About Us  |   Contact

The Week In British Wrestling: Dunne and Marufuji meet in London

Main image by The Ringside Perspective's Oli Sandler

Here are five things you need to know about British wrestling this week:

1) Lucha Forever finally made it to London -- with a bang!

After their planned first show in the nation’s capital was canceled at the last minute earlier this year, Lucha Forever finally made it to London last Thursday -- to The Coronet in Clapham, more precisely -- and wowed the 880 fans in attendance with their biggest show to date.

For many, the big attraction was not only an appearance by Pro Wrestling NOAH’s Naomichi Marufuji but the fact that he was stepping into the ring with WWE United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne. The two did not disappoint, going to an at times brutal time limit draw.

The real main event, however, was reserved for the clash of LDRS2000 -- the team of Zack Sabre Jr. & Marty Scurll, supplemented by Will Ospreay -- and CCK. This was meant to feature all three current members of the CCK stable, but an injury to Kid Lykos meant that they reached out to 2017 Tournament of Death winner Jimmy Havoc to replace him, adding more violence to the match.

LDRS2000 won, and afterwards were confronted by Trent Seven, Tyler Bate, and Pete Dunne, who informed the crowd that LDRS2000 vs. British Strong Style would happen in 2018! Seven and Bate -- as Moustache Mountain -- had earlier beaten Aussie Open in another fine showcase for the tourists.

Bea Priestley brings the pain to Damian Dunne -- photo by Beyond Gorilla's Robyn Goding

The Lucha Forever title was also on the line as Mark Haskins, reveling in his rudo role, beat Chris Ridgeway, before attacking him after the bell. This brought out co-promoter Ryan Smile, who squared up to the champion, but both were interrupted by Kip Sabian, who had earlier won a ladder match to earn a title cash-in. Before he could do that, Smile hit him with Outta Somewhere, and said he wouldn’t be cashing in tonight.

The show also featured wins for Omari and Toni Storm, and is available to watch on Lucha Forever’s On Demand service. The promotion are back in action on October 31st with a Halloween version of their monthly Manchester gig.

2) EVE’s Nasty Women was a hot go-home for the SHE-1 weekender

With four shows spread over two days on November 11th and 12th, Pro Wrestling EVE’s SHE-1 Tournament will find the Ace of EVE, and the field was completed at last Friday’s Nasty Women at the Resistance Gallery in Bethnal Green, London.

Nine women had already qualified -- EVE Champion Sammii Jayne, Charlie Morgan, Laura Di Matteo, Nicole Matthews, Emi Sakura, "Session Moth" Martina, Jetta, Nina Samuels, and Kay Lee Ray -- and they were joined by Viper and Jamie Hayter, who beat Jayla Dark and Dahlia Black, respectively, to earn their passage to November’s big shows. The final competitor was announced as Sendai Girls’ Meiko Satomura, a joshi legend who appeared for EVE in February.

Veda Scott attempts a pin on Laura di Matteo -- photo by Anja Wettergren

Nasty Women, which was headlined by a wild EVE Championship bout between former friends Sammii Jayne and Debbie Sharp, was also used to announce the date of their ambitious trip across the road to the York Hall. The 1,000-capacity venue will play host to EVE on Saturday, May 5th, the same day as the opening of PROGRESS Wrestling’s Super Strong Style 16 tournament, but both promotions have worked together to ensure that -- in theory, at least -- it should be possible to do both.

Last Friday’s show also saw Kay Lee Ray defeat Jinny, Nina Samuels beat impressive debutant Millie McKenzie, Veda Scott go down in her first appearance to Laura Di Matteo, and Jetta & Erin Angel teaming to beat Livvii Grace & Zoe Lucas. Charli Evans also returned to the Resistance, beating Charlie Morgan (who may have reinjured her broken collarbone) and Kasey Owens in a three-way.

Nina Samuels' Little Girl Challenge was answered by Millie McKenzie -- photo by Anja Wettergren

EVE competitors were also in action on Saturday and Sunday, as XWA ran a quick double shot at the Resistance Gallery and Colchester's Charter Hall.

Saturday’s WrEstlE fRieNds saw Kay Lee Ray & Debbie Sharp team to beat EVE Champion Sammii Jayne & “Shot Talk Queen” Jetta, on a show which was headlined by an XWA British Heavyweight Championship clash between champion Cara Noir and XWA Frontier Sports Champion Simon Grimm (who had earlier won an improv comedy bout called Whose Clothes-Line is it Anyway?).

