Monday, 20 October 2014

WWE Brothers of Destruction DVD Review

WWE's Brothers of Destruction is out now on DVD (There's a Blu Ray version too), available from www.wwedvd.co.uk. The single disc set features a number of matches featuring The Undertaker and Kane as a tag team, during their 2001 and 2006/08 runs, featuring matches against the likes of Edge & Christian, John Morrison & The Miz, The Dudley Boyz, Mr. Kennedy and MVP.




A rather curious addition to the WWE Home Video library, this single disc look at Kane and The Undertaker's on-off tag team, whilst skirting around their numerous feuds in between. The set kicks off with a No Disqualification match against Edge & Christian from an April 2001 episode of Smackdown. This is a decent start to the set, showcasing Kane's selling ability as he works the Demon in Peril role nicely whilst Edge & Christian take turns picking apart Kane's injured arm. It's a shame that this is a TV bout, as it leads to a lot of over booking to build towards BOD's match with The Two Man Power Trip at Backlash 2001, as there is a lot of chemistry between the two teams that goes to waste in closing stages. 

Three months later on Raw and it's a Tables Match against The Dudley Boyz. Whilst the crowd is red hot throughout the bout, this match doesn't offer much, with the tables stipulation really adding nothing to the match. After showing promise early on with some nice brawling between the four, the bout is too short to really present anything of merit. Highlights include Jim Ross calling a table "a chair", some hilarious selling of a big boot by Bubba Ray Dudley and a horrendously timed finish. 

On the following week's episode of Smackdown, it's Sean O'Haire and Chuck Palumbo who are next in line to feel the Brother's wrath, this time with the WCW World Tag Titles on the line. This match pretty much sums up everything that was wrong with the Invasion angle, as whilst no one would attempt to argue that O'Haire and Palumbo were anywhere near Kane and Undertaker in terms of star power, they are made to look like complete chumps for the majority of the match. This, of course, makes this a rather dull affair, with nothing particularly standing out. 

The first and only PPV bout on the disc rounds of the look at the pair's 2001 run as they face Diamond Dallas Page and Kanyon in a Steel Cage bout at SummerSlam to unify the WCW and WWF Tag Team Titles. This match really should have been simply Undertaker vs. Diamond Dallas Page, as that is essentially what the bout spends it's time trying to set up in a rather convuluted way. Whilst there is a handful of nice spots like Kane's Powerbomb to Kanyon into the corner of the cage and a top rope Chokeslam from Taker, this is once again a rather onsided bout with no real drama, and a crowd that sits on it's hands for most of the action. 

After a short video package, it's onto the duo's 2006 run as they battle Mr. Kennedy and MVP on a December episode of Smackdown. Another dominant performance from the Brothers as the two build towards a pair of Gimmick matches against their opponents at the Armageddon PPV. The match itself is dull as dishwater, with a shoddy TV finish, the only highlight is a sick looking DDT from Kennedy to Kane on the outside after the match, before it all goes a bit nuts with a hearse. 

A February 2008 episode of Smackdown saw the pair take on the duo of Mark Henry and Big Daddy V. If that match sounds appealing to you, you should probably stop reading this blog. If I were to tell you that the bout goes over ten minutes and you still think it sounds like a good idea, you should probably stop watching wrestling. The bout takes what feels like an age to settle into anything resembling a flow and despite a nice spot involving a Henry bearhug to Kane, the bout falls apart when BOD are tasked with a "Double Chokeslam" to Big Daddy V, which essentially involves the big man taking a back bump. 

Luckily, the set manages to end on a high note with an April 2008 jaunt to ECW to face John Morrison and The Miz. This is a decent slice of tag team action, with some of the best psychology of the set as Miz and Morrison pick apart Kane's injured leg, with almost every piece of offence focused on the injured body part, not to mention Kane once again proving a fantastic seller. Throw in all of BOD's signature moves and you have a decent little match, that whilst never threatening to become a classic if a great relief after sitting through the Mark Henry & Big Daddy V bout. Also Mike Adamle is on commentary, Mike Fucking Adamle!

Finally...


This DVD was a frustrating watch, as whilst it does a good job of showcasing Kane and Undertaker as a dominant tag team that doesn't make the matches particularly interesting to watch on their own merit. The first and last matches are probably the only ones that I would say I enjoyed from this stand point and even then I wouldn't tell anyone to go out of their way to see them. It also feels like a missed opportunity to only have the pairs match against The Rock and Steve Austin and their six man tag alongside Daniel Bryan against The Shield from Raw in 1998 and 2013 respectively as Blu-Ray exclusives, as these are surely the pairs best matches as a tag team. If you catch it in the bargain section, maybe give it a look, but honestly you won't be missing out on anything if you don't.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

ATPW Hall of Fame Announcement Announcement

An announcement about an announcement! I'm going all BBC PR on your asses.

Usually we would have held a vote to see another wrestling personality enter our Hall of Fame to tie in with TNA's Bound For Glory PPV, but with TNA deciding it couldn't be bothered to promote to the PPV, I decided there wasn't much point announcing anything around a PPV that no one was actually interested in seeing anyway! 





So, I went away and had a bit of think...WWE's Survivor Series would be an obvious option, but over previous years WWE has put a lot less empathsis on this PPV and anyone that still believes it to still be part of the big four is either deluded or on some kind of narcotic. Big Show main evented the show last year for Dawley's sake. 

So I continued to ponder...pacing back and forth across a metaphorical floor. When on earth could I announce who our Panel has voted to join Bobby Heenan, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, The Undertaker and Ric Flair in our Hall of Fame! If only there was some company holding some big event, that has a certain buzz about it, perhaps a former WWE superstar causing shenanigans and maybe they're just about to launch a new on demand service (for only £3.99 a month?)

