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The Week In British Wrestling: Vader & Will Ospreay clash

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

1) Vader was a sideshow as Ospreay & Dunne clashed again

There was an old adage in British wrestling -- the heavyweights brought them in, the lighter weights kept them entertained. That was never more true than at Revolution Pro-Wrestling's Uprising at Bethnal Green's York Hall last Friday when the past-it Vader shambled into town to take on Will Ospreay, in a match made possible by Twitter poster Senor Lariato's .gif machine.

Looking every day of his 61 years, Vader was put over the young star, but in a damage-limiting way, extending the hot feud between Pete Dunne and Undisputed Cruiserweight Champion Ospreay which, if RevPro promoter Andy Quildan is smart, can carry the company through the second half of the year.

Dunne lost earlier in the show to Ricochet, but that hasn't harmed his heat with the York Hall crowd, who also turned on Undisputed Heavyweight Champion Zack Sabre Jr. after his victory over Jeff Cobb.

It was the manner of that victory -- a little showboating, a little too much viciousness -- that angered the crowd, and Sabre Jr. had to taken to the back being emotionally supported by his tag team partner Marty Scurll. Of course, Scurll, who lost a superb contest to Chris Hero beforehand, is a heel while Sabre Jr is (was?) a babyface, and that dynamic is increasingly interesting.

Jeff Cobb & Zack Sabre Jr. about to face off -- photo by The Indy Corner

The show began with New Japan young lion Jay White halting Josh Bodom's momentum, Sha Samuels using every trick in the book to see off the departing Big Damo (which hopefully should lead into an increased singles role for the East End Butcher), and a tag team victory for the British Young Bloods over York Hall debutantes PJ Black & Ryan Smile.

The show is already up on RevPro On Demand, and the company next open its doors on Friday August 6th, at Portsmouth Guildhall, with Mark Haskins vs. Jay White, and Ospreay vs. Dunne.

2) Callihan kept his Fight Club: PRO title but the hometown team won the match

After a joint show with CHIKARA in June, Fight Club: PRO's new venue -- the Fixxion Warehouse in Wolverhampton -- staged its first event last month, where Sami Callihan captured the promotion's vacant title at Rage Against The Death Machine.

Last Friday, Callihan stepped back through the Fixxion ropes, this time to take on Travis Banks, at FCP's annual International Tekkers event, where home-grown talent takes on international visitors. Callihan saw off Banks to keep his title but fell to a post-match low blow and brainbuster combo, and his compatriots didn't fare so well in the evening's other bouts, either.

War Machine, the giant Ring of Honor team on something of a UK sojourn right now, fought The Facesmashers, the FCP team of Dan Moloney & Wild Boar, who caused chaos at the last show by destroying the Hunter Brothers.

The 'smashers came away with the victory but only after a punishing encounter which they, and the crowd packed into the dark, sweaty environment, won't soon forget.

Similarly bruising was the slobberknocker between Trent Seven and Tommy End, as the Anti-Hero begins winding down his independent affairs before leaving for NXT. End has been a regular visitor to FCP over the years, and that the event was subtitled The Beginning Of The End speaks volumes.

War Machine arrive at the Fixxion -- photo by Turning Face's Jim Maitland

Earlier in the show, Tyler Bate beat Jigsaw, and Nixon Newell defeated Jessicka Havok, but the talking point for a lot of shocked onlookers was the extreme behaviour of Chris Brookes, who overcame the threat of Clint Margera in an I Quit rematch from RATDM only after he threatened to harm Margera's girlfriend, who works merch for the company.

Margera has already promised reprisals and this could escalate into a war of attrition. Fight Club: PRO are back at the Fixxion on September 23rd and you can see a range of their past events on their Vimeo service for low, low prices.

3) The XWA crowned a surprise new champion

Dann Read, who runs the XWA in the east of England, may yet claim the title of wrestling's most adaptable promoter.

