This was the first Tidal show of the year, and as such was an exciting event. We are lucky, here in Leeds, to have two great promotions running regularly. Tidal, and RISE. This was Tidal’s first show at their new home, Temple of boom. A great little venue that RISE also run in from time to time.
The card was exciting to me; it included David Graves challenging HT Drake for the Tidal championship and a co-main event of El Ligero vs Soner Dursun. The rest of the card looked good too.
Match 1: Crashboat vs Ruby Radley and Shay
This intergender tag match was for the Tidal open championship, currently held by Jack Bandicoot (or possibly by the tag team Crashboat). The open championship is open to anyone, tag teams, male wrestlers, female wrestlers etc. Back in the day, it was defended in matches that worked in rounds. The match was fast and enjoyable. Ruby is an excellent worker who has been a star in the local women’s divisions for a while. Crashboat (Jack Bandicoot and The Pop Punk Kid Jake Silver) are two of the rising stars of the local scene. Both mixed solid working with a good amount of comic relief to create a highly entertaining high-flying tag team. Shay was making her Tidal debut and looked extremely solid and hard hitting. This was a great opener and I enjoyed it very much.
Match 2: Arcadian vs Terry Isit
This match was between two wrestlers I had yet to see, which is always an exciting prospect. Arcadian is a spaceman who was over with a lot of the crowd. Terry came out and was a heat seeking missile, immediately rubbing the crowd up the wrong way with his arrogance during his ring walk. His ring work backed up his arrogance and these two put on an interstellar match. I hope to see them both, but particularly Terry, back in Tidal soon.
Match 3: Sean Only vs Sugar Dunkerton
Sean Only has been one of the top heels in Tidal since I first started attending shows regularly. He is cocky, arrogant and a great wrestler who does not mind taking shortcuts. He is the defacto leader of a stable called the service who have run rough shod over the company for a while. Recently, however, he seems to have had a change of heart, and when his stablemates arrived with pool cues to help him out in this match he sent them away.
Sugar was over from America; I had heard good things about him but had not yet had the pleasure of watching any of his matches. This one was great, the crowd were well into it and it told a story of Sean Only trying to become a better person, trying not to cheat to gain an advantage, trying to do things right. Afterwards, Sean took a beat down after from the rest of the service and was saved by tag champions The Lion Kings.
Match 4: The Lion Kings vs The Service
The Lion Kings are the Ugandan Warrior N’Sereko and local legend Sebb Strife. N’Sereko is fairly new to tidal, but Sebb has been a stalwart of the promotion for a long time. Previouly working as a commentator while injured. They are both excellent workers, and Sebb is far more agile than it seems possible for a man his size to be. They were up against former Tidal Champion Dara Diablo and Dan Evans. A solid team made up of two guys who can really go. Dara especially has a great style and is amazing a whipping the crowd up into a hate-filled frenzy. The match was another cracker and the crowd went mad for a lion kings win.
Match 5: Ace Matthews vs Luke Menzies
Ace Matthews previous teamed with David Graves as part of Go Team sports, they were a good team and always well received. Since Matthews last came to Tidal, Graves has risen to the top, and Ace seems a little bitter about being left behind, coming out with a real distain for the crowd that cleverly brought heat straight to him. His opponent was Luke Menzies, Yorkshires own Brock Lesnar in training. The WWE are hot on Menzies and each time I see him I understand why. He has the look, has a great skillset for someone who has not been in the business long and has a superb grasp of ring psychology given his short time in the business. This match was great and I hope to see Menzies more before his inevitable move to Florida.
Match 6: Violet O’Hara vs Lil Miss Roxy
This match pitted the current champion, Roxy, against the former champion who never lost. Violet is a dynamo and was a great women’s champion who sadly had to relinquish the tidal due to health reasons. The crowd were into the match and both ladies had their supporters amongst the tidal faithful. I really enjoyed this one and hope it is a feud that continues.
Match 7: El Ligero vs Soner Dursun
This is the second Tidal show in a row where he has been pitted against a local hero. Last time out the Mancunian received a lot of heat when going up against Leeds’s own David Graves, and this time he received the same reaction when he went up against Leeds’s favourite Mexican. The match was great. Ligero is, for me, one of the best three or four wrestlers currently working the UK scene regularly and I enjoy every match I see of his. Soner is a great young worker who I have only seen a few times but has so far always looked good. A great match with a great story and some impressive moves.
Match 8: HT Drake vs David Graves
HT Drake won the title at the last tidal show, it took him a long time and many chances and he won it in a face vs face stand-off with Rampage Brown. The crowd that night favoured Rampage, possibly due to him being more local, but Drake still got the respect and applause from everyone on winning.
This time out, for his first defence he took on David Graves. Graves has been around tidal for a while. Previously he was part of a tag team and feuded with many people. Things changed for Graves in 2017. He spent more time as a singles wrestler, took on a more sinister edge to his in ring work and his look. The net result was that in many ways 2017 was his year. In Tidal (vs Joey Janela), and our other local promotion RISE (vs Liam Slater), Graves had what many others and I would call the match of the year for each. He has risen through the ranks. This was his big shot at the title.
The crowd were massively invested in the match. Many getting massively behind Graves to the point it almost felt as if Drake was the heel, even though he is certainly also loved by many of those in attendance. The match was an instant classic and I am sure it will be in the discussion come December for Tidal match of the year. Graves came up a tad short this time, but I hope that he will fight his way to the top for another, more successful shot.