Hello and welcome everyone to this edition of Graps and Claps, this time taking me to Stockport for the first time this year for Futureshock Wrestling’s final show at the Stockport Masonic Guild Hall after well over 15 years of action. Tonight’s show was to be headlined by the big heavyweight clash between Futureshock Champion at the moment Crater taking on a former ally in the form of Henry T. Grodd in a non-title match which I was only alerted to be a fellow fan on the afternoon of the show which suddenly started to ring a number of alarm bells in my head to what the finish of the match might be later in the evening, but I will get into that later on. Let’s first get into the pre-show pub exploits of which there was a possible contender for 2019 drink of the year – so let’s get into it.
Arriving into Manchester after a 45 minute Metrolink Journey, I met up with our Geoff to visit a couple of pubs in Manchester before hopping onto the train to Stockport. First up was Graps and Claps Pub of the Year for 2018, that being The Crown and Kettle who were having the remanence of a January sale on bottles and pies to make way for new stock going into February. A starter of a pint of Taack Brewery ‘Made in the Shade’ Porter (£4 5.8%) was had here to wet the palate and proved a better drink than the chilled Milk Stout that Geoff frequented on this afternoon.
After here, it was first visit to Beatnikz Republic’s tap bar which is located near Port Street Beer House and the new Northern Monk place on the outskirts of the Northern Quarter. Quite plain in look when you walk in, with the bar at the far end of the room, you are offered around 20 beers on taps consisting mainly of Keg beers over Cask with prices ranging from £3.70 to £6 for 2/3rds and Pint options, with me plumping for a pint of Blackjack Brewery Black IPA (£3.70 5.8%) that was nothing blowaway as a drink like most of the brewery’s catalogue of drinks. As a place for a change to drink, this does suffice for somewhere to go for around 45 minutes to an hour, but nothing more.
Drinks done here, it was time to travel to Stockport on the 10-minute Virgin Trains service arriving in at 3:10pm, with the first port of call being regular haunt of the Petersgate Tap which could be a front runner for Pub of the Year once the awards season comes round at the end of the year. Now the anticipation for me here was the Torrside/Hawkshead Brewery Tap Takeover that was launched on the Thursday previous with a number of tasty delights on offer in the 9% – 10% range, so as you can guess these were sold in ½ or 2/3rds for your tasting pleasure. Here I plumped for the Tonka Shake Imperial Milk Stout (10% £5 ½ pint) which belied its strength with a sweet and smooth taste that was a dream to drink compared to the Islay Malt Stout that Geoff got which did have a heavy taste of peat to it.
Whilst waiting for Graps and Claps columnist Andrew Gibney, another pint was had of Black Edge Brewery Stout (£3.50) that I ended up leaving a quarter of, as it wasn’t the best pint I had compared to the milk stout previous. Next pub before making the way up to the venue was to the obligatory ‘Spoons next door for a pint of Titanic Classic Mild basically just to use up my CAMRA tokens that I had left for the month, meaning this pint only cost £1.49.
Final pub before the show, was to be The Wellington which hasn’t grown its beer range much since we last visited – one thing that has become noticeable is that the toilet has gone worse with both handles on the taps in the men’s bog have gone missing – so nowhere to wash your hands (very disappointing). That aside the furnishings to sit on in this pub are of an excellent standard to give you that homely feel whilst drinking your pint (of which I had a pint of Bee’s Knees £2.90).
Arriving at the Guildhall, quite a hefty queue of people to get in was alive with I would say well over the 200 marker was in attendance which you can sort of tell when the extra chairs have been brough out at the back of the room. So without further ado let’s get into what went down on this evening.
