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  • Connor Ewens

Local Wrestling Review: MEW's Northern Bash 2023

Updated: Sep 30, 2023

I'm writing something a little different this week. Yesterday I attended a local wrestling show and I wanted to write about it. This isn't going to be like the reviews I normally do. When I review these huge, globally recognised companies I'm expecting top tier production and the best wrestling skills in the world. The best of the best. Watching local wrestling though, it isn't about that. It's not about star ratings, dirt sheets and production values. It's about being a part of a fun community who come to watch hard-working, dedicated and extremely talented performers. I made it a personal goal to myself to attend more local wrestling events. There's a burning fire within the UK indie scene that I don't see replicated anywhere else. Do you find yourself complaining about how commercialised and over produced your chosen wrestling programming is? Turn off your TV, Google search your local wrestling shows and buy a ticket. You'll get your moneys worth.


Main Event Wrestling is a promotion that started up here in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 2005. At 18 years old, they are the longest running wrestling promotion in the North East, the 6th longest running promotion in the UK. The Northern Bash is their oldest event, with many famous faces taking part in the first ever Northern Bash on the 2nd of October 2005. PAC, Sheamus, D-Lo Brown, Doug Williams, Raven & Austin Aries all featured on that card. They have hosted shows at a variety of venues across the North, but they have buried their tent pegs in Longbenton. The Innisfree Sports & Social Club has became the home for MEW wrestling shows.


My first MEW show was in 2017, I attended the first ever Whey Aye Mania event. It's been a hot minute since I've been to a show so I'm looking forward to this. Less yappin', more scrappin'. Let's Review.


MEW - Northern Bash, 22nd September 2023


-A great crowd turnout tonight, an eclectic group of friendly wrestling lovers ready for an exciting night of MEW action. Before the show starts, owner, promoter & announcer Dan Finch is offering out raffle tickets with prizes, including sweets and stashes of Prime. Hopefully I can get my hands on the limited edition Glowberry Prime. It's available online from anywhere between £10 to £100 a bottle. Ya boy finna make a profit today.


-Originally planned for the show was Gene Munny's 'Dirty Dog Open Challenge', however I've been told that unfortunately it will no longer take place. I'm not sure of the exact reasoning, but I've been told it's a justified reason. All I hope is that nothing serious is going on. Look forward to seeing you next time Gene.


(Later in the show it's announced Gene Munny wasn't medically cleared to compete tonight.)


-Dan Finch welcomes us with some friendly patter and starts an MEW chant to warm up the crowd. Great vibes from this man.


Marc Mathers (c) vs Zeo Knox for the MEW North East Championship

Marc Mathers won the title in June at MEW's WrestleStock show. He is Newcastle through and through. He comes out wearing a full Newcastle football strip over his gear, Botman number 4 on the back. One-time MEW Tag Team champion Zeo Knox is billed from 'Rishi Sunak's Summer House', so you can guess what kinda guy we have on our hands. He is a full blown Tory, which makes you a number 1 heel up north (unless you're from Blyth, apparently). He wrestles in brown pants and a blue shirt with the suspenders. What ever the opposite of drip is, that's what this is. He comes out to the fucking music from the Apprentice. He looks like a thicc Jack Gallagher (he is not like Jack Gallagher in any other way than appearance).


The match is back and forth to start, the crowd is solidly behind their Geordie hero. This is a battle between two beefy hoss' and Mathers seems to have an answer for everything thrown by Knox. Tragedy strikes though when Mathers goes down on his ankle badly and the referee needs to check him out. Knox doesn't let that happen, as he focuses on the injury with his offence. Mathers looks ready to fight back but he is elevated over the top, landing bad ankle/foot first on the apron and he falls to the outside. There is also a spot where he dives off the top rope and Knox catches him with a cutter which looked AWESOME, it got a close 2 count. Knox is confident he has the championship in the bag, weakening him further with a leg trap submission. Mathers is a tough arse Geordie and it's going to take more to keep him down. The champ fights back again, this time when he's elevated over to apron and he keeps his balance (good storytelling). Eventually Mathers hits a Fireman's carry powerslam for the 3 count and he retains. This was a great way to start the show. A clearly beloved champion overcoming a clearly despised heel, good babyface victory to begin the evening.


