A personal odyssey of three (very different) wrestling shows in three cities over three weekends came to an end with PCW’s There Can Be Only One event, from PCW’s home base of Evoque Nightclub.
PRESTON, UK – The major selling point of PCW There Can Be Only One was a 10 man Gauntlet match where a number one contender to the PCW Heavyweight Championship would be crowned, with the winner getting that shot at PCW’s upcoming Tribute To The Troops show. This meant that all but one of the other matches on the card were qualifiers for the gauntlet.
Things opened up with a man who was no longer scheduled to wrestle, the Cruiserweight Classic bound Noam Dar who had wanted to give his thanks to PCW and it’s fans for all they had given him over the years. If there’s one thing a wrestling crowd is conditioned for it’s a swerve and when he was interrupted by PCW Heavyweight Champion Sha Samuels the signing of a match between the two was inevitable. That, after some persuasion, Sha agreed to put his PCW title on the line was a bombshell though.
The show kicked off with a six-man tag as The Hooligans teamed with PCW academy graduate Alex Boylin to take on Joey Hayes, Martin Kirby and another academy graduate Jimmy J. With some of the comedy that PCW is known for as well as some bruising action this was a top-notch opener, with newcomer Jimmy J being serenaded by Zlatan Ibrahimovic chants. The Hooligans and Alex advanced to the gauntlet.
Dave Mastiff and Charlie Garrett followed this up with a good singles match. The two worked a good “big man” bout and if we all know about the undoubted talent that Mastiff has, it has to be said that Garrett has quietly carved himself out a burgeoning reputation in PCW. Mastiff took the win and booked his place in the gauntlet.
For once Dave Rayne, co-GM of PCW, actually had a match booked in advance as he tackled “The Alpha Male” Iestyn Rees. For 99% of the audience the result was a forgone conclusion with everybody expecting Rees to take the win. That a miscue, with Rees accidentally hitting his valet, led to a shock roll-up win for Rayne was one of the more surprising moments of the night and the fans were certainly happy that Rayne had picked up the win.
The final match before the interval saw current TNA World Champion Drew Galloway take on fellow Scot Lionheart in what was a very good battle indeed. Although previously the heel in PCW during his battles with Noam Dar, Galloway sought and received a positive reaction here, no doubt helped by being opposite the man PCW fans (with one exception!) love to hate. This was an epic back and forth battle which Galloway took to become the sixth man to book his spot in the gauntlet.
The second half of the show kicked off with Mexico’s finest, El Ligero battling Canada’s “Speedball” Mike Bailey. This was a high-flying, fast paced aerial war with both men busting out the big moves and earning much deserved appreciation from the crowd. It was arguably the best “pure” wrestling match of the night and whilst Ligero took the pinfall, Bailey was met with “please come back” chants from the appreciative crowd.
The final Gauntlet qualifier saw the on-going issues between the Firm (Sammy Smooth & the London Riots) and Team Single carry on apace. There was little finesse about this one (and nor should there have been with the ongoing hostilities between the two trios) as it was a bruising brawl all the way. In the end the Firm took the controversial win thanks to liberal use of a cricket bat and following the match Team Single challenged the Riots to a Title match at the upcoming Tribute to the Troops show and you can only wonder if even the sold out Preston Guild Hall will be enough to contain that one!
Next was the co-main event of the evening as Sha Samuels and Noam Dar met for the PCW Heavyweight Championship. If you thought Dar might want to take it easy given his upcoming shot in the WWE Cruiserweight Classic you needn’t have worried. He gave it his all in another cracking match that had the crowd on the edge of their seats throughout. There were close calls and false finishes galore amongst the liberal outside interference and ref bumps. Dar thought he had got the champ to tap out but the referee was out cold. We all then thought that Samuels would sneak it but in a shocking twist, Dar was able to get the win when a second referee, Joel Allen, came into proceedings. The fans were on their feet but the delight was short lived as co-GM Joanna Rose announced that it wasn’t the talent who decided when titles were on the line and as she hadn’t sanctioned it, the match had not been for the title. The deflating anti-climax was a little disheartening but that doesn’t detract from the great match we had seen before it. And if Dar doesn’t claim the Cruiserweight Classic and comes back to these shores there’ll be money in Preston for his official “rematch” for the title without question.
All that was left then (after Joanna Rose and Dave Rayne had agreed to put together squads to face each other at August’s Fifth Anniversary show for complete control of the promotion) was for the ten man gauntlet to decide who would face Sha Samuels at Tribute to the Troops. The match followed the WWE gauntlet route, in that there were a lot of rapid eliminations in the early going. We did get to see Zak and Roy Knight face off with each other in the middle part of the match before things came down to Drew Galloway and Dave Mastiff. Again with the history between Mastiff and champion Samuels and Galloway being the current TNA World Champion many might have thought that this would be Mastiff’s night. But in another shocker it was Galloway who took the win and set up a huge main event at the upcoming show. We closed with Drew thanking the fans but explaining that he had to leave because he’d yet to write the best man’s speech for his Brother’s wedding the following day.
PCW rarely disappoints on it’s home turf and this was another very good show, showcasing the best of the “home grown” talent that the company has. But quite apart from being a great show in it’s own right it also took important steps towards setting up the next show and making that look like another night no self-respecting PCW fan can afford to miss.