Saturday 7 June 2014

SWA - The Next Chapter

Disclaimer: Don't really need a disclaimer for this one. I was there, I was alert, I took notes, this might actually make sense.

Friday 6th June - St Maurice's High School, Cumbernauld

Only my second wrestling show taking the weans, and first ever SWA show (despite making promises for well over a year now - sorry guys), and I knew there were a few ICW fans going so I had no idea what to expect in regards to the atmosphere.

Thankfully the atmosphere was very much family friendly (save the odd shout from the crowd, or innuendo from the heels, but what you gonna do - I think the worst was a kid getting called 'speccy' who took it in his stride, and another getting called 'fat' who had Grado immediately coming to his defense). Anyway, aye, the venue was as well set out as a High School gym should be, the atmosphere was great, on with the show.

Match 1 - Lewis Girvan v Eric Canyon
Great start to the evening, Eric Canyon made a great antagonist. Crowd were firmly behind Girvan, so much so that despite having a fur coat to rival Damo's myself, I was joining in on chanting "Shave Yer Chest" to Canyon. Great fluidity to proceedings, in terms of specific moves the main points I remember was Girvan going off the springboard and missing and cracking clotheslines along with a great Gutwrench suplex from Canyon.

The finisher however.... wow. Lewis Girvan won with the DDT. The DDT. None of your tornado stuff, not an Ambrose reverse DDT, not a Brainbuster. I have longed for the day I could read that someone won a legit wrestling match with a legit DDT, and here I am writing it. Lewis Girvan won.... with the DDT.... it is a legit finisher once again. Thank you Girvan.

Match 2 - Nikki Storm v Courtney
Courtney came out and did her splits spot, then Nikki came out, every bit the Queen Bee. We should respect her. We should be in AWE of her. We should thank her for being in our presence. As usual, Nikki had the crowd in her hands. There was something like a 10 minute build up to the match where Nikki just played the crowd, and Courtney, and nothing will enhance an upcoming talent more than a heel who knows how to work the crowd.

As proceedings got under way, a decent enough match ensued. There were a few botched spots here and there, but equally Courtney hit a few tough spots perfectly. Nikki did my favourite spot, claiming a 3 count when it was clearly a 2, and then later when it was only a 1. Slays me every time.

Nikki won by rolling Courtney up from the corner, mirroring a spot earlier where Courtney dropped to her knees as Nikki stumbled back over her, and put her feet on the ropes for leverage. Typical heel finish, but smartly done as it did recall what had happened earlier, and ensured Courtney left with her head held high in what was another good encounter.

Match 3 - Christopher Saynt v Grado
Now I know I've said Canyon and Storm were both great heels, but Saynt was something else here. Nae fear, attacked everything from a kid in the front row's waistline to Grado's maw. Grabbed Grado's hat and wiped his bum with it then threw it away. Our eldest grabbed it and "kept it safe" for Grado.

As for the match, Grado ran through his usual spots (I know I say "usual spots" a lot, but sorry about that... go see Grado more if you don't know what his "usual spots" are, eh), best moment for me was when he did the Ref-assisted kick-up spot, the youngest turns around to me and says "Grado's gonna be on NXT soon". Belter.

After going for the "horsie" maneuver, Dave Conrad, who had been at ringside for Saynt, leapt in and put and end to this match. Grado wins by DQ, but it looks like his night is over, until....

NEW Match 3 - The Gatecrashers (Christopher Saynt & Dave Conrad) v Grado & Damo
Big Damo comes out to Grado's aid. This is now a tag match!! Everyone is ecstatic, well everyone bar one, and Grado even momentarily forgets his predicament and instead tries to get an impromptu photoshot with his hauners. But Damo's no having it, he's all business, and after threatening to kick seven shades out of their opponents, he delivers with gusto.

That said however, Damo did have a few funny moments as well. Told Conrad he needed a few more cheeseburgers, Grado then chimed in that he sounded the spit of Drew McIntyre. With the crowd fully on board and Damo dominating physically, The Gatecrashers seemed to be in no man's land. Grado go into the mix, but unfortunately the tide turned away from him. That is a depressing trend I've seen lately, opponents getting the better of Grado. After what seemed like an eternity, Grado managed to get the big Irishman back in and it was full-on destruction time.

