Monday, 29 September 2008

NECW Iron 8 Championship 2007 - DVD Review

This edition of TSR sees us taking a return trip to New England Championship Wrestling, a promotion I’ve featured a few times this year, and this time we’re going to look at the DVD release of the 2007 Iron 8 Championship, an eight-man tournament, with the final being a four-way, forty-five minute iron man match. Commentary for this one is handled by NECW’s main man, Sheldon Goldberg.

Disc one contains the four semi-finals, and they begin with “The Infamous” Bobby Fish taking on Jason Blade. Described as a technical contest by our commentator, it’s just that, between two exciting young wrestlers, and with hardly an illegal move in site. It’s a great match to open the show, very enjoyable, with both guys having their moments, with Fish advancing to the final. Blade had synched in a full nelson, but Fish pushed himself off the turnbuckles, with both wrestlers going down to the mat with Fish in the pinning position.

Semi-final #2 sees “Straight Edge” Brian Fury tackle Handsome Johnny. This one takes a few minutes to start, mainly because Johnny gets annoyed with the reception he gets from the fans. From there it develops into a very good bout, with the Handsome one playing the role of the villain particularly well, with Fury playing the young baby face on a quest to get a shot at NECW’s main title. It’s the second match in a row in which I can find no fault, only entertainment, with plenty of false finishes, and countering Johnny’s top rope superplex attempt with a sunset flip and bridging pin.

Semi-final #3 sees 2006 champion “Die Hard” Eddie Edwards against Gary Cassidy. Edwards has company for this one, in the form of his manager Sean Gorman. The third good match in a row is a pretty evenly fought contest at first, with the Irishman able to keep up with his more experienced American counterpart before Edwards takes control. Needless to say that a certain Mr. Gorman gets involved in this one. The final few moments saw both men almost get the win, with Edwards getting the win after his unique suplex variation.

Semi-final #4 sees “The Real Deal” Brandon Locke take on Antonio “The Promise” Thomas. Thomas, you may recall, had a cup of coffee in WWE as one half of The Heart Throbs. Although a good match in it’s own right, this is probably the weaker of the four semi-finals. It’s a good technical contest, but fought at a much slower pace than the previous matches, with Thomas spending a great deal of time working over Locke’s left arm and shoulder, before the Real Deal makes his comeback. The comeback worked. Thomas tried to counter Locke’s Locke Down slam finisher, only to get rolled up by Thomas for the three count. Not the best match of the first round, but okay nonetheless.

Disc two begins with a mixed tag-team match, as the aforementioned Sean Gorman, seconded by his charge D.C. Dillinger, teams with “Big” Rick Fuller against “The Human Nightmare” Evan Siks and Nikki Roxx, aka possibly TNA’s most underrated knockout, Roxxi. If I’m to be totally honest here, then this one wasn’t very good. The wrestling didn’t start until ten minutes after this segment began, which detracted from the actual match itself, which only lasted about six minutes, with Gorman getting the pin on Nikki after she’d been accidentally clobbered by Fuller, who was aiming for Siks. This was nothing more than filler material, and not very good filler material at that.

After a segment which sees NECW Triple Crown Champion D.C. Dillinger presented with a new title belt (and a mighty fine looking title belt it is), it’s on to the tournament final, four way iron man action with a forty-five minute time limit, with the wrestler with the most pins and submissions winning, with Eddie Edwards, Bobby Fish, Brandon Locke and Brian Fury. A very interesting concept match, with good performances throughout. Obviously as it has a forty-five minute time limit, it would take me too long to list everything of note here, so all I’ll say is that there were some good solid performances from all the wrestlers here, with Edwards impressing me the most, and with five minutes remaining it looked like it could be anyone’s match, with Locke and Fury tied on two falls each, with Fish and Edwards soon joining them on that score as the clocked ticked away. There was a mad rush to score that all elusive decisive pin with two minutes left, but the scores were all tied when the time limit expired, so the match went into sudden death overtime. This lead to Edwards eliminating Locke and Fury, drop kicking them off the ring apron into the guard rail, leaving him alone in the ring with Fish, and after a hard fought few minutes filled with near misses, Edwards scored the deciding pin, finishing his long-time nemesis off with a moonsault slam off the top rope. A very, very good match here. It took a while to get going, but it built up nicely before delivering an outstanding finish.

Disc two is rounded off with a few extras, including extra bonus footage, and a little look at how the Iron 8 Championship began.

In conclusion - I really liked the concept of the Iron 8 tournament, and it certainly made for interesting viewing, and while the mixed tag-team match wasn’t up to much and just seemed like filler material, it didn’t detract that much from my overall enjoyment of the tournament. The final was definitely the best match of the show, and as the action and time progressed, it didn’t seem to last as long as it did, it was that good. Mention must also be made of Sheldon Goldberg’s commentary. It was good, very good. Not over the top, and there was no shouting into the microphone when a big move was executed, he just did his job, which was to call the matches and to put over the talent. Well done sir.

So I guess what I’m trying to say here is if you’re looking for some good American indy action, then check out NECW, and to do that, visit www.necwwrestling.com. Also, if you want to download NECW’s regular online show, visit www.necw.tv. You’ll also be able to find details on how you can buy their numerous DVD releases.

With thanks to Sheldon Goldberg and NECW for supplying a copy of this DVD release.