Preview: Frontline Wrestling, S.P.I.R.I.T (8/21/18)

Frontline Wrestling
Credit: Frontline Wrestling

Less than two months removed from its debut show, Build Me an Empire, Will Ospreay and Frontline Wrestling are back at Stratford Circus for round two, this time to present S.P.I.R.I.T on August 21.

Much like in its first show, Frontline has prepared a card that features the best and brightest of the UK talent pool. A new champion will be crowned, another top women’s match will take place and the Young Lions will be in action. All signs point to this being a great follow-up to Build Me an Empire, the show that introduced the world to a non-commercialized version of what British strong style and British puroresu could truly be.

Scotty Davis vs Jay “Diamond” Jewel

One of the things it was clear Will Ospreay was passionate about upon creating Frontline, was the ability to offer opportunities to overlooked, underappreciated and unknown wrestlers. Hence, the creation of his Young Lions. Having spent so much time in Japan, Ospreay had the chance to experience the Young Lions concept first hand and clearly took something away from it. In promotion for S.P.I.R.I.T, Ospreay wrote on Frontline’s Facebook page, “I urge you to come and follow their journeys to master the basics, to their graduation, to their excursion & their return to carry not only the company but British Independent Wrestling to new heights.”

For six of the 10 Young Lions, their journey will begin at S.P.I.R.I.T. The first two who will see ring action are Scotty Davis and Jay “Diamond” Jewel.

At just 17 years old, Davis really puts the “young” in Young Lion. Having turned pro only recently, the Irish Suplex Machine has already found himself as a fixture in Ireland’s Over the Top Wrestling. Making his debut in 2017 at OTT The Road to ScrapperMania 3 – Dublin, Davis has wrestled the likes of El Ligero, Jordan Devlin, Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis), British Strong Style (Pete Dunne, Trent Seven and Tyler Bate) and Mark Haskins. At Contenders 9, Davis even made it to the finals in a tournament to crown a new OTT No Limits Champion, which was won by Terry Thatcher.

Davis’ opponent is Jay “Diamond” Jewel, who as noted in his above tweet, is in his so-called rookie year of professional wrestling. Jewel is one of two Young Lions that come from Dragon Pro Wrestling, the other being Nico Angelo, who will also be in action at S.P.I.R.I.T. While he doesn’t have the portfolio of Davis, Jewel has wrestled some big matches including against Chuck Mambo to advance in the Merlin Cambridge Invitational, and against former All Wales Champion, Danny Jones. With his career just getting started, the experience of being a Young Lion will be invaluable.

The Residence (Ash Draven, LK Mezinger and ELIJAH) vs Kelly Sixx, Scotty Wainwright and Nico Angelo

The Residence vs Kelly Sixx, Scotty Wainwright and Nico Angelo
Credit: Frontline Wrestling

At Build Me an Empire, the Residence (Ash DravenLK Mezinger, and ELIJAH) ambushed Kelly Sixx. Now, looking for revenge, Sixx will team with two Young Lions, Scotty Wainwright, and Nico Angelo, against Frontline’s new dangerous trio.

Hailing from Essex, England, Ash Draven has been wrestling since 2015, competing in various promotions throughout his home country and establishing a bit of a rivalry with Will Ospreay in the process. In 2016, Draven and his The Reckoning partner, Sean Wilson, feuded with Ospreay and Paul Robinson, better known as the Swords of Essex, over the Reloaded Championship Wrestling Alliance tag team titles which were held by the Reckoning. In 2018, Draven won his first singles title when he became Shropshire Wrestling Alliance Champion, a title he held for 266 days.

Draven’s most recent match in SWA saw him team up with ELIJAH and LK Mezinger for the first time, in a team referred to as The Happy Place. This was not the first time however that ELIJAH and Mezinger had teamed up as the two have been working as a tag team on and off since 2016 as The Brotherhood. The two are one-time Dragon Pro tag team champions and one-time Knights of Chaos champions. Both ELIJAH and Mezinger are also members of the stable Nothing to Prove alongside Drew Parker and Eddie Dennis.