The brutality culminated in something I never thought I'd see - Damo hit the roll and slice on Conrad, then threw Saynt in too and hit the double!! Then Grado tagged in and repeated the feat. The finish came soon after, as Grado hoisted Saynt onto his shoulders, used his swinging feet to keep Conrad at bay, and hit the F5 for the ultimate victory.

After the match, Grado thanked the wee man for keeping his hat safe (which made his night and then some), then popped the hat on Damo and finally (finally!) got his photo taken with Damo. That sentence probably doesn't make a lot of sense now, but it was magical at the time.

Match 4 - Mikey Whiplash v Ryoji Sai
Wow. That's all I'm going to use to sum up the legwork masterpiece that was the start of this match. So many techniques and so much variation, the gist of which was Mikey was determined to split Sai in two at the knee, specifically the left.

I didn't write down a lot of notes for this match because I, whether I wanted to be or not, was utterly engrossed from start to finish. The end came as Sai, overcoming battered knees, managed to get Whiplash off the top rope with a suplex then ended it with a move which I'm sure has a common name, but I can only give you the technical account - fireman's carry to a double knee gutbuster. Make sense? Naw? Shoulda been there then, we witnessed a masterclass.

Afterwards, amid intense heat from the crowd, Mikey Whiplash staged a protest. He called out the boss and made reference to a lot of stuff I was not witness to so won't pretend to be a part of, but I understood the gist. He retired John The Bomb a time ago and now John works backstage only. Mikey feels he deserves another title shot above the likes of Jackie Polo and doesn't deserve to be fighting exhibitions in front of us lot. John disagrees and thinks the only place Mikey should be is back to the bottom, fighting his way up. Mikey sees this as high disrespect and goads The Bomb into a match. As Mikey retired John, only he can allow him to return to the ring. As John's in charge, only he can allow Mikey a rematch. The scene was set for Battlezone, but not all went Mikey's way. Despite his protests of being a wrestler's wrestler, the match was set... for a Tables Ladders Chairs match.

Match 5 - Obata v Jack Gallagher
Following the intermission, we had another Japanese export in the form of Obata. Both this and the previous encounter suffered somewhat in the crowd being hesitant to back the Japanese, but I personally was in too much awe to cheer for anything. I had not seen either of these guys before, but had vaguely heard their names. They are both dynamite.

Jack set the tone early by getting out of a headlock... by walking backwards on his HANDS. That was it for me, I put down the notes and just kept my eyes locked on the action. One thing I will say is Jack was very suave and relaxed in the ring, like it was his natural environment.

That said, Obata himself controlled most of the match, keeping Jack in check with his very stiff, Japanese styles. Jack tried to give as good as he got, but this was firmly Obata's showing for much of the grapple. Jack had the final say though, as the ending came his way via an amazingly beautiful delayed dropkick in the corner followed by a Swanton that was, in my opinion, as ugly as the dropkick was beautiful. I'm not one to criticise, but Jack tucked his neck so late (from my POV) I'd rather never see that again from him. Didn't spoil the match in the slightest however, stole the show for me.

Match 6 - SWA Laird Of The Ring Championship:  Joe Hendry (c) v Mark Coffey
Joe Hendry came out in his pink suit to spell it out for us - he would not be competing tonight. Why should he? As Laird Of The Ring, surely he should be taking on Joe Coffey and not that pretender Jackie Polo. This was the second segment to rip into Polo, so I was all for it, and when I heard who would be replacing Hendry I was even more for it. Before we got to that though, we had Hendry remind us all that his now a GLOBAL Hero, and off he went into the night.

NEW Match 6 - Mark Coffey v Kenny Williams
Kenny Williams answered the open challenge, and after mutual respect from both and a bit of fooling around, we got down to the business of wrestling. I'm heavy into both these guys, and had two young kids getting antsy by this point, so I took few notes. All I can say is these guys are incredible, I was disappointed that every time Kenny went for his spinny flashy moves Mark kept throwing him away, and the ending came via Mark Coffey pulling on the pants of Kenny. Another heel ending, this was doubly disappointing as both men had been fighting as faces the whole time.

Mark tried to maintain he didn't cheat and it was all a misunderstanding, and after a slight hesitation, Kenny seemed to accept this and shook his hand. Then Coffey struck. Kenny turned his back, Mark struck him, and it seemed the rage at his missed opportunity had gotten to Coffey in the end as he left to a chorus of boos.

