Friday, 3 October 2008

PWR Mid-Day Turbulence/Red Eye Fight - DVD Review

This edition of TSR sees the debut of Pro Wrestling Revolution in these hallowed pages. I became aware of this particular promotion when I received an e-mail the Sports Webcasting Network, who broadcast their shows online, as well as selling their DVDs. So, having gotten my hand on a couple of these, we’re going to take a look at their August 10th event at the Metro New York Balloon and Music Festival, featuring two shows - Mid-Day Turbulence and Red Eye Fight. Commentary duties for this one are handled by Robert Goldenberg and former wrestler the Puppet Master.

Mid-Day Turbulence begins with Jester taking on “The Pyromaniac” Flames. As an opener, I’m afraid that this just doesn’t do much for me. It was slow to start, and some of the spots seemed a little contrived. In short, it just wasn’t that exciting, and came to an end when Jester missed a corkscrew moonsault from the top rope and Flames got the pin after a spin kick. Very quick and not very good.

Match #2 sees hardcore action, with Busta Uppa (I think that’s how his name is spelt, there’s no on-screen graphics here), probably the whitest white guy I’ve ever seen, who came to the ring to the classic “Gangster’s Paradise), facing the masked man Menace, described as a “pure-animal”. As hardcore matches go, it’s not that bad, and it’s certainly a lot better than the opening match, even if some of Busta’s weapons shots did look a little weak. The big masked man got the pin in this one, finishing his man off with his psycho crusher finisher. Not bad I suppose, even though the only weapons used here were an old street sign and a chair!

Then it’s on to Damien Darling, accompanied by Bobby Rydell, going up against Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake. Yep, it’s that Brutus, although I thought he couldn’t use that name anymore! Anyway, back to the match. A lot of jaw-jacking and posturing took place before this match actually began, which actually got me saying “get on with it!”, so it came as something of a relief when the match got underway. Beefcake has obviously slowed down quite a bit over the past few years, but he was still able to put over the charisma that made him such a star twenty years ago. As for the match, it was okay. Darling looked good at times, able to keep up with the veteran, with Beefcake getting the disqualification win. As he was applying his patented sleeper hold to Darling, Rydell climbed into the ring and clobbered him from behind. Beefcake proceeded to clean house in another match that gets the not bad rating.

Main event time, with Magic and Draven, the Wrecking Crew, challenging Demolition Blast and Brimstone, the Carnival of Destruction, accompanied by their manager Vito Bari, for the PWR Tag-Team titles. Blast, as you might have guessed, is doing the old Demolition face-painted gimmick. A hard-hitting affair between four big men which was essentially a brawl, good at times with some dodgy moments mixed in. But what confused me about this one was that the baby faces, Blast and Brimstone, were the ones who dominated the proceedings, as they took Draven apart for the majority of the match. We then got the obligatory four-way brawl, in which a blinded Draven took his own partner out with a sit down power bomb, before Blast and Brimstone took him out with a double-choke slam to get the title retaining pin. Another match that gets the not bad rating, even though the psychology of the match did cause me to scratch my head a little.

Then it’s on to the evening show, Red Eye Fight, which begins with “the dark and demonic” Fez challenging Chris Forza for the PWR International title. Fez is a strange looking fellow, garbed entirely in what looks like black rubber from head to toe, who reminds me a little of Spider-Man (or should that be Arachnaman?) Definitely the best match of the DVD so far. Both wrestlers put in good performances, mixing mat techniques with some good high spots, especially Fez’s flying squirrel (top rope big splash to you and me), and Forza’s sit down power bomb from the second rope. Pride of place though goes to the move that Forza used to finish Fez off, a beautiful top rope moonsault, which enabled him to get the title retaining pin. A very enjoyable match.

Next up, former WWE star John Heidenreich going up against “Luscious” Joe Sloan, although what was exactly luscious about him is beyond me. Now I never thought I’d say this about a Heidenreich match, but this one was actually quite good. It started quickly, was back and forth, before big John showed some good technical wrestling as he went to work on Sloan’s arm and shoulder. Sloan didn’t look too bad in this one either, but he wasn’t able to get the win, as Heidenreich finished him off with a sidewalk slam. A very good effort from both guys here, which made for a very good match.

More singles action follows, as “Pure Perfection” Will Wagner, and the nephew of the one and only “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig, accompanied by his tag partner Busta Uppa, facing Johnny Ova. The third good match in a row saw two youngsters go at it, with fast-paced action mixed in with a but of technical stuff and topped off with some nice high spots. Ova almost got the early pin with a 450 splash off the top rope, but the pin was broken up by Busta, which saw him ejected from ringside. The match got better without the outside interference, but Busta soon returned, stopping Ova from executing a second 450, crotching him on the top rope. But Ova was able to counter Wagner’s superplex attempt with a michiku driver from the second rope to get the winning pin. Another match with two good performances from start to finish, and the third enjoyable bout in a row.

Main event time, a triple threat match, with Prince Samir Ahmed II and Mike Magnum challenging Bobby Rydell for the PWR World title. Rydell, as you may have surmised from the first show, is actually a manager, and not a full-time wrestler, who won the title after help from his prot�g� Samir. For a comparison, think of Vince Russo as WCW World Champion a few years back. Most of this match was actually wrestled by Samir and Magnum, and they looked good against each other, with Rydell making the occasional foray into the ring to make some weak looking offence - until Samir accidentally clobbered him with the title belt that is. Rydell soon recovered though, and almost got the pin several times after Samir had done the damage. But when Samir got knocked out of the win, Magnum took Rydell apart, before finishing him off with his dishonourable discharge finisher. However, just as he was about to get the pin, Samir came back into the ring, attacked Magnum, and then pinned his own manager to win the title. A very good and very enjoyable main event, with good action throughout, and a very good finish.

In conclusion - rather than look at this DVD as a whole, I’m going to give my conclusions on the two events separately.

Mid-Day Turbulence was a very poor show. All of the matches in the afternoon segment left quite a lot to be desired, and although they each had some good moments, these were few and far between. It certainly wasn’t a good advertisement for the PWR product.

Red Eye Fight though was the polar opposite. Each and every match of the evening show was great, very enjoyable. It was good to see big John Heidenreich doing stuff he wasn’t allowed to by the WWE creatives, and the main event, especially the swerve at the end which saw Samir pinning his own manager made that one for me. Which leaves me wondering this - if the evening show was so great, then why was the afternoon show just so poor? Answers on a postcard to the usual address.

So if you’re thinking of getting this DVD, or ordering the webcast, then be prepared to be disappointed by the first show, and enthralled by the second.

With thanks to the Sports Webcasting Network for supplying a copy of this release. To order a copy of this DVD, or to watch these shows online, visit www.sportswebnet.com. For more information on Pro Wrestling Revolution, visit www.pwrwrestling.net.