Welcome, welcome, welcome to Graps and Claps-ish. While Mr Ogden busied himself at a social club in Manchester and telling off Jon Briley on Twitter for betting against England, I took in part two of an unexpected Humberside Graps double-header. A first ever visit to Beverley, at their version of a Memorial Hall for NGW Proving Ground 40. Or, according to their logo:
PROVIN THE FUTURE BEGINS HERE GROUND
A quick nap after Sunday lunch left little time to explore Beverley. It has an architecturally stunning church that’s bigger than some cathedrals, a cobbled high-street ruined by generic chain shops, and, next week, a puppet festival.
Gutted to be missing the sexy puppets, I diverted into Britwres’ safe space: Wetherspoons. The Cross Keys is one-third light and open space, one-third cavernous, and one-third beer garden. Guess which two were full? I went into the cave and supped on a £1.90 half-pint of Pepsi, regretting not paying far less for a can at the newsagents the next street over.
A brisk walk took me into the Memorial Hall. The NGW ring crew scrambled around finding chairs as more had turned up than expected. Being a party of one, I found an empty seat near the air-conditioning unit. Bonus!
Usual blast beat metal intro, usual Stevie Aaron introduction. Here we go.
The NGW Champion Nathan Cruz curtain-jerked for the second card in a row as he offered a big opportunity for young upstart Myles Kayman. Strictly non-title, of course. Cruz mocked his opponent’s stature but his cockiness almost cost him. Kayman came close on several occasions to gaining a surprise pinfall, believably, with the crowd going from barely knowing who he was to chanting his name. The experience factor ultimately edged the match in Cruz’s favour – he caught Kayman out and planted the Show Stolen. Then he hit a Codebreaker bridged on the top rope just to make sure for the victory. This was a fantastic, hot contest. Cool moves and personal marketing may be en vogue right now but there’s no one better at ring psychology and storytelling in British wrestling than Nathan Cruz.
Matt Myers appeared and said he couldn’t wrestle tonight due to “an injury sustained against Robbie X in Cleethorpes on Friday night”. +1 for factuality. NGW North East (Conor Renshaw, The Rogues Gallery, Gavin Lewis) scared him away. Renshaw demanded to know from the injured Ace Mathews who is opponent would be tonight for the vacated NGW Proving Ground championship. Mathews gave an impassioned promo before revealing he has chosen… CHUCK WOOD!
The next contest saw two blonde big lads Reece and Rogan face #GrimsbyGraps favourites: the Rawk’n’Cole Express (Scotty Rawk & Cole Quinzel). Reece and Rogan dominated them. Quinzel busted out an incredible corkscrew 450 Splash to the outside, which when you’re landing on larger dudes, why the hell not? However, Rawk ate a German suplex and clothesline combo for the loss. I should state for those unfamiliar that Proving Ground is centred on NGW’s trainees. It’s a place wrestlers can figure out what works for them and what doesn’t. Insert comment on “Rawk‘n’Cole Bay-Bay” here.
‘The Standout’ Lucas Steel (autocorrected on my phone to Lance Steel) murdered other #GrimsbyGraps fav Kelvin Kayton, finishing with the Razor’s Edge into Diamond Cutter. RIP Kelvin, you lovable dork.
In the first half main event, The Proven (Sam Wilder & Caz Crash) versus The Rogues Gallery (Leon Mercer & Stan Kellitt) in a non-title grudge match. As the first, and until Cruz/Kayman late last week only, billed contest for this card, they delivered a short but heated battle. The Proven are a well-oiled team at this point – I’m surprised they aren’t booked in more places. They would have outgunned the Rogues easily if not for Mercer and Kellitt’s extracurricular activities behind the ref’s back. The Rogues are coming into their own as well; I like how NGW North East frontman Mercer’s calm and collected gobshiteness (it’s a word) has now been joined by Kellitt being an angry and loud gobshite. The match ended when Mercer was isolated and fell victim to The Proven’s superkick/brainbuster combo.
