ATTACK! Pro Wrestling presents its first Cardiff show of 2018, featuring WWE United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne in tag team action, and IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Will Ospreay making a surprise appearance to battle Wild Boar…
Chief Deputy Dunne
(Winner via pinfall: Chuck Mambo)
(Winner via pinfall: Mark Andrews)
Jim Hunter & Lee Hunter (“The Hunter Brothers”)
Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher (“Aussie Open”)
(Winners via pinfall: The Hunter Brothers)
Drew Parker & Elijah
Pete Dunne & Chris Brookes (with Kid Lykos)
(Winners via pinfall: Chris Brookes & Pete Dunne)
(Winner via pinfall: Will Ospreay)
Splits McPins & Lloyd Katt (“Bowl-a-Rama”) (C)
Tyler Bate & Trent Seven (“Moustache Mountain”)
ATTACK! Tag Team Championship
(Winner via pinfall: Bowl-a-Rama)
Dear Maria, Tag Me In was my first experience of ATTACK! Pro Wrestling. I’ve always kept an eye on the company, particularly given they are local to me, but my main focus has always been on other companies both in the U.K. and abroad. With this show, which was of course the first of theirs that I attended, ATTACK! made sure I will never ignore them again.
In their second show of 2018, which happened to be their first back in Cardiff, ATTACK! presented a card rich with talent and surprises. When I entered the venue prior to the show, I made note of some of the talent who were near the merch area, and also had a quick look at who had merch on sale but wasn’t physically there. To say that I was pleasantly surprised by the line-up would be an understatement, and there would be more to come as the night went on.
The opening match, a five-way between some of the biggest names on the British wrestling scene right now and others who are growing their own reputations impressively too, was an eye-opener as to what Travis Banks has been up to for the promotion. We’ve all seen the GIF’s and such on Twitter, but until you see Travis Banks’ very sexy alter ego in ATTACK! you don’t appreciate just how damn entertaining it is, now how over it is with fans. Banks has a very serious character across the wrestling scene, and it has seen him pick up numerous top titles (he’s currently PROGRESS World Champion, for example), so seeing him with the chains let off here was something to behold, and I can only imagine that it’s wonderful for the man himself to break away from his usual work.
The five-way was a fun opener for the show, and despite the silliness (something you have to accept with an ATTACK! show, which isn’t hard to do given it’s so darn funny), it featured some very good spots and quality wrestling. As the match went on, I suspected that Chuck Mambo might get the win, and was proven correct. That guy has had some big victories in recent months, so is definitely one to watch in 2018, particularly as one gets the impression that he’s just a good guy who wrestling promotors like too.
The second match, which saw Mark Andrews face off against El Phantasmo, was another very decent match, but I’d be lying if I said it lived up to the hype I created in my own head when Andrews was revealed as El Phantasmo’s opponent. It was fun and had some quality moments when it settled down, but I’d be very interested in watching these two face off in a promotion where the action takes itself a little more seriously from start to finish. That said, the back and forth dialogue between the two guys throughout was wonderfully entertaining too.
Here’s an interesting piece of information about the Aussie Open and Hunter Brothers match: early on, it appeared to have lost the crowd. People were going for toilet breaks, cigarettes, or just conversing amongst themselves. Disappointing, particularly given Aussie Open will likely end 2019 as one of the absolute best tag teams on the U.K. scene. Anyone who displayed a lack of interest in the match soon saw sense though, and everyone was eventually fully invested in what was taking place in the ring, which at that point was the best match of the evening.
I had the opportunity to meet both Mark Davis and Kyle Fletcher during the interval, and both were great guys. Fletcher in particular couldn’t be more different to his in-ring character, and I enjoyed the brief but entertaining chat. Eddie Dennis and Chuck Mambo (first time meeting the latter, too) were also good fun, and Eddie Dennis’ merch is getting better as better. His new shirt is bloody wonderful, and whilst I didn’t buy it (I suspect my partner would lose her mind if I added any more pro wrestling tee’s to my collection any time soon), I suspect it will sell out very quickly. I’m really digging Dennis’ work right now, both in-ring and out, it must be said.
