NIGHT ONE: The Broxbourne venue was really cool. The tiered seating was awesome and made for a great view.
Dark: The All Stars beat the LDRS for the IPW-UK Tag Titles
This was a match that's been build up all year on the UK scene. The All Stars became #1 contenders for the belts in April in Sittingbourne. The match was very good and you could tell these four were trying to impress on the big stage. The All Stars are a heel team who while not the flashiest, are very solid wrestlers and are good in their roles. The LDRS are a very over babyface team on the UK indies and are both extremely talented wrestlers. Marty Scurll is a perfect fit for Dragon Gate and has the look and charisma to do well over there if he gets the chance. Zach Sabre is great also, but his style is probably a better fit for a New Japan, Zero1 or BattlARTS (his influences are guys like Shibata and Minoru Tanaka). Match went about 15 minutes and got over real good. Loads of cool moves down the stretch and great babyface fire from the LDRS. Sabre took one seriously NASTY bump on his head. Finish was cool with Scurll getting destroyed on the outside and Dynamite came off the top with a diving headbutt on Sabre (who had Whiplash in a Minoru Special), leading to a double team facebuster for the pin.
1. Cyber Kong beat Joey Hayes
Basically a squash match but Hayes got some opportunities to show his stuff and he was impressive. He had a lot of charisma which complimented the uber-charismatic Kong. Very fun stuff. Only thing missing was the glorious CYBER COMBINATION. Kong ended up winning with a powerbomb in less than ten minutes. Kong got over big with his charisma.
2. Mark Haskins beat Lion Kid
Haskins is a now a regular in Japan, having done three long tours this year alone. He has improved so much in the last year it's ridiculous. Much of the improvement can be connected with the confidence he's gained in himself from being over in Dragon Gate hanging with the best wrestlers in the world night in, night out. Lion Kid is a character created by A-Merchandise and personally I think it's marketing genius. They have every kind of merchandise you can imagine from masks to wristbands to teddy bears. There's even a Lion Girl. It's great! Only problem is that in front of audiences full of male fans in their 20's there is A LOT of heckling. Personally I think it's really undeserved as the lad works really hard in the ring and is pretty darn good. It's a character that does great on more family oriented shows but here at this show, not so much. If you could block out the annoying heckles, this was a good match the chain wrestling was slick, there were some good spots and the finishing stretch was nice. Haskins hit his Tombstone variation for the win.
3. Susumu Yokosuka vs. Shingo Takagi
Last year this match stole the show and was one of my matches of the year. Everyone knows how good both these guys are. They're both in the top ten in the world for my money. The match went as you'd think hard hitting, intense, and really really heated. Susumu is probably the most clever wrestler in the world. He does so many little things that you'd probably only notice and appreciate if you're paying close attention but if you do it's glorious. Some of the highlights included a big Exploder exchange, Susumu going into his Zombie mode, Shingo hitting his crazy forearm combo and his out of nowhere punch and much more. Shingo evened the series at 1-1 with a Last Falconry after several big nearfalls for both guys. They hinted at a rubber match in the future. This was great stuff. ****1/2
4. YAMATO vs. Naruki Doi
A rematch from the Sumo Hall main event in March. I should have noted in the last match that Cyber Kong was out seconding Shingo and the crowd absolutely ate up everything he did on the outside. He was hilarious. Such an amazing character. Well he was back out here for this match and he was even better. I seriously want a bonus on the DVD of all the promos he cut into the ringside cameras. As for the match itself it was very good. YAMATO was his usual charismatic self and Doi was as smooth as ever. Loads of cool exchanges and some great strikes and submissions. Doi won with a Bakatare Sliding Kick. Probably around the ***3/4 to **** range.
5. World-1 (PAC, BxB Hulk, Masato Yoshino) vs. Veteran Army (Masaaki Mochizuki, CIMA, Dragon Kid)
Huge reactions to everyone for their entrances. The match was insane definitely my match of the night. Mochizuki was incredible with his kicks, CIMA was a great general, Kid was as impressive as I've seen him in months, Hulk was full of great spots, Yoshino was lightning fast in everything he did and Pac was amazing in the role of hometown hero. There were so many ridiculously crazy moments and spots Mochi meshed sooooo well with PAC and Hulk as I knew he would producing some cool stuff, Dragon Kid hid an insane reverse rana on PAC after PAC landed on his feet from a shooting star and he also planted him with a sick Ultra Rana. I'm probably forgetting a thousand other great things. But what I won't forget is the finish as PAC blew the roof off the place hitting an Inside Out 450 (one of the more insane top rope moves in his arsenal). PAC cut a great promo afterwards thanking the crowd and the wrestlers and all that jazz. A great end to a fantastic show. ****3/4
NIGHT 2: Got to the lovely St. Ives for the meet & greet on Saturday afternoon. First thing that happens upon arriving in the car park is having CIMA give our group a big Uuuuuuu! Pose while walking over to the fields for a jog. What a man.
