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By Ciaran James @TheCiaranJames
This is my second annual ‘Top 10 Independent Wrestling Matches’ piece, last year the list featured a mixture of 4FW, Chaos Wrestling & Attack Pro. This year the top 10 is even more diverse as I ventured further afield to witness some of the best promotions in this county between the South West, South Wales and the West Midlands. Featuring a plethora of homegrown and international talent, this list is what I believe to be my top 10 matches of 2017.
Pip Bubblegum def. Mega Pegasus – 4FW Junior Heavyweight Title Match (Vacant) – 4FW, 21/1/2017
Next up was the final of the quest to find the next Junior Heavyweight Champion, Mark Haskins vacated the title in November due to injury so 4FW have been looking for the right champion. Brimming with ego, Bubblegum made his way to the ring sporting his usual Manchester City shirt, his opponent was 4FW’s own academy graduate Mega Pegasus. Wrestling dominated the early stages as both looked for an advantage, they went back and forth cancelling each other out. Pegasus held his own for a while, however the far more experienced Bubblegum took over and dominated the contest. For long periods Pegasus just about managed to survive and kick out of multiple pin attempts, Pip grew frustrated and that was when Pegasus made his comeback. The 4FW native fought back and had Bubblegum against the wall, they traded stiff blows as each man’s determination shone through. Pegasus targeted the knee and on more than one occasion locked in the ankle lock, he couldn’t however put Pip away. The contest reached its finale as once more Bubblegum used his experience to dominate the inexperienced challenger, with Pegasus on the top rope Pip caught him with a sweet kick to the head followed by a Double Stomp from the top turnbuckle. Pegasus was spent, Bubblegum full of momentum hoisted up his opponent and hit him with a Pedigree for the victory and to become the new 4FW Junior Heavyweight Champion.
Eddie Dennis def. Charlie Sterling – Pro Wrestling Chaos, 29/4/2017
This was exceptional, I will say that it rivalled Eddie’s previous meetings with Chris Hero and was arguably better. Eddie Dennis made a huge statement on Saturday night, receiving one of the biggest ovations of the night the native Welshman was as always insanely over. His opponent Charlie Sterling strutted to the ring with supreme confidence, sporting a leather jacket and slick hair he was more than ready for this match. This match built beautifully and to be honest I don’t think anything I write will justify how good this was, the slow start was integral to the whole contest. They both went back and forth in the early on, that was until Eddie clocked Sterling with a huge forearm to ignite the audience. From that point on the match turned into a slugfest, both competitors laid in with heavy blows, elbows, forearms, kicks, this was truly British Strong Style at it’s very best. With the contest nearing the thirty-minute mark the end was in sight, with each blow the audience winced, a bloody Eddie Dennis looked done as he crashes to the mat. Sterling looked to finish off Eddie, with a combination of a Brainbuter, Superkick and then Piledriver the contest seemed all but over, 1. Eddie kicked out, but once again he was put down by Charlie, who then ascended to the top turnbuckle, unfortunately for him he crashed and burned. Eddie then struck with vicious Discus Forearm followed by the Next Stop Drive for the victory
Progress Atlas Championship – Matt Riddle © def. Mike Bird – Pro Wrestling Chaos, 3/6/2017
I don’t think that I can give this match justice with my words, by now you’ve surely seen the reaction on social media to this match. This was without a doubt the best match I’ve ever witnessed live, both Mike Bird & Matt Riddle tore the house down. What made this match even more tasty was the added incentive of the Progress Atlas Title being defended by Riddle, for Bird this was a chance to prove himself against one of the best. This pure wrestling contest was hard hitting from the opening bell, the two combatants held nothing back as they battled for control. After a few minutes Riddle & Bird knew they were in for one hell of a fight. The chops and slaps exhibited by both echoed throughout the building, every fan winced as each blow was landed, skin on skin has a new meaning. The level of intensity went up as they started throwing each other around the ring with a multiple Suplex’s, on two separate occasions Riddle dead lifted Mike Bird off the mat and hit consecutive Gutwrench Suplex’s. They cancelled each other out continuously, the strikes, kicks and slaps became harder as each reached deep. Riddle peppered Bird with stiff kicks, Bird asked for more then proceeded to German Suplex his opponent, Riddle stood right back up as the audience roared with approval. Then again traded strikes before Riddle locked in a Cross Armbar, after a few minutes prone on the canvas Bird came to life and powered out of the submission. The atmosphere reached fever pitch, they traded big moves for near falls, most impressive was Riddle’s jumping Tombstone Piledriver. Mike Bird kicked out of the pin attempt as the audience rose to their feet. Both men were spent, with Riddle perched on the turnbuckle Bird looked to end this match, with his title on the line Riddle turned the tables. He reversed Bird’s attempt and cradled him, Matt then leapt of the top turnbuckle and hit the infamous BroStroyer Piledriver, this match was all but over…. Bird kicked out, almost immediately Riddle locked in the BroMission, the contest was over. You’re winner and still champion Matt Riddle.
ATTACK Pro Tag Team Title Match – Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher def. CCK © – Attack Pro Wrestling, 16/7/2017
At Thursday Night Throws in June Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher tore the house down; a day later they did the same at FightClub Pro. Only a month later and these two are on everyone’s lips, they came to make a name for themselves and they’ve done just that. Chris Brookes’ and Mondai Lykos continue to arguably be the most polished tag team in Europe, as CCK they have propelled themselves above all other teams and look continue that trend of the remainder of 2017. I don’t have the words to truly review this whole event, let alone this match. All four competitors were extremely good, CCK as a team has the tag game sown up, and every move is done with such ease. Davis & Fletcher played their roles well, they were out of their depth but at the same time they belonged in that ring. Kyle Fletcher looks like the next breakout cruiserweight, he is already at such a high level, as for Mark Davis the guy is a beast. Mark can move like a man half his size yet has the build and power of a heavyweight. The finishing sequence where he deadlifted Lykos into a Sit-Down Piledriver was something to see, again this guy is right up there as a top worker. Rather surprising depending on your thinking CCK lost their much loved Tag Championships, it was a great effort from all and it further enhanced the reputation as CCK as a team. In a great show of respect Brookes’ and Lykos shook hands with the newly crowned champions post match, with a sense that this match could be revisited.
Dean Winter def. Mike Bird – Dragon Pro Wrestling, 11/6/2017
Only a week after competing in arguably the best match of 2017 against Matt Riddle, Mike Bird took on the challenge of Dragon Pro’s behemoth Dean Winter. This also happened to be my first Dragon Pro show, and I have to say it was one of the most enjoyable wrestling shows I attended in 2017, add in that the roster is made up nearly entirely with their training school graduates. One person who caught my eye that night was Dean Winter, upon first impressions you could be forgiven for not thinking much of him, however after nearly 20 minutes I was converted, this guy is a top worker with huge potential. Dean & Mike went toe to toe, they raised each others game and produced a show stealing contest which deserved a standing ovation, the match winning top rope Canadian Destroyer Piledriver was breathless. This match is a credit to both men, Mike Bird once more added to his already impressive resume and Dean Winter set his flag firmly in the ground. In the months since Dean Winter continued his rise for the remainder of 2017, his match with Edwin Ricci a few months later was another barn burner..remember, Winter Is Here!
A Special thank you to Jim Maitland & Wrestleography for the images used, you can view more of their work at the following links: