Pro Wrestling Chaos – Wrath of Khan – 23rd July 2016
By Tim Ricketts (@tmricketts). Photo Credit © Turning Face®.
Two months is a long time in Pro Westling Chaos, as we all know a lot can change, and with the shocking conclusion to the last show there were more than a few twists to this show even before the action kicked off. Let us rewind two months to the final moments of Total Chaos 2016: Chaos owner Pariah Khan’s menacing monster Jeckel had just destroyed Mikey Whiplash (and the ring) ably aided by members of the Doomsday Killers and the London Riots, when Dave Mercy suddenly interrupted the proceedings to announce that he had returned as co-owner to fight the scourge of Khan, backed by most of the rest of the roster and, more surprisingly, Mike Bird. The nWk movement was finally tangible, realised and here.
In the aftermath, two important announcements were made. Firstly, Jimmy Havoc was confirmed as the ongoing ‘neutral’ General Manager to keep balance between the two factions, I am assuming because complete self-interested amusement is a neutrality of kinds, and secondly that Jeckel and ‘Flying’ Mike Bird would face-off in the first factional bout, booked for this show.
DJ Z’s announced appearance unfortunately had to be cancelled due to the vagaries of the TNA taping schedule, but was replaced by the very exciting Shane Strickland AKA Killshot and BOSJ winner Will Ospreay, who were subsequently inserted into the Tag Tournament match. Strickland teamed with El Ligero and Martin Kirby to make Project Lucha (Underground) whilst Ospreay joined SX Express to reform the fabled Swords of Essex. In a yet another fate-of-matchmaking situation, Scotty Essex unfortunately succumbed to the rigours of the ring and announced his withdrawal, hand-picking his replacement ‘White Lightning’ Mark Andrews. On paper, this could be a match of Vader-enraging athleticism.
These weren’t the only matches of historical note, as Pete Dunne had been in the shout for a title match ever since he beat Johnny Kidd in a Mountevens’ Rules match and was rewarded with a test against The Wild Boar for the belt. This was not ‘The Big One’ however, with the headline bout a rematch of Chris Hero versus Eddie Dennis from last year, where Dennis grabbed the victory in the Pro Wrestling Chaos ‘Match of the Year’. The build for this match has been big, with Chaos promoting ‘An Evening with Chris Hero’ the Monday before, an intimate, humorous and informative interview which covered his training and early days in IWA-MS, CZW & RoH through to his more recent stints in WWE/NXT, Chaos, Progress & EVOLVE as well as some back-stage and more personal stories. I felt that, for those in attendance like me, it probably added a lot of flavour to the proceedings with a great chance to meet the Indy legend himself.
The longest still-running feud in Chaos has to be Gideon and Ian Williams, largely due to the perennial interference of the other Doomsday Killers, but they had a chance to put their rivalry to bed at Wrath of Khan. Big Grizzly’s big guy challenge is being met by Chaos Débutant ‘The Primate’ Jason Prime, and Eddie Ryan is back, a changed man after getting a ladder to the bonce at Heir 2 the Throne, to take on ‘Number One’ Damian Dunne and round out the card!
So, on a still-sweltering Saturday evening, I headed off to a show that was both figuratively and literally Red Hot.
Match: ‘Evil’ Ian Williams vs Gideon
First off, we have one of Chaos’ perennial battles. After the ever-well-dressed Hank McCoy warms the crowd, Ian makes his big entrance with Killbane, carrying Gideon’s stolen red shinai broken from a previous encounter, whilst Gideon, shockingly clean-shaven to give his beautifully aggressive war paint the best effect, charges to the ring and delivers a tope to the retreating Doomsday members. It may have been an ill-advised burst though, as Ian dominates the early going by working Gideon into the corners with hard forearms, slaps and kicks. A nasty-looking lung-buster and a particularly sweet DDT sends Gideon down for two of several 2-count pin attempts. ‘Evil’ Ian’s particularly vicious form of aggression makes up for the noticeable size disadvantage, but a failure to really capitalise on his early gains starts to show as Gideon begins to get a handle on things. The red-clad Bristolian comes back strong, taking the high-risk route via the turn-buckles, even so far as to rope-drop the Welshman and deliver a big knee from the top while Ian is still hanging there.
Sensing an end to their immediate enmity, Gideon turns the power moves up to eleven by packaging Williams up on his shoulder and delivering an almighty backdrop. As he covers, he fails to see the run-in by Killbane from the entrance. Almost dead-on the count of three, Ian is yanked unceremoniously from the ring to dash back up the ramp with Killbane in tow. Gideon’s frustration is mirrored by the crowd’s furious boos as he charges after them and through the curtain, all the time being counted out by ref Mark. Result: DCO – Double Count-Out.
Match: ‘Flying’ Mike Bird (w/Dave Mercy) vs Jeckel (w/Pariah Khan)
The Chaos Club were in fine voice for this match, raucously jeering Jeckel and Khan as they entered, provoking Jeckel to hurl a fan-sign voicing Khan’s Redcoat credentials to the back of the arena and giving even more cheer to Bird and Mercy as they appeared. Buoyed by the crowd reaction, ‘The Ginger Jesus’ started well and took the fight to Jeckel with a spectacular suicide dive, taunted him incessantly and even reposed, composed the the middle of the ring, much to the Club’s delight.
