Picture Credit @Jim_TurningFace (http://turning-face.co.uk)
Pro Wrestling Chaos have been running shows of a refined quality in and around Bristol for a while now, and their establishment has allowed for some intriguing narratives to evolve and unfold before the fans. The crowning of the first Tag Team champions after a year-long tournament, named the Knights of Chaos in keeping with the company’s nomenclature, has been rather challenged for attention by Dave Mercy and Pariah Khan’s ownership war. Both of these issues will be settled at All Or Nothing however, as the tournament final and a decisive Eight-man Elimination Tag match for 100% company control are scheduled bouts for this card.
Ex-WWE Tag-team and Hardcore champion, Bob ‘Hardcore’ Holly, is here to challenge Wild Boar, the current King of Chaos, for the title. Not before he gives An Audience with Bob Holly though, a candid interview and Q&A session with Chaos interviewer Benjamin Allen. The remaining two match-ups both involve ‘Flash’ Morgan Webster’s new faction of Modern Culture. Danny Jones’ claims to be the best to come out of Wales is being put to the test by Aldo Rose, and Richie Edwards, the former Panda Cub, is facing a vengeful former team-mate in Panda Mask II.
All of this will be presided over by General Manager Jimmy Havoc,who has unpredictably been very fair with his decisions in charge, but as his job may be at threat come the end of the night, will he be able to maintain his balanced approach?
An Audience With Bob Holly
This is an absolute treat for fans of a certain age or of a certain era, and the usual intimate atmosphere of these ‘Audience’ events is immediately boosted by Hardcore Holly greeting a lot of the audience with a hearty handshake as they found their seats. Casually sitting on the hosting table, Holly covers his career, gimmicks, a few notable matches, and some more personal things such as his interest in Survivalism, before taking a variety of questions from those in attendance. I was incredibly impressed by his open approach to several controversial incidents in his past, and for those who missed it, I would recommend watching on demand or on DVD as it becomes available.
Pro Wrestling Chaos also run Meet and Greets with their visiting stars, so I was able to get a professional photo and a quick hello with both Bob Holly and Aldo (FKA Adam) Rose, two incredible athletes and gentlemen. The photography team, Turning Face, even managed to make me look not-too-wimpy next to them.
There follows a brief but well organised wait before the All Or Nothing main show begins, with the usual plethora of merchandise. As the house-lights dim, the immortal words of ring announcer, and Voice of Chaos, Hank McCoy blast out to the large crowd: ‘Who’s ready for a night of Hard-hitting, High-flying, Wrestling action?’
Knights of Chaos Tag-team Tournament Final Ladder Match: The Swords of Essex (Scotty Essex & ‘Blackbelt’ Tom Dawkins) vs. The Steele Dragons (Eddie Dennis & Alex Steele)
The new Tag-team belts are on display above the ring, the first time they have been seen in public. The design is stunning, with black and silver plates depicting a Knight’s helm on scarlet red leather, a fitting tribute to the prestige that this tournament has generated. The London Riots, Project Lucha, The Hunter Brothers and D’n’D are just some of the notable teams who have keenly competed, but come up short.
The Swords of Essex have made liberal use of the Freebird Rule to stay in the competition, Will Ospreay previously replacing Scotty due to injury, and have to employ yet another configuration tonight. Jimmy Havoc comes out to announce that Paul Robinson is the latest to suffer this fate, with Romford’s own ‘Blackbelt’ Tom Dawkins making his Chaos début in replacement. The Steele Dragons of Alex Steele and Eddie Dennis have been solid throughout the tournament.
The Swords take advantage of the Dragons’ admiration of the belts to strike first, and sandwich Eddie Dennis with a crushing combination of knees. Alex Steele retaliates with the first ladder retrieved, clearing the ring. Alex and Eddie fail to take advantage of the situation, arguing over who gets to go up to collect the belts, Blackbelt sweeping Steele off the ladders and exchanging blows with former judokan Dennis between the rungs.
A double under-hook back-breaker from Steele sends Dawkins down, so Scotty Essex enters the fray, bashes Steele’s head off the ladders and plants him firmly. He follows this up with a springboard moonsault to Dennis laid prone across the steps. Tom Dawkins decides that a huge flying stomp to Alex’s chest is a better option than climbing three more rungs to grab the win.
