Big Arn’s European Adventure
February 17 2018
We’re in Kobenhavn (Copenhagen), Denmark. My first trip into the grimy underworld of Eurograps comes from Brother Mort’s home promotion. He keeps putting Bodyslam over huge as having built quickly in the PROGRESS model. Using local guys and building an audience with running storylines rather than flying in a few has beens to pop a crowd. They’ve quickly become Denmark’s leading professional wrestling promotion. For this show they flew in Chris Brookes, Flash Morgan Webster and Ashley Dunn so I’ll have a few familiar faces.
The venue has a rowdy wXw style environment with the crowd standing around the ring and the hardcam can barely see the ring. English commentary comes from Oli Spring and TJ Sandler.
Peter Olisander vs. Chuck Cyrus
Olisander has a Truth (Martini) gimmick. He even has the book of Peter?
Chuck Cyrus is English, from the Knight’s school. He’s mostly worked around WAW and those Norwich places but he has a win over Hiromu Takahashi in Rev Pro. “Mr Massive” has been coming over to Denmark for a couple of years and has gotten over. He’s the babyface here.
Peter is all “you could be bigger than Thor, bigger than Zeus”. Olisander is a skinny boy. His movement isn’t bad but he’s the kind of guy you disparage the Indies for. Cyrus looks like a decent grappler. Squatting with a delayed vertical suplex to show his power. I love his punch right into a hand sign (Yeah, dude I fucking rock. Aaaaah). I asked Mort about Olisander and he said he’s got a conspiracy theorist gimmick crossed with the cult leader. So imagine Chris Jericho in WCW crossed with Cyrus in WWF. Olisander is a play on the Danish word for “truth”. Mr Massive plants him with the F5 for the win. This was very enjoyable!
Final Rating: ***
Hair vs. Career Chain Match
Kimball vs. Rick Dominik
Both these guys have more than ten year careers, paralleled across the same companies and both debuted in Bodyslam around the same time. Kimball has turned heel and joined the Michael Fynne stable to prolong his career at the top in Danish wrestling. Rick’s nickname is “Rick the Prick”. Kimball is a punch/kick Attitude Era kinda wrestler with pleather trousers. Dominik looks like he appears nightly in a Grease musical as one of the Scorpions, the heels that have a rivalry with Travolta’s T-Birds. I generally don’t like chain matches and dropping in cold in mid-feud makes me care less about it. Kimball has a few impactful looking, but very basic moves. Legdrops, elbow drops etc.
Kimball has to tap out to this and his career is over. Should probably do something about his hair too. Kimball reminds me of an assortment of midcard tubby guys in BritWres ten years ago. Rick the Prick is tall. I’ll give him that much. This would not have looked out of place in a card in 1993.
Final Rating: *
Sveriges Elit (Harley Rage & Steinbolt) vs. Ashley Dunn & Chris Tyler
The Swedish team get heat as there is a genuine rivalry between Denmark and Sweden. “The Human Battletank” Harley Rage is a pretty great name. Steinbolt sometimes goes by “Sexstar Steinbolt”. My god, these guys have great names. The Swedes both cut imposing figures. They’re large men. Dunn and Tyler are tiny BritWres flippy boys. This creates an easy story and dynamic with the little guys being pummelled by the nasty Swedish heels. Steinbolt is one of those examples of physical perfection that make me sick but I can also see him getting a parade in his honour. Or rescuing a cat from a tree by uprooting it. He’s a babyface in Sweden but plays the jerk heel here and is very good at it. The smaller faces get good reactions for their comebacks. Ashley Dunn is a guy that’s been bubbling under for years but Chris Tyler looks really good here too. The contrast is good fun throughout and I really like the Dunn/Tyler team assaulting Steinbolt with move after move only for Harley to make the save. Harley gets the same treatment and it feels like they overdo the near falls a bit before Ashley Dunn gets murdered with a powerbomb. This was really good.
