By Ian Hamilton
Against the chaotic background caused by 1 Pro Wrestling's liquidation last week, Billingham-based 3 Count Wrestling put on a replacement show for the cancelled No Turning Back event, entitled Will Not Die. With a slightly-less than sold-out crowd present (at a guess, I'd say around 1200) present, and despite losing all of the All Japan wrestlers who had been booked for the 1PW event, on top of almost all of the American talent (whose flights hadn't been booked), 3CW put on a show that served as an emotional farewell for 1PW. if this was indeed their final show.
The card opened with a long, ad-libbed promo from ring announcer Stevie Aaron, with Dean Ayass coming out and cracking a joke ("I owe 1PW for the opportunity. that's strange, someone owing 1PW something!") and then ran down some of the highlights of 1PW's existence. Aaron then placed a black 1PW t-shirt across the top rope as a "farewell" video played on the decidedly-smaller video screen. Throughout that video, various wrestlers from 1PW's history appeared, all getting loud cheers. Guys like Abyss, Tracy Smothers, Steve Corino, Bret Hart. while Christian Cage got booed. Inbetween most of the matches, the top ten "1PW Memories" would play - although a technical error meant that we didn't see the last five.
(1) The returning Stevie Lynn won a six-way elimination scramble match featuring Darkside, Dan James, Ollie Burns, Mark Sloane and Joey Hayes.
Lynn was announced as a mystery entrant for this match, which confused everyone as we saw a tag team entered into the match as two singles wrestlers (Sloane and Burns), while Dan James and Joey Hayes were accompanied to the ring by their respective tag partners Harry Mills and Ruffneck. As usual, there was a lot of heat on the Chavs (James/Mills), and for some reason everyone was trying to break up the pinfall attempts despite it being an elimination match. Lynn won the match in the end, pinning Darkside last with a vertebreaker in a decent, if not long match.
Post-match, Mills and James returned to attack Lynn - this brought back Pain Inc (Hayes/Ruffneck) to lay out both of the Chavs, eventually ending up with Ruffneck grapevining James' legs and picking him up for Hayes to DDT the Chav onto a chair.
They announced that the Great Muta was not in Doncaster (neither was Kikutaro, Akira Raijin or NOSAWA, the other "1PW-booked" All Japan wrestlers), and that Andy Simmons and Martin Stone were also no-shows because of injuries that they'd picked up while wrestling for RQW on Friday night. As a result of this, we had a bonus match:
(2) Cheerleader Melissa beat Skye
This really had the feel of a "bonus match": it was the first women's match that had ever been held on a main 1PW show, and since very few people in the crowd actually knew who either Melissa or Skye were, this was a dead match. Throughout the match though, the few SHIMMER fans managed to get a few more converts, as the sober element of the crowd warmed to the fact that good womens wrestling does still exist. Melissa worked as a heel, which was hard to get used to, especially since she was the only one in this match who had much of a following. Melissa won with the vertebreaker (oops!), after a good match that involved the old Giant Swing into the guard rail spot with Skye on the floor.
(3) Davey Richards beat El Ligero
Again, Davey Richards tried to work as a heel here in the second successive match between UK babyface and foreign imports - except since a few more people had heard of Richards, the crowd was split evenly between the "UK Luchadore" and the ROH grappler. Just like most of Richards' matches, there were a tonne of stiff kicks, while Ligero stuck to his high-flying arsenal of moves, missing quite a few of them early on (as in, Richards moved out of the way, before finally shouting "all I could see was this flying Mexican" when Ligero connected with a dive to the floor). Richards scored a tonne of near falls on Ligero, who was never really on top throughout the match, leading to Richards "snapping", and connecting with the Go 2 Sleep for another near fall. Straight after the kickout, Richards went for his modified Texas Cloverleaf (like Edge's old Edgucation submission) for the tap-out win.