That's right! Our next Hall of Fame announcement will on Sunday 2nd November and will coincide with Insane Championship Wrestling's Fear and Loathing VII. Plus, the next vote will be exclusively for British wrestlers! As usual anyone is eligible and literally anyone could enter if our esteemed panellists vote for them. This one could be interesting.  





Saturday, 11 October 2014

PWK VI "Elevate to the Summit" Review

It had been quite some time since I'd gotten my arse down to a live wrestling show, so to say that I was excited for my return to Pro Wrestling Kingdom in Birmingham would be a slight understatement. Would PWK reward my sheer excitement with a quality evening of professional wrestling? Let's find out shall we!


The Venue



Having previously attended a PWK show at the mac, I was pretty familiar with the surroundings. This continues to be a venue that doesn't look like it should be hosting pro wrestling, miles away from the crumbling social clubs and dingy nightclubs that dominate the British wrestling scene. Wrestling appearing in this venue alongside the musical performances and art installations that occupied the downstairs area can only be a good thing for the British wrestling scene, as it provides an opportunity to attract a clientele that might not attend a Brit-Wres show otherwise.

The set up for the show itself also continues to impress, with a slight alteration to the last PWK show I attended, with the entrance way moving to a different corner. The lighting rig present allows for more elaborate entrances, whilst also providing a nice look to the action inside the ring (something which I'd imagine will look incredible on the DVD's). A smoke machine is also used, although I'm not quite sure if this worked all the time, especially when the machine was left on for no particular reason. I'd like to see this machine used specifically when it adds to a wrestlers gimmick (Joseph Conners springs to mind here), with a discussion of how much smoke the specific performer needed. 


It also needs to be pointed out that the doors for the show opened a whole hour and a half after the advertised start time. Whilst Mad Man Manson and Sebastian Radclaw headed out to provide some entertainment for those waiting, this was two out of two PWK shows I've attended where there has been a delay in getting into the building. I believe this time had something to with the Ultimate X set up, and to their credit the PWK staff kept the fans waiting outside informed of the ongoing situation and there was plenty of things around the venue to keep everyone occupied. 


Match 1 

Matt Myers vs. Danny Hope

 

This was my first chance to get a look at Matt Myers, wrestling under a comedy super hero gimmick not too dissimilar from former WWE wrestler The Hurricane. He couldn't have had a better opponent to introduce me to him, as he faced "Delicious" Danny Hope. Any previous time I've watched Hope I've spent the entire match with a huge smile on my face.

The bout was a lot of fun to watch, as the two seemingly both worked as babyface, using a number of comedy spots to keep the fans engaged in the action. Whilst the comedy was funny, it's important that the wrestling is strong enough to provide a base for the rest of the action, luckily the majority of the wrestling provided here was smooth with the two bouncing off each other very nicely in the ring.

The match flowed nicely, peaking and troughing at the right times to get the crowd hyped up for the rest of the show. The pair knew when to lift the pace and when to slow it down to allow the comedy to come through, with referee Paul Winstanley also playing into the action nicely.


 I was impressed with a number of the moves that Myers pulled out, including nice tilt-a-whirl arm drag early on, a sequence that saw Myers flip out of a Back Suplex attempt and reverse into a Reverse STO and an attempt at a Phoenix Splash. There was however a nasty looking Standing Shooting Star Press attempt, where Myers seemed to catch his head on Hope as Hope attempted to roll out of the way, luckily the pair recovered quickly, not allowing the crowd to dwell on the accident for long. 

After Myers picked up the victory, with the two paying homage to the finish of the WrestleMania 14 main event, there was a hilarious interchange between the two about whether the match had gone to plan. Just to prove there was no hard feelings between the two, Hope and Myers performed Hope's infamous cat walk, much to the delight of the crowd. An entertaining opener, that was a lot of fun to watch.


Ryan Smile calls out The Bitter Youth

 

In a change of pace from the opener PWK Promoter Ryan Smile called out The Bitter Youth, in an intense, well-paced segment. Smile's opening promo was calm and collected, cleverly mixing real life situations, with on-going storylines, which whilst embellishing the storyline for those aware of those real life situations didn't take away for anyone who wasn't. 

Pete Stevens is operating as the mouthpiece for the group, which is also includes Damien Dunne, Chris Ridgeway and PWK Champion Pete Dunne (who wasn't present for this segment) and despite some clear nervousness early on in the segment I thought Pete handled his job here well and you could see him growing into the character as the show went on. 

Talking of growing, Smile's build from calm and collected to losing his shit with his former friends was done very nicely. The tension built to cresecendo with Stevens delivering the line "You ain't got no stones, but here comes Goliath" leading to Dunne and Ridgeway unleashing a vicious attack, finishing off Smile with a kick to the nadgers. Smile's selling of the old chicken nuggets following the attack was superb, everything from facial expressions to vocal outbursts of pain were spot on. This guy knows what it's like to get a kick in love spuds apparently!

Whilst I really enjoyed this segment, it didn't seem over with the crowd as well as it should have. There really wasn't any heat here. I'm not sure why this was, as it would seem that a large section of the crowd had been to PWK shows before and would be familiar with the ongoing storyline. Maybe it was the crowd just wasn't willing to give out heat? Maybe they were too hyped up from the comedy match before hand?

Match 2

Mad Man Manson vs. Sebastian Radclaw

33 Minute Iron Mad Man Match

 

How on earth am I supposed to review this match? Genuinelly one of the funniest things I've ever had the pleasure to watch.

