Let’s be clear. UKW, UK Wrestling, out of Batley and with a meat and potatoes appeal much of the time, have shown chutzpah. Cahones even.
This is a debut of a Friday night show. It’s intended to be regular. It appears to be live.
And this first episode was 2 hours and 20 minutes long. They could have done an hour, even 45 minutes, lots of wrestling promotions do. But no, this was a big push.
I’ve grown with UKW over the past year or so. Early on in lockdown, they created some past content shows presented by an actor I know who they named Lex Lister; I enjoyed it, sat with the characters and had a pretty good time.
Since then, they’ve delivered old special events, returned with Pay Per Views which always have something to enjoy, sometimes many things.
I’ve seen some of the UKW wrestlers grow in stature and ability, particularly Leonie Rose who has always been a heel but is now particularly cocky and can back it up in the squared circle.
This though was a really big ask. And it almost got away from them. Let’s get the issues out of the way first.
What Could Have Been Better
We don’t start with a video package, fireworks or Michael Buffer. We start with a picture of a guardrail. We’ve clearly gone live and thrown the picture to a camera which has been laid down. The seconds tick by…
Then we are taken to the three person booth who will be calling the action. They don’t know they’re on. No one says anything they may regret, but they chat and tell each other that there’ll be a video package to start and they’re waiting for that package.
There isn’t a package before they start. They’ve started. It isn’t the most auspicious of beginnings.
Another main issue, the only other one technically, is the sound.
The UKW faithful has always included a lot of youngsters, like a lot of Brit Wrestling promotions who like to chat and shout, the noise is good to hear but it drowns out the commentary and if you turn it up, you turn the crowd up too.
The chat in the ring can’t be heard either, which is an issue as there are some extended on the mic pieces.
They’re the challenges. On with the wrestling…
How Did It Look?
It’s in their wrestling room, which is well covered with UKW regalia, it’s a black box with the crowd close and fully engaged.
We have no graphics to show who’s there, so I was left going to the Internet quite a lot. Hopefully that will be added on future episodes.
Jonathan Sedgwick! The UKW owner, isn’t he? Tug the forelock, please. And he’s here to do something special.
Flashback! At the last PPV, Hallowed Ground, Jayrow Lewis (formerly Jester Jayrow now not as happy with a cap and bells) lost his heavyweight title to John S, but didn’t react well. So he took the belt with him.
Sedgwick could have asked for it back. He could even have had harsh words with him.
Why do that when you can turn it into an event? A new belt reveal, and a nicely designed gold at that. Lovely!
Perennial thorn in his side Cayman Carlisle interrupted and there was some chat and a nasty hiatus before Leonie Rose’s music hit.
She’s got a dream/golden ticket and she’s teasing which belt she may want.
Cue hirsute General Manager, plain speaking Laurence who makes a match. On the hoof no less! It’s a tag. It’s
Rose & Carlisle v Sedgwick & Alfiee
Alfieeeee(e)eeee is the Women’s champ, so Leonie might want a chance at her, but she bailed after an early beating.
Sedgwick took over on Carlisle, showing a sweet DDT and vertical suplex, but then Rose got some inter gender grappling action and waw allowed to hang with the champ Sedgwick!
That’s a really good move as it places her as one of the rising stars. Sadly, she walked into an Alfiee spear for the pin.
A nice, sharp, short opener which secured both women as someone to watch.
Young Horus v Billy O’Keefe
Horus is a masked lucha type, O’Keefe is a popular coming man. Both are young and can really go when required. Should be fabulous.
It wasn’t, quite.
Firstly, O’Keefe did a lot of the work and did it bloody well; a headlock to ankle lock, a draping reverse DDT, springboard cross body, but Horus at least came back with some kicks and a basic headlock…
This match might have caught fire, but we’ll never know, Carlisle came out again with his heavy enforcer Henry Winter and just, you know, made their presence felt by beating people up. And just after the O’K and YH had traded pin attempts too.
A real shame, but you have to keep the characters going.
Ever made a bad decision? That baby warthog got bigger, didn’t he? You were all in with ‘The Walking Dead’, weren’t you? And remember when you said ‘it can’t be that hot’?
Well, UKW trainee Cliff Harrison made a bad choice. He wanted to call someone out. To make an impression…
Mustafa Khan v Cliff Harrison
You don’t poke the bear. You don’t tug on Superman’s cape. And you don’t p*ss off the Persian Champ. He’s a big man with an MMA background and bad intentions.
