Thursday, 12 July 2007

FWA When Thunder Strikes - Video Review

It's video review time again, and this week we travel back in time to April 21st, 2001, and the Frontier Wrestling Alliance's "When Thunder Strikes" show from Bolton.
The video begins with an opening promo by Alex Shane, hyping his match with Scott Parker. Shane is pretty much the character we see on FWA TV now, but without the receding hairline.

A video montage then follows, introducing the show, showing that the FWA's production values have increased a great deal over the past three and a half years.

Then, Scott Parker replies to Alex Shane, which is pretty much a generalised answer to Shane's previous comments.

Tag-Team Champions the New Breed then shill their match with the Castanos, making the obvious comments about the Castano's Colombian heritage, and promoting the upcoming shows on Portsmouth's My TV.

The show begins, and I realise there is no commentary, and you all know how I feel about this sort of thing from a supposed professional video release.

The ring announcer shills Nova's appearance, the merchandise stall and the raffle at the interval. Mo Chatra then comes out as the guest ring announcer. Mo really hasn't changed in the past few years. His introduction style is as wooden as his presenting style on U.K. Round-Up is.

Then it's "Hazardous" Paul Travell against "The Specialist" Mark Sloan. FWA-North promoter and Sloan's manager Jon Farrer (now there's a blast from the past) announces that this match is in the first round of the FWA title tournament, because champion Justin Richards has been stripped of the title for no-showing. Also, a young and slimmer James Tighe is at ringside. Travell has a kind of pudding bowl haircut, and this is before Sloan
dressed like a speed bump. Sloan is basically the same wrestler he is today, while Travell is a sort of generic baby face, nowhere near as buts as he is now. Not a bad little opener here, with Travell winning with what looked like an Angle Slam. Tighe looked very nervous at ringside as Sloan's corner man. The camera work was shoddy at times, missing out on some of the action.

Then it's that Tag-Team title match between the New Breed and the Castanos. Jorge shows that he seems to have lost his command of the English language since 2001, as he couldn't understand a word Stevie Knight was saying to him earlier this year. I found it difficult to watch this match because of the poor camera work and editing. The camera was shaking so much at times I thought the cameraman was having a fit or something. The bout ended when the Castanos were disqualified when Mo Chatra, still acting as guest ring announcer, jumped the ring and helped the Castanos attack the New Breed with title belts and chains. Chatra then grabbed the mic and told how he would take the Castanos to the top, forgetting that his interference actually cost them the titles by getting them disqualified. A pretty awful piece of mic work from Mo here, and to think he criticised Pat Roach's mic skills in Powerslam a while back.

Next up Guy Thunder is about to cut an in-ring promo, but he's interrupted by some guy who I have no idea is, apparently something to do with EWW Champion The Dominator. Alex Shane then appears with his security team, beating up on a fan on his way around the ring. Shane demands an EWW title shot, and is about to get a reply when Scott Parker arrives on the scene, annoyed that Shane has apparently forgotten about their match. A
brawl then erupts before Shane and The Dominator run for cover.

Up next is a young James Tighe, against "Tomcat" Kevin O'Neil. Interesting to see Tighe here, although it's obvious that he's not the polished article he is today. O'Neil is okay, as is the match itself, but it's not exactly a show stealer, with O'Neil winning after a tiger driver. It would certainly be interesting to see these two wrestler each other now, considering the great strides Tighe has made since then.

Then it was on to Jack Xavier versus Scotty Rock for the EU title. An enjoyable bout, but very spot based, very much in the FWA style, with Rock defeating Xavier after clobbering him with his title belt after the ref had been accidentally clobbered. He then finished Xavier off with a good looking top rope leg drop.

Doug Williams then cuts an in-ring promo saying how annoyed he is that he's out of the title picture again. He then begins to insult his opponent, Nova, before the American charges the rings, thankfully without his fitness supplements, and Williams runs for cover. As is the way when baby face Americans visit these shores, Nova praises the locals, but doesn't call any of them fat. Williams was really trying to hard to be a heel here.

Then the action is interrupted by a music video by some goth/metal band. No introduction or anything, so I have no idea who they are, what the sort is, or what relevance it has to the show.

Back to the show, Chris Curtis comes to the ring, saying he is here to replace the injured Bas Van Kunder in the TLC match against Stu Fury. Curtis is about to pile drive the ring announcer when Fury attacks him with a chair. Fury then gains the upper hand and leaves Curtis laid out after a weapons filled brawl.

After this impromptu skirmish, it's back to business as Scott Parker takes on Alex Shane. Shane comes to the ring with a Tyson-sized posse, and cuts a promo trying to get the crowd on his side, and one point imitating the great Road Dogg. Sorry Shane, leave this sort of thing to B.G. Lots of brawling with weapons around the arena, with Shane pinning Parker after his One Night Stand finisher, after the Dominator tried to interfere on Parker's behalf. On okay match in parts, again ruined by the poor camera work which missed much of the out of the ring brawling. Shane wasn't that impressive, and it was obvious Parker was carrying him to some extent. It made me wonder what Parker could have achieved if he hadn't been a bit part player in The Family.

TLC action next, with Stu Fury taking on Chris Curtis. So what can I say about this match - slow, plodding, and difficult to watch due to the single camera that was used, which meant that much of the brawling was (again) missed, and coming so soon after the weapons-strewn Shane/Parker brawl, this bout seemed like it was in the wrong position on the card. Fury eventually came out on top.

The Dominator then defended his EWW title in yet another match in which weapons played a large part in the proceedings. Dominators large entourage attacked challenger Guy Thunder a number of times, and the faced painted one used what looked like a dagger on Thunder's head at one point. Thunder was able to get the tin after Alex Shane attacked the champ with another foreign object. Thunder then scored the pin after a power bomb
followed by a top rope frog splash.

Then it was main event time, as Doug Williams took on Simon Dean...I mean Nova. Definitely the match of the night here, with some great back and forth action from both men, with Nova beating Williams with what I could only call a reverse power slam, although I'm sure someone will tell me what the move is.

So let's begin with the overall conclusion part of the review.

Production quality: The in-arena production quality was okay. A good setting for the FWA long before they used elaborate sets and pyros, although newer FWA fans may be surprised, or even put off, by this kind of thing.

Video production quality left a lot to be desired. The so-called professional production quality of Strong Style Tapes was almost impossible to watch at times, with the camera missing important parts of the action.

Commentary: Non-existent, and if you've read my previous video reviews, you'll know that I hate that sort of thing from a so-called professional video production company. Mind you, at least we didn't have to put up with Nick London's constant cries of "bloody hell Tony!"

Overall conclusion: The poor video production harmed this in many ways, detracting from the overall quality of the matches. If this had been better, I may have given some of the matches better ratings. Overall, not a bad show, and very interesting to see the FWA product of nearly four years ago. It's certainly interesting to see how far, in every aspect, they've come as a promotion since then.

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