It’s ironic, really. I spent last week researching my article about concussions and serious injury in professional wrestling – and then I smacked my head on the bus en route to work and ended up with a splitting headache and most of the week written off.
Add to that I then developed a cold (I do NOT recommend sneezing repeatedly when you have a concussion) and we’re not looking at optimum conditions for a) enjoying a night out or b) remembering things.
Still, I’d been planning to go to PCW for ages, and I wasn’t about to let a bump on the head stop me.
I was most excited about the opening bout – Friend of TOWIS Noam Dar against his trainer Zack Sabre Junior, Joey Hayes and Dean Allmark in a four-way match. Dar began by cutting a vicious promo on pretty much everyone in sight, but primarily the North in general. The crowd gave as good as they got, though, with various unimaginative “haggis” and “shortbread” taunts levelled at him before some wag came up with “Lady DarDar” as a chant. He and Sabre then proceeded to kick each other to bits, trading armbars (Sabre) and kneebars (Dar), with Hayes and Allmark dipping in and out before Dar forced his mentor to tap.
I enjoyed seeing Greg Burridge in action against Bubblegum, whose manager belted the Cockney Crusader with a loaded handbag to help her man to the win, then Friend of TOWIS Lionheart and Kris Travis ended the first half with the conclusion of their feud in an I Quit match – Travis was the first to have his blood spilt (which Lionheart happily smeared over his face – grim) but he also emerged victorious after kendo sticks, dustbins and thumbtacks had all been brought to the party. (Still no news on Lionheart signing for either big promotion, by the way; he’ll be at PCW’s forthcoming Spring Slam next month.)
The second half began with a tag match between Disco Madness, Terry Frazier and Dave Rayne (hailed around the room as some kind of demi-god, with scores of masks in his honour), notable mostly for Frazier giving me a brilliant meme I shall be using in everyday life from now on – he objected to the proliferation of “comedy wrestling” with the put-down “LES KELLETT’S DEAD.”
I then nearly got squashed as WWE’s latest signing MVK threw the ridiculously oversized Shaun The Hammer Davis around the building for 20 minutes, and then concluded by squashing the ref (who I was actually very impressed by over the course of the evening). It wasn’t particularly logical, pretty or entertaining to watch, especially as the sightlines around the venue weren’t always ideal, but MVK certainly has a look and some in-ring ability – fingers crossed he’ll make something of his chance in WWE.
By this time it was well after 10pm, and the main event between champion T-Bone, Cumbria’s Johnny Moss and returning hero and Friend of TOWIS Mark Haskins did feel very rushed, running at a ridiculously fast pace. It turns out that there were various problems that contributed to a huge overrun in the show’s timing (read promoter Steven Fludder’s Facebook post here), so I’m not going to complain too much about that (nor having to dash for our last train home). Regardless, I was impressed by the three of them as T-Bone held on to his belt.
I did have a little issue about who the show was aimed at – there were lots of children running round, which is fine, and something I do enjoy seeing at wrestling (when appropriate). One little girl accosted me and informed me that the wrestler called Greg is her favourite and she loves him, which was adorable, and before the show began, there were notices beamed onto the screens advising the grown-ups to keep a hold of their kids, but also for the rest of us to watch our language.
However, the wrestlers then proceeded to cut promos peppered with various obscenities, and the first half finished with an utterly brutal I Quit match. I have no problem with either element – I don’t like seeing wrestlers busted open, and I’d rather hear a clever, imaginative promo than an offensive one (however funny), but that’s just my taste, and I’m a grown-up, I know what to expect, and I can choose not to watch or listen. I would say, though, if that’s going to be included in the show, then maybe kids shouldn’t be around for it, or perhaps the first half could be family-friendly with the second half just for the grown-ups, or parental advisory.
Plus it’s a big old venue, Lava Ignite – it’s a nightclub of the sort I’ve not been in for years, with balconies and stairs and different levels (and a blinkin’ great big chandelier right above the ring – that’s what that is in the photos, by the way – it’s not a UFO), and I do think that with a bit of re-jigging, this would be a great place for a wrestling show. As it was, though, there were three rows of seating set out close to the ring, with everyone else jostling for position, and I found it tricky to see in places.
To PCW’s credit, having the matches beamed on to screens around the venue was a good idea, as was having the travelling camera following the multiple matches that spilled out of the ring – there were a few technical glitches that meant not all the action could be seen, but I’m sure these are just teething troubles.
Regardless, 500 people at a UK indy show is fantastic – the crowd were thoroughly entertained and engaged with the entire bill, and why not, with such talent on display? Spring Slam is likely to be equally packed, with Lionheart returning and Friend of TOWIS Marty Scurll making his PCW debut. If you’re in the north-west – or if you can have your arm twisted to travel there – check it out.