Show Reviews

Wrestling Resurgence – This Is Spinal Graps Review

Peter Barnes reviews Wrestling Resurgence’s latest show, ‘This Is Spinal Graps’ where Fleeky AF fought Sanitarium in a six-woman street fight and Jack Sexsmith has his first defence of the Resurgence Championship.

Wrestling Resurgence decided it was time to turn it up to 11 as they had their show Spinal Graps. Coming out of the Contemporary Art Gallery in Nottingham, this show had several main event worthy matches and plenty of intrigue ahead ot it.

We start the action with Jetta vs Charlie Morgan, and as a new addition to the standard commentary team of Joe Kenard and Dr Claire Warden, we have Stixx.

The match starts with chain wrestling and builds solidly. The heel and face dynamic are well established by the competitors’ actions and despite the nickname of the Princess Diana of professional wrestling, Jetta is surprisingly the heel in this scenario.

There are some nasty underhand tactics from Jetta, befitting of her character – including the whiplash manoeuvre, one which I don’t think I’ve ever seen. A move that needs to be used more often, where one competitor has their head on the ropes, and the other jerks the ropes back to shoot their opponent across the ring.

In return, Morgan uses quite brutal and unorthodox moves that gain her the upper hand and it helps her cause that she has the support of the crowd against Jetta. However, the experience of Jetta shows, with her potentially cheating antics always happening out of sight of the referee. Alas, for Jetta, it is to no avail as all the conniving cannot prevent Morgan hitting her finisher to take the win.

The next contest sees a three-way tornado tag match as The Henchmen (Jim Diehard and Benton Destruction), take on the makeshift team of Rocky Mac & Damon Moser as well as the semi-established team Danny Chase & Paul Malem. The Henchmen come into this undefeated and their streak is at stake in a match they could lose without being pinned.

The two un-fancied teams group up to try and take out the Henchmen in what is amazing logic for wrestlers. However, as soon as the Henchmen seem to be even vaguely out of the match, the teams cede their advantage and turn on each other quickly. The match works well and there’s many highlights including a tope from a man who calls himself The Unit. Henchmen double team Malem for the win to remain undefeated.

It begs the question – what will it take to beat the streak? The only people to have had success against them were Chakara and NightShade, both of whom eliminated them in the OTTOTTOIBR. Maybe a women’s team deserves a shot, or a mixed tag team, something different that the Henchmen won’t have faced in Resurgence.

As Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street rings out, it can only mean one thing. That it’s already time for the dream match that no-one had ever imagined, time for Gene Munny vs Jimmy Havoc.

The match is everything one would expect from these two and more. There’s the usual comedy spots from Jimmy, with Munny also playing his role in the light-hearted nature of the opening phase of the contest.

It quickly turns serious with high impact moves and both men trying to hit their finisher. For Jimmy, the Rainmaker, for Munny it’s the Ainsley Lariat. As Stixx rather adroitly points out from commentary, both finishers are so similar, that Jimmy and Gene must both know the counters to it, making it harder to get the move in.

In a Super Saiyan-esque power up from Munny, he finds that energy to hit the Ainsley Lariat and shock the crowd by beating Jimmy. If anything he shocked himself and seemed a little unsure of what to do when Jimmy got knocked down.

Post-match, Jimmy hits Gene with a low-blow and then raises Gene’s hand in victory. Never change Jimmy. Never change.

As the interval approaches, the focus turns to no disqualifications and a street fight between Shax, NightShade and Jayde aka Sanitarium and Fleeky AF – the team of Candy Floss, Chakara and Sierra Loxton. It was good to see Fleeky AF in matching gear making me think immediately that they would win.

Curiously for a match with no rules, the tag match starts with only one competitor wanting to be in the ring for each team. This quickly changes as action spills to the outside. Seats and audience members scatter, hardware gets readied for action and weapons are wielded. Jayde takes a staple gun to the face, which is understandably quite brutal and really amplifies the feelings of discontent between the teams.

Whilst the fighting continues on the outside, it makes the action difficult to follow as wrestlers have this pesky habit of not all collecting in one place to fight. Thankfully for this show, there’s a picture-in-picture of the hard-cam that shows an overview of what was happening, whilst the main cameras focused on the detail and specific action. More companies should do this.

Eventually, Chakara is isolated from her teammates and receives a powerbomb through a table which she fails to answer the three-count to. A really good match that presumably ends this feud between the teams. It will be interesting to see where Sanitarium go from here, Henchmen perhaps?

As this feud ends, another begins as Candy attacks Chakara after the match to leave her lying. Sierra comes to make the save and set up a match against Candy Floss at the next show on April 27th.

It’s really telling that this was a women’s street fight and they took all the bumps that you’d expect from a no DQ match in any other company where women aren’t as prominently featured. Long may it continue that Resurgence are giving these equal opportunities.

Post interval, the harsh strings of Spike Trivet’s entrance music hits and the crowd make their feelings known. Against him is the ripped looking Paul Robinson. It’s so weird to see him as a face because of context, but I love it and can really enjoy getting behind friend of the podcast Paul. He brings such intensity to any match and should be booked in so many more places.

