It’s debut time here in the pages of The Two Sheds Review. Well…..sort of. This time around we’re going to take a first look at the product offered by Grand Pro Wrestling, a promotion based in the north of England.
Grand Pro Wrestling actually morphed from a promotion called Garage Pro Wrestling. I reviewed one of their DVDs before, but this will be my first taste of the “new” GPW.
So let’s go back to this past March and The Rose Club in Wigan for Northern Soul.
The show began with tag team action as champions Ricky J. McKenzie and Chris Echo faced the Blackpool Blondes, Axl Rage and J.D. Sassoon, in a non-title match.
Before the match began Rage made a proposition. If the Blondes lost they’d leave the company. If they won they’d get another title shot. It was a deal the champions readily agreed to.
This one didn’t last that long. The Blondes attacked before the bell, and after a few moments of punishment Echo managed to make to the tag to RJM.
But when Sassoon kicked him in the left knee RJM crumpled to the mat and rolled out of the ring. The referee began to count him out, but when he saw that RJM was in real pain he jumped out of the ring. A few seconds later he gave the “X” sign and called off the match, ruling it a no contest.
The dastardly heels than snatched the champions’ trophies and headed for the hills before RJM was helped backstage.
Then it was on to the first title match of the evening as Joey Hayes challenged Jack Gallagher for the Gallagher’s Gold title.
Before the match began I saw something I don’t think I’ve seen before when Gallagher’s personal referee Mike Fitzgerald came to the ring. Gallagher than made his entrance and laid down the rules, which were basically the old Ring of Honor Pure Championship rules.
Oh, and before I forget, this title isn’t actually sanctioned by GPW.
These two began by putting on a great exhibition of chain wrestling, and it was a joy to watch as these two countered each other hold for hold.
It wasn’t long before Gallagher took the upper hand and began to work over Hayes’ left arm with a variety of holds. The ropes came into play as the challenger used them to his advantage, but we soon saw the advantage of having a personal referee.
When Hayes rolled Gallagher up with a schoolboy Gallagher went into the ropes. Referee Fitzgerald immediately ruled that he wouldn’t take a rope break away from Gallagher. However, when Gallagher used the same move to go for a pin himself the referee, without hesitation, took a rope break away from Hayes.
This proved to be crucial. When Hayes went to the top rope Gallagher brought him back down with an arm drag, applying a cross arm breaker as soon as he hit the mat. With no rope breaks remaining he had no choice but to tap out, giving Gallagher the title retaining pin.
After an in-ring segment which featured a great deal of debate over Danny Hope’s win in the Money in the Bank match, which featured a mass brawl involving other GPW stars, normal action resumed as L.A. Austin took on The Masterplan’s Bubblegum.
This one began with Austin laying in the ring, apparently unconscious after the mass brawl. Bubblegum thought he’d be easy pickings as he went for a quick pin. The surprise on Bubblegum’s face when Austin kicked out said it all.
Although Bubblegum took him down with ease early on Austin soon worked his way back into the match with some nice high impact moves, and it looked like he was going to suck it up enough to get the win when he tried to take Bubblegum off the top rope with a superplex.
But Bubblegum held on, pushing Austin off the top rope and coming down with a double stomp for the winning pin.
Then it was on to the handicap match as the team of Cameron Kraze, Jiggy Walker and Danny Hope, accompanied by Melanie Price, took on Damon Leigh and Zack Diamond.
Originally this was meant to be a six man match, but Ste “Bin” Mann (his nickname would probably be Trash or Garbage if he was American) was another of those left laying in the ring after the mass brawl earlier in the evening.
Oh, and let’s not forget that Mike Fitzgerald was the referee in this one.
This certainly proved to be a very interesting encounter. Leigh and Diamond did quite well at first, but it wasn’t long before the numbers game came into play and the Masterplan team began to use their one man advantage to good effect, taking out their frustrations on Diamond.
Hope, Walker and Kraze used all the dastardly tactics they could to keep Diamond from getting the tag, including knocking Leigh off the apron. But then, despite not being medically cleared to wrestle, Mann appeared on the stage and tagged himself into the match.
Thus began the mass brawl. Tags didn’t seem to matter any more as both teams took each other down with loads of high impact moves, including the obligatory sequence which saw plenty of high flying spots to the outside of the ring.
Now remember when I told you who the referee was? Well, after Mann took Walker down with a side slam from the second rope, and after he went for the pin Fitzgerald got down to the match, counted to two, and then complained of a hand injury.
Needless to say that Mann was none too happy about this, and when he pushed Fitzgerald down to the mat he rolled out of the ring and called for the bell, giving the disqualification win to the Masterplan team.
This didn’t stop the six men from brawling though, and Kraze narrowly avoided getting clobbered by Mann’s metal dustbin.
After another in-ring segment, the Science Fiction Zone, which saw the reformation of the Mystics and an impromptu match with Ken Zen and Skullcrusher it was back to regular action as Cyanide, accompanied by Alan A.A. Tasker, went up against masked star El Ligero, with Cyanide’s number one contenders spot up for grabs.
Before the match began Tasker took to the microphone and offered Ligero a spot in his stable. Ligero looked like he was going to accept the offer for a split second until he pushed Tasker down to the mat.
What followed was a highly entertaining David versus Goliath kind of encounter. Ligero had some success early on with his hit and run tactics, but it wasn’t long before big Cyanide took control and took the masked man down with a variety of impressive power moves.
The Mexican sensation’s attitude kept him in the match as he saw off the attempted interference of Tasker. That still wasn’t enough as the big man came back strongly to put Ligero away with a one-handed choke bomb for the winning pin, retaining his spot in the rankings.
Then it was on to the main event. Originally GPW Champion Martin Kirby was meant to defend the title against former champion Dirk Feelgood, but when it was announced that Feelgood wasn’t actually at the show Kirby threw out an open challenge for a title match.
Step forward “The Juice” C.J. Banks, who hadn’t been seen in these parts for about a year.
I have to admit that I was a little disappointed when I found out that Feelgood wasn’t there, mainly because I hadn’t seen him wrestle for a few years, but what we got in place of the advertised main event more than made up for that disappointment.
It was a very competitive bout between two evenly-matched wrestlers. Both guys put on a great showing, and their back and forth sequences were a joy to watch.
Things got even better when they went into high gear towards the end as they went all out to get the pin. I loved the moment when Kirby went to take Banks down with a handstand leg scissors while the Juice was on the top rope, only for Banks to counter by grabbing Kirby’s legs and grabbing him into the centre of the ring for a Texas cloverleaf.
It wasn’t enough to get the win though, and moments later Kirby came back and took Banks down with his version of Billy Gunn’s old finishing move, the Fame-asser, known here as Kirby’s Dreamland, for the winning pin.
No extras on this DVD, so let’s get down to the business end of things.
In conclusion - my first experience of Grand Pro Wrestling is a positive one. Although I was familiar with a few of the guys on the show it was nice to see some new faces going through their paces.
Match-wise it was quite good. Each one delivered to varying degrees, and although there looked like there were a couple of sloppy moments during the mass brawl overall I finishing my viewing feeling that I’d watched some well-executed matches.
Production-wise it can’t be faulted. It really isn’t fair to compare this side of things to the output of the mighty WWE and TNA, but when compared to some of the other British and U.S. indy stuff I’ve seen over the past few years it looked okay.
So overall I’m pleased that I had the chance to see this show, and it’s for that reason I’m going to give this the thumbs up.
With thanks to the powers that be for supplying a copy of this release. GPW Northern Soul is available to buy online at www.grandprowrestling.co.uk.