The story of the match saw Manson and Radclaw not wanting to wrestle for 33 minutes, with the pair coming up with more and more ridiculous antics to get the clock to tick down. There was wrestling in slow motion, silent wrestling, at one point we went outside in protest the lack of Wi-Fi availability and then there was the longest game of Rock, Paper, Scissors that has ever been played.

The crowd played a massive part in this one, coming up with some great chants, including the "This is Silence" whispered chant and really adding an extra dimension to the section where both men attempted to cover each other with one arm. Both men knew exactly how to work the crowd to get the reaction they were after and Manson's constant conflab about El Ligero and Doug Williams had every smarky Brit-Wres fan in the room giggling like a school girl.



Top marks and big thumbs up for the finish as well, as Manson's Powerbomb attempt was reversed by Radclaw into a Sunset Flip, with Manson holding on to stop himself from going down. After the pair had a conversation about who should win, it was time for a reference to Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair's WrestleMania 24 bout, with the classic "I'm sorry...I love you" line, as Radclaw managed to get the pin for the win. I could probably pull up that this match ended straight after the pinfall, but I honestly couldn't care less. 

Match 3

Chris Ridgeway vs. Lana Austin vs. Bubblegum vs. Damien Dunne vs. Nixon Newell vs. Tyler Bate

Elevate to the Summit Ladder Match

 

 

Essentially this was a Money in the Bank Ladder match, under a name that nicely fits with the theme with the promotion. 

Continuing with the theme of the night, this match was paced to perfection, a good mix of spot based action and storytelling, it felt like everything happening in this match was happening for a reason, rather than "Spots for the sake of spots". When Lana Austin's Tilt-a-Whirl Stunner and Nixon Newell's Vulture Culture Destroyer are some of the less notable spots in a match, you know you've been treated to something special. Lana's dive off the ladder to outside, Nixon's moonsault off the ladder to the outside and Bate chokeslaming Nixon off the Ladder stand out as particular highlights. 

In terms of storytelling, you had two members of the Bitter Youth in the match, as well as Bubblegum who's pre-match promo pointed out his reluctancy to work a match with two women, throw into the mix the history between Bubblegum and Tyler Bate in the promotion and the six wrestlers had a lot to play with. The on-going story with Bubblegum, Nixon and Lana built perfectly to a spot where Bubblegum asked for one of the girls to make him a sandwich, whilst the other "sorted him out", it was perhaps not quite appropriate for the children in attendance, but the reaction when the girls destroyed Bubblegum, finishing up with Lana's Tilt-a-Whirl Stunner was superb. 

After Dunne, Lana and Nixon had all taken big bumps, the match was wittled down to Bubblegum, Chris Ridgeway and Tyler Bate going at it, in a series of solid exchanges between the three. Bubblegum and Ridgeway worked together, before realising each other were trying to sneak up the ladder, leading to some hard chops and fantastic hard hitting sequence between the two. With Bate and Ridgeway trading some beautiful suplexes, before Bate launched in an exhililarting sequence with Bubblegum, climaxing in Bubblegum getting crotched on the top rope after falling off the Ladder. It seemed the stage was set for Bate to pull down the briefcase, however that wasn't to be the case as Ridgeway climbed up the ladder and hit a big roundhouse kick knocking Bate off the ladder before retrieving the briefcase. 

This felt like a true War of Atrition with every big spot built up as a way of "eliminating" someone from the match, rather than just happening. This put a big smile on my face indeed. Everyone involved in the match brought something different to the proceedings and everything seemed to slot together perfectly. However, as with most multi-man ladder matches, the finish felt slightly anti-climactic after what had gone before it, but that's me being a nitpicky bastard.

Match 4 - 

YOLO Squad vs. The Hunter Brothers

 

 

This was my first time getting to see Ethan Silver and Drew Parker work together as the YOLO Squad. In fact, it was my first time seeing Drew Parker at all! I'd previously seen Silver work a Three Way bout for Kamikaze Pro in June, in which he hadn't really impressed me all that much, but seeing as he's only 17 I was more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and went into this one with a completely open mind. 

And Sweet Mama Benjamin am I glad that I did. The bout told the time tested story of Rookie vs Veteran, as Parker and Silver went toe to toe and back and forth with the boys from Tipton. With both teams working as babyface duos, no team spent too long in control of the match, continually shifting momemtum, although the majority of the crowd was decidely behind the veteran duo. There was some lovely work early on where each team worked the arm of an opponent for a short while, not really long enough to have an impact on the match later on, but it told a good story of YOLO Squad learning and attempting to up their game as the match went on. 


Whilst the story itself was strong, the action in the ring was also of a high standard, with a number of inventive tag team moves from both teams, including an Assisted Double Stomp from YOLO Squad and a Giant Swing/Dropkick combination from the Hunters. The strongest part of the match for me was a terrific back and forth sequence between Lee Hunter and Drew Parker, with both men keeping up a high pace, before Parker hit a ridiculous looking Standing Double Stomp. 

 The closing sequence was a break neck series of action with all four men involved. Beginning with Parker breaking up a pinfall on Silver following the Hunters Supercanrana/Frog Splash combination (which in inself was a great false finish), the foursome launched into a series of inventive superkick deliveries, before The Hunters finally gained the upperhand with a Neckbreaker/Backbacker combo on Silver and another Supercanrana/Frog Splash combo to Parker to obtain victory. With the crowd receptive to everything the four had to offer for the last few minutes, this was a superb way to end the match. 


