Continuing to go from strength to strength in Leeds, TCW bring us yet another electic showing of British wrestling talent, with able and offbeat live commentary from Aaron Beatup and Sebb Strife.
JD Boom vs Nsereko
Starting with JD Boom speaking rather slowly to Nsereko and questioning his dress sense, Boom sets out his stall early, reminding Nsereko of the difference between his version of British wrestling and that of the Ugandan Warrior.
As Aaron Beatup notes on commentary, the fans may not be entirely comfortable with Boom’s casual racism as they seem to be a tad on the flat side, though do pick up when Nsereko gets tired of JD Boom’s buffoonery. An elbow drop, rechristened “Ebola Drop”, is called “the worst move ever” by a particularly loud fan, whilst Big T is used for a “Twin Magic” moment which does raise a laugh.
Nsereko, who has come across as a serious wrestler in the past, shows a wry streak of humour here, but it falls a touch short of what we’ve seen both men capable of in the past.
Perhaps comedy matches just shouldn’t open a show, as the next match definitely saw business pick up.
David Graves vs Josh Alden
With David Graves in his first singles action encounter at TCW, he couldn’t have asked for a better opponent than Josh Alden, the Dapper Grappler. After some variable encounters with Ward 13, a chance to show exactly what he’s capable of doing in the ring is a breath of fresh air for a man who is finding his feet, with dexterity, in British wrestling.
From early on in the match, Graves manages to unsettle the more experienced Alden with a sound display of mat wrestling adding grace to his usual repertoire of strength-based brawling.
The match, however, rarely descends into a brawl, with both men putting on an exhibition of their technical skills, with ample displays of agile power, much to the appreciation of TCW fans.
Not to take anything away from The Burial but, hopefully, TCW will bring us more singles action from David Graves – there’s plenty of potential right there.
TCW Open Championship: Dan James vs Jack Gallagher
Alden vs Graves served as something of a technical wrestling warm up for the TCW fans, with Dan James and Jack Gallagher being the main course.
A re-scheduled match from 2015, where Dan James was unable to make their last encounter, this is one that many TCW fans have been waiting for, with one of the best technical wrestlers in the UK today taking on the Armbar Superstar in what he may consider his own playground.
Sadly for James, Gallagher brings his methodical precision and finesse, along with a deep vein of humiliation for the Armbar Superstar, to bear on his opponent and, despite a confident showing from James with a brutal edge to his work, it’s only a matter of time before the TCW Open Champion walks away from yet another competitor, much to the displeasure of Gallagher and the fans!
Hinting at a demand for a rematch, this can’t be the last we’ve seen of Dan James and Jack Gallagher.
El Ligero vs Andrew Everett
In a non-title match, The Apex of Agility, Andrew Everett faces The Mexican Sensation El Ligero in a match that should be in a textbook for anyone who thinks that agility comes at the cost of authenticity.
A superb exhibition of two men at the very top of their games, the TCW fans are rightfully split between their love of Everett and Ligero, respectful of what both men are doing to entertain them as they move, flawlessly, from moment to moment to deliver, as the fans would chant, “flippy shit”.
Both men put each other to test in a true contest of wits – they scout each other, getting the measure of their opponent before unleashing their offensive – acrobatic and hard hitting, until only one man is left standing.
Leva Bates vs Addy Starr
Addy Starr has made her disappointment with her female wrestling opponents quite clear, chastising TCW management for their choices and demanding better opponents.
Placing her in the ring with Leva Bates, better known to NXT fans as Blue Pants, is certainly a way of making amends and gives an opportunity for both women to better represent the current state of women’s wrestling.
Playing on the Jurassic Park theme, and their sense of camaraderie, the humour of this match doesn’t get in the way of what is, at times, a match that a highly entertaining affair that blends shenanigans, technical wrestling (a theme for this evening, it seems) and high impact women’s wrestling.
