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  • Connor Ewens

Local Wrestling Review: CPW Golden Opportunity III

It's time once again for me to put on a wrestling tee, withdraw a tenner and go check out a local wrestling show. This time, I make the journey up to Bedlington to watch Contract Pro Wrestling for the first time. Thanks to Louie Von for reaching out and recommending this show for me. Like I mentioned last time, these local wrestling reviews are not about star ratings and baiting you with rumours about backstage dramas. I want you to be reading this and think to yourself "oh fuck, why wasn't I there?". Support your local wrestling folks. I'll say it every time.


So the name CPW had rang a bell in my brain when I heard it but I've never attended a show. CPW are a relatively newer promotion starting up back in 2018, founded by 20+ year wrestling veteran Assassin (current MEW Tag champion) who decided his new goal was to help bring in a new generation of professional wrestlers here in the North East. 9 months after the CPW began, the Contract Wrestling Academy was opened with a plethora of incredibly talented performers rising through their school to compete on their roster. In fact, the majority of the talent that feature on their cards are homegrown talent from their own academy. Their first show took place at the Comrade's Club in Blyth on the 6th of April 2018, featuring a variety of talented locals such as Jonah Phoenix, Nicky Starr, Conor Renshaw and Rory Coyle to name but a few. They have since put on shows in Gateshead, Stanley & Cramlington, but their current home is at the Bedlington Station Social Club. CPW pride themselves on their wrestling being heavily narrative-driven, with stories being developed over time show after show to grow fan (and the wrestlers) investment as much as possible.


This is the third Golden Opportunity show, which is headlined by it's 'Money in the Bank' style ladder match, where the winner can claim a guaranteed championship match at anytime over the next 365 days. I have dropped into CPW following their sold-out 'On a Mission' show, which featured former WWE Tag Team champion Sir Mo which is pretty damn cool. At the event, current Heavyweight champion and only Grand Slam champion Alex Andrews continued his quest to carry ALL of the gold when he took the CPW Hardcore Championship away from Damien Daystar who only just won it that night. Andrews threw his so-called best friend X-Jack from the top of a ladder to win the Heavyweight championship from him. X-Jack is desperate for his rematch, but the champ demands he proves himself first. After facing Thomas Blood, The Chosen & Dontae Smiley, X-Jack waits what hoop he has to jump through next. X-Jack has a opportunity though, securing a deal to be the first entrant into the Golden Opportunity ladder match. However, Andrews has managed to pull strings and make himself the second entrant. If Andrews wins then he could cash-in on the one championship he doesn't hold and possess all of the power.


The only title Andrews doesn't hold is the CWA championship, which is currently held by Thomas Griffin. Griffin was the 2nd winner of the Golden Opportunity, when he was a part of The Family, a supernatural cult lead by the wicked Anya Hex. Anya was the previous CWA champion and was confident that her Family was in control. However, Griffin broke free from the control Anya had over him, breaking his "chosen" mask and cashing in his briefcase to win the CWA title from his former leader. Anya has lost a significant member of her family and is fighting to keep her place. Anya recently enlisted a devoted fan member into her family to fill the gap, he literally goes by Anya Hex Fan. Was this desperation? Was this pity? We will see if AHF can prove his worth to the family. Elsewhere, we have Gunnar Rig who has came into CPW as a dominant force and the only monster the company needs. He has mercilessly beat down Archon with the help of his new ally Bryan Creed, who appears to be a false prophet who claims to be the truth. Archon has been unmasked and terrorised by Gunnar Rig, questioning his identity but he will not give up in the face of adversity. Finally, we have Big John. He is a hired gun and has been for some time, being paid to take out anyone. Now, he's sick of being underappreciated and underpaid, so maybe he has his eyes on the Golden Opportunity to make a name for himself? We will see. I think that covers all of the story elements you (and I) need to know. Anya Hex's Family sounds bonkers, I'm excited. You should be too. Let's Review.