The 27-year-old Sixx, the veteran of the group, has been wrestling since 2011 and has worked for some of the UK’s top companies in Revolution Pro, International Pro Wrestling: UK, Defiant and HOPE Wrestling. The “King of Performance” is a one-time singles champion, having won the Pro Wrestling Pride Catch Division Championship in 2016.

Known mainly for his time in Dragon Pro, Nico Angelo is a Young Lion who already has eyes on him. Rising in the UK, Angelo recently qualified as the final entrant in the Merlin Obadiah Invitational and is being seen by some as 2018’s breakout star of the year.

The third member of the team is Scotty Wainwright, who is in the midst of a career renaissance. Believed to have faced the end of his in-ring career nearly a year ago, Wainwright, tag team partner of Ospreay and Robinson in the Swords of Essex, is using his time as a Young Lion to get back in the game. Wainwright made his debut when he was 20 years old and quickly found himself making an impact in the UK scene. Perhaps the most experienced of the Young Lions, Wainwright is currently the British Triangle Champion alongside Robinson and Ospreay. The Swords are also former champions in What Culture Pro Wrestling (now Defiant), RCWA and IPW:UK. Additionally, Wainwright is a one-time CW tag team champion and two-time PWP Catch Division champion.

Stixx vs NIWA

Hailing from London, England, Stixx has been wrestling for over 17 years and has an incredible career to show for it. Active since 2001, Stixx has won 17 titles across nine different promotions including Southside Wrestling Entertainment, Leicester Championship Wrestling, Alpha Omega Wrestling-UK, and Real Deal Wrestling. Primarily working for SWE, Stixx also wrestled for Combat Zone Wrestling in 2014, when the two promotions held a series of joint shows in the UK. After retiring in 2017, Stixx returned this past May where he worked a match in SWE and took part in the Frontline Heavyweight Championship tournament.

Much like at Build Me an Empire when Ospreay brought in KENOH to face Chris Ridgeway in a hard-hitting battle, Stixx’s opponent is another wrestler who comes to Frontline with experience outside of the UK. He is 25-year-old NIWA, who is better known to Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre fans, as Johnny Idol.

NIWA wrestled for New Zealand Wide Pro Wrestling (where he is a two-time tag champion and one-time heavyweight champion) for several years before moving to Mexico where after five months, he landed a deal with CMLL A staple in the company, NIWA has wrestled with and against top names such as Angel de Oro, Rey BucaneroUltimo Guerrero, Negro Casas, El Soberano Jr., Dragon Lee, Volador Jr., Michael Elgin, and more. In June of this year, NIWA debuted in the UK, where he is now based. Most recently, at ATTACK! Sunglasses After Dark, NIWA faced fellow Kiwi, Travis Banks.

Adam Brooks vs Mark Davis

Adam Brooks vs Mark Davis
Credit: Frontline Wrestling

After Build Me an Empire saw Adam Brooks turn on Aussie Open (Mark Davis and Kyle Fletcher) to cost the team their match, the two Aussies will battle it out one-on-one at S.P.I.R.I.T.

Brooks was trained by WWE 205 Live star, Buddy Murphy and began his career in 2007 on the Australian independent circuit before finding a primary home with Melbourne City Wrestling in 2011. A fixture in MCW, Brooks is a three-time MCW Intercommonwealth Champion and two-time tag team champion with Dowie James as LAW. Brooks has also won titles in Riot City Wrestling, Outback Championship Wrestling, and Pro Wrestling Australia.

In 2017, Brooks hit the UK, where he has worked for RevPro, PROGRESS (where he reached the 2018 World Cup final), OTT, Defiant, Fight Club Pro, ATTACK!, IPW:UK, and more. Additionally, Brooks had the opportunity to make his Ring of Honor debut when he faced Jay Lethal at ROH Honor Re-United in Scotland just a few days ago.

Davis, who has garnered praise as being one of the best Australians in wrestling, began his career in 2007, where much like Brooks, he wrestled on the local circuit. In PWA, Davis is a two-time Queensland champion and one-time heavyweight champion, a title he held for just shy of a full year.

