The Week In British Wrestling: The Elite sell out
Main photo by Stuart Parker
Here’s five things you need to know about British wrestling this week:
1) Fight Club: PRO went large and hit big
For a promotion which has only regularly begun to sell out its 200-capacity home at the Fixxion Warehouse, last Friday’s opening night of Fight Club: PRO’s Dream Tag Team Invitational three-dayer was a huge risk. Booking the Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, and the Lucha Brothers paid off, however, as 1,100 people crammed into the Diamond Banqueting Suite in Wolverhampton for what can only be described as a supershow.
The show kicked off a weekend-long tag team tournament, which climaxed on Sunday’s event at Bush Hall in Shepherd’s Bush, London, which was won by FCP regulars #CCK — Chris Brookes & the dirty wolf Kid Lykos — over Penta El 0M & Rey Fenix in the final.
Along the way, the two teams saw off the Hunter Brothers, the Bruisercats, the LDRS, and Moustache Mountain, and the tournament also featured FSU and Los Gueros del Cielo.
The DTTI Tournament finalists — photo by The Ringside Perspective’s Oli Sandler
Omega & the Young Bucks — collectively known as The Elite — took on British Strong Style on Friday night, in a match which will not appear on the eventual Vimeo release, and wowed the crowd in a dream match of sorts.
Friday’s show also featured wins for Sami Callihan (over Shane Strickland and Lio Rush), Mark Haskins (in an opening scramble match which had Jimmy Havoc and Nixon Newell make surprise appearances), Penta El 0M over his brother Rey Fenix, and for FCP Champion Travis Banks against Will Ospreay.
The show decamped to Manchester’s MMU on Saturday, with Banks taking on Haskins — and retaining his title — alongside wins for Dan Maloney (over Mark Andrews), Shane Strickland (against Jack Evans), and for Zack Sabre Jr. over Angelico, after which Sabre Jr. challenged Banks to a title match in London.
That show kicked off with another British Strong Style showcase, this time picking up a win over Marty Scurll, Sami Callihan & Jimmy Havoc.
Alongside the tournament semifinals and final, the London fans were also treated to Will Ospreay defeating Jack Evans, and Mark Haskins winning a three-way over Angelico and Shane Strickland, as well as that title match between Banks and Sabre Jr., which split the crowd and was every bit as good as their encounter last July which kicked off the new era of Fight Club: PRO at the Fixxion.
The shows will soon be available on Vimeo and on DVD, and FCP are back on May 19th.
2) The Dawning of Forever went out live on FloSlam
New promotions rarely make as big of a splash as Lucha Forever, a new enterprise backed by Ryan Smile and Will Ospreay, who unveiled half a dozen shows and signed a deal with FloSlam before they’d even run their first.
That show, suitably-titled The Dawning of Forever, was held at the H Suite in Birmingham on Monday, and went off without a hitch to those lucky enough to be in attendance and an audience watching worldwide.
The card was headlined by a match to decide the first Lucha Forever Champion, with man of the moment Travis Banks and regular UK visitor Shane Strickland chosen to compete for the belt. By the finish, and to the delight of the crowd, Banks had added the Lucha Forever belt to his Fight Club: PRO title, and Strickland put him over on the mic after the match.
A trios tournament also kicked off on the show, with the rudo trio of Chief Deputy Dunne & #CCK picking up a win over El Ligero (because it wouldn’t be a proper new UK promotion if they didn’t book Ligero), Bea Priestley & Drew Parker.
Travis Banks and Shane Strickland fight it out
Outside those two matches, only two further scheduled contests took place — Tyler Bate beating Pete Dunne in an all-WWE match during the broadcast interval, and a riotous bout between Sami Callihan and Will Ospreay which ended with referee Shay Purser picking up the win (!) — but the promotion’s “Lucha Loco” concept was fully in action, throwing up unannounced matches throughout.
This gave us Alex Windsor beating Nixon Newell on the latter’s last performance in Birmingham before heading off to Orlando, Windsor’s scheduled opponent Toni Storm beating TK Cooper in a super match, Omari pinning Jigsaw, and HOPE King of Flight Kip Sabian retaining his title in a four-way over Ashley Dunn, Kelly Six, and “That Guy” Connor Mills. It also threw up a quick, not-entirely-canon pinfall victory for referee Joel Allen over Pete Dunne, with Tyler Bate counting the pin!
The show is already available to watch on catch-up on FloSlam, and Lucha Forever return this Sunday in Manchester, with Chris Brookes vs. Angelico topping the card.
3) Red Lightning is back to cause trouble in ICW
Just five months after losing his half-share in Insane Championship Wrestling, and being banished from the promotion, Red Lightning burst back into ICW on their Barramania 3 iPPV, held at the Barrowlands in Glasgow last Sunday.
Lightning first appeared as Grado, who had just lost a banner match to former ICW Heavyweight Champion Wolfgang, turned heel, booting comrade Sha Samuels in the unmentionables and announcing Red Lightning as his new agent. The former owner reappeared at the climax of the show, after Joe Coffey beat Trent Seven to win the ICW Heavyweight title and then turned on owner Mark Dallas.
Coffey also announced that Red Lightning would be his agent, although what that actually means remains to be seen.
