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The Week In British Wrestling: Ospreay picks up another title

Main photo by Alex Haskett

Here’s 5 things you need to know about British wrestling this week:

1) War Machine & SDS ran riot in Tonbridge

With their dates winding down because of Tommy End’s impending departure to NXT, chances to see the Sumerian Death Squad before they split are few and far between.

Seeing them do battle with another no-nonsense, hard-hitting unit like War Machine is even rarer, but the IPW:UK fans got exactly that in the main event of Royale Rewards 2016 last Sunday at the Angel Centre in Tonbridge. The two teams went full-throttle, and while the SDS picked up the pinfall, it was one of those rare occasions when there really was no loser.

The night’s other main story featured IPW:UK All-England Champion Sammy Smooth, who attempted to cash in a title shot he earned by winning a Battle Royal at Supershow 3 last month.

Interim champion Joseph Conners, defending the belt on behalf of Jimmy Havoc, was nowhere to be seen, however, with Havoc explaining that he hadn’t been beaten in that Battle Royal and thus Smooth would not get his title shot. While that may have worked on Sunday, Smooth has announced he will fight Conners at the big Brixton show on August 21st.

One of this column’s tips for success in the second half of 2016, “Blackbelt” Tom Dawkins, went to a 20-minute time limit draw with Zack Gibson in a match that thrilled the fans so much that a rematch was signed straight away.

Both of IPW:UK’s defending champions -- Tag Team Champions DnD & Women's Champion Tennessee Honey –- kept their titles, the latter with a victory over “Martina” Kirby in a rare appearance by Martin’s “sister.”

The show also featured Rob Lynch pinning Kid Fite, and Maverick Mayhew defeating Paul Robinson, and will shortly be available on IPW:UK On Demand. Meanwhile, all eyes will turn to Brixton on August 21st, for IPW:UK’s Biggest Show Ever.

2) Zack Sabre Jr. overcame one last hurdle before Uprising

With Uprising just days away, Revolution Pro-Wrestling promoted another of their intimate Live At The Cockpit events –- their 11th –- last Sunday, headlined by a Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Trent Seven Undisputed British Championship match.

After the toughest of tests, Sabre Jr. overcame the Midlands grappler, carving a small niche for himself as a star attraction on these smaller shows, and then confronted Jeff Cobb (his challenger at Uprising) and agreed to put the title on the line, which led to a smiling Cobb hitting the champion with his move.

Jeff Cobb belies his size to moonsault onto Damo - photo by Jonathan Howells

Cobb had earlier made his RevPro debut by beating NXT-bound Big Damo, and another debutante also made quite an impact, despite losing, when Ryan Smile faced off with Josh Bodom.

Smile wowed the fans with his charisma and an over the turnbuckle flip, and he may feature in his friend Will Ospreay’s future as the latter defends his Undisputed Cruiserweight title on future shows.

It was quite the night for debuts, as Robbie Brookside’s daughter Xia, who lost to Jinny before Zoe Lucas reignited her feud with the fashionista by choking her out with a Dragon suplex, and New Japan’s Jay White also began their RevPro careers, with White losing to Marty Scurll (who offered a re-match in the future, to the delight of the crowd).

The show also featured the cream of Andy Simmonz’s Portsmouth School of Professional Wrestling, and will soon be available on RevPro On Demand. Uprising takes place on Friday August 12th, and is headlined by Will Ospreay vs. Vader.

3) PCW celebrated 5 years with another iPPV

After taking to the streets of Preston with a free show on the city’s Flag Market in the afternoon, Preston City Wrestling held their 5th Anniversary Show at their regular home in the city, the Evoque nightclub.

The show was main-evented by a PCW Heavyweight Championship match between Noam Dar (seen last week on WWE’s Cruiserweight Classic) and Rampage Brown, which the champ won by referee stoppage, but the real storyline stuff was to be found in the show’s semi-main.

That match, a 10-man tag team affair between Team Rayne (Dave Rayne, Nordic Warrior, Danny Hope, Keith Myatt, & Alex Boylin) and Team Rose (Iestyn Rees, Joey Hayes, Martin Kirby, Sammy Smooth, & Jimmy J), would see the winning captain given full control of the company, and it was Dave Rayne who became full-time General Manager, while Joanna Rose must skulk off to plot in the shadows once more.

As well as his victory over Brown, Dar had earlier defended his title against Sha Samuels, and those two title defences were matched by the PCW Tag Team Championship and the vacant PCW Cruiserweight belt being on the line, with Team Single increasing their title reign to 166 weeks, and Bubblegum downing El Ligero to win the lighter-weight belt for the second time.

The show also featured wins for Chris Ridgeway (in a six-man), Lionheart (over Jeff Cobb, after a low blow), and Dave Mastiff (who beat Jay White in the New Japan man’s first UK outing), and was better received by online fans than their last family-friendly outing, despite some technical issues this time out.

