Sunday, October 21, 2007

PCW - Pro Championship Wrestling Live! (20.10.2007)

366 miles. 10 hour round-trip with no iPod. Freezing your tits off in the middle of nowhere, long after midnight and with no plan for the evening. Four guys sleeping on the floor of a cheap Birmingham travelodge designed to fit two. Somehow spending about £20 whilst eating practically nothing all weekend. It can only be a road trip to see some shitty indy wrestling~!

Hereford Leisure Centre, Hereford, Herefordshire (350 crowd).

Spud vs. Derice Coffie

I'm used to seeing Spud as a heroic underdog comic book superhero type babyface, and the fact he also looks like a small child means all the kids in the crowd can live vicariously through him in the same way they would with that other great heroic underdog comic book superhero type babyface, Rey Mysterio. Of course, it also means an unfair amount of stick from the 'smart' fans in attendance because it's the cool thing to do in a John Cena infested 2007 but tonight, Spud earned the boos.


Because, rather unexpectedly he unveiled his narcissitic, self-absorbed 80's rock star character, string vest, pink spandex, headscarf and all!

Derice Coffie on the other hand had an entirely unexpected 1990's WWF gimmick character all of his own - Jamaican bobsleigher. So whilst Spud was riffing on This Is Spinal Tap, Coffie paid homage to another movie none of the kids in the crowd were likely familiar with in Cool Runnings. The parents lapped it up though. For his part, Coffie came out in full bobsleigh apparel and managed to work the gimmick into his wrestling in a quite brilliant spot. Sitting behind Spud, he weaved from side to side as if they were a two man bobsleigh team, dizzying up Spud enough to get a two count. Spot of the year, right there.

Coffie had also added a really bizarre Bushwhackers-esque gesture by swinging his arm around, and soon enough all the kids were doing it though I've not got a clue what it was supposed to signify. Maybe a bobsleigh official does it for a clean run like an umpire raises his arms for a six in cricket, who knows.

The biggest question I had about this match though was in what universe does a rock star and bobsleigher have enough of a personal rivalry that they feel the need to settle it locked in the mortal combat of a profressional wrestling match? I mean, it's fairly clear that they were going for the campy WWF style characters they probably grew up watching that you just don't get in an indy scene made up of kickpad-clad flippy headdroppers, but when you look back you had guys like The Big Boss Man (police officer) and his natural enemies The Mountie (corrupt Canadian officer) and Nailz (embittered former convict) or The Undertaker (undead zombie) and his revolving cast of b-movie monsters like Papa Shango (voodoo priest), Kamala (Ugandan cannibal), The Berzerker (er, berzerker) etc. Policeman vs. Criminal? Sure. Inhuman SuperFreak vs. Creepy Witchdoctor? I guess so. Rock Star vs. Bobsleigher? I don't get it.

As for the actual match, it was pretty dull after five hours on the road and repeated stops for no real reason at overpriced, undermaintained roadside hotspots (although the one with the motherfucking Mushiking card game machine was awesome~!) It's not a knock on the workers since they really didn't do anything wrong and the kids were crazy into everything they did, but as someone who's been around the grappling block a few times it was just one massive Larry Zbyszko stall-fest for what felt like an hour or so as they ran through all the easy heat spots you've seen a million times (including Spud's threats to leave the venue if people don't show him respect and stealing Tracy Smothers' dance off gimmick, refined to a hair metal gimmick-suitable inflatable guitar showdown). Still, this show was clearly aimed at the 8-year old fanbase and not the cynical 24-year old who'd tagged along just for a day out and a free ticket, and certainly there was no need to go killing youself on house show way below the radar of the average workrate-centric indyphile.

The Damned Nation (Majik & Dragon Aisu) vs. The Coalminers (Coalminer A & Coalminer B)

Can someone explain to me why I'm supposed to give a shit about The Coalminers? I'm supposed to love these guys because they spend their days doing hard labour in a dirty cave? We haven't even had any coal in our house since about 1986! Or maybe I'm supposed to hate these guys for that? I mean, I hate people who like Scrubs and I hate the Conservative Party but a pair of coalminers? They're just two guys, nothing more, nothing less.

