More than 800 people packed out Lava & Ignite as PCW’s Festive Fury ‘supershow’ lived up to its lofty billing.
A record-breaking crowd for the promotion was treated to performances by several celebrated imports – against British talent seemingly destined for greatness.
The day started with a ‘Before the Fury’ afternoon pre-show, the highlights of which were Scottish sensation Noam Dar’s submission victory over Manchester’s Joey Hayes and PCW Champion Kris Travis’ narrow win over the previous champion, Lionheart.
Former WWE star and American muscleman Chris Masters defeated local favourite Dave Rayne in a hilarious Masterlock Challenge, Rayne failing to break Masters’ wrenching full nelson submission hold, despite dousing his neck in body oil beforehand to improve his chances!
Fellow WWE alumni Eugene then beat ex-PCW Champion T Bone in another great comedy outing, performing the finishing moves of some of the biggest names in the business.
Masters and Eugene were joined by former WWE Intercontinental Champion John Morrison for a revealing Q&A session, answering questions about backstage politics and what it takes to succeed in professional wrestling’s biggest company.
But it was the views of independent star Mad Man Manson, a PCW regular from England, which proved the most candid – the surprise addition freely admitting to the cut-throat nature of the business and how he sets up the ring ahead of events to help boost his pay packet.
The audience was disappointed to learn that three wrestlers due to appear – Ring of Honor stars Eddie Edwards and Michael Elgin and British powerhouse Johnny Moss – were stuck in Germany due to flight problems.
However, following a quick reshuffle, the main show delivered nonetheless, and by the end of the night their absence did not feel like a significant blow.
The opening bout was a frantic six-man Money In The Bank match, with Dave Rayne, Sam Bailey, BT Gunn, CJ Banks, Martin Kirby and Dean Allmark fighting it out to win a briefcase that guarantees the winner a heavyweight title shot at any given time.
Rayne emerged victorious after hitting his lungblower finishing move off the top turnbuckle - a triumph that recognises his immense popularity in Preston.
But the biggest talking point of the match was a triple suicide dive into the crowd which was partly absorbed by a middle-aged woman- despite the wrestlers doing their best to avoid her after asking her to move.
Fortunately the lady was unhurt - even though her chair was smashed in half. When the announcer revealed she was in fact Lionheart’s mum, her toughness was not that much of a surprise!
Mexican high flyer El Ligero defeated technical wizard Zack Sabre Jr with a tornado DDT, after resisting Zack’s sustained attack on his arm, in a very good match that elevated both talents.
The team of Sam Bailey and Mad Man Manson, otherwise known as Disco Madness, then saw off the villainous T Bone and Bubblegum, the latter still smarting from his beloved Manchester City’s derby day defeat, in a fun encounter.
What followed was an emotional if subdued match, as Lionheart, a man who has done as much as any performer to put PCW on the map – lost his retirement bout to Joey Hayes.
Amid chants of ‘please don’t go’, the biggest star in Scottish wrestling explained his frustration at missing out on a chance to join the American big leagues, and the difficult decision to hang up his boots.
After the interval Eugene squared up against Dave Mastiff, the Black Country behemoth cutting short Eugene’s comic homage to wrestlers past and present with a huge body splash. Mastiff looks like a legitimate hardman whoever he faces.
It was hard to separate the final two matches in terms of quality and the infectious atmosphere generated by a red-hot audience certainly played its part.
Kris Travis beat Chris Masters in a contest that showed just how bad a decision it was by WWE to release Masters, the charismatic big man putting on a great performance. The pair meshed well and told a really good story.
Travis won with a contentious pinfall after Masters hit him with a top rope suplex, both wrestler’s shoulders seemingly on the mat.
He was then grateful to his opponent when Masters stopped Dave Rayne from cashing in his newly-acquired briefcase – much to the displeasure of the rabid crowd.
The main event saw 19-year-old Noam Dar display the prodigious talent that has fuelled his meteoric rise.
Fans were seemingly split 50-50 in their backing for either the PCW Cruiserweight Champion or the ridiculously acrobatic Morrison, whose arsenal of stunning moves has not diminished.
Dar zoned in on Morrison’s leg and repeatedly tried to weaken it with a figure-four leglock, but he was unable to ground Morrison for long.
Eventually the young pretender succumbed to Morrison’s breathtaking split-legged corkscrew moonsault, Starship Pain, but not before the crowd had serenaded the duo with a chant of “wrestling heaven”.
The kind words of encouragement for their opponents and high praise of the crowd from both Masters and Morrison following their matches was certainly well appreciated, and seemed completely genuine.
It looks like two more superstars have been caught by the PCW bug.