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The Two Sheds Review: WAW Fightmare II
Submitted By Julian Radbourne
|THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne
In April 2001, two thousand fans filled the Norwich Sports Village at the World Association of Wrestling’s first Fightmare show. Finally, after six years, there was a sequel, with Fightmare II being held at the Waveney Sports Centre in Lowestoft in May last year, with the two disc DVD set released a few months later, and it’s this release, courtesy of the WAW powers that be, that we’re going to look at now. Our hosts for the show are Pinfall Production regulars John Johnson and Dan Ambrose.
Disc one begins with a battle of those perennial foes, Charlie Rage and Darren Burridge. The roles are reversed from the NCW match I recently reviewed, with Rag back playing the villain, a role more suited to him. Now, those of you who remember that particular review will also remember that while I thought the match itself was good, I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed overall, mainly because I’d seen these two against each other so many times before. Well, although the action seems a little more fluid and a little more intense, I’m afraid I’ve got that same feeling. It’s a good show opener, and the action itself just can’t be faulted, but when you’ve seen these two against each before, it just loses a little of the excitement. This time it was Rage who came out on top. As Burridge tried a second monkey flip out of the corner, Rage countered with a power bomb, and put his feet on the ropes to gain extra leverage during the pin.
Next up, it’s tag-team action, as Team Summit, Nick Aldis, Ashe, Jimmy Starr and Chris Reynolds, led by their manager John Chapman, take on Sam Knee’s All-Stars, Sam Slam, Mick Romeo, Ricky Relentless, and Sykes, in an elimination match. A very fast paced match here from everyone involved, with tons of eliminations in quick succession, and each wrestler looking good at what they did, leaving Aldis of Team Summit and Slam of the All-Stars to battle it out at the end. Sadly, things took a slight downturn then, Aldis looked okay when he was with his team-mates, but alone against Slam he looked a little lost at times. Sam Slam, as always, looked highly impressive, especially when he executed his 450 splash to get the winning pin for his team.
Then it’s back to singles action between Phil Powers, replacing the injured Jody Fleisch, and the Welsh Wizard himself, Jason Cross. Cross looked like he’d gained a few pounds since he won and lost the Cruiserweight title in his feud with Steve Quintain. A rather short match here, with Powers, as always, looking highly impressive, especially with his high-flying moves, which included virtually leaping from one corner to the other to deliver a top rope leg drop. Cross, though, just seemed to be missing that certain something. This clearly wasn’t the man I saw having good matches on previous WAW shows. Despite Powers’ great moves, it was Cross who came out on top, getting the pin with a northern lights suplex. Not the best match I’ve seen, which disappointed me a little as on paper this looked like it could have been a show stealer.
More tag-team action follows, this time in the women’s division, as Silk and Steel, Destiny and Kharisma, take on The Norfolk Dolls, Britani Knight and Melody. This match had a special stipulation - if either of the Dolls pin Destiny, they’d win her British title. This was actually a re-match from their tremendous encounter at the Chick Fight show in Yarmouth the previous January. Sadly, although this match was good, it just couldn’t compare to that first encounter. All four girls did well, but as with Jason Cross in the match before, there just seemed to be something lacking. The Dolls failed in their attempt to win gold however. After Kharisma accidentally kicked Destiny in the face, both Dolls went for the pin, only for Kharisma to save her partner by pulling Destiny’s shoulders up. She then pushed the champion out of the ring, and took the pin for the team herself. Good, but just lacking something.
The final match on disc one sees the masked star Zak Zodiac challenging Jonny Storm for the Lightweight title, and fought under WAW championship match rules, over ten rounds, and the best of three falls. Now this was a lot better, great technical wrestling mixed in with fast paced action made for an enthralling contest. Storm got the first fall after his trademark wonder whirl finisher, with Zodiac emulating his big brother and finishing Storm off with the Zebra Crossing top rope elbow to equal things up. Tons of great action followed, some of it too quick to describe at times, before Storm got the final and winning pin after taking Zodiac out with his version of the 619. A great match here, definitely the best one on this first disc.
Disc 1 features a chance to look back at two Fightmare I matches, the classic ladder match between the Zebra Kid and Jody Fleisch, and the falls count anywhere brawl between old rivals Drew McDonald and Robbie Brookside.
Disc two begins with what looks like a tremendous match on paper, “The Anarchist” Doug Williams against Martin Stone. This was a great contest between two of Britain’s current top stars. Williams was, as Williams always is, on top of his game, with Stone providing the perfect foil for him. My only criticism about this one was that when Williams was trying his heelish tactics, he seemed to be trying to be the dastardly villain just a little too hard. Perhaps it would have been better to leave this as just a technical encounter. After all, it worked with Storm and Zodiac. But getting back to the matter at hand - Williams came out on top in this one. As Stone was setting up for his lariat finisher, Williams pulled the referee in front of him, and then pushed him into Stone. As Stone pushed the poor ref to one side, Williams caught Stone with a bridging German suplex to get the pin. Good stuff here, but as I said, Williams was trying to hard to be a heel.
