So today’s was supposed to be ‘Favourite Old School Territory’ … but I’ll be honest I don’t have much knowledge at all of anything pre the year I was born at length. I don’t really know much pre-WrestleMania 1. I know I know… it’s like football fans thinking football began when the Premier League started, but I don’t know the first thing really about the territory days before Vince McMahon put an end to all that. So I’ve decided to call an audible, and instead I will talk about the wrestling I have watched… LIVE! I’ve actually not been to too many shows, but the ones I have been to have been varied, star-studded and some unbelievable memories. So today I’m just going to run through the shows I have watched in the flesh before, my memories, match results and some pictures as well. So hopefully you all enjoy it, we shall see… so here is a collection of my thoughts on the wrestling shows I’ve had the pleasure of watching live… see if you can spot any familiar names along the way as well…
19/11/2016 = Ring Of Honor ‘Reach for the Sky’ tour: Leicester (Leicester Community Sports Arena)
My first show that I went to took place at the then new home of the local Leicester Riders basketball team. Of all the places they could go to, for some bizarre yet great (for me anyway) reason ROH decided to do a show in LEICESTER… the day was a bit of a stinker for me, it was a day when my phone at the time broke so I have no videos of photos from the show, and also it was the first time I’d ever worn contact lenses, so thankfully at least they did their job. I attended the show with my friend from Uni Stefan and he brought his brother with him. The show also took place on the day of NXT TakeOver: Toronto and also the night before Survivor Series 2016, so it was a heck of a weekend of wrestling! I remember we walked in and past Jay Lethal who was signing autographs, and me being amazed at just how big he was. I also recall taking a moment when I was about 2/3 yards away from then ROH Champion Adam Cole, and also the comical moment when Stefan asked Nigel McGuinness a question as if he was just any member of staff, and credit to Nigel but he answered it and wasn’t at all afraid to and he was actually very helpful. It was a weird moment though. So we get to our seats and turns out they were very decent, we were pretty much middle of the mini-stand, we were seated and had a pretty good view of the entire set up. And turns out the show we got was pretty good. For those of you who know your wrestling, just take a look at how insane this line up is… this show in 2020 would legit be a superstar-studded show!!!
Jay White defeated Joe Hendry
Hendry was doing his ‘local hero’ gimmick which was pretty over with the crowd, Jay was just a cocky young heel fresh out of being a young lion in New Japan.. he would go on to become IWGP Heavyweight Champion and main event MSG against Okada, so he did ok for himself…
Donovan Dijak defeated Lio Rush
This was just the most unbelievable match to watch live… Dijak is now known as Dominik Dijakovic in NXT, and when I tell you one of these guys did a shooting star press to the outside from the top rope and it WAS NOT Lio Rush, that says it all. A fantastic match between two guys of total opposite sizes. I’m so happy both these guys have become stars since.
Jay Lethal defeated Alex Shelley
Poor Jay lethal got the ‘ooo yeahhhh’ and ‘black machismo’ chants from his old randy savage gimmick, but these two are very good at the wrestling, so it was fun. Lethal came out later in the show to confront Adam Cole as the two were having a championship match later on this uk tour.
reDragon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly) defeated The Briscoes (Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe)
Two of the best tag teams of the modern era just simply had a really good tag team match. Fish and O’Reilly have done well since haven’t they?
The Addiction (Frankie Kazarian and Christopher Daniels) defeated Delirious & Dalton Castle
After an intermission break we had the perfect pick-me-up after, Kazarian and Castle were awesome heels, and Delirious was a masked wild-man and Castle was the flamboyant babyface. Just a super fun match.
ROH World Champion Adam Cole defeated Chris Sabin
Solid match but it was really the Adam Cole show.
ROH World Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) defeated ROH Television Champion Will Ospreay & Marty Scurll
As you can imagine by the names in it, this was just the most unbelievable tag team match. A tonne of heat for the match, and the finish, my god the finish… The Bucks tried for the Meltzer Driver, Ospreay tried to counter it with a hurricanrana in mid-air, but that in fact just helped but extra power into The Bucks’ move and Matt & Nick got the win. It’s no surprise at all just based off this match that these four guys nearly 4 years later are worldwide international megastars.
30/11/2016 = WhatCulture Pro Wrestling ‘DELETE iPPV’: Nottingham (Harvey Hadden Sports Village)
Less than two weeks later me and Stefan were at the wrestling again, this time to a show which looking back now, just demonstrates how much of a golden era of independent wrestling we were in. At that time me and the world had become fascinated by BROKEN Matt Hardy over in TNA, and when we saw that those YouTube guys I liked at the time (now most of them have moved to Cultaholic) were putting on a show local to me and it was to feature Matt, we just had to go, and the rest of the show for us would be a bonus. In the end we got just the most insane card. And probably one of the better shows I’ve been to, just because it felt like a big deal… This was also the show were Stefan saw one of the best things you could possibly see, during the show Moustache Mountain (yes really) went back to their merch table to try and sell stuff, and Stefan caught Trent Seven twiddling with his nipples… what a sight…
Dark Match= Number one Contender’s Match For The WCPW Tag Team Championship: Pete Dunne & Travis Banks defeated Prospect (Lucas Archer & Alex Gracie)
Yes, PETE DUNNE was in the DARK MATCH of the second proper show I ever went to… how times change…
WCPW Internet Championship & GFW NexGen Championship Match= Cody Rhodes defeated El Ligero to become the new WCPW Internet Champion
In this winner takes all double title match Cody beat El Ligero. Cody was still running through various promotions and was quickly becoming the biggest independent wrestler on the planet. A decent match, but at that time I was just gassed I was getting to watch CODY RHODES wrestle!
Bea Priestley & The Swords Of Essex (Scott Wainwright & Paul Robinson) defeated Nixon Newell & Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate)
Nixon Newell (or TEGAN NOX in 2020) came out with a comedy tash to join in the gimmick. Some match this, the babyfaces were very over and its no shock to me they’ve all had success in WWE since.
Johnny Mundo defeated Gabriel Kidd (w/Prince Ameen)
Johnny Mundo (or Hennigan or Nitro or Morrison or Impact or whatever he is this week) was supposed to face Alberto Del Rio, but he apparently couldn’t get to the show, something about his flight I recall, he’s an asshole so this didn’t help my opinion of him one bit.
Best Of 7 Series Match 1 (Lumberjack Match) = Primate defeated Rampage
A fun big-man match. You only really get a grasp of how big people are when you see them up close, and these two dudes were ENORMOUS!
No DQ Match = Bully Ray (w/Adam Pacitti) defeated Matt Hardy
The real reason most of us came to the show was for this one. Bully cut a long promo before the match which was great. Hardy by a mile got the biggest pop of the night, and it really took the air out the crowd when he lost, but it was fun to watch the chaos.
WCPW Tag Team Championship Tournament Finals = Johnny Moss & Liam Slater defeated The Coffey Brothers (Joe Coffey & Mark Coffey) to become the new Tag Team Champions
2 Out Of 3 Falls Match = Will Ospreay defeated Martin Kirby by 2 falls to 1
This was fantastic. Two super great wrestlers just had a great match. The afters and finish was fun as after Ospreay won the rest of Pacitti club came out… they came with a table and wanted to put Kirby through it, but Matt Hardy came out and made the save. Matt even did a Twist of Fate on Ospreay whilst he had a chair around his neck. With help from Hardy, Martin Kirby then put Ospreay through the table with a powerbomb off the top. Jack the Jobber from their youtube channel then appeared at ringside, and after a brief exchange (Jack having publicly slagged off the Final Deletion in the past) Matt BIT HIS EAR… yeah that was odd…
Steel Cage Match For The WCPW World Championship= Drew Galloway defeated Joseph Conners (C) and Joe Hendry to become the new Champion
What I remember about this is how we kept looking at the clock because I had a train to catch, just how HUGE Drew looked and how long it took about 20 people to put this Cage up. They blacked out the arena and played a video and also had Cody cut a promo to give them time to put it up, but they got it in the end, and a lot of people looked very stressed. The finish of this match was actually brilliant, In the ring we had Drew give the Future Shock ddt to Conners whilst Hendry tried to climb out of the cage, and timing-wise they got this so perfect because the ref counted the three for Drew to win, around a second before Hendry fell to the floor. So by the smallest of margins Drew Galloway was the new WCPW Champion… whatever happened to him…
