What a night we had last night. Shocks, twists, casualties and eliminations. And tonight? More of the same! Yes night two of the inaugural GFC Invitational was just as full of action as the first.
Again there was no time for the usual meet and great, which will return next month as FRONTIER rolls into the Littledown Centre, Bournemouth.
Kevin Hardaway vs. Ndamukong Asomugha
We kicked things off tonight with the quarter final clash between K-Hard and GENOCIDE’s Asomugha. Ndamukong made his way to the ring first, noticeable in his absence was his manager Kristoff Sterling. Hardaway then made his way to the ring which really woke up the fans and got them ready for the action that lay ahead.
Hardaway started the match strongly, getting the upper hand over the big man and getting a near fall after a vertical suplex. Hardaway showing he is capable of lifting the War Machine. But unfortunately for K-Hard this only seemed to fire up his opponent who came back at him hard. A suplex of his own, clubbing blows to the back of the head and a side slam saw the tide turn and ended with Asomugha getting a near fall of his own.
Asomugha went for a massive lariat but Hardaway ducked it, leapt up onto the second rope and went for a springboard moonsault. But Asomugha caught him, raised him into the air and dropped him hard from the Gorilla Press Slam. He went for a leg drop but Hardaway rolled out of the way. Hardaway popped up and nailed a big kick to the chest of Asomugha, popping up onto the ropes again and this time nailing the Lionstomp.
Hardaway is fired up now and pulls the big man to his feet. He bounces off the ropes and nails the KTFO~! But Asomugha is still on his feet so Hardaway charges in again this time nailing the Decapitation Lariat! This time Asomugha is down and Hardaway goes for a pin, but there’s a kick-out at two.
K-Hard has all the momentum now and as Asomugha misses another lariat Hardaway takes him down with a neckbreaker. He gets up again but is groggy now and Hardaway spots his opportunity. He hoists the big man up onto his shoulders before pulling off the Angelina’s Crossing for a pinfall victory!
An impressive opening to the show, so much better than the start to yesterday’s show! Hardaway getting an emphatic win and proving he can deal with a bigger opponent, which is handy because he may have to face Kenchi Yamamoto later tonight!
Kenchi Yamamoto vs. Joel Hall
Our last Quarter Final was up next as Joel Hall made his way to the ring to a chorus of apathy from the crowd. Hall’s not shown them anything yet since his arrival in FRONTIER, only getting to this stage in the tournament due to a disqualification last night.
Yamamoto, however, got a great reception. He may have suffered a slump in form recently but last night he proved that he’s back to his best. He’ll be hoping to push on further in this tournament, to prove himself as the King.
The match started with a massive lariat from Yamamoto that almost took Hall out of his boots. Way to start a match, Hall looks dazed already! Yamamoto hoists Hall into the air and drops him head first with a brainbuster. He raises his arm as the crowd chant his name before turning round and waiting for Hall to get back to his feet.
But Hall doesn’t move. The referee checks on him briefly before throwing up an X signal with his hands. Other referees and Scott Mayo rush to the ring as Kenchi looks on in horror. A moment later and there’s a medic on the scene, helping to put Joel Hall on a stretcher before being taken out of the building.
The crowd were stunned, some of them chanted Joel’s name while others remained silent. No-one likes seeing someone get injured like this, it was obviously a head injury and everyone was fearing the worst on the scene, especially Yamamoto. He may be a giant and a monster in the ring but out of it he’s a quiet and respectful man. Causing such harm to an opponent is never in his plans.
Mayo got on the mic and announced there was a suspicion that Hall had been attacked backstage prior to the match, that he wasn’t at 100%. All it took were two big moves from Kenchi to finish him off. Yamamoto advances to a Semi Final encounter with Kevin Hardaway, but anyone can tell from looking at him that he didn’t want it to happen like this.
Alex Jones vs. Leanne Evangelista
Next up is our first Semi Final, only being a semi final due to the events of night one and the mysterious attacks and disappearances. Both competitors got a good reception here tonight and to be honest I think this is going to be a tough match to call!
We start as Jones has the arm of Evangelista for a few seconds before it’s reversed. Takedown and a side headlock on Evangelista. Jones out and a faceoff. Arm drags by Evangelista and back to their feet. Shoulder tackle by Evangelista but Jones gets a body slam. Spinning body slam now and gets a 2 count. Rear chinlock on Evangelista and they’re up to their feet. Evangelista tosses Jones to the outside. They exchange positions and Evangelista goes back in the ring where Jones is and slaps him. They trade shots and Evangelista throws Jones out again.
