Leicester Championship Wrestling (LCW) – Face Off Review
When I wrote the preview to this show I mentioned that my confidence in LCW had grown to the extent that I travelled in full expectation of a decent show as opposed to travelling in the hope of a decent show, guess what I was wrong!
What unfurled was a show that has since been declared as the best in LCW’s history and was right up there with the best show’s from the sixty odd shows which I have already attended this calendar year.
It is difficult really to emphasise just how far LCW have come and how quickly they are now moving forwards, it is not just the improved booking of the card, it is also the much more cleverly written storylines and also possibly above all else the time which they are giving matches which results in a quality of match rarely seen in many promotions as they often attempt to cram as many matches into a show as possible.
There were only five matches on this show and recently elsewhere I have been to a couple of other shows with only five matches on (usual appears to be closer to seven/eight matches) and even though I enjoyed both of those other shows I felt that they did not use the time created by having less matches correctly, on one show despite the small number one match was still over in a few minutes and the time was filled by a long and nonsensical talking part and the other show just got on with the matches but they were all relatively short and the show was over discounting the interval in about eighty minutes which felt too short.
I felt that on this show the balance was struck pretty much perfectly, we had a nicely paced show of decent length with some non wrestling segments but never to the extent where there was a risk of those overshadowing or taking time from potentially very good matches.
Rob Maltman commenced the proceedings in the ring yes that is Lockup’s own Rob Maltman for a quick plug! But back to business whilst he was getting the crowd pumped the music hit and out came incidentally another Lockup man but a guy who is not at all a friend of Rob Maltman and that is Harvey Dale, what did he want, well to boast that the House Of Pain faction headed up by himself and also containing Stixx and The Predators would by the end of the show hold the gold and that Harvey himself was wearing a suit so that he was correctly attired for the celebratory party afterwards.
Whilst this quartet from Nottingham were stood in Leicester territory out leapt the defending LCW Champion for over a year now LJ Heron who without hesitation attacked Stixx and the others, however the numbers game soon told until both of the Hunter Bros shot out and made the save for LJ.
So after all of this early excitement we shot into the the actual matches themselves.
We opened up with LCW stalwart and trainer Xander Cooper against the high flying Jim Hunter, in this match up it started with Xander lying down on the stairway into the ring in an effort to cool the crowd and to calm the adrenaline flowing through the veins of Jim but the response of the Hunter Brother was to repeat what the heelish Cooper was doing and he too laid on his side looking rather chilled out with the message seemingly being that you cannot get inside my head but I shall get in yours.
When they did get going this match really was a lot of fun to watch, both guys are amongst the UK’s unsung names on the scene, Jim Hunter demonstrated real flashes of brilliance which if he did ever wish to pursue a singles career proved that he would achieve plenty of success, Xander Cooper is such a natural heel with his facial features closely resembling that of the common rat but he can scurry around and leap into corners as well as any other rat, after a real exchange of some top quality moves from both talents Jim Hunter got the win and started his celebration but judging by the look on the departing Xander Cooper’s face he will be back for vengeance at some point in the future and if he has as much trouble as I do in telling the Hunter’s apart then both Jim and Lee should be very careful when treading the sewers…..
Next up was The Predators defending their LCW titles accompanied by the obnoxious Harvey Dale, The Predators who cheat and bully their way to titles across the country really do need to meet with their come uppance and your correspondent was really hoping that the super talented Robbie X and Blue Thunder who I have not seen as much of previously might do the trick, before I discuss the match a quick word of praise here for the LCW Ring Announcer Rob Maltman who really exuded passion and style when announcing Robbie X, we have a rare talent in our midst ladies and gentlemen and we should realise and appreciate it and make this lad sound like what he is, a million dollars so again well done Mr Maltman because I have heard nobody do it better.
Onto the match then, this match like the others on the card was given plenty of time and that is something which personally I enjoy, it is a recent trend on RAW as well which has resulted in an increase in the quality of the match and that was emphasised I felt in this particular match possibly more so than the others although it did benefit the show overall, five matches, twelve in ring performers, give them time and they will tell the story in the ring and I am absolutely certain will relish the opportunity which on the shows I attend is fairly rare to really be given the time to build a match properly from start to finish without rushing and they will show you more of what they have in their locker than you would typically see in a six or seven minute match.
I’ve seen a lot of The Predators and this was possibly my favourite match of theirs, yes they were not up against big name imports or even a team that people would necessarily look at in advance and say that is guaranteed to be awesome but it worked very well, Joseph Connors is a guy who has improved a lot in the twelve months or so I have been watching him and you can tell how hard he works by his bulking up as well, Paul Malen is a solid performer who gives you a solid showing every time, Robbie X is sheer brilliance personified although he seemed to collect an injury early on in this match although it did not impede him from hitting his big moves later on in the match up and Blue Thunder produced a number of dazzling high flying moments which makes me want to see him again.
In the end combined with the dastardly Mr Dale on the outside, the heavier and more experienced heel team Predators had just too much in the locker for the younger and quicker opponents but a match of many near falls and stunning moves and big ‘oooooh’ moments was massively enjoyable even though at the end I found myself wishing that there was a guillotine hanging above the entrance as the Nottingham boys celebrated on the ramp.
