wrestling / Columns

Hamilton’s Independent Grab Bag, October 2021: Daniel Garcia, Alex Shelley, More

October 31, 2021 | Posted by Ian Hamilton
Daniel Garcia AEW Rampage

For those who follow me on Twitter, I recently announced that I’d be changing the way I cover certain shows – basically, the amount of content out there is way too damn high to keep track of… so, rather than burn out, here’s a quick look at some of the other shows and matches I’ve seen in the last little while…

ACTION Wrestling – Acting Accordingly (September 24, 2021)
Roger Spencer Community Center, Tyrone, GA, USA
Available via IWTV

Falls Count Anywhere: Matt Sells pinned Jaden Newman
This one was the “unscheduled” show opener, with Sells having threatened to taken Newman into a lake. Sells is jumped by Carson Dilbeck and Pete Youngblood – identified as Newman’s trainees – before we got going. They brawl all around the venue, then outside as they fought into trees as Newman got a two-count against a tree. Sells returned the favour, lawn-darting him into another tree, before Newman’s goons run out to help him again, as they then set up for a powerbomb on a picnic table… only for Sells to fight free with low blows. They fight closer to the lake, as Newman leaps off the table with a clothesline, before they teased going in the drink. In the end, a back body drop took Newman into the lake, before a stunner took Newman onto a table for the win as they paid this feud off before it got dark out. **¾

Post-match (after a shower) Newman chews out Dilbeck and Youngblood.

Kevin Ku submitted Merrik Donovan
Merrik tries to play Ku at his own game, as the pair trade kicks and chops, before a wacky take on a Muta lock was broken up by Donovan. Ku’s able to cut off Donovan, until a big lariat spun Ku down, ahead of a Flatliner and a pull-up Falcon arrow as Donovan almost scored the upset. A Regalplex from Ku nearly wins it, as a series of strikes weakened Donovan some more as a triangle armbar forced the submission. Brief, but good stuff from Ku, who had to hold on against Donovan at times… ***

O’Shay Edwards pinned Erron Wade
Wade’s going through a trial series, and this was always going to be a big ask for him… especially once O’Shay got his hands on him. Wade’s offence just, erm, offended Edwards, who leapt on him in the ropes before he just stood on the “Baby Dragon,” before he turned a bear hug into a belly-to-belly… with O’Shay keeping on top of Wade on the mat. Wade’s search for a Michinoku driver kept putting him in trouble, before Edwards caught a crane kick and dumped Wade on his head with a sit-out tombstone. Good effort from Wade, but these trial series continue for now. **¾

Action Challenge Gauntlet
Suge D’s out first as he was advertised but without a match. I mean, that feels like an admin error anyone would get pissed off at. Speaking of pissed off, Suge’s annoyed that the show’s got someone who’s gone “from 205 Live” to the top of the card today. What Suge was part of, was a 12-man gauntlet, which was basically a Royal Rumble with pins and submissions for a shot at the ACTION title.

The first roadblock sent Suge’s way was Brett Ison, then AKIRA, as the first few entrants came from Ison’s Kill Or Be Killed faction. It’s almost like this was rigged! Ron Bass Jr. is next, and we’re quickly into a Hoss fight with Bass and Ison throwing shots, before Suge G was knocked out under the bottom rope…. Zach Mosley brought some flash as he came in, only to charge into Ison and Bass. He’ll learn. BK Westbrook’s in next, then Ashton Starr, with those two going toe-to-toe… but we’ve still got a full ring. Its added to with a debuting Rico Gonzales, but Rico’s the first one eliminated after a sit-out over-the-shoulder backbreaker, right as Cabana Man Dan added to things.

Dan clears out Mosley, as Suge D tried to come in with a cheapshot. BK Westbrook gets eliminated off camera as Shean Christopher came in… Suge D rolled up AKIRA for an elimination, only for AKIRA to hit a Gotch piledriver in retribution, before Suge shrugged it off to knock Dan and Starr off the apron for a pair of eliminations. Jack Kujo’s adding to the pile, and apparently was the last man in… since we then went over 90 seconds without a new entrant.

Kujo’s Codebreaker leaves Suge in a heap, but he rolls to the apron as Christopher and Kujo went at each other, but Suge chucks Kujo out… then hits a double arm DDT on Christopher. For the win? Nope, because the bell wasn’t rung – someone messed up on intervals, and Suge perhaps relied on that too much. Out comes Orion Bishop, who was one big man too many for Suge, despite his attempts to wear down Bishop… who cut him in half with a spear, before a slam booked Orion a shot at the title. The overall story in this was good, with Suge thinking he’d beaten the system, but this was perhaps this time Suge looked to have been overtly done wrong by “management.” ***

Taped after the match, Suge D’s pissed off at how he’d been screwed over… saying that this was the second time, and there’d not be a third.

