Less than a month before the biggest show in their history, Thunderstruck, NORTH Wrestling warmed up with one last show. ‘Warmed up’ might be an understatement on a stinking hot night of top wrestling action in Newcastle. Thunder Road had the unenviable task of not only setting up a monumental event in July, but delivering a night up to the self imposed standard of one of Britain’s best independent companies. Andy Spoors caught all the action from a sweat soaked Anarchy Brewery…
‘Go home’ shows are usually reserved for weekly wrestling promotions to hype fans up for a PPV (or PLE for WWE fans).
The quality of these episodes are very much hit and miss.
After all, their objective is based solely on boosting ticket sales and buyer figures for the main show.
Matches are often scrapped in favour of long winded promos.
NORTH wrestling has never been one for playing by the rules and in Thunder Road, the North East based promotion delivered one of their best shows ever.
Attempting to hit the thin line between promoting Thunderstruck and laying on fantastic matches, NORTH well and truly stuck the landing.
Packed with suprise announcements, the show also jammed in some match of the year contenders too.
First up, the ‘Puf bodyslam challenge’. The rules? Simple. Bodyslam the generously sized Puf.
Myles Kayman appeared to answer the challenge as the NORTH faithful yelled out ‘thin Randy Orton’ jeers and joined Puf in an impromptu sing-along of Orton’s ‘Voices’ theme.
It didn’t take long for Kayman to back out and instead volunteer Isiah Quinn to quite literally do the heavy lifting.
Needless to say, it did not go well…the contender failing twice and even throwing in an ill advised slap before being laid out.
Puf had been accompanied by North East cult icon, Shreddy.
Having been out of action with an injury, the jacked stacked Daddy showed his true colours and went low before delivering a spear to Puf and calling out Scotty Too Hotty at Thunderstruck with a promo reminiscent of Batista‘s ‘Give me what I want’ challenge to Triple H.
The crowd love to hate the NORTH mainstay and gladly serenaded him with a chorus of ‘Shreddy You’re A Cunt‘ (this was an over 18 show, after all).
Next up was Luke Jacobs Vs Rhio. The latter won the NCL Cup just a couple of months ago and remains a crowd favourite.
Within minutes, it was easy to see why: a double underhook suplex and spinning heel kick impressive but not enough for Rhio.
There are some that are sceptical of intergender matches, but even the most staunch critic would have been blown away by the physicality and resilience shown by both Jacobs and Rhio.
False finishes aplenty, a gruelling encounter was finally decided by a roll up pin in favour of Rhio.
Despite throwing everything at his opponent Jacobs showed his appreciation along with a lively NORTH faithful in full voice.
After the match, Mercedes Martinez issued a challenge via video message to Rhio in what promises to be a blockbuster match at Thunderstruck.
Will Kroos‘ choice of I Prevail’s Come And Get It perfectly encapsulated the big man’s recent shift into a darker and more focussed mindset.
He’d need it for the battle ahead against Japanese star and NORTH debutant Shigehiro Irie.
A bruising encounter from start to finish, highlights included Irie launching himself into a cross body through the ropes and crashing into Kroos who was sitting on the outside ring apron for some respite.
Following up with a cannonball into Kroos even managed to shift the ring a few inches.
To the credit of Kroos, taking a superplex and devastating forearm would merely prove to be a rallying point in the match.
Some wince-inducing chops were exchanged before a rolling senton into the turnbuckles with Irie on his back signalled the beginning of the end.
Kroos rocked his opponent with a sit out tombstone (Rikishi Driver) to seal the victory.
A video promo announced NORTH Ultraviolent Champion Clint Margera will defend his title against Joey Janella at Thunderstruck.
The ever popular Amir Jordan Vs Michael Oku took the show into a needed intermission.
Although hailing from London, the latter proudly made his way to the ring in a Newcastle United shirt and matching black and white trunks as a nod to his boyhood team.
An outrageous corkscrew vault out of the ring and a frog splash from the top rope that threatened the lights and showcased the high flying prowess of Oku.
A springboard moonsault proved a risk too far, as Jordan picked him out of the air using a dropkick with lethal accuracy.
Astonishingly, a swanton bomb wasn’t enough for Jordan and even the master of the half crab Oku needed to abandon his usual method of victory in favour of a pin reversal to grab the three count.
A true back and forth affair, this was one of those occasions where despite Oku’s hand being raised, both men were winners.
Amir Jordan will now look to build his brand and name in Canada.
An emotional promo proving he can even get a crowd to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star while putting over the Chris Jericho endorsed Oku.
A shock appearance from Rampage Brown threw Jordan’s plans of missing Thunderstruck into disarray: the British journeyman kicking Amir low before delivering a huge pile driver and issuing a challenge for NORTH’s biggest show ever.
Returning from the intermission and some fresh air, a fatal four way match between Eve Bateman, Hyan, Chantelle Jordan and Alexxis Falcon attempted to pick the pace up straight away.
It would be Hull native Falcon who would act as the pacesetter for the vast majority of this four way bout.
Taking every opportunity to self congratulate and talk smack to the those in and out of the ring, Falcon even used a fans drink to pull a quick win.
Her brashness would also prove to be her downfall as Bateman would ultimately claim victory, becoming enraged by Falcon spitting in her face before unleashing a ferocious finisher.
Looking to exact some revenge the devil of NORTH, Rory Coyle faced off against the man that cost him his match last month, Ace Matthews.
After being coerced into a ‘normal’ wrestling match, some hijinx from The Landed Gentry dealt Coyle a third successive loss for the first time in his NORTH career.
A gloating Matthews and Gentry were stunned by Coyle’s request for one last match at Thunderstruck.
A tag team match where the stakes will be Coyle’s NORTH career or Benji‘s hair. The last true sick boy’s partner? None other than Attitude Era icon, Gangrel!
In the penultimate match of the night Millie Mackenzie faced off against Natalie Sykes where one of their perfect records in NORTH would come to an end.
Suplexes aplenty, this was a hard fought, technical match that Mackenzie managed to battle her way to the one, two, three.
The main event was set as an intriguing six man tag team match.
A commonly used wrestling trope was executed with a twist here: can a champion and a challenger co-exist on the same team to vanquish a common enemy?
Throw in the number one contender’s tag team partner Man Like Deriess to create an even bigger wrinkle.
Much to his chagrin, Liam Slater was forced to play third wheel for large periods of the match in an enthralling encounter.
An unbelievable top rope twisted Spanish fly to Deriess showcased just how much fun this bout was.
Shockingly, a brain buster from Kid Lykos II was enough to claim victory with Liam Slater seemingly well positioned to help, but choosing not to help his future opponent.
In defeat an empassioned Leon took to the mic to promise the NORTH faithful he will become champion on July 15th in the Walker Dome.
For all of his in ring talent, it was refreshing to hear the Bradford born star cut a promo that not only showed how much the match means to him but get everyone excited for what promises to be an unforgettable night inside Walker Dome next month.
Tickets for Thunderstruck are on sale here.
Image credit to @stmpphtgrphy (Twitter)