Review by Mike, additional material by Ben
Recently, me and my amigo Ben went to a SLAM wrestling show at the Beaufort Sports and Social Club in Castle Bromwich, just a 5 minute walk away from where I live. I’d seen very little of SLAM, I’d bought a DVD of theirs at a KSW (K-Star Wrestling) show a few years ago. It looked like a good, professional company, but how did this recent show do? Well, I’ve reviewed it for anyone out there who’s interested to read it. So here it is, my SLAM wrestling review
Ben and I were sat at the back of the venue as all of the seats in front of us had been taken up, so we didn’t get to see much, or hear much for that matter. I didn’t realise the show had started until I saw the referee and the announcer get into the ring. Usually the companies theme would come on, or some music to signify the opening of the show. I later realised that this was because the speakers playing the music were at the front of the place, and we couldn’t hear them at the back.
And that wasn’t all we couldn’t hear, we could barely hear the announcer himself. He started off by getting the fans to boo and cheer, which often happens at small wrestling shows like this, it gets the fans to loosen up and gets them more into it. However he did something I’ve never seen before, he got the fans to boo one guy in the audience, and cheer another guy in the audience. At first I didn’t think that was very nice, getting people to turn on some guy they’ve probably never met, but I later found out that this guy they were booing knew the wrestlers personally, so I’m guessing he follows them round or something.
The opening match, and it was here that the announcer annoyed me by introducing the wrestlers as “The bad guy.” And “The good guy.” This annoyed me because I didn’t know who was wrestling, and when he announced the winner afterwards, I couldn’t hear him over the crowd, so I still don’t know the guys’ names, so I had to make them up.
The first guy who came out was a great big fat guy wearing a singlet with a silhouette of The Grim Reaper on it, so we called him Big Daddy Grim. I later found out (by looking on SLAM’s site) that his name is Big Tim Burns.
Tim, the most menacing name since Ray.
His opponent came out and shouted something like “Let’s go Castle Brom!” so I’ve called him Captain Bromwich, but sadly, I can’t remember what he looked like, so I can’t pick him out from the roster page. He’s not as recognisable as Tim.
I wasn’t making notes at this point, so I’ll try to remember what happened in the match. There was a point where Cpt. Bromwich exited the ring and stood on the apron, about to jump, but instead stepped down onto the ring steps, and jumped from the top step. I thought that was odd, why was the apron too high to jump from and the top step was fine?
There was a botched spot where Cpt. Bromwich set up a chair on the outside, and ran and jumped off it to hit a stumbling Tim (how about Grim Tim?), but Tim was too far away so Bromwich ended up landing by him, then jumped and hit him. Another bit that didn’t really work is when Cpt. Bromwich went to the top and hit Tim with a flying… push. But there was a good spot when Bromwich jumped off the bottom rope, up to the adjacent rope, then hit Tim with a splash.
Both worked well, Tim was great as the monster heel, and hit some decent big man moves, often overpowering the much smaller Captain Bromwich. Bromwich on the other hand played a good hometown babyface, and got the crowd on his side despite a few botched spots. Overall I’d say it was a decent opener. Tim knows how to work the crowd and made Cpt. Bromwich look like a star I thought. But a few botches let it down unfortunately.
Something champion Eddy Woods takes on Layton Cole in a non-title match. The announcer mentioned what the title was, but I couldn’t hear him. It was a nice looking belt though, with a fancy white strap. Before the match Eddy cut a promo, but I couldn’t understand any of it, partly because I could barely hear him from how far away I was, and partly because he was shouting. The announcer cut him off mid-promo by taking the mic away from him. Normally that would have annoyed me, if I could hear what the guy was saying, but I couldn’t so it didn’t.
One thing that stood out to me the most was Eddy’s selling, he was really good at that, and his offence was very good too, opening the match with some lovely arm drags. Layton was looking good too, and both played their heel/face characters well. There was one bit I particularly liked where Layton slapped Eddy on the crook of his elbow, causing him to slap himself in the face.
I can’t get over how great Eddy looked, he looked like a star, he was in great shape, had a good look, and his in-ring performance was spot on. The fight spills outside and Layton holds Eddy’s arms out and lets some kids punch him. Erm, ref? Instant DQ here! Outside interference! I mean, the ref was counting to ten for them to get back in, but didn’t bat an eyelid at some kids helping out Layton. It’s lucky for them that Eddy wasn’t seriously hurt and they had to stop the match. Not sure how a bunch of kids could hurt a wrestler though, unless one of them had a knife.
I’m pretty sure that’s a disqualification.
