Return to Blighty

After the excitement of the GFC Invitational came the US tour with our new friends in the FGA and WARPED. But, you know what? There’s no place like home! This weekend Pro-Wrestling FRONTIER returned to the UK with a fantastic nights entertainment from Wolverhampton Civic Hall. 

As with the WARPED show, this one started with a young lad by the name of Ethan Albright. Albright snuck a win against Blood Tiger two weeks ago and now would face another man making his FRONTIER return, “The Betamax Kid” Dave Spikey.

Ethan Albright vs. The Betamax Kid

Because tonight is his official debut in Frontier, Ethan Albright is accompanied to the ring by the head-in-the-clouds sound of Sonic Youth’s “Teen Age Riot” which goes over rather well with spectators. Shirtless but wearing bright orange spandex and macho black boots at odds with his healthy blond hair, Ethan jumps onto the ring’s apron, walks across and ascends the closest turnbuckle to perfectly back-flip off and land on his feet as well as a gymnast. Some fans clapped for that athletic display, but most remain indifferent.

Betamax is already in-ring, and so greets Ethan very sportsmanlike, to Ethan’s surprise. They shake hands after referee Sal Mancini reminds both of The Code and general limits are enabled, such as rope-breaks and count-outs. When the bell rang, Betamax and Ethan immediately tied up, with Betamax applying a headlock. Lifting Betamax by his thighs, Ethan backdrops and then quickly lateral presses by pressing his hands against Betamax’s shoulders, to keep them pinned. Surprisingly, that would effectively gain two counts, but Betamax powered out just in time.

Caught off by Ethan’s impressive pin attempt, when Betamax ‘powered out’ he also made sure to punch Ethan square in the jaw! Compelled to retreat some steps back, Ethan nevertheless leaped forth to wheel kick a rising Betamax, but the Liverpool native smoothly ducked and treated the foreigner to a jumping knee drop that falls onto Ethan’s chest cruelly. Short of breath thereafter, Ethan unwillingly permits Betamax to stand him and hammerlock into a lariat! From there, Betamax drives another jumping knee drop into Ethan, to ease the appliance of an octopus stretch.

For each time Ethan tried muscling out of the stretch, Betamax unhooked one of his arms to bash the greenie on the ribs, thrice. Eventually, Ethan resorted to risking his body by pushing himself and Betamax into a nearby corner, and then ramming five elbows into Betamax’s gut! Having just completed the best offensive sequence in his career yet, Ethan follows up by step-up enzuigiri into an inside cradle! Referee Sal Mancini is fast to react, thus three slaps to the canvas are counted! “Teen Age Riot” restarts, announcing Ethan Albright the winner.

Evidently relieved, Ethan sits up breathing heavily but with a wide smile on his reddened face. Some probably think he finds the cheering of a few girls in attendance charming, but really, it looks as though he’s just glad to have won the damn thing. Keeping to the code, although Betamax is puzzled by his defeat, Ethan shakes his hand, respectively.

Your winner, Ethan Albright!

Yet again Albright comes away with the win when the odds were stacked against him. He’s certainly showing signs of improvement. With the opening contest in the books we received an unexpected visit from one of the FRONTIER originals!

— VIDEO —

The lights darken down a bit, and some organ music hits the speakers… oh wow, it’s Be Aggressive! The crowd are on their feet trying to see the entranceway. A purple tinged spotlight shines down, and into frame – to a massive pop – steps FRONTIER original Jay Pride! He’s not in ring gear, and he’s looking around grinning at the fans. He shakes some hands and signs a couple of programmes as he makes his way to ringside, then asks Jenni Starr for her mic. She obliges.

Jay: What’s up, FRONTIER fans?

Cheap, but effective. He smiles at another big pop.

Jay: When people talk about the founding of FRONTIER, about those early shows when nobody knew if we’d still be around the following month, there’s a few names that come up in people’s minds as inextricable from that time – Kenchi Yamamoto, Alex Jones, Sheik Abdul-Wahid, my good friend Leanne Evangelista. And of course, yours truly, Jay Pride.

Another cheer!

Jay: So as one of FRONTIER’s founding fathers, as it were… well, one of my fellow trailblazers is in a wee spot o’ bother lately, it seems. Mister Kevin Hardaway.

A mixed reaction for the name.

Jay: Lemme tell you, I’ve been in the ring with Kevin Hardaway. I’ve been backstage with Kevin Hardaway. I can’t say I approve of all his behaviour. I can’t say, in terms of personality or lifestyle, he and I have much in common. What I can say is that he is one of the most dedicated, hardworking, passionate wrestlers I have ever had the honour to face in my career. Kevin Hardaway loves wrestling like very few people. He’s up there with Connor Murphy and Justina America in terms of people who’d give absolutely anything for this business. And he’s never been anything less than professional and respectful in any dealings I’ve had with him.

