Tuesday, 28 September 2010

3PW Recipe For Disaster DVD Review

By Phil Allely

3PW was a decent promotion that offered up an ECW like product for fans of that genre.
This budget release is a pretty good representation of the many cards 3PW ran as they combine former ECW stars, up and coming wrestlers and a few old faces from other promotions.

In this day and age where you only see blood on a A PPV dvds like this are a welcome treat as the perfomers show no sign of holding back and bleed, hurt and bend bones like their lives depended on it.

Match wise there are some slick efforts from Kid Kash and Kid Kruel, poor tag bouts fetauring Balls Mahoney, Nosawa and Da Hit Squad, but then we get some classic ECW style brawling with Raven v Xavier v Gary 'Pit Bull' Wolfe for the 3PW World Title.

The main event is a superb match that only fials due to its stars age/wear and tear on their bodies, to posess Sabu v Terry Funk on DVD is a must for any fan of wrestling and here it is on budget disc.

The extras on offer excel too, although in reality it is one match, but what a match. Don'r expect too many top rope moves, but you do get Abdullah the Butcher and Kevin Sullivan ding what they do best brutalising their opponents, plus theres Sabu and Syxx Pac on hand too.

A great disc with a lot going for it, I give it a 7 out of 10.

Triple H's Deskjob

WWE superstar and former multiple time champion Triple H has been promoted to an Executive position within the company and is now working in a high profile role in the head office.
His official title is Senior Adviser and he will be working directly under (his father in law/company chairman) Vince McMahon on the creative side. A new office was being put together for Triple H in Stamford this past week.

There’s a lot of speculation right now about how this will effect his career in the ring.

Triple H is 41 years old and has had many injuries, but there isn’t being anything said about this leading to his retirement.

Real name Paul Levesque Triple H is married to Vince McMahon’s daughter Stephanie and has been pegged by many as the man who wiill run the WWE alongside her when her father eventually decides to retire.
He has has also done pretty much everything possible within the WWE, headlining Wrestlemania’s/PPV’s, raising titles, selling out global tours and has been a part of the highly successful DX brand with his friend (and Running The Ropes favourite Shawn Michaels).

Currently rehabilitating yet another serious injury Triple H is due to return to the ring soon and will most probably add a further world title to his long list of acheivements before he does retire to a life of backstage management in the WWE, although things as always can change in the grapple game.

Stay tuned to WWE programming and here at Running The Ropes with Phil Allely, for future developments.

Triple H's Deskjob

WWE superstar and former multiple time champion Triple H has been promoted to an Executive position within the company and is now working in a high profile role in the head office.
His official title is Senior Adviser and he will be working directly under (his father in law/company chairman) Vince McMahon on the creative side. A new office was being put together for Triple H in Stamford this past week.

There’s a lot of speculation right now about how this will effect his career in the ring.

Triple H is 41 years old and has had many injuries, but there isn’t being anything said about this leading to his retirement.

Real name Paul Levesque Triple H is married to Vince McMahon’s daughter Stephanie and has been pegged by many as the man who wiill run the WWE alongside her when her father eventually decides to retire.
He has has also done pretty much everything possible within the WWE, headlining Wrestlemania’s/PPV’s, raising titles, selling out global tours and has been a part of the highly successful DX brand with his friend (and Running The Ropes favourite Shawn Michaels).

Currently rehabilitating yet another serious injury Triple H is due to return to the ring soon and will most probably add a further world title to his long list of acheivements before he does retire to a life of backstage management in the WWE, although things as always can change in the grapple game.

Stay tuned to WWE programming and here at Running The Ropes with Phil Allely, for future developments.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

WWE Money in the Bank DVD Review

WWE Money in the Bank DVD Review

By Phil Allely

WWE’s inaugural Money in the Bank Pay-Per-View was a monumental success for the company and will more than likely lead to the event becoming a part of the already busy schedule of annual event the WWE hold.

Growing out of the annual Wrestlemania match that see’s WWE superstars battle it out on ladders to grab a briefcase (containing a title match contract) from high above the ring, the PPV seemed like a natural way for the concept to go. The previous MITB bouts have all proved to be hugely entraining and highlight filled matches.

As we’ve already reviewed the PPV itself we’ll concentrate on the DVD release here. Apart form the matches there are a few extras on offer here too, Josh Matthews interviewing Kane and Nexus addressing the WWE Universe. Both do add to the events feel and are welcome additions.

Match wise there are some belters, John Cena’s rematch with Sheamus in a steel cage has a lot of drama and tension, the Unified Tag team match with The Hart Dynasty and the Uso’s has a great level of intensity and Rey Mysterio versus Jack Swagger has not only some energetic and innovative moments, but a finish we never saw coming.

