Review: World Wide Wrestling League ‘Summer Spectacular’

A lot has changed since I last attended a W3L show in Elgin. Even longer since they last held an event in Elgin Town Hall, electing to use the Bishopmill Hall for approximately the last decade.

The 2021 show, to be honest, was not good. Circumstances arose that didn’t help but the show was poor in comparison to the previous years W3L have headed up North for some wrestling. As always I look for the positives to talk about but it was a rare time I came away from an event disappointed.

Times change, and I was confident even then that it was a blip, a bad night, caused by a borrowed ring, a delayed start, stuck in a room before the show with annoying children, just anything and everything going wrong came into that 2021 show.

Anyways, 2022. W3L returned to the Elgin Town Hall, the venue where I first watched the promotion back in 2012, where I saw The Bulgarian Baker for the first time, joyous memories.

As much as I enjoyed the Bishopmill Hall over the years, it is a bog standard, cold, dusty village hall that doesn’t look pretty or nice especially if the plan is to record the show to put on a video network. There’s more opportunities to jazz up the Elgin Town Hall that has been going through a resurgence recently with the community taking charge and bringing in all manner of music, comedy, and general entertainment to the town.

The big news coming into this show wasn’t just the return to the venue but that Doug Williams was coming to Elgin. Last time I got to see Doug Williams wrestle was against Joe Hendry in Dundee of all places so was very excited to see him do some of that wrestling he’s good at again after many years.

As the match card took shape it looked like W3L were taking this show very seriously, bringing up Krieger and Lou King Sharp, the return of Mike Musso, and of course having Doug Williams involved.

The Elgin shows in the past have often been part of northern tours that included Dingwall and Wick, with similar match cards and results, maybe replacing a Johnny Hollywood with a Bulgarian Baker but generally it was the same show for three days with a format of either a tournament, a rumble, or the main event is set up during the first half. This was treated and presented like a marquee event for World Wide Wrestling League which was confirmed with the show provided.

The set up was cool with the lights surrounding the ring, an actual entrance ramp, it was like a proper production.

Should probably talk about the matches eh?

W3L Wrestling Showdown Championship – Krieger defeated Craig Stephens by disqualification. Craig Stephens retained the W3L Wrestling Showdown Championship.

Opening the show was Craig Stephens, who has all the belts, against the big handsome Krieger for the W3L Wrestling Showdown Championship. Stephens has been a guy that I didn’t enjoy watching as a wrestler until that ill fated afternoon in December 2020 when he was a highlight of the show so I was keen to see if my expectations were just dramatically low that day or if Craig Stephens had actually gotten better.

It was the latter fortunately.

In a hilarious turn of events, Krieger grabbed Stephens at ringside and invited fans to throw a chop, the first lad that stepped up swung a clothesline at Craig’s throat. The second lad hit a cracking chop… that was the end of physical crowd participation to the bemusement of Krieger and Stephens.

This was a really good match, both laid in heavy forearms, and slogged back and forth, big lads big ladding about. Just as Krieger looked to have Stephens tied up, Stephens kicked him between the legs in front of the referee for the disqualification.

Krieger followed up with a big boot to Stephens face to send him scurrying.

A great opener, got the crowd pumped, Stephens was a really effective bad guy, and Krieger is so charismatic and likeable that it’s very easy to cheer for him. Two thumbs up.

Meyhem Brooks defeated The Tormentor by submission.

Going back to 2021, Meyhem Brooks did not have a good match with Euan G Mackie, which is quite a feat, so coming into this one I was apprehensive of a repeat especially against a more inexperienced opponent in The Tormentor.

If this wasn’t being recorded for the W3L Network I could’ve put my house on this being a Bulgarian Baker match.

Meyhem Brooks entered announced from Elgin and didn’t have that faux McGregor swagger about him but instead looked to gain crowd support and it seemed to unlock this character that really worked for him. The in-ring wasn’t the best because The Tormentor torments the idea of having moves that flow together but Brooks looked far more competent. Tormentor got far more offense than I’d imagined he would but that’s by-the-by.

Brooks countered Tormentor and locked in a rear naked choke for the tap out win. A nice surprise of a match. It was also nice to see Brooks add some sports entertainment to his work instead of ‘MMA guy does MMA stuff’.

Now that The Tormentor has custom ring tights, for the love of Caleb I hope they invest in a mask that isn’t a thin balaclava pulled over, what I guess is, an open mouth mask that probably doesn’t really hide their identity all too well. Tidy up the presentation if the ring work is going to be less than stellar.

Unsanctioned Match – Lou King Sharp defeated Mike Musso by pinfall.

In the first half main event we got Mike Musso making his in-ring return in a unsanctioned match against W3L Heavyweight Champion Lou King Sharp in a non-title bout. Musso fought in Zubaz. Wrestling.

I’ve always seen Sharp as the ‘Your Mother’s Favourite Wrestler’ iteration but haven’t had the chance to watch ‘The Blood Tourist’ live. What a treat. If I thought the skinny jeans and sexy dancing version was a bit unhinged, ‘The Blood Tourist’ is a whole other level of crazy.

This had a bit of everything with a ladder coming into play early that saw Sharp finding himself slammed on it several times. The match went to the outside with Musso using Kevin Nash-esq forearms to batter Sharp. Lou brought Singapore canes into the match for some smacks and cracks over by the merchandise table. The match spilled all over, they just battered each other.

