After a short hiatus over the Christmas period, I’m back again to discuss all things British Wrestling Weekly orientated, covering the last four episodes shown via Youtube and their own monthly subscription service. Let’s begin our look at one of the most popular promotions in the UK by jumping straight into Episode 9.
After the schmozz ending to the previous weeks’ main event between Rampage Brown and Zack Gibson, we are shown what the camera saw when they kept rolling. Nigel McGuinness, the guest referee, awarded the match to Gibson by DQ (after Brown had initially picked up the victory after interference by The Control), whilst we got a stare down in Gibson’s home town of Liverpool between himself and Nathan Cruz, the NGW champion. You have a feeling that this won’t be the last time these guys meet in a wrestling ring.
Fresh off of a win in a match against ‘Wild Boar’ Mike Hitchman, Robbie X is England’s representative in another England vs Scotland encounter. With the home team currently one victory to the good, England have a chance of sealing the victory in this encounter, but Joe Hendry is the overwhelming favourite representing team Scotland. I’ve not had a chance to see a lot of Hendry, but the more I am seeing, the more I am liking. It is always going to be a case of whether X can stay one step ahead of his bigger opponent, and Hendry ruthless in the early going, dropping X face first on the mat and yanking X off of the top turnbuckle during an early ad break. Even when X makes a comeback, Hendry is quick to break the rules to keep in control, a blatant thumb to the eye stopping an attempted clothesline.
It is X’s athleticism that gets him back into the match, landing on his feet from a fallaway slam and hitting several clotheslines and a neckbreaker. A standing moonsault gets him a two, but Hendry catches a crossbody and finally hits the fallaway slam for a two of his own. The finishing stretch sees the control veer back and forth between both men, with an X Express (handstand springboard ace crusher) attempt by X blocked initially, but eventually landed on Hendry. However, Hendry blocks a standing shooting star, before dropping X with a DDT and a Sitout Dominator-style move for the three count.
Lionheart vs Nathan Cruz
The main event and the final match to break the 1-1 tie between England and Scotland sees Lionheart, one of the biggest stars in Scotland, go against the NGW Champion, Nathan Cruz. We get some interviews initially where Lionheart is very vocal about his belief that he paved the way for stars like Cruz to get where they are today, and there feels like this is some legitimate desire for Lionheart to put the younger upstart in his place.
Both men trade holds initially, with Lionheart using this as an opportunity to mock Cruz in an effort to get under the champions’ skin. Eventually, Lionheart hits the first real move of note with a hiptoss, only for Cruz to hit back quickly with a monkey flip, a high knee and a second rope twist crossbodyfor 2. An early attempt at Show Stolen is blocked by an eye rake, and Lionheart is on Cruz like a bad rash – chokes, ear pulling and even a back elbow to stop a comeback shows the rugged nature of Lionheart’s offense. A chinlock is used to wear down the champ, but he is able to escape and slides out of the ring on an Irish whip, leaving him time to get his bearings and nail Lionheart with a slingshot back suplex. The sudden arrival of both Team England and Scotland at ringside builds up the tension as the match heads into the home stretch.
A rock bottom on a chair given by Joe Hendry almost has Cruz beaten, but Matt Myers puts Cruz’s foot on the rope. A brawl ensues outside the ring, and Lionheart even gets a bit of a battering from Team England following a low bridge by Cruz. A roll into a Texas Cloverleaf makes it appear as if Cruz might get the submission win, but Kid Fite jumps in to kick off a mass brawl. Although Kid Fite jumped in the ring, the match is ruled a Double-DQ. Arguments on the mic follow, leading to a challenge 4-on-4 match being agreed upon for the next week, with one catch – Nathan Cruz’s NGW Title is on the line!
A one match show which spends the first twenty minutes building up the main event. Whilst this might have been overkill, it really does a wonderful job hyping up the talent both sides of the border, as well as the importance of the NGW Title.
Kid Fite, Davey Blaze Lionheart & Joe Hendry vs Liam Slater, Robbie X, Matt Myers & Nathan Cruz
As agreed upon the previous week, if Team Scotland win, the man who pins whoever on Team England will win Cruz’s title. The Scottish team are slow to get started, and are knocked off of the apron by Team England as the bell rings. We get the standard heel miscommunications, including collisions which eventually see Cruz and Hendry left in the ring. Cruz hits a suplex and a rolling senton into the ring for a two count. In order to keep control of Hendry, the face team use a lot of quick tags, allowing Slater to even force him to do the dance from a seated position, until Hendry forces X back into the Scottish corner.
Lionheart shows that he is the king of cheap heel heat by spitting at the members of Team England as X gets worked over on the Scottish half of the ring. Hendry nails a suplex, Fite smashes a back elbow into X’s face, and it is only when X uses his speed that he is able to fight back, taking out Blaze and Fite with a handspring back elbow. This gives X enough of an opportunity to get a tag to Slater, who begins to rock Lionheart with high speed offense: a dropkick, flying back elbow and a springboard senton leading to a two count. Myers even gets in on the act, helping Slater to nail a double seated dropkick for good measure.
Myers eventually gets caught from the outside, and Lionheart unceremoniously drops him with punches. Fite, taking a leaf out of Lionheart’s book whilst working over the leg with an elbowdrop, finds time to spit at the rest of the English team. However, an Irish whip sees the two men collide with double clothesline. After a long time on the apron, this allows Cruz to get back into the ring and he begins to take out all of the Scottish team, landing his slingshot back suplex on Kid Fite in the process.