7th October 2023 - CPW's Golden Opportunity III @ Bedlington Station & District Working Men's Social Club


-A great turn out for the show, a near enough full venue of 100-150 people I'd say, you love to see it. A promo package plays as the show starts, a roll call of the roster which I think is a nice touch. Passionate promotor Lindsay comes out and welcomes us to Golden Opportunity 3! I wanna talk about Lindsay for a second. I interacted with her briefly and she was lovely. I really admire her ring announcing presence throughout the show. She stumbled over her words occasionally and you could tell what she had to say wasn't rehearsed/scripted to death. By no means is that a criticism, I absolutely love how anti no-nonsense it is, she come across really genuine and warm, which is key to connecting with your fan base. Not that I have issues with any other particular promoter or anything like that, I'm just making observations.


-Lindsay opens with some information about the wrestler Rev, who was injured at the end of the 'State of the Art' show when he lost the Alex Andrews. He has had successful surgery for a broken tibia and he'll be out for approximately 6 months. Rest up Rev, hopefully I'll see you in action some time next year. Lindsay's introduction is interrupted by X-Jack, coming out to the absolute BANGER that is Resistance by Skillet. Mans has taste. If you read my review of MEW a few weeks back, you'll know he was working as a heel. Here though, he is a fan favourite, arguably the top babyface in the company and damn he really plays it well. Great range from X-Jack. He talks about being put through the ringer a bit recently, before HE is interrupted by the man drenched in gold, the 'State of the Art', Alex Andrews. Man, how can I boo a man who enters to Smooth by Santana. Andrews talks about all of his recent success, with only one championship left in his sight. Lindsay says that Andrews ain't the only champion gunning for more gold. She offically confirms CWA champion Thomas Griffin will be part of the Golden Opportunity ladder match.


-Here comes yet ANOTHER interruption, these CPW wrestlers are so rude. This time, it's Bryan Creed, a man who not only drinks his own kool-aid, but probably snorts it too. He is wearing a "I am a Bryan Creed guy" t-shirt, which really has me questioning the meaning of that. Is he simply advertising merch? Is he announcing to the world he is in fact Bryan Creed? Does he have a dissociative disorder? Life's biggest mystery. He puts over his accomplishments including being the first ever CPW Heavyweight champion and demands to be added into the match. We get some excellent crowd work by him as he absolutely buries any heckler trying to jeer him. Interrupting him is Mac Black, a guy who has had significant beef with Mr Creed in the past. Lindsay has a great idea, she proposes an impromptu match right now between Creed & Black for a spot in the Golden Opportunity match. Creed initially declines, Black calls him a chicken and gets the crowd to join in. Whilst his back is turned though, Creed grabs a chair and cracks him with it to a sickening noise. Creed changes his mind and accepts the match. Funny. Great heel work.


Bryan Creed vs Mac Black

Black immediately is working off his back after the attack, he is in survival mode. This is a short match but it's very effective storytelling. Creed grinds Mac down but Mac manages to create some space after feinting an injury, drawing Creed in for a roll-up for a good near fall. Mac tries to fight back in to the match, but the early disadvantage was far too great. Creed plants him with a swinging STO for the victory, earning a spot in the Ladder match. Creed is far from done though, he continues to attack Black, bringing back the chair to paste across Mac Black's back (that's a tongue twister right there). Referee Josh tries to stop the carnage, so Creed pastes him too! What a bastard. Lindsay is sick and removes Creed from the match due to his post-match shenanigans. The crowd cheer, Creed complains. We're still 3 participants short for our main event tonight.


Solid in-ring work by them both here. The focus was to get a lot of heat on Creed whilst generating a lot of sympathy for Mac and it was done excellently. Mac is rather over with the CPW faithful.


-Without referee Josh to call the action, who could we have to referee? Introducing, making her CPW referee debut, it's my fucking mate Katie LETS GOOOO!!! Another shout out to you Katie, a new ref who's killing it. If you keep working on the shows I'm going to then I'm going to shout you out every time.


-Lindsay brings out Chase Striker, who has been having issues with Anya Hex and her spooky family recently. The Hex family are called out for a face to face. The Family are Anya Hex, The Chosen & Anya Hex Fan (Louie Von). During their entrance, Hex's two followers got in my face and tried to intimidate me. Nice try gents! I've watched enough Scooby-Doo cartoons to know you are just disgruntled groundskeepers looking for revenge. I digress. The Family beat down on Chase almost immediately, bringing out CPW's resident monster Archon to make the save. Archon challenges them to a tag match right now. Lindsay agrees and decides to up the ante. Whoever picks up the winning pinfall or submission in the match for their team, will gain entry into the main event ladder match. Very intriguing indeed. I want to take a second and appreciate how this show is structured. It's quite unique. The local wrestling shows I've attended thus far are like your usual live events, a series of announced/advertised matches with the occasional patter in between. At CPW, it feels like I'm on set of a TV drama, where the stories are playing out in real time and the matches feel almost whimsical. It's unique and I like it.


