It’s been a while since we last journeyed into the unexpected hotbed of British professional wrestling: Grimsby and Cleethorpes. British Wrestling Revolution (BWR) held its first show in July 2017 and have built its foundation on local stars, drip-feeding in talent from around the country, production values some prominent promotions on the scene should envy, and, of course, adopting my #GrimsbyGraps hashtag on Twitter. 300-capacity shows at Cleethorpes Memorial Hall, North East Lincolnshire’s answer to Korakuen Hall, often sell out; no mean feat considering many companies struggle to draw triple-figures in way larger catchment areas.
BWR has held four cards after my report on Uprising 2: Underground 2 on October 12th, The Last Stand 2018 on November 26th, the hastily-arranged-for-PAC Welcome to Wonderland on December 21st, and King of the Underground last month as counter-programming to NXT-UK Takeover Blackpool. There were plenty of notable moments on each show, and I can only apologise for my work and shitposting commitments getting in the way of spreading the word of #GrimsbyGraps. King of the Underground I didn’t write about for reasons we’ll get into soon.
This article will recap everything that happened at those four shows, ahead of me reporting on every event again from this Friday. The best way to do this is by breaking down BWR’s six title divisions. Yes, six. You get a title! YOU get a title! Everyone gets a title!
BWR HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
At Uprising 2, Jimmy Havoc’s interference-laden defence against Joseph Conners was capped off when local hardcore hero and perennial silly boy Tyler Devlin made his return. Devlin chased Havoc away before he solidified his entitlement to a title match by defeating Reese Ryan in a hardcore match at Underground 2.
Jimmy Havoc and Tyler Devlin faced off in the main event ladder match at The Last Stand 2018. Devlin tried a Senton Bomb off the ladder through a table on the outside and missed (silly boy), his success rate of executing that move staying at 0%. Havoc introduced his own downfall though – a ladder wrapped in barbed wire. Propped between another ladder and middle rope, Devlin back body dropped Havoc onto it, giving him ample opportunity to grab the belt and become the new champion.
His reign was surprisingly short-lived. Jack Jester cashed-in his Mr #GrimsbyGraps in the Bank Anarchy Briefcase he won in July for a one-on-one No DQ match at Welcome to Wonderland. Devlin slashed his hand open early on and, after bleeding all over us on the front row (hope you’ve been tested, mate), he Senton Bombed off the top of the stage through a table. Guess how that went? Silly boy. Back in the ring, Jester finished him off and is now the fourth man to hold the prestigious World #GrimsbyGraps Championship.
Jester was meant to defend the gold against an unnamed opponent at King of the Underground – the debuting Nathan Cruz, as it turned out – but couldn’t make it. With Cruz losing to his replacement Joe Hendry, Jimmy Havoc steps forward for his long-awaited title rematch at the next Memorial Hall show on March 1st, No Gods No Masters 2.
BWR CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
Kip Sabian has held the Cruiserweight Championship since its inception in April and doesn’t look as though he will lose it anytime soon. The looming threat of Tom Weaver was diverted when a six-man tag between GBH (Sabian, Robbie X, and Blake) and Weaver, Scotty Rawk and Cole Quinzel at Underground 2 ended with Robbie X splitting from the group. Robbie X’s conscience had finally returned, last seen when he punched BWR’s original ring announcer out of existence. GBH’s constant cheating had got too much for him.
The promised title match for Tom Weaver versus Sabian at The Last Stand was turned into a triple threat involving Robbie X. Airing live on Facebook, Kip took the microphone beforehand and challenged some Geordie bloke called Pac at Welcome to Wonderland; which inevitably meant Robbie and Weaver came up short fifteen minutes later. Weaver reacted by kicking Robbie square in the bollocks. It was a needed change of attitude for Weaver, who had spent months smiling away while every scheduled big singles match for him was diluted by the likes of El Ligero and Robbie X: Arsehole Edition interjecting and turning them into triple threats.