Following the bout it seemed a "Show of Respect" would be next, however following a handshake the YOLO Squad hit the Hunters with a pair of slaps, before quickly fleeing the ring. A nice exclamation point to the story and a rematch with a more vicious and heely YOLO Squad is something I'd be very interested in. Whilst the younger duo weren't always as crisp as they could have been and there were a few occasions where the action didn't quite click, for a duo of this age to be putting on a match of this quality is something that should be commended. As should the participation of the Hunters who allowed the YOLO Squad all the opportunities that they needed here.  


Match 5

Joseph Conners vs. Dan Maloney

 


Before the match got under way, Joseph Conners was given some mic time, where he clearly got over his character and his on-going story in PWK well. Whilst Conners hit all the marks in terms of information, I would have like to have seen some more levels to the performance, as I did find myself switching off from everything being delivered in the same way.

This match was right up my alley way, with even more story-telling and psychology. A relatively short bout, started with Conners ramming Maloney back first into the ringpost on the outside and the story was set. The majority of Conners offence was focused on Maloney's back, with any Maloney comeback cut off with a move to said back. I haven't had the opportunity to see Maloney work babyface all too often, but I was impressed with no only his selling of the pain in his back, but a fantastic set of facial expressions that really got over the pain that he was feeling, allowing the crowd to really get behind the "Superbeast". 

The only real slip up in this match was on a Gutwrench Bomb attempt by Conners, but the pair quickly recovered and managed to flow into the next part of the match without having to do the classic Indy repeat spot. Both men managed to get a nice false finish in, with Conners hitting a Crucifix Bucklebomb and Maloney coming close off a Sitout Backbreaker Rack Drop.

 The finish itself saw Maloney attempt a Powerbomb, and whilst it was not clear if Maloney would be able to due to the back injury, the lights went down and something played on the screen, when the lights where back up Conners hit an Arm Trap DDT to pick up another pinfall victory. Whilst the stuff on the screen was less than clear, I enjoyed the way the finish was booked to allow both men to continue to look strong with the doubt of Maloney would have been able to deliver the Powerbomb playing well into this.


Match 6 

Mark Andrews vs. Pete Dunne (with Pete Stevens)

Ultimate X-Central Match for the PWK Championship

 

 

Going in to this match, I was a little apprehensive that it would be too similar to the Ladder match from earlier on, with both match types known for their aerial spots. These thoughts were quickly cast aside as Andrews and Dunne wrestled a clever and engaging match.

With Dunne working as PWK's top heel, he avoided any fancy offence and instead spent most of the match strategically working over Andrews with a series of stomps and kicks, whilst cunningly pulling back on Andrews fingers a number of times, which of course would make it more difficult to climb the X structure above the ring. This played well into a soot where Dunne grabbed Andrews fingers while Andrews scaled the structure before transitioning into his signature DT3 Pumphandle Facebuster. 

Whilst Dunne was busy heeling it up, Andrews was his usual flippy self pulling out a number of inventive spots using the structure, including droping from the scaffold into a hurricanrana, a leaping Sitout Slam whilst Dunne scaled the structure and a huge Missile Dropkick with Dunne in a similar situation. Throw a missed Standing Corkscrew 450, a Moonsault Spike DDT and Northern Light suplex transitioned in a Shooting Star Press into the mix and it's easy to see why a crowd would get vocally behind Mark Andrews. For me, he is one of the most natural babyfaces in the country, at the moment. 

Pete Stevens was at ringside to support his Bitter Youth stablemate and looked comfortable in this role, working the crowd nicely. You could see Stevens gain in confidence every time the crowd would react to something he would say. I'm interested to where PWK will take Stevens in the next couple of shows and watching him develop further as a performer.

Stevens would be involved in the finish of the bout attempting to call the rest of the Bitter Youth out to ringside. Damien Dunne and Chris Ridgeway came down the aisle, only to be met with a flurry of Andrews offence, finishing with a spectacular Tope Conhilo. This allowed Dunne the distraction he needed to edge closer to the belt, and whilst Andrews springboarded onto the structure to provide some last minute drama, it was Dunne who managed to retrive the belt and retain his title. A great ending to the match, with the crowd with the competitors every step of the way, both furthering the Bitter Youth storyline and allowing some tension to develop between Pete Dunne and Elevate to the Summit Briefcase holder Chris Ridgeway. Unlike the earlier Ladder match this was a satisfying and climactic finish, that left me wanting to see more.


Finally...


You may have noticed by the rest of the review, that I enjoyed this show, just a little bit! From top to bottom this was one of the best shows that I've seen this year, with each match providing something different to the rest of the card. Most of it all, I felt like I was given a reason to watch every match intently and follow the stories being told in the ring, this is the kind of pro wrestling that I enjoy to watch the most and it's the kind that will make come back as a paying customer for PWK in  the near future.


Friday, 3 October 2014

What's Your Flava? aka Open Letter to the Disenfranchised WWE Fan



Kicking things off with a Craig David video, don't get that on your average wrestling blog!

From looking around social media, it would seem like WWE is the only option when it comes to professional wrestling in 2014. On any Facebook group or Twitter timeline, there's someone talking about what WWE should be doing to appeal more to them, critically forgetting that WWE isn't supposed to be aiming directly at them. If your expecting every single moment of WWE's 8 hours of original wrestling programming a week (a colossal 11 hours if there's a PPV), the likelihood is your going to be disapointed. WWE is (at least) attempting to be a mass market product, a product that appeals to everyone at the same time, which, of course, is never going to be a possibility. There isn't an artistic venture anywhere that appeals to everyone (Not even Craig David) 





During a Twitter conversation with British promotion Southside Wrestling Entertainment (promoted by Ben Auld, although I'm not sure if it was Mr. Auld using the Twitter account at the time), it was suggested that WWE's problem was that it's product (mainly Raw) wasn't aimed at the kind of fan who talks on wrestling forums and tweets about arm bars (Namely, you and I, dear reader). Herein lies a shocking revelation, even if we ignore casual fans and children and families and everyone else who chooses to watch WWE programming and doesn't feel the need to jump on Twitter to let us know their opinions, different wrestling fans like different types of wrestling! Incredible, I know. 

Just like any of area of entertainment, there are genres and subgenres within professional wrestling that many may never know about, because they don't look anywhere other than WWE, whilst simultaneously expecting WWE to adapt to suit them. Just like chart music, big budget theatre and Hollywood blockbusters, WWE may often miss the mark when it comes to your personal taste and that is absolutely fine. Because I'm sure there's some element of the show that you do like, and I can be almost certain that there's a professional wrestling company out there that's focusing in on that element and making it their niche.  





You like strong storylines, like Dean Ambrose's feud with Seth Rollins? There's plenty of promotions producing really good storyline based wrestling, especially here in the UK, where both Progress and ICW are doing very well for themselves. You like the technical exploits of Daniel Bryan or Chris Jericho? I'm sure indy stalwarts Ring of Honor, or if you're feeling exotic New Japan Pro Wrestling, will be to your tastes. Love a good spot-fest, like the Money in the Bank Ladder PPV? Then PWG is the place to be. Think Adam Rose and The Bunny are the best thing since sliced bread for their trippy antics? Chikara Pro will make you lose your shit. Wish WWE would bring back Drew McIntyre or Carlito or Maria Kanellis or any ex-employee? Get on their Twitter and find out where they're performing, places like FWE and PCW are a good place to start.

I genuinely could go on and on and on. I'm not claiming that my knowledge of the Indy scene is particularly vast, especially when it comes to promotions outside the UK, but the fact still remains that there is a promotion out there that will suit your needs perfectly. So rather than sitting every Monday night, knowing that you're probably not going to be into, at least, a third of what get's presented and then moaning about it online, why not go on a journey of discovery? Have a scour the internet, most promotions have at least some footage up on Youtube, many use on Demand services and almost all DVD's up for sale.







It's a simple formula, find what you like and support it, shout about it from the rooftops. Hey, your mate might like it as well, the one who hasn't watched wrestling in 20 years. Hey, they might not. That's the fun of any art form and a lot of the time the debate between people who enjoy two different styles is part of the fun.

If you kept eating Hawaiin pizza, but didn't really like the pineapple, I'd call you a fool for not taking the pineapple off. So, choose your flavour, maybe occassionally you might add something else to the mix or go back to your old faithful to see if they've taken off some of the pineapple. I really want a pizza now.




Saturday, 27 September 2014

Time to Make a New Discovery (Billy Strachan)

Discovery Wrestling

No Fear No Mercy

Preview

 

 


On October 11th Scottish wrestling has a new kid on the block and it plans to launch wrestling into a new stratosphere. Huge names, big matches, all killer, no filler and it all started over a cup of tea.

The original special guests announced for this event were former WWE World Tag Team Champion Mike Mondo and former WWE Tag Team, European and Hardcore Champion Al Snow. Al Snow was set to face Scottish sensation Grado in a showdown for the ages.

After TNA announced that TNA would be holding their Bound for Glory event in Japan, Al Snow could no longer attend (Al Snow being a road agent for TNA.). Not to be deterred by this set back Discovery Wrestling then quickly secured the services of TNA Triple Crown winner Chris Sabin.

They topped off that addition with Crime Time not long after JTG was released by WWE after an 8 year spell.

With the card already stacked and still matches to be announced, it could be the biggest debut show in Scottish wrestling history.



Damian O'Connor vs Rampage Brown







The first official match announced for this huge event. Two big guys with a big reputations. Both will be looking to make an immediate impact in Edinburgh. The roof may have to be replaced after these two fight in the Meadowbank Sports Centre.

Wild Lions vs The Traditionalists







The new team of Andy Wild and Johnny Lions against The Traditionalists will be an interesting one. Both Wild and Lions have won titles everywhere they've been. Johnny Lions currently holds the WrestleZone Tag Team Championships with fellow Discovery wrestler Damien Daniels. Could the Tenacious One find the same success with Andy Wild?

Mike Mondo vs Joe Coffey


A match requested by Mike Mondo, he chose to face the Iron Man of Scottish professional wrestling. This will be hard hitting, technical, brawling and just a masterpiece to watch. This could be the show stealer and rightly so. This isn't Mikey from the Spirit Squad, this is a seasoned veteran from Ring of Honor ready to face the best in Scotland.


Crime Time  and ??? vs “Global Hero” Joe Hendry, ??? and ???

 




After Al Snow had to pull out of the event, Discovery Wrestling had Grado without an opponent. They chose to team Grado with Crime Time to face any three opponents in an open challenge. The Edinburgh native and “Global Hero” Joe Hendry answered the challenge and will lead a team against the Americans and the Chubby Wee Chancer from the Tap End of Stevenson.

Grado was removed from the event due to filming commitments for the BBC. Discovery Wrestling will be announcing how this will affect this match shortly on their Facebook page.




4 Way Elimination Match

Ian Ambrose vs Lewis Girvan vs Damien Daniels vs Chris Sabin

 



With so many great superstars that are being signed for the Y Division, what better way to kick off the Y Division than to have a 4 way elimination match that includes one of the pioneers of the X Division Chris Sabin. All four men in this match will be looking to impress, and more importantly, will be looking to win. All three of Chris Sabin's opponents have won titles in Scotland with Ian Ambrose and Damien Daniels having won the top titles in SWE and WrestleZone respectively.


