Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Video Review: WCW Souled Out 2000

VHS Review: WCW Souled Out 2000
Here we go folks yet another retro video review of some of my wrestling collection (before they get confined to the bin). 

Here we have WCW presenting a show that had many promising bouts on paper, but they lacked to ignite a fire in the crowd when they played out. This was unfortunately the way WCW was functioning in this period and it was sad to see the once mighty company reduced to this.

However we did have some decent stuff here and for fans of the era, there are a few faces you will want to see and some moves we have long missed.

In no particular order here are some highlights form Souled Out 2000:

The Hardcore match (for the HC title) between Norman Smiley, Meng, Fit Finlay and Brian Knobbs was a great affair and one that does indeed warrant a few viewings. This is a level of aggression that we miss in this day and age of the PG programming.

Buff Bagwell and Diamond Dallas Page had a decent scrap. This was all down to Bagwell possibly being a love interest for Page's wife Kimberly.

The Madusa/Oklahoma match for the Cruiserweight Title was an odd beats. This was seemingly there purely to show Madusa in her bra and pants.

There were also a few reasonable appearances by Billy Kidman, Vampiro and other low/mid card players in WCW at the time, but they really did not set the place alight.

The two main matches here were the battle for control of the company between the veteran grappler Terry Funk and Kevin Nash. Which was a brutal at times encounter.

The other one was the main event which (due to injuries suffered by Bret Hart and Jeff Jarrett) saw Chris Benoit face off against Sid Vicious for the WCW World Title.

The main event saw Benoit win the gold (even though he was destined to leave the company). This meant that the next night it was deemed that Vicious' leg was under the rope when the three count was called, so he could not be pinned legally. The belt was once again held up.

Souled Out 2000 was a mid-reasonable PPV by WCW, but the cracks were showing here and the bookers were not really making the effort. The writing was on the wall and the WWE buyout was not too far away I am afraid to say.

By Phil Allely

Gail Kim Naughty Festive Angel Pics

Friday, 20 December 2013

WCW Legend DDP coming to the UK in 2014

WCW legend DDP comes to the UK/Ireland

Former WCW World Champion Diamond Dallas Page is to tour the UK in early 2014. This will be the grappler's first ever Q&A's in the country and will also offer special VIP packages, where fans can meet/greet, get items signed and of course have a photo taken with ring legend.

Page had a remarkable run in WCW (where held numerous championships), he was also a manager and did much more before the company folded. He then progressed the WWE, where he had a memorable feud with Undertaker.

Since retiring from the ring DDP has been working on his yoga empire. His methods have helped people across the world, many of them in the world of sports. He has also worked closely with former wrestlers Jake Roberts and Scott Hall, moving the pair in to his own home and working on getting the pair back in shape. He has also dabbled in acting and is a firm fixture at many fan events across the US. 

This Q&A event will certainly touch on many of his famous feuds, life inside and outside of the ring and much more we are sure.

You can see DDP at:

London, The Leicester Square Theatre – Sunday 2nd March
Cardiff, The Glee Club – Monday 3rd March
Birmingham, The Glee Club – Tuesday March 4th
Manchester, The Comedy Store – Wednesday March 5th
Glasgow, The Garage – Thursday March 6th
Belfast, The Empire Music Hall – Sunday March 9th

For more info visit www.eroscomedy.com
By Phil Allely

Phil Allely

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Retro Video Review: WWF Action

This will be the first of many retro video tape reviews I do here for my wrestling ramble column. I am finally disposing of these tapes and want to make sure all you wrestling fans know what they were before I do so.

First up we have the WWF's (yes this was pre-WWE times) release 'Action' .

This special video was a 90 minute look at some of the best action from 2001 in the world of the WWF/WWE.

First up we got a look at just how wonderful the attitude era was. The much-missed Hardcore Championship was one of the best inventions during this era and it was perfectly suited to the time in the companies growth.

The Hardcore Title was created for Mick Foley, but as the violent matches grew so did the titles legacy. By 2001 the championship had become one that had evolved into one that was defended on a 24/7 basis. This led to countless titles changes, many memorable encounters and of course some brutal scraps between some of the WWF's finest at the time. There are many highlights included here. This was a time where the title could change many times on one night and blood would flow with ease, unlike today's family friendly WWE.

