With four episodes to cover, I’ll cut straight to the chase – every four weeks (when I catch up), you’ll get a glut of wrestling review gold focusing the Season 2 BWW shows. They are roughly forty five minutes long, with often two matches to showcase their talent. Following the top 10 edition looking at the best of Season 1, we’re straight in at the deep end with big name matches and angles leading wonderfully on from last season. Without further ado, let’s begin.
‘The Righteous’ Joseph Conners vs Liam Slater
Two men who got showcased on the top 10 review of Season 1, these are both likely to feature big this season. Conners gimmick will be all about the longterm execution – too many gimmicks involving dark and mysterious men have been and gone, so it really does depend where they go. With Dan James turning on him, and his position as a perennial underdog, Liam Slater is a big fan favourite. Unfortunately for him, it doesn’t take long for James to join the action at ringside.
After Slater’s brief flurry at the start, Conners takes control with a back body drop to the floor. A gimmick like his will live and die by the offense as well, and I felt his offense was suitably vicious to work alongside his ‘unhinged’ persona. A neck crank, back breaker and grounded bear hug are all used to control the match and wear Slater down. It is always going to be speed that gets Slater back into the game, and he rocks Conners with a second rope dropkick and a full nelson flapjack. As he heads to the top, however, Lilith distracts the referee long enough to allow James to show Slater off of the top turnbuckle. One arm trap DDT later and Conners is victorious on the opening show of Season 2. A good opening match, and I look forward to seeing more of both men as the season progresses.
Dan James joins Joseph Conners in the ring and is held back from attacking Slater by Conners – seemingly ‘The Righteous’ has a new companion.
Stixx/Collossus Kennedy vs The Proven
With the London Riots having a storied rivalry with Stixx and Collossus, including walking out of a title match to retain the gold, you have to fancy the big man team to win this match to gain a shot at the NGW Tag Team Titles. The Proven are part of the Control though, the biggest stable in NGW, so you never know for sure.
There is a lot of stalling to begin with, which makes sense considering the size differential, and both Crush and Wilder don’t want anything to do with their opponents. When Stixx finally gets his hands on Wilder, he almost runs him over, before dumping him with a catch powerslam, dropping nine elbows to Wilder’s chest for good measure. A blind tag to Crush sees more of the same, as he is hit with a sliding clothesline from Stixx and a big boot and elbow drop by Collossus. It is only when Stixx gets tripped on the apron that the heel teem get a modicum of offense.
Therein lies one of the issues in this match, which is the relatively short window of heel offense. A snap mare and double kick gets followed up with a whipped uppercut, but Stixx is able to hit a back body drop and get the tag to Collossus. A huge sideslam by the big man is followed up by a Hart Attack. Poor Wilder than sees himself crushed by Collossus with little time to glory in a full nelson suplex on Stixx. This leaves Crush all alone, a blocked ace crusher attempt seeing him sent crashing into a Stixx spear. A three count later, and we have our big rematch for the tag titles. A match that was good for what it needed to do, but didn’t exactly do amazingly in making the heel team look viable.
I joked on Twitter that the best thing about these episodes was Joe Hendry’s knitwear. Whilst this may not be entirely true, it is a wonderful look. He joins us, guitar in hand, and serenades the crowd with a soulful voice but disparaging lyrics. I loved this little angle, and we even get to see Hendry in a match, as he promises to face the best in NGW talent.
Enter Ace Matthews for his TV debut.
This is your classic heel squash – Hendry gives Ace Matthews just enough initially to make him look a threat, shows off a couple of big moves (a European uppercut, vertical suplex and a cobra clutch variation) and is unafraid to heel it up on the finish, as a blatant thumb to the eyes cuts off Matthews mid-comeback, leaving him easy prey for a fallaway slam. Needless to say, I look forward to more Joe Hendy on my laptop in the near future and seeing what he is capable of against more competitive opposition
Jody Fleisch vs Jonny Storm
I saw these two wrestling when I was around fifteen. To think that they are still doing this fourteen years later, considering the style they bring to the table, is mind boggling. The commentary of this match doesn’t do it a lot of favours though, as the focus seems to be on their desire to outdo a previous match in terms of quality, rather than the competition between wrestlers wanting to move up the ranks. Picky, probably, but just felt a bit odd.
