Hello and welcome once again to another review of one persons travel around the British Isles watching the industry of British Wrestling, this time taking me on a trip to deepest darkest Lancashire, for PCW Wrestling in Preston.
Now for anyone who hasn’t read my blog in the past, I have been a regular at PCW for just over 6 years missing maybe half a dozen shows in that time and even travelling to Wrexham for one of their shows, that ended up with our Geoff’s insides falling victim to the 164th best takeaway in Wrexham.
A lot has changed in that time with PCW, gone are the days of the Import heavy Supershows and in has come a more storyline driven product using a number of their own PCW Academy which is starting to produce some great talent who are now getting there name out there on the scene e.g. Sheikh El-Sham, Philip Michael, Rhio, Dave Birch, James Finn. Mixed in with them has been a few of the long serving PCW talent – Lionheart, T-Bone, Sha Samuels and Dean Allmark and also a group of wrestlers who probably haven’t got the opportunity elsewhere but with the extra spotlight they have come into there own – Magnificent Matthew Brooks and Tel Banham.
For me on the quiet, PCW has been producing some of the best work around one the scene this past year but it hasn’t maybe been getting the attention it deserves in amongst your more fashionable promotions like Fight Club Pro, PROGRESS and OTT. So on this evening we returned back to the home of PCW, the Evoque Nightclub for the first time since the two show Road To Glory tournament which gave birth to the phenomenon that was Sugar Dunkerton and his Archies inspired chant!.
Tonight’s show ‘Better Than A Bollard’ which is named after a local Preston landmark – a bollard on Fishergate that got nominated for a local culture award, causing PCW to go on to North West Tonight to talk about the preposterous nature of this.
As ever though before the wrestling, I took in the sights and sounds of Preston, arriving into the City at 5:15pm from the delayed Transpennine Express service from Manchester which packed to the gills. First pub I travelled to was to a recent winner of a CAMRA Pub of the Year Award – The Guild Ale House which offers a vast range of beers at an affordable price from £2.50 to £4 a pint and soft furnishings that make it look like you are sitting in someones front room. I had a pint of 4% Belgian Bavo Lager costing £3 and a lovely crisp pint that was much needed on a warm day like yesterday.
Next pub on the crawl was The Twelve Tellers Wetherspoons, which is the posher of the two ‘Spoons in Preston based in a former bank which means it looks very grand in terms of architecture inside. Just the one pint in here, testing the £2.99 Brewdog Punk IPA, one tip about this certain drink is if you drink it in any Brewdog outlets you will be paying an extra £2 on top for exactly the same drink.
Last drink before we went into Evoque, was to Hogarths a popular pub that has your usual Sky Sports/Horse Racing Channels on a number of screens. Drink selection in here is the standard lagers and a couple of there own real ales but the typical Greene King IPA and Moorhouse White Witch, but if you don’t like your beers, the range of Gins is quite extensive but expect to pay a pretty penny for even a single measure.
Arriving into Evoque, the crowd looked considerably down on the last time I was in this venue coming in at around the 100 marker, maybe due to the hot weather or people getting food supplies in for the Royal Wedding taking place the next morning on TV (If you are reading this after the wedding, James Hewitt sadly didn’t turn up in an EastEnders style cliffhanger).
Let’s get into the action, we started off with an International singles match between ‘Loose Ledge’ or as I have just seen someone call it on Twitter ‘Wobbly Shelf’ Adam Brooks facing off against Matt Cross. Brooks has been in the UK since the turn of the year and has impressed in his time since coming over – check out his matches against Will Ospreay from PROGRESS at the start of the year and also the sleeper match of the second show of PCW Road To Glory against Matt Riddle.
Speaking to Brooks at the end of the show, he tells me he is here for 2 years and also he is up to series 14 of ‘The Only Way Is Essex’ – lovely bloke!
Anyway onto the match, this was a really good opener to proceedings with both wrestlers well matched. The opening part of the contest was Cross trying to attempt to do a dive to the outside on Brooks but failing at the first couple of opportunities, he did eventually hit the dive which sent Brooks flying into the Evoque sound booth. The finish came to this match after the 10 minute marker with Brooks hitting a top-rope codebreaker for the 1-2-3 and one that could put him into Cruiserweight Title contention in the future as he has a number of future bookings with the company.
2nd match of the evening was Delicious Danny Hope accompanied by Joey Hayes facing off against Sheikh El-Sham accompanied by CZW World Champion MJF.
Now Sheikh El-Sham, I have been a champion of since he made his debut just over a year ago, he has got the chiseled looks to match his ever improving wrestling skills and has recently turned into one of the success stories of the PCW Academy and is someone you will be seeing lots of in the future. Sheikh started off with a promo, coming across with a better than you attitude to try and rile up the crowd especially this writer who for some reason started to burst out Ronan Keating’s hit ‘You say it best, when you say nothing at all’, which prompted Sheikh to say I was showing my age!
