LCW – Evolution 13 Show Review
Prior to travelling to this event I was aware that there was going to be a bombshell of an announcement at the end of the show so that was something worth looking forward to but little did I appreciate at that stage that actually the bombshell announcement would be the culmination of a remarkable story told throughout this amazing evening of wrestling in Leicester.
We started this show off with a match up between the former LCW champion LJ Heron and Max Angelus, this was for the Number One Contendership to the Heavyweight Title. I have seen these two in the ring together previously in an amazing match at House Of Pain so was excited at the prospect of them locking up again albeit in a different promotion under different circumstances but underneath that sheen it is still the same two physical bodies with the same exact physical capabilities so the reality of a good match if not a repeat of that other meeting existed.
This turned out indeed to be a decent opener for the show, LJ always has the full support of the Leicester faithful and has no bigger supporter than Mr LCW Lockup’s own Mr Rob Maltman who when on commentary for any LJ match can barely contain himself and in fact often fails to.
Max Angelus is simply a wrestler, you look at him, you see him move, you hear him talk, everything is just so natural and on this occasion he played Darth Vader to LJ’s Luke Skywalker, why the storied reference? Well because this show was one big story with a strong beginning, a great middle and a fantastic ending with the epitaph to follow on December 14th.
A to and fro match which saw a number of pretty equal exchanges concluded when LJ hit his traditional spear on the crestfallen Max and pinned him but this was not the last we would see of either of these two, oh no…..
Second up was a tag match, the defending LCW tag team champions the dastardly Predators up against the superheroes of this story BSA Battle Squad Awesome who for those who have not as yet witnessed these flying superheroes consist of Iron Dan, Danny Chase and Diamond Dave Andrews.
This was for the LCW Tag Team Title Belts.
Those of you reading this who have seen these in action before are probably thinking so a routine match up which concluded as it did in The Predators retaining the titles by pinfall.
Actually this is where the benefits of what is fast becoming a LCW specialism came into play, there were only five matches on this card, I think that the same was true at the previous show also, the reason that this is a benefit is because it permits time for the talent in the ring to really show the fuller repertoire of what they possess then when they are rammed into a larger card and only get a few minutes, I am not saying that there is a right or a wrong way because I attend promotions that do both and enjoy both formats but at LCW I feel that it suits, this is not necessarily a promotion that makes its way by bringing in imports or stacking the card with the acknowledged leading British guys but instead uses talent which is as was proven here extremely capable and showcases them in a way that other promotions do not necessarily do.
The result of this is that I personally have seen The Predators in action as a team on numerous occasions and have rated them as yes a decent team with a great heel persona but on this occasion I saw something else in them that previously I had not and it was that actually individually as well as collectively both Joseph Connors and Paul Malen are outstanding characters as heels and the way that they worked it during this lengthy match was reminiscent for me of some of the older style matches that you probably get these days on WWE classics or even the World Of Sport days where in a very heelish manner they time wasted, they taunted and yes they do this normally anyway but with the added benefit of real-time they did it to a level where it really got the crowd heated to say the least about their tactics which maximised the impact of their work.
Other comments to make on the storytelling in this was during the match Paul Malen apparently injured his leg, initially on the outside this showed then shortly afterwards when he entered the ring and pretty much collapsed on this, it led to a lengthy stoppage with LCW promoter John Shipley bringing the doctor in but this was no kayfabe moment with John playing his part, he like me and the crowd was totally sucked in by Malen heeling it up superbly well because guess what yes suddenly he made an amazing recovery and the look on John Shipley’s face was a picture I shall always remember!