He pauses.

Jay: Now, Scott Mayo on the other hand…

Another mixed reaction.

Jay: When Leanne and I faced Patrick and McBride, when we faced The Best Americans, for us it was about victory and personal honour. Nothing more. I’ve no ill will towards any of those four men. I’ll knock their teeth down their throat in the ring, but I’ll shake their hand and buy them a damn pint afterwards. Scott Mayo turned it into a crusade. Scott Mayo was the one who decided that FRONTIER’s reputation was at stake. Which is bollocks if you ask me. If FRONTIER’s reputation was in question, would wrestlers the calibre of Jackson and Gambino come to compete here?

This gets a general cheer.

Jay: Mayo took it too far with Leanne and myself, trying to turn us into bitter rivals with people we barely knew. Now he’s done the same thing to Kevin Hardaway. Who’s next? Is he going to do it to CJ Osborne or Bushido next? All it’s doing is making Mayo look like he doesn’t have enough faith in FRONTIER to attract acclaim and big stars on its own merits! Which it patently has proven itself more than capable of in just one and a half years of existence.

A small FRONTIER! FRONTIER! breaks out for a moment.

Jay: So what does FRONTIER need more? Its top star, the first name you think of when you think of this promotion… or a manager without confidence in his own brand? Is FRONTIER better off with the two-time GFC Champion and winner of the first GFC Invitational, or with a man whose burning desire to show up other companies ends up making his own look bad?

He pauses, scanning the room.

Jay: You already know the answer. My vote for who should stay goes to K-Hard.

And with that, his music hits again and he returns backstage.

— /VIDEO —

What a surprise it was to see the FRONTIER return of Jay Pride, one of the original stars of FRONTIER. It’s been a while since we’ve seen the Scotsman and who knows why he’s chosen now to make an appearance. Can we expect to see more of Pride in the coming months? I guess we’ll have to wait and see on that one.

Our second match of the night featured one Kevin Hardaway taking on WARPED’s Hugo Strange, making his FRONTIER debut after a falling out with WARPED management. Now there’s a familiar story…

Hugo Strange vs. Kevin Hardaway

The bell rings and straight away the two brawl through the ropes and onto the floor. Strange is taking it to Hardaway on the floor. Hardaway gets some shots in and nails Strange with chops. Irish whip into the barricade but Strange gets his foot up as K-Hard charges in afterwards! Back in the ring, Strange has control. Spinning back elbow to Hardaway gets a two count.

Hardaway catches a kick and gets a big boot of his own. BIG vertical suplex from Hardaway for two. Chops in the corner by K-Hard. Strange eventually turns it around. In the opposite corner, he flips over Hardaway for a sunset flip! 1…2…no! K-Hard sends Strange to the apron! Big dropkick to the floor! Strange rolls back in, only to be met by a sliding kick from Hardaway! 1…2….kickout from Strange.

Headlock from K-Hard. Backdrop suplex for two on Strange. KTFO~! from Hardaway! He just celebrates…no pin attempt. Hardaway stalks in the corner. He goes for a Decapitation Lariat but Strange moves out of the way. Hardaway runs and flips off the top rope, but Strange moves. European Uppercut from Strange! Spinebuster! 1…2…no!! Strange goes up top but Hardaway cuts him off. Strange stays on the apron and guillotines Hardaway!

Strange runs the ropes but gets a boot to the face! Double-arm DDT from Hardaway! STRANGE KICKS OUT AT 2!! Hardaway motions for the Assylum Bomb but Hugo escapes. VORTEX HAMMER!! He pulls Hardaway up… CANADIAN SPIKE!! That’s one hell of a package piledriver and it’s enough to earn Hugo Strange a debut win!

Your winner, Hugo Strange!

A great debut for “The Canadian Madman” here in Wolverhampton, picking up the win over the former two-time GFC Champion. I know Hardaway has a lot on his mind as of late, but to take anything away from Strange would be harsh. I look forward to see what’s next for the big man from Calgary.

Our next match featured the FRONTIER return of GDW’s Andreas Lasiewicz going toe-to-toe with the Strong Style Warrior!

Bushido vs. Andreas Lasiewicz

Bushido gives Lasiewicz a clean break during the first contact of the match, and we ease into a feeling-out process. They trade some early pins and look for their trademark submissions, but they just go at it and end up in a standoff. That was a great little sequence that got the Wolverhampton crowd pumped for this one.