The stacked card featured all of the promotion’s men’s title belts on the line, as Kenny Williams retained his Zero-G Championship in an insane open challenge scramble match — which also included Matt Cross, Flash Morgan Webster, Ravie Davie, Charlie Sterling, Zack Gibson, and BT Gunn — and The Marauders beat Rampage Brown & Ashton Smith to keep a tight grip on the ICW Tag Team titles.
Jack Jester, barbed wire, pain — photo by David J Wilson
There was further tag team action which saw IWGP Tag Team Champions War Machine defeat Polo Promotions, and a wild brawl between the teams of Davey Blaze & Kay Lee Ray and DCT & Viper.
Wild brawls were pretty much the order of the night, as the last man standing match between Chris Renfrew and Stevie Boy ended in a no contest when Mikey Whiplash returned, Sha Samuels beat Kid Fite in a Barras street fight, and Drew Galloway defeated Jack Jester in a barbed wire ropes match on his final appearance with the company.
The grudge match between Joe Hendry and Lionheart also ended in a no contest for medical reasons after Lionheart kicked Hendry in the face while he was downed, and that feud will continue to heat up.
You can catch the show on replay on ICW On Demand, and the promotion return on April 30th, with a Friday Night Fight Club taping at QMU in Glasgow.
4) RevPro packed the York Hall for more New Japan goodness
After a successful first York Hall date of 2017 in January, Revolution Pro Wrestling returned to the home of their big shows last Thursday for Epic Encounter 2017, which was headlined by a rare UK appearance for The Elite of Kenny Omega & the Young Bucks, who beat the exciting team of Lio Rush (who filled in for a resting Ricochet), Ryan Smile & Shane Strickland.
There was plenty of other interest for New Japan aficionados, with Jay White submitting Angelico, NEVER Openweight Champion Hirooki Goto beating Zack Gibson, IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi seeing off Marty Scurll, and KUSHIDA falling to RevPro Undisputed British Heavyweight Champion Zack Sabre Jr. in the semi-main.
The Elite arrive in London — photo by Alex Haskett
Alongside that was plenty of all-RevPro action, with Undisputed British Tag Team Champions CCK (which is Chris Brookes & Travis Banks in this incarnation) retaining their titles against Sami Callihan & Martin Stone, Sha Samuels beating James Castle in a no DQ match which saw the East End Butcher cut the Anarchist’s mohawk afterwards, and a unification match between Josh Bodom and Will Ospreay for the Undisputed Cruiserweight title, which Bodom won in something of an upset.
The show is already available to watch on RevPro’s On Demand service, and the promotion stage their next Live at the Cockpit event on May 7th.
5) It was supershows galore as The Elite made the rounds
As well as their London and Wolverhampton dates, Kenny Omega & the Young Bucks also made stops in Edinburgh and Dublin, the latter of which was screened live on FloSlam (with some connection issues) and attracted over 2,000 fans to the National Stadium.
Their tour kicked off at Edinburgh’s Corn Exchange, as Discovery Wrestling put them in the ring against the homegrown trio of Joe Coffey, BT Gunn & Lewis Girvan. The show also featured a unique mix of local talent, “name” English stars, and some other unusual imports, with Polo Promotions, Joe Hendry, Marty Scurll, and Martina the Session Moth all picking up wins.
The show is available on the promotion’s On Demand service and Discovery return to the Corn Exchange on May 7th.
Martina is in need of assistance — photo by David J Wilson
The Dublin stop for Over The Top Wrestling saw The Elite defeat Lio Rush (filling in again for Ricochet) & The Uptown Funkers — a party-happy Will Ospreay & OTT Champion Ryan Smile — to finish their tour undefeated. It was a fitting main event for OTT’s biggest show to date, which also featured wins for imports Grado, Jigsaw, Jurn Simmons, Marty Scurll, and Zack Gibson, as well as a pair of six-man matches featuring entirely homegrown talent.
The FloSlam audience was treated to their first sight of the live Martina the Session Moth experience, as she teamed with Nixon Newell & Alex Windsor to beat Jinny, Bea Priestley & OTT Women’s Champion Katie Harvey, only for Windsor to turn on Martina after the match to set up a future program.
The event will soon be available to watch on replay on FloSlam, and OTT announced that they would return to the National Stadium on August 5th, with Mick Foley announced as general manager for the night.
Also on a big show kick, but without The Elite, were IPW:UK, who inserted a bonus supershow into their schedule when Penta El 0M and Rey Fenix became available for a date at the Rochester Casino Rooms on Monday.
The Lucha Brothers took part in a one-night tag team tournament which also featured the former IPW:UK Tag Team Champions the London Riots, the Hunter Brothers, and the team of Zack Sabre Jr. & IPW:UK Heavyweight Champion Jimmy Havoc.
Action from the main event — photo by Turning Face’s Jim Maitland
That was won by Havoc & Sabre Jr. over the Riots, and a post-match beatdown was interrupted by the face locker room emptying. Elsewhere on the card, Big Grizzly pinned Jack Evans, Angelico beat Marty Scurll, and Tom Dawkins defeated Adam Maxted.
The show airs “as live” on FloSlam on Thursday night/Friday morning, and IPW:UK return on April 30th in Clapham with Tommy Dreamer.