Friday, 30 September 2011

FWA European Uprising - DVD Review

As an old crooner once said, “and now, the end is near”, because after several months we’ve finally reached the ninth and final show in the Frontier Wrestling Alliance Season One box set, and for that we’re going back to last November as Leroy Kincaide challenged Martin Stone for the World title in the main event of European Uprising, held during the Memorabilia show at the NEC in Birmingham.

The show began with the semi-finals of the Tag Team title tournament as Stixx and Paul Malen went up against the Leaders of the New School, Marty Scurll and Zack Sabre Junior.

This was a highly entertaining opener. The Leaders looked great as they used their speed advantage against their heinous opponents, but when Sabre applied the cross arm breaker on Stixx the drama really began.

After managing to fight off the pain Stixx lifted Sabre up one handed, and with Malen’s help they took Sabre out with their critical condition finisher, all but knocking the guy out.

It was then that Scurll came back into the ring and dragged his partner back to their corner, taking his place in the match, and virtually turning this into a handicap match. The man from Cambridge did pretty well, taking Stixx out with a suicide plancha through the ropes.

The sadistic Malen then saw his chance to inflict further damage on Sabre, but after the referee warned him against using his chain Sabre took him down with his cross arm breaker. Malen couldn’t fight the hold and quickly tapped out.

The action didn’t end there though, as our heinous heels took Scurll out with three critical conditions. It didn’t matter to them because they were being suspended for past actions anyway.

After an in-ring promo in which Rock Star Spud announced that he was pulling out of the ladder match for the “Wonderkid” name with Jonny Storm because of a neck injury it was on the next encounter, the big grudge match between R.J. Singh, accompanied by the Bhangra Knights, went up against El Ligero.

Ligero came to the ring with a patch over his right eye, but he still had enough sight to take Singh out when the Bollywood star tried to attack as he was making his entrance.

Moments later Singh ripped the patch from Ligero’s eye and centred his attack on it with various moves, ably assisted by his cronies at ringside. From there we saw some great fast paced action, but after Ligero took out the Knights with a dive over the top rope the masked man was the first one back into the ring to take the count out win, despite the fact that Singh’s allies were trying to get him back to his feet.

Six man tag team action followed as the Resistance, Sha Samuels, Nick Riley and Bubblegum faced the Agenda team of Dave Moralez, Iestyn Rees and Joel Redman, accompanied by Gilligan Gordon.

After commentators Dave Bradshaw and Greg Lambert reminded us about the worldwide wrestling conspiracy it was down to the match, an encounter filled with tons of great action and good performances from all six men.

The returning Bubblegum was the proverbial human punching bag in this one as he took a pounding from all three heels, but when Samuels tagged in he didn’t last that long, falling foul of the FWA’s card system when the referee disqualified and eliminated him from the match.

This left the two youngsters against the three bullies, and even though they put up a spirited effort with some great high impact moves eventually it was too much for them, with Redman taking Riley out with a back suplex to take the winning pin.

After Andy Simmonz presented Jonny Storm with an award for his contribution to British wrestling it was Storm’s turn to compete, and while Rock Star Spud was making his usual entrance while murdering classic 80’s rock it was revealed that Axl Rage would be replacing him in a ladder match to determine who could use the “Wonderkid” name.

Then we saw an appearance from “The Showstealer” Nathan Cruz, the man who had defeated Alex Shane for the use of the “Showstealer” name in another promotion. Cruz announced that he wanted to add a new name. Storm and Rage accepted his challenge, making this a three way encounter.

As is the custom with these kind of matches the heels decided to team up early on in an attempt to take Storm out, and even though they were successful early on it wasn’t long before the inevitable happened and their alliance quickly disintegrated.

This was followed by some great three way moves and quite a few big bumps both off and using the ladder, and while it wasn’t the best ladder match I’ve ever seen it was still very entertaining.

Towards the end it looked like Storm was intent on blowing his chance. As Rage hung upside down in the ladder Storm sat on top of the ladder holding the briefcase, but instead of taking the case he opted to take Rage out of the game completely with a double foot stomp.

It was then that Cruz began to climb the ladder, with Storm not far behind him, and in an attempt to stop the veteran from winning he tried to take him out with an ace crusher off the top of the ladder. Storm countered by pushing the youngster off, sending him crashing down to the mat.

Seconds later it was all over as Storm grabbed the case, allowing him the continued use of the “Wonderkid” name, much to the disgust of Spud at the commentary table.

After the introduction of special guest timekeeper David Deville (he works for the Queen you know!) and special referee Alex Shane it was on to the main event as Leroy Kincaide challenged Martin Stone for the World title.

This was a match full of drama and tension. It wasn’t long before a brawl broke out between the two at ringside, and they only returned to the ring at Shane’s urging.

As the match went on the tension between Stone and Shane was obvious during the back and forth action, and after the special referee gave him his second warning in the form of a red card the two went eyeball to eyeball, with Stone urging Shane to plant one on him. Shane refused, and turned his back on the champion, only to be clobbered from behind and sent out of the ring.

With no referee in sight both men could have had the match won, but when a second referee came down to the ring Stone quickly took care of him as well.

It was then that Shane, holding his right shoulder, returned to the ring, urging Kincaide on as he prepared to take Stone out with a third spear. Just as he started the move though it happened. Shane made a gesture in the corner, then took Kincaid out with a big boot.

The referee then shouted at Stone to cover Kincaide, screaming for another referee to come to the ring. A three count later and it was all over. Stone was still the champion.

The Agenda boys then appeared on the scene and helped Shane to attack Kincaide before throwing him out of the ring. Greg Lambert then said that everything was about to be revealed, leaving his commentary position and joining those in the ring as they first made the Agenda hand signal, and then a pyramid signal with both hands.

As Sha Samuels attempted to lead a Resistance attack Shane took to the microphone saying that Alex Shane was dead, and that he was now the Ascension, that he was basically behind the whole dastardly scheme. A dramatic end to a very good match.

DVD extras come in the form of a music video and three episodes of the Frontline internet show.

In conclusion - the last show in Season One certainly turned out to be the most dramatic.

As far as the matches go they can’t be faulted. Every one of the delivered to varying degrees, with Stone/Kincaid just edging it as the best match for me.

As for the setting, well, when I heard that the FWA were holding a show at the NEC I thought wow, they’re holding a show in a massive arena. But this show was actually held in the main exhibition hall, somewhere I’ve visited a few times over the years.

The crowd just didn’t seem like a wrestling crowd, and most of the time the action in the ring was greeted with a deathly silence, and while the main event was happening I couldn’t help but think that the FWA would have been better off holding this in one of their regular venues rather than an event like Memorabilia.

That being said though this was an entertaining show, and that’s why it gets the thumbs up from this particular writer.

With thanks to the powers that be for supplying a copy of this release. FWA European Uprising is available to buy either on it’s own or as part of the Season One box set at www.fwauk.com.