By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
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Defy Wrestling “The Splendid and The Vile”
Replay available via Wremix.tv
August 26, 2023 from London, England at Electric Ballroom
This event finally made its free TV debut on Thursday. This show was held in London, England, a day before AEW’s All In. Rich Bocchini and Ethan HD provided commentary; I presume commentary was added later. This venue is packed with perhaps 600-800 fans. It has an upper deck but it doesn’t appear to hold a lot of fans.
1. Schaff defeated Gabriel Kidd via DQ at 8:52. Kidd came out first, but he met Schaff on the entrance ramp and they immediately brawled on the floor. Schaff (think Jake Something-meets-Braun Strowman) hit him across the back with a chair at 1:30. They finally got in the ring and traded chops. Schaff no-sold them and the fans chanted “you f–ked up!” at Kidd. Schaff hit a rolling cannonball into the corner at 5:00. Kidd hit a brainbuster for a nearfall at 7:30. Schaff hit a short-arm clothesline and a running shoulder tackle that dropped Kidd. Kidd immediately grabbed his New Japan Strong tag title belt, struck Schaff in the head with it, and the ref called for the disqualification. Good brawl until the copout finish.
2. Session Moth Martina and Gene Munny defeated Lizzy Evo and LJ Cleary in a mixed tag match at 12:16. SMM is the sorority party girl who always has a drink in her hand. Evo is the stereotypical mean girl who looks down on the fans. Cleary looks like a young TNA-era Chris Harris, with his long, curly black hair. Munny is a dork; his one-armed singlet makes him look like a Fred Flintstone caveman, and he has black tape over his nipples. Munny and Martina argued before the bell. The men started, and Munny immediately hit a forward Finlay Roll. Cleary hit a dropkick at 1:30, so Martina tagged in to face LJ. They did the silly spot where she couldn’t kip up so LJ helped her, and Lizzy just looked annoyed. LIzzy jumped in the ring and began beating on Martina. Martina and Munny tried to do some team offense but it was all comedy.
Evo choked Martina in the ropes and she was in charge. Martina hit a twisting suplex and they were both down at 7:30. The men tagged back in and Munny hit running Stinger Splashes in each corner. He hip-tossed LJ onto Evo! Munny hit a spinebuster. Martina made the blind tag and she hit a second-rope crossbody block on Evo for a nearfall at 9:30. Munny hit a hard clothesline on Evo. LJ hit a spin kick to Munny’s face. Martina hit a tornado DDT, and the faces hit a team suplex on Cleary for a nearfall. LJ hit a DDT on Munny, then a Panama Sunrise flip piledriver, but the ref said LJ wasn’t legal. Munny hit a flying clothesline off the apron to the floor on Cleary. In the ring, Martina hit a second-rope flying Lungblower on Evo for the pin. Fun match.
3. Vert Vixen defeated Hyan to retain the Defy Women’s Title at 11:22. I consider Vert to be a top five women’s indy talent. Hyan always strikes me as a Latina version of Deonna Purrazzo, from her ring gear to the grace she walks to the ring, to the mat-based style. They shook hands and traded mat reversals. (We have a nice camera view of the venue, showing we are definitely in the 700 or more range.) Hyan hit a running penalty kick on the ring apron at 2:30. In the ring, Hyan was in charge, hitting a clothesline for a nearfall, then a Northern Lights Suplex for a nearfall at 4:30, and she switched to a sleeper on the mat. Vert hit an enzuigiri for a nearfall.
Vert hit a second-rope missile dropkick, then a Helluva Kick. Vert hit a rolling stunner and a Falcon Arrow for a nearfall, and the crowd chanted “Defy!” at 7:00. Hyan fired back with a snap suplex and a shotgun dropkick and a running knee in the corner, then her own Falcon Arrow for a nearfall. Vert hit a back suplex and they were both down. They got up and traded forearm shots. Hyan nailed a headbutt. Vert fired back with a springboard spin kick. Hyan hit a spear for a nearfall at 10:30. Vert nailed a brainbuster for the pin. That was really, really good.
4. “The Bollywood Boyz” Harv and Gurv Sihra defeated The Sunshine Machine” Chuck Mambo and TK Cooper to retain the Defy Tag Team Titles at 15:50. Sunshine Machine are a couple of dorks but they are decent wrestlers. Bocchini said SM were Progress tag champs for about a year. Basic stuff early on, as SM worked over Gurv. The BB rolled to the floor at 5:00 and stalled. Eventually, SM followed to the floor and they all brawled in front of the fans. Back in the ring, the Boyz applied simultaneous Sharpshooters but the SM reached the ropes at 14:00. Mambo hit a frogsplash for a nearfall. The Bollywood Boyz hit their Demolition-style team elbow drop finisher for the pin. Solid match. All four danced in the ring together afterwards.