Archon & Chase Striker vs Anya Hex Fan & The Chosen

Chase is a big fan favourite with CPW, but he has also made his mark in other local promotions such as Shield Pro & Arcadian Wrestling. I heard someone call 'the Chosen' Salad Fingers which was fucking hilarious. I see it, from the face down to his tendril fingies. Archon & Chase are having a good time kicking AHF's ass, so he rolls out and runs away. Chase is on the - well - chase, and runs right into the hossy arm of Anya Hex, whilst the referee is distracted. Chase is beaten down by the Family for a good amount of time but he manages to flip, reverse and get a hot tag to Archon. The monster run's wild brother, clearing out any and all spooky foe in his path. A sit-out spinebuster looks to have the job done but Anya Hex gets up on the apron and interrupts the count. The distraction is enough for a pump kick from Chosen to Archon for a great near fall. Archon is now beaten down but he manages a tag to Chase, who prepares for a big splash but Anya is there to break his balance. Chase briefly comes back with a good enziguiri, a very nice pump-handled uranage by AHF though. The Chosen hits another pump kick for the victory, he will enter tonight's main event.


A great tag match following a simple yet effective formula. I was genuinely surprised by Chosen being the chosen one (pun 100% intended) in the ladder match, he would have been my last guess. He's a mysterious character, my friend called him Slenderman which I also totally see. Great character work by the Chosen though. Archon & AHF pulled off some great moves, so did Chase but I'll remember him for his awesome job at selling.


-Lindsay talks about the upcoming Rumble match, with a winner earning a spot in the ladder match. A video reel of videos sent in by various wrestlers played, leading up to the show the fans could vote on who they wanted to see in the rumble. The winner was guaranteed a spot. The top three were revealed as C-Mako, Smudger & Edwards. The overall winner was Smudger, but Lindsay decided she wants all of those who sent in videos to participate in the rumble. One may say this renders the voting redundant, but I think this was smart. This was always the plan, the voting was beneficial for 2 big reasons. First, social media presence, gotta get those clicks and interactivity in. Second, perhaps most importantly, we're identifying upcoming fan favourites. It's a great acknowledgement for Smudger to be most voted by the fans. It's fan support that get's you the farthest. You can be as talented as you want, but if no one wants to see you then you're screwed.


CPW Rumble

Traditional Royal Rumble rules. Over-the-top rope elimination, both feet touching the floor. Lindsay tries to started with 3 participants for it to be more fun, but the idea is shot down. I would have liked it. The more the merrier. Entrant 1 is Anya Hex, during her entrance she scuttles across the floor spider-like which I always find scary. If she got in my face earlier I would have flinched. Hex recently was interviewed by Ringsport Wrestling Magazine which is always cool. Entrant number 2 is Nicky Starr! I love Nicky. Man sweats charisma. Hex intimidates him. "calm down love" he says. He ducks clotheslines and "boops" her in the eyes a couple times. He slaps her but then gets dropped as Hex begins her domination. Entrant 3 is Chase Striker. Chase & Nicky double team Hex, getting her with a double team move whilst Nicky shouts "yes boy". I don't know what that move is, but imma call it a Yes Boy. Entrant 4 is, the Sound guy Greg Alexander. He is a "sound" guy. Ayy. Get it? Ah, jokes. He goes on a mini tear, even hitting a very clean moonsault before being eliminated by Nicky Starr. Out at number 5, Anya Hex Fan. With two Family members, they take control of the ring and beat down Chase & Nicky. That sit-out pump-handle uranage move AHF does? I really like it. At 6 we have Rhydian Lever, a CWA original who wants to take the step up. The ring begins to fill up now as we see Bryan Creed enter at 7 and then Big John at 8. Big John looks and sounds like my grandad so I'll cheer him on. He delivers a mean F5 to Chase, before eliminating him and them Rhydian. Out at number 9 we have a bird? a plane? Nay, we have Captain Contract! He zooms through the crowd faster than the speed of sound, we didn't even notice his arrival until he stood in the squared circle, bestowing his superhuman presence. Captain Contract knocks down all of the heels before engaging in a pose-off with Nicky Starr. Nicky looks great, but on one can match poses with the Cap! The posing is a distraction and the Captain is eliminated by Creed. He doesn't have time to sulk. He has crime to prevent, and contracts to - uh - sign? He zooms out of there faster than before. God, what a hero.


