Saturday, 15 September 2007

FWA NOAH Limits - DVD Review

This edition sees us going back in time almost a year, to the Morecombe Dome in Lancashire, England, for the Frontier Wrestling Alliance’s NOAH Limits show, so called because of the main event, the first time a GHC title has been defended outside of Japan. Our host for the evening is “Hardcore” John Atkins.
=We begin the show, and disc one, with a semi-final match in the Flyweight title tournament, as Ross Jordan takes on Aviv Mayaan. A good match to open the show with some very crisp moves, especially on the part of Mayaan. After a fast-paced exchange, Jordan got the win after a reverse suplex, to get a date in the tournament final against Spud.

Before our second match, Stevie Knight makes his way down to the ring. Knight announces his retirement from wrestling, but finds himself interrupted by British Champion Alex Shane. Shane spends the next several minutes verbally bashing Knight, before offering him one final match, a title match, which Knight refuses. Shane once again berates Knight, who doesn’t bite, instead preferring to walk away.

Back to the action, as Hade Vansen defends the All-England title against Stevie Lynn. While Lynn is a little sloppy at times, particularly with his aerial moves, Vansen is once again impressive, showing just how much he’s improved over the past couple of years with a good mixture of mat wrestling and high impact moves. In fact he’s soon good he even has time for a quick song in the middle of the match, and picking up with the win with the South City Driller, his version of the DDT. The match was okay, but it could have been worse if it wasn’t for Vansen.

More title action follows, as the Hampton Court team of the Duke of Danger and Simmons defend the tag-team titles against Dean Ayass’ team of Stixx and Stone. The Twisted Genius announces that Martin Stone has been caught up in traffic, but the man himself appears out of nowhere and attacks Hampton Court from behind as they make their entrance. With the Duke taken out and taken backstage for treatment, Stixx and Stone dismantle Simmons, until the Duke defies the medics and comes back out to the ring to save his butler. But when Ayass distracts the ref, Stone clobbers the Duke with a cane, and after taking the Duke out with their Broken Bones DDT, they get the winning pin and the titles. Ayass then grabs the microphone and gloats about the win, and sends out an open challenge to every other team in Britain.

Back to singles action, as Joey Hayes, who has his fellow chavs along for the ride, goes up against Damon Leigh. With cries of “kill the chav” going out all over the dome, Leigh and Hayes put on an entertaining contest which sees him having to contend with all three members of the Manchester Massive. But not even the three-on-one odds could stop Leigh getting the pin on Hayes, after his unique variation of the piledriver.

Disc two begins with our MC announcing the much anticipated Morecombe Raffle, but the big event is interrupted by Alex Shane, who demands that his British title defence takes place there and then, as J.C. Thunder appears to accept his challenge. There’s some confusion because Shane was meant to defend the title against a former champion, but that’s all cleared up when Thunder reveals he won the FWA tiddlywinks championship backstage. So with all that sorted out it was down to the action. It’s a quick match as Shane gets the quick victory, pinning Thunder after his one night stand finisher.

But that’s not the end of things as Shane is attacked from behind by Stevie Knight, defending the honour of the Morecombe Raffle, as Shane defends the title for the second time in one night. Knight puts on a great showing in what is possibly Shane’s best bout since Steve Corino, with great drama, and Knight getting the pin twice on the champion while the referee was taking a snooze. But despite showing a great deal of heart, Knight ended up on the losing side as Shane had to use two one night stands to get the win. Thankfully, this wasn’t the last stand for the Shining Light.

Then, finally, it’s time for the one, the only, the legendary….(pauses for breath)….Morecombe Raffle, hosted by John Atkins. So how does one review a raffle? Well, the only thing interesting that happened was when the Manchester Massive tried to steal the first prize, William Regal’s biography, only to be foiled by Stevie Knight, once again defending the honour of the raffle.

On to the historic main event, as Doug Williams and Scorpio defend their GHC tag-team titles against Japanese stars Naomichi Marafuji and Minoru Suzuki, the first time a Pro Wrestling NOAH championship has been defended on foreign soil. A good example of the NOAH product at here, although at times it seemed that the Morecombe fans didn’t quite know what to make of this different style of wrestling. Marafuji, possibly because of nerves, made a few errors early on, but seemed to grow in confidence as the match progressed. The bout started slowly, but soon progressed into a faster-paced style, as all four men put in a great showing, including a couple of amusing spots, one of them involving a quadruple rear chin lock. Towards the end of the bout, Williams took a hard bump to the floor after a collision with his partner, leaving Scorpio to face Marafuji and Suzuki alone, which resulted in some great moves, and Marafuji getting the win after a reverse DDT off the top rope. Afterwards, Williams blamed Scorpio for the defeat, attacking his partner, and cementing his heel turn in the FWA.

In conclusion - after the troubles the FWA had with the production (or lack thereof) of their weekly television show, it’s good to see that they are still capable of putting on good shows. Production-wise, it wasn’t quite as good as their TV stuff, and although John Atkins is starting to mature into a good play-by-play announcer, he really needs to be part of a two man team, rather than going solo. But apart from these rather minor criticisms, this is still a good DVD to add to your collection.

With thanks to Mark Sloan and A-Merchandise for supplying a copy of this release. To order your copy online, visit www.a-merchandise.co.uk.