Lucha Forever: The Dawning of Forever on April 17, 2017
The H Suite – Birmingham, England
Lucha Forever presented ‘The Dawning of Forever’ as their debut show, broadcasting live on FloSlam earlier last month, with the main event pitting Travis Banks vs. Shane Strickland (fans voted) for the Lucha Forever Title.
The debut match on Lucha Forever was for Kip Sabian‘s HOPE Kings of Flight Championship, in a match that was marketed as a four-way SPOTFEST! The other competitors were Ashley Dunn, Kelly Sixx, and a fan turned wrestler turned disguise being revealed in ‘That Guy’ otherwise known as Connor Mills. Although there was some buffer between the entrances and the match for a few minutes, it was due to Sabian gloating throughout the venue, asking fans to take him on. This led to the appearance of That Guy from the crowd, as the match was underway. This was exactly as marketed. It wasn’t the prettiest match, it was a little ugly at times, but it got the job done as a fun way to kick off the show with Sabian successfully defending the title. The way the match broke down was always good, leading to the major interactions between Kip and That Guy.
Alex Windsor and Toni Storm were due up, for, what would have been a banger, but unfortunately for Storm, there was ‘karma’ in the form of Dahlia Black of the SPPT. A while back at PROGRESS, Toni had broken Dahlia’s leg, which led to Dahlia in all her pent up anger attacking Toni from behind during her entrance. The match was underway and over in a span of the 10-second count, as Windsor got the easiest win of her career via count out. This would help the story come to a larger fruition later on in the show. A fun wrench in a debut show for the second match in.
I never said Alex Windsor left the ring though, as her new opponent was none other than Nixon Newell in her last independent date prior to taking off to NXT. This was a highly enjoyable match giving Windsor a lot of shine and offense, and the win as well, as Nixon put over one of the UK’s best women’s wrestlers prior to her full-time, big-time stint with WWE. This had it all, highspots, Windsor’s enjoyable heel offense, and Nixon attempting to comeback, which lead to some wicked near falls. We got an awesome finish where Windsor was so pissed off about Nixon kicking out of everything, even at 1 once, that she used Nixon’s Canadian Destroyer to beat her. Post-match saw Nixon and Windsor embrace in a best friend type of way, as both were emotional, especially Windsor who tried not to cry in the corner during Nixon’s speech. A feel good match and accompanying post-match.
Omari took on Jigsaw in what was one of my favorite matches of the night. It was short and sweet like a lot of Jigsaw mid card matches around the indies, but it was a blast throughout its few minute stint — specifically because of the dynamic at hand with the MASSIVE Omari, yet he was able to not only base for Jigsaw but provide athleticism of his own. Jigsaw was able to show off beautiful technicality in his work, with different holds and locks being applied with a pleasing gracefulness. Omari caught Jigsaw out of nowhere with the O-Zone (End of Days variation) for the win. This was effective in putting Omari over huge against an always-capable-of-a-good-match veteran in Jigsaw, who should be booked a helluva lot more right now.
Will Ospreay and Sami Callihan had a match that took multiple turns you would have never guessed, as these two are among the most serious wrestlers in the world. Jokes were aside at the start of the match which came off hot with action on the outside, spilling back into the ring. When it wasn’t kicking into a gear these guys are known for, I started to question what was happening. It was a good, solid match, but nothing very good, but that’s when it ended up turning for the better. Callihan spit on Ospreay which led to Ospreay clocking him, with Callihan accidentally falling onto Ospreay and pulling down his attire, revealing the Uptown Funkers tights underneath. This led to a dance party and tons of effective comedy that I very much enjoyed! Referee Shay Purser was involved as he was trapped under the spell of an invisible rope by both guys, which led to him pinning Callihan after a Twist of Fate/Swanton Bomb as Ospreay became the ref, trading places with Shay. Post-match was incredible with the dance party continuing with Ospreay leading the OTT train, with Callihan in the middle of the ring disgruntled. They kissed though, multiple times, and Callihan lead Ospreay to the back by the ass. MOTY~!
