Saturday 30 August 2014

BCW - Homecoming

Disclaimer: This is the British in-ring return of Drew Galloway, formerly Drew McIntyre of the WWE. During his 7 year stint in America, Drew won the WWE Intercontinental title and the WWE Tag Team title. Since leaving WWE, Drew has won the EVOLVE title at their Evolve 31 Pay Per View in Florida, and has brought it with him to the UK to defend. Drew made an emotional appearance at ICW's Shug's Hoose Party event, but last Friday night saw the actual return of Drew in a match on UK soil. Here is what happened.

British Championship Wrestling - Homecoming
Friday, August 29th 2014
Kilmarnock Grand Hall - 7pm
BCW - Website | Facebook | Twitter

I did you a nice wee preview of the show not long ago. As ever, the card was subject to change. There would be no Martin Stone tonight. There was no Joel Redman v Johnny Moss. There was a pre-show match which you could pay extra to get in early and see, but I didn't. Lou King Sharp faced someone in that match, but it's not my place to tell you who or what the result was. Didn't pay, didn't see.

One more point to mention, I was there with my girlfriend and our two young kids. This was a family friendly show, so I'll be adding in points from their perspective as well, cause that's what it's all about. Families getting together to boo Kid Fite and cheer for Grado, spending all our money on action figures and hats then huddling over the one packet of wine gums, arguing over who gets to eat the last black one cause it's the only one with any flavour! All about it.

So with that all out of the way, on with the official start of the event!

BCW Heavyweight Title
Kid Fite (c) v Davey Blaze
As far as I'm aware, the last time Davey wrestled was back at BCW's event at the end of June. Since then he's been strapped up with a leg injury, an injury I thought was ongoing. So imagine my, and several other's, surprise when Davey was announced as Kid Fite's opponent. The energy was already electric at seeing the Heavyweight title defended on the first match of the night, but Blaze as the challenger just sent things into fever pitch.

The crowd were in equal parts behind Davey and against Fite. The willing of the crowd saw Davey attempt to reverse a wristlock by performing a backflip, which he just about managed. Impressive stuff, but Kid Fite had a point to prove. Being the BCW Heavyweight Champion, he is used to closing out shows. He is used to seeing off the likes of Prince Fergal Devitt or Doug Williams in the highlight of the event, not opening up shows. Fite got to work proving his point, dominating the early part of the match, working on Davey's legs and arms with a methodical approach.

Every time Davey tried to fight back, for instance hitting a beautiful dropkick, Kid Fite managed to wrestle back control, silencing his challenger with kicks and a chest chop. Davey tried to stop the champion in his tracks with a closed fist punch, but the wily Fite slid out of the ring to avoid it. This was met with an insanely loud "chicken" chant from the crowd, and as Fite goaded Davey into coming outside to join him, Kid Fite instead slid back in at the same time, reversing their positions. As Davey tried to get back in the ring, Kid Fite kicked him back out, calling him a "dafty" in the process. An enraged Davey Blaze responded by getting a shoulder into Kid Fite's gut and leaping over him with a most impressive sunset flip.

This short burst of energy from Davey was quickly squashed, as Kid Fite managed to get the match back to the ringside area, utilising the barricade to stifle Davey's attack. Back into the ring, Fite hit Davey with everything he had - uppercuts in the corner, crushing Davey's crotch with his foot, tying the challenger up in the ropes for some clubbing forearms - but still Davey fought back, getting his arm up at 2 on every pinfall attempt.

A double-clothesline collision managed to put both men down, and with the crowd firmly behind him, Davey managed to make this a more even contest once they got back up. Back and forth they traded shots - clotheslines from Davey, a rake to the eyes from Fite, a huge fallaway slam from Blaze got him a 2-count, Kid Fite retaliated with a powerbomb into the corner turnbuckle and followed that straight up with a sit-out powerbomb for what we all feared was the end, yet Davey kicked out at 2.

