Defiant Wrestling are heading back to The Plug in Sheffield on Thursday October 11th, presenting Fight or Flight. The evening will see a host of exciting matches, including Will Ospreay vs El Phantasmo and WALTER vs Mark Davis, but one that stands out among them all is yet another battle between Joe Hendry and Martin Kirby. Two Defiant originals, two former World Champions, two fierce rivals.
Since the start of 2017, these two have been at each other’s throats, a rivalry that was recently reignited following an encounter at the Ringmaster Tournament. The feud thus far has featured both El Ligero and Defiant ring announcer ‘Sweet’ Stevie Aaron turning on Kirby, the formation of The Prestige faction, and Kirby nailing the Zoidberg Elbow for the first – and so far, only – time in his career. The Defiant fans have been engrossed in the rivalry from the very start and will no doubt be showing their opinion in the next battle between them. Before then however, there’s plenty of history to get through.
The Early Days
The beginning days of WhatCulture Pro Wrestling (WCPW), as it was then known, had Hendry and Kirby leading quite different career paths. The latter mainly found himself being the brunt of the joke, being forced to wear a dress following a loss to El Ligero at the inaugural Built to Destroy special. Meanwhile, Joe became close friends with current NXT UK star Joseph Conners, a friendship that came to a crashing halt once a championship was involved. The Righteous Killer smashed the now-former Local Hero in the face with a steel chair at Stacked 2016 to capture the WCPW Championship.
It wasn’t all bad news for Hendry however. On the next episode of Loaded, he outlasted 13 other entrants to win the Kurt Angle Invitational Rumble to cement his spot in the main event of Refuse to Lose. As for Kirby, he racked up victories over Pete Dunne, Will Ospreay, and in a five way match over Pete Dunne, Ospreay, Marty Scurll, and Travis Banks. These wins started a little movement for the leader of the Kirb Krawlers, which resulted in him being granted a title match with Joseph Conners, much to the dismay of general manager Adam Pacitti.
The Pacitti Club // Championship Failures
Refuse to Lose. Thursday October 6th 2016. Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England. Two massive matches to round off WCPW’s first ever iPPV.
First up was Kirby/Conners. The fans were 100% behind Martin in this match, but those chances went down slightly once the referee was taken out accidentally. As Kirby went for his Zoidberg Elbow, who else would stop him but Adam Pacitti? The Pacitti Head had finally seen enough of someone he considered a joke and prevented him from capturing the championship, as Conners drilled him in to the mat with a Righteous Kill. This did of course result in one of the most iconic scenes in WCPW history – Pacitti being pelted with glow sticks.
Joe Hendry was also unsuccessful, as he tapped out to Kurt Angle’s ankle lock. Still though, he put in one of his most impressive performances to date. The loss actually put him back up the card as he received another shot at former best mate Joseph Conners, challenging him for the WCPW Championship at November’s True Legacy special. Once again, he failed to win the gold as he was smacked in the face with the title belt. His next title match came in a triple threat steel cage match at Delete WCPW, with Drew Galloway acting as the third participant. Although he came closer than before, Joe again failed as Drew landed a Future Shock DDT on Conners to capture the championship.
Martin Kirby’s saga with Adam Pacitti and his associates, officially known as The Pacitti Club, continued with a victory over Big Damo (now WWE’s Killian Dain) at True Legacy. A loss came to Will Ospreay however on an episode of Loaded, as Ospreay and his Swords of Essex allies Paul Robinson and Scott Wainwright revealed themselves as the newest members. Delete WCPW saw an outstanding 2 out of 3 falls match between Kirby and Ospreay, with the latter being victorious 2-1. He had the last laugh however, as Matt Hardy assisted him in placing Will through a table.
This resulted in a handicap match being signed for the final Loaded of 2016 – Martin Kirby and Matt Hardy vs Bully Ray, Paul Robinson, and Scott Wainwright. If Kirby and Hardy won, Kirby became the new general manager. If they lost, Kirby would be fired. The roof nearly got blown off Newcastle’s O2 Academy, as Kirby gave Robinson a Sable Bomb to officially become the new general manager of WCPW. A lovely little ending to 2016.
Coming in to 2017, Martin Kirby and Joe Hendry had their first proper interaction in WCPW as they teamed together at Lights Out, losing to The Swords of Essex. As we was still the general manager, Kirby had to come up with a decision as to what to do following Hendry’s double pinfall in a match with champion Drew Galloway. His answer to the situation? Schedule a rematch for True Destiny with himself as the referee. The match was called down the middle and Galloway retained. This was the last straw for Joe, as he turned his back on Kurt Angle at the end of the show and thus, The Prestigious One was born.
The episodes of Loaded following this night were highly significant for both men. Martin announced his resignation as general manager to resume his duties as a wrestler – his replacement was later revealed as Adam Blampied – while Joe defeated Alberto el Patron. It wasn’t a clean win though, as he had help from Joe Coffey and Travis Banks. The group, joined a week later by BT Gunn, went on to become known as The Prestige.
