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Garage Professional Wrestling (or GPW) is a British professional wrestling promotion based in the north west of England. The promotion was set up by former British wrestler - "The Middleman" Lee Butler - in February 2003. However, in August 2004, Butler left the promotion and wrestling for good. It is now run by Johnnie Brannigan, but with Richard Noble being the public facing name.
- Heavyweight Champion: - The Cause
- British Champion: - El Ligero
- Tag Team Champions: - Paradise Lost (Heresy & Kastor Levay)
The promotion runs shows all over the north west of England, mainly in the Greater Manchester area. It has developed a large, passionate fan base and has gained a reputation for one of the best story telling wrestling companies in Europe, with second to none character development. Its shows are known for their addictive and progressive story lines, superb production values, mixed with hard hits, high flying, comedy and a very strong connection between their audience and their characters.
On average, it runs between 10 and 12 shows per year with the main story line shows taking place in Wigan at The Monaco Ballroom. GPW has established several flagship shows that it has become very well known for, such as: Crazy Cruiser-8 (one night 8-man tournament show), Only The Strong Survive (survival themed show) and A Few Good Men (a Royal Rumble themed show).
GPW is credited with having started off many of today's British and American independent wrestlers careers. These names include: Bubblegum, El Ligero, Claudio Castagnoli, Juggernaut, Joey Hayes, "Dangerous" Damon Leigh, Heresy, TJ Cain, Juice, Dylan Roberts, "The Model" Danny Hope, Jiggy Walker, JC Thunder, Cameron Knite and many more.
GPW shows have a passionate following of fans who follow all story lines and characters religiously. This creates a wonderful atmosphere that the promotion have become renown for wherever they perform.
GPW has a rich vein of main events, and to be part of a main event match is held in high regard within the company. The promotion has also gained a reputation for some of the best 4-Ways and 6-Man Tags in the country.
With such an emphasis on good storylines and strong characters, there is not a show that goes by where the headlines are not grabbed in some way or other. Here are some of the most memorable shows:
The first ever GPW show was held in June 2003 at The Monaco Ballroom. The card was a mix of GPW trainees and established UK talent. The card on the night was:
- Danny Chamberz vs. X
- Sabotage vs. Joey Hayes
- UK Pitbulls vs. Damage Control
- Roxi vs. Demo
- Lisa Fury vs. Minx
- Steve Starr vs. Heresy vs. Richard Noble
- "Dangerous" Damon Leih & Mike Bishop vs. Paul Travell & Ian DiSciple
- Alex Shane vs. Stevie Knight
GPW: "Hostile Takeover"
In a departure from what has become known as a more traditional GPW show, April's "Hostile Takeover" saw the promotion bring in an abundance of established talent from both the European and American independent circuit, as well as using tits own roster.
The show was an important one for GPW as, arguably aside from the GPW: "Nemesis" main event, the main event at "Hostile Takeover" really set a standard for future ones. The original main event was advertised to be Chris Hero vs. B-Boy, however B-Boy ended up not being able to make the show and a last minute replacement had to be found. An unknown by the name of Claudio Castagnoli flew in from Switzerland to take his place, after a 2/3 Falls Main Event with Hero, Castagnoli was no longer unheard of. In a match that had every fan on their feet both Hero and Castagnoli have both moved onto do great things in America.
GPW: "The Return"
GPW's "Return" show was named as such as it returned to The Monaco Ballroom after a six months absence in July 2004.
The show featuerd the return of Claudio Castagnoli as part of Swiss Money Holdings with his tag team partner, Ares. The duo took on "Dangerous" Damon Leigh and Joey Hayes, The Young Offenders. But the night was all about the fabulous main event that is still talked about today as Robbie Brookside took on Johnny Kidd in a British Rules match.
GPW: "Revelations" took place in August 2004 at a sold out British Legion in Leigh and saw the debut of Mike Quackenbush as he battled with TJ Cain for the No.1 Contendership to the International Heavyweight Title. The match was considered by many to be one of the best ever GPW matches. The main event was a bloody climax to a brutal, long running feud between Heresy and "Dangerous" Damon Leigh as the two clashed in GPW's first ever street fight for the British Championship.
GPW: "Last Orders At The Legion"
An historic night in December saw the last ever event at the Leigh British Legion take place. A sold out audience was witness to one of the most memorable nights in GPW history. The night not only saw the fans' darling Joey Hayes turn his back on them and join Heresy's SIN stable along with Minx, but the main event saw British Champion Damon Leigh cheated out of his title. Corrupt referee Mike Bishop rung the bell when challenger Alex Shane had Damon in a basic submission hold. Damon had not given up and both Bishop and Shane fled from the venue in an waiting car. Riots followed in the audience between rival fans and wrestlers alike; such scenes have never been seen before or since.
GPW: "Salvation Is Near"
One of the highest attendances at The Ballroom packed in to see TJ Cain and Heresy clash for the International Heavyweight Championship in May 2005. It was an emotional end to a hard hitting feud that had been the main feature of GPW shows since TJ Cain had won the title in September 2004. In another first ever, the stipulation to the match was that the loser had to leave British wrestling and was dubbed as a "Winner Take All" match. TJ Cain was eventually victorious in one of the matches that has defined what the promotion is all about. This event also saw the third member of Heresy's SIN faction make his GPW debut, Johnny Phere joined Minx and Joey Hayes.
GPW: "Saturday Night Showdown"
As previously covered in the History section, this show will always be remembered for one thing... the brutal main event. The Street Fight between JC Thunder and El Ligero got the promotion banned from all wrestling events in the Greater Manchester area due to its violent and bloody content. Perhaps remembered for all the wrong reasons, the truth is this match was excellent.
