Monday, 17 September 2007

RQW Clacton March 2005 - DVD Review

This edition of The Two Sheds Review sees the debut of perhaps the most successful wrestling promotion in the UK at the moment, Real Quality Wrestling. Owned by Len Davies, RQW has quickly risen to the top of the tree thanks to sound business practices, good booking, and a weekly programme on TWC Fight which not only showcases their own shows, but matches from other promotions as well.
But we’re not going to take a look at their current product. Instead we’re going back in time to March 2005 and one of their early DVD releases, filmed by Pinfall Productions at a venue I know very well, the Princes Theatre in Clacton. Our commentators for this show are Pinfall regulars John Johnson and Dan Ambrose.
The first match of this four match show features Charlie Goodfella taking on “The Wonderkid” Jonny Storm. Goodfella is actually Charlie Rage doing an Italian gangster-style gimmick, but these day he’s going by the name that’s brought him the most success, although it’s interesting to note that Goodfella has RAGE on the back of his ring jacket, knee and elbow pads. Jonny Storm is, well, Jonny Storm, and if you don’t know who he is by now I’m not going to be the one to remind you. It’s a great way to start the show, with Goodfella’s sheer power going up against the faster and high-flying skill of Storm, and watching this you can see why Goodfella/Rage impressed the WWE scouts during a tryout with them a while back. As usual, Storm puts in a tremendous performance, as he always does, but not even this was enough to overcome Goodfella. After connecting with a low blow out of sight of the referee, he finished Storm off with a press slam, sending him crashing to the mat before going for the pin. Two great performances here, and this is certainly a match I’d watch again.
Next up, the masked Japanese star Professor Ikeda, coming to the ring to the old WWF Orient Express music, faces Irish star Eamon O’Neil, otherwise known as Eamon Shrahan of FWA Academy fame. This is very much a British-style match, with both wrestlers showing great technical expertise, Ikeda especially, as he worked over O’Neil’s arms and legs with submission holds, including arm bars and an Indian death lock. The Irishman came back well, eventually finishing Ikeda off with a top-rope elbow drop. The stipulation of the match meant that O’Neil was allowed to unmask Ikeda, but the masked man did a runner before this could happen. Anyways, a good match here, a good way of following on from the great opener.
Match three sees Andy “Boy” Simmonz against “Flying” Phil Powers in a best of three falls match fought over six five minute rounds. Simmonz, of course, used to be a butler in the FWA, a gimmick that disguised his wrestling skill a great deal, and who has now carved out a career as a cocky heel, and Powers was one of the top stars in the old UWA on Live TV in 1999. An old school kind of match here with some great technical stuff from the off. Powers got the first fall after going from coast-to-coast with a top rope dropkick on Simmonz before getting the pin with a northern lights suplex. Simmonz went on to dominate for the most part, centring his attack on Powers’ leg, which he injured after landing awkwardly after missing a top rope dropkick. Simmonz went on to get the equalizer when Powers submitted to an Indian deathlock. Simmonz attack on Powers’ injured wheel continued, and although Powers came back well, he again landed badly on his injured knee when he missed a 450 splash. Simmonz could have had the victory there and then, but decided to argue with Powers’ corner man (whom he’d clobbered earlier in the bout), instead of going for the pin. This cost him dearly, as Powers recovered and scored the winning pinfall with a roll-up. Then, Lloyd Ryan, former manager of the legendary Kendo Nagasaki, appears, challenging Powers and a partner of his choice to a match against his team, the U.K. Pitbulls, a challenge Powers accepted. Apart from the bit at the end, this was a another great match, and a really impressive performance by both Simmonz and Powers. So that’s three matches in a row I’ve enjoyed. Can this streak go on?
The fourth and final match is a battle of the big men, as the “Battling Barbarian” Karl Kramer, who made his TV debut way back in the old World of Sport days, against the ever comical Flatliner, whom some of you may remember from his appearance on Jimmy Carr’s game Distraction. Matches featuring two big guys against each other can either be great or total disasters. This one wasn’t that bad, although some of Flatliner’s somewhat “comical” tactics left a lot to be desired. Oh well, at least it keeps the kids in the audience happy. Kramer took some impressive bumps for such a big man, and he put on a very good showing here. As always a match of this kind, we get the slow, methodical approach. Now great technical or high-flying stuff here (well, sort of). This is nothing more than a brawl, which Kramer could have won. Having scored with a tremendous looking big splash from the top rope, he went for the pin, but pulled Flatliner off the mat so he could inflict even more punishment. The brawling then continued as they hit each other with chairs and leather belts, and even referee Tom Thumb got caught up in the middle of things, getting accidentally sandwiched between the two big men. As the rest of the wrestlers ran in from backstage to stop the brawling, the referee had no choice but to halt proceedings and rule the bout a no contest. But not even this was enough to stop the brawling as they continued their fight backstage. Now, I’ve never really been a fan of Flatliner’s matches in the past, but this one was good, with a good storyline throughout, and it made me want to see how the rivalry between these two big men played out.
In conclusion - this was a very good show, and it was very enjoyable to see some early action from a promotion that has taken British wrestling by storm. The product of just two years ago is very different to the sort of stuff you’ll see on their TWC Fight show, but it’s still good nonetheless. Top quality wrestling filled with great performances, with my only criticism being that there were only four matches on this release, and no extras!
Production wise, it’s up to Pinfall’s usual high standards. Messrs Johnson and Ambrose did a good job of calling the action, and even though some other commentators may get a bit more praise for their work on the TWC Fight shows, these two are probably the best combination working in British wrestling today.
Now normally I end a DVD review by telling you where you can get a copy of this release. But the thing is I’m not really sure if this one is still available to buy. If this review has convinced you to hunt around, I would suggest contacting Pinfall Productions through their website at www.pinfall.net, or RQW through their website, www.realqualitywrestling.com.
However, if you’re interested in seeing the more up-to-date RQW product, you can order their DVDs through one of my sponsors, A-Merchandise, by visiting www.a-merchandise.co.uk.