The blood feud originating in the partnership of Lloyd Ryan and Robbie Brookside collaborating against Kendo Nagasaki boiled over in a match packed with action and controversy - and all this occurred in addition to the spectacular return to the ring of the greatest icon of British wrestling, who was as brutal as he has ever been!
Kendo Nagasaki and Atlantis Chronos Goth pictured immediately before the match at Grays.
Life-long Midlands wrestling fan Eric Holmes has written a blistering Match Report below...
Match Report: Tuesday 20th May 2008 Thurrock Civic Hall, Grays, Essex.
"At this time and in this place, events took place that will be long etched into memory - Kendo Nagasaki's return to the wrestling ring was truly astonishing.
The match was filled with controversy, which is to be expected of anything to do with Nagasaki, but it was frankly a culture shock to see his particular brand of skill, rule-bending, and brutality back - live - in a British wrestling ring, and he was just as phenomenal as he ever was!
"On this night, the seemingly impossible happened...
It was an event that had been publicised and promoted well, with local press, internet advertising, and television coverage, but the event itself seemed so outlandish as to defy belief...
Kendo Nagasaki was returning to the wrestling ring – to compete.
It's been 9 years since we saw this most famous of the great grapplers in the ring, and even that event had an air of incredulity about it, coming, as it did, so many years after his remarkable career began; we doubted if he could still cut it as a professional wrestler – how old was he? Could he possibly be fit enough? ...But, as he had done so many times before, he confounded our apprehensions and treated us to a liberal helping of his remarkable brand of brutality, deviousness, and triumph.
...but that was nine long years ago – it barely seemed possible that this venerable icon of British wrestling could shrug off almost a decade since his last match, and still perform as indomitably as he traditionally had...
The reality was, in fact, breathtaking: the old master is as formidable as he ever was.
The bout was an interestingly-structured six-way tag match – three wrestlers on each side. The teams comprised Kendo Nagasaki accompanied by Blondie Barratt and Gregory Cortez, versus Robbie Brookside, accompanied by Phil Powers, and while Damien Ryan was supposed to have completed this team, he was conspicuous by his absence... There is history to this particular feud...
Those following recent events will recall that Nagasaki's manager for so many years, Lloyd Ryan, had taken it upon himself to disagree with Nagasaki regarding the outcome of the Kendo Nagasaki Sword Of Excellence Tournament – Robbie Brookside had won the Tournament match, but Nagasaki felt that none of the wrestlers had performed well enough to be judged as excellent, so no-one deserved to be awarded the Sword of Excellence; Ryan felt that it was unfair of Nagasaki to deny Brookside the sword, and so their rift was formed. Ryan went on to represent Brookside and his own son, Damien Ryan, against a team represented by Nagasaki, comprising Blondie Barratt and Jackie Steel, at The Legends Showdown match in November '07, a spectacular match which Nagasaki's team won.
Ryan subsequently became a highly vocal critic of Nagasaki, calling him a coward and “...a being that is pure evil...”, and so the opportunity for a new grudge match developed, culminating at the Thurrock Civic Hall in Grays, Essex, on Tuesday, 20th May 2008. In the run-up to the match, the fires of anger were stoked by televised exchanges of bitter rhetoric from both sides, Nagasaki's position being put by his occult priestess, Atlantis Chronos Goth, and by Brookside burning a life-sized image of Nagasaki – a highly provocative action: Nagasaki could never have forgiven such an insult.
Brookside himself has languished in Nagasaki's shadow for over 20 years, since having been hypnotised by Nagasaki, ever since which he has always conveyed incandescent hatred for Nagasaki; Brookside even claimed to have come close to defeating Nagasaki during those 20 years, and as we approached the Grays show, he announced that he was ready to do just that. Meanwhile, Ryan's indignant rage had reached boiling point, announcing on television that he had dedicated his son Damien's career to “ending” Nagasaki and "The Goth".
With so much history and adversity, the scene was set for a highly-charged match, and this was over and above the historic return to the ring of it's all-time master, Nagasaki himself – this match could not fail to be a right royal spectacle!
On the night of the match, there was a surprise development: neither Lloyd Ryan nor his son, Damien, showed up! Why this was never had a chance to emerge, as last-minute arrangements for a substitute for Damien Ryan had been made, with the popular LDN Champion, Yorgos stepping in to complete Brookside's team. However, Nagasaki would not accept Yorgos in the opposing team – and, under the rules, he didn't have to – the match had, after all, been agreed as a contract between the two teams, and Nagasaki was entitled to exploit the fact that the opposing team was not as agreed.
There followed a cliff-hanger altercation in the ring between Brookside and The Goth, who, in rejecting Yorgos, sarcastically remarked that Yorgos's LDN championship belt meant nothing in this situation – she ordered Brookside to go and find an alternative wrestler to Yorgos, or the match would not take place! Someone in the crowd shouted, “You're afraid of Yorgos!”, and a wave of cold resentment swept through the Nagasaki entourage: Nagasaki would admit to being afraid of no-one! The Goth told Brookside that he would have to go and find alternative wrestlers from which Nagasaki and she would choose the wrestler to complete Brookside's team...
As there has already been several matches earlier on the bill that night, there were a number of other wrestlers available, and Brookside rushed back to the dressing-rooms to find his new allies, returning to the ring with six eager and talented young wrestlers. Nagasaki and The Goth conferred briefly before choosing Hakan, a well-toned and agile wrestler, but not yet in the same league as Yorgos; thus, the team opposing Nagasaki had been downgraded, but entirely within the rules of wrestling – once more, fortune mysteriously seemed to be favouring Nagasaki, who is well-known for brutally exploiting any weakness in his opponents..!
The match was genuinely explosive! It was magical to once again see Nagasaki strutting around on the apron of the ring, as if waiting like a brutal predator for some unwary prey to come within his vicious reach... only he has that malevolent air of casual, patient, expert cruelty... Typically, during the match, Nagasaki bent the rules impossibly far, and – without giving away the events and outcome of a match that is soon to be televised – he stunned us with his power and agility, he horrified us with his relentless brutality, and he showed once again how supremely skilful he is... But by no means did the match go all Nagasaki's way! Brookside launched a determined attack on Nagasaki's mask, and there were plenty of thrills and spills for all, even involving the referee!!!
There has been a frantic buzz of excitement since the match; the build-up was intense enough, but to see the most iconic figure of British wrestling displaying his legendary skills (and evil ways) in a highly-charged, action-packed “blood feud” of a match involving the wrestling stars of today is a rare thing indeed, and not a single second of this match will disappoint you; drop everything else, cancel your date, clear your diary, stay in and watch LDN Wrestling on The Fight Network on 7th June, and you'll witness every possible form of action and excitement in one historic match – you owe it to yourself to be there!
Eric Holmes, Wolverhampton."