Next up we saw one of the WWF of the times less family friendly approaches to wrestling. This was the 'bra and panties' series of matches. These were basically the companies attempt to draw in more male viewers and they were more than often shot scraps that saw one or both of the females involved standing in the ring in their underwear. Here we get to see Ivory, Chyna, Trish Stratus and Terri all involved in these poorly judged encounters.

We then get to see Perry Saturn become a deranged madman (due to countless head shots), the former ECW legend ended up becoming a joke of a character and instead of being aligned with Terri he became obsessed with a mop. I'll not say any more about this storyline as it was awful in my opinion and went on far too long.

The risque and Vince McMahon ego-stroking storyline involving Trish, his wife Linda and daughter Stephanie is equally weird as we get to see Vince kiss, degrade and obsess over Stratus, use his wife for his own maniacal schemes and utilise his daughters love the same way. We do get to see Trish gain a measure of revenge, but much of this was unnecessary.

This all led to a few matches that gave Vince his dream of entering the ring as a wrestler. His appearance in a tag match with Trish, William Regal, Stephanie is featured here in parts and works ok until we see poor Stratus degraded once more. (this was not a highpoint in her illustrious career of the WWE's)

Next up we got the fun and very well conceived romantic relationship between Spike Dudley and Molly Holly. This was a great idea and one that saw the Dudley clan embark on a violent series of match-ups against the Holly family. We don't get to see a while match here, but we do get to see some great highlights and some pretty brutal spots.

WWE legend 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin's heel turn as a member of Mr McMahon's posse is then given some time. This was a period where Austin held the World Title, was joined at the hip with (a comical) Kurt Angle and also put forward some of his most comical performances, just watch out for his guitar spots with Angle and you will see what I mean.

The buyout of WWF rival WCW was a wonderful event and one that many thought the WWE/WWF would have handled expertly. Initially this was the case and the beginnings were indeed boding well for an invasion storyline. However when push came to shove even after an initial burst of well-received matches and even a few title changes the WWE roster began to dominate proceedings and the idea of a separate WCW brand within the WWE/WWF drifted away quickly. The inclusion of the (also) defunct ECW helped a little, but did not do much to boost PPV buy rates and it dropped off the radar too. (ECW did make a brief comeback though).

Had the WCW/ECW invasion been handled better it could have become a huge piece of wrestling history. WCW had of course dominated the ratings over the WWE for many months and had almost crippled the company. Had Steve Austin and his era of superstars not taken with the fans they may well have lost the fight. ECW were never direct competition, but they did offer something different to the WWE product and gave us a much more violent approach to grappling. The inclusion of Vince's son Shane and Daughter Stephanie to the mix was a nice move, but yet it never saw its full potential.

'Action' offers a wonderful peek at the WWF/WWE at a pivotal time in its existence. The 'Attitude' era had begun, Steve Austin's star had risen and a man called 'The Rock' was nipping at his toes. There was also end of rival companies ECW and WCW to factor in, this was the time that the WWE/WWF saw its full potential as world leaders in wrestling.

It may not be available on DVD yet, but this video tape is a very interesting look at the WWF/WWE in a time of its history that many of remember fondly.

By Phil Allely

Monday, 9 December 2013

WWE DVD Review: Best of Madison Square Garden

WWE DVD Review: The Best of Madison Square Garden

In the world of wrestling there is one venue that every fans knows the name of. That venue is new York's Madison Square Garden. The venue itself has relocated a few times and had image overhauls, but no matter what changes have been made, it will always be the spiritual home of the WWE.

This after all was the venue that saw the birth of Hulkamania and also played a pivotal role in wrestling history when it hosted the first ever WrestleMania.

This well-produced three disc set takes a loving and informative look at just how much the WWE owe to such a prestigious venue as this and what appearing in the ring there meant to many of the headliners over the past 40 plus years.