AC Mack pinned Adam Priest
They had this match at Game Over in June, with the crowd really unsure on Adam Priest… will it be the same here? Mack jumped Priest before the bell, but Priest was able to hit back with a LOFTY Alabama Jam top rope legdrop for a near-fall, before he used his loaded arm on Mack. A brief trip outside gave Mack some fresh impetus, but a double clothesline slows the sprint down, as Priest looked to control things. Mack’s bad knee hampered him, but he still goes for his Mack 10 finisher, before Priest rolled up Mack with a handful of tights… in front of the ref, so it’s not counted. Priest goes to hit the ref, who cowers… and while his back was turned, Mack punches Priest in the balls before winning with the Mack 10. A heck of a sprint this, with Priest being his own worst enemy at the end as Mack waits in line for his shot at the IWTV title. ***½

ACTION Tag Team Championship: The Skulk (Adrian Alanis & Liam Gray) beat Suplex Science (Alex Kane & Damyan Tangra) & Bobby Flaco & Brogan Finlay to win the titles
A three-way elimination match to crown the first ever ACTION tag champs here, amd we#ve got one man from each team in the ring at all times. Well, until there’s an elimination. Finlay and Flaco – who called themselves Air BnB (at least until the cease & desist!) – looked bright to start, it’s Kane and Tangra who take over, working on Alanis as Alex Kane nearly chucks folks out of the ring with suplexes. Poor Brogan Finlay took a bunch, and was kept isolated for a spell too as it felt like everyone else had picked him out as the weak link.

A bunch of backbreakers blast Brogan, before Flaco leapt into an Alanis dropkick… Alex Kane clears out Flaco with a pumphandle driver for the first elimination – so we’re down to the Skulk and Kane/Tangra to decide the champs… but it doesn’t last much longer as the Skulk go airborne, taking Kane to the outside before Tangra ate a lariat from Alanis as the Skulk went on to take the win. This was a little spotty in times and could have gone a little longer, but the Skulk are hardly the worst choice to put the titles on given the ACTION roster. ***

Anthony Henry submitted Merc
Merc is Graham Bell’s new name, which is certainly more chantable. This was Henry’s return to ACTION after seven months away, and how messed up is someone’s talent valuation that a guy’s able to join and leave a company like WWE in the same calendar year? Henry brought a lot of kicks to Merc, before a neck twist a la ZSJ on the apron kept Merc down. Merc rolls outside to post Henry from a guillotine, before a Hard Grenade attempt was countered into a mounted Dragon Sleeper from Henry… Merc escaped for a spear, which looked to have damaged Henry’s already-injured ribs too much, but Henry’s able to gut it out and get back to Merc with a tornado DDT, then a crossface that Merc nearly rolled out of… before a double stomp compacted Merc’s midsection (yet not get the win). Ow. Merc nearly spiked Henry on a Tiger Driver, before a knee strike drew a near-fall… but in the end Henry’s back with a Figure Four Dragon Screw (double ow) before a bridging Indian Deathlock forces the submission. A hearty return for Henry, who didn’t look like he missed a beat on his indie return. ***½

Arik Royal pinned Logan Creed to retain the ACTION Championship
Back in June, Royal vs. Creed ended as a no-contest, but we’ve circled back around to the rematch as Creed has yet to lose in this venue. Creed looked to dominate in the early going as the pair opted to wrestle, rather than strike… leading to an “I did not expect that” Code Red out of Creed for an early two-count. A big boot from Creed misses, but he’s able to step over onto the apron… which Royal powerbombed him onto as the champion looked for the stoppage. When that didn’t come, Creed had a mudhole stomped on him in the corner, before Creed’s trip up top was rudely stopped with him getting yanked to the mat. Creed tries to hit a big shot, but found luck as he dumped Royal across the top turnbuckle… before gutting through things to hit a fallaway slam. Royal’s back with a cutter onto the apron, only for Creed to come back with a boot and a tope into the crowd. Despite taking a Northern Lights suplex, Royal’s able to return with a Kobe back inside, but Creed sits up before he could be pinned, and now we get the strikes. A second Kobe’s blocked and met with capture headbutts, as Creed pushed on his way to a chokebreaker, but Royal’s up at two… and returned with a spear before a cheating Figure Four ended in the ropes. He goes back to it, but Creed pushes Royal away, then went in for one of his own, with a similar result, before Creed’s missed dive sent him onto the apron. A superplex brings Creed back in, as we continue to go back and forth… another spear to the knee affected Creed, as he was unable to go for Scorched Earth, before a third Acegawd’s Curse spear put him away. If you went into this expecting the modern “hoss fight”, you’ll be disappointed, but this was a good back-and-forth outing that saw Royal take not-too-many shortcuts as he snuck out another title defence… with the show ending with Logan Creed taking off his boots and leaving them in the ring. Symbolic. ***¼

NORTH Wrestling – NCL.2.1 Everything Is Back Where It Belongs (August 21, 2021)
Anarchy Brew Co., Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England
Available via IWTV

After 18 months away, NORTH returned with their first show since the pandemic started… in a new venue, in the form of Newcastle’s Anarchy Brew Co. The promotion hit the reset button before they came back, vacating the NORTH Championship that had been held by Spike Trivet.

