GFC Invitational: Night One

Tonight was one hell of a show, eight matches booked on the card and the opportunity to move on to tomorrow night and a shot at becoming the first ever GFC Heavyweight Champion!

With so much action planned for the night there was none of the usual meet and greet tonight, we turned up here at Broxbourne Civic Hall and were ready to kick things off with a big first round match.

Wayne Matthews vs. Echo

The first match was set to be the debut of Pro-Wrestling FRONTIER’s latest star, Matthews, who stepped into the fold to replace the recently retired Chris Jacobs. But as Matthews was announced to the crowd we instead saw Scott Mayo walking to the ring with a look of disappointment etched on his face. Mayo announced to the fans that, regretfully, Wayne Matthews was not able to compete here tonight. Apparently there was a fight backstage and Matthews had been discovered in a pool of his own blood. Mayo told the fans that Matthews was currently en route to the local A&E department to be patched up.

Mayo went on to tell the crowd that Matthews planned opponent, Echo, had not been seen here in Broxbourne tonight. Mayo gave Echo thirty seconds to make his way to the ring or else he’d be disqualified from the tournament! Thirty seconds passed with no sign of Echo and so the first match of the evening was officially a bust.

Mayo announced that both Matthews and Echo would be withdrawn from the tournament and therefore Shiek Abdul-Wahid and Steve Martyn would receive bye’s which will turn their match tonight into the first Quarter Final! While it may be disappointing to lose a match from the card like this, I think this is only the start of something. I can’t quite put my finger on it but something is happening here tonight and it’s NOT good!

Ndamukong Asomugha vs. Caylen Collye’

Our first proper match saw the giant Asomugha take on Caylen Collye’ in what was a short but brutal affair. The War Machine dominated Collye’ in the opening stages and a big power bomb almost ended the match within the first few minutes. Collye’ faught back and nearly took out the GENOCIDE man with the Vive’ La Quebec, but Ndamukong kicked out just before three. Asomugha then regained control of the match and, after shaking off a jawbreaker, the Nsukka Nightmare looked enough to keep Collye’ down for the count and Asomugha advances to the Quarter Finals.

John Empires vs. Joel Hall

Next out was two men looking to make an impact here in FRONTIER, this being their first singles matches since signing with the company. Hall was in the ascendancy during the opening minutes until Empires struck a nasty spinning elbow that turned the tide. Empires managed to lock in the Georgia Cloverleaf and Hall was nanoseconds away from tapping before Empires released the hold, having spotted someone at ringside. There was a brief ruckus as someone jumped over the security railing and slid into the ring. The man brawled with Empires and dropped him with an Ace Crusher. The referee called for the bell and awarded the match to Hall by way of disqualification!

Shiek Abdul-Wahid vs. Steve Martyn

Now all the fans thought this was meant to be the main event of the evening, and so did I. When they announced this match was up next people were confused. But with two short matches and one cancellation already at this point of the show I think Mayo is backstage changing things up to try and keep the fans happy. He’ll wake up tomorrow thinking this was not a wise move.

After a few moments of nothingness and the crowd beginning to get restless Scott Mayo made his way to the ring for the second time tonight. He is looking downbeat, disheartened and thoroughly drained. And I for one am not surprised. Because Mayo announced that Steve Martyn was now also on the way to the local hospital and Shiek Abdul-Wahid was nowhere to be found. It appears the locker room is in complete chaos here in Broxbourne tonight.

Mayo put out the same call for Wahid as he did for Echo earlier in the night but he got the same result. He announced the second match cancellation of the evening and told the crowd that the next scheduled match would now be another Quarter Final match!

Kenchi Yamamoto vs. Velimir Radinovic

The first half of the show ended with this match as the big man from Japan hoped to rebound from a disappointing outing last time around. But standing in his way was the Moscow Missile, Velimir Radinovic. Two men from two very different wrestling backgrounds set out to light up Broxbourne.

And, to their credit, they did a pretty good job. Radinovic had the best of the early going and used his speed advantage and array of high flying moves to wear down his opponent. But Yamamoto catches Radinovic as he tries for a cross body and slams him down so hard that Radinovic cries out in pain, arching his back and rolling away. Yamamoto does not let up. He grabs the Russian and pulls him to his feet, whipping him into the ropes and almost taking him out of his boots with an enormous lariat. Yamamoto beats his chest and shouts “kingu” at the fans as he does so. The crowd responds by chanting his name, which only seems to drive him on further.

Kenchi is pumped up and grabs Radinovic once more, this time taking him down with a Grand Crash that scores him a two count. Yamamoto pulls Radinovic back to his feet once more and this time it’s the Giant Driver. But Kenchi doesn’t make a cover, instead he waits as Velimir slowly gets back to a vertical base. Then the big man puts the final nail in the proverbial coffin as a Grand Impact seems him pick up an easy three count.

