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The Week In British Wrestling: IPW:UK turns 12, Brits impress at BOLA

Main photo by Paul Smith

WARNING: This column contains spoilers for PWG's 2016 Battle of Los Angeles.

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

1) Future-Pro started the new term with a bang

One of a number of promotions that provide family-friendly pro wrestling entertainment without dumbing it down to an excuse to sell popcorn and foam fingers, Future Pro-Wrestling opened the doors of the Thomas Wall Centre in Sutton last Saturday for their latest monthly offering.

School’s In was headlined by an FPW Tag Team Championship match between the London Riots, champions going in, and the newly-formed Clan of Rishi Ghosh & new FPW champion Darrell Allen. Allen came away a double champ, thanks to interference from TM Shah, and The Clan seem set to run wild over FPW for the foreseeable future.

At the end of his glorious six week holiday, a show called School’s In must have been a shock to RJ Singh’s system as the head teacher lost to Prince Malik, from the same London School of Lucha Libre that developed Will Ospreay, also down to interference from Shah. Another graduate of the LSLL, Tom Dawkins, continued his good form in downing Earl Black Jr., while Lucha Britannia champion Jonathan Windsor teamed with fellow toff Lord Gideon Grey in a losing effort against Sid Scala & The Warden.

The show featured the future and past of the current British indie scene, with a ProJo talent showcase as former PROGRESS champion “Pastor” William Eaver beat Roy Johnson, and innovative veteran Jonny Storm downed seven-year pro Snare.

FPW return with a Halloween spectacular on October 29th, with Team RJ (Singh, Storm, & The London Riots) vs. The Clan.

2) Marty Scurll won BOLA as Brits starred

Marty Scurll continued a brilliant year for British talent as he picked up the trophy at the climax of PWG's star-studded Battle of Los Angeles tournament in Reseda, CA, last weekend. Scurll won the three-way final, beating out eternal nemesis Will Ospreay and Trevor Lee, to cap a strong weekend for the fly-ins, who impressed to further enhance the reputation of the UK scene in the US. 

Scurll with his BOLA trophy -- photo by JD3 Productions

As well as Scurll and Ospreay, Mark Andrews and Mark Haskins made the semifinals, with Zack Sabre Jr. also making the quarterfinals. Only Pete Dunne lost in the first round -- to fellow Brit Andrews -- but he turned heads with a stunning display, both in that match and as part of a 10-man tag team match on day three. Jack Gallagher, who was due to face Dalton Castle in the opening round, ended up not making the shows.

Scurll will now get a title shot at PWG champion Sabre Jr., which means a return to American Legion Post #308 in Reseda, where he’s become quite a regular this year. Scurll is also rumoured to have signed some sort of deal with Ring of Honor. With Ospreay, Sabre Jr., Scurll, Gallagher, Noam Dar, and Big Damo all finding fame and fortune in the US, this leaves places open for the next level to step up in the UK. Luckily for us -- and eventually the US -- there’s a ton of talent ready for just that opportunity.

3) Jimmy Havoc ruined IPW:UK’s birthday party

Celebrating a dozen years since their first outing in 2004, IPW:UK promoted their 12 Year Anniversary Spectacular at the Angel Centre in Tonbridge last Sunday, with a high stakes main event which could have reshaped the company going forward.

The match -- a six-man tag between Team Havoc and Team Smooth -- would finally sort out the confusion over the IPW:UK title, held by Jimmy Havoc but also claimed by Sammy Smooth after he defeated Havoc’s proxy Joseph Conners in Brixton last month. Havoc, injured since February, was named in the match and if he failed to compete would be stripped of his title, with Smooth having a guaranteed shot at the belt.

As it happened, Havoc -- though far from medically cleared -- did compete, and delivered the killing curb stomp blow, to continue his reign of, well, havoc at the top of the IPW:UK card.

