Hello and Welcome one and all to another edition of Graps and Claps for a midweek trip to The Frog & Bucket Comedy Club for IPW’s Tuesday Night Graps carrying the show title in homage to a wrestler and a chant I invented for said wrestler back on Thursday 25th May at a Lucha Forever show in Birmingham with possibly the quietest crowd ever and one foghorn – namely me chanting ‘OOH AH DAVID STARR’!. Since that time as well a t-shirt has been designed, but sadly not royalties coming my way.
This was IPW’s third official Tuesday Night Graps show (they came in at the last minute in December) since taking over the mantle from the now defunct Lucha Forever who despite running some of the most fun shows on the circuit, they also had possibly some of the worst accounting skills to go with it, with people chasing up many a PayPal payment for days, but it should be noted everyone was eventually paid back in full as far as I am aware.
Despite the bad side of things, Tuesday Night Graps acquired a cult following in Manchester of at least 150 people crammed into a Comedy Club, introducing a lot of people to Kip Sabian, Drew Parker and Chris Ridgeway who all pulled off killer matches in that 8 month time period. In among the great wrestling, there was also fantastic comedy moments involving namely Chris Brookes who introduced the Inflatable Kid Lykos at the venue way before it was introduced elsewhere, also the time when Brookes & Pete Dunne had a feud against a toy pigeon mascot from a couple in the audience – giving birth to the ‘Pigeon Murder Squad’.
Since IPW have taken over though, they have tried to stay loyal to the spirit of Tuesday Night Graps whilst also incorporating their regular storylines in a number of matches which is a good thing if you follow IPW for continuity.
Another mainstay of the Tuesday Night Graps experience, has been the congregation coming together at The Crown and Kettle across the road from The Frog and Bucket venue. Regular Graps and Claps readers will know that I have been a big fan of this pub for a while, with it winning the inaugural Graps and Claps ‘Pub of the Year’.
Offering a wide selection of Keg and Cask ales, prices ranging from £3 to £6 a pint there are drinks to suit any taste here. Whilst you are having your pint, you can also choose from a range of bar snacks including Firecracker Salami, Haribo, Wasabi Peas and a number of Pork Pies and Scotch Eggs from Beehive Foods – the latter costing £3.50 each but come highly recommended from myself and you can eat them now in numerous pubs around the Manchester area.
Drinks had in here were a pint of 5.2 % Pod People Double Chocolate Stout, 3.7% Riptide Session Beer and a 4% Pale Ale – all around the £3.50 marker. The best probably being the Pale ale which was very light but packing a slight fruity taste.
Arriving in the venue at 7:15 pm and with a near sellout crowd give or take a couple of extra tickets IPW put on sale, the atmosphere was great in the room as Billy Wood (IPW Owner) and Magic Mark Adams made there way into the ring to ask the crowd to take part in a 10-bell salute for the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing, as this was 1 year to the day since the tragic events of that evening.
With the well observed silence out of the way, we started the evening’s action with Z-Force Championship action with Champion, Maverick Mayhew defending his title against Fraser Thomas, Beano and Amir Jordan. The entrance of Amir Jordan is one that instantly brings fun and excitement to the atmosphere and in his short space of time he has become an instant hit on the circuit and has recently earned himself a WWE UK opportunity.
Beano a regular of the Welsh circuit also proved popular with fans in attendance and looks very much one with plenty of potential for the future. As you can expect though with a 4-way Cruiserweight contest, there were many dive and high octane moves, including one spot where Beano used simultaneous knee strikes to his opponents to gain an early upper hand. Sadly for ‘Man Like Beano’ it didn’t last, as it was Amir Jordan who hit a Swanton Bomb to Fraser Thomas to pick up the victory to capture the Z-Force Championship. Good fun match!
2nd match of the evening was for me – the Match of the Night! With El Ligero taking on Chris Ridgeway in a battle of two wrestlers who never seem to have a bad match in them. If you want to search matches out, I would certainly recommend Ridgeway’s matches in IPW/Lucha Forever against Bubblegum, Kip Sabian and Kyle Fletcher (absolutely killing it on a Tuesday night).
With the duelling chants prevalent early on in the match, we got down to the action which had a great mix of strikes and near falls along the way throughout the match.It has to be noted that Ridgeway’s strikes look evil, leaving marks on Ligero like he was a strip of Memory Foam.
At one stage Ridgeway had gripped Ligero with his patented sleeper hold but Ligero managed to escape it to the applause of the Frog & Bucket audience. With Ligero looking on the precipice of victory, he tried to hit the C4L but was caught by Ridgeway who reversed a suplex into a sleeper for the submission victory. – A Barnstormer of a match and one to search out when it arrives on IPW’s On Demand.
