(Editors Note: It’s Snapmare Necks, you know the drill)
Around 24 hours before sitting down somewhere up the back right corner of the Park Villa Sports Hub in Govan to take in CPWs title tournament weekender, I had decided I wasn’t going to write about pro wrestling anymore. Honestly I just felt like I had nothing good left to say about it and felt even if I did attend these shows I’d have no desire to write anything about them. I’ve never been more delighted to be so very wrong.
Writing about wrestling was an accident for me. I had attended a few ICW shows in 2012 and my pal couldn’t attend one so I got drunk at the show and wrote a wee rundown for him on Facebook. Folk thought it was funny. Then a wee blog happened and for some reason I decided to tag everyone involved in the show in a tweet with a link to my article. One of the main reasons I wrote about it all was this charismatic Dusty Rhodes in a bumbag type guy called Grado I’d seen on that first show and there he was, retweeting my stupid wee slang ridden article, imploring people to read it.
Fast forward 10 years and several nervous breakdowns later and in the first match of what I felt at the time would be the last wrestling show I was going to take in live maybe ever, there’s the wondrous bastard making me cry in Govan. Fuckin Grado. Some would say that’s just the magic of Grado and that’s true to an extent, but to put him in a spot where his presence is not expected at all and then to hit the audience with a moreish slice of Grado pie is a special thing. 30 years a fan of this and this moment comfortably made my personal top three. A wonderful way to kick things off and legitmately the thing that has kickstarted my desire to write about this carry on again. When the wrestling is good it’s really easy and at CPW, the wrestling is very good.
The show kicked off with the figurehead of it all, Ravie Davie, having a promo exchange with his forever enemy and the forever enemy of anyone with a conscience, the bold Thatcher Wright. A few things needed rejigged in the tournament and Ravie felt employing a commissioner who also despised Thatcher Wright was the best way to kick off the most vital pair for shows in CPWs existence to date. Danny Cantrell, former referee for CPW and a man tormented by Thatcher throughout the companies existence was given the job and he instantly made Thatcher’s right hand hatchet man Eli Bulwark vs Ravie Davie as a tournament match for the first half main event.
The opening match was looking like a daft irritant of a thing for a good five minutes as the brilliantly annoying Casino Brutale opened the CPW Title Tournament by wrestling each other. The idea seemed to be that they would arse about for long enough that the company would have no choice but to send them both through to the next round. The Wanderer wasn’t having that nonsense. The Wanderer was the perfect antidote for all of Casino Brutale’s brash arrogance. He was not having the idea that Rabu Romero and Mikey Devine were due such an easy path into the next round and decided he wanted a shot. Casino Brutale were less than thrilled with this Wanderer sized spanner being thrown in the works and since theres two of them, they felt a beat down was the best course of action. It looks for all the world like our hero has bitten off a wee bit more than he can choose and the Baldy Commission had stamped his passport with a one way ticket to ‘oot the tournament’ tucked in the middle.
Then it happened. Danny Cantrell was sick of Casino Brutale’s pish and decided The Wanderer needed hauners. Life was a mystery once more. Everyone must stand alone sometimes but The Wanderer did not need to stand alone on this night. The Wanderer had a friend in Grado. Danny Cantrell immediately makes it a tag match and if The Wanderer and Grado win, The Wanderer advances to the Quarter Finals.
This is a wrestling review and therefore it should focus on the show itself, not the reviewer in floods of tears as a 34 year old man because Like A Prayer hit out of the blue, but that is indeed what happened. Grado is sewed into the fabric of everything good about Scottish Wrestling and to see him rocking a crowd again was a special moment. To see him thrive in there with three guys who were hungry to make that moment special was really cool to see as well. I’d imagine Grado has ticked all of his boxes when it comes to wrestling in Scotland. Any night where the whole thing is a lot of fun is probably a nice bonus for him and this match looked like the most fun. The Wanderer was certainly having the time of his life and sealed the win with a splash to take his place in the next round. Casino Brutale done a good job isolating The Wanderer making Grado’s hot tag an absolute joy to behold. Whole thing just worked. Grado on first is a risky thing to do and by fuck did it pay off.
We rolled right on to tournament match number two. Steg of The Govan Team taking on Lost Boy Aspen. Aspen is the main man up North with Wrestlezone and has always been a very talented performer so it was fair to assume on paper he was the favourite to make it through. Here’s the thing about paper but. Fuck yer paper. Steg has an alter ego that defies all logical thinking. A scheme superhero lives in his psyche and he brought Spiderbam out to great effect, toppling one of the best in the country in the process to advance to the Quarter Finals and keep the locals buzzing.
Two popular up and coming good guys advance in the first two matches and everyone’s feeling nice. The hot dogs at the concession stand are settling in well and the cans of cider we had brought for the occasion were going down very easy. Trust Thatcher Wright to come along and wreck the day with his godforsaken face. He honest to god looks like the result of Ann Widdecombe clawing at her arse crack for a good 5 minutes then looking at her hand and seeing a tiny baby Thatcher Wright there. He does not have parents. He is the result of some failed experiment mixing the DNA of John Major and a fire ant.
He is an antithesis of everything good. So much so that Simon Miller got a Hogan pop for his entrance simply because he was against Thatcher. There’s a beauty to being able to garner so much real hate from the paying audience. Guys like Thatcher are as essential to people buying tickets as the wildly popular folk like Davie and Leyton Buzzard. He is their counterpoint. He is a Tory touring working class towns with a massive photo of Maggie Thatcher in the middle of a union jack draped across his back. The man has the biggest set of baws on this earth and used those giant testes to handily dispose of the massive WhatCulture dude and advance to the quarters. As good as Thatcher was in night one, he wasn’t even scratching the surface as to how much of a conniving ‘steal the milk clean out your fridge and tell you the weans drank it’ prick he was going to be during night two.
