This past Saturday night saw Defiant Wrestling host No Regrets 2018 from their home city of Newcastle. Six matches were scheduled, including four huge championship bouts and the second annual 30-person No Regrets Rumble Match. That was won by Martin Kirby for the second year in a row, last tossing out Joe Hendry much like he did in 2017. Kirby now heads towards the main event of June 17th’s Built to Destroy iPPV, where he’ll challenge for the Defiant Championship. But the question on everyone’s mind is, will Martin Kirby actually win the big one?
After being announced for the first set of WCPW tapings in June 2016, Martin Kirby was viewed as a comedy act by pretty much everyone. His arsenal proves that point, with moves like the suplex dropped in to an eye poke being used to poke fun at his opponents (no pun intended). At WCPW’s first big show, Built to Destroy on July 25th, Kirby lost to El Ligero and was forced to wear a dress as a result. This seemed to have lit a fire under Martin Kirby, with several big wins coming after this.
Now, there’s no doubt that Martin Kirby isn’t one of the best comedy acts in the UK and possibly the world as a whole, but that doesn’t hamper the fact that he can be just as serious as anyone else when the time calls for it. It was episode seven of Loaded where he scored an upset victory over Will Ospreay. The Aerial Assassin put him over after the match, saying that Kirby has been “overlooked for far too long”. Two episodes later and Martin defeated Ospreay, Marty Scurll, Pete Dunne and Travis Banks despite being the least recognized name in the match. A win over Pete Dunne in singles competition the following week left Kirby with three huge wins under his belt since arriving in WCPW.
Kirby demanded a shot at the WCPW Championship but General Manager Adam Pacitti was hesitant to give such an opportunity to someone he considered “a joke”. Kirby handcuffed himself to the ropes and refused to leave, so Pacitti reluctantly gave him the match he so desperately wanted; a match with Joseph Conners for the WCPW Championship at WCPW’s first ever iPPV Refuse to Lose on October 6th.
So all was going well for Martin Kirby, right? Wrong.
As Martin ascended to the second rope for a Zoidberg Elbow, a move he had never hit in his career at that point, Adam Pacitti rushed to ringside and shoved him off the ropes. With the referee down, there was nothing that could be done about it, except from the fans pelting their GM with glow sticks. One low blow and Righteous Kill later, and Joseph Conners remained the WCPW Champion. Fans were absolutely lived and started the movement known as #JusticeForKirby.
2016 ended with Martin Kirby fueding with Pacitti Club, as Bully Ray, Will Ospreay, and The Swords of Essex joined Adam Pacitti. On the last Loaded before the new year, Kirby and “Broken” Matt Hardy defeated Ray and The Swords, which meant Martin Kirby was the new General Manager of WCPW. You’d think with complete control over the company that Kirby would just himself a title opportunity, but that wouldn’t be the case.
During his reign over WCPW, Martin Kirby organised a musical chairs contest and guest refereed a WCPW Championship Match between champion Drew Galloway and challenger Joe Hendry. Following True Destiny, Kirby stepped down from the role as he vowed to capture the big one. Despite being the prime target of the newly-formed Prestige stable, he went on to win the 2017 Magnificent Seven Briefcase at Bulletproof. He followed that up by winning the 2017 No Regrets Rumble from the number two position, finally lifting the WCPW Championship.
The day after No Regrets saw the tapings of the Mexican qualifiers for the Pro Wrestling World Cup, with Martin Kirby making the first defence of his gold against Prestige leader Joe Hendry. After suffering a nasty head injury, the match ended due to referee stoppage and Joe Hendry was handed the WCPW Championship. Martin Kirby’s ascension to the top of WhatCulture Pro Wrestling had come to a crashing halt after just one day.
Everyone was still in support of Martin Kirby however. The Kirb Krawlers were waiting in anticipation of their hero to once again rise to the top of the company. But it never happened. He lost to Joe Hendry in two consecutive championship rematches, first at Hendrymania due to Joe Coffey‘s interference, and then at Fight Back in a Last Man Standing Match after El Ligero interfered and joined The Prestige. Kirby then lost his Magnificent Seven Briefcase to Ligero at Built to Destroy after a distraction from, of all people, ring announcer Stevie Aaron. All hope appeared to be gone for Martin Kirby. Then an opportunity arose. This caused Martin Kirby to become defiant.
WCPW rebranded to Defiant Wrestling on December 4th, 2017 and had a scheduled main event between champion Marty Scurll, and challengers Joe Hendry and Will Ospreay for the Defiant Championship. Ospreay was forced to pull out due to obligations elsewhere, leaving new General Manager Stu Bennett without a third man. Considering he had previously beaten both Hendry and Ospreay, Stu brought some good news for a change and announced Martin Kirby for the #WeAreDefiant main event. Was this the time for Martin Kirby to regain the title?
Joe Hendry tapped out to Marty Scurll’s crossface chickenwing, and Martin Kirby was left alone in the ring as the show was coming to a close. That’s when he was attacked by the debuting pair of Mark Haskins and Chris Ridgeway, with commentary making reference to them being from IPW. Kirby was saved by the newest Defiant star Austin Aries, only to be spiked on his head with a brainbuster. Several more IPW stars arrived a few weeks later, building to a five on five elimination match at February’s Chain Reaction iPPV. Martin Kirby was on Team Defiant and managed to eliminate No Fun Dunne and Austin Aries until he submitted to Mark Haskins’ sharpshooter.
As a result of eliminating Defiant Champion Austin Aries, Kirby was granted a championship opportunity on an episode of the weekly show. Martin had Aries locked in his own Last Chancery submission hold and the bell rang, despite the referee not calling for it. No Fun Dunne emerged from backstage with the ring bell in hand, screwing Kirby out of the title as he tapped to a Last Chancery from Austin Aries. Kirby repaid the favour, and cost Dunne a Magnificent Seven Qualifying Match the next week against Prince Ameen, resulting in a match being made between the two for Lights Out. This became a qualifier for the Magnificent Seven after Primate‘s career-ending injury, and No Fun Dunne came out on top with a rollup. Another failed opportunity to try and capture the Defiant Championship.
After losing to Gabriel Kidd at The Road to No Regrets, Martin Kirby was revealed as an entrant in this year’s No Regrets Rumble, but first he would have to get past No Fun Dunne in a Lights Out rematch. After tweaking his knee, Kirby was pinned by Dunne once again. Everyone was questioning whether or not Kirby would be fit to compete in the Rumble later in the night.
Their question was put to rest as the buzzer sounded for number 29 to enter, and it was Martin Kirby. He managed to eliminate Gabriel Kidd, El Ligero, and finally Joe Hendry to win the No Regrets Rumble for the second year in a row. Despite the recent lack form, and the injury to his knee suffered earlier in the night, Martin Kirby proved all the critics wrong and pulled off the unthinkable.
Martin Kirby will now face Rampage for the Defiant Championship on Sunday, June 17th at Built to Destroy. A match between two Defiant originals.
The big question: Will Martin Kirby win the big one?