Hello and welcome everyone to this edition of substitute Graps and Claps, Andrew Gibney here filling in for The Man with the Massive Clap, Andy Ogden, as FutureShock Wrestling moves down from the Guild Hall to Stockport Town Hall for Uproar 105.
In true Graps and Claps fashion, and not like the last time when I was off the beer, we had to kick the day off with a visit to one of Manchester’s many excellent bars in the Northern Quarter. I picked Northern Monk, fast becoming one of my favourites, a pop-up takeover by Honest Burger sweetened the deal.
Quick bus down from north Manchester and within 30 minutes I was sat with a glass of 6% Premiere IPA by Interboro. I’m on a personal mission to log 1000 unique beers on the Untapped app before my 40th birthday. This was no.387 – I need to average around 5 a week to make it. It’s going to be tough, but fun to try and do it.
A fruity sour called Farewell Tangerina (5.7%) by Northern Monk followed the delicious burger and then it was time to head to Manchester Piccadilly.
On the way to the train Ipicked up a can of Meantime IPA from the Co-op, just to keep me hydrated on the way to Stockport.On the train I meet fellow Manc graps fan Tom and his mate Callihan and convinced them to join me at the Petersgate Tap – a bar frequented by the Ogden’s, but I’d never manage to make it myself, so I was happy to find a quick 30 minutes to pop in. I picked the Runaway Bourbon and Gingerbread Stout. A solid 7.2%. It was boozy with hints of gingerbread, although not the best of the day – that went to the Tangerina – it did exactly what it said on the tin.
Then it was up to the Town Hall, and it was clear the weather reports were correct.There was a Hurricane coming through. Moved down from the smaller Guild Hall, this was FutureShock’s first show at the Town Hall since the Uproar 100 back in May 2018 and it felt like there was already a bigger crowd in attendance for the arrival of a former WWE superstar.
Soner Dursun, the man who took PAC close in FS’s last show, kicked things off against local boy turned bad, JJ Webb, with these two meeting for the first time.Webb had been a fan-favourite until his recent turn at Tapped III and the more experienced Turkish Wolf was here to teach him a lesson.
A back-and-forth match took a while to get going, which is expected when there’s no real reason for a feud, but it picked up when the Stockport resident dodged Dursun’s frog splash and smartly turned it into a single-leg Boston crab.
JJ had the upper-hand, also hitting his spinning clothesline after catapulting himself off the ropes, but it would quickly turned when Dursun intercepted JJ on the top rope and hit a Canadian Destroyer before finishing the match with his trademark frog splash for the pin.
Outraged, JJ didn’t go back through the curtain, but took his position behind the merch tables, murmuring to himself, visibly annoyed by the outcome.
Current title contender Henry T. Grodd finished another backshift at Kevin Webster’s garage to take on Tyson T-Bone in a classic big lads wrestling match. It went back and forth, lots of heavy-hitting and suplexes and clotheslines.
Safe to say there was never going to be much finesse to this encounter and it came to a head when Grodd threw T-Bone shoulder first into the ring post and then met him full on with a spear for the victory.
Everyone had hoped Grodd could be someone with a good chance of taking the title belt off Cyanid… sorry, ITV’s The Monster Crater, so this was a welcome win, if not the most pleasing on the eye.
Since the departure of the Queen Bees from the FutureShock landscape, we have been waiting for a challenger to step up and give Lana Austin a proper fight.
Alexis Falcon and Taonga made their presence felt during the recent Tapped show, attacking Lana and her friend Hollie and then a singles match in Prestwick saw Falcon get involved as Hollie was beaten by her partner-in-crime. Now Lana would have a chance to get her hands on Alexis, putting her belt on the line to sweeten the deal.
The Champ had control for most of the match, with the newly red-headed Falcon struggling to get control of Austin. Only when Taonga interfered was she able to get theupper-hand. Eventually Hollie had enough and took the fight to Taonga, this spilled out to the back, leaving the title match a fair one-on-one… or so we thought.
At this time, JJ Webb, who still hadn’t left, started moving closer to the ring, it was clear, he wasn’t just here to admire the wrestling. Moving ringside, first Webb grabbed Alexis’ feet, placing on to the ropes to break up a pin. No one was quite sure what was going on, then for a second time he got involved, grabbing Lana’s legs, distracting the champ, then as she turned around, Falcon hit her flush in the temple with a kick to the head and swooped down to pin the champ for the 1-2-3.
JJ Webb jumped into the ring, holding the hand up of the new champion. They walked up the steps to the back. Seemingly FutureShock has the making of a new power couple.To end the first half, we had an exciting six-man tag match between Big Joe and Deadly Damon Leigh (Big & Brave), with the enforcer Thomas Wolfe against The Young Guns – Ethan Allen and Luke Jacobs with former WWE Cruiserweight champion, The Hurricane.
Just like most matches with Big Joe or DDL, the crowd chants take over the initial few minutes, with Gregory Helms encouraging the crowd to keep the ‘Chicken Little’ song going, leading to one of DDL’s best lines and why he’s one of the best character wrestlers in the UK.
“It’s almost like that chant is a direct contradiction of our tag team.”
It was madness and brilliance in equal measure. The Young Guns showing why they are one of the hottest tag teams in the UK – doing in front of Progress owner, Jim Smallman too – but there was only one way this was going to end.At the third attempt he hit the Hurri-choke slam on Big Joe and the capacity crowd cheered massively as the referee counted to three. Handing Big & Brave their first defeat of the year.
