Review: Sovereign Pro Wrestling (@SovPro) ‘First Reign’

A wee sneaky bonus review coming at cha and I’ll be perfectly honest, if it wasn’t for Ian Skinner, and his shenanigans, SovPro would’ve passed me by as just another promotion down in England. I’ve got enough promotions in Scotland to keep me occupied as it is!

But thanks to Ian, I’ve been wanting to watch a SovPro show and see what it’s all about, where better to start than at ‘First Reign’ taking place at Trinity Sports Centre in Manchester.

Featuring a lot of unknown names, to myself, I was interested to see who would grab my attention and maybe check out more of in the future.

Tom Thelwell w/Banter Bus defeated Maverick Mayhew by pinfall.

Two young lads having a scrap to kick off the show, Mayhew put a lot of focus on the knee of Thelwell in the early going.

A back and forth encounter with Mayhew the de facto aggressor against the hometown boy Tom Thelwell. After some solid wrestling, Mayhew superkicked a mid-second rope Moonsault-ing Thelwell and it became big move after big move, suplexes, pump kicks, with the crowd going wild.

Thelwell grabbed Mayhew with a sit out pumphandle slam for the win.

The crowd were absolutely hyped for this, put the exclamation “OH’s” on all the big throws and kicks towards the end of the match.

A great start, a good bit of strong style towards the end that I like in small doses so it was just enough.

Benjamin Black defeated RJ Singh by pinfall.

Black didn’t mess about with a spear to Singh after the bell rang to send RJ to the outside to recover.

After an early period of dominance, Black punished Singh with suplexes and slapping on a Full Nelson. Singh fought out and his moment of hope was a wild flurry of offense, countering a spear with a lungblower, hitting a beautiful Moonsault to a standing Black, but it wasn’t enough.

Benjamin Black hoisted Singh up for a spinning Death Valley Driver for the win.

Kelly Sixx turned up after the match and hit a Full Nelson spin out side slam on RJ Singh.

Black brought a lot of intensity in his actions, Singh’s comeback was excellent. Another great match.

Lucia Lee defeated Aurora Teves by submission.

Lee and Teves traded strikes in the early going, with Teves attempting to lock in a submission at the start, with a chancery attempt but the taller Lucia Lee was able to reach the ropes.

In a very even bout, both not giving an inch, Teves hit a tight fisherman’s neckbreaker for a close two count.

Lee planted Teves with a TKO which got another close two count, Lucia followed up with locking on a Cattle Mutilation submission for the win.

A very nice match, I liked that despite Aurora Teves’ attempts to win with a submission, including throttling Lee with a Gator Roll, it was Lucia Lee that was able to get the tap out victory in this battle. A cool touch.

SovPro Crown Cup – Kidd Bandit defeated Iestyn Rees w/James Roach, Simon Miller, Big Guns Joe, Ian Skinner, Smashing Mike, HT Drake, and Commander Sterling to win the SovPro Crown Cup.

The crowd were going insane from Simon Miller’s entrance, and it got even wilder when Kidd Bandit made their way through the crowd.

Ian Skinner entered and immediately joined the commentary team. Is there anything he can’t do? It didn’t last long as Smashing Mike arrived and chased Skinner around the venue. Mike’s chase lead him to be hit with a lungblower from HT Drake, Skinner pushed Drake out of the ring and scooped up the pieces to eliminate Smashing Mike and returning to the commentary desk. The rascal.

The action was thick and fast, you needed, like, eight eyes to keep track. It was a great twist on the battle royal/elimination genre of match. Commander Sterling ground the in-ring portion to a halt for a minute but the crowd were so invested it didn’t hurt the match.

The final two was Ian Skinner and Kidd Bandit, who traded evasions and strikes, the concluding stretch was sublime. Bandit hoisted Skinner into an electric chair position and brought Ian down over their knee for a neckbreaker to pick up the win.

This was a lot of fun to watch, the crowd were having a blast from start to finish, the action didn’t let up, this was my first Kidd Bandit experience and I get it, they are dynamite in the ring and a compelling character.

I watched this show purely for Ian Skinner so was glad to see him give us so much from not only the wrestling but also the commentary shenanigans. Pure entertainment.

To add, because I’ve nowhere else to put this observation. In my mind there’s been a sliding doors moment in the past where a guy, we’ll call him Sean for the sake of this example, has been presented with two options. He can either take a can of Diet Coke, and becomes Ian Skinner, or take cocaine and become Matty Healy from The 1975. Somehow the multiverse collided and they are in the same timeline. They both have a chaotic energy about them.

