GRAPS AND CLAPS REVIEWS – PCW ‘TRIBUTE TO THE ARMED FORCES

Added by Andrew Ogden

Hello and welcome once again to Graps and Claps focusing on PCW’s annual Tribute to the Armed Forces event in Preston to celebrate Armed Forces Day. For PCW this is usually one their bigger shows in recent memory, with last year’s edition at the Guild Hall being one of the best live UK shows you could have seen all of last year go and check it out on VOD if you can find it anywhere and you won’t be disappointed.

Now having missed the PCW Blackpool show from last week where the major storyline development was the sadness that as per the stipulation in the match, ‘Magnificent’ Matthew Brooks has now lost his singing voice due to his loss to Tel Banham in a Case vs Voice Match, so this evening would see the fallout from last week’s going on’s.

Before we get into the wrestling, let’s get into the journey there which started back in Wolverhampton with breakfast in the usual ‘Spoons with a glass of Orange as a lighter start to the day. Taking just over an hour and a half to Preston without any signal issues like the previous day, we took a visit to  new addition to the Preston pub scene – Plug & Taps which has only just opened in the last 2 weeks and offers 6 keg drinks, 4 cask options and a number of takeout cans which you can get a 10% takeout price. Here I had a pint of Alchemist Brewery Charisma Pale Ale costing £3.20 for a pint and it was passable but with the selection on offer in this pub I will certainly be making another visit.

Next pub is one of the oldest pubs in Preston under the Robinson’s Brewery banner – The Black Horse for a quick half a pint of Bristol Beer Factory’s Wolf of North Street costing £1.60, probably my biggest regret of the day was not having a pint of this drink as it was possibly the best drink of the day. With time moving onwards to show time we had a pint in Hogarth’s Gin Palace whilst watching the afternoon’s horses romp in, this pub is always one to visit if you like a nicely priced good pint and also if you like your sport as there are many screens to cater for your needs.

Arriving into Evoque, I would guess around the 150 marker in attendance for the afternoon show which is generally the quieter of the shows and with nothing advertised match wise it was interesting to see what we would end up with in the end, So let’s see what went down on Show 1:

Your ring announcer for the afternoon was Liam James who came through one of the Non-Wrestling roles day at the PCW Academy and in his short time which included ring announcing at PCW’s Halifax show he has come across as a competent compere in the process. First match of the afternoon was between AC Stryker and the Spaceman from Planet Bolton – Arcadin, in the early stages of the match Arcadian managed to hit a suicide dive to the outside to Stryker at the second attempt, when back in the ring Stryker did get some offence in by hitting a running knee in the corner to Arcadian, but that was as good as it would get for Stryker as he was finished off by Arcadian with a Weapon X into a knee for the loss.

Up next was a match for the ages between two of BritWres’s favourites BIG T who have recently returned to PCW after a couple of months away, his opponent for the afternoon was a wrestler who was taken to the hearts of the PCW faithful and other shows elsewhere – Sugar Dunkerton! The song that swept the internet after his last appearance ‘Sugar Sugar’ by The Archies was out in full force on this afternoon for a good ¾ minutes on this show and also later on in the evening – this lad is just full of charisma and has such a connection with the crowd that you can’t help but gravitate to him.

This match started off with Sugar trying different mind games to lead BIG T into a false sense of security including a shockwave dance that even got the referee for the afternoon involved. When he Sugar tried a dive to the outside to BIG T he was caught by T and slammed on the hardest part of the ring to the disapproval of the crowd in attendance. Back in the ring though, Sugar managed to chop block the knee of BIG T to bring him down to size, Sugar locked in a half crab but with T not tapping, T pushed off Sugar with ease and once at a standing base BIG T finished off Sugar with a sit out chokeslam for the 1-2-3. This was a really good match and maybe of the best BIG T matches you will see!

Third match and possibly the best match of the afternoon/evening was Dave Birch vs Ashton Smith, the latter whom yours truly sang his entrance theme ‘All of the Lights’ by Rhianna at the top of his voice once again – needless to say Ashton likes it as he gave me the point! This was a really good back and forth match between these two, Birch nearly got the victory with a sweet Michinoku Driver for a two count, but it was Ashton who got the victory here with a GTS and then a follow up modified roll of the dice finisher. A show of respect was shown at the end of the match from Ashton to Birch, one that was rightfully deserved for Birch who is one to keep an eye out for on the scene in the next year or so.

