Monday 9 June 2014

FF - Return Of The Queen Of Hardcore

Disclaimer:  My cousin runs a great review site at Snapmare Necks but he couldn't be here tonight.  I know he loves to talk about the first move in a match so I've tried to take note of that here in Italics.

Fierce Females - Return Of The Queen Of Hardcore
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Sunday 8th June - Source Wrestling School, 22 Cogan Street, Glasgow, G43 1AP

Well my last Fierce Females review was a disaster, which is a shame. The relaunch of the FF company was a good 'un - Samii Jayne won a tournament to become Number 1 Contender, and Carmel painted a big target on her back as the entire FF locker room united to say "Enough is enough" to her and Sara. As far as first steps go, it was a steady one, and with the return of Nikki Storm and Kay Lee Ray to the promotion the second night was full of all kinds of promise.  Here we go.

Match 1 - Number 1 Contendership Tournament Semi-Final:  Nikki Storm v Bete Noire
I had this pegged as the best match of the year initially, and after seeing Nikki for the first time in a long time only 2 nights ago, I was full expecting this to live up to expectations. Expectations were dashed however as "The Best In The Galaxy" Nikki Storm came out to a hero's welcome, skewing all my anticipations. As she smugly climbed the ropes the crowd gave her genuine adoration. This, coupled with a promo where in her own way she affirmed she was glad (just a little) to be back in Glasgow, seemed to set Nikki in a new light, a hero's light, a face light.

To this surreal scenario came Bete. Looking far less than happy or impressed to see Nikki back in a Glaswegian ring, Bete got straight into a lockup and gained the best of Storm. I am in awe of both these women and as such spent more of the match enjoying their technical prowess than writing about it. What I can tell you is there was a metric ton of wristlocks, Noire dominated the majority of the match with her size and strength advantage, and that only by keeping her wits about her and evading a running knee attempt did Nikki finally gain any momentum.

Nikki utilised this break in destruction to wear Bete down with a sleeper on the mat, which seemed to be effective as a double crossbody soon after managed to wind both wrestlers.

With this slight shift in dynamic, Nikki Storm hit the fishermen's neckbreaker for the pinfall victory. Amazing match from two very well-versed athletes.

Match 2 - Number 1 Contendership Tournament Semi-Final:  Courtney v Debbie Sharp
Courtney, Courtney, Courtney. This was my third time seeing Courtney live and she is looking ever more comfortable every time. Some banter to start things off, with Debbie seemingly only having one fan in the building she decides to show her back to the crowd as she doesn't want to see our ugly faces. Courtney astutely points out that we don't want to see Debbie's ass either, and things are off to a cheeky wee start.

Speaking of cheeky, Courtney immediately gets things started with a roll-up attempt. With that not gaining her the quick victory, Courtney instead went for an arm drag which made Debbie think twice and exit the ring for a breather. Back inside, Debbie rushed at Courtney before falling foul of one of the best things I've seen this weekend - Courtney pulled off the splits perfectly, tripping Debbie up in the process. Wonderful.

Debbie didn't seem to think so however as she took Courtney's distracted showboating as an opportunity to kick her in the back and begin what would be an agonising procedure of choking - choking in the ropes, choking with her boot, choking in the corner, choking from a chin hold, Debbie choked Courtney up and down and all around the ring, pausing only momentarily to issue the odd suplex or snapmare.

By the end of what felt like half an hour of a literally breath-taking display, Courtney finally managed to stop the suffocation by evading a Debbie charge in the corner, and wasted no time in seizing her momentum. Leaping in from the apron, Courtney connected with a strong shoulderblock, a brutal clothesline and seemed to have it all wrapped up with a dropkick... which missed  the mark.

Momentum lost, Debbie Sharp locked in an elevated Boston Crab (so elevated in fact she almost bent herself back) and after a valiant attempt to resist and reach the ropes, Courtney was dragged to the center of the ring and forced to tap out. My hopes of a Nikki v Courtney rematch dashed, I was left in nothing but awe at the strength of Debbie Sharp.

Match 3 - Viper v Fiona Fraser
I don't quite know what it is about Fiona Fraser that I like, but anyone who comes out wearing a shirt declaring her opponent to Scream Cry And Tap Out commands respect. The match began with a lock up into a wristlock from Viper, which became a wristlock on Viper which she rolled out of. Fiona then repeated this spot but managed to roll all the way through and bring Viper down to the mat. At one point the wristlock became a finger lock, all sorts of joints were being pulled in uncomfortable ways.

Viper brought the action back to her comfort level with three strong scoop slams, each one rocking the ring harder than the last. The action then transitioned to the outside, where Viper's momentum was lost when she went for a clothesline but drilled her own left wrist into the ring post when she missed. From there, Fiona capitalised by working Viper's wrist down using everything at her disposal - the guardrail, the ropes, the mat.

Viper fought valiantly to make it to her feet using her right arm for leverage, even scooped Fiona up for another slam but the wily Fraser managed to reverse this into yet another wristlock. Viper again, through sheer will of power, managed to get Fiona up for almost a side slam, but again this was countered into an armbar variation.