Cara Noir won, to carry his title into the next day’s Williams vs. Grimm event, where he successfully defended it against veteran Jody Fleisch. Sunday’s event was named for its main, as Simon Grimm put his Frontier Sports title on the line against former champion Doug Williams, coming away with the belt to make an XWA return a certain thing for 2018.

The EVE Championship was also defended as Sammii Jayne beat Kay Lee Ray and Debbie Sharp in a three-way, and the action from all three shows will soon be available on Pro-Wrestling EVE’s On Demand service. Tickets for SHE-1 are on sale now, and the big York Hall event goes on sale on November 1st.

3) The scene grew even wider with new promotions making their bows

At last count there were over 100 active promotions in the UK, and that list grew by two (and a bit) over the past week as Sunderland, Bournemouth, and Milton Keynes all got new wrestling to savor.

While the North East is already well-served by half a dozen promotions in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the city of Sunderland to the south is something of a fresh market, and Empire Wrestling took their chance last Friday with The Rise of an Empire at The Point. As you’d expect, the show had a northern flavor to it, but there was a sprinkle of southern talent as Damon Moser and Chuck Mambo made the long journey up from London.

Rise of an Empire was threaded through with the quarterfinals of a tournament to decide the first Empire Champion, and Nathan Cruz, Matt Myers, Sam Bailey, and CJ Banks all progressed to the semifinals, at the expense of El Ligero and the WWE UK trio of James Drake, Sam Gradwell, and Joseph Conners. There were also wins for Saxon Huxley, HT Drake, Little Miss Roxxy, and the Sons of Ulaid.

Unlike Sunderland, Bournemouth is already well-placed for wrestling, but Strike Wrestling will be hoping there’s always room for more after a successful debut show at the Halo on Sunday. Essentially a rebrand of South Coast Wrestling, they went with a mixture of new and established talent, with Kelly Sixx (aka RevPro’s Josh Wall) beating Flash Morgan Webster in the main event.

Jamie Hayter on her way to victory -- photo by They Hit I Shoot Photography

Fresh names Jack Fox and Stacey Chambers picked up wins (over Drew Parker and Blite, respectively), and a Jamie Hayter victory and a Josh Bodom vs. Ryan Smile clash of the motormouths completed the action. Like Empire, Strike haven’t announced a return date -- but watch this space for details.

Not technically a new promotion but a new endeavor for a well-established one seeking to rebrand, IPW presented some midweek graps last night when they made their debut at Unit Nine in Wolverton, Milton Keynes.

Former IPW Heavyweight Champion Jimmy Havoc met WWE UK top man Pete Dunne in the closer, with Havoc picking up a default win after Sabu appeared out of nowhere to attack him, causing Dunne to be disqualified. Havoc, who bled profusely from a spiking, and Sabu will meet down the line, perhaps as soon as this Sunday.

The show’s other big news was a title change as Jonny Storm’s short reign as IPW Heavyweight Champion came to an end when he was defeated by surprise opponent Moose. The show also featured wins for IPW Z-Force Champion Kip Sabian, CCK, Damian Dunne, and Robert Sharpe, and IPW are relaunching their On Demand service this weekend with a live presentation of their UK Super 8 show on Sunday.

4) Women took center stage in Scotland once more

While Insane Championship Wrestling always feature women on their big shows, and Scotland has two of the very best on the world scene in Kay Lee Ray and Viper, the closure of Fierce Females as a going concern in April last year left a big hole for a scene bulging with talent.

Although the show was very definitively-titled Don’t Call This a Comeback, it’s hard to view Fierce Females return last Sunday -- at The Shed in Glasgow -- as anything but.

Viper drops in on Bea Priestley -- photo by David J Wilson

While Kay Lee Ray was busy down south, challenging for the Pro Wrestling EVE title in Colchester, Viper did appear on the comeback show, defending her Scottish Women’s title against Bea Priestley. Viper triumphed, to hold onto the title she has owned since beating Kay Lee Ray in May 2015, but the undercard was stacked with potential challengers from Scotland and the wider UK.