How do you keep a buzzing audience still buzzing, well you make a Comedy Tag Team Match for your next bit of entertainment. The very much odd couple team of Sid Scala and Cara Noir (SID CARA!! – I expect many a sigh at that comedy attempt by myself) facing off against Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis).
After hitting his head on of the low lights hanging from the ceiling of The Frog & Bucket, Kyle Fletcher then had a quite the tiff with Davis who had a go at him for not watching John Heidenreich matches, leading to the chant from the crowd of:
‘GET ON YOUR BIKE, WATCH HEIDENREICH!’
The Aussie duo tried there best not to crack up at this, but regaining his composure Fletcher left Davis on his own and joined their opponents on the opposite side. In between much pleading from Davis to get his partner back and also the laying of a hard boiled egg from Cara Noir this was seriously fun in many places showing off why these Tuesday shows are such a great variety show. The finish came when Fletcher finally had enough of his newly acquired partners and rejoined Davis in finishing off SID CARA with the Fidget Spinner for the victory!
Half Time Main Event was between the Leader of the ‘Anti-Fun Police’ Damien Dunne and the Starr of the show – David Starr! I did feel that this was a bit of a comedown match from the two matches prior, but nonetheless a tidy contest with Starr hitting a Cherry Mint DDT and a strong lariat for near falls before finishing off Dunne with an Inside Cradle for the victory. It was a short lived celebration though for Starr as he was attacked after the bell by Dunne who left him laying. Once he regained his bearing Starr then challenged Dunne to a rematch in the ‘Mecca of Roundabouts’ – Milton Keynes due to them being 1-1 in matches in IPW.
After the break, IPW Briefcase Holder Kip Sabian coming out to a chorus of boos from the Manchester throng, complaining that IPW wasn’t taking himself seriously enough and wanting proper competition which came in the form of Mike Bird in his ‘Chip Wrapper Tights’. A match that took a while to get going as Bird is probably not as familiar to the audience in the North West as he would be down south. Sabian got the victory here with an assisted rope hold pin to fell Bird to defeat in around 10 minutes – generally ‘it was what it was’.
6 Man Tag Team Action next with IPW Tag Team Champions, The FIlthy Club (Jack Sexsmith & Robert Sharpe) and teaming with them was Martin Kirby facing off against in a New Day tribute sort of way – Never Say Die & BIG T (As Big E). armed with Cheerios instead of the old Booty O’s.
This was very similar to the 6-Man of the show in The Frog and Bucket a couple of months ago, in general trying to get The Filthy Club over to the fans but in this writer’s opinion – totally failing. The Main Event Jack Sexsmith of PROGRESS last Sunday was soon forgotten here as he returned to the Mid-Card level floundering with Sharpe, both lacking any connection of sort required for a good guy tag team to get over with the audience. On the other side NSD & BIG T were instantly connectable with the crowd and their New Day antics including an amazing cartwheel from BIG T leaving the crowd opened mouthed.
The finish came when Martin Kirby chucked Cheerios all over the canvas, BIG T failed to chokeslam Kirby on the O’s and was chucked out of the ring to our section clearing out a number of people in audience in the process. A member of NSD was left then on their own in the ring to be hit with a combo leading to a German Suplex from Sharpe for the victory. The Filthy Club – certainly not my graps!
With the clock ticking down to 9:45 pm, we had our IPW Championship Main Event between Champion & everyone’s favourite Mr.Angry – Mark Haskins facing off against WWE UK’s own Dave Mastiff (a rare appearance in the past few months from Big Dave). A lot of this match focused on Haskins trying to wear down his much larger adversary focusing on the knees to try and lock in the Sharpshooter which Haskins has used in the past. Mastiff did make a valiant comeback though with a running crossbody and two senton splashes for a close 2 count.
It was as close as Mastiff would come, as he submitted soon after to an armbar from Haskins for the tapout loss and still your IPW Champion – Mark Haskins to the boos of the crowd.
Drinks had in here were 3 pints of Pepsi costing £3 a pint. Alcoholic drinks were £3.90 for the house lager (ShedHead).
With the show finished, I went for one final half pint in The Smithfield Tavern (3.6% Kirkstall Framboise £2.50 half), before heading for the journey back to Rochdale, getting back for 11:05 pm by the sight of a prostitute asking me for change for the train – I politely declined.
Overall a really good evening’s entertainment at IPW, especially the Ligero vs Ridgeway contest and the Aussie Open tag team match which I recommend you check out On Demand when it comes live. IPW returns to The Frog & Bucket on the 17th July with a limited amount of tickets still on sale – you won’t be disappointed if you do go.
Hope you have enjoyed reading once again, give it a like and retweet to spread the word. Next review from myself will take me to PROGRESS’s 1978 show this weekend at The Electric Ballroom, Camden.