Hello and welcome everyone to this edition of Graps and Claps this time taking you on a trip to deepest, darkest Salford for Wrestlepro which is a training ground/feeder promotion at the moment for Futureshock Wrestling providing a handful of wrestlers over the last few months on their shows from Alex Boylin, Callum Corrie, Rizwan Khan and Head Trainer Sam Bailey with the latter taking over the reigns from Bubblegum.
Taking place on a wet but sultry day, I took the 11:30 am train from Rochdale arriving in Manchester coming up to 12 Noon for meeting up with our Geoff as ever. With this being a rare trip to Salford it gave us the chance to visit a few pubs which we don’t regularly visit which is always an exciting project. First up as you pass through Salford Central station is The Salford Arms which looks from the outside as more of a spit and sawdust pub but once you walk inside you are greeted with a good selection of real ale (around about 6 different ales) plus a pool table which is a rare sight nowadays in a British boozer. Whilst playing the great game of pool in which I got my arse handed to me with a 3-0 scoreline in Geoff’s favour, I was drinking a pint of American Pale Ale called ‘The Incubator’ costing £3.60 ,which was passable in taste but nothing much to write home about, but still I would visit this pub again for a quiet hour away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Next pub on our travels was The Kings Arms which as I found out today is owned by The Housemartins frontman Paul Heaton, sadly though for this pub it wasn’t a Caravan of Love with it’s real ale selection with only 3 on sale including a £3.50 pint of Beartown Brewey Bluebeary that tasted alright. Even though the drink was nice, I would probably give this pub a miss in the future.
Final pub before going to the venue was The New Oxford which has become a regular haunt whenever I have visited Salford, offering a large range of foreign lagers and up to 10 real ales this is certainly a pub for the real ale connoisseur . First off I had a pint of Cross Bay Brewery Cash Milkshake IPA (6.5% £4.20) which hit all the right notes from a flavour point of view, this was then followed up with a bottle of ABK Kellerbier (5.1% £5) which is a German tipple served best in its own glass and goes down a dream like the famous Krombacher Weissbeir that was served at WXW 16 Carat this pass year which you should try if you re visiting for the Tag League Tournament in October.
A good 15 minute walk plus a piss in the bushes along the 97 bus route took us to the Salford Lifestyle Centre for the afternoon’s action which was being held in front of a sold out crowd that is impressive for a promotion of Wrestlepro’s stature, a well done has to go to who is doing the promotion on the outside.
We took out spot’s on the 2nd row for the afternoon, the main point of this event being the first round of the Wrestlepro Tag Team Tournament and the main event between ‘English Lion’ Eddie Ryan and the former Cyanide – Crater!!
First up we had The Swarm who are a regular team in Wrestlepro coming out to a techno version of the “Flight of the Bumblebee’ taking on a team who I didn’t quite catch the names of because the announcer got the team name the wrong way round – so for the sake of this review I will call them ‘2 Blokes In Masks’. The referee in charge of the action I have to say started off proceedings on a bad foot and it followed all the way through the afternoon as he missed a low blow earlier on to one of The Swarm. Thankfully though for The Swarm they managed to get their bearings and finish off Mask No.1 with a Sky High Slam to advance to the next round of the Tag Team Tournament.
2nd match up was a 4-way match for the Wrestlepro Tag Team Tournament with the Champion Jamie Sparx vs Taonga vs Alexis Falcon vs Rhio. Early part of this match was Taonga and Alexis working well together to beat down both Jamie and Rhio, but it wasn’t long before Rhio came back and delivered a spin kick and a double dropkick to Taonga. With Rhio in control she hit a Roll of the Dice to Taonga but was chucked out by Alexis Falcon who took her opportunity well and pinned the prone Taonga to win the Wrestlepro Women’s Championship.
3rd up was a battle of PCW Academy graduates with James Finn playing a right sleazebag facing Dave Birch in a rarely seen good guy role for Birch. Finn who has been watching old Val Venis tapes on hip thrusting hit a Sleazedriver and something that resembled a T-Bag/Bollock Bomb for 2 count on Birch, but it was Birch who eventually got up and hit an impressive jumping clothesline from the top rope to finish Finn in a good 10 minute match. I do feel though Birch is much better as a baddie but that is just my personal opinion- still he is one to look out for.
Fourth up we had another 1st Round Tag Team Tournament Match with Seth Skyline & Kameron Solas representing Fighting Spirit Pro Wrestling taking on The Biscuit Club combo of Jamie Dodger & Rich Tea (No I am not making that up). Solas and Skyline dominated proceedings early on trying to submit their rivals with a double Shankly Gates reminiscent of their trainer Zack Gibson, but it was The Biscuit Club who picked up what many might call a surprise victory by finishing of Skyline with a Underhook DDT to advance – this was a good match with Solas standing out for me as he did at the Fighting Spirit show I went to the other month.
