Favourite Five

Five Fantastic Matches You Can Watch For FREE

Peter Barnes delves into the world of online wrestling content to count down his top FIVE matches you can for free.

As we live in an age where technology is becoming increasingly prevalent, companies are constantly looking at ways in which they can harness this world wide web in which we reside.

Most promotions offer an on-demand service, for any fans who cannot be there to watch the show. Obviously, on-demand requires a subscription and some fans are reluctant to sign-up and give their money away. Due to this, many companies publish matches for free on YouTube and I have spent the last week looking for what I feel are the best ones. It’s been quite fun researching, but there’s no fun without rules, so I’ve not allowed myself to pick more than one video per promotion nor can I pick more than one match per wrestler, including alter-egos.

5. Chris Brookes vs Zoe Lucas vs Jayde vs Cara Noir vs Spike Trivet – Wrestling Resurgence

Let’s start with a multi-person match and use up a lot of really talented names early on so my life is trickier… sounds good to me. From Resurgence, this is a match of their own devising, and the second outing of the Artcore match. Essentially it’s a hardcore match, but the weapons are all either art supplies or what you would use to draw still life. The inaugural edition of this match featured Jack Sexsmith, Jimmy Havoc and Roy Johnson among others. At Angry Dancing, the match had some stakes attached (the metaphorical kind, not the ones you would use to kill a vampire) as the winner would get a title shot against Gene Munny for the then-vacant Resurgence Championship.

This features so many brutal spots with wax crayons and easels and canvases that you wouldn’t believe. It has more art supplies than you could shake a Year Six stick at. Jayde and Zoe were both on the end of some brutal manoeuvres, proving that they can hang in this type of match up. Judging by the previous two offerings, I really hope that the Artcore match becomes an annual feature in the Resurgence shows. Those matches alone are worth the entry cost, all of the other matches on any of their cards are a bonus.

4. PAC vs Robbie X – Defiant Wrestling

With Defiant having sadly closed its doors last month [link to our article about that], it’s good to see that their free matches are still online. The one I have chosen from them is a heck of a matchup and features two men who mesh together well.

Since his release from WWE, PAC has been hot property, getting more high-profile bookings than I remember and all the while never losing. Robbie X is a true craftsman, who doesn’t get the plaudits that he deserves. His matches are amazing and I’ve never known him to have a bad one – why he’s not being booked in more places is beyond me.

This match has a frenetic pace to say the least, the two workers both use a quick and agile style, which should come as no surprise. PAC also utilises amazing adaptability at one stage where, after having been hit by a Robbie X handspring-kick combination, he then counters this move with quite a vicious looking kick as Robbie is transitioning out of the handspring. This match is definitely for the neutrals who like to see hard-hitting action but anyone watching is advised never to look away from the screen as everything moves so quickly that it is a challenge to keep up. Admittedly I’m asthmatic, but this is the first and only match that has made me wheezy from just watching.

3. Will Ospreay vs Kazuchika Okada – RevPro

Off the back of one of the biggest storylines in BritWres against Jimmy Havoc, Will Ospreay took on the IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada. To say Okada is a big deal is an understatement of the highest order, so for Ospreay to even have a match against him speaks volumes of the talent and faith that Rev Pro and NJPW had in him – as I wrote in my previous article here.

Knowing I’ve already written about this match, it goes without saying that I have a tonne of admiration for this match. The young Will taking on an experienced campaigner during what is an on-going peak time of his career is a hugely awesome match. Kazuchan is easily in the top-10 of any ‘top wrestlers’ list. For my money, Ospreay is poised to break into that upper echelon, but in many ways that has been on the cards, even from his days of being a Velocity Viper.

These two combatants put on a fantastic match and getting to watch this match for free feels almost fraudulent. It continued to make a star of Will, and I can only hope that he ascends to the rarified air of being a Gaijin IWGP Heavyweight Champion. If he can’t, then I would love to see the Essex-native claim a victory over Kazu as the kudos that would go with it would be another launching pad for his success.

2. Tyler Bate vs WALTER – PROGRESS Wrestling

Another match that I have written about previously, and this one had several questions being asked going in to it. ‘Can Tyler lift WALTER for his power moves?’, ‘Will British Strong Style leave with all the gold?’ and ‘Oh gosh Karen, have you seen the time?!’. Yes, this is the match that cost PROGRESS reportedly £9,000 in over-running fees, only because at the start of the entrances it was 8.29pm and PROGRESS had to leave the venue by 8.30pm. It is more than likely that a previous match used more than its allotted time, but this is the one that went into the red-zone and caused the fine. It also caused much consternation amongst fans who had to travel home, but it’s now free on Demand Progress for everyone’s delectation.

Two immensely strong competitors took to the mat, both with their respective stablemates cheering them on. During the early stages of the match, it was notable how much shorter Tyler is in comparison to WALTER but on this day, they very much felt equal. Both had moments where they were in the ascendancy and had a semblance of control but the contest was always very even. For me, the end of the match felt odd, but that’s only because I wanted to see Tyler fulfil my prophecy that British Strong Style would be ‘b i g g o l d b o i s’ by the end of the show. My ill-will towards the result aside, this match is tremendous and I’m glad it’s free on Demand PROGRESS.

1. Jimmy Havoc vs Jinny – Riptide Wrestling

Our final stop on this Tour of the Free Match is at the Brighthelm Centre for one of TWM’s favourite companies, Riptide. This match had to be on this list for the simple reason that Riptide are an amazing company, just like Resurgence at the top of this article. That’s not to say that any of the others aren’t good companies, just I book-ended this piece with two companies that always standout to me.

You can really get a sense of the cinematic stylings that Riptide put on their shows and that uniqueness really stands out. The match is phenomenal as could easily be predicted when you have the King of the Goths taking on his student, the Primark Princess. The teacher versus Student vibes turn to frustration for Jimmy. We learn in the introduction that Jinny previously pinned him in a multi-person match, after hitting him with an Acid Rainmaker (the move he is known for). The chanting in the match is difficult at times to figure out as discerning between ‘Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy [expletive] Havoc’ and the same but with Jinny is quite the challenge.

Both participants in the match attempt to hit the Rainmaker at various times throughout the match, and this featured the usual dry-humour and verbals from Jimmy and his pupil. Rather fittingly, the match ends with a Rainmaker but it would be remiss of me to tell you for whom the rain was made – the only way to find out is to watch the video, and as it’s free, it’d be rude not to.

These five matches show the plethora of free content available on the World Wide Web. Each of these companies have their own on-demand service and I highly recommend that if any of these matches pique your interest, you should definitely check out more of their output.

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