The outrageous exposition of high-risk offence didn’t stop there, Essex using the near-corpse of Eddie Dennis and a ladder to launch a spectacular Spanish Fly on Steele, his partner’s subsequent standing moonsault giving them a momentary edge. One slip however, can not just cost you the match, but tournaments and titles too. When the Swords’ mutual kicks locked them together, the Steele Dragons took full advantage. Successfully executing their second attempt in the match at an augmented Next Stop Driver left them free and clear for the victorious climb to the top.
A deserved win for Chaos regulars and all-round fun guys, The Steele Dragons, to become the inaugural Knights of Chaos, and that match was a jaw-dropping finale to this epic tournament. The only dampener on the occasion being that Alex Steele was rushed to hospital having broken his heel; get well soon, champ!
Danny Jones (w/Flash Morgan Webster & Richie Edwards) vs. Aldo Rose
The rise of Modern Culture is a potential threat to whoever ends the night as owner. Flash’s controversial acquisition of the Heir To The Throne briefcase back in April, his subversive and messianic videos, and conversion of the former Roger the Cabin Boy and Panda Cub to his cause have all been rife with anti-authoritarian menace. Danny Jones has been particularly vocal in his self-promotion since, and despite his immense potential his boasts will be put to a stern test by the established and experienced Aldo Rose. The former WWE superstar, known there as Adam, is accompanied to the ring by Pro Wrestling Chaos’ own version of his Exotic Express, with very familiar looking Rosebuds in costume. Some future stars of the sport show they’re up for a laugh to entertain the kids in the crowd, both young and old.
Discarding his familiar Lollipop in his corner, Rose immediately turns serious and dominates the opening moments of the match with some strong strikes and slaps, even taking Jones down to the mat and riding his back like a horse. The up-and-comer Jones has one advantage over the physically impressive visiting star though, with the wily Webster at ringside interjecting his interference at the opportune moment to turn the tide. The former Wild Galleon gets to work with his advantage quickly using some good stomps and grinding mat work, earning two swift pin attempts.
Rose powers out of his predicament with a sound suplex and stunning kicks, before retrieving his lolly and depositing it in a wholly uncomfortable place on his opponent. Not only that, he whips it out, sticks it in Jones mouth and pins the shocked Chaos regular. Jones’ incensed teammate Edwards gets the same Lollipop treatment when he enters the ring too, leaving the braggadocious Mods somewhat humiliated and the Chaos Club cheering.
King of Chaos Championship: Wild Boar (c) vs. Hardcore Holly
Jimmy Havoc’s modus operandi as Chaos GM has been to keep the balance between Khan and Mercy, but his other focus has been on providing King of Chaos Wild Boar with the sternest challenges available to him. Johnny Gargano, Pete Dunne and Sami Callihan have all failed to unseat the explosive champ, despite taking him to the limit, and each victory has endeared him more to the Chaos faithful. It has firmly established Wild Boar as a fighting champion and seriously built on the prestige of the title, but now he faces a paragon of the squared circle in Bob ‘Hardcore’ Holly, a man very much ‘of the old-school.’
Boar jumps the gun, launching himself at Holly before the bell, but gets slapped around the ringside area for his troubles. The sound of Bob Holly’s strikes are incredible as he lays into the champ with his notoriously tight attack, and the ringside barriers take some punishment too. Once more in control, Boar plants Holly in a chair from the crowd and sends both sprawling with a delivery of his trademark running cannonball.
Back in the ring, every rally the King of Chaos makes is ruthlessly put down by a wheelbarrow gut-punt, dragged from the top rope. However, the experienced former WWE Hardcore champion’s try at an Alabama Slam is countered into a pin-attempt and the subsequent Boar-Splash only delivers a two count as well.
Holly manages his signature Alabama Slam on the next attempt, Wild Boar only breaking the pin on 2-and-nine-tenths, so Holly goes for it again. The exhausted Boar’s gritty determination is on display though, as he shifts his weight and grabs the rope to counter. Exploding with a gut-bruising spear, he follows up with another devastating splash and rolls-up Bob Holly for a close and brutally hard-fought victory. As usual, Havoc is first to congratulate the King on retaining his crown, and tells the battered champion to look at the Chaostron to see who his next opponent will be.
Just as the room falls quiet, Jimmy whirls around and lands his Acid Rainmaker finisher on the Boar, grabs the belt, and announces that his last task as GM is to make himself the next contender to the King of Chaos Championship. Havoc mocks the Chaos management and fans for standing by him whilst he was injured, and now he’s fit, he’s ready to run riot.
Richie Edwards (w/Flash Morgan Webster & Danny Jones) vs. Panda Mask II
Modern Culture are back out at the start of the second half, Flash getting on the mic to express his disappointment in their previous match and put the new tag-champs on notice, as well as making some threats regarding his comeback. This is a Grudge Match though, with Panda Mask II looking to get revenge on the team-mate that turned on him back in August. Then known as Panda Cub, Edwards had been a high-flying fan-favourite and a regular on Chaos cards.
Richie is a different man now though, stamping on his opponent as he tries to enter the ring as jeers ring around the room. Panda retaliates with athletic attack, a snappy head-scissors and a suicide dive. Flash interferes, provoking a chase that ends in Panda’s Mask meeting Edwards’ high boot.
The Modern Culture member’s vicious turn continues with a nice array of slamming sit-out manoeuvres, his colleagues’ methods of Danny distracting the ref whilst Flash trips or clips Panda Mask II making sure there’s no further significant resistance. Edwards finishes his former tag partner with a nasty stomp and a pin.
‘Original Badman’ Beano vs. ‘It’s Happening’ Oliver Sudden
The next match is a bonus, with two unannounced Dragon Pro academy graduates making their debuts. Beano is your archetypal Valleys bad-boy, full of attitude, whilst Sudden is an affable cheeky chappy. I note that Beano isn’t accompanied today by his ‘fam’, Sparky, so I’m guessing he must be busy with something else.
The match is relatively quick, but a good introduction in front of a large crowd. Oliver Sudden’s comedic mugging and outrageous over-sell are hilarious, as well as belying his deceptive athleticism. The Badman is as vicious as his attitude, with a notable swinging neck-breaker, meaning it’s no surprise when he gets the pinfall victory.
Eight Man Elimination Tag Match for Ownership of Pro Wrestling Chaos: Team Khan (Jeckel, Big Grizzly, Chris Walker & Dick Riley w/Pariah Khan) vs. Team Mercy (Mike Bird, Rampage Brown, Gideon & ??? w/Dave Mercy)
The Main Event, the deciding factor of who gets All and who gets Nothing: for Pariah Khan and Dave Mercy these final minutes of the show will be vital. It’s not just the co-owners who have an axe to grind, however; Jeckel has managed to provoke both ‘Flying’ Mike Bird and his ex-TeamH8 tag partner Gideon, as has Chaos’s resident behemoth Big Grizzly. The bad blood between Rampage and Jeckel stems back to last year, when a chair-shot from Brown left Khan’s right-hand man with an egg-sized contusion on his bonce, whilst Magnum Chris Walker is due a retaliatory shoeing for his use of the ring bell at Choose Your Weapon. What remains a concern is Team Mercy have not confirmed their fourth competitor, raising the potential of forfeit and disappointing the ‘nWk’ black-t-shirted hordes.
Khan’s horde come out first and parade themselves in the ring, then taunt Mercy and his three known allies when they enter. With the Yes We Khan movement distracted by winding up their opponents, they fail to notice Team Mercy’s ace in the hole climb in the ring behind them. Enter Mikey Whiplash, the fishnet-clad hardcore heavyweight, whose brutalisation at the hands of Jeckel and his allies back at Total Chaos brought forth Dave Mercy’s return. The villains, sandwiched as they were, fled to ringside leaving ‘Filthy’ Chris Walker in there to begin, cocksure that they had his back. The Magnums both suffered in Team Mercy’s corner, rolling tags wearing them down. A resounding kick to ‘Dirty’ Dick’s back from Rampage Brown starts a ‘penalty shootout’ between the nWk lads as each tries to out-do it.
As the match opens up a little more, Jeckel finds himself face-to-face with Whiplash. Something in the painted face of the man he wronged sends Jeckel, derisively known as The Seahorse, scarpering for a tag. Mikey is obviously biding his time, tagging in Rampage to face Grizzly. Team Khan eventually get a productive stretch, which they use to soften up the increasingly heroic and always powerful Gideon. It takes a YWK engineered ringside brawl, and a nefarious Magnums double-team to put him away as the first man eliminated. Team Khan goes in front.
Brown is incensed at losing the advantage to such a cheap trick, but uses his incandescent rage to put both Chris Walker and Dick Riley away in quick succession with his potent piledriver. Advantage Team Mercy.