In 2011, Davis started working for MCW as well as National Wrestling Alliance, but it wasn’t until 2017, when he joined up with Kyle Fletcher as Aussie Open, that Davis really began to explode onto the scene. Alongside Fletcher, Davis is a two-time, and current, Defiant tag team champion, one-time ATTACK! tag team champion, and one-time HOPE tag team champion. Davis, who is also a five-time HOPE hardcore champion, has worked for all of the top British indies as well as branching into the U.S. where he’s wrestled for AAW: Professional Wrestling Redefined, ROH, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, and The Wrestling Revolver.

Kay Lee Ray and Zoe Lucas vs Queens Quest (Bea Priestley and Viper)

Following the Toni Storm vs Bea Priestley match from Build Me an Empire was never going to be an easy task, but fortunately for fans, Ospreay has put together another great women’s match that could very well steal the show.

Just 26 years old, Kay Lee Ray has already been wrestling for nine years and has built up a solid body of work to show for it. Debuting in 2009, Ray has wrestled for all of the top female promotions; Pro-Wrestling: EVE, SHINE Wrestling, SHIMMER Women Athletes, RISE, and World Wonder Ring Stardom. In addition, she’s worked for IMPACT Wrestling, has run the UK circuit, and competed in the inaugural Mae Young Classic. Ray has won nine titles in her career, including most recently, the World of Sport championship, which she has held since May of this year.

Ray’s tag team partner is Zoe Lucas, who has been rising on the indies herself as of late. Lucas debuted in 2015 but it wasn’t until two years later that she really began to become a well-known name in the women’s wrestling community. Like Ray, Lucas has worked for RISE, EVE, SHIMMER and Stardom, as well as PROGRESS, RevPro, and IPW:UK, as she continues to make a name for herself in Britwres.

Representing Scotland, the 27-year-old Viper is one of the top names in the UK and beyond. By the end of 2016, Viper had joined Ray and Lucas in having worked for SHIMMER, SHINE, and Stardom, where she completed her first of three tours of Japan. Then in 2017, Viper became a household name when she was one of the breakout stars of the Mae Young Classic, making it all the way to the quarterfinals. Recently, she made her ROH debut as well, defeating Ray at Honor Re-United. Overall, Viper is a 10-time champion, including for Stardom and ICW, both titles she currently holds.

Rounding out the group of four is Bea Priestley, who has joined with Viper in a new team known as Queens Quest. New to wrestling, Priestley has only been on the scene since 2016. In her first year, she wrestled primarily for PROGRESS and WCPW, where she was one of the first women in their division and just the second to hold the title after Nixon Newell. In 2017, Priestley made her first of two tours of Stardom while also working for EVE for the first time. 2018 has seen Priestley continue to be an important piece of the UK scene where like Viper and Ray, she took part in a triple threat to crown the first WOS women’s champion. Additionally, Priestley is currently the Defiant women’s champion having defeated Millie McKenzie at Built to Destroy.

Chris Brookes vs Chris Ridgeway

Chris Brookes vs Chris Ridgeway
Credit: Frontline Wrestling

When the card for S.P.I.R.I.T first came out, CCK (Chris Brookes, Kid Lykos, and Travis Banks) were set to face Rampage Brown, Stixx, and Chris Ridgeway. Banks and Brown got injured so plans changed to just Lykos and Brookes versus Stixx and Ridgeway. But then Lykos got injured and so plans changed again, leading to the battle of the two Chris’.

Brookes and Ridgeway have faced each other four times in singles action with at least one more on the way as after S.P.I.R.I.T, the two will meet once again at Defiant Stacked on August 26.

Just 26 years old, Chris Brookes has already been wrestling for 10 years. From 2008-12, Brookes wasn’t the mainstay he is today, only wrestling 25 matches in those first five years. By 2014 however, a year where Brookes worked 66 matches, the Calimari Catch King was starting to establish himself on the UK scene and beyond, working for CZW, Westside Xtreme Wrestling in Germany, and Big Japan Pro-Wrestling, in addition to the top promotions in Great Britain. 2015-16 was more of the same as Brookes continued to expand his presence while calling ATTACK! and FCP his home promotions.

