1.IPW:UK Women's Title:Sierra(c) vs Candyfloss **3/4
2.IPW:UK Junior Title:Castle vs Harada ***
3.Smooth vs Howley,Sexsmith **1/2
4.IPW:UK Heavyweight Title:Haskins(c) vs Bird ***1/4
IPW:UK's new Fight Network series caught my eye this weekend. I've seen some of their past work and thought it was decent, and the fact that Harada is booked on the card ensured that I was going to check it out. Plus, since it's their first episode it seemed worth giving a go.
Women's action kicked things off, with the sugary Candyfloss and the division champion putting in for a decent opener with an urgency helped set a nice tone for the episode. Better than expected, and I walked away impressed with both.
After a commercial break, we joined the Junior title match in progress. The fact that this was to decide the first ever champion and that it featured NOAH standout, Daisuke, is why I was a bit disappointed that they didn't show the entire contest. While far from being one of Harada's best, this was a good match. Castle seemed serviceable enough, but I doubt I'll ever seek out his work intentionally. Don't rush to see it, but be excited that they picked the right man to be the first ever champ.
The handicap match was a touch past expectations, like the opener. The turn likely meant more for loyal fans, but it was still a decent view.
We closed with the heavyweight title on the line. I'm a pretty big Haskins fan, so I was hopeful we'd end on a high note. Like the opener, this had a quickened pace and an added level of intensity that helped elevate it. I thought Bird was a good opponent and they made him look like a real threat to Haskins, but am glad that Haskins retained as it makes it more likely that I'll return for next week. Match of the night.
Nothing overstayed its welcome, none of the matches were bad, and really it was a good debut for IPW:UK's new show. Having three title matches helped make the episode seem important, and I actually suggest checking this out if you want to get in on the ground level of the series before the episodes pile up and catching up becomes impossible. Hell, I'll likely watch a few more myself.
Congrats, IPW:UK. Solid start.
Overall Rating: 70/100%