The final show for Tidal in 2015 brings us the first defense of the TCW Open Championship since The Proven secured the belt at Anniversary #2, a street fight for the TCW Championship, a clash of two of the best heavyweights in Europe, a rather disturbing women’s match and much, much more.
Sam Wilder vs Chris Ridgeway
Defending the TCW Open Championship, Sam Wilder starts off by issuing an apology for his new, snug Olaf trunks, possibly giving us a reason why this show is called Silent Nightmare.
Relatively new to the Tidal fanbase, Ridgeway has left his mark on TCW with a straightforward combination of technical wrestling and brawling. He certainly stands out with his methodical work and impressive look, and the fans make their opinion of him quite clear.
Wilder brings the agile athleticism into play that has made him popular with TCW fans, though his trademark cockiness is somewhat tempered as Ridgeway runs rings around Wilder with his technical skills. It doesn’t stop Wilder picking up the surprise pin, though.
An unusually quiet starter for Tidal Wrestling, with Caz Crash offering his support for Wilder, and the voice of a fan, it takes a while for the fans to warm up to what isn’t a bad opening match.
Lana Austin & JD Boom vs Ruby Summers & Violet O’Hara
A match that starts with JD Boom stuck in his own Christmas tree outfit sets the tone for an affair that is, at time, ridiculous.
JD Boom has, at various points in the past year, managed to annoy both his opponents with a mildly inappropriate approach to women, whilst Lana Austin has been a thorn in both their sides and become more annoying since teaming with her “boyfriend”. The three women put on a brawling affair, with JD Boom being the weaselly man-child that TCW fans have come to expect.
It’s the presence of Big T that gives Team Loom the win, but Violet O’Hara and Ruby Summers who have the final laugh. The feud between O’Hara and Summers certainly hasn’t ended, and O’Hara clearly wants to dethrone Tidal’s Queen.
Great work from all involved – for all its silliness, the women of Tidal showed how hard hitting they are and JD Boom continues to be the comically annoying irritant that just won’t go away.
Dan James vs Caz Crash
The second TCW Open Championship match of the night sees the other half of The Proven, Caz Crash, take on at the despised Dan James. Both men have found their feet in TCW, with Dan James continuing to wind up the fans, whilst laying into anyone who crosses his path and Caz Crash regularly lighting up the ring with the shock and awe talent of The Proven.
Dan James continues to be an angry man in TCW, infuriated by everyone around him, including the popular heavyweight of The Proven, Caz Crash. Together they brawl for the TCW Open Championship, with James bending the rules as far as he can, and a Wilder-less Crash being surprisingly overpowered by the much more malicious James.
With James working on Crash’s arm, limiting his offensive ability, and the appearance of The New Nation’s Jason Prime, Dan James is eventually able to secure the win, and the TCW Open Championship.
Rampage Brown vs Tommy End
Tommy End makes his Tidal debut against the hugely popular Rampage Brown, in a match that is as a heavyweight war that splits the fans right down the middle.
Both men bring an outstanding combination of strength and agility, with a flair for technical ability and all out powerhouse moments.
A match that is a fight for dominance, this is an example of TCW’s fine ability to put together great exhibition matches that dazzle and entertain for all the right reasons. Hopefully, End will return and face Brown again in the future, though TCW’s ability to put together the finest combinations of heavyweights surely offers plenty of opportunity for both men.
Martin Kirby & Nathan Cruz vs HT Drake & Damien Dunne
Nathan Cruz, for reasons that escape me, is rarely used by TCW and it’s a shame as he is, far and away, one of the most consistently talented performers in the UK. Teamed with Martin Kirby, we get a tag team that embodies arrogance and ability, with Cruz shining as the loudmouth vessel of confidence that British wrestling fans know and Kirby being unexpected reserved and demonstrating the unexpected power to back up his well documented agility.
An odd combination, HT Drake joins Damien Dunne but, despite Drake’s best efforts, he’s quickly overshadowed by the three other men. Drake is relatively new to the British wrestling scene and not without ability, but it’s the much more experienced Dunne, as well as his opponents that should offer him an opportunity to see just where he wants to be.
