TNT returned to Fusion Nightclub in Liverpool on Thursday April 18th with Supreme Extreme. This was their first show since Merseyside Massacre in February where they had announced a marquee match for this show, an absolute indy wrestling dream match: PAC vs. Pentagon Jr.
TNT World Tag Wars Semi Final Match
The Purge vs. The New Sick Boys
This was the first of two semi-final matchups tonight in the TNT World Tag Wars tournament which will crown the inaugural TNT Tag Team Champions. Stalwarts of ICW up in Scotland, Krobar and Stevie James of the Purge took on the New Sick Boys, Rory Coyle and Screwface Ahmed. The previous night, Coyle lost his Defiant Wrestling Championship to Rampage Brown, so was belt-less, but Ahmed had his Fighting Spirit Championship with him. Fighting Spirit are another Merseyside-based indy, run by the NXT UK Tag Team Champions, Zack Gibson and James Drake, while Defiant are the company formerly known as WhatCulture Pro Wrestling. After the Purge won decisively, Ahmed’s title would come into play and he turned on his New Sick Boys partner, smashing him in the face with the belt not once, but twice. This elicited a suitable chorus of boos from the packed Fusion house, and it will be interesting to see where these two go from here.
She-Wolves vs. Lana Austin & Lizzy Styles
This was advertised as a She-Wolves promo segment, which it did indeed begin as. Molly Spartan and Rhio came to the ring without their leader and TNT Women’s Champion, Kasey Owens. They were there to complain about Owens’ lack of title defenses in recent months, thanks to what they perceived as disinterest in the championship by management. This supposed disinterest was, according to the She-Wolves, the reason for Kasey missing this show entirely. Lana Austin, the TNT women’s division’s top babyface and the woman Owens defeated for the belt, soon hit the ring and got into it verbally with the Wolves. This led to the challenge of a handicap match, where if Austin won, she would get her rematch for the title at a later date. Lizzy Styles would then come out, saying she didn’t want Lana getting left on her own, and changed the stipulation so that if she scored the pinfall, she would get the title shot. Thus, the match was set. Disappointingly, TNT didn’t really follow up on the dynamic the stip seemed to require. There was no tension between Austin and Styles. Neither of them broke up the other’s pinfall attempts, wanting the title opportunity for themselves. Lana Austin ended up getting the pin, and she and Lizzy celebrated together. An odd piece of booking. Meanwhile, Lana goes on to face Kasey Owens for the TNT Women’s Championship at a future show, which should be a cracking match.
TNT World Tag Wars Semi Final Match
Kings Of The North vs. Manc Union
This was an okay match, which relied on cheap city-based heel heat for Sam Bailey and Rizman Kahn of the Manc Union. I like the way the characters of the Manc Union are something that would only work in Liverpool and that being the reason they do not exist in any other city in the UK. I would like to see them booked as babyfaces in Manchester! The Kings Of The North, a Northern Irish tag team who have dominated the landscape of the biggest indy in their home country, OTT, won comfortably and the final of the tournament is set. Kings Of The North will face The Purge to be crowned the inaugural TNT Tag Team Champions. The two teams didn’t want to wait till the match, presumably at the next show Going Off Big Time in June, however. The Kings grabbed a mic and goaded the Purge to come out and fight them right now! Krobar and Stevie James duly obliged, and we had one of the coolest pull-apart brawls I’ve seen live at a show. Referees, security, crew, everyone got involved. TNT promoter Jay Apter, who usually shies away from making himself a character in his shows, even got in the ring at one point. If there could be one criticism of this angle, it would be that it went on too long. But it did a great job of building heat for the match, which I expect Kings Of The North to win.
Rey Fenix vs. El Phantasmo
This was another indy dream match booked for this show, but one which had considerably less fanfare surrounding it than PAC vs Penta. Pentagon’s Lucha Bros tag team partner, Rey Fenix, took on El Phantasmo here. Phantasmo had won a triple threat against Jody Fleisch and Curtis Murray at TNT’s previous developmental show, Ignition: Ignite The Fire, for the right to face Fenix. This match was absolutely incredible, an insane display of lucha libre from two of the most athletic high-flyers in the world. My favourite spot was probably a tope from Fenix which actually took him over the barrier and into the crowd! In the end, Phantasmo won with a rollup, and I guess that was the only way TNT felt like they could separate these two. With Fenix signed by Cody Rhodes’ AEW, it doesn’t look like a rematch will be happening any time soon. Their shows begin next month with the huge Double Or Nothing in Las Vegas. So I’m glad I could be here for what looks to be one of Rey Fenix’s last independent dates on UK soil.