Jeckel was incensed, so took Bird to ringside for an old-school chest-slapping, and returned to the ring only to whip Mike over the turn-buckle, crashing back out hard at the feet of Dave Mercy. This initiated a heated verbal exchange between Mercy and Pariah as Flying Mike painfully dragged himself back in. A suplex and side-slam from Jeckel both resulted in near-falls, before he resorted to working some submission attempts on the mat.
Bird broke out of the holds to get some excellent revenge slaps in on Jeckel’s chest and kicks to his head before taking him right up for a suplex. Mike couldn’t shift his weight back to complete the move before Khan’s Henchman expertly countered into a very crisp powerbomb in a surprising show of agility. Dragging the battered Bird to the apron, Jeckel lifted him high and snapped the suplex back catching Bird with a meaty sounding hard blow to the very edge of the ring. So stunningly brutal a landing, it took even my breath in pure empathetic response.
With Ref Paz counting, Flying Mike made it back into the ring cursing and baying for Jeckel’s blood, whipped him into the corner and delivered a stinging suplex to which he came down feigning serious injury. Paz backed Bird up and checked on the prone Jeckel, all to the chants of “He’s not injured,” from the crowd. The moment that the referee turned to deal with Dave Mercy’s protestations, Pariah Khan employed the time-old managerial ankle grab on Mike Bird for Jeckel to get the pin. The crowd, Mercy and Bird were all incandescent with rage, and whilst Pariah and Jeckel exited, Mike Bird cut an impassioned in-ring promo, vowing to keep fighting for Chaos and the nWk. Result: Jeckel defeats Mike Bird by pinfall.
Match: ‘Lionheart’ Eddie Ryan v ‘Number One’ Damian Dunne
Damian Dunne had not even completed his customary entrance, when Ryan rushed out to knock him from the turn-buckle onto the mat, Dunne responding with a head-scissors, snapmare and cross-body that resulted in a 2-count.
Prior to the event, Eddie Ryan had cut a promo blaming the Chaos Management and particularly the Chaos Fans of a lack of compassion, after his head injury at Heir 2 the Throne in April. His new-found ire was in evidence as he slowed the pace slightly, delivering a suplex combo and underhand eye-rake for good measure, taking time wherever possible to glare at and berate the crowd. Damian seized upon one of these to start a fight-back with dexterous strong-style forearm strikes and head-shot kicks. A German suplex of his own was not enough for Dunne to stop the enraged juggernaut Ryan however, as straight out of a retaliatory manoeuvre Eddie quickly had him tied up and tapping. Staring and sneering at the ringside kids, Eddie promptly left whilst Damian Dunne recovered enough to move. Result: Eddie Ryan defeats Damian Dunne by Submission.
Match: Lucha Libre Trios Rules Match
Project Lucha Underground (El Ligero, Martin Kirby & Shane Strickland) vs The Swords of Lightning (Will Ospreay, Paul Robinson & Mark Andrews) (w/Scotty Essex)
Knights of Chaos Tag Tournament Semi-Final
Please forgive me now, as I’m going to gush unreservedly about the first half’s main event and abandon my usual narrative style. My notes end about thirty seconds after the bell, not that I would have been able to keep up with this spot-fest anyway, due to me breaking down to the state of a giggling child, rapturously drawn to the world-class spectacle in front of me. I will attempt to call some of the high-spots, but this is the definition of a see-it-to-believe-it match.
The match opened with a comedy skit where Referee Paz outperformed both Andrews and Ligero in the forward-roll stakes, before White Lightning and the Mexican Sensation created an excellent mini-parody of that Ospreay-Ricochet match to illicit “Watch this, Vader!” chants from the crowd. Robinson and Kirby tried to employ their usual mildly underhand tactics, and discovered neither of them had hair to pull, Paul making up for this by biting Martin’s ear instead.
Will Ospreay and Shane Strickland ended up in the ring together and the springboard arm-drags and wheelbarrow flips begin, athleticism beyond the comprehension of mere mortals. Strickland tags out to a Project Lucha double-team, Kirby kicking out Will’s legs as El Ligero planted both feet square in his chest. The traditional tags breakdown to the tornado style of Lucha Libre, plancha follows pescado, corkscrewed or somersaulted, each more spectacular than the last, as the team members enter and leave the ring fluidly with exquisite timing.
A total highlight for me were the assisted moves, The Swords all combining for a super-assisted platform cross-body / assisted splash sequence on Martin Kirby, Strickland with an assisted lung-buster for Mark Andrews across Ligero’s knees, as well as a Super-stomp assist with Kirby’s trademark Sable-bomb on Will. Kirby himself was in the middle of a ‘Zoidberg-Master’ when the Aerial Assassin took him down from the ropes with a flying head-scissors.
