It's been a while since we've ventured into the world of European wrestling, and there's no better place to make our return than with some old friends of the Two Sheds Review, Swiss Championship Wrestling, as we take a look at the DVD release of March Madness 2013.
The show began with singles action as Syndrome took on Luke Styles.
This one didn't exactly set the pulses racing. It was a relatively short encounter, and even though there were some good moves both guys just seemed a little lost at times, and the pauses before some of the moves made things look a little sloppy, which ruined the overall flow of the contest.
Styles emerged victorious in this one, blocking Syndrome's finisher before taking him down with a piledriver for the winning pin.
The first title match of the show saw Tom Sanders, the first one-handed wrestler I've ever seen, challenging Maik Tuga, accompanied by Shanna, for the Lightweight title.
Now this was more like it. The disappointment of the first match was more than made up for when these two went at it. It was a great back and forth encounter from start to finish, with impressive performances from both men.
Tuga dominated the early going, and looked very good in doing so. Of course, he had a little help from his lady friend at ringside, but this didn't help him that much when Sanders began to make his comeback.
It was then that SigMaster Rappo and his friends the Bad Boys, known collectively as the Armada, came down to ringside to observe the proceedings, and just when it looked like Sanders was about to hit top gear their distraction was enough for Tuga to re-take control. A few moments later Tuga applied the Cattle Mutilation, and Sanders had no choice but to tap out to give Tuga the title retaining submission win.
Then, as expected, the Armada boys attacked Sanders, taking him out with their version of the 3D, before the various bad guys cut a post-match promo. I have no idea what they said, mainly because most of it was in German.
More championship action followed as Chris Brave and Skarin challenged the Most Entertaining Tag Team, Caz Crash and Mr. Exotic Erotic, for the Tag Team titles.
Originally the Nacho Libres team were scheduled to challenge for the titles in this match, but when they didn't show up Skarin and Brave were put in in their place.
This one wasn't too bad I suppose, although the ending did look a little sloppy.
Both teams looked quite good early on, and as the match progressed and as Brave took on the role of crash test dummy the champions looked quite impressive. Inevitably Brave got the hot tag to Skarin, signalling the start of the mass brawl, and at one point it looked like he was going to get the win for his team after he took Crash down with a tombstone piledriver. But just as the referee was about to make the three count Exotic came diving into the ring and held the referee's arm up before he slapped the mat.
Exotic then dragged Crash back to his corner so he could make a tag, and just after Skarin had finished conferring with the official he took his challenger down with a superkick.
Then came the somewhat sloppy moment. Crash went for the cover, and judging by what happened next Brave was meant to make the save, but as the referee was making his count it looked as if Brave tripped over the bottom rope.
The referee didn't slap the mat for a third time. Instead he said "three, three, three". The commentators also sounded a little confused about what had happened, as if they'd expected a different finish.
It was back to singles action for the next match as Diablo, accompanied by John Mayer, faced Drake Destroyer.
Basically what we had here was two big guys beating the proverbial out of each other, and it was actually quite entertaining. The masked Diablo attacked Destroyer before the match began, and as he dominated the majority of the proceedings he looked quite impressive.
Destroyer, a former SCW Champion, went on to make a comeback that was just as impressive, but while he was taking his man down with an F5-like move Mayer threw a chair into the ring, but while Destroyer was making the cover the referee was busy remonstrating with Mayer at ringside.
Needless to say that Destroyer wasn't too happy, and as he turned his attention back to the match a now-recovered Diablo took him down with a vicious looking spear. It wasn't enough to put the big man away though, and after countering the masked man's attempted move Destroyer took him down with a modified Olympic slam for the three count, ending his night's work by giving Mayer a knuckle sandwich.
Six man action followed as Peter Love, El Celta and Jay Cruise faced SigMaster Rappo and the Bad Boys in an impromptu match.
This one came about when Love asked the GM for another match with his former partner Rappo. Rappo came out, but was promptly followed by his Armada co-horts, and as they beat up on Love Celta and Cruise ran in for the save. It was then that our GM ordered this match.
Now this one was okay, but it suffered from a couple of sloppy moments, as well as a spot of poor ring psychology.
The action was okay to begin with, but when Cruise was singled out for the hard treatment he looked a little lost at time. There was also the sequence where Bad Boy #1 kept whipping Cruise into his own corner, with the commentators wondering why he never made the tag while he was there.
Cruise did manage to make it back to his corner in the correct manner, but he found himself back in the match just a few moments later after Love had taken care of Rappo. He didn't last that long though, and a few seconds later he fell to Rappo's Death Valley Driver as the Armada boys took the win.
The penultimate match saw Shanna and Sweet Saraya fighting it out over the Ladies title. Moving swiftly on.....
The main event saw Jamie Nitro challenging Karsten Beck for the Heavyweight title.
We had a ton of jaw jacking at the beginning of this one. German-native Beck spent a great deal of time insulting the local Swiss women before turning his attention to the rest of the crowd. At one point, just as the match was about to begin, one of the fans tried to get into the ring to confront Beck. It was then that the champion left the ring, saying that he wasn't going to wrestle because of the fans' reaction to him. A swift word from our esteemed General Manager saw Beck making a quick return to the squared circle.
So when the match finally began what we had here was okay. The early stages saw both guys basically beating on each other before Beck took control, and as he looked to put his challenger away the Armada boys came back down to the ring to observe the proceedings.
Nitro soon made his comeback, but the presence of the bad guys distracted him. The match continued nonetheless, but a few moments later the good guys flooded out of the locker room, and a brawl sent Rappo and his crew scurrying to the back, with everyone else ushered away by the referee.
With no official in sight Beck saw his chance. Grabbing his title belt, he clobbered Nitro upside the head, knocking him out. Beck went for the pin as the referee came racing back into the ring, and a three count later he had retained his title.
It was then that the GM jumped into the ring to chat to the referee, and a few seconds later he announced that the match had been re-started because of Beck's actions. The champion was none too happy with the GM's ruling, but as he turned his attention back to the match Nitro took him down with a fall away face buster before sealing the deal with a top rope elbow drop. One cover and a three count later and we had a new champion.
In conclusion - this release is definitely a bit of a mixed bag.
Performance-wise there's a couple of really good bouts on here, and a couple which could have been better but fit firmly into the okay bracket, and then there were some that were either very poor or were let down by minor errors which really shouldn't have been there in the first place.
Production-wise it was okay, about what you'd expect from a promotion of this size, although the camera placing could have been a little better, especially during one match when a ringside brawl was missed completely.
As for the commentary I was a little surprised that it was in English, but also a little annoyed with a couple of errors, such as calling Tom Sanders Mike Sanders and Jamie Nitro Jamie Knoble a few times. Hey, maybe they were old WCW fans.
As for the match of the night no-prize that's a no brainer, with the prestigious award going to the Lightweight title battle between Maik Tuga and the aforementioned Tom Sanders.
So with all of that out of the way there's just one thing left to do. I have to admit that I was tempted to give this a thumbs down, but given the entertaining Destroyer/Diablo match and the excellent Tuga/Sanders encounter I'm going to give this DVD a thumbs up, with a could do better caveat added to the end.
With thanks to the powers that be for supplying a copy of this release. SCW March Madness 2013 can be purchased online by visiting www.swiss-wrestling.ch.