Review: SWA ‘Rock N Wrestle: Inverness Incoming’

Scottish Wrestling Alliance made it up to Inverness for their first official event up in the Highlands. Under the label of SWA Rock N Wrestle, I’m thinking this will be the transition and it’ll eventually be a Scottish Wrestling Alliance show in the future. It was my first visit to the Mercure Hotel in Inverness for some wrestling, actually it was my first visit in general… easy to find in the centre of the city and parking about a 3 minute walk away at the Rose Street car park, so if you’re coming to a future show then it’s a good place to go.

There was a bit of disorganisation when queuing, well it was more herding downstairs. Sounded like Grado was delayed arriving for the meet and greet which had a knock on effect. If they had set out a queue at either side of the waiting area, one for VIP and one for general it would’ve had a positive effect but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Ian Skinner & Danny Edwards defeated Owen Jakks & Dean Ford by pinfall.

The night started with a tag team match with four young guys from the PBW Academy. We got some hilarious interaction between the bumbling Owen Jakks and the bemused Dean Ford. Jakks has certainly grown in confidence and has certainly come out of his shell, like a young Lou King Sharp funnily enough. Ford wasn’t so up for the shenanigans but still ended up flat on his face on numerous occasions. Danny Edwards (not Danny Cantrell as I had mistaken him for on Twitter) put in a good showing and Ian Skinner was really impressive with his five rules of dodgeball offence (dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge). Skinner left Ford and Jakks tied up and helpless that lead to himself and Edwards booting both up the rear end to a big cheer. The crowd started quiet but the four put in a lot of work to get the crowd going and they were begging for more as Skinner and Edwards used a 3D to pick up the win.

A lively opening contest to introduce a new audience to a group of wrestlers that they likely haven’t seen before, or not often at the very least. The evolution of both Owen Jakks and Dean Ford since I had last seen them was evident. Four really impressive talents that are going to be ones to watch for the future.

SWA X Championship – Four Way Elimination – Kieran Kelly defeated Jack Morris, Lucha DS and Robbie Solar to retain the SWA X Championship.

No wasted motion, we dived into the SWA X Championship match and it didn’t take long for it to break down into chaos. Lucha DS and Robbie Solar appeared to be on the same page to begin with, they caught the oohs and aahs before the match kicked off thanks to their dazzling flips upon entrance. Morris was the power in this match but decided to take a break by sitting in the crowd early on. Solar tried to sneaky roll up Lucha for a close two count but was soon looking at the lights thanks to a Jack Morris TKO. The action continued with Kelly and Lucha DS trading moves before Kelly was able to eliminate the luchador to leave it down to two. The final straight had Morris using his power to almost bully Kelly about but somehow Kieran Kelly was able to keep Morris down long enough to retain the SWA X Championship.

A fantastic four way contest. I knew what I was getting with three of the four of these guys but finally seeing Lucha DS was really great. Plenty of action to keep everyone entertained.

Grado defeated Kid Fite by pinfall.

“Eat the sausage!”

The first half main event was incredible. Plenty fun and shenanigans. After two weeks of a more serious Grado I did miss the family fun with all the bells and whistles of the standard Grado match. It helped that his opponent is perfect for this sort of thing, Kid Fite. Fite thrives on being a villain and this was no different, he began be asking the crowd to clap their hands for him at the count of three, which was the same number of fans that decided to take part. It got a little weird with the children in attendance deciding that Fite looked like a sausage and that Grado should eat… the sausage… the kids loved shouting along while the adults… not so much.

It wasn’t a wrestling classic but we were treated to the Grado classics plus a never ending Irish whip counter off the ropes which left Grado, in his own words, burst. We got the dead weighted German suplex attempt, the trips ups, the rGrado, the Roll N Slice, Fite getting a chop from a child in the crowd, basically what you’d want to see when taking your kids to a Grado match along with a brilliant bad guy to boo. There were smiles all round, family friendly entertainment at its finest. This was pure panto, which is what I wanted from this match.

Due to the delays with the meet and greet it was changed to the interval so the VIP ticket holders were treated to getting photos with a knackered Grado and a huge signed poster, which looked super cool. If I had anywhere to put it I would’ve definitely nabbed one for myself.

Timm Wylie defeated Craig Anthony by pinfall.

Back from the interval we got SWA Heavyweight Champion Timm Wylie facing SWA Tag Team Champion Craig Anthony in a non-title match. I came into this one with low expectations due to past Wylie matches but my word, Craig Anthony is something special. Wylie unleashed a power offense while Anthony used his agility to take down Wylie. I think my issue with Wylie is that he’s always been against guys his own size or bigger but have him against a smaller opponent it’s a perfect match. Wylie would have Anthony flying all over the place with clotheslines and muscling him about while the quicker Anthony would use springboards and highflying to get Wylie down. After a tough fight Wylie finished Anthony with a German suplex.

Craig Anthony, what a performance. If you told me that I’d enjoy a Timm Wylie match before this it would’ve been met by skepticism. These two had a really entertaining match much to my surprise.

Lucy Cole w/Kid Fite defeated Angel Hayze by pinfall.

Lucy Cole entered with Kid Fite, which was a nice little bonus. Fite wanted the crowd to cheer for “his burd”. It didn’t go well as one guy got up to cheer and received the glare of a lifetime from, I assume, his girlfriend/wife. Angel Hayze entered like a house on fire and we were treated to a really fun match. Fite took any chance to use Cole distracting Sean McLaughlin to add extra punishment to Hayze. Hayze fired up with a sling blade and thwarted a sneak attack with a superkick to Kid Fite for good measure but was rolled up by Cole for the three.

A really great match, you can definitely see some of the Sammii Jayne influence in Angel Hayze through her movements. The inclusion of Kid Fite, I found, really helped transfer the boos to Lucy Cole. I’ve only ever see Lucy has the happy-go-lucky smiler but she is a really good baddie so Fite’s presence just added to that. Angel Hayze is definitely another one to keep an eye on.

Before we got to the main event, referee Sean McLaughlin was subject to heckling from a child in a Juventus shirt. Sean got on the microphone and invited the child to take his job and see if he could do better while he sat in the crowd with a Sin Cara mask on before coming back to shake hands and take charge once more. It was so heartwarming to watch. Family friendly wrestling. I love it.

SWA Highland Championship – Jack Jester defeated Dickie Divers by pinfall to retain the SWA Highland Championship.

The returning Highland Champion, Jack Jester, received a heroes welcome at the Mercure Hotel. Soundly a fan favourite in the Highlands, whether it’s under the SWA or Rock N Wrestle banner.

Divers started off by avoiding any contact with Jester, using the 10 count to his advantage. Once it got going Jester and Divers had a solid back and forth match. The crowd were behind Jester throughout and were loud for Big Kink. Divers looked to almost have it won but Jester grabbed Divers from the top rope into a Tombstone to retain the Highland Championship.

A happy ending to a fun event from the debuting SWA show in Inverness. Highly enjoyable wrestling, there was a good crowd. I’d reckon over 200 in attendance, sold out, and they were all up for seeing the wrestling. There was a little something for everyone, to the child that has to see it, to the parent that has been dragged along. Smiling faces all over the place.

I hope they add a little story arc to future shows up here as I’m a big story guy. I like to have a narrative, an invested interest to get behind a certain performer. I’m sure it’ll come as this was the first show under SWA up here, but there’s a solid foundation built to work from.

They’ll be back in September, so hopefully I’ll get along then. I enjoyed seeing so many new faces with everyone putting in a shift to take the fans along for the ride.