Double axe handle to the outside. Reversed Irish Whip and Jones hops up on the apron and hits a jumping clothesline to Evangelista. Evangelista back in. Misses a running baseball slide. Summersault Plancha by Jones to the outside! Rolls Evangelista back in but only gets a one count. Great action in the early stages here, these two both showing how much they want to progress.
We get an exchange of strikes and Jones gets a backslide for two. Evangelista hits a neck breaker. Three pin attempts yield her two counts every time. It’s too soon to try and put AJ away here.
Spinning back palm strike and a DDT bring another near fall. She hooks the leg and gets two again. Chinlock by Evangelista but Jones gets out. Jones sent outside though and Evangelista hits the baseball slide this time. Back inside the ring and Jones fights out of a Backdrop suplex. He connects with some stiff kicks to the legs of Evangelista but eventually she blocks, grabbing a leg and taking him down with a dragon screw.
As Leanne goes to pick him up he brings her down with a Nip up Hurricanrana! Suddenly the tide turns and Jones follows up with the Xtreme Combo of hiptoss, jumping fist drop, nip up and stiff kick to Evangelista’s back. He spots an opportunity to go for the leglock armbar but Evangelista is too close to the ropes and the referee forces the break.
One legged dropkick from Jones and he drives Evangelista into the middle turnbuckle. Hammerlock as she backs out before Jones spins her round into a clothesline. Two count.
Back up and Evangelista gets a Fisherman suplex. Goes for a DDT but Jones reverses into a Northern Lights suplex. Evangelista goes for what appears to be an inverted Koji Clutch! Jones counters into a crossface but Evangelista reaches the rope! Great to and fro action here, the crowd loving it and there’s a split in who they want to see win this one!
Evangelista gets some strikes and tries for her backbreaker finisher! Jones escapes and gets an AJ-guri! He leaps up to the top and looks for the Spiral Tap! But Evangelista rolls out of the way! Another set of stiff kicks from Jones and then he tries the Time to Burn, but Leanne wriggles off his shoulders and takes him down with the Filipina Legsweep! She goes up top and flies off with a moonsault, but Jones’ knees are up!
Jones moves quickly to lock in the AJ Lock! Evangelista is clear away from the ropes and a chance to break the hold. Evangelista fights the pain and then somehow reverses the hold into a Crossface! AJ now in pain and cannot reach the ropes. He squirms and wriggles, trying to get free. He starts to loosen the hold and before long he’s reversed it into an ankle lock! Evangelista moves quickly to spin herself onto her back, kicking Jones with her free foot. The kick’s enough for Jones to release the hold and Evangelista spots an opportunity for her own nip up ‘rana!
The crowd are loving this, reversal after reversal. I honestly have no clue what to expect next!
After what seemed like forever both Jones & Evangelista are back to their feet. Jones bounces off the ropes and nails a massive clothesline. Pin attempt. Two only! Evangelista gets up, grabs Jones. Elbow jab, headbutt, inverted facelock and some clubbing blows to the chest. But Jones spins out of it and gets his opponent in a hammerlock, spinning her round ready for a clothesline but Leanne ducks, picks Jones up and nails the backbreaker, following up with the single knee headbreaker. She makes a cover, making sure to hook the leg… and gets the three!
John Empires vs. Velimir Radinovic vs. Mark Evil vs. Caylen Collye’
Four men who lost in the opening round of the tournament last night were up next, a Four Corner Survival match. Empires got a pretty decent reception from the crowd, as did Collye’. But there was no stand out favourite in the fans eyes.
We started off with Radinovic and Collye’ trading blows. Collye’ got the upper hand with a DDT but as he waited for Radinovic to get back to his feet Empires slapped him on the back and tagged himself in. Empires got Radinovic into a front face lock and pushed him back into the corner before nailing some big punches. He stepped back, charged in and went for a clothesline but Radinovic rolled out of the way. Empires crashed into the turnbuckle and Radinovic followed up with a drop kick to the lower back.
Radinovic crawled to the other corner and tagged in Mark Evil. Evil came in and pulled Empires back to his feet, nailing a backbreaker to follow up the previous attack on the lower back from Radinovic.
Just then there was a disturbance in the crowd as they noticed Wayne Matthews was on his way to the ring. Matthews, with a bandage wrapped around his head, looked to be in a foul mood. He slid into the ring and headed towards Mark Evil, who hadn’t seen him coming. A Northern Lariat took Evil down hard. Empires looked confised, Matthews grabbed him and nailed a Burning Lariat. The referee called for the bell and declared this one a no contest!
Radinovic and Collye’ both jumped into the ring and went for Matthews. Another Burning Lariat to Collye’. Radinovic goes for a clothesline himself but Matthews ducks and hits another Northern Lariat. The crowd goes wild as the newcomer has taken out four men with huge lariats.
