On the 18th of October, SWA returned to the Motherwell Concert Hall for their annual Battlezone event. Set up to be a fantastic night from the get go, with the inclusion of former TNA superstar Doug Williams and American grappler Jonathan Gresham to the already packed card, it did not disappoint in the slightest.
The first match of the night was a technical masterclass between two of the best wrestlers in the country – Mikey Whiplash and Jack Gallagher – in a 2 out of 3 falls match. We kicked off with some crowd interaction, as Gallagher encouraged those in attendance to tell Whiplash that he sucked, which didn’t go down well with the former Zero1 Heavyweight Champ, as he took his frustration out on Gallagher early on, scoring the first fall with a spinning side slam. The score was evened when Gallagher went up top and hit an amazing diving senton onto the standing Whiplash. At 1-1, it was next fall gets the win, and that went to Gallagher, as he locked in a guillotine to force the submission out of Whiplash. A great way to set the tone for the night, but it wasn’t to be the last time we’d see the fan favorite Gallagher…
Next up, the high flying Robbie Solar went up against Jonathan Gresham in what was a fast paced encounter. Straight from the off they traded arm drags and zipped around the ring at a great pace, before Gresham decided that he had to keep Solar grounded. Some solid stomps on his spine looked to derail Solar’s momentum, but Solar chose his moment well, and when Gresham attempted to roll him up for the win, Solar reversed it into a pinning predicament of his own, scoring the pinfall. There was a nice showing of respect between both competitors afterwards, with Solar lapping up the cheers from the crowd.
Rampage Brown had issued an open challenge for the evening’s event, and we were informed that the challenge had been answered by “Flyin’” Ryan Griffin, who was more than game for the challenge. Trying his best to keep his much larger opponent at bay, Griffin tried to use his speed to his advantage, but was halted by a brutal big boot. Even after that, Griffin kept coming back for more, but when Rampage properly got his hands on him, there was never really going to be any other outcome. The sheer power of Brown came into play, and in the end, an emphatic piledriver was enough to see him pick up the win.
The SWA Zero1 Heavyweight Championship was on the line next, with reigning champ Joe Coffey defending against Doug Williams, who is a former TNA X-Division champ in his own right. This was a straight up brawl, with both Coffey and Williams using their power to try and wear down each other. A shoulder barge duel to begin with, before Williams took control with a stiff clothesline. Coffey came back, hitting some splashes in the corners before taking to the top rope and hitting a reverse crossbody for a two count. Williams hit a top rope reverse elbow of his own for a near fall, before a furious lock up led to the referee being squashed against the corner, leaving him hurt on the mat. While Coffey was swinging Williams, it was saw as the perfect moment for the self-proclaimed King of Chat, Jackie Polo, to come down to try and cost Coffey his title. Looking like he was going to take Joe out with the belt, Polo was stopped by Joe’s brother, Mark, who grabbed the title from Polo… only to smash Joe’s head with it himself! The referee came to as Williams crawled over Coffey into the pin, and we have a NEW SWA Zero1 Heavyweight Champion! After the match, Williams posed with Mark Coffey and Jackie Polo, who presented him with his own Polo Promotions t-shirt. Joe was understandably incensed, as he stormed backstage.
The last regular match before the Battlezone itself, Viper took on Sammii Jayne with Viper’s long time adversary, Fiona Fraser, as the special guest referee. Viper dominated the early goings, but Jayne managed to take control with a facebuster. For the most part, it was impartial officiating from Fraser, but when Viper looked to have had the match well and truly won off the Viper Driver, she refused to complete the three count. This caused Viper to confront Fraser, and off the distraction, Sammii Jayne rolled her up to gain the win.
The main event of the night was to be the biggest Battlezone ever, with 40 competitors scheduled to participate. The first entrant was Mark Coffey, who, hot off his betrayal of is brother, was confident of success. Joining him immediately was Grado, but despite his music playing, he was nowhere to be seen. Then from the corner of our eye, we caught one of the Motherwell mascots, and he was looking a little… larger than usual. He hopped the guard rail and slid into the ring. Before Coffey knew what was happening, he had been laid out with a Rock Bottom and the bear’s head came off to reveal Grado. The cheers from the crowd would be short-lived however, as Coffey made short work of eliminating the Stevenston Dream. Coffey’s case was helped by the entry of his best pal and team mate, Jackie Polo. Together, they eliminated each person as they entered, until Joe Coffey himself came out, leading to the brothers leaving the ring and battling around the arena. With no backup, it wasn’t long before Polo himself was eliminated. From Chris Saynt and Dave Conrad of The Gatecrashers, to Glen Dunbar, Alex Cavanagh and Jam O’Malley of The Forgotten, to a few Source school trainees, one who is about 16 and was referee for half the night, to Joe Hendry (and his younger brother earlier in the match), everyone who entered who entered eventually fell victim to the punishing over the top rope battle royal. At one point, the brothers Coffey returned to the ring momentarily to compete, but ended up rolling out under the bottom rope and continuing their brawl. Special mentions to Damian O’Connor, who lasted a hell of a long time in the match, and Dickie Divers… because he’s Dickie Divers. Ultimately, it came down to Mikey Whiplash, Jack Gallagher and Rampage Brown. Whiplash was the first of three to go, and in the end, after a clothesline took both Gallagher and Rampage over the top, it was the Gallagher who held onto the ropes as Brown fell to the floor, winning the Battlezone and becoming the number 1 contender for Doug William’s Zero1 Heavyweight Championship. There were those of us who wondered, a chant of “Where are the Coffeys?” circulated around the room, but they were nowhere to be found. The pop when Gallagher won was unreal though, and he’s more than deserving of a shot at the title.
On a small sidenote, there was a pre-show match that I didn’t attend, but it was Grado and Courtney vs Joe Hendry and Debbie Sharp in a mixed tag match. Grado and Courtney picked up the win.
Great way to cap off a great night. Overall, it was 10/10. Top marks. As always. SWA always seem to deliver and even when you think you have it all figured out, another curve ball gets thrown. It seems we’ll finally get to see some Coffey vs Coffey matches, and those will be off the charts. This upcoming Friday, SWA go to the Lagoon Leisure Centre in Paisley for Aftermath, and that is unmissable. Find the link to the event page below, along with links to SWA’s facebook and twitter accounts. Follow them for all the big updates.
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