Lucha Forever: Lucha Live #1 on April 23, 2017
The Frog & Bucket Comedy Club – Manchester, England
Watch the show here!
Fresh off their debut iPPV on FloSlam, The Dawning of Forever, Lucha Forever not only made their Manchester debut but introduced a new tour show entitled ‘Lucha Live’. All of them will be posted to YouTube and are shorter, tighter shows in smaller venues. The intimate setup is wonderful to watch, and everything feels authentically indie. With that said, this was the first one, headlined by #CCK vs. Angelico and Jack Evans.
In the opener, Chief Deputy Damian Dunne faced Bronco Brendan White. It was a short but satisfying start to the show with Dunne able to ham up his No Fun mentality even more in such a small venue. The megaphone echoed louder, and the fans’ banter came across a lot bolder. Since we’re in a comedy club, this is meant for heckling. Dunne took over for a good chunk of the match, only for White to get some shine in a nice looking comeback complete with large power moves. This included a bossman slam! That wasn’t enough to put away Dep. Dunne though, as Dunne hit a springboard lung blower to beat White.
Jigsaw vs. Elijah vs. Lloyd Katt vs. Omari didn’t make the show on YouTube, but I guess, was a match that happened on the card. I’m sad I can’t watch this, as it was a fun looking match — one that would give me more Jigsaw-Omari interactions as their first match was a cracker. Jigsaw won.
Chris Ridgeway and Bubblegum weren’t the main event, but that didn’t stop them from having the best match in Lucha Forever’s very short history. It got a lot of time and stood out in a card full of different matches. It was fundamentally worked well with no mistakes, only getting more and more intense as time went on, while also giving both tremendous spotlights. Ridgeway took a lot of offense but came across as someone who should be booed at all times, whereas Bubblegum came off as a great babyface with the crowd constantly behind him. My favorite part of the match came when Bubblegum cleared the ring ropes, hitting a dropkick to Chris who was on the apron. A spin kick and powerbomb combo weren’t enough. A spinning torture rack drop wasn’t enough. The finishing sequence was AMAZING with Bubblegum missing a dropkick in the corner only to flip into a German suplex, only to do a handspring to be hit with yet another German suplex. Brainbuster and a kick out at 1 set up a Ridgeway be-all-end-all Cradle piledriver for the victory. Bubblegum gave every bit of effort to make Ridgeway look incredible. The future of Lucha Forever is him. One of the better matches in the UK for April.
Kip Sabian and Josh Bodom made for the most interesting combination on the show. Though Bodom in other places like RevPro is a mega-heel, hated for everything he does with a massive ego, he came off as a babyface against Sabian who was exactly as I described Bodom being. He was arrogant, more so than the debut show. This made for Bodom hitting hard to shut him up, but Sabian staying in the match, avoiding being crushed. In the biggest shock of the show, he kicked out of the BroBuster, which seemed protected before to me. I knew he’d be winning the match from then on, as Sabian would roll Bodom up with a grip on the tights for a fluke victory. A well-booked match, also another case of someone providing an extra effort performance to help get a Lucha Forever pushed guy more over. Sabian is 2-0 in the promotion so far. I’d enjoy Bodom being back in the future.
Bea Pristley and Lana Austin had a decent match with what I thought was an okay finish. It wasn’t too memorable but the two combined for a good enough flow in ring that was cut off short by the abrupt finish. Pristley held onto a sunset bomb that couldn’t connect, to hit her BF’s cheeky Nando’s kick, then a double stomp for a kick out. She then locked in a kimura for the victory. What I did like is that Austin had to tap right away. Something I would have changed was to have the arm be the center of the match’s attention, so instead of meandering work I don’t remember well, we could have gotten some variety on the card — as limb work wasn’t around much anywhere else. Aside from that, it was nothing bad, but nothing worth your time on the card. Pristley continues to look impressive in her babyface role.
#CCK of Chris Brookes and Mondai Lykos faced Angelico and Jack Evans in the main event. It was half fun dance off/banter and half good tag team wrestling. Those two styles merged together for what was a thumbs up spectacle. To no one’s surprise 1) Jack Evans wanted to breakdance/have a dance off and 2) The dancing was done to ‘Uptown Funk’ like every UK show ever right now. Lykos got involved hitting a moonsault crotch chop combo, only for Brookes to say screw that, let’s get to some wrasslin. The highlights of the match were unsurprisingly #CCK’s “fucking tag moves” (confirmed shirt catchphrase) and Angelico jumping off the small balcony of the comedy club to save Jack after he was tombstoned by Brookes. #CCK pinned Angelico after an implant (think of a springboard Natural Selection off your partner’s back that the opponent is stuck onto). I was very happy to see that #CCK got the win, as Angelico and Evans would gain a moral victory post-match by clearing the ring anyway.
LUCHA FOREVER: LUCHA LIVE 1 ON APRIL 23, 2017
Strong Effort - 7/10
I'm feeling a strong effort on Lucha Forever: Lucha Live 1. It was a breezy watch at an hour and a half, alongside the small room capacity + feel. We got a great match in Ridgeway-Bubblegum, a very good one in Sabian-Bodom, and a charismatic filled main event. If you want to get into the promotion, watch the debut show as well as this. I hope the trend of good shows from the group continues well into the year.