3CW Encore, 12th November

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Credit to Chris Boyle for taking the photographs and thank you to 3CW for allowing us to use them

My transport options to the show were a 2 hour bus ride from Newcastle or Heworth, or a 1hr one from Sunderland (autocorrect tried to change Sunderland to both “underhand” and “syndrome” read into that what you will) plus a metro, or a train. I got the train, and it was crammed. Luckily I’ve been playing a fit the obnoxiously shaped blocks into the frame game on the old dog and bone recently, so the game of human Tetris to get the guard in and out of his cupboard at every stop on the way was a bit easier than normal.

A decent card and the Calling Spots Championship Tournament match between Martin Kirby and Liam Slater looks awesome. Of course being the Joseph Conners fan I am, I’m looking forward to seeing him go against James Scott. Dragon Aisu is a name I recognise from (I think it was) RQW on the wrestling channel from back in the day and he’s on tonight which should be fun. Pre-show beer at the bunker round the corner from the train station – Erdinger Dunkelbier on tap. Score!

Off to the venue – another 15 min bus out of Hartlepool town centre to the venue. Glad I had that pint earlier because there’s no sign of a bar anywhere around the venue. Or much else. Fair enough though, there’s a bar in there. From the outside it kind of looks like one of those council office/leisure centre type things. The hall itself is fairly large, with a balcony and a fair bit of space between the back row of chairs and the wall/gateway to Narnia behind the curtains. Size and lighting wise, this place is really suited to this kind of event. Definitely a family show this one, children in the audience were taking almost as much advantage of the spare floor space before the show and in the interval as the wrestlers themselves would during it. Cue the “man I wish I had half their energy” thoughts. Great to see people’s excitement for 3CW’s return

The ring canvas and aprons are grey/silver – reminiscent of the 2000 WCW ring except with white ropes as opposed to the red/blue/black steel cables. I’m not sure if this was meant to bring about nostalgia, but it did for me and as the promotion’s first show back it added a nice touch. No guardrail here and a request from our MC not to get in the wrestlers faces because “they might fight back, or worse” – Rory Coyle’s knocking out young Lewis has obviously scared Sweet Stevie deep.

Announcement before the event that Drake has dropped out with the flu. Apparently Prospect will have a replacement – I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be Primate or the third fella from Prospect, but anything can happen. James R Kennedy would later give a more accurate depiction of what kept Drake away

WhatCulture were filming some/all of this apparently. That might explain the fact that the screens on stage and the may they were setup resembled WCPW/NGW. I’m hoping the full event ends up online at some point rather than just the WCPW title match, because the show as a whole was top quality.

Our ring announcer for tonight is the inimitable ‘Sweet’ Stevie Aaron.

Opening the show was the Calling Spots Championship Tournament semi-final match Liam Slater vs Martin Kirby. Slater out first to a rousing ovation, in full Vengabus mode – it’s sometimes said that it’s harder to get people to love you than to hate you. Slater has making people love him down to a fine art. Whether it’s as one half of “all business” with moss at WCPW, giving it double barrel to a hardcore 18+ crowd at NORTH, or smiling and partying in a more family friendly way here in 3CW, I’ve never seen a negative reaction from him yet.

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The WCPW fan contingency that was in attendance (and very respectful of there being kids in the audience – well done guys) popped like crazy for Kirby. Sadly before seeing him in WCPW I pretty much only knew of Kirby as a part of project ego and never really got to see what he could do. Since seeing him at the tapings for loaded the day after his first win at “Stacked” to say he’s impressive is an understatement. He’s great with the verbals, both to the crowd and his opposition. Tonight he’s on top form.

From a booking perspective, while this could easily have been a brilliant in-ring spectacle anywhere on the card, the charisma that both of these guys have made it an absolutely perfect opener. A pairing that gives everyone in attendance something to instantly connect to and get excited about.

Some fantastic back and forth here, great technical wrestling, and some explosive offence.

Kirby went over after an extremely entertaining match. Nice handshake at the end – great show of sportsmanship

Rogues Gallery come out on the second playing of their theme music. it appears they are a new team, and are pretty much unheard of. Mercer and Kellit look like they’re ready to go.

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The opposition is billed as Dragon Aisu and a mystery partner. The first surprise here is that Dragon is now managed by James R Kennedy. The embodiment of obnoxiousness announces that Aisu’s partner tonight is Chris Renfrew. Holy hell, that was unexpected! This was a fantastic hard hitting match, if a little chop heavy – but hey, who doesn’t like chops? I’m guessing the next morning neither of the Rogues Gallery did. Honestly, I could swear Dragon went backstage a pound heavier than when he came out on account of all the extra skin he’s grafted onto his hands from Mercer’s chest. Anyhow, I digress. Fantastic heel tactics by Renfrew and Aisu throughout, what looked like it was going to be a fairly one sided affair turned into quite the competitive battle as the Rogues took a kicking and kept on ticking. Ok not ticking exactly, they’re not Geiger counters – though there was definitely some form of radiation coming from their chests but holding their own and fighting back. They did end up coming up short eventually though. A baptism of fire and hopefully some form of after sun cream backstage for Mercer and Kellit.

The WCPW title is on the line in our next contest, with the “King in the North” (as the screen said anyhow) Jason Scott coming to the ring. He’s challenging Joseph Connors tonight for the title.