It finally took Ospreay setting up Mark Andrews to pin Shane Strickland for the win, and provoke a prolonged and unanimous standing ovation from the many hundreds in attendance. You’d need scientific instruments to measure how hot the room was. Result: The Swords of Lightning defeat Project Lucha Underground by pinfall.
General Manager Jimmy Havoc announced that Aldo (AKA Adam) Rose and the legendary Hardcore Holly will be fighting for Chaos in October at ‘All or Nothing 2016’
Match: The WILD BOAR (c) vs ‘Bruiserweight’ Pete Dunne
King of Chaos Championship
Both of the broad-shouldered bruisers started this match out hold for hold, with Dunne’s previously mentioned technical prowess (and teeth) being employed to work on Boar’s hand, but the ever-popular man from the Mountains of Wales got in a military press and senton in quick succession to the chants of “Boar is our champion! Boar is our champion!”
A ringside brawl gave Pete Dunne a rally, which he used effectively to brutalise and bite The Boar before going for the pile-driver. Once the champ was back in control, he utilised every ounce of grit, cracked out a suplex, cannonball and Boar-splash, and really took the fight to his well-matched opponent. Fighting off one last defiant burst from Dunne, Boar drove and slammed him to the canvas and covered him to retain the Championship. Result: The WILD BOAR defeats Pete Dunne by pinfall to retain the title.
GM Jimmy returns to the ring to reward Boar with some beer and a match against ‘The Bastard’ Dave Mastiff next month in Bristol at ‘Choose Your Weapon’. Boar gleefully makes it for the championship.
Match: Big Grizzly vs ‘The Primate’ Jason Prime.
After beating Eddie Dennis at Total Chaos, Big Grizzly had demanded a suitable ‘Big Man’ to wrestle, so Jimmy Havoc and the Chaos management decided to give ‘The Primate’ Jason Prime his début. As the two hirsute heavyweights locked up and felt each other out, it was obvious that the new-boy had the athleticism and power to brutalise most of the roster, but may have his work cut out against the the super-sized, super-strong Grizzly. Prime took his agility advantage to the turn-buckle to get some extra height into his shoulder-charges and lariats, while Big Grizzly showed he is no slouch either by deploying a senton in return.
It all came down to experience though, as Grizzly rebuffed The Primate’s attacks time and time again, methodically retaliated, finally finishing him with a power-bomb. I’m certain that Prime showed enough of himself to earn a return visit, whilst Grizzly will be anticipating another big challenge. Result: Big Grizzly defeats ‘The Primate’ Jason Prime by pinfall.
Match: Chris Hero vs ‘The Pride of Wales’ Eddie Dennis
These two first clashed a year ago when Eddie shocked the Chaos collective by defeating Chris Hero in an absolute slobberknocker, prompting an immediate challenge of a rematch in which Hero claimed he would be more prepared. The fans have been eagerly awaiting this ever since, their appetites sharpened by the build-up, and they were not left disappointed.
The bout began with the athletes feeling each other out, mid-ring, grappling and chaining. Hero took any opportunity he could to strike at Dennis, whilst Eddie came out of it momentarily in control enough to execute a particularly hard swinging side-slam. Elbows, forearms and superkicks to the head were utilised by Chris, The Pride of Wales often responding in kind, beautifully punctuated by a slam or a throw which left both men on the canvas, gasping.
This 25 to 30 minute exposition of Strong-Style was so highly competitive that neither Hero nor Dennis were able to gain the control needed to finish their opponent. It wasn’t until the dying seconds that a flurry from a rallying Hero send Dennis prone to the mat one final time. Ref Mark rushed in to check on Eddie, swiftly stopping the match and Chris from doing any lasting damage.
With the series ending one-a-piece, Chris was quickly on the mic’ to challenge Eddie to Hero/Dennis III, and as he wanted to demonstrate his definitive excellence it should be 2-out-of-3 falls. Eddie struggled to rise as his opponent walked to the back, but demanded Hero return to shake his hand to make it official as the crowd gave it’s second standing ovation of the night. Result: Chris Hero defeats ‘The Pride of Wales’ Eddie Dennis by TKO/Referee Stoppage.
Well, this sets-up some interesting matches for the next few events, and possibly into next year, as well as having stunning Main Events to each half of the show! Mercy’s nWk I’m sure will be back to fight the good fight against Pariah Khan’s mob, and The WILD BOAR will be taking on Dave Mastiff. What will it take to finish things between ‘Evil’ Ian and Gideon though? Are we going to need lumberjacks, or a special enforcer to ensure a fair fight? Only Jimmy Havoc and the Chaos management will be able to tell us in due course.
Check out Turning Face’s beautiful photos of the event at www.facebook.com/turningface and both ‘An Evening with Chris Hero’ and ‘Wrath of Khan’ will be available soon to Chaos-on-Demand.
Pro Wrestling Chaos (www.prowrestlingchaos.com): Tickets now available for ‘Choose Your Weapon’, ‘The Hungerford Games’ & ‘All or Nothing 2016’
And if you have not already, give me a follow on twitter @tmricketts!