Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Just Another Guy on the IWC presents: TNA New Years Knockout Eve

TNA New Years Knockout Eve
Release Date: 12/31/2009
Run time: 174 minutes (2 hrs, 54 mins)
Location: Impact Zone at Universal Studios; Orlando, FL

by Joe Burrows 

What’s Causin’ all of this?: 
This was a televised special on Spike TV (running four hours with commercials) highlighted by an eight woman tourney over the #1 contender's spot to the TNA Knockouts Title. If that's not enough, the top 3 TNA matches of the year were also shown in their entirety...and there was some quality stuff that year. This also marked the last show before Hulk Hogan debuted on TNA's first Impact on Monday nights in 2010. And we all know that turned out just fine...

Trivia note: The Canadian Direct TV listing for this show was "New Years Kockout Eve". Did they know their audience that well?

The Rundown (Contains SPOILERS):
1. Hamada vs. Madison Rayne (4:24)
2. ODB vs. Traci Brooks (4:14)
3. Roxxi vs. Velvet Sky (2:13)
4. Kurt Angle vs. Desmond Wolfe - TNA Turning Point 2009 (16:26) ****1/4
5. Awesome Kong vs. Daffney (3:29)
6. Sarita & Taylor Wilde vs. April Hunter & Lorelei Lee (2:45)
7. A.J. Styles vs. Samoa Joe vs. Daniels - TNA Turning Point 2009 (21:50) ****1/2
8. Roxxi vs. Hamada (7:47) ***
9. Awesome Kong vs. ODB (6:21)
10. Sting vs. A.J. Styles - TNA Bound for Glory 2009 (13:52) ***1/4
11. Hamada vs. ODB (14:34) ***1/2
Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo (you pretentious bastard):
The Good:
Usually, the first round is a throwaway. Usually. - First rounds in pro wrestling tournaments are normally foregone conclusions. As we have found out with TNA over the years, NOTHING is a foregone conclusion. However, the right workers went over in the first round of the Knockout tourney and in relatively entertaining fashion. The matches may have been short, competitive squashes but they were all done well. Hamada/Rayne was better than most would have expected and made for the best of the first round contests. And an Awesome Kong squash is a great squash, even if it was Daffney. 

HAMADA RULE ~!~ - Ayako Hamada had a few memorable moments in her short TNA tenure and this night was probably tops. Though she wasn't successful in this tournament, she proved to be the workhorse of the event & the most apt at the tourney atmosphere. After decimating Madison Rayne with sharp kicks in the first round, Hamada beat Roxxi in a great match with several good false finishes. The main event final with ODB held up to its standing with both workers throwing everything they had into the 15 minute duration. It's a shame Hamada never really caught on in TNA because she proved to be a star here. 

She's like DDP...with a nicer rack - Roxxi portrayed the gutsy underdog to a tee here. After beating Velvet Sky in the first round, she was jumped by Lacey Von Erich & took a beating to the ribs from Lacey's "ugly stick" (and Lacey didn't botch anything!). This led to Roxxi taping up the ribs & facing Hamada in a fine "fighting from underneath" effort where Roxxi came up just short. Her selling of the beating made for a compelling match in what could have been a uneventful tourney. 

Great wrestling by any name is still great wrestling - The first of the top three TNA matches featured on the show was Angle/Wolfe (the former, at the time, Nigel McGuiness) and it was close to the classic most expected it to be. Lots of intricate mat wrestling & counter mat wrestling abounded, with Wolfe actually outwrestling Angle for the majority of the match. Probably a purists dream match and its great (along with the other two matches featured) that it's included in full here (albeit with a commercial break or two).

Sequels are a good thing, sometimes - The Styles/Daniels/Joe 3x Threat match had the specter of their match at Unbreakable 2005 hanging over it & whether this one would equal or surpass it. If it didn't pass the first one, it came pretty damn close. Lots of newer, multi-man moves & nice callbacks to the first match, in addition to some pretty crisp action. There may have been some criticism of the three for trying to do too much within the match but you can't deny the effort & the all around action produced here. 


I'll just let that soak in for a second...
The Bad:
Have you heard about January 4th yet? - So, a quarter of the show's running time is basically an infomercial for Hogan's TNA debut on January 4th, 2010. And we all know that turned out just fine...

