Arriving in Wigan and with my phone dying on its arse, the search for a plug socket was on luckily enough I found a local Wetherspoons ‘The Moon Under Water’ which had a number of plug sockets available near the fruit machines at the door. With my phone charging, I had a pint of Saltaire Galaxy Pale costing £2.29 which wasn’t the best of pints but was still of a passable quality. My first impression of Wigan from a town centre state of affairs was that it had a lot of good shops and decent sized shopping centre but infiltrated with extras from a zombie apocalypse movie.
With our trip around the shops done, we made our way back to the station to visit the recent winner of CAMRA pub of the year – Wigan Central, a haven for real ale, ciders and pies and it didn’t disappoint. It has 2 large sized seating areas, plus outside seating to soak up the suns rays on this scorching Saturday afternoon, beer prices you are looking at anything from £2.90 for Cask beer up to £5 a pint for Fruli on Keg, with a couple of hours to kill I had a pint of Prospect Brewery Atom 3.8% pale ale which was made my best drink of the day with it’s silky finish and a cracking head of a pint, as an opener to this pub’s delights this certainly was a winner.
A pint of a Lakeland 4.5% ale was up next followed by a pint of Vocation Brewery Pride and Joy which was a bit peppery in taste which I hadn’t noticed before about this drink before as I have only had it in cans before this day. Whilst we was waiting for the rest of the Graps Gang (Chris, Ben & Will) to turn up I took in one of the delightful Scoth Eggs that were on sale, literally the size of a good sized snowball packed full of meat, a hard boiled egg and a crumbly shell – a great bar snack costing £3.20. Once everyone turned up at 5:10 pm, one last half pint of a 8% DIPA was had before heading off on our merry way to the 15 minute replacement bus service to Hindley.
Arriving in Hindley and having just had a bad review of the new cocktail bar in town ‘Kore’ from a gentleman on the bus down who said that it was expensive and not fitting of the Hindley scene. Later reports though from Benno of ‘Twitter and Girl Gang Wind Up’ fame was that it was a good drinking place for a change of pace away from the spit and sawdust places that are mainly seen in this town.
First pub in Hindley we visited was The Hare and Hounds for a £2.60 pint of Darkstar American pale ale and a sit down in its good sized snug area with also a couple of doggos looking on sadly in the corner. Last pub for half of our group before going into the venue was The Hindley Arms for a £3 pint of a 4.5% IPA, not many people in here on this occasion but the seating area and the big screen made up for that.
Sadly for you faithful Graps and Claps readers, the Hindley famous Jonesies Bar was shut so it is now looking less likely that this place will ever get a review in this blog. As myself, Will and Tom moved on to the venue, Chris/Ben/Geoff went to the Bird In’th Hand for a pint and a Jagerbomb to swill the taste of a reported bad pint out of there mouths.
A good sized queue was out in force entering the venue, with my lift later on in the evening Richard coming in the venue with a shark helmet on his head to support one of his favourites Sandy Beach on this evening, as Beach has recently started bringing to the ring an Inflatable shark of all things as a weapon. Needless to say this shark helmet didn’t fit my giant sized head which would even make Jordan Devlin or Harry Maguire jealous.
As noted in Graps and Claps, a 10 year old poster of El Ligero once adorned the outside walls of the Rose Club, tonight though it has been replaced by a big banner promoting ‘Roy Chubby Brown Live in Hindley’ – I expect not many off of my Twitter timeline to turn up at this show.
Anyways let’s get into the evening’s action of GPW Wrestling, we had a total of 7 matches on this show with only one slight change with Ashton Smith now unable to compete due to a suspected injured ankle or maybe because he didn’t want to hear me and our Geoff murder his song again. To start the evening’s proceedings though we had Magnificent Matthew Brooks giving the crowd a stirring rendition of the National Anthem only for him to finish and be low blowed by Isiah Quinn as he was on his way back to the backstage area.
First match of the evening was a Fast Track 6-way with the winner getting a title shot of there choosing later in the evening. The competitors on show were The Midnight Bin Collection of Ste ‘Bin’ Mann and Jett Fashion who have been having troubles recently with the hint of a break up on the horizon, C.J Banks who was looking to win to get his hands on Sam Gradwell later on hopefully. Other contenders in this match were Danny Hope and Big Joe, the latter who as ever was on great form trying not to get riled up by the audience but ultimately failing.