On to the first half main event and when its Ravie Davie in Govan, you’re pretty much gauranteed investment from the crowd. That’s what Davie has managed to do in Govan. The fact that the audience were loud for everything was no accicent. It’s a feeling that has grown over a number of years. Even predating CPW when Source used to run Govan and Davie was booked in his home town. A lot of the same people who went to these shows will be part of CPWs core audience. A lot of the kids who feverishly went mental for those shows in The Fairfield Club will be part of Davie’s junior classes at his wrestling school and may end up being part of the next generation of Scottish Wrestlers. The whole thing is very well thought out and kinda makes a mockery of folk thinking Davie is little more than a daft scheme boy with decent patter who got lucky. He is one of the sharpest minds doing this right now and the proof is in the pudding when it comes to his in ring work.
Eli Bulwark has all the ingredients to be a top quality enforcer type. His Bossman Slam is Bossman-esque and if your character is supposed to be the henchman for a Tory who lives Maggie Thatcher, it is essential that you look like you’re in the EDL. Eli Bulwark gives is serving EDL chic like no cunt else on the scene could. Davie putting himself with Eli and changing things elsewhere in the tournament was a bit of a masterstroke as it helped build the conclusion of the whole thing on night two. His win over Eli with the middle rope moonsault was obviously still playing on the big mans mind when night two came along but nevertheless, Davie advanced to the Quarters.
What can you say about Big Ross Hauser and Daro? They’re a pair of extremely likeable guys. Undeniably. So much so it was hard to pick a dog in this particular fight. I remember seeing Ross Hauser a few years ago in one of his first matches and all the raw ingredients were there but he seemed to lack self confidence. Almost like he didn’t see what everyone else sees. A huge presence of a man a terrifying aura about him. Daro is pure energy and enthusiasm and together they make a highly entertaining tag team who are improving with every show. Partly because they get to work together but mainly because they get to work for someone who believes in them. Their match was very crisp and well worked, highlighting both mens attributes to the fullest before Big Ross toppled his mate to advance. It was all in all some real feel good stuff. The feel good kept on rolling to the next match as Scotland got one of its first tastes of Man Like Dereiss.
Stuff like this is when my love for this at times ridiculous artform really gets re-ignited. I’ve personally been very out of the loop with British Wrestling in general for 2–3 years. No social media for the most part and a lack of desire to keep up meant Man Like Dereiss was little more than a name I’d heard a few times before seeing him on this show and that’s what made him being brilliant such a lovely thing.
He produced a maseterclass in crowd engagement right from the off. Doing his research for the area he was in and learning the crowd loves a ‘dafty’ chant, so he got that going early. Stevie James and his cornerman The Prospect Dustin Alexander were the perfect counterpoints for MLD’s boundless enthusiasm. The Purge are another act who thrive in this environment. Allowed to be the venomous, spit in your eye and tell you they don’t know who spat in your eye (but it definitely wasn’t them), villains they truly are. Dereiss had the crowd from the word go but we had it too good already. It was time for a baddie to win and unfortunately the numbers game caught up with the bold Dereiss as James sealed his place in the quarters, but Man made a lasting impression Like, I do hope we see Dereiss back in Scotland soon.
It was clearly the job of The Purge to shut these roughians in Govan the fuck up for a bit. Bring the crowd down before they were hit with the a bit of Buzzard. These rowdy Govanites had it too good for too long on this show. The Purge were clearly sitting backstage getting progressively more raging as the good guys kept winning. It was time for the Hairy Bikers to zip them up for a bit.
Next up was Krobar against CJ West and I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen such a contrast in styles and demenours for many a year in wrestling. CJ West is all passion, colour and enthusiasm and Krobar is essentially a human crowbar. Its sore when a crowbar hits ye and its really sore when Krobar hits ye. As he proved when he won the match via referee stoppage because he just…kept… hitting him. First exposure to CJ West in this match for me and I was impressed again. Krobar going through was the right call though. Wrestling tournaments need arseholes to advance or there’s no stories. No reason to stay invested in the tournament over two shows if the only folk remaining in night two are folk you want to win it.
That left just the one tournament first round match. Another rejigged affair as OTT Champion Sammy D took on the best wrestler in Scotland right now in Leyton Buzzard. Leyton is another talent I first seen in a 5 Pound Wrestling show and the transformation he’s undergone has been something special. From a skinny wee guy to an absolute don. From one of the best in Scotland to one of the best up and coming talents in the world. He’s went down to Rev Pro and wrestled Will Ospreay for fuck sake and Ospreay is on record saying Leyton Buzzard is shit hot and while this is not a direct quote, he definitely thinks Leyton Buzzard is ‘some boy’.
Sammy D was another pleasant surprise to my very out of the loop self. Went from not having a clue who I was looking at to being completely abosorbed by his work in what was a terrific wrestling match. After 3 hours+ you could have forgiven the weans for being a bit tired and not giving this match all their mad sugar fuelled noise but when Leyton Buzzard’s about and he has the audacity to come out to ‘Yes Sir I Can Boogie’ it’s hard not to get energetic. I’d came to the show straight from an 8 hour shift and I was honestly tempted to stand on my chair and give it laldy after Leyton Buzzard sealed his place in the now complete Quarter Final line up.
A fantastic first night to the two day event that would crown CPW’s first ever champion but wrestling weekenders are only ever deemed an all round success if both nights are good. It remains to be seen if CPW can do the same in night two.
(Spoiler — Night two was cracking as well)