Review: BritWresFest (Wrestling With Ethics), Coronet, London, April 1st 2012

Right, let’s get this bit out of the way first. This Wrestling With Ethics show was for charity, raising money for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, and that has to be the primary thing to take away from the afternoon. They could have put the worst card ever on, and it would still have been a commendable enterprise.

However, it was by no means the worst card ever. Some of the top UK promotions put together showcase matches, with titles on the line all round, and it was great to see some of the best British talent on the same bill.

Stand-outs for me were NGW’s opening bout between Nathan Cruz, Rampage Brown and El Ligero and IPW:UK’s tag-team match-up between the LDRS and Dean Allmark and Jonny Storm. (Incidentally, I’m VERY taken with Zack Sabre Jr and Marty Scurll’s recent penchant for kissing each other. This time they extended the smooching to their opponents as well. It’s oddly endearing.)

Elsewhere, Jenny Sjodin lost her ProWrestling EVE title to the Alpha Female (who persists in wearing tops that threaten to fall apart mid-match); and it was good to see RJ Singh back in action after he had to withdraw from last weekend’s Progress show. He faced Rockstar Spud (who came to the ring performing a karaoke version of ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’, which bore no resemblance to the key his backing track was in), and employed his usual heel tactics, including using his megaphone-wielding manager to attempt to hobble his opponent.

Zack Diamond Gibson was on a London bill for the second weekend running, and he and Jack Gallagher did well in their FutureShock title match – Gallagher got a submission win and I’m still not sure whether Gibson really was hurt or not. I hope not – Gibson’s impressed me in both the shows I’ve seen him in so far.

The lucha interlude from Lucha Britannia was enjoyable, getting the most crowd engagement of the afternoon. Just a word to the wise, though – not that I want to expose the real identity of masked men, but wrestlers who play different characters might want to think about concealing their very distinctive tattoos if they want to maintain kayfabe…

The result I most enjoyed was seeing Mark Andrews win the BWC Progress Scarlo Scholarship ladder match – partly because, obviously, he’s a friend of TOWIS, but also because he’s a genuinely gifted young man, and it’ll be great to see him defend his title in the forthcoming Progress show at the Garage in June.

I have absolutely no idea what happened in the main event – a six-man tag match is always going to be a bit of a mess unless there’s a strong storyline and a lot of space to perform it in. Still, mostly people were just glad to see returning hero Doug Williams, making a guest appearance as part of ‘The Resistance’ faction. It was also nice to see Joel Redman before he jets off to pastures WWE – he’s got a hell of a look, he’s a great wrestler, and FCW should love him.

So an entertaining afternoon for a good cause, yes, but I do have to point out that the show was mildly shambolic in places – for starters, the two titantron screens on the stage were backlit, meaning that every time anyone walked behind them, their silhouette was projected (and this started well before the show so you’d have thought it might be spotted by the time the first wrestlers came out). There were a few video packages – glossy and well produced, but with spelling mistakes in the captions. And more than once the wrong titantron was played, announcing the wrestlers in the wrong order and creating a great deal of confusion. All minor issues, but for a show this size, in a venue this size, with half-a-dozen cameras filming it for TV broadcast, you’d have hoped for the detail to be picked up.

Still, as I said, the major point is the money raised for Great Ormond Street, and the hard work of the people who got the show together. If you couldn’t make it along this afternoon but would like to make a donation, you can go through to GOSH’s website; and we were told that the full show will be available to watch on this week, so check it out!


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