Big Grizzly steps into the fray, and two of Britain’s Best Big Boys square off again. Neither athlete pull their punches as they get stuck in, first in, then around the ring. As they brawl up the entranceway, Jeckel makes a move on Mike Bird with the officials distracted, leaving the Ginger Jesus of Professional Wrestling prone on the canvas and primed. The inevitable double count-out of the big lads makes the dazed Welshman the legal man by default, the canny tactic of the dangerous Jeckel paying off as he whips Bird around and out of the ring.
Before Jeckel gets a chance to follow-up, Mikey Whiplash seizes the opportunity to strike and takes him down hard. When Mikey’s repeated pin attempts are refused by the referee, he utterly loses it and detaches a rope to choke out Bristol’s Bad-guy in direct revenge of his previous defeat. The officials have no choice but to disqualify Whiplash, to Mercy’s obvious chagrin.
Mike Bird has had enough time to get his second wind though, the fire and heart that he has invested in this war shining through in his grim determination. The barriers provide no resistance as he throws Jeckel into the front row of the vociferous and passionate Chaos Club, followed up with a dive from the cornerpost, clear across the ringside area and onto the sprawled Khan adherent.
Back in the ring after recovering, it seems fittingly appropriate that the two leading members of their teams face off with stupendous strikes, lariats and elbows. Bird comes out of the exchange on top once more, suplexing his larger opponent into a bridging-pin. Just as the crowd draw their collective breaths to cheer their hero’s win, Chaos’ crown prince of dastardly behaviour, Khan, unceremoniously yanks Mike away to deny him the 3-count. Not only that, he gives Bird an almighty low-blow to send the already raucous jeers to deafening levels.
Enter Mr Bananas, probably the first roster-member seriously wronged by Pariah when Bison Brody destroyed his career in a stipulation match, to give Khan his own crotch-shot. Not hard enough. As Khan swiftly recovered and went for the Bristol Zoo native, Dave Mercy intervened. Shedding his blazer, the Comeback Kid delivered a wrecking RKO of yore on his unwilling business partner and kipped-up, fists pumping, crowd roaring.
Bird seizes the chance and seals the deal for Dave, driving Jeckel face-first into the mat and pinning him, to the despair of Khan and his monster, and the delight of virtually everyone else.
It is a sign of Mercy’s good nature that he didn’t gloat or grandstand, a mere momentary celebration is followed by magnificent magnanimity. Passing the microphone to Paz, Mercy steps back allowing the referee to pay tribute to a tearful Hank McCoy, comparing his final Chaos show tonight. He will certainly be missed.
So, what now for Chaos?
In the aftermath of All or Nothing, Mercy has lived up to his name by keeping the door open for those who sided with Khan, although with a few caveats. The Magnums have a non-title opportunity against Tag Champion Eddie Dennis and a partner of his choosing to replace Alex Steele, whilst the man-monster Jeckel will have to pay a humiliating price to return: dressing up as either a Seahorse or Grumpy Cat, depending on the choice of the Chaos fans.
Jimmy Havoc will get his much desired title shot too, facing off against Wild Boar for the first time, but is the anarchic nature he kept bottled up for so long as GM about to explode in a Chaos ring in more than just one fight? His rant here would suggest he has a few ideas up his sleeve. And where does the silently psychopathic Eddie Ryan’s number-one contendership fit into this picture?
Behind all of this, Flash Morgan Webster has been assembling his forces and using his prodigious managerial skills to good effect with Modern Culture. It is only a matter of time before he becomes fit enough to return to in-ring action as well, and ‘The Man Who Would Be King’ has a briefcase that says he’ll get the chance. He’s also taken to social media in the past to express his irritation at the return of Dave Mercy to Chaos, after retiring the now owner at the previous All or Nothing.
This is what makes Pro Wrestling Chaos such a great promotion to follow, the simple threads of a great narrative are interwoven into a complex tapestry, consistently backed up by top-level and diverse in-ring work, both carrying on that storytelling and in an athletic sense. The talent is a perfect mix, from Legends of the Ring, Indy Darlings or top UK names through to the cream of the local academies. As you can see from my summation, just as each feud reaches a satisfactory conclusion, there is always more there to keep you coming back too.
The Next Show is ‘Let Them Eat Chaos’ on the 26th November, see www.prowestlingchaos.com for details.
Watch all the incredible action from this on www.ukwrestlingondemand.com as it becomes available.
See the stunning ringside photography from Turning Face: https://www.facebook.com/turningface/