Lasiewicz catches Bushido with an enzuigiri to a big roar from the crowd, but Bushido tosses him over the rope and boots him off of the apron. Lasiewicz starts coming back in the ring with a basement dropkick, but Bushido stops all that with a dragon screw and an attempt at the Iron Octopus Hold, which the Silver Eagle gets away from. Lasiewicz eats a couple of chops but begins to trade strikes with Bushido in the middle of the ring. Bushido steps out onto the apron and Lasiewicz SILVER EAGLE SUPLEXES HIM ONTO THE FLOOR!

Lasiewicz throws the Strong Style Warrior into the ring and hits a hurts him with an Implant DDT. Lasiewicz starts building up more momentum, but Bushido stops it with a John Woo Dropkick. That big suplex to the floor gave Bushido a bit of a stinger, but he doesn’t let it faze him as he connects with a springboard roundhouse, stomps Lasiewicz on the back, and heads to the top rope. PHOENIX SPLASH!!! NO!!! Lasiewicz rolled out of the way!

Andreas moves quickly to grab Bushido, connect with a European Uppercut and then a big Polish Hammer! UNFORGETTABLE FIRE!! And this one is over at the count of three!

Your winner, Andreas Lasiewicz!

A good win for the returning Andreas Lasiewicz. Bushido’s been on a great run of form since arriving in FRONTIER and to lose his streak will be a disappointment to him. But Lasiewicz is on a good run himself, that’s sure to be noticed by FRONTIER management.

As the two men left ringside it looked as though Bushido was holding his lower back, it seems he’s picked up some sort of injury but at time of writing we’re not entirely sure what it is or how bad it is. He was taken to a local hospital for a scan and we’ll have an update for you as soon as possible.

Now, before we get to our next match, let’s take a look at what one of our cameramen filmed backstage during the event…

— VIDEO —

We’re backstage at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall as FRONTIER’s general manager Scott Mayo is pacing up and down in a corridor whilst rubbing his temple. Behind him, leaning up against a wall, is his friend and business partner Matt Montell.

Mayo: This is just what my headache needs. Who the hell let Jay Pride into the building?

Montell: He was invited, Scott.

Mayo: Invited? By who? I certainly didn’t invite him!

Montell: I did.

Mayo stops in his tracks and glares at FRONTIER’s head trainer.

Mayo: You? On whose authority?

Montell: (raising an eyebrow) On MY authority. I know your official job title is General Manager, but when Hanna invested in this business she invested in us as a team, Scott. Not you, not me, but both of us. We both get to call the shots around here. And after I spoke with Hanna the other night we felt it would be good to invite Jay back to FRONTIER.

Mayo: Oh you did?

Montell:  And not just Jay, either. There’s others out there that I’ve reached out to. We’re coming off three of the biggest shows in our history and what better way to build on that than to bring back a few faces from the past and find the next stars of the future. Hell, if you’re so intent on getting rid of Kevin Hardaway then we need to make sure we have other stars ready to step into the void. So that’s why Jay Pride is here tonight. That’s why Ethan Albright has been signed. That’s why…

Mayo: Oh, give it a rest. You know I can’t allow this Hardaway nonsense to continue. He’s constantly stealing the limelight from the rest of the guys. He’s constantly undermining me.

Montell: Undermining you? You mean he disagrees with your decisions! And, frankly, I can’t say I blame him because your decisions are often a steaming shower of shite. That whole Gabe/Hardaway thing was ridiculous. Calling out FGA was done entirely the wrong way…

Mayo: That show with the FGA was one of our most successful ever. That made us more money than any idea you’ve ever come up with!

Montell: And it lost us friends in the process. You’re lucky that the guys turned it into something special, they spotted that opportunity and turned your idea around. The success of that show wasn’t down to you, it was down to the likes of Max, Andreas, Talbot, Gabe… and Kevin.

Mayo: Poppycock!

Montell: (trying not to laugh) Poppycock? Man, you’re such a ‘tard. Look, Hanna’s going to be at the show in two weeks. This Hardaway ultimatum has got her worried and she’ll be there to make sure you make the right decision. Please, for the love of all that is holy, work this thing out.

Mayo: (rubbing his temple again) Man, this headache! It’s all this stress, it’s too much.

Montell: Go see the doc, get some painkillers. And try not to stir up any more shit!

Scott Mayo nods at his friend before walking off.

— /VIDEO —

Well, it would appear that even Scott Mayo’s friends are fed up with his decisions and the controversy he’s courted as of late. And Montell’s reached out to other former FRONTIER stars? Who could he have called? Did they agree to make a return? Man I hate having to wait to find the answers!