The meet & greet was awesome, as they always are. Everyone was there having fun from the wrestlers to the fans to the staff. Cyber Kong and YAMATO were a riot. Fantastically well run and worth the small price.
Dark Match: Stixx vs. Extreme Dean
This was without question the match of the weekend that I was least looking forward to, but it turned out to be the match I was most pleasantly surprised by. Total heel vs. face match Stixx looks like Big Show facially and is pretty funny interacting with the crowd. Dean was excellent a fantastic babyface. He hit an awesome tope which brought the crowd to their feet. Really fun match, both guys were impressive.
1. Cyber Kong vs. Marty Scurll
Very similar to Kong vs. Hayes from Night 1. Scurll responded to the pre-match pineapple squishing by snapping a banana and flexing GET MARTY TO JAPAN!! Again no Cyber Combination so I cried a little. The match was really fun with Scurll looking great when he got offense and selling for Cyber really well. Cyber was just epic. He won with a powerbomb again.
2. Masato Yoshino vs. Lion Kid
Exact same issues as Kid/Haskins. Really smooth, technical match that if watched with the crowd on mute would be very enjoyable. Yoshino is a beast on the mat with his training under Jorge Rivera in the class with Milano Collection AT, Shuji Kondo and the likes, and he really displayed it here. I loved some of his submissions. Kid did very good for himself again and gets the William Regal bonus point for the instant tapping once Yoshino locked in Sol Naciente, making the move look killer.
3. Susumu Yokosuka vs. Masaaki Mochizuki
THE BEST MATCH OF THE WEEKEND. Maybe my second or third favourite match of the year. I was telling everyone for weeks that this would be incredible and even my expectations were exceeded. This was a rematch of the Mochizuki Contra Mochizuki match from 2002 Toryumon where Susumu lost his surname and had to become Yokosuka. So to say it's a storied rivalry is an understatement. From the offset this was amazing. One awesome moment after another, all weaved together into an incredible story with both guys working a limb on the other and building so much off of that. We got some INSANE kick vs. lariat exchanges that were just brutal to witness from 10 feet away and some great submission teases. Mochi got a huge nearfall off a Dragon Suplex, Susumu got one from a Jumbo No Katchigatame and there were loads more as well. The crowd were going mental during all this one of the most heated matches I've ever seen live. Susumu won with a Mugen and both guys collapsed and stayed down for ages, selling the epic struggle that this match was. God this was incredible. ****3/4 and at times I was thinking higher.
4. YAMATO & Shingo Takagi vs. Naruki Doi & BxB Hulk
And we followed the best match of the weekend with perhaps the second best. Early going, this was not slow per se, but they weren't doing anything crazy. It was a good solid tag with four charismatic, great wrestlers. Then about half way through things turned and it produced the best tag wrestling you'll see anywhere this year. This match had the most ridiculously nutty exchanges of the weekend stuff was stringed together that I've never seen from these guys and the crowd lost their minds again. All four were killing each other with strikes, hitting one big move after another, making one big pinfall save after another.... poor Cyber couldn't take it at ringside IT WAS ALL TOO MUCH FOR THE BIG MAN! Yoshino was in the other corner and he was going nuts, pretty much marking out for what his peers were doing. Just you all gotta see this match. BxB won with the sickest EVO ever, getting the fall on the man who took his hair Shingo. ****3/4 again.
5. PAC & Mark Haskins vs. CIMA & Dragon Kid
Biggest match of Haskins career here and he stepped up bigtime. CIMA and Kid got the heat and were really good at mixing in some funny entertainment spots while maintaining the seriousness. This was like a really good TNA X-Division style tag with some really great spots involving all four men. PAC's flying is by far the best in the world, CIMA is a great base and has some nice flying of his own, Kid is still an amazing flyer and Haskins hung with all three. We got big dives, big hurricanranas and everything else you'd expect. The UK duo hit a big series of moves ending with Haskins tombstone and a 360 Shooting Star from PAC for the win. ****1/2. This time it was Haskins turn to do the post show mic work and all the wrestlers came down, except Susumu who was a little tardy and CIMA chastised him while the crowd chanted YOKOSUKA. Dragon Storm hit the speakers as everyone said their goodbyes and it was the perfect end to a perfect wrestling weekend.
Post show, Yoshino, YAMATO, Shingo and Kong all went out to the merch tables and kindly sold A-Merchandise's products for them. Yoshino was enthusiastically trying to get people to buy the TNA PPV that he was on where he and Alex Shelley tore the house down. These guys are such awesome people.