-We have a promo segment next, from the returning Kavero. 'The Nightmare' was last seen at MEW's Whey Aye Mania 5 in early 2022. He cut a very good, heartfelt promo about his mental health struggles that has kept him out of action for sometime. He also promotes a charity event he's a fundraising for next week which is great stuff. Kavero announces his intentions to enter the Toon Tussle next year, referencing Dusty Rhodes' Hard Times promo* which was cool. The good vibrations are turned off by Jonah Phoenix who comes out and really turns up the heat. He said now he has mental health issues after having to listen to his sob story. Jonah reveals he was meant to be accepting Gene Munny's open challenge, but now he has a challenge of his own. He calls Kavero a pussy bitch and challenges him to a match. He doesn't expect it to be accepted, but Mr Nightmare takes off his clothes to reveal his ring gear. Impromptu match! A good heat segment, great mic skills displayed by both fellas.


*(edit: thinking back I'm pretty sure it was actually a reference to Scott Hall's 'Bad Times' Hall of Fame speech, but now it's been a week and I'm not 100% sure. It was good though)


Kavero vs Jonah Phoenix

This doesn't go very long, but it's effective storytelling by both men. Jonah is the smaller, faster guy whilst Kavero is rather jacked and is able to overpower him at every turn. Jonah uses cheap tactics like eye gouging to take the advantage throughout. Eventually Jonah goes to use his belt as a weapon drawing in the referee to try stop him. This brings Sir Nightmare over who receives a dirty low blow behind the referee's back, classic Ric Flair style. A belt-wrapped punch to head earns Jonah a cheap victory. As he celebrates, he backs into Kavero and he is beaten up. Kavero gets his heat back from the cheap loss, look forward to seeing you at the Toon Tussle.


X-Jack vs Chop, Last Man Standing

These two have been feuding since Toon Tussle earlier this year where X-Jack viciously attacked MEW's favourite DJ. Chop had his debut match at Whey Aye Mania 6, losing to X-Jack but not without a hard effort. Since then, the issues have intensified with a war of words over social media, leading to a grudge match here to bring this all to an end. X-Jack is a referee turned wrestler, he looks like a badass MF.


X-Jack takes control immediately with a chair shot to the head. This is a physical fight between two men who absolutely LOATH each other. Chop busts out the kendo stick and cracks him across the back with it. The fighting spills out of the ring, around and through the crowd. Chop is the clear fan favourite, X-Jack continues to tell us that what he's doing to Chop is all our fault, I assume because we like him more. The fighting leaves ringside and goes up on to the balcony! Chop teases throwing X-Jack off the balcony, which I admit would have been cool to see but also an immediate trip to the Royal Victoria Infirmary. The fighting comes back down to the ringside area. X-Jack CRACKS Chop across the head a few times with a baking tray. I was sat literally centimetres away from this. The noise was sickening. I even felt a breeze from how quick he swung that tray. Ouch. Back in the ring X-Jack continues to take Chop apart but he can't keep him down for the 10 count. He puts the chair around chops neck and says "Chop is going to die", should I be calling the police right now? He goes up top for a diving stomp, but Chop gets up and YEEETS the chair into his face. Chop remembers the famous saying "if you can't beat him, tape him" as he tapes X-Jack's legs together around the ring post, making it impossible for him to get up for the 10 count.


That was so much fucking fun. They really sold their hatred for each other throughout, and we got a creative finish which makes X-Jack look strong and Chop look smart. I had high hopes for this match and they were absolutely achieved. Well done lads.


Cosplay Kings (Assassin & Nicky Starr) & OperaMania vs Blazr Squad (Joe Blazr, RKid & Kegstacker)

Joe Blazr has been quite prominent in the UK, making previous appearances in Progress & RevPro under his Big Guns Joe persona. He is out wearing purple power rangers-esque gear. He looks cool, he looks kinda like Kip Sabian except far better looking (you're welcome Joe). Rkid is a reference to Noel & Liam Gallagher from Oasis who call each other 'Rkid' (our kid), which in turn is Manc slang. The reference is made apparent as he rocks up looking like an Indie Boy starter pack, from the haircut to the drip. He has the tambourine in hand too, I hope he uses it as a weapon. I ain't hating the look, he looks well tidy but i could not pull that off. Finally, Kegstacker. The clue is in the name, he's a stacked bloke who carries a keg. He immediately becomes my favourite on aesthetic and name alone.


