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Thursday, May 10, 2012

XWA Match Review: Spud vs. Axl Rage

Ever since 2007, XWA has been presenting their exciting product to fans of all ages in the United Kingdom. Thanks to the XWA website (http://www.xwawrestling.com/), fans all over the world have the opportunity to see XWA action via DVD. As the match reviewer for the XWA website, I will take a look at some of the many matches that are available. In this review, we will look at Spud vs. Axl Rage from October 8, 2011 at The Carleton, as a part of the, "Last Fight at the Prom 2011" event. Along with being a former XWA British Heavyweight Champion, Spud has also worked for TNA and PWG. Rage is a graduate of the XWA Wrestling Training School, which is the best training center in the UK (http://www.xwawrestling.com/index.php/icon-home-training-train-with-xwa). While still early in his career, Rage has worked for many promotions in the UK and definitely has a bright future in the business.

There is much history between Spud and Axl Rage. At one time, Rage (along with his Blackpool Blonds tag-team partner JD Sassoon) was a member of a faction named "Team Rockstar", which was led by Spud. After being out of action for months due to a neck injury sustained at the hands of Nathan Cruz, Spud returned to confront his fellow faction members, who were now allies with Cruz. As a result, Spud's affiliation with Rage and the other members of Team Rockstar was no more, which led to fans rallying behind him, turning Spud into an XWA favorite.

Axl Rage was accompanied to the ring for this match by JD Sassoon. Spud came to the ring alone, but obviously had the fans behind him, as they sang his entrance song, "Livin' on a Prayer" in unison. To show his distaste for Spud, Rage spat on a Spud T-Shirt that he was holding and threw it on the mat. Spud responded by taking off his ring jacket and throwing it at Rage. Spud took an early advantage in this match with kicks to Rage's midsection and a clothesline to the mat. He then prepared to deliver his satellite DDT finisher to Rage, who wisely escaped to the outside of the ring. Spud followed and chased him around the ring. Once they were back inside the squared circle, Rage attempted to hit Spud with a clotheslines off the ropes, but Spud ducked, dropped down when Rage rebounded, and then met him when he rebounded again with a dropkick, sending Rage to the mat.

Spud once again prepared to hit Rage with his satellite DDT finisher, but he was distracted by Sassoon. Rage took advantage of this by attacking Stud with a forearm to the back. He stayed on Spud with a back elbow, punches to the back, an eye rake, and kicks to the midsection. When Rage irish whipped him into a corner and charged after him, Spud met Rage with a boot to the face. He followed up by hitting the ropes and heading towards Rage at top speed, but Rage caught Spud in a backbreaker. Rage went for the cover, but couldn't keep him down long enough for even a one-count.

Rage stayed in control with stomps to Spud's back and chest. Spud attempted to make a comeback by getting to his feet and attacking Rage with a kick to the midsection and punches to the face, but Rage stopped him with a knee to the midsection, which sent him back down to the mat. Rage choked Spud against the ropes with his boot, and then hit Spud with a springboard butt drop to the back. Keeping the heat on him, Rage irish whipped Spud into a corner, and then charged towards him. Spud attempted to meet him with a boot to the face as she did earlier, but this time Rage caught Spud's foot. In a very unique counter, Spud used his other foot to kick his foot out of Rage's hand, and then kicked Rage in the chest. Spud attempted to follow up with a missle dropkick off the second turnbuckle, but Rage swatted him away, sending him crashing to the mat. Rage went for the cover, but Spud managed to kick out seconds before the referee could make a three-count.

Appearing to be unable to keep Spud down long enough for a three-count, Rage then took the submission route, slapping a bear hug on him. After escaping with punches to Rage's head and ducking a clothesline and a back elbow as he rebounded off the ropes, Spud put Rage down with a lariat. When Rage attempted to clothesline Spud, he countered with a delayed hangman's neckbreaker, and then hooked Rage's leg and went for the cover, only getting a two-count. Attempting to take a breather, Rage made it over to a corner where he slumped until Spud came over to him, which was when Rage stood and kicked him in the stomach. Rage irish whipped Spud into a corner, but Spud stopped his momentum by putting his foot on the middle turnbuckle. When Rage charged towards Spud, he moved out of the way and hit Rage with an enzuigiri. Rage staggered out of the corner, and Spud hit him with a sunset flip powerbomb into a sitout pin, only getting a two-count.

Feeling that victory was within his grasp, Spud again prepared to use his satellite DDT finisher. This time however, Sassoon -perhaps fearing that Rage was moments away from defeat- got on the apron. Spud, turning his attention to Sassoon, knocked Sassoon back off the apron. This is a good time to mention that there was not any padding on the floor. So, when Sassoon landed, he felt nothing but a hard wooden floor. In any case, that distraction was all that Rage needed. When Spud turned back around to continue the match, Rage hit him with a superkick. Rage then hooked Spud's leg and went for the pin, but Spud lifted his left shoulder a moment before a three-count could be rendered.

Rage was shocked for a few moments, and then went into desperation mode, as he began untying a turnbuckle pad, apparently in order to attempt an illegal tactic. While the referee was preoccupied with him, Spud pulled a concealed studded belt from out of his pants. After the referee ordered Rage to get away from the turnbuckle pad so that he could retie it, Spud went into action. He tossed the belt to Rage, and then sat down on the mat and yelled out in "pain", causing the referee to think that Rage had used the belt as a weapon on Spud. As a result, the referee produced a yellow card. The yellow card is a part of the penalty system that XWA has adopted. A yellow card serves as a warning, and a red card leads to a disqualification. This system sets XWA apart from many other promotions in the industry, and it's based on the public warning system that was adopted by Joint Promotions, a UK pro-wrestling organization that was created in 1952. So this system, although unique in today's industry, is deeply rooted in the history of pro-wrestling in the United Kingdom, dating back to the time period when pro-wrestling first became a major part of British culture.

Rage complained to the referee and the crowd for a moment, before turning around and walking into Spud's sitout three-quarter facelock jawbreaker finisher. Spud went for the cover, hooked the leg, and gained the win. This match was a perfect example of how it's possible to present an exciting and entertaining wrestling product that is suitable for all fans, young and old alike. Don't wait, visit the XWA website right now to order Last Fight at the Prom 2011! Not only will you see Spud vs. Axl Rage, but you will also see: Joey Hayes vs. Max Angelus! Declan O'Connor vs. JD Sassoon! RJM vs. C J Banks vs. El Ligero! Nathan Cruz, Colossus & Dave Rayne vs. Johnny Phere, Stixx & Sam Slam!

Harold Williams
@HWilliams13 on Twitter

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