The 87 (Roy Johnson & Alexander Roth) defeated Close Personal Friends (Danny Black & Joe Lando) w/Maverick Mayhew by pinfall.

The 87 went all in on the pre-match assault but CPF recovered and the match was a battle of strength versus speed.

Johnson and Roth traded tags, punishing Joe Lando with aggressive forearms, grounding him, and cutting the ring in half.

As tag team matches usually go, Danny Black eventually got the tag in to a roar and the match descended into chaos.

The big moves continued with The 87 rag dolling their opponents, but CPF held on with close kick outs and pin breaks.

An epic top rope double foot stomp/powerslam combo from Roth and Johnson to Lando sealed the deal.

Black offered his hand in congratulations but Roy Johnson replied with a headbutt and pounce to send him flying.

Another hot contest. No downtime with The 87 being dominant. When CPF went up a gear they were fantastic and resilient. Great match.

Sam Gradwell turned up for a bit of mic time to declare his intention to be SovPro Heavyweight Champion.

Danny Duggan defeated Joey Hayes by pinfall.

The epitome of back and forth, both didn’t give up an inch as they traded pinfalls and holds.

Duggan overpowered Hayes but Hayes was able to rely on his agility to escape and take advantage. After wriggling out of a Gory Special, Hayes hit a cutter and was on his way to victory.

Kelly Sixx returned and during the distraction Leyton Buzzard appeared and low blowed Hayes, allowing Duggan to hit Hayes with a Brainbuster for the victory.

The newly dubbed Killective soaked in the boos.

The match itself felt like a nice palette cleanser from the previous high tempo matches, not that this was met with silence by any means but it gave the crowd a little bit of a breather, it built up nicely for the final reveal of this new faction being effective.

Well paced, and well placed.

Dream House Death Match – Harley Hudson defeated Mariah May by pinfall.

As long as the item is pink it’s legal. Simple enough.

This wasn’t really a match with the majority being Hudson chasing Mariah May around the hall. I find Harley Hudson very wooden, there is a definite lack of finesse or swagger to make moves look natural. Even the dive from the bleachers saw her stomp up the steps then was back up as quick as a flash. Some moments needed to breathe to maximise the crowd reaction.

We got pink fishing nets, pink hub caps, a pink licence plate, baking trays, a guys hat from the crowd, a pink shoe. The stipulation was very much met.

Pink Lego was brought into the bout (via a pink backpack) to turn it up a notch with May powerbombing Hudson onto the pile.

After the referee confiscated an orange brick from Mariah May, Hudson rolled up May with a victory roll for the win.

Mariah attacked after the match before attempting to plant Harley’s face into a pink cake but was reversed and found herself dropped on the cake herself.

For all my criticism, the crowd were heavily invested and it might be one of those that was great to be there for and naturally react to the moments that didn’t quite translate to me watching it in my Spider-man pyjamas on my sofa.

SovPro World Heavyweight Championship – Fatal Four Way – Joseph Conners defeated Warhorse, Malik w/Kosta Konstantino, and Levi Muir by pinfall to win the SovPro World Heavyweight Championship.

Pure chaos. The match quickly spilled out of the ring and beyond the barricade.

After a good bit of brawling, the match resumed in the ring with the action not letting up. Warhorse had the match won three times but the referee was unavailable to make the decision either removed from the ring or having an involuntary nap.

Conners low blowed Warhorse and hit the straight jacket neckbreaker to win the title.

After demanding the belt, Conners then attacked Warhorse, while being showered by “f*ck you Conners” chants. Kidd Bandit arrived to try and protect Warhorse but ended up being rag dolled by Conners. Simon Miller ran out but was stopped by security to create a frantic finish to this event.

This was a hell of a lot of fun. A lot of action, Levi Muir was a standout, he’s a little rough around the edges but looked to have bags of potential. The tower of doom, which saw Muir powerbomb Malik, who was suplexing Warhorse, that collided with Conners was great.

The camera work, and the production was absolutely top quality. It felt like a special event. It’s difficult to get that energy to come through the television screen or through your phone but the atmosphere was electrifying which was enhanced by the editing, the trons, the lighting, and the distinctive music for every wrestler.

The only drawback was the echo whenever a wrestler got in the microphone, the high ceiling venue just had the sound shoot up and it was difficult to hear what was being said a lot of the time.

It’s clear that a lot of time and love went into the presentation of this show.

The show itself was fantastic, great matches with some names and faces that I’m not familiar with. Definitely worth checking out more SovPro.

The show is available on YouTube for your eyes to enjoy:

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