After just a year, Pro Wrestling SOUL has made an indelible mark on the BritWres scene. From its unusual venue (Merton Arts Space is a library – now it’s a library with a pop-up bar on SOUL show nights) to the Kafka Kup, promoting women’s only events, building the company around young talent in the form of Women’s Champion Dani Luna and Men’s Champion Connor Mills and regularly running traditional British rounds matches, SOUL is a different animal compared to other promotions. SOUL firmly marches to the beat of its own 80s-music-enthused, Phil Collins-playing drum.

ETM (Chuck Mambo & TK Cooper) defeated Experiment in Terror (LK Mezinger & Elijah)

Unfortunately, because of transport issues, I missed the opening bout which was a first-round match in the SOUL Tag Team Championship tournament which will pan out over the next several months. However, no doubt TK Cooper headbutted some people. Chuck Mambo was probably his usual totally radical self, dude.

As a result of ETM’s win, they’ll face either Young Guns or The 0121 in the semi-finals which will be decided at SOUL X: Electric Boogaloo II.

Fabio Romano defeated William Eaver to win the final of the Kafka Kup

SOUL 9 was a brilliant one-year anniversary show, if not solely due to the culmination of the Kafka Kup which had been a year in the making. With Kafka and cohort Aleah James making up the rules for each Kafka Kup match, often changing any stipulations mid-bout, Kafka was not taking any chances for the final. After unveiling William Eaver as the latest member of Kafka Kreations to represent the faction in the Kup final, the challenger was revealed as SOUL regular Fabio Romano.

After almost being kicked out of his LED light-up boots by Chris Ridgeway back at SOUL 8: Take A Look At Me Now, Fabio Romano knew that he needed to work smart. After a quick jump-start on an outnumbered Romano, he bounced off the ropes and rolled Eaver up for the pin, winning the Kafka Kup in about 30 seconds. Unfortunately, he suffered a severe beat down after the match so his celebrations were cut short.

Romano has proved over the last year that he is an entertaining emerging in-ring performer. His swagger and look suit him down to the ground and I look forward to seeing more of him over the next year.

A thoroughly entertaining segment, building up to events that would conspire against Kafka Kreations later in the night in the form of Aleah James’ match against Charli Evans for the number one contendership to the SOUL Women’s Title.

Dani Luna defeated Nina Samuels to retain the SOUL Women’s Championship

It’s been quite a year for Dani Luna. Having won the SOUL Women’s Championship and been signed to NXT UK, the youngster has a lot to prove. Booking Luna’s first title defence against Toni Storm was brilliant and now facing off against veteran of the BritWres scene Nina Samuels is another masterstroke lending even more credibility to Luna’s reign.

This was a very good match. Luna overpowered Samuels most of the time but Nina’s skill and experience helped her to fire back. Samuels’ fast-paced style played off well against Luna’s power game. However, it wasn’t the challenger’s night as Luna used an STF variant to viciously submit Nina Samuels and retain the title.

Sha Samuels announced as Artistic Director of Pro Wrestling SOUL

After the interval, SOUL owner Slick Lombardo took to the ring to announce that Sha Samuels would be SOUL’s Artistic Director. This is a great move considering Sha is out injured at the moment and gives him some airtime in a role that suits him down to the ground.

After making his way to the ring clad in jogging bottoms, T-shirt, blazer and tie (reminiscent of WWE Commissioner-era Mick Foley) Sha’s first order of business was to go to the bar and neck a can of the strong stuff.

He then spoke about the way in which SOUL had reignited his passion for wrestling. He mentioned the importance of promotions such as SOUL in terms of building new talent, something that south London-based training school Knucklelocks had been an integral part of.

Sha then announced that SOUL and Knucklelocks Gym would be holding an intimate 50 ticket only show on 19th February at the gym in Brixton, south London to raise money for Knucklelocks’ move to a new facility. Given the talent that has come out of Knucklelocks over the years, including the likes of The OJMO and Connor Mills, this was not to be missed.