Out at number 10, C-Mako who instantly impresses with his flashy offence, a float-over famouser as well as a round-the-world DDT both looked hella cool. He nearly eliminates Nicky, but it's Big John who wipes out Starr. Bryan Creed eliminates Big John. 11, we have Archon. He and Creed have a hoss off as the balance swings in favour of the faces. At 12, out comes Smudger to a huge pop. He goes on a hot tear, calling Anya a "Spooky bitch" before wiping her out. A lovely spear to Creed also. I like this guy. Our final entrant, unlucky number 13 is Edwards. He brags how good he is, before nearly being eliminated and begging Archon for mercy. He uses an eye rake though and drops him with a rolling flatliner. Bryan Creed dodges Smudger's clothesline and lifts him over and out, eliminated. Archon eliminates Edwards. The odds are in favour of the baddies. Archon fights Hex, AHF & Creed but a dirty low blow from Creed provides leverage for the elimination. 4 remain, those 3 heels and C-Mako. I overheard that this young lad is 17 I think? If that's correct that is mental. I think it's unfair he can't even buy himself a pint after his great performance. Hex is confident so she demands her super fan eliminate himself from the match, which he does. Fans shout "simp" at him. I love wrestling. C-Mako fights the odds, flipping out of a dangerous spot to eliminate Hex. He goes toe to toe with Creed, he is nearly eliminated but he lands on the Hex Family. He hits a 619, followed by a dropkick to eliminate Creed for a big win.


Can't go wrong with a good rumble eh? They're always so fun. This wasn't an exception. A fun rumble with great storytelling harkening back to matches earlier in the night, as well as pre-existing stories. Hex making AHF eliminate himself before the end was smart because it proved she underestimated C-Mako, but also I don't think she has full trust in her fan just yet to go to the end and let her win, especially after Griffin's betrayal. Everyone got their time and moments to shine. All very good stuff.


-intermission-


-All we have left is our main event, Lindsay promotes how important the briefcase can be, a match for any championship at any time for the next year. Bryan Creed interrupts. He has spoken to those above Lindsay in CPW. She cannot remove him from the match for what he did. Sure, he has to pay a hefty fine for his attack on an offical but he is rich enough to not be bothered by that. He will be in tonight's main event match. We have our 6 men. The rest of the participants come out. C-Mako is now a strong fan favourite, he comes out with a light up face mask, akin to the Mustafa Ali one a few years back. A personal note here. C-Mako, you're talented, but I dislike your entrance music. I think this is an "old man shouting at cloud" moment, but I don't understand this sped-up/slowed + reverbed trend going on. Why is chipmunk music popular again? I doubt your choice of song is going to be much of a disservice this early into your career, but I think you deserve a much better banger. Hmu and I'll make some suggestions.


-An injured referee Josh has returned to help Katie officiate the match. He has a clipboard and a note for Lindsay to read ahead of Alex Andrews entrance (hmm, I wonder who it could be from?). The note takes turns insulting the participants. "What does the C stand for in C-Mako? Is it clown or is it child?" The note continues to mock all the wrestlers, before introducing the decorated champion, Alex Andrews. Before the match begins, Lindsay tells Creed if she can't remove him from the match, then she'll add an extra man instead. Mac Black is in! 7 men now, here we go!


