Lucha Forever hit Southampton last month for their second “Lucha Live” show – featuring some familiar names from the Emerald Isle.
Unfortunately, the curse of those WWE contracts meant that the live main event of CCK vs. British Strong Style didn’t make it to the VOD… so we’ll likely have to wait for PROGRESS to give us that clash of the titans to a wider audience. It’s a shame, but Lucha Forever’s hands were tied… as are ours, since freeze-framing on FloSlam is now no longer an option, so all we get is a “steamy bathroom mirror” effect!
We’ve got a one-man commentary team, with Dave Bradshaw – most recently of WCPW fame – and it’s already an immediate upgrade from the regular tandem. HOPE Wrestling’s Dan Barnsdall is the ring announcer, and this is my first time seeing him, so let’s see where this goes.
Jake McCluskey vs. Kelly Sixx
McCluskey, formerly “Mr Moonsault” in Rev Pro, has kinda disappeared from the radar in recent months after being phased out of that promotion. In his place is someone who’s more of a regular in Rev Pro, albeit under another name – it’s Kelly “don’t call me Josh Wall” Sixx!
The crowd take aim at McCluskey’s colourful gear, calling him “Joseph Dreamcoat”, which spurs him into action with… a headlock! A push-down stomp gets Kelly a one-count as he instead went for a back senton, but Jake just dropkicks him onto the apron, only for Sixx to land a ‘rana to the outside then a PK off the apron. A dive off the apron keeps Jake down, but Jake drops an F-bomb that draws an immediate apology as the pair look to trade some more dives, only for Jake to just suplex Sixx on the floor. We get that moonsault to the floor from Jake, then a crossbody back in the ring as Jake built up to a Michinoku driver for a near-fall.
McCluskey keeps up the pressure by choking Sixx with his boot, before landing a reverse gutwrench for a near-fall. Sixx comes back with what looked like a facebuster, then an enziguiri and a flying stomp as he looked to take home the win, using a sit-out suplex as he edged closer.
Sixx looked to hit a flying Codebreaker, but Jake countered it into a sit-out powerbomb, before dumping Sixx on his head with a German suplex. A Shining Wizard adds to the head trauma, before Jake stands on the back of Sixx and lands a moonsault for another two-count. McCluskey called for a moonsault off the top, but of course he telegraphed that as Sixx pleased the crowd with an attempt at a flying headlock, before turning it into a Blue Thunder Bomb.
That got another near-fall, before Sixx landed on his head again from a clothesline. Another moonsault attempt fails, but Jake lands a reverse ‘rana, only to get caught with a flipping ‘cutter off the top as Sixx got the win. Pretty decent as an opener, but to me it felt like Sixx snatched a win rather than outclassed someone who’d become known as a “one move man”. **¾
Whilst Dave Bradshaw’s a clear upgrade from the regular commentary team, it must be said that he’s from the “play it straight” school of commentary – reluctant to acknowledge anything that’s external to the match, almost like it’s video game commentary, especially as it became clear that commentary was recorded for each match, as opposed to “in one run”. Your milage may vary, of course…
Josh Bodom vs. Jordan Devlin
Bodom almost became a Jordan thanks to our ring announcer, and instead became a “Joss”. Jeez. So… we couldn’t get British Strong Style vs. CCK because of the WWE UK deals (presumably), but Jordan Devlin is allowed on? Think this opens up the can of worms over “what’s really in those deals?” and “did different people get different contracts?”
Yes, Devlin plays up the Finn Balor comparisons, before cracking up at the “bobblehead” chants. When we get going, Bodom’s in the rather unusual position of being the defacto good guy, as the pair go hold-for-hold with each other, trading bow-and-arrow holds. The crowd chant “not too bad” when Bodom gives Devlin a compliment, before dropping the Irishman with a hiptoss/knee strike combo.
Devlin replied with a superkick off the apron then a moonsault as everyone just wanted to fly, before Bodom decided to just kick Devlin really hard in the back. A slingshot ‘cutter gets Devlin back into it (out of nowhere!), before he wheelbarrowed Bodom into a double-stomp. To be fair, this crowd just wanted to make the Finn Balor jokes at Devlin, so pretty much everything he did fell flat… and just like that Bodom cracks Devlin in the head with a knee ahead of a Bliss Buster for a near-fall. In the end, a roundhouse kick from Bodom knocked down Devlin, before a dropkick into the turnbuckles was enough to get the win. A bit of a weird finish, but this match was perfectly fine as Bodom – who is sticking around – got a win over a bigger name who wasn’t. ***¼
Southampton Street Fight: Dan Moloney & Viper vs. Jimmy Havoc & Kay Lee Ray
This was just regular Viper, as opposed to Vice Officer Viper, and on paper this should be quite the spectacle, given how much Havoc and Ray love to take things a little more extreme. Especially when Jimmy Havoc offered to take it outside right from the start!
