Welcome back to H2O where Back in the Saddle is an accurate title. The company is back with eight matches across the spectrum of wrestling and deathmatches. We’ll see all the titles defended as The Lone Rangers issue another open challenge, Lucky 13 has to defend against two opponents and Low Life Louie takes on his mentor, Homicide, Grudge matches, and a No Ropes Barbed-Wire match between Matt Tremont and deathmatch star in the making, Mouse. It’s going to get messy and violent as we see H2O come back swinging with a few heartfelt moments in between. Let’s get into the action.

H2O Tag Title Open Challenge: The Lone Rangers (Jeff Cannonball & Mitch Vallen) defeated Mean Girlz (Stan Stylez & Xavier Cross) via Rocket Launcher to Cross

The show started off with The Lone Rangers trying and failing to bring out Dave Batista. Instead, their challenge was answered by the Mean Girlz, Stan Stylez, and Xavier Cross. The crowd went wild for whipped cream and the match began. Stylez stunned both members of the Rangers by throwing tearaway pants at them then tagged in Cross. He unmasked Cannonball to reveal a Doink level haircut from the champ and ate an arm-drag. Cross tried for one and ate a lariat. Cannonball brought in Mitch and they hit Cross with a double flapjack. Styles came in to meet Mitch and the pair compared physiques. After an ill-fated shunt-off, Stylez grabbed his shake weight and everyone tried to use it. Stylez outlasted everyone and stood tall in the ring. He rushed Mitch but ate an Atomic Drop. Cross tried to do the same and got slammed into the canvas. Mitch attacked Stylez again with a Manhattan Drop and then locked on a nipple cripple. After nearly fading, Stylez broke free and attacked Mitch’s nipples with the same hold then launched him with a Biel. Cross was tagged, helped hit Mitch with a wishbone, and pummelled down Mitch. The tags kept coming and Mitch continued to take a beating. Mitch’s escape finally came after he fought out of some corner thrusts and launched Stylez with a Running Powerslam. Both men tagged out and Cannonball started smashing in Cross with jabs and an uppercut. He continued by sending Cross flying with a Back-Body Drop and a Vertical Suplex. Cannonball tried to hit Stylez with his jabs but was too tired and ended up eating a stunner, a stunner with cream, and a superkick. Mitch made the save, ducked a cream attack so it hit Cross and decked Stylez with a rolling back-fist. They hit Cross with a sandwich crush and finished him off with a Rocket Launcher for the win. This was a very fun opener match where comedy got to shine and the Lone Rangers got to show off their wrestling skills.

“Preacher” Finneus James defeated Brandon Kirk via Koji Clutch

Next up was the Preacher battling one of wrestling’s most polarising, Brandon Kirk. Preacher is reaching the end of his career so he was out to have his last matches against some of the best. Kirk was on that list. They started with a lock-up that Preacher won and locked in a half crab. Kirk made the ropes and locked in a deathlock on Preacher. The Preacher tried for a roll-up so Kirk slapped him. The pair traded then Preacher tweaked his knee on a landing and Kirk went after it with a dropkick. Kirk continued to kick and stomp at the knee then dragged Preacher into the corner and chopped him down. Kirk went to the leg and the Preacher caught him into a schoolboy on the way down. Kirk kept kicking at the leg and threw Preacher into the corner again but was caught into a sunset flip and had to kick-out again. Kirk taunted and tried for a rolling elbow but Preacher fired back with a forearm and a hook kick. They slugged it out on the mat until Kirk went haywire and decked Preacher with a whole combo of strikes and kicks that ended in some Danielson Stomps. Preacher escaped a Fireman’s Carry but his leg gave out and Kirk locked in a Cloverleaf. Preacher launched Kirk but got pasted by a rebound clothesline. Both men got to their feet and Preacher caught Kirk into a flatliner then locked in a Koji Clutch, forcing Kirk to tap. This was an excellent wrestling match from a company that people tend to forget does more than just deathmatches. Props to Kirk here for showing me a side of him I don’t see as often as his bloodletting.