Alex Andrews vs X-Jack vs Bryan Creed vs Thomas Griffin vs The Chosen vs C-Mako vs Mac Black, Golden Opportunity

A big ol' brawl right from the beginning, fighting in and out of the ring. I already realise how hard to keep track this might be. I should do voice notes next time. Mac does a smooth monkey flip reversal, but eats a ladder to the face, thrown by Creed. The ladder is stood up, the Chosen is placed through it and takes a running knee, knocking him and the ladder down. 6 of the men spill outside and fight near the exit, prompting X-Jack to land a big plancha dive to the outside. I'm just going to list some moves now that I saw which were pretty cool. A pop-up reversal into a destroyer by C-Mako was buttery smooth. Andrews hit a brutal looking snap dragon suplex to Griffin. A guillotine leg drop on the ladder propels it into Andrews face which look brutal. Creed brings back the chair and wears Mac down with it. Creed & Slenderman, I mean the Chosen, form an alliance but it's short-lived. Mac suplexes Creed onto the chair, ow. Griffin takes the Chosen off the ladder with a nice spinebuster. Andrews hits a flying Black with a mid-air spear which looked awesome. Everyone hits moves, everyone tries to make the climb but is stopped by someone.


Eventually, we get the big stare down. Andrews & X-Jack. I popped HARD for this sequence. An awesome back and forth exchange of counters and reversals, these two have uncanny chemistry together. X-Jack back drops Andrews on to the ladder and it snaps! This isn't your flimsy or painted wood ladder sirs. No, they broke a legit metal ladder that you would see workmen use. That shit gotta hurt. C-Mako and Creed have a great exchange together too. AHF tries to give his ally a hand by hoisting him on his shoulders towards the briefcase, but Mac dropkicks them both down. Mac with a nice ladder jumping DDT to Creed. Mac hits Griffin with an awesome move, think it's like an underhook variation of a crosscutter. It looked sick either way. Andrews takes Mac out with a packaged piledriver. He goes for the case, but he's prevented by C-Mako, who makes the climb and he unhooks it! C-Mako wins to a huge ovation! What a moment for the youngster.


This was an awesome main event, the biggest names in the company as well as some fresh blood mixing it up and it was all kinds of fun. I can't even pick out a stand-out performer because everyone had moments of excellence. All 7 lads put in a huge effort and it massively paid off in my eyes. Everyone looked great and what a moment for young C-Mako who wins the briefcase. A huge surprise, It'll be interesting to see what comes next in the chapter of Andrews vs X-Jack, how will the former champion get his golden opportunity now?


-X-Jack shakes hands with C-Mako out of respect but he looks visibly disappointed. Alex Andrews though, starts pushing around referees including Katie! She pushes him back. Go on lass! I don't care about Smooth by Santana anymore, pushing me mate puts you as heel number 1 in my book mister. (Great heel work though)


-C-Mako has his eyes set on Alex Andrews, we will see when he decides to cash in his golden opportunity. Lindsay closes out the show announcing the next CPW event on the 4th of November. Unfortunately I can't make it! I already have bookings to attend and review North Wrestling on the same night. That's a real shame. I'm sure I saw a link about streaming this show online somewhere. If there is a way for me to watch next months show via video footage or something hit me up because I would love to watch and review it. Hopefully I will be able to make it to the show following.


Overall-

I was unsure what to expect heading into this event. I didn't have any pre-conceived expectations but I was very intrigued by the priority of storytelling that CPW pride itself on. Well, you should be proud of it. Other promotions I've seen tell stories, and they do it well, but there is something really special about how CPW tell stories. I mean, usually if you paid for a 3 hour wrestling event and you got 4 matches plus promos, on paper that sounds weak. But this was far from that. From start to finish it had a strong narrative. Good character promos building heat for the main event. A quick first match to put over your dick head heel but secretly to build your baby face. A very good tag match which, from an in-ring perspective, was the best worked match of the night. A joyously exciting rumble match with good comedy, good action and once again good storytelling. Then, the big finale. 7 men giving their all for the opportunity, which was won be the youngster who quickly gained a lot of fans tonight. Man, local wrestling fucking rules dude.


If you're local and you like what you read, go check out Contract Pro Wrestling. They're a bit out of the way for me, it's a bit of a journey if you don't drive but it's hella worth it. I'll put their links down below to check them out on social media. Also if you're an aspiring wrestler, they have a school. Check that out too.


Facebook - Contract Pro Wrestling


Facebook - Contract Wrestling Academy




November 4th is their next show, go check it out. Go watch your local wrestling. They're all very good, hard-working people who care a lot about what they do. They love wrestling as much as you do. Until next time CPW, see ya.







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