With Pro Wrestling Chaos having a fallow month, I decided to check out another of the West-Country’s Indy offerings: tempted by the visiting talents of Rob Van Dam and Mr. Anderson taking on Scotty Essex and Charlie Garrett respectively, I joyfully booked tickets for Pro Wrestling Pride’s Taunton event. Other than the headline stars, the immediate highlights of the card were the Heavyweight Championship bout between Big Grizzly and challenger Eddie Ryan, and a massive 4-team ladder match for the Tag titles.
I was vindicated not only by the card, by by the announcement a few days ago that both Pride and Chaos, along with Midlands-based Triple X, are forming a Video on Demand partnership under the ‘UK Wrestling’ banner. Time to check out another one of the partnership then!
The venue itself, Taunton Wellsprings Centre, seems ideal for a fantastically well attended event like this. Despite a long queue for the thousand-ish fans, we were relatively quick to our seats and the event kicked off less than ten minutes late. Following the obligatory warm-up, we are introduced to ‘Omelette’ Terry Noble from Lee Nelson’s Well Good Show as guest Timekeeper.
Charlie Garrett (w/Keizer) vs Mr. Anderson
Kicking the show off with a big match, the Soul Society faction’s be-masked Keiser leads out his charge Garrett, and begins to berate the crowd, amongst other things for hero-worshipping a man who says his name twice. The jeers turn to cheers when Anderson clears the despicable duo momentarily from the ring, and proceeds to terrorise compère Darren Saviour until he can have his statutory descending microphone. The fact that Saviour had to stand on a chair to provide it didn’t seem to put Mr Anderson off, playing the crowd with his fan-familiar, self-delivered ring announcement.
The match itself was an excellent set-up for the evening. Neither athlete could achieve dominance over the other for any long period, despite plenty of running lariats, chops and stiff kicks. Both competitors worked the crowd well, as well as the rabble-rouser-in-chief Keiser. Ken Anderson’s experience was starting to give him the ascendancy to the point where he could employ a rolling fireman’s carry and his usual finisher, the Mic Check. Referee Ed Dyer was distracted and Charlie Garrett deployed a low-blow. With Anderson incapacitated, Garrett rolled him up for the 1-2-3.
Six-man Tag: The Buckinghamshire Butchers (Cy Gregory & Liam Hamlet) & James Baker vs Ultimo Tiger, Joe Messenger & Chris Andrews.
A chance to see a few Pride heroes in tag action is now in order. Andrews starts out well for the fan-favourites, but poor Joe Messenger is brutalised by rolling tags from the Butchers and Baker. With the fans screaming for the hot tag, Joe finally reaches Ultimo Tiger and he finally gets to deliver some Tiger-style!
After a short burst of double teaming from Andrews and Tiger, the tenacious bad guys find themselves outside the ring. Inspired by the clapping and stamping crowd, Ultimo blasts them with a somersault plancha followed by Andrews with a similar pescaro. Despite a late rally from the Butchers, Chris Andrews got the pin on Liam Hamlet.
Pro Wrestling Pride Heavyweight Championship: Big Grizzly (c) vs ‘English Lion’ Eddie Ryan
Big Grizzly has been in dominant form during his second run as Pride champion, spanning from last summer, whilst the ever-impressive and hard-working Eddie Ryan failed to beat him previously on the anniversary of his first reign back in May. The Wales versus England aspect of this match had the patriotic crowd reacting vocally, but Grizzly stuck it to them and Ryan almost immediately by taking him to the bleachers for a pounding. The merchandise stands took a bashing from Big Grizzly’s head in return as Ryan gained the ascendancy and dragged him back to the ring, stopping to drive the big man to the floor in front of the lively first row.
The Welshman proved resilient though, and the Lionheart only escaped by catching Grizzly on the top rope. A stunning series of suplexes from Ryan elicited a ‘Suplex City’ chant from the stand and allowed him to get Grizzly up on his shoulders, knocking Ref Ed to the mat. After the ensuing chaos, and uncounted pins, Ryan recovered in stronger position. He super-kicked Grizzly, managed to get him on his shoulders one last time for an AA and the the championship winning pin. The subsequent pop from the crowd was massive, a real tooth-rattler. The exhausted English Lion was joined by Ultimo Tiger and Mr. Anderson to celebrate, and have photographs with fans during the intermission.
New Champion: Eddie Ryan
Pro Wrestling Pride Tag Championship:
House of Bones (Gideon & Lomaxx) vs The Soul Society (Smooth & Duggan w/ Keiser) vs Doug Williams & Danny Jones vs The Magnums (Walker & Riley)
Prior to the event, I had earmarked this bout as ‘one to watch’ for a good reason: all of these teams have the ability to both give and take a lot of damage. Add some ladders, and voilà, instant carnage.
