to a main event of Pete Dunne, the former Undisputed British Cruiserweight Champion, against Penta El 0M, with the enormously popular ninja skeleton picking up the win.
Marty Scurll brings the pain to Ryan Smile
The Lucha Underground star wasn’t the only overseas talent brought in for the show, with The Spirit Squad losing an Undisputed British Tag Team title match against Joel Redman & Charlie Sterling, and the team of Swoggle & Colt Cabana (a former Undisputed British Heavyweight Champion here) beating the Legion of Lords, while the young lions of the Portsmouth School of Wrestling also got an outing when Rob Lias defeated Dan Magee.
The show also featured wins for Marty Scurll (over Ryan Smile) and Dave Mastiff (against Trent Seven), and — as stated earlier — is already available to watch on RevPro’s On Demand service (which itself is interesting, given Dunne and Seven’s WWE UK deals).
The company return this Sunday at the Cockpit Theatre in Marylebone, with Matt Riddle, Timothy Thatcher, and Jeff Cobb joining the regular roster.