Just over a year ago, well last year in January, I went to Wellsprings in Taunton to see Kenny Omega fight Ultimo Tiger. This time I went to Wellsprings to see fellow Bullet Club member and absolute legend Cody Rhodes. To say this venue is becoming a very important one in my life is a understatement. This time out I was going to see UPW for the very first time too.
HOTSHOT CHARLESTON ALLEN & DANIEL HUDSON vs HARD KNOCKS
Winners : Hard Knocks
Decent opener but nothing special.
Other then showing off Hard Knocks there was nothing really going on in the match. Hudson was the only part of his team that got in the ring, it was short which was funny because Allen and Hudson spent a lifetime actually coming out. I get it with guys like Eddie Ryan or Jason King who wait for the chorus to come on and make a dramatic entrance but these two seemed to think people just wanted to wait for them to come out. Maybe people who knew who they were did want to wait or those who could hear the music louder then a whisper but for us it just turned into a joke about it being a concert and not a wrestling show. Did love Allen though who came out with a water gun. Even just Allen being told he was actually tagging with Hudson, whilst funny, seemed to drag on for ever and ever.
Hard Knocks is a absolute gem of a tag team though. They just beat the hell out of Hudson and after the match didn’t let up. Seeing them stand tall over Hudson’s prone body was great and I’d love to see more of them.
All the match really did was make me realise that Hudson looks like the love child of John Harding and TJ Miller. There just wasn’t much to talk about the match which kinda bored me before it even had the first competitor hit the ring. The only thing that interested me was the last images of Hard Knocks.
CHARLIE STERLING vs EDDIE RYAN
Winner : Eddie Ryan
What felt much more like the beginning of the night we got to see Sterling and Ryan take on each other in a extremely entertaining match.
It isn’t very often when we get to see Eddie Ryan flex his comedic muscles but he is very good at it when he gets going. After Sterling stole his Lion mask, Ryan stole his First Aid kit and emptied it out much to Sterling’s annoyance. The spanking later on in the match was a highlight and it was just genuinely nice to see Ryan enjoying himself.
Intertwined between the laughs though was the hard hitting performance you’d expect from both. Sterling could only get his own way when he used tactics like a rake to the eyes and constantly lost his advantage when Ryan was able to power out of his moves. The constant dodging of Ryan’s Superkick meant that when it finally hit the place went mental. Ryan was able to pick up the win in a really fun match.
These two are main event worthy every day of the week so they very much got the night started much more then the previous match. Plus getting to see Ryan win is always a highlight.
LANA AUSTIN vs AYESHA RAY
Winner : Lana Austin
I’ve been rather deflated by the women matches I’ve seen this year in general. The triple threat at Prides Plymouth show and Adira kicking ass at PWA’s Mini-Lecture event excited me but were two highlights in a sea of disappointment.
Whilst this match might not be as good as the triple threat it was a absolute wonder of storytelling as the much smaller Lana Austin did her best to outsmart Ayesha Ray. The two of them worked great together and whilst there was a lot of running around and Austin doing her best not to have to come face to face with Ray.
Some great moments in the match including Ray just manhandling Austin, the Powerbomb from the turnbuckle to Ray after Ray had climbed up there with Austin on her back, she was cheated out of the win by Austin but it just made the matches end so very cool.
Really want to see more of Austin and Ray, one day I really want to see Ray take on the Good, Clean Violence of Adira which would be extremely fun. Absolutely fantastic match.
BRAM vs MATT RIDDLE
Winner : Matt Riddle
I knew the moment the match was going to be good but it really was spectacular.
Watching Bram get fed up because whatever he did just ended up with Riddle wrapped around his body was brilliant, all his offence was pretty useless because Riddle was just able to reverse everything. Even when Bram threw Riddle out of the ring to bring him to the world of pain Bram usually leaves everyone in Riddle had a answer for him. I was even removed from my chair so that Bram could get a good few kicks from Riddle.
Nothing from Bram’s strength to his mean streak could touch Riddle who looked absolutely unstoppable.
It was a little strange seeing Bram get manhandled the way he did but he played it perfectly, specially loved the ending when he had been knocked out by Riddle and he came crawling back in the ring asking if he’d won. It just made me laugh. So freakin’ cool seeing Riddle live he truly does just contort his opponents in every way he can. Honestly you just want to see the photos below because it was fantastic.
JAKE MCCLUSKY & HARLEM BRAVADO
Winner : Jake McClusky
I’d actually seen McClusky like years and years ago so it was interesting to see how different he was from how I remember. For a start he was a good guy back then, the foil to the UK Kid and all his naughty ways, now he’s a bad ass that actually tore Bravado to pieces.
At times you’d think the size difference would help Bravado and at times it looked like it would. The belly-to-belly Suplex into the corner was a thing of absolute beauty but after being beaten quite badly by McClusky for the majority of the match it was not a surprise when McClusky got the win in the most cocky of ways.
Absolutely loved seeing McClusky in the ring, Bravado was cool but I very much enjoyed watching McClusky much more then Bravado. The cocky ass hole stuff was amazingly well played for a smaller guy to a bigger guy, in fact it was the kind of thing you would have expected Bravado to be pulling off.
Good start to the second half.
SIMMONZ & STORM vs THE BROTHERS AWE
Winners : The Brothers Awe
Well…. This was something else.
When I hear Street Fight I instantly think of the battles between Bram and Tiger… This was not Bram vs Tiger. It was something else entirely. That isn’t to say it wasn’t great though.
Fell in love with both teams instantly. Simmonz and Storm were just crazy whilst the Brothers Awe were just two small balls of very badly contained energy whizzing around the place.
Good use of bins, terrible use of a mop, lack of tables but some pretty cool uses of the walls.
This was meant to be some really heated battle and that story never really came over to a complete newcomer to UPW in the match. They really needed to hit that tone a little more in the match but it was too light hearted and fun for me to believe there had been a true reason for this match to begin with. The Brothers Awe seem unable completely to have a angry bone in their body or to hold any kind of grudge and whilst they were instantly lovable, and I will be buying their merchandise when I get paid next month, it didn’t do much to tell a story.
Pretty exciting match though.
JASON KING vs SAVVY SID SCALA
Winner : Jason King
No matter how many times I try to write about this match and put a positive spin on it I just can’t.
Too much comedy that didn’t mix well. I don’t get Scala and I don’t want to get him, I found him extremely boring and whilst some of his wrestling moves when he bothered to do any look impressive enough it also was so disjointed. For me Jason King carried the comedy side of the match, which would have been fine because I love Jason King and I love comedy, but it was like he was forcing himself to be so very funny and loud because Scala just wasn’t going to work. And he didn’t. Which made the match more like a cartoon with the loud and eye catching bad guy but without the cool good guy.
Like Tom and Jerry if Jerry was the most boring character you’d ever seen.
I couldn’t remember much wrestling context when trying to write it the morning after whilst getting ready for work and looking through the photos and doing my best to think about it I can’t think of any at all other then something that looks vaguely like a hurricanarana off the top rope to Jason King at some point in my photos.
It was just a terrible match and it pains me so much to say it because I’ve never in over a year of reviewing Jason King matches have ever felt so disappointed by his match. In fact in the last 12 months I’ve gotten used to him being pretty much the highlight of any show and I can’t blame Scala entirely for a poor match. I mean I want to blame him entirely but I’m not THAT biased.
Puts me off seeing Scala again. Just very disappointing and nowhere near as funny as people made him out to be. Though full disclaimer I’ve NEVER gotten the love for Only Fools and Horses and can’t understand why anyone would buy Scala as that kind of character when he came across as a boring guy who can’t believe he’s stumbled into a wrestling ring. I just don’t get it, and that’s fine I guess but I don’t have to be happy about it.