The big question here of course is who does a release like this appeal to? Well the honest answer is more long-term fans of the WWE and those curious about the company's rich history. There are of course more up to date matches etc. (on the third disc), but this is after a historical release and one that has been designed to honour the MSG venue and the wonderful encounters it witnessed over the decades.

The set-up is here that we get a short introduction to each match from a participant (or peer), we then get it in full. There are some nice pieces here, it is especially nice to hear form the likes of Bruno Samartino, Ivan Koloff, Iron Sheik, Harley race and other legends such as Sergeant Slaughter. Which all occur on disc one. This disc gives us a look at some true classics, including Superstar Billy Graham (a man who Hulk Hogan payed homage to with his image) versus Bruno Samartino, Harley Race and Bob Backlund in a title versus title match, Hulk Hogan's legendary sin over The Iron Sheik and the infamous bloodbath of a brawl between The Iron Sheik and Sergeant Slaughter.

Disc two is the one that sees the WWE start to become the arena selling venue that it would become. Here we get to see the match that changed it all Hulk Hogan and Mr T versus 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff (WrestleMania I). We also get to see a few true classics as well. The Intercontinental Title scrap between (at that time) longest reigning IC champ 'The Honky Tonk Man'and The Ultimate Warrior (SummerSlam 1988) was short and sweet, but perfectly set up the Warrior character. The IC championship battle between Bret 'Hit Man' Hart and Mr Perfect (SumerSlam 1991) is an excellent example of two wrestlers at their peak. The ladder match featuring Shawn Michaels and Razon Ramon (WrestleMania X) is perhaps one of the earliest and finest matches of the genre too. Disc two ends with the surprise match between Diesel (Kevin Nash) and Bob Backlund for the WWE Championship. The talking heads here will appeal to more modern fans, over the ones on disc 1, watch out for Bob Ueker, The Miz, Bret Hart, Howard Finkel and Kevin Nash amongst others.

The final disc here brings us more up to date (well 2009). Here we get to see The Rock's debut at Survivor Series 1996. 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin stunning Vince McMahon. Cactus Jack and Triple H in a Falls Count Anywhere match. The 1st ever Tag Team Tables scrap between The Dudley Boyz and The Hardy Boyz. Throw in some matches involving Trish Stratus, Mickie James, Big Show, John Cena and the revamped D-Generation X, and you have one heck of a third disc here.

Extras wise on Blu-Ray you get a few extra matches, a collection of extra stories form some more wrestlers (old and new) who performed at the venue. There is also the induction of Vince McMahon into the MSG Hall of Fame as well.

All in all this release is a great way to learn about the WWE's long association with MSG and also offers an opportunity to see some lesser known matches from the venue as well.

WWE The Best of Madison Square Garden is available now via all good retailers.
RRP £29.99 (DVD), £34.99 (Blu-Ray)

By Phil Allely

Sunday, 8 December 2013

New Interview - TNA's James Storm

Cowboy James Storm Interview
By Phil Allely

James Storm has pretty much done it all in TNA. He has held most of the companies gold and of course had a stint as World Heavyweight Champion. He is also one of the stars of the upcoming UK/Irish tour this coming January. We caught up with him this past week to discuss that tour, his future plans and much more here are some highlights.

Phil: So James what does it mean to be included on the UK/Irish tour?

'It is always great to on the UK/Irish tour. I can say for sure that is my favourite place to go. The fans are all really into it and crazy for what we do.'

Phil: At present it seems as if Ireland will be the only show not recorded for TV. Will it be any different than the others?

'Yes we are doing live shows and a One Night Only PPV in England/Scotland. They will be exciting do be a part of. The big difference between them and our Dublin show is that it is a house show and we will be a bit different as we can relax a bit more. There will no script that night and we will be having out there. You Irish are wild guys and great drinkers, so I'm looking forward to that leg of the tour.'

Phil: How do you feel about the One Night Only format and that it will be made in the UK
'The British PPV will be awesome, the thing about One Night Only shows is that it is an exciting concept and they stand alone outside of our normal storylines. They tell a very different story and are something we can all get our teeth into. They are always fun for us all.'