However the Divas Championship between Alicia Fox and Eve, and the WWE Women’s Championship bout between Layla and Kelly Kelly are not only poorly accepted, but also poorly worked, the girls may look good and have their game plan drawn out, but the work ethic of the majority of male roster seems to be lacking unfortunately.

Luckily the Raw and Smackdown brand Money IN The Bank matches are superb bookends for the event, each proving to be not only memorable, but taking the match itself to a new level. Watch out for Big Show’s strengthened ladder (which helps that match greatly), some great moves by Kofi Kingston, Evan Bourne and old Hand Matt Hardy. Look out for the as expected suicidal and career shortening moments from John Morrison and Christian amongst others too. The set-pieces are superb, the impact of each move is well dramatised and you really do have edge of the seat moment in each. Yes there are periods where the car crash resembling ladder based offence and multiple participants can appear messy, but they really are few and far between.

MITB 2010 was a very enjoyable event and now raises the bar for future ones, the DVD release will certainly whet your appetite for the next one.

WWE Money in the Bank 2010 is available from www.silvervision.co.uk and all good stockists from October 25th 2010.

WWE Night of the Champions 2010 Review

WWE Night of the Champions 2010 Review

By Phil Allely

The Night of the Champions PPV is a relatively new one to the WWE event schedule, it is a welcome one indeed. The idea behind this PPV is that every title in the company will be defended and thus we are pretty well guaranteed at least one title change.

Tings kicked off well with Dolph Ziggler defending his Intercontinental belt against fan favourite Kofi Kingston. Vicky Guererro and her NXT rookie Kaitlyn both gave Dolph the assist where they could in a decent opening match that saw a harder edge to Kofi’s character. There were plenty of reversals, near falls and signature moves before Ziggler capitalised on a Kingston botched move to retain his gold.

CM Punk was working in front of his hometown Chicago crowd and of course he played up to that fact in his battle against Big Show. Punk certainly got the crowd fired up here, berating the city, its people and anyone else he could think of. The match itself was fun, but Shows strength put Punk’s speed and agility down with relative ease. A KO punch stopping the Straight Edge Society leader in his tracks.

United States Champion The Miz may have been a worthy winner of the Money in the Bank case, but he was always going to fall short in his battle with Daniel Bryan, the former Nexus man has a point to prove to not only the WWE hierarchy, but the entire fan base. The bout itself was well laid out, each getting the chance to show their skills and repertoire, Miz certainly is a well polished performer these days. Bryan nailed the win and raised his first US title after locking on his LaBell lock submission move.

The WWE women’s division has been a bone of content with fans for a long time now, the quality of the matches and in-ring skills are of course a problem that we all know f and yet WWE seem loathe to solve them. The WWE Women’s and Diva Title unification match between Michelle McCool and Melina was a case in point.

McCool and Melina did try to pull a decent match out of the situation, but really it wasn’t going to set the screen or arena alight and they knew it. McCool winning both belts after some brawling and hair pulling. The fact that the belts are now deemed obsolete by the WWE shows how far the division has fallen of late.

The many months of hype, storyline building and well crafted segments finally paid off as World Heavyweight Champion Kane defended his treasured belt against his brother Undertaker. Undertaker’s recent injury induced hiatus seems to have given him some in-ring fire and determination and his latest feud with his storyline brother are certs to be the feud we all want to see when the promotion tours these shores in November. The match itself was a hard fought and wearing battle of the big men, both trading stiff shots, outside assaults and some great selling by both men. Kane reversing a Tombstone Piledriver attempt into one of his own for the win.

Putting a tag team turmoil stipulation on the World Tag team bout added something to the Hart Dynasty’s title defence. The pairings subsequent loss early into the match meaning that we were guaranteed new champs no matter what. The remaining teams of The Uso’s, Kozlov/Marello, Henry/Bourne and Rhodes/McIntyre all played their parts well here. Each putting in the work to keep the crowd warm after the previous match. McIntyre and Rhodes proving to be the better team as they put away Bourne and Henry for the win.

The shows finale was a great way to round of a very good event. The Six Pack elimination challenge for Sheamus’ WWE Title certainly had its fair share of memorable moments and set-pieces. Chris Jericho was the first to be knocked out of the match (much to his and the rest of his opponents apparent shock), he’ll now concentrate on his band Fozzy for a while.