A further comment here, the concept of hot tagging is way too often for my like oversold, you see a lot of matches where a guy is in for no more than 2 or 3 minutes then hits what is clearly intended as the hot tag, surely a real hot tag is when the guy in the ring has been in for so long and has absorbed so much punishment that it is entirely believable that he can no longer walk or fight and literally has to crawl to his corner, this occasion was most certainly one of those, Danny Chase otherwise known as Iron Dan was in the ring for an incredible amount of time, in the meantime his partner DDA Diamond Dave Andrews took more punishment that I can remember a guy who is not actually in the ring taking for a considerable period of time, he took I think it was either 2 or 3 hard floor bumps when he was knocked off the apron by the outstanding Predators and then when we did reach the point when Iron Dan was showing his mettle after what must have been at least 10 minutes of sustained punishment from two bigger men, he started reaching out for the tag the crowd was pumped for it properly, even then it was done in such a tantalizingly way whereby the match had been worked so well that even somebody such as myself who watches a lot of wrestling was desperate for the tag to occur and for DDA to unleash havoc but Iron Dan tried and was blocked in various ways over and over again.
Eventually of course the tag did happen but as I say it was for once a proper hot tag, DDA went wild for a bit but again even though of course the numbers were equal it always felt like The Predators held a numerical advantage and in the end they did score the victory to retain the belts.
What a match and from two teams I am very familiar with but both teams not just The Predators scaled heights in this match which I had not seen previously and full credit to them but even though that match had to end it simply led us straight into the next page of this book, this amazing story which just kept on unfolding as the evening wore on….
The main event for the LCW Heavyweight title later on was between The Heavyweight House Of Pain Stixx and The Noisy Boy Alex Gracie.
As The Victorious Predators remained in the ring the music, the ominous music of the powerful villain of the piece, perhaps given one of his many title’s from Lockup’s Charman Morris is sexy beast we should call Stixx ‘Don’ as he was the villain of the piece in the film Sexy Beast!
Stixx ‘Don’ entered the ring looking imposing with his business face on, his familiar steel chains somehow looking more menacing than usual, he grabbed the mic and what followed was the best live promo that I personally have heard.
He called out his opponent for the main event Alex Gracie who did indeed follow his lord and master’s instruction and came out to play his part in this remarkable story.
I termed Stixx the lord and master because indeed as he said in this amazing promo Stixx trained Alex Gracie at the House Of Pain Academy in Nottingham, in the dark recesses of The Dungeon (HOP Training ground) Stixx bred Gracie in his shadow, he formed the fighting machine which now stood in front of him, the opportunity of a career for Gracie to step up, for some time around the House Of Pain (HOP) Dungeon, Gracie has been very highly rated and here Stixx recounted a tale of not Alex Gracie but of Craig, which yes is his real name not his wrestling name, he talked about how Craig has only been training for a couple of years or so, he mentioned about how quickly Craig took to it all and how natural he is, he talked about Craig’s martial arts background, he talked about how Craig already is a winner because of course Stixx only breeds winners, he pointed out Joseph Connors and Paul Malen The Predators who remained in the ring throughout this absorbing 10-15 minutes, through this both Predators were snarling in agreement with every word that Stixx was saying.
Stixx continued talking of how in time Craig would go on to be one of the top guys in the business, how he is already a winner BUT he does not need to fight him to prove it, he mentioned how if he asked Craig to just lie down and allow Stixx to do the 1,2,3 then Craig would do it, because at HOP Craig has been taught respect and honour, he has to remember those lessons and apply them in life and one way to prove that indeed Craig had indeed realised that the virtues of respect and honour had indeed been learnt was to join Stixx and The Predators and become the fourth member of their gang.
Craig had a choice to make, did he demonstrate that he did indeed possess respect and honour in the way that Stixx and The Predators were hinting at or did he go his own way and do the match and show I guess different levels of respect and honour by wanting to show whether teacher or advanced student was the better man.
He chose and hugged Stixx and The Predators and gave the appearance of being a relieved man, Stixx joyfully announced that the main event had been cancelled then suddenly Craig became Alex Gracie and took out Paul Malen, Connors and Stixx chased Gracie to the ramp but just as it looked as if Gracie was about to receive at first hand a lesson in respect and honour out came The Hunter Brothers to start another new chapter in this incredible story.
