If You Are Gonna Build A Time Machine Out Of A Car… At Least Do It With Some Style!
Report by: @RichardLane666
The show opened with Harvey Dale announcing that due to him being banned from ringside, he was going to join ‘Money’ Benjamin on the commentary table… to which there was a chorus of boo’s!
Cryptico vs Zak Northern
An unexpected change on the cards here after ‘The Lady Destroyer’ Jurgen Heimlich informed his fans from his twitter account on Saturday that he had picked up an injury and wouldn’t be able to make the show Sunday. In his place Cryptico was booked to face Zak Northern.
The match started with a gentlemanly handshake from both competitors. Although the crowd seemed a little disappointed Heimlich wasn’t able to make it at first, they soon rang out with cheers for both wrestlers.
After an early exchange which involved some well executed chain wrestling, Northern came out on top with Cryptico on the mat in the clutch of a reverse arm-bar. Northern brought Cryptico up and with an Irish whip off the ropes, hit Cryptico with a hurricanrana. With cries of “Olé! Olé! Olé! Olé” ringing out through the venue, Cryptico rallied and managed to hit a hurricanrana of his own, leading to a 6-1-9 that may have been the cause of a nasty cut Northern received above his left eye which was trickling with blood after the match. Cryptico attempted to pin but Northern kicked out with what looked like his final burst of energy, however Northern managed to avoid an attack from Cryptico and hit his Shining Wizard finisher to get the 3 count.
It was nice to see the guys manage to win over the crowd in a face vs face contest. Sometimes its hard to create an atmosphere but they both showcased their wrestling talents and the crowd ate it up.
Martin Kirby vs Bam Bam Barton
Next up was Kirby and Barton. Bam Bam instantly created a great atmosphere after receiving some abuse about his lack of hair from a young fan by walking out of the ring and standing and staring menacingly above said youngster. There was some great banter between Kirby, Barton and the fans before the match finally got under way to the chants of ‘Project Ego’, Kirby being one half of that top UK tag team with Kris Travis.
It was a classic strength vs technical ability contest, with both guys showcasing their talents. Kirby with an array of wrist and arm holds/locks designed to keep control of his opponent, Barton with his brute strength and brawling style. The match swayed back and forth with both wrestlers getting plenty of reaction from the supporters in attendance and Bam Bam getting the pinfall in the end.
It was an impressive performance from both guys, especially as I saw an equally impressive performance from them both just 2 days earlier at HOP:E 7, both in tag matches. So to be able to switch between singles and tag matches so smoothly was great to see.
Kris Travis vs Sam Wilder
Afterwards came the other half of Project Ego, Travis. I was a bit surprised Kirby was a face in the previous match when Travis came out with his usual (brilliant) heel performance, but both guys got the reaction they were supposed to get, so who am I to question it? haha
As with all of Travis’ matches, his opponent (in this case an impressive Sam Wilder) always gets a ‘leg up’ with the crowd. With chants of ‘Justin Bieber’ and ‘Chip fat Travis’ (due to Travis’ love for keeping the oil topped up) going on throughout, Wilder always had their backing which created a very entertaining match for all with both wrestlers making a match that was both pleasing on the eye and the ears, due to the well crafted heel/face balance by both men.
The action was very stop/start as Travis played to the crowd, until it eventually spilled out of the ring, which Wilder was getting the better of until Travis reversed an Irish whip and sent Wilder crashing into the ring-post. This turned out to be the turning point in the match and Travis went on to hit a super kick before setting him up for his finisher ‘The Rampant Rabbit’ power-bomb, getting the 3 count.
It’s hard not to like Travis, he knows exactly what to do or say to a fan when they hurl the taunts at him and backs up his mouth with excellent matches, this one was no exception and Wilder was equally impressive. Looking forward to seeing the both again,
‘Adrenaline’ Danny Chase vs ‘SunTan SuperMan’ LJ Heron
After the break, this was a match not previously billed on the card but turned out to be a brilliant move by HOP:E management. Heel LJ Heron turned up and got on the mic to begin taunting the fans, while doing so he took his jacket off and revealed a Nottingham Forest shirt (the show was being held in Forest’s fiercest rival’s city, Derby), which instantly made the crowd turn on him. After a bit of football banter with the crowd, out came the young Danny Chase, usually part of the tag team Battlesquad:Awesome with Diamond Dave Andrews for a singles encounter.
From the start the crowd were into this one and they weren’t to be disappointed. Both wrestlers incorporate a very fast-paced and explosive style and this made for an exciting, flowing encounter. Danny Chase hit a beautiful enzeguri on LJ that rang throughout the venue, shortly after LJ attempted and failed to hit his spear, with Chase showing great agility to manoeuvre away and over LJ.
After an impressive performance, Chase couldn’t quite earn the win with LJ showing exactly why he got the better of one of the UK’s finest in El Ligero on Friday, hitting his devastating spear to pick up the win.
Barricade vs Paul Malen
After an energetic last match the crowd were primed for this one.
Seemingly developing a bit of a cult following at HOP:E, when Barricade entered the ring some of the fans broke out in a chorus of ‘The Whole World In His Hands’, seeing similarities between him and WWE’s new pit monster (Goro, for any Street Fighter fans out there) Bray Wyatt. For as many Barricade fans as there were, Malen had the support of just as many however and looked like he might pick up the win. Setting Barricade up for the finish until Barricade’s manager, Harvey Dale came down to the ring from commentary to distract the referee. Distracted for a moment by the action outside the ring, Malen turned his attention away from Barricade… a fatal mistake. Malen turned back around and walked into a destructive Choke Bomb and picked up the 1-2-3.
Barricade’s fans seemed happy with the result but made sure to still applaud Malen as he exited the ring for his excellent effort inside it.
The Hunter Brothers vs Tyler Bate & Daniel Moloney
A tag team event for the main event. As mentioned previously, I was at HOP:E’s show on Friday in Mansfield and was treated to one of the best tag team matches I’ve ever seen with my own eyes between BS:A and Project Ego. After talking pre-show with the HOP:E management I was promised a match of at least equal standard from these 2 pairings.
I have to say, I was not disappointed. From start to finish this match was one you couldn’t take your eyes off for fear of missing something.
Much of the match is a blur as everyone witnessed a vast array of moves at a breakneck speed. A switch-suplex from Bate and Moloney was something you just have to see live (one picks him up, passes him over while in suplex position, the other brings him down) if you haven’t before to truly appreciate. Both of them very accomplished wrestlers with strength in abundance.
The Hunters were impressive throughout, this was my first time seeing them and just from the confidence they oozed in the ring I realised what a quality tag team they are. Obviously brilliant chemistry between the two and unlike some of the other tag teams that are good inside the ring, realise that in pro wrestling it’s not always about what you can do in there, you also need to know how to work a crowd, which they did well too. The Hunters took the pinfall victory via a picture perfect top rope ‘rana, into a splash.
All in all, another brilliant show the guys over at HOP:E put on… management and wrestlers alike, even though I heard they had people who had to pull out unfortunately. If you haven’t been to the Mansfield or Derby shows they are well worth getting yourself down to.
Special mention to Whitey (the ref) who refereed all the matches on the card and the special guest DJ for the night, Violent Vendetta!