This match starts relatively slow, with many spots thrown in to show how much the two men know about each other’s’ offense. This also gives both men an opportunity to display sound technical bases before hitting the aerial attacks. As the match progresses, it does begin to pick up speed, with a no hands cannonball senton over the top rope by Fleisch the first big aerial move of the match – not a bad one to start off with. Not to be outdone, Storm follows a kick up into a powerbomb with a suicide dive into a DDT on the hard floor at ringside.
The finish comes down to the big aerial bombs being thrown, as Fleisch lands on a missed SSP and nails a running one for a two count, sees Storm jump out of his Phoenix 720 DDT and gets thrown off of the top rope with a release German superplex. This impressive feat leaves Fleisch open to a Wonderwhirl Half nelson driver by Storm for the surprise three count. The finish made sense, the teenager in me just always considered Fleisch the ‘better’ of the two. Still, an entertaining match when it got going, if a little overkill with the false finishes at the end.
Ashton Smith vs Robbie X vs Matt Myers (Gen-X League match)
Episode 3 sees our first introduction to the Gen-X League for Season 2 as Ashton Smith, Robbie X and Matt Myers face off in a ten minute time limit match to… I’m still a little unsure. I think face Wild Boar Mike Hitcham and another person, as yet undecided, in a final. With the way the tournament has been sold, it feels like it should be bigger than just three matches, but I might be wrong about the overall format – it isn’t always the most clear.
Myers is the big NGW name here, and ends up being double teamed by X and Smith in the early stages of the match. The crowd are firmly behind him though, and he shows his wrestling chops with an arm drag and a monkey flip. X is clearly an aerial maestro, and manages to impress me particularly by turning a landing on a monkey flip into a corner suicide dive on Smith! Myers threatens a dive of his own, only to be caught with an X kick at ringside.
The match is moving along nicely, but is derailed somewhat by an awkward moment towards the end. Myers, attempting once again to hit a dive, misreads his take-off and gets caught up in the ropes/clips his opponents. It looks poorly timed, and seems to kill the momentum of the match a little. Surprisingly, the match actually ends in a draw, as we see a spinning Canadian destroyer by Myers and a superkick to a dazed Myers by Smith leave all three men down as the time limit hits.
A decent showing by all three men, though it was a shame Myers missed his big spot. Where they go from here with the tournament is intriguing though, and the format really does allow for some fast paced, hard hitting action.
El Ligero vs Dara Diablo
One of the big feuds hinted at in the Season 1 review show, we get to see the two ex-partners face off in the ring. El Ligero is one of the leading lights of the UK indy scene, and a man I’ve seen wrestler a few times now live. Until the review show, I had no realisation of the existence of Dara Diablo, so I look forward to see how he matches up against one of the best around.
As befits a match between two sworn enemies, the ring introductions are cut short by Diablo jumping Ligero, only for Ligero to quickly take advantage and hit a plancha over the top. It takes a big move to quell the fire of Ligero – a T-bone suplex into the corner the first meaningful offense by Diablo, but enough to cut off Ligero. Diablo proceeds to take his time working over Ligero, kicks and chops and chokes the order of the day. Every time Ligero looks as if he is about to fight back, Diablo is able to cut him off and wrest back control.
Following a back breaker by Diablo, he grabs a bottle of tequila from ringside and spits it in Ligero’s face. This just angers Ligero, who hits a dropkick, multiple running elbows and missile dropkick off of the second rope to really begin to build momentum. He is even able to avoid a Diablo jackhammer and hit a reverse DDT for 2. His luck runs out though, as a C4L attempt is caught and turned into a Northern Lights Suplex, Diablo rolling through in one smooth motion and finally landing the jackhammer.
