Friday, 14 September 2007

AWA:UK 13/11/05 - DVD Review

It was almost a year ago that British promoter John Chapman held his first wrestling show in Ware, Hertfordshire. A short time after holding his second show, Chapman signed a promotional deal with the resurgent American Wrestling Association, and under the new AWA:UK banner, they released a DVD of their November 2005 show, their first commercial DVD release, in conjunction with Pinfall Productions.

The first bout sees British sensation “The Wonderkid” Jonny Storm against former WWE and TNA star Joe Legend. Legend dominates the majority of the bout thanks to his superior size and strength, before Storm comes back with some crisp looking high flying moves. Legend fights back briefly, and not even a broken second rope stops Storm from climbing to the top and connecting with a moonsault. However, just as the referee is about to count three, the time limit expires, and the match is declared a draw. This doesn’t sit too well with Legend though, as he attacks Storm after the decision is announced.

Then it’s on to eight man tag action, as El Diablo Amarillo, “Sweet” Steven Lee, Cameron Haze and Rocker Richards take on Stevie Lynn, Johnny Thrill, Rich ‘N’ Famous and Kyle Kraze. The only wrestler I’d previously seen here was Stevie Lynn, so most of the guys were new to me. Not knowing who most of them were kind of spoiled things for me a little. The heel team won after the bald guy in the loud shit pinned Lynn.

Then it’s on to the battle royal. You should know how I feel about writing up these kind of bouts by now. Entrants included the Sandman, Joe Legend, Hugh Mungus, Hade Vansen, some guys from the eight man tag, and even promoter John Chapman, who looked like the illegitimate son of Irwin R. Schyster in his white shirt, tie and suspenders. Legend emerged victorious in this one. After helping the Sandman eliminate Vansen, the Sandman cracked open a couple of cold ones, but got cracked on the head by Legend, who then threw him over the top rope a few seconds later. A lesson here is that there’s a right time and a wrong time to start drinking!

Following the battle royal, General Manager Bill Apter leads a ten bell salute to Eddie Guerrero. This show was actually held on the day that Eddie died, which is the reason for this tribute.

Women’s action next, with Jade taking on Skye. Not really much to write home about here. While certainly better than some of the DWOW matches I’ve seen recently, the majority of this bout was poorly executed, with Skye getting the pin with a fisherman’s suplex.

Three way action followed, with Charlie Rage, Hade Vansen and Hugh Mungus. For most of the bout, Rage and Vansen doubled up on the big man to good effect, but the exchanges between the two smaller guys were far more entertaining, and left me wanting to see more of these two against each other. Rage came out on top in this one, showing great strength by taking Mungus down with a Samoan drop for the pin.

Then it’s on to our main event, as “The King of Old School” Steve Corino defends his AWA World title against “Da Pukka One” Darren Burridge, with Joe Legend in Corino’s corner, former British great Wayne Bridges in Burridge’s corner, and another former British great, Brian Maxine, as special referee, in a bout fought over the traditional British rounds system, and over three falls. (Pauses for breath.) Burridge took the lead in the second after a bridging back suplex after an excellent display of counter wrestling. Corino came back strongly, with a ton of help from Legend, working over Burridge’s leg to good effect. It wasn’t long before Corino equalled the score with a figure four leg lock in the fourth round, again with a little help from Legend. Corino continued to work over the leg until Burridge almost got the win with a sleeper in the fifth. It looked as if Burridge had won the bout in the seventh with another bridging back suplex, but after reviewing video footage, GM Apter reversed the decision after seeing that Corino had raised his right shoulder, so with the fall awarded to Corino, the King of Old School had retained his World title in a thrilling bout with some great drama.

Backstage, Burridge laments on his title loss, promising to win the AWA title in the future.

DVD extras come in the form of a slideshow gallery, the option to turn the commentary on or off and the contract signing involving Corino, Burridge and Apter, in which Corino questions the rules for the title bout.

In conclusion - a mixed bag here. A good opener and a very good main event, but somewhat lacking in the middle. But then again, Chapman Promotions/AWA:UK is still in it’s infancy, so there’s plenty of time to improve on the product.

For more information on AWA:UK, visit www.awaunitedkingdom.com. To order a copy of this DVD, log onto www.pinfall.net.