Following Andrew Bowers’ opening spiel, we’re interrupted by Prokofiev’s Dance of the Knights – a song associated with Newcastle’s football rivals, Sunderland – and Zeo Knox. His tag team partner in the Landed Gentry had retired during lockdown (and returned), and was wondering why he wasn’t on the card. It led to him saying that the Landed Gentry were “the best in the world,” which was the cue for “CM Chunk” to come out (with full music and video), scaring Knox away. Matthew Gregg (of Botchamania) and Tom Campbell provide commentary.

Gia Adams pinned Taonga & Lizzy Evo
We’ve a jump start as everyone focused on the local lass Adams, while Maffew seems to have an unpleasant flashback when they bring up Defiant on commentary. As in “Lizzy Evo was the last Defiant Women’s champion.”

Adams is swarmed throughout, with Evo controlling Adams by her hair ahead of some kicks, making full use of the no-DQ stipulation that comes with these three-ways. Eventually Adams reverses a double suplex, before a diving crossbody to Evo and Taonga drew a bunch of two-counts. Gia keeps going with a stacked up Samoan drop, before a Blue Thunder Bomb put away Taonga in under seven minutes. A little short, but told a good story, and set-up Evo/Adams for down the line after Evo’s post-match attack. **½

Crashboat (Jack Bandicoot & Jake Silver) pinned Lykos Gym (Kid Lykos & Kid Lykos II)
Two teams debuting in NORTH here, as I popped for the UFC fighter then-and-now identifier tip for Crashboat from Maffew on commentary. Crashboat started brightly with some good double-teams on Lykos II in the early going, but the Lykii roughed up Bandicoot as we built up to Silver’s comeback… the momentum goes all over the place as Silver’s flying stunner nearly put away Lykos II, as did a double-team DDT, but the Lykii recover with an Asai DDT onto the knees.

Bandicoot’s springboard flip clothesline looked to put Crashboat ahead, but Lykos stops him on the top rope before a springboard DDT, then a step-up DDT off of Lykos II’s back almost gets the win. Some nice, inventive stuff, even if the polish isn’t quite there. Bandicoot fights back against the double-team, watching as the Lykii dives into each other, but Lykos II kicks away a headstand in the corner before a pair of brainbusters looked to get the win… but Bandicoot crucifixes Lykos I instead and steals the win! ***¼

Backstage, Gene Munny’s hunting for Martina… who’s also looking for him. We then get a lip sync battle hosted by Visage, and of course, it’s Gene and Martina taking part. Gene’s been traumatised in lockdown by the threat of Martina, and after they agree to a truce, the lip sync’s a spot of Dirty Dancing. Of course, this breaks down as Gene rolled up Martina before the pair fought to the back.

Visage wants to do the lip sync as we’d technically not had one, but we’re interrupted by HT Drake, who they try to coerce into singing some Neil Diamond. Instead, he just boots Visage into the corner, and we’ve a match.

HT Drake submitted Visage
Drake’s early offence is quelled by Visage, whose kicks softed Drake up as they pulled his head into their crotch…

Drake fires back, chopping Visage as they were hung up in the ropes. Back in the ring, Visage is hobbling, but their knee is dropkicked out as Drake homed in on the body part. A roll-up out of the corner gives Visage a near-fall, but Drake’s quickly back with a German suplex, before a butterfly suplex dumped Visage for another two-count. Visage returned with a handstand ‘rana out of the corner to Drake, before a Cactus crossbody sent both of them over the top rope to the floor. A springboard spear nearly gets Visage their win, but Drake’s able to hit a Northern Lights suplex and a stomp, then a spinning heel kick off the top for another near-fall. In the end though, Drake heads outside and grabs a turnbuckle iron – and smashes it on Visage before grabbing the win with a half crab, having unsighted the ref with their wig in order to do so. Some good fight from Visage, who was playing the underdog throughout. **¾

Falls Count Anywhere: Gene Munny vs. Martina ended in a no-contest, eventually
This one played off of Martina and Munny’s never-ending rivalry in Sheffield’s now-defunct Breed Pro Wrestling… and their set to a little earlier. The fight starts in the aisle, and doesn’t make it to the ring as Martina went for pins before she ripped off Gene’s nipple tape. Roll-ups in the ring lead to Martina running into a Vader Bomb-style floatover in the corner, but Martina pantses Gene, showing his golden thong as we’re back to see-saw pins.

