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The Week In British Wrestling: Shibata defends against Riddle

Main image: @RevProUK

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

1) There was a shock turn at IPW:UK's debut live broadcast

Although there were some very slight technical issues, IPW:UK's debut live show on FloSlam -- SuperShow 6 from the Casino Rooms in Rochester -- went largely without a hitch, and was a brilliant showcase for both the current UK scene and the promotion's regular action. The three-hour show was helmed by Dean Ayass, who did a great job of knitting things together and informing mostly unfamiliar viewers of the promotion's current storylines.

The show was headlined by Team Havoc vs. Team Sammy in a War Games-style encounter. Team Havoc was led by IPW:UK Heavyweight Champion Jimmy Havoc, and also included the recently turned Zack Sabre Jr. & Tennessee Honey.

The final member was to have been Joseph Conners, but the contract he signed to be a part of the WWE UK tournament prevented his appearance on a FloSlam broadcast, which also accounted for Pete Dunne being moved to the pre-show (where he lost to Tom Dawkins).

Adam Maxted chokes Cieran Donnelly -- photo by ShootWrestle's JD Howells

This is an unforeseen (by most) side-effect of the exposure afforded by the WWE UK project, and it remains to be seen going forward just how many wrestlers -- and which promotions -- will be affected by it.

Conners' place was taken by Adam Maxted, and they faced Sammy Smooth's team, which also included IPW:UK All-England Champion Scott Star, and IPW:UK Tag Team Champions DnD.

When the dust had settled, Havoc was on the winning side, but in a most unexpected way: Sammy Smooth, the final wrestler to enter the match, joining the still alive Havoc and Star, turned on Star and joined with Havoc, explaining that he was sick of losing. This caused a genuine mini-riot in the venue, with security having to intervene to calm things down. Real In Kent, indeed!

Jimmy Havoc bled for his cause -- photo by ShootWrestle's JD Howells

Quickly running down the rest of the show, which opened with a terrific tag team match between #CCK and Project Lucha, Matt Riddle beat Ryan Smile in a showcase for the latter, the London Riots defeated War Machine in their latest tussle, The Amazon defended her IPW:UK Women's title against Ruby Summers, Marty Scurll submitted John Hennigan, and Jack Sexsmith failed to win Cuban Heat's 10,000 Peso Challenge after interference by Big T Justice.

You can catch the show on replay on FloSlam and IPW:UK return on February 5th in Swanley.

2) Shibata overcame Riddle to keep the RevPro title

On any other night, a 40-plus minute match between Marty Scurll and Zack Sabre Jr. would be difficult to top, but the terrifyingly brutal simplicity of the main event blew it away at Revolution Pro-Wrestling's High Stakes 2017 event at the York Hall in Bethnal Green last Saturday.

No one thought that RevPro Undisputed British Heavyweight Champion Katsuyori Shibata -- making his second defense of the title -- against Matt Riddle -- making his RevPro debut -- would be a lightly-taken prospect, but the two conspired to eke out a short, but hard-hitting title match worthy of its place on the card. Shibata won, putting Riddle out with a choke sleeper, and both men received plaudits from the partisan crowd afterwards.

Shibata and Riddle face off -- photo by Ian Hamilton

Sabre Jr. got the better of Scurll in their encounter, which started slow but then woke up halfway through to become a fascinatingly bitter feud-ender. After Shibata had taken the applause of the crowd at the end of the show, Sabre Jr. came out and indicated he wanted round three of their series (they're tied at one apiece), possibly to take place over WrestleMania weekend.

As well as Shibata, two other New Japan regulars picked up wins, both against stars of the recent WWE UK tournament. YOSHI-HASHI, on his first outing in the UK, put away Pete Dunne with a swanton, while Jay White tapped out Martin Stone -- who has already been announced to face Jeff Cobb in Florida in April.

Another WWE UK standout, Trent Seven, beat Trevor Lee (who really is better than his current reputation suggests), before making what appeared to be a farewell bow.