Viper finally caught a break with a forward slam that managed to stun Fiona, but the damage had also been done to Viper. Both women were down for a 5 count, and when the got back up Viper tried to mount an offense. Side axe handles connected, but it wasn't enough as a clothesline attempt saw Fiona bring Viper's wrist down on her knees (a wrist version of the gutbuster... wristbuster?).

Even more wristlocks followed, Fiona Fraser even reversing another scoop slam attempt into the cross armbreaker, and just when it seemed technical prowess would win out over raw strength, Viper finally found the power to deadlift Fiona into a sit-out powerbomb for the pin and the win. My shock at this turn of events was shared by at least two members of the Fierce Female's roster as out came the Glamour Gym.

Sara and Carmel, also known as the Glamour Gym, were the subject of a show of force from the FF locker room last show, led by Viper herself. Although the victor, the clearly injured Viper was attacked and thrown back into the ring where Fiona Fraser locked back on the cross armbreaker. Goaded by Carmel to break the arm of Viper, Sara took a microphone in hand and made matters clear - you disrespect this duo one more time, and your arm will be broken. Message delivered, the three called a halt to their attack and Viper was left, victorious but severed.

Match 4 - Number 1 Contendership Tournament Final:  Debbie Sharp v Nikki Storm
After a short intermission, we returned for the first of what was most definitely a Main Event calibre match. Debbie, flush with confidence at her utter destruction of Courtney's windpipe's, started us off with some elbows in the corner, not even giving her entrance theme time to finish.

Although caught off guard, Nikki managed to answer back with 3 big clotheslines. The match move to the mat, where Debbie locked in a Camel Clutch. Swinging back and forth, metaphorically and literally, between the two, Nikki whipped Debbie into the corner then dropped to her knees to let Debbie stagger and fall backwards for a pin attempt.

A fairly even match almost came to a premature end as Nikki went up top for either a diving headbutt or a splash, but Debbie managed to roll mostly out of the way. Nikki still caught her with her feet, delivering damage to them both but it seemed mostly to Nikki. Debbie connected with a side slam not entirely unlike the Rock Bottom, before locking in an elevated boston crab that would make Chris Jericho hang up his boots permanently. It all seemed over, but Nikki Storm somehow clawed her way to the ropes, which caused Debbie to lose her mind.

Screaming about how it was her turn, her title opportunity, her time, Debbie found only defeat after Nikki hit the fishermen's neckbreaker for the pinfall and became our new Number 1 Contender for the Fierce Females title. An amazing return and an opportunity everyone, bar Debbie, felt Nikki deserved.

Match 5 - The Glamour Gym (Sara & Carmel Jacob) v Leah Owens & ???
Rumours had been running rampant about who Leah Owens tag team partner might be tonight, but one thing was certain - accompanying her to the ring in crutches and bandaged up, it wasn't going to be Leah's twin Kasey.

Backed by the Carmel Corner collection of fans, Sara & Carmel came out to almost a welcome environment, before Leah got on the mic to remind us that the duo were not loved backstage. In fact, said Leah, it was almost too easy to find an opponent who wanted to go up against Carmel and Sara. Who better than the lady that led the locker room, Viper!

Looking thoroughly broken from her match earlier this evening, nonetheless Viper was determined to stick the boot, both fists and anything else she could find into The Glamour Gym. She would have to wait her turn however, as Leah started things off going straight for Sara's hair. Make no mistake, although the Twins had been wronged recently, Leah had no problem fighting fire with fire and brutally went after Sara.

What unfolded was a masterclass in tag team action, with Carmel and Sara cutting off Leah from her partner, absolutely dominating proceedings. Carmel at one point pulled off a Bray Wyatt-esque lift from the mat, but Leah took this opportunity to leap on her stomach and almost get away for a tag. It was not to be, as Sara got back involved and kept Leah cut-off. However, the Twin never gave up and as soon as she got a second to make a move, she responded with an insane (INSANE) tornado DDT out of the corner, knocking Sara so senseless she almost couldn't make a tag despite being inches away from Carmel's outstretched hand.

By the time she connect, Viper was also in, releasing her pent-up rage through all the clothesline, scoop slam and crossbody avenues. Carmel managed to weather the storm however, knocking Viper out of her way and then sending Leah into the guardrails in what was a horrendous looking fall. With Sara brawling with Viper on the outside, Kasey tried to help Leah to her senses then sent her to help. But it was not to be. Viper had simply taken too much damage, Sara wrapped her arm intwined with the guardrail and, unable to get free, this left Leah on her own.

Carmel hit the draping DDT from the 2nd rope, Sara then got up-top for a crossed-arm front-flip arm-drag somer-sault (I don't know what to call it, alright?!), and although the damage was already done, Carmel asked her Corner if they wanted one more and hit Leah with the over-the-shoulder, back-to-belly piledriver*. Already out cold a long time ago, Leah was pinned by Carmel to put an end to the carnage.