Cosplay Kings are out next, and a familiar entrance music hits, shortly followed by "OH YOU DIDNT KNOW!!? YOU'RE ASS BETTER CALL SOMEBODAAAAAY". We have a full on New Age Outlaws cosplay and I am 1000% DOWN with it. They are the current and longest reigning MEW Tag Team Champions of all time. They won the gold at MEW Reload in 2021, defeating Sugar Ray Taylor & Zeo Knox and have held on to them since. 722 days and counting. Assassin is the bigger, older veteran whilst Starr is the younger, more agile wrestler but he's far from a rookie. These two have charisma and flowing out of every hole. Assassin goes to do the Road Dogg pre-match promo but Rkid cuts them off and demands they just get on with it. Talking about overflowing charisma, we have Operamania. As the name suggests, he's made a name for himself through his use of opera before matches, after matches and hell even during them. Here, he comes out to 'The Game' and he sings a beautiful rendition of it. He's dressed like Triple H, and HOT DAMN he's in superb physical condition. Mans got those Finn Balor abs for real. He does the Triple H entrance, water spitting and everything, all 3 run through a full DX pre-match promo and it was awesome. The crowd popped hard for it, as did I.


This is a very enjoyable tag match, both teams are quite over with the crowd so it's unclear where the face vs heel dynamic is which isn't a bad thing. This match is a beautifully woven blend of wrestling, storytelling, nostalgia and comedy. Team Opera-Kings take the early advantage using familiar DX-related offence, but the Blazr Squad use a referee distraction to wipe out Starr and keep him in their corner. Starr is beaten down by his 3 adversaries, the referee can't control it and it draws the ire of Opera-Kings. We see a little bickering between Rkid & Blazr which grants Starr an opening to dodge a Famouser and make the tag. Operamania is running wild brother in the Innisfree after the hot tag. We see more nostalgic moves, including a Doggystyle Pump-handle slam from Assassin. There are kids in the audience! We get a cool hoss off between Keg & Assassin, eventually spilling into a 6 man brawl in and around the ring. The referee is distracted, OperaMania pulls out the sledgehammer! He hits a shot to the abdomen, followed by a pedigree for the victory. Insane amounts of entertainment in this one, a tremendous effort by all involved to not only wrestle well but to display showmanship


The Opera-Kings celebrate together. Blazr holds a tag title in his hand, his team are telling him to just leave but he hands it over and shows a sign of respect. Post-match, OperaMania has already went to the back and the tag champions are attacked! X-Jack & Jonah Phoenix come out and lay them out, holding up the tag titles and declaring themselves the next champions. The champions recover after they leave, Starr bigs up their longest reign and it will reach 800 days at the next MEW event. They will make it to 801, they want X-Jack & Phoenix at Cruel Yule in November, the titles on the line. Great promo work.


-intermission-


-Unfortunately I did not win the £90 valued rare prime, some 8 year old kid won them instead. Screw you kid. I challenge you to a Prime in a briefcase ladder match.


Gia Adams vs Paddy Griffin w/Mr D

Gia Adams is making her return after nearly 5 months off, taking some well deserved personal time. She's an absolute stunner of a unit who's been tearing up the UK indie scene for some time now, even making an appearance on some ICW tapings last year. The 2x former BWR Women's champion will be facing South Shields born Paddy Griffin, who is respectably a former 2x champion himself, holding tag gold for Shields Pro Wrestling. Griffin is accompanied by Mr D, who I can only describe as a David Tennant from Wish.com.


An even contest early on between these two powerhouses but eventually Griffin takes full control. He dominates for a long time, wearing Gia down who is beloved by the MEW audience. Griffin mocks and taunts the crowd chanting for her, promising to make her pain worse the more they continue. He shouts and argues with various kids in the crowd, which was hilarious. Eventually Gia manages to turn the tide and hit some big offence but Griffin is able to retake control each time. Gia displays great resilience though, taking a beating and refusing to stay down. Noticing this, Mr D tries to slide in his briefcase for Griffin to use. Griffin seems almost insulted and he boots the briefcase away, landing almost perfectly in the lap of a lucky fan. It was so smooth I wish I caught it on camera. The distraction here is enough for Gia to score a roll up for a victory. A solidly worked match with great crowd work by both of these stars. It's great to see Gia back, I'd like to see her challenge for one of the MEW titles again soon. Her vs Mathers would be awesome. Post-match, Mr D berates Griffin for not listening and shoves him around. Paddy has had enough and shoves him down. Out comes Kegstacker for the assault. Mr D laughs and says he always had had an insurance policy. He terminates Griffin's contract with him. Kegstacker is acknowledged as Mr Stoker when they leave. I see them locking horns in the near future.


-Dan Finch hypes up a Christmas special show in 2 months time, Cruel Yule. Simon Miller from Whatculture will appear which is pretty cool. Hopefully I'll make it to this one.


