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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.
The Brotherhood (Joe Mezinger & Elijah) vs Mike Bird & Drew Parker – Dragon Pro Wrestling, 7/8/17
The Brotherhood retained the tag titles in another thrilling contest, the action was fast paced and hard hitting and everyone impressed. Bird and Parker took the fight to their opponents and came close to winning on several occasions. The Brotherhood looked really good here, they seemed more proactive without Nathan Bane and were very slick in the ring. Mike Bird as always performed like a man possessed, no matter the show he shines and is worth the admission alone. Bird teamed well with Parker as they displayed really good chemistry, on the other side of the ring Elijah and Joe Mezinger were crisp and looked very good. As the contest reached a finale the near falls mounted up, both team could have stolen victory, finally the Brotherhood retained from a DDT/Facebuster combo. This was the best I have seen Brotherhood outside of Chaos, they looked very competent and moved well, Bird and Drew performed extremely well and made the contest what it was.
‘Speedball’ Mike Bailey vs Dick Riley – Pro Wrestling Chaos, 23/9/17
In what turned out to be an emotional, shocking and overall historic evening, the first contest arguably stole the show. Chaos debutant Mike Bailey arrived with enough experience to fill the room; his opponent was fan favourite Dick Riley. Since going solo Riley has been phenomenal in the ring, he rarely disappoints and his matches are always entertaining. He along with Charlie Sterling is easily one of the top workers in Chaos, therefore he more than anyone deserved the opportunity to face someone the calibre of ‘Speedball’. Other events of the evening overshadowed this contest; however this one cannot be forgotten. It started at a steady pace with neither man giving much away, the audience and atmosphere was a little low but that all changed when Bailey stung Riley with a stiff kick. The contest went back and forth; the exchanges between the two were near perfection as the match built beautifully. Bailey was a good as one would imagine, but I was really impressed by Dick Riley as he made a statement of intent as he went toe to toe with one of the best workers of the last decade. They exchanged near falls as the match neared its conclusion, when it was time to bring it home Mike Bailey had that extra gear, he floored Riley before hitting his Shooting Star Knee Drop for the victory.
Bowlarama (Fat Kat Lloyd & Split McPins) vs Beano & Brendan White – Thursday Night Throws, 28/9/17
These four were worthy of the main event, Bowlarama are well established in the South West with Dragon Pro talent Brendan and Beano making their way in the local wrestling scene. The match was highly entertaining, the action was non-stop, and all four men put together a great over twenty-minute match that capped off a great evening. Both teams exhibited great team work, Bowlarama as always when settled looked really good, and team of Beano and Brendan had a great chemistry. The young Dragon Pro lads controlled a good portion of the match, the speed of Beano and power of Brendan was amazing. Bowlarama came back into the match and there many near falls, momentum went back and forth until Beano & Brendan were finally out matched as Split’s and Fat Cat took the victory. Top main event match. I have to especially give a nod to Brendan white, this guy is impressive, and he delivers a fast, hard hitting power style that has to be seen. His variation of Suplexes Brock Lesnar to shame, and he just keeps going and going. A real talent that deserves your attention.
Bigger Picture (Damian Dunne, Robbie X & Marshall X) vs The Hunter Brothers & ‘Speedball’ Mike Bailey – Kamikaze Pr0, 30/9/17
This main event had it all, from start to finish this match had the audience on their feet. Featuring international talent Mike Bailey and the Hunter Brothers against the heel faction The Bigger Picture there was some unfinished business, the atmosphere at the venue was amazing. After an early flurry from the Hunters and Speedball, Bigger Picture gained an advantage and began dividing the ring off from their opponents. The match flowed well and there seemed to be no periods where the competitors or action slowed down. When Damian Dunne entered the match he took full advantage as he taunted his opponents and audience, that was until ‘Speedball’ entered the ring and floored him with one of the hardest kicks I’ve ever seen. From there the tempo of the match went through the roof, the actions of Bigger Picture forced the Hunters to jump the ropes and get involved, the match spilled out to ringside where Marshall X took a dive over the top rope…….and survived. The competitors returned to the ring as the closing moments of the match drew nearer, The Hunters and Bailey took over and with victory close finished off the match in amazing fashion. ‘Speedball’ climbed the top rope and hit his Shooting Star Knee Drop for a stunning victory to send the fans home happy.
Matthew Riddle vs Eddie Dennis, Pro Wrestling Chaos, 25/11/17
One of the most highly anticipated matches of the year was a fitting way to end the show. Returning to Chaos was the highly talented UFC competitor turned wrestler Matthew Riddle, who at the behest of then King of Chaos Champion Eddie Dennis accepted the challenge. We last saw Riddle taking on Mike Bird in unarguably one of the best wrestling matches of 2017, it was wrestling art. Eddie Dennis however is a different animal to Mike Bird, he is also someone who is out prove himself after quitting his fulltime career and defeating Flash Morgan Webster for the King of Chaos Championship. This was exceptionally hard hitting, except for the early opening moments they pummelled each other and never let up, forearms, kicks, Suplexes and Piledrivers, this got very serious, very quick. No matter the exceptional skill of Riddle, I didn’t envisage Eddie Dennis losing it on home soil, he more than most represents Chaos and embodies what the promotion stands for. Like Riddle’s classic contest with Mike Bird in June it’s hard to truly get over how good this match was, this is why OnDemand was created. The match went back and forth, Riddle begged for Eddie to hit him, Riddle walked through Suplexes, and it left you breathless. As the match neared its conclusion Eddie seemed to have it, his Canadian Destroyer to Riddle off the top turnbuckle was flawless, but Riddle kicked out, Eddie after a few reversals hit his Next Stop Driver, 1, 2…Alex Steele returned to ringside. The distraction took Eddie off his game; it allowed Riddle to recuperate as he landed a huge knee strike on Eddie. The champ was reeling, Riddle picked him up with ease and hit a devastating Jumping Piledriver, and still Eddie kicked out. The look on Riddle’s face was that of complete shock, he then wrapped himself around Dennis and locked in the BroMission, he pounded his opponent with elbows and forearms, forcing the submission until he got it. Ladies and Gentleman your new King of Chaos Matthew Riddle.
A Special thank you to Jim Maitland for the images used, you can view more of his work at the following links: