Rocky Horror Show

School of Hard Notts: WGP Lions Spirit

24 May 19 words: Amber Hill-Cann
photos: Tony Knox

Wrestle Gate Pro (WGP) is an up-and-coming Notts based promotion, fast gaining a reputation for professional set-ups and major signings. Lions Spirit at Rushcliffe arena helped to cement this, bringing the hard hits, electric atmosphere and a huge surprise main event that could headline any Vegas show!

Robbie X v Ridgeway

In the packed-out sports hall, there was an excited buzz of anticipation from a crowd eagerly awaiting the thrills and spills of the show. The ring was dead centre of the room with an impressive lighting rig, two huge screens at the back and an entrance way to rival any promotion. The lights went down and the buzz turned into a cheer and what followed was above and beyond anything I had expected.

Hometown Kidd (sorry), Gabriel whipped the crowd into a booing frenzy with his self-assured swagger and heel* antics, showing the ultimate disrespect to his kiwi opposition Niwa, offering a handshake and pulling away at the last second...despicable! The match was a gruelling fifteen minutes during which both Kidd and Niwa took some impressively hard hits. The booing from the crowd only intensified each time Kidd landed a hit and then cheered himself on. Kidd took the win to resounding disapproval, a very impressive showing from both men.

LeftLion spoke to Kidd after the show, “To have a company like Wrestle Gate coming to Nottingham and bringing guys like PAC, one of the best guys in the UK, it's fantastic and I'm glad to be a part of it.” He told us, “Although, it’s not another place just to be a part of, I'm here to make an impression and I think I did that tonight... I look forward to coming back in the future and to carrying on winning”

The first of Robbie X's billed matches that evening was against Chris Ridgeway who lived up to his 'Smashmouth' moniker with numerous hard strikes. The crowd were split throughout as Robbie showed his impressive acrobatic skills and heart, matching Ridgeway blow for blow most of the way, both men taking a serious beating. It was Ridgeway who was victorious with a sleeper hold submission. Robbie X limped out of the Arena, a question mark hanging over the main event - A sign of things to come perhaps?

Irie v Rampage

Cara Noir's debut for the promotion was an impressive outing against John 'Bad Bones' Klinger, his theatrical entrance wowing the crowd before he even stepped bare-footed into the ring. The imposing, ruthless Klinger took the win against his far smaller opponent but not before Noir suffered a horrendous bump onto the apron* which sent a chill down the collective spine of the audience. Thankfully we saw him up-and-about after the event so presumably The Black Swan didn’t incur any serious injury. Make no mistake - this was one seriously dangerous stunt!

Also on the bill was Rampage Brown versus Irie. Rampage strikes an imposing figure and is a mainstay of the British scene and current champion of Brit promotion Defiant Wrestling, but the impressive agility of Japanese star Irie took the big man off his feet many times throughout this slugger of a match. Irie's infectious energy spurred the crowd on and they were behind him the whole way. During the match he landed a beautiful frog splash* but in the end it was Rampage who took the win with a nasty piledriver*.  A great UK showing for the Japanese star who I sincerely hope to see wrestle in these parts again soon.

Finally, it was time for the much-anticipated main event, but with Jody Fleisch not yet arrived and an apparently injured Robbie X the crowd were on tenterhooks and the tension was palpable; both the press and the crowd seemed utterly convinced that the scheduled main event they had hoped to see had been cancelled - a believable scenario at a UK indie show.

PAC v Hangman

At this point, however, they were relieved to see Geordie PAC enter the ring and cut a promo claiming his opposition had disappeared to save themselves from the beating he was going to give them; he issued an open challenge to anyone in the locker room who had the cojones to stand toe-to-toe with him. Then the place exploded as WGP unleashed All Elite Wrestling (AEW) star Adam “Hangman” Page to take on PAC - a surprise match which had been due to take place in Las Vegas for a crowd of 10,000 the following weekend. The 300 lucky fans in attendance at Rushcliffe arena were on their feet in disbelief. Page entered the ring to chants of 'Holy s**t' from the suitably stunned crowd, the bell rang and the dream match began. It did not disappoint with both men giving their all, determined to take the win. Particular highlights were a 450 splash with pinpoint accuracy by PAC from the top rope onto a prone Page, a moonsault* from the top turnbuckle outside of the ring from Page and the two men exchanging brutal superkicks*.  

After fifteen minutes of unrelenting action PAC delivered a desperate, dirty low blow* to the ref shortly before being turned inside out by a vicious buckshot lariat* from Page leading to the pin, the crowd reaching a count of six before the ref called for the bell. Page took the win by disqualification leaving it open for a repeat in the future. An infuriated PAC delivered a sickening post-match beat down to Page using multiple steel chairs before walking out of the arena leaving his opponent laid out in the centre of the ring.

This clash has drawn unprecedented international attention to the Nottingham wrestling scene, with over 150,000 fans across the world watching it in one day on YouTube, it will surely go down in history as one of the best kept secrets in UK professional wrestling. Afterwards Page, who stuck around to meet and greet fans, told us "I literally pulled in my driveway and just grabbed my bag of gear and came here to face PAC, I haven't slept in two days and my leg is hurt now!” before adding, “But I'm glad to get the opportunity to do something like this...it's good to be here in Nottingham"

Wrestle Gate’s owner and promoter Gary Ward added, “This is our third show and we're just going to keep getting bigger and bigger. Like we keep saying you never know who's going to turn up”. They return to Rushcliffe arena on Saturday 6 July with two shows, Top Prospect in the afternoon and Heavyweight Grand Prix in the evening, tickets are still available.

Flexicon

Apron – the hard bit of the ring

Heel – a naughty villain

Frog Splash – A big belly flop from the top

Piledriver - a nasty neck-breaking move

Moonsault – more top-rope shenanigans

Superkick – a big boot in the chops

Low-blow – a smack in the unmentionables

Buckshot Lariat – front flip/ clothesline combination from the apron

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