Hard-Way Dance: Stockade defeated Bam Sullivan, Mason Martin & Aiden Baal via Clothesline from Asgard on Martin

Time for things to get messy. Four big, hard bastards in a ring of plunder where someone had to get beaten down for a three-count. Stockade was the odds-on favourite but Sullivan, Baal, and Martin would all be gunning for his top spot. Plus, Sullivan and Baal are in the same stable, The Extricated, so they would potentially have a numbers advantage should it come to it. Martin instantly drilled Stockade with a forearm and booted him out of the ring so the Extricated attacked him and kicked him out of the ring to battle Stockade. The Extricated members shook hands then started slugging it out. Baal got stunned by punches then ducked Sullivan and dived out onto Stockade and Martin. Sullivan climbed to the top and dived onto everyone with a Swanton Bomb. He rolled in Stockade and pummelled him in the corner. Stockade answered back with an elbow but ran into a spinebuster. Martin rushed the ring and gave everyone chair shots. He set the chair in front of Baal and shouted for a cannonball but Baal recovered and threw the chair in his face. Baal tried to run a train on Sullivan and Stockade but Sullivan caught him out of the air with a spear. Stockade broke up the pin and knocked down Sullivan with a shoulder block and flattened Baal with a Uranage. Martin came back to life and started beating down Stockade. He fought back then dived onto everyone with a twisting crossbody showing that Asgardians can fly. Martin no-sold it and dropped Stockade with a headbutt. He then slugged it out with Baal and launched him with a German. He placed Baal on the top rope and set up for a superplex but Baal knocked him down and ended up driving Sullivan on top of him with a combo powerbomb/blockbuster with Stockade. Everyone was down then all four slugged it out and knocked each other down again. Martin downed the Extricated with a double clothesline then took a chair to the face from Stockade. He hit Martin with a jumping shoulder block and set up some cinderblocks. He cleared the Extricated by kicking them out of the ring and dropping chairs on them then tried to hit Martin with a Burning Hammer. Martin reversed and dropped Stockade onto the blocks with a DVD only for Baal to save the match. He fought off the Extricated but Stockade caught him from behind with a German and finished the match with a lethal clothesline. Stockade picked up another big win but everyone shone here. There were no weak links in this match. It was another nice mix of wrestling and plunder.

Chuck Payne vs Marc Angel ends in no contest due to fireball

This match followed Sean Henderson’s speech about remembering Danny Havoc and coming for all the H2O gold. Talk about a size mismatch, Chuck Payne is an absolute monster of a man and had a distinct size advantage over Marc Angel. Chuck had called Angel a night off, would he be proven right? Angel tried to get in Payne’s head by ducking some lock-ups and insulting the crowd. He left the ring and told the ref to count him out. Payne followed and tanked every shot Angel threw at him. He got back into the ring and tasted Payne’s boots. He pummelled Angel in the corner and threw him across the ring. He threw some stiff chops and tried to launch Angel again but Angel dodged and started throwing shots at Payne. He tried to throw some corner mounted punches but Payne pushed him down, causing him to tweak his knee and flattened him with a clothesline. Angel feigned injury and drove Payne into the ref. He then hit Payne with a nutcracker and a DDT. He continued with a swinging neck breaker and tried to run at Payne but was caught into a Suplex. Payne slammed him into the mat then missed an elbow drop allowing Angel to recover and hit a series of running hip attacks and a cannonball. Angel then reversed a chokeslam into a cutter and dodged a corner splash but ran into a Black Hole Slam. He bailed out of the ring and tricked Payne into running himself into the ring post. He tried to jump onto Payne off the apron but got caught and slammed into the ring post and wall multiple times. Angel tried to get counted out again so Payne pursued and hit Angel with water mist and hit him with a water bottle. He threw Angel back in the ring and slowly followed. Angel used this to his advantage and hit a series of superkicks and ran Payne into the ref again. Payne went to check on the ref then went back to trying to kill Angel. Angel was hunched in the ring and hit Payne with a fireball. Matt Tremont rushed to the ring and called the match off, getting some help for Payne. Nobody wins here as Mark Angel chose a coward’s way to win. However, this was an entertaining watch as Angel spent most of the match running or getting beaten down by a monster.

H2O Hybrid Championship: Frankie Pickard defeated Lucky 13 & Jonny Nova via Roll-Up

This match was preceded by a touching tribute ceremony for Danny Havoc from his friends, family, and the H2O roster. Matt Tremont led proceedings and unveiled a plaque to Havoc as the first member of the H2O Hall of Fame. He also unveiled the Danny Havoc Hardcore Championship to replace the proposed Super Deathmatch title. That title will be rewarded to the winner of a deathmatch tournament at the final Deathmatch Extravaganza in the fall.

