Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Thursday, 27 September 2012

DVD Extras: ECW One Night Stand 2005

I covered the fantastic ECW One Night Stand 2005 pay per view last week, so this week I thought I'd run through some of the extras on the UK DVD release.

There's nothing particularly overwhelming on this disc, but let's take a look anyway, shall we?

Alternative Commentary with JBL
This isn't so much full-on alternative commentary as it is a series of off-the-cuff remarks and conversations with other wrestlers as JBL and his henchmen watch the show from a balcony. The audio quality isn't good, sounding like JBL's mic is some feet away, and this really adds nothing to the presentation.

Unless you really can't stand listening to Joey Styles and Mick Foley and would prefer to watch the rest of the show from after the Rey/Psicosis match onwards without them, you've really nothing to gain by listening to this audio track

TV spots
Nothing much to see here, these are just two brief TV spots used to promote the show. Despite being very short, they do nonetheless show the original Extreme Championship Wrestling in all their insane glory and should have been more than enough to convince anyone that this pay per view would be well worth the money.

ECW vignettes
Four short video montages of Tommy Dreamer, Sabu, Rob Van Dam and The Sandman, each containing some pretty cool clips of the men in action, are followed by a short promo from The Dudley Boyz who, in a sign of things to come on the PPV, set a table on fire.

Fun stuff, though hardly outstanding.


The ECW Funeral
A nice video package replaying Eric Bischoff's 'ECW Funeral' from WWE Raw, this provides some background into the invasion angle that played out on the show, with Paul Heyman declaring 'gang warfare' on Bischoff. Again, nothing amazing, but a nice little extra

ECW Fans at the show
A WWE Home Video Exclusive, this short clips gives us brief interviews with fans outside the Hammerstein Ball Room, each one paying tribute to the heart, spirit and, yes, violence, that made ECW what it was.
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Thursday, 20 September 2012

PPV Review: ECW One Night Stand 2005

Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, NY
June 12th, 2005


Even after the original Philly-based outfit's demise, the name Extreme Championship Wrestling still resonated fondly in the hearts of die-hard wrestling fans. Looking to captalize on this unwavering popularity for the hardcore favourite, World Wrestling Entertainment revived the brand for, well, a One Night Stand.

Here's what went down.

Receiving the kind of ovation that sends chills down your spine, a clearly emotional Joey Styles welcomed fans to the show before introducing his broadcast colleague for the evening, a man no stranger to ECW, Mick Foley.

Then, with the introductions out of the way, it was on with the action

Match 1: Lance Storm (w/ Dawn Marie) vs. Chris Jericho 

Having begun his career in a match against Jericho back in 1990, Lance Storm looked to bookend his career by facing his long-time friend in what was then to be his final match.

Eschewing the idea that ECW was a promotion focused solely on ultra violence, the two seasoned stars gave a fine account of themselves as technical wrestlers in a stellar opening contest.

Jericho received a thunderous ovation from the New York faithful as he took it to his former Thrillseekers partner, but ultimately it was Storm who got the upper-hand, picking up the win thanks to interference from a kendo-stick wielding Justin Credible.

Your Winner: Lance Storm

Having stolen a victory from his best friend, Storm made a hasty exit from the ring, leaving Jericho to soak up the adulation from a crowd following as a good an opening contest as anyone could have asked for.

Then, after Joey Styles teased the impending arrival of a host of invading WWE stars, Pitbul Garry Wolfe introduced a video to those members of ECW sadly no longer with us, a video featuring more names than many would have liked.

Match 2: Three-way Dance - Tajiri (w/ The Sinister Minister & Mikey Whipreck) vs. Little Guido (w/ The FBI) vs. Super Crazy

Billed as an 'International Three-way dance' this fast-paced contest soon spilled to the outside, allowing Super Crazy to give us our first real 'extreme' moment of the evening by taking out The FBI with a moonsault from the balcony, much to the delight, and 'ECW! ECW!' chants, from the masses.

Things faired no better for the Italians back in the ring when, following a run-in from Tajiri's men, the Japanese Buzzsaw eliminated Guido from the contest.

Yet it was the Insane Luchador who finally triumphed, planting Tajiri with a swift moonsault to end the contest.

Your winner: Super Crazy

Following a look at some of the more memorable moments in ECW's history, it was on with the action.

Match 3: Psicosis vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.

Though similar in style to the previous outing, this battle between two of the most recognisable luchadors in North America managed to go one better with a fast-paced, high-impact offering which delivered everything you might expect, and then some.

Both men traded the advantage several times, enlivening the crowd with crisp, jaw-dropping offence before Mysterio finally put his opponent away with the West Coast Pop.

Your Winner: Rey Mysterio Jr.