With all the talk out the way, it was time to get down to the action with Sheikh putting in a very impressive performance with the added help of his cheerleader for the night MJF, getting involved on a number of occasions to put Hope off enough. The finish came with Hope distracted, Sheikh came from behind with a backstabber, leading to him locking in the camel clutch submission to make Hope tap out. The sky is the limit for Sheikh, you’ve heard it here first.
With Joey Hayes angered at MJF involvement in the last match, he ordered MJF to get in the ring and fight him in this schedules match right now. MJF I have only seen fleetingly on the Clusterfuck over ‘Mania weekend and also the 30-minute documentary on Youtube which gives an insight into the MJF character. On this showing, he is another who has possibly got a great future as a cocky heel type character trying to avoid Joey at any cost, including a couple of fun interactions on the outside with El-Sham involving many kisses of hands and balls – Ooh Er Missus!.
With the frivolity out of the way, Hayes and MJF pulled off an excellent match with Hayes pinning MJF for the victory. Hayes once again showed as stated in the last review, that he is building a solid book of singles work in the last year, well removed from the Tag Team scene which he has been apart of for quite a long time.
After a 3-way interview segment between T-Bone, Lionheart and Sha Samuels, which was interrupted at the end of it with CJ Banks attacking Sha Samuels from behind causing Samuels Tag Team Partner, Jack Jester to run out to save his partner which triggered the next match to start between Jester & CJ Banks.Probably one of the down points of the evening, with this match playing out to a deafly silent crowd with CJ rolling up Jester for the cheap victory. Jester for me, is good whenever he is in the walk and brawl deathmatches but in a straight wrestling encounter he doesn’t do anything for me (very much a lack of connection).
Cruiserweight Title action next with Dean Allmark fresh from being a Royal Guardsman and a member of No Way Jose’s conga line on WWE TV faced off against a British Wrestling Legend – Jonny Storm in a match fresh from the time machine. A good 8-minute match that maybe should have gone a bit longer as it ended quite suddenly with Allmark hitting the Smiles Clash. Allmark is on the road to his Heavyweight title shot at the 7th Anniversary show against the Champion at that time.
Next match was supposed to be Rampage Brown facing off against Charlie Sterling (with his swimsuit costume straight from the Pete Dunne Collection) but Iestyn Rees and Nightshade got involved in a beatdown of Rampers and Rhio who had also come out to help Rampers. This beatdown prompted Ashton Smith fresh from his WWE UK Tournament Announcement (a well deserved one) to run out to set up a Teddy Long Special with ‘Dad & Lad’ Ashton Smith & Rampage Brown tagging with Rhio facing off against Iestyn Rees, Charlie Sterling and Nightshade.
Sadly for Ashton his happy day didn’t end so well as he was pinned by Iestyn Rees who has recently formed a partnership with Sterling whom, only in February turned on Ashton Smith as part of their Interracial Love tag team and has since been a thorn in Ashton’s side. Expect to see Ashton vs Sterling to feature prominently later in the year and it will be a good ‘un.
Away from the matches we had a contract signing between Magnificent Matthew Brooks and Tel Banham setting up a match where Banham’s briefcase will be on the line against the harsh reality of Brooks voice being on the line, which could lead to Brooks’ voice in a Urn style symbolism act. To be honest this contract signing went off without too much incident apart from an altercation between Tel Banham and a fan on the outside who has got into a few spats at recent Evoque shows with the wrestlers.
Main Event time now with the PCW Championship on the line with Champion T-Bone facing off against Sha Samuels who had earned his shot by winning the ‘Who Dares Win’ Rumble in April aptly chucking out his former tag team partner Lionheart who was also added to this match. A good main event here with Lionheart picking up the shock victory to win the PCW Championship. This was a good decision to put the belt on Lionheart as he is that hateable bad guy who the crowd love to hate and someone who I guess will be going into a program with Sha Samuels whom he cost victory tonight when Samuels himself was on the way to winning.
Overall a decent show despite the small crowd in attendance, with Joey Hayes vs MJF being a match you should search out on PCW’s On Demand or on Powerbomb.tv . PCW’s next show takes place on the 23rd June in Blackpool with Grado, James Storm and Sugar Dunkerton in attendance, PCW then make their return to Preston for the two show Tribute to the Troops event, go and check out prestoncitywrestling.com for all the information.
Beer prices in Evoque were the usual £4.30 for a bottle of Tyskie (500ml).
Before leaving the venue, my mate Shauna (@shaunathegrinch on Twitter) tried valiantly to get a picture with MJF who eventually succumbed in the end to a photo even though her didn’t show his face. MJF was in full character mode here, so be wary of that if you are getting a picture from him.
Well I hope you have enjoyed this review and I will be back again early next week with a review of PROGRESS Wrestling’s Be Here Now show at the Victoria Warehouse, Manchester. Till then Like and Retweet this and spread the word of British Wrestling.