1. The YOLO Squad (Drew Parker & Ethan Silver) vs Mike Bird & Morgan Webster
A good tag match here to kick things off, the young duo of Drew Parker & Ethan Silver impressed with some slick individual and tag offence, keeping their more experienced opponents off balance for much of the proceedings. Mike Bird countered Parker’s agility and finesse by just slamming him face first into the mat and he and Webster looked to have turned the tide in their favour, but a mule kick from Parker send Bird reeling and he was able to make the hot tag to Silver. The match broke down and the referee struggled to keep control as things spilled to the floor, Parker hitting a big running moonsault over the ropes. Moments later Silver caught Webster with a high knee and then he and Parker hit a double-stomp neckbreaker combo to secure the win.
2. Dahlia Black vs Jinny
A huge slap from Jinny set the tone for this one in the early going, she has a real mean streak in her that extends from her opponent, to the referee, to the crowd and wastes little time in turning those in attendance against her. In between berating the ref for not counting fast enough, Jinny continued to punish Dahlia with some nasty looking offence, including grabbing an attempted kick and dragging her opponent face down onto her knee. Dahlia eventually found an opening and took good advantage, flooring Jinny with a high kick to the back of the head before hitting a double knees in the corner and a Meteora for a big near-fall. Jinny quickly turned momentum back in her favour with a knee to the gut, before setting Dahlia up in the corner to hit what looked like an X-Factor but with the opponent split-legged over the middle rope. I don’t know what Jinny calls it, but it looks brutal.
3. VII Pro British Lions Title: Chris Brookes (c) vs Mark Andrews
This one started out at quite a tentative pace, Brookes strengths lie in his technical ability and his height, both of which he brought to bear on Mandrews in the early going. But this only afforded Mark the opportunity to show off his own technical prowess, with his agility and speed helping him stay one step ahead of his larger opponent to eventually score a big dropkick that had the champion scrambling to the floor and then all the way to the back when Andrews teased a dive. Brookes tripped his opponent on the apron, but didn’t fare much better once he had him out on the floor, Mandrews producing his skateboard and skateboarding into a headscissors on Brookes, which the kids in the audience just loved. Back in the ring Mandrews looked to build on his momentum, but was stopped abruptly in his tracks when Brookes caught him out of a wheelbarrow into a brutal backbreaker.
The champion went to work, putting his size and leverage to good use as he tied the challenger in knots. Mandrews attempted to rally and eventually caught Brookes with a beautiful tornado DDT, before hitting a northern lights suplex into a huge moonsault senton! He appeared to have the champion on the ropes, but after launching himself into a devastating big boot from Brookes the end was in sight, Brookes setting him up for an elevated twisting neckbreaker before locking in a grounded octopus hold to force Mandrews to tap. This was an excellent, very well worked contest with strong performances from both wrestlers. Mandrews is a supremely talented high flyer, but I don’t think he gets enough credit for his technical ability as well and Brookes was a great opponent to bring that out in him, while also showing himself to be a very skilled competitor in his own right.
4. Chuck Cyrus & Kelly Sixx vs Dan Moloney & Wild Boar
Immediately spilling out to the floor when Moloney & Boar attacked their opponents before the bell, the match started off as it meant to go on. Boar whipped Sixx in the direction of the crowd, but he managed to stop himself and then leapfrog a charging Boar who crashed face-first into the chairs. In the ring, Moloney scored with a handspring enzuigiri before he and Boar successfully managed to isolate Kelly, punishing him with some solid suplexes, slams and strikes. Some quick tags kept them in charge of the match for quite a while, but a moment’s complacency from Boar allowed Stixx to score with a big enzuigiri to make the hot tag. Cyrus went to work with some big forearms and an insane pump-handle suplex that sent Boar flying across the ring! He launched Kelly into a rana on Boar, before hitting Moloney with a moonsault neckbreaker combo, only for Boar to break up the pin. Boar attempted the package piledriver on Cyrus, but the big man fought out of it and hit a deadlift vertical suplex before following up with a crazy tope! Kelly didn’t fare as well with Moloney, however, eating a huge pump kick to the face before Boar rolled in to hit the package piledriver, Moloney then locking in a stretch muffler to force the submission. This was pretty good, all four guys worked hard, although the ref lost control of the match and the finishing stretch was a bit muddled for it.
