Sunday, 6 January 2008

Ballpark Brawl III: Canadian Carnage - DVD Review

If you take a look back at my recent American wrestling reviews, you’ll see that, with the exception of an XPW DVD review, I’ve mainly reviewed WWE and TNA pay-per-views. Well, that’s about to change, as in this edition we’re going to take a look at the DVD release of Ballpark Brawl III: Canadian Carnage, held in Buffalo, New York, in August 2004, and featuring stars as Jim Neidhart, Abyss, Ron Killings, Petey Williams and Teddy Hart.
The show kicks off with Johnny Puma, managed by Jimmy Hart, takes on Jim Neidhart. Before the match began, Hart offered Puma a contract, but quickly withdrew the offer when he found out that Puma would be facing the Anvil. It’s a so-so match to start the show, as Puma offers nothing against the Anvil, who does his usual powerhouse spots before pinning Puma after a powerful clothesline. Okay for an opener, but nothing special.
Next up, Derek Wylde challenges Cody Steele for the Neo-Spirit Pro Independent Championship. The story with this one is that the gorgeous Jennifer Blake actually manages both men, so it’s a sort of Miss Elizabeth before Wrestlemania V situation. Now this was much better, and you could tell from watching these two in action that they’d been in against each other on numerous occasions. Although there were a couple of sloppy moments, these were over-shadowed by the well executed moves on the part of both men, especially Wylde’s high-flying moves. It was the situation with Blake that caused Steele’s downfall. The manager was absent from ringside, and only appeared after Steele took Wylde down with Sliced Bread Number Two. He was about to go for the pin when Blake appeared on the ring apron, and went to greet his manager. But the good looking babe ended up slapping Steele in the face, and after Wylde took Steele out with his inside out power bomb, he got the pin to win the gold. A good match here, one worth watching again.
Then it’s on to the Natural Heavyweight Title Tournament, with Ron Killings facing Abyss, managed here by Jimmy Hart, in the semi-finals. It’s your typical speed versus power here. Killings begins the match well, taking Abyss down with some fast-paced moves, but the monster soon regains control and executes his power game to perfection. But The Truth manages to make a comeback, and eventually they began to brawl around the ring, ignoring the referee as he counted them out, eliminating both men from the tournament. A really enjoyable match, one that would have gone amiss on Impact or pay-per-view.
Petey Williams then faces a mystery opponent in the tournament, and it’s current WWE star Harry Smith. Williams is put off at first by the difference in size, but soon gets the upper hand, working over Smith’s knee and leg, even synching in an ankle lock at one point. A comeback by Smith sees him execute a great looking power slam, but at one point Williams tries to go for the Canadian Destroyer, but the attempt fails, and Smith ends the match with a powerful back-breaker. Afterwards Williams tried to execute the Canadian Destroyer again, but was chased off by Teddy Hart. A great match here.
Women’s action next, as TNA’s Traci Brooks takes on current WWE developmental star Nattie Neidhart. This is the first time I’ve seen the Anvil’s daughter in action, and as the old saying goes, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Neidhart’s style is very similar to her father’s, and she acquitted herself well her, putting on a good showing in her first American appearance. Kudos to Brooks as well for her part in putting on a good match, which saw Neidhart get the win with a bridging German suplex.
After the reunion of the original Hart Foundation - Bret Hart, Jimmy Hart and Jim Neidhart, it’s on to the next match, the final of the Natural Heavyweight Title Tournament between Harry Smith and Teddy Hart. This certainly was an interesting match between the two cousins. Smith dominated the match with his superior size and power, and almost got the win with his father’s trademark move, the running power slam. The only thing that stopped the pin was when Hart got his foot on the rope. In the end Hart came out on top. After he came off the top rope with a sunset flip attempt, Smith reversed the pinning attempt, only for Hart to reverse that attempt to get the winning pin. This was voted match of the month in some quarters, and even though I’ve seen better, I can see why it won such an accolade.
More fast-paced action follows, as Christopher Daniels tackles the Amazing Red. A strong match between the two TNA alumni. Daniels, as always, puts in a tremendous performance, grounding Red for a great deal of the match, before the Amazing one shows what he can do with some great fast-paced and high flying moves. The end of a great contest came after Red missed a swanton from the top rope, and Daniels capitalising on the mistake with the angels wins to get the winning pinfall.
Main event time, tables, ladders and chairs action featuring A.J. Styles, Sabu, and Teddy Hart, who Styles challenged to defend his new title in the match, a challenge that Hart readily agreed to. I must also mention that Sabu is managed by none other than Bill Alfonso here, and that pins are also counted in this one. A hell of a match here, with all sorts of crazy action going on. Sabu, or course, is as crazy as ever, and manages to botch a couple of moves, Alfonso blows his whistle like mad, and Hart brings out all the high-flying moves, Sabu takes the crazy bump in this one, going through a table after fluffing a top rope move, and Styles gets the win and the trophy after taking Hart out with the Styles Clash. A great way to end the show.
DVD extras include an exclusive Bret Hart interview, a DJ Challenge match featuring Jimmy Hart, and a couple of unscripted Teddy Hart promos.
In conclusion - while the opening match wasn’t up to much, Ballpark Brawl III is a good DVD release. If you’re a big fan of the Hart wrestling dynasty, then with the likes of Teddy Hart, Harry Smith and Nattie Neidhart on here, this would be a great addition to your collection. But even if you’re not a fan of the Hart family, get this DVD anyway. It’s worth it for the main event alone.
For more information on the Ballpark Brawl shows, and information on how you can get a copy of this release, visit www.ballparkbrawl.com.