What's even worse about the gimmick is that they wear those yellow hard hats to the ring and wrestle in overalls and steel-capped working boots. I can hear you asking yourself "What's so wrong with that?" and I'll tell you: They're clean as a fucking whistle. Not a hint of dirt anywhere, not on their faces, not on their overalls, nothing. Remember that last paragraph were I wondered why I should like them for doing hard labour in dirty caves? Hard labour my ass. They look they've somehow managed to sneak off work under the foreman's nose every day for the last twenty years and gone to get pampered at a health spa. Yeah, I definitely hate The Coalminers.

Damned Nation meanwhile are of the science fiction-intrigued metalhead variety, and Dragon Aisu seems to be somewhat of a hypocrite. Having previously complained about a wrestler bringing his title from one promotion to another (in this case Britain's 1PW) on the grounds that (rightfully) nobody at the 1PW shows would give a shit about a belt they'd never heard of and wouldn't recognise, Damned Nation proceeded to wear their 1PW tag team titles to the ring here. At an indy show with no connection to 1PW. In a building made up of 348 eight-year old WWE fans and their parents (who based on their response to the heel/face character reversals of 1PW regulars Spud and The Iron Lions one can only assume don't even follow 1PW) plus two smarks along for the ride who ultimately didn't care either way.

This. Is. INDY~!

Damned Nation won.

Brandon Thomas & T-Bone vs. The Dream Time Boyz

Who the fuck has a name like T-Bone? What is that all about? What does that even mean!? Oddly enough, the guy who looked like the typical goth/metalhead/warlock indy wrestler with the daft name (who I expected to be the one called T-Bone) ended up being Brandon Thomas, a hairy guy who looked like my sci-fi and Tommy Vance-loving uncle did in the 80's but without the beer belly and a shiny new set of kickpads. Brandon Thomas meanwhile looked like a mildly flabby version of Santino Marella with a different head. Some gym time and he'll be set.

As for The Dream Time Boyz, who the fuck in 2007 does a Backseat Boyz tribute? I didn't want to see Full Pack do it in 2004 and I certainly don't want to see it 2007. I mean, did anyone bar a couple of hundred geeks even want to see the Backseat Boyz themselves in 2003?

Brandon Thomas and T-Bone went over but I'll be damned if I can remember anything else about this.

Ashley Steele vs. Caimen

Steele (representing England) is about as bland a patriotic babyface as you can get. He basically looked like an expensive hairdresser (possibly gay as most male hairdressers seem to be) and wore some long neon aquamarine tights with nothing on them. No stripes, no pattern, no name across the arse cheeks, just plain, neon aquamarine.

Caimen (representing closely approximated Wales) wore nothing to really distinguish himself as being Welsh, instead pairing up his long black hair and blonde handlebar moustache with a blindingly neon pink singlet with the word "Caimen" emblazoned across the front of it. I'm not even sure what Caimen means or if it's even a word. A check up on Wikipedia suggests that the Spectacled Caiman is a crocodilian reptile, but he doesn't seem to be playing up to that in any way at all.

Of course, the home country hero went over, and I was left to further ponder if it it's hypocritical of me to support the English national football team whilst generally disapproving of most other aspects of such nationalism.

"Proud to be British!".
"Rule Britannia!".
"Keep the pound!".
"Americans are all big stupid fatties and I hate them despite all my favourite TV, film, clothing lines, fast food and music originate from there!".
"French people are all arrogant and smelly unlike me even though Paris is a beautiful city and my family on my dad's side is of French ancestry!"
"We beat the Germans twice in world wars that I wasn't even alive to be emotionally involved in!"

Lets get dead already.

Team Charming ("Sadistic" Jack Storm & "Human Hate Machine" Dave Moralez) w/ "Charming" Don Charles vs. The Iron Lions (Andy Boy Simmonz & James Tighe)

Fucking hell, Dave Moralez is absolutely fucking massive in width!

Fucking hell, James Tighe appears to be headed the same way!

Fucking hell!