Layton hits a nice looking Guillotine Leg Drop for a two count, and later hits an Unprettier/Killswitch for another two count. Eddy puts Layton in the corner and runs at him with a clothesline, but before he’d run he’d do this jaunty little hop in the opposite corner. [It looked like something from a cartoon – Ben] He looked so excited to be doing his Clothesline. Eddy gets caught up in the ropes with, what I like to call an Andre spot, where Andre would fall into the ropes and get his arms caught.
So Layton takes this opportunity to bring in a small child from the audience. Wait, hang on, what?! Yeah, there’s a kid from the audience who is now in the ring, and is being encouraged by Layton to Low Blow Eddy. I should at this point mention that SLAM wrestling train small children how to wrestle, and this kid is merely a plant, so Layton HASN’T just got some random kid in to kick Eddy Woods full on in the balls.
Now, at this point I should point out that Layton is once again getting children to help him out, and once again, the ref isn’t disqualifying him, and this time it’s happening IN THE RING RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE REF! THE RULES! WHY IS NO ONE FOLLOWING THE RULES?! The kid then hits an impressive Spinning Headscissors followed by a beautiful Springboard Moonsault from the middle rope. Now that’s impressive and all, but THE RULES!!!
Layton comes out on top in this match, which is no surprise on account of all the outside interference he had. The match was good, both mens’ offence and selling were very good, but for me the match went on too long, and was spoilt by the kid interfering near the end.
Up next it’s the… break? What? After only two matches? It’s like ITV! It turned out there were only four matches on the card, which seemed odd to me because I’m used to places like KSW and CCW (Conwy County Wrestling) which would put on five, six, or even seven matches on a show. SLAM are a big company and travel all over the country putting on shows, so I’m guessing that this was a fairly small venue for them, and so they didn’t put on a full show.
Tag team action as Adam Idol, who was dressed as Super Crazy, but only seemed moderately crazy, teamed up with a guy named Tukay to take on Drew Adams and some guy in pink shorts whose name I didn’t catch.
The match started off with the face team, Drew and Pink guy, or Pinky and the Brain as I shall call them, getting the early advantage with some good double team moves, including a nice double elbow and double dive to the outside spot. They worked well as a tag team and as faces, with Drew being noticeably more charismatic. Both Pinky and Tukay seemed fairly new to the game so to speak, while Idol and Drew looked much more confident in the ring. If this is the case, then putting Pinky and Tukay in a tag match is a great idea because it gives them a chance to get in the ring and experience a live crowd, whilst giving them someone more knowledgeable to fall back on and halving their work at the same time.
Nice heel team work as well, with one distracting the ref while the other chokes or batters the face. Drew sold a Clothesline by landing on his head and shoulders, it looked amazing, but nasty at the same time.
No not that.
There was a botched Clothesline when Tukay went to Clothesline Pinky. I’m not sure what happened, but it looked like Tukay just about caught Pinky, almost knocking him off his feet. Tukay followed this up with a beautiful and very painful looking Backbreaker, before applying a lovely submission, putting his foot on Pink’s back, grabbing his arm and leg and just pulling.
Tukay also went for a big kick on Pink but only hit him in the shoulder rather than his intended target, the face, and there was a botched Enzugiri from Pinky. Pinky worked towards the hot tag to Drew, and when he finally did, there was, surprisingly, no reaction from the crowd.
“And the crowd goes mild!”
Drew hit a nice Superkick on Idol, almost knocking his head off! Drew went for the pin which Tukay tried to break up with an elbow, only for Drew to move and for Tukay to hit Idol with the elbow. This was followed up by another nice Superkick from Drew, this time to Tukay. Pinky hit a sweet Moonsault on Adam Idol (great name by the way) and got the three count.
This was a very good match, perhaps the match of the night performance wise, and was the a favourite of my pal, Ben. It was after the match that I noticed Drew Adams looked like a pirate, unfortunately I can’t find a photo of him, as there isn’t even on on SLAM’s website.
The main event! World Champion (I think) Charles Kelsey vs… OH MY GOD IT’S ROB LONG!!! Rob Long was a wrestler I knew back in KSW, and he was always the best for getting the crowd going, getting them pumped up and cheering. Long after I last went to a K-Star show, I checked out their website, and was sad to see that Rob Long was no longer listed on their roster. I assumed he’d retired, he was nearing his forties when I knew him. For years I’d thought Rowdy Rob Long was no more, and I was sad to think that I might not be able to say hi to him again, because he was a great guy to talk to, and was always loved by the fans.