Already stripped of his Plan A stars by TNA's shambolic approach to scheduling TV tapings, the Suffolk native had to delve deep into his contact book to come up with alternatives once more when Chris Hero suffered an injury late on Saturday, ahead of Sunday's Summer Supershow.

One late reshuffle of the card and the unannounced addition of Sami Callihan later, and the fans that left Colchester's Charter Hall were wowed by what they'd seen.

Callihan inserted himself into a confrontation between the night's original main eventers (XWA Heavyweight champion Big Damo and Trent Seven) and challenged Seven to a match later in the card. Seven agreed, leaving Damo without a challenger, but Lion Kid, who had a guaranteed title shot from the Gold Rush Battle Royal, stepped up and pinned the huge Ulsterman to become the new XWA champion.

As for Callihan and Seven, they went toe-to-toe in an intense strong style match, which ended when Seven made the Death Machine tap out to a half crab.

Blackbelt Dawkins welcomes PJ Black to the XWA -- photo by Nikola Cotter

With Damo and Seven not taking part in the main event, that honour fell to “Blackbelt” Tom Dawkins and PJ Black, replacing the scheduled Dawkins vs. Hero bout. Dawkins underlined his potential but came up short, with a Black win sending the crowd home happy.

Elsewhere on the show, Doug Williams choked out a weakened Danny Blaze to win the XWA Frontier Sports title, Rhia O'Reilly beat Nixon Newell & Kay Lee Ray to retain the Pro-Wrestling EVE Championship, and The Quick & The Dead (Lance Lawrence & Voodoo) beat James Castle & Kyle Ashmore.

Meanwhile, Vader ensured this trip to the UK will probably be his last by refusing to be involved in an angle with a wrestler turned local celebrity, and beat Sid Scala in a quick, uneventful bout. XWA return on October 8th in Sudbury.

4) End makes it three for Brixton

Although it seemed like the Tommy End story had been largely told by PROGRESS ahead of his impending move to NXT, it burst back into life last week when End demanded one last match with champion Marty Scurll, which Scurll acquiesced to on the condition that End faced an opponent of his choosing on Sunday's Keep It Unreal at the Ritz in Manchester.

Speculation was rife as to the identity of the hired gun and it turned out to be Zack Gibson, although Scurll did attempt to stack the deck by also including Mikey Whiplash in what would have become a handicap match only for End's lifelong friend Michael Dante to take Whiplash out of the equation.

Will Ospreay receives another streamer parade -- photo by Mes Sexton

End subsequently defeated Gibson and PROGRESS co-owner Glen Joseph returned -- after Scurll had injured his shoulder in an incident backstage -- to declare that the main event for We're Gonna Need A Bigger Room Again at the Brixton Academy on September 25th would now be a three-way between Scurll (should he beat Mark Andrews next week), number one contender Mark Haskins, and Tommy End!

The evening was bookended by a showcase of the variety of styles on offer at PROGRESS shows, with the penultimate match in the Atlas Championship's group stage securing a semifinal place for Dave Mastiff (over Iestyn Rees -- Mastiff will face Joe Coffey in the semifinals, who beat Michael Dante later in the show) kicking off the show, and a clash of technical and high-flying aces headlining the whole affair, as Zack Sabre Jr. beat Will Ospreay.

Sabre Jr., who is rarely defeated in PROGRESS, must surely be in line for a title shot soon.

The semi-main event saw Scurll team with Jinny to form a human heat machine against Haskins & Jinny's eternal nemesis Laura Di Matteo, which ended when Haskins accidentally superkicked Di Matteo, leading to the heels picking up the win.

In the evening's other intergender contest, the South Pacific Power Trio defeated Pollyanna & The Shirtflifters, but (like Jinny & Di Matteo) their feud seems far from over.

