Thursday 12 December 2013

That Wrestling Podcast Episode 26

A couple of weekends ago I and my That Wrestling Podcast co-host attended a wrestling show in South London, along with the guys who do the (always worth listening to) South London Hardcore podcast, Jack and Steve. Michael and I were there because we like wrestling. Jack and Steve were there because they were doing an episode about wrestling in South London. You can download it from iTunes and visit their site here. I’d recommend doing both.

The wrestling event was not all it could have been.

The show was held in a small venue in Elephant and Castle. Announced beforehand were numerous British and American wrestlers, including Colt Cabana, Dave Mastiff, Marty Scurll, Adam Cole, Drake Younger, and Eddie Kingston. Before the first match had even started we were informed that Cole and Haskins were stuck on a ferry after wrestling in Germany. The promise was that if they made it to the venue the first thing they’d do was go to the ring and wrestle.

In hindsight I should have known from then that they weren’t going to appear. There were less than one hundred people in attendance and the likelihood is that they’d already gone home after realising that appearing at a theatre in South London wasn’t worth their time.

But this wasn’t my initial reaction. My initial reaction was to lean over to Michael and share my belief that the promoters were employing a classic British trick of announcing that a big star wasn’t going to be able to attend knowing full well they were sitting backstage, all in order to set up a big pop when said wrestler did show up after all.

I’m an optimist. Clearly.

Oh, and Eddie Kingston and Drake Younger didn’t appear. No reason was given as to why.

The first half of the show saw Rampage Brown defeat Nathan Cruz, Martin Kirby defeat the Lion Kid, and Johnny Storm defeat Marty Scurll. Yeah, the guy that’s faced Hiroshi Tanahashi and starred in ITV’s Take Me Out went on before the interval. Shocking!

The opener was completely average. Rampage was playing the heel but was far more over because he exhibited more personality. The small crowd latched onto that and didn’t let go. It’s also worth noting that he was a hit with both Michael and Jack. I think his legs (stocky and covered in hair) were cited as a reason. Kirby versus the Lion Kid was memorable for the Project Ego member’s comedy stalling and cat gags (at one point referring to Kid as Simba). I’d expected a greater ease performing in front of a smaller crowd from a seasoned pro like Lion Kid.

The highlight of the first half (and, for me, the entire show) was Storm versus Scurll. It was, like everything else on the card, a comedy affair, but it was elevated greatly by the experience of both men, in particular Scurll’s willingness to send himself up. Thanks to years of working in dingy school gyms and town halls ‘The Wonderkid’ was unphased by the miniscule crowd and did everything he could to keep us excited and making noise. What really made the match stand out was a spot with the referee. We go into more detail on that during the podcast. For the four of us it was the spot of the evening.

Big lad Dave Mastiff there!
After the interval Dave Mastiff, described by Michael as “fridge-like” and by me as “a modern day Henry VIII”, defeated Kris Travis. It was another basic affair that would have benefited from Mastiff playing the bad guy. He seemed reluctant to do so despite the clear size advantage that dictated he should.

The main event was the most proficient wrestling bout of the evening. It saw Colt Cabana beat Chuck Taylor. There was a lengthy pre-match sequence involving ‘The Kentucky Gentleman’ stealing a sign from a(n incredibly obnoxious) child in the audience and threatening to tear it up. Cabana made the save, natch.

Colt Cabana doesn't give up to headlock, no matter how they're applied
There’s not a huge amount to say about the match. It was well-paced and funny in all the right places, basically what you’d expect from Cabana. Taylor was a revelation for me. I’d never thought of him as anything particularly amazing, but his crowd interaction was top notch. He’s someone that Gabe Sapolsky, TNA and ROH should all be pursuing to get on as many shows as possible in 2014. In fairness the same is true of Cabana.

All this said the price of the tickets wasn’t high and the wrestlers that did show up all did their best to put on a good show and ensure we had a good time, which we did. Whether the no-shows were down to a lackadaisical ferry or shady promoting tactics we had as good a time as we could expect to for a tenner. Ultimately that’s all that matters.

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