Webmaster’s note: You can read the first 4 ‘The Way I see It’ columns by Matt over at http://wrestlingslasthope.com
So to set the scene we must first go back in time about a year, my love of British wrestling was already on an upwards curve as I have discussed in my column on The Indy Corner. I was regularly attending AWW shows in Wolverhampton and had stretched my wings a little travelling to Hull for NGW and all the way down to Sittingbourne for RevPro as well as getting to other odd shows here and there and hopping link to link around on YouTube trying to take in as much as I could. Considering I live in the Second City there was strangely not much right on my doorstep, which meant going to shows always required travel, admittedly Wolverhampton is not far but still when having to pick people up and drop them off it does clock up a few miles. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind picking people up to go places with me, especially at that point I would certainly have struggled to go on my own to places or at the very least to be able to get into it and have a good time – now of course this is very different, my confidence is much higher and I know that I can go to places on my own and I will either know people there or I will just join in on my own.
But then something changed, I would love to be able to say I remember the first I saw of Kamikaze Pro, or who shared the link but I don’t … so for the sake of argument we will just accept the big bang theory and assume that Kamikaze Pro simply …. Appeared. Obviously I don’t want to spark a debate of ideology it either evolved or it just appeared, either way it was new and it looked good. The date and venue for the first show as announced and I knew (roughly) where it was. Also announced for future shows were the “Homicidal, suicidal, genocidal, death defying” Sabu and Uhaa Nation – who looked immense on the promo picture but was somebody I had not heard of but after a bit of a look on the internet somebody that I really looked forward to seeing and I certainly was not disappointed… but that is getting ahead of myself.
Matches were announced for the opening show “The Beginning” some guys I had heard of, some I had seen before to varying degrees and some I’ll admit I was completely oblivious to. El Ligero was on the card, who I am pretty sure EVERYONE knows since he seems to get everywhere all at the same time, I made a statement a while back that I think there must be multiple LIgeros and I have seen little to disprove it, he is one of the prolific performers I have ever seen and, contrary to some outspoken public opinions, he is ALWAYS worth watching even if just for his character work and unspoken interactions with fans and opponents alike. As the “big” name on the card I expected his match against the local boy with a big reputation Pete Dunne to be the main event so imagine my surprise when it was second on the card! Obviously, with the benefit of hindsight this was done for a reason, I seem to remember hearing that Pete had to shoot off to wrestle somewhere else straight afterwards. Overall the show was really good, Ligero vs Dunne was a great match that I have watched back a few times and it never fails to impress, plus there was an enjoyable scramble match, a great match that saw Ryan Smile beat Flash Morgan to become the Kamikaze Pro champion and earn the right to face Sabu at the next show, as well as a very good triple threat, a fun tag team match which was my first introduction to The Magnums as well as my first time seeing Harvey Dale in person. The show was main evented by Valkabious Vs Chris Andrews which was a real battle of the big men and different to the rest of the card. All in all a very complete show which had a good crowd for a first ever show – but also shows the benefit of putting on a show in that type of area where you have a lot of families. In terms of value I keep saying that a trip to a wrestling show is one of the best value family days out you can get!
Even prior to this show I had booked tickets for the second show – “Enter Sabu” – purely based on the fact Sabu was going to be there, but having seen this first show the next was almost guaranteed to do well.
It did not fall short of expectations, a huge crowd turned out and the atmosphere was electric. Ryan Smile had a great night, goading the crowd at the start of the show before battling Sabu to close it but the show was not just about this one match, the rest of the card was great and featured Damian Dunne vs Robbie X, Pete Dunne vs MK McKinnon, Eddie Dennis vs Valkabious, Marshall X vs Jason New and a tag match between probably the best tag team in the UK The Hunter Brothers and the team of Chris Brookes and Dan Moloney who has gone (in my eyes) from an unknown before “The Beginning” to a guy who I always tell people to look out for as he is going to be big down the line. Every match on the card was again very strong and everyone involved really seemed to give it their all.