Final Rating: ***1/2
Emeritus vs. Tank
I’ve actually seen Emeritus before. He’s got an Undertaker-esque dark gimmick.
Special enforcer here is shootfighter Nicolas Dalby, who comes out here in a leopard skin suit. His MMA record is 15-3 so he’s a fucking badass. Tank has a legitimate gimmick where he’s wearing a gi and shoot gloves but he wrestles like a normal wrestler so it’s odd. Emeritus has clearly thought about his look at lot but past the cool mask/make up he falls off quite badly. All that gimmick is somewhat wrecked by wrestling in a vest.
Look at that fucking suit on Dalby! As I’m watching I start to get very into Tank as a worker. I just don’t like his gear. Olisander pops me huge when he runs in and bashes Tank in the face with his book to stop a submission. Dalby gets in there to enforce shit and he looks great! The high kicks are spot on for someone who isn’t a wrestler. Emeritus gets chokeslammed through a table and the match gets thrown out. This was madness! A massive storytelling match with WWE ambition.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Lucha Atomicos Eight Man Tag Match
Danny Sharp, Lobo, Axel Steele & Zach White vs. Los Classicos, EL Styggelse & Shooter Schjotler
Sharp captains the Rudos. Los Classicos are allegedely from Colombia but they’re actually Swedish. Someone claiming to be from a Hispanic country, wearing a mask, who isn’t actually from there? This is unheard of! Dangerous Danny Sharp is also Swedish. Zach White is Danish. A lot of European wrestlers have Americanised names. Why is this? Tommy End. He preached the need to Americanise names so they’d be recognisable in other countries. Which is why they all have such awful names.
On the Twitter timeline people are still talking about Swedish wrestling, which makes me happy. Allowing niche markets to get light shone on them.
It’s hard to organise a big eight man tag and there are not a lot of experienced wrestlers in this. Lobo impresses me a lot. He’s a real hoss. Doing a lot of big hoss moves. He does the Tour of the Islands for the pin with all the other bad guys piling on top.
Final Rating: **3/4
Post Match: VASYL, the Danish Mankind, rolls into the ring holding the bear he took from Chernobyl. I love everything about VASYL.
Michael Fynne (c) vs. Chris Brookes vs. Flash Morgan Webster
Fynne is in his early twenties but already has it all. He has tremendous charisma (the man wears three pairs of sunglasses). He’s a rapper on the side. He’s over six feet tall. He carries himself like a goddamn star. He’s the leader of the Shotgun Cartel (what a fucking badass name for a stable). There’s a lot of focus on the two visiting Brits, presumably because they have so much chemistry and history. Fynne has the look and the personality for sure. I’m convinced he’ll become a very good wrestler if he gets to work with better talent. Having someone like Brookes to work with will do wonders for him.
Fynne is already head trainer for Bodyslam so he’s probably gone as far as he can here but there’s so much potential you’d think wXw would be a definite option. There’s a brawl outside the ring here and Flash comes off the balcony but its so dark you can barely see it. The lighting is very much fixed. It helps Fynne here that Brookes and Flash bring their workboots and aren’t content to just get over the bar of the undercard. They want to go out there make sure they get invited back. Fynne retains by hitting a Springboard Cutter, the Ospreay finish, on Flash. Fynne looked solid here. Obviously the two Brits looked very classy here given their experience. Fynne could be a big star across Europe if he wanted to make that big step up. I know a lot of guys who are on the cusp of something big. At this point in your career you’ve got to be brave.
Final Rating: ***3/4
Bodyslam is a fun time at the wrestling. They brought a varied card with a mixture of storyline and action. The standard of Danish wrestling isn’t amazing but the effort is there and Bodyslam make a point of basing their programs around Danish, and Swedish, wrestlers with any imports there to enhance the existing talent. Bodyslam is on wXwnow.de so if you already have that service for wXw you can check this out as an added bonus.