Interrupting what had been a fine show thus far, Kurt Angle and JBL led a small army of Smackdown stars to a private viewing box, greeted by fevered chants of 'You suck dick!' and 'Fuck You Smackdown!' from the Hammerstein crowd.

Even now, this writer isn't convinced that this invasion angle was entirely necessarily, especially when Kurt Angle took to the microphone with a rather juvenile anti-ECW promo which consisted of little more than repeating the words 'You people suck and can kiss my ass!'

JBL faired a little better on the mic, though his speech, basically refering to ECW as a garbage promotion full of people taking cane shots to the head made little sense following three first class wrestling matches.

Thankfully, an injured Rob Van Dam arrived on the scene, lambasting the WWE crew and cutting an impassioned promo in which he praised the fans, the spirit of ECW and, of course, himself. Before he left, RVD discussed his knee surgery, claiming that missing the PPV due to the surgery was worse than missing Wrestlemania.

Then, for seemingly no reason, Rhino ran in and gored the hell out of RVD. Sabu then popped up, and we had our next match.

Match 4: Rhino vs. Sabu 

Sabu took the advantage in the early going, battling Rhino in a short, passable contest complete with chairshots aplenty and an awesome plancha onto the outside.

The master of the gore turned the tide, pummelling his foe with some stiff offence, but when the referee took a tumble, RVD returned to the fray, planting Rhino with a chair and helping Sabu land an Arabian Facebuster through a table for the three count.

Your winner: Sabu

Backstage, Al Snow yelled at Head for a while before introducing another video montage, this one mostly featuring people falling through tables.

Following this montage, the 'Raw Crusaders,' led by Eric Bischoff and Edge made their way to their own private box.

Match 5: Chris Benoit vs. Eddie Guerrero

Prior to the match, Joey Styles insisted that this match would be a firm middle finger in the face of everyone who claimed ECW was nothing more than chairshots and tables (so, the previous match then?) and that we would witness 'as good a pure wrestling match as you'll see anywhere.'

He wasn't wrong.

Going at it in a vicious, aggressive wrestling contest, the two now-deceased superstars lit up New York with a thrilling performance that could have easily stood as the main event of a much larger show.

Benoit scored the victory thanks to the Crippler Crossface.

Your Winner: Chris Benoit

Up in the stands, Joel Gertner begged Eric Bischoff for a job. Unsurprisingly, the Raw GM refused before cutting a scathing promo on ECW which put the earlier efforts by JBL and Angle to shame.

Match 6: Mike Awesome vs. Matsato Tanaka 

Throughout the show, Joey Styles had held nothing back when it came to his commentary, shooting when necessary and giving his honest opinion whenever the opportunity arose, yet in the early moments of this brutal-yet-enjoyable contest, Styles went off the rails as he lambasted Awesome for defecting to WCW whilst still ECW champion back in the 1990s.

In one uncomfortable moment following a Mike Awesome suicide dive, Styles commented that 'it's a shame Awesome didn't succeed in taking his own life.' Of course, two years later, and Awesome did just that.

On this night in New York however, he and Tanaka stole the show, planting each other with some vicious offence as the battered each other around the ring, transitioning well from one violent spot to the next until Awesome powerbombed his long-time rival over the top rope and planted him with a second suicide dive for a pinfall on the outside.


Your Winner: Mike Awesome

Overwhelmed by the standing ovation he received from the ECW diehards as he stepped into the ring, Paul Heyman took centre stage next to cut a very personal, very real promo. Thanking Todd Gordon and others who had helped ECW along the way, especially the fans, the former owner of Extreme Championship Wrestling then turned his attentions the WWE stars.

Tearing shreds out of arch-rival Eric Bischoff, Edge ('I have two words to say to you; "MATT FREAKIN HARDY!!"' ...erm, Paul, that's three), and JBL in what would have been a classic promo for the ages had the targets of Heyman's venom sold anything he had to say rather than goofing around and treating the man with the microphone like a silly child.

Match 7: The Dudley Boys vs. Tommy Dreamer & The Sandman

What with The Sandman's usual hour-long entrance and a host of interruptions from The BWO (causing Joey Styles laugh manically), Kid Kash (who took out everybody with an incredible suicide dive), Axl Rotten & Balls Mahoney, tonight's main event took more than a fair while to get going.

When it did however, what came was a wildly entertaining, brilliantly bloody brawl. Bubba Ray and Dreamer tore at each other's flesh with a cheesegrater, The Sandman battered D-Von with a trashcan and ladder shots, chairs flew, chaos ensued and the crowds let rip with appreciative round of 'Holy shit!' chants.

Things turned even more violent with the arrival of The Impact Players as Justin Credible drilled The Sandman with a That's Incredible atop a sphere of barbed wire.

