TNT Ignition: All Eyes On Me 2019 Review

Image Source: Mark Senior

The theme of the latest TNT Ignition show, held on July 4 2019 at its new home of Hangar 34, was the second round of matches from the Ignition Wrestling League, as well as a 20-man (or, as it turned out, 20-person) Rumble to crown the first ever TNT Ignition Champion.

Before the show officially began, the entire roster and officials stood on the ramp to pay tribute to the recently-passed Lionheart with a ten-bell salute.

TNT Ignition League Round 2 Match
Big Guns Joe vs. Scott Oberman

Oberman represents the Merseyside Murder Squad. For all Ignition League matches, there is a 15-minute time limit, which would later play a key role; therefore, having the clock on the big screens was a good decision. There were a lot of verbal insults between these two at first; Joe was popular with some attendees despite his heelish nature, though both were villains so I guess it was fair to try and pick sides. Scott controlled the early going, which included a low kick followed by a stiff chop in the corner. Joe reversed his fortunes by avoiding a dive through the ropes and then backing Scott up into the post. Further back and forth exchanges led to Scott focusing on the neck with some big moves. A running uppercut by Joe got a close two-count, and then Scott tossed Joe off the top rope to the canvas, following it up by hitting a jumping Stunner (similar to the Eclipse) for the win at 9:51.

TNT Ignition League Round 2 Match
Chase Alexander vs. El Gringo

After a meeting of two heels, here we had two babyfaces. After a pre-match fist bump of sportsmanship, there were early back and fiery technical exchanges akin to the Malenko/Guerrero matches from ECW. The pace was turned up when Gringo hit a hurricanrana and a bottom rope 619 on the outside, before Chase rebounded by dragging
Gringo hard off the top rope and then focused on weakening Gringo with stomps in the corner. Gringo (or El) fired back with a back elbow to the floor off the middle rope, and Chase then sent Gringo face-first into the post to regain the advantage. He then hit some JYD-style headbutts as a fan shouted “We will, we will butt you!” Chase hit a big back suplex for two as fans chanted for Gringo, who hit a running knee to an upside down Chase to get back in control, which led to a Codebreaker and a falling back elbow from the top rope to a standing Alexander. A sit-out powerbomb earned Gringo the win at 9:59.

TNT Ignition League Round 2 Match
LJ Cleary vs. Black Pyro

LJ Cleary danced to his catchy dance theme song, and he even commandeered a fan’s phone to take a pre-match selfie. The masked Black Pyro’s rock music theme tune was
certainly interesting and a real contrast to that of LJ, as fans chanted “LJ needs a haircut!” LJ seemed unhappy about that, but he also refused a pre-match handshake to show his heelish tendencies even more. This got the biggest reactions so far, as fans were very much behind Pyro and very much against LJ. This had a comedic tone, as LJ head-locked the referee to show that he’s been hair-pulled, then he sunset flipped the ref as Pyro counted three, and Pyro even raised his hand! It accelerated from there, with LJ recovering at one point by sitting next to the fans on the front row. This led to some big chest chops by Pyro, but a mid-air dropkick gave LJ the advantage. LJ heeled it up with a rope-assisted abdominal stretch, with the referee spotting the crime at the third attempt (in line with wrestling law). This led to a lightning-fast Pyro comeback, which included a jumping DDT. Pyro rolled him up, but interestingly, he put his feet on the ropes, and the ref noticed this too. The momentary confusion allowed Cleary to roll up Pyro for the three by using the tights to win an entertaining bout at 8:14.

TNT Ignition League Round 2 Match
Ricky Knight Jr. vs. Scotty Davis

Ricky was a familiar name to any TNT newbies, and he would demonstrate why in this contest. A pre-match handshake led to a very technical opening stretch with some strong chain wrestling sequences, establishing a slower pace to help it stand out, It then evolved into more of a striking battle, with Ricky hitting a big dropkick to the head, knee and face in one triplicate. A standing shooting star press wowed the fans, but Scotty rebounded with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex, followed by a twisting moonsault to the floor. The style of the match developed again when Ricky drilled Scotty with a back suplex onto the steel stairs at ringside. Ricky then sat his opponent on a chair, placed the stairs in front, hit a superkick and then crushed him with a running crossbody. Fans chanted the PG “Mess him up, Ricky, mess him up!” Scotty then sat Ricky on the chair, kicking him until he tipped back.

The referee was being extremely lenient with his counts here, only starting to count both men out after this spot. But the two combatants had more to offer: giving the match an ECW vibe, they fought into the bar area, where Ricky hit a swinging neckbreaker to Scotty on the edge of the bar platform. As if that wasn’t enough, Ricky then climbed to the upper level of Hangar 34, and hit a balcony dive onto Scotty and a few officials who seemed KO’d by the incredible stunt. As fans chanted both “TNT!” and Ricky’s name, they finally fought back into the ring. Some corner dropkicks and a top rope uppercut gave Ricky a two-count, with Scotty hitting a roll-up into a back suplex, a big clothesline and a standing moonsault as fans now chanted for both men. A Full Nelson suplex by Scotty led to him getting kicked back in return, and Ricky suplexed him onto the apron. Then, after the fans wisely moved aside, Ricky speared Scotty into a row of chairs, and with one minute remaining of the
time limit, both men only just beat the referee’s count. A swinging neckbreaker at ringside by Scotty didn’t earn him the win either, and both struck each other with brutal chest chops as the time limit expired. Fans chanted “Five more minutes!” but we were told that this isn’t football, so the match was over. Fans booed but were more than appreciative of their efforts, applauding when they again shook hands after the bell. This was an awesome match, the clear in-ring highlight of the evening, and a great example of what the TNT product can offer. Perhaps we’ll see a rematch down the line?

