Southside Wrestling – The Big Bump Theory Review
I got worried that it was a sign when my sat nav told me to pull up as we had arrived at the venue when in fact we were in the middle of the countryside a few miles outside of Letchworth, is this telling me I wondered that it is not the best night to go and watch this show, then the lights flickered on and I said to my son, this is Southside it can only be somewhere between good and outstanding, was it?
Please read on to find out…..
Prior to the show I had read a comment on facebook where somebody had commented that this was a sleeper show for Southside, I looked at the card and felt that was disrespectful as there was some superb talent on show and also because I have been to every single Southside show for the past calender year now and not once have I left a show feeling let down or wondering why this or that was done badly or feeling short changed, usually my emotions were the total opposite with me feeling excited again about wrestling, an emotion I was sometimes asking myself prior to discovering Southside early in 2012 I wondered if I would feel again about wrestling so how did this show match up? Was it a sleeper or was it the usual outstanding SWE fayre?
Honest answer to sum up overall was I felt a mixture of those emotions upon departure and still twenty four hours of reflection on.
There was some decent storyline development, an aspect of wrestling which I feel that Ben Auld the promoter is particulary strong on and as storytelling is one of my favourite elements of the business I guess it explains the enjoyment I constantly derive from Southside shows.
There was some very good wrestling indeed ranging from some imposing heavyweights on this show through to some simply absurdly good technical stuff through to some very quick moving and where possible in a small venue with a low roof some excellent high flying bits as well or as Mark Adams from BritWresChat would say some flippy stuff!
Before we had the first bell I noticed the absence of Adam Curtis, a man who has been venting his spleen recently on podcasts and the social media, rumour had it that Ben Auld had fired Mr Curtis for his behaviour which amongst other comments included calling wrestling fans idiots and insulting members of Ben’s family, Mr Curtis as I shall respectfully call a genius in the business who is grossly underused on the scene was replaced for the show by Glenn Bird who took up position on the commentary table next to the Southside stalwart Diamond Dale Mills.
So finally we reach the opening bell, quick point to note, SWE have gained a reputation of late for having a large number of matches on their shows which is great for us fans but this show only had six matches listed which is low by SWE standards so I was hoping for six decent length matches to showcase the talent in each match up and one of those I was most eagerly awaiting was this opening tussle between Martin Ego Dragon Kirby a fearsome heel in the company going up against Pete Dunne who I am fairly sure was making his Southside bow on the show.
I was aware that Pete Dunne recently spent two and a bit months extending his knowledge of the trade in Japan a move which I hold so much respect for Pete in doing, you can never learn enough about any art in life and in terms of wrestling for me Japan is the global capital of how to wrestle with panache so to go there and learn is tremendous.
An offshoot of that was I was expecting great things here, I was wondering if we would witness some form of hybrid part Brit part Japanese style from Dunne and of course a lot of the Japanese style is traditionally hard hitting and with Kirby destroying all and sundry in his SWE path this held all of the potential to be an absolute belter however whilst the match was shaping up quite nicely with one or two moments along the lines of how I’ve described it was over all too soon which to me was a shame as we did not get to see enough of what Pete Dunne has to offer but I guess that Kirby is so single minded at the moment in Southside that all and sundry are being trampled underfoot who come up against him and Pete was no exception.
After the win went Kirby’s way the Ego Dragon part of his psychology kicked in and he started to destroy the downed Dunne but then the familiar music of El Ligero hit, Ligero of course is the de facto enemy for Kirby in Southside in their now over two year long feud, the animosity between these two men is sufficient to set a tower block ablaze if the animosity could be represented in terms of flame size and they tore into each other, within moments numerous backroom Southside staff emerged aided by both commentators Diamond Dale Mills and Glenn Bird.
Even though their numbers were large the guys from the back struggled to hold these two inflamed men back eventually though after a real battle getting Kirby to the back, Ligero stayed in the ring as he was next up.
Originally El Ligero was scheduled to match up with Noam Dar which of course could only have been incredible but as most people are aware Noam unfortunately is currently injured (hope that you get better soon Noam) so we had a mystery replacement.
When the music hit and it dawned in my mind that it was Robbie X I was delighted, for me Robbie is up there with the likes of Noam Dar in terms of in ring prowess but where perhaps Robbie currently trails behind Noam in the eyes of some is his natural charisma and mic skills but this lad will get the opportunity to show those virtues in time I am sure and when he does the wrestling world is his oyster, but how about him in this match?
Like the later Haskins vs Williams match up it felt like there was a bit of a story being told of the older guy as in this case El Ligero acknowledged as the number one British Talent by so many people going up against one of the talented young pretenders to his throne and seeing how far off him the younger man is.
This went pretty much how I expected once I saw Robbie come out of the curtain, it was a high intensity, quick moving, at times high flying, technically strong match up with the advantage swinging to and fro.
