Category Archives: Reviews

Blackridge Wrestling: In aid of Cancer Research

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Nestled quietly in West Lothian, the small town of Blackridge sits snugly in between noisier neighbours in Glasgow and Edinburgh; both of which have seen a huge resurgence in local independent wrestling in recent years. Blackridge however, had never seen a wrestling event in their town. Local resident and wrestling fan, Martin McGreskin looked to change this by promoting an evening of quality local wrestling, with the promise of crowning the first ever King Of Blackridge, in an eight man elimination tournament.

Also advertised: a title defence by SSW Champion Kid Fite against PBW’s Dylan Angel.

With the Craig Inn Centre bathed in glorious sunshine and much of the proceeds going towards a worthy cause close to Martin’s heart, it didn’t take much persuasion for the town to turn up in force.

Their good faith was to be rewarded; This was one hell of a night. 

1st Quarter-Final Match in the inaugural King Of Blackridge Tournament:

Donnie T vs Lucha DS

The high-flying masked luchadore DS, may have expected to ride the momentum of energy around Craig Inn during the opening bout, but any attempted drive became stalled by an unimpressed looking Donnie T. The overly brash and confident DT seemed in no rush get the match started. When the two eventually did lock up, DS found himself grounded once more, overpowered by a much larger and stronger opponent. However, grounding LuchaDS is one thing; keeping him down is another. As the pace quickened, a suicide dive to the floor and a high Cross Body had Donnie T reeling. An impressive Springboard into an RKO resulted in a (very) near fall. DT hit back with a powerful spear, which almost sent him into the Semi-Final. But it was LuchaDS with a 619 and a top rope Swanton that sealed it in the end, progressing him to the next round.

2nd Quarter-Final Match

David The Beloved vs Wee Jay Smalls w Chantelle

If pace was missing during the early goings of the opening bout, there was plenty of it here. The tenacious Wee Jay Smalls quickly and expertly spilled the arrogant and vocal David The Beloved to the outside with a smart hurricanrana, after taking exception to DTB laying his hands on valet, Chantelle. There was no let up from Wee Jay until a wicked looking clothesline by DTB seemed to change the complexion of the match. Wee Jay (who showcased a tonne of heart) continued to trouble his larger opponent with speed and ring awareness. But, ultimately, David The Beloved proved that he is every bit as good as he said he was, spiking Wee Jay with a second rope DDT and an expertly applied German Suplex into a bridge for the three count. David The Beloved progressed to the second Semi-Final.

 

3rd Quarter-Final Match

Saqib Ali vs Brandon Adams

A familiar face to many, Brandon Adams was a dark horse going into this tournament: one half of the SSW Tag Team Champions looking to make a mark as a singles competitor. Saqib Ali on the other hand, didn’t come to Blackridge to make friends. A win for the canny ‘Sultan of Swing’ here though would go along way in making a mark of his own.

Despite initially avoiding the sharp kicks of Adams, Ali struggled gain a foothold on this match until a stiff Clothesline and a Standing Suplex gave Saqib the upper hand. In truth, these two athletes were evenly matched, as they jostled on the top rope in attempt to gain any advantage. A missed Super-kick by Adams into an Inside Cradle by Ali, almost snatched a three count. In the end, Adams was caught coming into the ring by a stiff kick to the middle rope by Ali. This brief window allowed for Ali to hit a brutal looking Curb Stomp for the 1,2,3, sending him through to the second semi-final.

4th Quarter-Final Match

Jonathan Richards vs Kaiden King

If Adams was a dark horse in this eight man tournament, Kaiden King was surely the odds on favourite. King was greeted to a hero’s welcome by the young crowd at ringside, and it was very clear that King had intentions of taking the title of ‘King of Blackridge’ home with him. Standing in his way was Jonathan Richards: a man that perhaps was overlooked as a viable contender for the title. Although Richards proclaimed before he match that he “couldn’t find Blackridge on Google Maps” he certainly found a foothold in this match, silencing the rowdy crowd by working tirelessly on the knee of King. Any comeback by King looked unlikely as Richards wrapped the knee not once, not twice, but three times around the steel ring post. A painful looking Half Boston Crab in the middle of the ring, applied on the already damaged knee of King had Kaiden on the verge of tapping out. But the sheer toughness and resolve of King somehow managed to find him to the bottom rope to break the count. The bottom rope would save King again, grabbing on to break the count after a Pedigree by Richards. A frustrated figure in Richards would bring a steel chair into the ring. With imminent danger present, King struggled out of a second Pedigree attempt and caught Richards with a lightening quick RKO, sending Kaiden King into the last semi-final match. But would Kaiden be 100%?