Gene dropkicks Martina away mid-chug of beer, before a pair of Finlay rolls looked to put him ahead… but Martina kicks back for a bronco buster. She’s knackered after it though, and turns around into a slingshot spear. Martina avoids an Ainsley lariat, returning with a beer spray and the Seshbreaker off the top for a near-fall. This match can’t end. Gene digs deeper with a spinebuster and a punch for two-counts, only to miss a moonsault… before the pair clothesline each other and… it’s a double pin?! This match must continue at some point, I guess?

They restart the match, because “there must be a winner,” but they chase each other to the back… and we’ll pick this up again!

Will Kroos pinned Man Line Dereiss
It’s nice to see DeReiss’ entrance actually have a crowd to react to it… with the size difference, DeReiss was having to stick and run here, but he gets chucked into the corner as Kroos nonchalantly kicked him to the outside too.

Kroos Biel’s DeReiss almost the entire way across the ring, before he deadlifted DeReiss into a powerbomb… following up with a set-up for the cannonball, but DeReiss rolls away in time. He fought back with kicks and clotheslines, but an elbow from Kroos stops all that. A 619 in the ropes and a Meteora take Kroos down, but it’s only enough for a two-count as DeReiss stays grounded with an abdominal stretch. A stunner stops a threatened comeback, but DeReiss’ search for a suplex was a bad idea, as Kroos just charges his way free.

DeReiss’ satellite DDT nearly nicks it, but a 4-Fiddy splash misses, as Kroos ensured he turned around into another lariat. A springboard moonsault from DeReiss doesn’t have the effect he wanted… because it’s caught as Kroos piledrives him for the win. Both men looked good here, as DeReiss was unable to make too much of a dent against Kroos, who made this look easy at times. ***¼

Gene Munny’s outside in the rainy car park crying out for Martina… who just nonchalantly walks away from a none-the-wiser Munny, wanting no more part of him today.

Rory Coyle beat Liam Slater, Alex Henry & Shreddy to win the NORTH Championship
After NORTH vacated the title, this match ensured the title was going to stay, ahem, up north. Coyle was the only former champion in this match, while Shreddy got Jimmy Rave’d, getting showered with toilet paper – a product that some 16 months earlier would have cost a bomb.

Shreddy revelled in the crowd’s hatred of him, as Rory Coyle stacked up some chairs and a VCR in the middle of the ring. Man’s been scouring charity shops, eh? A stubby beer keg’s added to the mix, and now everyone’s got a weapon… until Shreddy cleared the ring. The early pin-ball on Shreddy ends when Slater accidentally hit Coyle, and we pair off from there as we get some crowd brawling. Good job social distancing isn’t a thing!

A TKO from Shreddy drops Henry onto a chair, following up with a series of one-man Conchairtos. Ring crew check on Henry, who’s X’d by the referee as things turned into a three-way. Rory Coyle pulls ahead with a Bossman Slam for a two-count, while Shreddy’s German suplex was shrugged off by Slater, who hit one of his own moments later.

Slater’s dropkick just wound up Shreddy, who hit another chairshot… then went for another Conchairto… only to divert his attention to Rory Coyle. Chairshots wear down the former champion, but bought Slater time to recover, as he then went out for Shreddy with a tope con giro! Back inside, a crossbody off the top nearly gets Slater the win, but Shreddy’s back with a suplex onto some chairs, then a Jacked Hammer slam for another near-fall.

A full nelsons lam from Slater drops Shreddy onto the chairs, before a powerbomb followed for a near-fall… with a half crab following… but Slater then goes for an armbar, only for Rory Coyle to lay out the ref with the VCR, right as Shreddy was about to tap. With no ref, Coyle lays out Slater with the tape player, before a series of pumphandle powerbombs drew out NORTH owner Andrew Bowers… and we’re borrowing a page from olden-day PROGRESS here as Coyle makes Bowers count the pin, except Slater kicks out at two. In the end, Slater gets DDT’d onto chairs and the VCR, as Bowers was made to count the pin as Rory Coyle left Newcastle a two-time champion… and back in the Geordies’ bad books following a plunderiffic main event. ***

Overall, NORTH’s show was an enjoyable first step in their restart – with the atmosphere translating fairly well from what I’d imagine it’d be like live.

And now… some match reviews…

New Texas Pro Women’s & ROH World Women’s Championship: Killer Kelly vs. Rok-C (c)
New Texas Pro – Olajuwon (September 25, 2021)
Available via IWTV

Rok-C’s known as the “Prodigy”, but commentary noted how Kelly’s experience may be the edge in this…

Both women start by working over the others’ wrists, as Kelly bridges Rok-C to the mat, only to get caught in a front facelock. Kelly manages to get free, but has to headstand out of some headscissors as again stared down Rok-C… who didn’t back down, and went back in with a side headlock. This time, Kelly’s the one whose counter out is neutralised with a headstand, after she’d used headscissors to take things to the mat. Anything you can do, and all that…

One wardrobe adjustment later, we’re back with wristlocks, but Rok-C’s wheelbarrow roll through into a pin put her in trouble, as Kelly kicked out and immediately applied a rear naked choke. Kelly switches it up into a pinning attempt, before Rok-C scrambled out of a crossface as we still waited for someone to pull ahead.

