Sunday, 30 May 2004

24th-30th May 2004

Monday, 24th May, 2004;
We take a step back in time on TWC this evening, as we move backwards about six years for the latest Shoot Interview, this week with Al Snow, complete with his companion of the time, Head.

I've a great deal of respect for Al Snow. He's been saddled with some lame-ass gimmicks down the years, but his tenure as the head trainer on the Tough Enough show won him a new legion of fans. He's probably one of the most underrated wrestlers to come out of America in the past few years, and many of the British wrestlers I know often comment on how Al Snow is one of their favourites of all time, he's respected that much.

Al is a great storyteller, and some of his stories and one-liners made for great viewing. Although the material is a little out of date, it was still one of the more enjoyable interviews TWC has shown, and should the opportunity arise, I hope he does another shoot interview soon, or gets the chance to put pen to paper and write a book of his own.

Tuesday, 25th May, 2004;
What time is it? About 10.45pm, a certain gentleman made a welcome return to my television screen.

The legend that is the man they call Vader made his first appearance on The Wrestling Channel, teaming with old buddy Scorpio against Jun Akiyama & Kentaro Shiga in a match for Pro Wrestling NOAH, and for perhaps only the second time in recent weeks, I was actually entertained by a NOAH match.

Seeing Scorpio and Vader in action again made me remember what great talents these two are, and how they were woefully under used in their time in the WWF. Despite both being firmly entrenched in the veteran stages of their careers, they showed that they are just as good as they were ten years ago.

New Japan also had a solid show tonight, with HEAT defending his IWGP Junior-Heavyweight title against former champion Koji Kanemoto in an entertaining encounter, followed by a somewhat confusing "cage of death" match, held in an empty television studio, between Horoshi Tanahashi & Kazunari Murakami. This bout was good, but it was also a perfect example of how a crowd really adds to a live wrestling show.

Wednesday, 26th May, 2004;
It's fan participation night on TWC, as TNA present a main event pitting Jeff Jarrett and Dusty Rhodes in a lumberjack match. However, the lumberjacks are different, they're apparently everyday, run-of-the-mill wrestling fans chosen by Jimmy Hart from the crowd. Most of them look like they wouldn't be out of place in a UKFF get-together photograph.

Jeff Jarrett continues to impress me a great deal as the top heel in the company. I can see why Vince Russo thought so highly of him to make him the top heel in WCW. However, impressive as Jarrett is, for many people he'll always be a big fish in a small pond.

Another entertaining show from TNA here. Just don't bring Lex Luger back anytime soon.

Thursday, 27th May, 2004;
For the first time in a couple of weeks I saw the entire Memphis Classics show, and couldn't help but feel a degree of sadness.

At the beginning of the week wrestling fans around the world were remembering Owen Hart on the fifth anniversary of his tragic death. Watching this show made me think of a couple of other stars who went before their time.

At the Memphis "Clash of the Legends" show last year, the Road Warriors squared off against the team of "Sweet" Stan Lane and "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig. As I watched the footage of this match, I couldn't help but feel some sorrow at the fact that just a few months later, two of the wrestlers in this match, Hennig & Hawk, passed away at such an early age.

Queen said it perfectly in their last song - one by one, only the good die young.

Later in the evening it was my first chance to catch the new format FWA shows, and I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed with it all.

The best-of-three falls match pitting Steve Corino against Doug Williams for the FWA title promised much on paper, and from what I've heard it delivered what it promised to the live crowd. However, much of it seemed missing from the actual television presentation, and what's worse, we didn't even get to see the end of the match.

This is particularly frustrating. I hated it when it happened in the old World Class shows shown on the Lifestyle channel, and I hate it now.

Friday, 28th May, 2004;
As MMK would say, tonight I'm off on another freebie. Check the Show Reviews section of this site to see what happened at the DAM Promotions show in Holt.

After I arrived home from the show, I caught the last match of the New Japan Classics show, a match pitting Keiji Muto, better known to western fans as The Great Muta, against fifty-something veteran Genichro Tenryu, better known to western fans for his appearance at Wrestlemania VII.

The match was excellent, great from start to finish. I had heard that Muto's knees were knackered, and that back in 98 when the match took place, he was half the athlete he was in his heyday in the NWA almost a decade before. Poppycock I say. Muto and Tenryu put on a great exhibition, and I would love to see more of their matches in the New Japan Classics shows in the upcoming weeks.

But please don't give us Big Titon again.

Saturday, 29th May, 2004;
The World of Sport shows continue to provide us with some great entertainment. One segment this weekend was dedicated to one of the greats of British wrestling, a man who made his professional debut over twenty years ago at the tender age of 14, and a man who is still going strong, the one and only Robbie Brookside.

Having met and spoken with Mr. Brookside a great deal, I've come to respect him not just as a wrestler but as a person. He is one of the truely passionate figures of British professional wrestling, and watching these matches in the formative stages of his career was great, a good way of looking back at someone who has done so much not just for British wrestling, but for British wrestling abroad as well. If you get the chance to catch one of the repeat showings in
the next seven days, then do so.

The evening was spent trying to once again take in the Smackdown product. I tried, but it was very difficult. I just can't get into Smackdown anymore. A year ago Raw was the weaker of the two brands, but now, Smackdown is way down on my viewing list. If such a thing is possible, it's even worse than Raw was when it was at it's lowest.

I'll try to catch the next show, but I don't think I'll go out of my way. Even with Eddie Guerrero as champion, the Smackdown brand is fast becoming the WCW of the 21st century.

Sunday, 30th May, 2004;
With some free time on my hands, and with an aching jaw thanks to a dentist's mistake, I took in Supercard Sunday, and the second showing of New Japan's "The Spiral" show, this time shown in full.

The second showing was far better than the first. At least this time we got to see the matches in order, and in full. No hacking and slashing in this showing.

New Japan showed just why it's better presented than it's NOAH counterpart. There was more fizz, more pizzazz from NJPW here, which makes for far better viewing than any of the NOAH showings.

But I still can't get into the Bob Sapp phenomenon. The guy just doesn't do it for me, and from a western point of view, I just can't see what all the fuss is about. What is it about this man that the Japanese fans just gush over?

Highlight of the week - the appearance of Robbie Brookside on World Of Sport.

Lowlight of the week - Smackdown, again!