(4) Damned Nation (Dragon Aisu & Majik) beat Jonny Storm & Jody Fleisch and Team SHAG I.T (International) (Darren Burridge & Mad Man Manson) in an elimination 3-way to win the 1PW tag team titles
Okay, this was a weird one. The last 1PW tag team champions were Colt Cabana & Darren Burridge; no champions were announced going into the match, but this match was billed as being for the (missing in action) 1PW tag team title belts. With Cabana not on the show, Burridge announced his partner as being Mad Man Manson, the Irish wrestler who got over as a cult comedy favourite during 1PW's First Anniversary Show in October. Manson spent most of the match wrestling an imaginary opponent before he got himself counted out "fighting" his "opponent" to the back, which left us with Damned Nation and the team of Storm & Fleisch, who were reluctant to participate from the beginning. I can't remember much of what happened - Dragon Aisu won the titles for Damned Nation as they were crowned the tag team champions of a dead company.
Post-match, just about everyone involved in the match got on the mic and thanked the fans, while Gabriel Grey (manager for Damned Nation) brought up how if it weren't for Aisu and 3CW, this show wouldn't have happened. The segment ended with Darren Burridge dancing to his music in the ring with everyone, as a bunch of kids (read: anyone who wanted to hop the rail) piled into the ring as we headed into the lo-o-o-o-o-o-ong intermission as everyone worked the gimmick tables, while a replica World Heavyweight title belt was auctioned off at ringside.
(5) Jack Storm & Dave Morales beat Kid Richie and Chris Whitton in a RQW Tag Team Title Tournament match
This was the first match back from intermission, and given that Storm/Morales were 1PW regulars (and that this was the first time that the 1PW crowd had seen Whitton of the mini-Bryan Alvarez lookalike Kid Richie in action), it was no surprise that the crowd were only into this match whenever they could give the former Team Supreme heat.
Not much of a match, but it really served as a purpose to build up an impromptu match, after Storm and Morales won with a tombstone piledriver and a regular piledriver on their opponents.
Spud's music hit after the match, and he came out to get his backside kicked. The crowd chanted for Sterling James Keenan, and sure enough, he made his flight - as the crowd lifted the roof off of the Doncaster Dome when his music hit. After a promo from Keenan, we had our next match:
(6) Sterling James Keenan & Spud beat Jack Storm & Dave Morales
Again, I don't really remember much of this match, aside from Morales spraying saliva all over the place every 30 seconds or so. There wasn't much wrestling to this, but it was there to keep the fans happy for Keenan's "last" appearance in the Doncaster Dome, as he piled on top of Spud's cover of Morales to get the win.
Post-match, there were promos from Keenan and Spud, who broke down into tears in the middle of the ring as he thanked Steven Gauntley.
(7) Pac beat Kid Kash to retain the 1PW Openweight Title
Pac came out first for the match (and with his belt) to decent pops... Kash came out second (duh) to a respectable pop. The match started out very very slowly, almost too slowly, in fact, prompting some of the assholes in the crowd to heckle Kash (the usual "steroids" chant and various other BS). I'm 99% sure it was from the same guy who took his shirt off to reveal a big fat hairy belly when Davey Richards had the same problem in his match with El Ligero.
Anyway, as the match progressed, Kash continued to get the hecklers, by which point the crowd was turning heavily AGAINST said heckler. Pac and Kash were having a pretty good match - nothing spectacular, but not offensively bad either. Then, about 2/3rds of the way through, something happened and Kash just seemed to lose it.
Whether the story was for Pac to take a beating or not, I don't know, but the kicks, punches and bumps seemed a lot stiffer than they had been. Then, for no rhyme or reason in the match, Kash leaned out of the ring and grabbed one of the photographers (I'd say female, but out of the camera crew, just one videocamera guy was male) and pulled her into the ring, hair and camera first. Kash then shouted at the photographer, took the camera off of her, and then threw her out of the ring and onto the floor. If she was not a plant, then a) the bump was bad; b) it served no point in the match and c) it was absolutely frigging pointless.
Kash continued to lay into Pac, then he went after a woman with the videocamera, grabbing the camera off of her, and doing the old "filming myself kicking my opponent, then hitting him with the camera". At this point, about 3 or 4 of the 1PW/3CW security guys came out into the entrance way, as Kash reluctantly gave the camera back. A few moments later, he did the same trick again with the commentary desk, chasing away Dean Ayass and Stevie Aaron before putting on a headset and some sunglasses.