TNT Extreme Division Championship #1 Contender’s Four Way Match
Jimmy Havoc vs. Mikey Whiplash vs. Jack Jester vs. Drew Parker
TNT’s full name is TNT Extreme Wrestling, so appropriately their midcard title is a hardcore title. That title is currently held by BT Gunn, whose reign has lasted for over a year. In January, TNT held the inaugural Dead Or Alive deathmatch tournament for a shot at the Extreme Championship, and it was won by Mikey Whiplash when he defeated Jimmy Havoc in the final. Their other two opponents here, Jack Jester and Drew Parker, were the two beaten semi-finalists, and this match was as crazy as that entire show was. Each match in the DOA tourney had a theme, so different weapons were used in different matches. Here, it felt like they crammed in every weapon into one contest! Chairs, thumbtacks, tables, light tubes, glass – you name it, if it’s a well-known wrestling weapon, it got an outing here. I love this kind of wrestling because it feels so real. All four men ended up covered in blood, Jack Jester’s face in particular! The finish didn’t quite go according to plan though. Jester was prone on a table outside the ring, and Havoc, Whiplash and Parker were all atop one turnbuckle. Havoc was pushed off onto Jester, but didn’t quite nail the landing and instead of the table breaking, it simply skidded off and overturned. Whiplash then sealed the deal, nailing Parker with a Michinoku driver off the top rope… through a huge pane of glass that had been set up between two chairs! So although the table spot was botched, the glass spot which led to the pinfall was hugely satisfying. I would like to see Whiplash succeed in his second attempt at BT Gunn. He has one of the most genuinely intimidating gimmicks in wrestling, and is equally adept at technical, brawling or as seen here, a hardcore style of wrestling. Meanwhile, Havoc cut a post-match farewell promo about his imminent move to AEW, having been signed by Cody Rhodes’ outfit earlier in the year. The British wrestling scene is going to miss him.
PAC vs. Pentagon Jr
The card for this show had quite an old-school kind of vibe to it in that there was just one match that was the clear match that the crowd had come to see (although it wasn’t positioned as the main event). That bout here was this, the man formerly known as Neville, a former WWE Cruiserweight Champion, taking on former Lucha Underground star Pentagon Jr. PAC, as Neville is now known, is still using what is essentially the character that got him over in WWE. A mean-as-hell cruiserweight wrestler who doesn’t really do that many high-flying moves, such is his desire to provoke the crowd. Penta, meanwhile, has perhaps the biggest character in all of independent wrestling. He has to be seen to be believed. At no point during any Pentagon Jr match do you feel like you’re watching a human being wrestle. He is this hulking great beast with the most elaborate face paint, mask and ring gear, but who is still technically a Mexican luchador. So, although on the surface level you might go into this match expecting a high-flying affair, in reality what you are in for is an incredibly hard-hitting festival of strikes, submissions and brawling moves. In the end, PAC ended up tapping Penta out with the Rings Of Saturn, interestingly a much more decisive finish than the earlier match featuring Penta’s tag team partner Rey Fenix. With these two guys both also signed to All Elite Wrestling, this will also have been one of their last matches here in the UK, and I would have been incredibly happy to be able to see this match live even if they hadn’t both been about to move to the United States.
TNT World Championship Match
Mark Haskins (C) w/ Vicky Haskins vs. Rampage Brown
Mark Haskins won the vacant TNT World Championship at the last show, Merseyside Massacre, beating El Phantasmo and David Starr for the belt which had been given up by Jordan Devlin due to his WWE commitments. In that match, he won thanks to interference from his wife, Vicky Haskins, and so it proved again here, as she distracted the official in order to allow Haskins to hit Rampage Brown with the barbed-wire baseball bat that Vicky carries to the ring. This match had unfortunately been marred by a lengthy delay before the bell, as during his ring entrance Rampage was running the ropes and the top rope completely broke off the turnbuckle such was the force he was using. Nonetheless, once it got going it was a wild brawl which even spilled out into the merchandise and bar area. These two have had some great hard-hitting encounters in British wrestling over the years and so this one also proved to be. Haskins is seemingly being positioned as a heel, which is unusual booking for him in 2019, as most places he goes he is angry and intense but tends to play within the rules. I have hugely enjoyed his heel work in the past though, so I’m looking forward to seeing how his title run in TNT plays out.
Overall, this was a great show which produced a couple of independent wrestling dream matches, established heat for the final of a tag team championship tournament, and represented the beginning of a new heel champion’s title run.