Viper vs Sammii Jayne vs Shanna

 





Three of the premier women wrestlers in Europe with Viper, Sammii and “Portugal's Perfect Athlete” Shanna. This will be a fantastic match with the power in Viper, the speed in Shanna and craftiness in Sammii. Three styles that will be mesh nicely. This is the first ladies match in Discovery wrestling history and what an amazing match to start with.

Five matches announced so far and with more to come and the event not far away, now is the time to grab a ticket. There are a limited number of Meet and Greet tickets remaining so better get a ticket while you can!

Get your tickets now at https://shop.ticketwolf.co.uk/

Roster Announced So Far (In Order Of Reveal)

 

Mike Mondo
Rampage Brown
Lewis Girvan
Sammii Jayne
Damien Daniels
“Party” Marty Scurll
Damian O'Connor
Ian Ambrose
Shanna
The Traditionalists
Wild Lions
Viper
Joe Hendry
Noam Dar
Chris Sabin
Crime Time
Deviation

Find out more about Discovery Wrestling through their Facebook page

Discovery Wrestling Interview with the Piston Broke Podcast (WARNING: Some Bad Language)




Tuesday, 16 September 2014

WWE OMG! Volume 2 - The Top 50 Incidents in WCW History DVD Review

WWE's OMG! Volume 2 - The Top 50 Incidents in WCW History is out now on DVD (There's a Blu Ray version too), available from www.wwedvd.co.uk. The three disc set, features a countdown of the (WWE Home Video's version of) the Top 50 Incidents in WCW History (surprising, huh?). Detailing the some of the most memorable moments in the history of WCW, some of which many wish they couldn't remember. There's also fourteen complete matches, featuring The Road Warriors, Cactus Jack, Sting, Big Van Vader and Randy Savage.



The cover of this DVD tells you pretty much all you need to know about the tone of this three disc set. If you're expecting a lot of vintage WCW moments, just like the original WWE version of the DVD presented, then you'll end up very disapointed. Instead the countdown focuses, almost exclusively, on those moments when WCW had wrestling fans everywhere shaking their heads.

It's strange that WWE still feels the need to take shots at a company that not only no longer exists, but they own. Especially with WWE using WCW PPV's as a big selling point for the WWE Network, it seems a bizarre decision to ridicule the company in such a manner. Yes, there are some terrific moments included in the countdown, like Magnum TA and Tully Blanchards "I Quit" Steel Cage bout and the formation of the NWO, but not enough to really justify everything else. Yes, a lot of WCW's later output was abhorent, but I'm sure there was enough good stuff to make this countdown worthwhile (especially considering the WWE version was almost all positive)

To add to the clips shown for each moment, there is a selection of interview clips to give depth and context. Again, if your expecting new insight on these moments, you'll most likely be disapointed, as the interviews are a hodge podge collection of interviews from other sets. If you're a regular to WWE Home Video releases you'll recognise a lot of what is included here. There's also a couple of times where an interviewee pops up for a matter of seconds, before disapearing to be never seen again. A prime example of this would John Cena, who turns up to give an incredible insight, by saying putting the World title on David Arquette was a bad idea, without any explanation as to why.

There some entertaining moments and moments where terrible moments are made entertaining by the surrounding interviews and production. This is a fun DVD to watch with a couple of mates and a few beverages, and have a bit of a giggle at some of the ill-advised antics of World Championship Wrestling, but that doesn't make it a very good documentary. It's lacking any real love and attention that made the previous 3 disc release Ladies and Gentleman...My Name is Paul Heyman such a pleasure to watch. 

Matches & Moments

Similar to the main feature, the matchs and moments included on the next two discs are a selection of WCW's most face-palmable moments, lightly seasoned with some good wrestling at times. 

The set kicks of with the Midnight Express tackling the Road Warriors in a Scaffold match at Starrcade 1986, adding context to Jim Cornette's horrific fall that was included in the countdown. I've never been a fan of Scaffold matches and this slow, plodding and mainly awkward affair didn't do anything to change that.

Despite Jim Ross's best efforts on commentary, Robocop saiving Sting from the Four Horseman at Capital Combat 1990 is a kayfabe-shattering pile of shite. The excitement continues as the Chamber of Horrors from Halloween Havoc 1991 is presented. Whilst the majority of the cometitors try their hardest to create a believable and fairly brutal battle, the match was never going to be able to get past what is a terrible, terrible concept for a match. Two of the competitors from the match, go on to have the first enjoyable tussle of the set. Cactus Jack and Big Van Vader have a back and forth brawl, on a April 1993 edition of Saturday Night, that suits both men down to the ground. It's a shame that the finish of the bout leads to the mind-boggling Jack amnesia angle. 

Things return to normal as Dustin Rhodes and The Blacktop Bully go at it in the King of the Road match at Uncensored 1995 Seriously, why did anyone think this was a good idea? Even the commentary is dire. WCW's obsession with vehicle based wrestling continued at Halloween Havoc 1995, with Hulk Hogan and The Giant going head to head in a Monster Truck Sumo match! It's as bad as it sounds, a complete waste of money and does nothing for nobody. The closing stages of the moment are even worse, as WCW continues it's effort to destroy kayfabe. The two go on to have a wrestling match on the same show, which only really shows up just how green The Giant was at this point, before an overbooked to shit finish. 