Pete Dunne had the crowd popping hard when he came out as Chris Brookes’ surprise partner for his match against Drew Parker and Elijah. I knew Dunne was there (or suspected) as his merch was on sale, and I half suspected he would partner Brookes too, but the way Brookes set up Dunne’s entrance was perfect and had everyone thinking he was going to bring out the inflatable Kid Lykos he’s been using in recent weeks. One fan near me even called out, “I’ve seen this, and it’s f***ing stupid, man.” Might have been some egg on his face when Dunne made his entrance…
The tag match was damn good entertainment, and was the first to really go out into their surroundings, rather than staying in the ring or at the immediate ringside. Drew Parker continues to impress, and is likely going to have a brilliant 2018 if he keeps up his current work. More and more promotors are starting to notice this young man, so he’s one to keep an eye on.
Whilst Dunne had a big pop for his entrance, it was nothing compared to that which filled the hall when current New Japan Pro-Wrestling star, Will Ospreay, made a surprise appearance. To say his appearance was unexpected is an understatement, but one should’ve realised something big was going to happen when a few wrestlers such as Mark Andrews and Eddie Dennis got in amongst the crowd to watch what was to be the next match.
Ospreay found himself face-to-face with a Welshman who many in the business will tell you deserves to be booked far more than he is currently; Wild Boar. What followed was, unquestionably, the best match of 2018 thus far… albeit 12 days into the year (but the, Okada/Omega 1 was the best match of 2017 and that was only 4 days into the year…). It’s hard to say what I expected from this match, but it’s far easier to tell any reader that what actually came to be was a masterclass in modern professional wrestling.
Big crashes into the chairs that made up the various seating areas. Majestic dives. Stiff kicks and chops that echoed around the room. It had everything, including some near falls that only contributed to the nail-biting final third of the match that could have genuinely seen either man win. Ospreay might have been the one to have his hand raised at the end, but I suspect many saw this as Wild Boar’s night, and they might not be wrong on that. A brilliant match from the two men.
The main event had a big job ahead of it, trying to follow Ospreay/Wild Boar, so it was good that it was a complete change in tone to the one that preceded it. Whereas the match before had been a serious affair from the start, the tag team main event featured Trent Seven at his comical best, with Tyler Bate, Splits McPins and Lloyd Katt all joining in too. That’s not to say that the action didn’t take a more hard-hitting turn as it progressed, as it did, but what came before it had everyone in attendance laughing and enjoying the silliness of it all (Seven creating a hand-holding train of fans from whom he could draw power to assist Bate to tag him in, only to become furious when Katt began attempting the same on the other side of the ring, for example).
I have seen Seven and Bate as babyfaces live on several occasions, but never as Moustache Mountain, so seeing their fan-adored act up close was a highlight coming out of this show. Their approach to their fans, too, is just wonderful to watch, and goes a long way I explaining how they have managed to build such a strong reputation for themselves worldwide with their fans. It doesn’t hurt that they are great in the ring, of course (Tyler Bate finishing in third place in our 2017 Wrestler of The Year rankings, in fact).
Not to be outdone, Bowl-A-Rama played their part too, and Katt in particular was hilarious throughout, topped off by his encore at the end of the show that featured a highly questionable cover of Moustache Mountain’s entrance music. The right team won, given Bowl-A-Rama are new to their ATTACK! Tag Team Championship, and a win over two of the U.K.’s biggest names will do them a lot of good.
On a cold Friday night in January, ATTACK! gave us the WWE United Kingdom Champion and the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion in an abandoned bingo hall in the little known Cathays area of Cardiff, South Wales. The show might have been silly at times, but it’s good natured, and the in-ring action always settled down and took itself very seriously after a few laughs. After a long week at work (and long day, in this case), such a style of wrestling is perfect to bring in the weekend. At the low prices ATTACK! are charging, going to see one of their shows is a no-brainer. As someone who travels the country for certain other promotions, I can happily say that ATTACK! are absolutely worth travelling for to check out for yourselves.
Match of the Night
Wild Boar vs. Will Ospreay