Was UKW Friday Night Showdown this week really one and a half hours? Seemed like 30 minutes.
It was an audacious idea, to show a live Friday night show, to do it every week (on a Friday, funnily enough) and in the beginning, it didn’t seem entirely successful. 90 minutes would contain the first 30 minutes of preparation, filmed for us all to see.
Once the decision was made to wait a couple of days to release whilst they edited the technical quantity leapt up.
And once they decided to go big with angles, that got even better. At the monthly event Revolutionary Road, fan fave Mustafa Khan turned on head honcho Jonathan Sedgwick. Not just that, he took huge UKW newcomer Big Duncan with him and then added the Pests, as I call them, Leonie Rose and Johan Hunt.
This was the new Persian Empire. They have taken over. And they seem unstoppable.
Not only that, likeable JPR, attacked by Henry Winter and Cayman Carlisle of the Collective in weeks gone past, joined Carlisle and they both ousted Winter.
Which is why it was such a surprise to see him come out tonight and apologise. To us, to Henry Winter on the commentary desk. After having won the Round The Clock championship and being gifted the Tag belts with Carlisle, he apologised.
He’d turned on his partner at the Pride & Glory event the previous Saturday. And he told my podcast, Steve Swift’s Rambling Reviews that it was a gigantic personal swerve. He gave up the belts for it. This is shocking.
These events give UKW the feeling that the place is in flux, that anything can happen. It also adds real excitement.
This week then?
The Persian Empire were out first. They are triumphant, but it won’t last all of the programmes. They beat Jonathan Sedgwick at Pride & Glory, so he can’t wrestle for the Heavyweight Championship again; Mustafa Khan feels he’s safe.
And so he isn’t finished with the Sedgwick family…
Mustafa Khan v Joe Sedgwick
Joe looked unprepared and rather worried. He had every right to be, as Khan threw him about and Duncan (yes, the rest of the Persian Empire were there) stood on his wrist outside the ring. It ended mercifully quickly with a Mustafa Khan chokeslam but it underlined the dominance of the Empire.
That influence continued into the next match…
Cerebral Ste v Cliff Harrison
A rematch from Pride & Glory, this had some fine wrestling, for as long as it went. Ste hit some knees right to the jaw and Harrison delighted us with a 2 neck breaker then DDT combo.
But then the screen above the wrestlers’ entrance (where they come out to wrestle, don’t get too excited), which I’d never noticed before, showed Leonie Rose baiting Ste’s partner Jayrow Lewis and Ste, who is supposed to be Cerebral remember, left the ring and ran straight into an Empire ambush. They were both left laying.
And now to possibly the match of the night. Young Horus, in a recent interview on my podcast, explained how his 0-19 record isn’t as important as what he’s learning.
Young Horus v Mad Ed
He may be called Young Hopeless, but Horus finds a fan with his t-shirt on; he’s got fans and this match showed us why.
Fabulous action here including Horus finger manipulation, he also hit a wheelbarrow jawbreaker and got the much bigger man up for a slam.
His undoing was his issue with the ref, he used the ropes for leverage and then blatantly pinned with his feet on the top rope. And had the temerity to blame the ref for seeing it; Ed’s Rocker Dropper, which you don’t see often these days, finished it.
The streak continues for Young Horus, but so does the learning. If only we could say the same for Ed – he called Mustafa Khan out, we held our breath, he got away with it. For now.
Because the Persian Empire has other fish to fry…
Big Duncan & Johann Hunt v Tommy Dillon & Jonathan Sedgwick
Good work in this tag match, including a lovely flying clothesline from Sedgwick, snug Dillon leg drop and, in the move of the night, Dillon on Duncan’s shoulder and Hunt from the top using him as a stepping stone to leap on Sedgwick.
Duncan & Sedgwick got the pin with Big D’s Fallen Man Slam, but it was what happened after which had implications.
The Playtime Mafia, left laying earlier by the Empire, came out to confront them. With Sedgwick and Dillon that made 4 on 4.
What did the Persian Empire do? They turned and walked. Mustafa Khan may have said that he wanted to fight when he said, but it looked like they didn’t like those odds. Cracks in the Empire?
Billy O’Keefe v Ian Creed
They gave us a nice short match, including the Creed finger in the ear spit spot which unsurprisingly enraged Billy, who unloaded with kicks.
Creed blocked the excellent hammerlock lariat though, turning it into a faceplant but O’Keefe used his own after a flying forearm for the pin.
What was this though? Ah yes, this was for the Round The Clock belt, so opportunists abound and this time it’s Robert DeCaro and Remus Caine; 1 cutter later, Caine was the new champ. Remember what I said about excitement? UKW gives us that without the silliness of other 24 hour defended belts…
And your main event
A Battle Royal. This is good for 2 reasons;
It doesn’t often happen for the main event.
It showcases wrestlers who don’t have much TV time.
So the ones we know well? Andrew Jepson, JRP, Caine, and DeCaro.
The ones not so often seen in UKW? Jacob Reid, Sebastian Mercer, Tom Savage, Dan Adams (in a little feathered hat), and Havokk.
Battle Royals can often seem cluttered and smother work, so it was good to see everyone piling on Caine and him suddenly realizing that, yes, the Round The Clock belt is defended round the clock; he eliminated himself immediately.
And after JPR lounged in the corner looking a little confused and nonplussed, he gave Havokk his RedRum DDT after watching him deliver a rather nice assisted cutter.
The final 2? Jepson and Jacob Reid, which was nice to see, particularly as Reid almost put the Man Mountain out twice, his feet just staying above the floor.
Eventually, they fought on the apron and Jepson laid in a headbutt for the win.
That Show Flew By
So much happened and none of it seemed forced. When you’re hot, you’re hot and UKW are blazing at the moment, great angles, surprises coming organically from those surprises, excellent in-ring work.
UKW has it all. Have a look on YouTube, you won’t be sorry.