  • At Interval, Hot Dogs, drinks and raffle tickets were all on sale, in aid of Cancer Research UK. Martin is also collecting donations via a Just Giving page. If you would like to donate to Cancer Research UK, you can do so via the link here

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1st Semi-Final Match:

David The Beloved vs LuchaDS

A pairing of contrasting styles awaited the fans in the first of the semi-final match ups. An over zealous David The Beloved looked to gain the upper hand straight from the bell, rushing LuchaDS. However, DS had this scouted, sending the egotistical DTB over the top rope to the floor and nailing him with a majestic Moonsault from the apron. DTB recovered well from the early setback, spiking DS with a hard shoulder tackle which had the Luchadore rocked. Much like Kaiden King earlier, LuchaDS showed great resolve and looked to have one foot in the final. DS climbed high to the top rope, looking to deliver a Swanton Bomb that would surely send DTB packing. But as DS came soaring down, DTB managed to raise his knees up just in time, and followed up with a devastating modified Enziguri for the three count. David The Beloved would go on to the final in a hard fought victory.

2nd Semi-Final Match:

Saqib Ali vs Kaiden King

Although Kaiden King was in the semi-final, he would have an uphill battle against a fresher looking Ali. Kaiden had been through a war with Jonathan Richards earlier in the evening and looked to be carrying a rib injury on top of his already damaged knee. And like a shark to blood, a crafty Saqib Ali would target these injuries after cowardly attacking Kaiden before the bell. It seemed only a matter of time until Ali knocked off the ever popular King. But suddenly, Ali found himself on the receiving end of an RKO putting him down for the three count! Kaiden King moved onto the final, showing great determination against ever stacking odds. Would this be his night?

SSW World Championship Match:

Kid Fite(c) vs Dylan Angel

Sometimes in wrestling, words can not describe the feeling surrounding a match nor do justice to what took place. This was an incredibly special match by two very technical, hard hitting and talented performers. The crafty veteran Kid Fite and his PBW prodigy, Dylan Angel left everything in the ring for the raucous Blackridge crowd. You could forgive the young fans for getting excited; not only was this for the SSW Title, Fite was on fine heinous form, letting the fans know exactly how he felt about them. As the young fans rushed the ring in protest of Fite and in support of Angel, the match itself looked like it may never get under way! When it did, the Blackridge crowd was in for a treat.

Chain wrestling dominated the early stages as both men vied for position. There was very little between the two as both looked for an opening. Angel looked the likelier to gain the advantage, climbing the top rope looking to come down hard on Fite with an Axe Handle. Fite had this covered though and met Angel with a swift kick to the abdomen followed by an agonizing looking kick to Angel’s lower back. Fite, ever the opportunist, proceeded to lay into Angel, landing a stiff looking uppercut and a high back elbow turning him inside out.

What was a vocal and energetic crowd, now fell silent as Fite brutally dissected Angel. The high-flying PBW star, for now was grounded. But perhaps with the SSW title in mind, he dug down deep, mustering an enziguri to the back of Fite’s head. A spirited contender, who looked like he had just enough of Kid Fites brutality, forcefully sent Fite to the outside with as hard a chop as you are ever likely to see or hear. This descended the SSW title match into an all out brawl. The referee could not control the two as they spilled out the fire exit into grounds behind them, followed by a horde of young Blackridge fans.

The battle continued around ringside as the two went blow for blow. When the action eventually made it back into the ring, the referee may have wished he had called for a disqualification: after some amazing near falls and as Angel went to the top rope one more time, the referee was pushed into the very same ropes by Fite causing Angel to lose his balance. This allowed for Kid Fite to hit his devastating Lock-back DDT for the victory in what was a fascinating and unforgettable match.

Winner and still SSW World Champion: Kid Fite.

Final Match in the King of Blackridge Tournament:

Kaiden King vs David The Beloved

And it all came down to this. Two men, fighting it out to be crowned the first ever King of Blackridge. David The Beloved: who powered his way through to the final against two terrific high flyers. Against Kaiden King: who showed real courage, knocking off two dangerous opponents when all seemed lost. As the night had descended into all out anarchy, David The Beloved and Kaiden King were not to be out-shined, taking the action to the outside from the get go. King sent DTB head first into the steel ring post, which seemed to allow for some rest bite for King to assess his previous injuries. But it seemed DTB may have been fishing for a chance to target the walking wounded as shortly after, King found himself laid out after being brutally whipped into the ring steps and beaten down by an enraged DTB.

