Here’s five things you need to know about British wrestling this week:
1) Pro Wrestling EVE brought another joshi legend to London
Following on from last November’s UK debut for Manami Toyota, Pro Wrestling EVE used their latest shows — A Day & A Night At The Resistance, at the Resistance Gallery in Bethnal Green — to bring over the head Sendai Girl, Meiko Satomura, to perform in front of eager joshi fans from all over the UK and Europe.
Sakura and O’Reilly show mutual respect — photo by Ian Hamilton
Satomura worked twice — a six-woman match on the matinee show, where she teamed with Shanna & Nina Samuels in losing to former EVE Champion (and owner of the Gatoh Move promotion) Emi Sakura, Nixon Newell & Erin Angel, and a hard-hitting evening match with Scotland’s Sammii Jayne, who looked great in defeat.
Sakura followed up taking the pin in the matinee show with a shot at Rhia O’Reilly’s title in the evening, but came up short. Nevertheless, she stuck around for a training seminar and free show the next day, which saw O’Reilly and Shanna joined by Mischa East, Nye-Oh, Voodoo Queen Amarah, Evelyn, Ashleigh Stark, and Lola.
The lucky recipients of some Emi Sakura tuition — photo by Ian Hamilton
The other action on Saturday’s double-shot included wins for Angel (over Newell), an injured Kasey Owens (as well as her sister Leah), and Laura di Matteo, and the shows also featured Jetta, Jinny, Debbie Sharpe, Dahlia Black (and her valet, TK Cooper), as well as superb comedy from Martina the Session Moth.
EVE announced a return in May, with Riho from Gatoh Move coming in, as well as the first SHE-1 Climax tournament, across four shows in November.
2) Tidal took Yorkshire graps fans to church
After their regular venue — the O2 Academy in Leeds — was double-booked with a Band of Horses gig, Tidal Championship Wrestling found a brilliant replacement in The Church, a former house of the holy on the outskirts of the city centre. They ran their Wipeout 2017 event there last Sunday, with an advertised main event of HT Drake vs. Jimmy Havoc.
When Havoc arrived in Leeds, however, he was injured — a result of his exertions in Bristol the night before (see below for details) — and bowed out of the match, offering ProJo graduate Amir Jordan in his place.
That main event went to a no contest, when heel faction The Service attacked both men, bringing Havoc out to make the save. Instead, though, Havoc turned on Drake and Jordan, announcing himself as the leader of The Service, bitter that Tidal had taken so long to book him.
The stunning Church venue — photo by Steve Elite
Elsewhere on the show, which again attracted a healthy crowd to back the promotion’s decision to focus on the city in 2017, Rampage Brown defended his Tidal Championship against Eddie Dennis, The New Nation beat The London Riots to retain the Tidal Tag Team titles, and Lana Austin saw off the challenge of Lizzy Styles to keep her Tidal Women’s Championship.
There were also wins for Ace Matthews, Joseph Conners, and El Ligero, and Tidal return on April 1st, again at The Church, for Discombobulated.
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3) ICW took Friday Night Fight Club on tour
Usually taped at the Garage nightclub in Glasgow, Insane Championship Wrestling made the decision to take their Friday Night Fight Club show on the road in 2017, and began with a three-day swing last weekend in Southampton, Sheffield, and Manchester.
ICW Heavyweight Champion Trent Seven defended his title on all three nights, beating Lionheart, Joe Hendry, and former champion Wolfgang, with the ICW Women’s Champion Kay Lee Ray and ICW Zero-G Champion Kenny Williams doing likewise.
The two biggest talking points of the weekend came in Sheffield and Manchester. The former saw action during the Drew Galloway vs. Jack Jester match spill out onto the streets of the Steel City, while a match between Lionheart and Joe Hendry in the latter exploded into acrimony, and is at least being portrayed as — and may genuinely be — a shoot situation, with both men suspended pending further investigation.
Although BT Gunn was forced to withdraw through injury, the rest of the ICW regulars were in action, with wins across the weekend for Grado, Joe Coffey, Iestyn Rees, ICW Tag Team Champions The Marauders, Polo Promotions, Ravie Davie, and Sha Samuels.