Randy Orton, Wade Barrett, Edge, John Cena and Sheamus all worked hard to emphasise just how important the title is to them, many dropping to pinfalls though. The finale saw Nexus lay waste to Orton and face off against Cena, Orton was able withstand the assault though and hit an RKO on fellow survivor Sheamus to get the pin and well deserved belt.

Night of the champions was a far better effort from the WWE than expected, there are sill qualms about the PG emphasis and lack of blood or violence, but in-ring and storyline wise the company proved they can do it if they need to.

Giant Gonzalez Passes Away

A Giant Passes

By Phil Allely

Former WWE performer Jorge González (better known as Giant González), who at 7'7" was (legitimately) the tallest grappler in professional wrestling history, passed away this past Wednesday in San Martin, Argentina, due to complications from diabetes, he was 44 years old.

González had been suffering from poor health in recent years, due to the effects of his long battle with diabetes and was wheelchair bound.

He was scheduled to return to the United States in May 2010 for an appearance at the "Legends of the Ring" wrestling convention in Monroe, New Jersey, but ultimately cancelled due to health concerns.

González was a basketball star in his native Argentina before moving to the Atlanta Hawks in 1988. When his NBA career didn't pan out, he signed for the Turner organization. After a year in WCWs training camp, he was introduced to fans as "El Gigante" on May 19, 1990 at the WCW pay-per-view, Capital Combat. He enjoyed a two-year run as a fan favorite before leaving the promotion in 1992. His most memorable appearances were his ones where he stood up against the Four Horsemen and defended young stars such as Flying Brian Pillman against brutal beatdowns.

González joined the World Wrestling Federation and debuted as "Giant González" at the 1993 Royal Rumble, he eliminated The Undertaker from the Rumble match. That move led to a a rivalry that lasted the length of Gonzalez' WWF career, he parted ways with the company shortly after being put to rest in a "Rest in Peace Match" at 1993's SummerSlam.

González continued wrestling in Japan before retiring in 1995 due to sciatic nerve pain. He returned to Argentina to settle in his hometown, where he had been living since 1998.

González is the fourth former WWE talent to pass away within the past two months, following Lance Cade, Luna Vachon and Mike Shaw (Bastion Booger).

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Mickie James To Join TNA!!

TNA take the Mickie out of the WWE

By Phil Allely

Former WWE Womens Champion and leading light in the companies increasingly talent deprived ladies division Micke James has inked a deal with rival company TNA.

The wrestler who was let go from the WWE earlier this year has been trying to kick start her music career of late and had been approached by TNA President Dixie Carter before about joining her company. Mickies Country msuic release has been favourably received, but perhaps won't sustain her lifestyle as well as her wrestling career has done so far.

It now appears as if the economic climate and Dixie's perserverence has paid off, and we will be seeing the lovely Miss James in a TNA ring sometime very soon.

With the TNA Knocokouts division consisting of so few workers it makes sense to hire someone of James calibre to help elevate it back up the talent rich arm of TNA that is once was.

Many insiders feel that James (who Previously appeared in TNA as Alexis Laree) will appear eithe ron the pre Bound For Glory Impact! show or the Pay-Per-View itself on October 10th. More than likely James (who may revert to her previous ring name) will feud with TNA's reunited Beutiful People team of Angelina Love and Velvet Sky, before butting heads with Taylor Wilde, Madison Rayne and her fellow WWE refugee Tara.

More information here as we get it and of course the review of the Bound For Glosy show will be here once the event airs here in the UK.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Hunt to Kill - Steve Austin Movie/DVD Review

Hunt To Kill DVD Review

By Phil Allely

Former WWE headliner and all round wrestling legend Steve Austin has been fortunate enough to make the move from grappling to acting relatively smoothly and has missed out on many of the pitfalls his peers have encountered over the years. Many wrestlers ending up portraying parodies of their former selves or making the odd hit film and then slipping back into the ring when the movie business stops calling.

Austin has had a fair few hits in the last few years, his acting experience of course dates back to his early WWE days when he had some TV bit parts, featured in the Adam Sandler vehicle The Longest Yard and their success sowed the seed that he one day may become a full time actor.

Recent outings in mega action hit The Expendables and his own vehicle The Stranger are now followed up by this film Hunt To Kill. After rubbing shoulders with such legends as Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li, Bruce Willis and genre greats like, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Hunt To Kill is Austin’s latest attempt to crack the big leagues and become a headline star in his own right. The good news is that he has achieved just that, his previous roles and dedication to his acting work have paid off in spades here, as he holds his own against some top class actors and has a lovely few scenes with Hollywood star Eric Roberts amongst other s here.