Rok-C cartwheels over a dropdown, before Kelly’s attempt at a pump kick was caught… she countered with a roll-up, before Rok-C pulled ahead with armdrags, including a lucha armdrag out of the corner as the double champion looked to be getting under Kelly’s skin. Kelly asks for a curtsey, but just boots Rok-C away as some ground and pound looked to wear her down, as Rok-C’s attempt to fight back just ended with her getting knocked into the ropes.

Kelly continues to control the pace, blasting Rok-C with crossface punches, before a rear naked choke ended in the ropes. Actually breaking, Kelly quickly runs back in with a clothesline as she threatened to ruin Rok-C’s homecoming… but Rok-C’s made of sterner stuff, and looked to come back with a wheelbarrow bulldog… only for Kelly to counter with a wheelbarrow German suplex for a near-fall.

Using a cravat, Kelly keeps Rok-C on the back foot, while eye rakes led to Rok-C stunning Kelly with a knee lift. The ref checks on Kelly, who responds with a Yakuza kick in the corner before Rok-C fought back with a Thesz press. Kelly tries for a backbreaker, but Rok-C headscissors free, only to get caught with a clothesline. An attempt at Vale da Morte from Kelly’s escaped as Rok-C’s side Russian legsweep and backflip double kneedrop put her on course for a win, only for Kelly to stifle her follow-up by bringing her down with a superplex to almost win the match. Kelly doesn’t stay on top of her though, and after kicking out from a crucifix, Rok-C applies a crossface… rolling back into the middle of the ring as Kelly had clawed her way across the ring, btu second time was the charm.

Kelly rolls outside, but ends up suckering Rok-C into a dive, which she swatted away with a forearm. An attempted suplex form the apron to the floor’s blocked by Rok-C, who instead ran in with a knee, before a return to the ring saw both Kelly and Rok-C clatter each other with dualling front kicks. Another strike exchange ends with Rok-C knocking Kelly’s mouthguard out… but Kelly pops it back in and returned with a capture headbutt, then a butterfly suplex into the corner. The Shades of Shibata dropkick followed next, but it’s not enough for the win as Rok-C keeps kicking out at two…

Vale da Morte’s again escaped by Rok-C, who shoves Kelly outside for a low-pe, before a return to the ring led to a wheelbarrow roll-up that went back into the crossface for the quick submission. We’ve been raving about Killer Kelly since she popped up onto the scene in wXw some four years ago, and hopefully the relocation opens a lot of doors to kickstart her career. I was impressed with Rok-C here, looking really composed throughout – which you’d expect given the push she’d been given by ROH. If you haven’t already, keep an eye on Rok-C’s name, even if the usual hyperbole of “one for the future” may be “one for the now.”

Result: Rok-C submitted Killer Kelly to retain the New Texas Pro Womens & ROH World Women’s Championships in 19:01 (***½)

C4 Championship: Mike Bailey vs. Daniel Garcia (c)
C4 Wrestling – Fighting Back: Wrestling With Cancer (September 11, 2021)
Available via IWTV

Garcia won the C4 title back in November 2019, just before everything went to shit, beating Josh Alexander… but with the world on hold, his title defences have been limited, with a win over Evil Uno in January 2020 and a defence against Kevin Ku over WrestleMania weekend this April being the only two.

We’ve dualling chants before the bell, and I’m still happy to hear crowds that make noise in 2021. Bailey looks to sting Garcia with kicks early, as their early lock-ups ended in the corner with neither man seemingly willing to break. A shoulder charge from Garcia has Bailey briefly down, before Speedball swung with a kick that had Garcia backing away. Things go to ground, with Bailey’s rear naked choke getting thrown aside before Garcia hit the ropes… and ran into a kick. Garcia tries to get back into it, blocking a knee drop before Bailey kicked him in the back, following up with knees in the ropes before Garcia rolled free and tripped him to the mat.

Bailey’s just chucked into the turnbuckles after that, as Garcia then took over with body scissors on the mat. Rolling Bailey onto his front, Garcia’s hammerfists wore down the challenger, leading to a leglock that had Bailey on the defensive. Getting free, Bailey’s quickly caught in a rear naked choke that Garcia gave up to hit some rolling German suplexes, before a STF led to another submission attempt. Standing up, Bailey’s thrown into the ropes, but returned with a leaping knee to Garcia, following up with an axe kick and a mid kick before a running corkscrew press led to a two-count. Another kick’s caught by Garcia, but Bailey slaps free before a roll-up led Garcia into a Trailer Hitch on Bailey. It’s broken via the ropes though, as the pair resort to back-and-forth forearms, with Garcia switching it up with an arm whip instead.