What TNA Knockout Tag Titles? - I realize they weren't the principle part of the show but three minutes for a showcase of the TNA Knockouts Tag champions is barely a showcase at all. Lorelei & April looked decent but didn't really have much time to show otherwise. At least the guest commentary with Magnus & Doug Williams was amusing. 

Oh, THAT foregone conclusion - Once ODB beat Kong in the semifinals, it became pretty apparent that ODB was going over in the tourney, lest Hamada or Kong do double duty on 1/4 (as they got a Knockouts Tag title shot that night). Kinda took the sails out of the proceedings but at least the main event delivered. 

The Ugly:
Tracy Brooks comes up just an inch too short. BOO! - TNA briefly ran an angle in 2009-10 exploiting Brooks' affliction of Erb's Palsy, which left her right arm slightly shorter than the left. Despite it not being mentioned during Brooks' previous six years with TNA & the handicap not effecting her or it being even noticeable, the company felt it necessary to garner Brooks sympathy as a face. Having being hammered homer during her first round match with ODB just reeked of one of those moments where you'd be embarrassed to admit you're a pro wrestling fan. 

The Ugly Meh:
Match of the Year? - Don't get me wrong...Styles/Sting was a pretty good match. I liked the story being told and I felt that Sting showed he still had his main event mettle against a younger, big match performer like A.J. Styles. I just didn't buy it as a MotY. These matches were supposedly voted on by the fans so I suppose they were swayed by the sentimentality surrounding the storyline (Sting wondering if he had it in him against a young upstart & possibly passing the torch to him). However, the match ended anticlimactically & just didn't really hold up in comparison to Angle/Wolfe and the 3x Threat. I think Angle/Jarrett from earlier in the year was better suited for the top 3 but thems be the breaks when your MotY candidate happens in January. 

Contact your __________ for availability:

Seeing as this is not available on DVD or anything, it's pretty rare in that regard. The top 3 matches are on TNA's Best of 09 DVD but you may want to check with a tape trader or some place like iOffer to find this special.  

Is it worth it?:
While this was a great program with two legit **** encounters and two *** matches amongst the tourney, it's a bittersweet one to watch in the sense that this was the end of the last really good era of TNA. After this, TNA became focused on Hogan, his hangers on and less emphasis on in-ring content. There have been good moments over the past two years but the product as a whole has not been as on point as it seemed like during this time period.  Women's wrestling in America certainly hasn't been focused on this much since this show so its definitely worth a look for that curio alone.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Just Another Guy on the IWC presents: Best of the WWF Volume 1

Best of the WWF Volume 1
Release Date: 1985
Run time: 90 minutes
Produced by: Coliseum Video

by Joe Burrows

What’s Causin’ all of this?: This would be the first of the WWF’s “Best of” series that ran for 20 volumes (and the third tape WWF produced overall in its history under the Coliseum Video banner). Unlike its later incarnations where they highlighted current matches in the product, this acts as sort of a sampling of (then) current content and past happenings as well. Ever wonder why WWE doesn’t take their back catalog of CV stuff and offer it up for burning on DVD-R discs? That would be the veritable “goldmine”, sir.

Still the best wrestling video intro of all time.

The Rundown:

1.    Hulk Hogan & Andre The Giant v. Dick Murdoch, Adrian Adonis & Big John Studd (7/15/84; 9:31 of 22:21 shown).

2.    Fabulous Moolah (w/Capt. Lou Albano) v. Wendi Richter (w/Cyndi Lauper)- WWF Women’s title match (7/23/84; 4:05 of 11:20 shown).

3.    Gorilla Monsoon v. Baron Mikel Scicluna (Muhammad Ali confronts Monsoon, 6/2/76; 0:46 – Also on The 50 Greatest Superstars in WWE History DVD).  

4.    Jimmy Snuka v. Bobby Bass (1:30).

- Piper’s Pit with Jimmy Snuka (Also on Roddy Piper: Born to Controversy DVD).

5.    Roddy Piper v. Jimmy Snuka (8/25/84; 6:07 of 7:05 shown).

6.    The Cobra v. Black Tiger- Match for the vacant WWF Junior Heavyweight title (12/28/84; 6:59) ***1/4. 

- Hogan trains “Mean Gene”.