GPW: "Back With A Bang 2006"
January 2006 saw "Dangerous" Damon Leigh finally got revenge on the man that had cheated him out of the British Title, Alex Shane as the two met for the first time since December 2004 for the title. The night also marked the retirement of former International Heavyweight Champion, TJ Cain who retired following an aggravated neck injury suffered in a match against Heresy in Holland for the title.
GPW: "Salvation Is Here"
GPW: "Salvation Is Here" will be remembered for the superb Double Main Event. Two perfect examples of why the main event spot at GPW has such a great reputation. July 2006 saw the climax of two emotional feuds as Mark Kodiak took on Damon Leigh for the British title in a first ever Blindfold Match and International Heavyweight Champion Heresy took on challenger and Rumble winner Bubblegum. Voted one of the best shows of the year.
GPW: "Keep The Faith"
In September 2006, GPW promoted GPW: "Keep The Faith" - one of the most highly rated GPW shows ever featured Tracy Smothers, the first ever Crazy Cruiser-8 qualifiers, one of the best 4-ways in the country and a 6-man tag to rival the best in the world. The full card was:
- "The Model" Danny Hope vs. Rupert Holmes vs. "Super" Sam Bailey vs. Bubblegum
- Harry Doogle vs. Heresy
- Jiggy Walker vs. "Dangerous" Damon Leigh
- El Ligero vs. Kenzo Richards
- WKD & Bubblegum vs. SIN
- Dirk Feelgood vs. Tracey Smothers
GPW: "Only The Strong Survive"
In May 2007, GPW broke the mould with the first ever show in Britain dedicated to Survivor Series style matches. The show received critical acclaim and having already promoted a tournament themed show and a Rumble themed show to great priase, the promotion's reputation skyrocketed. The teams on the evening were:
- Echo's Elite vs. Alan A.A Allstars
Chris Echo, Rupert Holmes, Dylan Roberts & "Easy" Ernie Benson vs. "Iron" Mike Holmes, Lethal Dose & Kev Noir
- Ligero's Luchas vs. The Juice Commission
El Ligero, WKD & Roxi vs. Juice, The Mil-Anfield Connection & Kelly Adams
- Dirks Do-Gooders vs. Kodiak's Killers
In addition to these matches Joseph Hayes battled "Retro" Dave Rayne for the No.1 Contender's spot to the British Title.
GPW: "Collision Course"
GPW: "Collision Course" featured one of the highest rated matches of 2007 when Heresy faced "Dangerous" Damon Leigh and Joey Hayes for the GPW British Title in a main event 3-Way. The three men who were part of the first ever show, battled it out in one of GPW's most memorable matches and feuds to date. An emotional "passing of the torch" from Damon to Hayes, Hayes eventually won. Pinning Heresy signified the end of the SIN faction and the start of a Joey Hayes British Title run.
The show also featured Juice vs. El Ligero in a Los Sanchos Street Fight. Up there with one of the best matches you'll ever see, this match saw Juice's career take off. There was also another title change as Mil-Anfield Connection's long hunt for the Tag Team Trophy came to an end when they defeated WKD to lift the cup.
In November 2007, GPW brought their season ender - "Supercharged" - to the Monaco Ballroom. The show saw the climax of all major storylines in a fanatic finale. In a dramatic main event that will live in the memory of every GPW fan for a long time bitter enemies Heresy and Joey Hayes did battle in a "Loser Leaves Town I Quit Match" for the British Title. TJ Cain returned to GPW for the first time since his retirement and offered his support to Joey by staying in his corner throughout the match. However, in several cruel twists Hayes left the building the loser. A main event match that summed up everything a main event should be.
In an epic encounter Mil-Anfield successfully defended their tag team trophy against El Ligero and Bubblegum. Damon Leigh took on a tough challenge in Johnny Phere for the British title, but managed to overcome the self-proclaimed "Psychotic Warrior".
GPW: "V" was the promotion's fifth year anniversary show, and considered by many to be one of the very best in the UK, and one of the best GPW shows ever. The historic night took place on 5 July 2008 and saw many faces from the past return as well as current storylines continuing. The card on the night was:
- Mil-Anfield Connection & Juice vs. WKD
- British Title Gauntlet Match - "Dangerous" Damon Leigh vs. The Eastern Bloc
- Strap Match - Si Valour vs. Heresy
- JC Thunder vs. El Ligero
- Old Meets New Rumble
- No Disqualification Match - TJ Cain vs. Joey Hayes
- 4-Way for the GPW Heavyweight Title - Bubblegum vs. Johnny Phere vs. Darkside vs. Dirk Feelgood
GPW: "Back II School"
September 2008 saw a monumental occasion when both Joey Hayes and "Dangerous" Damon Leigh reformed the Young Offenders after more than four years apart on the UK circuit. The re-united tag team took on GPW Tag Team Champions, The Mil-Anfield Connection in a wonderful, dramatic tag team main event.
GPW: "Only The Strong Survive 2008"
In October 2008, GPW promoted Europe's first ever Torneo Cibernetico. The main event match lasted just short of an hour before GPW Heavyweight Champion, Bubblegum was crowned the last man standing. The show also saw the debut of Johnny Moss as he took on and was defeated by Juggernaut. WKD also took on two members of the Eastern Bloc in a traditional tag team match. The teams for the Torneo Cibernetico were:
- Dirk Feelgood, Heresy, TJ Cain, Juice & The Mil-Anfield Connection vs. Bubblegum, Dylan Roberts, Si Valour, El Ligero & The Young Offenders