Sabre Jr. makes his intentions clear

There was some criticism of the crowd at the show -- which also featured Joel Redman & Charlie Sterling defending their RevPro Undisputed British Tag Team titles against War Machine (and were attacked by CCK's Chris Brookes & Travis Banks afterwards), and Josh Bodom winning the Interim British Cruiserweight title against Ryan Smile in the opener -- but the action couldn't be faulted, and is already available to watch on RevPro's On Demand service.

The promotion return this weekend, with a low-key show in Portsmouth on Saturday.

3) Kenny Omega rode to the rescue for 4FW

Having booked him for a full weekend of shows, 4 Front Wrestling were understanding when Cody Rhodes opted to attend the funeral of a young fan who died after a battle with cancer rather than make the trip to the UK. While they were unable to secure a replacement for their Oxford or Bristol shows, they pulled a rabbit out of the hat for the Swindon fans -- one half of some people's "best match ever," Kenny Omega.

Ali briefly on top against Omega -- photo by The Ringside Perspective's Oli Sandler

Omega had worked for 4FW before -- on the same weekend a year before, in fact -- and more than did his job, answering questions at a meet & greet, and taking photos with fans, before beating Tiger Ali in the main event of the show, New Year Wrestleution at the MECA in Swindon.

The show also saw a title change, with Bubblegum beating Mega Pegasus to win the 4FW Junior Heavyweight title -- a belt Omega briefly held before vacating on his last visit.

The rest of the show had Adam Maxted beating Saul Adams in the opener, and wins for The Saint, JD Knight, and Dick Justice. On Friday night, on their debut show at OX4 in Oxford, Ali defended his 4FW Heavyweight title against JD Knight, and also put the belt on the line against the same opponent in Emersons Green Hall in Bristol on Sunday, escaping with his title both times.

Bubblegum is the new 4FW Junior Heavyweight Champion -- photo by The Ringside Perspective's Oli Sandler

Also in action over the weekend were Saime Sahin (who beat Doug Williams and Nathan Band) and The Saint (two wins, against Lee Hunter and Williams), and Bubblegum and Mega Pegasus worked either side of their title match, both picking up a brace of wins against Lion Kid and Dragon Phoenix, and Crusher Lomaxx twice, respectively.

The Omega match is available to watch for FREE on YouTube and 4FW return this weekend in Thatcham.

4) WAW did War Games & Alex Windsor ran riot at Bellatrix 23

Ricky Knight's World Association Of Wrestling returned to Norwich's Epic Studios last weekend for two days of TV tapings -- which were also broadcast live on iPPV, which included Bellatrix 23 on its run sheet.

The first night of the tapings, Friday, was headlined by a two-out-of-three-falls match for the WAW Heavyweight title, which saw Brad Slayer overcome Nathan Cruz by two falls to one. Slayer's former title, the British Heavyweight Championship, was declared vacant when he ascended to the main crown, and a tournament was held to determine a new champion, won by Tom Dawkins over Aaron Sharp in the final.

The promotion's other championships were also defended on Friday, as PJ Knight retained his Under-23 title against Brad O'Brien, Robin Lekime beat King Kendo and Demolition Davies in a three-way to win the European Championship, Malky Taggart defeated Sonny Smasher to take the Academy title, and Roy Knight Jr. successfully saw off the challenge of both El Ligero and Jody Fleisch to keep his Light Heavyweight Championship.

The show also had wins by Peter Nixon and Roy Knight, and Zak Knight beat his father, Ricky, by disqualification in a match which fed directly into night two's War Games.

That match, between Ricky Knight's Old School (Knight, Jimmy Ocean, Ivan Trevors, Steve Quintain, Hot Stuff, Alex Young & Ricky Knight Jr.) and the youngsters led by his sons Roy & Zak (and also including Brad Slayer, Kip Sabian, King Kendo, PJ Knight & Sonny Smasher), was won when Roy was the last man standing, after eliminating both Ricky Knight and Ricky Knight Jr.