Jordan Breaks defeated A-Kid in a British Rounds match

At SOUL 8, Jordan Breaks managed to beat British wrestling legend Johnny Kidd in a British Rounds match, building some momentum after a treacherous year in 2019 where he suffered a long and unfortunate losing streak. However, this should not count Breaks out of contention in any match that he’s in. His technical nous is unparalleled in the ring.

A-Kid’s match against Zack Sabre Jr. a couple of years ago also shone a spotlight on the youngster and his move to NXT UK brought hope of big things to come.

The match started amicably enough but A-Kid was firmly cast as the heel here, viciously striking Breaks in the corner and not letting up which earned him a warning from the referee. In the second round, both men were still navigating the territory, with Breaks snatching a pinfall with the Stingray roll-up which would be familiar to fans of ZSJ. The third round was where things really started to heat up, though. A-Kid’s violent kicks pummelled Breaks who was able to fight back and take the win with a double wristlock submission.

At the end of the match, Breaks got on the mike and asked for another British Rounds match at SOUL X: Electric Boogaloo II against Kyle Fletcher which is bound to deliver in a big way.

On a stacked card, this was a standout match showcasing two exceptional talents. Hopefully, A-Kid will get the breaks he deserves in NXT UK and Jordan Breaks will continue to carve out a name for himself in SOUL with British Rounds matches and get the national exposure he so deserves.

Charli Evans defeated Aleah James to become number one contender for the SOUL Women’s Championship

A fire has well and truly been lit under Charli Evans as every time I watch her she seems to go from strength to strength. This was to be one of several matches for Evans against Aleah James in various promotions across a two week period. And it was all the better for it as the two obviously know each other so well.

Evans was able to overpower James early on, fully delivering on her promise to bend the hyper-mobile James in half.

While Kafka was ringside with James, his heelish tactics seemed like they were going to pay off – pushing the ropes towards Aleah as she suffered in a submission hold, distracting the referee, etc.

Despite the interference, though, this match delivered in a big way. James’s Matrix-style bridges to avoid Charli Evans’ kicks and strikes and Kafka getting thrown out by the ref were just a couple of highlights. After a ref bump and William Eaver attempting to take a chair to Evans, for which he severely paid the price, Charli claimed the win with a suspended DDT on the chair.

However, it wasn’t over there as the stipulation for this match was that if James lost, then Kafka Kreations would be kicked out of Pro Wrestling SOUL. Enter Sha Samuels and the ring crew to enforce the stip. The sight of Josef Kafka being carried out of Merton Arts Space and Aleah James clinging to the ring post, screaming gave an amazing pay-off to a story that’s been developing over the last year. Will this really be the last of Kafka in SOUL? I doubt it. But it’ll be interesting to see what happens next.

Connor Mills defeated The OJMO to retain the SOUL Men’s Championship

Easily match of the night (which is saying something given that all of the matches were excellent), OJMO and Mills left absolutely nothing in the ring. The symbolism of the stablemates removing their Destination: EVERYWHERE armbands and the sheer level of aggression in the match made this utterly compelling.

Mills and OJMO complement each other’s styles so deftly and both, despite technically being junior heavyweights, were able to show that size isn’t everything as they absolutely brutalised one another with strikes.

This match had it all – dives out of the ring, crazy top rope spots and pure, raw emotion. Even Mills’ finisher, the Burning Cutter, is brutal and was used to devastating effect on OJMO, allowing Connor to retain the title.

With title defences like this under his belt, Mills is a star in the making and I have mentioned on more than one occasion how deserving The OJMO is of the exposure he’s currently getting in RevPro and elsewhere.

SOUL 9 was an absolute banger of a show and the second sell out for the company. With shows booked through to the end of the year, I would thoroughly recommend getting down to Wimbledon to see this fledgeling promotion as they truly start to soar.

Pictures courtesy of Pro Wrestling SOUL and Head Drop / Rob Brazier

By Stephen Goodman

Wrestling journalist based in south London. I like New Japan, Rev Pro, SOUL and lots more.

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