1. Neo Britannico vs Frightmare vs Wild Boar vs Chris Brookes
An inter-promotional 4-way kicked off the pre-show, with Chris Brookes representing Fight Club:PRO, Wild Boar representing ATTACK! Pro Wrestling, Neo Britannico (totally not Will Ospreay) representing Lucha Britania and Frightmare representing CHIKARA. This was a good way to open the day’s proceedings, although there was a scary moment early on when the action spilled to the outside and Neo Britannico executed an SSP to the floor but crashed through rows of chairs and seemed to injure one of his feet. Within a minute or two he was back in the ring and, although favouring the injured extremity, still managed to execute a missile dropkick but didn’t have much more of a part to play. Hope it’s nothing too serious. First time seeing Chris Brookes and I was impressed with his agility, hope to see some more of him down London-way. Wild Boar had a good following in the crowd and got a great reaction for his package piledriver, but it was ultimately Frightmare who picked up the win, hitting Kneecolepsy on Wild Boar for the three count.
2. Drew Gulak vs MK McKinnan
I was very much looking forward to this match, as I’m a big fan of Drew Gulak and have heard great things about MK McKinnan. This was my first time seeing either man perform live and I was not disappointed with the story they told in the ring, their match feeling unlike anything else on the show. It was a very old-school match in terms of pacing, Gulak showed off his sublime technical ability early on and took complete control, contorting McKinnan as he sought for a submission victory. Gulak targeted MK’s left leg and was relentless as, time and time again, he caught his opponent in grapevined ankle locks and a particularly vicious kneebar. However, McKinnan was determined not to give in and refused to tap, despite the great deal of pain Gulak was inflicting. Eventually he found an opening and fired back at Gulak with some stiff elbow strikes as he hobbled about the ring. Gulak almost finished things when he caught a high kick and dropped into a deep kneebar, but McKinnan managed to extricate himself with some kicks to the face, before hitting a shining wizard to score a huge win.
3. The Hunter Brothers Open Challenge
A nice surprise for the fans in attendance, as the team to answer Jim & Lee Hunter’s open challenge were none other than F.S.U. of Eddie Dennis & Mark Andrews! Great to see both these teams in The Garage again, it’s a wonderful venue for wrestling and came alive for this match. The Hunter Brothers got over their initial shock and isolated Mandrews, making quick tags and keeping him away from his corner. The crowd were solidly behind him, but Jim & Lee did some good work to stall his comebacks. At last Mark got the tag to the towering Eddie Dennis, who came in and cleared the ring. The match looked to be over minutes later after Andrews super hurricanrana’d one of the Hunter’s off the top-rope and onto the other Hunter, but when he followed up with a shooting star press the brothers rolled out of the way. The finish eventually came as Dennis hoisted one of the Hunter’s into the air for the Next Stop Driver, Andrews leaping off the top-rope to spike the stricken Hunter brother back down to the mat for the three count.
4. Jimmy Havoc, Pete Dunne & Damien Dunne vs Clint Margera, Trent Seven & Tyler Bate
Wild six-man tag to close the pre-show, as Clint Margera & Moustache Mountain of Trent Seven & Tyler Bate took on KYS of Damien & Pete Dunne, plus the nefarious Jimmy Havoc who had apparently cost Margera a victory on the pre-show the night before in Cardiff. Wasn’t expecting the violent, foul-mouthed and generally disagreeable presence of Jimmy Havoc on the pre-show to a family friendly CHIKARA event and reigniting his blood feud with Clint Margera did seem a bit at odds with the tone of the rest of the show. That being said, this was a mad six-man tag, with bodies flying all over the shop. Margera took the brunt of the abuse, Jimmy attacking him with baking trays and frying pans, but Clint did subsequently wipe out his opponents with a huge tope. It would be Havoc who emerged victorious, however, after Jimmy put Margera down with a number of frying pan shots to the head and two Acid Rainmakers for the three count.
Check back at 19:00 for my review of CHIKARA ‘Afternoon Delight’