Pete Dunne (c) vs Soner Dursun vs Xander Cooper
FutureShock Adrenaline Championship
Masonic Guildhall, Stockport, Greater Manchester, England, United Kingdom
(reviewed 10/27/2017) As is so often the case in FutureShock, a good match is made significantly worse by overbooking and, to a lesser degree, ambition. This match started quite well, being a very exciting little three-way for a good while. Dunne’s general dynamic works best in a speedy spotfest and especially so in a multi-man match such as this, so he excels here. Cooper is not on the level of either of his opponents from what I’ve seen but he does just fine here as the secondary heel who approaches the match in a totally different way from Dunne, who himself is a little more face-oriented in this match due to his international stature well above these two men and willingness to play the trickster. The real highlight, for me, is Dursun, who is wonderful as this righteous former champion looking to exact revenge on the two people who took his title from him. With three distinct characters and three capable wrestlers who certainly came to play here, there’s a lot to love in this match if you’re at all interested in spotty modern indie wrestling.
It starts to fall apart due to a combination of, as I said, ambition as well as the fact that FutureShock just doesn’t have the best ring available. It’s a bit smaller than standard rings, probably around a 14 footer compared to the more standard 16 or 18, it’s set lower to the ground than most rings, and most importantly the ropes are notably slack. This comes into play with a spot that sees Dursun trap both his opponents in trees of woe in adjacent corners before scaling one side and attempting to leap from the corner containing Dunne across the ring to hit a dropkick on Cooper. Sadly, due to the slack of the ropes and the added problem of two men dragging it down on top of that, Dursun makes it halfway across the ring and eats shit, crashing down fairly hard on his face. Bad spot to begin with that is completely botched. He’s able to recover and slide into a dropkick to Cooper before attempting the same spot again on Dunne, with Cooper having released himself from the tree of woe, and this time he connects.
The trouble’s not done there, though. Dunne is able to take control of the match eventually, hitting the Bitter End on both of his opponents before going to pin Cooper, who had also been hit with Dursun’s frog splash a few moments before. Cooper’s protégé, this kid named Bobby Gage or some such thing, leaps into the ring and breaks up the pin, receiving a low blow from Dunne for his trouble. Before Dunne’s able to finish off this Gage kid with a Pedigree, Cooper tosses Dunne out of the ring and this allows Gage to hit him with the Adrenaline title belt to incapacitate him. From there, Gage and Cooper assault Dursun, this being a three-way match wherein no disqualifications apply, but they’re soon chased off by Sam Bailey, one of the top faces in the promotion who was on commentary for this match as well as a former tag partner of Dursun. Bailey brings his friend to his feet and urges him to hit a dive on Cooper and Gage as they cower on the floor, but as Dursun gears up for the move Bailey dropkicks his ankle before stomping away at his leg and smashing it against the corner post several times. This allows Cooper to slink in and apply the Trailer Hitch on Dursun for the win. Painfully convoluted and trite finishing stretch that caps off what was a slow slide into mediocrity with a very bad botched coast to coast spot. The first 13 or so minutes of this 18 minute match are quite good, containing lots of fire and lots of fun character work and more than your fair share of highspot indie wrestling, but man oh man those last five minutes are a doozy. I’d still sort of recommend this match as I quite like Dursun and this is an interesting, if very flawed, conclusion to his year-long story as Adrenaline Champion, but it’s a qualified recommendation if I’ve ever heard of one.