7.    Hulk Hogan & Gene Okerlund v. George Steele & Mr. Fuji (8/26/84; 3:30 of 6:30 shown – Also on Hulk Still Rules DVD). 

8.    Bruno Sammartino v. Larry Zbysko (1/22/80; 10:00).

9.    Sammartino v. Zbysko- Cage match (Showdown at Shea”, 8/9/80; 5:12 of 13:59 shown – Also on WWE Bloodbath: Wrestling's Most Incredible Cage Matches DVD).

-       Vince McMahon joins us from what resembles an AV room at a local community college. Bet all the other kids in the neighborhood laughed at him, too. 

Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo (you pretentious bastard):
The Good:
“He doesn’t know the difference between a wristlock and a wristwatch!” – With that quote, Gorilla Monsoon cemented his place in wrestling lore. This was one of those cases where the match was totally secondary to the angle at hand…and that’s ok. It was also one of the few times an outside sports celebrity was used right in a pro wrestling setting. Ali was a big fan of pro wrestling and was probably just glad to be on the show.

You put the lime in the cocoanut and bash it over his head… - I know what you’re thinking…what “Best of” compilation is complete without an appearance from Bobby Bass? In any event, that squash was a good way to introduce the home audience to how awesome Snuka was at this time. This Piper’s Pit segment is probably the one most thought about when it comes to that series and should be indelibly burned into people’s memory. Of course, Piper never really gets his comeuppance in the blowoff here but he rarely did anyway. And the heat in their match just reminds you how molten hot crowds used to be back in the day.

Cobra style vs. Tiger style – Back in 1984, this was mind blowing stuff and a precursor to what would be coming in about 10 or 12 years. George Takano (Cobra) and Marc Rocco (Tiger) were two exemplary workers and managed to build the crowd up through the match; a testament considering how tough MSG crowds could be sometimes. Equal parts mat wrestling/submissions and high flying. The match could probably get over on RAW today but wouldn’t hold up with ultra-smarky indy fans, who would be wondering why no one is getting kicked in the head or dropped on the apron a la ROH.

Bruno and Larry Z – Perhaps the best example of the start of the “Teacher/Student” feud that became so prototypical in wrestling. The setup match is well told, with Bruno besting his protégé and irritating him by not going full force on him. It takes ten minutes for it to build up Zybsko’s ire and the result leaves Bruno in a nice pile of his own Ragu (courtesy of a wooden chair attack). Today’s fan would probably get impatient at the story taking its time to unfold and the elementary nature of the match but it really works if given the chance.

The Bad:
Four guys and Adrian Adonis bumping – Even with over half of the match cut out, this was a pretty slow outing. Just another day at the office for most of the crew, with John Studd not even factoring much into the match. Adrian bumps well but he did so in better matches, too.

No amount of Moolah could help this – Usually, the “Teacher/Student” matches go well (see above). This is not one of those times. If not for all of the “Rock n’ Wrestling” hype surrounding Moolah/Richter, the MSG crowd would have crapped all over it. The only memorable things to take from this were Cyndi Lauper using a TOWEL of all things as a weapon & Moolah dropkicking the ref after the match. The last part was pretty amusing.

Would you let Hulk Hogan train you? – The match this set up was ugly but it was expected to be. I could have done with more Cobra/Black Tiger in place of these two training & grunting like it was a bad gay porno. Plus, Gene has not decorated his house since 1975, judging by the footage.

The Ugly:
The clipping – This was the adolescence of the whole VHS thing and chopping a presumably two hour tape down to 90 minutes makes for a very trying experience at times. If you’re a completest, the random editing may turn you off. Also, the F may have had it out for Bruno by this time, judging by the horrible edit job in his famous Cage Match at Shea (Note: You can find the entire match on WWE’s Showdown at Shea broadcast if somebody copied it off of 24/7).

Contact your __________ for availability:
There’s one copy on Amazon available here. If that's not for you, try eBay or your local tape trader. I certainly don't want to push one to do anything illegal...

Is it worth it?:
A good amount of this tape is available on other WWE DVD sets but the rare stuff (Cobra/Tiger, Piper/Snuka, the setup to Bruno/Zybsko) isn't so if you can grab it for cheap, it would be a good pick up. The editing can take you out of the viewing sometimes, which poses as the program's main problem. If you can get by that, this is a good start to the "Best of WWF" series and a decent supplement of what you may already own on DVD.