Empires gets back to his feet in time to be met by Matthews who hoists him into the air before taking him down with the Canadian Baconry! Collye’ in this time to be met by a boot to the gut. Matthews shouts out “People of FRONTIER, GIVE ME YOUR ENERGY!” before nailing a Spirit Bomb!
Mark Evil slides out of the ring and backs away, not wanting to confront Matthews. Radinovic does the same, pulling Collye’ out of the ring too. The crowd are chanting Matthews’ name as he grabbed a microphone. Matthews confirmed that he was attacked last night, that he received twelve stitches in his head last night and told us all just how pissed he was to miss a chance to progress in the GFC Invitational. He promised that if he ever found the identity of the man responsible there would be hell to pay.
Kevin Hardaway vs. Kenchi Yamamoto: Semi Final Match
Hardaway avoids Kenchi’s chops early using his speed advantage, but Kenchi chops him out of the air on a leapfrog attempt. Yamamoto dominates early, but Hardaway gives him a brainbuster on the apron that soon puts an end to that dominance. Crowd chanting “holy shit” for that one, for the first time tonight.
Yamamoto starts to climb back into the ring as Hardaway lariats the back of his knee, forcing him to drop down onto the ring apron. Another sick move as he hits a running kick from the floor to Kenchi’s head as Kenchi is laying on the ring apron. Kenchi kicks his way back into the match and gets two off a capture suplex. Hardaway catches him with a dropkick. That sets up a standing moonsault and a superkick to the face that gets the matches first near fall.
Kenchi blocks the Williams Driver and hits a Spinebuster for two. Hardaway kicks his way out of a Sleeper but gets powerbombed into the turnbuckle. Hardaway rolls to the apron where Kenchi tries to Grand Crash him on the apron. Instead, Hardaway reverses to a SPINEBUSTER FROM THE APRON TO THE FLOOR! Another “Holy Shit” moment. I’ll admit to joining in on that one. Stunning to see Hardaway lift Yamamoto and slam him to the floor like that.
Kenchi groggily crawls back in to the ring but gets nailed with a springboard dropkick by Hardaway. Hardaway sets up for the Angelina’s Crossing, but Kenchi counters and gets K-Hard into a tree-of-woe where he nails a clothesline reminiscent of Stan Hansen. Kenchi tries to finish with a Giant Driver but it’s countered to a cradle by Hardaway for a near fall!
Yamamoto back up and nails the Giant Missile for a two count. Hardaway ducks a lariat and goes for his own Decapitation Lariat but Yamamoto stands firm and doesn’t go down! He screams in the face of Hardaway, who bounces off the ropes and tries again. Yamamoto nails a HUGE lariat that spins Hardaway inside out. Another near fall!
Hardaway back up, ducks a big boot and nails the KTFO~! But Yamamoto again stands firm! A second KTFO~! rocks him though and Hardaway moves quickly to take the big man down with the Williams Driver to pick up the victory and move into the final!
Another fantastic match that was highlighted by Kenchi Yamamoto’s power moves and Kevin Hardaway’s experience and tenaciousness. The execution from both these guys is amazing and the crowd were left in awe by the end. But after two tough wins here tonight how will Hardaway fare in the final against Leanne Evangelista?
Jay Pride vs. Dexter Davis
Pride gets a ton of streamers. Code of Respect followed nicely and here we go. Lock-up and a wristlock by Davis. Headlock by Pride and he holds onto it when Dexter tries to shove him off of the ropes. Headlock takeover by Pride, cover for one by Davis, headscissors but Pride nips up and goes right back to the headlock takeover. Davis gets his own headlock, shoulder tackle but Pride trips him up and gets his headlock back on. Davis counters to an armdrag and starts working on the arm as we get duelling chants.
Pride goes to the ropes and gets chopped. Davis counters the Northern Lights with an armdrag and Pride ducks the running jumping knee. The pace picks up until Davis hits a back body drop and hits a flying back elbow in the corner. Pride backdrops Davis to the apron, but Davis goes up top and hits a crossbody for two.
Pride trips him up but Davis kicks him to the floor, tries the moonsault but Pride blocks, tries to suplex him off the apron, Davis blocks, but Pride hits an enzugiri, Neckbreaker on the apron! Pride drops an elbow on the neck and stays focused on that body part. Clothesline gets two for Pride. Neck wrenches by Pride, and a knee drop to the back of the neck gets two.
