Saturday, 12 June 2010

MLW Reload - DVD Review

In the second of a series of reviews to commemorate the tenth anniversary of The Two Sheds Review, I’m not going to take a look back at the first ever Supercard Sunday show I saw on The Wrestling Channel in Britain, Major League Wrestling’s Reload, held at the Manhattan Centre in New York in September 2002. I briefly mentioned this in my old Two Sheds On TV column for Wrestling X back in 2004, but I’ve never reviewed this show in full - until now.

Before the show began a lottery was held to see who would compete for the vacant MLW title in the main event, with Jerry Lynn and Satoshi Kojima going through, and Sabu and Taiyo Kea competing in a number one contenders match. A brawl then broke out between the four men before those good old security guards came in to save the day.

The first match of the evening saw Super Crazy taking on the masked Fuego Guerrero, otherwise known as the Amazing Red. To say that this was a tremendous opener would be a massive understatement. Crazy and Guerrero put on a high flying Masterclass, both men launching themselves all over the place in a match that wouldn’t have looked out of place in TNA’s X Division a few years ago. Sadly the action had to come to an end when Crazy countered Guerrero’s hurricanrana attempt with a sit down power bomb for the winning pin. Awesome stuff.

The lucha action continued as La Parka faced Shocker. This proved to be just as good as the opener, with plenty of air miles mixed in with some hard hitting offence and plenty of chair action, but what would you expect from the “extreme chairman”? So after an absolute ton of exciting back and forth action and plenty of near falls La Parka took home the win, after taking Shocker down with a corkscrew body block from the top rope. Once again, awesome stuff.

Tag team action followed as Christopher Daniels, Ikuta Hidaka and Dick Togo went up against Quiet Storm and the Maximo brothers. After two great examples of lucha libre action we got a great example of tag team action. All six men excelled in this match, with Joel and Jose Maximo particularly impressive, with the Japanese team not far behind them. Joel took an absolute beating until he got the hot tag to his brother, which is when we got the inevitable six man brawl, with everyone pulling off their signature high flying moves, followed by tons of great exchanges, tons of near falls, and Daniels pinning Storm after a corkscrew neck breaker. Would it be too much if I said awesome stuff again?

It was back to singles action for the next match as the wily old veteran Terry Funk took on the late Chris Candido, accompanied here by Tammy Sytch. A totally different kind of match here, more of a brawl than a wrestling match, with both men fighting around the ring and through the fans, with Funk again bleeding for his art. The former Body Donna then brought a ladder into the equation before Tammy got DDTed after interfering. Eventually Funk got the win, reversing Candido’s small package attempt with one of his own. Annoyed by his loss, Candido took Funk down with a pile driver. Well, it was entertaining in it’s own way, but it wasn’t the best match I’ve seen these two in.

Next up was the New York City street fight between Steve Corino and Vampiro. This match took a while to get started, mainly because of the pre-match jaw jacking from Corino and Vampiro. Then when they finally shut their mouths a certain Metallic song began playing as the Sandman appeared on the scene, inserting himself into the match. From there we got a great three way brawl, with Vampiro the best of the bunch here. The Sandman ended up eliminating himself from the match more or less. After taking Corino out with a superplex onto a piece of guard rail perched on four chairs Vampiro sneaked back into the ring and pinned the beer chugger. We then got the match that Corino and Vampiro wanted in the first place. The hardcore stuff went out of the window as these two put on some great back and forth exchanges, with Corino finally getting the pin after taking Vampiro down with the old school expulsion from the top rope, ending a great match.

The penultimate match saw Sabu taking on Taiyo Kea, with the winner getting a shot at the MLW title. It was a different kind of Sabu who began this match, wrestling in a more conservative style against Kea. However, it wasn’t long before his usual stylings came to the fore as he began to use chairs and tables as he flew around the arena. Along the way he seemed to get rather annoyed with his manager Bill Alfonso for not handing the weapons to him quickly enough. None of the hardcore stuff put the All Japan star away though, with Kea getting the pin after taking Sabu down with his Hawaiian five-O finisher. Another impressive match here.

The main event saw Jerry Lynn face Satoshi Kojima for the vacant MLW World title. On a show filled with great matches this was the best of them all. This was the first time I’d seen All Japan’s Kojima in action back on TWC, and he impressed the hell out of me. Lynn was as dependable as ever. He really is the best he is at what he does, and that’s having a great match with everyone he steps into the ring with. This was a great back and forth affair, a perfect example of what MLW was all about, an exciting match with both men going all out to achieve victory. It was simply enthralling, but sadly it had to finish when Kojima got the pin after taking Lynn down with his powerful lariat.

In conclusion - it’s been about six years since I first saw this show on The Wrestling Channel, and my opinion hasn’t changed one bit. This is a tremendous show, and ranks among my all time favourites. From top to bottom it’s filled with great matches, topped off nicely by the excellent encounter between Lynn and Kojima. If you haven’t seen this or any other MLW show before then don’t worry, because they’re still available to buy from the likes of Highspots and RF Video. Trust me, if you do get them you won’t be disappointed.

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