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The Week In British Wrestling: Mayhem in Wolverhampton

Main image by The Ringside Perspective's Oli Sandler

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

1) Fight Club: PRO brought carnage and surprises to Project Mayhem

More often than not, when a wrestling promotion tries to spring a surprise on the fans it’s disappointing or just doesn’t make any sense. Last Friday, at the climax of the first night of Fight Club: PRO’s Project Mayhem VI, they shocked everyone with the simplest of stunts that will leave memories as deep as the scars that were also inflicted that night.

While Rickey Shane Page and Drew Parker were stood in the ring at the Starworks Warehouse, awaiting their opponents, the Callous Hearts, a curtained off area of the arena -- usually used for music events -- was suddenly revealed, and it contained another ring, filled with barbed wire, light tubes, panes of glass, and other deadly accoutrements.

Jimmy Havoc and Clint Margera stood in the second ring, beckoning their victims (and the 700-strong crowd) to join them.

Cameraman Paul O'Byrne meets a light tube -- photo by The Ringside Perspective's Oli Sandler

What followed was the first genuine deathmatch on British soil for quite some time, with all four men bleeding, all four panes of glass shattered (the last by the match-ending Canadian Destroyer from Havoc on Page), and a Death Valley Driver onto a barbed wire board off a 20-foot high scaffold. Yes, Havoc and Margera won -- and received a standing ovation on night two before their victory over Scarlet & Graves -- but no one who saw the match (or was involved in it, including a cameraman who took a light tube to the head) will ever forget it.

The deathmatch blew away the marquee six-man that it followed, in which the Dragon Gate trio of CIMA, Eita & Open The Dream Gate Champion Masaaki Mochizuki beat British Strong Style, but its counterpart on night two -- where British Strong Style took on Sami Callihan & OI4K -- was every bit as thrilling as the two-ring circus the previous night.

Callihan appeared at Project Mayhem I, and played up on this to establish his trio as heels, but all six men received a rapturous reception after the match, which ended as Trent Seven hit Jake Crist with a top rope piledriver.

The Dragon Gate lads demonstrate their Pedigree -- photo by The Ringside Perspective's Oli Sandler

The rest of the weekend, which will soon be available on VOD from Fight Club: PRO’s Vimeo page, was bursting at the seems, and there was far too much to describe here, but there were wins for FCP Champion Chris Brookes, Millie McKenzie (who enhanced her reputation again), Travis Banks, Shane Strickland, and Jessicka Havok, and great performances from Omari, Aussie Open, and Jordan Devlin.

Fight Club: PRO are back with Day Of The Dead on October 27th, and season tickets for 2018 are on sale now.

2) It was all change for FloSlam’s last men standing

Subscribers to FloSlam received a nasty surprise over the weekend when the dispute with WWN left only one promotion with any shows scheduled for the streaming platform. IPW:UK, whose Supershow XII is live on November 19th, are going through their own changes -- all of their own making after the men behind Fight!Nation Wrestling bought the 13-year-old company -- and they set out their stall early at the first event under the new owners, last Friday’s Inception at Westgate Hall in Canterbury.

With the exception of the former Fight!Nation Championship (the current holder, Chris Ridgeway, was in Preston for PCW), all the promotion's titles -- both new and old -- were defended on the show, and two changed hands, to match the two that changed last Sunday at the final show under the old regime.

While those fresh champions -- IPW:UK Heavyweight Champion Jonny Storm and IPW:UK Tag Team title holders James Castle & Sammy Smooth -- were successful in their first defenses, it wasn’t such a good night for the IPW:UK All-England or IPW:UK Z-Force Champions.

Earl Black Jr, now a former champion -- photo by Beyond Gorilla's Robyn Goding

The former, held by delightful throwback Earl Black Jr., was seized by Adam “Flex” Maxted (who has been working regularly for both pre-merger companies), while the latter -- a transfer from Fight!Nation continuity -- slipped from Rob Sharpe’s grasp, landing in the hands of rising star, “Superbad” Kip Sabian.

Elsewhere on the card, IPW:UK Women’s Champion Livvi Grace beat Chakara, and there were also wins for Wild Boar and Jake McCluskey.