There was also some afters in this match up as a blame game for the defeat kicked off between the two exhausted young men Blue Thunder and Robbie X, this concluded with Blue Thunder being rather nasty and kicking Robbie in the head so Thunder now joins in LCW the world of rats and sewers and I hope that this will lead to a match between the two of them as it would be fast moving and would also end with Robbie X kicking Blue Thunder’s teeth deep into his mouth and I want to be there for that moment!
Final match before the interval set Lee Hunter in the ring against Max Angelus, this match ranged from insane moves through to kicks of such brutality that you shuddered in empathy, looking at this made me realise again what a fine future British Wrestling has when you consider what a fine match these two young men can already put on and along with so many others are still at the embryonic stage of their careers.
Hey this was one hell of a match, again plenty of time allowed them to start off with a bit of a slow burner but then explode into life with a combination of lightning quick moves, leaping off ropes, some brawling out of the ring and some highly technical lockups plus what I anticipated some kicks from hell.
This culminated in a Lee Hunter victory making it a good night all round for the Hunter boys but again Max Angelus who looked very unhappy at the end will be wanting another go here so shall we get the return match, let’s hope so!
After the interval was the match I was looking forward to the most pre-show, containing Alex Gracie and Kris Travis, this was a big moment for both men, almost certainly the biggest match of his promising career too date for ‘Noisy Boy’ Alex Gracie whilst Kris Travis was making his LCW debut with a whole new set of fans to win over although as he came out as a heel his work was cut out for cheers.
The match contained some ‘ You are pulling my hair’ moments from both guys, some other verbal sparring bordering on the comedic but always quality and some high quality in ring wrestling, Gracie who has a well rounded fighting background being a big purveyor of martial arts and Travis who is one of the most experienced wrestlers in the UK right now had a real to and fro match, the kicks which Travis can manage with those long legs like a giraffe’s but using the flexibility of a chimpanzee are quite something, Gracie who for one so new on the scene resembles an in ring veteran with his confidence, his positioning in the ring, his body posture, it all screams out ‘This is my ring and you have no right to be here’, he possesses a natural command of a crowd as well, Alex Gracie without a shadow of doubt is one of the potential stars of the future in Wrestling and this was proven as he picked up a tremendous win over the experienced Travis shocking I think a number of people in the crowd but not those of us who have seen him previously.
Onto the main event we march, Harvey Dale had to introduce his man Stixx to the ring, Stixx is an imposing figure, he has to be potentially an opponent that many men quietly shudder to themselves about facing but I guess that you have to consider what advantages you hold over him and one which LJ Heron his opponent in this LCW Heavyweight title match held is his speed.
This match was lively to start off with, brawling around the arena for a while before returning to the ring, for a big man Stixx possesses a wide arsenal of moves to select from whilst LJ Heron has a perhaps slightly less varied move set but what he does is to focus upon his strengths and use them to make him a difficult guy to defeat.
As this match wore on and again another one given decent time, both men sporadically held the upper hand, whenever they got physically close Stixx often came out on top utilising his superior power to again slam LJ into one part of the ring or other.
There were lots of near falls in this match and one man who could not contain his excitement was Rob Maltman who was commentating, I need to get this DVD! He was up and down out of his seat jumping around in excitement when it looked as if LJ was going to win
As the match wore on LJ’s determination to hold onto his long held LCW title showed and he began gradually to change the story of the match and gradually crept into the ascendancy, this rocked Stixx who I don’t think was of the mindset that LJ was this capable but such thinking proved in the end to be fatal as the end to this match will linger long in the memory.
Harvey Dale had sneaked into the ring to attempt some shenanigans but it all went terribly wrong as he was stood in the corner attempting to interfere and Stixx his man almost put Harvey Dale out of action for a number of months as they accidentally collided and Stixx ended up taking Dastardly Mr Dale out of the match.
What to do now? Mr Heelish Stixx has to cheat to win his title so he grabs the belt from the side, looks like he is going to hit LJ with it, typical cowardly sneaky heel tricks but NO hold on a moment, LJ is in that electric moment, he charges, this is it, he is going to spear Stixx back to hell, LJ moves so quickly it is difficult to tell what has happened as both he and Stixx are now laid flat out following the spear but then it dawns upon us that LJ has indeed speared the title belt, hitting at full speed with his bare head the metal belt and knocked himself out in the process, Stixx had the full effect of the spear and the belt pushed into his midriff but slowly, no please no, but surely he moves before LJ, the referee seemingly with great reluctance counts 1,2,3 we have a new LCW Champion Stixx and that means with the barely conscious Harvey Dale and the beaming Predators the House Of Pain contingent from Nottingham have indeed taken over LCW.
Is this a black day for LCW? Well in the ring perhaps having Nottingham taking over Leicester’s territory but realistically this is the beginning of something really special for the growing and evolving promotion, an improving roster, a training school well led by Xander Cooper, an intelligent and mature businessman leading from the helm, a superb venue, a strong backroom team, this was a great day for LCW and this is a great promotion to watch.
Next time will Stixx and his merry men from Nottingham still reign supreme or will LCW have their own outlaws to take back the titles and send the Nottingham men back up the Highway, you seriously need to find out for yourselves on October 19th!!!