Jack Storm still looks like a 14 year old girl though. Get a haircut and stop moaning about your parents not letting you play Papa Roach loudly you hormonally moody teenage freak!

Sadly, nobody recognised Andy Boy Simmonz. You'd think with everyone here being a WWE fan (the kids in front of us had enthusiastically debating the drestuctive, mostrous prowess of Big Daddy V earlier in the night and every other kid was sporting some form of Rey Mysterio apparel) they'd have spotted Simmonz just a couple of days after his THREE gimmick matches with Umaga had aired on both repeats Raw and he was acknowledged by name by Vinny Mac himself on the show but apparently not.

"Mr. Vain" Pete Collins vs. Eamon O'Neill

Pete Collins is apparently a World Of Sport-era veteran although nobody (even the parents) seemed to have heard of him. I presume he just appeared like one time when he was about 19 losing a semi-squash to Rollerball Rocco or Johnny Saint or something.

With that said, I have to question the point of bringing in someone and promoting him as a World Of Sport verteran if you're not going to play that up when it comes to bell time?

Coming out to early 90's German Eurodance trio Culture Beat's 'Mr. Vain' (naturally) but looking like your middle-aged uncle who's interest in music started with Deep Purple and ended with Steppenwolf, Collins did nothing to evoke memories of the old Good Afternoon Grapple Fans, Two Falls, Two Submissions Or A Knockout, In The Blue Corner, He Recieves His First Public Warning days The Queen Mother used to swing her handbag about to. No British stylings, no rounds, just a standard American Wrestling match between some old, out-of-shape bloke and his younger, non-descript opponent. Collins eventually won a dull match that nobody was really interested in, kind of like those popcorn matches the WWF used to put on pay-per-view right before the main event.

The thing about indy shows is that you never really know who's going to be there or what kind of show you'll get. So far, we'd gotten some whacky cartoon gimmicks that sort-of missed the point but at least gave a bit of colour to some guys who'd otherwise just be skinny kids in kickpads (the bobsleder, the rock star, both coalminers), some generic indy guys, some mark guys doing tribute gimmicks to the 2001-2002 US indy and X-Division guys they watched whilst still backyarders, some really non-descript guys, and a middle-aged veteran supposedly brought up in the old-style of British catch-as-catch-can style of wrestling doing an unsuitable gimmick and working the same match as all the other young guys on the show.

Which brings us to our main event.

Rhino vs. "Wildcat" Robbie Brookside

Yes, THAT Rhino. Of ECW, WWE and TNA fame. Against THAT Robbie Brookside. Of highly-respected British wrestling veteran and Video Diaries fame.

Rhino's had a few intriguing indy matches in 2007. Martin Stone in IPW-UK. ROH/NOAH's Nigel McGuinness at the King Of Europe Cup tournament. A bout with Necro Butcher that I really hope shows up on DVD somewhere. And this seeming clash of styles with Brookside.

What an odd set-up. An otherwise worthless, standard, stand-alone house show full of whacky gimmicks and self-preservation wrestling to give the local WWE fans a taste of live action and their parents a cheap and easy distraction for their kids for the night, and they fly in Rhino. And despite PCW's relationship with Len Davies and RQW (who broadcast matches on TCW-Fight in the UK and have the best video and editing set-up in the country), this match isn't being taped for TV and subsequent promotion of PCW. Even more oddly, RQW is running a TV taping event tomorrow night in London and Rhino isn't booked as he's on the first flight back to Detroit in the morning. And neither was he over for a bigger 'supershow' or anything and decided to stay over an extra night even though noted flyer-in of talent 1PW has just run another Doncaster Dome card. Very puzzling.

Ultimately, they played it safe. As mentioned previously, this was a stand alone house show for the kids just happy to see a superstar live in the flesh. A little bit of wrestling, a little bit of resting, Brookside heeling it up, GORE! GORE! GORE! and that was all that inside ten minutes. They knew their audience and exploited it to a T.

This match, all 10 minutes of it, were later described as "boring" by one of the aforementioned INDY~! wrestlers on the show. Just so you know.

And on a related note, here's a video of the road trip including some footage of the Rhino-Brookside encounter. Check that pop!


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