This was PCW’s first ever show in Manchester. Originally a solo PCW show, CZW became involved when ROH pulled out of joint shows and decided to fly solo and run their own shows in the UK. An advertised was an appearance by The Honky Tonk Man rounded off an unusual card.
The show opened with Zachary Wentz & Desmond Xavier picking up the win against Chris Ridgeway and Chris Dickinson who replaced the absent Hooligans. It was the perfect fast paced opener to warm the crowd up with some smooth suicide dives and moonsaults. Xavier and Wentz really got themselves over with the crowd.
The GM came out cutting a heel promo on the crowd, making light of Joey Styles controversy by almost saying that he’d like to grab Joanna Rose, but stops himself in case he would get fired. Then he turned on the crowd telling us he’s already got our money and announced that Dave Mastiff and the aforementioned Hooligans won’t be appearing on the show. DIsappointing, but a clever way to get heel heat. Cue Rampage Brown coming out to challenge for a match which he promptly won in a squash with a single piledriver.
The only women’s match of the Warzone weekend followed, with Scarlett (Lauren Codling) going up against Jenny B. Both come out of the PCW Academy, and it shows. There were several obvious botched spots and many moves lacked any impact. The crowd wasn’t interested. Jenny B wins via pinfall.
The crowd picked up for the match that followed featuring the team of Danny Hope and The Honky Tonk Man taking on Sha Samuels and Lionheart. It’s clear that HTM wasn’t going to do much at his age but I don’t have the nostalgia that some in the crowd had to excuse his lack of workrate. It was a OK match with Michaels and Lionheart doing most of the work rounding on Hope before inevitable hot tag with HTM. Ended in a DQ when HTM’s guitar was used as a foreign object.
Strangely the first singles match didn’t come until after the interval with the battle of the two Joey’s; Hayes, one half of the PCW Tag Champs with Martin Kirby; and Janela, the current CZW Wired Champion. It started off with a bit of comedy. Both trying to claim the audience’s “Let’s Go Joey” chants. It slowed down the beginning but they got round to trading spots on one another before Hayes won via submission.
To pad out the card was another PCW Academy match which suffered from the many of the same problems as the first with nerves very much on display. We got some OK technical wrestling that lacked psychology meaning the the crowd never really got into it. The ending was missed by many as the smoke machine malfunctioned on stage. It was here to break up the show and give the young guys a chance; it served it’s purpose.
The PCW Cruiserweight Championship between champion Bubblegum and challenger AR Fox was eagerly anticipated. It lived up to the hype with an entertaining high flying hit fest. Both were incredibly over with the crowd, in what was pretty much a face v face. Bubblegum was particularly impressive, pulling double duty after a show earlier in Keighley. Bubblegum retained, with a rematch set-up for the Wrestling World Championships next weekend in Preston.
In the Main Event Aston Smith took on T-Bone in a falls count anywhere match. I’m not the biggest fan of these as the momentum is hard to keep up but these two did a decent job of it. They traded some gnarly spots on the fairly stiff chairs. The chants to use the announce table on the stage were ignored but T-Bone did bring a ladder out that he placed in the ring allowing Smith to recover and hit back with a diving somersault from the stage. It ended with Smith and T-Bone hitting each other with the steel barstools, cancelling each other out, only for Smith to pass out on T-Bone to come out the victor.
PCW’s debut in Manchester was uneven with the first half lacking failing to live up to the opening match. Things picked up after the interval with a run of decent matches. Overall, an OK show, that wasn’t spectacular. You can’t help but wonder if things could’ve been different with The Hooligans and Mastiff on the card.