On arriving at Emerson’s Green Village Hall on Saturday evening there was already an enthusiastic queue of people waiting for the doors to open to 4FW’s latest event at the venue in Bristol. Judging by the line of people, the audience for the night would be a strange mix of young families anticipating some WWE style dramatics and bearded wrestling enthusiasts drawn by the presence of Japanese worker Hiromu Takahashi and former WCW World Heavyweight Champion ‘Diamond’ Dallas Page.
By the time of opening bell the hall was completely packed, with extra seating being brought out to accommodate a crowd that I would estimate was at around 200. The opening contest was a 6-man tag match that pitted Hiromu Takahashi, Jas New and ‘Turkish Delight’ Volkan Azlan against Owen Phoenix, ‘Dynamite’ Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate. This was the match of the night with all 6 men adding to what was an exciting, fast paced contest. The abilities of Takahashi and Phoenix in particular stood out, though the undoubted star of the match was the camp heel Aslan whose act immediately got up the nose of the crowd. For the record the faces won this one when Phoenix pinned Jas New.
Up next was a match that was billed as being to decide a no.1 contender to the 4FW Junior Heavyweight Title (currently held by ‘Dynamite’ Pete Dunne). The match featured Jason Larusso against Saime Sahin and though it started slowly, the pair managed to get the crowd into the contest as it wore on. Towards the end however there were one too many botches and the match didn’t reach the heights it had threatened to do half way through. Also, Jason Larusso showed little charisma to encourage those in the crowd to treat him as the face which meant that Sahin’s powerful knife edge chops almost put him over as the fan favourite. Having said that, this was still a decent contest that ended with Larusso picking up the win following a Canadian Destroyer.
In match number 3 the heavyweights were wheeled out as hometown hero The Saint was up against ‘Sensational’ Saul Adams. This match saw a noticeable change in pace to the previous contests with much more emphasis being placed on the interaction between the wrestlers and the crowd. To that end, Adams did a fine job getting heat with his arrogant mannerisms and the help of his busty valet Nadia Sapphire. Adams has got some real personality, good size and an athletic look which singles him out as someone who has the potential to be a star in the future. The Saint on the other hand was for the most part bland and non-descript, the majority of his night spent selling on the canvas for eventual winner Adams.
To end the first part of the show, ‘Big Bad’ Dave Mastiff came out with his manager Gilligan Gordon to hype up Mastiff’s main event match with ‘English Lion’ Eddie Ryan. After Gordon stated that Ryan’s scheduled corner man ‘Diamond’ Dallas Page wouldn’t bother to appear to be there for Ryan, Mastiff got on the mic and claimed that he could beat Page in 5 seconds. This was met by the appearance of DDP to a good pop, who got into the ring for a tussle with Mastiff ending when Mastiff escaped the clutches of Page’s attempted Diamond Cutter.
During the interval Page signed autographs and posed for pictures at £10-a-go, taking the time to share a few words with each person on the latest stop of his tour promoting DDP Yoga. As you’d expect, there was high demand for the chance to meet DDP and as such, Page was unable to get to everybody before the second part of the show was due to kick off and so he agreed to continue meeting the fans after the main event.
After the break we were treated to another 6-man tag match which featured Antonio Di Luca, Matt Lomax and Colossal King against Ho Holun, Dragon Emperor and Super Octane. Again it was a heel that was the star of this match, this time in the form of smarmy Italian Di Luca. His team mates, Lomax and Colossal King were two big burly guys who completely dwarfed their cruiserweight opponents, and sure enough the heels picked up the win in this one too.
Which brings us to the main event of the evening, pitting ‘Big Bad’ Dave Mastiff against ‘English Lion’ Eddie Ryan. Mastiff’s look and demeanour means that he is the perfect heel foil for the babyface half of the roster and sure enough the kids in attendance got right behind the unexceptional Ryan. This was the longest match on the card, and in truth it was maybe a little too long with the crowd almost burnt out by the end. Mastiff dominated the vast majority of the contest in order to sell the idea that Ryan was the underdog, not only thanks to Mastiff’s size, but also the presence of Mastiff’s manager Gilligan Gordon at ringside.
On two occasions Mastiff could have won the match by count out when Ryan appeared unable to answer the referee’s 10-count only for Mastiff to pull him back into the ring and deliver more punishment. The end of the match saw the referee take a bump and Gordon interfere on Mastiff’s behalf, provoking the inevitable reappearance of DDP to even the odds. Page slid into the ring, delivered a Diamond Cutter to both Gordon and Mastiff and then revived the official in time for him to count Mastiff’s shoulders to the mat and give Ryan the unlikely win.
So, as is the time honoured tradition, the fans were sent home happy with a nice babyface victory in the main event, and your writer was pleased with what he’d seen too. Sure, the production values were low, with no lighting, a battered looking old ring and a less than stellar public address system but you expect nothing else in the UK, what was on show however, was a group of workers eager to entertain, from the fast paced action of Owen Phoenix and company to the characteristic stylings of Saul Adams and Volkan Azlan. Ultimately, I left feeling certain I’d be back the next time they visit Bristol, which is surely the best compliment I can give.