One of my personal favorite promotions, CATCH Pro-Wrestling, returns on a Monday night to Manchester’s Bread Shed with another stacked card. They’ve built a strong audience that is always rewarded with good matches, clever storytelling, and a style that rewards investment in the product.
Big Guns Joe vs Scotty Rawk
A really fun opener. A classic battle between power and speed that really played into that dichotomy. Rawk works in a very quick, risk-taking style that is always thrilling to see and Joe was a great powerful base for that here. Joe has been on a losing streak in CATCH recently and although he got close a few times here it was Rawk that picked up the win. Despite a show of respect post-match from Rawk, Joe looked distraught at another loss and walked out without shaking his opponent’s hand. Where Joe goes from here will be interesting to watch.
Tu Byt vs Dave Birch
Tu Byt announced himself in CATCH with a victory over Chris Ridgeway and since then has taken up the role of gatekeeper in the company. After his win over Kelly Van Ness at the last show it became clear this role has riled up Isaiah Quinn and his charges. It was Dave Birch who stepped up to Byt this time and they had a fun back and forth match.
Birch looked like a solid threat to Tu Byt, especially with Quinn on the outside, who is always an entertaining presence with his sneaky interference. In the end, it didn’t work out for Birch & Quinn, with Tu Byt picking up another win as part of his impressive run of form. Quinn’s other clients, Lana Austin and Rob Drake ran in after the match to further the problems between Quinn and Tu Byt.
Alexxis Falcon vs Kelly Van Ness
One of the big successes of CATCH has been building its own characters up to a point of great reactions. Van Ness is a great example of that, having gone from working the door, to being attacked by Big T, to getting an amazing reception for her debut match at the last show. Falcon though seemed annoyed by this and gave Van Ness the opportunity to back down from the match. That offer wasn’t accepted, and Van Ness went on to give a good account of herself against the very talented Falcon.
Falcon’s heel work is brilliant, mouthing off at every chance she got to really put the crowd behind Van Ness. In the end Falcon’s experience won out, although not before JJ Webb interfered to remind CATCH fans of his particular brand of irritation. Another fun match and a further establishment of Van Ness as a deserved member of the roster.
Mixed Tag-team Match | Rob Drake & Lana Austin vs Brady Phillips & Ivy
Isaiah Quinn is back, this time with Austin & Drake leading us into bizarro world. Brady Phillips has been both a fan favourite and a hated villain in his time but this match gave us the strange sight of Ivy receiving the crowd’s love. She did a great job of playing into these unusual circumstances, showing that a crowd favorite run somewhere in the future might not be as far out of the realms of possibility as it might seem.
This was a very intense match up, with all four facing off at different times and Phillips, in particular, showing some amazing fire when he was in control. Quinn showed his abilities as an intriguing presence on the outside yet again, interfering in limited but clever ways. It was Darke & Austin who got the win as this new faction starts to establish themselves more. Phillips & Ivy though did a great job in unfamiliar roles.
Tom Thelwell vs Chris Ridgeway
After the break we had a great match up between one of the country’s best and one of the brightest up-and-comers. Thelwell may have lost the CATCHweight title at the last show but he remains a top star in the company, getting a very hostile reception alongside his ‘Banter Bus’ colleagues. A long pre-match promo by Thelwell further raised the temperature, riling up both Ridgeway and the crowd some more. As you might expect from a Ridgeway match this was a dissection in match form. Clinical technical submissions and some rough strikes combined as he battered Thelwell.
One of the things Ridgeway has been doing more in recent times has been interacting with crowd members, something that came to a head when he helped birthday girl Maria hit Thelwell as a present. This lived up to its potential even if it did finish with a disqualification victory for Ridgeway after the ‘Banter Bus’ got involved one too many times. A rematch would be well received, as would a clash between North West Strong and Thelwell’s group of annoyances.
CATCHweight Championship Match | Joe Kessler vs Myles Kayman
The CATCHweight Championship match is up next as the new champion Joe Kessler makes his first defense against cocky upstart Kayman. Even though Kayman’s recent personal tragedy make him naturally sympathetic it’s a testament to his talent that he was able to still get a negative reaction from the crowd. Kessler has really grown on his path towards the championship and has one of the best entrance attires in British Wrestling today, something that alone has elevated him.
Kayman did a great job at fighting from underneath despite being the villain of the piece and made this a very entertaining match yet again. Kessler retained after a back and forth contest that looked at times it could upset the odds and go Kayman’s way. His title reign has just started though and in its current form could continue for a long while. Two men with bright futures ahead of them.
CATCH Pro-Wrestling Main Event | Last Man Standing Match | Tony Wright vs Big T
Well. How best to sum up this main event. Big T has been on an absolute tear in CATCH, undefeated in matches, and regularly attacking ring crew and staff. Wright on the other hand has had one of the fastest rises to prominence I’ve seen, going from a friendly face in the crowd (and well-loved comedian) to getting one of the biggest reactions in a small room you’ll see this year. The first match between these two saw T knocked off his feet for the first time in the company and ended in a double DQ, leading to this last man standing affair.
It was hyper intense stuff from the minute both men came out. Brawling through the crowd, vicious weapon attacks, another instance of a crew member getting taken out, and a classic Andre the Giant-esque moment where T got caught in the ropes. This match had everything. The crowd and the locker room were all behind Wright. Some of T’s past victims even came out and tried to help Wright win, leading to a moment where host Mark Adams was even attacked by T. really underlining how low T has stooped in his reign of terror.
It wasn’t to be for Wright in the end with T getting the win after a vicious, brilliantly put together match. T further ran down Wright after the match and seems destined for a title match as his undefeated dominant streak continues. Wright though has firmly established himself in just two matches as a favourite of the Catch crowd and his journey going forward will be one to watch.
Overall, yet another stellar night of wrestling from a company on the rise. Really recommend checking them out, either in video or preferably in person, not only is the action in the ring great but the crowd is one of the most welcoming around.