Seemingly accomplishing the impossible by kicking out, we all believed Davey had the belt won when he got Fite with a fireman's carry -to- cutter move, but the champion was not to be beaten even by that. Look at that picture up above. That is not the face of a man who will be beaten by mere wrestling moves, no matter how impressive they are. So it proved to be the case, as Kid Fite fought back, hit a snapmare, followed up by a kick to the chest and ended the match with a devastating Lockback DDT variant for the Pinfall victory.

Red Lightning v Joe Coffey
What an amazing start to the card we were given. A Heavyweight title fight followed by the most devious man in wrestling versus the Iron Man who fell from the sky, Joe Coffey.

The wee-est wean turns round to me and says he has decided he wants to grow up and be a wrestler so he can fight Red Lightning, Kid Fite and Jack Jester "just like Grado and Joe Coffey". That was that settled then, this was due to be a match that would drag us all in.

It did just that. All four of us were hooked from the get-go. Red Lightning tried all his dastardly tactics - running away from Joe, pulling his hair - but it was to no avail. Joe Coffey dominated in a classic battle of good versus evil.

There were all the staples of a great Coffey match. Five big swings. Boston Crab. Two big splashes in the corner that threatened to move the ring with their ferocity. A bulldog. A short-arm clothesline. Justice was prevailing.

There was slight tension in the end, as Joe spun with his right arm for the Discus Clothesline, only for Red to smartly kick Coffey's arm away, only for Joe to use the momentum to spin right round and clock him with the Discus Clothesline from his left arm instead. Pinfall victory to Joe.

Jack Jester v Joel Redman
"But wait a minute, Chris. In your preview you said Joel Redman would be facing Johnny Moss."

Well, card subject to change and all that. As I said above, there was no Martin Stone either. Get over it, because there's no time to dwell - Jester's coming to get you!

While Joel stood in the ring sporting a pretty hefty looking leg brace, Jack Jester took to the crowd giving them his usual menacing look and rattling his corkscrew. But he wasn't happy with that. He's never happy, but in his own way, he's normally pretty satisfied with scaring kids from a relatively safe distance. Not tonight.

Ripping the barrier apart, Jester sent kids scurrying away in fear. Some hid behind their parents. Some pleaded forgiveness. Some brave souls even tried to stand up to Jack, but most simply ran and ran and ran, right out of the hall, right out of the venue, probably away past their house to find the first plane, train or automobile that would take them away from Scotland altogether and far from Jester's clutches.

The terror continued as Jack took his time walking through the crowd, shouting at standing kids to sit down, shouting at sitting kids to stand up. Just generally being a menace. Getting into the ring, Jester seemed to channel this hatred towards his opponent, quickly getting Joel on his back, but the man who has spent some time in WWE's NXT division was not to be messed with so easily. Seeking revenge for the frightened kids in the crowd, Joel managed to lock Jack's own arm around his leg, trapping the terror in place.

Even more enraged now, Jester literally launched Redman out of the ring, following this up with a baseball slide then working over the visitor on the outside. Joel managed to get himself back into the ring and got Jester in too, by planting himself on the second rope and suplexing Jester from the apron to the mat. Incredible.

Joel Redman tried several times to get to the top rope and hit a double-foot stomp. Each time he missed, Jester hit him with something devastating in return. A double-underhook pedigree. Two count to Jester. An attempted Tombstone Piledriver. Joel slid out, hit a superkick that sent Jester to his knees then followed with another superkick to drive the hometown horror to the floor. Two count to Redman.

Once again, Joel Redman climbed to the top rope but this time Jester had had enough. He shoved the referee into the ropes, causing Redman to fall down on his crotch, thereafter Jack pulled Joel off the top rope and into a Tombstone Piledriver for the pinfall victory.

Despite this blatant cheating, one of the kids turns round to me after the match and says he quite likes Jack Jester. I pointed out the fact he chased everyone away and had to cheat to win, but he was adamant. I fear for our kids sometimes!

First Half Main Event
Grado & Kay Lee Ray v Liam Thomson & Carmel
This is the wrestling I fell in love with. Carmel & Liam came out first, shaking their fists at and antagonising the crowd, but then Kay Lee Ray arrived and got straight into some mischief, stealing some of Carmel's ring gear and generally annoying the crowd. This was the Kay Lee Ray I remember from years ago that made me want to come back to my second Scottish wrestling show.

