Dawn of Hate?
Grand Pro returned to Hindley, Wigan last night after their regular December hiatus. This was Back with a Bang 2016 which is fair to call their annual “Reboot” show.
They ended 2015 with ‘Double Jeopardy’, great show with a good draw by GPW standards so the roster and writers headed into this event with great momentum. However, always hard to know how a show will draw at this time of year.
If there were concerns, they were unwarranted as I was greeted with a long, long que upon my arrival. There was certainly a level of excitement in the air as we went into our first match.
1. ‘The Priority’ Chris Ridgeway vs Travis Banks
This was a GPW debut for New Zealander Banks and it must be said, he was great. A heel promo to start things off whipped, the sometime quiet, Hindley into a mini frenzy. He generated heat throughout with textbook villain behaviour. What’s more, he looks the part too with an impressive physique.
Ridgeway has skills and has a decent amount going for him. He looks like what the modern, adult wrestling fan tends to enjoy these days (think Balor, Punk, Styles).
The thing is, I get the feeling that that isn’t what a GPW fan is looking for. The are not a “smarky” bunch. They will get into any match where the performer engages with them, whether they’re the hero of villain and Ridgeway struggles a bit with that. If he get the hang of getting a crowd invested in him, he has the potential to go places.
Though Ridgeway picked up the W, Banks was certainly the star man here. As I understand he is in England on a two year visa so I look forward to seeing him perform again. I’D be very surprised not to see him become a regular in this promotion.
2. The Island Brothers (Tabu & Rio) vs The Bad Lads (Drill & Mickey Barnes)
The last time we saw these two was a end the end of their year long plus storyline with GPW veteran Simon R. Valour. That culminated with the Brothers reuniting and Valour vanquished.
Tabu & Rio have been associated with Valour since they debuted so interesting to see how they go it alone now as good guys.
The Bad Lads are the team that GPW absolutely love to hate. As soon as they come through the curtain they are at it, they wind up everyone in the room. Drill even gave me the Middle Finger.
The teams struggled to mesh a little a times but it didn’t matter as the crowd were into through out. The Bad Lads did a great job of getting the crowd invested and sold any IB offence well.
Rio, the quicker of the Brothers, played the face in peril until the powerful Tabu got the hot tag. IB eventually got the win following a cool looking double team finisher.
Stand off at the end between the teams, suggesting that we’ll see more between these two. If this results in a feud as good as The Bad Lads had with MBC last year (more from them later) then the fans are in for a treat.
3. Cyanide vs Noah
Noah is out on his own for those, no one from ‘The Circus’ in his corner. It took a while for The Circus to find their place in GPW as it was difficult to work out want they wanted to be. Formed at he begins of the latest ‘North West Rookie League’, you had a female manager acting as a heel, Noah who was getting laughs from the crowd with his slapstick shenanigans and Nicholas Cartier, a rookie with a Ring Master gimmick somewhere in the middle.
A few months later, the manager is gone and Jack Gallagher is added to the stable with turning full on ‘face and the fans are into it.
Today though, no Cartier and no Gallagher and I find Noah a tough character to get behind. A little too creepy and a bit quiet.
His opponent, Cyanide, is monster of a man. Reminds me Giant Haystacks. With that said, he moves pretty well for his size.
Match wise, not too much to report. Noah did get some offence and bumped like a trooper for his opponents offence. Cyanide gets the win with a big running splash.
Cyanide continues the beat down after the match until Cartier runs out to make the save (no Gallagher sadly). Cartier carried his stable mate to the back and Cyanid took Noah’s Teddy with him…..WHY CYANIDE WHY!!!!
4. The Hate League (Dylan Roberts, Danxig, Soner Durson with Alex Alex Alex Tasker) vs Joey Hayes & Midnight Bin Collection (Ste ‘Bin’ Mann & Jett Fashion with Chrissy from New York)
The Hate League now has an identity, lead by Dylan Roberts, it was born out of a Rookie League feud with Joey Hayes who was betrayed by his ‘rookie’ Soner Durson.
Their opponents here were the high energy MBC (whose Dumpster match last year with The Bad Lads was one of the most entertaining I have seen) & Joey Hayes. Got a lot of time for Hayes. I’ve seen both perform as a heel and face and he is excellent at both disciplines.
The match was pandemonium, and I mean that in a good way. There was a ‘Human Centipede spot where the heels, including Tasker, where all lined up with their heads between one another legs in the corner. A couple of running kicks, with one from Chrissy, and the place goes wild.
This wasn’t a clusterf**k though. In amongst the madness we got some excellent exchanges between Roberts and Hayes, great chemistry between these two.
One bad note was Curzon appearing to spot into the crowd. Don’t care for that.
The finish came soon after Roberts got a low blow in on Hayes followed by his finisher. Great way to head into the interval but not the last we’ll see oh The Hate League tonight……
5. ‘Magnificent’ Matt Brooks vs ‘Dangerous’ Damon Leigh
Brooks is set for big things in my opinion looks the part, already decent in the ring and his gimmick is ace! How could he follow up his rendition of Disney anthem ‘Let It Go’ at the lady show? With another Disney classic. However, just has he is getting to his big finale DDL attacks from behind to a tonne of heat. Fantastic heat.
DDL played his part as the surly, veteran heel well, getting into rows with the crowd about his hair and own vocal ability.
Solid match with the Magnificent one getting the win with what looked like a reverse Sliced Bread.
6. Ashton Smith vs ‘One Man Riot’ Craig Kollins
This was given a grudge build up. Kollins out first and has a cool entrance with his Bane style mask. Smith is out next and he looks pushed for this one.
Both are clearly good workers and Smith has improved every time I’ve seen. There was one particularly breath taking spot with Smith hitting a front flip over the typo type with a stiff contact to Kollins.
Clever, old school finish with Smith getting the pin whilst despite being deep in the clutches of The OMR’s submission hold.
Kollins gets aggro after the match and a tracks the official, only to send up on the end of some more offense from Smith. 1-1 now between these two with a third in the works in sure.
7. GPW Heavyweight Champion T-Bone vs GPW British Champion Bubblegum Title vs Title
Main event time and before I start I feel I must tell you that T-Bone is my favourite wrestler. He has been been ever since I saw him hit ‘Good News’ Charlie Garret with a kayak during an exhibition match at UCLan.
Bubblegum is very popular in GPW, they love him. Though Bone is getting plenty of grief from the crowd, he doesn’t play an out and out bad guy.
The less experienced amongst the roster should lap up as much as they can from this two as this was almost a matter class in story telling. Varying the pace of the match and mm not missing a step anywhere, I could watch these guys for hours.
One thing that one could not have seen coming tonight was T-Bone hitting a ‘Coast to Coast’ (and and this isn’t a small thing). Very impressive.
Though it seems simple, the false finish is a fine art and these two had the crowd convinced it was all over one more than one occasion.
Then came the controversial finish, with both men down and in danger of not making the reefs 10 count………”Dylan! You son of a bitch…..”
The Hate League are back out surround the ring. Bubblegum and T-Bone try to fight them off but it’s not good. Roberts grabs both Titles and stands over the fallen combatants, claiming himself as the dominant force in GPW.
Rumours are that there there is a big push in the offing for Roberts this year so expect to see a lot more of The Hate League. Obviously, you wouldn’t expect this finish to go unanswered by T-Bone and Bubblegum.
Another excellent showing by GPW who are definitely on a roll. Story orientated, character based wrestling. Great value for 2 hours worth of entertainment. Highly recommended for all ages.