Fans were then treated to an impromptu catfight between Francine and Beaulah McGuilicutty before Beulah reunited with her real-life husband Dreamer to deliver a couple of DDTs to the Dudleys.

Bubba and D-Von fought back, taking out their foes and having Spike Dudley join them in the ring as they sent Tommy Dreamer flying through a flaming table for the win.

Your Winners: The Dudley Boys

Bringing the show to a riotous finale, ECW alum Stone Cold Steve Austin made his way to the ring, rounding up the troops and leading the ECW originals into a hectic brawl against the invading WWE stars. Whilst your reviewer still feels this could have been a perfect show without the Raw and Smackdown involvement, this was a fantastically fun fisticuffs which ended with Mick Foley bringing Eric Bischoff to the ring, Austin leading the charge as The Dudleys, Chris Benoit and Rey Mysterio hit their finishing moves on the former WCW Main man.

Things finally came to a close with a rousing beer bash, the ECW Originals united in triumph.

Overall, a stellar show from start to finish with a string of enjoyable matches, entertainment, comedy and pure emotion. Only the Sabu/Rhino bout failed to surpass expectations, yet even that was enjoyable for what it was. The 'invasion' angle wasn't entirely necessary, but even that did little to detract from what was otherwise a first-rate show. 

====================


Enjoyed this review?
See the action for yourself with this special
edition DVD set combining One Night Stand with The Rise and Fall of ECW

Thursday, 13 September 2012

DVD Review: IWA King of Death Match Tournament 1995

Probably the most famous tournament of its type, and the event that paved the way for such levels of pro-wrestling craziness as CZW, the 1995 King of the Death Match tournament made legends out of the likes of Mick Foley and further cemented Terry Funk's status as a death-defying mad man.

This DVD presentation from the World Wrestling Network began with each of the main competitors on the show being paraded to the ring, before Tiger Jeet Singh defeated Mr. Gannosuke in a Barbed Wire Board & Chain Match.

The bout quickly spilled to the outside, where both men battered each other with fists and vicious chairshots, taking their bloody brawl right into the crowd and back again. Hardly the most thrilling brawl of all time, this nonetheless set the scene of things to come in a solid and bloody fashion, ending when Singh choked out his foe on the barbedwire board for the three count.

After declaring how much they both wanted to win the competition, Terry Funk and Leatherface faced off in much more enjoyable Barbed Wire Board & Chain Match than the opening contest. Using the chain which bound them as a weapon just as much as they used hard fists, barbed wire and even chainsaws, the two engaged in a fantastic brawl which finally saw Terry Funk pick up the win.

Taking on a different style of match, Cactus Jack and Terry 'Bam Bam' Gordy pummelled one another in a Barbed Wire Baseball Bat and Thumbtacks Match. Leaving nothing behind, both men went at it tooth and nail, the highlight coming when Gordy hit a sick powerbomb on his foe into the thumbtacks, only for Cactus to reply with a DDT into the 'tacks for the win.

Not content to leave it at that, the combatants continued to pound on each other following the bell.

In the final first-round bout, Shoji Nakamaki bested Hiroshi Ono in a Barbed Wire Baseball Bat & Thumbtacks Match, a highly entertaining contest which saw more actual wrestling than in any of the previous three bouts, coupled with a dramatic finale involved the 'tacks which put this in front as the match of the night to this point.

In a change of direction, Takashi Okano battled Flying Kid Ichihara for the WWA World Lightweight Heavyweight Championship in an above-average encounter. Following plenty of solid, fast-paced wrestling, Okano rolled up Ichihara to bag the belt.

The non-tournament action continued next as Kamakazi defeated Iceman in a clumsy, ten minute botchfest which achieved nothing more than boring your blogger to tears.


Back to the deathmatch, Terry Funk and Tiger Jeet Singh destroyed each other in their semi-final encounter, a brutal Barbed Wire Board and Glass Match. Joining the match mid way through, we found Singh stabbing -yes, stabbing- his foe, cutting him wide open and ambushing him in the broken glass.
Despite being on the brink of death, Funk fought back and looked to have things under control until, for seemingly no reason whatsoever, Cactus Jack ran in and attempted to take out Funk with Singh's sword. The Funker ducked, causing Cactus to nail Singh and cost him the match.

Having inadvertently sent Funk through to the final Jack secured his own spot by defeating Shoji Nakamaki in a gruesome Barbed Wire Board and Spike Nail Match.  The native of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico dominated the bulk of the match, tearing at this rival's flesh with a visceral delight. Nakamaki refused to die, absorbing blow after blow, cut after cut, yet continuing to bring the fight. Eventually, Jack's sadistic nature proved to much for the Japanese star, and a double-arm DDT into the barbed wire sent Cactus Jack into the final.