To top it all off I was able to get a picture in the ring with Sabu, and wanting to be “different” I asked if he would put me in a camel clutch for it, not only did he oblige he nearly snapped my spine! But it was well worth it and got a laugh from the crowd too.
By this point I was feverishly liking and sharing everything on Facebook and got known a little by the people running the shows, and spoke to people more and more in between. I guess I am the definition of a mark but that’s ok and really doesn’t bother me, I was enjoying the shows and getting invested in the product.
At the first show I found out that myself and Craig the guy who films and produces all the DVDs had a mutual friend and started talking at a later show, myself and Rob who I usually go to shows with also started talking to the guys next to us and one of them now joins me or us for shows regularly. I ‘m not exactly a sociable person but I was starting to make new “friends” (I honestly cant think of an alternative word that sounds any less desperate so I hope you get what I mean) which again comes from my increased confidence and the fun I was having at the shows – I don’t really drink but was still able to get a bit vocal at the shows and have a laugh (trust me when alcohol is involved it is far worse, and that show shall never be watched back!)
One of the many things that I like about Kamikaze Pro is that there is a core of amazing local talent at the heart of the promotion – YES they have imports and YES those imports do put bums in seats but for the most part my favourite matches involved local talent or at the very least British talent.
Which perfectly segues into one of my favourite topics, one Mr Eddie Dennis or as he has more recently become known as the “Sheep Killer”. Talk about under rated this is one of the best big men around in wrestling! He can do all the things a good big man should do but he can also fly around, pull off some great moves and bump like the best of them which always puts over his opponents. What is key, in my mind though, is his character work as soon as he comes out he is getting heat, telling everyone to “Shut Up” and generally just coming over as nasty. Throw into the mix the tendency of the Kamikaze crowd to hurl anti Welsh remarks at him and imply that he has “relations with sheep” and you have a very noisy crowd. What makes it better is how he handles all this and responds to the crowd and defends himself as a Welshman, he also varies his material from time to time which is also a welcome change from what a lot of guys do. Now I don’t think that I started the whole “Baa”-ing thing so I am certainly not going to try and claim it, but I may have helped it along a little. Enter “Eddies Baa-tner” an inflatable sheep I bought online (not the sort of thing I would go out and get in person let’s be honest!) I first took my sheep to “Rise of Uhaa” where he ended up flying around the venue a bit courtesy of Eddies boot and was also used as a weapon by Uhaa – even getting a mention in the commentary and appearing in multiple photos after the show. He made his triumphant return at “Project K” to watch Eddie take on Tomasso Ciampa, after Eddie took exception to the sheeps presence Ciampa taunted him with it. Unfortunately Eddie got hold of the sheep part way through the match and took a massive bite out of him, completely removing a eg and leaving him … deflated. Nevertheless Ciampa came out on top and the sheep had a final victory being part of the celebration in the ring. This really sums up why I rate Eddie so highly, he is a great wrestler, he plays and sticks to his character extremely well and he has fun with it all.
All joking aside, Eddie Dennis has been a part of some of my favourite matches in the last 12 months, several of which have taken place inside the Kamikaze Pro ring – most notably the ones I have mentioned above against Uhaa Nation and Tomasso Ciampa, but also taking on MVK Valkabious at “Enter Sabu.”
Kamikaze Pro has a lot of stars on their roster, some deserve much wider recognition than they already get. Dan Moloney is a prime example of this, he is still very young but carries himself in the ring like a real pro, he has a great physique and some impressive power moves as well as portraying his character really well. The likes of Ryan Smile, Pete Dunne and Damian Dunne are all phenomenal in ring performers and always give 100% in every match. All three of these guys deserve to be in high demand everywhere, they never seem to disappoint. It is also increasingly difficult to boo Smile as he is just that good. Pete Dunne is amazing, just on Kamikaze Pro cards I have seen some phenomenal matches featuring him taking on Ligero, MK McKinnon, Ryan Smile, Kid Fite and Trent Barretta. He is great at telling a story in the ring, takes a hell of a lot of punishment and also manages some really impressive offence.