Yet another WAW title was on the line, as Submission Champion Tom Dawkins beat Aaron Sharp in a rematch of their British Heavyweight title match from the night before, and there were also wins for Mitchell Star, Team EWW, Alex Drew, Alex Windsor, and Nathan Cruz (in a four corners chain match).

Bellatrix 23, last Saturday afternoon and also from Epic Studios, was main evented by a Bellatrix Championship match between Lory and Alex Windsor, who had run riot earlier and attacked Bellatrix founder Saraya Knight.

She was joined in that attack by Debbie Sharpe and Sammi Jayne, and it was announced that it would be Team Scotland (Sharpe, Jayne, and their cohorts) against Saraya, ODB, Jazz, Lisa Marie & Nikki Knight at Bellatrix 24.

The rest of the show saw wins for Knight, Sharpe, Jetta, Lana Austin, and Penelope, and the Bellatrix British Champion Skarlett and Sammi Baynz went to a double countout.

WAW -- and Bellatrix -- return for more TV in March, and you can watch the show on Mustard TV and on their website, where a repeat of the iPPV is also available.

5) Lucha Britannia turned TEN (and other stuff)

Lucha Britannia, the wrestling and cabaret extravaganza held monthly at the Resistance Gallery in Bethnal Green, celebrated their 10th birthday last Friday with yet another cavalcade of the spectacular and the ridiculous.

The show was headlined by a Lucha Britannia title match, in which La Diablesa Rosa captured the belt for the second time, beating Cassius and Reginald Windsor, who have hotshotted the title of late. Before that, Metallico beat "Donald Trump" (and on the day of his inauguration!), Fug & Lagarta de Plata defeated Hanuman & Monito Aullador, and there was a Lucha Chaos scramble featuring Muneca de Trapo, El Pirana, Nordico Fuego, Payaso Pesadilla, Antaeus, Jerry Bakewell, and La Rana Venenoso.

La Diablesa Rosa & Reginald Windsor -- photo by Roger Alarcon

The next afternoon, the doors of the Resistance were opened once more, for a pre-RevPro showcase from the London School of Lucha Libre's London Lucha League: Battlegrounds, main evented by the debut of Super Bacon Jr. against male model Hansel.

Although the quality of the wrestling varied with the experience of those on show, the imagination and gimmick work was a joy to behold. Lucha Britannia -- and the LSLL -- will be celebrating their birthday throughout 2017.

Down in Dorset, at the Riviera Hotel in Weymouth, Ultimate Pro-Wrestling ran a rare Thursday night show, scheduled to take advantage of Cody Rhodes being in the UK. As noted earlier, Rhodes did not make the trip, but the UPW show -- their 2nd Anniversary Supershow -- went off with fireworks.

After UPW Heavyweight Champion Iestyn Rees had defended his title against Eddie Ryan, "Dirty" Dick Riley challenged his former friend to put the title on the line against him. Rees agreed, but Riley captured the belt, to end the show with drama.

The show also saw Ayesha Ray (IPW:UK's Amazon) beat Bea Priestley, Marty Scurll submit Riley (and then put over the soon-to-be-champion and UPW on the mic), The Legion of Lords, and The Brothers Awe.

The show will soon be available to watch on UK Wrestling On Demand, along with archive material from UPW, Pro-Wrestling Chaos, and Triple-X Wrestling.

Finally, FutureShock Wrestling returned to Stockport's Masonic Guildhall for the first time in 2017 for Uproar 92, which was topped by a FutureShock Heavyweight title match between Zack Gibson and Rampage Brown. After Gibson had defended his title -- much to the anger of the fans in attendance, who gave him a nuclear reception -- he was attacked by a returning T-Bone, which will no doubt cause ructions down the line.

Rampage Brown flying at FutureShock -- photo by Tony Knox

Also on the show, Soner Dursun defeated a debuting Travis Banks to retain his Adrenaline Championship, and there were wins for Sam Bailey, The New Nation, Ashton Smith, James Drake, and the team of Lana Austin & Little Miss Roxxy.

You can see FutureShock action on their On Demand service, and they return on February 5th for their debut in Accrington.