Welcome everyone to this edition of Graps and Claps taking me on a journey to the Maghull side of Liverpool for Fighting Spirit Pro Wrestling – The Home of Zack Gibson & James Drake’s popular training school on a sunny Friday afternoon/evening. This was my first time to this promotion as previous shows have fell at the same time as other events in my ever busy calendar of event and not even the lure of Craig David playing at Aintree (One of my other favourite hobbies – Horse Racing) could pry me away from the wrestling tonight mainly due to the £37 ticket cost for the 7 days artist – balls to that!
Finishing work at 12 Noon, I arrived in Manchester with plenty of time to kill before the 1 hour journey via the 13:30 pm from Manchester Victoria to Liverpool Lime Street. After a recommendation from Taff off Twitter regards food options in the Arndale Shopping Centre, I visited Wings ‘Dai Pai Dong’ for some well earned dinner taking advantage of Chicken Green Peppers in Black Bean Sauce served with Egg Fried Rice wash down with a Diet Pepsi costing £6.90, this was a good sized portion and of a much higher standard than the Chopstixx effort from last Sunday which was a right mixed bag, this on the other hand I fully recommend you visit when you are ever in the area.
I arrived in Liverpool for 2:50 pm after a delay due to not enough platforms in Liverpool Lime Street, so it was on to a trio of pubs near the Liverpool Central Station area of Liverpool to get me set up for the evening’s wrestling action. First pub was The Head of Steam which has had a number of guises over time but this incarnation in the Head of Steam portfolio offers a classy joint offering a wide range of real ale and gins costing anywhere from £3.50 to £5 a pint, take into account the leather furnishings for a comfy seat and you won’t be disappointed. I had a pint of Brew York American Pale Ale (4.9% £3.85 a pint) a quite fresh tasting pint but you could tell it was a much stronger alcohol capacity for a pale ale.
Next pub was Ranelagh’s Tavern a local establishment which I visited on a number of occasions before hopping on the train to Aintree for the Horse Racing, as ever with local joints in Liverpool on any afternoon it seems there is always a cabaret/karaoke act on belting out a wide range of tunes, this particular one who had a slight resemblance to Nia Jax didn’t murder the following tunes – ABBA ‘Mamma Mia’ and Doris Day ‘Que Sera Sera’ – the latter which got the stag and hen do crowd rocking along to. The revelation that the singer on this afternoon used to be into S & M raised a few eyebrows but that only gave her more reason to whip the audience into a frenzy!
Drinks in here are a range of 5 real ales from local breweries and your usual lagers and ciders. After a few dirty looks from a bloke at the bar because I got served before him, I had a pint of 6% Quagmire Premium Ale costing £2.95, think of this as a similar taste to Abbot’s Ale (quite nutty). Leaving here I then went round the corner to The Globe which is an old fashioned type pub with a sloping floor with a faint smell of must, I only tried the half pint of 4.4% Wadworth Farmers Glory costing £1.80 – not much to write home about in here – Time to get to Maghull!
Arriving in Maghull at 4:45 pm and having heard about the lack of pubs, I tried to take in what I could possibly find, luckily enough right across from the station is a Greene King establishment ‘The Great Mogul’ a good looking pub inside which like many Greene King pubs have had a bit of a facelift noted with the array of flowers outside the pub itself. I had a pint of 4.3% Ale Fresco Citrus costing £3.10, a sharp fruity taste accompanied this drink whilst I watched the World Cup tear up between Morocco and Iran.
With many a text coming in about the venue being a 30 minute walk, I went on my merry way with the aid of my mortal enemy ‘Google Maps’ to try and find the venue, which took me on a picturesque stroll by the riverside surveying the ducks on show.
Once you reach the end of the river path, you come to a strange precinct area with a Greek Taverna Restaurant and a couple of kebab houses but the point of arrival for me was ‘Milly’s/Miljy’s Bar you decide.
This place had a similar look and feel to Jack’s Cafe Bar in Wolverhampton as it seemed very out of place in location but hey ho, here I had a pint of Pravha costing £3.50 and a pint of Blue Moon (lacking an orange slice) costing £4.20 whilst discussing with two of the locals about the wrestling going on down the road, which as ever produced the lines ‘it’s the proper shit ain’t it’ ‘not that WWF crap’ ’ Big Daddy, Haystacks, Mick McManus’! you know the score wrestling fan bingo.
Arriving at the venue with my mate Gareth (credit for being my result taker as my phone battery was dying on it’s arse) we met up with Indy Corner regular and Girl Gang favourite Benno for the evenings action. The drinks bar here was a multitude of soft and energy drinks given that it was based in a health and fitness building – Monster £1.50, 500ml Boost Energy Drink – 50p, 100ml Fruit Shoot – £1 (the latter I could probably piss more in a bottle than what the Fruit shoot offered – another case of Jamie Oliver downsizing).
Anyways on to the show with a healthy crowd of around the 200 marker with not a bad viewing spot anywhere in the house. This show was to be a mixture of Fighting Spirit trainees and established North West/British wrestlers so it was interesting to see how the mix of talent would work out in the end.
First match of the evening was a contest between Fighting Spirit trainee Ryan Thorn (this was his first ever match) taking on Graps and Claps favourite Sam Bailey . A promising effort from Thorn here who didn’t look out of place against his more experienced competitor, Bailey though did spend the early part of the on the outside taking a powder much to the disgust of the crowd. With Bailey having the bulk of the offence early on, Thorn did manage to fit in a gutbuster to the knee for surprise Bailey for a 2 count, Bailey near the end of the match hit what we thought might have been the match winning face buster but that only warranted a two count. With Bailey thinking he was on the way to victory, he was shocked to be on the losing end of things from Thorn who hit a spin out powerbomb/slam for the 1-2-3 to the cheers of the crowd in attendance.