(* White Noise, Kryptonite Krunch, Air Raid Crash, whatever you want to call it it damn near broke Leah's neck, alright?)

*** This is a message from the Carmel Corner. We interrupt this recap/review to inform you that we do indeed condone and endorse what happened next. Any complaints can be taken to Twitter with the hashtag #CarmelCorner ***

What happened next was brutality unlike anything you'd regularly see. With Viper still tied up in the guardrail screaming for help, Kasey Owens got in the ring to help her sister out and call out the exitting Carmel and Sara.  Never two to take a verbal attack lightly, they returned to the ring to use Kasey's own crutch against her, taking out both her injured knee and her still-staggered sister's legs too. A top-rope draped DDT seemed to be the end of it, but Kasey got back up and goaded Carmel some more, leading to an even more sickening attack, this time with her leg fully exposed from its protective boot. Screaming at them both to just stay down, Carmel and Sara tried to leave once more, but Kasey dragged herself back up and claimed they would never quit.

You see, because the Owens are a team. They're blood. They're sisters. One part may have been damaged tonight, but come Mad Maxine in July, they will both be fully strong. They will never quit. Not even in a Tag Team, Elimination Style, Last Woman Standing match, which is exactly what challenge was laid down for Sara & Carmel, who took no time to accept. By accept, I mean the returned once more to finally put the Owens twins down with hellacious crutch shots, adding insult to injury by throwing Kasey's boot and crutch back in the ring for extra damage to the knocked out Twins. In any other promotion, on any other night, that would be the end of everything.

Match 6 - Fierce Females Championship:  Kay Lee Ray (c) v Samii Jayne
But this isn't any other night, and this isn't any other promotion. This is Fierce Females and tonight we had the victor of the last Number 1 Contendership Tournament here to challenge the returning QUEEN OF HARDCORE, Fierce Females first and still defending Champion, Kay Lee Ray.

With the crowd split between cheering for their returning Champion and the Carmel Corner, who see Kay Lee Ray as "the enemy" desperately cheering Samii Jayne to victory, the atmosphere was electric despite two amazingly draining matches proceeding this one.

Things began with a lockup, Samii pushing Kay Lee into the corner. Kay Lee then repeated this with Samii, before arm dragging her out, a slight variation showing why she is the Champion. A variety of exchanges led to KLR extending her hand in a show of respect to her challenger, but Samii responded with a slap instead, and it was ON.

What followed was an exchange too mindblowing to fully put into words. Suffice to say, both women proved their worth in the wrestling world with this one. Kay Lee leapt onto the second rope for the back-kicking spot that normally earns her so much leverage, but Samii expertly telegraphed it. Both women were sent flying out of the ring, with KLR reaching into the crowd for a chair to prop Samii on before delivering one hell of a dropkick.

The match escalated quickly from there, as the Queen Of Hardcore looked set to prove why she got that moniker. They made their way through the crowd and out the front door, where we all bore witness to Samii being whipped into a CAR, before Kay Lee climbed on top of said car to leap off onto Jayne.

Back into the building, chairs were cleared, guardrails were used, mayhem ensued. I'm going to echo the sentiments of many here - if you weren't there, you missed out and should come along to the show in July. I cannot even being to do justice to what unfolded. There was step-up enzeguiri's, some crazy flapjack/suplex into a diamond cutter, suicide dives that nearly sent the crowd's teeth flying never mind the competitors. It was insane, and ever step made by the Champion was answered by the challenger. Each nearfall seemed to come closer to 3, but even a Gory neckbreaker (aka Widow's Peak) from Kay Lee was not enough to set Samii up for the Swanton.

I have no idea where she got the strength from, but Samii Jayne made us all believe, even the staunchest Kay Lee Ray supporters, that her time was tonight and that we'd see a new champion.

But it was not to be. Reaching deep into her reserves, Kay Lee Ray hit another Gory neckbreaker, and this time managed to follow it up with the swanton bomb for the pinfall victory.

A hard-earned victory, and a welcome return to Fierce Females action, Kay Lee Ray proved once again why she deserves the belt. But speaking of welcome returns, Nikki Storm appeared for the third time of the night and stood nose to nose with the Champion. She wasn't here to fight, simply to congratulate - to congratulate Kay Lee on earning another month as Champion, as come Mad Maxine in July she will be stepping up to take that belt away.

You will notice there are gaps in the action in my review. I apologise for my lack of professionalism, but point to the professionalism of the wrestlers in action tonight as the reason for that. At many points in every match I was simply in too much awe to take note of the finer details for posterity.

That said, so seemed most of the crowd. Fierce Females is relaunching itself and, as such, a lot of times the crowds may be small and may fall silent. I want to specifically commend the crowd working and interaction skills of the wrestlers.

Being a wrestler requires many talents. We fans go primarily for the story telling and the athleticism, but being able to connect with humour and sharp wit is a trait not often applauded. Every woman tonight kept the momentum going with plenty of banter, comedy and drama.

There was not a single flat match and I cannot recommend enough that you make your way to Mad Maxine on July 20th at Glasgow's Walkabout.

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