When I rocked up to the Carlisle City Centre around 4 hours before this show was due to kick off, admittedly I had no idea what to expect. Carlisle isn’t a familiar haunt despite its relatively close proximity to Glasgow and I half expected it to be a bit deid. Deid it most certainly is not. I dunno if their was some kinda hen night convention on the go or folk think Carlisle is lawless cause its on the border and they can tan as much gear as they like, but I must have walked past at least 5 or 6 different hen parties happening at the same time. It generally seemed to be rammed with folk having a smashin time and it was a scorcher of a day. The perfect setting for the single greatest tag team match of all time eh? Or at least it felt that way. Even if Polo Promotions vs Moustache Mountain ended up NOT living up to its considerable hype, the build it had been given and the fact that it took pride of place at the top of the card for the night made it feel massive. Polo Promotions run Carlisle to the extent that even famous mustachioed men wrestling under WWE’s banner are still the baddies when it comes to facing Polo Promotions on their turf, and that led to a unique atmosphere in a crowd that were truthfully fucking excellent all night. Adults and children all absolutely lost in what was taking place. I might have personally made the trip for Polo Promotions vs Moustache Mountain, but overall you got the feeling that Target have something special on the go in terms of how invested their fanbase are. Perhaps not quite as special as Johnny Moss haphazardly chuckin folk over his head repeatedly but still pretty special.
Johnny Moss vs Ryan Hunter vs Havok
Less wrestling match, more “these two wee guys owe Johnny Moss money and he’s gonnae collect that debt in the currency of suplexes” here. Enjoyable because Johnny Moss is forever the undisputed ‘Da of British Wrestling a seeing him suplex folk a lot is about as much fun as you can have without ending up in the jail. He also spent a solid minute of the match going corner to corner chopping the life out of both guys. Seeming to particularly enjoy the chops on Havok who has a coupon ye widnae get sick slapping. He also chucked BOTH men over his head at the one time as Hunter set Havok up for a fallaway slam only for Moss to chuck them both into next week with a German. Mossy then sealed the win by catching Havok coming off the top rope and tombstoning his wee skull to bits. This was my first ever Target match and I was instantly very happy that this guy was getting tombstoned till all that remained was skull fragments and tears, so if strangers wishing harm on him is what he’s shooting for in this wrestling gig, he’s absolutely nailing it. A short but utterly devastating display from Mossy. More Mossy in ICW/everywhere please.
Khifie West vs Medallion
Medallion is a big guy in a mask who comes out with a medallion. Sometimes gimmicks are just…there. Ronseal’d oot their nuts. Doing exactly what they say on the tin. Medallion was unhappy with folk chanting “fake medallion” at him, and rightly so. Even if it was made out of aluminium filled wae dug shite, it’s still a medallion. Medallion challenged GPWA alumni Khifie West to a pose off since Khifie had recently been crowned Scottish Junior Bobybuilding Champion and Medallion had the ladies eating out the palm of his medallion when he pulled the straps doon and busted out that rad dad bod. Khifie went to do his own pose and was CALLOUSLY ATTACKED FROM BEHIND in a move no one saw coming. Vicious.
Fair fuck’s to Target for giving West a shot. The raw ingredients are there and they seem to be investing in him early before he’s the finished article. He won the match with a situout firemans carry slam after Medallion had burst aw his ribs shortly before with a senton from the middle rope. I’ve been reliably informed the fake medallion patter is actually because there’s sometimes a fake one so there ye go. The more you know and all that.
Joe Coffey, Joseph Conners and Magnus vs The Tyne Wolves and Flip Gordon
Fuck off. How dare ye. Years of going to shows, beating the chest, repping the iron man proudly. Lariats, boston crabs, mad missile dropkicks. All met with a big whooping “YASSSS” and this is how I’m repaid. One of my favourite wrestlers committing an act of sheer heinousness. Joe Coffey supports Celtic, I know this to be a fact and yer man came out to Simply The Best by Tina Turner. The anthem of the true blues. Anything Rangers related has this as its soundtrack and to see a tim stoat out to it was jarring. An act of self loathing only a true villain would be capable of. After beheading all the children in attendance in an act slightly less evil than his entrance, Joe Coffey took to the mic to inform us who he and Joseph Conners mystery partner would be. None other than former TNA Champion, mad Magnus. A guy who I hadn’t seen since he looked heavy bored at that 5 Star Wrestling carry on that was on the tele before the whole thing fell apart. He looked less bored here, probably because he was about to see a man’s trousers vanish in front of his very eyes.
At this point I will fully admit I had never heard of Flip Gordon and his magical vanishing pants so fuck knows why you’re even still reading this. I clearly do not have my finger on the pulse because this guy is fucking tremendous, and his trousers fully vanished mate. He done a pre match flip and the three quarter lengths he had on over his skants just weren’t there anymore. If any male strippers in the audience didn’t instantly steal that move they are bad at their jobs. As good as the main event was, Flip Gordon literally flipping out of his trousers ran it close for entertainment value. Then wrestling happened.