We moved onto the next match which was a change of pace as we went into a triple threat match up, bit of a mini story within the bigger story here, at the previous show Robbie X had tagged with Blue Thunder and at the end Thunder turned on Robbie X, so this match up was a chance for Robbie to gain revenge upon Thunder and for good measure Ryan Smile was added to the match for his LCW debut.
When the music hit and we expected Thunder we actually got the twin pairing of Xander Cooper and Mark Massa who introduced us to not Blue Thunder but actually T.K. Hayward (who was Blue Thunder under a new identity), they also announced that the three of them had formed a faction called Cooper Nation 2.0, there was an original Cooper Nation in LCW previously which had disbanded, it had been a heel faction that had dominated the LCW roster for months, this clearly is the beginning of a new attempt at further domination.
So T.K. Hayward came out whilst the other two returned to the back and Robbie X and Ryan Smile also came out and we got underway, for most of the opening few minutes of this match T.K. Hayward was a spectator whilst Smile and Robbie X duelled, I have to say I simply have to see these two in a singles match, the action was absolutely breathtaking, both guys producing a stunning array of moves and sequences which paid a massive tribute to not only the talent both of these young men possess but also their conditioning, the speed and the duration of some of their exchanges were incredible, from time to time T.K. would pop up, have his head popped back and the other two would return to their own sizzling encounter, in the end Robbie X won this fast paced match to add yet another win to his increasingly impressive record.
After the interval we were into the tag match which was a Number One Contenders match for the Tag Team Titles between the other members of the Cooper Nation 2.0 with T.K. Hayward on the outside up against The Hunter Bros, T.K. was soon removed from the equation and the others got on with it, this match was wonderful, a very different tag match to earlier and not given quite as much time (but still a decent amount)The Hunter Bros are simply fantastic to watch, their natural synchronicity is a joy to behold, on the opposing side Xander Cooper is a fine technician and a clinical heel and Mark Massa is the big bruiser of the Cooper Nation 2.0 Family but a very talented one.
The match concluded with a pinfall to The Hunters but something tells me this is not the last time we shall see this particular match up.
Moving on to the main event, Stixx vs Alex Gracie, a bit like the earlier tag match, both guys from HOP, both guys knew each other very well indeed, I have seen both guys a lot, sometimes when you see a lot of the same person I guess that your anticipation of seeing them again starts to wane slightly as time wears on, this match proved me wrong big time!
The psychology of this match fascinated me, besides the earlier awesome promo, it was a genuine Teacher vs Pupil match up, Stixx has been telling people for some time that potentially Gracie could be as good as anybody to come out of the HOP stable so now it was a first hand opportunity to see just how good Gracie truly was.
When Stixx came out he was accompanied by Jo Connors who took to the commentary position, Paul Malen was absent injured from the earlier Gracie attack.
When Alex Gracie arrived it was in a rush, he wasted no time and went straight for Stixx, however after a couple of minutes or so of early exchanges when both men proved their respective attributes, Stixx with the greater power, Gracie the quicker man, Stixx took total charge of this, he openly mocked Gracie as Alex time and time again tried moves and Stixx just side-stepped them with a confident smile on his face, pointing in the fashion of look guys I’ve got this, he kept on shouting out that he had the experience and the know how, Gracie was a winner but not yet and not against him, as Gracie tired of his failed attacks, Stixx just grew ever more dominant as he really commenced the mother of all beat downs on Gracie.
The earlier promo really had a real life feel to it and this match in some respects followed suit, it came across as both men trying desperately hard to prove a point to each other, Stixx determined to keep his man down, to prove that he indeed remains the godfather of HOP, that as yet none of his spritely young things have surpassed him and Gracie as his self acclaimed star pupil was determined to prove himself against his teacher, to show that actually he was just that bit better than Stixx thought and realised and that he had one or two surprises himself to teach the teacher a lesson.
After so long Stixx almost betrayed his experience and just got a little too cocky and Gracie perhaps using the focussed mind grilled into you when training in martial arts, an area in addition to wrestling that this talented fighter excels in, was in like a shot.
