Gallagher shoots and scores on Tetsujin debut
Tetsujin Shoot Style Wrestling presented its first show at the Black-E Cultural Centre in Liverpool on November 20. This was a unique presentation of professional wrestling, in a realistic style made famous by the UWFi in the early-1990s. There were no pinfalls or time-limits in the eight-man, single elimination tournament to crown a victor, while punching was banned, as the participants instead employed open-handed strikes, as well as kicks and mat-wrestling holds and reversals. The only way to win a match was via knockout or submission.
None of the wrestlers engaged in any typical pro wrestling histrionics, played to the crowd or portraying typical babyface or heel attitudes, and the uniqueness of the event extended to the crowd, as with no seating or crowd barriers, spectators were encouraged to stand as close to the ring as possible, often leaning on the ring apron, and were largely silent through each bout, becoming animated and loud at key points, usually when a finish was anticipated.
In the opening round, Jack Gallagher faced Zack Gibson. A keen catch wrestling student, Gallagher wore a gi and was barefoot, while Gibson wore his standard wrestling gear and boots. Gallagher put the Liverpudlian away with a choke. Chris Brookes then beat Tyler Bate with a single-leg grapevine hold, and Dan Moloney triumphed over Chris Ridgeway via knockout, when Ridgeway failed to make it to his feet by the count of 10, after Moloney had unleashed a barrage of blows to the back of Ridgeway's head and neck. The final first-round match saw Dave Mastiff defeat Trent Seven via knockout, following a hard-hitting 11-minute bout in which Mastiff struck with a big German suplex and finished Seven with blows to the back of the head.
In the tournament semi-finals, Brookes beat Moloney with an anklelock submission out of nowhere, after the latter had dominated the match, and even suplexed Brookes onto his shoulder. The big upset of the night then occurred, when Gallagher made Mastiff pass out in a choke. In a terrific David versus Goliath-style encounter that Mastiff had dominated with stiff elbows to the head and a big headbutt, Gallagher continued to beat the referee's 10-count, eventually locking on the hold for the victory.
In an international exhibition match, Big Daddy Walter got one over on Tommy End, beating him via TKO. The impressive Austrian endured multiple stiff kicks to the body by kickboxer End, before Walter catching his leg and hitting a massive powerbomb that sent End down onto the back of his head.
In the tournament final, Gallagher defeated Brookes to win the Tetsujin Shoot Style title belt. It had been established throughout the evening that Gallagher's forte was his mat offence, and it was catching Brookes with a body scissors and armbar submission hold that led Gallagher to picking up the win.
With Gallagher appearing typically brilliant throughout the tournament, and since the wrestlers and crew enjoyed the experience, one hopes that Tetsujin will return for another show in 2016, where it can build on a more than admirable start.
This article was originally scheduled for publication in FSM Issue 127 (December 2015). Photography courtesy of © Lisa Hughes / Plentiful Pictures & Photography