A run of moments focus on the formation of the NWO, as Scott Hall debuts on a May 1996 episode of Nitro, with a cool promo, heaped with intrigue for what was to come. Hall is joined by Kevin Nash at Great American Bash 1996, with Hall absolutely nailing it once again on the mic. Eric Bischoff is a good stooge, but in hindsight this makes little sense. It's then time for the big one, as Hall & Nash battle Randy Savage, Sting and Lex Luger at Bash at the Beach 1996. It's easy to forget just how good this match is, when the closing moments is so iconic. Three good moments in a row? WCW was on a roll in 96.

That roll continues into early 1997 as Sting hands his decision to the NWO at Uncensored. Even without the months of build, it's easy to see that this an important moment, that sets up Sting vs Hogan superbly. The run continues to a July episode of Nitro, when "La Parka" takes on Randy Savage. The match itself isn't anything special, but it's what happens in the closing stages and after the match that makes this such a great moment. However, signs of the oncoming shit-storm appear with the NWO's parody of Arn Anderson's retirement speech. It's not particularly and certainly isn't tasteful. To make things even worse, it sounds like there's absolutely no heat and not even a chance for Anderson to get retribution. 

Goldberg vs. Hulk Hogan from a July 1998 episode of Nitro is next and whilst it's easy to argue that this match should have been on PPV, it's still a very cool moment with an uber hot crowd. The match is booked down to a tee and Hogan allows Goldberg to look like a star. Another WCW movie crossover see's Rick Steiner lock horns with Chucky. Jesus Christ. It's made out that the doll is an actor, but is for some reason still called Chucky. Just stupid. Before the madness truly sets in, Bret Hart and Goldberg keep the dream alive on a March 1999 episode of Nitro, with a well worked swerve segment that get's a great reaction from Hart's home crowd. 

From this point on it's diaherea-esque stream of sloppy shits. WCW in the Year 2000 should be avoided with a barge poll. Firstly, Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff "reboot" WCW, in another segment full of kayfabe breaking references, that only the "dirt-sheet" readers would get. There's references to guys wrestling on the other channel at the time, who jumped ship from WCW, surely this is counter-productive exercise? Vampiro and Sting's Human Torch match from The Great American Bash 2000 (certainly not as Great as Dawley) is up next. For a big gimmick match with a long feud behind it, the crowd couldn't give a shit about the match and rightly so. It's a stupid match, with a ridiculous looking stunt. On the same show, Kevin Nash and Jeff Jarrett wrestle a piss poor, over-booked build up match to Goldberg's heel turn at the end. Nash' no-selling is at it's worst here. 

Judy Bagwell on a Pole match. Vince Russo winning the World title. The San Franciso 49'ers Match. That's what this DVD closes with. By the end of the 49'ers match, I was ready to give up entirely on wrestling. All four are over-booked with some of the stupidest gimmicks ever to grace the circle that is squared. I don't want to see these matches ever again, please stop putting them on DVDs!

Finally...


Whilst the documentary had, at least, some redeeming features, with the terrible moments being fleeting and supplemented with interviews, as the other two discs are at times painful to watch. Seeing some of the moments in full back after back could very lead someone to hard drugs. I'm sure the experience they had would be infinitely better than watching the last hour and a half of the third disc. WWE's representation of WCW...Just Say No.



Friday, 12 September 2014

WWE NXT Takeover: Fatal 4-Way Review

After two critically acclaimed NXT specials for WWE, did NXT Takeover: Fatal 4-Way with Adrian Neville defending his NXT Championship against Sami Zayn, Tyler Breeze arecreate the magic of the first two?  Let's take a gander. 



NXT CHAMPIONSHIP FATAL FOURWAY MATCH -  

Tyler Breeze vs. Tyson Kidd vs. Sami Zayn vs. Adrian Neville (C)

 

 

Before getting into the main event, let's talk about the pre-match build up. WWE used four seperate build up packages, placed throughout the show. Each package focused on a different participant in the main event, including short interviews with each man. It was a simple but effect method that made the match feel not only important, but got over each man's character for anyone new to the product. All four men put in competent efforts, with Neville's promo sewing seeds cleverly for the upcoming match, Kidd continuing to develop his new heel persona, Breeze nailing it with the line "Everything I wear matches gold" and Sami Zayn managing to be more likeable than the entire WWE roster in less than minute. 


The match itself, may be one of the best Fatal Fourway bouts that I have ever seen. Whilst the wrestling was (more or less) spot on, it was the booking that made this match so special. By having Neville on the outside for most of the match, it meant his exciting highflying offence was kept to a minimum (which is a strange thing to say as a positive, because I do like me some flips), whilst Sami Zayn was left to battle Tyler Breeze and mainly Tyson Kidd. This got the crowd firmly behind Zayn, who's selling is some of the most believable in wrestling. With a handful of false finishes, like a flurry of offence from Breeze, Breeze almost stealing a pin off a Shooting Star Press from Neville on Kidd and Breeze almost tapping whilst in a Sharpshooter from Kidd, with which the match could have ended without a whole lot of complaint, the stage was set for Sami Zayn to win the NXT title. 

A terrific sequence of action, taking in a crazy suicide dive to Neville, a Tornado DDT (Similar to the ones on Cesaro in their clashes) on Breeze and a Helluva Kick to Kidd, the crowd (and myself) was convinced that Zayn was about to walk away with the title. However, Neville made enough of a recovery to pull the referee out of the ring, hit Zayn with a Superkick on the outside and hit Red Arrow on Kidd, allowing him to hold onto his title. This is where having Neville spend most of the match on the outside paid off, as it was clear that he probably didn't deserve to win the match, and after seeing Zayn battle so hard throughout the contest, it was difficult not to feel aggrieved that he wasn't walking away with the title. Obviously, this is exactly the reaction WWE was after, and they got it with the live crowd and social media both seemingly frustrated that Neville retaining, whether they knew they had been manipulated or not!