Actually though, Harrison seemed to understand this and came to fight. And to avoid Khan’s huge hands, not that he could get away from all of them, with painful results. The mix of approaches made this a competitive match actually.
Until Khan delivered several slams, sidewalk, standard, choke. And probably would have led to a pin had Winter not come out again.
Harrison won by DQ or something, but what is more mouthwatering is a possible battle between these 2 massive men.
That would be both knock down and drag out…
Joe Sedgwick v Mad Ed
Joe is Jonathan’s son, or ‘silver spoon Sedgwick’ as Laurence dismissively called him – they will surely have fun with this in coming weeks.
Mad Ed is doing a gimmick making out that he’s unhinged. I don’t like those close-to-mental-illness angles, I prefer Ste now he’s Cerebral rather than Confused for instance.
Ed has a bloody handprint pront on his vest and shouts a lot. Yersss…
And sadly, it isn’t that good, some poor punches from Ed, Joe having a go and hitting a rather big suplex and a roll up for a Silver Spoon pin.
Joe Sedgwick will get better and has the ability to, hope he gets the chance.
We needed livening up by now so who can do that?
Since he turned face, he’s been sick a crowd favourite and that’s not surprising, he has a sunny sense of fun.
He’s also the possessor of the Round The Clock title (sort of like the 24/7 title) but here he suffers a little because we can’t really hear him, but his energy is hard to ignore.
Here’s Leonie Rose again. Maybe she’s out because she smells a belt, don’t know why because, yes you guessed it, I can’t really hear but what I do see is that Rose is having a big night. She’s pulling double duty…
Leonie Rose v Skye
Rose has the experience here and she uses it to rather brutalise her opponent, she even dragged her by her hair, hit a suplex, a sweet DDT and got the pin using her nemesis Alfiee’s finisher, the spear.
Short and actually rather sweet, showing what Rose can do, it was immediately denigrated by a commentary comment ‘why do I feel less than impressed by that match?’
I was impressed. 2nd time out and you can only wrestle what’s in front of you. Rose slapped Mukhtoom as she left. Was it something he said? I don’t know. Guess why?
And things got worse for the Sheikh
Mukhtoom v Johan Hunt
This wasn’t so much of a match, more a smash and grab. Hunt, who is disliked by the crowd, strangled Mukhtoom briefly and won the Round The Clock championship! Don’t expect him to have it for long…
Someone Is Incanting In The Ring!
You can go blind, you know. Oh, it’s OK, it’s demonic bloke Hunter Elcarus, who reads an old book as he came to the ring (no, it isn’t a James Patterson) and sat cross legged, seemingly casting spells.
Then he went . If you’d sold your soul to the Devil or one of his minions, you’d expect something when you incanted, wouldn’t you? Faust had Helen of Troy, what has Elcarus got? A sweaty dressing room (oh Geno).
Kaine Taylor v The Yorkshireman
The match of the night. Taylor is the untoppleable (what a word) TV champ.
The Yorkshireman is a type. Actually, I don’t favour the shtick, living in Lancashire, but he can wrestle. So can Kaine. And they really showed it.
Highlight here was The Yorkshireman grabbing Taylor as he came in for a spear and transitioning to a Muta lock; a thing of beauty.
Taylor had the power advantage, slamming him, synching in a rear naked choke which his opponent bridged out of and hitting the spear to win and retain.
I could have done with 10 more minutes of that.
And the main event
Jayrow Lewis & Cerbral Ste v Los Lunchadors
Was a comedy match.
The clue is in the name, these Luchas are well fed. Lewis, the former Jester who has the belt but an empty feeling, convinced Ste, formerly confused and now Cerebral, to be his acolyte.
Lewis is angry. This is not the match he wants.
Los Luchadors, Burrito and Quesedilla, are fun in short bursts.
The smaller Quesdedilla did most of their work, hitting a double takeover from the second strand and a falling headbutt, but Burrito cried when Lewis shouts at him, so that…happened.
In the end Lewis & Ste walked off and were counted out.
Lewis jawed at Laurence who replied ‘don’t blame me, I didn’t book this match’ – well, he is UKW General Manager, so he had something to do with it, unless his title is honorific, which can be very painful.
And Los Lunchadors and commentary team conga to a close.
Did It Work?
Most of it, yeah. There were sound issues and we need more credits, but to take such a huge step every week has to be celebrated.
What a big event. British Wrestling at it’s pretty near best. And they’ve got to do it all again on Friday…