It is hard to start a UK wrestling review or column without references to WOS and mainstream acceptance of the concept. Since WOS, we’ve had brief forays into the world of UK wrestling on TV, but mostly lost amongst the random channels offered on your cable box, alongside topless darts and topless news (if you were lucky). Indeed, FWA, 1PW and a few other promotions had flirted with the mainstream media, but both to a relatively unsuccessful outcome. However, things seem to be shifting recently. With the ease at which promotions can get their product out to a masses that seem to crave more UK wrestling, more and more promotions are going the ‘TV’ route online. Revolution Pro were one of the first to do it, but I am going to be looking at the show called British Wrestling Weekly (effectively, NGW unless I’m much mistaken).
As is all the rage these days, British Wrestling Weekly utilises both streaming, subscription and the use of Youtube to get out into the public domain. Shows are run on Youtube for free for a week, before archived for access following the payment of £3.99 a month – not a horrendous sum for an archive of prime UK wrestling. Just like many TV series, they run Seasons, and only recently, Season 2 has begun! Therefore, it is the best time to hop on the bandwagon and see what they have to offer.
Like they saw me coming, BWW put together a Top 10 show of the happenings in Season 1, allowing the casual wrestling fan a chance to brush up on their knowledge, get to learn the faces and the feuds as they waited to unleash Season 2. What were their top ten moments? Who are the wrestlers to watch out for? Read on to find out.
NGW, in an effort to try something new, founded the Gen X League. At times, the clarity of the show was a little ropey, meaning it wasn’t always as clear as to the over-arching nature of some of their ideas – I believe that it involves ten minute time limit triple thread matches, with the winners heading to a final triple threat match. It might be more than that, but this was the gist of what was suggested. To highlight it, we caught the end of an El Ligero vs Wild Boar Mike Hitcham vs Bubblegum match, where a sulking Bubblegum (a failed pinfall following an electric chair drop/michinoku driver on Ligero the reason) is pinned by Hitcham after a senton in the corner and a package piledriver.
New concepts are always welcome in wrestling, and it will be interesting to see how this concept plays out in a style that is clearly made for TV.
The London Riots and Stixx are wrestlers I am all too familiar with from my time watching PROGRESS, and one of the big angles of Season 1 was the Riots breaking the leg of Stixx’s tag team partner, Colossus Kennedy. However, during a Destiny Rumble match, Colossus Kennedy returned and this led to the elimination of both of the London Riots.
The Riots often work best in matches were they can bully smaller teams around – whether this feud is likely to deliver in the ring will hopefully be answered in Season 2. If it helps, I do like a big man, so Colossus Kennedy is right up my street.
This is a good way to showcase your talent to new fans, and we get a look at one of the wrestlers you will assume gets a fair bit more air time in this coming season: Joseph Conners. A man playing a somewhat deranged gimmick, it’ll be interesting to see what the long game is for this talent.
One of the reasons I leapt at the chance to write some reviews on UK wrestling was the opportunity to find some new, undiscovered talent. In the next angle, I know no-one, so can’t wait to see how this plays out over time.
During the year, Liam Slater and Dan James were a tag team, occasionally helped by Justin Sysum. Following a feud as a trio against the Proven and Mark Haskins, we see the final stages of a tag match that was booked shortly after with the members of the Proven. Though the clip was only a minute or so long, Slater convinces me as a babyface, and it is James who steps off of the apron and walks out on his partner. As the season ended, no answers were given as to why he made that choice, but this has the makings of an interesting feud.
The next selection was a two-step one, as we saw Matt Myers quest for the NGW gold. In the first instance, we saw him outsmart Marty Scurll in the Destiny Rumble, hanging on and chucking out Scurll when his back was turned. In winning the Rumble, he got a title shot against Rampage Brown. From the short clips, there was a raft of interference in the match, culminating in a Dara Diablo belt shot and a piledriver by Brown which allowed him to pick up the victory.
Whilst it is good to showcase those who got near, but yet so far, what does that suggest about Myers’ future role in the company? How he gets booked will be one of the more engaging things as the new season begins.
Speaking of Dara Diablo, he gets a huge airing on this list, turning up three times. The second time sees the start of his spat with El Ligero. Long-time tag team partners, Diablo jumped Ligero and had seemingly run him out of NGW. During a Diablo match in the future, the lights went off mid-match to allow El Ligero to make his grand return! However, he ripped up the contract for the match between himself and Diablo, leaving Diablo no option but to continue to chase for the match that he desires.
Ligero in anything is golden – that it is a pretty intense feud should only serve to ramp up the intensity and leave the viewers with some classic wrestling action.
A chance to showcase some of the most influential wrestlers in modern UK wrestling history at Number 4, as we see clips of Doug Williams, Jonny Storm and Jody Fleisch. I saw both men over fourteen years ago in a small leisure centre in Dagenham, East London, and if the clips we saw are anything to go by, all three can still offer a lot to any UK promotion. Storm vs Fleisch is shown to us, with a Cyclone tope and a powerbomb from a top rope huracanrana attempt seen by Storm, and Fleisch grabbing the victory with his Phoenix 720 DDT.
Oh, Dara Diablo. Something tells me you are going to be a big deal this year. In his chase to get El Ligero into the ring, we see the culimination of a hair vs hair match between himself and Matt Myers. Diablo nefariously uses a low blow to gain the victory, but just as he is about shave off Myers’ hair, he turns the razor on himself, destroying his own long, luscious locks. He promised he’d be a new man that took on El Ligero, and he tells the audience that this is one step closer to his end goal.
With three spots on the top ten, Diablo (and specifically, Diablo vs Ligero) has to be the big angle outside of the title, and it’ll be great to see them when they eventually lock up.
This is another area where the video isn’t as clear as I would like it to be. The Davey Boy Smith Tournament was one of the most watched UK wrestling events of last year due to its showcase on Wrestle Talk TV on Challenge. In the round robin last stages, we saw Wild Boar, Bubblegum, Zack Gibson and Nathan Cruz going at it to become the first winner of this potentially prestigious tournament.
Nathan Cruz ended up getting DQ’d against Hitcham, whilst we see footage of Gibson using a cradle brainbuster on Bubblegum following two ref bumps and a couple of phantom finishes in the process. Whether this was the match that saw Gibson win the tournament, the show is a little hazier on than I would like. Still, to see Gibson so beloved on this show when he is a massive heel in London (purely because of his Scouse roots) is a sight to behold.
The number one on the list doesn’t even surprise me, and I’ve not followed this company before. Nathan Cruz, one of the darlings of the UK indy scene, took down Rampage Brown and won the NGW Title to much consternation on the internet, thus bringing the federation to my attention for the first time. The closing minutes are shown, and it takes two lots of Show Stolen – and the removal of a corrupt official moonlighting as the referee – for Cruz to win the title. Just like Gibson, Cruz is hated in London, so to see him effortlessly play the face role is interesting and truly shows his versatility.
This leaves two routes I can foresee as we head into Season 2. You have to imagine that Brown is coming back for his title. However, there was a little tease with Number 2 that suggested Cruz and Gibson had drawn twice previously. With one the NGW champion and the other the Davey Boy Smith Tournament winner, you have to imagine their paths will cross sometimes.
And when it does, I’ll be there.