SWA made their return to the Motherwell Concert Hall to celebrate their 10 year anniversary, after a hugely successful night at the venue for Battlezone. At that event, Scotland’s premier suplex slinger and lariat chucker Joe Coffey won a 30 man rumble to earn a shot at the Scottish Heavyweight Title. It was only fitting that the scene of that triumph would be the venue where Joe would look to see it bear fruits, as he would cash in his title shot and challenge Mikey Whiplash for the Title inside a Steel Cage. Whilst that eye watering, baw tingling prospect was undoubtedly the highlight, the whole card was stacked with the very best homegrown talent, with some intriguing singles matches, a tag title match and a couple of elimination tag matches to go with the Steel Cage match, it was a card with a bit of everything
Grado, DCT, Tornado and Celtic Arrow vs Adam Carrell, Eric Canyon, Dickie Divers and Christopher Saynt (Elimination Tag Match)
Missed the start of this due to unforeseen circumstances (aka…we didnae leave early enough) but it was predictably good fun. I can’t remember the exact order of who went out and when, but I do remember we had a double suicide dive from Tornado and Celtic Arrow. Some early shenanigans with DCT and Divers. Divers hitting a pumphandle suplex, before being eliminated by Tornado and eventually we were down to the final 3. Grado vs Eric Canyon and Chris Saynt. Surely set up for Grado to be the hero eh? well it looked that way early on as he eliminated Canyon, but Chris Saynt dived right in amongst it and had Grado on the backfoot, before going up top looking to put him away, only for Grado to roll out the way and recompose himself to hit an F5 to give his team the win.
Mark Coffey vs Rampage Brown
Rampage took on Joe Coffey at Battlezone, and it was comfortably one of my favourite matches of 2013. I didn’t know a great deal about Rampage beforehand but the big yin leaves ye in no doubt, that when it comes tae smashin cunts and being incredibly frightening, he has it covered. He also had his face covered with a rather impressive beard, solid work considering he only had a wee goatee when I last seen him. Now that beardwatch is oot the road, we’ll get to the wrestling match eh? We started with an exchange of shoulderblocks, before Rampage took control with a big lariat. Forearms warfare broke out next, before Rampage locked in the Camel Clutch. Mark Coffey tried to keep the pace as fast as he could, but Rampage seemed in control no matter what Coffey tried and took the wind out of his sails with a suplex. After an entertaining back and forth, Rampage took the win with a piledriver. Cracker of a match though. Rampage is a hugely talented big unit, and Mark Coffey always impresses. Wouldnt be surprised to see either in the title picture soon enough.
The Forgotten (w Jam O’Malley) vs Britains Most Wanted (SWA Tag Title Match)
Entertaining match here, with The Forgotten trying to keep their much larger opponents at bay with a dazzling array of sneakyness. When you’re faced with the task of keeping big Damo quiet, it always proves difficult cause well….he’s a fuckin bear. I mean literally, I’m not joking. Damian O’Connor is a bear. Damian O’Connor once killed a man just by opening a can of Fanta with too much force, before realising it wisnae beer and throwing it, striking and killing another man in the process. He lets loose with his usual combination of raw power striking and technical prowess, before taking time out to stand on the back of one of his foes. The Forgotten had plenty of good moments of their own, with Glen Dunbar hitting a Northern Lights Suplex, but it took a bit of trickery to get the job done as Jam distracted the ref long enough to allow The Forgotten to steal the win with a belt shot to Scott Renwicks head.
Lewis Girvan vs Kenny Williams
This would have been easily match of the night on most cards, just a wee bit unfortunate that they had a dream match in the main event to contend with, but this was still a cracking showcase of two of the very best young Scottish talents out there right now. Starts with a lockup, then a few rollups from both tae bring near falls. A beauty of a dropkick fae Girvan, is followed by a clothesline from Kenny, and a standing double foot stomp. The back and forth continued at a frenetic pace, with Girvan following a hiptoss with some stinging kicks, before they launched intae an uppercut war, which Girvan got the better of. Followed that up wae a missile dropkick, but Williams wasnt going away, and he had a move that looked a lot like The Skullcrushing Finale but that only got a two count. The pace quickened again, with the troops exchanging chops, before Williams hits a flying knee for another near fall, but its was Girvan who eventually prevailed with a beauty of a German Suplex, followed by a Double Arm DDT. Game, set and match. Absolute beauty of a wrestling match. Cannae speak highly enough of it. Would love to see these two get the recognition their talents deserve throughout the rest of 2014. If you’re a booker, book them. If yer no? Become one and book them anyway. Dae it. It makes sense.
