This is the show I’ve been looking forward to most this year. Ever since March, when John Morrison was announced as the show’s top-line import, I’ve been counting down the days to the show and getting myself over-excited at the thought that I would meet him in the afternoon’s meet and greet session.
Yeah, I’m a fangirl. So sue me.
Turning up at Lava Ignite at 2pm, I wasn’t surprised that the pre-show (‘Before the Fury’) appeared to be running over the advertised times. Fortunately, they let me in to wait rather than forcing me to stand outside in freezing conditions, and I was able to watch the end of Lionheart’s penultimate match on the big screens there.
I’ll talk about the Q&A with Morrison, Chris Masters and Eugene (and special guest contributor Mad Man Manson) later in the week, so I’ll skip ahead to the meet and greet. I felt a bit bad for Masters and Eugene, who weren’t anywhere near as in demand as Morrison, but I’m sure they expected that. As for Morrison himself, I was near the front of the queue and thought him quite delightful in person.
So, the show then. A spectacular six-man Money in the Bank match opened the card, including a triple suicide dive which hit a lady audience member and smashed up her chair, at which point I said to my companion, “I’m…fairly sure that’s Lionheart’s mum.” And indeed it was, confirmed by the ring announcer afterwards, when he also confirmed she was unhurt. PCW regular and cult figure Dave Rayne ended up the winner. I don’t really “get” Rayne in terms of his character, but he’s incredibly, incredibly over and deserves this title shot.
El Ligero faced off with Zack Sabre Jr next – a fantastic display which I really enjoyed, with both men living up to their excellent reputations. And it’s a match we wouldn’t have seen at all if some of the expected talent (Michael Elgin, Eddie Edwards and Johnny Moss) had turned up rather than being stranded in Germany after wXw. The card was filled out a little with a “bonus” tag match between Bubblegum and T-Bone and the reunited Disco Madness, and the first half concluded in a rather subdued fashion with Lionheart losing his last-ever match to Joey Hayes. He ruefully said that he’d given himself until the age of 30 to “make it” and would rather bow out at the top, including some sideways references to his disappointment at being overlooked for TNA’s British Boot Camp.
The second half began with Gilligan Gordon trying and failing to be Paul Heyman, succeeding only in a) making himself look stupid and b) making himself look even stupider with his duo of comments – a disgusted “There is a DOG at ringside!” followed by a slow realisation of exactly why that dog was with an audience member, and then his comeback to that fan’s heckle, “How do YOU know? YOU’RE BLIND!” A well-deserved chorus of “That’s not cool!” ensued. His client Dave Mastiff then proceeded to beat Eugene, whose imitations of famous WWE finishers was entertaining if a little lengthy.
Kris Travis, the PCW champion, faced Chris Masters next, and this was where the value of imports really shone through. Masters is about twice the size of Travis but made the champion look like a credible threat with exceptional storytelling, reinforced by a lovely touch at the end where he stopped Rayne from cashing in on the exhausted Travis.
And then, I regret to say, I left.
Before the main event.
Because it was 21.25, the raffle was still in progress, and the last train out of Preston on a Sunday back towards Lancaster is at 21.42.
I know we weren’t the only ones with this dilemma – people were fretting about it on Twitter and Facebook earlier in the week, asking whether anyone was driving from their area and was prepared to car-share, and being reassured that the show would wrap up at 21.30 and the station was a five-minute sprint away.
So I didn’t see John Morrison beat Noam Dar. I’m sure it was a great match, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy watching it when the footage is released.
And yes, I’m horribly disappointed. I had just about dealt with the idea that with a 21.30 scheduled end I was likely to miss the main event finish, but to not even see the ring entrances was upsetting.
I’m not saying it’s PCW’s fault that I had to leave – but it’s a bit galling to have to leave a show (that is apparently over-running, like the last PCW show I went to) prior to the main event. It might be worth any promoter who’s considering a Sunday night show taking a proper look at potential transport issues to ensure that fans aren’t either stranded or missing the top match on the card.
Even missing that final match, though, this was a tremendous show. PCW like to boast about their reliance on local talent and British talent, and they’re right to be proud of that. Although from time to time I get tired of seeing the same names recur on cards on promotions around the country, that never happens when I’m at PCW – even though they regularly book some of the top non-local UK talent, they also always ensure that the matches they put on are distinctive to them.
They’ve already announced Bobby Lashley, Goldust and the Steiner brothers for shows next summer (none of whom, if I’m honest, is that much of a draw for me), so it’ll be interesting to see how they go about retaining the balance between encouraging talent on the UK scene and drawing in casual fans wanting to see “stars” as the promotions develops and grows.