'The other shows will be live recordings. So they are scripted and need to tell the story. They are tougher to do, but we all have a job to do and you just out there and feel the energy of the fans. I enjoy everything we are doing and this tour has it all.'

Phil: So James do you think in your opinion do you feel the reduction in PPV events by TNA was a good one?

'I definitely think the decision to reduce our PPV to four was a good one. We now have more time to build them up and they are more entertaining for that.'

Phil: What about Hulk Hogan leaving the company. How do you feel about it?

'Yeah, the way I see it Hulk Hogan came and he left. He brought us a whole new level of interest from a lot of markets and he opened doors for us. I don't know if we will see him again, but you have to admit he got our product out there to a wider audience and that is was important to do.'

Phil: What do you think makes TNA different than other companies out there James?

'In my opinion our fans of wrestling tune in to see wrestling. So that is what we offer them. Yes we mix it up and have segments, but we offer fans the best wrestling out there.'

'One thing I will say is that I feel title matches should be defended on PPV and not free TV. It makes the matches more special for us and the fans.'

Phil: Speaking of titles James. Is the World Title on your radar in 2014?

'I'd like to think I will get the World Title back again one day soon. But you really do have to work hard to get that opportunity and I always do.'

Phil: We all know of course that you like a beer and of course there have been other wrestlers who have carried a can or bottle to the ring before. Do you feel you are honouring them or was this a continuation of your own persona?

'People will always compare a wrestler to someone else who has come before them. There are no new things to do any more. I think we all take an idea or a bit of ourselves and we make it our own style. I Mean Steve Austin came out with beer, but he was different than me and of course Sandman came before that. For example am I copying Shawn Michaels by using the superkick? He made it popular, but that has been around a long time.'

Phil: So let's ask you James, what does the future hold for 'The Cowboy'?

'In my future I'd like to see titles, much more wrestling and of course drinking beer.'

Phil: What about the current TNA roster. Have you any of your peers that you feel may be able to step up and win the World Title, if they received the opportunity?

'As for other guys here who have title potential. There is of course Roode and (the UK's own) Magnus is a strong contender too. He (Magnus) loves wrestling and he really wants to succeed. That guy is always watching old matches to learn more. You have to put in the hard work and if you do the time will come.'

Phil; Outside of wrestling what occupies your time James?

'I spend as much time as I can with my family when I am off the road. I like to try to get back some of the time I miss with them. I am also working on a reality show idea I have had for a while. Where I run a bar. I'd love it to take off.'

By Phil Allely

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

DVD Review: WWE Battle Ground 2013

DVD Review: WWE Battleground 2013

In recent years the WWE have taken to creating new Pay-Per-View events and expanding their reach as it where. We are all used to the brands main events, but sometimes it is good to see them offer up something else to us.

Battleground 2013 is an event that saw the company present us with a 'hardcore rules' match, a tag team scrap that involved three generations of a family and a world title encounter that had been many months in the making. There were also many other storyline spots and concepts along the way too.

Yes there were some big stories here at Battleground, but the one that that appealed to your reviewer was the one revolving around the Rhodes family. I have seen Dustin (Goldust) on a few occasions over the years and was always amazed by his in-ring ability. I even fondly remember seeing him at a WCW show in Belfast in the early 1990s and he had a wonderful match with Barry Windham that blew me away. Both men never entered the ring and Rhodes bled heavilly, it was amazing to see live from ringside.

In the last few years Dustin's younger brother Cody had made his mark in the WWE and he has fared well. But when the WWE decided to make a storyline about the Rhodes family it only made sense to involve Dustin/Goldust and their dad Dusty. Dusty is of course a NWA/WCW/WWE legend and one of the men who trains the up and coming WWE stars in the developmental side of the WWE.

I did digress a bit there, but what we have here on this show is a tag team match between The Shield and the combo of Cody and Goldust. With Dusty and Dean Ambrose ate ringside, this leads to a few fun spots I promise and a bionic elbow you simply have to see.

