Thursday, 12 July 2007

NWF Superstars Spectacular '86 - DVD Review

A few weeks ago I reviewed the DVD release of NWF: Kids Pro Wrestling - The Untold Story, which told of how a fourteen year old promoted his own shows and gained national exposure on public access television. Now we’re going to take a look back at their first show at the Anoka Armoury in Anoka, Minnesota, Superstar Spectacular ‘86.

After an introduction from the now adult Shawn “Crusher” Crossen, we open with a video montage, which takes a look at the events leading up to the matches on the show, before we go to the first match as the Tokyo Terror faces the masked Blank Panther. The first thing that is more than evident is that these kids have trained themselves. The action is poorly executed, with even a simple body slam looking poor, and with the time limit expiring and the match being declared a draw, this poor opener didn’t bode well for the rest of the DVD.

Tag-team action for the next few matches, as the Rough Russians challenge the Super D’s for the lightweight tag titles, although one of the Russians is replaced by the Iranian Sheik. It’s pretty much the same as the last match move-wise, with the Sheik piledriving one of his opponents before the Russian boy tagged in to get the title winning pin.

Next, the Eliminators face off against the Ring Warriors. This one is poor, so poor that I started to nod off while watching it. Poor execution, poor psychology, and just four kids beating the hell out of each other rather than showing any skill they might have. The Warriors won after a really awful looking Doomsday Device clothesline off the top rope.

Then the Invaders challenge the US Enforcers for the National tag titles. The trend continued in this one with poor suplexes, body slams and high risk moves with the Invaders winning the titles after a body slam.

More title action follows as Mr. X and Mr. X II challenge the Barbarians for the World tag titles. Now this match was a little better than the previous ones, but only just. Four guys who actually dressed like wrestlers and who looked like they’d actually been through basic training put on a passable match that missed that certain “something”. After Mr. X II abandoned his partner, the Barbarians were able to take care of Mr. X to retain the title, before Mr. X II returned to clean house and reunite with his partner.

The final tag match of the show sees Team USA facing the Russian Destroyers for the six man title. After the slight upturn in fortunes with the last match, normal service is resumed here. The early part of the match is difficult to watch because of where some of the wrestlers are standing. It’s the usual standard with Team USA winning after a high knee on one of the Russians.

We finally get back to singles action with Crusher Crossen facing Pretty Boy Taylor in a strap match for the NWF title. This one wasn’t actually that bad, with Taylor and Crossen pulling off some good looking moves and holds, even if the psychology of the match was a little lacking at times. The match ended in a double count-out as both wrestlers brawled around the ring.

The final match is a lumberjack match as Bulldog Butcher takes on the Iranian Sheik. This one was hard to watch, mainly because the lumberjacks were obscuring the view of the camera, which meant that you couldn’t see a lot of what was happening. But what I did see looked a bit of a mess, with the Sheik getting the win, and a wild brawl involving all the wrestlers ending the show.

Not many extras on this DVD, just a couple of promos, and a plug for the Kid’s Pro Wrestling book.

In conclusion - when Shawn Crossen asked me to review these DVDs, he asked me to take into account the lack of training of some of his wrestlers. Sadly, while watching this release, that was something I just couldn’t do. Apart from the X’s/Barbarians and Taylor/Crossen bout, every other bout was pretty poor, and it was obvious that most of these kids hadn’t even undertaken basic wrestling training. I literally winced when I saw some of the poorly executed moves, even though this show took place twenty years ago, and I know that no injuries were sustained.

So while I enjoyed the NWF - The Untold Story documentary, it was the opposite with Superstars Spectacular ‘86. Those of you who watched the NWF on cable access back in the day may be interested in this, but I doubt that anyone else will.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be taking a look at the other three DVDs in the Anoka Armoury series. Watch this space.

With thanks to Shawn Crossen for supplying a copy of this release. For more information on the NWF, including details on their DVD releases, log onto www.nwfwrestling.net.