This was an all-action opener as expected with the number of bodies in this match, C.J Banks came very close to winning it at one point with the Bazooka knee, but the finish came when Jett Fashion tried to run the ropes to hit a dive to the outside but he was caught mid flow with a CHEEKY ROLL UP! from his friend Ste ‘Bin’ Mann for the loss. The seeds had been sewn right in front of our eyes that all wouldn’t go too well later on for The Midnight Bin Collection later in the evening when they would challenge for the Tag Team Titles but I will get on to that later on.
Second up was supposed to be the Ashton Smith vs Martin Kirby Grudge Match but as stated before Ashton had to pull out of the contest. This meant Ashton got to choose a replacement for himself to face Kirby on this evening and his weapon of choice turned out to be the former Cyanide now known as ‘The Monster – Crater’. As expected with the huge size difference, Crater dominated for a large portion of this match using a slow and methodical style of a beat down to Kirby who was wishing at this point that Ashton would have been fit. Out of nowhere though Kirby got a second wind and managed to hit of all things a side suplex on Crater for a surprise 3 count to the shock of the Hindley faithful.
Third match of the evening was another who is the Mystery opponent match? This time with Sandy Beach who finally broke his losing streak at the last show defeating Damon Leigh. With this victory, the songwriters of Hindley have been scrambling for a new song to sing to Sandy Beach before the match, oh and how they hit the right notes on this evening with a Barry Manilow Classic ‘Mandy’!
OH SANDY, YOU CAME AND YOU GAVE US A VICTORY, NOW YOUR LOSING STREAK’S OVER, IT’S HISTORY! COS YOU BEAT DAMON LEIGH ON A FRIDAY, BUT YOUR LOSING TODAY OH SANDY!.
This got a well deserved round of applause for a song thought up on a train ride to Leeds one Sunday afternoon.
Sandy’s opponent for the evening would be El Ligero making a rare appearance back in GPW. Lots of inflatable shark shenanigans early on with Sandy chasing referee Mike Fitzgerald around the ring and also tying up El Ligero in a tree of woe whilst trying to attack him with the inflatable with the theme from Jaws playing in the background. Sandy hit a sweet superkick mid way into the contest and then following up with a flying clothesline for a two fall. Sandy then went to go to finish Ligs with a big BOING off the ropes but was caught in mid-air by Ligero who then went up top to hit a big splash for a two count – this match was hitting all of the right notes. With the match going back and forth, it was Sandy Beach who picked up the CHEEKY ROLL UP win from out of nowhere to surprise Ligero for the huge win!
Ligero as ever is one of those wrestlers who could wrestle a broomstick and get a great match of anyone. Sandy on the other hand was excellent going toe to toe with one of the UK’s best – keep your eye on Sandy Beach/Callum Corrie for future reference!
Next up was a Streak vs Career match between DDL and Isiah Quinn with the latter trying to continue his long winning streak that has been going on for two years now at least in GPW. DDL got attacked at the start of this match by Quinn and his Lonsdale clad minions to give Quinn the advantage early on, a blatant miss by Licky Lips (Referee) as Quinn used his staff to fell DDL for a 2 count – this brought the Hindley crowd to their feet in disgust at this mistake of FItzgerald proportions. Thankfully though DDL managed to fight off Quinn’s followers as he hit the compactor finisher to Quinn for the 1-2-3. Really good drama in this match for me.
Half time photos were had with CJ Banks and EL Ligero for £5 – look out for some Absolute Andy and Young Bucks style photos from the British Wrong Style section of BritWres coming on a social media platform near you soon.
Back from the break, we were welcomed back with GPW British Title action with the Champion Sam Gradwell taking on a mystery opponent. Rumours were rife with who it would be, but what it turned out to be was a former GPW regular from the land of Holland – Mark Kodiac who I found out used to be a tag team partner of Heresy back in the day. This announcement popped a few of the long time regulars, but on the other hand went over the head of a few of the newer faces in the audience, Kodiac who had a similar look to Mikey Whipwreck of nowadays not the ECW version was quite an agile chap for his size and had Gradwell on the ropes on a number of occasions.
