Show Reviews

Wrestling Resurgence – Arthouse Vol. 3: Ironwoman Review

Peter Barnes reviews Wrestling Resurgence’s Arthouse Wrestling Volume 3: Ironwoman.

What a day August 31st was for wrestling. There was NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff, New Japan’s Royal Quest and AEW’s All Out.

Tucked away in Leicester, in the under-appreciated East Midlands was Resurgence, going about their business, putting on an amazing card. Through the courtesy of their management, I have the privilege to review the show.

Interspecies Kafka Kup – 4-way Dance Qualifier (Josef Kafka vs Jetta vs Big T Justice vs Rhia O’Reilly)

We begin the show with a little bit of Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights as the man who’s Kup it is enters the ring. He’s followed by the self-appointed Princess Diana of pro wrestling, the veritably taller than tall Big T and finally the EVE champion Rhia O’Reilly, who definitely courted the crowd support. 

Before the match can commence, Kafka brings out his Kup, which turns out to be an orchid. I could discuss the imagery and gender politics behind the idea of all fighting for possession of an orchid, but I shan’t as I’m sure the Kup is only a plant as an off-kilter bit of surrealist comedy. 

The main story of the match-up is how do you stop the juggernaut that is Big T. Initial forays into that get none of his opponents anywhere, although eventually he gets forced out of the ring and it is there that Jetta tapes his hands to the ring post. This allows the three remaining wrestlers a reprieve, to concentrate on each other and claiming the win. 

Big T gets free and runs riot briefly but is eventually taken down via low blow – which in this match is completely legal because it’s a 4-way. In the end, Kafka gets the win via roll-up, ensuring qualification into the final of his own Kup.

I must admit, I’ve not seen any other Kup matches, but one suspects that Kafka is so far the only qualifier for the tournament final by virtue of winning every qualifying match, and therefore the final will be mighty interesting as it could be Kafka vs Kafka times five. 

This was a good match to open the show, and showed a real metamorphosis from Big T being someone who is good to someone who can be a focal point of the action. I’m excited by the prospect of him maybe being at the next show – Everything Patterned. Whatever match he is involved in, it won’t be a trial, he just must hope that he doesn’t get castled via low blow again. That’s my judgement on it.

Connor Mills vs Chakara

Expert level of photoshop, no official photo was made.

Originally, this match was scheduled to be between Mills and Candy Floss, which would make Connor the de-facto face. However, due to injury, Candy lost her spot to former friend Chakara, and Mills is therefore the bad-guy to elicit sympathy during the match for Chakara. To signify how much of a bad guy he is, he rips up a poster from the crowd (much to that audience member’s chagrin). 

The match starts well and Mills targets the Golden Goddess’ wrist and looks to be on top of the encounter. Chakara does well to get a bit of offense in but Connor continues to target the limbs of his combatant, utilising his well-honed technical abilities. There’s lots of near-falls which serve to frustrate the tall gentleman, who eventually takes a risk in going for a 450 splash and is met by the knees of Chakara for a very abrupt end to that move. 

She follows this up with a Widow’s Peak and gets the three-count. The key point from this match is that some more fuel has been added to this on-going feud. With Candy unavailable, Chakara not only took her spot in the match, she also took the victory and the momentum that comes with it. 

Henchmen vs Rocky Mac and Damon Moser – Tag-team Tournament Quarter-final

The Henchmen’s place amongst the Resurgence crowd is a curious one, as the physically imposing presences are faces and widely cheered. It is a role I wouldn’t cast them in myself, but they make it work for them and that’s the main thing. The crowd get behind them and show their support as much as they show their displeasure at the tactics of Mac and Moser. 

The match is difficult for the DaMac connection, as they struggle to overcome the strength and power of the Tool Shed and the Unit. This is proven no more notably than when Moser goes for a German Suplex to no avail. 

It is only the underhanded tactics that allow Mac and Moser to get a foothold in the match and Moser is eventually able to get a German Suplex hit. Unfortunately for them this rally is short-lived and after a miscommunication with some high-risk manoeuvres they fall victim to a Henchmen sandwich and the H-Bomb to give the popular team the win. 

Gene Munny (c) vs Chris Brookes (w/ Kid Lykos) – Resurgence Championship

The match starts as though it may be comedic in nature, although Brookes through the mouthpiece that is Lykos says that he doesn’t need to ‘naturally progress’ (a jibe aimed at Gene’s participation in the Natural Progression Series for up-and-comers, in PROGRESS where Brookes is a regular member of the roster). 

Although the match starts as comedy, off comes the nipple tape and Gene gets serious – he is wearing his big boy pants after all. There’s a sighting of some unorthodox offense, including Brookes hitting what I call the Waluigi move (aka Kokeshi – it’s just a standing, falling headbutt that looks juxtaposed against the otherwise dynamic movesets that wrestlers employ). There’s also a cartwheel into a back elbow, and Gene even hits a Hurricanrana. 

With Lykos being at ringside, of course there will be shenanigans. There’s a ref bump after a devastating Yakuza kick, which eventually results in Gene getting a visual pin (one day I want to see a match sort itself and then as someone’s about to cheat the ref wakes up unknown to the wrestlers involved, just as a variation to this theme). 