First off we started with Isaiah Quinn taking on ‘Serious Kevin Lloyd’ with the latter looking to get back to winning ways after his defeat in the Legacy Tournament final against former partner John McGregor. Early doors there was a short feeling out process with both wrestlers going hold for hold, but it was Kev who got the early advantage hitting a Senton and then a T-Bone Suplex to get a two count. Isaiah came back though, by stumping Kev around the ring post to work on Kev’s lower half, but Lloyd came back with a sweet Suplex for 2 and it wasn’t too long after this, that Kev got the all-important Armbar Submission victory on Quinn in around 10 minutes to a great ovation from the Stockport faithful to get the show off on a good foot.
Up next was a rematch from September, with the new Futureshock Women’s Champion, Lana Austin taking Shax for whom after she lost last time to Lana, attacked her from behind to send out a message to Lana, which for some reason has been held off for around 3 months. Very much like last time this was a hard-hitting affair with Shax striking first hitting a pair of double knees to Lana, then a back cracker for a 2 count. Lana came back with a Spinning Forearm for a two and then not so long after this as we got into the closing stages, Lana hit a headbutt of T-Bone like hardness to the head of Shax and duly followed up with a DDT whilst Shax hung in the ropes to end a very good match.
It will now be interesting to see who will challenge Lana next, I have seen Alexis Falcon be advertised on an upcoming poster, so hopefully a wave of fresh challengers are in the offing for Lana away from The Queen Bees who as per the last show in Prestwich should be occupied with each other, but we shall see.
6-man tag team action next with The Young Guns teaming with JJ Webb to take on Damon Leigh & Big Joe (Big and Brave) and Thomas Wolfe (In a well ironed shirt – he must have got some starch in his stocking for Christmas), As usual, much jesting from the crowd was aimed at Joe and Damon with chants of ‘Chicken Little’ bringing the noise in the building. This only spurred on the baddies as they laid down a beating early on to Luke Jacobs, Luke though managed to wriggle free by hitting a clothesline, to jump out and reach to tag Ethan who came in to run wild to hit clotheslines to both Joe and Damon. Ethan and Luke then double-teamed DDL with a ‘Chasing the Dragon’ for a two count, that was as good as it got for the Young Guns as JJ had been taken out with a suspected eye injury to leave them at a disadvantage for Ethan to get finished off with an Uppercut by Joe then followed up with a Crunchy from DDL who got the three count in really fun 6-man match up.
After the match an announcement was made by Chris Brooker (Futureshock Head Honcho) that at the March 17th Stockport Town Hall show, that The Young Guns would be able to get some revenge against The Big Brave Wolf’s in the form of a tag team partner, none other than Former WWE Superstar ‘The Hurricane’ Shane Helms, which should be good fun all in all – expect comedy shenanigans galore.
Before we went into the break, we had a rematch from 2013 Great Bear Promotions of all things with Soner Dursun who is looking to get himself in order before his big clash with PAC on February 23rd, this time taking on Damien ‘No Fun’ Dunne. Dunne was in control early in this match, that was until Dursun came back and floored Dunne with a Crossbody and a Spiral Splash on the outside. Back in the ring, Soner hit a Dropkick in the corner and followed up with a bridging German Suplex for a two count, Dunne tried to make a comeback with a back cracker to Soner, but was then hit on the ring apron with a jumping neckbreaker that didn’t look a good landing for the Anti-Fun Policeman, he eventually recovered though to hit a ‘999’ then a lung blower to Soner for a two count.
Soner luckily though, did manage to find that burst of energy at the end of the match to hit an underarm German Suplex to leave Dunne laying in the centre of the ring prime for the match-winning big splash off the top rope to get the three count in an excellent bout as we went off into the 15-minute break.
Back from the break we returned with Mystery Tag Team action with the newly crowned Champions of Danny Hope and Chris Egan taking on we would find out to be Sam Bailey’s former minions (Rizzy Khan and Alex Boylin) – to be honest a bit of a disappointment for anyone expecting anything big – they could have easily just announced this match anyway. A fairly straightforward tag match with Hope and Egan dominating their younger counterparts by eventually finishing them off in quick fashion hitting the old Hart Foundation finisher ‘The Hart Attack’ to get the victory in around 6 minutes.