As the action spilled back into the ring, the crown looked destined to be placed upon the head of The Beloved. A wicked DDT and a high kick to the temple all but sealing the victory. But if there was thing the Blackridge fans learned that evening, was to never count out Kaiden King. And once again, when all seemed lost, King somehow managed to hit an RKO on a stunned DTB picking up the victory.IMG_0302

Your winner, and the first ever King of Blackridge, Kaiden King.

After the match as King was celebrating, Kid Fite made a shocking reappearance, holding the SSW Title Belt high in the air. The message was loud and clear:

The King may have a crown for now, but the throne belongs to Kid Fite.

Martin’s Just Giving Page


Hostel Review: Caledonian Backpackers, Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a city that has its fair share of tourists from all over the world and a good chunk of them are backpackers. The backpacker crowd tend to come in and out of the city en-route else where, skipping past the likes of Dundee, Glasgow and my home town Aberdeen – the road to the highlands via the West Coast is well trodden. Due to the steady number of tourists all year round and the crazy demand for any mattress over the summer, the city is dusted with great, affordable hostels that could rival any capital city around the world.

I was looking for a base in the city centre of Edinburgh to live out of until I found work and a place to stay. I had no problems booking for three nights at short notice  and even less extending my stay for a total of two weeks. I stayed in an 8 person mixed dorm but there are privates available and if you are really stuck a thirty eight person dorm!  – the price will go up over the weekend.

Upon arriving I was greeted by a friendly dread-locked girl that gave me the run down. Checking in was quick and painless despite me arriving a month ahead of time (Whoops). However a quick play with the computer and I was found a bed with no hassle at all, although mistakes like that may leave you without one in the Summer.

The interior of the building is smeared with different colourful and playful murals, that make the place look like students broke in over night. But it works: it was nice to see a six foot Totoro outside my door every morning and with the building itself being vintage and converted in places it doesn’t feel out of place.

The 1st floor is the heart beat of this busy hostel: The stunning, bright, quiet and clean ‘Caterpillar Room’ is the perfect retreat after a day flat hunting; wooden decks scattered in bean bags where you can stretch out and waste the night on your laptop. There is also a well stocked and reasonably priced bar next door with pool tables, Nintendo Wii, storage lockers, books and board games, comfy sofas and anything else you may need. The bean bag cinema room is also a welcome addition with a huge widescreen, great sound and a built in movie system. Awesome. A spacious kitchen and computer access is also available on this floor.

The Caterpillar Room

The rooms are nothing special but provide lockers (you can buy a lock at reception), spacious and the hostel provides you with two pillows! That may not sound like a big deal but for someone that has stayed in a lot of hostels it’s a welcome bonus and backpackers appreciate things like that. The two rooms I stayed in during my two week stay had only two power outlets. This is a problem when you have various people needing to charge up but it can be forgiven for the plentiful outlets on the 1st floor. Still – extension chords would come in handy…

The showers and toilets were kept clean and tidy. I didn’t have to cue once for either but I understand there is a shortage on the higher floors.

The Bar/common room

Breakfast is free and superb for the price of the hostel. Served until midday if you were out late the night before, you can have Muesli, white and brown toast, juice, coffee and plenty of spreads. Generous as some of the cheaper hostels can cut back drastically on what they offer in the mornings.

The reception is 24 hours and requires a flash of your room card to get in. You can also sign in guests if you want to drink at the bar.

My only real complaint about this hostel was the staff. Apart from the odd exception they all seemed miserable and looked like they hated being there. Perhaps they only work for accommodation? I can only speculate. Atmosphere and energy are a big part of any hostel stay and Caledonians lacked both. Nothing really brought the guests together like some of the other bigger hostels try to do, and it was far too easy to disappear between your headphones. At times it was hard to get the staffs attention and at others they just gave the impression they couldn’t be bothered. Poor and a disappointing for such a great hostel.

The Good

Location – Situated at the corner of Queens ferry at the castle end of Princes Street; you can even get a sneaky view of said castle at some windows of the hostel. Bus lines, bars and restaurants are steps away and it is next door to the awesome Wannaburger; the name says it all. I wanna’d and had too many of them.

Price – Absolute bargain. I’m sure it will rise over the Summer but at a tenner at off peak times it’s a steal.

Facilities – Free and decent wi-fi, nice little bar and all the mod cons you would expect from a good hostel.

Free Breakfast – Good variety and no dishes to clean up.

The size – Plenty of space to roam and decent sized rooms.

The Bad

The staff – I feel horrible writing this as the only fault as nobody was offensive at all. Just a bit of enthusiasm, effort and a smile would have pushed my opinion of Caledonian Backpackers from a great hostel to an excellent one. That’s all it takes.