Musso brought out a wooden board and balanced it between the stage and a tool box, placed Sharp on it… only for the board to fall off the stage with an almighty thud.

Take two. Musso jumped off the stage with a Cactus Elbow from the stage through Sharp and the wooden board. It was ace.

They returned to the ring only for Nathan Reynolds to appear from nowhere, which was impressive in itself, to spear Musso and drag Sharp’s arm over for the pinfall.

A heated match, Lou King Sharp is incredible at just being so larger than life, he is able to push the limits of the audience be it a family show or something a bit more adult orientated. A genius of using a crowd to their fullest. Mike Musso is no slouch when it’s working an audience, these two matched up well together.

This was a wild and chaotic first half main event that delivered.

W3L Wrestling Showdown Championship Number One Contendership – Fatal Four Way – Captain Euan G Mackie and Saqib Ali defeated Nathan Reynolds and Irn Dru Marshall by double pinfall.

Back from the break Nathan Reynolds entered first to bask in the boos from his previous appearance. He told everyone that it’s Musso that should be booed for making all of us look like losers for denying Reynolds his last ever match against Musso at Wrestlution, declaring that if he won the W3L Wrestling Showdown Championship the Musso would have to accept his challenge.

Nathan Reynolds is always dynamite on the microphone. Flipping away any heckles and gets his point across effectively every time. Having seen Musso versus Reynolds in Elgin before it’s a match that was an absolute war then, I can only imagine how it would go with a personal grudge coming in.

Back to the match, it was good to see Irn Dru Marshall for the first time. Fun fact: he is the first ever interview that I published on the SWN (then OSWtv) website way back in 2012. Saqib Ali looks to be more well rounded every time I see him wrestle, and Captain Euan G Mackie always provide a swashbuckling antics.

Speaking of the wild chaos of the previous match, this was all over the hall with action from all angles. Reynolds demanded one of them lie down so he could win at the start but for some reason it wasn’t met with much enthusiasm. He tried to form an alliance with Saqib Ali but that ended when Ali tried to sneak in a pinfall on Reynolds.

Irn Dru seemed to sit out the majority of the match after the opening exchanges, jumping in towards the conclusion. In all the madness Captain Euan G Mackie and Saqib Ali scored a pinfall on their opponents at the same time and were both declared winners.

Wrestling Showdown Champion Craig Stephens marched out to dispute the decision and argued with his W3L Tag Team Champion partner Saqib Ali that he shouldn’t take his shot at the title. Ali grabbed the Wrestling Showdown belt and hit Stephens, Mackie picked up the treasure and used the title to knock out Ali to be the last man standing in the ring.

Multi-man matches can be too busy but this kept the main narrative of the action in the ring. Reynolds was a great powerhouse during the match that the other competitors had to keep down. The double count was slick and executed well. Another really entertaining match on the show.

Doug Williams defeated Taylor Bryden by pinfall.

As a big fan of pre-Hogan/Bischoff TNA, I loved British Invasion and all that stuff. Having seen Doug wrestle about 6 years ago against Joe Hendry I was thrilled to once again see him to some of that wrestling stuff he’s very good at. Judging by the audience, this was the draw, current NWA Tag Team Champion, wrestled all over the world, a big deal. There were plenty of families to see the show but there was a good contingent of, there’s no other way to put it, geeks like myself that were getting a chance to see a British wrestling legend in a small town that was denied city status this year and has a horrific statue of a half lion-half mermaid in a top hat on its high street (Google ‘The Dandy Lion’).

Taylor Bryden has been having fantastic matches especially since the restart of the world in late 2021. When this was announced two thoughts went through my mind, 1) does Doug know where Elgin is? and 2) oh my this will have to be the main event because it probably won’t be topped.

Point 2 was proven when Taylor Bryden and Doug Williams squared off in the final match of the evening. I’ll be honest, often wrestling matches that are more about actual wrestling over sports entertaining have to be special for me to pay attention.

Attention was paid.

These two put on a spectacular, yes pun intended, Doug Williams makes everything look effortless coupled with having these excellent facial expressions that add an extra layer to the art. Taylor Bryden kept up and even had Williams on the back foot on occasion. As the match was ramping up, Lou King Sharp strode down to the ring for a closer look, and by closer I mean taking pot shots with a Singapore cane on both competitors in front of the referee while shouting that the champion should’ve been in the main event (context applied). Now, I’m always happy to bang on my rule book but on this occasion I’m glad a disqualification wasn’t raised.

Williams eventually secured the pinfall before he and Bryden battered Sharp to end the show.

A brilliant match worth the price of admission alone. Even the interference at the end didn’t hamper it, it was fantastic.

Memories of the 2021 show have been eradicated and replaced with the best W3L show I’ve seen. Every match provided something to enjoy, yes, even The Tormentor match, and it’s been a pleasure to see the W3L shows in Elgin go from a show as part of a tour, to tapings for their online content, to a standalone W3L Network special. There have been ups and downs over the years but this show smashed it out of the park.

One final shout out to the American fella that was about 5 metres away from me that was hyping every match by shouting stuff out during. Now, sometimes that can be irritating if the fan is just trying to get themselves attention but I genuinely got the impression that he was getting invested in the show. I appreciated it.

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