The crowd cheered and applauded wildly at Yamamoto, a dominant display that will leave many others in this tournament quaking in fear at the thought of facing this giant. FRONTIER be warned, Yamamoto is back to his best!

Leanne Evangelista vs. Mark Evil

Someone else looking to get to their best is Leanne Evangelista. With Matthews and Echo now both out of her side of the tournament brackets things could prove to be slightly easier for the young woman from the North West. But first she has to get past Mark Evil. This is the most mis-matched pairing I’ve ever seen. The 7 footer Mark Evil, the tallest man ever in FRONTIER, and the 5’1″ petite frame of Leanne Evangelista, the smallest person ever in FRONTIER!

But thankfully for Leanne she has pace in abundance and was soon running rings around the big man, flying across the ring, from the ropes and even leaping through his legs on a couple of occasions. The problem for Evangelista came when Evil caught her and dropped her hard to the canvas. Plucky is one word that I don’t think gets used enough, but I’m bringing it back right here. Leanne was plucky here tonight. Every time she got dropped by Mark Evil, every time she found herself face down on the mat she got herself back up to her feet and back into the match. The fans were beginning to get behind her because of that and she seemed to draw energy from those chants.

Evil went for the Evil bomb but Leanne got a kick into the gut of her opponent as he had her in the air. He dropped her back to her feet and she quickly took him down with a roundhouse legsweep. She lept up to the top rope and as Evil was getting back to his feet she leapt into the air, grabbing his head and bulldogging him to the mat. She tried a cover but the powerful Evil easily kicked out at two. Evil fought his way back to his feet and picked Leanne up for a side slam. But Evangelista wriggled and Evil was losing his grip on her. She got her leg wrapped around his and leaned forwards before throwing herself back, managing the Filipina Legsweep without her own feet even being on the canvas!

She climbed to the top rope once more and pulled off a picture perfect Moonsault, only for Evil to kick out once more. But Evangelista was fired up now and landed a jumping elbow to the jaw, followed up by a headbutt from the middle turnbuckle. Evil was dazed and Evangelista took her chance to take the big man down with a missile dropkick, connecting sweetly on the jaw of Mark Evil! She leapt straight back up onto the turnbuckle and landed another Moonsault, this time leading to a three count and a pass into the Quarter Finals!

Jay Pride vs. Kevin Hardaway

Next up was Pride and Hardaway, arguably the biggest match of round one. Truth be told this is one match I have wanted to see since both men arrived in FRONTIER. The fact that this is a first round match is unbelievable and shows what strength and depth of talent this company has right now. This match has final quality written all over it, the crowd were pumped and ready, and so was I!

Hardaway was out first, to a great reception as always from the UK fans who have really taken to this guy. He stood in wait for his opponent but Pride was taking his time in showing up. The fans got anxious, worried that yet another star would fail to appear here tonight. But their concerns soon passed as the Scot turned up and rushed down to the ring. But he was holding his arm and the referee had some talks with him before calling for the bell to start the match. Later in the evening I found out that Pride had been attacked backstage, quite possibly by the same person that’s been causing so much havoc here tonight. Fortunately for Jay and the fans here in Broxbourne the attack was interrupted and no major damage was done.

Hardaway gets control over Jay’s arm and begins working it over; Jay looks like he’s in a huge amount of pain. Hardaway beats Jay on the floor, but when he throws the Scot into the ring, Jay uses the ropes to momentarily blind Hardaway, then attacks his opponents arm to even the playing field. A hurt arm effects Hardaway as much as Jay, as not only does he need the arm for his Angelina’s Crossing finish, but Jay has his rebound lariat which will now be weakened.

Jay is too weakened to control for long, but does succeed in limiting Hardaway with his arm work and is still far too strong to be defeated so he has succeeded in his goal at this early point of the match. They begin to exchange offense until Jay hits the first really big move of the match, the inverted facelock backbreaker, then uses the Dragon sleeper to further weaken his opponent. He tries to hit another inverted facelock backbreaker while on the apron, but Hardaway escapes and is poised for a big move that Jay can’t hope to take in current condition, so he breaks out his ace in the hole, a huge lariat… which hurts Jay’s arm as much as it damages Hardaway. Hardaway ends up more hurt in the exchange, however, when Jay breaks out a scoop powerslam to the floor. Hardaway barely avoids a countout.

Jay tries to set up the rebound lariat, but is countered by Hardaway who has now had plenty of time to recover into a sunset flip powerbomb. Hardaway doesn’t have the energy to press his offensive attack with impact moves, so he intelligently attacks the arm with Jay’s own armwringer throw.

Jay quickly escapes and both men begin reversing signature moves to pins, desperate to get out of this grueling match until Jay is able to lock in his own armwringer throw. Jay tries to pull Hardaway to the center of the ring, but Hardaway reverses the move into his own Decapitation Lariat, but Jay gets his feet on the ropes.

Great match here between these two men. The crowd are really eating this up!