With the opportunity to have your picture taken with Helms, the interval was the longest we’ve seen in FutureShock for some time. Scores of people queuing up for their moment.
Eventually, we get to the second half and it starts with a cracker. CJ Banks v Joey Hayes for the Adrenaline championship.
This was the fourth match of the series between the two and this time we would get a finish. The first ended in a draw when a very technical affair breached the 15-minute time-limit at Uproar 104.Then at Tapped III, another great match finished without a victor as both men pinned each other at the same time.
Last month at Underground 31, Chris Ridgeway was thrown into the mix, given a title shot, but it was the ‘hard as fuck’ man from Cumbria who tapped out to Hayes, not Banks, so now we had a two out of three falls match in Stockport to decide who was the better man.
It was the champ who picked up the first fall after about 10 minutes, hitting the Hayes cutter for the pin. At this point I predicted there would be a quick fall to tie it up and like a broken clock which is correct twice a day, I was right.
With referee James Greenwood squeezed into the corner, Hayes jumped up into the turnbuckle to protect the ref, but with his back to his opponent, Banks kicked the champ in the unmentionables – family friendly show folks – then hit Hayes with a running knee to pick up the pinfall. 1-1
Everything to play for, the pressure rammped up and there was a feeling we might get a second new champ of the night, especially when Banks hit a second flying knee square on Hayes jaw, but just as the challenger attempted the pin, ‘That Man’ rolled Banks over and locked in his version of the crossface, this time, with nowhere left to go, Banks taps.
This was a quick build since Banks debut in January, but through four shows it was a
good story built purely in the ring between two excellent wrestlers. Hopefully it’s not the end of these two together in the ring down the road. Although it does feel a bit wasted not having Banks handed the belt, so we could extend it with Hayes chasing the heel.
Teased back in January, now was the time to see FutureShockTag Champions Chris Egan and Danny Hope take on the NXT UK Tag Champions, the Grizzled Young Veterans, Zack Gibson and James Drake.
A really good tag match this. Back and forward, both teams had the moments of gaining upper-hand, showcasing the local champs could hang with the WWE pair.
GYV were in control for the majority and it looked like it was over when Drake hit the 450 splash, but Egan kicked out. Then when Gibson had both men in a double Shankley Gates, again it looked over, but once again, the unlikely duo managed to escape. Then Hope hit Drake with a suplex off the top rope, as Egan lands an diving elbow from the opposite corner, but as Pete the ref is about to hit the three count, Gibson pulls him out of the ring.
Outraged and confused, the GYV use this to their advantage and hit Ticket to Ride to pick up the victory.
Speaking to Taff after the show, he made a very good point about Drake and how the Blackpool native is probably one of the smoothest in-ring UK talents around right now.
Everything he tries, he hits and hits seamlessly, there are no obvious weaknesses to what he does and he’s the perfect partner and foil to Gibson. Although I’m not sure how much he got paid to say this so I’d include it. It would be good to see both guys work some shows as single competitors again.
Hopefully something for the future.
Now, for the main event, and the FutureShock championship match. The Monster Crater, our champion, against the winner of the legacy tournament and hometown favourite, John McGregor.
After beating Ashton Smith at Tapped it was the former champions who claimed ‘Just John’ didn’t have what it takes to beat Crater and the champ would hurt him. For the first 10 (felt like 30) minutes of the match the NXT UK wrestler was right.
A massive powerbomb, and various huge clotheslines across John’s chest, like he was trying to tenderise meat with his massive shovel hands, softened John up.
After another devastating side back-breaker followed by ¾ clotheslines, it felt like it was over, but with Crater playing to the crowd, gesturing “is this all you’ve got”, ironically the same question we’ve been asking the champ since he beat Smith for the belt, we knew a turn was coming.
John mounted a comeback and after getting the monster down to one-knee he hit a Famouser and a glimmer of hope entered the town hall.
Without Joey Hayes to protect him this time, referee James was squashed in the corner, but the distraction helped John hit a running spike DDT, but with no one to count, the chance of victory was gone.
Crater got back to his feet and hit a chokeslam, but with the referee still down Grodd appeared from the back to race into the ring and hit the champ with a spear.
This was his chance, and with James’ eyes open, McGregor covered, but Crater kicked out at 2 and 3/4s.It looked like his chance was gone. WoS monster hit another chokeslam, followed this time by a gargantuan bodyslam, 1….2…. NO. John somehow kicked out and the whole building was shocked.
With one last push, John got up, launched himself off the second turnbuckle and planted Crater with another swinging spike DDT…
Friends and family rushed into the ring to congratulate the new champion, as did wrestlers from the back.
Finally the curse of cyanide has been lifted and the FutureShock Faithful left the Town Hall with a huge sense of relief.
As the people were leaving the venue with broad smiles, two matches were announced for Uproar 106 in May, the first would be Grod v Crater, IN A STEEL CAGE.
And while you have the cage and the massive room to hold it, you may as well take full advantage, so due to Gibson’s actions in the tag man, Grizzled Young Veterans will face Egan and Hope, also in the cage.
And with that the night was over and time to head home.
I hope you enjoyed my coverage of FutureShock Uproar 105, it will be available on demand later in the week and you can follow me on Twitter @gibney_a