Review: World Wide Wrestling League ‘Wrestling Showdown: Elgin’ (2 Dec 2022)

A rare Friday evening show for yours truly, so after a hearty dinner, walking the dog for some cardio, I ambled over via motorised vehicle to the Bishopmill Hall. Depending on how I get along writing this very piece of sliced heaven, I recorded my whole commute to the venue on the SWN Podcast. A huge episode.

Last time W3L in Bishopmill it was very basic. Ring, no apron (due to travel issues), just very bare bones because of those set backs. When I walked into the hall this time it there was a proper production. Lights, camera, screens, an entrance area. It was very similar to ‘Summer Spectacular’ but without the entrance steps from the stage. It’s the most big time W3L have looked in that venue which generally steps up every year.

The event opened with Craig Stephens stotting out with all his belts, and after a bit of growling he called out his tag team partner Saqib Ali. Ali arrived, Stephens metaphorically tried to dress down Ali for costing him the W3L Wrestling Showdown Championship at Wrestlution. Telling him that he would help Ali to get to the semi finals and Ali can lay down for him and help Stephens in the final. No dice from Ali, who declined, so Stephens introduced the man he would support against Saqib, The Tormentor.

I like to think this was The Bulgarian Baker’s spot that The Tormentor stole.

It’s always a bold move to open shows with a talking segment, if this is someone’s first show and they’re a little on the fence about going to the wrestling the segment has to nail it without fail. Stephens did well, he didn’t stutter, he went through a little of the history of the why he has a problem with Saqib Ali. Ali entered and provided his rebuttal succinctly, before getting a dafty chant going. Simple, effective, and with logic.

It took me until this moment to realise that there was only seven entrants in the W3L Wrestling Showdown Championship Tournament because Craig Stephens got a bye due to being the former champion before Wrestlution.

W3L Wrestling Showdown Championship Tournament – Saqib Ali defeat The Tormentor w/Craig Stephens by pinfall to advance.

I don’t know if it was the pure excitement of going to two wrestling shows in two days but I was well hyped to see a Tormentor match. They dominated Saqib Ali in the early going with Craig Stephens barking instructions or providing distractions to keep Tormentor tormenting.

Ali built some momentum, Stephens tried to hold him back but The Tormentor ran into Stephens, leaving him open for Saqib to finish the job and pick up the win to advance to the semi finals.

A really good story driven match, this was the longest Tormentor match I’ve probably seen and they actually looked okay. Saqib Ali is a solid hand and is dependable to have a near flawless match with just about anyone. A very good match to kick off the show.

W3L Wrestling Showdown Championship Tournament – Irn Dru Marshall defeated Hugo Harris by pinfall to advance.

Hugo Harris is a guy I’ve seen in photographical form but haven’t had a chance to see wrestle because of reasons so I was interested to see what this guy could do. He has a striking look, well built, with a swipe of a Patrick Swayze, but like a sleazy Swayze, unless I need to get my glasses prescription checked.

Irn Dru Marshall was a heavy fan favourite for two reasons, A) he came out with Irn Bru themed gear and 2) because Harris riled up folk enough to have them wanting to see this lad get a slapping.

Another very simple but effective match followed, plenty of “SHALL I??” themed offence from Marshall but a highlight was Irn Dru calling upon all the children in the audience to assist pulling the legs of Harris while they lay either side of the ring post. A swarm of small bodies (and some adults) descended to the corner to grab a leg and pull. Absolutely hilarious.

Marshall wasn’t the only one with antics, after a very long time trying to bite a corner off his wrist tape, Harris flipped a turnbuckle pad and used it as a distraction for the referee so he could choke Dru with it. First time he hid the tape in his mouth, second time it was in his trunks, third time it was in his mouth… then he gagged when he realised what had happened. Sports entertainment folks, five stars.

After a fight back Marshall side stepped a Harris superkick and knocked out Harris for the three count.

Another great match. Harris was excellent in this match, hopefully he ventures out a bit more and more folk get to see him in action. Marshall was very charismatic and his command of the audience was top notch.

W3L Breakout Championship – Meyhem Brooks defeated Craig Stephens by disqualification. Craig Stephens retained the W3L Breakout Championship.

In our first half main event it was a tense one. Craig Stephens returned to the match and was booed heavily. The work done at the start of the show set up the entrance of Meyhem Brooks perfectly as the crowd went wild when it was announced that he was from Elgin. There looked to be plenty of friends and family there to see Brooks in the match, as the booming bass of adults overpowered the children’s cheers.