Joe Coffey was a big bad baddie throughout and he seemed to be having a rerr time with it. Stopping Flip hitting a big dive with a shoulder tackle, fulfilling his promise to allow “none of that flippy dippy crap” to occur in this match. A chant of “He’s a wrestler, a mighty wrestler, his name is MARK Coffey” started which followed Magnus having “You’re shit, but you’re burd is fit” chanted at him. Matches don’t tend to be rated on horrendously villainous entrances, vanishing trousers or chants, but if they were, this had match of the year written all over it. After a spell of dominance from the baddies, peppered by Conners regularly shouting at unruly fans to shut it, the goodies had their resurgence and Flip eventually did hit his dive, using the middle rope first, before gently easing on to the top and landing on all three of the opponents. Where’d yer troosers go but mate? Troosers don’t just vanish. They must have went somewhere.
Magnus went up top only for Flip to come out of nowhere to propel himself to the top rope, somehow maintaining enough balance to hit a superkick, followed by a 450 splash after The Tyne Wolves had set Conners up, but his acrobatics were to be in vain after Conners snuck the win for his squad with a sneaky wee rollup.
‘Turbo’ Josh Terry vs Shady Nattrass – High Octane Title Match
Two guy’s I’d heard good things about but until this night had never seen wrestle. The card was originally supposed to be Terry defending in a triple threat but Liam Thomson’s injury meant it was re-jigged and nae disrespect to the triple threat, or my favourite wrestler in the world right now Liam Thomson but I’m glad it turned out to be this instead because it was a terrific display of how talented they both are.
Terry is one of Johnny Moss’s graduates and it shines through. In amongst all the impressive athleticism he is so technically sound. Learning wrestling from Johnny Moss must be akin to being taught painting by Da Vinci, or being taught interior design by Laurence Llewelyn Bowen. Yer watching a master at work. Allowing your own work to be moulded by a true maestro. Terry hit a sexy backflip off the stage after him and Nattrass going back and forth for it a bit. As much as Terry looked shit hot throughout, a lot of him looking like the next big thing was accentuated by Nattrass making it so. He had a wee spell of dominance ended after seeing a move reversed into a Satellite DDT from Terry, but Shady gained the upper hand again after shoving the ref into the ropes when Terry went on top, causing severe baw trauma on the top turnbuckle and giving Shady the chance to catch him up top and hit a mad flippy top rope suplex situation. Impressive.
Perhaps even more impressive was Shady Nattrass ability to somehow block out men, women and children coming together to chant “shitty mattress” at him pretty much for the whole 15 minutes this match lasted. It must be slightly off-putting to be a human man compared to a mattress caked in shite but he shook it off and proceeded to chuck Terry into some barriers and such. Terry looked a bit out on his feet and then about 30 seconds later proceeded to hit a Canadian Destoryer on the apron (hardest part of the ring btw, there’s a scoop for ye) and undoubtedly killed Nattrass. Shame the first time seeing him was going to be my last cause he was at the very least rendered braindead by that move. They both narrowly avoided being counted out before a Nattrass cutter got him within bawhairs of regaining the title. Terry regrouped and hit a backwards hurricanrana followed by a lovely shooting star press for the win.
Hugely enjoyable and both guys made a fan out of me over the course of the match. Riddled with chemistry so they are. Would gladly watch them do a wrestle again. Josh Terry is so good it actually makes ye forget his name is one latter away from being John Terry, at least till ye mention it at the very end of the paragraph.
Karnage vs Rampage Brown – Target Heavyweight Title Match
From the remarkably flippy Flip Gordon and jumpin Josh Terry to perhaps the least flippy wrestling match you’ll see all year. Maybe since time began. That’s exactly why Rampage Brown is and forever will be one of my favourite wrestlers. One of the guys on the list of guy’s I’ve never seen have a bad match. Know why that is? He fuckin kills cunts mate. No matter who the opponent is or how competent they might be, Rampage Brown will make the match good because he is a human battering ram who’s been known to break folk’s necks just by firing an icy stare at them.
I gathered early on yer man Karnage is a bit of a hometown favourite, because folk actually had the audacity to boo Rampage Brown when he came out and big Karnage got the pre match streamer treatment. The match was a decent scrap. Your heart went out to Karnage as Rampage chucked him about like an empty shellsuit in the early stages. Even spitting on the streamers chucked in his honour. It wasn’t like watching any auld wrestler get brutalized by Rampage, it was like watching him chuck yer Da about his local while all his pals cheer him on, with absolutely no intentions on jumping in on his behalf because Rampage Brown is a scary big bastard.
Never underestimate the power of Dad’s though. Karnage exploded in a fit of Da fury after an excellent forearm exchange between the two, and gained the upper hand for the first time with a big fucker of a boot to the chops. They made their way on to the stage which is kinda just higher than the apron of the ring, allowing for Karnage to chuck Rampage from the stage into the ring, before hitting a top rope elbow and a two-handed sitout chokeslam for the win. Da’s everywhere rejoice. The king of your Carlisle wing retained his belt.