Tag-team action follows, as the U.K. Pitbulls, the Bulk and Big Dave, defend their tag-team titles against the Norwegian team of Fremtiden, Victor Dale and the late Isak Rain. Handling the managerial duties for the foreign visitors is “The Twisted Genius” Dean Ayass, making his WAW debut. It’s a veritable David v Goliath contest, fought over three falls. The visitors looked highly impressive in the first section, until the Pitbulls fought back and pinned Isak after Bulk’s bulk-a-rolla move. The champions then doubled-up to good effect in the second session, until Fremtiden came back with some good double-team moves of their own, and Isak equalising the score for his team with a frog splash off the top rope, earning him the pin over Big Dave. However, although the Norwegians put on another great display of high-flying, the Pitbulls came out on top. Dave countered his hurricanrana attempt as Isak became the filling in a Pitbull sandwich, before he fell to the trademark Pitbull power bomb, with the champions getting the title retaining win. Quite a good match this one. Fremtiden looked very impressive, and as I watched this match I began to wonder what would have happened had they gone up against a team nearer their size during their trips to Britain. Sadly, that’s something we’re not going to find out now.
Then it’s back to singles action, as Ricky Knight defends the DAM title against Paul Tyrell in a hardcore match. It’s a match that takes in the entire arena, as Knight and Tyrell proceed to knock seven sorts of you know what out of each other, with Tyrell even taking a bump over the top of the bleachers. They eventually get back into the ring, where Knight DDT’s Tyrell on a steel tray, which doesn’t get the pin, before unleashing the Good Knight Slam on the former Essex Boy, earning the hard fought victory three seconds later. A very enjoyable contest, showing that the old boy still has it.
More title action follows, as British Champion The Kraft and Norwegian star Erik Isaksen battle it out for the vacant World title. Once again, Dean Ayass is with Isaksen, over-seeing the Norwegian’s business. Unlike the other WAW title bouts, this one is fought over a sixty minute time limit, with just one fall needed for victory. These two guys matched up really well. Although there were a couple of dodgy moments in the proceedings, Isaksen and Kraft put on a great contest, worthy of it’s title status, and it’s an absolute pleasure to see just how far Kraft has come in his career since his debut in 2002. (Remember it was yours truly who predicted big things for him all those years ago!) A hard fought, drawn out battle saw both wrestlers pull out all the stops, with Ayass helping his men get the win. As Kraft tried to suplex Isaksen back into the ring, the Twisted Genius tripped Kraft and held on to his leg as Isaksen went for the pin.
The final match of disc two sees British legend Johnny Kidd challenging Steve Quintain for the Cruiserweight title, in another bout fought under WAW championship match rules. This was a technical master class, and the best match of the collection, reminding this writer of the halcyon days of the World of Sport era. I really can’t speak too highly about this one, except that I don’t think I’ve ever seen these two in a bad match, which is what makes this match so good. With Kidd getting the first fall with a backslide, and Quintain getting the second with a roll-up soon afterwards, Quintain was awarded the match after Kidd injured his knee when it was caught between the middle and bottom ropes. The Tattooed Warrior reluctantly accepted the decision, but offered Kidd an immediate re-match.
Disc 2 extras come in the form of two more Fightmare flashbacks, with the Bulk taking on Poison in a hardcore match, and the World title match between Big Dave and Tiger Steele, although personally I would have chosen a different match than this, because it wasn’t actually that good.
In conclusion - way back in 2001 WAW managed to catch lightning in a bottle as far as the first Fightmare show was concerned. In terms of attendance, it still ranks as one of the top five British run shows held in Britain in the 21st century. It truly was what could be termed as a British supershow.
But sadly, the same can’t be said of Fightmare II. Although it was a good show, it just lacked that certain indefinable thing that made it special, and to this writer, who has seen countless WAW shows over the past seven years, it seemed like “just another show”. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. So as far as this show goes, it was a good show, but not a “super show”.
Production wise, messrs Ambrose and Johnson continue to grow as commentators. This was by far their best performance yet, although I was disappointed by the position of the hard cam, which was slightly off centre and near one of the corners of the ring. It made watching the action a little difficult at times.
Now this is normally the part where I tell you where you can buy this DVD online. Sadly, since WAW re-designed their website, they currently don’t have a merchandise page, so the only thing I can suggest is to e-mail WAW directly at email@example.com.
With thanks to Ricky Knight for supplying a copy of this release.
Finally, please check out my following web sites;
www.twoshedsreview.com - My home on the web. Along with recent wrestling reviews, you can also find book, film and boxing reviews as well.
www.myspace.com/twosheds316 - My online blog, where things that don’t fit into my regular columns are found.
www.lulu.com/twosheds316 - My online store, where you can purchase the various books I’ve released. A new publication will be added soon. Watch this space!
www.youtube.com/twosheds316 - My YouTube page, with new additions from the Cage Fight Series “D-Day” show, held last May.
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