So, back to the match, Lucky 13 has become a bit of a prick in H2O. Ever since he went on a losing streak, he has given up on being a fan favourite and focused on winning by any means necessary. After cheating Nova out of a win at Subterranean Violence Volume 777, he would now have to defend against Jonny Nova and Frankie Pickard. Either guy could credibly take the title and respect it way more than Lucky 13 ever has. Also, it should be noted Frankie Pickard made his entrance to Old Time Road on a fucking horse in samurai garb. Once the action got started 13 bailed so Nova and Pickard went for some rope running. Pickard locked in a roll-up then Nova locked in a roll-up so 13 stormed the ring and kicked Nova in the mouth. Pickard hit Nova in the face with a forearm then 13 targeted him with arm-drag. Pickard rebounded and launched 13 into Nova, who threw him out of the ring. Nova hit Pickard with a double stomp and dropped an elbow for two. Pickard rolled him up and drove him knee-first into the mat with a modified Dragon Screw. Someone threw Pickard a carton of Marlboros and he bounced them off Nova’s head. Nova caught Pickard out of the corner with a sunset flip and rolled round into a head kick. Nova took Pickard’s cigarette, lit it, and stabbed it into Pickard’s eye. He slapped Pickard out of the ring and ate a head kick from 13. He continued with a head-scissor and hit a jumping knee, then suplexed Nova into the turnbuckle. 13 hit a Swanton Bomb for two and dragged Nova around by his head. Pickard re-entered the match and beat both men down with combo offence. He was superkicked by 13 and Nova and watched the pair try to pin each other. Nova locked in the Cloverleaf but Pickard broke it up. He was dispatched by Nova and 13 again and bailed outside. Nova dropped 13 with a powerbomb then ate a spinning enzuigiri. 13 hit a package piledriver for two then fell back into the ref and kicked Nova in the balls. Pickard rushed 13 and rolled him up for the big win. 13 was pissed and tried to attack the ref so Pickard cleared him with the last breath and a low DDT. Pickard had battled a massive match and found his first challenger instantly as Conor Claxton signalled, he wants a title shot.

H2O Championship: “Lowlife” Louie Ramos defeated Homicide via Small Package

Our next match was Homicide’s big H2O debut against his pupil Louie Ramos. It would be Master vs Pupil for the H2O big belt. Could Ramos beat the guy who taught him everything or would he lose the title as quickly as he got it? They locked up and Homicide picked an arm. He took Louie down and locked in a head-scissor. Louie escaped and flipped Homicide off. They traded ground and pound and went back to the lock-up. He bent Louie’s fingers and started fish-hooking. After stealing some gum, Louie was dropped into the corner and hit with a boot scrape. The fight went outside and Homicide threw Louie into the ring post. He threw a chair at Louie and gave him another shot into the ring post. He brought out the fork and stabbed Louie in the forehead, bringing out the blood. After more stabs in the ropes, he went back to the fish hook. Homicide continued the forking around the ring and tried for a piledriver but Louie powered out with a back-body drop. He hit an elbow drop and Uranage then got caught with a clothesline. He hit Louie with a DDT and tried for a Rude Awakening but Louie reversed into a Shake, Rattle, and Roll. Homicide hit a chop block and instantly locked in a cross-face. That moved into an STF with fork stabbing but Louie escaped by biting Homicide’s hand. Homicide hit Three Amigos but missed the Frog Splash. Louie locked in the Muta Lock and traded blows. Louie fought out of the Cop Killa and but ate the stump piledriver. He hit Louie with a second and started slapping him. He hit a third and Louie hulked up. They slugged it out until Louie hit the big boot and missed the leg drop. Homicide took advantage with the Gringo Cutter but still only got two. Louie reversed a second and hit a slam, a lariat, and the Big Leg for two. Homicide reversed a lariat into a second Gringo Cutter and ate a TKO but was able to muscle through to take Louie down with a lariat. Homicide ran down Louie again and the duo went back to the slugs. Homicide hit the Rude Awakening and gave a shout-out to the NWA when Louie caught Homicide with a small package and got the three-count. Homicide took the mic, threatened the ref, and put over H2O and Louie which coming from the Notorious 187 is a fucking big deal. This might be the best straight match I’ve seen Louie in. It felt special and Homicide wanted it to be special. Mathis and his white trash elite tried to ruin the moment but the Lone Rangers made the save.