Right, let’s get back to the ring and another great matchup pitting CJ Osborne against Max Violence, this should be a cracker!

CJ Osborne vs. Maximum Violence

The two men circled each other for a moment or two until they finally locked up. Max got the better of the early exchange and locked in an abdominal stretch, verbally mocking Osborne in the process. The crowd and Osborne did not appreciate this, both letting Max know about it in no uncertain terms. Osborne retaliated, locking in a triangle choke in the ropes. They spilled to the floor, and Osborne used the barricade to do an armbar variant. Osborne continued to go after Max’s left arm, possibly trying to take the crossface out of his arsenal for the night.

Osborne brought him back to the ring, and he continued to go after Max’s left arm for a while. CJ went for a running kick, but Max caught his leg and hit a dragon screw. Osborne clutched his right knee. Max shook out his left arm, but he was now in control of the match. Osborne managed to come back by getting an arm-drag and arm-lock on the injured arm. Osborne got a cross armbreaker, but he couldn’t fully lock it in. Max managed to make the ropes. Max went right back after Osborne’s leg. Max grapevine the leg, and Osborne writhed in pain. Osborne fought and fought until he finally made it to the ropes. Osborne could barely walk, but he managed to hit a dropkick, which got the crowd excited. They traded slaps to the face. Osborne managed to lock in a sleeper and take his opponent down. It looked like Max had passed out, but he just managed to make it to the ropes. Osborne delivered a HUGE  slap to the face. Max tried for another dragon screw, but Osborne avoided it and got another sleeper.

Max avoided a superkick and hit a dragon screw on the injured knee. Max then kicked at that knee. Max went for a flying elbow drop, but Osborne got his knees up. I’m not sure who that hurt more! Osborne delivered some more slaps, hopping around on his good leg, but Max managed to get a dragon screw once more. SHINING WIZARD!  TEXAS CLOVERLEAF!! Osborne has no choice but to tap out.

Your winner, Maximum Violence!

Well that was one heck of an interesting match, both men looked determine to cause the other an injury. CJ going for Max’s arm, and Max going for Osborne’s knee. CJ Osborne was in real pain after this one, but things were about to get worse!

— VIDEO —

Maximum Violence is walking around the ring, looking down at the fallen CJ Osborne. CJ is in pain, clutching his knee. Max is grinning. He goes towards CJ but the referee stands in his way. Max pushes the ref aside and grabs the leg of the former champion, raising it up into the air and smashing it back to the canvas, knee first. CJ yells out in pain as the crowd unleash a torrent of jeers. Max soaks it all up, slides out of the ring and grabs a chair from ringside.

DW: Uh-oh, this is going to get nasty.

Max tosses the chair into the ring and rolls back in. He sets the chair up to be around the knee of CJ Osborne before stepping up onto the second turnbuckle. He looks out at the crowd and is set to leap off and land on the knee of CJ Osborne…

When someone leaps over the guardrail, jumps up onto the ring apron, hops up onto the ropes and connects with a MASSIVE enziguri to the back of Max’s head.  Max flips over, falling back first to the canvas. Osborne has got himself out of the chair and looks up to see the man who helped him.

DW: NO EFFIN’ WAY!!!

Osborne can’t quite believe his eyes as the crowd  are going mental, a chant of “Welcome back! Welcome back!” reverberates around Wolverhampton Civic Hall.

DW: It’s… IT’S ALEX JONES!!

Jones pulls Max up off the canvas… TIME TO BURN!!! Jones grins from ear to ear as he looks out at the crowd.

Crowd: Alex Jones, Alex Jones, Alex Jones!

He drops to the canvas, rolls out of the ring and walks towards the back as a surprised CJ Osborne looks on, still clutching his knee.

— /VIDEO —

And just like that we had two men in the hospital for scans. Unlike Bushido this problem with CJ’s knee looks more clear cut. It could well be a ligament problem, which is going to mean a serious amount of time out of action. Sadly this may be the last we see of CJ Osborne for a while.

But on the flip side… Alex effin’ Jones? Man, I did not see that one coming. I’m not sure why AJ came out to help CJ… maybe that wasn’t his plan, maybe he just wanted to make an impact. Whatever the reason for AJ’s return, I’m sure he’ll fill us in real soon.

When the dust settled it was time for our main event, the GFC World Heavyweight Title defence. Gabriel Gambino to defend against Jason Talbot, a surefire hit of a match. But before the bell sounded Gabe had a few words for the fans at ringside…

— VIDEO —

Gabe: I’ve had a million questions thrown at me the past two weeks. They all ask the same thing, they want to know why I threw Hardaway to the wolves back in Kansas City. Well the answer is simple; I’m the GFC World champion and I do what I want!

