Guys, British wrestling is on a wave of awesome. We have seen the rise of Progress, ICW, Rev Pro, Fight Club Pro, IPW and a World of Sport comeback. Where did this all begin? As a young lad, I experienced my first “Super Indy” live from the historic Doncaster Dome with the outfit 1PW – I assume that stands for 1 Pro Wrestling.
I believe I saw the advert in a magazine – potentially Power Slam or possibly an early Fighting Spirit edition. It was well advertised and got my attention with the likes of AJ, Joe, Daniels and Christian Cage etc. It felt like a big deal. So much so I decided to communicate with the outside world and speak to FRIENDS. Shockingly I had some. We got some 3rd or 4th row tickets, because as young students we were BALLERS. A car full of us made the Bedford to Doncaster trip, 4 lads on tour. Things we learnt on route? It is a bloody long way, a 3 door Fiesta is not an ideal car to travel up in and that music is a subjective art form! We did have a marvellous time and, looking back I want to see what impact this promotion had on todays British product.
Firstly, it is important to note that 1PW produced DVDs that were sold in HMV! For me, to see a non WWE DVD for sale ANYWHERE was a big deal. I think UFC had just started coming into play but, in 2007/2008 I started seeing 1PW in my local Milton Keynes HMV. Not a bad feat. ROH wasn’t available in HMV, TNA had started getting their DVDs in at the time but a “British” Promotion selling products at a reputable retailer.
Lets get this straight, it isn’t a review as such of each show. My aim is to write a commentary on the company from day one and putting a mix of highlights and what it reminds me of current day, the potential impact this made on the scene then and the scene now. The fact that so many “fans” these days get upset that someone likes this promotion and brings in imports to petty little promotion wars. Guys, we are at in the middle of something pretty special. Rev Pro brings stars from New Japan Pro Wrestling and adds them into a roster of quality British wrestlers. Progress is unique Punk Sports Entertainment company, Fight Club is fun, ICW is well, Insane. 1PW promoted being Best of British but the reality is Brits didn’t really feature on the show. We started off seeing the original over budget battle royal (assuming they did pay and didn’t do the “it’s an opportunity” routine) where the winner would receive a “contract”. **SPOILER** Burridge wins. It is really strange to see a few rows of VIP fans, the closest thing to an empty arena match in a dome!
Fun game to play when watching these shows – spot the Brit. The referees? Bryce Remsburg of Chikara fame (who is awesome) and a few others I couldn’t recognised, an American ring announcer, American announce team – but this is the best of British.
For me, the highlights from the show are Spud (always been brilliant), Jody Fleish and Johnny Storm v Jerry Lynn and Chris Sabin – a quality match that shows just how unlucky the former were at not getting more attention world wide at the time. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Lowki v Iceman, a match that on paper I didn’t think would hold my attention.
And that folks is where the quality/good stuff ends. What angered me, put me off pushing through and watching this show was Al Snow v Steve Corino. On paper, this might seem like an interesting match but in reality they did all the could to seemingly kill the town. Now, I do love an injury angle. When a competitor is hurt, it creates tension but if it looks like it is a serious injury then it can go either way. Corino worked a leg injury that went on forever. Al Snow did not go out and look to gain an advantage, he kept his distance and looked upset. Corino was on the floor selling for what felt like an eternity. Eventually he was helped up and escorted out with a concerned Al Snow (his eye brows were raised showing all the feels) following just behind. As Corno nears the curtain – SWERVE BRO Steve Corino was LYING. The dastardly deed – taking advantage of a concerned Al Snow (his eye brows were still raised). I mean if he was going to sucker punch the guy he probably could have done it at multiple points before the trigger was pulled. The crowd died a death, Al even told them to be respectful and quiet whilst the “doctors” tended to Corino. A hush among the 1500 strong in the infamous Doncaster Dome… they sprang into mildness once Corino got the advantage.
What did they do to bring the audience back to life? A bunch of famous finishers that they all kicked out of. It reminded me a lot of the backyard wrestling matches of the early naughties. You know, where some skinny emo kid hit RKO, Stunner, Rock Bottom and leg drop combo only for the fat kid on the floor to kick out at 2. Well this happened with “professionals” in an attempt to be funny I guess… but I mean, if you do a serious leg injury angle but then do a bunch of terrible comedy after the swerve what was the overall point of the match?
Fortunately, you will not have to worry about such antics in todays modern era. Very rarely do we see this type of match on a reputable main indy. We do get the odd ridiculous show with trainees at a very local level – but they aren’t filling a “dome” with 1500+ people. I mean I saw a scramble match where a Christmas tree, a Fredo bar and an action figure of John Cena won. That was in front of 150 people, this Al Snow v Steve Corino match in front of a big crowd. To me, it would kill the town and I felt very sorry watching others having to follow it, but follow it they did
A classic ECW main stay next – Sandman v Dreamer v Raven. All the classics were played and, I think it was a fairly enjoyable match considering it wasn’t booked to be a classic. It wa the ECW greatest hits and, pretty enjoyable.
The main event of AJ Styles V Abyss – to think we, in the UK got this is something quite special. Oh and Sterling James Keenan was there. Turns out he put the screw in the tuna (Keenan and Kel joke anyone?). Quickly Mr Keenan (Who likes Orange Soda) was escorted from the evenings main event. To conclude – a decent match, thumb tacks, AJ win the end.
What did we learn? Well, looking at future 1PW shows, they did learn and I hope to cover this in more detail. I will be looking at my first event (All or Nothing Night 1 or 2 – cant remember!) Hopefully I will pay attention to the action and not trying to see my young, thin self in the crowd!