When Gradwell put Mike Fitzgerald in the corner, Fitzgerald was sadly in the wrong place at the wrong time as an oncoming Kodiac splashed him in the corner by accident. This led to Kodiac being low blowed by Gradwell, which was then followed up by the Golden Mile Headbutt from the top rope to get the jammy victory for the 1-2-3. After the match though with Gradwell celebrating he was then too cocky for his own boots as he was beat down by Heresy and Kodiac who left Gradwell laying and prone for a BIG GRIZZLY BOMB which is a tuck senton from the top rope that looked impactful. Really good hard hitting match!
Superb seeing Mark Kodiak hit another Grizzly Bomb in the Monaco Ballroom/Rose Club. Fun match with Sam Gradwell. Have said it before about Gradwell but he bosses the room as a heel here. Should be lots more places. #GrandPro #XV pic.twitter.com/NaFj1qu9CM
— Benno (@BensonRichardE) July 14, 2018
Semi main event now with the GPW Tag Team Titles on the line with the champions – T-Bone & Craig Kollins facing off against The Austins (L.A & Lana). Before The Austins could enter the ring though,L.A was attacked with a wet floor sign by T-Bone to a great sound which somehow ruled by the referee to eject T-Bone to the back leaving Kollins to face The Austins by himself, which to the surprise of the Hindley crowd he dominated both he Austins dispatching them in quick and easy fashion.
With their Tag Team title shot in tow, out came The Midnight Bin Collection to cash in there shot against Kollins. Once again though Kollins was well up to the task as he finished off Jet Fashion in quick fashion for the victory as Ste ‘Bin’ Mann was thrown to the outside and unable to get in to help his partner. After the match though with Ste ‘Bin’ Mann showing his disgust, Mann turned on his partner leaving Jet Fashion laying, but a minute later Mann tried to come round to his senses and try to make up with Fashion who as you would think shunned this apology.
Now I am not one for having a complain, as I am generally positive about the wrestling world but I found the whole Kollins basically destroying your face tag teams in quick fashion on his own a bit head scratching as you have no contenders left from a good guy side of things now. The Mann heel turn was done well, but I just didn’t get the whole trying to make up angle at the end – this was maybe the only blot on an excellent night of wrestling action. Kollins in his black singlet reminds of one of those New Japan young boys, if his character is that he is a hired gun/arse kicker well played but I do feel he needs a bit more of something to help him stand out among the more noticeable characters like Sandy Beach and Big Joe.
Main Event time and with the prospect of bland butty 101 from Asda on the horizon it was time for your GPW Heavyweight Title Match between Dylan Roberts facing off against the challenger Joey Hayes in a match with high stakes on the line. This was an excellent match with lots of drama involved including Dylan’s Manager Alan Alan Alan Tasker being ejected by Official Mike Fitzgerald early on to let the match get on its merry way, with the match coming to an end with both Roberts and Hayes hitting each other’s finishing moves for near falls, Tasker made a return to ringside to chuck an object to Roberts who used this on Hayes for a 2 fall. Tasker though was sent packing once again by Iron Mike Fitzgerald who sparked out Tasker.
With Dylan on his way to victory, he was caught out of nowhere with Joey locking in a crossface who got the tap out victory in just over 20 minutes to the elation of the GPW crowd who for once would be travelling home happy after the 2 year long reign of Dylan Roberts. After the match, the GPW roster emptied to congratulate Joey to bring an end to proceedings.
Picture credit – Tony Knox
With the time coming up to 10 pm it was time say goodbye to The Rose Club and set off back on my journey to Rochdale arriving back at Midnight all tired from a great day out at the wrestling – top stuff! I would also like give props to the GPW cameraman who said he likes reading this blog, the little bits of nice feedback make this all worthwhile doing (this brought a smile to my face).
If you are watching this back on VOD, go and check out Dylan Roberts vs Joey Hayes, Sandy Beach vs El Ligero and Sam Gradwell vs Mark Kodiak.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this review of GPW’s 15th Anniversary, give this a share on Twitter and any feedback is welcome. Next review will be Futureshock Wrestling from Stockport taking place on the 15th July.