 The Verdict

Caledonian Backpackers: Practical and central hostel in the heart of Edinburgh with great facilities.

8/10


Hostel Review: St Christopher’s Inn, Hammersmith

Review - St Christopher's Inn (Hammersmith)

Scanning through potential hostels for a weekend in London is no easy task. Doing it a couple of weeks before you are due to go is an actual nightmare. All in all you will likely find plenty to choose from but, sadly, with limited availability. We had planned a hotel but decided on our budget we would slum it instead.

No big deal. After all It is how we met.

St Christopher’s Inn,  Hammersmith seemed fine. Or in other words after a couple of hours of banging my head against the computer it came under the ‘It’ll do!’ category.

It was dead easy to get to at around half an hour outside the centre, directly on the Hammersmith Line. Stepping out the station, you are greeted with a busy junction full of bustle, with the hostel situated directly across the street. A perfect area to drop your bag off and explore a bit. The hostel itself is a part of the Belushi’s franchise meaning it is directly situated above a bar.

Check in was at the bar itself and we were greeted by a tired looking bar-maid. Friendly and helpful enough to pass, however i got the impression she was just going through the motions. We had booked a 6 person mixed dorm. With a busy weekend ahead we only required a place to crash,not cozy time.Sharing with others didn’t matter. It’s a roll of the dice. You hope for four playboy models. In reality you usually get four drunk Irishman. Our room however was pretty empty the whole weekend.

The room on the second floor was fairly basic and run down. The floor had two showers and two toilets,one of which was out-of-order however they were kept fairly clean.

St Christopher’s advertises special promotions for hostel guests (The usual – Pint of Fosters for two quid, 10 percent discount etc). In fact there are posters everywhere for it. It was because of this I was left a bit perplexed as a round of drinks at the bar cost almost double than what was advertised, and out of the two or three occasions we drank there,we received no discount. A bit disappointing.

Breakfast was a shambles. I’m fairly laid back however certain things do get my back up (probably because I’ve worked in similar places before). There was no hot water for the coffee. I stood around confused for a couple of minutes and decided to ask the barman. Of course you get it from the bar! How silly of me. I can’t believe I missed the sign that should be there or I must not of listened when the barman said hello this morning. Of course – there was neither. Everyone else had the same bewildered looks on their faces. Totally avoidable and fairly incompetent. There was no plates or cups either. I pointed this out to which I was told “They need washed” Hmm…better get going then! Five minutes later someone sauntered in with new crockery and carried on her conversation. No rush guys.

After breakfast we had planned to go to the Natural History museum(which is around three stops away) but wasn’t quite sure which stop to get off. I asked the barman to which he replied “I don’t know mate”. Great. Shouldn’t you know things like these working in a hostel? Maybe I’m being harsh.In all fairness he did recommend I asked the station. Better than nothing.

On the Saturday night it was a rather late one,and we strolled in at 4 in the morning. The reception is 24 hours but we were warned prior that the door may be locked. It was, so I chapped on the window catching the bar mans attention by flashing my key card. After seeing is it took him forever to open the door as he was more concerned with finishing his conversation than letting us in. I knocked again and he finally opened up. Pretty poor show.

Overall, the hostel had very little to offer apart from the surrounding area and I’m afraid I can’t recommend it.

The Good

Location – Easy as hell to get too with everything you need. A minute from the underground,bars,shops and cafes.Half an hour from the main attractions.

The Price – Not bad.For the two of us for four nights it came too £160. That’s twenty quid a night. If you were to make that a private room you can stick on another 100. In that case – get a hotel.London isn’t cheap but this was okay.

Breakfast Included. – If you can find your way around the gauntlet then knock yourself out.

The Bad

The staff – Really incompetent, going through the motions, unhelpful and not that friendly.

The noise – Staying above a bar and right above a busy junction will not guarantee you a good nights sleep. Bring ear plugs.

If you don’t mind slumming it every once in a while,and you are on a budget a hostel is generally a fun, vibrant and friendly place to go. St Christopher’s however? Not so much. Shop around. If i had more time I wouldn’t have booked there at all. As it was I was finding it hard to get a hostel never mind a private room. London has a crazy amount of cheap hostels, some of which have rave reviews. St Christopher’s is one. I’m really not sure why.

Off the subject slightly but if you are ever looking for a decent hostel in Edinburgh stay at the ‘High Street Hostel’ just off the Royal Mile. A tenner a night,amazing location,and some of the friendliest and informative staff I have met. A great,cool little place to crash. I highly recommend it.Check out the link below,along with St Christopher’s –

http://highstreethostel.com/

http://www.st-christophers.co.uk/london-hostels/london/hammersmith