On the way back to the locker room, a manical Cactus Jack screamed at the camera, vowing that when he met with Terry Funk in the final, they would 'seperate the men from the old bastards!'

As darkness fell, the crowds were given a respite from the bloodshed as The Headhunters took on Silver King and El Texano for the IWA World Tag Team Championship. Despite the complete lack of atmosphere, both teams put on a decent matchup, culiminating in a big splash to El Texano to give the win, and the tag team titles, to The Headhunters.

Heading to the back, then-reigning NWA and UFC champion Dan 'The Beast' Severn could barely hide his nerves as he spoke of taking on Tarzan Goto, but take him on he did in a stiff, hard-hitting contest.

Having been out-wrestled by the champion, Goto resorted to breaking a bottle to attack the champion with, only for The Beast to defend himself with a chairshot before things broke down into a messy, chaotic fight in the middle of the crowd.



The bout descended into further chaos as both champ and challenger resorted to literally throwing chairs across the arena at each other, eventually using them to knock the hell out of each other in what was quickly becoming the match of the night.

Following a heated exchange, Severn walked away still your NWA Heavyweight Champion. Dissatisfied with the result, Tarzan yelled at The Beast and pounced on him. When the dust had settled, Severn then challenged his rival to a rematch, this time for Goto's IWA title. 

Back in the locker room, Severn then claimed to have been fighting for his life out in the ring, something Cactus Jack and Terry Funk could experience for themselves as they met in the tournament final, a No-Rope Barbed Wire, Exploding Barbed Wire Board, Exploding Ring Time Bomb Death match (easy for me to say, right?)

The match got off to a slow start, neither man in any hurry to approach the barbed wire, but once they did, this slowly but surely developed into a violent, punishing war, complete with blood, explosions and sickening bumps aplenty. 

As time ticked on, seconds counting down until the ring, rigged with explosives as due to go up in flames, Tiger Jeet Singh ran in to assist Cactus, though did little to really help. Following the, admittedly disappointing explosion, Cactus, his ragged face soaked in thick blood dragged a ladder into the ring and literally toppled off it onto Funk to win the tournament, bringing this sadistic bloodbath to a close.

If you're a fan of Foley, Funk, hardcore or 'death match' style wrestling, then this really is one event you need to see. Sure it drags in places, but for the most part, it's a brilliantly brutal offering from the short-lived IWA Japan, and one that really served to make Mick Foley such a legend.
====================


Thursday, 6 September 2012

DVD Extras: WWE Survivor Series 2006

Having reviewed the 2006 WWE Survivor Series event last week, I thought it might be good to run through the limited number of extras available on the UK DVD release.

Here goes.

Todd Grisham interviews Lita after her match
Having dropped the WWE Women's Championship to Mickey James earlier in the evening, the outgoing diva reflected on her career in World Wrestling Entertainment, her relationship with the fans and, having made the decision to leave the company, whether she would ever return.

Done completely in kayfabe, the woman better known to her folks as Amy Dumas gave a convincing argument as she claimed to be tired of the disrespect she'd recieved at the hands of DX, Cryme Tyme and the WWE fans and that she was looking forward to the next chapter in her career.

Mr. McMahon's Kiss My Ass Cartoon
Probably the most bizare, incomprehensible piece of animation this writer has ever seen, this special Thanksgiving edition of an apparently short-lived cartoon featuring, yes, Mr. McMahon's ass as its central character is the sort of thing that can't adequately be put into words.

That's not to say I didn't try, but sadly the only words I could up with were weird, scary and WTF?

Instead then, here's the cartoon.



Survivor Series 1987 Main Event Match:
Hulk Hogan, Bam Bam Bigelow, Paul Orndorff, Ken Patera and Don Muraco vs.Andre the Giant, Rick Rude, One Man Gang, Butch Reed & and King Kong Bundy

If you can ignore the fact that, on this DVD at least, this match from 1987 has Michael Cole and JBL doing ruining the old-school atmosphere with a retrospective commentary job, this is actually quite a fun addition to the DVD.

Showing that WWE did, at one point, know how to really tell a story in these elimination matches, this is actually far better than any of the Traditional Survivor Series matches on display at Survivor Series 2006.

Following some good, entertaining back and forth action, Hulk Hogan got himself counted out, leaving Bam Bam Bigelow alone to represent his side against Andre the Giant and his remaining team mates One Man Gang and King Kong Bundy. Bigelow toppled the latter two, but eventually felled to the mighty giant .
Strangely (or not), despite having nothing to do with the last five or six minutes of action, Hogan then returned to the ring as a mighty hero to soak up the adulation of the crowd to close the show. This was a great, enjoyable addition to the DVD, and a huge bonus for old-school fans like your humble blogger.
====================



Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.