With just enough of a tease at what Zayn vs Neville could be like during the match (despite the only botch of the match, where it appeared Neville was attempting a Reverse Rana) to get the fans wanting to see another one on one clash, the stage is set for the next special already. Will Neville's heel turn be effective? Against Zayn most likely, as it's easy to hate anyone attempting to do damage to the former Generic Luchador. Elsewhere, Neville would almost certainly have to drop a lot of the highflying elements of his moveset, for something a little less flashy. A competitve rivalry over the title however, with Neville remaining babyface could be the most effective decision. 


NXT Women's Championship Matc

Bayley vs. Charlotte

 


This match got the pre-match vignette treatment as well, with a very effective video package. Similar to the build up videos for the Fourway, both wrestlers were interviewed about the upcoming match. Both characters were set up nicely, and it made it even easier to become invested in the match. Bayley's promo in particular was a pleasure to watch, conjuring up real emotion, showing just how far the character has come over the last six months. 

The match itself didn't do a whole lot for me. As far as women's matches in WWE go, it was above average, there's no doubt about it, but in the big wide world, it wasn't quite what it could have been. Bayley spent a long time in a Figure Four Headlock, including some very cool roll throughs, which was an interesting variation on the rest hold and got the crowd fully behind Bayley. This made a lot of sense, as it would weaken Bayley for Charlotte's Natural Selection finisher, unfortunately, Bayley didn't sell the neck. It may sound to many, like I'm being picky, but if Bayley had sold the neck, not only would it have increased the audience's empathy for the character, but also would have been a perfect way to keep Charlotte in the match with the preceeding run of roll up's from Bayley. If we'd have seen Bayley grab hold of the neck, allowing Charlotte to kick out at two, it would have made this match so much better. 

There were some impressive moments that made this stand out from a regular "Divas" match, like Bayley's Super Hurracanrana and some creative sequences of reversals, but these lacked the flow they needed to really elevate this match. Charlotte went on to pick up the victory, with an awkward Moonsault, followed up with Natural Selection to retain her title. It wasn't quite the feelgood moment that I had been expecting,o and the lack of story direction in the closing stages of the match left me feeling a little numb, when the pinfall was counted. This was a decent WWE women's match, but it could have been so much more with a few extra touches.

Following the match, Sasha Banks attempted to attack Bayley, with Charlotte making the save. It would appear we'll be seeing Sasha Banks vs Charlotte for the title in the near future, with Charlotte turning face in the process. I'm worried Charlotte will struggle as a babyface, because of her size, and after seeing her work so effectively as a heel opposite Bayley, I'm not sure I particularly want to see this either. Sasha Banks has developed enough on the mic to make this feud work however, so I'm happy to see how this one develops over the coming months.

Undercard

 


The most eye catching thing on undercard was the debut of KENTA who was introduced by NXT General Manager William Regal. Everything about this segment made KENTA (renamed Hideo Itami) look like an absolute star. There was a real focus from both Regal and the commentary team to get over Itami's achievements and just how much of a big deal him signing with WWE is. Even if you had no clue at all who KENTA was, you knew that he was someone to watch out for.

This continued, as The Ascension came out in an attempt to show up Itami, but got royally schooled by the newcomer. Itami took them down with a flurry of offence, finishing up with a Double Dropkick sending Konnor and Viktor to the outside. Taking out the most protected entitity on the NXT roster in your debut is always going to make you look good. WWE clearly has high hopes for Itami, it will interesting to see who they pair him with for his first match next week. 

The Ascension were in action earlier on in the show, defending the tag team titles, against Sin Cara and Kalisto, in a solid opening match. Again this match was made by the booking, with The Ascension dominating early, allowing for a terrific hot tag to Kalisto, who has some very cool offence. It wasn't a particularly complicated match, essentially sticking to a basic tag team format, but the crowd was very into it, with an exciting closing sequence, ending with Kalisto hitting Salida del Sol on Viktor to pick up the win and the tag titles for the newly christened Lucha Dragons. It was a good surprise victory to open the show, with many expecting The Ascension to retain the belts, there's now every possibility the two will be promoted to the main roster soon. 

Enzo Amore and Sylvester LeFort attempted to go where many had failed and create a decent Hair vs Hair match. Did they succeed? Not really. The match was fairly basic, in both structure and the wrestling in the ring. Whilst there was a nice pace to the beginning of the match, it soon broke down and I quickly found myself losing interest. A decent false finish off a Lariat for LeFort was the only thing of any note. Amore's charisma on the microphone and entertaining partnership with Big Cass managed to keep this afloat, but not delivering on shaving LeFort bawld, made a mockery of the stipulation. We did get a bawld Marcus Louis however, due to some magic hair removal cream. 

Rounding off the show, were two squash matches, with Bull Dempsey running through Mojo Rawley in a sloppy brawl, that was difficult to care about. I cared even less when Dempsey attacked Rawley post match. My indifference towards CJ Parker was also rewarded as the debuting Baron Corbin made easy pickings of "The Moonchild" picking up the win in a matter of seconds. 

Finally...

 

For two hours of wrestling, this was a good show, I wouldn't argue if you said a very good show. The Fatal Fourway was an incredible twenty minutes plus of action and even with my complaints about the Women's match, it was still a decent match. Did it live up to the other two NXT specials? I don't think so, but I think that says more about the quality of those shows, than it does about this one.
Tweets by @ATPWrestling