Soon it was Stixx who was reeling as Gracie started to up the pace of the match, Gracie by some distance the younger man, also quicker and possibly with a change in the pecking order at HOP at stake, fiercely determined, I have never seen Gracie in this mode before despite having watched him on countless occasions previously, his eyes were glazed over with a focus so fierce that lesser men than Stixx would have melted merely from the steely look on Gracie’s face, but when he stared with those eyes at Stixx he was met with the same resolute stare back, this was The Heavyweight House Of Pain Stixx at stake now, that long title preceding his name, this was not something he would give up but in addition to all of this about HOP was the LCW title belt.
Stixx has won many titles in his time but I know first hand how much he treasures them, my son attends the training school and I mention that because during training Stixx openly talks about his titles, he talks so warmly and passionately about them, you can tell from the change in his voice that they mean everything to him and this LCW belt is one he is particularly proud of given that LCW is the largest promotion that runs all of its shows in the East Midlands where of course Stixx is based.
For Gracie’s part besides the HOP side of things for him to win a belt of a promotion that is rapidly moving towards being one of the top promotions in the country would be a huge coup for him, it would really put his name on the British Wrestling Map and if he could achieve that by bettering his own trainer and Brit Wrestling legend Stixx then all the better.
We had a bit more to’ing and fro’ing then suddenly Stixx was in trouble, Gracie had him, surely this was it, Gracie was going to win, prior to this we had a mini series of near falls on both sides and it was getting tenser and tenser, the match had already been a long one and the crowd were absolutely gripped in a way you rarely see, Gracie was going to win, this couldn’t happen surely… but of course Jo Connors was ringside commentating and he moved like lightning and took the referee Jigs out of the equation saving the guy who is also his own trainer in Stixx.
No sooner had Connors done that though then he was attacked by Lee Hunter,Hunter came out like a speeding gazelle and then he and Connors went into a brawl which went through the crowd, up the stairs and into the cafe at the back pursued by large segments of the crowd, in the meantime Max Angelus surfaced from nowhere, climbed onto the top rope and broke Gracie’s pin meaning that Max who was also trained by Stixx is their fourth member assumingly, this gave Stixx the advantage now but no hold on here come Jim Hunter, he chases off Max Angelus who clearly did not fancy his chances against this enraged brother and so we battle on with these two warriors in the ring having the fight of their lives for the LCW title, but no more pages of this story still have to be written so out come the former champion LJ Heron who was now the No 1 contender, LJ was cheated out of his title by Stixx on the previous show as Stixx used the belt and now LJ speared Stixx but the referee was still down, Gracie somehow crawled over Stixx and LJ roused the referee Jigs to get him to count but 1,2 and…. Stixx has kicked out!!!
LJ was frantic at ringside he truly did not want Stixx to win, he wanted clearly to face Alex Gracie on December 14th, they got up both Stixx and Gracie – well to their knees, wobbly knees at that, both men in a war, which had involved about half of the locker room and they were still going, blow after blow exchanged, both men rocking, both men barely conscious, unyielding, Stixx has taught his students to fight until you no longer can breath, to never give up and he epitomizes that ethos himself, the crowd were absolutely enthralled in this action,fingernails were being chewed as the two combatants barely showed signs of life, the effects of this battle clearly showing but still they continued, no idea of the timeline on this but we must have been approaching the 20-25 minute mark.
Both guys hit big moves despite being barely able to move, somehow just somehow they each keep on kicking out, I am totally gone by this point, immersed in this match like I very rarely get so deeply immersed, the near falls continued, we wondered if this should have been a 60 minute ironman match because at least then you get a result even if it’s a 0-0 fall count, Stixx both prospering from but struggling against his own never ever give up ethos.
