This edition of The Two Sheds Review has an international flavour once again, and having travelled to Japan for IWA’s King of the Death Match ‘95 tournament, we’re now going to take in a bit of Ireland, as we present Irish Whip Wrestling’s supershow from Dublin, which took place back in March 2005, featuring a mouth watering main event clash, Christopher Daniels v A.J. Styles. Our host for the evening is Eamon D’Arcy.
Our show begins with singles action, as “the ladies’ hero” Dave Zero faces C.J. Summers, “the American Rock Star“. Before the match even begins, Zero cuts a promo insulting Dublin, which is something that many visitors to Britain and Ireland do, before turning his attention to the locals. Then Summers comes to the ring and puts in his two cents worth, and it’s about five minutes before they actually start to wrestle. And when they did finally wrestle, it was a mixed bag. Most of the moves between the two seemed rather forced early on, without any flow to them, with a few mistakes being made by both men. But as the match progressed, things got better. Summers missed a frog splash from the top rope, allowing Zero to get the win with his lady’s choice finisher. The after match activity mainly consisted of Summers kicking Zero’s backside, but to be honest with you I kind of lost my interest in this match with the overlong promos.
Next up, Bam Katranz taking on Mad Man Manson, brought to the ring in a strait jacket. What’s notable is that Katranz seems to injure his foot or ankle when he jumps over the top rope, and spends a great deal of time limping around the ring during the introductions. Now here’s the thing; when we’re told that a wrestler is a mad man and crazy and psychotic, you think that perhaps he’ll wrestle in the style of Abdullah the Butcher or the Sheik. But the thing is, Mad Man Manson doesn’t, which for me totally ruins his character. Although it must be said that Manson is a very capable wrestler. This is essentially a squash match, as Manson beats Katranz from pillar to post, before finishing him off with his version of the camel clutch. A good exhibition of Manson’s wrestling ability here, even if his wrestling ability and character don’t go together.
It’s Britain v America next, as “Da Pukka One” Darren Burridge takes on future “Motor City Machine Gun” Chris Sabin. This was a tremendous match, lasting nearly twenty minutes, although it really didn’t seem that long. When the match began, Sabin matched Burridge hold for hold, showing great wrestling skill in the British sort of way, and it was only about ten minutes into the match that Sabin unleashed his high-flying arsenal to devastating effect. But after all the high impact moves, it was a simple move that ended the bout. After a quick succession of move and counter move, Burridge got the pin with a simple roll-up to end what was a great contest. This is definitely one that I’ll watch again, and if IWW ever release a “Best of” DVD, then this match should be on it.
Then it’s on to four way action, featuring Red Vinny, M-Dogg 20, Jonny Storm and Jody Fleisch. This was, in fact, one of Fleisch’s first matches after his return from his self-imposed exile. I was expecting tons of high spots and fast paced action from this one, and this is exactly what I got. Fleisch looked like he hadn’t missed a step during his time away, and credit is also due to Storm, Dogg and Vinny for their effort here. After the obligatory flights over the top rope by the four wrestlers, we got the obligatory fight through the crowd, which involved fighting in front of the bar, before the action returned to the ring. False finishes aplenty followed as each man unleashed their signature move, before Vinny got the win, pinning M-Dogg with what could only be termed the simplest move of the match - a sunset flip. In all a great little bout, and another that will probably end up on that IWW highlights DVD.
Back to singles action, as Charlie Rage faces the man with the most Irish name in the world, Seamus O’Shaunessy. Rage impressed during a WWE tryout a while back, while O’Shaunessy is currently learning his trade under a WWE developmental contract. It’s obvious from watching this that SOS wasn’t the finished product in this battle of the powerhouses, but you could also see just why WWE were taking an interest in him. Although a little shorter than I expected, this match was good, but not great. Both men got to execute their signature power moves, with both showing tremendous power as they press-slammed each other. Rage almost got the win after a good looking jackhammer suplex, but SOS countered a third attempt at that particular move by putting Rage away with the death valley driver, getting the three count seconds later. As I said before, not great, but good.
Main event time, as “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels goes up against “The Phenomenal One” A.J. Styles. This match took place just one week after Daniels captured the TNA X Division title in an Ultimate X match, and had defeated Styles the night before in a title defence at The Wrestling Channel’s “International Showdown” event in Coventry. No matter how many times I see these two against each other, it never gets tired. The match began slowly, with both men putting on a good display of counter wrestling, before things were turned up a notch, as it became more of an X Division-style match, with each man showing off their signature moves, and as the match moved past the twenty-five minute mark, Daniels tried to attack Styles with the X Division title belt, only for Styles to duck and come back with a somersault kick. Seconds later, Styles took him out with the Styles Clash for the victory to end what was a tremendous match.
DVD extras here include a bonus match between Jody Fleisch and M-Dogg 20, promotional footage from the Ireland AM television show, and footage from the Meet-and-Greet session.
In conclusion - not the best European wrestling DVD I’ve seen, but certainly not the worst. While the first two matches didn’t really do it for me, the rest of the card did, and while some of the Irish and British talent put in good performances, it was clear to me that the best performances came from the visiting American talent, with Chris Sabin, Christopher Daniels and A.J. Styles in outstanding form.
Production wise, this release can’t be faulted. The camera work is great, and you really got a feel for the atmosphere of the show. Eamon D’Arcy did a great job on commentary.
So does this release come with the recommended label? It certainly does, and for those who have followed the exploits of those in Irish Whip Wrestling on The Wrestling Channel or whatever the hell it calls itself these days, this will be of interest to you.
To find out more about IWW, visit their official website at www.irishwhipwrestling.com.