HT Drake vs CJ Banks
With HT Drake climbing in popularity with the TCW fans, this may be his toughest challenge yet and certainly a step-change from the originally planned opponent of Robbie E! The man who want to “Kill All Gimmicks” may have expected a walk in the park with his Robbie E, but that’s certainly not the case with CJ Banks, a man who, accurately, describes himself as “pound for pound best”.
Instantly dislikeable and with a vicious temperament, Banks brings years of experience to the ring and doesn’t mind showing Drake just how far he’s still got to go. That said, Drake has carved out a niche as a wily competitor, a fighter who eschews flamboyance in favour of ferocity, and it’s certainly working well for him.
Liam Lazarus vs Chris Ridgeway
Liam Lazarus, on the microphone, reiterates his current mindset in TCW and questions exactly how a man who had lost his two previous matches had warranted a title match against El Ligero at the last show. Suffice to say, Lazarus’ suggested reasoning doesn’t sit well with Ridgeway.
Having going through a phase of despondent bitterness, Lazarus still isn’t back to his fun loving self, but that’s not a bad thing. Dark, dangerous and still demonstrating the incredible skill and talent that he’s always had, this reborn Liam Lazarus is a man who is at his best in adversity.
Ridgeway continues his brutal and arrogant attempts to secure a victory. An absolute specimen in the ring, he’s not beyond using brute strength to dominate an opponent where ability may not quite scratch it.
Once more, victory may elude Ridgeway, but there’s plenty more opponents for him to take his fury out upon.
Lazarus’ victory is cut short, however, with the appearance of two masked opponents – thankfully, not Ward 13, but it turns out it’s something much more dangerous, with Sean Only making his return, superkicking Lazarus and then choking him out in the ring.
Just as Liam Lazarus is finding his destination again, a feud is reborn and the stakes could be high!
The New Nation vs The Proven
Alexander Henry is an angry man and reveals that the match that has been five months in the making and, tonight, it’s time for The New Nation to evolve – Jason Prime, it seems, is dead… and The Primate has been awoken.
Under Tsunami Tag Rules, with all four men legal at all times, the match starts off in chaos and ends in the same way.
The Proven – Caz Crash and Sam Wilder – have become a cornerstone of TCW’s tag team division, peerless in their popularity and ability, whilst The New Nation have staked their claim as one of the most dangerous tag teams in British wrestling today. Together, they demonstrate how hard-hitting and reckless they are in their quest for victory.
The Proven have agility and experience on their side, whilst Henry’s arrogant posturing contrasts with the animalistic Jason Prime allowing them to easily dominate The Proven. Separating the teammates allows The New Nation to do exactly what they set out to do, with devastating effect.
Even in victory, The New Nation don’t stop their punishment, with Prime trapping Wilder’s leg in a chair and, with Caz Crash forced to watch, delivering an exclamation mark that Wilder won’t forget any time soon!
Many teams have tested the mantle of The Proven, but their feud with The New Nation can’t end this way. Caz Crash demands a third match and wants it to be for the soon- to-be-revealed Tidal Tag Team Championship!
Riptide in Review
TCW Riptide 2016 offers a selection box of British wrestling, TCW Riptide is a show that, once more, highlights the occasionally experimental nature of TCW that sometimes misses the mark, amongst the blend of the best up-and-comers, established names and the choicest imports. It’s in TCW’s choice of relatively new names that they really shine and long may that continue.
The live commentary captures the action and excitement of what’s happening, with Aaron Beatup providing much of the colour commentary, with Sebb Strife offering more of a play-by-play slant to the dialogue. Together, they’re an effective commentary team that has gone from strength to strength over their time together.
Addy Starr and Leva Bates Enter Stylus
With the full entrances for both women, we see Addy dressing in Jurassic Park t-shirt, full of life and bathing in the appreciation that the TCW crowd show her, and the Leva Bates blowing the roof off the Stylus bar with her Jurassic Park themed entrance, much to the joy of Starr.
It’s a shame more entrances aren’t shown, especially given the sheer silliness of some of them, but when TCW put them on the discs, they’re worth watching.