Before going to this show, I was thinking “It’d be great if Rob were there, I’d absolutely love that, but I doubt he is, I’m sure he’s retired now, and probably living in Manchester or somewhere with his family.” So I was unsure when I thought I’d seen him earlier that night going into the locker room. “That can’t be him, can it?” I thought. I brushed it aside and thought that maybe it was someone who looked similar, but no, it was him! I was so pleased when he came out, I stood up and clapped, but sadly, I got no high five from him.
The match itself was alright, but I think that coming after that amazing tag match earlier made it seem more of an anti-climax, they should have put on a short squash match or something. Kelsey, or Winner as he kept calling himself, looked like a toddler as he shouted at the fans to keep quiet. If he wanted silence he should wrestle in ear plugs.
I couldn’t help but notice that Rob Long was dressed as a black Hulk Hogan, with yellow speedos, yellow boots, and red knee pads. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, he’s always worn yellow and it’s always looked good on him. At one point on the outside Rob was thrown into the ring steps and sold it by flipping over them, it looked amazing because usually people would sell it by ramming into it back first.
Winner slams Rob’s head into the turnbuckle, which means Rob’s about to do his turnbuckle spot! Usually, Rob no sells the first shot, and so the other guy will ram his head into the turnbuckle again, at which point Rob would repeatedly ram his own head into the turnbuckle, to show how hard his head is. However, this time, rather than ramming his head into the post again, Winner raked his eye. Clever move.
Rob also did his patented chop spot, where he repeatedly and rapidly chops his opponent in the corner. I was distracted halfway through by an old man who wondered into the room to sell flowers, teddy bears, and what looked like Sushi. I have no idea who he is, but now I’m fascinated to know. Wish I’d asked someone.
When I finally got my attention back on the match, Winner had just fallen off the middle rope and taken a back bump for seemingly no reason. I don’t know if Rob had pulled him off, or if Rob had rolled out of the way, but from where I was sitting, it just looked as though Winner just fell off for no reason. I thought Winner looked gassed at this point, as earlier on he’d not got up for a Bodyslam from Rob. The match wasn’t that long, but Winner was a big guy. Not as big as Big Tim, but big nonetheless. I thought that the World belt (or what I assumed was the World belt) shouldn’t be on a guy like him. He was a good heel, but not a great worker I thought.
Rob hit a Diving Headbutt (hard head remember) followed by a Spear for a two count. Then he hit Winner with a Stunner, but again only got a two count. Winner lived up to his name and won the match when he Low Blowed Rob, and rolled him up for a School Boy, and got his feet on the ropes for extra leverage. Afterwards Rob got his heat back by hitting Winner with another Stunner, followed by a People’s Elbow. I thought it was odd seeing a guy dressed as Hulk Hogan doing Steve Austin and The Rock’s finishers, the only thing missing was an “Oooh yeah!”
And that was the show. It was a good show I thought, but I was disappointed by the small number of matches, but at the same time I think that’s why there was so much going on in the second and third match. After the show I managed to speak with Rob Long, who was surrounded by his adoring fans. I shook his hand and said “I doubt you remember me.” And he said “Yeah, you’re Dan Daniels from K-Star.”
[box title=”Ben’s Heckler of the Match” radius=”0″]When I go to these wrestling matches, I’m always interested in the crowd and their reactions to what is going on. Sometimes you get some real characters who provide a great deal of entertainment at no extra charge. This match had one such guy who we called Vest Man… because he was wearing a vest.
At the start of the first match he was just shouting out things like “Loser!” and “Boo!”, and since he was the main/only one doing it, I thought he’d be annoying. But after a while his heckling got more successful, as he instigated not one, but two successful chants of “What a loser!” and “Loser!”
As well as these generic chants, he also had some impressive heckles of his own, which led me to make a list:
– “You’re a piece of poo you are!”
– “You spiteful bellend!”
– “That was brilliant! Absolutely fantastic! Let’s all get postcards of that!”
– “I’m not having that!”
– “It’s like he’s in the 80s!”
– (about a guy’s leg) “Don’t really break it!”
– “He’s a pansy!”
That last one was another of his chants, but this time it was unsuccessful. He also shouted something that struck me as racist. Targeted at the black wrestler in the tag team match, he shouted “Blimey, he speaks good English!” Now, some of the earlier ones I can’t be certain of because it was quite noisy, but that one he definitely said.
He also had his wife (or carer) with him, who, during one of his unsuccessful chants, turned to the people behind and said “He likes wrestling.” At the end of the show, Vest Man put on a flat cap and a leather trenchcoat, which did not surprise me one bit.[/box]