Afterwards someone called The Coyote Kid leathered Karange with a chair. Seemingly furthering a storyline I admittedly knew ride all about. That was the only time in the night I didn’t feel “in” on what was happening which is pretty decent considering it was my first show. Another big reason I enjoyed the whole show.
Polo Promotions vs Moustache Mountain – Target Tag Title Match
Moustache Mountain entered almost with a hint of trepidation. Like Barcelona when they rock up to an away ground in the Champions League. They know the audience knows how good they are, but they also know the audience do not give a fuck. For 90 minutes anyway. How good you are and how famous yer squadron is does not matter a fuck. Polo Promotions in Carlisle are the home team. The 4 guys queuing up at 4pm (they might have been there longer thats just when I walked past) in full Polo Promotions regalia indicates they run this toon. The almost palpable tension when Moustache Mountain entered indicates Polo Promotions run this toon. The deafening noise that happened with the first notes of Jackie by Scott Walker hit and the troops emerged suggests that Polo Promotions run this toon. This is purple and pink country and the duo who’ve been beating the drum and telling anyone with two ears that they ARE a main event tag team finally had their wish. Here they were. Top of the card. In there with the big famous WWE superstars and standing toe to toe with them. For 20+ minutes they had each and every person in attendance eating out of the palm of their hand which is what a main event should be. Undivided attention. Everyone from every age group engrossed.
The first 10 minutes of this was just a wall of noise. Trent and Tyler had a wee waltz to the Polos theme as they came out but when they eventually hit the ring it was back and forth chanting for days. Polo Promotions fans were louder but that was the first point in the night you really hard from the away end. Turning out to see their heroes aff the WWE Network. The two teams stood side by side and just drank in the noise for a solid two minutes. Feeling every single second of it before chucking a chinlock in anger. Sometimes wrestling is special. Sometimes it all just comes together and feels fuckin incredible and this was one of those matches that it was privilege to be in attendance for.
Even after the duelling chants, it still took another 2-3 minutes for wrestling to start. Jackie Polo soaking in chants of his own, energised by them. One of my favourite things in wrestling is watching matches the wrestlers themselves seem absolutely buzzing out their tits to be involved in and this was one of those. Polo’s were well on top early, in amongst unwavering support. Completing a couple of home runs after hanging both opponents up in the corner. If you ever needed anything to articulate how good Polo Promotions are, it’s the scoop slam and namely, the way a crowd reacts when the opponents have the absolute cheek to attempt one. Trent and Tyler were near booed oot the building when they went on a scoop rampage much to Jackie Polo’s rage. Even scooping each other on to a stricken Mark Coffey before Polo caught a red hot tag and unleashed a few spine shattering scooplexes of his own.
Its fine viewing seeing Jackie Polo in full flow so it is. Moustache Mountain chucked everything they had at him here but he was chucking it all back with interest. Is there a better Northern Lights suplex in British Wrestling than Polo’s btw? If there is it must be a fuckin sight to behold because he always nails it. He stopped Moustache Mountain’s attempt to double suplex him by suplexing BOTH of them at the same time , leading to Mark Coffey coming back in via another suntan of a tag. Cannae think of a tag they made throughout the course of this that wasn’t absolutely roastin. Fans champing at the bit to see Coffey unleash a leathering, and that he did. Charging at Trent repeatedly before grounding him with a suplex. Tyler Bate then displayed exactly why he was one half of the best WWE match this year. Unleashing vicious forearms on both Polo’s before rounding it off with catching them on their collective jaw with a suicide dive. Trent came very close to sending the away team hame with the gold thanks to a rainmaker clothesline for a two count.
Both teams saw attempts at their double team finishers blocked which brought the atmosphere to the boil once more. duelling chants started up again as they stood opposite wach other in the ring before an exchange of straight up ounches to the face led to Moustache Mountain coming as close as it gets thanks to a piledriver from trent and a standing Shooting Star Press from Tyler but Coffey broke up the pin. A second attempt at The Old Man Of Hoy by the Polo’s was reversed and almost seen Tyler sneak the belts for his team, but the third attempt hit the mark and Polo Promotions retained amid chaotic scenes.
The reaction to that three count was one of the most impassioned fan responses to a match I’ve seen in a long time. People were throwing their children in the air in excitement while the children were throwing smaller children and in some cases, wee dugs. The boys left through the crowd, shaking hands with their people and ensuring they’d enjoyed the show. We most certainly did troops and I will most certainly be making the trip again. Even if the show was pish, going to see Polo Promotions in that atmosphere again would be worth it, but the show was fun and Target clearly have a really good thing on the go there. Investment in their home-grown guys from the audience while using some of the best talent the UK has to offer to its greatest potential. A company to be keeping a wee beady eye on for sure.