Hunt to Kill follows the life of hard as nails Border Patrol Agent Jim Rhodes (Austin) and his teenage daughter. Rhodes’ is struggling to bring up a rebellious teenager and get over the loss of an old friend, when a group of nasty killers decide to visit town in search of their missing heist money and the man who betrayed them.

The story itself is a decent enough affair, Rhodes’ is forced to assist the group, or risk his daughters life and in turn utilise all of his survival skills and natural born ability to stay safe, well and avoid the brutality the gang can hand out. Eventually turning the tables on the hard-nosed crew of misfits as he outsmarts them and begins his own game of hunt the bad guy. Rhodes is the perfect character for Austin to portray, he has the rugged appeal that fans of his will approve of and the wilderness and remote setting of the action helps build things up to make him the focus of all the action.

Austin is a very good leading man, taking on the mantle from the likes of Willis, Segal, Stallone etc in letting his action hero bravado and nice selection of one-liners make up for any acting gaps. The picture’s pacing is great building up nicely to a frantic finish, the small cast of well known actors help elevate the project too, Michael Hogan (Battlestar Galactica), Gil Bellows (The Expendables) and Roberts all lend weight to a pretty good plot that invites you into the pain and pressure Rhodes is put under.

Hunt to Kill does indeed offer plenty of thrills and spills, it sets Steve Austin in good stead as a natural successor to the throne of all round action hero and go-to-guy that the aforementioned legends once had. Wrestling fans and action movie enthusiasts will enjoy this in equal measure.

Hunt to Kill gets a 4 out of 5

Hunt to Kill is released on 11 October on DVD and Blu-Ray from Anchor Bay Entertainment

Look out soon for our exclusive Steve Austin interview, talking about Hunt to Kill and Wrestling.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

DVD Review: Glamour, Glitz & Divas

DVD Review: Glamour, Glitz and Divas

By Phil Allely

Women wrestlers have always been a part of the sport since it began, back in the day they were of course actually able to work a match and not the untalented eye candy they are represented by in many of today’s wrestling organisations. These ladies were hard-hitting, tough talking all action heroines and they did indeed pave the way for many of modern wrestling’s leading starlets or divas as they have become known.
But just what does it mean to be a wrestling female? This release from Big Vision tries its best to show you what many of the women in wrestling have went through and also what they achieved.

The idea behind this documentary is to let us the viewer into a world we know nothing about, the one where females have to try to find their niche in an industry predominantly promoted, watched and competed in by men.

The stories are amazing to hear, sometimes hilarious, often shocking and yet so unbelievable to hear ,that each woman and her tales are welcomed with opened arms.

Going way back to the 1940s and The Fabulous Moolah and Mae Young this show takes in everything it can about the idea of women facing each other in the ring. Each of the talking heads has a story to tell and most present their particular one with style, honesty and aplomb.

This DVD is a wonderful insight into a world we only see one side of as fans and rarely if ever do we see it form the female perspective. To hear road stories, the experiences of these ladies and their peers, plus the peek behind the curtains into how they are often treated is impressive to say the least.

The fact that this release talks to some of the industries most well know females helps too, seeing people like Joanie ‘Chyna’ Laurer, Tammy ‘Sunny’ Sytch, (the late) Sherrie Martel and Missy Hyatt talk openly about the industry, their experiences, their various addictions, personal issues and more all helps to build up a picture that a great many wrestling fans don’t realise even exists.

For fans new and old this is a nice little snapshot of one side of wrestling that although highly publicised, mainly through photo shoots and some glamourous ring outifts, we really dont know much about the way the ladies are treated and how they feel about their place in wrestling.

There are some great sections too, where some of the girls openly discuss how they capitalised on their fame and high profle, many have went on to write books, act, sing and of course the inevitable Playboy Photoshoot that can earn them big bucks and gain them a cult following. Of course the flip side is presented too, the one where careers never pick after being dropped by a company, personal issues and ego prove to be downfalls and some never recover from them. The dark side of wrestling is not a male only part of the business and thast something this production goes out of its way to show.

Many of the lesser known faces who were interviewed during the making of this dvd have now went on to bigger and better things, most were struggling nightly at Indy shows here and now work for the likes of the WWE or TNA. Of course some have had their moments in the limelight and are now back receiving low payment sat small shows once more after being used and thrown away by the big two US companies, Nikki Roxx being one of them. She was better known as TNA's Roxxi, who returned in 2010 for a short run with the company, after being willing to have her head shaved and bleed for the promotion, yet in a very short time she was let go again.