Somebody else who has risen to new heights in Kamikaze Pro is Robbie X who has been involved in some great matches including a 1 on 1 match with Damian Dunne as well as a triple threat match with Dunne and El Ligero both of which were great matches. Robbie is also the current Money in the Bank briefcase holder having won an epic ladder match at the “Bank on it” show. At “Project K” Robbie took on Ryan Smile for his Kamikaze Pro Championship and what resulted was a thing of beauty. Both men pulled out all the stops in a high octane match that never let up, both could have had it won at different times but ultimately Smile came out on top to retain his title.
Other names that have appeared on the Kamikaze Pro roster include Stixx, Justin Sysum, T-Bone, Kid Fite (some of the best mid match banter I have had to date), Chris Andrews and Tyler Bate another name to really look out for. As well as tag teams such as The Predators, The Magnums, The Bhangra Knights and Battle Squad: Awesome. So it is safe to say that Kamikaze Pro is attracting a lot of talent and getting a good range of matches from show to show.
At the first show of 2014, “Hostile Takeover” Kamikaze Pro made the decision to take on board a General Manager to help control the talent who were trying to have their way including Ryan Smile, Damian Dunne and Marshall X. The man selected for the task was none other than Harvey Dale – The Man with the Golden Tongue. Dale didn’t waste any time tackling the trouble makers, Marshall X was fired, Damian Dunne suspended and Smile forced into defending his title. Having a GM is a welcome addition to the promotion and adds the control factor to the story lines which going forward will certainly help develop things. I personally like Dale and also like his GM character so it is nice to get to see him more often especially with it benefitting the promotion by adding some continuity.
This show also featured a rematch from the debut show with El LIgero returning to face off one again with Pete Dunne. This match was just as good, if not better than their first with Dunne picking up the win to make it one victory each and to make the Kamikaze faithful thirsty for another match up.
Even though my opinion may be biased Kamikaze Pro is definitely a promotion on the rise, they are doing things right and gaining a loyal audience along the way too. Everyone involved in the shows, from the talent to the people who help everything tick over behind the scenes is really friendly and welcoming and there is definitely a “family” vibe about the shows, and I always look forward to the next show as soon as I have come down from the last one.
There is a strong nucleus of local talent that makes up the core of the Kamikaze roster, factor in some of the best performers from around the UK and add a small sprinkle of international talent, which to date has been booked perfectly, and it is clear to see that the promotion has a great set up for success.
Admittedly I called this Year One but the first year is far from over, on March 30th Kamikaze Pro presents “Over The Top” with its first Royal Rumble match as well as Ryan Smile being forced into another defence of his title against the unbeaten Valkabious.
And they are not stopping there, April 27th the show moves on to a brand new venue in Smethwick for “Sky’s The Limit” which could possibly be the biggest show to date with “The Canadian Destroyer” Petey Williams and AR Fox on the card, this is definitely a must see!
Is there anything else I would like to see from Kamikaze Pro? Of course, but in that respect I am just a typical wrestling fan and I always have fantasy booking ideas and people I would like to see. Some of my wishes have come true already with Mad Man Manson and The Bhangra Knights coming to recent shows. I would definitely like to see a womens division, especially with the rise of womens wrestling in the UK recently and there are plenty of other talents in the UK yet to make their Kamikaze Pro debuts.
So, the bottom line, the way I see it… go check out Kamikaze Pro at https://www.facebook.com/KamikazeProUK or @KamikazeProUK
Buy the back catalogue of DVDs and buy tickets to the next shows!
- “The Beginning” 23.07.13
- “Enter Sabu” 04.08.13
- “The Next Chapter” 14.09.13
- “Bank On It” 06.10.13
- “Rise of Uhaa” 10.11.13
- “Frost Fight” 01.12.13
- “Hostile Takeover” 22.02.14
- “Project K” 08.03.14
- “Over The Top” 30.03.14