We’re in Preston at the Evoque for PCW’s Road to Glory tournament. This show drew a little interest because PCW managed to get Apollo Crews on it.

Preston City Wrestling
Road to Glory – Show 1
February 10, 2018
Preston, England

Watch: Powerbomb TV

Hosts are Greg Lambert and Stallion.

Road to Glory First Round
Dean Allmark def. Adam Brooks

Allmark is the best kept secret in BritWres. An outstanding world-class wrestler who doesn’t get booked anywhere because he looks so plain. “Loose Ledge” Brooks has had a solid run in the UK during his visit. He’s looks capable and works a fine heel act. In general the Aussies coming over to the UK have felt an urge to play babyface but Brooks, despite some positive crowd reactions, has aimed to be a firm heel. The match is counters-heavy to demonstrate a parity and it proceeds along those lines until Allmark hits the Smiles Clash for the pin. ***1/4

Tag Title Tournament First Round
Big T Justice & Tel Banham def. Danny Hope & Joey Hayes

This is the start of the tag tournament. Banham is a cocky little shit who likes to talk a lot. He’s got the backup of Big T, a huge strapping nine-foot tall rookie. Hope & Hayes are regulars up North. PCW, Futureshock, GPW etc. Joey’s normal tag partner is Martin Kirby as “Two Lads Pissing About”. Danny is also in that stable. Tel works most of the match, as he’s more experienced. Big T looks like a monster but he barely works at this point. The babyface version of this team (with OJMO) is great because he has that hot tag down. Sadly this match is structured with Hope & Hayes working formula on Tel and it’s not an interesting structure at all. The involvement with Big T is where the match gets interesting but it’s very limited as there’s not a lot they can do. Big T hits the Axe Kick on Hayes and Tel pins him. This was not good. **

Tag Title Tournament First Round
Team Single def. Polo Promotions

Polo Promotions are big in Scotland but that hasn’t quite translated to being over in Preston. PCW champ T-Bone comes in without a scheduled partner but Rampage is revealed to be it and we instantly have a favourite for a tag tournament. Team Single held the PCW tag titles for 3 years straight at one point. This is a hard-hitting match between two teams with good solid continuity. Polo Promotions get battered by Rampage and the piledriver finishes. Team Single has always been a monster team and Rampage is tough to argue with. There’s no one in the tournament that I would say is ‘better’ than him. **1/2

Road to Glory First Round
Apollo Crews def. Iestyn Rees

This is fairly surreal. It’s not every day you see WWE contracted talent hanging out on the indies. It has happened but usually it’s someone like Jerry Lawler or Al Snow who were done on TV. Apollo is on RAW every bloody week! Rees brings a little bit of fire but Apollo basically squashes him by running through all his business. He looks in phenomenal condition. If he had a personality he’d be a big star in WWE. **1/2

Tag Title Tournament First Round
Interracial Love def. Kings of Leon

That is actually the name of the team in this match. I’m not making it up. They also come out to “Black or White” by Michael Jackson and I am actually horrified. Charlie has replaced his beret with a top knot but Ashton is the real fun-loving dude here. There’s an underlying theme that Sterling isn’t as into the team as Ashton is and Lionheart isn’t into teaming with Sha. I’m not into Lionheart and this match is all about Lionheart. Ashton irritates me here too because he does the Attitude Era comeback punches. Lionheart knocks Sha off the apron and he gets hurt, then Lionheart tags him back in. It’s right what they chant: Lionheart’s a fanny. The injured Sha gets beaten and Interracial Love advance. To the surprise of no one Lionheart is a knob. *1/2

Tag Title Tournament First Round
Dunkamania def. The Henchmen

Thrilled for the Henchmen to be here. Their training videos are fucking amazing. I actually remember Benton “The Tool Shed” Destruction when he was Edgar Strife for MPW like 15 years ago. Sugar Dunkerton is immediately over. Brooks, who looks like Weird Al Yankovic, sings his way to the ring. Hey, it worked for Joe Hendry.

There’s some pleasant comedy stuff with Dunkerton’s basketball before we settle into heat on Brooks. It’s a pity the Henchmen training video wasn’t included on the VOD because they’re really at their best in skits. When it comes to the matches they have their strengths but it’s not formula. Anyway, Dunkamania advance and this was fun when it wasn’t leaning on formula. **1/4

Road to Glory First Round
Moose def. Sheikh El Sham

This was originally Rampage Brown but he was removed to be in the tag team tournament and Sheik El Sham replaces him here. El Sham is a big lad. Clear over six feet, although not as big as Moose who’s 6’5” apparently. El Sham looks a little bit like Tye Dillenger with boxing inspired gear. He’s got one of those rich Middle Eastern gimmicks that makes no sense. If he’s rich why is he wrestling in Preston? It’s a strange phenomenon among Arabic (and even non-Arabic wrestlers) in the UK. Anyway, El Sham is clearly inexperienced but he has some decent ideas. Moose lets him have a big old chunk of the match, even encouraging the poor guy when to deliver his strikes. Moose finishes with a tasty spear, which Greg Lambert calls a “pounce” for reasons best known to himself. **

Road to Glory First Round
Zack Sabre Jr. def. Matt Riddle

Oh shit. It’s been a disappointing show but this match could be very special. Sabre usually kills everyone on the mat but Riddle has that MMA experience and martial arts savvy that ZSJ rarely comes up against. Riddle’s big advantage is his power, whereas Sabre has an experience edge. Sabre tends to boss matches so it’s interesting to see Riddle not let him do that here. He dominates with suplexes and strikes and Matt is starting to get very comfortable at controlling the pace of matches, even against experienced opponents.

The way they transition from one hold to another, from one submission attempt to something completely different is beautiful. Sabre is the master at this but Riddle hangs with him throughout. The best thing about the match is it’s so tough to pick a winner. In every other first round match the winner seemed fairly obvious but this could be the final. Riddle gets tied up in one of Sabre’s specials but escapes by biting the ropes. Riddle might be outdone in the mat grappling stakes but he starts unloading heavy strikes and that’s where he can win. Sabre then flukes the pin out of nowhere for the win. This was great and felt like it could finish at any moment. Incredible chemistry from these two. I know they’ll be going again. ****1/4

Final Thoughts:

Definitely watch the main event of Road to Glory, it’s different class to everything else. The undercard isn’t particularly good. There’s a solid Allmark match, a trademark of PCW, and that’s about it.