Stomps from Garcia just seem to annoy Bailey, who frees himself and lands some mid kicks, before he rebounded from a shotgun dropkick to hit a PK on Garcia. Recovering, Garcia boots Bailey off the apron as the pair head outside to spar some more, as kicks from Bailey lead to the Golden Triangle moonsault, before the pair headed onto the apron to trade some strikes, but Bailey’s reliance on kicks looked to put him in trouble, only for him to trip Garcia to the mat… as a moonsault double knees eats nothing but apron.

From there, Garcia traps Bailey with a Sharpshooter on the edge of the ring as Bailey slunk to the floor. Back inside, Bailey’s caught with the Deathshooter again, but this time he can’t pull himself off the apron to the floor, but was able to make it to the ropes as Garcia lost grip. A moonsault/fallaway slam – the Green Tea Plunge – put Bailey back in it, but the shooting star knees miss in the follow up. The tornado kick lands, while Garcia’s attempt to punch out of a Flamingo Driver doesn’t work as he’s planted for a near-fall. Bailey’s running punt keeps Garcia down, but Garcia gets the knees up on the Ultima Weapon as the shooting star knees ended in ugly fashion.

We’re back to the Deathshooter as Garcia looked to get a submission, but again Bailey gets to the ropes… Garcia pulls him away, but Bailey rolls and slaps his way free, only for Garcia to come back in with more stomps. Bailey unloads in return with haymakers and knee strikes, knocking Garcia down to the mat in a heap… but Garcia returns with some more strikes that Bailey covered up on as they went into the ropes. Heading up top, Bailey elbows Garcia ahead of a superplex, but Garcia sweeps the legs and we get a brutal landing ahead of a Bomb Scare knee drop. A spinning tombstone’s next, but Bailey kicks out, then came back with moonsault knees as he blocked a sunset flip. A buzzsaw kick drops Garcia briefly, so Bailey uncorks another before he finally hit the Ultima Weapon to the back of Garcia… and that’s the win!

This one was delightfully violent, feeling like a real battle rather than “you do a move, I do a move” that a lot of wrestling can end up being. Bailey’s such a polite sod, he thanks Garcia for a kiss on the lips after the match… and while we know Garcia’s taking that step up into AEW, we can only hope that a similar move into the big time is coming Mike’s way too. Lord knows, he deserves it…

Result: Mike Bailey pinned Daniel Garcia to win the C4 Championship in 23:44 (****)

IWTV Independent Wrestling World Championship: Alex Shelley vs. Wheeler Yuta (c)
IWTV Untitled (October 08, 2021)
Available via IWTV

This was the 102nd defence of the IWTV title, with Yuta having last defended the title against Leyla Hirsch some 24 hours earlier (kinda killing the 101st Defence vibe!). Yuta’s previously beaten Dave Cole, Lee Moriarty, Willow Nightingale and Killian McMurphy, while going to an hour-long draw with Daniel Garcia on his list of defences.

The night before, Shelley had beaten Daniel Garcia at Beyond, but had taken a lot of shots to his knee in the process – and of course, Yuta was going for that early on. Shelley matched Yuta hold-for-hold early on, slipping out of a side headlock before Yuta tied up the legs… and took Shelley into the ropes. Resetting, Shelley stretches Yuta out, but Yuta’s able to break free to grab a side headlock – and cling onto it as Shelley tried to push out. When he did, a high paced exchange ends with a dropkick from Yuta, before Shelley chopped and elbows his way away from a back body drop.

A quick side headlock’s turned into a Saito suplex by Yuta… Shelley rolls outside to try and shake it off, but he rolled back in at seven and ended up taking a bunch of stomps and kicks before a caught kick led to Shelley measuring up for a Dragon screw, which looked to jar Yuta’s elbow as much as his knee. Spotting that, Shelley grabs a Corning hold on the arm, wrenching the elbow and bicep some more, as Yuta’s escape just led to him getting caught in an armbar. After escaping, Yuta’s taken into the corner with a Complete Shot, before a charge into the corner was floated over, with Yuta coming again off the ropes with a dropkick.

Shelley’s taken outside, but swats Yuta away with a forearm, before he dropped a knee on the apron. The pair fight around ringside, with Yuta tasting the apron again before he took a brainbuster onto it (from the floor), almost like a Last Shot. Ow. Back inside, a cobra clutch was resisted by Yuta, only for him to get caught in a straitjacket hold as Shelley looked to be settling in. Yuta rolled free to reverse the hold, but Shelley’s back on top, bridging the straitjacket over his knees before letting go – presumably to try a different tactic. Shelley misses a punt to the arm as Yuta fought back, hitting another dropkick before almost a springboard Torpedo Moscau out of the corner cracked Shelley en route to a bridging German suplex.