Another one from the school of ‘Next Big Things’ was up next with Sheikh El Sham (bles) who I have been a big advocate for in the last year, he has the look, mic skills and character work to make it big but certainly one of those with a bit more seasoning the sky is the limit for him. His opponent for the afternoon was a welcome sight of Lee Hunter one half of the Hunter Brothers, the only early portion of this match was Sheikh taking a powder on the outside avoiding at all costs getting into the ring, after a chase around the ring Sheikh laid the boots to Hunter and for me he dominated quite a bit of the match using his size and strength to wear down Hunter. Sheikh eventually put away Hunter when the referee was distracted with an eye rake to Lee Hunter and then making him tap out to the Camel Clutch Submission for the victory.

Next up was Intergender action with James Finn who came out to Lawrence Taylor’s WrestleMania theme ‘What a man’ and he was up against current PCW Women’s Champion Rhio. As far as I know these two have faced in the past in one of the Academy shows with Rhio winning on that occasion and it was no different here with Rhio picking up the victory in a short match with a ‘Roll of the Dice’ to Finn for the victory to pick up momentum for her Falls Count Anywhere match later with Nightshade.

Final match of the afternoon show was a PCW Heavyweight Title match between Jack Jester and current PCW Heavyweight Champion Lionheart. This took a similar route early on as the Sheikh El-Sham match with Lionheart early on trying to avoid getting in the ring and taking all the time in the world to get in. This was an alright title match with Lionheart getting the cheap victory whilst the referee was down, which lead to Jester wanting another shot at the title but that was poo poo’ed by Lionheart who instead said to Jester that the PCW Tag Titles would be on the line in the main event of the evening show with Lionheart & C.J Banks facing the Champions Jester and a mystery partner as Jester’s current partner Sha Samuels was not in attendance.

This brought an end to proceedings at around 5 pm, so it was out on to the streets of Preston for an hour or so of drinks and something to eat. First off was The Guild Ale House which is a regular entry into this blog and once again it didn’t disappoint with a 2/3rd’s pint of Vermont Ale costing £3.20, a charging point and a lovely doggo across the way from us – what more can you ask from a pub. After here it was decided to go to Yates’s for some tea with a Mighty Stack Burger (Chicken Breast, Beef and Bacon) being the food of choice costing £8.95 but well worth the money, in the last year the Yates’s pub chain has really improved its food menu – go and give it a try.

Back into Evoque for the evening show now with quite a few more in attendance than the afternoon show which was a good thing to see. A change of announcer for this evening with Joanna Rose taking over the duties but this was only for a short time as I will explain later on. First match of the evening was Lee Hunter vs Drew Parker in a really good opener and a welcome sight to see Drew in a straight up wrestling match as he is more known for his deathmatch exploits nowadays.

Early on a big dive by Drew to the outside lead to a two count once they were back in the ring, Hunter then hit back straight after with a Tornado DDT to Drew to send him packing to the outside, but with Hunter on top he was soon sent crashing back to earth with Drew driving Hunter into a post and then rolling him back in the ring to hit a huge 450 splash for the victory. Parker looked impressive here!

Second match of the evening show was a complete massacre with BIG T using his size and stature to dispatch AC Stryker in quick fashion with a sit out chokeslam. The real entertainment came after this match with BIG T’s mate Tel Banham coming out to gloat about his win over Matthew Brooks last week in Blackpool when he banished Brook’s singing for good to the boos of the PCW crowd. This led to Tel Banham doing some singing of his own with a rendition of the Ronan Keating classic ‘You Say It Best When You Say Nothing At All’ which only had people reaching for their ear defenders including Ring Announcer Joanna Rose who interrupted Banham and said that she would show him a proper singing voice and she duly did but as her song was a duet she somehow managed to throw her voice to make her sound distinctly like Matthew Brooks (a stroke of genius in this writer’s opinion). This only went to anger Banham who was remonstrating with Joanna Rose at making him look like a fool, only for Tel to be interrupted by Arcadian to start the next match!