PCW take a short break now, before a September 3rd show in Blackpool, and will be a part of the Wales Comic Con two weeks after that.

4) PROGRESS went back to the Bedford

The Bedford, in Balham, South London, plays an important part in the middle period of the history of PROGRESS Wrestling, as the place where the company’s second brand –- ENDVR –- was born, and where the third brand (introduced because ENDVR outgrew its original purpose as a trainee show) PTNTL burst into life last year.

This week, as a two-day swing on Monday and Tuesday, both brands were in action at the Bedford, with cut-price school-night wrestling attracting decent crowds south of the river.

Pollyanna welcomes Bea Anthony back to PROGRESS - photo by Mr Josey

On Monday, PTNTL 4 saw appearances by main roster regulars Chuck Mambo, Jinny, Laura Di Matteo, Pollyanna, Roy Johnson, Damon Moser, Earl Black Jr., Darrell Allen, and one half of the PROGRESS Tag Team Champions, James Davis, as well as a host of the almost-ready-for-the-big-time from the ProJo –- PROGRESS’s training school in nearby Brixton.

The next night, on ENDVR 17, many of the regulars returned, with Chuck Mambo getting a shot at FutureShock Wrestling’s Adrenaline Champion James Drake, one of several from the Manchester promotion to make an appearance. Soner Dursen was submitted by Kyle Ashmore, and Wonderland lost to the Shortlifters, the new team of Jack Sexsmith & Roy Johnson.

After impressive appearances on the PTNTL show, Chakara & Bea Priestley were transitioned to the ENDVR show, with the latter parlaying her very public relationship with Will Ospreay into a heel persona, and they teamed to defeat Pollyanna & Laura Di Matteo, largely thanks to special referee Jinny.

The big news from the show, though, came from the double main event, with War Machine meeting the South Pacific Power Trio in singles competition, with a tag team title shot in Manchester this Sunday on the line for the winners.

Warbeard Hanson beat TK Cooper, and Raymond Rowe pinned Travis Banks, and War Machine will get that title shot, a rematch from their incredible bout with the London Riots last month. That show, Keep It Unreal, comes from the Ritz in Manchester, and is sold out, but should appear soon on Demand PROGRESS.

5) Ospreay is the Speed King (and other stuff)

Southside returned to their home town of St Neots last Sunday for Retribution 7 at the Priory Centre, a show headlined by Andrew Everett's latest defense of his Speed King title, this time against man-of-the-moment Will Ospreay.

And where former challengers Mark Andrews, Jody Fleisch, and Shane Strickland had failed, Ospreay succeeded and became the new champion.

Abyss slams Joseph Conners onto 10,000 tacks - photo by Brett Hadley

The show, which also featured Sami Callihan, Pete Dunne, Tommy End, and Martin Kirby, was co-main evented by a 10,000 tacks match between Abyss and Southside Champion Joseph Conners, which the monster won although the title wasn't on the line, and a Queen Of Southside three-way, which Kay Lee Ray won to become the new champion.

The Pledge won a Money In the Bank six-way, the Inter-Coastal Violence Connection of Chris Brookes & Travis Banks retained their tag team titles, and this show should be available soon on Southside's on demand service. Southside return this Saturday in Nottingham for a double show.

Triple X Wrestling returned to life in time for their 10th anniversary last Saturday, and opened a new venue in Nuneaton at The Crew rock venue. The show featured the return of Triple X favourites Omer Ibrahim, Dave Mercy, and Jetta as hosts, and was main evented by a Triple X title bout between Eddie Dennis and Mike Bird, which the latter won to become the new champion.

Chase Alexander opened the night with a victory over Damian Dunne in a solid encounter, and there were also appearances from The Henchmen, the H8 Club, Mr. Legacy, and CK Knight.

The show will go up on the newly-created UK Wrestling On Demand soon, where past shows -- including the Bryan Danielson versus Zack Sabre Jr. bout from March 2008 -- are already available.

Just up the M6 in Birmingham, Kamikaze Pro-Wrestling promoted Monster II at Aston University, and closed with a Kamikaze-Pro Championship Monster's Ball match which saw new champion Clint Margera narrowly see off the challenge of match-specialist Abyss to keep his title.

The Kamikaze-Pro tag team belts were also on the line as The Bigger Picture's Damian Dunne & Marshall X defeated War Machine, despite Dunne being heavily pounded in what was practically a handicap match for much of the contest, and Tyler Bate retained his Relentless Division title over Omari.

The show also featured Andrew Everett, Pete Dunne, Kay Lee Ray, and another in the ongoing series of fantastic contests between Will Ospreay and Ryan Smile, with Smile winning this latest chapter in a standout match. Kamikaze-Pro return on August 27th with Run This Town in Great Barr, Birmingham.