Crowd: BOOOOOO!

Gabe: Now Jay Pride comes out here tonight and puts his name in the pro-Hardaway camp? Let me be the first to go on record and say that in two weeks it should be Hardaway who quits!

Crowd: Hard-a-way! Hard-a-way!

Gabe: Yea, the Kevin Hardaway that lost to that mook Hugo Strange earlier tonight! Hardaway’s nothing but a whiny child. Whereas Scott Mayo is the only person in this entire company that has any respect for me…  Any respect for the GFC World champion…  Any respect for the best wrestler on this and every other planet.

Crowd: We think you’re a knob, we think you’re a knoo-ob. Gabriel Gambino, we think you’re a knob!

Gambino looks pissed with the Wolverhampton crowd’s football style chant about him. He begins to shout at some fans in the front row until “Just Close Your Eyes” begins to play out of the PA system and Jason Talbot begins to make his way to ringside.

— /VIDEO —

Jason Talbot vs. Gabriel Gambino: GFC World Championship Match

Gambino catches Talbot with a high knee and traps him in the corner, but Talbot fights back with a dragon screw. Talbot hits a drop kick with Gambino in the corner and gets a two count for an early near-fall. Talbot tries to lock in a surfboard, but he can’t get Gambino in it properly, so he stomps on the backs of Gambino’s knees instead. Talbot hits the ropes and connects with a low drop kick to the face for another two count. Good aggression early on from Jason Talbot.

Gambino whips Talbot to the corner, but Talbot runs up the ropes and flips onto his feet. Gambino levels Talbot and locks in a seated chin lock, but Talbot fights back to his feet and levels Gambino with a clothesline. Gambino fights back, traps Talbot between the ropes, delivers a volley of knees to the gut, and then hits Talbot with a massive clothesline that sends Talbot tumbling to the outside. Gambino rolls Talbot back into the ring but only gets a two count. Gambino goes back to the seated chin lock, but Talbot fights back to his feet and retaliates with elbow shots to the head. The fight spills to the ring apron and Gambino sets up Talbot for the Fongul from the ring apron to the floor, but Talbot escapes and gets back into the ring.

Talbot kicks Gambino down to the arena floor and connects with a flying knee shot from the apron to Gambino on the floor. Gambino rolls back into the ring, but Talbot comes off the top rope with a drop kick for a two count. Gabe goes for some sort of tilt-a-whirl slam, but Talbot floats over and chops down Gambino with a volley of kicks to the legs. Gambino gets to his knees, but Talbot goes to work with a vicious volley of kicks to the chest. Talbot connects with a kick to the head and gets a long two count. Talbot misses a kick in the corner, and Gambino finally regains control with a running knee lift. Gambino goes for The Fongul, but Talbot fights out and connects with elbows to the head. Talbot drags Gambino down to the mat and transitions into the figure four, but Gambino just manages to make it to the rope to break the hold.

Talbot takes Gambino up to the top rope, looking for Backdraft, but Gambino shoves Talbot and crotches him on the top rope. He tosses Talbot off the turnbuckle and then comes off the top rope with a flying clothesline than turns Talbot inside out. Gambino whips Talbot into the ropes, Talbot ducks a lariat and boots Gabe in the midsection. He hoists the Champ into the air… HYPNOTWIRL!! Cover… one… two… thre…. NO!!! Gabe out at 2.999!

Talbot looks exhausted; he came so close to getting his first World Title right there! He catches his breath, as does Gabe. The two lock up again. Talbot connects with a European uppercut and looks for a superkick, Gabe dodges and grabs the leg of the challenger, kicking him in the thigh. He moves quickly… FONGUL! FONGUL! Cover…. One… two… three!!!

Your winner, and STILL GFC World Champion, Gabriel Gambino!

My word Jason Talbot came close to becoming the next GFC Champion, but Gabe just did enough to retain the belt here in Wolverhampton. Talbot has been the nearly man of pro-wrestling for such a long time, but this was the first time he’s been up for the GFC World Championship. I have a feeling that it won’t be the last.

So there we have it, FRONTIER’s return to the UK. And what a return it was too! Jay Pride & Alex Jones both make surprising returns to a FRONTIER ring, injuries to Bushido and CJ Osborne, a great title match and dissention in the management ranks? Where could we possibly go from here?

The Albert Hall in Nottingham, that’s where. In two weeks FRONTIER storms into Nottingham, will it be Kevin Hardaway or Scott Mayo that leaves the company? What will Hanna Fox have to say about recent goings on? Will we see Jones and Pride again? You know how to find out… get your tickets now!