Extras wise we have a selection of matches featuring Sara Del Ray, Nikki Roxx, Mercedes Martinez and Cheerleader Melissa. all of which are roughly shot, but great to see.

Glamour, Glitz and Divas gets a 7 out of 10, check out www.bvdvd.com for more information.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

TNA's Tommy Dreamer Interview

Tommy Talks About His Extreme Dreams For TNA

By Phil Allely

Legendary extreme wrestling hero Tommy Dreamer booked and organised TNA’s celebration of that often violent genre at this years HardCORE Justice event. Sunsport caught up with EV2.0 leader Tommy following that very PPV and learnt what we viewers in the UK can expect to see when it’s shown on the Extreme Sports Channel this Friday.

As you know we here in the UK won’t be able to see HardCORE Justice until this Friday, can you tell what we can expect?

“If you are a fan of the original company you will feel very nostalgic. If you’ve never seen it, you will be blown away by these guys, Rob Van Dam versus Sabu is awesome, Myself and Raven stepped up to the plate and went all out, guys like Too Cold Scorpio went out there and showed no signs of missing a beat. Nobody held back or took a breather.”

What’s it like working with TNA compared to your previous companies?

“When I left WWE I had no hatred towards them, I still talk to many of the people there, I hired many of them and still keep up with things. The difference here (in TNA) is the creative freedom I have got and the confidence they have in me and my abilities.
My problem in the WWE was their version of ECW, it was like my child and I couldn’t stomach where they were going with it. In TNA I have the control I never had before and that’s why I love it here. I booked this entire PPV and had input in everything from the people involved and the event itself to changing the look of Impact Zone.”

Was this closure for you in relation to the original ECW?

“I feel I had my closure at One Night Stand, but then they brought it back and it wasn’t what I thought it was supposed to be. I even spoke to fans and they didn’t like what became of it. But it worked out ok in the end I guess, that version finished and they made the NXT show, I’m happy to see them do well with that.
As you can see I’m open and honest about theses things.
Now what I’m finding is that all the guys at HardCORE Justice have been thanking me for the show and people like Hulk Hogan has said how he enjoyed what we came up with.
To be honest I was just fortunate enough to be able to jump that guardrail and perform in the ring, after being a lifelong fan of the sport.”

What’s it like to work with people like Hulk Hogan and of course TNA President Dixie Carter?

“Dixie is amazing she asked to meet all the guys before HardCORE Justice and spent time with them, she goes above the call of duty all the time. Hogan himself has been very supportive of what were are doing and approved of what we have done so far. I’m proud to say that the ratings are picking up since we (EV2.0) turned up, so things are going very well indeed.”

RVD as champ, were you surprised to see your old ECW buddy as company figurehead?

“I was very, very happy (to hear of his title win), he is one of the most amazingly gifted performers I’ve ever seen. I enjoy watching him as a fan and as a peer. He does things that you think he shouldn’t be able to do, he is a very deceptive man and extremely talented. Him and Sabu tore the place up at this PPV, you will see what I mean, when you watch their main event.”

It’s one of the most talked about things in wrestling, but do TNA really need former ECW creator Paul Heyman?

“Well Paul has always been his own man, he marches to his own drum. He is an amazing man, with a wonderfully creative mind for this sport, if he comes in we’d welcome him. But if not we will still go on without him, if I left it would still go on, so that’s how it works.
He (Heyman) has many projects outside wrestling and of course he has those to pursue. Paul loves the rumours though and enjoy the game of that almost as much as being there in the centre of things.”

Was there any animosity in the TNA Locker room, after all you brought in this bunch of guys and they took TNA‘s roster place for an event?

“I oddly was the only real outsider in the whole PPV, there was no animosity, that was all internet fodder, everyone else was here before in some way. I was the only one who never actually stepped into a TNA ring before. We all are on the same page, it’s good for TNA’s business.”

Were there and matches or people you wish you could have got for HardCORE Justice?

“I’d have loved to have had Terry Funk there, but it just wasn‘t possible, one match I really hoped for was Super Crazy, Tajiri and Little Guido in a three-way-dance, that was one I thought of first and then I found that Crazy and Tajiri were booked elsewhere, so couldn’t do it.
But then that opened up things for other guys. I mean I lost Jerry Lynn two days prior to the event. I literally rewrote the main event match on the flight to Orlando. That’s why I love this business, it‘s never predictable and you just never know what‘s gonna happen next.”

Do you feel wrestler have been penalised for being involved with the original ECW?

“I can’t answer for WWE on that one, I’d a great send off form there, I mean we all have to put the past in the past. We have all moved on and look forward to what comes next.”