TNT Ignition League Round 2 Match
Visage vs. Kameron Solas

The Queen Of Queens fought “The Infamous” Kameron Solas, a local Liverpool lad, in the last Ignition League bout of the night. They had a tough act to follow, and it showed: though both performers grafted, the fans were still recovering from the hybrid of styles and plethora of spots seen in the previous contest. That being said, this was very different to Ricky vs. Scotty, which ensured it would be seen in an alternative light. An early leglock by Visage was followed by Solas also working on the leg, before both actually interlocked their legs in roundhouse kick attempts. Kameron hit a big dropkick before taking a nasty spill to the floor off a rope-assisted legscissors by Visage. Solas just beat the referee’s count, then he took another hard bump with a senton to the floor. An Alabama Slam by Visage got two, and the size and strength that he possesses helped to make his offence more brutal than it might from another member of the roster. Kameron got two with a spinebuster before missing a Phoenix Splash; Visage hit a second rope Spear for two. In the end, an extended series of roll-ups culminated in Visage holding down his opponent with a bit more force to win at 13:22. A post-match embrace brought an end to the night’s League action, and we had an intermission before the main event.

TNT Ignition Championship 20-Man Rumble Match

This followed the rules of a normal Royal Rumble, with twenty participants and a new arrival every 60 seconds. Entrants one and two were Sugar Dunkerton and Henry T. Grodd, with the latter showing formidable size due to his massive frame. If Sugar felt a bit outnumbered, things got worse when the also-colossal Will Kroos arrived as #3, staring off with Henry before teaming up on poor Sugar. The fourth entrant was the first of two females to enter, Alexxis Falcon, and she helped Sugar to fend off the baddies, even dancing with him before Kross knocked them both down, only for Henry to spear his now-former ally. Benji at #5 was a popular entrant, and he provided the first elimination, holding the rope down as Henry charged at him.

AY entered at #6, and was a late arrival with his music playing for a good few seconds. Tom Thelwell was even later at #7, with almost 30 seconds elapsing before he popped out; when he did arrive, he caught Alexxis with a big kick, but paid the price by receiving one in return. HT Drake came in at #8, and Benji ran right at him, but Drake took him down and temporarily took control of the match as a whole. Soner Dursen was #9, as HT tossed Sugar to the floor, and he took his sweet time by walking around the ring, and later even hiding beneath the ring apron out of sight from those in the ring. Nico Angelo was #10, and he immediately hit a shooting star press on a standing Thelwell.

Big T Justice was #11, and the huge competitor marched right towards Dursen at ringside, attacking him and throwing him into the ring at last. Big T then provided the third elimination by booting AY out to the floor. Leon Grey was #12, and by now the ring was crowded with nine entrants, though it went down to eight as Thelwell booted Kroos to the floor (no mean feat, given the size of the latter). Rhio was the second female participant at #13, and she tried to attack Big T from behind, but he didn’t even flinch. A running crossbody by Nico sent Drake out of the match, and seconds later, Big T gorilla press slammed Leon over the top rope and onto the fans below to eliminate him. Joe Nelson was #14, and he made a quick impact by dropkicking Thelwall out of the ring. Sandy Beach at #15 got a good pop, and he helped everybody’s joint effort to try and dispatch of Big T, who pushed them all aside. But they capitalised on a headscissors by Nico, allowing almost every remaining participant in the ring at that point to all throw out Big T.

With the favourite eliminated, the match was there for anybody to win now. Rizzy Khan at #16 was a contender, and moments later, both Nico and Rhio were eliminated. Khan threw out Sandy, and moments later, Alexxa was sent flying to the floor, where she was attacked by Rhio. Four eliminations in less than a minute helped to clear the ring somewhat, making things quieter for Liam Carr at #17. The remainder of the field paired off, until Joe Boulton at #18 temporarily took charge before exchanging blows with Carr; Khan threw out Boulton moments later just as Conor Clyne was arriving as entrant 19, and he also targeted Carr when he arrived. In the meantime, Leon Grey had also headed back to the showers after being eliminated. Huge boos rang out for the final entrant, that being Thatcher Wright, a disciple of Margaret Thatcher, whose image and audio were used for his patriotic entrance. The whole ring stopped and stared at Wright, who said he wasn’t happy at having to visit Liverpool. Fans booed big-time and chanted “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn!” and “Tory scum!” When Thatcher finally entered the ring, all five remaining participants ganged up on him, with Benji and Carr teaming up to throw out Thatcher as fans chanted “Yes!”

Khan then made the crucial mistake of turning his back to pose, allowing Dursen to throw him out. Sonar also held the rope down for Conor to fall out, leaving us with only three men left. Dursen dispatched of Carr, giving us Dursen and Benji as the final two. Soner was in full control and brimming with confidence, so it seemed to only be a matter of time before he would win. Benji didn’t hit the floor when Soner tried to toss him, though, and Benji almost won by headscissoring Soner to the apron himself. Both had further close calls, and biting even became a tactic to remain. Soner met Benji at the top rope, shouting “This is my time!”, but Benji knocked him aside and hit a 450 splash to get back in the ring. Benji then lifted Soner over the ropes back to the apron, and they exchanged duelling punches until Soner shoved Benji into the post and eliminated him, giving Soner the win to boos and catcalls as he triumphed in a fun match. Yellow spotlights shone on him, and confetti went off as Soner was officially crowned as the inaugural TNT Ignition Champion.

On the whole, TNT Ignition: All Eyes On Me was a very enjoyable show. Each match had something different, with LJ vs. Pyro and especially Ricky vs. Scotty standing out in particular, and it was a card of two halves, with the straight wrestling Ignition League matches leading us to the climactic Rumble bout. TNT will be returning to its new home of Hangar 34 soon, and I would definitely suggest that you check them out next time they are holding a live event.