Yuta goes up top but misses on a big splash, allowing Shelley back in with a Mistica into a Border City Stretch… but Yuta gets to the ropes as parts of the locker room empties out to bang the ring for extra noise. Shelley yanks Yuta’s arm with an armbreaker, before an elbow dropped Yuta to his knees. Yuta’s back with an Alphamare Waterslide for a near-fall, before a fight for a gutwrench ended with Yuta clubbing Shelley away, leading to a Yu-Tap that Shelley rolled out of for a near-fall. A superkick followed, but a Sliced Bread’s countered back into Yu-Tap… Shelley wriggled free and spiked Yuta with a Shell Shock, only for Yuta to pop up!

A clothesline and a second Shell Shock gets Shelley another near-fall, before rolling Yuta into a Border City Stretch for the submission… and NEW! Playing a little off of the Beyond action the night before, this in its own right was a cracker of a match, but while Yuta managed to last an hour against Daniel Garcia, it seemed like that apron brainbuster was the tide-turner as Shelley left with some new gold… but not before a show-closing speech that put over Yuta as the future of wrestling for following the road that Shelley had paved.

Result: Alex Shelley submitted Wheeler Yuta to win the IWTV Independent Wrestling World Championship in 17:59 (****)

FutureShock Tag Team Championship: The Models (Danny Hope & Joey Hayes) vs. Young Guns (Ethan Allen & Luke Jacobs) (c)
FutureShock 17th Anniversary – Part One (August 14, 2021)
Available via FutureShock’s Vimeo Site

Allen and Jacobs came into this having held the FutureShock tag titles for 636 days, having beaten the Grizzled Young Veterans for them back in November 2019. FutureShock ran a little during the pandemic, so this wasn’t one of those “padded out” reigns either, as this was the Young Guns’ seventh title defence.

Fans outside of the North West have become used to seeing the Young Guns in PROGRESS and Rev Pro these days, where they’ve got a bit of an edge to them (to put it mildly!) Allen and Hayes start us off, with Allen taking things to the corner early on as the feeling out process began in earnest. Allen wrenches in a side headlock on Hayes, but came back with shoulder tackles before a crossbody from Hayes was shrugged off as the pair trade and escape headlocks en route to the stand-off. Tags get us to Hope and Jacobs, and Luke’s throwing himself about, knocking Hope down as the crowd almost seemed split here.

The champions looked to focus on Hope, as Allen avoids a slam to hit one of his own, while Jacobs tagged back in for an elbow drop. Trying to cut the ring in half, Jacobs slaps away Hayes on the apron as the Guns came in for quick double-teams to clear the way, only for the Models to flapjack Allen and chuck Jacobs outside as that advantage quickly fell apart. Back in the ring, Allen gets aggressive, kicking out Hope’s knee to the point that Danny had to roll outside to shake off the dead leg, but back inside Allen’s swarmed and caught in the Models’ corner briefly, as Hope snapmared and punted Ethan in the back as they looked to play the Guns at their own aggressive game.

A back body drop flings Allen skyward, before Hayes’ kneedrop landed for just a one-count as the veterans started to really isolate Allen. Hope’s back with a forearm in the corner, but Allen’s attempt to fight back ended with him getting wrecked with a back elbow for a two-count. Hayes’ neckbreaker keeps the pressure up, as did some elbows from Hope, before a struggle over a suplex ended with Allen just getting slapped about. Allen gets up and responds before he suplexed Hope, before Luke Jacobs came in and damn near kicked Danny Hayes through the buckles. Hayes’ boot saves him, but a crossbody’s rolled through as Jacobs transitioned it into a goddamn brainbuster for a near-fall. A powerbomb’s escaped, as Jacobs ends up eating a superkick from the apron as a cutter from Hayes led to a near-fall. Hayes tags in to hit a second JKO for another two-count on Jacobs, only for Luke’s rolling elbow to lead to the back cracker/spinebuster double-team on Hayes.

A high/low wipes out Hayes for another near-fall, with Hope making the save, only for Allen to maul Hope… and get some in return. Allen’s leaping spin kick sparks a Parade of Strikes that left everyone laying, as we then resumed with Hayes and Allen trading chops and forearms from their knees. Allen picks up steam, slapping away Hayes, only for an Allen Slam to get turned into a DDT for a near-fall. A Cross-Hayes sees Jacobs try to pull Hayes away by the knee pads, before all four men ended up in the ring as a crossface and ankle lock was broken up by way of Hope monkey flipping Jacobs into the pile. The Models get thrown to the outside as Allen joined them with an Orihara moonsault… which accidentally wiped out the ring crew, whom the Models used as human shields.

