Main image: Brett Hadley
Here’s five things you need to know about British wrestling this week:
1) Southside crowned a new Speed King
As well as acting as Southside Wrestling’s secondary singles title, the Speed King Championship is also held up once a year and competed for in a 12-man tournament, which involves the holder and 11 of the best lighter weight competitors in the UK (and beyond).
This year’s edition, held at the Rushcliffe Leisure Centre in Nottingham last Saturday, saw Will Ospreay make what will become an increasingly rare UK appearance and put his title on the line — and he did not walk out with the belt.
As a taster to the main event, the promotion held Day Of Reckoning 12.5, a fun show with some very good matches, including Ospreay vs. Brian Cage, a genuinely funny comedy match between El Ligero and Kazma Sakamoto, UK veteran Stixx going up against Lucha Underground‘s Fenix, Sami Callihan & real-life girlfriend Jessicka Havok taking on Kay Lee Ray & her real-life boyfriend Stevie Boy, and a four-way main event between Speed King competitors Chris Ridgeway, Bubblegum, Lio Rush and Matt Cross.
Sami Callihan finishes Fenix — photo by Brett Hadley
As well as the title tournament, the evening show also had El Ligero team with Cage to beat HC Dyer & Southside Wrestling Champion Joseph Conners, and a women’s tag team match between Nixon Newell & Melina and Kay Lee Ray & Alex Windsor.
The main attraction saw Ospreay, Callihan, Cross, Bubblegum, Robbie X, and Mark Haskins qualify for the final — after Callihan and Fenix had a super match — and it was Haskins who triumphed, making Callihan tap to the sharpshooter to become the new champion, giving him another belt to add to the PROGRESS, Smash, Ironfist, Fight! Nation, and 4FW belts he already holds.
Southside kicked off their weekend with a show at their “home” arena, the Priory Centre in St. Neots last Friday. Adrenaline Rush was headlined by Fenix taking on a babyface Bubblegum (wearing pink in memory of Kris Travis), and also featured Conners, El Ligero, Banks, and Damian Dunne (who was supposed to face Lio Rush but the latter missed his flight, with Chris Tyler stepping in), as well as a super four-way won by Nixon Newell over Tyler, Chris Brookes and Robbie X, and Sami Callihan doing his “Space Cat” gimmick against Chris Ridgeway.
Southside return on October 29th with their sixth anniversary show in Stevenage.
2) And they crowned a new Queen Of The Ring, too!
As part of a huge weekend of action, which also featured the Speed King tournament, Southside Wrestling also visited Sheffield last Sunday and held a Queen of The Ring tournament to rival its male counterpart.
The quarterfinals of the competition saw Melina pin Lana Austin (and then wow the crowd with a post-match kiss), Alex Windsor beat Leah Vaughn, Jessicka Havok win a battle of the big lasses against Viper, and Kay Lee Ray cheat to beat Nixon Newell.
In the semifinals, Melina beat Viper (who subbed for a supposedly injured Alex Windsor), and Kay Lee Ray pinned Havok after more “assistance” from KLR’s boyfriend Stevie Boy, before Melina triumphed in an interference-filled final to take the tournament and the final.
Before that, and making it an all-woman show, Kasey Owens beat Ruby Summers, and challenged whoever won the final to a title match in February.
Melina lifts the Queen Of Southside belt — photo by Brett Hadley
After the QOTR action, the promotion held a special Kirby Mania evening show to mark Martin Kirby’s 100th match for Southside. Kirby main evented the show against longtime rival and friend El Ligero but their match was cut short by Joseph Conners and Paul Malen, and the two then teamed against the interlopers.
The show began with Mark Haskins defending his newly-won Speed King title, and interference behind the referee and Bubblegum’s back by Robbie X handed the title to the denizen of Hubba Bubba Land.
While Haskins may have lost one of his many titles, another belt collector, Pete Dunne (who won WXW’s Shotgun title on Friday night), was in action against Fenix, who enhanced his already-considerable reputation with a weekend of great matches.
Kirby Mania also featured a fun five-way, won by Brian Cage (and also including Lio Rush, Robbie X, Chris Ridgeway and Travis Banks), and Sami Callihan — who was announced as a regular member of the roster in Nottingham — pinning BT Gunn, as well as a women’s eight-man in which Melina, Jessicka Havok, Nixon Newell & Leah Vaughn beat Kay Lee Ray, Viper, an amazingly revitalized Alex Windsor & Kasey Owens.
All these show will be available to watch on Southside’s on demand service soon.
3) Rampage Brown still rules Leeds
While their last show in the city featured an import-heavy, stacked lineup, Tidal Championship Wrestling showed that their regular roster is every bit the match for that kind of show with a great lineup at Each Dawn I Die at the O2 Academy in Leeds last Sunday.
The show was main evented by TCW Heavyweight Champion Rampage Brown taking on Wolfgang in a no countout, no DQ match, which the hometown hero won by pinfall to retain his title.