So what’s the future of EV2.0?

“Personally I’d love to help behind the scenes, if I can lend my skills and help I will. Writing, booking whatever they want ,I’ll do. I mean they said to me you go out and book this show and I went from sitting in the crowd to doing that. I don’t want to manage, I want to get out there and keep going. I’m 39 so there’s still some time left in me. EV2.0 has some left in the tank yet believe me.”

Who on the TNA roster impresses you?

“I’m loving the Motor City Machineguns and Beer Money matches, AJ has immense talent, Joe is awesome , there are guys like Kazarian, Abyss and Jay Lethal, then guys like myself Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Kurt Angle, Jeff Jarrett. The roster is so deep with talent, the knockouts (believe me they are called that due to looks and the fact they will knock you out) division are unbelievable. This is a roster that can compete with anybody out there. I just want you guys to see how everyone stepped up to the plate to raise the bar at HardCORE Justice.”

Some people say the extreme trend is over, or do you feel there is a market still for it?

“Yes 100% there is a market out there, its not marketing violence towards violence though, people want to see people fight, not bleeding for the sake of it, but yet to see blood if it happens. I mean WWE stop matches now for blood. That may make them more marketable, but it’s the whole product that sells. This for us is a team effort and I personally feel that we are winning.”

What about Ric Flair’s fortune group, are they a Four Horsemen rip off, or a genuine group that can make their mark in TNA?

“Well not wanting to spoil things, but this isn’t a Horsemen wannabe, some big things are happening,what I’ll say is that Ric Flair as a manager is awesome, Ric Flair as a wrestler is awesome, to even have him behind you ,or on the mic is unbelievable. The art of the manager is a lost one, Ric can do it with ease and does it well. He has been a part of Evolution, The Horsemen and now fortune. Let’s just say check out HardCORE Justice and The Whole F’N Show episode of Impact!. You will see where we are going from here and just what TNA has to offer.”

TNA Star Nick 'Magnus' Aldis Interview

Interview: TNA Star Nick ‘Magnus’ Aldis

By Phil Allely

He has just signed a new long-term contract with America’s Florida-based TNA Wrestling Company and already has held the companies Tag Team Gold, plus the highly prestigious Japanese IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships, amongst many other successes in a few short years.

Yes indeed young British wrestling star Nick Aldis (better known as Magnus) has come a long way from his early days of wrestling on small UK shows and of course his stint as Gladiator Oblivion (in the Sky TV revamp).

Here he exclusively talks to Phil Allely about his tenure in TNA to date, the upcoming UK/Irish tour and what the future holds for Magnus.

You’ve been in TNA a while now Nick, plus you’ve just signed a new deal, so I assume you’re very happy there?

I’m really pleased to be here, I’m very happy to have worked out a new agreement, it’s a great place to work. I am having the best time I could wish for and doing what I love to do.

You had a three month lay-off earlier this year, what necessitated that and how does it feel to be back?

My time off wasn’t organised or pre-arranged, it just coincided with working out my new contract and to be honest I was itching to get back in the ring for TNA. So I’m really enthusiastic to be back in the ring and that we were able to get my new contract worked out so well.

You started off as a solo star in TNA (the Gladiator-based Brutus Magnus gimmick), then had a successful tag team run with Doug Williams as The British Invasion and of course as a member of the World Elite faction, you now team with fellow British star Desmond Wolfe, which do you prefer tag or solo wrestling?

I honestly enjoy both, at the moment (in TNA) the tag team division is amazing, there are some of the best pro wrestlers in the world in that part of the roster. That’s not taking it away from the singles guys, but they are all working hard for a few spots and chasing those titles against fierce competition, which is great.
But tag team wise we have an equally excellent selection of worthy opponents and great teams. The likes of the Motor City Machineguns, Beer Money, Ink Inc. and guys like Team 3D are all the best at what they do and a pleasure to work with.

With regards to Desmond and I, our team was purely an organic thing, we compliment each others styles and I’m enjoying our time together thoroughly. I have more experience as a tag team wrestler right now, so I’m happy with my spot as one.

My only regret with the British Invasion was we never got to really work with the Motor City Machineguns. We had one great match on Pay-Per-View and that was it unfortunately, but at least Desmond and I seem to be heading that direction now. So I’m hoping we can have some wonderful big guy/high flyer stuff with them. There are some excellent storylines we could play out with the Guns and ourselves.

What was it like to win gold in TNA with Doug as your partner and is it something you see Desmond and yourself achieving?