In the evening's other business, Jack Gallagher defeated El Ligero, and was then set on by The Origin, minus Nathan Cruz, whose attempts to cut off his magnificent moustache were only thwarted by referee Chris Roberts running off with the scissors, and the London Riots & War Machine had another incredible brawl, cementing both their places in the upper echelons of modern tag teams.

Keep It Unreal will soon be available on Demand PROGRESS, and PROGRESS return to the Electric Ballroom in Camden on August 28th for Writing Nirvana On Other People's Bags.

5) Damo left Discovery Wrestling (and other stuff)

Although, as written about many times in this column, his impending departure to NXT means that he is winding down his dates in the UK, few companies have dared stage Loser Leaves matches for Big Damo, but that's something that Discovery Wrestling chose to do last Saturday, giving the honour of ridding the company of the big Irishman to “The One True Alpha” Dave Conrad.

The show at Portobello Town Hall in Edinburgh, which also had appearances by Colt Cabana and Mark Coffey, was headlined by a Discovery Y Division Championship match between Lewis Girvan and Kenny Williams, with Girvan retaining in a superb contest, and featured one of those arena-wide brawls which War Machine have become renowned for on the UK scene, this time against the New Age Kliq.

Discovery return on September 23rd, with Joe Coffey vs. Tommaso Ciampa and Marty Scurll vs. Lewis Girvan, and you can see their shows on their On Demand service.

Southside Wrestling presented another of their popular double-header shows on Saturday at the Rushcliffe Leisure Centre in Nottingham, with an afternoon (Day Of Reckoning XII) and evening (​Menace II Society VI) show packed with the best of British and international talent.

DoRXII was headlined by a clash between Sami Callihan and PJ Black (both soon to be seen in season three of Lucha Underground), but was opened by a six-way, won by El Ligero.

Ligero later teamed with his arch-enemy Joseph Conners to lose to the London Riots, in a move which is causing consternation to Southside management.

Also on the show, Nixon Newell & Will Ospreay teamed up (and did the bit from Dirty Dancing) against the Inter-Coastal Violence Factory, and there were appearances from Damian Dunne, Tyler Bate, Bubblegum, and Jessicka Havok.

Sami Callihan puts Robbie X in an awkward position -- photo by Brett Hadley

MIISVI kicked off with Hubba Bubba Lucha (the team of El Ligero & Bubblegum) defeating The New Second City Collective of Damian Dunne & Marshall X, and continued with women's tag team action when Jessicka Havok & Nixon Newell beat Lay Lee Ray & Alexis Windsor.

The men were also in tag team competition in a huge four-way between Southside Tag Team Champions Stixx & Flips, the Inter-Coastal Violence Factory, the London Riots, and the Young Wolves, with the champions emerging bruised but with their belts intact.

That wasn't the only belt being defended as Will Ospreay retained the Speed King title he won last weekend over PJ Black, but the standout contest for many, on a card which also featured Martin Kirby, Joseph Conners, and Sami Callihan, was the clash between Pete Dunne and Chris Hero, which may not be the pair's last encounter given they are both involved in PWG's BOLA.

Southside return in late September with their Speed King weekend, featuring Fenix, Cage, Lio Rush, and Melina, and you can view their shows on their On Demand service.

Lastly this week, a good news story from south London, where a bunch of small promotions put aside their differences to stage a charity event (and showcase their talent).

WrestleFest, at Merton Abbey Mills in Wimbledon last Saturday, featured wrestlers from Burning Hearts Fighting Entertainment, DOA, British Empire Wrestling, Ultimate British Wrestling, Plex Wrestling, Iron Fist Pro-Wrestling, WrestleForce and Spain's Revolution Championship Wrestling.

The multi-match card featured Kyle Ashmore, Kacey Owens, Laura Di Matteo, former FWA star Ashe, Dragonita, Heather Honeybadger, and Peace amongst a whole host of other decent sorts, raising money for Poppys Path, Shooting Star Chase, and Cancer Research UK. Well done to everyone involved.