Despite being an indy wrestling fan for a relatively long time there are companies in my local area that I have never had a chance to see. Perhaps it is because of the abundance of companies that we have in the Northeast but there are three or four promotions whose shows I have never attended. That number is shrinking as I have set myself the goal of attending a show for every promotion at least once before the end of 2017.
Full Tilt Wrestling was on that list until recently when I attended “It’s Like The Titanic But With Bears” (which is undoubtedly the best name of any show I have ever attended) in Usworth, which because of my lack of driver’s licence took well over an hour to get there via public transport despite being only 10 miles from my house. The show itself looked promising with high profile wrestlers from other parts of the UK scheduled to perform as well as some talented local performers. Top of the bill and featured most prominently on the poster was ‘The Babe of Brutality, the Vixen of Violence’, ICW’s first ever women’s champion and star of ITV’s world of Sport Viper and it was because of this I most wanted to attend the show and why I was willing to brave the horrors of public transport for around 80 minutes. You see in my humble opinion Viper is one of the best wrestlers plying their trade in the UK, man or woman, and is amongst the best female wrestlers in the entire world. On top of that she is also one of the sweetest people I have had the pleasure to interview and I was hoping to finally meet her in person (although since our interview back in April 2016 was via the telephone I can say I have Viper’s telephone number).
Viper was not the only people I was looking forward to seeing as PBW tag team champions Proper Mental X (Lou King Sharp and Krieger) were also making their FTW debuts against Assassin AND Joseph Biggs (who despite being billed as ‘The Sovereignty’ told me they were going by the moniker ‘Bigg Ass’) and Pauly C ‘The Charva MC’ was taking on Robbie Ryder. This would be only the second time I had seen ‘The Charva MC’ live but ever since he stole the show at the first indy show I attended back in 2009 his name, and incredible dance moves have stayed with me and he has often been a topic of conversation between our former editor Richard and I.
I arrived at the show early and was thankfully allowed into the venue and given access to some of the wrestlers. The first thing I noticed was that FTW have a six sided ring which is definitely a unique feature. Before the show I got to meet the beautiful Viper in person and interview her about World of Sport, WhatCulture Pro Wrestling and her recent tour of Japan (that interview can be found here), catch up with Assassin and confirm he was happy with the profile I had created for him and I also got to speak go Nicky Starr for the first time since he found our championship in a bin (video here) and interview him to create a profile (which should be available in the not too distant future).
The show kicked off with Starr taking on Jason Jackson. Unfortunately before the opening bell had rang the two competitors were interrupted by an angry Adam Christ who was frustrated with FTW General Manager Davenport because he had not been given a match. As this was my first Full Tilt show I was not aware of any ongoing storylines but it definitely seemed like there was an ongoing issue between the two by the way Christ was speaking. Davenport did come out and address Christ and somewhat dismissively told him he would add him to the Starr/Jackson match. The bell rang and the match got underway and Christ put forth a dominant performance and made short work of his two younger opponents.
Next up was Ragnar vs Curtis Reid. I had only seen Ragnar wrestle on a few occasions and had not seen his opponent before. This was probably the most impressive performance I had seen from Ragnar who hit an array of hard hitting moves before being beaten against the flow of the match with a quick pinfall. Although I enjoyed the match I was disappointed by the crowd reaction to what was going on in front of them. Admittedly the crowd was small (less than 50 people) but their lack of noise seemed to frustrate Ragnar who loudly criticised them on a couple of occasions.
The fans did wake up after that match as Proper Mental X made their way to the ring and used their incredible charisma to get the crowd going. They even treated those in attendance to some impromptu dancing, some of which we managed to record and share on Twitter. When Sovereignty/Bigg Ass made their way to the ring they cut far more sombre and intimidating figures which coupled with Proper Mental X’s antics had the crowd very much against them. For me this was the match of the night with some very funny comedy spots perfectly offset with hard hitting wrestling. Sovereignty got the win and retained their tag team championships but I am sure Proper Mental X will be back.
The man, the myth, the legend Pauly C was out next taking on Robbie Ryder, who was accompanied by Davenport, in the final of the Alphaprime tournament (which I believe is FTW’s equivalent of Money in the Bank). The event information on Facebook had told me that
Ryder and Pauly C were former best friends and tag team partners until Ryder turned his back on The Charva MC. Usually I am a fan of Robbie Ryder but if he had turned against Pauly C then he had gone too far. The match between the two was hard hitting with several high spots thrown in as both men took to the air more than once. The two fought on the outside at length (there did not seem to be count outs) and broke furniture before returning to the ring. Obviously I was elated when Pauly C got the pinfall and then but out his patented scatter dancing.
The penultimate match was Little Miss Roxxy versus Viper. The two had met briefly at a recent WCPW and I was looking forward to see Roxxy once again test herself against one if the very best. Sadly the match was rather short and although it was enjoyable, Viper won, I would have preferred to see the two wrestle for longer than the five or so minutes the match lasted. Afterall Viper was the main star in the poster.
The main event was FTW owner/heavyweight champion Davenport against former owner Big Kris in a street fight. The stipulation of the match was that if Big Kris won he would be given back his place on the FTW roster but if he lost he would have to leave FTW for good.
Now I have never seen either man wrestle before and although I had met both men previously I did not know much about their styles or characters so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Despite this I was very surprised when a song about sandwiches started playing when Big Kris was announced. Kris looked equally surprised and refused to make his way to the ring until his actual music was played which led to a awkward moment for the audio person to find and play his theme song, the Will Smith classic ‘Boom! Shake the Room’. Davenport emerged next to far more less awesome music. The match started with the two dueling with chairs until Davenport left the ring and insisted that the match be changed to a regular match as he was going to out wrestle the far larger opponent (I believe Big Kris was announced at weighing around 20 stone). Given that Davenport is the owner of FTW the referee ordered Kris to put down his chair and Davenport re-entered the ring. To his surprise, and mine, he was then given a lesson in mat wrestling by Big Kris who showed off some classic technical holds. Unfortunately Davenport managed to get the upper hand and then, with steel chair in hand, had the match changed back into a street fight.
The next 15 or so minutes are a bit of a blur as the two men beat seven shades of shit out of each other with a variety of weapons and at one point even took a brief adjournment to the men’s room where Kris apparently gave Davenport a swirly. After a exceptionally violent match Davenport won and then was joined in the ring by his Sovereignty cohorts Joseph Biggs and Assassin who helped him continue to lay into Kris before Adam Christ made the save. What happened next was confusing, possibly unscripted and very not child friendly. Ragnar made his way to the ring to seemingly help Christ and Kris clear the ring but as Sovereignty left the ring he turned his chair on Christ and Kris and hit them square on the head before they could get their hands up. Adam Christ stayed down from his shot but Big Kris got straight to his feet and started to turn the air blue as he vehemently screamed abuse at Ragnar. The stuff that was coming out of his mouth would have made a sailor’s eyes water.
Overall I enjoyed my first FTW show although I was definitely concerned about the ending (as were the parents of small children who probably hadn’t heard that type of language before l). Despite the controversial ending the only part of the show I was disappointed by was how small the crowd was as given the calibre of performer and the standard of the matches the show deserved a far bigger audience than it attracted that day. Having not been to one of their shows before I don’t know if this was usual or not but hopefully the next event of theirs I go to will be better attended as there was definitely some great wrestling there for those lucky enough to see it.