One look at the card for Futureshock Wrestling’s monthly shows tells you that the company is offering a unique proposition. The usual flavour of family-friendly sports entertainment is delivered with some of the top talent on the scene, with enough to reel in kids and older, more discerning fans alike. It’s a fine balance to strike and one that not many bookers would manage to pull off, but from the opening contest, the variety on offer is made totally clear.
A Futureshock Trophy Tournament semi-final between BritWres mainstay Bubblegum and Futureshock favourite Ashton Smith kicks things off, in what appears at first to be a face vs. face match, played almost for comic effect. Both men exhibit pantomime niceness to each other, eschewing closed fists and chops in favour of arm drags, handshakes, duelling chants and even a hug. However, Bubblegum shrugs off the niceties midway through the match, turning to his heel best by chopping the ever-loving you-know-what out of Smith, even spitting at him before falling victim to a big babyface comeback from the Jamaican sensation.
Our second tournament bout of the night sees ‘Gentleman’ John McGregor face off against the big 400lb Cyanide, in a classic underdog/hoss fight. McGregor came up just short against the big man, whose gargantuan corner splash shifted the ring a good few inches across the floor of the Masonic Guildhall! Apart from this, the excellent heelwork of Cyanide’s manager Chris Egan came close to stealing the show, as the Cornette-like figure marched around the ring arguing with children’s chants and, mere days after the US election, calling to “make Futureshock great again”.
Next up, a Women’s Championship contendership series match in which former ICW Women’s champion Viper took on Alexis Rose, whose stereotypical diva gimmick saw her more bothered about how she looked than how she wrestled. After a cat-and-mouse chase around the ring and a lot of offense from Viper, Alexis picked up the win with a roll-up. This match was a simple cowardly heel affair but both women worked the crowd to perfection, carrying the event’s momentum forward.
In tag team competition, The Uprising (Don Meacho and Ryan Hendricks) faced off against The New Nation – unrelated to the ‘90s WWF black power faction and consisting of Newcastle natives Alexander Henry and ‘The Primate’ Jason Prime. This match embodied the broad appeal of Futureshock, bringing a strong style clash into the PG show. A back-and-forth series of big moves and near-falls, the fan favourites from The New Nation picked up the win after what was one of the most impressive bouts of the night.
An Adrenaline Championship match pitted Sam Bailey against Xander Cooper and saw one of the best acts of petty heel pomposity in recent memory, as self-styled ‘Futureshock Ambassador’ Cooper had his protégé hand out Ferrero Rocher chocolates to a few – but not all – of the confused Stockport crowd; leaving everyone (except those who received a chocolate) booing the snobbery on show. The match itself was a fantastic exhibition, with both men evenly matched but Bailey’s athletic skill and natural babyface appeal shining particularly bright. Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, Cooper intentionally had himself disqualified by nailing his opponent with the championship belt – losing the match but, of course, remaining champion.
Up next came singles action featuring two members of Futureshock tag teams – Wonderland’s Noah faced off against Joey Hayes, accompanied by his teammate in The Models, Danny Hope, as well as manager Melanie Price. This match was essentially a feud advancer, the in-ring action overshadowed by managerial shenanigans – Noah and his partner Henry T. Grodd intimidating The Models with their freakshow antics, riling the pair to the point where Hayes almost levelled Melanie by accident! Hayes picked up the win and he and Hope chased Wonderland off after Noah made decidedly creepy advances towards Melanie; this didn’t stop Ms. Price from angrily walking away from Hayes post-match, still upset with their earlier near-miss.
The greatest heel heat of the night was, as always, reserved for “LIVERPOOL’S NUMBER ONE” (capitals obligatory), Zack Gibson, who cut what was likely a customarily boastful promo, rendered inaudible by the ferociously jeering crowd. The gist was that, as Futureshock Champion, he is the apex of the scene and that main event contender Rampage Brown had better watch his back. Gibson then retreated to commentary, at first refusing to take his seat amid chants of “sit down, shut up”.
Unfortunately, Rampage did not heed the champion’s warning, as he was attacked mid-entrance by his intended opponent James Drake, who viciously took him out with a metal pipe. However, a Futureshock authority figure interrupted the post-beatdown celebration, telling Drake that opportunities in Futureshock are earned and that he’d have to face a replacement for the main event – the high-flying Soner Durson.
The match was fast-paced and exciting, with Durson’s aerial abilities winning the kids in the crowd over and Drake’s heelwork acting as the perfect foil. Both men put on a pleasing technical contest, ending with Zack Gibson distracting Durson to give James Drake the victory. As Gibson entered the ring to join Drake in a post-match assault, Ashton Smith and Rampage Brown came out to make the save. Gibson bailed, leaving the venue through the back door to let his ‘friend’ take finishing moves from Durson, Smith and Brown. “Liverpool’s Number One” re-emerged at the entrance stage, but was quickly dissuaded from entering the ring to take on the three faces. Instead, he reiterated his threats to Rampage, telling the number one contender that he had to do better to take out the champion. Their eventual face-off may tell a different tale.
Few companies in British Wrestling can honestly boast top-quality, PG shows that really offer something for everyone. Judging by this event, Futureshock Wrestling is a definite contender for number #1.
If you are interested in attending a Futureshock show, Underground 20, their next event is this Friday at the Longfield Suite in Manchester and is set to include:
Ashton Smith vs Cyanide
Sexy Kev vs James Drake
(Trophy Tournament Semi-Finals)
Xander Cooper vs Soner Dursun
(Adrenaline Championship Match)
McGregor & Jensen vs DDL & Massa
The Models vs Wonderland
(Tag Team Championship Match)
Violet Vendetta vs Alexis Rose vs April Davids
(Women’s Championship #1 Contender Series)
Written by Joseph Stevens