Show Reviews

Defiant Wrestling – Lights Out Review

Josh Bannister reviews DEFIANT’s latest iPPV, Lights Out 2019.

Defiant returned to Leeds on Wednesday to present their third ever Lights Out PPV.

With wrestlers such as PAC, Mark Haskins, Robbie X and Rampage, it promised to be an exciting show. For the most part, it lived up to its billing, with stellar matches throughout.

Defiant Internet Title: Martin Kirby (C) vs Sean Kustom

Kustom was making his Defiant debut, replacing an injured Lucky Kid. Having only ever seen short clips of him, I was intrigued to find out what he was like live. Thankfully, he didn’t disappoint, putting in a great performance against one of Britain’s most underrated wrestlers in Martin Kirby.

Kirby, along with Joe Hendry, is easily one of Defiant’s most popular stars. Despite currently being a heel, he is consistently cheered by the Defiant fans and always puts on a good match. He’s had great matches in Defiant with Will Ospreay, Joe Hendry and countless others, and deserves a chance on a bigger stage sooner rather than later.

This was a great opener. The crowd were a bit quiet at first, unsure what to make of Kustom. However, the ‘Thunder from Down Under’ soon dazzled us all with some great athletic moves, drawing gasps and shouts of admiration from everyone. The longer the match, the more he impressed me, and he is one to watch in the future. However, he took his eyes off Martin Kirby for one second, allowing Kirby to hit a dragon screw through the ropes and apply an Indian Deathlock-style submission for the tap-out. Kustom got a standing ovation after the match and is more than welcome back in Defiant.

Winner: Martin Kirby via Submission.

Joe Hendry vs John ‘Bad Bones’ Klinger

Defiant have a weird obsession with Klinger. Despite being average in the ring at best, they keep trying to make him look like a beast, He won the Ringmaster tournament last year, and very nearly became Defiant World Champion, before falling to then champion Rampage. He’s currently doing a Macho Man Randy Savage tribute, and it is hysterically awful.

Joe Hendry is fantastic. He’s a great wrestler, and is very underrated on the Mic. His gimmick is parodying other people through songs, and Lights Out was no different. He sang Celine Dion’s’ classic My Heart Will Go On, but changed the lyrics to The Fanboy Goes On, which got a huge reaction from the crowd. We absolutely loved it. If you get the chance, go and watch this, because it’s one of Hendry’s best.

Unfortunately, Joes entrance was the highlight of the entire match. Despite Hendry’s best efforts, he just couldn’t get a good match out of Klinger. Maybe I’m being a bit too harsh on Klinger. He tried his best, but just couldn’t convince people that he was a threat to Hendry. Hendry managed to put him away quickly via the Hendry Lock (an Ankle Lock).

Winner: Joe Hendry via Submission.

David Starr vs Gabriel Kidd

This was a brutal match. Some of the chops and strikes from both men had me and and everyone in the crowd wincing. It was almost reminiscent of a New Japan match. Some of the moves were hard to watch at times. For example, they brawled before the match started, and Kidd backdropped Starr onto two stood-up chairs, which had my back in pain (and had me yelling IS HE DEAD?! at the referee). It looked brutal, and props to Starr for taking it.

Kidd is a future megastar. At 21 years old, he’s already had great matches with people like Zack Sabre Jr and Jay Lethal and will only improve as time goes on. He’s got himself into phenomenal shape and is destined to be Defiant World Champion at some point.

And David Starr is so good. A phenomenal babyface, his matches are nearly always the match of the night and always gets a great reception from the crowd. He’s worked all around the world and is one of the best independent wrestlers on the planet. Having met him several times, I can confirm he’s also incredibly nice, and always happy to talk to fans.

As said above, this was an absolute war. Both men gave their all, and the crowd absolutely lapped it up. Starr got one of the loudest reactions of the night, and Kidd got some great heel heat as well. They did finger breaks to each other late on in the match, which had a group behind me screaming and retching. It got really good towards the end, with both men trading some close near falls. In the end though, Kidd distracted the referee, allowing him to hit a low-blow and a Tombstone Piledriver for the win. Hopefully this feud continues, because this was an amazing match.

Winner: Gabriel Kidd via a low-blow and a Tombstone Piledriver.


The Dynamic Duo (Thomas and Mark Billington) vsJody Fleisch and Jonny Storm

The name Billington will be familiar to a lot of wrestling fans, as The Dynamic Duo are the nephews of British Wrestling legend The Dynamite Kid, Tom Billington.  Still only teenagers, these two have been on Defiant a few times recently, and have impressed people every time.

The team of Fleisch and Storm have, combined, a total of 46 years of wrestling experience. Both were wrestling before either of the Billington’s were even born. Both have experienced a career revival in the past couple of years, and both look as good as ever.

This was a short match, but still good nonetheless. It was a bit sloppy at times, which is understandable seeing as Thomas and Mark have only wrestled a handful of times. They had good opponents, who made them look great at any chance they got. In the end though, the experience of Fleisch and Storm got the better of the Duo, as Fleisch rolled up Thomas for the win. Both teams embraced after the match, and the crowd showed their appreciation for both teams.

Winners: Fleisch and Storm after Fleisch rolled up Thomas.

Vacant Defiant Women’s Championship: Lana Austin vsLizzy Styles

Due to Kanji’s late withdrawl, there was no match graphic. So we improvised. You can barely tell.

