Before I start this review of Sundays show I need to tell everyone a little bit about myself, my love for wrestling and why shows like this mean so much to me.
I started going to wrestling shows 36 years ago in the days when every Saturday would feature 45 minutes of wrestling entertainment on World of Sport on ITV, with the likes of Johnny Saint, Jonny Kidd, Kendo Nagasaki and Bert Royal gracing the screen. I’d attend local shows in Peterborough and remember these trips with great fondness as this was one of the few activities I remember doing with my Dad, hence the special place wrestling has always had in my heart.
I was an avid fan of the big federations as a ‘grown up’, with first WWF (it’ll never be WWE to me despite what the people with the panda say) , then WCW but gradually my interest waned as storylines became too preposterous and eventually I gave up on it altogether. Then, whilst in converstion with one of my shop regulars I was pointed in the direction of ROH, specifically a matchup between Aries and McGuiness and thus the avid fan I am now was reborn, phoenix like, to plague my wife with my obsession. ROH only kept my interest for a while as I found the shows pacing to be wrong with too many high spots, but during this time I did discover Chikara, which I genuinely believe to be the best wrestling federation in business today, as well as Dragon Gate, EVOLVE & PWG
Anyway, earlier this year I attended my first IPW:UK event and was suitably impressed. You can read a review of that show, the Summer Sizzler, here , so I was looking forward to their 7th anniversary show with real high hopes, especially considering the card announced. Read on to find out why I believe the 7th Anniversary show tops ANYTHING I have seen in person in all those years and stands up favourably to the hundreds of DVD’s I have purchased over the last few years.
IPW:UK 7th Anniversary Event
I made the trip to Sittingbourne, along with Jack, Adam, Greg and my son and after a short wait in the queue, found our front row seats to be situated in the same place as the last event. A couple of rounds of beer ordered and we were ready for the event to start.
The show opened up with Martin Stone coming out to the ring, mike in hand. My initial response was, “oh crap, he’s back on the card”, but fortunately he was just there to say how he wasn’t in a fit shape to wrestle, which was good news as I’ve yet to see him put in a decent performance in any of the DVD’s I’d watched. However he put over the rest of the roster well and we then got Andy Quildan announcing the opening bout.
‘Party’ Marty Scurll vs ‘X-Treme’ Dean Allmark
Both of these guys put in good performances at the last event so I was expecting great things from this bout and I wasn’t disappointed. High octane wasn’t the word with the work rate from both guys being played out at an insane tempo. No botched moves, constant back and forth, it really didn’t matter that there was no heel to boo. Marty was over more, obviously, what with him an IPW regular, but Deano frequently got cheers and applause, entirely based on his in ring skills. The match finished up with Marty delivering a second, better executed, torture rack dropped to double knees, followed by the pin, advancing him to the Cruiserweight final. I genuinely hope that IPW continue to use Dean and I’d particularly like to see him in the tag division (McKinnan would be a good pick for partner). Marty took his applause well, with my custom Scurll shirt getting picked up by the camera’s (art below). Great opening bout 7.5/10
Project Ego (Travis and Kirby) vs Tempest Warriors (Jason Larusso and The Saint)
Again, Project Ego entertained no end at the Summer Sizzler, so much so that I can’t bring myself to boo them despite them being heels. They just make me smile too much. Not as good a match as their last showing but this wasn’t down to them. Larusso spent most of the bout being squashed, whereas The Saint pulled off some power moves (including an impressive double suplex) and then tagged out as soon as he was on top, only for Larusso to hand it back to Project Ego. Blatant cheating, ref manipulation and shenanigans were rife, making for great entertainment, but Team TW as most of the audience were calling them didn’t deliver in the same way as the rest of the nights card.
5.5/10 (although thoroughly entertained by Travis and Kirby plus the lower key match emphasised how good the rest of the card was).
Nigel McGuiness vs Joel Redman
Joel, as an IPW regular, got a good welcome from the crowd, though nothing like the one Nigel got. The crowd were well behind Nigel (including me), even when he turned heel he had at least half the crowd cheering him (not me) until the latter stages when they finally turned. It was a necessary heel turn though as a second face vs face match may not have worked. Both wrestlers put in strong performances although there wasn’t quite the intensity from McGuiness that was seen in his amazing series of ROH defences, but all things considered, that’s hardly surprising. I had no idea which way the result would fall and felt that either man could win at anytime, which is just the way you want things in a match of this nature. When Nigel hit the Tower of London I presumed it was all over, but no, Joel kicked out and the bout continued, with Redman eventually getting the pin with a surprise folding press. McGuiness then got on the mike putting over Redman and the rest of the IPW roster and also discussed his time in the business. A class act that got the standing ovation he rightfully deserved.
Noam Dar vs Eddie Edwards
To say this one was hard hitting would be an understatement. Dar took a huge amount of ferocious chops, one of which we held him down at Edwards request and we could feel the force of the connection through him. I also got a huge glob of his mucus on my leg after a punishing move by Edwards literally knocked the snot out of him. As Greg said, it was a bit of a matrix moment as it flew from one side of the ring to land on me. Don’t think for a second that Dar was just a punching bag, he delivered numerous stinging kicks and matched Edwards blow for blow for the majority of the match. Great performance from both guys with Edwards, who’d been the face for the matchup, getting the win with the achilles lock. Dar would also make a welcome addition to the roster as I’d love to see him versus either of the LDRS.
So going to the interval we’d had three seriously OUTSTANDING matches and one lower key, but entertaining one. Could the second half deliver matches deliver the same sort of quality. Well being as it’s now 2.05am, I guess I’ll have to let you know tomorrow.