Weaver’s new outlook, RAAWWRRRRR music and all, didn’t result in better fortunes as he lost a #1 contenders match versus Robbie X at Wonderland. He found a new partner in Blake, even if X managed to run them off during the subsequent beatdown. Robbie then said he would cash in his title shot that night, wedging himself between Kip Sabian and Pac. Fucking hell, Robbie, is your Mastermind specialist subject ‘triple threat matches’? Sabian retained the belt in a high octane contest, chucking Pac out of the ring post-Red Arrow and pinning his prone former friend.
Robbie X challenges Kip Sabian for the Cruiserweight Title on March 1st. Rumour has it Robbie will clone himself so he can make it a triple-threat match.
BWR VIP CHAMPIONSHIP
The former ‘Teenage Sensation’ Reese Ryan introduced the VIP belt in March, and somehow the Million Dollar Title by way of Claire’s Accessories was accepted as an Actual Championship. He had defended it cleanly against Kay Lee Ray – ignore the eye gouge, mind – in August in an engaging contest.
His only defence after that came in November. He faced Joe Hendry, whose entrance music pointed out the belt’s origin and slanderously claimed the Hollywood heartthrob has never even left Grimsby. Hendry would have had Ryan’s number if not for Ryan’s personal bodyguard and yet-to-shave-monster Will Kroos providing the distraction. Reese rolled up Joe and leveraged the ropes for the win. As Hendry (and fellow quote-unquote Scotsman Jimmy McIlwee) cleared house, the VIP Championship took a tumble and broke into pieces.
Ryan was last seen in Claire’s Accessories exchanging the VIP Title for a pack of fluorescent wristbands.
BWR TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
The Rawk ‘n Cole Express (Scotty Rawk & Cole Quinzel) became the inaugural Tag Team champions at Uprising 2 when they defeated GBH Configuration #4 (Kip Sabian and Blake) in the tournament final. They then retained in impressive fashion against Jonny Storm and Jody Fleisch at The Last Stand 2018.
Elsewhere, the Sons of Ulaid/Sick Boys (Rory Coyle & Erin Jacobs) put their year-long feud with Matt Myers and Kelvin Kayton (aka, SHAFT – Super Hero Action Force Team) to bed by besting them in a Loser Leaves Town Tables match. Myers and Kayton have never been seen again; their spot on the roster taken by the familiar looking Chuck Wood and Tim Ber.
The Sick Boys moved on, challenging Rawk ‘n Cole at Welcome to Wonderland in a weird twenty-minute bout that involved Coyle talking on the microphone a lot, and a literal heat section as the fire alarm went off. Coyle and Jacobs got themselves disqualified and goaded the two youngsters into a rematch with higher stakes. Eventually, they agreed on an I Quit Match at King of the Underground. This was a hellacious brawl, the crowd screaming so loudly for Rawk ‘n Cole as they fought back from chair and prosthetic arm shots; bringing dozens upon dozens of Skittles into the mix. The Sick Boys’ sick tactics resulted in Rawk being duct-taped to the ropes, watching helplessly as Cole had a chair wrapped around his neck. Rawk quit on their behalf. Coyle and Jacobs’ celebrated their newfound gold by stamping on Cole’s neck anyway.
Earlier in the night, Jimmy Mcilwee announced his quote-unquote cousin Grado would be returning to BWR on March 1st and they wanted a Tag Team Championship match. Despite Tom Weaver and Blake’s attempt at barging in line, as McIlwee picked up a victory over Blake, McIlwee and Grado face The Sick Boys at No Gods No Masters 2. Meanwhile, Scotty Rawk will try and exact revenge on Erin Jacobs, a man twice his size (eep), this Saturday.
BWR WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
The tournament to crown the first Women’s Champion started at The Last Stand. Kay Lee Ray overcame Eliza Roux in what was easily Roux’s best match of her young career. On the same night, newly-babyfaced Lana Austin – probably turned because of the couple on the front row who kept ruining her matches by screaming “LANA AUSTIN” like shagged parrots – looked to have Zoe Lucas under control, but her former BFF Eliza Roux caused her to lose.