While one half of the IPW:UK Tag Team champions, Scotty Essex, was competing in the six-man, the number one contenders to those belts were decided in the show’s opener as former champions DND downed Rampage Brown & T-Bone (undefeated for over three years in PCW) to earn the honour. Brown worked double duty, also defeating EVOLVE champion Timothy Thatcher in possibly the first battle of wrestlers who share names with two former prime ministers.

The show -- which featured Pollyanna and former WWE intro guy Ricardo Rodriguez -- was also the scene of the rematch between “Blackbelt” Tom Dawkins and “Liverpool’s Number 1” Zack Gibson, after they went to a time limit draw last time out. This time Dawkins picked up the win, and continues the momentum he’s building just under the big time in the southeast.

IPW:UK return in Harlow on October 2nd, with the fan-named Har-low Can You Go?, and you can see their shows on their On Demand service.

4) Jackie Polo captured the Target Wrestling title

Michael Dante didn’t quite make 200 days as Target Wrestling champion after losing his title to Jackie Polo at The Venue in Carlisle last Friday night. Dante had successfully defended his championship against Rampage Brown, Chris Dickinson, and Tommy Dreamer, but “Nature’s Gift To Wrestling” was a challenge too far for the Dutchman, and Polo can add the belt to titles he’s won in Pride, SWA, and ICW.

New Target champion Jackie Polo -- photo by Craig Hermit

The show featured a rare foray up north for the Henchmen -- the 80s-locked team of Jim Diehard & Benton Destruction -- as they lost a Target Tag Team title match to the New Age Kliq, and appearances by Grado & Raven, who teamed with The Coyote Kid to beat Havok & Karnage. It was opened by another tag team match, with DCT & Mark Coffey joining to beat Mikey Whiplash & Shady Nattrass.

The following night, at Workington’s Carnegie Theatre, Target presented a pared-down show, relying on their regular talent, and headlined with a Target High Octane Division title match, with Shady Nattrass beating Josh Terry.

Target return with another double-shot, this time in Annan and Carlisle, on October 14th and 15th, with Jason Prime, DCT, and Robbie Dynamite announced.

5) It was all cage matches, all the time in Tooting (and other stuff)

Preston City Wrestling made their fourth visit of the year to Blackpool last Saturday, promoting Collision Course at Club Domain on the famous Golden Mile. The show was stuffed with a host of PCW regulars, and was main evented by the battle of the full nelsons, as former PCW champion Chris Masters took on the man who stole his move, Iestyn Rees. After some crooked officiating, Rees triumphed, but this is far from over.

El Ligero, pictured before he acquired his inflatable genitalia -- photo by Abigail Olivia

The show -- which also featured Dave Mastiff over Rampage Brown, Sha Samuels beating Roy Knight after Knight was DQ’d for kicking too much ass, and a double countout between T-Bone and Zak Knight -- was possibly the first in some time to involve giant inflatable genitalia, wielded by El Ligero, who tagged with Ricardo Rodriguez in a defeat against Joey Hayes & Martin Kirby.

PCW (who have ended their relationship with Ring of Honor in a statement you can read here) return on September 17th with a show to tie in with the Wales Comic-Con in Wrexham.

British Empire Wrestling promoted a whole card of cage matches last Sunday, and not for the first time, as they ran Cage Warfare 2 at the Tram and Social in Tooting, south London. The show was topped by a “Jewells’ Rules” I Quit contest, with the notorious Jewells Malone bringing her specialty match to BEW and defeating Leonardo Darwin.

Just underneath that (on a show which also featured Lance Lawrence, Kyle Ashmore, and Dragonita), Layton Cole successfully defended his SLAM Championship against Gene Munny, and Women of PROGRESS regulars Dahlia Black and Laura di Matteo ended their match with a double escape draw.

EW are back on November 3rd with The Empire Fights Back 3, and have announced Erin Angel & Nixon Newell vs. Dahlia Black & Jetta as their first tantalizing contest.