Then Grado's music hit. Even those members of the crowd who were cheering for Carmel were caught up in the euphoria of Madonna's "Like A Prayer". As the man himself made his way around the ring, slapping hands and soaking in the hopes of the crowd, Kay Lee Ray kept taking cheeky wee swipes and kicks at their opponents tonight.

This only antagonised them, as Grado climbed to the top rope, Carmel shook it from the apron to try and knock him off. As both teams preened to the crowd, Grado and Kay Lee got some cheeky signs in behind Carmel & Liam's back.

The match began. Kay Lee Ray and Carmel traded blows for a short while, before Grado and Liam tagged in. The crowd were going nuts, clearly here to see one person and one person only - Grado. He showed why, with his cunning humour getting the better of Liam. Grado shouting at Liam to "stop stop stop", and when Thomson confusedly did so, Grado responded with a slap. A few minutes later, Thomson tried to reverse the spot, pleading on Grado to take a time out. Grado did - only to then slap Liam before he could capitalise. Two points to Grado.

As Liam was getting beaten, Carmel was screaming abuse at her partner. Even when Liam literally got back on top, sitting astride Grado's back and preparing to slap his ass for the "horsey" maneuver, Carmel got in the ring and chastised him. As Liam tried to explain, and placed Carmel on top of Grado to show her, the good guys reverse things, as Grado slid out and climbed on Carmel's back and Kay Lee Ray got Liam down and rode atop him, we had dual, inter-gender "horsey" riding!

The bad guys managed to escape and get outside, however while they bickered between themselves Grado attempted a suicide dive. He wisely changed his mind at the very last second, and he and Kay Lee went for the much safer option of trying to chase Carmel and Liam down. As all four ran around the ring in what can only be described as Benny Hill skit, Grado soon found his cardio was not up to scratch. Needing the help of KLR to get up on the entrance ramp, or even sneaking underneath it, eventually the tables turned as the team of Carmel and Liam caught up to the goodies and found themselves chasing them instead!

Carmel and Liam took control of the ring, with Grado and Kay Lee contemplating how to slid in safely. As they took turns faking sliding in, Carmel and Liam alternately tried to elbow them and missed. Grado tried to climb to the top rope with the help of Kay Lee, but Carmel knocked the red-headed woman to the ringside, and the match was back on in full steam.

A lot of inter-gender fighting here, which nearly culminated in Carmel hitting a powerbomb on Grado. As she had the man in place, Kay Lee Ray ran in, leapt to the second rope, and performed simply the most amazing springboard kick I have ever seen, clearing Grado and taking Carmel out. This was followed up by a double "roll and slice" and double Wee Boot attempt which was stopped by a double clothesline.

A perfect blend of comedy, engagement, storytelling and athleticism, this most wonderful of wrestling matches had to end at some point. As Liam climbed to the top rope and Carmel set Kay Lee Ray up for the draping DDT, KLR managed to wriggle out, dispose of Carmel, Grado pulled Liam off the top rope, hit him with a Wee Boot, then Kay Lee Ray followed up with a Swanton Bomb and both Grado and KLR piled on top of Liam for the Pinfall victory.

First half over, we were all exhausted by the four amazing matches we had already seen. Ready for a break, some juice, sweets and purchases of DVDs and toys, suddenly we were dragged back into our seats as Johnny Moss appeared and attacked Grado, declaring that he refuses to be overlooked on the undercard any longer. He needs competition, and he is not leaving until he gets some. Continuing to wail on Grado and threatened to hit Kay Lee Ray too if she didn't leave "his" ring. Then the lights went out. Then a figure with a shiny gold belt appeared. The lights came on. The crowd went wild.

DREW GALLOWAY WAS BACK. Sporting the awesome looking Evolve heavyweight belt, Drew quickly dispatched of Johnny Moss and grabbed a mic of his own. He challenged Johnny. "Who the hell do you think you are?!" Drew explained that as the Evolve champion, he promised to take this belt to Scotland and defend it every night, in every match, against every man. But Johnny Moss is no man. He is a coward. He is undeserving of a shot, but as he had enraged Drew so much, Galloway promised that tonight the walls of the Kilmarnock Hall would be painted in Johnny Moss's blood!