Hope posts Allen and Jacobs after that, before he grabbed the FutureShock tag titles… the ref stops Hope’s belt shot though, while Joey Hayes talked sense into his partner… because he’d brought the second belt in, and used it behind the ref’s back. One 3D later, and that’s a rather unpopular title change as the Models outsmarted the Young Guns – winning their first tag titles in the company for five years.

Commentary had played up that the Young Guns’ title defences had been against similarly or less-experienced teams – whereas the Models were their first big test. The loss doesn’t do any damage, nor did it feel like the kind of “putting them in their place” as you may have seen in other promotions. Coming into this cold, I can see why those who’ve followed the stories along were raving, but this was still a bloody good tag match with the shining stars of the current generation – a pairing that, all being well, will be around in notable positions for quite some time to come.

Result: Joey Hayes & Danny Hope pinned Luke Jacobs & Ethan Allen in 22:24 to win the FutureShock Tag Team Championship (****¼)

Ethan Allen vs. Chris Ridgeway
CATCH Pro Wrestling The Enygma Series #1 (October 11, 2021)
Available via YouTube

Starting with a lock-up, Ridgeway’s taken into the corner… before he bullied Allen through the ropes in a different corner.

Grabbing the wrist, Ridgeway armdrags Allen to the mat, quickly following with a hammerlock as Ethan got to the ropes for a break. A headlock takedown’s quickly escaped, so Allen tries again but with similar results as the pair then looked to try their luck with leglocks. Allen looked to edge ahead, but Ridgeway pulled him down as the ropes forced a quick break… with Ridgeway taking his time to let go. A front facelock from Allen ends in the ropes as Ridgeway sent the pair there, but the crowd seemed to get behind Allen in the student/teacher battle. Ridgeway lunges to the ropes as a rear naked choke was put on him, but Allen chops on the break… and gets hit back as a series of Kitchen sink knees winded the young gun.

Ridgeway keeps the pressure on with a floatover suplex and some more kicks as Allen had to cover up into the ropes for some respite. Back in the ring, Ridgeway ties both of Allen’s arms behind his back as he looked for a submission, but to no avail, despite making Allen look like the early stages of a human pretzel. Allen gets to his feet, but is quickly keeled over by a gut shot, before he was forced to elbow out of a side headlock… which just earned him another stiff kick as Ridgeway was bullying his mentee. More kicks keep Allen on the deck, but the cocky cover from a kneeling Ridgeway doesn’t even get a one-count, as something stirred within Allen, prompting a fightback amid elbow strikes… with a back elbow off the ropes taking Ridgeway down.

A slam eventually followed, despite Ridgeway’s struggles, as Allen then returned the favour for those earlier kicks as he laid in. Elbows and kicks continue to give Ridgeway a taste of his own medicine , before some crossface punches led to Allen getting slapped as Ridgeway fought back from the ground. Things get nastier with some springboard stomps in the ropes, while Allen charged in with knees to the ribs as a set up for a butterfly suplex for a near-fall. Allen tries to pull Ridgeway in for an Allen slam, but Ridgeway escaped and manages to find room to kick him in the back. It sent Ethan onto the apron… but Ridgeway joined him there, teasing a German suplex, eventually getting it after kneeing Allen in the back! Rolling Allen back inside, Ridgeway hits a PK for a two-count, before Allen found a way back in with a clothesline and some front kicks in the corner.

Ridgeway’s rocked, but still manages to break a rear naked choke with an armbreaker… before Allen just reapplied it and dragged Ridgeway to the mat. An Allen Slam finally lands for a near-fall as Ridgeway wouldn’t stay down… so Allen grabs Ridgeway’s wrist to keep him in place for a series of kicks. Except Ridgeway gets back on top and quickly blitzes Allen with kicks, as a brainbuster ALMOST got the win… which just got the crowd fired up behind Allen some more. Allen shrugs off Ridgeway’s next set of kicks, but he’s quickly swept down for another PK, which looked to hit the back of the net. Allen has one more fightback, yanking down Ridgeway by the heel as a Euro clutch looked to get the win, but Ridgeway smothers him back down before the pair struggled over a crossface. It’s Ridgeway who gets it, with some crossface punches softening up Allen… who rolled free for some pinning attempts, only for Ridgeway to return the favour as the ropes saved Allen momentarily. In the end though, Ridgeway gets up and hits one more big PK, and that’s all folks as the teacher defeated the student.

These two left it all out there, and put on a nasty, aggressive match that the North West Strong lads are quickly becoming renowned for. Britwres is clearly rebuilding, but if you like mat-based work and hard hits, this ought to be on your list as the Young Guns continue to build their CVs.

Result: Chris Ridgeway pinned Ethan Allen in 22:14 (***¾)