Viper and Moloney jump their opponents from behind as they looked to go to the outside, but Havoc and Ray quickly throw them outside for a pair of dives as the former Righteous Army members went ahead. Havoc yanks off Moloney’s gloves so he can give Dan some papercuts as all four edged closer towards the fire exit, but not before Viper and Kay Lee used the crowd as ring ropes to do some stuff.
Yeah, I was not expecting a wall of fans to be used for lucha-inspired spots!
Meanwhile, Havoc just rocks Moloney with a barrage of right hands as they take their turn in the fan-walled “ring” before wandering up towards the bar, where Viper’s instantly thrown onto it. And she’s not even drunk! Havoc asks for – and gets – a pint of his favourite performance enhancing beverage, before Viper and Moloney dish out a pair of Stunners so they can steal their pints. They wander again onto the balcony as we get a good view of the innards of the 1865’s stairwells, before getting a shot of Havoc trying to throw Dan over the balcony. Instead they fought downstairs and finally onto the streets of Southampton!
Unfortunately we got the crowd noise from inside, so we heard nothing as Viper whipped Kay Lee Ray into a dumpster, nor when Havoc threw Moloney into the back of a van! Havoc chops Moloney onto the front of a car for an eventual near-fall after referee Shay Purser took his time arriving, before Viper threw a pallet onto the head of Kay Lee . Havoc’s slammed onto that pallet next, with Kay Lee suplexed onto her as Moloney took a near-fall on the road!
Eventually they fought back into the building – then into the ring – but Moloney quickly bails so we get a bit more around ringside, where Dan chops the ringpost by mistake as the two Scotswomen continued to brawl. Havoc pulls an Al Snow, whacking Moloney with a mannequin head from the merch table as Viper re-emerged on the balcony, threatening to throw Kay Lee down… before succeeding with a chokeslam onto Havoc and Moloney beneath them.
With Kay Lee Ray out of the picture, it was virtually a handicap match for Havoc who took an electric chair powerbomb from Moloney, then a Viper back senton for a near-fall as Ray returned to make the save! Somehow Kay Lee managed to drop Viper with a Gory Bomb, before taking a sit-out F5 from Moloney, as a Michinoku driver from Viper left Havoc down to complete the parade of finishers!
The end comes in rather bizarre circumstances, as Moloney gets put on Viper’s shoulders… Kay Lee Ray goes on top of Jimmy’s shoulders, and the good guys land a pair of Doomsday Rainmakers for the win. Well, it’s a hallmark of Lucha Forever – expecting the unexpected, and they sure delivered! Having a street fight that was more than just a generic brawl with weapons, taking the match all over the venue and its surroundings. I heartily approve of such nonsense! ***½
Chief Deputy Dunne vs. Logan Bryce
The sort-of Irish invasion continued here as Chief Deputy Dunne’s war on fun led him to a match against the rugby-loving Logan Bryce. Here, he was billed as a champion of Beer Pong, a gimmick that played better here than the rugby one would have done!
Bryce scores early with some shoulder tackles as the crowd gleefully pointed out that Dunne had “no fun on his dick”. They were also cheery when Bryce landed a pumphandle back breaker before scoring with a punt kick to the arse. Just like Father Ted!
After kicking Bishop Dunne, Bryce went flying, only to fall for the false alarm enziguiri as Dunne mounted a fightback, almost winning with a backbreaker. Bryce cuts things off with a spear table as Dunne went for a springboard Codebreaker, before landing a Shining Wizard for a near-fall… rolling through into a swinging backbreaker for yet another near-fall. Bryce pulls Dunne off the top into another backbreaker, before he takes a high knee and a spear as Dunne came close too. The pair exchange running forearms as Dunne ends up taking another German suplex and a lariat for yet another two-count for the Irishman.
In the end though, Bryce takes a rope hung DDT as he was trying for a springboard… after Bryce kicked out, Dunne went for the loudhailer again, only for Bea Priestley (of all people) to come out and stop him. That allowed Bryce to hit a torture rack neckbreaker, and that was enough for the win. A good showing here by Bryce, against a character in Dunne that’ll always draw a reaction – and has the ability to match! ***¼
Jinny vs. Bea Priestley vs. Alex Windsor vs. Martina
Bea’s out in her Mortal Kombat-inspired gear and sais… getting “Mrs Ospreay” chants to boot. There’s nothing like peer pressure, eh Will? Martina looks to have confused this for a masquerade ball, as she’s come in a cape and a mask as El Motho!
