Thursday, 12 July 2007

1PW A Cruel Twist of Fate - DVD Review

Super shows seem to be the in-thing here in Britain at the moment. They began with The Wrestling Channel’s International Showdown, before moving on to Universal Uproar, both of which took place at the Coventry Skydome. But these Alex Shane-promoted shows were just the tip of the iceberg, as wrestling merchandise company 1 Up Games soon jumped on the bandwagon with their debut show. A Cruel Twist of Fate, held at the Doncaster Dome last October, and released on DVD shortly afterwards.

Disc one begins with a good opening sequence, before we move on to our first bout, tag-team action featuring Jonny Storm and Jody Fleisch against Chris Sabin and Jerry Lynn. A great way to start the show with a bout very much in the X division style. Great performances and team work from all four men and a bout filled with fast past action as Storm pinned Sabin following the Wonderwhirl.

Next up, Tracey Smothers, with his bodyguard MTX, who hails from the previously undiscovered Italian province of Northampton, goes up against the Blue Meanie. A comedy bout, complete with a dance contest in the middle of the bout, sees the Meanie almost get the pin after a Meaniesault, only for MTX to throw a chain to Smothers while he distracted the ref. Smothers then clobbered the Meanie for the victory.

We then move on to six man action, as Ice XVII, James Tighe and Ross Jordan take on Stevie Lynn, Shabazz and Spud. Tons of fast paced action here, so fast it was difficult to follow at times. The end came when Spud pinned Jordan after a tornado DDT. After the bout, Stirling James Keenan and the monster Abyss stormed the ring. After taking Lynn out with the Black Hole Slam, the monster took out Spud with the Torture Rack Drop. Keenan then promises that Abyss will end the career of A.J. Styles later on, before the man himself comes down to the ring to confront Abyss, only for security to separate them.

Keenan then stays in the ring for his bout with Celebrity Wrestling and former WWF star D’Lo Brown. This is the first time I’ve seen Keenan in action, and I was impressed. A good bout here, with both men putting together some good exchanges, with Keenan getting the win with a small package as Brown went for the third of the Three Amigo suplexes. After the bout, Brown spent a few minutes in the ring in silent reflection, before confronting a fan who called him a loser.

Title time next as the King of Old School, Steve Corino, defends his AWA World title against WWE’s Al Snow, who is accompanied to the ring by Head. What looked like a good match on paper proved to be good in the ring. Lasting over forty minutes, we started off with some great wrestling action from the two protagonists, which degenerated into a slugfest, then saw some outside interference from Tracey Smothers and the Blue Meanie. We then got a parade of finishers from both men - a Pedigree, a choke slam, the People’s Elbow, ankle lock and more, before Corino finally got the pin following a lariat, or should that be a Clothesline from Hell? Anyway, a great bout with a ton of action that had me in fits of laughter.

On to disc two, starting with Iceman taking on the hard-hitting Low-Ki. Now normally I’m really impressed with Low-Ki when he gets in the ring, but not this time. All he could do with Iceman here was punch, chop and kick the hell out of him. For whatever reason, Iceman seemed over-awed by his opponent, and unable to keep up with him, which made for a poor and unexciting bout, which Low-Ki won after Iceman passed out while in the Dragon Clutch. A twenty minute bout which was fifteen minutes too long, and an example that perhaps Iceman should stick to the hardcore stuff.

Following this was a battle of the technical masters, as Doug Williams took on Austin Aries. After the disappointment of the last match, this was just what the doctor ordered, nearly twenty minutes of action from two great wrestlers, back and forth action which saw Williams get the win after the Chaos Theory.

Then it’s time for the three way brawl featuring old rivals Raven, the Sandman and Tommy Dreamer. Raven’s pre-match rant at the fans is classic, as they cheer for everything he says, even the mention of the colour blue, but sadly a certain Metallica song is missing from the Sandman’s usual beer-filled five minute entrance through the crowd. If you’re looking for a technical classic, then this isn’t the match for you. This is nothing more than a weapons filled brawl, albeit an entertaining one, even though the Sandman looks out of it most of the time. After tons of weapons shots from all three men, as well as Raven’s valet Scrumptious, Dreamer helped the Sandman to victory as after the Sandman came crashing down on Raven with a senton through a table. Afterwards, Dreamer seemed to take great delight in giving souvenirs to the fans.

Finally, it’s time for the main event as A.J. Styles faced Abyss, who was replacing Matt Hardy, who apparently had something else to do on this day. Despite the vast difference in size, these two managed to put on a good bout. The monster’s manager, Stirling James Keenan, was thrown out early by the ref, but returned to clobber Styles later. Abyss soon brings the thumb tacks into play, but is power bombed onto them after failing to suplex Styles from the top rope. Styles soon finished his man off after a Spiral Tap from the top rope.

The extras on disc two feature the Proving Ground Battle Royal, won by the Pukka One himself, Darren Burridge. Then there’s the fans Q&A session, which is hijacked by the Sandman, who proves to be great entertainment. Finally, a promotional appearance at a Doncaster Rovers game by Al Snow and Tommy Dreamer, in which Dreamer professes his hatred of rivals Bradford City, and Snow wins an impromptu match with the Doncaster Rovers mascot.

In conclusion - an impressive debut from 1PW here. Aside from the Iceman/Low-Ki bout, each bout came across very well. Production wise this can’t be faulted, as the Doncaster Dome seems like a perfect venue for a wrestling show. Commentators Kingdom James and Joe Dombrowski did their job very well, although my only criticism of them is that they didn’t make any comments during the entrances or the after match happenings. But overall everything looked extremely well organised, and I look forward to seeing a lot more from 1PW in the future.