Ligero kept on pulling moves out of his locker which in most of his matches would floor an opponent but Robbie is so good and so lightning quick that he continually reversed them, this was all building in a very satisfactory manner for us fans of the flippy stuff towards an unpredictable ending when suddenly the ending occurred much in the same way that our ending would happen if we got hit by some form of natural disaster, unexpected, sudden and emphatically!
Why? Well Kirby ran in after earlier Ligero had ran in on him and we were treated to the same guys (and commentators) as before separating them but even then Kirby managed to inform all of us as well as Ligero that Ligero was dead and he is putting it all on the line now, it is all on the line, although no specifics were given on what was on the line, my speculation is loser of this feud has to leave Southside.
The next match up pitted usual death match specialist Jimmy Havoc in a standard wrestling match against the impressive Darrell Allen, I have to be honest here, this was a nice little match where both guys impressed with their technical stuff BUT having seen Havoc in a deathmatch in Extreme American Wrestling recently that was an outstanding match up and having seen him having countless light tubes and staples and thumbtacks and countless other shit inserted into his body watching him only a couple of weeks on in a ‘normal’ match to me just felt flat and it also felt barely credible that anybody could ever beat him with a standard wrestling move after what fails to stop him in the hardcore stuff so when he was rolled up by Darrell Allen it was a case of shrugging my shoulders and saying to myself that’s wrestling but for most of the rest of the crowd I think to be fair it was accepted as an ok match up.
The final match before the interval was the one which I suspect most people were anticipating the most eagerly particulary since the withdrawal from the show of Noam Dar and that was the match up between Mark Haskins and Doug Williams.
I was not sure how much interaction the pair of them had had when in TNA jointly but here they really did click very quickly indeed, surprisingly for me being so accustomed to seeing Southside’s Money In The Bank holder Haskins dominating his matches in SWE most of the earlier stages of this match were being led by Williams, it was a much slower pace than I had originally anticipated with a lot of mat work more like the golden olden days of British Wrestling, so many people lazily say oh yes the old days Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks well yes but there were some absolute mat wrestling geniuses back in the day also such as Johnny Kidd but here we were really treated to a roll back of the years and I had to explain to my lad who is so used to the flippy stuff that this is what was considered to be the traditional style of British Wrestling on years gone by.
Quick footnote to this before I continue if you do enjoy this aspect of the craft then a young man by the name of Dave ‘Textbook’ Breaks is a superb practitioner and unusually a modern day wrestler who has this as his main forte, he is based chiefly in the Midlands and does some more northern shows but if possible he is well worth watching.
This match I suspect was one of the toughest that Haskins will have encountered in Southside for some time probably since he had two absolute barnstormers with Stixx in 2012 but this was a very different style and his opponent Doug Williams again showed just how incredibly talented he is and how surely TNA have boobed by not working harder to retain his services, it is the third time that I have seen Williams since his UK return and on every occasion he has not fallen short of fantastic and they have been three very different matches.
This one ended with the technical treat being very much like devouring your favourite dessert in the pub and not really wanting to reach the bottom of the bowl, this was a match that I could have watched in an ironman format but eventually the younger man Haskins almost in desparation finally managed to get his submission move in and that was it, briefcase aloft and a very sporting handshake between the two giants of Brit Wrestling was good to see at the culmination.
After the interval we had Harvey Dale’s Golden Tongue segment which for me was one of the real plusses of the show, the performance in this of Harvey Dale I felt was sensational, he obtained more heat from the crowd than any wrestler on the card both during this segment and later on when he accompanied Stixx to the ring, the passion and the skill with which Harvey delivers his verbal sparring is top drawer, the ready acerbic wit is more than the equal of anybody else in whatever capacity on the SWE roster, his delivery was simply bang on and he really did drum home the point which he was making about Max Angelus short changing the SWE fans with his lack of fitness and wrestling whilst not medically cleared and that basically Max was worthless and indeed should basically just take his poster down and leave and go home.
For his part Max Angelus who is a talent that I rate extremely highly played his part with real vigour and talent as well, he after a bit of verbal sparring in the ring agreed to take the poster of himself down, having done so he then put it back up again claiming loudly that only when he and the Southside faithful decided would it be time for his poster to be taken down.
When he had the poster back up he tore off the bottom section which stated Southside Money In The Bank Winner (2012) and re-entered the ring threatening the now retreating Harvey Dale and at this point Max was really facing it up with the fans, then suddenly right at the end he inexplicably heeled up insulting the fans and left leaving so many questions behind which is exactly what a segment such as this should do, perhaps it was just not the fans shocked by Max’s last minute actions?