Well, it is Lucha Loco!
Speaking of, “El Motho” does some lucha rolls that tire her out, and this four-way starts with Jinny taking Martina into the corner with some forearms. As ever, Jinny makes a game out of stomping on Martina, before Bea Priestley makes the save and takes Jinny to the outside for some kicks, before Windsor pulls her off the apron… just in time for a Flying Motho to join them!
Back inside, Windsor dumps Martina on her head as she went for a tiltawhirl, but Martina recovered to try for a “Sesh-19”, which ended up being a kick to the head from the apron. “El Motho” decides against a springboard into the ring, and instead rams Windsor’s head into the turnbuckle. Alex looks a little woozy here, which may be why we had the head drop…
Jinny comes in to exchange elbows with Windsor now, before Jinny kicked her and dropped her face-first over the knee. Bea comes in to face-plant Jinny, then dump her with a snapping German suplex before Jinny flew back out of the corner with a ‘rana. Because lucha! The match stays within Jinny’s control with a pair of knees in the corner as Martina stays on the outside to avoid a diving dropkick, before sliding in to headbutt Jinny…
And that leads us to a stacked up Bronco Buster to the other three women in the corner!
From there, we get a Tower Doom… that Windsor saves as Bea instead takes a Doomsday Device from Martina. Somehow Bea recovered to go up top, but she’s kicked in the corner and dropped with the Makeover (X-factor out of the middle rope) as a parade of big moves continued with Priestley drilling Windsor with a knee in the corner.
Bea goes up top again, but she’s distracted by the wailing siren of Chief Deputy Dunne who’s out to get revenge for his loss earlier… but instead Bea just dives onto him! The two fight to the back, which leaves Jimmy, Windsor and Martina in the ring, and once Windsor’s dispatched of Jinny with a pop-up powerbomb, Martina leapt off the top rope with a Codebreaker on Windsor to steal the win. A little bit ropey in parts, but this got pretty good by the end… it’s just a shame that the Bea/Dunne storyline had to be delayed because of Damian’s foot injury! **¾
Kip Sabian vs. Angelico
Sabian demands that the ring announcer gets his intro right, complete with the Tony Chimel high-pitched “suuuuuuper”, before he mocked Angelico’s entire ring entrance.
An early sneak attack’s foiled as Angelico swings and missed a few kicks before landing a dropkick as he then teed up for a dive… in the opening minute! Sabian got on the apron, but that only delayed it as Angelico knocked him off before blocking another attempt at a dive with an enziguiri.
Back inside, Sabian backdrops Angelico to the apron and lands a high knee before heading outside once more for another leaping knee. We then get a mocked dive, but Sabian just dropped an axehandle off the apron rather than anything more flashy. Sabian keeps up the pressure with a springboard dropkick and a PK that gets him a near-fall, before he tried to block a sunset flip by pulling down Angelico’s tights.
That got some of the crowd happy, but it also earned Sabian a double stomp to the chest as the tide looked to be turning for a brief moment. Sabian regained control though, and tried to cheat his way to a win with a roll-up whilst having his feet on the ropes, but referee Shay Purser easily saw it.
Angelico scores with a Pele kick to knock Sabian off the apron, and that was the set-up for our first dive of the day, with the South African landing a tope con hilo to Superbad! They headed through the crowd and towards the bar as they exchanged strikes before Angelico backdropped Sabian down some steps. Angelico then leapt onto the balcony, and primed himself for a dive as a clothesline knocked down Sabian from about ten feet in the air!
Returning to the ring, Angelico looked for his Fall of the Angels buckle bomb, but Sabian escaped and scored a near-fall with a roll-up, as both men went back to the striking game. A series of kicks leads to a knee from Angelico, who then went back to the Fall of the Angels, but this time it’s countered with some headscissors into the turnbuckles.
Sabian tries for a Revolution kick and gets a near-fall from it, and the same again from a crucifix driver. Sabian rips apart the turnbuckle pad, but that’s just a distraction for him to try and kick Angelico low… the South African blocks it, only to take an enziguiri on the apron as Sabian flips back into the ring… and into a superkick! That leaves him prone for a Fall of the Angels onto the exposed turnbuckle, and that’s enough for Angelico to win a really solid “main event”. ***¾
Another solid show from Lucha Forever, and it’s good to see them starting to go beyond “just matches”. Yeah, it’s a shame that they’re making a habit of putting on matches that deliberately can’t be broadcast, but at least the product that does make tape is worth a watch. There’s always something on these shows that breaks away from the “norm”, which is a pretty good calling card to have in a stacked indy scene!