Hardaway isn’t ready to give up the arm, so he goes into a cross armbreaker on Jay, who again makes his way to the ropes. Hardaway gets up with a flurry of offense and even an KTFO~!  won’t keep Jay down. A few more counters and Hardaway manages to hit his Williams Driver, but Jay is in the ropes so it’s only a close two.

Jay is in serious danger here as Hardaway goes for a second Williams Driver. Jay counters and when both men collide, Pride falls back and manages to hit his impact finisher, the Pride Eater. Hardaway is out, but Jay is in too much pain to immediately cover and only gets a long two!

And out of nowhere, Hardaway turns the pin into a cross armbreaker! Jay slowly, barely reaches the ropes. Jay gets up with another lariat attempt, but he’s slow with it due to an injured arm and misses. Hardaway nails the Angelina’s Crossing and we have a winner!

Alex Jones vs. Dexter Davis

We started with a strength comparison and they came up even, so Dexter takes Jones down and kicks him in the back. Jones gets mad, slaps the taste out of Dexter’s mouth and kicks him around. Dexter keeps trying what Jones’s doing, only for Jones to outdo him at every turn early, notably with the kicks.

Jones goes to the well once too often and gets hit with a dragon screw through the ropes. Time to even things up, as Dexter works on the leg to take away Jones’s kicks and speed. Dexter mixes in leg work and strikes, making sure Jones is too tired to come up with a way to fight back. Dexter’s crowd interaction here is great, the FRONTIER fans buying into him despite this being his debut performance here.

Dexter mistakenly gives Jones momentum and Jones replies with a flurry of attacks with his arm. The leg was worked for a short time. A few moments later Jones is able to go back to kicks, shaking the leg out, and despite being slightly slowed, he’s successful and locks in an STF.

After Dexter escapes, Jones goes for another running kick, but is slowed enough still for Dexter to nail a capture suplex. Jones bails, but is still groggy and slow enough to be hit by a huge Dexter dive to the floor. Crowd goes nuts for that one. Back in, Dexter hurt himself enough to allow Jones to fight back, but to no avail as Jones is clearly the more damaged of the two.

Dexter takes his time setting Jones up to the top, so Jones knocks him off and hits a similar combo to the one Dexter just hit with corner running strikes, except Jones makes sure to kick Dexter into mush so he can’t fight back. Jones goes up and hits flying double knees for a near fall.

Jones rush attempt is turned into a Dexter hurricanrana. Jones keeps fighting back, but Dexter can counter his predictable offense, as the springboard dropkick is turned into a huge powerbomb and we go to a cloverleaf, Dexter finally putting pressure on the legs again. Dexter goes back to kicks and it’s fighting spirit time as they trade killer strikes, doing the exact same thing until both collapse.

Both men take a bit, get up and go right back to insane strikes, but this time Jones wins and turns the exchange into an AJ-guri before collapsing. Dexter tries to roll out, so Jones follows him and they fight on the apron for control. The struggle in this is awesome. Jones nearly kills Dexter with snap DDT to the floor and both men are again down and in pain.

Jones and Dexter struggle into the ring . Jones is on his feet ready and Dexter on his knees and AJ nails a stiff kick to the head of Dexter which almost knocks his brains clean out! Near fall.

Jones is done screwing around. He aims for the Time to Burn, but Dexter escapes, grabbing both arms of AJ he looks for the Double D Driver. Back body drop from Jones turns that one around but Davis goes right back for him again, nailing the Double D Plex for a near fall!

Both men are down again. The fans, however, are on their feet and going nuts!

Dexter gets back up and Jones kips up, much to the delight of the fans. Dexter charges in with a boot to the midsection, then goes for a ‘rana. But Jones reverses into a mean looking powerbomb. Jones holds onto Dexter, hoists him back into the air and turns it into the Time to Burn! A swift three count later and Alex Jones marches on to the Quarter Finals!

What started out as a promising night soon turned into a mini disaster, but those last few matches turned the opinions of everyone again and I think it’s fair to say that the fans went home happy. Davis and Jones, Hardaway and Pride. Both could easily have been semi-finals in this tournament, it’s a shame that Davis and Pride went out at such an early stage, especially considering some people didn’t even turn up here tonight!

And so we move on to night two, back here in Broxbourne tomorrow night where the first ever GFC Heavyweight Champion will be crowned! The matches for night two are…

Kevin Hardaway vs. Ndamukong Asomugha: Quarter Final Match

Kenchi Yamamoto vs. Joel Hall: Quarter Final Match

Alex Jones vs. Leanne Evangelista: Semi Final Match

John Empires vs. Velimir Radinovic vs. Mark Evil vs. Caylen Collye’: Four Corner Survival

Hardaway or Asomugha vs. Yamamoto or Hall: Semi Final Match

Jay Pride vs. Dexter Davis

GFC Invitational Final

Quite a night in store for us tomorrow, make sure you’re here!