21/3/2017 = WhatCulture Pro Wrestling ‘Pro Wrestling World Cup – English Qualifiers’: Nottingham (Harvey Hadden Sports Village)
So in 2016/17 WCPW joined a number of other promotions for the ambitious yet rather cool idea to do a world cup of pro wrestling. So they held qualifiers over the world and for the main pro wrestling countries. There would be 8 guys from each country competing in matches and 2 guys would advance to the main finals, so we had England, Scotland, Mexico, Germany, Japan, Canada and the rest of the world all having qualifiers, and we went to the English ones. There were some unbelievable names in this tournament ranging from Rey Mysterio to Jushin Liger. This was the time were after a few shows now me and Stefan wanted the luxury experience, so we paid more to sit closer, so I think we ended up like 4/5 rows from the front which was great. We got the tickets based on it just being the world cup qualifiers, then we got word that THE BULLET CLUB would be on the show as well which was a heck of a bonus. Sadly though no Cody on the show as he was held up filming stuff for Arrow, and sadly no Jim Ross on commentary after the tragic incident that took the life of his beloved wife Jan. Before the show we had two more comical moments, for me at least less so for Stefan; the time when he was slagging off Mickie James just as her HUSBAND Nick Aldis walked past us as we were queuing up (he was just saying an opinion by the way nothing too bad), and then once we got in somehow Marty Scurll managed to get Stefan to buy one of his t shirts after he asked for a picture with him, Stefan couldn’t really say no to be fair. I will say overall this was probably the most fun I’ve had at a show, in terms of the quality of matches anyway.
Pro Wrestling World Cup English Qualifying First Round Match = Will Ospreay defeats Martin Kirby
Pro Wrestling World Cup English Qualifying First Round Match = Rampage defeats Nick Aldis
Liam Slater & Matt Riddle defeat Prospect (Alex Gracie & Lucas Archer)
So Stefan had told me about this guy who was getting a tonne of momentum behind him, he said he was super cool, a former UFC fighter, and wrestled with no shoes on… I had low expectations, I saw him and turns out he absolutely oozed charisma and his moveset was pretty awesome… he’s gone on to do OK for himself…
Pro Wrestling World Cup English Qualifying First Round Match = Zack Sabre Jr. defeats Marty Scurll
Pro Wrestling World Cup English Qualifying First Round Match = Jimmy Havoc defeats Zack Gibson
In the thickest Liverpool accent possible Gibson cut a promo before the match, and the crowd boos and what chants made it so hard to understand someone who already had a really thick accent.
After the intermission, WCPW GM Adam Blampied came out and announced that Christopher Daniels would be defending his newly won ROH title against El Ligero tonight, and that Gabriel Kidd would be replacing Cody Rhodes.
ROH World Title Match = Christopher Daniels (c) defeats El Ligero
So this wasn’t scheduled before to be a title match, but Daniels had finally become world champion not long before this, so he put the title on the line here. After the show as we were leaving, as his merch table was near the exit I actually was able to shake Daniels hand, I congratulated him on his title win and said it was long overdue and well deserved, he thanked me and that was my night made.
Drew Galloway defeats Ricochet
Yep, I got to see Ricochet vs Drew in a Nottingham Sports Hall. Drew would be front row at TakeOver: Orlando just a few weeks later…
Pro Wrestling World Cup English Qualifying Final Match = Will Ospreay defeats Rampage
Pro Wrestling World Cup English Qualifying Final Match = Zack Sabre Jr. defeats Jimmy Havoc
What I remember most about this match was Havoc mouthing off to Sabre after the finish, what he was so annoyed about I don’t know…
The Prestige (BT Gunn, Joe Coffey, Joe Hendry & Travis Banks) defeat BULLET CLUB (Adam Cole, Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) & Gabriel Kidd
So they had the company heels beat the big stars in the main event.. but I got to see the BC, and they beat up Kidd after to close the show with the stars on top so that was fun.
