I’ve done a fair bit of travelling to see wrestling shows, but the village of Chipping Sodbury on a rainy, foggy Friday night? Well, I have to be honest and say that the attraction was the main event, pure and simple – Kenny Omega v friend of TOWIS Zack Sabre Jr.
I know there’s a school of thought which criticises the use of imports on UK shows, but the fact of the matter is that if you’re a British wrestling fan attending shows regularly, you’ve seen pretty much all the best talent multiple times, and the chance to see them wrestle each other for the nth time isn’t necessarily going to get people to pay for a ticket. The use of imports – booked and used correctly, without over-expenditure – can be a draw, and there’s no denying that – I heard a couple of casual fans after the show enthusing, “I enjoyed the Canadian guy [Omega], he was something a bit different!”
And sure, some other matches on the bill looked interesting – the card also featured Sha Samuels v The Saint, and Dave Mastiff v Eddie Ryan, as well as Pete Dunne v Fujita ‘Jr’ Hayato – but it was the lure of seeing a couple of the world’s best that convinced me that being crushed into a car with six wrestlers and driving for three hours was a good idea.
I’m glad I went, too. Omega was terrific; Sabre was his usual brilliant self; and their match was enthralling. It was worth the journey and the entrance fee alone.
Dunne v Hayato, which closed the first half, was good too – after a tentative start, this was both hard-hitting and a display of excellent technique; and both these match-ups were improved even further by the obvious respect the opponents had for each other.
The heavyweight bouts, on the other hand, were too long for my liking, dragged out by the omnipresence and omniverbals of heel manager Gilligan Gordon, who continues to fancy himself as the new Paul Heyman, when only Paul E himself will ever be that good. I was impressed with the dedication (and bravery) of a badge-adorned long-term fan who took it upon himself to berate Gordon’s stable, though.
The opening eight-man tag bout featured Mark Andrews and the Wild Boar on opposing sides – I’m guessing the rest of the teams comprised 4FW trainees, as Andrews and Hitchman’s experience and craft shone through, but it was a sparky little match to begin the evening.
And the other match on the card was a title belt defence between champion ‘The Sheik’ Behnam Ali and Owen Phoenix, which was entertaining if only for the WWE-inspired ‘We The People’ chants.
A fun night, all in all – 4FW have just announced that Diamond Dallas Page will be their guest in June, so if you’re in the south-west area, check them out.