BCW Tag Team Championship
Just Uz (Stevie Xavier & BT Gunn) v The Models (Danny Hope & Joey Hayes)
My first time ever seeing The Models, but I was impressed. The little things, like stopping the ref so they could check their reflections out in the shiny championship belts, really impressed me.

One thing I can't get enough of is how much I love Just Uz as a team. As I've said before, if you're purely a fan of ICW and nothing else, you really need to check out some BCW events to see how truly versatile some of these wrestlers are in a different environment. No truer is that fact than with the team of Just Uz.

There were a ton of great spots from all four wrestlers, which is to be expected with such talent in the ring. Fast exchanges, such as Stevie and BT leaping in, delivering a hit, making a tag, and leaping back out, over and over again, were the order of the day. This fluidity culminated in a segment whereby all four traded a variety of kicks including enzeguiris and a pele.

As the competitors found their feet again, they also found themselves in a makeshift circle in the ring, punching the man to their left, then their right, going round and round until all-out carnage erupted. As the battle became something a bit more coherent, one of The Models got BT in a lock and encouraged his partner to go for a superkick. As BT managed to reverse the hold, the kick was called off at the very last second. Then BT got himself caught again, kick attempted, BT snuck out, kick stopped. Over and over and over.

The good natured fight turned dark however as BT Gunn found himself isolated and beaten upon for a long time. But he never gave up. True to a champion's heart, BT battled out of every pinfall attempt, keeping his title hopes alive just long enough for Stevie to finally sneak back in, hit a superkick and let BT Gunn pin their opponent for the victory and retain the titles.

BCW Openweight Title
Noam Dar (c) v Kenny Williams
You want to talk about being a different person in a different environment? Watch Kenny Williams. Watch him free. Watch him fly. He is a joy to behold.

BCW Openweight Champion Noam Dar is also a joy to behold. His match with Kris Travis at Heroes & Villains regularly gets replayed in our house.

So why did this match fall a bit flat for me? Who knows. It was certainly no fault of the wrestlers. Combined, I've seen Noam Dar and Kenny Williams live about 20 times. Each one has more or less been a Match Of The Night contender. So what happened?

Maybe it was because we consider both guys to be "good" and were unsure how to react to them being against each other. Maybe it was the hot temperature of the packed, sold out Hall starting to get to everyone. Maybe it was the kids' bladders getting a bit full. Whatever it was, the atmosphere seemed a bit deflated for most of this match.

Which is a real shame. Both of these guys are great wrestlers who regularly give it their all. I cannot speak highly enough of that. Kenny especially to his credit was noticeably getting the crowd involved right to the end. There were several spots in the match I did enjoy, notably when Kenny was on the apron ducking, dodging and diving out of the way of all that Noam Dar could throw at him.

Maybe this match didn't need to blow it out of the water. Opening with the Kid Fite Heavyweight Title defence and never slowing down from there, maybe the night needed us to all cool down before the Main Event. Whatever it was, if Noam Dar wining via pinfall following a Brainbuster-esque suplex made you feel more relieved than elated, take your time to check out these two again. I promise it will be worth it.

EVOLVE Heavyweight Championship
Drew Galloway (c) v Johnny Moss
Oh. My. Word.

You know how sometimes someone or something gets hyped beyond reality? Like, I was never there when Drew Galloway was first on the scene. I can't chant with a true heart "Welcome Back" as 10 years ago, 7 years ago, I wasn't there. I wasn't at BCW, or ICW, or anywhere, seeing him wrestle.

I also wasn't the hugest fan of his in WWE. I only started watching WWE again back in 2010/2011. I missed a lot of "The Chosen One" stuff. I enjoyed seeing a Scottish wrestler 'make it', being on American TV, it was good. But I wasn't especially drawn to Drew as an individual.