HT Drake (c) vs Gunnar Rig, MEW Heavyweight Championship

Drake won the Heavyweight Championship for a second time at last years Northern Bash, defeating Adam Maxted and previous champion Shreddy in a competitive triple threat. I've been a big fan of Drake's work for a long time, one of the best workers in the North-East wrestling scene and a well travelled veteran of the UK scene. He was the last ever Defiant Wrestling Hardcore champion, the popular but short-lived promotion based up North. Gunnar Rig is a relative newcomer to the game, but he's quickly gained popularity amongst the MEW faithful. He won the Toon Tussle this year, setting him up for a title match here tonight. An interesting addition is that HT Drake helped train Gunnar Rig. The challenger posted a video claiming the student will now become the master. We get a cool as FUCK entrance for Gunnar, who comes down with druids in black flanking him, while he is wearing a red druid get-up. He looks like one of the Emperor's Royal guards from Star Wars. He reveals his painted face, looking like a God of War character. He looked like an animal.


Next out is HT Drake, but he was disguised as one of the druids!! Drake assaults Big Rig before the bell rings, taking him to the outside and throwing him into the bar, slamming his head on the bar. Finch & the referee and protesting this but Drake doesn't give a FUUUUCK. Drake finally takes the action in the ring as the bell goes. He continues to take apart Gunnar but his student gradually finds a way to comeback into the fight. Nothing Drake has can keep Rig down long enough for the win, so before he can gain back momentum he HOOFS Gunnar in banana and plums for a DQ. "Boooooooo" says the crowd. Drake thinks he's gotten away with it, he doesn't give a shit about winning as long as he's still the champion. Dan Finch did not like this. He demands the match be restarted. HT Drake did not like this, made clear when he CLOTHESLINES DAN FINCH! You bastard. The match continues and Gunnar begins to fire up with running corner clotheslines. He goes for a third but Drake drags the referee in the way, kinda. The referee blew the spot quite badly to be quite honest, but they make it work. Drake grabs the title and clocks Rig with it. Out comes referee Ross for the 1-2-NO! A great nearfall. Drake goes for the title again, but Ross says no. HT Drake did not like this, responding with a clothesline to the ref! RIP to all officials today. This brings out a third referee, wor Katie to govern the action. Gunnar puts Drake down with a chokeslam for a great nearfall. Eventually, Gunnar Rig finally gets the job done with a huge powerbomb for the 3 count aaaaand NEWWWWW Heavyweight Champion! What a thrilling main event. It told a great story, Drake would do anything to remind champion but everything was simply not enough. Gunnar Rig was too powerful and eventually he was able to overcome his former trainer to win the gold. A wholesome post-match promo by Gunnar who thanks everyone who's helped him reach this point in his career. Well deserved my friend.


-Special shout out to my homeslice Katie Crosby, she's new to the referee game and she's absolutely killing it. I was stoked to see her as a part of the main event. She's real good and she's got potential to make waves in the UK scene. You heard it here first.


Overall:

I had an absolutely awesome night. When I haven't been to a show in so long I always get irrationally nervous, then I get there and I realise how great the wrestling community is. Truly, it is. Fandom on the internet is not a community, for some reason it's a hateful, brutal, toxic environment to be around. However, when you go to shows and you're a part of it all physically, there's a real community there. Especially at these smaller shows, everybody knows everybody and we're all just here to have a good time. That's what wrestling should always be about.


MEW put on a great show, all of the staff and the wrestlers worked extremely hard and it absolutely paid off to me. There was something for everyone on this show, whether you take your wrestling seriously or if you like a bit of vivacity. The best match of the night comes down to what you're after. High wrestling work rate from bell to bell? Mathers vs Knox. Unscheduled surprises? Kavero vs Phoenix. A violent war between bitter rivals? Chop vs X-Jack. Nostalgia, showmanship & comedy? The 6-man tag. A battle between brute powerhouses? Adams vs Griffin. Sports entertainment with high stakes? Drake vs Gunnar. This show had it all. I couldn't think of a better way to spend a Friday night.


Friday the 17th of November, MEW presents Cruel Yule at the Innisfree. Get yourselves down there if you are able to. Get your tickets either through Main Event Wrestling's social media's (Facebook & Twitter). If you're not local, check out the MEW YouTube channel where they post highlights of previous shows they've ran. I'll post links below.





Alternatively, I recommend seeking out whatever local shows you have going on in your local area, you don't have to shell out big dollar every month or subscribe to a streaming service to watch good wrestling. There will be a show near you with some great workers I can almost guarantee it. Grab some friends (or don't!) and go have yourself a jolly old time. Thank you for reading, until next time, see ya!

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