This led to a match that didn’t last long, while the referee was looking at other things Joanna Rose jumped on Banham’s back to attack him but she was thrown off by Tel to leave her laying which then brought out Matthew Brooks to send Banham and BIG T packing to the back – this was an excellent segment between two of the best on the PCW roster at the moment from a character standpoint.

Next match up was a Falls Count Anywhere match for the PCW’s Women’s Championship with the Champion, Rhio facing off against long time rival Nightshade (or Lampshade to the crowd in attendance). Lasting around the 15 minute marker this was a decent match that went all around the Evoque Nightclub with a number of chairshots from Nightshade to Rhio putting her on top for the majority of the contest, but with Rhio and Nightshade fighting on the raised stage at the back of the room, it was Rhio who hit a flying crossbody from a ladder that was brought into play to Nightshade for the 1-2-3 and the popular victory. Hopefully Rhio has now moved on from this feud and some new competition is brought in to face off with her.

8-man Tag Team action next with Sheikh El-Sham, ‘Twitter Favourite’ Bram and The Henchmen taking on the team of Danny Hope, Joey Hayes, Matthew Brooks and Sugar Dunkerton. With the crowd once again in full voice belting out ‘Sugar Sugar’ the match didn’t get started till at least 4 minutes in but that is where the fun only continued as some sweet soul music was struck up by Sugar Dunkerton to start a huge dance off between 7 of the competitors with only Bram not partaking in the dance off – the Funsponge! After some nifty moves by The Henchmen, Bram did come in only to punch one of his opponents to officially start this contest.

A really fun 8-Man tag came to an end when Brooks was in control but out came Tel Banham to hit Brooks with his briefcase to lead to the lucky pinfall from Sheikh El-Sham to win it for his team to the boos of the crowd. After the match Brooks got on to the mic and challenged Banham to a match at the 7th Anniversary show on August 18th in a ‘Fans Bring the Musical Instruments Match’ which should be all kinds of fun and one not to miss.

Three way action next with Dave Birch facing off against James Finn and Ashton Smith which acted as more of a showcase for Birch & Finn as they took most of the match whilst Smith was on the outside, but once Ashton regained his bearings he came back into the ring to finish off Finn with the Roll of the Dice DDT for the 1-2-3. Smith on this evening was supposed to face Charlie Garrett in a feud ender but Garrett was away on this evening so it will be interesting to see when this match will eventually take place.

Main Event of the evening now with the time coming up to 8:40 pm with Lionheart & C.J Banks challenging Jack Jester & his mystery partner on this evening which turned out to be the ‘Cowboy’ James Storm for the PCW Tag Team Championships. A good way to end proceedings for the day with Jester & Storm finishing off C.J Banks with a superkick and a tombstone to retain the titles for Jester and his absent partner Sha Samuels.

So that was that, an entertaining day’s worth of wrestling that provided singing, good wrestling and great weather – you can’t ask for more. When this does come out on VOD I suggest you check out Ashton Smith vs Dave Birch and Drew Parker vs Lee Hunter from a wrestling standpoint but from an entertainment standpoint check out Banham, Brooks, Dunkerton & Sheikh El-Sham’s work.

Next time PCW is in town is on the 17th August at the Blackpool Tower Circus with Zachary Wentz & Desmond Xavier going up against Jonny Storm  Jody Fleisch and also Sha Samuels vs Lionheart for the PCW Heavyweight Title. On the 18th August they return to Evoque for the 7th Anniversary show with Dean Allmark cashing in his PCW Title shot, Wentz & Xavier, Doug Williams, Jonny & Jody are also in action and the all important ‘Fans Bring the Musical Instruments’ match between Tel Banham vs Matthew Brooks. – Check PCW Wrestling’s website for more information on how to get tickets and if you have not been for a while, certainly give this show a try and hopefully you won’t be disappointed!

I hope you have enjoyed this review, give it a like and a retweet and any comments are welcome. I will see you next time with a review of New Japan in Altrincham.

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@oggypart3