Let's just say this match is an 'American Dream' to see. Elsewhere we get to see Santino and The Great Khali tackle The Real Americans. This is well worth a view for the amazing sight of Cesaro doing the 'Cesaro swing' on the huge frame of Khali.

We are also given a Hardcore Rules match between Rob Van Dam and Allberto Del Rio, an I.C. Bout between Curtis Axel and R-Truth and a Divas cat fight with AJ Lee and Brie Bella.

The Kofi Kingston and Bray Wyatt match did its job well we must add, whilst CM Punk and Ryback went to exactly where it should have too.

The main event featuring Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton (for the vacant WWE Championship) was a joy to behold as well. The finish and twists and turns we dare not say.

WWE Battleground 2013 is a great addition to the WWE PPV calendar and it is well worth a viewing,

Extras wise we have matches, interviews and more.

RRP £17.99 (DVD), £19.99 (Blu-ray)
WWE Battleground is available now from www.wwedvd.co.uk and all good retailers.
By Phil Allely

Sunday, 1 December 2013

WWE DVD Review: Triple H - Thy Kingdom Come

DVD Review: WWE – Triple H 'Thy Kingdom Come'

Triple H (Paul LeVesque) is one of the biggest names in the history of the WWE. He has done it all in the company, from working his way up from an undercard status, to a 13-time World Champion and he has now of course not only made his mark behind the scenes, but married into the McMahon family as well.

This triple-disc set features a two hour documentary that continues to build upon his enduring legacy.

What can you expect from this documentary then?

Let us tell you some of the things you may learn within and also some of the facts and trivia. First up we must say that this may be one of many DVD's dedicated to Triple H, but this is the first that has really made the effort and allowed his real story to be told. We are also treated to a host of talking heads (from stars old and new), back stage moments, interesting information and much more throughout the show.

We kick off with a look at the early days of LeVesque (training under the watchful eyes of wrestling legend Killer Kowalski). We see his bodybuilding days and his entrance into WCW as Terra Ryzing. There are some nice points here as we here that Ric Flair pushed for his signing to WCW and also that our star opted out of a two year deal of $52.000 a year because 'I'll starve for a year, by the end of year one you will know I am worth more. It won't take longer than that for you to find out'.

There are nice moments were we hear that Paul was always at WCW training facility the Power Plant. He had the backing of top WCW stars Terry Taylor and of course his hero Ric Flair as well.

This led to his being repackaged as blue blood type character Jean Paul LeVesque and also a tag team partnership with UK star Steven (later William) Regal.

We then see him get an offer from the WWE and his career come on leaps and bounds. There were of course teething problems with the initial character and of course his adapting to the style of WWE to contend with.

Nicely covered are his inclusion in the infamous 'Kliq' (alongside Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Sean Waltman). Which led to not only some backstage power, but his loss at the King of the Ring tournament , the infamous moment where Nash, Hall and the rest of the Kliq broke character damaged Paul's future for a short while at least here in the WWE (an event that saw Stone Cold Steve Austin win the title and take the WWE to new heights).

However Paul was not a man to give up his dream, so he weathered the storm of losses and even battled to add Chyna (Joanie Laurer) to his character and thus we had our very first ever female wresting bodyguard.

This partnership and his friendship with Shawn Michaels saw the formation of DX. A faction that broke all of the rules within the WWE and rode roughshod over the faces.

This led to some great matches and also the formation of similar factions to compete with the group. The biggest turning point for Triple H was when Michaels was injured and he had to carry the group for a while. Mind you it was not until DX broke up that the Triple H really picked up speed and had some of the finest matches and titles wins of his career.

We are also treated to behind the scenes looks at how his storyline romance with Stephanie McMahon became a reality.

There are also looks at the nasty injuries that almost ruined LeVesque's career, the formation of Evolution (Triple H, Batista, Flair and Randy Orton). His returns form injury and the inevitable return of a more comedic DX (2006), the PG era had to reduce the level of extremity the faction could do these days.

Proceedings here saw Triple H reduce his in-ring presence due to more injuries and his back stage roles.

Along the the way our subject was (like many WWE stars) a part-time actor. He netted himself roles in the Blade 3 and also his own movie vehicle 'The Chaperone'. However he states here that he is not really into movies and thinks that he is happy to do whatever pleases the fans.

