Friday 13 March 2015

SWA in Cumbernauld - Saturday 7th March

Disclaimer: I haven't wrote here for a while. If you're wanting to read more of my writing see Read My Words, Please for short stories and more. But I had such a great time at Scottish Wrestling Alliance's show last Saturday I just had to write about it.

Scottish Wrestling Alliance
Live in Cumbernauld
Saturday 7th March, 2015

Hosted once again at the Link Community Facility, this is a venue I enjoyed both times SWA have been here. It's spacious, so even with a large crowd there is still plenty of room to move about. Tickets were the usual £10 each or £35 for a family of four, very reasonable. The toilets are right next to the main hall so you don't miss too much of the action travelling to and fro, a huge bonus if you're attending with kids like I do.

To top it all off, both this time and last we were allowed into the main building and given respite from the weather while awaiting the inner doors opening for the start of the show, a very appreciated gesture.

I don't know the official attendance, but a quick headcount seemed to indicate around 150 as people were still coming through the doors as the show was about to begin. It was a great atmosphere, everyone was buzzing, and from what I understand the show the night before in Govan was pretty similar - SWA are sure going from strength to strength lately.

Mikey Whiplash vs DCT
After a well-received introduction from Junior Vice-President of SWA Jam O'Malley, it was time for our opening bout which featured one half of the SWA tag team champions DCT facing off against Mikey Whiplash.

I loved this match. I think Whiplash is an extraordinary talent, an absolute genius in the ring in any promotion, but his work in SWA holds something special for me. The way he interacts with the crowd is the best bar none, nailing that sweet spot between being menacing but not terrifying. Our kids have started going through a phase of not wanting to go to certain shows due to the actions of certain heels on the card, so it is a credit to Whiplash that I have never heard any complaints about him.

A perfect example of the balance Mikey strikes came at one point during this match, as he began mounting the barrier to threaten some kids. On of the children's Dads stood up and told him to back off, and Whiplash managed to do so in such a way as to maintain his aura of credibility in a tricky situation that left everyone still in fear of him without him looking like an asshole.

Tom Hanks once said it is a lot harder to do comedic acting than it is to do dramatic. I'm not sure how well that translates into the wrestling ring, but Whiplash tripping himself on the ropes was perfectly timed and showed a willingness to not hold back from a man who is very capable in both technical and violent matches.

But it takes two to turn a good performance into a great match, and DCT more than held his own last Saturday. This was easily the best match I have seen from DCT. There were the comedy elements, and DCT certainly possesses incredible comic timing of his own. A few aside glances and references to the fact that he is aligned with Jackie Polo in another universe went over well with the adults, but what really struck me was how the wrestling flowed between both DCT and Whiplash.

It all combined to tell a great story, one which came to a satisfyingly natural conclusion with Whiplash getting victory following a spin-out powerbomb.

With some tension mouting within the ranks of Muay Tache, and DCT failing to get the singles victory here, I wonder if Adam Carrel will look at the results here and begin questioning the future of the SWA tag team champions?

Kieran McColm vs Matt Daly
Billed as a special Source school showcase, this was a great advert for the school. I've seen both guys wrestle before and they each have a bit of the "it factor" that makes you think they will go places in the future.

Matt Daly came out spouting his "MATT..... DALY!" routing, which got great heckles from the crowd. An instant connection was made. Kieran McColm then came out and, being a native of Cumbernauld, he had the support of the crowd from the get-go and that carried throughout the match whenever Kieran looked to be flagging.

Although Matt had the considerable size advantage, Kieran deftly utilised his speed and resilience to maintain the upper hand through most of the contest. If I can offer one piece of constructive criticism to the graduates, I would say that I felt there were too many moves used that would be considered "finishers" in other promotions. It wasn't necessarily overdone (at no point did I feel I was watching a Grado-esque homage routine, for example) but at one point Matt Daly executed his version of the Skull Crushing Finale on Kieran that I felt should have ended him, but I was left scratching my own skull when Kieran kicked out.

That minor thought aside, I was fully gripped by the match and enjoying it thoroughly as it seemed Kieran was ready to put Matt away, but then in entered Jack Jester. Jester grabbed young Kieran by the throat and started attacking him. This lead to a disqualification victory for Kieran, but Matt Daly left looking like the cat that got the cream. He has since been seen declaring himself "undefeated" as he has not technically been pinned or submitted, despite his factual record showing 1-2 and Kieran McColm getting that solo pin for the team in a six-man tag match. But hey, details details.....

Jack Jester showdown
Flying Ryan Griffin ran out to the ring to try and save Kieran, and suggested that if Jack Jester was so eager for a fight maybe he should take on Griffin right there and then. The bell rung for a match, but Jester instead took exception to a ran in the audience and left to challenge him to a fight instead. The impromptu contest was called off, but Jam O'Malley declared that it would happen tonight, as the Main Event of the evening!