5. Ricky Knight Jr. defeated Davey Boy Smith Jr. at 19:22. A nice pop for Smith. Knight has a passing resemblance to MJF and he’s really good in the ring; I saw him have an excellent match against Will Ospreay a year ago. An intense lockup to open; Smith has the overall size/muscle mass advantage. Smith applied a Camel Clutch at 3:30. They went to the floor, where Smith hit a snap suplex on the wood floor! He hit some headbutts and chops, then European Uppercuts, as they brawled in front of the fans. They got back in the ring at 9:30, where Smith grounded him and applied a bow-and-arrow.
Knight hit a Flatliner move for a nearfall at 13:30, and an enzuigiri. Smith hit a short-arm clothesline for a nearfall. Smith hit a powerslam for a believable nearfall at 16:00. Smith nailed a top-rope legdrop across the throat for a believable nearfall. Smith hit a sit-out powerbomb for a believable nearfall at 19:00; he attempted to apply a Sharpshooter, but Knight reached up, grabbed Smith’s head, and got an inside cradle out of nowhere for the clean pin!
* Smith got on the mic and thanked the fans, saying this was his first match in the UK since COVID began.
6. Nick Wayne defeated KC Navarro at 17:18. I’ve always compared pink-haired Navarro to Impact’s Ace Austin in their short-man heel charisma. An intense lockup to open. Wayne hit a diving forearm at 2:30. KC hit a dropkick and celebrated. He dove through the ropes and barreled onto Wayne, who went flying into rows of chairs at 4:00. They brawled on the floor. In the ring, KC hit a running double knees for a nearfall at 7:00. He hit a dropkick, and he choked Wayne in the ropes. He hit his 619 and posed. Wayne fired back with a handspirng-back-stunner, then a fisherman’s suplex for a nearfall at 10:00.
KC hit a running Facewash in the corner, then a frogsplash for a nearfall. KC hit a Go To Sleep-style popup kneestrike to the chest at 12:30. They traded superkicks and they were both down. They got up and traded forearm shots. Wayne hit a Mafia Kick; he was going for the Wayne’s World/Clout Cutter, but KC blocked it and got a rollup for a nearfal. KC hit a Code Red for a nearfall at 15:30. Wayne nailed a Dragon Suplex and a superkick, then the Wayne’s World stunner for the clean pin. The excellent match you’d expect from these two.
7. Kenta defeated Mark Haskins (w/Vicky Haskins) to retain the Defy Heavyweight Title at 29:51. This is only the second match I’ve seen from Haskins since the end of the ROH Sinclair era. Kenta stalled in the ropes before they finally tied up. They traded mat reversals. They began trading stiff kicks to the thighs at 4:00. Kenta hit some kneelifts to the gut, then a stiff kick to the spine, and he was in charge. He hit a series of kicks that dropped Haskins at 7:30. Haskins rolled to the floor to regroup; he got back in the ring but Kenta kept up the offense.
Haskins nailed a dive through the ropes at 10:00 and got a huge pop, and Kenta was down on the floor amongst the chairs. Haskins hit a series of roundhouse kicks to the chest. In the ring, Haskins tied up Kenta in a pretzel on the mat. Haskins hit some Yes Kicks the chest and he jawed at Kenta. Kenta got ticked off and stood up, and Kenta hit a Mafia Kick, then a powerbomb for a nearfall at 16:30. Kenta hit a top-rope clothesline for a nearfall, and he applied a crossface submission hold on the mat. Haskins nailed a neckbreaker over his knee, then a running knee for a nearfall at 19:00.
Haskins missed a top-rope doublestomp. They hit simultaneous clotheslines and both were down. Kenta placed Haskins’ feet on the ropes and he hit a DDT. Kenta hit his hesitation dropkick into the corner,, then a top-rope doublestomp to the chest for a believable nearfall at 22:00. Haskins hit a running knee to the chest for a nearfall. Haskins accidentally hit a Mafia Kick on the ref! All three were down. Kenta got a chair from ringside and he struck Mark repeatedly on his back. Vicki climbed in the ring and checked on her husband. Kenta grabbed her by her hair and shoved her into a corner. Kenta got his Defy title belt! Vicki slapped Kenta, and Mark hit a pumphandle powerbomb; the referee woke and counted to two at 25:30.
Kenta applied a crossface on the mat, but Mark’s arm didn’t fall a third time, and he reached the ropes at 27:30. Kenta hit a jumping knee to the back. He went for Go To Sleep, but Haskins got out of it and he applied a Sharpshooter! He dragged Kenta to the middle of the ring and leaned back for pressure, but Kenta eventually reached the ropes. They hit simultaneous spin kicks. Kenta hit a jumping knee to the chest, and immediately hit the Go To Sleep kneestrike for the clean pin. That was really, really good.
Final Thoughts: Defy Wrestling continues to put on some of the best indy shows. I know Kenta’s matches in recent years are hit-or-miss in quality, but I do feel like he really steps up his game when put in that marquee headlining spot, like he did here. Wayne-Navarro was really good and that takes second place. I really enjoyed Vert-Hyan for third, just ahead of Davey-Knight. Those are four really good matches to top a show.