Southside Wrestling held another Speed King tournament on Saturday night in Nottingham, and boy was it incredible.
The show itself was sold out, with people packing in right up to bell time. More chairs were bought in and at the start of the night there were over 370 people packed into the Rushcliffe Arena, West Bridgford, Nottingham.
The show started off slowly with Pete Dunne taking on Scotland’s Noam Dar in a slow, technical affair and El Ligero facing off against Kay Lee Ray in another slow-burning match. Dunne and Ray advanced to the final.
Then came one of the big-name imports on the show; Petey Williams. The master of the Canadian Destroyer faced Robbie X, a great young British talent who eventually bested Williams in a match that really started to get the crowd going.
Martin Kirby vs Dean Allmark was next with the current Speed King champion Kirby ambushing Allmark before the bell rang to get a head start. Kirby ended up winning and advancing to the final which already contained Robbie X, Pete Dunne and Kay Lee Ray.
CZW’s AR Fox vs Kris Travis was next and what a match these two had. It had comedy, it had emotion, and it was fast paced and hard hitting. The crowd came alive for this one, thanks on the whole to how over AR Fox was. His moveset combined with Travis’ heel mannerisms made this match the best of the night… So far. Fox beat Travis to advance to the final.
The final match before intermission was Will Ospreay vs Mark Andrews, two of the UK’s highest flyers. These two had a great high flying match which received a standing ovation from the crowd. A fantastic way to send the crowd off to the intermission to recover and recollect. Ospreay advanced into the final.
During the intermission, fans, including myself had the chance to take a photo with the main attraction on the card, New Japan Pro Wrestling star Prince Devitt. Irish native Devitt is famous for painting his body to look like many different comic characters and at Southside’s Speed King he chose Anti-Venom.
The experience was fun and Devitt seemed like a very nice guy. The set-up ran smoothly and ensured all fans got some brilliant photos and memories during the short intermission.
Post-intermission saw Prince Devitt face Mark Haskins for his Southside Heavyweight Title. Devitt got the match started early and set a high tempo which continued throughout the match with brutal kicks and some risky dives into the crowd. Devitt and Haskins had match of the night and got a well deserved “this is awesome” chant from the crowd in attendance.
Devitt’s future now hangs in the balance with many thinking he is WWE-bound. Only time will tell on that one.
The Speed King final was the final match of the night and saw Pete Dunne, Robbie X, Kay Lee Ray, Martin Kirby, AR Fox and Will Ospreay competing in a 6-person elimination match for the Speed King Title. Fox and Ospreay provided the high-octane moves while Kirby tried every underhanded tactic in the book to keep hold of his title.
Fox was the fans clear favourite to win but when it came down to Martin Kirby and Kay Lee Ray as the final two, the fans got firmly behind Ray. Ray and Kirby went back and forth for a good ten to fifteen minutes and had a hard-fought singles match which saw Ray kick out of everything Kirby threw at her. In the end, Kirby retained his title but Kay Lee Ray went home as an even bigger star than before thanks to her excellent showing.
So while the show started off slowly it built into a fantastic showcase of the British wrestling scene. Every match from AR Fox vs Kris Travis to the Speed King final had a shout at match of the night and all received standing ovations from the crowd in attendance. The inclusion of Prince Devitt to the roster gave the card a true boost of star-power thanks to Devitt’s current success in New Japan but wrestler’s like Robbie X, Will Ospreay and Kay Lee Ray shone brightly on a great night of British Wrestling.
All images courtesy of Brett Hadley.