Wall o' Video!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

JustAnotherReviewGuy presents: MCW Rage TV (Episode 38)

Taped from the MCW Arena/Gillberg's Pro Wrestling Training Academy in Severn, MD. Your announcer is Mark Bray.

Episode #38
- Nick Sarichelli is out for a promo. He apparently has a Valentine's Day bear for Boss Tara. She is pleased by the gesture but Nico is not impressed. Where was his bear, I guess.

Match #1: Ricky Blues & Bob Starr v. Steve Shaw & Spider Silva.
Silva would be the same Onshay "Spider" Silva that works in EWA. Blues presses Silva down & works on Shaw's arm. Legdrop and suplex by Starr on Shaw. Blues' slingshot into a clothesline gets the pin at 1:53. 

- Next, Sean Patrick is out with flowers for...BOSS TARA! He asks her to consider him for stable spot and she agrees. Again, Nico not impressed. Mongo like candy?

Match #2: RK Blues (w/Dr. Daniels & Aida Marie) v. RJ Ryan.
Blues blitzes Ryan with kicks & chokes to start. Suplex & pumphandle slam get two for Blues. Inverted Dragon Sleeper leads to a Malenko gut buster for the pin at 2:06. 

- Ryan McBride cuts a promo about Autism. BODYSLAM IT, DAMMIT! The Boogeyman reminds you that you are watching RAGE TV. 

Match #3: Drolix (w/Chuck Lennox) v. C-Fed.
There seem to be a few more vocal anti-Fed Up voices than usual tonight. C-Fed misses a side kick and Drolix hits an Exploder suplex for two. Drolix (and Lennox) choke away on C-Fed. Chops light up C-Fed but he counters a corner charge with a front rollup for the pin at 3:10.  Afterwards, Drolix & Lennox beat down C-Fed. Could have been better and was really only there to set up the post match angle. 

Match #4: Tyler Hilton v. Nico (w/Boss Tara). 
Hilton scores with a dropkick early. Tara trips Hilton up, giving Nico control. Tara's two suitors from before show up as Nico hits a bulldog for two. Nico is distracted by Tara's guests, allowing Hilton to hit a jawbreaker. Hilton misses a corner splash as Sarichelli & Patrick get into a shoving match outside. This leads to Hilton hitting a Codebreaker on Nico for the pin at 4:06. Like the last match, it seemed more about getting the angle across.

- The three argue over Tara and Nico drags her to the back to end this. I always thought MCW was the most like WWE out of all the Maryland feds and this angle just encompasses it. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Friday, February 17, 2012

TNA back in Maryland soon

TNA is coming back to Upper Marlboro and Hagerstown, MD on 2/24 and 2/25 respectively. Tickets are available through tnawrestling.com

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

JustAnotherReviewGuy presents: MCW Rage TV (Episode 37)

Taped from the MCW Arena/Gillberg's Pro Wrestling Training Academy in Severn, MD. Your announcers are Mark Bray and Earl the Pearl. 

Episode #37
- Sami Callihan comes out for the opening interview. Bray stirs the shit up by saying some people consider Callihan too small to be in wrestling; one of whom is Ricky Reyes. Sami sates he isn't the biggest dog in the fight but the scariest and that he will make Reyes tap to the Stretch Muffler. 

Match #1: Hokus & Amazing Sanchez v. Spartan & Nero. 
Sanchez has seemingly developed some form of Tourette's since his last appearance. He's just more vocal this time around. Spartan cheap shots after a handshake for Sanchez but is soon routed. Nero (or "Mario Lopez", per someone's chant) attacks Hokus but eats a Goldust punch. Flying ass by Hokus on Nero sets up a double flying forearm for the stereo pins at 2:00. Fun squash.

Match #2: Black Wallstreet (Drolix, Marcus Streets & Chuck Lennox, w/Ronald Clayton) & Mustafa Aziz Daniels (w/JP Callahan) v. G-Fed, Buck Chyld & The Ghetto Mafia (2 Dope & Creed). 
Of course, we get everyone brawling to start. MAD & Dope are left in the ring & Creed soon joins in to try to double team. MAD doesn't leave his feet and soon, everyone's back in. JP interferes and the heels work over Buck Chyld for a while. Another brawl breaks out after a few minutes and the Mafia lay out Lennox with a top rope Thesz press/powerbomb combo for the pin at 6:37. Hot, if traditional, multi-man contest.