Originally, the match has been announced as Ryan Smile & Dunne, then Chris Brookes & Dunne and, watching Dunne tagging with Drake, it does make you wonder whether Tidal will attempt a rematch in a future. Dunne deserves that much.
Alexis Rose vs Addy Starr
Another debut at Tidal, this time for Alexis Rose, against one of the toughest women in Tidal, Addy Starr. Rose clearly wants to impress and explodes out of her corner, before leaving the ring to interact with the less than impressed fans.
The moment Rose gets back in the ring, she’s all over Starr, showing moments of supreme agility within the brawling. Starr gets very little opportunity to fight back and, after bending the rules in front of the referee one too many times, Craig Anderson calls for the bell.
Addy Starr’s post match fury pours from the screen as she gets her hands on Rose and then gets hold of the microphone and demands better opponents, feeling sorry for the TCW fans that they have to watch opponents like Rose.
Joseph Conners vs Pete Dunne
Starting with a chant for Pete Dunne’s nipples, Dunne gives a glimpse of the humour that is occasionally lacking from his matches in rematch from their Fools Rush In encounter, both men have shown TCW what British-style wrestling looks like. Neither men showboat for the crowd, letting their ability win over the TCW fans.
A masterclass in slow burning intensity from both men; in other matches, the silence of the crowd would be disconcerting, but this is an example of a match where the fans are respectfully silent, gripped by what they see and appreciative of the brilliance on show, as the occasional applause attests. Even Aaron Beatup admits that he may fall into silence as he watches the match “as a fan”.
Conners picked up the win in their first encounter, and Pete Dunne evens the balance this time. Surely, a third encounter has to happen early in 2016.
Joseph Conners and Pete Dunne are receiving the attention they richly deserve in British wrestling because of their consistently high level of work, matched by their innovation in a style that fans will appreciate if they stop watching the gravity defying craziness of their peers. For future wrestlers, and fans wanting to see something great, look at the likes of Dunne and Conners.
Dara Diablo vs El Ligero vs Liam Lazarus
Having made his intentions clear at the previous show, Anniversary #2, and stealing the TCW belt at the same time, this is the street fight that Lazarus demanded. All bets are off, with El Ligero wearing his trademark street fight jeans… the other two men have come suitably attired, too.
Fashion, however, doesn’t make a street fight, a wanton disregard for safety, turning any obstacle into an offensive weapon (including the much abused TCW merch table) are the hallmarks of a Tidal Wrestling street fight.
After a quick tour of the Leeds University Union Stylus nightclub courtesy of El Ligero and Dara Diablo, metalwork and woodwork are brought to the ring and all three men get their hands on each other and go to extremes for the TCW belt.
Between Diablo and El Ligero, the odds are firmly stacked against the mentally damaged Liam Lazarus as he continues his quest to regain the belt. With both men working together to take down the paranoid Lazarus, it isn’t long before his mind snaps and he attacks the referee, Craig Anderson! No holds barred, no DQ… it’s all legal and Liam uses it all to his advantage.
A C4L onto chairs for Lazarus, a Lazabuster onto chairs for Diablo, it looks like chairs may be the end of the match, until Lazarus pulls out something nostalgic for TCW fans – hinting at his teabag deathmatch – but this time… it’s drawing pins!
Diablo’s short title reign is brought to an end by El Ligero pinning Liam Lazarus – from a Tower of Doom into a big splash on the drawing pins – making it the second time that the TCW title has changed hands without the champion being pinned, and the second time El Ligero has held the Tidal belt.
An epic and occasionally emotional encounter and a thrilling championship match, all three men embody so much that is good about British wrestling today. Three exceptional performers, on all levels, and a match that should have viewers on the edge of their seat until the final, painful moments.
The final TCW show at Leeds Stylus in 2015 left Tidal Championship Wrestling on a high that they will hopefully continue to capitalise upon in 2016. With only the occasional misstep, the majority of the show demonstrates how good British wrestling is and the potential for TCW to gain the audience it deserves – the quality of the majority of the men and women on show makes this a must see.