10th Sep2018

Wrestling MediaCon 2018: ‘Impact Wrestling vs. the UK’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Taking place as part of the first Wrestling Mediacon in Manchester, England; Impact Wrestling vs. the UK saw a handful of Impact’s biggest stars take on, and team up with, some the latest and greatest UK wrestlers – from pioneers of the UK scene like Jody Fleisch and Johnny Storm to WOS stars Justin Sysum and Nathan Cruz. At 2 and a half hours the show was fast-paced and more importantly well received by the UK crowd (with only Eli Drake vs Joe Hendry falling flat, probably because the crowd were more behind Drake than homeboy Hendry). We were there in the front row to give you our report and feelings on this historic event.

OFFICIAL RESULTS:

  • Rich Swann defeated Matt Sydal and Trevor Lee
  • Adam ‘Flex’ Maxted & Robbie X defeated McCluskey & Steel
  • Su Yung defeated Lana Austin
  • IMPACT Tag Team Championship Match: Champions LAX def. Jody Fleisch & Jonny Storm
  • Joe Hendry defeated Eli Drake
  • Eddie Edwards & Justin Sysum defeated Moose & Nathan Cruz
  • Barbed Wire Baseball Bat Death Match: Sami Callihan def. Jimmy Havoc

Match #1: Rich Swann def. Matt Sydal and Trevor Lee

impact-uk-1

My take: Kicking the event off with a 3-way X-Division match was easily the best way to get the audience pumped for what was to come, with all three men involved pulling out all the high-flying stops to really ramp up the excitement. Rich Swann really deserves some praise for this match – it was his THIRD of the day and it didn’t show in the slightest, there was never a moment he looked gassed, matching Sydal and Lee beat for beat. Unfortunately the fast pace and excitement came to an abrupt halt and Swann pinned Lee for the win, in an ending that seemed to confuse the wrestlers involved as much as it did the audience. It looked like Sydal was supposed to break the pin but didn’t make it in time, so the ref hit the three count…

Match #2: Adam ‘Flex’ Maxted & Robbie X def. McCluskey & Steel

impact-uk-2

My take: Surprisingly this match turned out to be one of the highlights of the night, even moreso considering the jeers afforded Adam Maxted as he approached the ring at the opener. Maxted and Robbie X turned out to be a great tag-team, with Robbie bringing the speed and Maxted the muscle – together the pair managed to hold off McCluskey & Steel; with Steel looking like a total badass heel (think Big Cass size but with more muscle and actually looking like he can wrestle!) and McCluskey match Robbie X’s high-flying beautifully. The real testament to how good this match was, was the fact come mid-way point and the audience were REALLY rooting for Maxted – in a complete turnaround from the intro. Robbie X eventually hit a moonsault for the win – to a huge pop from the crowd who, thanks to the work the four men had put in to making this a superb match, were truly invested in the outcome!

Match #3: Su Yung def. Lana Austin

impact-uk-3

My take: Anyone would have thought, pre-match, that hometown wrestler Lana Austin wouldn’t stand a chance against Su Yung but that was certainly not the case here! Austin got in some early offence, hitting Yung in the face with her posterieur in an crowd-pleasing move. That offence didn’t last long as Su Yung ramped up the violence, planting Austin on a chair before somersaulting on to her (right in front of us may I add) and obliterating Austin and the chair – a chair that was EXACTLY the same as the audience watching were seated in! A couple of threats to the ref from Su Yung put him on edge allowing Yung to use the chair again, this time throwing it in the ring to distract the now-fearful ref, at which point Yung hit Austin with the red mist and secured the win. Kudos to both women involved though – Su Yung had one of her best Impact matches ever IMHO and Austin, despite the loss, came away from this one looking like a true superstar.