It was a marathon, not a sprint, with Stephens trying to wrestler Brooks down after a bit of jaw-jacking. They traded chops, kicks, and near falls with every count for Brooks getting the crowd closer to the edge of their seat. I was hooked in for a Meyhem Brooks win.

Brooks scaled to the top rope for a big flying forearm that got plenty of air.

Saqib Ali turned up to distract Stephens but a follow up Olympic Slam from Brooks couldn’t get the three count. Just as it looked to be a bit of Meyhem in Elgin, Stephens kicked Brooks between the legs for the disqualification.

After a stare down between Ali and Stephens, Brooks locked in a Rear Naked Choke onto Stephens for a loud cheer.

Brilliant match, brilliant story. Meyhem Brooks has found his footing, especially in Elgin. A year back he tried to be the dick swinging Connor McGregor light but has learned that if he is up here, you’ve got to be the hometown hero. He got a lot of love earlier in the year at ‘Summer Spectacular’ and it has carried over onto this show.

Sure I would’ve liked to see Brooks win the belt in his hometown but they got me invested in the match.

The through line of the first half was a masterpiece of simple storytelling.

W3L Wrestling Showdown Championship Tournament – Lou King Sharp defeated Tom Fulton by pinfall to advance.

Back from the break (and after a chat with Taylor Bryden that will be on the SWN Podcast, plug, plug, plug), we were treated to the entrance of ‘The Blood Tourist’ Lou King Sharp. Side note of excellence here, but I know Lou King Sharp is terrific, one of my favourite wrestlers going, but I will always find his patter with Mums in the audience the funniest thing. He got his eye on one that was booing him with her child, Sharp walked over and told her that it wasn’t an example to set for her son to see her shouting at his Daddy. Beautiful piece of shitebaggery.

The colourful and vibrant Tom Fulton travelled back to the year 2022 to arrive in Elgin of places to do a wrestle. His gear is so over the top and I can’t wait to get to whatever year Fulton is from to get a jacket of my own. He had laser lights coming from his gloves that blinded Sharp before the bell. Pure pantomine.

Never one to shy away from being the biggest character in the room, Sharp tried to evade attacks by hugging the ring post but Fulton grabbed Sharp’s legs and raised them up before letting go and sending Sharp back to the ring post at speed.

Sharp got battered at ringside, finding himself falling on the aforementioned Mum in the audience and onto a Granny before shouting that everyone needs a hug from their Granny to a lot of laughs.

It wasn’t all Fulton though, Sharp got to the top rope and belted out ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ before missing a Frog Splash. Fulton Monkey Flipped Sharp across the ring, and as it looked like Fulton was about to win, Sharp rolled him up and grabbed the ropes for a tainted victory.

Tremendous. A high quality match to start the second half with two very talented wrestlers thoroughly entertaining the crowd.

W3L Heavyweight Championship – Taylor Bryden defeated Gaia Hox by pinfall to retain the W3L Heavyweight Championship.

After the introductions we got down to business. Both men started with a feeling out process, with a lot of the same ideas before performed by both to show how similarly matched up these two were. This was the first time I have seen Gaia Hox but I’ve heard a lot of things via Lou King Sharp and his appearance for Copenhagen Championship Wrestling and Sharp didn’t oversell this fella, he is ridiculous.

The match started with a bit of grappling but it didn’t take long for the aerial display to take place with Bryden diving through the ropes to send Hox into the front row. Hox went for a package piledriver but Bryden escaped, and a follow up double foot stomp from Hox missed, Bryden then grabbed Hox for the OTK which landed with velocity for the win.

This match felt like a main event. It had a different vibe from the previous matches on the show. There wasn’t a clear cut fan favourite, with Bryden actually being more aggressive during the match. There wasn’t any slapstick or shenanigans, it was a competitive wrestling match over the most prestigious championship in the company.

A hard fought main event with Bryden showing why he is in that position, these two put on a fantastic match to close the show. I also wanted to see more of Gaia Hox after this one because he was so charismatic and athletic, he did this kip up that was so controlled that I think I hurt my back just watching it happen.

Oh, before I forget, the W3L Heavyweight Championship has had a little refurb and it looks like a top belt now. It’s a basic black and gold repaint but it has made all the difference in it looking like a prestigious championship.

A top quality event from W3L, with plenty of variety and character, that means I will finally stop mentioning the 2021 edition from the same venue because this blew it out of the water in match quality, entertainment, and as an experience. The crowd were loud and the wrestling was ace. It’s all you need.

I’m looking forward to watching this back when it goes up on W3L Wrestling Showdown eventually.

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