We see a double DDT to Blaze and Hendry after a return from the break, before Cruz gets crotched on the top rope. This leads to a sequence of big moves being landed, as Slater hits a missile dropkick, Hendry a fallaway slam, Robbie X a standing shooting star, Blaze a spear, and finally, Myers a stunner. Cruz is able to land Show Stolen on Fite, but he is clever enough to move to the outside. This allows the quicker members of Team England to hit some aerial moves – Slater hits a cannonball senton, X is not to be outdone with a second rope moonsault. As Cruz gets caught up in the excitement, he is stopped from doing his own dive with a rock bottom by Lionheart for a two count. A splash off of the top rope only finds Cruz’s knees, but then Myers is hit with a rock bottom for another two. Lionheart can’t believe that this isn’t enough to pick up the victory, and is caught unawares by a Myers cradle for the three count.
A fun match, with even better booking. Myers and Cruz were scheduled to fight for the NGW title over the Christmas period, and we have the challenger saving the champion’s title to add a little fuel to the fire.
To start Episode 11, we get a match under Gen-X Rules between Bubblegum and El Ligero. Bubblegum is on a bit of a winning streak, but Chardonnay has been banned from ringside following her involvement in the last Gen-X match.
Bubblegum vs El Ligero
Before the bell rings, we get a lot of Bubblegum stropping as Ligero takes his shirt and stamps on it. At one point, it even looks like Bubblegum might walk out, but he returns and the match begins. With two men who are as quick as these, there is a lot of action bell to bell. Initially, Ligero takes control with a couple of modified armdrags, only to be rammed into the ring apron as the match went to ringside. This isn’t enough to initially stop him, but an armdrag is blocked, allowing Bubblegum to rake his eyes and knee Ligero in the face.
Bubblegum begins to work over Ligero, hitting him into the turnbuckle from the apron, before turning a stalling suplexinto an X-plex. A lot of the time between moves, he jaws with the crowd, which eventually leads to Ligero threatening a comeback, only for a back rake and a chinbreaker to put Ligero back down on the mat. As the match heads towards the finish, the transitions come thick and fast, with a missed double foot stomp by Bubblegum leading to an STO style move by El Ligeo, who shortly afterwards sees an uppercut stop his momentum. Out of nowhere however, Ligero than hits a Code Red for a two, before the men trade kick variations – a Ligero superkick leading to a Pele kick by Bubblegum.
A pedigree variation called The Ice Cream Headache gets reversed initially by Ligero, but after a Mexican Wave Splash is missed, Bubblegum lands his Hubba Bubba Bomb, only to get a two count. The Ice Cream Headache is tried one last time, but Ligero is able to turn it into a pin and get the three count! An entertaining match, and a solid win for Ligero.Even bigger news is broken at the end of the show as we learn that Dara Diablo has challenged Ligero to a mask match – a match that I am definitely looking forward to.
Rampage Brown vs Charlie Garrett
This is a match that comes about as part of the Open Door Challenge aspect of NGW, wherein they will let wrestlers in to challenge as a way of debuting new wrestlers. In this match, it is Charlie Garrett, but he is going up against the former NGW Champion, Rampage Brown.
Initially at least, it feels that Garrett is outmatched, as Brown controls him with shoulder blocks, headlocks and chinlocks. When Garrett does get into the match, he shows impressive athleticism for such a big guy, two flips and a dropkick highlighting this face and rocking the bigger man. Even more impressively, he nails a slam and a standing moonsault for a two count, before hitting a dive over the top rope to the arena floor. Whilst this is impressive, I do sometimes wish that a guy of his size would focus on power wrestling, rather than trying to be a jack of all trades – sometimes it is good to wrestle your size.
Brown does find his way back into the match after a clothesline off of the apron. Brown’s offense is simple and effective – clotheslines, shoulder blocks, headlocks and chokes. A choke does finally allow Garrett some more offense as he turns it into a back suplex. With Brown out of sorts, Garrett hits a top rope crossbody, blocks the piledriver and lands a slingshot into the turnbuckle. He even hits his finishing move, the Spiral Tap, but West puts Brown’s foot on the rope. With Garrett distracted by West’s actions, Brown is able to regain his composure, clock his opponent across the back and nail a piledriver for a three count. A fine enough showing by Garrett, though I do feel that Brown might look a little bit weak in being pushed so closely, rather than Garrett coming out looking strong.
An awards show, so I will list the awards and the results rather than include a detailed review.
Newcomer of the Year
2. Joe Hendry
1. Justin Sysum
3. Robbie X – X Express
2. El Ligero – C4L
1. Wild Boar Mike Hitchman – Package Piledriver
Top 3 Shocking Ref Moments
3. Nigel McGuinness decks the Proven
2. Colossus Kennedy KO’s Craig Anderson
1. Adam Johnson loses it (when he punches Richie West during the Gibson/Cruz match)
Top 3 Shocking Moments
3. Dan James joins Joseph Conners
2. Dara Diablo shaves his own hair instead of Matt Myers
1. Gibson and Cruz square off in Liverpool
Top 3 Unofficial Best Aerial Highlights
3. Mark Andrews comes to NGW
2. Jonny Storm vs Jody Fliesch
1. The Gen-X League begins
Top 3 Matches
3. El Ligero vs Dara Diablo
2. The Destiny Rumble
1. Nathan Cruz vs Rampage Brown
Top Televised Feud
Colossus Kennedy/Stixx vs The London Riots
Wrestler of the Year
3. Rampage Brown
2. Matt Myers
1. Nathan Cruz and Zack Gibson (tie)
An interesting set of awards, especially in how much kudos is being given to Gibson – could Gibson vs Cruz once again be in the pipeline? Join me as I go week by week on all BWW action.