Friday, 29 February 2008

FWA NOAH Limits 2 - DVD Review

With Japanese wrestling company Pro Wrestling NOAH visiting merry old England in June, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at a previous visit to these shores by NOAH stars. In July 2006, Muhhamad Yone and Takeshi Morishima took a trip to the now-defunct Frontier Wrestling Alliance for their NOAH Limits 2 show in Colchester, joining British stars such as Darren Burridge, Doug Williams and Hade Vansen. But that wasn’t all! Not only was former WWE and WCW star Billy Kidman on the show, but so was former WWF Champion Bret “The Hitman” Hart, paying a flying visit to Britain. Our host for the evening is Dann Read, although I’m pretty sure he’s also the ring announcer!


The show begins with Paul Tyrell coming to the ring, announcing that he can’t compete against Darren Burridge because of an eye infection, announcing Stevie Knight. Having seen a few Darren Burridge/Charlie Rage matches recently, it’s refreshing to see the Pukka One against a different opponent. There was quite a bit of yakking from all sides in this before the match even began, which left me wishing they’d just get on with it. Anyway, as for the match, it’s a very good opening encounter. Knight is great as the heel in this one, ably assisted by Tyrell at ringside as he tries every old trick in the book to put Burridge away, even biting a part of Burridge’s anatomy that he really has no place being near. But even though Knight dominated the majority of the proceedings, Burridge emerged victorious, getting the submission victory after locking in his Chav Lock finisher. Tyrell met the same fate afterwards as he came into the ring to check on his cohorts condition. A good opener here.

Title action follows, with Leroy Kincade defending the All-England title against James Tighe. Well, he was meant to be defending against Tighe, but thanks to Kincade’s previous open challenge, Tighe brings out Ricky Hype and Matt Vaughn, otherwise known as Team Wales, and tells Kincade that in order for him to face Tighe, he must first defeat Hype and Vaughn. Kincade demolishes the Welshmen in quick order, before Tighe jumps into the ring, and the title match is officially on. What follows is a great match, with both men matching up perfectly, and putting on a much with tremendous intensity, making you believe that they’d both do anything to win the match. After tons of great action in the ring, the match spilled outside, and eventually saw Kincade execute a somersault plancha off a podium onto Tighe as they fought on the stage. This left both men down and out, but with the FWA having the twenty count rule, it gave both me enough time to attempt to get back into the ring. However, with both men trying to stop each other at the final hurdle, it was Kincade who got back into the ring at the final count, winning a great match. These two were made for each other, and a perfect example of the FWA at it’s best. By the way - the All-England title is still the second ugliest title belt in the whole of professional wrestling. It would have been first if it wasn’t for the WWE title belt.

Then it’s time for the first of the main events, tag-team action with “The Anarchist” Doug Williams and FWA Champion Hade Vansen taking on NOAH stars Muhammad Yone and Takeshi Morishima, the GHC Tag-Team Champions, in a none title match. Vansen is accompanied to the ring by Nikita, who is currently plying her trade as Katie Lea alongside another former FWA star, Paul Burchill, on WWE Raw every Monday night. With four wrestlers such as this in one match, I had every right to expect a classic, and this was what I got. The visiting Japanese stars, and Yone in particular, were outstanding, showing just why they’re two of the top stars in their homeland right now, while Vansen showed why he’s such a hot property, and Williams showed why he’s one of the best around, and has been for years. Despite being an international contest, it very much seemed to have the style of a NOAH contest, not that there’s anything wrong with that, because it was a tremendous bout, so good that I’m in danger of using two many words to describe just how good this match was. So, we’ll just cut to the ending. After about twenty minutes of top notch action, Vansen got the pin for his team with an awesome looking move, lifting Yone on to the top rope before taking him out with a top rope DDT. Did I say how much I liked this match by the way?

More tag-team action follows, as The Entourage team of Mark Sloan and Ollie Burns, the FWA Academy Tag-Team Champions, take on Max Voltage and Dan Head, the FWA Academy Champion, in the final match in their three match series, with the score being tied at one apiece. While it’s not on the level of the previous match, it’s still a good encounter in it’s own right. Both teams looked great in this encounter, with Burns, Voltage and Head acting as a good advertisement for the now-closed FWA Academy run by Sloan. The double-team moves from both teams were something to behold, something we rarely get to see in the wrestling ring these days. The end came when Burns got Head in his variation of the crossface, so that Sloan could come in with his kick-punt. A three count later, and The Entourage had the series winning pin.
Then it’s back to singles action, with Charlie Rage going up against former butler Andy Simmonz. As with Darren Burridge before, it’s good to see Rage against a different opponent. It’s an awesome and dominating performance from Rage here, and even though Simmonz gets a few shots in, it’s nothing compared to the punishment Rage dishes out in return. He press slams Simmonz over the top rope, and finishes him off with an overhead release suplex followed up by a spear. A three count later, and Rage had the victory. 

Next is the segment featuring WWE Hall of Famer Bret “Hitman” Hart. It’s just a brief segment, lasting less than five minutes, where he basically thanks the fans for coming to see him. Not really much to speak off if I’m to be totally honest.

Then it’s time for the second main event of the evening, a number one contenders match for the FWA title featuring “The Wonderkid” Jonny Storm, “The Phoenix” Jody Fleisch, and former WWE and WCW star Billy Kidman. Of course, Storm and Fleisch have had countless five star matches over the years, but adding Kidman to the mix gives this one a whole new dimension. As can be expected of these three, it’s a fast-paced encounter with tons of high-flying moves. Kidman shows that he’s more than he was in WWE buy pulling off some moves that I’ve never seen him do before. But perhaps the most awesome part of this match came from the visiting American. After Fleisch threw him over the barriers and into the crowd, Kidman climbed onto one of the balconies and launched himself off onto both Storm and Fleisch. It was just one of countless great moments in this one. So after what seemed like an eternity of great action, Storm got the pin on Kidman, taking him out with his Wonderwhirl finisher. All I can say to end this segment is what a match!

Sadly, no extras to speak off in this idea, so we’ll cut right to the chase.

In conclusion - even though this show was held towards the end of the FWA’s existence, it’s probably one of the best shows I’ve seen from this company. While the undercard matches were great, the two main events were even better, with the FWA v NOAH tag-team encounter just edging out the three way dance. So if you want to see a great British wrestling show, then NOAH Limits 2 comes highly recommended.

Tickets for Pro Wrestling NOAH’s show at the Coventry Skydome in June, as well as other NOAH-related merchandise, including FWA NOAH Limits 1 & 2, can be found by visiting www.a-merchandise.co.uk.