Sunday, 29 January 2012

XWA Goldrush 2011 - DVD Review

It’s debut time again here in the hallowed pages of The Two Sheds Review. This time we’re going to take a first look at a promotions I’ve heard a great deal about but never actually seen. That promotion is the XWA.

First a little background information. The XWA was born out of the ashes of the first incarnation of the Frontier Wrestling Alliance when that particular promotion lost a feud with the IPW:UK promotion.

Based in the Lancashire town of Morecambe the company is run by Greg “The Truth” Lambert. Greg has worked for numerous promotions as a ringside manager and ran the FWA in it’s latter days. He wanted to run a family-oriented company rather than one aimed at a more adult audience based around the American indy style of wrestling.

Oh, and before I forget, and so he doesn’t chastise me, Greg is also Britain’s greatest wrestling journalist, having written for the Powerslam magazine for a number of years.

With all that out of the way it’s time to actually look at the wrestling product, and for that we’re going back to February 2011 and The Carleton in Morecambe for Goldrush, featuring the annual Goldrush Rumble.

The show began with Jack Gallagher challenging the masked El Ligero for the British Flyweight title.

El Ligero is a many I’m very familiar with from my FWA reviews, while Gallagher was described by our announcers as a very technical wrestler.

This was a very enjoyable opener. It started off in a very sportsmanlike fashion with a shake of the hands, but as the match progressed Gallagher’s heel tendencies came to the fore as he grew increasingly frustrated at his inability to put his masked opponent away.

Ligero used his high-flying arsenal to good effect until Gallagher managed to ground him so he could apply an STF. The challenger was convinced he’d won the title, claiming that Ligero had tapped when he’d reached the ropes.

This gave Ligero the chance to recover, and moments later it was all over as he took Gallagher down with a springboard DDT for the title retaining pin.

The singles action continued with Zack Diamond taking on Colossus.

Originally Diamond was meant to take on Nathan Cruz, but the Showstealer announced that they’d been a change of appearance and that Diamond would now be facing his bodyguard Colossus, a big bear of a man with a beard any Amish man would kill for.

Diamond tried to use hit and run tactics early on, but these were soon halted when Colossus connected with a powerful blow to Diamond’s bread basket.

The big guy then went on to dominate Diamond with an impressive series of power moves. Diamond made a brief comeback but soon fell to an awesome looking choke slam for Colossus’ winning pin.

Then it was on to the encounter between J.D. Sassoon, accompanied by his tag partner Axel Rage, and Joey Hayes.

The referee soon made his presence known in this one. Rage tried to interfere straight away, right in front of the official, who had no choice but to send him from the back.

So after the long-haired one was sent out of the way these two engaged in a great evenly matched back and forth battle. But when the referee took a snooze after getting accidentally clobbered it looked all over for Joey.

That was when Rage came back to the ring with his Best of the Northwest trophy in his hand. As Sassoon held Hayes Rage was about to clobber him with the silverware until they were interrupted by the appearance of Declan O’Connor, Hayes’ former tag team partner, who stopped the attack and cleaned house before trying to revive the referee.

Then it was all over as Hayes took Sassoon out with his version of the RKO, the JKO. Afterwards O’Connor tried to reconcile their differences. Hayes was, quite naturally, very sceptical.

The penultimate match saw the debuting Ricky J. McKenzie taking on the face-painted Jynkz.

RJM didn’t exactly endear himself to the crowd early on, his underhanded tactics earning a yellow card from the referee.

As the match progressed it turned into a very entertaining battle, pitting RJM’s power against Jynkz’s aerial skills. RJM had the upper hand on quite a few occasions, but as he spent a lot of time jumping down to ringside to pose for fans that really didn’t want him to Jynkz recovered enough to take his man down with some quick aerial moves.

RJM’s cockiness proved to be his downfall though, and eventually Jynkz took the pin after a quick series of moves, finishing of with a roll-up.

It was then that the evil Authority faction, headed by British Champion Alex Shane and Greg “The Truth” Lambert arrived on the scene. Originally Shane had been scheduled to challenge Shane for the British title, but the champion pulled up.

As the XWA’s co-owner Lambert grabbed the microphone and announced that the title match between the two was now back on. Shane’s cronies, as well as RJM, attacked Jynkz while Shane sat in the corner. After they’d left him laying in the ring Lambert called for the bell, and the match was on.

It only lasted a few moments. Shane basically beat the hell out of Jynkz before taking him out with the big boot for the three count, taking the pin with his boot on Jynkz’s chest.

This brought Shane’s foe Johnny Phere, who quickly took care of Lambert’s various co-horts until XWA security stormed the ring and carried him out of the building.

The main event was the 15 man Goldrush rumble, basically a Royal Rumble-style match, with the winner getting a shot at the British title.

Featuring all of the wrestlers from the previous matches, as well as the likes of Stixx and Cyanide, this was a match packed with action and some interesting developments.

The first two in the ring were former tag partners Declan O’Connor and Joey Hayes, who spent their segment discussing their past problems. Jack Gallagher was the third man in and the first man out as it looked as if the Manchester Massive were back together.

All that changed when Axel Rage and J.D. Sassoon jumped into the ring earlier than they should have and took Hayes and O’Connor out, leaving as Nathan Cruz made his entrance, with the Showstealer greeting them as they left the arena, the damage done.

This was soon followed by the arrival of the massive Cyanide and Cruz’s bodyguard Colossus. The two big gives put on an impressive performance, eliminating the beloved baby faces as the ring got a little top heavy with villains.

Later on we saw the surprise appearance of the Rock Star Spud, who had previously been injured at the hands of Nathan Cruz while Spud’s buddies Rage, Sassoon and Stallion looked on and did nothing.

At first it looked as if Spud was going to attack his former friends, but when he hugged all of them it appeared as if the friendship was back on, until Spud attacked them. His rampage was all too brief though as he soon found himself flying over the top rope, courtesy of his former friends.

The last two men in the ring were Stixx and Colossus. Having eliminated Rage and Sassoon Stixx found himself on the receiving end of a beating from the big man, but as Colossus choked him over the bottom rope Stixx used his legs to lift Colossus off the ground, eventually pushing him over the top rope for the win, earning a shot at Alex Shane’s British title.

As Stixx sat recovering in the corner Greg Lambert and Alex Shane came back down to the ring, with Lambert revealing that Stixx would get his title shot there and then.

But before the match could begin it was revealed that former XWA co-owner Mark Kay had found a buyer to his half of the company and had sold it to someone I’ve known for years, none other than Sam Slam, a man who had been previously banned from the company.

After taking care of Shane’s crony Slam made his first announcements, the first being his own immediate reinstatement, the second being that Shane would be defending his title at the War on the Shore show, with Slam installing himself as the special enforcer.

In conclusion - my first experience of the XWA turned out to be a very enjoyable one.

It was nice to see some of the faces I’d become familiar with during my FWA reviews last year, and once again these guys impressed me a great deal, especially El Ligero.

As for those I wasn’t too familiar with their work was sound as well, especially the big guys Colossus and Cyanide. Immediately I began to imagine what would happen if these two former a tag team.

As for the Goldrush match, well it may be a copy of another more widely known match but it was full of great action and drama, which is all you can ask for as a wrestling fan.

So in all XWA Goldrush 2011 gets the thumbs up from this particular writer, and I look forward to getting another taste of XWA action in the future. The near future that is.

With thanks to the powers that be for supplying a copy of this release. XWA Goldrush 2011 is available to buy online at www.xwawrestling.com.