Half-nelson chinlock by Pride, but Davis elbows out of it. Davis goes around Pride but eats a heel kick, and Pride hits a backdrop suplex and a Hangman’s neckbreaker which gets two for Pride. Davis kicks Pride from the floor, but Pride kicks him in the back of the head. Front chancery, vertical suplex, double knee drop! Davis out at two.
Turnbuckle smash by Pride, Pride goes up top and Davis starts throwing punches, and a headbutt. Pride with gut punches and a headbutt, Super Pride Eater? No, suplex by Davis. Pride misses an elbow and Davis hits a running jumping knee to the face. Dropkick to the knee, enzigiri gets two.
Davis goes to the apron and hits a missile dropkick to the back of the neck. Pride hits an armdrag to counter a Dragon Suplex, reverse STO, Dragon Sleeper! Davis is in the ropes, Pride puts him up top, Palm Strike! Death Valley Driver! Nearfall! Elbows to the neck by Pride, sick running neckbreaker gets two. Davis fights back from his knees, punches by Davis but Pride ducks a spin kick, Before a Fall, NO, Double D Rana!! Nearfall! Awesome action here, the crowd loving every second.
Davis picks up Pride, punches, European uppercut by Pride, an enzugiri by Pride, rebound lariat by Pride, Moonsault! He misses but lands on his feet, ‘rana by Davis, Face Smashed! Fans are chanting “This is Awesome” and they’re right.
Double D Driver countered, Pride Eater! 1…2…NO! Spin Kick by Davis, Dragon Suplex, Double D Driver! ONLY 2! Strikes and a kick to the back of the neck by Davis, SICK STO! Pride Eater! This one is over!
While both these men lost in the first round last night, their talent is undoubted and I wouldn’t be surprised to see either man in a title match before the year is out.
Before our main event got started there was a burst of unfamiliar music. Unfamiliar to me, that is, some members of the crowd knew exactly what it was and what it meant. A few moments passed and then it became clear as we were joined by the MWA World Heavyweight Champion, Steve Pinex.
The crowd went nuts, instantly recognising The Ebony Destroyer. Pinex made his way to the ring and grabbed a mic. He said he was here in Broxbourne to address the two finalists in the GFC Invitational. He said he was coming out before the match as he didn’t want to take away from anyone’s celebrations tonight. He reminded everyone that the winner of this match will become the first ever GFC Heavyweight Champion, an honour of the highest order. Pinex spoke about what it means to be a champion, to be the figurehead of a promotion, to have everyone gunning for you.
He went on to say that, whoever the GFC Champion is by the end of the night, he’ll be the one gunning for them first. Pinex confirmed that a deal is being discussed for a Champion versus Champion match! The crowd went mad at the thought of Pinex competing here in FRONTIER, especially with the possible opponents that could be against. Pinex versus Leanne? Pinex versus K-Hard? Either way we’re in for a classic if the FRONTIER and MWA officials can sort out a contract for that one!
GFC Invitational Final: Kevin Hardaway vs. Leanne Evangelista
Evangelista and Hardaway both get great receptions from the fans as they make their way to the ring. Then Alan Galpin gets into the ring and speaks to both competitors, showing them the shiny GFC Title belt and going over the rules with them. They shake hands and share a few words before heading back to their respective corners.
And we’re under way! Both competitors start the match using what worked well for them in their previous matches here tonight. Hardaway uses his power and Evangelista uses her speed and agility. Whenever Evangelista changes her strategy, hitting a power move, she quickly backs away. When Hardaway changes his strategy, putting Evangelista on the mat, he uses his strength to make sure that his risk pays off. As the opening moments of the match come to an end however, it is Evangelista once going to the headlock to prolong the match and get the wind out of Hardaway. You can tell, even in these early stages, that both Leanne and K-Hard want to do their best not to make any mistakes.
Hardaway does his best to try to get away from the headlock but Evangelista knows what works and does everything she can to keep it on. Evangelista lets go of the headlock and tries to outwit Hardaway with a series of shoulder blocks but ends up getting smacked around before getting a surprise rollup for two. Hardaway looks surprised and confused, as if Evangelista’s come out tonight with a different game plan than he was expecting. It’s almost as if he wasn’t prepared for this eventuality. He had so focused on Alex Jones I wonder if it ever occurred to him that Jones wouldn’t make it to this stage in the tournament!
Evangelista then tries to match Hardaway at his own power game and ends up getting knocked around and a German Suplex leads to her rolling out of the ring and to the floor. Hardaway takes the opportunity to out-power Evangelista in a sleeper, but Evangelista manages to come back and nails a chinbreaker to turn things around somewhat. She tries to follow up with an abdominal stretch but Hardaway overpowers her and hip-tosses her into the guardrail!