Kit Osbourne defeated Raven Havok via Stretch Muffler, Stomp Combo

Kit Osbourne does not like Raven Havok. That may be the understatement of the century so just imagine what they were about to do to each other here. Havok attacked Osbourne from behind and hit a suicide dive. Plunder was put into the ring and Havok bounced Osbourne off the walls outside. Osbourne was thrown into the ring and put Havok through a carpet strip lattice with a DVD. He dropped the lattice on Havok’s back and threw him into the ropes. Osbourne continued to rain down kicks and stomps then hammered Havok down. He downed Havok with a lariat and dumped him on the lattice again with a belly to belly. He hit a rebound German and another lariat then dumped some kicks into his backs. They traded chops and jabs then Osbourne went back on the attack with a clothesline. Havok stunned him with a jab and dumped him into the canvas with a Michinoku Driver. Osbourne raked the eyes and tried to go top rope but Havok stopped him with a kick and threw him down. Havok nailed a piledriver and went back to trading chops. Osbourne won the exchange and punished Havok in the corner. Havok dodged a corner splash and rocked Osbourne with a knee strike. Havok missed a double stomp so Osbourne hit a chop block and started working the knee. He locked in a Figure Four around the ring post and initiated another chop-off. Havok answered back with an uppercut and both men went down on a clothesline. They traded more shots until Havok tried to charge and ran into a choke breaker. Osbourne continued his Gage homage with a trio of boot scrapes. Havok kicked out and hit Osbourne with a Yakuza kick. Havok rained down blows in the corner but missed a follow-up and ate a dick kick. Osbourne went to the knee again and locked in another Figure Four. He stomped on Havok’s head and locked in the stretch muffler. He continued the hold and KO’ed Havok by kicking him in the head. Osbourne silence Havok this time and probably destroyed Havok’s leg in the process. This was a nasty match to watch and once again, Osbourne proves how good he really is between the ropes.

No Ropes Barbed-Wire: Mouse defeated Matt Tremont via Ladder Splash

Last but not least, the big main event. Mouse gets his biggest match yet against H2O’s head honcho, the Bulldozer Matt Tremont. Could Mouse get the big win in a no ropes barbed-wire match? Mouse might just be crazy enough to pull it off. He started by ducking under Tremont and biting his leg. He tried to hit a Cazadora but Tremont threw him off. Tremont charged but Mouse tripped him up and kicked him into the barbed-wire. Mouse dragged some wire across the head of Tremont and choked him out with his coat. He continued by hitting Tremont with a chair and hitting him in the shoulder with a barbed-wire bat. Tremont woke up and grabbed the bat, taking it to the ribs and back of Mouse. He threw Mouse into the wire then slammed him against the ropes, tearing up Mouse’s leg. He continued to antagonise Tremont with strikes then ate a massive uppercut from Tremont. He let Mouse get some jabs in then dropped him with a second uppercut. He threw Mouse across the ring and sent him into the wire again. Tremont exclaimed people need to stop sleeping on this fucking company and cut away some of the wire. He took the wire cutters to Mouse’s head and dumped him to the outside. Tremont let Mouse hit him again then slammed him back into the ring. Tremont got a ladder and took more punishment from Mouse. He was knocked back into the wire and Mouse hit him with two Stunners. He caved in Tremont’s back with more chair shots and set up a barbed-wire board. He tried to charge Tremont and was put through the barbed-wire board with a DVD. He kicked out and stepped to Tremont so Tremont shoved him back into the wire. Tremont went to the back and pulled out a barbed-wire tumbleweed. This was Funk levels of barbed-wire and Tremont had a sick smile on his face. He broke a chair over Mouse’s head and dragged the wire to the corner. Mouse recovered and drove a ladder into Tremont’s gut and tried to hit him with an Acid Drop but Tremont caught him and tossed him back-first into the mass of barbed-wire. Tremont sensed the end was near and tried for a cannonball but Mouse freed himself and Tremont landed in nothing but wire. Mouse scaled the ladder and hit a splash for three. The Extricated celebrated as Mouse just picked up the biggest win of his career. Tremont was trapped in that bundle and it was very tough to look at. This was a kick-ass main event and I echo Matt Tremont’s sentiment; more people need to be watching this promotion. Stockade then shocked everyone by ending the show by attacking Tremont.

So, there you have it, H2O Back in the Saddle Again reviewed for your reading pleasure. This was way more wrestling focused than I was expecting. It’s easy to forget H2O is more than just deathmatches. Tonight, proved that H2O has the best of both, great wrestling and great violence. You can get both worlds in one company under the mentorship of a guy who gives a fuck. Stop sleeping on H2O and give it a go. It’s lurking on IWTV so take the plunge. If they can keep putting on shows like this, you will not be sorry.

All images courtesy of H2O Twitter, Earl Gardner Photography

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