- Clayton goes to confront G-Fed, only to sell a punch like taking a Bionic Elbow full of Kryptonite. Nice.

Match #3: Tyler Hilton v. Ronnie Zukko (w/Jessie Kaye) - MCW title match.
Ramblin' Rich replaces Earl on commentary as Tyler jumps Zukko on the outside. Suplex by Hilton inside sets up a top rope move but Jessie trips him up. Ronnie hits some running knees into the corner but misses a dropkick. Slingshot by Hilton leads to the shine and a rollup for two. Dropkick by Hilton leads to Team McDevitt running in for the DQ at 3:21. Nui hits a falling headbutt on Hilton and is about to do the same on Candie but Team Cicero runs them out. More about the angle than anything else but there's nothing wrong with that sometimes. 

- Cicero tells TM they're coming for them...AND WE RUNNIN' OUTTA TIME, BA-BAY!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

JustAnotherReviewGuy presents: MCW Rage TV (Episode 36)

Taped from the MCW Arena/Gillberg's Pro Wrestling Training Academy in Severn, MD. Your announcers are Mark Bray and Earl the Pearl. 

Episode #36
- Team McDevitt is out to start this week's episode. Interesting note: Despite feuding with Jimmy Cicero, Dan continues to wear his "Bodyslam Autism" bracelet on his left wrist. He gets all political, saying everyone in the audience is low class and will continue to keep the country spiraling downward. Commissioner Jessie Kaye announces Hilton/Zukko for the MCW title on next week's show. 

Match #1: Team Gemini (Mitch Miller & Paul White, w/The Winner's Circle) v. Spartan & Nero.
Nice dropkick/Russian legsweep combo by Gemini on Spartan. Miller cuts off a Nero hot tag with a Butterfly suplex. Charging knee by White sets up a double bulldog to finish Nero at 1:45. Earl calls Dr. Daniels "beautiful" for some reason. Effective tag squash. 

Match #2: Nico & Nick Sarichelli (w/Boss Tara) v. Nick Rageous & Ja Roth. 
Nico dropkicks Roth and Sarichelli hits a swinging neckbreaker on Rageous soon afterwards. Inverted neckbreaker by Nick sets up a Nico splash for the pin at 2:36. More "next, please" squashing abounds. 

- Bray questions Sarichelli's alliance with Boss Tara. Hey, whatsamattayoueh? She assures he will be a valuable asset to the team. 

Match #3: Sean Patrick v. Ryan McBride. 
Patrick jumps McBride at the bell and works the back. McBride fires back with clotheslines but misses a bodypress. More pounding on the back by Patrick. Suplex by Patrick leads to a Cobra Clutch but Ryan counters with a jawbreaker. McBride fires up with more clotheslines but gets caught with a Lungblower for a close two. Superkick by McBride leads to the rolling DVD for the pin at 4:36. Fairly good main event for the program, even if it was short. 

- McBride celebrates in the crowd while Earl says his days are numbered. 

From Episode #33:
Sami Callihan v. Rich Swann v. Alex Colon. 
The ref finds a WRENCH on Sami of all things, leaving him open for Colon to jump him. He is soon dispatched and Swann & Callihan hit STIFF dueling chops. Sami locks in a weird abdominal stretch but Swann fights out to hit a dropkick. Swann defends several spinning kicks from Colon but is hit with a lariat after missing a dropsault. Colon & Sami trade kicks, which leads to several corner lariats by Sami. Running kick & flying knee by Colon get two. Colon & Swann pound on Sami but can't agree on who pins him. Double enziguris by Callihan set up two facewash kicks in the corner. Stretch Muffler on Colon but Swann breaks it up with a TIP kick. Colon & Swann trade kicks but Colon responds with a Sliding D for two. Sami FARRS UP on Colon and locks in the Muffler for the tap at 8:30. Damn good match for a TV taping. Maybe should have scaled back on the head shots, as it was a free audience but that's just me.