If you’ve got HighSpots, this was a bit of a surprise addition – British Empire Wrestling’s first “adult’s show”. Expect a lot of swearing….
BEW are perhaps better known for their women’s cards, typically running out of another part of south London – Tooting. For whatever reason, they were at Tunnel 267 for this show, a small nightclub in Wimbledon, and a venue I’ve been to… for a BEW charity show a few months after this. The less said about that, the better, as it held the distinction of being the only show I’ve ever walked out of.
We open with the ring announcer leaping off the stage to do a lap of honour, high fiving the fans. Apparently this was the first wrestling show in Wimbledon for 30 years. The MC introduces our “five-star referee”, Officer Rogers, and I’m starting to fear that this is going to be jam packed full of cliches. The lighting from the hard camera is woeful – save for a spot in the middle of the picture that’s lit, it’s way too dark.
As he made his entrance for the opener, “Rude Boy” is jumped by two unidentified men and thrown into the ring post. The MC feels the need to commentate and narrate all of this, speaking to a third unidentified man, who apparently has involvement in this. He’s “The Tycoon”, a suited bad guy who feels the need to emphasise the adult show by swearing!
Apparently the assailants are the Hit Set – the team of Kieran Kurupt and Alexander Roth. The Tycoon’s easily distracted by hecklers, but before he can go full swear-mode, Matt hits the ring and whacks one of the Hit Set… and I think he’s got a match against Kieran Kurupt? It’s not actually made clear, but BEW apparently listed this match as:
Rude Boy Matt vs. Hit Set
I’m going to assume that “Hit Set” was actually Alexander Roth, but in lieu of commentary they aren’t actually introduced as such. In the early moments Matt throws him to the outside. Matt stares down the Tycoon as he beats up Roth around ringside, before whipping Kurupt into the ring post.
I have no idea what to make of this, it’s like they’re trying to be awful? Roth tries to cheapshot Matt with a broom, but fails, before taking him back inside and scoring a two count out of a clothesline. A simple boot gets Roth back into it, as he choked away on Matt, flicking the bottom rope into him for… reasons. Roth lands a neckbreaker for a two-count, before Kurupt actually slapped Matt as he made a cover. How was that not a DQ? Heaven knows. Kurupt then slides in a baking tray for Roth to use on Matt’s head for a near-fall – which gets the Tycoon moaning about slow-counts, because he has to be heard, I guess.
Kurupt comes into the ring and this now apparently no DQ. Just as well really as Roth hits his tag partner with that baking tray, before Matt made a comeback, dropping Roth with a brainbuster and an elbow drop for a near-fall. The pair end up chopping each other back and forth, until Roth lands a dropkick for a two-count, which seems to bring Kurupt back into the ring for… reasons. A diving dropkick from Kurupt gets a near-fall as this is virtually a handicap match, before Matt’s fallaway slam spikes Roth on his head for the win. This was not good. From the start, the optics of a guy flipping off fans suddenly turning babyface because he was attacked by two unknown guys, who were heels by default because they were with a loudmouthed manager type. Didn’t help that the match was all over the place either. ½*
The ring announcer continues to narrate between the matches, and he’s given up the microphone because there was too much feedback. It’s genuinely cringe-worthy – it’s holiday camp wrestling stuff… to an adult crowd.
Ray Linofloor vs. Theodore Powers
What in the name of all that’s holy am I watching? Linofloor, a member of the Buffet Club, is wrestling in a skin-tight dinosaur costume, looking like he was doing this because he’d lost a bet. Apparently this is his gimmick – the wrestling dinosaur. Whilst Theodore Powers looks like the epitome of a white meat babyface.
After being mocked for his hairline (he kinda resembles Austin Theory, without as good a body), Powers grabs an arm, and clings onto it as Linofloor pulled off an armdrag, then a monkey flip. It turns out that this dinosaur can’t grapple. At this point, Ray’s dinosaur head slipped away from his head, making it look like he was a cross-species Siamese twin, before working a test of strength spot that led to some pinning attempts.
A trio of bodyslams sent Powers to the outside, before Linofloor shed his dinosaur costume and ended up firmly on the defensive, getting caught with forearms before dropping Powers with a tiltawhirl backbreaker for a near-fall. Linofloor’s “can you guess what I’m going to do next?” shtick grew old as the pair chopped each other around the ring, before a stalling suplex from Linofloor took Powers awfully close to the lights above the ring.
Linofloor pulls Powers into a bow-and-arrow hold, before he flipped out and into a near-fall. A sunset flip follows for another two-count, as Powers connects with a flurry of kicks before succeeding with a slingshot DDT. The referee then counts from his feet for a crossbody, which just looks odd… he did get to his knees to count as Linofloor hit a Fisherman’s suplex out of nowhere for the win. You know, aside from the costume, there’s nothing about Linofloor that fits the dinosaur gimmick… this match wasn’t bad, but it was just there. **½
There’s only one person in this crowd making noise… yeah, it’s a small crowd, but the same woman calling out quickly grates! After two matches, they announce an interval… but then someone heads out to pass a message to the ring announcer. This was left in… why? Instead, we have a third match, but first there’s an announcement of a former WWE star debuting at the women’s International Grand Prix later in the year: Katie Lea Burchill/Katarina Leigh/Winter/Nikita – whatever you want to call her!