I was both surprised and unbelievably pleased to hold the IWGP and TNA tag belts, actually they are the only two belts I’ve ever held in wrestling. I see them as what they are in wrestling, they are wonderful to receive, but you can’t hold onto them forever and it’s a privilege to hold them when the opportunity is presented to you.

At present we are seeing the EV2.0 and Fortune groups collide, what do you think of these groups and how do you think they will assist TNA as a whole?

I hope it will work, so far it has got a good reaction and has a great story to be told. It’s the rich snobby bad guys versus the poorer good hearted good guys, in a way I think. It’s a story we can all relate to in some way and connect with.
I am really pleased for Doug, because he’s found himself a part of that storyline and I hope it goes well for us all.
It reminds me of the World Elite/Main Event Mafia stuff we did, which went down a storm.
When it all works it’s great for the whole roster and all of us in TNA, which is where I fit in I guess, their success helps us all achieve our goals.
It’s basically legendary guys reunited by the fact that they were in the original ECW and wanting one more chance, taking on a bunch of elite guys recruited by Ric Flair to take over TNA if they can.

Are there any dream matches you hope to achieve whilst working for TNA?

Dream match wise, the Guns will be up there, hopefully Desmond and I can get that one under our belts soon. I got one fulfilled recently when I worked with Sting in the Impact! man event of Impact!, I was taken aback when they came up to me and told me about that one.
I’d love to face Kurt Angle one-on-one, I‘ve been in tag matches with him, but never as a singles.
I wrestled Doug (Williams) in my third ever match, back in the day, in Worthing (if I recall), but I’d love to face him in TNA and see if we gel as well now, as we did then.

As a young guy on the roster (Nick is 23 years old) what’s it feel like to working alongside legendary veterans like Hulk Hogan, Sting, Ric Flair etc?

I sometimes have to take a step back and realise I’m working with these guys as peers, it’s amazing really, I feel admiration for them and appreciate all they do for us.
I do even think about pinching myself sometimes, when you see them in the flesh and know them as their real selves, it takes a bit of getting used to.
Yeah to see guys like Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Sting and Kurt Angle in that way is amazing, but I even have to consider guys like Team 3D as veterans and personal heroes. I have a great respect for them, Bubba and Devon have helped me lots and I sometimes have to explain that when they did that big series of match in 2000 (for example) I was barely a teenager. They’ve been about for as long as I’ve been a fan.
It’s hard to explain what it feels like to work in the same company as all of these guys.

TNA are embarking on another UK Tour in January, will you be there and what can Irish fans expect when the tour hits Dublin?

I will be there of course, I can’t wait, its easily my favourite dates on the calendar each year , we always do great houses on the UK tours.
It’s great to work with your own people in the audience, I have more confidence and understand them more than the Americans (after all I‘ve been a fan there myself and of course began my career wrestling in front of these people), it’s easy to please them (in a good way) they react so well to us.
TNA live shows as a collective deliver so much, it’s not just a gimmick either, we really do pull out all of the stops.
Dublin will be awesome in January, we found the Irish fans to be amazing last time round, Doug and I did the British Invasion stuff then and got so much heat from the fans there, it was election time and we made a speech, we even sang the (British) national anthem and I remember it fondly they really went for us and got into our match with Beer Money that night.
We were all so tired and burnt out after our European tour, but we all fed off the fans in Dublin and they were so hot we all went from being dead on our feet, to being at the top of our game.
I personally can’t wait to get back in the ring on UK/Irish soil.

You can catch up with Magnus and his tag team partner Desmond Wolfe each week on TNA Impact! And of course each month on Pay Per View, check back here for reviews and previews of forthcoming TNA events, DVD releases and a follow up interview with Nick ‘Magnus’ Aldis from the UK/Irish tour next January.

See www.tnawrestling.com for more information and ticket details for the UK/Irish tour in January 2011.

Undertaker's Deadliest Matches DVD Review

The Undertaker’s Deadliest Matches

By Phil Allely

The Undertaker has been one of the WWE’s most enduring and most popular characters for the majority of his 20 year career to date. From his Survivor Series debut alongside manager Brother Love, to his more well-known stints as Paul Bearer’s undead monster and even through the ill-fated biker and short haired-stints as an ‘American badass’. Taker has always been there in the WWE for many of us, in fact very few of today’s fans would even recognise the man who would become Undertaker as he plied his trade in such promotions as WCW (where he was a ginger haired, heart punching monster under the wing of manager extraordinaire Paul Heyman and as Sid Vicious’ Skyscraper replacement, before Vince McMahon repackaged him as the pale faced man with supernatural abilities we know now).

