What a difference a week makes. Two weeks ago, I was looking towards a big UK supershow with optimism. Two weeks later, I’m looking back a little confused. This is my diary of 1PW’s A Cruel Twist Of Fate, as well as all the latest UK news and views. So let’s get a-cracking.
Friday: I’m picked up early by Saracen, my UK scene colleague, and we make idle talk for around an hour or so, getting to know each other and discussing wrestling from both a fans and wrestlers point of view, which was and usually is interesting from the get-go. We arrived at the hotel in Doncaster not long before 1pm, and we head in for a drink. We take a table as several wrestlers sit amongst the lounge area, talking randomly about things I couldn’t make out but tried quite hard to. The Blue Meanie was there, as was Low-ki and a maskless Abyss, not to mention Sterling James Keenan. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a clue who he was, so I was trying to rack my brains as Austin Aries walked by (yes, I recognised who he was). We met up with 1PW Commercial Manager Anthony Booth. We spoke to him for a bit and he seemed in high spirits, albeit the most casual looking commercial manager I’ve ever seen. We moved around the hotel and briefly bumped into a jetlagged Chris Sabin, looking very worse for wear. We briefly saw owner Steven Gauntley and he looked like your everyday casual fan. I know, looks shouldn’t be important, but I wasn’t in high hopes at that point and I don’t think Saracen was either.
Anthony had originally promised us the chance to interview a few guys for the site. Understandably, most of the guys were knackered, and Raven and Sandman were awaiting transport to the WZW show that night. Fortunately, The Blue Meanie was kind enough to sit down with us for an interview, and we managed to go thirty minutes, at least triple the time we had anticipated, listening to Meanies fascinating tales of ECW, the JBL incident, being in the UK, Owen Hart and much more. We filmed the entire interview and part one is already up to read right now. In all honesty, I cannot push the guy any harder as one of the nicest people I’ve met in the business or anywhere else. He spoke as though he enjoyed and appreciated his work, and shared a strong connection with Saracen, who certainly became a fan of the man straight after. We were ushered out soon after, and told to come to the Dome early the next day to do some more interviews and collect some free signed programmes to give away on the site. We had a quick drink in the same room as The Sandman, Raven, Tracy Smothers and others, and set off to find sanctitude in time for the following day.
Saturday: We got to The Dome quite early, around 1pm, and walked past Low-ki, James Keenan, The Meanie and Al Snow before we even reached the bar. We were supposed to meet Anthony at 2pm, but that didn’t happen. Despite a phone call, that was the last we heard of Mr. Booth, and although unsurprised, I could feel the disappointment at the table, especially from my own corner. Still, we had a few hours to kill, and weren’t without some fun along the way. The silence that entered the bar with Al Snow was hilarious. All eyes were fixed on the WWE Tough Enough trainer, but it took mere seconds after his departure before things returned to normal. The Q&A section took place around this time, something we were also told we could join. As it was, security was terrible and they let anyone in. A friend of mine and his wife got in without hassle at the insist of a Dome worker, and The Sandman managed to gatecrash to the amusement/embarrassment of everyone, depending on who you ask. Even Steve Corino headed to the bar, and signed a few autographs. Certainly, they weren’t shy about being around their fans.
The Proving Ground Battle Royal kicked off the matches for those unfortunate enough to buy the more expensive tickets. Myself and Saracen got a kick out of hearing who had got themselves into the match, as it seemed like 1PW had realised just how little UK talent they had, and were trying to rectify it in a most half-arsed manner. We, in the meantime, were graced by the presence of the wife/fiance/girlfriend (I forget which) of Blondie Barrett, a UK legend. His partner was a very nice lady, and definitely taught me a lot, as indirect as it was. I had to laugh at the accent though. Northern accents (I presume it was northern, anyway) always crack me up. I had a blast making fun of our hosts for the weekend – is it so hard to say “to the” rather than “t’e”? So anyway, Keith Myatt and a few friends joined us just moments before heading in, and it was funny to learn how supposedly prepared the show was. Three pages worth of preparation is quite impressive, although I’ll be surprised if I hear they actually stuck to it in the end.
We headed into the arena area and two things immediately stuck out. Firstly, security was beyond a joke. I could have gone and sat anywhere in the building if it wasn’t taken, and probably could have taken too. But secondly, and more importantly, the set up looked strong. The ring was 20×20, and looked impressive, but I question if it was worth the £6000 or so to buy and transport it around, since most of the wrestlers were running marathons to get from one side to the other. The big screen was a nice touch though, and I was very impressed with the quality of video.
At this point, I was busy marking out like a little kid over meeting Raven (and buying some of his merchandise), so I’m gonna hand over to a review of the action sent in by Roei Samuel in London (my own comments in parentheses).