British Rules for BEW Women’s Championship/Stardom Undisputed Women’s World Championship: Jetta vs. Toni Storm (c)
By “British Rules”, we mean a take on the World of Sport rules, with three 5-minute rounds in play.
Round 1 starts with Storm grabbing a headlock, before opting to work over the arm… which Jetta manages to reverse. After a rope break, Jetta hits a Northern Lights for a near-fall as Storm reverses the wristlock back, pulling Jetta up and into another armdrag. It’s all basic, but well-executed stuff as the ring announcer peers on from the stage giving time-checks. Storm finally escapes an armbar and takes down Jetta with a headlock, only to get rolled into a pinning predicament for a couple of near-falls as Jetta grabs a headlock as time ran out on a nothing-happening first round.
Round 2 sees Storm go straight for the hip attacks, much to the chagrin of that fan making the noise. Jetta teases some of the same, but she traps Storm in some body scissors instead, which Storm escapes from and catches Jetta in a seated surfboard a la Liger, until Jetta forced a rope break.
Finally Toni has a pop at mouth in the front row, then drops Jetta with a European uppercut for a two-count. Jetta goes back to the headlocks, with mixed results as she succeeds with a shoulder tackle, and nearly gets a pin with a Fisherman’s suplex, only for Toni to kick out at two. Another round of bodyscissors look to force a submission, with Jetta pulling the hair for extra leverage, but time ran out on Jetta.
Jetta jumps Toni between rounds, giving her a public warning… which means… I don’t know? Something? There’s an awful lot of things they’re expecting viewers to know going in.
Round 3 starts with Toni firing back at Jetta with forearms, then with her rear end before getting caught with a back cracker. Storm elbows out of a Fisherman’s suplex, then flips out of a strait-jacket submission to drop Jetta with an Air Raid Crash… and that’s all folks! Just the one fall to a finish here, and whilst the rounds system badly disjointed this match, it’s easily the best thing seen so far. ***
Lance Lawrence vs. Kyle Ashmore
Lawrence is a member of the Buffet Club, but fortunately he’s not wrestling as an animal… unfortunately his heel act is incredibly generic, getting heat with “your mum” jokes. Ashmore’s still a good guy here, as opposed to the “Hipstar” act he’s adopted elsewhere… but hey, I kinda liked his “No Beard, No Good” theme. Which makes a welcome appearance here.
This was for the next shot at the BEW Heavyweight title, currently held by Rob Cage, and Ashmore started by going for Lawrence’s top knot… which annoyed him. From there, Ashmore went for the arm, but it was reversed as Lawrence tried to pin Kyle to the ground. Some impressive neck bridges stopped a pin, as Ashmore dropkicked his way back into things, before the pair hit a series of backflips off the ropes, leading to a ‘rana from Ashmore.
They headed outside where Ashmore flew in with a tope, and the bearded one kept up the offence fromt here, laying into Lance with European uppercuts, but Lawrence took it outside with a back suplex onto the apron as they traded chops around the cramped room. Some more near-falls followed for Lawrence, who told the crowd to shut up as they tried to clap Kyle back into it… that pendulum backbreaker did a little better job of it though, getting him a near-fall on Ashmore.
Lawrence did the David Starr “look at it” groin thrust, with about 1% of the charisma, before Ashmore easily escaped from a rear chinlock. The comeback continued as Ashmore looked to edge ahead in a striking battle, clocking Lawrence with a Pele kick, then with a rolling death valley driver that almost won it for him. Again though, Ashmore’s “shall I?” pleas to the crowd cost him as Lawrence escaped a chokeslam and locked in an Octopus hold, before dumping him with a back cracker out of the corner.
Still Ashmore kicked out though, and hit back with a pair of powerbombs onto the knee before a spin kick got a near-fall as Lawrence got his hand to the rope. A bloody obvious ref bump followed as Lawrence pushed the ref into the ropes to crotch Ashmore on the top rope, but despite taking a top rope ‘rana, Ashmore replied with a reverse ‘rana then a Spiral Tap to get the win – and the next shot at the title! A pretty decent match here, although I’m not sold at all on the whole Buffet Club shtick. Maybe it’s something I’d get from watching them more, but as an introduction… not a good one! ***
Laura Di Matteo vs. Nina Samuels
This was a qualifier for the International Grand Prix – a two-day women’s tournament that’d be held in Tooting in June.
Wimbledon was pretty much split 50-50 for this, as Nina took down Di Matteo with a wristlock that floated into a La Magistral for an early near-fall. Nina threw in some more pinning attempts, before Laura gave her a drop toe hold into the corner, as some clunkiness led to Nina getting outside to kick Laura… then get press slammed off the top rope.