Scott McManus vs Deviation
The masked Deviation came to the ring with incredible presence, but McManus (another recent Source graduate) made his own entrance seemingly unfazed by the imposing masked man. Something happened between McManus reaching the ring and the start of the match, as straight away it became clear there was something wrong with Scott's right knee.

He valiantly tried to get into the bout, but the ref signaled for the match to be stopped and ruled it a No Contest due to McManus being unable to compete. This was clearly the right decision, but as Scott was being helped to the back, Deviation decided to take out some of his aggression and try to kick at his would-be opponent anyway. This devious behaviour got a ton of boos from the crowd, and I for one wish Scott a speedy and full recovery so he can get back in the ring and make Deviation pay for his heinous actions.

Solar vs Massimo Italiano
The first half main event featured an interesting mix of sizes and styles, as Solar (the newly crowned Scottish Junior Heavyweight Champion) came to the ring sporting his new belt. What a belt it is by the way! Hands down my favourite looking belt in wrestling today, its nearly the size of Solar himself!

Massimo is certainly no Junior so I believe this was a non-title match, but despite his considerable size and strength advantage, Solar put up the true fight of a champion.

I am a fan of Massimo Italiano, having seen him live twice now. A lot of guys his size go for the "strong, silent type" routine, but Massimo I find is always very expressive, even given his apparently restricted English.

While Solar sought to get the Scottish crowd on his side, Massimo seemed quite content in himself and his power, chanting Italiano while powering up for some strong strikes on Solar.

A great mash-up of styles I would gladly watch again, Solar eventually prevailed with a top-rope frogsplash getting him the victory.

Jackie Polo vs Lewis Girvan
The second half looked to start off with the same ethos as the first - entertaining matches! I thoroughly enjoyed this once again, but had to miss a lot of the action unfortunately. Still, these things happen at family shows and I am reliably informed that Lewis put Jackie away with the Futureshock DDT.

Considering the last time we were in this venue, it was Jackie Polo facing Grado in the main event, for Lewis to get the victory here surely strengthens the case that he might be the current Junior Heavyweight Champion if he was given the one-on-one shot for the title earlier in the year. With momentum on both Solar and Girvan's side, I for one am hoping we see a meeting between the two before too long.

Sammii Jayne vs Nikki Storm
An excellent encounter between the two, I was enthralled for the entirety. These are two of the best wrestlers around right now, you need to look no further than the fact that Nikki has been invited to wrestle for the "Stardom!" company in Japan this summer for proof of that.

Sammii was accompanied to the ring by Debbie Sharpe, and both women wore matching outfits while retaining their own styles. Debbie would interfere throughout the match as well as offering support to Sammii, With her friend by her side, Sammii managed to cinch the victory by holding a German suplex for the pin. Another match I would pay money to see again.

Celtic Arrow vs Glen Dunbar
The one mis-step on the show for me, Celtic Arrow looked shaky throughout the match. The kids love him because hey, who doesn't love a masked high-flier, but there were a couple of moments that made others cringe. Most of all there was a top-rope crossbody to Glen on the outside that seemed to clatter Dunbar's head off the unforgiving floor in a manner that gained him more sympathy than anything else.

The ending came with Dunbar hitting almost like a running-Sister Abigail type DDT maneuver. I don't know the name of it to be honest, but it looked good and the match was over. Glen then took to the microphone to call out his brother Grado and declared that "this is what will happen every show until I get what I want - a match with Grado". Dunbar then picked Arrow up on his shoulder and slammed him forcefully into the mat, taking whatever wind he had left right out of him. Grado v Glen, the brothers colliding - that is once again a match I am incredibly excited to see.

Flying Ryan Griffin vs Jack Jester
Main event time and a stellar match from two guys who truly know what they are doing in the ring. Ryan had the crowd fully behind him and left us all on a high when he managed to put Jester away with a cracking superkick for the pinfall victory.

I've seen Griffin live a few times and he is truly a main event talent. He deserved the victory here, and you deserve to go see him live at the earliest opportunity.

Jack Jester then proceeded to resume his issues with the fan in the crowd, goading him to push past security and take a swing or step into the ring to prove his worth. I honestly am at a loss for words as to these events and wonder what will become of it as Jack Jester increasingly seems more unhinged with every appearance.

Overall this was an incredibly enjoyable night out. A few mis-steps aside, there were plenty of stellar matches that more than made the £10 worth spending. Plenty of great potential for future feuds, you can join in the action tonight and tomorrow as SWA head to Ardrossan and Beith respectively. Tickets as always are £10 and the big highlights for me tonight will be Joe Hendry & Sammii Jayne taking on Scott Renwick & Courtney, while tomorrow in Beith keep an eye out for Mikey Whiplash vs Kenny Williams.  You owe it to yourself to get to one of these shows.

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