The volume suddenly gets turned up to 11 as the crowd goes insane and Evangelista and Hardaway just pound into each other with strikes on the floor. And HARD strikes they are too. Evangelista may be small but boy she packs a punch, as K-Hard found out the hard way here. She slides back into the ring to avoid a count out and connects with a baseball slide back out to Hardaway. They trade blows again, this time Hardaway gets the upper hand and he’s the one who goes back inside the ring. He then hits a picture perfect GTFO~! that sends the fans into a frenzy. I must admit I was so caught up in things at this point that I forgot to make my notes of what was happening.
A few minutes passed until things calmed down, during which time Hardaway got several near falls after a double arm DDT, Decapitation Lariat and the Williams Driver. While Evangelista almost picked up the win with the Northern Lights Suplex, Filipina Legsweep and a Tornado DDT. Both were shattered, having given their all here tonight. Especially Hardaway who was now competing in his third exhausting match in one night.
Evangelista had Hardaway set up on the top turnbuckle looking for a high impact move when Hardaway began to fight back. He clubbed her back and got her in position for what looked set to be a top rope Williams Driver! But Evangelista managed to escape his clutches as she nailed some big open hands to the jaw. She stood Hardaway up on the top turnbuckle, turning him round to face out to the crowd before sending him flying backwards to the mat with a top rope Filipina Legsweep, popping back up for a springboard knee drop into a cover.
But Hardaway kicked out! The crowd couldn’t believe it, and neither could Evangelista. Jay Pride had now come down to ringside and was stood slapping the mat in encouragement. She pulled Hardaway back to his feet and lifted him up, looking for the backbreaker that got her into this final. But Hardaway manages to slide out of her grasp, nails the KTFO~! for a two count only!
The two slowly and steadily get back to their feet and Hardaway charges in for a lariat, but Evangelista ducks it and nails the backbreaker, headbreaker combo! She makes a cover, hooking the leg as the referee counts… one… two…
And then the bell sounded! Everyone looked shocked, not quite sure what the hell was going on. No-one looked more shocked than Leanne though, who was a second away from becoming GFC Heavyweight Champion here tonight! The ring announcer, Jenni Starr, got on the mic to announce that the 60 minute time limit had expired! The crowd were in uproar, chanting “five more minutes” loud and clear. I must admit I’d got so wrapped up in this match that I didn’t realise how long it had gone on, I don’t think anyone did. It’s just been so entertaining!
Alan Galpin, the Chairman of the Global Frontier Crown Committee, made his way down to the ring. He grabbed a microphone and told the fans, and more importantly the competitors here in the match, that the match had to have a winner! He ordered the match to be restarted with NO TIME LIMIT! Talk about a fan reaction, they went apeshit for that one! I too was caught up in the moment.
The break had given Hardaway a chance to get back to his feet and catch his breath and when the bell sounded again he went straight on the offensive. He grabbed Evangelista, whipped her into the ropes and nailed a big decapitation lariat! He pulled her up, hoisted her up onto his shoulders and went for the Angelina’s Crossing. But as he was spinning Evangelista out, she grabbed his head and nailed a HUGE Ace Crusher!
It was a long time before Evangelista moved and when she did it was just to drape an arm over the chest of Hardaway. But K-Hard kicked out in the nick of time! Unbelievable.
Again the two slowly get back to their feet. Again Hardaway charges in with a lariat, but Evangelista ducks it again, and again she goes for the back breaker, but Hardaway manages to get free and arm drags Leanne to the canvas. He moves quickly to lock in a cross arm breaker submission move and Evangelista is in obvious pain! She manages, somehow, to get to a knee. By doing so Hardaway’s shoulders are on the canvas! The referee counts… one… two…
Hardaway pulls hard and Evangelista drops down again, back into the submission hold. He avoids the three and instantly puts more pressure on the arm of Evangelista. After a few seconds more she has no choice but to tap out!
So, your winner, and the first ever GFC Heavyweight Champion is Kevin Hardaway!
What an unbelievable match to end a fantastic show. Alan Galpin gets back in the ring and presents Hardaway with a trophy and then the GFC Heavyweight Title. Hardaway holds it aloft as streamers fill the ring. There’s a tear in his eye as he climbs the turnbuckle and holds the title out for fans to see, this win obviously means a lot to him.
Evangelista looks despondent, she knows how close she came to winning that title. Hardaway comes over to her and she offers her hand. He takes it and raises it, showing a lot of respect for his opponent.
And we can see our new champion in action again next month, along with the rest of the FRONTIER crew as we roll into Bournemouth! Make sure you come along for some of the best wrestling action the UK has ever witnessed!