That changed. This match with Johnny Moss transcended wrestling moves. It transcends me giving you a blow-by-blow account of who did what, or how one of the guys reversed a certain more into another. It doesn't matter. What matters is the emotion. Every single person in that Hall on Friday night felt something. They were with Drew Galloway every time he hit the horrible Johnny Moss, and they were retaliating with venomous noise every time Moss tried to cut Drew down.

This was no mere wrestling match. This was not sport, or entertainment. This was real. This was two truly huge men, physical specimens, going beyond themselves in the ring to produce an epic tale, a legendary story that alternately gripped you, became you and left you as soon as it arrived.

For the completionists out there, the ending came with Drew Galloway utilising the Futureshock DDT to pin Johnny Moss, but that isn't even important. What is important is the story they told on the way there. I cannot do it justice. Sometimes in life a person or an event lives up to the hype, and this was one of them. This match more than suspended my disbelief, this match took my brain out of my person and replace it with the very essence of the match. It was that good. The atmosphere was that good. I urge you to first either congratulate or kick yourself, depending on whether you were there or not, then secondly seek out this match when it hits DVD or any other format for viewing, and thirdly get yourself to a show to see Drew Galloway in person. He is the hype. He is a wrestler.

Things broke down a little post-match. Kid Fite ran to the ring with a steel chair, laying out Drew and telling us all how disgusted he was to be put on at the start of the show. He is the BCW Heavyweight Champion and he should be finishing out the show like a champion. He was just about to deliver on his promise to end Drew Galloway and ensure the Evolve champion would never be able to return to BCW, when Charles Boddington ran in with his briefcase and made the save. This moment had a lot of history behind it, as Charles and Drew used to be firm friends and partners but have not been in the same building as each other for almost a decade.

Following this reunion, Drew called for Lionheart to join him in the ring. Drew Galloway's final match in BCW was against Lionheart, who as you probably know is recovering from a serious neck injury, and Lionheart promised that no matter when, how or where, he is eager to see them face off again in 2015, recovery time allowing.

With that said, Lionheart announced that there were some more people who wanted to come and welcome Drew back personally. A brilliant breakdown of barriers occurred as humourously only one person came out - Grado. Then slowly but surely, one by one, the entire roster more or less spilled out into the ring, with some beers being thrown around and celebrations taking hold.

Drew took to the microphone to passionately tell us about his experiences worldwide, about how Scottish wrestling, fans, performers and promotions alike, are truly the best in the world. He didn't care for those few minutes whether you were a good guy or a bad guy or anything in between, fan or performer, he wanted us all to join in celebration as for the first time in the history of the Kilmarnock Grand Hall, even from back in the 'glory days' of World Of Sport running events there, for the first time ever 687 people showed up and every ticket sold out.

A "we sold out" chant was encouraged, and on top of the announcements that at the December show Chavo Guerrero, Hardcore Holly and Paul London would be appearing, Drew Galloway also confirmed that he would be at that show as well. The party was in great swing, even the likes of Liam Thomson and Red Lightning were quietly having a beer and not causing any trouble. Only Kid Fite and Johnny Moss were understandably missing from proceedings, and one other man.

Jack Jester.

A hooded Jack Jester appeared on top of the entrance ramp. The atmosphere quieted a little. Drew Galloway handed his beer to Kenny Williams and left the ring, pleading with Jack to join them. Putting his heart on his sleeve, Drew begged Jack to just come down, for one moment, share one drink, and for a tiny slice in time let everything stand still and enjoy.

Jack wiped his feet. He cautiously walked along the side of the ramp. He came up to Drew. He heard his pleas.

Jack Jester spat in the face of Drew Galloway.

This was a stellar event. One of the very best I have ever been to. With the exception of the natural wane during Kenny Williams v Noam Dar, the event had everyone gripped from start to finish. Our two kids barely lasted the last time we took them to wrestling, and the time before that the youngest outright fell asleep halfway through. This is a testament to every single wrestler that we were gripped, engaged and alert for the whole event.

There were no mistakes, mistimings, or faults. There is nothing negative I can say about the event. Get yourself along to the next BCW show you can manage. That is all.

(As pictures and videos appear from Friday night, I will be doing my best to share them either at this page on or Twitter @AWBAblog - but really, you should have been there!)

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