Suddenly Stixx has a submission in on Gracie, he moved like a cat spotting a stray mouse, using his experience to notice that just for one very tired split second Gracie had left a window of opportunity and he took it, Stixx applied a vice like grip to Gracie, remembering that he himself taught Gracie to never ever quit, he knew that he had to knock Gracie out, there was no other way other than to render him unconscious so that is how this chapter ended, with the brave soldier Gracie in reality showing tremendous levels of respect and honour to Stixx by using all that Stixx taught him to put on what surely was the performance of a lifetime against the man who first showed him how to apply a wristlock and how to bump and how to construct a match and here he was displaying all of that to an extremely high level pushing his trainer to the absolute limit to retain that coveted LCW title.
At the end Gracie’s body just laid in the ring, he had been up against a far more experienced opponent, physically a much bigger and heavier man but he has pushed himself so far to his limits that he had collapsed and been rendered unconscious for his troubles. Stixx left the ring by now aided by the returned but limping from his attack from Lee Hunter, Joseph Connors, Stixx had jelly legs, without the assistance of Connors he would not have been able to stand and certainly not walk, as they left Stixx’ head just flopped down from his neck and his eyeballs shot into the back of his head,he looked like an unconscious man being walked by his devoted pupil Connors.
By now LJ Heron had entered the ring to check over and protect the downed but valiant Alex Gracie, he was soon joined by The Hunter Bros who had returned from chasing Max Angelus and brawling with Jo Connors, we were left with the scene of The Hunter Bros and LJ Heron stood side by side in the ring whilst on the outside of the ring we had Stixx and Jo Connors clinging onto each other with the injured Paul Malen in the back.
So endith the next chapter but the next was about to commence and end the night with an announcement to make LCW the talk of British Wrestling.
All of the events on this show and events on previous shows had led LCW management to have to make a big call in terms of moving forwards, countless title matches had been interrupted with and LCW was determined to make it fair to all so it was announced the momentous history making match of both the tag team titles and the heavyweight title being defended at the same time in the same match.
We shall have The Hunter Bros and The Predators competing for the tag belts whilst at the same time LJ Heron and Stixx will be going toe to toe for the Heavyweight title and if you like the sound of that there is much more to come, in addition to having all six men going at it together for the different belts it shall be a No DQ match and if that is not enough all three belts (the two tag title belts and the LCW title belt) shall be hung from the ceiling and there will be two ladders available on the night.
So anything goes, imagine the mayhem when you have seen a 2 man No DQ Match, imagine that with six men, imagine it with ladders and having to climb them involved, imagine it with titles on the line, consider the potential psychology involved such as what happens if Jo Connors is about to grab the tag title belts and retain for The Predators but at the same time on the other ladder LJ Heron is about to take the LCW Heavyweight title belt from Stixx, does Connors abandon Stixx and look after his own or does he throw away his chance (and Paul Malen’s) to save Stixx and what would Stixx do in the same situation, so many potential dynamics in this match.
This has never been done before in wrestling anywhere, it is a unique first ever match, it takes place in Leicester on December 14th 2013, I put that date in full because that is the date which LCW makes wrestling history and that is the end of the story for now of an absolutely incredible historical and potentially career making night of incredible action.
Something tells me that on December 14th a new chapter shall begin in the life of LCW, of the record books in British Wrestling and who knows of new champions, this was a night when potentially careers were made, anybody who saw the performance of Alex Gracie will realise that British Wrestling has an exceptional talent on its hands, anybody who saw the remarkable tag match of Predators vs BSA will have acknowledged that The Predators true potential has not been fully unlocked elsewhere and that we have on these shores now a potentially great tag team and that in Battle Squad Awesome there is some real potential for those two stars to develop into something special if they keep on the track that they showed in Leicester on October 19 2013 this event took place at Brocklington College in Enderby, Leicester, a place of education, a place where on this night a new book was written and future potential careers were really shown.
To obtain the DVD of this incredible night and to book your tickets to see both the next chapter and to be present when history is made on 14.12.13 please go to http://www.lcwrestling.co.uk and also take a look at the poster below!!