When it’s bucketing with rain, East London isn’t the most salubrious place to go. As you head up from Limehouse station towards the Troxy, you’ll be struck by the amount of scary-looking semi-derelict pubs and the plethora of fried chicken offerings.
Still, my reason for heading here was the IPW:UK Revolution show. Advertised on the strength of its imports as well as its UK talent, it had been struck by a variety of problems in the weeks leading up to it, so I would have felt bad had I not gone down and forked out my money to support the UK scene.
The Troxy is a lovely venue. It looks thoroughly out of place in the area – beautifully refurbished as it is. However, I’m not convinced it’s a great place to watch wrestling. I had a ticket for the “upper ground floor”, a few feet above the ground floor, where the ring was positioned, and when I was sitting in my seat I couldn’t actually see the ring itself. It’s not a major problem for me – I may have a knackered knee but I’m relatively able-bodied, so I can stand up (even if I have paid £15 for a seat I’m not using), but shorter adults and small children near me had significant issues with sightlines throughout.
The ring announcer reminded us at the beginning that Kevin Nash had been booked for this show but had cancelled, leading to much booing. I’m not sure how I felt about Nash’s non-appearance. Obviously I don’t want to see him wrestle (click, click, click) but it would have been fun just to see him in person (LOL WTF I THOUGHT HE WAS DEAD).
To the card, then. It began with a six-man ladder match, which was entertaining if oddly concluded, with a win for Kris Travis. He and his tag partner Martin Kirby seemed to be struggling with knowing which way up a ladder is supposed to go, and Noam Dar was pitifully underused. Still, Matt Cross (he of Tough Enough alumni fame) looked very gifted, and it was good to see Lion Kid back in a UK ring; the little boy behind me (even smaller than Lion Kid himself!) was in raptures over him.
Mark Haskins and Joel Redman battled it out in a grudge match which was nicely set up by a Haskins promo on video. Maybe it would have been nice to hear Redman speak – he’s heading off to the big time soon and I’m not sure I’ve ever heard his voice.
The women’s tag match between the Blossom Twins and Perfect Storm was odd, with the face twins cheating to get the win. To be honest the highlight of this section was Nikki Storm and Shanna coming out to The Final Countdown, triggering loads of YES! YES! YES! chants, as you’d expect from a smarky crowd.
The first half concluded with one of the imports, Carlito, taking on Leroy Kincaid. Carlito is great on the mic but he didn’t really look like he wanted to be in the ring (the disgruntled mutters from fans who met him indicated that he didn’t really seem like he wanted to be in the UK at all). In terms of Kincaid, I’d simply suggest that if he is going to have a duo of female backing dancers, the only way to conceivably make this entertaining is if they dance like dinosaurs and make raptor hands.
To the interval and its main event, the merch shilling. Lion Kid is the master of this, with his table set out adorned with masks and photos and t-shirts, much to the small boy behind me’s delight. I asked him if he was going to meet Lion Kid, and he nodded, looking rather nervous. I reassured him that I had spoken to Lion Kid before, and he is very nice. He looked a bit happier at that, and proceeded to inform me, “He’s really a man, you know. He’s not really a lion,” in case I had been in some doubt about that.
Mark Haskins also had his table set out, with Matt Cross next to him, but other than that it was the usual DVDs, action figures and replica belts, plus the boring black-and-white t-shirts that all UK wrestling promotions are now selling. (I realise that I’m probably a niche market and they have to go with what will sell most, but I’m never going to buy a baggy men’s fit t-shirt. Offer me a ladies’ fitted top in a colour other than black, and I’ll pay for it. I can’t be the only one.)
The second half opened with another of the imports, Chris Masters, taking on Stixx. My attention during this segment was mostly occupied by a gentleman in the second row who really, really loved Chris Masters. I mean REALLY loved him. He was chanting about how much he loved him throughout. At the end of the match, as Masters jumped down into the crowd to celebrate his win, this man ran to the very front and proceeded to follow him around on his victory lap, managing to grab two uncomfortably extended hugs, and then looking ecstatic when Masters took his foam hand and brandished it skywards. I fear that young man may now be attempting to use the Masters sweat residues to create his own clone that can live in his house with him.
I’m not a fan of six-man tag matches – anything that could conceivably have been booked by Teddy Long is never going to be something I like. However, I was impressed by Rockstar Spud’s cowardly heeling it up in this section, running away from Martin Stone and then pleading with Dave Mastiff not to squash him. (To no avail.) He also took what looked like a nasty head-first bump towards the end of the match, so I hope he’s not feeling too sore this morning.
The final and main event of the evening was the title match between Marty Scurll and Sami Callihan – weirdly, this time it was Callihan cutting the promo on video, and it might have been nice to hear from Marty, but hey ho. I think both these guys are terrific wrestlers (and regular readers know how I feel about the LDRS – in fact, I’m typing this while wearing my LDRS t-shirt: pink and ladies’ fit, promoters take note) but somehow I just didn’t get in to this. I don’t think it was the fault of either man – I genuinely think it was the combination of an average-to-good show in a far-too-large venue meaning that the atmosphere was underwhelming, particularly when compared to what you’d expect for a match like this. Marty took the win and the belt, and I headed out into the lashing rain once more.
All in all, a decent night’s entertainment (almost three and a half hours of show) but perhaps not as good as was expected, for a multiplicity of reasons. It’ll be interesting to see how IPW fare on their next show – 3rd June, where Haskins takes on Akira Tozawa (yay!), and where they’re back in their home territory of Sittingbourne.