Solar vs Jack Gallagher
Tremendously entertaining match. I think the last time I saw either of these two wrestle was at Battlezone last year, so it was good to see Solar back from injury and seemingly at his very best. We get the usual blend of high-flying stuff and technical wrestling from Solar, and Jack Gallagher is a catch wrestling machine. Properly over with the SWA crowd aswell, no mean feat considering he’s a sassenach, but I’ve always maintained that Scottish folk don’t see nationality, race or anything else as an issue. The thing we look at above all else is soundness. If ye seem sound, we’ll welcome ye with the openest of arms, and we’ll make sure ye get some primo Bucky doon yer neck asap. Anyway, a droptoehold fae Solar kicks this crackin wee bout off. A springboard crossbody followed that, only for Gallagher to slow the pace down to something more suited to his style. A hard scoop slam is backed up with a spine crunching camel clutch, before Solar rallied and hit a neckbreaker followed by the standing moonsault. Then we had a delightfully surprising finish, as this pair of rapscallions flipped each other daft for about 50 near falls, before Gallagher eventually got Solars shoulders down for a 3 count. Terrific match right enough, and while I’d have Girvan v Williams and the main event ahead of it in terms of quality, there was something hugely entertaining about this one. Would love to see these two have another go at it sometime in the future.
Jackie Polo vs Joe Hendry (Laird Of The Ring Title Match)
Whit happens when the unstoppable force meets the immovable object? What happens when ye could make a case for both folk being unstoppable forces AND immovable objects? In the same match? Surely the world would just implode if two such forces were to collide eh? Well we were about to see, as Jackie Polo was set to put his Laird Of The Ring belt on the line against Joe Hendry. Joe is more of a straight up face character in SWA as opposed to the cocky Local Hero character we see in ICW, but it doesnt make him any less charismatic. Polo is his usual mercurial self. Continuing to sell his supposed neck injury by hobbling out to the ring, with Lionheart in the crowd looking on. I’m no even entirely sure if Jackie Polo is a wrestling character btw. I think this is just who he is. 24/7. And that’s one of the things that draws ye in to what Polo does. He makes you believe in it. Has the talent in the ring to back it up tae, but Hendry proved to be more an adequate opposition, as the to exchanged chops and elbows to start off. Joe reeled out the Fallaway Slam early on, a move he calls the Freak of Nature, but he maybe pulled it out the bag too early cause it only brought a two count. Polo responds with some stuff knees to the back, before hitting a dropkick and a bulldop off the top rope. Another belter of a match, with a smashing pace to it as Hendry responded by planting Polo with a DDT. A brutal exchange of uppercuts and jabs followed from the two, before Polo looks to put Hendry away with the Polo Plex, only for Hendry to reverse it intae a rollup to seal a shock victory and become the NEW Laird of The Ring Champion. Quite the rise to prominence for Joe considering he made his debut 6 months earlier at Battlezone after these two collided when Polo interrupted Joe and his band’s performance before the Rumble. Leading to Joe entering the Rumble and eliminating Polo, but with Polo off tae Japan in the near future, maybe he couldnae be arsed with the extra luggage and decided to drop it on purpose eh? If that’s no his story, it should be. Another belter for a match though, and it led us to our first half main event.