After the initial ladder-match starting anarchy settled, Jones found himself facing his own irate team-mate after he inadvertently gut-shot Williams with the ladders, but was lucky to escape with Doug storming back through the curtain leaving his protégé in the ring. Back on the attack, The Magnums delighted the crowd with a yell of “Testicles!” before sending the ladder to meet Lomaxx, apex-to-apex, in the corner, whilst Gideon was soon painfully dropped onto the prone ladders too.
The first set of steps, already looking shaky as a reticent Lomaxx tried to climb, were finished off moments later as the same big man crashed through them propped on the turn-buckle. Chris Walker was the man to try and find a new set, ably aided by the fans (“Of course, they’re always under the ring!”) Donning them as a giant necklace, he sends the Soul Society flying from the ring as he spins around like a modern-day Marx brother, until he is suddenly stopped and dropped by a bullish Lomaxx.
By the time Danny Jones has set the ladders and started climbing, his mentor returns to teach him a lesson from earlier, dumping him off the ladder and on to his back, hard, in the corner. Somehow, Charlie Garrett sneaks in to try and claim the dangling cups for the Soul Society, but is as quickly chased away again by Mr. Anderson, much to the chagrin of Keiser.
With bodies strewn, like any good ladder-match, all over the ring area, Gideon rose pheonix-like to slowly, painfully climb the ladder. With heads starting to lift and realisation dawning on his opponents, he claimed the shining Tag Championship Cups to the background of roaring boos!
New Champions: House of Bones
International No DQ Showdown: Rob Van Dam vs ‘Mr Reem’ Scotty Essex
With Scotty Essex proving that he can throw-down with the best of them by taking the Pride Catch Title from Johnny Kidd recently, and Rob Van Dam having showcased his talents in the likes of WCW, ECW, AJPW, WWE and TNA this looked to be a tip-top showcase match. With the crowd so hyped, both RVD and the fans made the most of his entrance, as I don’t think many fans in the first few rows failed to get a high-five.
Once the match kicked off, Mr. Monday Night did not let his legions of followers down, employing every bit of his vast experience to counter Essex’s usual mix of technical and high-flying offence. In fact, the pace of this match was lightning fast, suiting both athletes in theory, but in effect limiting any rally Scotty Essex tried to make.
Spilling from the ring, the wrestlers traded brawling blows until the dazed RVD left Scotty enough time to set up some chairs. Dragging the recovering Van Dam to the apron, Mr Reem was caught unawares to be send crashing down through the metal himself. Fans of ECW era RVD are, at this point, not disappointed!
Back on the mat, the Catch Champ had a last stand in him, the legs of youth healing fast. Picking up a chair he brandishes it at Rob, only to have it Super-kicked into his face. RVD is a canny man, and instantly pressed his advantage; with a chair for added impact he executed a Rolling Thunder to Scotty’s chest. Two thumbs and an “RVD” chant later, a Five-Star Frog Splash was enough to get the pin and a huge pop from the crowd.
When you see the epithets ‘Fun-filled’ and ‘Family Entertainment’ on wrestling show posters, this show is what the promoters are aiming for. The stars and gimmicks fully entertained and engaged with as much of the crowd as possible, whilst the wrestling was excellent for all but the most die-hard of technical grapple fans. I, for one, will be back for a visit as soon as possible, and watching keenly on VoD! The staff were very polite and helpful, and the meet-and-greets appeared to be handled well considering the staggering demand.
Next up for Pro Wrestling Pride is Heroes and Legends 3 in Paignton on 10th July (details and tickets: https://www.facebook.com/pridepromotion/) with ‘Swoggle, Scotty 2 Hotty, Bob Holly and PJ Black. Doug Williams and Danny Jones will be settling their scores from the tag match there too!
They are also back in Somerset on October 30th. With Adam Rose and an as yet unnamed Lucha Underground/PWG Star.
Next up for me is the visit of Chris Hero to Pro Wrestling Chaos with an Evening With Chris Hero (18/7), followed by the Wrath of Khan (23/7). (details and tickets: http://www.prowrestlingchaos.com/)
You can also follow me on twitter @tmricketts (https://twitter.com/tmricketts/)
Note: The advertised UK Dominator vs Adam Da Silva Rossiter match did not occur, presumably due to time constraints.
Picture Credit: (c) Jim Maitland of TurningFace, LIKE their Page: facebook.com/turningface