Intermission time. As kids got their photos taken with the NGW Tag champions, I eyed up the raffle but decided against it. If I’d won no one would believe me. My illustrious victory will happen in front of friends and family. So, to the bar instead for a £1 can of Pepsi and a 55p Twirl – a further spike of sugar to kill my gainzz. Oh well.
Then, the lights went out to present a kid called Mason a birthday cake. I notice ‘Mason’, if that’s his real name, didn’t share the cake with the rest of us. Watch out for him. Could be Hitler reincarnated.
Second half: Nino (an Italian with an East Riding accent rivalling Nathan Cruz’s) challenged Adam ‘Flex’ Maxted as he wanted to test himself. The proceeding match was perfectly fine but hampered by the crowd being dead. Why? Who knows? Perhaps Maxted is too new for the blue-eyed gatekeeper role, or the crowd didn’t want to cheer for one over the other. Maxted won after taking advantage of Nino and the referee getting into a shoving match. Weird finish for a weird atmosphere.
To make things weirder, the referee – didn’t catch his name – jumped Nino on the ramp and battered him. In the ring he cut a promo about suffering 3 years of being a ref and selling raffle tickets (BOOOO to you, sir) before beating down Nino some more until the ring crew restrained him. The smaller NGW shows tend to be slightly experimental but, again, just plain weird.
Gavin Lewis defeated JD Boom with a spinebuster. Boom’s downfall came when his ‘super best friend’ Kev Cash botched his zany interference. Nothing to note here except it’s clear the bad guys like Lewis and Lance Steel and Reece and Rogan have been taught to get heat by repeating two short catchphrases and pointing at themselves. The weirdness continued as Kev Cash kicked JD Boom in the nuts and took off his whacky glasses and ccrraazzyyy tie. Beverley Memorial Hall is the place where one questions their standing in life and does something about it, I guess.
The raffle was next. I didn’t take part, who cares?
In the main event: Conor Renshaw faced Chuck Wood for the NGW Proving Ground championship, vacated by Ace Mathews due to his freak accident at the last Hull City Hall show. Chuck Wood is ridiculously popular – it’s a shame Matt Myers couldn’t hang around to see him in action. The man from Woodmansey took Renshaw around the ring and chopped and nipple twisted him. In the ring, Chuck delivered the TTIIMMBBBEERRR (Attitude Adjustment) for a two-count. Renshaw took shortcuts to regain momentum but they were all short-lived. He was rescued from a count-out loss when Gavin Lewis interfered. Then, as Wood hit a Stone Cold DDT, Stan Kellitt distracted the ref while Leon Mercer blasted Chuck with the Proving Ground belt. One running knee later, Conor Renshaw became champion.
A challenge between NGW North East and NGW Hull followed Renshaw’s celebrations. The training schools will bring together their top talent for an all-out war at the next Beverley show on October 28th. Hull ran off North East and stood tall to bring a decent if – here’s that word again – weird show to an end.
The 50-minute drive home via McDonalds for further body-destroying junk food meant I was in my living room watching Sky Sports News by 8:30pm. Always a bonus as living in Grimsby means I don’t often get home on a school night before 10. In my quest for a #60ShowAndANintendoSwitchYear, the travel has knackered me out. That’s why 38 shows in I’m taking the summer off (except for the Sugar Dunkerton-sized party at TIDAL on July 22nd). I hope I will contribute to The Indy Corner in another way but I should figure out how and discuss it with management first!
If not, Graps and Claps-ish will return in the autumn. The good news is, as long as our Andy doesn’t get banned from all wrestling shows for yelling at promoters online, there will be plenty of Graps and Claps to come.
You can check me out on Twitter @KidSWOL, and I also have a non-wrestling-related-but-I-reference-wrestling-anyway podcast. Until next time………BYE!