Pac won in the end when he reversed the Dead Level into a roll-up; but by Christ, Kash's "roid rage" was scary. If it was a work, then it was entirely pointless. Personally, I don't think it was... and this may be the last time Kash sets foot in the UK for a while, despite his post-match "never forget my roots... I'm American, which means my roots begin here in England" promo.
After this, Stevie Aaron and Dean Ayass got in the ring and cut a final promo, saying that they'd given us all the authentic 1PW experience one last time - as the show was running late (it was after 11pm and the main event was still to come). So what do you do when you're running over time. have one final filler segment!
Out came Adam Curtis (host of the 1PW TV show), who in turn introduced Jay Phoenix. The long and short of this segment was that 1PW had stripped Abyss of the title, and Curtis was crowning a new champion. Short of being "that guy who acted as an authority figure that one time", this made little sense, but bear with me: Curtis opened his shirt to reveal the 1PW title belt, which hadn't quite gotten into the hands of the liquidators just yet. Phoenix got the title, just as Ulf Herman's music hit for his usual fire breathing Rammstein entrance.
Herman cut a promo on Phoenix, which led to Iceman coming out and setting up the advertised main event: a Survival of the Sickest match (hardcore) for the 1PW title between Iceman and Herman, with Phoenix floating around "if he wanted to join in."
Compared to past SOTS matches, it wasn't the "most violent" main event that they'd ever put on, but it was enough to slake the fans' thirst for one last time. The usual array of weapon shots was interrupted as Curtis returned to the ring and knocked out the referee, before slowly taking off his shirt to reveal a referee's shirt. That didn't last too long: Sterling James Keenan returned to hit Curtis with two MK Ultras, before picking him up and carrying him out of the building.
The match continued with more violence, including a few tosses into the famously flimsy guard rails, and a failed cane shot to a coffee mug, as they built up to the crescendo: the fire table. Perhaps the kid next to me put it best when he mocked "we haven't seen this for like half a year", but if there was one way to go out, it may as well be for this. Herman set up the table in the ring and did a Homer Simpson job on it, virtually emptying the contents of four bottles of lighter fluid onto the table before setting it alight. The flames reached about ten feet high, but died out as Herman and Iceman set up the final spot. Iceman grabbed a lighter and used the rest of the fluid to set the table alight one last time, as Iceman ended up taking a suplex through the flaming timber. One quick three count later, your winner, and new 1PW champion: Ulf Herman.
After the match, the entire locker-room emptied out around the ring as Herman gave a farewell speech (thankfully, without crying), all while Steven Gauntley (former 1PW owner/chairman/whatever) stood among the crowd at ringside.
All in all, this was a good farewell show, but it seemed to bring up more questions than answered. With 1PW Promotions (the parent company behind 1PW) out of business, the fact that the show not only recognised all of 1PW's champions, but crowned new World and Tag Team champions seems to suggest that they are leaving the door wide open for a rebirth of the promotion using mainly British-based performers, either under the 3CW banner or under other guardianship.
Nothing concrete was said either way by anybody at the show: but I have a funny feeling that this will not be the final time I'll be making the 90 minute drive down to Doncaster for a wrestling show.
1sunderland.com - sinkingshipbook.co.uk
ian [at] 1sunderland [dot] com
For the most in-depth and detailed news and analysis on pro-wrestling and MMA, always turn to Figure Four Weekly Online! Become a member of F4Wonline.com and get the absolute latest insider news and commentary from WWE, TNA, UFC, PRIDE, CMLL, AAA, ROH, K-1, all the wrestling and MMA independents, Japan, and so much more, all for as little as $1.20 per week. Members get giant newsletter (250+ issues), radio show (150+ episodes of Figure Four Daily, The Bryan & Vinny Show, Mike Coughlin's Five Star Radio, and The Adam & Mike Big Audio Nightmare), Coughlin, Keith Lipinski, and Derek Burgan archives, the brand new VINNY'S BLOG~!, Bryan Alvarez's archived columns from Fighting Spirit Magazine and Penthouse, and complete access to our news, interview, and TV/DVD archives dating back to 2005. For your convenience, we offer secure online payments using your VISA, Mastercard, American Express, Discover card or PayPal account. Don't miss out on the fun, sign up now!
Want full access within one minute? QUICK AND EASY $6.95 PAYPAL SIGN-UP!