– Jodie Fleisch & Jonny Storm vs. Jerry Lynn & Chris Sabin
This was definitely a show stealer. The general pace of the match was high flying and fast moving. The in ring chemistry between the teams was outstanding. Some people thought this was the best match of the show. The match went on for about ten minutes and there was never a slow moment. Storm and Fleisch got the win.
(Decent match, basic spot show, but did its job)
Blue Meanie vs. Tracy Smothers
The Blue Meanie managed to keep his reputation of being a nice funny entertainer. With the build up to the match it had the potential of being a violent brawl but hey it’s Meanie. After Tracy acting scared of Meanie he started to fight with the ref and the ref bodyslammed him. The crowd loved it. Smothers then challenged Meanie to a dance off. The crowd were behind Meanie the whole time. Tracy then hit Meanie from behind and was on the offensive. Meanie then went on the offensive but missed his back flip off the top rope. Smothers hit him with brass knucks to win the match.
(Comedy match, lots of stalling, but entertaining nonetheless, even if the whole JBL incident wasn’t played on despite the build up)
Spud, Stevie Lynn & Shabazz vs. Ross Jordan, James Tighe & Ice XVII
This was another fast paced match. However, you could tell the wrestlers were amateur. But that is not a bad thing. Spud was the real crowd favourite. This was probably because Spud is your classic underdog. There was a 6 man pile up outside the ring which started a holy sh*t chant. Other chants heard through out the arena during this match were “afro”, “lets all grow an afro” and others. This was due to the ref’s hair (he even got an encore later on in the night). Shabazz was a strong force throughout the match and helped his team pick up the win. No sooner, the celebrations were cut short by Abyss and SJK. They both destroyed the participants of the match. Spud got the crowd behind him and tried to take down with a cross body but failed. Abyss then had his way with Spud. AJ Styles then came out aided by a chair but officials would not let get them near each other.
(The match that showcased the problem with 1PW – they don’t give a toss about UK talent that aren’t Doug Williams, Storm or Fleisch. The match was not really much different to the opener, just more amateur. Tighe and Spud were working hard but I’m pretty confident in saying that anyone could have gotten on this show. I could have probably gotten myself to be a manager or something. That’s not a good thing. But nevermind, because Abyss comes out and destroys the UK guys. America beats Britain, their wrestlers are better than ours, we get the idea. Look deeply at these actions and it paints a scary picture about just what the guy running this show is aiming for – and what I see isn’t “a top British promotion” but rather “a top American promotion on British soil”. A point on “Afro” also, if I may. The cult hero of the show was FCW referee Joel Allen, a small white guy with a rather impressive afro. The fans took to the hair and if I were 1PW, I’d milk it for its worth, and pay the guy well, too)
SJK vs. D’lo Brown
SJK was already out there so it did not take a lot of time before D’lo arrived. The match all in all was not as fast paced as I expected it would be. SJK was mostly on top and even used D’los own move on him (Sky High). D’lo later on in the match did use the Sky High but SJK kicked out of the pin. D’lo then went for his trademark frog splash but missed. SJK rolled him up for the win. D’lo brown looked devastated after losing the match. A fan started to call Brown a jobber witch caused quite a few chants at the man from the fans
(Solid enough match, nothing else to note)
Steve Corino vs. Al Snow
The match was close to running about 45 mins. The pace moved from very slow to very fast. For those expecting to see a great old school match were disappointed because 3 quarters of the bout was comedy. The first ten minutes was good solid wrestling until Corino faked an injury. He was on the ground for a bout 5 or 6 minutes. The crowd started to get impatient. Corino then attacked Snow. The rest of the match was getting slow and groggy. The two fighters were dead locked for about 5 minutes until Snow hit the Snow Plough. Corino kicked out at two. The rest of the fight became very funny and entertaining. Al then started impersonating lots of wrestlers. We saw Sweet Chin Music, the Pedigree, the Hogan big boot and leg drop. We nearly saw a 619 and we even saw a Stunner. Corino then did an Angle slam and put Snow in an Ankle lock. Snow broke out and suplexed Corino. He took of his shoe and sock and got Corino with a Mandible Claw and finished off with a Peoples Elbow. Corino kicked out of a pin. Corino rolled up snow and won the match.
(Death to sit through, the crowd became really bored and headed to the merchandise areas. I wonder if the owner gave them freedom for a time limit. Fortunately, the end saved it from being a total DUD)
Low ki vs. Iceman
Iceman a veteran BRITISH wrestler. I put British in capitals because I was shocked his theme music was “Born In The USA”. But British or not, Iceman was very good and his opponent was even better. Low ki showered Iceman with high powered kicks and holds. At one point Low ki was thrown out the ring but landed on his feet and ran right back in. The real point in the match was when Low ki hit the Pele on Iceman. Iceman was then put in a modified dragon clutch and passed out in the middle of the ring. Low ki waited for Iceman to regain conciseness and shook his hand. Iceman got a standing ovation when he left the ring.