Match #4: IMPACT Tag Team Championship Match: Champions LAX def. Jody Fleisch & Jonny Storm

impact-uk-4

My take: Who would have thought, that in 2018 we’d see UK wrestling legends Jody Fleisch and Jonny Storm fighting for the Impact Tag Team belts? I didn’t. I also didn’t expect such a SUPERB exhibition of wrestling from all involved. If you’re a follower of British wrestling you’ll know just how good Fleisch and Storm are but the pair were perfectly matched by LAX’s Santana and Ortiz who, honestly, have never looked so good! Given what we saw here Impact need to book these two in longer and more involved matches on TV – the duo obviously have some real untapped (at least on TV) potential. LAX retained the titles but that didn’t really matter – all four men had put on one hell of a show, and the post-match show of respect from all involved (Fleisch and Storm REALLY put Santana and Ortiz over, whilst LAX seemed to know just how iconic this match, against 2 legends, truly was) was a fitting end to a fantastic match.

Match #5: Joe Hendry def. Eli Drake

impact-uk-5

My take: Easily the weakest match on the card, this was an oddity for the MediaCon event – whereas you’d expect UK-based Joe Hendry to have the Manchester audience behind him, it was instead Eli Drake who the attendees backed, eating up each and every opportunity to chant E-Li-Drake. The fact the support was reversed, I think, deeply affected the atmosphere of the match, taking all the steam out of this one sadly. And that’s despite Drake and Hendry best efforts to turn the audience around. Hendry eventually got the win, rolling up Drake for the three count. Though post-match you’d think Eli Drake was the victor given his send off from the crowd!

Match #6: Eddie Edwards & Justin Sysum def. Moose & Nathan Cruz

impact-uk-6

My take: The anticipation for this match was on a real high – with not only Impact rivals Moose and Eddie Edwards facing each other, but the newly-turned heel Nathan Cruz taking on his WOS Wrestling compatriot, the budding superstar Justin Sysum, who showed just why he’s been given the spotlight on the Saturday afternoon show, really shining in this crowded 4-man match – even morseo when he flew from outside the ring to hit a “super spear” in-ring on Cruz! The audience were really behind calling out Moose as a “Douche”, co-opting his chant on numerous occasions, and Moose really playing up to his new heel persona by antagonising the crowd throughout the match. Eventually Eddie Edwards brought out the Kendo stick to run off Moose, leaving Nathan Cruz to take a beating and the loss, Sysum pinning him after a huge 450 splash from the top rope!

Match #7: Barbed Wire Baseball Bat Death Match: Sami Callihan def. Jimmy Havoc

impact-uk-7

My take: What do you get when you put two of the most brutal wrestlers together in a death match? Brutality and blood. That’s what. With warnings that those of a nervous disposition should leave BEFORE the match started, there was an air of trepidation about the audience and Havoc & Callihan did not disappoint. A staple gun, drill bits, tacks, and the titular barbed wire baseball bat were just some of the weapons used in a vicious fashion by both men… But the really painful stuff? Leave that to paper cuts and lemons – I’ve never seen an audience wince so much in sympathetic pain! After being subjected to staples in the face and arms, Havoc’s eventual downfall came from a missed double-foot stomp on Callihan, which saw him land in tacks instead – giving Callihan the chance to pin Havoc for the 3-count. A brutal, methodical match that showed just how far both men are willing to take wrestling, this was a disturbing, yet great, end to the the night – leaving the audience in stunned silence as they left the arena!

______

Final Verdict: 4.5/5 – A superb two and a half hours of wrestling that flew by in what seemed like minutes, Impact Wrestling vs. the UK succeeded in not only showing how far Impact have come since the new production regime took over but also allowed all the non-Impact talent to show why they were there; with the entire British contingent really showcasing why everyone wants to be a part of the British wrestling scene these days. This could have easily been a five-star event of not for an odd finish to the three-man opener and the muted response to the Drake/Hendry match bringing down the card. Otherwise this was a shining example of cross-promotion wrestling at it’s best.

You can watch all of Impact Wrestling vs. the UK right now on replay, only on Twitch. The IMPACT show at Wrestling MediaCon will also air in full on Fight Network UK (Sky Channel 455) at 9pm on Thursday September 13th.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>