Wins for Rhio, Leah Owens, Jayla Dark, Sara Marie Taylor, and Mille McKenzie will build their claims for a shot at the champion, as will successful defenses by two champions in their own right, with Danielle Hunter beating Charli Evans to retain the Fierce Females Internet title, and Lana Austin besting Isla Dawn (who splits her time between Scotland and Florida these days) to take the Futureshock Women’s Championship back to Manchester.

Fierce Females have announced a return to The Shed on February 4th next year, and in the meantime fans of women’s wrestling in Scotland can find action at ICW, GPWA, Source, Discovery, and others on a very healthy scene.

5) Even a fire alarm couldn’t stop The Storm (and other stuff)

Riptide Wrestling’s third outing at the Brighthelm Centre in Brighton last Friday was interrupted by a (thankfully false) fire alarm halfway through the first half, but this didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of a noisy crowd, or the hitrate of the wrestlers on the show.

The Storm was co-headlined by two tag team matches, with the South Coast Connection of Kelly Sixx & Ashley Dunn picking up a big win over Will Ospreay & Paul Robinson’s Swords of Essex in the main event, and the first half ending with a “Sh*t Wolf Replacement Challenge,” as Chris Brookes looked to replace the injured Kid Lykos with a member of the audience to take on Aussie Open.

Cue WWE UK Champion Pete Dunne, in a Lykos mask, and fun aplenty.

The show also featured wins for Martina the Session Moth, Bea Priestley, and Jack Sexsmith, who was attacked by Spike Trivet after the match, only for Chris Ridgeway to make the save and propose a tag team match down the line. Riptide return on November 3rd, with a main event of Jimmy Havoc vs. Keith Lee vs. Matt Riddle!

The same night, over 200 miles north on the outskirts of Wigan, Grand Pro Wrestling returned to the Rose Club in Hindley for Friday Night Thriller X, which saw the end of one of the promotion’s favorite tag teams as The Island Brothers lost a “losing team must split up” match against Tyson T-Bone & Craig Kollins.

The show was main evented by another successful GPW Heavyweight title defense for Dylan Roberts (over Damon Leigh), and also featured wins for The Midnight Bin Collection, Lana Austin, Nicholas Cartier, Joey Hayes, and for Martin Kirby in a “Sandal-Jack match” where he defeated long-term nemesis Sheikh Mohammed Rizzy Khan.

Grand-Pro are back for their final outing of the year on November 24th.

Finally for a very busy Friday, HOP:E Wrestling crowned their first Hardcore Champion when Drew Parker beat Clint Margera in the main-event of Freakshow 6 at the Hairy Dog in Derby. The title will be defended 24/7 so expect to see some mayhem wherever Parker appears.

Coming up --

The big show of a relatively quiet weekend is Insane Championship Wrestling’s ICW’s 11 at the Potterow in Edinburgh on Sunday, taped for Friday Night Fight Club as part of ICW’s eleventh anniversary celebrations. The show is headlined by an ICW Heavyweight title match between Joe Coffey and Moose, and there is also a DEATH MATCH between Chris Renfrew and Mikey Whiplash!

The weekend kicks off on Friday (as is customary) with HOP:E Wrestling’s Evolution 52: Like Miles Davis, I’ve Been Swayed by the Cool, at the Forest Town Arena in Mansfield. The next night sees Target Wrestling fulfill their monthly date at The Venue in Carlisle, with Wild Boar, Mikey Whiplash, and “Speedball” Mike Bailey alongside the Target regulars.

Sunday is busy, with the ICW show being joined by Dragon Pro Wrestling and Revolution Pro Wrestling in Wales, and by IPW and the London Lucha League in the south east. Dragon-Pro, the promotional offshoot of the wrestling school run by Mike Bird and Wild Boar, offer The Long Winter at Rodney Parade in Newport, while RevPro’s debut Cardiff show at the Tramshed features a huge RPW Undisputed Cruiserweight Championship match between Josh Bodom and Flash Morgan Webster.

The London Lucha League’s Nightmare on Poyser Street features a clash for the LLL title as champion Road Fam takes on Buffalo Soldier, while Tengu faces Malik in a “Money in the Helmet” match. IPW are staging their yearly UK Super 8 tournament at the Angel Centre in Tonbridge, with a field that includes Dave Mastiff, RJ Singh, “Strangler” Davis, and Andy Simmonz, plus an appearance from Sabu.