Laura started to use rather underhanded means, choking and stretching Nina in the ropes as she looked to book her ticket to Tooting by any way necessary – clubbing away at Samuels and just putting the boots to her. Eventually Samuels put the brakes on, reversing a suplex attempt, before Laura landed a roundhouse kick of sorts. A missed dropkick from Laura gave Nina another way back in, with a missile dropkick, before following back in with clothesline and dropkicks to keep Laura on the back foot.
A missed enziguiri from Laura saw her trapped in a STF as Nina wrenched back on the Italian, who worked free and locked Nina in a grounded Octopus hold in the middle of the ring, which forced the eventual submission. It was weird seeing Laura play the bad guy, but the viciousness here made it work – and so far the women’s matches have been the best part of this show! ***¼
Wimbledon Street Fight for British Empire Wrestling Heavyweight Championship: Rob Cage (c) vs. Leonardo Darwin
It’s another “BEW vs. Buffet Club” match, which needs the crowd three goes to get wound up for. Rob Cage comes out first looking like the Repo Man with that face mask… He gets the ring announcer to join him on the mat for something that looked rather uncomfortable. Apparently Cage tries to rebrand himself as “Your Uncle Bobby”. That’s not at all creepy!
Meanwhile, Darwin is apparently a Doctor, and I swear that was the bad guy Tycoon from the opener clapping along for Darwin’s entrance. Cage brings back the “adults only” rating as he swore away during an opening battle of right hands, as Darwin’s kicks knocked down the champion, before a suplex well and truly had Cage rocking.
Cage heads outside and grabs a pizza dish, which he literally threw at Darwin before wrapping around his head. Darwin blocks a chair to the gut, only to get thrown through it after it’d been wedged in the corner as the pair headed outside into the main bar area. Darwin then mounts Cage on a table, choking away on him as they then moved on top of the bar, which led to Darwin diving onto Cage as Darwin disappeared… and returned with a bicycle.
Dusty Rhodes would be proud!
Darwin runs over Cage with it, but the champion comes back with a giant swing, sending Darwin into the bar before giving perhaps the worst catchphrase in ages… “Who’s Uncle Bobby?”. A Boston crab barely gets anything, as does a slingshot into a brick column, as they headed back to the ring where Darwin recovered to blast Cage with some hub cubs for a near-fall.
Cage nearly takes Darwin out of the ring with a release German suplex, before heading out himself to bring a pasting table into play. Look, if you’re going to do tables, either get “proper tables” or don’t bother… stuff like this just makes everyone look rinky-dink. Darwin puts on the brakes as he’s thrown towards the table, before turning around and spearing Cage through his own wood for a two-count.
The camera then obscures Cage being handcuffed to the ropes as Darwin pulls down his trousers and does a runner… with the ring announcer’s hand being clearly on camera trying to gee up the crowd as Darwin returned with a sex toy. So this is why it was marketed as an adult’s show, and not just because the show was in a nightclub. Darwin for some reason does the “shall I?” appeal as he looks to sodomise Cage, only for Lance Lawrence to make the save and take a flip bump for a dildo-clothesline.
Instead of finishing off Cage, Darwin gives Lawrence a Bronco buster before pulling out a fish from his trousers, which he then uses to ram up Cage’s back passage. Lawrence then superkicked Darwin, sending the fish into the crowd as the ref uncuffs Cage, who gets back to his feet with a hub cap that he batters over Darwin’s head. Darwin grabs it and somehow misses a shot as the ring announcer stands in the camera’s line of sight. Cage messes up a Rocker Dropper onto a chair for a near-fall, before he and Darwin exchange low blows… a diving knee follows, and the referee fast-counts Darwin as Cage gets the win.
So, the referee turns heel leading to him flipping off the ring announce who was berating him for helping the Buffet Club. Darwin gets a clothesline as the ref pulls off his shirt and reveals a generic POLICE t-shirt, and we fade to black with the “law” Officer Rogers getting laughed at rather than booed. That was shit. Hey, I can swear too on an “adult show!” DUD
For what I presume was their first outing on HighSpots, BEW didn’t deliver much that was special I’m afraid… aside from the women’s matches, which seems to be a niche that they could slot into, if they didn’t have a fixation with Italian and Maltese wrestlers (most of whom didn’t make this card). Thankfully they stayed away from full-on FIP territory by not swearing throughout the entire show, saving that for the main event (so somebody probably watched that reboot from two weeks prior).
Throughout the show we apparently had the theme of “BEW vs. Buffet Club” – but without the presence of commentary or anything beyond the inane narration by the ring announcer between matches (which told us little), you’d struggle to know who the Buffet Club were, why they were evil… and why I keep typing “Buffer Club”. Perhaps that’s the next invasion… a group of invading ring announcers?!
As a live show, this looks like it’d have been fun for those who knew the product, but for everyone else it just felt like the cameras were plonked in the venue, rather than set-up to shoot a show… as witnessed by the countless times the MC wandered into the hard camera’s shot. This group feels like an acquired taste, and not one I’ll be developing anytime soon. Rather than deride it anymore, I’ll just say this: “it’s not my graps”.