Then we had the Number One Challengers match for the Southside title, I shall be honest with this match, there may be some storyline reason behind Loco Imbecile being part of this and if so in a way fair enough however to me Loco is currently a bit lost in the Southside shake up, he is a new character who originally popped up earlier this year as a comedy character and was fantastic and he elicited a decent crowd reaction particulary with his jaffa cakes addiction, since then he has to my mind kind of lost his way and partly due to his bookings in matches where people actually want to see good wrestling and when he is involved you get the impetus of the match ruined and what is worse is that he is not really doing a huge amount of comedy either, he arrived to this match with what from my seat looked like an empty WWE lunchbox, did his usual tripping over of the ropes when climbing in and that was pretty much it, his tag team partner was Diamond Dave Andrews who usually is part of the BattleSquadAwesome team and when a member of the crowd threw jaffa cakes into the ring it was DDA who showed the charisma to throw them out to various fans not Loco so disappointing.
Their opponents were the debuting for Southside London Riots, it was also my first opportunity to see them in action.
I do have another gripe here, how on earth was this a Number One Challengers match when it was between a debuting team and a singles wrestler and a comedy wrestler who had never teamed before?????
Very much WWE’esque booking here and that is not intended as praise, the type of booking that typically gets them slaughtered for destroying all sense of reality and picking random guys for title shots therefore diminishing in the process the value of the titles, to me in any promotion the title should always be the pinnacle, it should be built up to properly with competing teams or individuals being regulars on the promotion and earning their shot at a Number One Challenger match and the titles should also be there to be defended on a regular basis otherwise what is the point?
As for the match itself all things considered it was reasonable, I really did like the London Riots, love their gimmick, like their size and I can imagine the type of match they would have with certain other tag teams around the country, it had to be the most predictable result of the night as anything else would have been a complete mockery of the Tag Team Division but they were good and the finish was outstanding, as for the opponents performance, Diamond Dave Andrews is a very good up and coming wrestler who is breaking through onto bigger shows as we speak, he put together some decent sequences, he showed superb charisma with the crowd and he did his absolute best as the only ‘serious’ wrestler on his side against two much larger and more experienced opponents, Loco Imbecile I still believe that the character has a place in Southside but it is time for a back to basics approach with a return to a consistency of character using the incredibly popular Jaffa Cakes (why kill something so over?) and booking him into matches where the fans are fine for a lighter hearted match but please no more title matches or Money In The Bank matches featuring him….
The London Riots will now challenge The Predators for the titles at a future show, should be a good match my only puzzle is both teams are heels in SWE so unless a turn by one we could have a very quiet crowd for that bout.
Main Event time and we had the defending SWE champion Stixx putting his title on the line against the local veteran Johnny Storm, Stixx was accompanied to the ring by Harvey Dale.
A similar gripe here to the tag match, when exactly did Johnny Storm earn his title shot? At least there is a feud between the two men and obviously no doubting at all the calibre of Storm but it is the back story and the esteem of the title which is important to me but that of course is just my personal view, others may well and no doubt will disagree!
For the match Storm quickly got going and the much heavier Stixx was second to the punch for most of the opening segment of this match, Johnny Storm is a wonder he truly is, his speed and agility and technical brilliance and creativity really are astounding and I do feel for any opponent of his because those virtues allied to his experience make him a very awkward opponent indeed, Stixx for his part is every bit as experienced but is a very different type of wrestler to Storm with Stixx being much more about the power game and all out aggression, to be fair Stixx is one of the better big men I have seen anywhere globally in terms of his ability to produce movesets typical usually of far smaller men but in this match up Storm is quick enough to have most other smaller man gasping for air so it was no criticism of Stixx that he was the slower man but the value of Harvey Dale on the ringside was soon shown to the fore as his very timely interference and distraction strategies worked wonders here, slowing Storm down more effectively than Stixx had been able to achieve and soon turning the tide as once Stixx gets on top he is one of the very last men on this planet you want after you.
Stixx is the man who went toe to toe with Kevin Steen and who made Steen look weak and ordinary, Stixx is a true beast when he gets into the flow and he truly did here once the tide was turned.
There were some flickering moments of resistance from Storm and when momentum threatened to become an ally of Storm again the erstwhile pest but at the same time absolutely brilliant at what he does Harvey Dale got involved taking a fall in the process but that led in the end to Stixx getting the 1,2,3 and retaining the title.
My overall view of the show was perhaps a 6 or 7 out of 10, I have written many show reviews for Southside and usually they are 100% positive, there is some negativity in here but there might be as I suggested storyline reasons for bookings on the show we shall see, there was some good solid storyline developments on the show relating to El Ligero and Ego Dragon Martin Kirby as well as an interesting twist on the Max Angelus trail.It was great to see the London Riots at last, interesting to see Jimmy Havoc in standard wrestling mode,exciting to see the richly talented Pete Dunne albeit briefly and highly enjoyable in particular to see the Haskins/Williams match up and Ligero/Robbie X matchup.
We shall see what the next show brings us……
I would like to thank Southside Wrestling and the richly gifted photographer Brett Hadley for the permission to use the photographs, if you would like to use Brett’s talents for any purpose then you can find him on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/bretthadley?ref=ts&fref=ts