On Sunday, the new regime ran their first show in one of IPW:UK’s traditional venues, the White Oaks Centre in Swanley. A Spotlight show, it contained both established talent -- WWE UK Champion Pete Dunne beat “Strangler” Davis in a match which will not air on VOD, and El Phantasmo won a three-way over Sammy Smooth and Omari -- and some of the promotion’s lesser lights, with wins for The Bone Brothers, Chakara, and Mike Broly, alongside a scrum match won by IPW:UK Heavyweight Champion Jonny Storm.

IPW:UK are back on Wednesday with their debut show at Unit Nine in Wolverton, Milton Keynes, and you can watch new and old IPW:UK action on their On Demand channel.

3) PCW went live on Powerbomb.tv

Although they lost what they thought was a guaranteed spot on the new FreeSports channel to the pointless 5*Wrestling, PCW bounced back quickly and secured a deal with Powerbomb.tv (who have offered a free six-month trial to anyone who has a possibly-soon-to-be-worthless FloSlam annual subscription) to host archive material and show live events.

The debut show, which had a few teething troubles with sound but otherwise passed successfully, was last Friday -- It’s Bigger On The Inside from PCW’s home arena at the Evoque in Preston.

Although WWE UK contractual issues prevented the main event between Tyson T-Bone and Bubblegum from being shown, armchair viewers were treated to title defenses from Iestyn Rees (who beat Ashton Smith and is now the longest reigning PCW Heavyweight Champion of all time) and Dean Allmark.

There was also a wild street fight featuring Insane Championship Wrestling stars Lionheart, Sha Samuels, BT Gunn, and Chris Renfrew. Grado, Veda Scott, “Speedball” Mike Bailey, Chris Ridgeway, and Soner Dursun featured, and PCW will repeat the exercise on October 27th when Fright Night once again airs live on Powerbomb.tv.

Grado in action at NGW -- photo by One Fall Podcast

Two other promotions in TV action were New Generation Wrestling and HOP:E Wrestling. NGW attracted a four-figure crowd to Hull’s City Hall for Regeneration X last Saturday, recorded for the Fight Network, as well as airing on their syndicated show on local cable channels in the UK.

They went with an NGW Gen-X Championship ladder match on top, and Robbie X won the vacant title from former champ Matt Myers, Kip Sabian, and Jake McCluskey. There were also wins for Liam Slater, Rampage Brown, Grado, and NGW Undisputed Champion Nathan Cruz, and Zack Gibson and Justin Sysum moved into the finals of the Davey Boy Smith Cup.

The same night, 100 miles south in Leicester, HOP:E taped TV at an event staged by their sister promotion, Leicester Championship Wrestling, which will air on Fite TV. Final Evolution continued the action from last Friday’s Evolution 51 in Sheffield, which (alongside a main event win for Eddie Dennis over Nathan Cruz) saw HOP:E Champion Hustle Malone successfully defend his title against Xander Cooper. In Leicester, Malone attacked LCW Champion Cara Noir, and issued a challenge to unify the belts.

4) Lucha Forever were as unpredictable as ever

Mark Haskins’ reign as Lucha Forever Champion has been marked by a descent into rule breaking for the usually widely-cheered sourpuss. This was never more illustrated than by his most recent defenses of the title at the promotions two mid-week events, Hello (Is It Me Your Luchadore?) in Manchester on Tuesday and Never Touch Another Man’s Umbrella in Southampton last night.

Although Haskins defeated Bubblegum with the aid of a low blow at the Frog & Bucket on Tuesday, he interjected himself into the main event between Travis Banks and Chris Ridgeway, causing the match to be thrown out and resulting in Ridgeway being given a shot at Haskins at The 1865 in Southampton.

Haskins prematurely ended that match by getting himself disqualified, but the powers-that-be have declared that he’ll have to defend the title in a last man standing match at Ultimo Battle on October 5th.

Chris Brookes & Pete Dunne (and an injured Kid Lykos) ready for war

The Manchester show also saw wins for David Starr, Kay Lee Ray, and Lana Austin, as well as carnage in the tag team match between Chris Brookes & Pete Dunne and El Ligero & Flash Morgan Webster, during which a plush pigeon was decapitated.