Spike tries to buy a win, but as Paul himself says, he drove 3 and a half hours to Nottingham with the express purpose of giving Spike a beating, so that’s what he’ll do. There’s shenanigans from Spike throughout the match and the intensity that Paul brings leaves the match absolutely crackling with energy. It’s the sort of intensity that’s contagious and I really felt the animosity through the screen.

The commentary are a little less than impartial, but that comes with the territory of having to comment on a man who is the antithesis of your company in Mr Trivet. If he hates the company so outwardly, he cannot expect anyone from within wanting to see him win.

The shenanigans continue from Spike and take a Guerrero-esque turn to try and get the win. It strikes me that Spike would do anything to win, and lacks the ability to get the win through fair means. The finish is borne out of a distraction to the ref, which leads to the Birthright for Spike to steal the win. Although the result was upsetting, my abiding thoughts for the show are that Robbo needs to come back and get revenge.

Next match – and finally the one-fall shout is mildly tolerable for yours truly, as this match is scheduled for 2-out-of-3 falls (crowd: 2-out-of-3 falls). After their first encounter was so good back in November at Attenborough Arts Centre, this time Kanji and Charli Evans have to win twice instead of once.

For Kanji, this is a huge chance to get a victory against Charli who won last time out. In doing so, she’d be winning in her home city, in front of both her trainer (Stixx) and one of her lecturers (Dr Claire Warden).

Understandably, the match starts with some chain wrestling so that they can each search for that early advantage against one another and earn their way to the first fall.

Eventually the first fall is lost by Charli due to some overzealous work in the corner to weaken Kanji’s arm. It may be a fall lost, but could be worth losing the one to have caused damage to the arm to prevent Kanji’s moonsault or any of her power moves.

The story of this match is largely centred around the arm and any injuries caused to Kanji. Resulting from the injury, Charli takes the second fall to leave them one apiece and the match being a one fall shoot-out.

It’s a gruelling encounter and certainly not the last we’ll see of these two. Kanji finally manages to hit a moonsault despite her arm and claims the final fall to level the record between the Nottingham native and the Aussie.

This is reportedly one of Kanji’s favourite matches to be in what is a remarkably short career given her proficient skills and is definitely a Match of the Year candidate.

Now introducing a phrase you’d never hear in any normal circumstance: “and there’s a cucumber shot to the face”. Apparently that’s how you start a scramble tap match, a match that pitted Big Grizzly against Super Santos Los Federales Jr, Visage, LJ Heron, Hari Singh and The O.J.M.O.

As would be expected in a scramble, it was energetic and action-packed. Every participant had a chance to hit a few signature moves. Watch out for Visage taking us to the Stratus-phere, the two towers of doom and the Canadian Destroyer.

The O.J.M.O shows a bit of opportunism down the final stretch but gets dispatched by Big Grizzly to take the win. All in all, a fun little match.

To complete the show, we have the first defence of Jack Sexsmith’s Championship, against Eddie Dennis in what can be described as student vs teacher.

These two mesh well together in this match and go to extraordinary lengths to beat one another. There’s quite a brutal looking Severn Bridge that Jack is victim to against the ring post.

Towards the end, there’s shenanigans ahoy and after a ref bump, Jack hits his finisher expecting to win but all he gets is a VISUAL PIN. Eddie then uses the belt and takes Sexsmith down, which leads to a near fall and Sexsmith attempts to retaliate in kind. As a result, Jack remonstrates with the referee and shows a darker edge. Could this be that the old adage of ‘absolute power corrupts absolutely’ comes true once more?

Time will tell on that point, but Jack takes the victory to hold on to his championship at the first attempt in what was a sprint of a match. I’m aware that the show overran so it’s understandable that this was over quickly, but I liked it being this short as it subverts the expectation that a championship match should be long and a test of endurance. It keeps the audience guessing and shows a finish can come at any point.

As always I really enjoyed the matches on show, there were so many amazing contests and Resurgence just keeps me wanting more.

In conclusion I would like to offer the following: Stixx is a brilliant addition to commentary and if either of Joe or Claire want to step back, then he would be able to enhance each show as a colour commentator – he gives a real insight the moves that satisfies people who view wrestling as legitimate contest and those who see wrestling as art.

There were THREE women’s matches on a card of eight matches which is quite substantial and deserves to be celebrated. If anything it should be the norm for most companies and not just this one.

Deviki is a great referee already – she doesn’t detract from the competitors and she just deserves to be booked in many places across the country.

And finally, with everyone on Twitter clamouring to take on Kanji, please give us either Kanji against Charli Evans in an iron-woman match, or give us a gauntlet match involving Kanji for the number one contendership of the Resurgence title.

If you want to watch this show, you can do so here: http://bit.ly/SpinalGrapsVOD. It seems like a complete steal, the idea of getting to see a show with a definite match of the year candidate and other great matches for £3.50 to buy and £1 to rent.

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