Not only was this show paced well up to this point, but having a 40-minute intermission split off the time I thought I’d have to spend on the show, about 3 hours and 20 minutes; was the biggest possible sigh of relief.
In a Lucha Forever Trios Championship Tournament Qualifier, #CCK of Chris Brookes and Mondai Lykos, alongside ‘No Fun’ Deputy Damian Dunne faced an odd as hell trio (love it) in Bea Pristley, Drew Parker, and El Ligero. This was the perfect way to come back from intermission to continue putting over how this show was paced. The interactions between anyone were highly enjoyable, but especially Brookes/Lykos doing their double teams, and providing a huge shock where Ligero hit a disaster kick causing Lykos (who was on Brookes’ tall shoulders) to hit a reverse rana on Brookes. Aside from that, it was interesting to watch Pristley work as a babyface for the first time in my viewing. Everything clicked incredibly well with Dunne being an amazing heel/comedy foil, for example in a submission shouting into his megaphone. #CCK and Dunne advanced in what is the right call.
Toni Storm speed walked to the ring, getting on the mic and barking orders at Dahlia to get her ass to the ring, and she won’t be leaving until she does. Dahlia said she can’t wrestle due to her broken leg, which led to T.K. Cooper appearing from behind with a beatdown. T.K. said Toni doesn’t deserve to interact with the SPTT, which led to Toni calling Cooper the bitch of the relationship. An intergender match between Toni Storm and T.K. Cooper was on from then. I loved seeing this pairing in the same ring, but to actually see them work a full match together was awesome. This was well done with no breaking-the-barrier of realism in bad ways, a trope in some intergender. Toni is stronger than T.K., throwing him around like a rag doll (also perfect with the babyface/heel dynamic) multiple times. Cooper made Toni look like a million dollars, but at the same time, we got a great Toni babyface performance, kicking out at 1 like Nixon did earlier. The finish was my favorite one of the night in which Dahlia and T.K. made out for 20 seconds with full tongue intact, allowing for Toni to finish off T.K. Great work.
In the main event of the evening, the inaugural match for the Lucha Forever Championship occurred with Travis Banks and Shane Strickland going to war. It was an ideal big-time type of match for your promotion’s championship. I found it odd how the title was on the line on the first show, but I didn’t realize that it was fan-voted. Pros and cons, folks. None the less, I enjoyed this match to a high degree, as it was the best one on the show. The two interacted in all the unique ways I expected, with the most obscure possible spot happening with Strickland being the one to catch Banks out of mid-air with an armbar. That messed with my mind. The match kept a very fast pace for a title match main event, with other insanity coming in the forms of a Strickland stomp off the top rope on the apron, slams on the apron and outside, and a ridiculous kick out with Banks powering out of the JML Driver to a fun reaction. They did two referee bumps but they added to the drama well, with the first coming with a Banks near fall. The second time saw the penultimate finish with two Slice of Heaven kicks and the torture rack bomb, only for Strickland to kick out and be placed in the crossface as Travis Banks is your first-ever Lucha Forever Champion. A very good-great match that although pretty ‘indie-riffic’ in its work, was meant to be that naturally with this combo. Recommended watch.
Banks and Strickland cut individual promos post-match and showed respect for each other. Strickland proclaimed that Banks was the better man, and that he’ll be back and that Banks better still be holding that title. Not sure if this was the right thing to do, but it’s nothing I need to hyper-analyze. It’s fine for a positive post-match title-crowning celebration.
LUCHA FOREVER THE DAWNING OF FOREVER ON APRIL 17, 2017
Good - 7.5/10
I'm feeling a good on Lucha Forever's debut show, The Dawning of Forever. This was a well-paced show that not only provided tons of variety, but good-great wrestling the whole way through -- with effective angles, production, and solid commentary to boot. This is one of the more enjoyable wrestling shows to sit through/keep on the TV this year. Throw it on, you'll enjoy something, or multiple matches while witnessing the debut show of a promotion that's sure to only keep getting better.