Second match up was a contest between another Fighting Spirit trainee Will Simpson taking on one of the North West’s best Sam Gradwell. Gradwell dominated his younger opponent here, getting the relatively quick victory in around 7 minutes with a huge Tiger Bomb for the victory, Gradwell as stated in this blog many times, needs to be seen in more places but for some reason or another he isn’t – one of wrestling’s great mysteries.
Third match of the night was Southport’s No.1 antagonist C.J Banks facing off against Fighting Spirit cult hero Barry Draper, who I heard gained this cult following from a 8-man tag at a previous Fighting Spirit show, Barry might look like one of the Mitchell Brothers but he can hold his own in the squared circle. CJ Banks early on laid the beat down to Bazza who had the crowd fully behind him trying to will him on which did help as he made a comeback, but with the finish in sight the referee was taken out by a bump from Barry who missed C.J Banks, this lead to C.J hitting Barry with a chair shot to fell Barry for the loss to a chorus of boos.
Half Time Main Event next with a clash of two of the best Tag Teams around with The Grizzled Young Veterans (James Drake & Zack Gibson) vs The Models (Joey Hayes & Danny Hope). For the near enough 15 minute duration this was an excellent match to watch from bell to bell with both teams having a number of opportunities to put the other away, a spot with each wrestler taking each other out with stereo superkicks brought a great response from the Maghull crowd. The finish came with Gibson and Hayes trying to out do each other with roll ups but it was Gibson who eventually won this battle with a CHEEKY ROLL UP! reversal to Joey for the 1-2-3. I was very refreshed to see the GYV’s as a good guy team and you can instantly see the chemistry that the two friends have built over the last year or so which has shone out in their tag team work.
After a fairly long break due to the number of people wanting £5 photos with the Grizzled Young Veterans (myself included) and much needed work to the boards under the ring, we got back to action at 8:45 pm with the announcement of 8-Man Tag Team match with the collection of Screwface City (Jimmy J, Screwface.Com – The UK’s No.1, Chase Alexander & Kameron Solas) against the team of Sexy Kev, Ethan Allen, JJ Webb and Joel Bolton.
What was instantly recognisable about Screwface City was they look like a unit with an identity! Jimmy J who I last saw in PCW well over a year ago has untied his hair and is not getting the Zlatan chants of old, at the time Jimmy J with Philip Michael were two of the standouts of the PCW Academy and I am glad to see Jimmy is continuing on with his good work. Kameron Solas has that crazy Sami Callihan hair going on and looks like someone you could instantly fit in on the undercard on a number of North West shows (Futureshock/GPW/PCW), Screwface who plys his trade mainly in the North East is another one of the same mold who has a look you are drawn to with the Road Warrior/Mad Max influence.
A good 10 minute tag match on show here with The Screwface City collective winning here with Screwface hitting the unfortunate Joel Bolton with a pop up powerbomb slam for the victory. From the babyface foursome, Ethan Allen impressed me here especially with a running dive to Screwface City to the outside – definitely one to look out for if you follow Fighting Spirit and Futureshock Wrestling.
Second to last match of the evening was a Women’s contest between Fighting Spirit rookie Jessica Light and North West favourite Lana Austin who came out to the Vengaboys Banger ‘The Vengabus is Coming’!. On first look with Jessica having not seen her before, she looks athletically fit and when she had her moments to shine in this match she performed admirably against her more experience opponent. Lana got the win here with another CHEEKY ROLL UP! to add to the collection on this evening, but with more matches Light could be one to keep an eye out for on the local scene.
Main event of the evening was a 4-way ladder match with the opportunity to go into another 4 way at a later date for what I can guess will end up being for a Fighting Spirit Championship of some sorts. This ladder match was between Seth Skyline vs ‘The Turkish Wolf’ Soner Dursun vs Adam Maxted vs El Ligero. Maxted who I haven’t seen in a while, but he has really bulked up and lost the top heavy look that he had previously, easily looking like someone you could fit into a WWE show.
An excellent way to end the show with all 4 wrestlers looking good in the process, when the action spilled to the outside with Durson, Maxted and Skyline looking up El Ligero did a flip off the balcony to a great response from the crowd.
— Benno (@BensonRichardE) June 15, 2018
Dursun had a chance to capture the paper on the clipboard but was stopped when Skyline and Ligero tipped the ladder over to make Dursun straddle himself on the top rope. The finish came when El Ligero was climbing the ladder, but Maxted was following him on the other side, an almighty struggle occurred until Ligero punched Maxted off and with all his opponents on the deck, it was El Ligero who captured the clipboard for the victory.
This was an excellent night of wrestling for £10 and well worth the trip to Maghull to see some of the stars of the future that the Fighting Spirit school is producing. My lasting thought from the show was that the trainees who were wrestling didn’t look out of place on the show and they all look like wrestlers (toned and aesthetically pleasing and even down to their wrestling gear (certainly nothing from the Kenny Kickpads range). Fighting Spirit’s next show is in September so keep an eye out on social media for when they announce the date you won’t be disappointed.
The journey back was a fairly quick 40 minutes arriving into Deansgate for 10:35 pm – thank you to Richard and Tom for the lift home.
Hope you have enjoyed reading this review of Fighting Spirit Pro Wrestling, give it a like and retweet and leave any feedback about the blog to spread the word! Next review will be Futureshock Wrestling in Prestwich taking place on Saturday 16th June.