These shows will be edited down nicely for your TV box, and drip-fed over the next few weeks on ICW On Demand (and the Fight Network in the US and Canada), and the Friday Night Fight Club tour resumes on March 10th in Liverpool.
4) Flash Morgan Webster marked his comeback with a title win
Although he stole the King of Chaos title after cashing in his Money in the Bank-style title shot at the climax of last month’s show, Flash Morgan Webster was forced to vie for the belt once again as part of a huge seven-man ladder match which main-evented Pro Wrestling Chaos’ Chaos B Ballin’, held at Thornbury Leisure Centre on the outskirts of Bristol.
Jimmy Havoc doles out punishment to a prepared Flash Morgan Webster — photo by Turning Face’s Jim Maitland
In Webster’s way were former champions Wild Boar and Mike Bird, as well as Jimmy Havoc, Eddie Ryan, Dave Mastiff, and Big Grizzly, but the Modfather triumphed, again with the help of his Modern Culture lackeys, Richie Edwards and Danny Jones.
Havoc hurt his shoulder, necessitating his withdrawal from Tidal’s Wipeout in Leeds the next day, and the full effects of the match will resonate for months to come.
There was also a title change in the tag division, as Modern Culture beat champions Steele Dragons and Project Lucha in a three-way to win the Knights of Chaos belts, and a big pinfall for Sierra Loxton, who teamed with Melina to defeat Jinny & Jetta (who raced down the M4 from London, having appeared at Pro Wrestling EVE’s matinee show).
The show also featured Adam Maxted and MVP, and will soon be available to watch on UK Wrestling On Demand. Chaos are back with TOTAL CHAOS! on March 25th.
5) Gibson and Smith move towards an inevitable clash (and other stuff)
Dragon Pro Wrestling, the promotional offshoot of the wrestling school established by Mike Bird and now run by Wild Boar, opened their 2017 with Strangest Things on Sunday, at Rodney Parade in Newport.
All-Wales Champion Danny Jones defended his title against Big Grizzly, and will soon have to deal with Matt Horgan, who won a six-man number one contenders’ match over Beano, Karamabe Jr., Edwin Ricci, Cal Adams, and Owen Wall, while Celtic Crown Champion Jetta beat Sierra Loxton to retain her title.
Jetta stretches Sierra Loxton — photo by Turning Face’s Jim Maitland
British Empire Wrestling used their latest show — Rising Empire 2, at the Tram & Social in Tooting on Sunday — to launch their 2017 International Grand Prix, and announced that BEW Women’s Champion Toni Storm — currently in Japan with Stardom — will be entered, defending her title in every match.
In Storm’s absence, the women’s action featured Rosemary beating Nixon Newell, and Melanie Grey downing Little Miss Roxxy, alongside a BEW Heavyweight title defense by Rob Cage, who beat Gianni Valette and Mahabili Shera. BEW have another adults-only show at Tunnel 267 in Wimbledon on April 22nd, and have announced Toni Storm vs. Kasey Owens as a headline match.
Filmed for delayed broadcast on FloSlam, IPW:UK’s MVP In Harlow last Sunday featured the eponymous former-WWE star in action, beating “NO Fun” Damian Dunne, on a show main-evented (for the live crowd only) by Jonny Storm and WWE UK’s Pete Dunne. The show also featured wins for #CCK and IPW:UK Women’s Champion Amazon, and will air on FloSlam from Thursday.
IPW:UK are back live on the service on March 19th, from Rochester, with Grado and Drew Galloway.
Zack Gibson throws Sam Bailey — photo by Tony Knox
Lastly for a very busy week, and also on Sunday, FutureShock Wrestling returned to Manchester city centre for Reloaded at the 53two Club, presented as a pre-ICW matinee show. Headlined by Zack Gibson successfully defending his FutureShock Championship against Sam Bailey, the show ended in a face off between Gibson and Ashton Smith, who teased cashing in his title shot on the champion.
Smith was blocked by James Drake — who he’d earlier beaten — as Bailey took his back for a double standoff. Soner Dursun defended the Adrenaline title in a three-way against Joey Hayes and Danny Hope, and he’ll be in action again when FutureShock return on February 24th in Prestwich.