This marked quite an exciting time for WCPW, especially with the Pro Wrestling World Cup just being around the corner. Both men entered their respective country’s fields and both went out in the opening stage, Kirby at the hands of Will Ospreay and Hendry at the hands of Kenny Williams. With these losses, both entered the inaugural No Regrets Rumble at the end of April. Martin came in at number 2, while Hendry came in at number 30, and he also competed earlier in the night in an Internet Championship match. They were the final two in the match, and it was here that Martin performed the first Zoidberg Elbow in history to finally capture the WCPW Championship after months of trials and tribulations.
Things could only go up from here, especially considering Kirby also held the Magnificent Seven Briefcase. Right?
Well, not really. Joe Hendry captured the championship a week later at the Mexican qualifiers of the World Cup. It wasn’t the fairest of wins, as Kirby suffered a concussion following him going head first in to the guard rail. Referee Steve Lynskey stepped in to stop the onslaught, resulting in Joe’s shock win of the championship. No-one in the venue could believe what had happened. All that could be said was that Joe Hendry was the top dog.
A Prestigious Reign
Joe Hendry capturing the championship led to some excellent matches opposite Kirby. He retained the gold at his celebratory show Hendrymania, albeit with the assistance of Prestige comrade Joe Coffey. This forced GM Adam Blampied to schedule a rematch for Fight Back the following weekend in a Last Man Standing Street Fight and to make things even more interesting, Joe would be stripped of the title if any existing member of The Prestige got involved in the match in any way, shape, or form.
Keep in mind, it was any existing member.
Joe had a trick up his sleeve, as he usually does. That trick was El Ligero, Kirby’s biggest rival in the early days of WCPW. One C4L on to a chair later, and Hendry remained your reigning champion. Built to Destroy quickly rolled around as WCPW became one year old, with Joe defending against number one contender Rampage and Kirby taking on Ligero as a result of the Fight Back shenanigans. Speaking of shenanigans, that’s what there was in both matches. Typical Prestige boys, what are they like? Rampage was attacked before the match which resulted in a submission victory for The Prestigious One, while Kirby lost following ring announcer Stevie Aaron – disguised as a cameraman – distracted him and allowed Ligs to pick up the three count and in turn, the Magnificent Seven Briefcase.
Following this, Joe and Martin didn’t really do too much together. Martin entered in to an angle with ‘The Legend’ Alex Gracie, resulting in a Kiss My Arse Match at Refuse to Lose, while Joe would retain the title against names such as The Primate, Marty Scurll, and Jack Swagger before he eventually lost it at RTL to Scurll.
When WCPW announced its rebranding to Defiant Wrestling, quite a few new faces popped up. Hendry and Kirby stuck around though, and were both unsuccessful in capturing the now-Defiant World Championship from Marty Scurll at the first show under the new name at the start of December 2017. After that, Joe moved on to a rivalry with former Prestige stablemate Travis Banks and Martin found himself embroiled in the Team Defiant vs Team IPW invasion story.
Animosity between the two picked up again at No Regrets 2018 in April, where they were once again the final two in the ring. Even on one leg, having injured the other in a match earlier on against No Fun Dunne, Kirby still managed to toss Hendry out and secure his title match with Rampage at Built to Destroy that June. Seething at this, Hendry challenged Rampage to a match at Road to Destruction, losing in a matter of seconds.
So then, Built to Destroy 2018. Both had quite big matches. Kirby had the aforementioned title match with Rampage while Joe found himself facing off with a returning Will Ospreay, where the winner would go on to challenge WALTER for the Internet Championship at a later date. It wasn’t to be for either man, as they both lost their respective matches.
The Ringmaster Tournament rolled around a month later though, with Martin Kirby set to be one of 16 entrants and Joe Hendry nowhere to be seen. He was in the venue however, and he’s not exactly one to just sit back and not be in the show. So, Dave Bradshaw and James R. Kennedy found themselves a third commentary partner for both nights. In terms of the tournament action, Kirby was eliminated in the opening round by eventual winner, ‘Bad Bones’ John Klinger. Joe took time out of his commentating duties to make some remarks about Martin, and the rivalry was taken to a whole new level on night two. Kirby finally snapped, going mad about how Joe was getting all these opportunities despite him being nothing more than an entrance. His words, not mine.
A match between them was made for Stacked at the end of August. It was quite an intense affair as you’d imagine with all the history between them, with the match originally ending in a double count out. Kirby demanded the match to be restarted though, which came back to bite him as he shoved Steven Lynskey across the ring. That did of course result in a disqualification. Kirby had some things to get off his chest after that match, insisting that Joe had shoved Lynskey just before and nothing was done about it. According to him, Martin was the only person on the roster who actually cared about the company when they were competing elsewhere.
Now, we’re here. One more time. No count outs. No disqualifications. Will it be Joe Hendry and Martin Kirby walking out of Sheffield with the last laugh?
Also on the card;
- Rampage (c) vs Gabriel Kidd for the Defiant World Championship
- WALTER (c) vs Mark Davis for the Defiant Internet Championship
- Will Ospreay vs El Phantasmo in a Defiant Internet Championship #1 Contenders Match
- ‘Bad Bones’ John Klinger vs Omari
- Lana Austin vs Little Miss Roxxy
- Alpha Bad (Iestyn Rees & Kip Sabian) vs The Hunter Brothers (Jim Hunter & Lee Hunter)
- Jimmy Havoc & Mark Haskins vs The Anti-Fun Police (No Fun Dunne & Los Federales Santos Jr.)