2016 was the same year that Brookes teamed up with Lykos in CCK. Together, the two took over the scene in 2017, becoming known as one of the top independent tag teams in the world. With Lykos, Brookes is a four-time ATTACK! tag team champion (current), one-time CZW tag team champion, three-time PROGRESS tag team champion, one-time HOPE tag team champion, and current FCP tag team champion. Brookes has also won five singles titles and an 11th tag team title alongside Travis Banks at RevPro.

Just 25 in his own right, Chris Ridgeway is starting to become more of a known name in wrestling as well. Debuting in 2013, it wasn’t until two years later that Ridgeway began to establish himself. Since then, he’s worked matches for Defiant, GFW, ATTACK! IPW:UK, PROGRESS, Riptide Wrestling, and more. He has won four titles in his career, three of which he still currently holds, and all of which he won in 2017 or later. Ridgeway, who had the pleasure of facing KENOH during Frontline’s debut show, is certainly on his way up within Britwres.

Frontline Heavyweight Championship: Rob Lynch vs Mark Haskins

Rob Lynch vs Mark Haskins
Credit: Frontline Wrestling

It all comes down to this. Build Me an Empire saw Mark Haskins defeat Naoi Tanazaki and Rob Lynch defeat Stixx to advance to the championship final, which will be decided this Tuesday.

Known for his hard-hitting style, the 28-year-old Rob Lynch has been wrestling for 16 years, becoming a well-known name throughout the UK as both a singles and tag team wrestler. Lynch began wrestling in 2002 for Power Trip Wrestling and Premier Promotions. It wasn’t until 2009 however, when Lynch began teaming with James Davis as the London Riots, that his career really took off. Alongside Davis, Lynch has won tag gold in several top UK promotions including SWE, PROGRESS, FPW, NGW and most notably IPW:UK, where the London Riots are three-time champions. The two became one of the top tag teams in the UK and stayed that way until Lynch announced his retirement in 2017.

"I want the real Mark Haskins"

"I want the REAL Mark Haskins" Rob Lynch sat down to discuss Mark Haskins actions, his career and there title match on August 21stWatch Marks video here: on sale at 21st August • Stratford Circus, London.

Posted by Frontline Wrestling on Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The time off from wrestling didn’t last long however as Lynch returned with a vengeance as a singles wrestler in 2018. In July, he won his first singles world title when he defeated Dan Moloney for the SWE heavyweight championship. This was not Lynch’s first world title match of 2018 though as he faced Mark Haskins for the IPW:UK world title, in a losing effort.

The 30-year-old Mark Haskins, has been wrestling since 2006, where he quickly found himself a rising star in the UK. By 2007, Haskins was already wrestling for IPW:UK, 4 Front Wrestling, and wXw. By 2008, just his third year as a pro, he was wrestling 60+ matches a year and not just in Britain either. Unlike many of his countrymen, Haskins went the international route early-on, wrestling for Pro Wrestling NOAH, Osaka Pro Wrestling, Dragon Gate (where he teamed with Tommy End (aka Aleister Black) against the Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) and 2FC in France, in addition to becoming a regular in wXw, all within his first five years.

In 2011-12, Haskins competed on-and-off with TNA (now IMPACT Wrestling) where he worked house shows, primarily in the X-Division, facing the likes of Kazarian, Chris Sabin, and Shannon Moore. Haskins wrestled a few TV matches, including his last one for the company, against Austin Aries. From there, Haskins worked the majority of his matches in the UK for all of the top promotions including RevPro, PROGRESS, SWE and IPW:UK. Haskins also worked for 4FW where he faced Kenny Omega in one of Omega’s rare non-ROH or New Japan Pro Wrestling matches of the last few years, and ROH, where he is currently competing in their International Cup. Overall, Haskins has won 26 titles including in OTT, PROGRESS, IPW:UK, Defiant, SWE, 4FW, and Smash Wrestling in Canada.




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