The documentary winds up by telling us how Triple H felt about Shawn Michaels retiring, his getting a real job (in the WWE boradroom), having a family and where he sees his future.

From a match point of view we only get to see one WCW encounter (unfortunately). However it is a belter with WWE legend Ricky Steamboat. We also get to see matches with Mick 'Dude Love' Foley, The Rock, Kurt Angle, Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels and a few other key WWE stars.

Blu-ray buyers will also see a wide range of extra features as well.

WWE: Triple H – Thy Kingdom Come is available now from all good retailers now.

DVD RRP £29.99/Blu-ray £34.99

By Phil Allely/Kate McMichael

Thursday, 21 November 2013

DVD Review: WWE Night of Champions 2013

The WWE PPV Night of Champions came hot on the heels of the very successful SummerSlam event and offered up a few opportunities for losing parties there to claim redemption.

SummerSlam had perhaps one of the biggest swerve turns of the year and here we get to witness the fall-out. Of course by now we all know that challenger Daniel Bryan was successful in his attempt to win the WWE Championship from John Cena at SS and yet he was then ripped off as special guest referee Triple H 'pedigreed' the new champ and allowed Randy Orton to win the gold in mere moments.

Night of Champions is an event that sees all of the WWE titles up for grabs and this year the event had an awful lot of momentum going for it. So what were we presented with here? Well of course we get to see Bryan take on Orton for the WWE Championship. There are also title defences by Alberto Del Rio, The Shield (WWE Tag Team Championship), Dean Ambrose (United States Championship), Curtis Axel (Intercontinental Championship) and AJ Lee (Divas Championship). 

We are also offered a handicap scrap between CM Punk and the combo of Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman. There is also a fine match-up involving The Miz and Fandango. 

This PPV event is a nice addition to the WWE calendar and one that did indeed achieve what it intended to do (rather than tread water). We get to see Daniel Bryan tackle the sneaky Randy Orton, ECW legend Rob Van Dam get his first title shot since his return to the company and Paul Heyman's luck run out as he has to step into the ring with his former client CM Punk.

All in all this is a show that ticks many boxes and offers up some nice storyline progression as well.

Extras wise we get the Tag Team Turmoil kick-off show match , featuring the Uso's, Primetime Player, Tons of Fun, Real Americans and 3MB (DVD), Blu-ray buyers will also get Randy Orton's coronation from Raw, CM Punk versus Axel Curtis, Daniel Bryan versus Dean Ambrose and some other segments from Raw.

Night of Champions is available now from www.wwedvd.co.uk and all good retailers.
RRP £17.99 (DVD), £19.99 (Blu-ray)

By Phil Allely

Monday, 11 November 2013

WWE Live Review @ The Odyssey Arena Belfast November 2013

WWE Live Review: The Odyssey Belfast, November 2013

Each year I am  fortunate enough to be able to not only attend the bi-annual live wrestling shows by the WWE, but we also get to review them as well.

This year however we have decided to take a slightly different slant with out review and instead of just giving you our loyal and treasured readers a run down of the matches, our reviewer Phil Allely has opted to critique the whole event instead.

WWE live shows over the last few years especially have seen some of the industry's biggest names grace NI's shores and of course that has led fans to turn out in record numbers to see them. I for one have been fortunate enough to have seen such names as Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Undertaker and Kane all enter the ring in the Odyssey Arena. There have also of course been appearances by more modern day heroes such as CM Punk, John Cena and Rey Mysterio, amongst others.

But this November we saw a card that was decidedly big name light and you know what it worked better for it. Irishman Sheamus was injured and we were also missing some heavy hitters like John Cena and Daniel Bryan, but believe it or not that actually made things easier for us fans.

Yes the merchandise stands were still full of Cena T-shirts etc. and the crowds did buy it, but the fun thing here for me was the way the show was laid out.

In the last few years the WWE has been slated for its more family friendly approach to wrestling and a distinct lack of blood, violence and extreme actions. However, one thing I will state is that whilst pay-per-views are of course pre-planned and scripted (due to TV cameras etc. being present), live house shows a re a very different beast.