Fifth match up was a Dumpster Match that must have been set up on a previous show that I wasn’t at. This was between Callum Corrie who has been one of topic of conversation on the North West scene in the last couple of weeks after his star performance against Zack Gibson at Futureshock, his opponent was Welsh Rarebit who since I last saw him he has gotten in very good shape and has lost the disheveled grease paint from his face. I have got to say with not knowing much of the backstory from this feud, I found this a very entertaining match with Corrie getting an early attempt to chuck Rarebit in the bin but he was thwarted by Rarebit who smacked Corrie around the chops with a giant dog bone. Rarebit went to the top after this but was then knocked to the ring apron by Corrie who then proceeded to boot Rarebit straight into the bin for the victory and the spoils. As the half time signal was announced, poor Rarebit was then wheeled off into the Salford sunset still within the bin!!
After the half-time break we returned with a First Round Tag Match between a debuting Lion Kings (Nsereko & Sebb Strife) vs Isiah Quinn’s Minions in Wrestlepro – Alex Boylin & Damien. Early on the Lion Kings dominated with Strife connecting slightly with a moonsault for a two count, but this was a tale of the referee not knowing who the legal man was with Sebb hitting a frog splash after Nsereko hit a Samoan Drop to Boylin but Sebb was going for the pin even though he wasn’t the legal man, but this led to Damien coming in despite not being legal either and hitting a TKO to Sebb for the tainted victory to the boos of the crowd. The Lion Kings though apart from the loss got a great reaction and are a team that deserve to have more opportunities on the scene elsewhere.
Next up was the signal for the appearance of Sam Bailey who with being the Wrestlepro Head Trainer, he said that all of the success and the sold out crowd was down to him being the Head Trainer and he was about to prove to his opponent on this afternoon why this was the case. His opponent this afternoon was Nice Guy Ry, but sadly for Ry it didn’t end so nice as he was finished off in quick fashion with a Face First Buster and then an impressive take on the Octopus Submission for the tapout victory for Bailey. After the match Bailey was confronted by Callum Corrie who looked like he was rip Bailey apart until Wrestlepro Commissioner Frankie Sloan came out to stop Corrie from starting much (in the process, it should be noted that Sloan dropped the ‘Dickhead’ bomb – naughty Sloan!).
Semi Main Event was the last in the Tag Tournament 1st Round with Gino and Jack taking on what is a great name for a tag team ‘Sheikh and Destroy’ (Sheikh El-Sham & Sheikh Rizzy Khan). As ever the boos and the chants of Sheiking in their boots and Sheikh El-Shambles were out in force for El-Sham and Rizzy provoking El-Sham to give our section his usual scowl. This was a dominant performance by the Sheikhs as El-Sham hit a rolling spear to Gino which was followed up by a Pedigree from Rizzy for the victory. After the match El-Sham in true fashion gave me a nice barb of ’ I would insult you, but it looks like nature beat me to it’ – the cheeky bugger.
In all seriousness though, the sky is the limit for Sheikh El-Sham if he keeps up this brilliant character work.
Main Event time with the Wrestlepro Champion Crater (Formerly Cyanide) w/Tom McManus in his corner taking on ‘English Lion’ Eddie Ryan who you might remember being one the shining lights of the now defunct 5 Star Wrestling. Ryan who is someone I have wanted to see live since those 5 Star shows, put on a great showing against his much larger opponent Crater who finally put away Ryan after 10 minutes when his Manager Tom McManus got involved leading to Ryan being squashed in the corner and then being choke slammed to hell for the 3 count BOOOOOOO!!!!
Drinks at this venue were only cans of pop costing 60p plus a selection of crisps and sweets.
Overall though this was a fun afternoon of wrestling with the Dumpster Match being the best match of the show, but I was also impressed by Sheikh El-Sham, Eddie Ryan and Kameron Solas who all wouldn’t look out of place elsewhere on the many shows around the country. If you have enjoyed reading this review of Wrestlepro please go and check there Facebook page for matches from previous shows and also some really good commentary from my mate Tom Slade who is doing fine work at getting the action across.
We did get told though before the show, not to send spoilers over social media as it will be on Facebook at a later date but hey ho it is what it is as I have a blog to write. I do recommend though you check the matches from today out once they become live!
So that is that, Graps and Claps will now be taking a 2-week break from show reviews but make sure you check out my audio previews coming this week on PCW’s and Futureshock’s Anniversary shows taking place in a couple of weeks (I have even written my own script – proper professional now ha!). As ever like and retweet this blog and I will see you later.