It was after the match, where the major news came out with The Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson and James Drake) making an appearance with their newly won NXTUK Tag Team Championships to a great ovation and chants of ‘NXT NXT’. This however as someone who has followed Futureshock for a while now – became head scratching as both Gibson and Drake in the last year had been at loggerheads in a feud (are we meant to forget that now, they won a big title in another promotion and are suddenly mates once again in Futureshock? – Continuity please folks!
Anyways, Gibson and Drake announced that they would still be making appearances in Futureshock and warned Egan and Hope that they will soon be ready to take the Futureshock Tag Team Championships to add to their mantelpiece. Not being a complete misery and no disrespect to Hope and Egan, but this felt like a spot/segment that was set up for someone like The Young Guns, with the Grizzled Young Veterans putting them over as the future and a possible show stealing match in the next year. (Lo and behold as I type this, a match between the GYV and the Young Guns has been set up for the 6th Feb).
Second to last match now with Joey Hayes defending his Adrenaline Title against C.J Banks who was making his return to the promotion after quite a considerable time away. Before I get into the match, I would like to point out that before each, they explained how long the time limit would be for each match, which had me thinking because of that, during the evening we would have at least one Time-Limit Draw! – Lo and behold folks this was the one to be it.
A very technical based contest between two men, who are two of the main stays of the scene in this part of the UK with both wrestlers jockeying for postion. As both men went hold for hold, with crowd looking on in appreciation of both wrestlers fine mat work, the crowd with being that engrossed in the action forget that their was a 15-minute time limit, as a mixture of applause and ‘oh bloody hell a draw’ could be in heard in the building. After a shake of hands after the match, the sneak CJ Banks attacked Joey from behind to the boos of the audience (up until this point Banks had been all happy and smiley with the audience and Hayes).
So as it currently stands, it will be Joey Hayes defending his adrenaline title against Ilja Draguanov on the 23rd February in Prestwich, that could all change though as on the 6th February in Manchester there will be a rematch between Hayes and Banks to decide firmly who Ilja’s opponent will end up being – it is set to be a cracker!
Main event time now folks with ‘The Monster’ Crater taking on former friend Henry T.Grodd in a non-title match (which as I heard this earlier on in the day, made me think that Crater would cry enough during the match to cause a walkout and a countout win for Grodd).
As expected this was a proper big lads match, maybe not one for the ages as this was one of them walk and brawl type matches with the ponderous Crater using his considerable size to wear down Grodd who to his credit did his best to chop down the big fella on a number of occasions getting him down to one knee. It was after around 6 minutes of this contest that things soon broke down and both wrestlers brawled with each other on the outside long enough for Mike Fitzgerald to count both men out to signal the end of this match for a double countout.
There was a huge clearout of the locker room to separate both men with the crowd fully in support of Grodd who to his credit has gotten over well in a short space of time with the Futureshock audience. In the melee though, John Mcgregor managed somehow to hit a jumping ddt to Crater to leaving him laying for a short period of time and in turn throwing out the challenge to cash in his legacy trophy for the main event of the March 17th Stockport Town Hall show.
I for one am hoping that John gets time to shine in this match and it doesn’t turn out to be just a one sided mugging. As much as I like John, I can’t help but think that someone like Sexy Kev or a rematch with Grodd would have posed a bigger threat to Crater possibly losing his belt. After the show though we were struggling for ideas of others who could face Crater to take the belt from a heavyweight standpoint – hopefully some new blood like an Adam Maxted or a Justin Sysum would be a good starting point.
Overall as a show, I did feel it was a show of two halves with the first taking precedence over the second half despite the Hayes vs Banks being one of the better matches on the show. Futureshock’s next show is in Manchester on the 6th February with Sugar Dunkerton vs Big Joe and Joey Hayes vs CJ Banks being already announced.
Next review from myself will be of GPW on the 25th January, I hope you have enjoyed reading – spread the word as ever!