A cold Sunday afternoon in February requires some kind of illumination. Future Pro Wrestling, in their first event of 2013, provided the stars and warmed a sell-out crowd at the Wallington Hall in south London.
Once more the hero of the afternoon was the Cockney Crusader Greg Burridge, dice-thrusting as always, who led his team to victory in the opening six-man tag.
He celebrated by proposing to an obsessive ladyfan in the front row: “I love you TOO, honey! We love EACH OTHER! Let’s get married! We could have a wedding at a show! We could book Jake Roberts to do a run-in!” which garnered loud cackling from those of us of a certain age but went over the heads of the youngsters.
Burridge then wrapped up the show by defeating the dastardly Thomas Chamberlain and 19 others (including FPW stalwart Jimmy Havoc, both Bhangra Knights, Will Ospreay and Iestyn Rees – plus both London Riots, who were getting cruel if perhaps justified stick about their physiques) in the Rumble.
Arguably the best match, though, was the first-half closer – a fatal four-way between El Ligero, Stixx, Marty Scurll (who’s now the approved standard “TNA mahogany” colour) and Mark Haskins (whose presence bumped it up from the advertised triple threat).
That’s not to say Reloaded was perfect. Again, we saw the return of the repeated interference from outside, which had marred my enjoyment of Summertime Brawl a little. And there was an obvious timing problem in the first half, leading to a truncated rumble main event (which featured 21 wrestlers, rather than the advertised 20 – no idea why, other than “Marty Scurll wanted to join in at number 21”).
To be fair, the shorter rumble was a better idea – there’s no way the audience would have maintained interest for a match lasting more than half an hour, because so many of the crowd were small children.
And yes, you might scoff at the very idea of running a family show. Kids believing in kayfabe, a venue without a bar, no bloodshed – they might all be anathema to you.
But the truth of the matter is that FPW are selling out a medium-sized hall in South London now. There’s a niche in the market and they’ve found it – and they’re delivering what their audience want. Those who denigrate the idea of a fun-for-all-the-family wrestling show should perhaps take more time at looking at what they themselves are doing – and then congratulate FPW for their success.