This was supposed to be Kanji defending her belt against Lizzy Styles, but unfortunately, she suffered a broken hand in a match last week, so had to forfeit her belt. After Styles kept bad-mouthing her, the General Manager Prince Ameen said that she could have the belt, but only if she defeated her opponent, which turned out to be Lana Austin.

This was… ok, I guess. The Defiant Women’s division isn’t as great as it used to be, and it’s starting to show a bit. I know a lot of the starts have been signed to NXT UK, but there’s still a bunch of talented women they could use, and they don’t seem to want to. Hopefully it improves soon, because some of WCPW/Defiant’s best matches have been in the Women’s Division.

It was a short match, and Lizzy got great heel heat being from Liverpool, and got the loudest boos of the entire night, and some of the most creative chants as well.  In the end, Lizzy hit a knee to the face of Lana Austin and picked up the win to become the new Defiant Women’s Champion.

Winner: Lizzy Styles after a knee to the face to become the new Defiant Women’s Champion.

PAC vs El Phantasmo

To the surprise of no one, this turned out to be the match of the night. Both men are so talented, and the crowd were split throughout the entire match. PAC is much more menacing in person and ELP is one of the nicest people in wrestling. He’s always happy to see his fans, and his light-up glasses always sell out very quickly.

PAC got a huge reaction from the crowd. The guy is a megastar everywhere, despite supposedly being a Bastard. He was brilliant throughout the match, not only as a wrestler, but also at winding the crowd up (He didn’t make a child cry though). He’s one of the best, the world is his oyster now, and wherever he goes, he’ll always get a huge reaction from the crowd.

ELP is amazing to see live. Some of the moves he does are genuinely unbelievable, and and times the crowd sat aghast. I was sat in the front row and had an incredible view for such a performance. It had an atmosphere surrounding it not seen in any other match at Lights Out, and both PAC and ELP had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hands.

Personally, this was one of the matches of the year so far for me. I wasn’t the only one who thought that as well. There was a Canadian couple sat next to me who went NUTS when ELP came out. When he was billed as being from Vancouver, British Colombia, they screamed so loud even ELP looked impressed. They are ELP super-fans, and it was nice to see ELP put on a fantastic performance. His selling throughout was amazing. At one point, he sold a top-rope dropkick from PAC by throwing himself across the ring and over the top rope. It looked fantastic and made PAC look even more brutal. He ended up picking up the win after a brutal looking top rope superplex and then a Red Arrow. Both men got a standing ovation after the match, and rightfully so, because it was an amazing match.

Winner: PAC via a Red Arrow

Mark Haskins vs Robbie X

Two of Britain’s absolute best put on a clinic of a match. It was always gonna be hard to follow the PAC vs ELP match, but both men were more than up to the task. They put on a technical and high-flying masterclass. If it was any other night, it would have easily been the match of the night.

Robbie X is one of the most underrated people in the UK. He’s travelled up and down the country putting on great matches with just about everyone imaginable. Like Kirby, he deserves an opportunity on a bigger stage, because he has done a lot for British Wrestling.

Mark Haskins is incredible. The guy is amazing inside the ring and is one of the best British imports currently working overseas right now. His move set is incredible, having both high-flying and power moves in his arsenal, and can also cut an awesome promo when he wants to.

As said above, it was a technical and high-flying masterclass. Robbie X kept trying to use his ariel offence to put Haskins down, and Haskins kept targeting Robbie’s left arm in order to try and get a submission victory. Robbie gave it his all, but unfortunately fell victim to a Mark Haskins Sharpshooter, and had no choice but to tap out. This got a standing ovation from me, because it was a fantastic match.

Winner: Mark Haskins via Submission

NO DQ Match for the Defiant World Heavyweight Championship: Rory Coyle (C) vs Rampage

This was another brutal match. Both men are known for being brutal in their matches, and this was no exception. Both men battered the crap out of each other throughout, and they used a lot of innovate weapons to try and kill each other.

Rampage, being from Leeds, got a huge reaction from the crowd. Literally, it was deafening to hear. Both men brawled through ringside and through the crowd, and they came dangerously close to where I was sitting. They took out the entire second row of chairs behind me, and the women who were sat there screamed the house down when Rampage threw Rory towards them. Thankfully they moved and Rory only landed onto chairs, which still looked brutal.

There were a few things I didn’t like though. For one thing, both men kept hitting the other one in the head with chairs, which in 2019 is just pointless. Ditto with the piledriver by Rampage onto the ramp. I get that both men want it to look as realistic as possible, but it just looks really painful and unnecessary.

Rory, who’s gimmick is that he uses video tapes to get his point across, kept delving into his sack of weapons in order to try and subdue Rampage, including a dummy arm, a hockey stick and several VCR’s.

In the end, Rampage fought off interference from people with sacks over their heads to hit a piledriver onto a VCR to become the first ever two-time Defiant World Champion. A good end to a great IPPV, but some of the weapon spots were too much for me. I still liked the match, and Rampage is a fine champion, and it was a good main event.

Winner: Rampage via a piledriver onto a VCR in order to become the new Defiant World Champion.

Overall Thoughts

Lights Out was a fine PPV. Nearly all the matches were fantastic, with PAC vs ELP, Haskins vs Robbie X and Kirby vs Kustom being the personal highlights for me. I’m looking forward to seeing how all this plays out on Loaded in the next few weeks, because Defiant looks to be getting very interesting now.

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