(So-so match. Very stiff, but Iceman got punked out. Saracen and I seemed to disagree on this match. Saracen didn’t seem to like Iceman getting punked out, but Low ki was never going to lose this, especially when his reputation is much stronger than Icemans, which is the most important thing at 1PW)
Doug Williams vs. Austin Aries
From the looks of the crowd, they were all looking for a technical masterpiece. Doug and Austin delivered. With what was only described as a rematch to a previous battle these two had in ROH, Doug went in to the match with a 1-0 over Aries. The match was starting to look like the two had nothing but respect for each other. One of them showered the other with an array of great holds, counter-holds and counter-counter holds. Doug then took the upper hand to win the match up. After the match Doug went to shake hands with Aries but Aries refused and stormed out. The crowd then went on to give Williams a standing ovation
(A very good match, but the crowd was tired at this point. The show was going on for FAR too long. Aries seemed a little miffed at playing heel but being cheered. Of course, the fans can cheer what they like but supershows like this are not going to be the future of UK wrestling at this rate, because they’re aimed at one type of fan, and it’s the type of fan the owner seems to be. Ironically, the next match…)
Sandman vs. Raven vs. Tommy Dreamer
Raven came out with his young female valet “Scrumptious “and tried to insult the audience but after every insult the crowd just cheered. Raven played along with all of this very well. The Sandmans music played and he was standing up somewhere near the balcony and made his way to three sides of the audience and the whole arena was singing along to his Enter Sandman theme tune. The whole crowd were on their feet. In my section we were all standing on chairs for the duration of the match. Raven and Sandman started to fight and before you knew it, Tommy Dreamer made his special appearance and joined in with the fun. Tommy came in aided by his shopping trolley full of weapons and took out The Sandman then proceeded to beat Raven with a trash can. The Sandman re-entered the ring with a steel security wall and placed it on top of both Raven and Dreamer. He did his trademark forward flip and landed on them. He went on to hurricanrana Scrumptious off the top turnbuckle. Raven set up a table and threw Sandman through it. Tommy Dreamer then set up another table and helped Sandman place Raven on it. Sandman did a front flip onto Raven and they went through the table. Sandman picked up the win. After the match, Dreamer piledrove scrumptious. Dreamer then handed out some weapons to the crowd. Raven went on to say that the crowd rocked.
(Good match, but too short for my liking. As it was, because it was so late, it had to be done, but very entertaining. As yes, Sandmans entrance is amazing live)
AJ Styles vs. Abyss
AJ Styles vs. Abyss was meant to be the main event of the evening but a lot of people felt it was cut short due to the length of the event. Abyss as usual was a power house through out the whole match. Abyss catapulted AJ into a chair but despite this AJ managed to hit the Styles Clash. After AJ was thrown of the top rope, Abyss went out the ring to get some thumbtacks. He poured them out next to one of the corners in the ring. AJ got put on to the top rope by Abyss. AJ reversed the power bomb which Abyss tried and threw Abyss on to the tacks. Styles bodyslammed Abyss and hit the Spiral Tap. He then got the pin.
(Another solid match, but short and rushed a little. Unfortunately, we were all knackered and a lot of people had already left before the match had even started. But that was just a small point at that time. The match itself was fine, and both men worked hard)
Thanks to Roei for that report. So the show itself was fine. Was it perfect? No, far from it. In fact, there were a lot of negatives to the show. The lack of care about the UK talent is going to bite them eventually, and when they can’t afford to being in the big names anymore they’ll be wishing they had looked over tapes and taken more care in bringing in good UK workers and building them up as something that could maybe connect with these casual fans who came to see an ECW/TNA show. The time issue also needs to be addressed. A show should never go on until nearly midnight, and the structure of the show was weak as it was. The top two matches should have been swapped around because AJ/Abyss was never going to top Raven/Sandman/Dreamer, and I think Raven knew that judging by his post-match promo (telling the fans to give AJ and Abyss a lot of respect because they deserve to be in the main event). Corino/Snow should have been far shorter. There should have been less matches. I could go on with what I felt went wrong, but that’s just one guys opinion. At the end of the day, they set out to put on a show that people enjoyed, and the general consensus is overwhelmingly positive, which is a great sign for 1PW. They aimed, fired, and hit close enough to the target that they will be back in January to kickstart the road to crowning a 1PW champion. Sabu, Masato Tanaka, Samoa Joe, Charlie Haas and Christopher Daniels have been confirmed for the January weekend of the 6th and 7th at the Doncaster Dome in (wait for it…) Doncaster. 1p-w.com already has a new look now uploaded, and tickets are on sale right now. Jeff Jarrett is a rumoured name at the moment, and it would be the first time that Jarrett has been in the UK since his tours with the WWA a few years ago. So make sure you check out the site for more details and stick around because Wrestling101 will have all the latest news as we get it.