This three disc set (released on 13th September) has had to dig deep into the WWE vaults to bring some previously unreleased matches to the fore, after all, over the last few years Taker has been in many of the WWE’s most famous, well received and successful matches, which of course means we already have them included on box sets, PPV releases and perhaps even DVD/VHS recordings. Luckily the WWE took this as the challenge it should be and went through the past 20 years of Undertaker’s destruction of their roster with a fine tooth comb.

So what gems are on offer here?, I hear you ask. Well before I start, remember that the original incarnation of Taker was one that saw a lot of action with some really dodgy wrestlers, he was pitted against some huge guys with little talent and forced to bring some type of decent match from them. Thankfully there are only a few of these here though, as even back then they did lack any real appeal or long term excitement. The majority of bouts here are ones that have been missed of previous DVD releases and ones that have some form of meaning rather than simply padding out a set.

What’s great about this set is that we get to see the Undertaker in his many guises and characterisations throughout his career. For every so-so match against someone like Kama, Big Daddy V or Kamala, there are some superb brawls with Mankind (a man who knew how to evoke a five star bout from Taker), ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, Batista and Kane thrown in for good measure and some interesting, quirky and different matches with guys like The Ultimate Warrior, The Dudleys, Edge, Heidenreich, Randy & Bob Orton and Big Show.

Also featured are a few of the oddly entertaining and now probably never to be seen again matches from ‘the dead man’s’ illustrious career. The new WWE PG style will mean that these discs are the only place you’ll see such things as a brutal Boiler Room Brawl, Inferno, bloody Hell in a Cell, First Blood, Concrete Crypt or a Body Bag stipulation.

The Undertaker’s Deadliest Matches covers over 20 of Mark Calaway’s best and most interesting fights of his WWE Tenure, yes quality does vary, but as I’ve said before the weaker entries are actually eventful and worthy of being here. The better offerings are perhaps likely to be doubled up in your collection, but they do suit this set more and will help it appeal to a long time Taker fan, and the newcomer alike.

This is a rare release in that it takes in all of its chosen characters nuances and storylines, not simply the best or highlight friendly bits. Taker for many years was wasted talent wise in the WWE and here we see him go through his paces against some unworthy opponents, but somehow he pulls a good match out of them and therein lies his skill. Of course he is still doing this even today, although injuries etc do mean he has to take some lengthy breaks between them to pull such matches off. As a homage to the career of Undertaker this is a worthy addition to the previous DVD releases based on him, perhaps its even the best, as it gives a broader spectrum of coverage to his legacy in the WWE than they did.

I give this three disc set a 9 out of 10.

Undertaker’s Deadliest Matches is released on 13th September by Silvervision, check out www.silvervision.co.uk for more information.

Rock n Roll Express at NWA Legends Fanfest DVD Review

NWA Legends Fanfest DVD Review: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express

By Phil Allely

In their 1980s/90s heyday Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson were the wrestling tag team everybody loved, they had good looks, cool ring gear and worked superbly together in the ring. The duo had some blistering feuds with many of the worlds top teams and had a long-running and highly engaging series of matches with the various incarnations of Jim Cornette’s Midnight Express team.

The RNR Express were a slick team who knew their strengths, worked hard in the ring and became an innovative pairing that many up and coming wrestlers copied and looked up to. Morton often taking a beating before Gibson hit the hot tag to clean house and then they could hit their double drop kick move to round off a great crowd pleasing match-up. The formula worked well in every territory they worked in, not many teams can say they headlined for the WWE, WCW, NWA, Smoky Mountain Wrestling and across the globe can they.

This DVD release (the first in the NWA Fanfest range) features Ricky and Robert honestly and openly talking about their careers with legendary wrestling writer Bill Apter on hand as host.

Recorded in 2004 the main feature here has the good friends joking about their connectivity, some interesting chats and conversations on the subjects of favourite feuds, trivia notes and of course the questions offered up by the gathered fans are answered in such a way that you grow even more fond of Ricky and Robert than before, if that is possible.

With over three decades on in-ring action to cover and many a historic bout under their collective belts there is never a dull moment in this hard to find gem of a DVD.

Great for the loyal fan base of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express and anyone with an interest in wrestling history this is a great addition to your collection.

The extras are wonderful too, as they are a whole disc of 2004’s Fanfest highlights, so after you’ve savoured the banter and comic tales of life on the road with Morton and Gibson, you can also sit down to hear snippets of interviews with such legends as Mick Foley, Magnum TA, the late Sherri Martel, Ivan Koloff and Ole Anderson, amongst many others.

Visit WWW.NWALegends.com for more information on these events.