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I make no bones about this, I’m without a doubt a member of the Conners Congregation. When Lewis said that not one person at refuse to lose wasn’t waving a pink glowstick for Martin Kirby, there was one who wasn’t, and that person was me, proudly wearing the righteous killer t-shirt. That aside, the last time I saw Darkside he definitely left a good impression.

The in ring introductions are made, the two lock up, Conners bumped like crazy for Scott, made him look a million dollars (I would have said pounds, but they’re worth bugger all at the time of writing). The action spilled out of the ring in this one fairly quickly, and a merchandise table made the ultimate sacrifice in the process. Conners was not giving up easily though, and wasn’t going to leave without his treasured belt. After the referee was temporarily incapacitated, a blatant low blow and shot to the head with the belt left Scott out for the count, and the WCPW championship remained righteous.

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Post match, an obviously unhappy Darkside vowed that the next time the two meet, he’ll be taking the title and will *ahem* do Conners a great physical discourtesy all over the building

Intermission and photo opportunities with Scott, ‘Sweet’ Stevie putting over the head shot to Scott offering him the opportunity to get checked out by the medical team before the photo opportunity session.

The second half of the show begins with Ace Matthews, not someone I’ve seen before, so I along with a fair few others in the crowd, was buying into him being just a really positive guy. Then he opened his mouth. He got the town wrong initially, which turned some of the audience against him straight off, then he broke the cardinal rule of performing in any capacity when in Hartlepool. He mentioned the monkey hanging. “Some people call you disgusting, monkey hanging scumbags…” now this has pretty much everyone hating him on three levels. 1) shouting out to the wrong place, 2) the monkey hanging scumbags crack and 3) the ones that initially went along with him being the overly enthusiastic hero feel stupid for being drawn in. This is pure gold in the way of getting heat folks – and what’s more, he’s still giving the thumbs up and smiling as if he’s won the people over. Great stuff. The party abruptly ends when his opponent steps through the curtain.

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Screwface is here to kill Ace and kill him he does. The thumb got worked over big style. It looked like screwface almost breaking off Matthews hand before putting him away in less than two minutes.

Prospect’s music and video kick off the setup for the next match, as we’re graced with the presence once again of Mr James R Kennedy, along with Alex Gracie and the replacement for Drake… Gabriel Kidd. It took a moment for the penny to drop, what had happened, but Kennedy soon brought everyone up to speed with what was going on.

– Primate was on the loose in Hartlepool and Lucas Archer along with Drake were out trying to bring him back to captivity

– Prince Ameen had essentially pimped out his manservant, one Gabriel Kidd, to tag with Gracie tonight.

– If Gabriel didn’t win the match for them there would be dire consequences for him.

Now we’ve got that straight and that Gracie and Kennedy are shoving Gabriel around, it’s time to introduce their opponents. A nice video package on the history 3CW and the two Teesside lads that essentially finished up when 3CW went on hiatus around 3 years back. Chris Witton and Kid Richie. The audience are solidly behind these guys and are singing along with their music, much to the chagrin of Prospect, so is Kidd. A theme that would continue through most of this match.

Prospect kept trying to push Kidd around and get him to break the rules. Kidd’s having none of it though. The crowd, the Redcar lads and Kidd took great pleasure in antagonising Prospect and Kidd laying out Gracie “accidentally on purpose” was the ultimate end of this one.

After the match, Witton, Richie and Gabriel celebrate, and the Redcar Lads depart. Kennedy and his dynasty attack Gabriel until the Redcar Lads come back out and clear house, but not before issuing the challenge for the fight before Christmas – Kidd & the Redcar Lads against Aisu, Gracie and Renfrew. It’s accepted as Kennedy and his crew leave.

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Prince Ameen’s open challenge is coming up. It appears that the Prince has a big surprise for us. Turns out that he was the 3CW north east champion at the end of the last incarnation and he still has the belt.

It looks for a while as if nobody is coming out to answer the challenge. Just as the referee is about to raise the hand of the Prince of Gujarat India, Si Swan answers. His scheduled opponent for tonight understands the importance of the opportunity and he’s happy to sit this one out to give Swan this shot. Swan was the first 3CW champion at the inception of the company.

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So, the return of another local legend, the return of a championship to the organisation and a fired up crowd – the stage is set, the players on their marks, only one thing is missing and that’s the bell to start this one off. Make it so.

This one was an epic encounter, Ameen and Swan both dishing out a lot of punishment. It looked like Swan’s back was giving him a bit of trouble towards the end of the match. Ameen tried to sneak a win via a belt to the head, but Si kicked out and eventually went on to win the battle and the 3CW North East Championship, bringing it back to Teesside.

A hell of a night, a fantastic way to start off the new 3CW. Great work by all the guys here tonight, it’s a thing of beauty to see local promotions working together on something other than an invasion angle. Very refreshing.

Travelling back was made a lot easier by the fact that the last train out of Hartlepool was delayed by ten minutes – I could have hung around for the raffle!

Sadly I know I cannot make the next show due to my year long road trip taking me to Sheffield the following day for another show but I highly recommend that others get themselves along to Thornaby Pavilion on December 10th for “The Fight Before Christmas” – that 6 man tag promises to be worth the price of admission alone more info on www.3cw.co.uk.

Written by Damien Stone

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