Match 7 - SAW Zero1 Scottish Championship:  Joe Coffey (c) v Jackie Polo
Polo's music hit, and the wee wee man fell asleep. So, thanks Jackie, made my job a bit easier.

Always with a dedicated following, Jackie came out, but the majority of the crowd were firmly behind him. Homemade "Jackie Sucks!" tshirts adorned the crowd, hecklers never let up, the "king" of chat gave as good  as he got but he kept getting in return. This was the Iron Man's crowd. And out he came.

The ring throughout the night had been threatening to collapse, especially the turnbuckles we were sat right in front of, but I am amazing it survived the many Irish Whips and corner splashes that ensued. First spot worth mentioning was Joe whipping Polo plain onto the stage from the outside, then onto the apron from the stage itself!

Speaking of the apron, Polo hit the Roman Reigns running dropkick spot on Coffey soon after. This was followed up in the ring with a 2nd rope bulldog that really impressed me. I always have, and always will, oppose Jackie for his demeanour, his character, his smugness, all of that. But I will go on record right here and now and say it takes two to tangle, and this was a 5 star match without any shadow of a doubt. Both men gave it their all and I was impressed, and that's all the positivity I have to give Jackie for this year so come back in 2015 if you want any more.

Back to the action, Polo returned to his shady ways and tried to use the Polo stick in full view of the Ref, who wisely removed it from play. In doing so, he gave Jackie a window of opportunity in which to low-blow Joe, but it was not enough to make the hero go. Oh no, he barely slowed. Should I rhyme mo? My favourite Tellytubby's Po. So? Ehh...... aye. After teasing the big swing several times, Joe seemed to be finally building his momentum as he hit the big splash in the corner then set up for another, but unfortunately the first was too effective as an incredibly stunned Jackie staggered out of the way and accidentally caused Joe to miss and nearly knock himself out!!

Jackie came too quicker and seized his opportunity wisely, hitting four strong power slams that brought the 80s right back to Cumbernauld. But his ego as ever got the better of him, as he started all that swaggering patter that makes you imagine Jeff Jarret and Ric Flair gave birth at some point and that's not an image anyone needs. Joe Coffey agrees, as he regained his senses and equilibrium in time to finally get his swing on, swinging Polo a clear five times before locking in the Boston Crab.

It all seemed over, but Polo had enough left to get to the ropes. Momentum swung back and forth before a decapitating clothesline sent both men to the ground, exhaustion fully setting in. An epic battle had already unfolded, and it seemed Coffey realised it as he kicked up, hit a succession of uppercuts, connected with all the big splashes, but..... WHAT?! Polo managed to block the Bulldog. It was in vain however, as the energy needed to do that caused Jackie to miss with his follow-up clothesline and it was then Coffey hit the Bulldog anyway. Close 2 count followed, clearly the slight reprieve Jackie got himself was just enough.

Fatigue setting in, Joe tried the discus clothesline that has destroyed so many foes, but Polos arms up in a chop were enough to absorb the blow and keep Polo on his feet. Joe managed to block the fisherman suplex attempt, but not the follow-up suplex variation Polo managed to connect with which brought an INSANE close 2 count. Another one followed from a 2nd rope knee drop, but with his momentum sapping Polo couldn't complete another power slam, Coffey instead getting a bridged German suplex for the loudest pop of a 2 count in a night packed full of them.

All hyperbole aside, the crowd were wild at this point. Livid almost. Iron Man chanting so loud mad Ozzy himself travelled up to collect his royalties. There was a metric ton of exchanges at this point, punches, chops, Polo managed to hit the bridged fisherman suplex... oh wait, Joe has turned it into a roll up.... Boston Crab..... POLO TAPS, JOE RETAINS, IRON MAN, IRON MAN, IRON MAN!!!!!!!!!!!

You're damn right I was excited.  Despite one wean falling asleep, and despite Joe Coffey hitting me with his chewing gum at one point, this was one of the best events I've been to yet and I've witnessed Prince Devitt in the flesh. The venue was great, despite being as hot as the sun, and the atmosphere was incredible.  I rarely say an event had anything but a great card, but I genuinely loved every match here every minute of the run time.  DCT was an engaging host, the lines between good and evil were well defined, and it was just an awesome night. 

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