Welcome to Wonderland featured a short, cracking WWE versus WOS contest between Xia Brookside and Viper. Viper dominated until Brookside overcame her, advancing to the semi-finals. Session Moth Martina faces Saraya Knight in the other quarter-final on March 1st.
BWR UNDERGROUND CHAMPIONSHIP
BWR’s Underground Championship is their version of the Television title, except the belt is only defended on the smaller Underground shows at Lucarly’s. King of the Underground was set to crown the first champion in a four-way: Tom Weaver vs. Tyler Devlin vs. Reese Ryan vs. Will Kroos; with old rivals Weaver and Devlin tangling up earlier in the evening.
…And this is where things got a bit derailed.
Let’s tell the story of British Wrestling Revolution’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Month. Bear in mind I’m in no way associated with the company so I will be unaware of some details.
Welcome to Wonderland was a highly successful show considering it was held slap-bang in the middle of works Christmas party season. It wouldn’t have happened though if BWR hadn’t spent 48 hours prior in the former indoor market sorting out electricity and attempting in vain to heat up the venue. It was so cold in there, Amir Jordan and others had steam around their bodies, as if they were about to be whisked away into some paranormal dimension. Add the lack of toilets and BWR made the wise decision to postpone the long-awaited Rated R show in the venue scheduled for this weekend until June.
Meanwhile, tickets for King of the Underground went on sale barely a fortnight before it took place even though it had been announced in November. From the way the ring announcer Richard Young told it at the event, they almost cancelled when their marquee names pulled out. Kip Sabian and Robbie X gave their apologies before Ricky Knight Jr backed out too (which is a very Knight thing to do…). Then, on the morning of the show, our World #GrimsbyGraps Champion Jack Jester was in a car crash on the way to the train station and couldn’t get out of A&E in time. On the plus side, Joe Hendry drove from Scotland at no notice to cover for his countryman.
Problems over, right?
After the Sick Boys walked out of Lucarly’s, holding their newly won Tag Team Championships in the air, Cole Quinzel stayed motionless in the ring. An injury angle, I thought, going to the toilet as the medics did a dress rehearsal in the ring. Then, 5 minutes passed… 10 minutes… 15 minutes… Richard Young explained this was “a real situation” and asked for the fans to make space ready for the ambulance. That’s when the pin dropped. And, no surprise for Grimsby and Cleethorpes on a Saturday night, it was going to take at least 30 minutes for the ambulance to arrive.
BWR management realised they had no choice but to cancel the rest of the show. But while doing so, they announced a free show for all ticket holders at Lucarly’s on February 15th, later called King of the Underground Redux.
Now, British Wrestling Revolution deserves so much credit here. For one, my ticket cost £10 and I had got my money’s worth with the Tag Team title match alone. I decided not to review the show for The Indy Corner as a four-match card ending abruptly through injury wasn’t going to make for great reading. Until then, however, it was shaping up to be the best event they had done at Lucarly’s. A free show to make up for this unfortunate situation is beyond generous.
For two, BWR held a low-key show in a social club and they still hired medics for the evening. It ensured Cole Quinzel, who could’ve suffered a broken neck (diagnosis: a badly bruised collarbone), was given care within seconds. Hiring medics should be alongside ‘wrestlers’ and ‘a wrestling ring’ in the bog-basic list of running a show, but many promotions don’t see it as a requirement unless they have NXT-UK contracted stars on the card. BWR’s growth over the last 18 months has been as much about their professionalism and ensuring they are an exciting and safe place to work. They must want to strike the last month from the records, but they can take solace in that they have learned lessons and grown stronger, while getting praise from their peers.
So, King of the Underground Redux takes place this Friday; the scheduled four-way main event for the new Underground Championship intact. We are also set to see Scotty Rawk versus Erin Jacobs, and the debut of two TIDAL Wrestling favourites: Brady Phillips and Joe Nelson. Check in on The Indy Corner for my review a couple of days later, as the #GrimsbyGraps journey continues…