Saturday, 15 September 2007

MLW Genesis - DVD Review

When The Wrestling Channel began broadcasting just over two years ago, for me one of the highlights then was Court Bauer’s Major League Wrestling. Indeed, MLW was the first promotion featured in TWC’s popular Supercard Sunday slot. But it’s not that particular show we’re going to look at here. That honour goes to MLW’s very first show, Genesis, held at the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, with a tournament to crown the very first MLW World Champion.

The DVD begins with “The Franchise” Shane Douglas looking around the empty arena, rubbing his hands, and announcing that it’s time for him to make history. We’re then introduced to our host for the evening, Joey Styles, as he announces the tournament to crown the first world champion.

Then it’s time for our first match, popular Mexican star La Parka takes on Jerry Lynn. With La Parka looking like he’s lost quite a bit of weight, he controls the early part of the match until Lynn comes back strongly, and after the masked man misses a top rope attack, Lynn gets the win after a springboard DDT in a good opening encounter.

Backstage, Steve Corino cuts a promo about his upcoming tournament opponent, Shane Douglas, promising to put the Franchise in his place. It’s a hell of a promo, one of the best I’ve seen in a while.

The tournament continues with Christopher Daniels taking on Vampiro, the first time these two have competed against each other. After the great X-Division styled opener, this match is the polar opposite, with Daniels and Vampiro starting off with some great counter wrestling, before both men turned things up a notch with a wild brawl around the ring. We then get Vampiro kicking out after a BME, Daniels out of a suplex off the top, before Vampiro finally got the win after a urinage to end a great match.

Backstage, The Wall, replacing Bam Bam Bigelow in the tournament, tells us how the Beast from the East walked out on his fans.

Then it’s on to the next tournament match was the aforementioned Wall faces Tayio Kea. A slight letdown after the first two bouts, although while the Wall looked a bit sloppy at times, and seemed to suffer a little when the crowd chanted the name of the man he replaced, Kea really impressed, although it was obvious he was carrying the big man before taking him down with a northern lights suplex.

The final match of the first round sees the battle of the former ECW and NWA champions as Steve Corino takes on Shane Douglas. Before the action begins, Douglas cuts one of his usual profanity-laden, shoot style promos, before Corino replies with a shoot style promo of his own, and it makes for great drama before going into the match itself. The verbal exchanges between the two certainly added a degree of intensity in what became a great match, with Corino giving Douglas a run for his money before the Franchise came back, blocking Corino’s old school expulsion attempt, before getting the win with a belly-to-belly suplex to end an outstanding match.

Backstage, Jerry Lynn runs into Christopher Daniels, who offers him “salvation”, an offer which Lynn refuses.

On to the semi-finals, with Shane Douglas making a quick return to face Jerry Lynn. Lynn takes things to the tired Douglas early on, but then breaks from his normal game plan by focusing on Douglas’ cut forehead. But things soon return to normal, and after tons of fast-paced action and false finishes, Douglas gets the pin after a fisherman’s suplex to end another great bout.

The second semi-final sees Vampiro against Tayio Kea. Vampiro looked very sluggish in this one, with Joey Styles commenting that he may be suffering from a concussion as Kea takes the match to him. It certainly isn’t one of Vampiro’s best performances here. It’s sloppy as the match goes to a time limit draw. But after the draw is announced, Shane Douglas races into the ring, making it a three-way final for the vacant title. It doesn’t last long as Douglas puts Vampiro down with a belly-to-belly suplex to get the win and the title belt. Afterwards, Douglas cuts another memorable promo, proclaiming how great he is, and then, in a repeat of a certain incident in 1994, Douglas throws the belt down. But referee John Finnigan, much to the disgust of the Franchise, tells Douglas that if he doesn’t defend the title he’ll be banned from wrestling in Pennsylvania.

In conclusion - a good debut show from Major League Wrestling, with some great action, but sadly some not too good segments as well. Production wise, things did look a little cheap, with no on-screen graphics to introduce the wrestlers, and a sound quality that made it difficult to hear Joey Styles’ commentary at times. As for the man himself, Styles did another outstanding job behind the microphone, once again proving to be one of the best announcers out there, especially when he isn’t restrained by the remits of sports entertainment. Definitely a DVD you should search for, just to see what Major League Wrestling was all about.