Thursday, 12 July 2007

The Best of Burchill - DVD Review

He’s been touted as a superstar of the future. British sensation Paul Burchill, having plied his trade on the British wrestling scene since his debut in 2002, relocated to America at the beginning of the year when he was taken on by World Wrestling Entertainment. But how did the FWA’s “Rookie Monster” fare outside of Britain’s most hyped wrestling promotion? You can find out how in Figure Four Film’s “Premier Promotions: The Best of Burchill”.

For those of you not familiar with Premier’s product, they are the only promotion in Britain who still promote the old style of British professional wrestling, with every singles match fought over the rounds system, over three falls. Tag matches are fought over periods rather than rounds, but still over three falls.

The compilation begins with Burchill taking on Japanese star Kendo Kashin. This was the first time I’d seen a Kashin match in ages, and I was impressed, as I was with Burchill. Notable appearance here from Gareth “Doris” Reed, Kashin’s corner man for the evening. With Burchill getting the first fall in round two with a backslide, and Kashin equalising two rounds later with a roll-up, Kashin got the victory with a roll-thru, having choked Burchill on the ropes with his legs.

Next, Burchill teams with Doug Williams against Hade Vansen and the Masked Emperor. Many fans consider Burchill and Williams something of a dream team in British wrestling. Notable appearance from Burchill’s manager in the FWA, Dean Ayass, as time-keeper in this bout, although many of you will know that the Twisted Genius is a regular at Premier shows in Worthing. In an exciting bout, Williams and Burchill defeated Vansen and the Emperor two falls to nothing. The first fall came when Williams went for a small package on Vansen, which the Emperor reversed. As the referee admonished the masked man, Burchill came in and reversed the move again, so Williams got the three count. Their second fall came after some break-neck action with Burchill scoring with a leg drop off the second rope, and Williams connecting with his bomb scare knee drop. Good stuff all round here.

A return to singles action next, as Burchill takes on Roy Knight, otherwise known as the Zebra Kid. Another good piece of good match-making from the Premier management. Classic stuff here, as young Mr. Knight plays the heel to perfection, using every old trick in the book to keep the upper hand. Knight got the first fall in the third round with a very un-scientific move - a chair shot to the skull when the ref’s back was turned. Burchill came back a round later with a roll-up, but Knight called in the reserves to get the final fall, as his old man, Rowdy Rick, distracted Burchill as Knight junior connected with a super-kick to get the winner.

Burchill then takes on his tag-team partner from the tag bout, Doug Williams, in what was actually Burchill’s first match for Premier Promotions. Burchill plays the heel here, but he’s nowhere near as good as Knight was in the previous bout. With Burchill scoring first with an armbar submission and Williams equalising with a roll-up after the ref kicked Burchill’s arms off the ropes, the bout ended in a time-limit draw with several pin attempts as the sixth and final round came to an end.

To finish the collection, it’s a veritable battle of the generations as Burchill goes up against British veteran and former WCW star Dave Taylor, making it William Regal’s current tag partner going up against William Regal’s former tag partner. A notable appearance here from the legendary Steve Grey as guest referee. Mutual respect all round here, and a good old school kind of bout. The first fall came in the second round, as Burchill scored with a sunset flip. A round later, Taylor came back with a roll-up, before getting the winner by pinning Burchill after a butterfly suplex.

The only extra comes in the form of a short music video, featuring highlights of all the matches in this collection.

In conclusion - if you’ve only seen the man in the FWA, or the slightly watered-down WWE version, then you may be in for a shock here. Under the Premier Promotions banner, Paul Burchill proved what a great young talent he is, and just why WWE took him on. There are some great matches in this collection, and it’s hard to pick out one for special praise. Production wise, apart from the lack of commentary, this production can’t be faulted.