6/11/17 = WWE Monday Night Raw tapings : Manchester (Manchester Arena)
So I finally decided I wanted to watch WWE live. So rather than go to a live show I decided to go to a TV taping. So me, Dan and Lorraine went and it was a heck of a night. Of course it was somewhat of a long process getting in, but totally understandable given the terror attacks at the arena some months prior, the security was very prominent but also the process getting in was well managed so credit to them. So we also got to see the Main Event tapings for that week which featured: Mark Andrews, Trent Seven & Tyler Bate defeated Joseph Conners, Sam Gradwell & Tyson T-Bone, Matt Hardy defeated Curt Hawkins and finally Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows defeated Heath Slater & Rhyno. And then Monday Night Raw began filming.
So Miz TV opened the show and then Raw GM Kurt Angle was his guest, so we all go to tell Kurt that he sucked which was a bucket list moment for sure. Elias vs Jason Jordan in a GUITAR ON A POLE MATCH was… something… Asuka squashing someone was all me and an equally excited Lorraine wanted (the lamb this time was actually Isla Dawn). Samoa Joe then jumped Titus and this led to a match with Finn Balor, which as an NXT fan seeing Finn vs Samoa Joe again was a treat. Balor got one of the biggest ovations of the night I recall. Bayley (who the crowd absolutely adored) and Sasha beat Nia and Alicia Fox, Braun (who got the loudest pop of the night aside from The Shield) vs Miz ended in a DQ when Kane came out… getting to see Kane live was definitely another bucket list moment, Pete Dunne obliterated Enzo which was just as satisfying as it sounds to see, and in the main event (after rumours were put out by WWE that an invasion of SmackDown was a possibility) mid way through the main event The New Day came out and cut a promo in the crowd, but this distraction allowed for Sheamus and Cesaro to shock the crowd and win the tag titles from Dean and Seth (big props to Sheamus and Cesaro coming out wearing Liverpool shirts, golden heel heat). A really fun Raw that we in fact watched when it was on TV when we got back after so that was cool too.
This was the timer I set on my phone to see how long it would take Asuka to win her match.
Can’t explain how happy this made me!!!
Three more highlights I must mention were when Alexa Bliss was shown on the big screen doing a backstage interview and said the line ‘what does 2 plus 2 make?’ in reference to the Big Shaq song popular at the time for, which I and my friends loved. We also saw Renee interviewing Dean and Seth and Ambrose speaking about how after they won him and Seth would ‘take care of business, and then go and eat some fish and chips and have a few pints’, with Young doing the Shield fist pose after they left which was hilarious… just tremendous… and finally the Big Shaq references didn’t stop at Little Miss Bliss, as during New Day’s promo they had Woods do the bit were Shaq says ‘(I’m not even going to try and spell it but you’ll know the bit), then Big E asking Kofi to take off his jacket and Kingston say back ‘Nah, MAN’S NOT HOT!’. All the joys!
27/5/18 = Ring Of Honor/New Japan Pro Wrestling ‘Honor United’ tour: Doncaster (Doncaster Dome)
This was when me and Stefan met Cody and Brandi Rhodes… and then we sat 2nd or 3rd row and watched some wrestling… It was a great show and the lively crowd helped it along a lot.