Things were no more straightforward in Southampton when David Starr picked up another win, this time over “Hayabusa,” who was revealed to be Will Ospreay (which led to all manner of cat-related shenanigans). The south coast also got a Wasteman Challenge -- “Bodyguy” Roy Johnson going down to Omari in his own specialty match -- and a “There’s No Point Having Any Rules Match” between Jimmy Havoc and Drew Parker, which Havoc won after hitting a pump handle slam onto some breeze blocks.

There were also wins for Marty Scurll, Toni Storm, and Kelly Sixx, and Ultimo Battle -- featuring Pete Dunne vs. Naomichi Marufuji -- is on October 5th at the Clapham Grand in south London.

5) James Drake revealed himself at Chaos (and other stuff)

At the climax of last Saturday’s The Sound Of Violence, another strong entry into a super calendar year for Pro-Wrestling Chaos, James Drake stood in front of the capacity crowd at Thornbury Leisure Centre in Bristol and declared he would destroy the promotion.

The WWE UK star, last seen in the promotion over two years ago, was revealed as the leader of The Brotherhood, and watched as his men attacked Project Lucha and Modern Culture (who had just fought a two-out-of-three falls match for the Knights of Chaos Championship), and tore the Chaos logo from the canvas.

The show was stacked, with “Speedball” Mike Bailey pinning “Dirty” Dick Riley in the opener, King of Chaos Eddie Dennis defeating Rickey Shane Page, and Mark Andrews beating Big Grizzly, alongside appearances by Mikey Whiplash and Veda Scott, as well as the Chaos regulars.

Their next show is a double-shot, crowning the first Maiden of Chaos in an afternoon tournament, before WWE UK Champion Pete Dunne and Keith Lee are in for the evening.

The maniacal Brotherhood causing Chaos -- photo by Turning Face's Jim Maitland

Also on a busy Saturday up and down the country, Pro-Wrestling Elite returned to Ayr Town Hall with a Wrestling Spectacular and the Shropshire Wrestling Alliance sold out Dawley Town Hall once again for When It’s All Said And Dunne.

PWE relied on a mostly-local roster, many of whom can also be seen in a less family-friendly environment over in ICW, and went with PWE Heavyweight Champion Joe Hendry beating Kenny Williams on top.

The show also featured wins for Charlie Sterling, BT Gunn, and Iestyn Rees, and tag team wins for Jack Jester & Joe Coffey, and Polo Promotions in a PWE Tag Team title match against the Filthy Generation’s Stevie Xavier & Lewis Girvan. PWE are back in Ayr one final time in 2017 on December 16th.

The SWA opened their show with a clash of kayfabe brothers, as WWE UK Champion Pete Dunne beat Damian Dunne in non-title action, before both scarpered to nearby Wolverhampton. In their stead, the SWA Championship was defended in the main event, with Ash Draven defeating Chuck Cyrus after interference from Kat Von Kaige and Ashley Dunn, and there were also wins for Robert Sharpe, El Phantasmo, Luke Basham, and Jayde & Bea Priestley.

You can watch the SWA on UK Wrestling On Demand, which also features Pro-Wrestling Chaos.

Coming up --

The post-Cultureholic Five era of What Culture Pro-Wrestling kicks off next Monday in Newcastle-upon-Tyne with the Refuse To Lose iPPV, which features The Young Bucks in action. The following night, WCPW travel to Bowlers Exhibition Centre in Manchester, to tape TV for the YouTube show, Loaded, and eager eyes will be on what’s announced next at that event.

There’s a mix of the new and the established this week, with regular outings continuing for Revolution Pro-Wrestling and Insane Championship Wrestling on Sunday (at the Cockpit in Marylebone -- shown live on RevPro On Demand -- and the Garage in Glasgow, respectively), while Futureshock Wrestling are also in action with Uproar 96 at the Masonic Guildhall in Stockport. The latter features a three-way for the Adrenaline title between new champion Pete Dunne, old champion Soner Dursun, and surprise contender Xander Cooper.

Debut outings are the thing for PROGRESS Wrestling and IPW:UK, with PROGRESS emerging from their post-Alexandra Palace cocoon for an all-female show, Revelations Of Divine Love, at the refurbished Tufnell Park Dome -- and tickets are just £5!

IPW:UK journey north of Watford for the first time in their history, with a stacked card at Wolverton’s Unit Nine on Wednesday night -- Pete Dunne, Trent Seven, Tyler Bate, Travis Banks, and Chris Brookes are all advertised.