A ref bump following more back and forth action leaves Ligero with a decision to make, as he grabs a recently acquired chair off of Diablo. Diablo shouts and screams at Ligero to hit him. In an odd move, Ligero drops the chair and offers his hand, but is quick to grab the foot that inevitably comes the other way, nailing a DVD and a splash for a two count. Another C4L attempt is stopped with an uppercut from Diablo this time, and we get a phantom pin count, as the ref is out of position due to Diablo going for another chair to see Ligero get a match winning roll-up. With Ligero outraged, Diablo rips the mask off of Ligero’s head, cradling him for the three count as the masked superstar struggled to hide his identity.
A good match, though it felt that there were a few too many shenanigans (the tequila, the ref bump, two chairs, the handshake) that started to detract a bit from the spectacle. A good way to end the match, yet continue the feud. I expect Ligero’s mask to end up on the line at some point this season.
In a brave move, Episode 4 had one match only, but it is the biggest match so far – Nathan Cruz vs Zack Gibson for the NGW Undisputed Title. We get a very good video package of the two men talking about their professional respect but mutual disgust for each other, whilst Ritchie West threatens to throw another spanner into the works by offering Gibson a place in The Control if he wins the title. With two drawn matches, this is being sold as the definitive match.
Nathan Cruz © vs Zack Gibson for the NGW Undisputed Title
As would be expected from two men who are incredibly sound on the mat, the early minutes see a lot of chain wrestling, with each man looking to trade holds. This plays into Gibson’s desires to lock in the Shankly Gates finisher, with the arm targeted at all opportunities. Even with the start showing a sense of mutual respect of each other’s’ talents, the men do trade slaps shortly afterward to show the extent they will go to to be the NGW Champion. This is further highlighted by a Cruz missed moonsault; a move that I’ve never seen him attempt, let alone hit. Little touches like this really do a great job in elevating the importance of the match.
Gibson is able to avoid Showstolen the first time it is attempted, but doesn’t have Cruz sufficiently beaten down to lock in the Gates, even after a vicious fisherman brainbuster. We see a trading of finishing moves, as Cruz does hit Showstolen for a two count, and Gibson fights back enough (with an impressive jumping lungblower from the second rope) to lock in the Shankly Gates, including a neat roll backwards to bring Cruz away from the ropes. Cruz is able to get out of the hold, leading to both men brawling at ringside.
The match originally ends on a double countout, mirroring the outcomes of their first two matches – and I liked the organic feel to this ending, as Gibson put Cruz into the ringpost, only to collide headfirst with the guard rail to leave both men down. We also get a callback to the previous matches, with Gibson seemingly happy to walk out – this time, it is Cruz suggesting that they now know who is the better man that brings Gibson back for more.
The legitimate finish sees the involvement of Ritchie West, who breaks up a Cruz pinfall attempt by pulling the referee out of the ring. Not standing for any of that nonsense, the referee whacks West around the face! This altercation does allow The Proven to hit the ring, and in the ensuing melee, Gibson gets hit with a chair and Cruz gets dropped with a low blow, before Matt Myers hits the ring to run the heel team off.
In a unique,and brave finish, Gibson slips on a move into the corner, giving Cruz enough time and space to hit a running elbow and Showstolen for a 3 count. I argue that it is brave as it could be looked upon as a botch by some due to this type of error not often being used within a match, yet it brilliantly emphasises the ongoing storyline. In the end, it was a matter of one small error that was the difference between the two men, and Gibson is no less valued in the long term. A really good match, though I do also feel, like with Ligero vs Diablo, the ending stretch maybe tried to do too much. Whilst the odd time is good, I worry about overkill in the long run.
Phew! As you can see, subscribe to BWW or their YouTube channel to check out a whole host of the best British Wrestling out there. Hope you enjoy!