JOSEPH CONNORS vs CODY RHODES
Winner : Cody Rhodes
Really not sure what I can say about this to be honest. It was a absolute masterclass from two of the best in the world. I mean I was excited to see Cody but when I actually looked at the card and found out he’d be up against Connors I was over the moon.
Loved the opening of the match when Connors got annoyed at the kids giving Cody signs and stuff so he ripped up one little kids sign and Cody gave the kid his jacket. Amazing moment that is going to mean the world to that little kid, Cody is a true legend in the making.
As for the match it had everything. It took two Falcon Arrows for Connors to finally go down and had absolutely every move you could possibly wish in it from both. Connors played the perfect fan hating bad guy for Rhodes to take down and the crowd were always going to be mental for the match.
Connors took the short cuts, when the ref wasn’t looking, and Rhodes had to struggle a uphill battle with a guy who didn’t really care how he got the win as long as he won. The crowd interaction throughout was amazing and Rhodes really knows how to use it.
Nothing I could say would do the match justice, its probably one of the best matches I’ll ever see live.
MEET & GREET
The Meet & Greet was pre-show. Got to say I have huge respect for UPW who did a great job under difficult circumstances. The traffic around Taunton was absolutely horrible and the guys held back the Meet & Greet as some guys hadn’t arrived and neither had a lot of people who had paid to meet Cody Rhodes and Matt Riddle. The guys all came out though and let everyone know what was happening at all times which was brilliant. The wait wasn’t so bad because the atmosphere was so friendly.
Meeting Cody is a dream come true. My mum was a huge fan of his dad when she was a kid, I was a mega fan of his brother when I was growing up and we both love Cody but he’s also more importantly my nieces favourite wrestler right now. It was amazing getting to meet one member of the Rhodes family and he was so cool, specially as I had to have my photo with him re-done because it had come out blurry the first time.
Riddle was cool to meet too and didn’t care that Nass hadn’t paid to meet him letting him take a photo with him anyway. I had brought tickets to the show PURELY as a birthday present for my mum who fell in love with Riddle when we saw him wrestle on WCPW and she was speechless after meeting him.
The Bram Meet & Greet was in the middle of the ring at the interval. Unfortunately that meant I didn’t get a photo with him because I have a fear of getting in the ring after nearly falling over every time I try. Nass did get me a autograph though and it even has a little heart on it. Love Bram, absolutely fantastic guy.
Really enjoyed the show. It mixed showcasing their own stars and bigger UK stars with big name imports perfectly. Whilst it started off slowly it gained a lot of momentum and for regulars I’m sure a lot of the matches were big pay offs or exciting looks into the future for them. As a first time attendee to one of their shows I have to say it made a great impression. Unfortunately I am unable to really get to their shows and Taunton is a trip and a half from Plymouth so is only really for special occasions so even with more shows in Taunton I probably won’t be able to attend too many. I would however 100% recommend them as they have a great atmosphere, really cool people running the shows and some crazy guys in the ring that are more then worth supporting.
Obviously match of the night was Rhodes vs Connors, second of the night was always going to be Bram vs Riddle hence them being the two main events. So taking the two big matches away and I’d have to say Sterling/Ryan and Austin/Ray were the matches of the night. Both were fun, told a great story and had great pay offs. It showcased some of the best talent on the show and was just super fun.
Of the new guys I saw I have to say I loved both the Brothers Awe and Hard Knocks, I’m a huge tag team fan and have been pretty vocal on how sad I am that both PWA and Pride don’t really have the time to showcase more tag teams so seeing two really great ones in UPW made my heart swell with happiness. The Brothers Awe are just hugely adorable and a big plus for UPW.
Still real sad about Jason Kings match being so dull but its good to see another company using him as he is a great talent and one of the West Countries best, and yes I mean that to all those who moan about him.
Go support them.
Hope to go see them again at some point, go support them if you can.