5. Damian Dunne vs TK Cooper
‘Number One’ Damian Dunne’s open challenge was answered by TK Cooper, Dunne saying that TK flew all the way from New Zealand just to loose to the Number One. Cooper responded by insinuating that Dunne bears more than a passing resemblance to a Hobbit. Once things are under way, TK shows himself to be more than a match for Dunne in terms of size, speed and technical ability, the self-professed Number One left scrambling for the ropes after being caught with a standing corkscrew moonsault from Cooper. TK charges, but Dunne hits a low knee to turn the tide. There’s nothing fancy about his offence as he punishes TK with knees and elbows to the gut, but after being caught unaware by a high kick Dunne looked to be in trouble, Cooper following up with what looked like a capture suplex turned into a powerbomb for a big near-fall. Dunne rallied with a high knee to the jaw before hitting a German suplex for a near-fall of his own. He went for a springboard, but Cooper smartly caught him on the ropes and rolled him up for the three count! Another solid match here, Cooper has some unique offence at his disposal and carries himself well, but while Damian’s decidedly more no-nonsense approach didn’t earn him the victory, he impressed in defeat.
6. VII Pro Title: Ryan Smile (c) vs Chris Dickinson
Dickinson immediately shows the crowd what he’s all about when he grabs a-hold of Smile’s arm and just powers him down to the mat, but while Smile has to bring his agility into play to force an escape, the larger Dickinson shows that he’s no slouch in that department either. Then, when it comes down to strength alone, Dickinson shows he has the decisive advantage, just body checking Smile hard to the mat. Smile tries his best to rile Dickinson up, perhaps not the best tactic against such an opponent, but it seems to work as he goads his opponent into hitting the ropes, before hitting him with a big leg lariat. The champion stunned the challenger with some strikes in the corner, following up with a second-rope crossbody for a near-fall. Things spilled out to the floor and Smile went for a tope con hilo but, while he did knock Dickinson down, the landing was pretty brutal. He got Dickinson back in the ring and went for a frog splash, but the challenger rolled out of the way and covered him for a near-fall. Punishing knee strikes from Dickinson sought to soften up Smile’s abdominal area, which he then worked over with a body scissors and inverted Boston crab that forced the champion to painfully struggle to the ropes.
Dickinson hit two very solid back suplexes, but on the third attempt Smile floated over and caught him with a boot to the face, only to be turned inside-out by a shoulder tackle. The challenger stomped away at the champion, before setting him up top for a superplex, only for Smile to slide out from under him, kick out his legs and hit a huge elevated back cracker for a close two count. Smile hit a beautiful missile dropkick and then headed back up top, letting fly with a huge frog splash that should have ended the match, had Dan Moloney not interfered and dragged the referee from the ring. This brought out pretty much the entire card of wrestlers one-by-one, each hitting a move or two and spilling from the ring, until Dickinson caught Dunne with a Pazuzu Bomb to the floor! Smile appeared up on an elevated stage and hit a crossbody onto the pile, before getting Dickinson back in the ring. He scored with a springboard cutter, but missed the 450 and Dickinson hit a Pazuzu Bomb for the nearest of near-falls. He went for it again, but Smile caught him into a hurricanrana to retain the title.
Overall this was an enjoyable show in front of a lively family crowd who seemed well entertained by the matches on offer, as was I. The stand-out for me was the British Lions Title match, both Brookes and Andrews didn’t put a foot wrong in the contest and it was for me the most well put together match of the night. Damian Dunne vs TK Cooper and Jinny vs Dahlia Black were both solid matches as well and I enjoyed the tag wrestling on display, especially the opening match where I was mightily impressed by the YOLO Squad of Ethan Silver & Drew Parker. The main event of Ryan Smile vs Chris Dickinson was a good way to close the show, but went awry in one or two places. The run-ins down the stretch made for an exciting (if somewhat inexplicable) conclusion, which perhaps would’ve been better explained with commentary. The lack of commentary wasn’t a huge deterrent, however, as the crowd were loud and appreciative of the action throughout. On the technical side of things, the picture and sound quality are both good, but the handheld camerawork suffers a bit for the limited space around ringside.
VII Pro ‘A New Genesis’ is available now on DVD over at http://www.viiprowrestling.com/