Some time passes but eventually Deviki (the referee for this match) is awakened from her kick induced slumber. Coming into the final stretch, Gene hits a moonsault for a near-fall and even kicks out of Brookes finisher – the Praying Mantis Bomb. In the end, Gene gets the win and proves his mettle as champion. Post-match, he delivers an impassioned promo, where he says how he wants to be the standard bearer for the company and will compete against anyone and if he loses to a better competitor then he’s okay with that because he won’t back down from any challenge. So it looks like we’re getting Munny versus Everyone (please don’t sue me Riptide). 

Spike Trivet vs Hari Singh

Speaking of Munny versus Everyone, the next match is Spike Trivet vs Hari Singh. Both are coming off losses in Resurgence, although Spike has been otherwise on a tear in the company and Hari has been less successful as I don’t recall him having won any matches in Resurgence. 

Despite this, Hari is sporting some new gear and there’s a more invigorated vibe about him that signals maybe he can reverse the trend and pick up a victory. 

In what turns out to be a brutal encounter, involving much punishment from Trivet, Hari is forced to tap out and Spike leaves the ring victorious again. 

Jayde vs Man like Dereiss 

This match had an odd start, as Jayde had her arm in a sling so made Dereiss get slinged up to match under the auspices of fairness. It was not a beginning I’ve ever seen before but it is proof, as if it were needed, that medics are employed at Resurgence and therefore they are good guys in my book. 

This match had good storyline work, and incredible invention as the wrestlers figure out ways to hit their moves without using the secondary arm. Although with Nightshade being at ringside, it’s not long before she gets involved with the match and attacks Dereiss’s leg. And what’s that?! Jayde’s injury is fake? She is not actually injured? My goodness, a heel cheating, what are the chances?

Nightshade’s involvement leads to getting thrown out and Jayde having the opportunity to low blow Dereiss and pick up a straightforward victory from there. 

30-minute Ironwoman match – Kanji vs Charli Evans

Now on to the titular match of this show and the main event – which has a video package beforehand, a lovely touch. It’s remarkable that women don’t get many chances to main event, even less in a gruelling ordeal such as this. 

30-minutes to prove your worth, but crucially if you try and win too early, you risk running out of energy in the home stretch and whatever advantage you may have gleaned could be wiped out quickly. 

Understandably, this match has cagey beginnings, neither wanting to show their hand too soon. In the early stages, it’s much easier to lose the match than it is to win it. 

What starts as the “feeling out process” transitions into more powerful and agile moves being employed, where the reward from hitting the move is adjudged to be worth the risk of the energy expenditure, but it’s always a tense balancing act that the two face. 

Charli utilises her ring awareness well and continually rolls out of the ring to catch her breath whenever there’s any threat of Kanji being in the ascendancy. I see it as quite sensible, although it could be seen as not being in the spirit of competition – regardless of opinion, it is definitely an effective tactic.

The match spills outside, and there is quality underhanded work from Evans, as the two wear each other out outside the ring, only for Charli to hit Kanji with a brutal move and make her way back to the ring, whilst a prone Kanji gets counted out. Kanji ties the scores at one-apiece close to the end and this inaugural Ironwoman match looks like it might go to sudden death. Unfortunately Kanji receives many knees to the face, and despite weathering the earlier armbar storm, the fatigue and the damage from the match catch up with Kanji and she has to relent and submit. 

This match was not a high-fall match, but if anything that was to its benefit, as it truly felt that any mistake from either woman would be enough for them to lose. The tension was palpable and it gave this feud a fitting, although presumably temporary, conclusion. As a result of the match, Charli has earned herself a shot at the Resurgence Championship, but to my mind Kanji more than deserves a chance at it too down the line. Since her ad-hoc debut at Spandex Ballet, she has shown her abilities at every pass and continues to shine on this stage. That title opportunity can surely only elude her for so long, and I have full faith that when she her time comes to challenge, she’ll be holding gold by the end of it.

Overall, this was another great showing from Resurgence. Their stable of wrestlers and referees continue to shine, and it has a good atmosphere and blend between wonderfully advanced wrestling and the variety that the right amount of comedy brings. 

The highlight for me was the main event – I’m biased but that shouldn’t take away from how intelligent the story being told was, nor how proficiently the wrestlers told that story. One day, I would love to see an unknown time match. It would still be the most falls wins, but no-one other than the timekeeper will know how long there is to go. The match could be announced to have one minute remaining as the sole reference point, and the wrestlers would have to weigh up either going all-out from the beginning, or saving something back hoping it goes long. However, that sounds a little like something Schadenfreude and Friends will inevitably do at some point. 

If this review has whet your appetite at all, then it is available here:

If that takes your fancy, or even if it doesn’t, the next event is looking to be awesome as, in celebration of Black History Month, Roy Johnson presents Everything Patterned. I’ll be writing both a preview and a review of the show, and the line-up so far is shaping up nicely with Sugar Dunkerton and Darius Lockhart taking on the team of the Bhangra Knights being just one match that I am unbelievably hyped about – I just hope that Baby Barnes shares this enthusiasm in what will be her first show. Tickets are available here.

Act quickly, as these shows have a habit of selling out.

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