Toru Yano & Kenny King defeated Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian (Special Guest Referee: Tenille Dashwood)
This was your perfect show opener in that it was essentially a comedy match but the wrestling stuff was pretty fun too. Tenille being guest ref was random, but I guess they just wanted her on the show (not that I or anyone else who swung that way was complaining, not ONE bit…)… They did a fun spot where they had a guy in the front row near us take a selfie with King having just beat up Kazarian and Tenille as well… a heck of a pic…
Silas Young (C) defeated Doug Williams to retain the ROH TV title
Bully Ray, Punishment Martinez & Shane Taylor defeated Dalton Castle & The Boys
Jay Lethal defeated Matt Taven
Sumie Sakai (C) defeated Chardonnay to reteain the WOH Championship
Cody (with Brandi Rhodes) defeated Scorpio Sky (with Frankie Kazarian)
Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated ‘Hangman’ Adam Page
The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) defeated Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe and EVIL & Sanada and TK O’Ryan & Vinny Marseglia in a four corner survival tag match
30/6/18 = Rev Pro/New Japan Pro Wrestling; Strong Style Evolved (Milton Keynes: Planet Ice Arena)
So my first thought on this show was how thankful I was that we had paid extra to essentially be fast tracked to the first few people to get in, as opposed to the long long waiting lines…. and THANK GOD because it was the middle of summer and it was SO SO SO HOT outside that pale me was already baking so any longer and I’d have boiled. But we walk in and with it being an ice ring immediately we were met with the cold soothing air and it was beyond belief a blessing!!! In-terms of bell to bell action this was the best show I’ve been to so far. We wanted New Japan and largely we got it, and I just so happen to meet the best professional wrestler in the world, around a few weeks after he took part in the best match of all time…
The Great O-Khan defeated Shota Umino
Shota went on to be pals with Jon Moxley during his New Japan run but he was a highly rated young boy at this stage… Great O-Khan was billed in the build-up as ‘?’ and had a weird music entrance… it was a new gimmick for another former young boy. It was odd but he was dominant here.
Taiji Ishimori & Yujiro Takahashi defeated Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis)
El Despirado & Taichi & Takashi Iizuka defeated Jay White & Gedo & Toru Yano
So this I will most remember for Iizuka. He had a wildman gimmick and he came out through the crowd on our side and I was legit terrified.
Tiger Mask IV defeated David Starr
WALTER defeated Yuji Nagata
I can confirm WALTER, having seen him in the meet and greet area before the show, is indeed the same sized as a large fridge! One of the largest human beings I’ve ever been that close to, maybe second to former Leicester City defender Martin Wasilewski. And yes his chops really do sound that loud in the flesh as well.
Yoshi-Hashi defeated Chris Brookes
Will Ospreay defeated Yoshinobu Kanemaru
Will Ospreay was an absolute GOD to this crowd. And whilst we didn’t get your blowaway, Tokyo Dome Will Ospreay performance he was still very impressive and as always was a joy to watch.
RevPro Tag Team Champions Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii to retain
18/8/18 = Ring Of Honor ‘Honor Re-United’: Doncaster (Doncaster Dome)
As part of probably the best birthday I’ve ever had, that concluded with NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 4, I went to watch some wrestling… and also…
The Briscoes def Jonny Storm & Jody Fleisch
Mark Haskins def Flip Gordon to advance to the finals of the International Cup
So the winner of this tournament would get a title shot against Jay Lethal the next night. I really wanted Flip to win but it wasn’t to be…
Adam Page def Jimmy Havoc to advance to the finals of the International Cup
Kay Lee Ray def Charli Evans
Punishment Martinez def Delirious
ROH World Champion Jay Lethal & Jon Gresham defeat The Young Bucks
Mark Haskins def Adam Page to win the ROH International Cup
23/2/19 = NXT UK tv Tapings: Coventry (Planet Ice Arena)
So we got to go to the final NXT UK Tapings before WrestleMania weekend. And finally, at long last, me and Stefan not only went to an NXT UK show, but we sat FRONT ROW. I also correctly called that they would announced Walter vs Pete Dunne for TakeOver: New York. And we got to see all the NXT UK stars we wanted to see, and only towards the end was it a little tough to watch, not that anything was bad it was just so late and we were so tired having sat watching a full set of tapings. Given it was taping for a few weeks it was very stop and start but the action we all saw was fun… oh and I made my WWE network debut once the shows were put on their, so then, now and indeed forever I can be seen on the WWE Network… madness!!!
But the main thing for me was that I accomplished a near lifelong dream, I sat front row at a WWE show. Tremendous.