Lizzy Styles takes down Lana Austin — photo by Plentiful Pictures
The show was opened by David Graves pinning “The Russian Nightmare” Boris Koslov, and a women’s tag match which saw Lana Austin & Little Miss Roxxy beat Xia Brookside & Lizzy Styles, before a qualifying match in the Calling Spots Championship tournament between HT Drake and Daniel James.
Drake advanced by DQ after James’ Service stablemate Sean Only attacked hit the ring, and Only cut a talky after the match, declaring that The Service are many and that they don’t care about the championship.
In the second half of the show (which also featured Jackie Polo vs. Ace Matthews), the momentous New Nation of Jason Prime & Alexander Henry picked up another win, downing Michael Chase & Massimo, and Xander Cooper cheated to win against Matt Myers after becoming enraged at Myers’ Sami Zayn tribute act.
Tidal return to the O2 Academy with Against All Odds on November 6th, with a main event of Rampage Brown vs. AR Fox.
4) IPW:UK turned Essex boys for the day
Although they run the lion’s share of their events in owner Daniel Edler’s home county of Kent, IPW:UK have begun making the odd foray north of the Thames to Harlow, in Essex, and they promoted their third Harlow event of 2016 last Sunday at the Paringdon Sports Club.
With IPW:UK Heavyweight Champion Jimmy Havoc still at odds with the promotion, the show was headlined by an IPW:UK All-England Championship match between Sammy Smooth and WWE Cruiserweight Classic competitor Fabian Aichner, with Smooth making a successful defense to increase his title reign into its second year.
The low-key Birmingham invasion of the promotion continued as Chris Brookes stretched Maverick Mayhew and Damian Dunne unveiled a variation on his ATTACK! No Fun Police character in a loss to London Riot James Davis, but there was plenty of regular IPW:UK action, including Women’s Champion Tennessee Honey refereeing a match between two of her rivals — Chakara and Nightshade — which ended in a no contest when Amazon attacked all three of them.
The show also featured a win for Mike Broly over Dean Michael, a triple threat won by Scott Star over Lance Lawrence and Tom Dawkins, and a very local tag team match between the Ruckers and the Tassle Tusslers.
The promotion return with a pair of big shows in Rochester this weekend, featuring Nick Aldis and Mickie James, as well something of a flippy dream tag team match — Angelico & Jack Evans vs. Shane Strickland & Lio Rush — alongside the usual crowd. All the action can be seen on IPW:UK’s on demand service.
5) An All Japan regular swapped Korakuen Hall for Bridgeton Community Centre
The Source Wrestling School, run by Mikey Whiplash in Glasgow, presented an event last Saturday which showcased the best of the school, some Scottish scene regulars, and a visitor from All Japan Pro Wrestling.
The show at the Bridgeton Community Centre was headlined by a win for AJPW’s Atsushi Aoki over local big noise Joe Coffey, and was ably supported by an undercard featuring BT Gunn, Whiplash himself, and ATTACK! raver Danny Jones, as well as a Polo Promotions vs. Kings of Catch tag match, won by the Polo & Coffey combination.
Source return with another showcase event on November 11th.
Coffey & Aoki prepare to go to war — photo by David J Wilson
The same night, much further south in Gloucester, Pro-Evolution Wrestling promoted The Great Battle of Gloucester II, at the GL1 Leisure Centre, main evented by a Pro-EVO Heavyweight Championship clash between Big Grizzly and T-Bone, and the heavily tattooed Bone won the TLC match to take Griz’s title.
It was a good night for T-Bone as his girlfriend Lana Austin won a match for the vacant Pro-EVO Women’s title against Kat Von Kaige — indeed, all the promotion’s titles changed hands, with David Maddox pinning Dan Splash to win the Middleweight title, and The Fever beating Mike Bird & Wild Boar to lift the tag straps.
The show also featured Zack Gibson over Fabian Aichner, the New nation beating the British Young Bloods, and an appearance by the cheekily-named Matt Ridler.
Lana Austin & Kat Von Kaige competed for the Pro-EVO Women’s belt — photo by Turning Face’s Jim Maitland
Zack Gibson also appeared in his hometown as Britannia Wrestling Promotions made a rare foray outside their Welsh base for the Scouser Series at Liverpool’s Grand Central Hall last Friday.
Gibson teamed with Danny Hope but the pair fell to Joey Hayes & Dean MacManus — the match made earlier in the night when a MacManus vs. Hope singles match ended in a DQ. In another tag outing, the Island Bros beat the YOLO Squad to win the PWI:BWP tag titles, and the main event saw another title change hands as the Babyfaced Pitbull pinned Don Meacho for Meacho’s PWI:BWP Catchweight Championship.
The show also featured Cyanide, Ruffneck, Dylan Roberts, Disco Bert and Sexy Kev, and Britannia are next in action on Saturday in Ruthin, north Wales.