November 14, 2014 by mrlahhh
Now that we have left behind Sunday’s electric TNA: British Boot Camp 2 final and are rapidly approaching the next installment in the series, it’s perfect opportunity for Gorilla Press to begin increasing focus on the domestic scene, starting with an introduction to the six, body-slamming heroes attempting to conquer Mount Dixie:
Much has been made of Grado since (and no doubt before) his rise to fame through Insane Fight Club and Boot Camp 2, mainly because he’s not the most technically gifted in the ring. And while this may, or may not be the case (I’ll leave that can of worms for another day!), you simply can’t argue with the fact that he is O-V-E-R. His entrance from York Hall, which was refreshingly left in by TNA TV production was goosebumps-inducing material – he is a bonafide born entertainer. He’s also – unsurprisingly as a life long wrestling nut – absolutely on point with what will resonate with fans. Check out his Goldberg-style entrance from ICW below.
Here’s the kicker, it is all of this which will see him NOT win BB2. His act is his major selling point right now, and it’s hot, no doubt, but the American TV audience complained they needed subtitles for Peter Capaldi as Dr. Who, never mind our man fae’ the top end o’ Stevenston!
Unfortunately, I’m not convinced they’ll get him. On the other hand, repackaging detracts from his value and those inevitable question marks over in-ring performance will linger.
He would shift a hell of a load of tickets for the UK tours though!
Another finalist, another Scot! Kay Lee has already earned the prestige of being the only female to reach this stage and it’s obvious why, she’s a confident in-ring performer, energetic, assured and liable to go to the top ropes (it’s evident she cut her teeth relentlessly grinding the UK indy scene, much like Paige once did).
She’d work very well in an anti-Diva persona, the kind that has found its place in both major productions’ rosters, and she would improve both – think Lita, on Buckfast.
The match between her, Nikki Storm and The Owen Twins was genuinely one of the best female wrestling matches I’ve seen on TV, at least since the Taryn Terrel v. Gail Kim ladder match. The fact that one of the Boot Camp mentors (Kim) was involved in that match could bode well for Ray’s development, and with Gail’s tutelage, rest assured that Kay Lee Ray has the potential to feature strongly at the top end of the Knockouts division.
Currently based in Ayr, Scotland (yeah another one!) but via Tel Aviv, Israel, and remarkably still only 21 years of age, Noam Dar has already wrestled former ECW World Heavyweight, WWE Intercontinental and WWE Tag Team Champion John Morrison and globetrotting, multiple world champ AJ Styles and has also held TNA‘s highest prize twice. Not to mention a whole host of other top class opponents during lengthy runs with all the biggest and best UK wrestling promotions.
Watching Dar perform, you can sense he is destined for bigger things, which is a shame for us UK fans. To be as accomplished as he is, at such a young age, is testament to the years of training and dedication he has spent honing his craft (he started his career at age 14).
Although he could have an amazing run as a babyface, Noam has all the characteristics that would make an incredible heel, swagger and arrogance in abundance. We saw elements of this in his match, notably when he bit El Ligero (who himself was unlucky not to make it), and not to mention his ice-cold promo, cut entirely in Hebrew, eye to eye with Samoa Joe.
In case you hadn’t guessed, I like Noam Dar a lot. With work on his character niche, he could undoubtedly work at the highest level, hell, just ask John Morrison, who couldn’t help but take to the microphone to wax lyrical about Noam being one of the best performers he had faced, after they squared off at Preston City Wrestling.
Anyone who has seen Rampage in the flesh will understand if I’m nothing other than complimentary about him – he is arguably the meanest looking guy in the entire universe, and would crush me without even breaking a sweat.
Fortunately for my own personal well-being, there’s not much negativity to throw his way, ropey promo from the Manchester heat aside.
Rampage lets his wrestling do the talking, no gimmicks, just hard hitting, drop-kicking, pile-driving badassery (which coincidentally enough, is a term invented solely to explain Rampage’s exploits).
To use his own words, he is the alpha male of British wrestling. Current Tidal Wrestling champion and Preston City Wrestling tag team champion (as part of Team Single), Rampage has held a whole host of British and European titles over the years and could contribute heavily to writing the book on the indy circuit.
However, he has already had a slight taste of the big time, having wrestled in WWE‘s developmental territory FCW (Florida Championship Wrestling) and I’m sure that will have whet his appetite for more.
His appearance, size and stature as a true heavyweight are betrayed by his in-ring work, which although very physical, can be equally as technical, even graceful. There’s something wonderful about seeing a guy like Rampage execute one of the sweetest, standing drop-kicks you’re ever likely to see.
Don’t let the fact he is nicknamed after a cheap cider fool you, this lad is pure dynamite.
If you were to put our six finalists through an identity parade and attempt to pick the one who already looks every inch the part of a big wrestling star, I’m guessing Andrews would poll the highest. Bleached blonde hair, classic all-American good looks and a physique seemingly chiselled from granite, TNA would only need to change his tights to make him a star – and personally I’d advise against that. Emblazoned with aeroplane shapes and his moniker, “Time to Fly”, they pretty much sum up what Andrews’ game is all about.
He didn’t spend much time in a TNA ring (York Hall), until he was busy trying to leave it again – over the top ropes and onto opponent Kris Travis below. And that Shooting Star Press! A manoeuvre I think we can all agree is criminally underused.
Andrews is another wrestler who has already worked Stateside, having enjoyed a stint with CHIKARA (www.chikarapro.com) whose fundamentals are based on the high-flying, Lucha Libre style, as well as relentlessly touring the UK and European scene, of course.
I think Mark Andrews could revitalise the X-Division, and he is absolutely tailor made for that spot. Currently (although I’ve changed my mind back and forth since writing the last two paragraphs), I would pick him as favourite to triumph in the competition.
There isn’t much you can say about Dave Mastiff that either his nickname, or his showcased match against Rampage Brown doesn’t tell you. Put simply, he is as tough and as hard-hitting as they come.
Often considered a more traditional heavyweight (that is, not super jacked/ripped) than we’re used to seeing from WWE or TNA currently, I genuinely feel Mastiff is good enough to represent that bygone style and bring tradition back into the modern day.
There were moments in the match when, for example, he flung Rampage like a doll! Particularly those German Suplexes that had Joe, Kim and Snow wincing where they sat.
All of that considered – the throwback style, the wince-inducing power and strength – there’s more to Mastiff than meets the eye, notably an agility and movement that some cruiserweights would beg for. As the old adage goes, “he’s light on his feet for a big fella”.
They say things come back around, in fashion, music, etc…perhaps Mastiff is the man to lead the wrestling (d)evolution.
Check out Sunday’s show on Challenge at 9PM.
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