Fiona Fraser, Courtney and Debbie Sharp vs Viper, Bette Noire and Sammi Jayne
This all went by in a bit of a flash for me, so I didn’t manage to quite keep up with the order folk went out in. We did start with a 6 wuman stramash though, before some wrasslin broke out when Debbie Sharp hit a leg lariat. Bete Noire responded with low dropkick and a beauty of a fishermans suplex, but if I mind right, she was the first eliminated when Courtney eliminated her with a rollup. Her joy was short-lived right enough, as she took a low crossbody from Viper soon after. Like I said, it all went by so fast, and before we knew it we were down to Viper and Fiona Fraser again. Fiona had the crowd behind her being a Motherwell native, and she goes full Del Rio when she hits an armbreaker followed by the cross-armbreaker, but Viper manages to deadlift her from the mat whilst in the cross-armbraker and followed that up with the Viper Driver to seal the win. Twice in a row now Viper’s come intae Frasers hometown and pinned her. The weans seem tae really hate her aswell, gien it aw the “Viper sucks” patter. I dunno what it is about her demeanour that puts weans aff, aw the adults I speak tae about her seem to find her delightful. Goes to prove that auld saying I spose eh. Weans are from Venus, Adults are from Mars…or eh…somethin.
The interval was left until before the main event at this show to give folk plenty of time to get the cage up, and well…they kinda needed it. Me and a few pals had a game of chasies roon the building during it, and the cage wisnae even halfway up by the time we got back. Nah but, it was heartening to see faces and heels unite in a common goal, as pretty much the whole roster was out to help get the cage up and ready for the grand finale. Big Damo and Glen Dunbar working as a team about an hour after they’d been knocking lumps out each other. Beautiful moments.
Mikey Whiplash vs Joe Coffey (SWA Title Match)
So this was a wee bit special eh? It was my first time seeing a cage match live, and for me it had the two best wrestlers in Scotland involved in it, so it was bound to be a belter. There was a wee sense that this could be a passing of the torch type scenario as well, with Whiplash having held the belt for over 2 years. It felt like it would go down as an iconic moment. The match itself was near perfect if ye ask me. An epic battle between two of the best storytellers in wrestling. We began with a wee collar and elbow tie-up, which had a clean break, before we got intae a brutal exchange of chops. Both men tried to take the other off his feet with shoulderblocks, with Joe eventually prevailing. The cage was only used as an instrument of destruction on a few occasions, with both men taking vicious hits after being thrown about like Sunny at a key party, before Whiplash tried to escape, only for Joe to catch him and hit a backdrop off the top rope. Coffey tries to take command with a lariat, but Whippy blocked it and floored Joe with an elbow to the spleen, followed by a standing elbow drop. We then get another brutal exchange of chops, slaps and forearms smashes from these two brutes, but Coffey emerged from it with the upper hand and clicked intae that braw wee succession of moves he does which usually signals the end of any match he’s in. A series of high-octane splashes in the corner, followed by a lariat and a gutwrench suplex have Whippy reeling, but he’s not finished yet. Manages to fight back and hits the Rolling Senton, but Joe near decapitates whippy with the Spinning Lariat soon after and that gives him the opening. He begins his ascent to greatness by hoisting himself up to the top of the cage, but Whiplash is wise to it and despite his recent decapitation, he tries to crawl out through the cage door. They look to be neck and neck as the mad dash to see whos feet will hit the floor first begins, but its Coffey who gets the job done, becoming the NEW SWA Champion.
One of the stipulations of the match is that John “The Bomb” Graham was to be the special guest ref, ensuring that Whiplash’s shenanigans to keep hold of the belt at previous shows werent repeated, and after Whiplash finally made it to his feet, he seemed to blame the big man for him dropping the belt. If you’ve never seen John Graham before, let me assure ye, he’s not a guy you’d be quick to push around. Or be within 100 feet of. Scary big beardy bastard and he knocks Whiplash spark out before leaving the ring in disgust.
Overall SWA – Clan Wars was a smashing show. Another potent mixture of outstanding wrestling and plain auld good fun, the perfect mix for an audience thats about split down the middle in terms of adults and weans. Seeing a cage match live and having it exceed the extremely high expectations everyone had for it made it all the more special. A show surely befitting of a 10 year anniversary celebration. With the plethora of up and coming talent on show, hopefully we’ll see many of the same wrestlers on display when SWA celebrates its 20 year anniversary.