Phew, that was a long read, wasn’t it. Ok, with all that said and done, it’s time to see what else is going on in the UK right now.
WAW have announced the final card for their next show, October Outrage VII, at The Talk in Norwich, on October 15th. As it stands, the card is as follows:
- The Zebra Kid vs. Zak Zodiac
- “Rowdy” Ricky Knight vs. Paul Tyrell
- Jason Cross vs. “The Tattooed Warrior” Steve Quintain for the WAW British Cruiserweight title
- The U.K. Pitbulls vs. Bash & Crash
- Destiny vs. Melody
- WAW Academy Survivor Series match
Tickets for the show are priced at £10 for adults, £7 for children and £30 for a family of 2 adult and 2 children, and can be obtained by telephoning 01603 660220.(thanks to TwoSheds for the report).
VPW will stage their next show at the Horndean Technology College in Horndean, Hampshire on October 28th. Joe E Legend has been confirmed for the show, as well as Phil Powers, UK Kid, Max Voltage, Aviv Maayan and more. Tickets are £8 for adults and £5 for kids and OAPs, and the show stars at 8pm. Go to VarsityPro.com for more info, or check out the forums and find out more about VPW, its shows, and details on the latest DVD release available soon.
For those in the Carlisle area, VVP are coming to the Carlisle Working Men’s Club in Fisher Street on October 16th for a show featuring XL Nattrass taking on Sabotage as well as Stevie Lynn and others. Tickets are £8 for adults and £5 for children (hey, deja vu) and bell time is at 7pm.
The Midlands own FCW have updated their website with the latest news concerning Deliverance at Haden Hill Leisure Centre in Halesowen on October 15th. Rob Hunter and A-Star Athlete will battle it out in a Last Man Standing match, Dave Moralez will face off with Dragon Phoenix, and Laken Zander will face a returning Kevin O’Neil, amongst other matches. For anyone looking for an interesting read, a new Future Gossip column has been posted by “Emerald”. To view this and everything else, FutureWrestling.co.uk is your one-stop source.
Remember when K-Star was seen as one of the top promotions in the Midlands and even the country? Seems so long ago. Watch this space over the next few months, because we may not have heard the last of these guys, in one way or another.
I know it’s off-topic and I’ve already discussed 1PW in this column, but for anyone wishing to hear a wrestlers viewpoint of the show, Steve Corino has updated his Livejournal with a review of the trip. The address is livejournal.com/~corino/
BHW return to the Melton Mowbray Working Mens Club in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire on November 26th (quite a long way away, but plenty of time for you to save up and trek down – no excuses). Tickets are £6 and you can reserve them by phoning/texting 07710 630477 or by e-mailing [BHWrestling@aol.com]. The show starts at 7.30 and such stars scheduled to be there include M.T.X, Mooga, and many more.
We’re one week away from FWA Hotwired from the Broxbourne Civic Hall in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire and it’s a make or break time for the outfit. With the new obsession of supershows and promotions such as IPW-UK becoming the new internet fans baby, FWA have a lot to prove. Can they still hang with the moving UK scene? Do they have a plan of action? Do they have a direction? We’ll soon see as Alex Shane defends his FWA title against Joe Legend, and Spud, Jonny Storm and Jodie Fleisch face off in a three-way for a title shot of the winners choosing immediately after the match. It will be interesting to report back with just what FWA wants to do with itself now that Universal Uproar is a mere month away and 1PW has a successful show under its belt.
Fancy working for Wrestling101’s UK scene? Want to become a newsboard poster or a column writer? Have a number of UK show or DVD reviews you want to share? Have a show report you want to send to us as soon as a show is in progress or over? Let us know. W101 prides itself on being a predominantly UK site focusing on wrestling around the world, and is now in the process of becoming wider in its UK coverage and content. If you wish to be a part of the team in any capacity, shoot myself or Kam an e-mail at [Mitchell@wrestling101.com] or [Kam@wrestling101.com] respectively and let us know what you wish to do with an example of your work. Already seen by many as the UK’s number one UK news site, it’s time to push things forward even more.
Alongside that, for all promoters or wrestlers reading the site, be sure to drop myself, Saracen, Kam or Devilish Angel an e-mail if you wish to have your company or self covered more on the site. If you want us to be a part of your mailing lists, please let us know as it makes our lives easier to have news, previews and results in our inbox to guarantee a speedy inclusion on the site. For the wrestlers, if you wish to be interviewed for the website, let us know with a brief outline of who you and what is vital that we need to know about you (promotions worked for, etc) – a personal website is good too.
And finally, as a last remaining piece of cryptic advice to all reading, don’t shake hands too tightly – bones are breakable, and the last thing a body needs is broken bones, no matter where it resides.
Thanks for reading.