Here mid-week in November Belfast was treated to a reasonably well-paced collection of matches that showed some of the WWE's mid-card players at their best and a few main eventers prove their worth.

This was a show for the whole family. The matches mostly featured a high level of audience involvement, there were elements of comedy and when the violence did kick in, it was not only believable, but intriguing.

A live WWE show is an amazing thing to witness. This is something that takes in so much more than the card itself. For many fans there are opportunities to perhaps stay or visit the hotel where the wrestlers stay and meet them. There are also a select few VIP events and shop-based meet and greets. One amazing aspect is the fact that fans in their droves will even visit the venue early to purchase merchandise prior to the show as well.

What I witnessed here was a WWE live show that was put together to prove a point. There were many big names missing, but this was the chance for the rest of the on-the-road crew to showcase their wares and they did it very well indeed.

Highlights for me were the wonderful entrance through the crowd by The Shield (which occurred right beside my seat). The long-awaited appearance by Goldust (who looked in amazing shape). The amazingly comedic performance by Santino against Fandango was the perfect opener too.

There were a few wee niggles however, a few matches over-ran and lost their appeal, plus I personally would have put the Rhodes/Big E Vs Shield match as a post-interval match rather than a pre one. One shame was that even though they mentioned him by name (and his family were there) NI wrestling legend Finlay was not there to make a surprise appearance.

All in all this live WWE show ticked all the boxes and yes there were some empty seats, but that is happening everywhere. The talent shone through and that is what counts.

Roll on the next live show in early 2014.

By Phil Allely

New Christy Hemme Pics

a few new pics of TNA's Christy Hemme...

Monday, 4 November 2013

WWE DVD News: Hell In A Cell 2013 -dvd contents update

WWEDVD.co.uk is pleased to reveal that the exclusive DVD and Blu-ray extra content forHell in a Cell 2013. The DVD (and Blu-ray) will contain the Hell in a Cell Kickoff Show Match between Kofi Kingston and Damien Sandow, whilst the Blu-ray will include key highlights from RAW and SmackDown from the week preceeding the event. Check out the full list of extras below.
Hell in a Cell 2013 is available to pre-order now featuring the return of John Cenaas he takes on Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship in his first WWE match since his injury at SummerSlam! Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton collide again as they battle over the WWE Championship in the Cell, with his mentor, Shawn Michaels, acting as special guest referee can Daniel Bryan reclaim the WWE title? CM Punk takes on Ryback and his former best friend Paul Heyman in the Cell, can Punk finally give Heyman his just deserts?
DVD Extras
Hell in a Cell Kickoff Show Match
Kofi Kingston vs. Damien Sandow
CM Punk Reflects on Hell in a Cell
Exclusive 1st Interview with John Cena since Returning From Injury

Blu Ray Exclusives
Monday Night RAW 14th October 2013  
Shawn Michaels Promises a New WWE Champion at Hell in a Cell
No Disqualification Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship
Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes & Goldust
SmackDown 18th October 2013 
CM Punk vs. Big E. Langston
Monday Night Raw 21st October 2013    
Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton Contract Signing
SmackDown 25th October 2013 
Michael Cole Interviews Triple H

Monday, 28 October 2013

WWE DVD Review: Legends of Mid-South Wrestling

DVD Review: WWE - Legends of Mid-South Wrestling

As a long-time wrestling I have pretty much seen it all in the world of grappling and love nothing more than learning about promotions that I have very little knowledge of and yet they were crucial to the industry in their hey day.

Once such promotion was the legendary Mid-South wrestling organisation. This was perhaps one of the most important territories there was in American wrestling's history and this three disc DVD set proves just why that is so.

It is wonderful to see the WWE once again delve into the rich back catalogue of its video tape library and present us with a superbly presented look at a piece of wrestling history.

In the 1980s  Mid-south Wrestling was a hot-bed of wrestling action and it also boasted some soon to be big names alongside its own homegrown talent. So across these discs we get to see Ted DiBiase, Junkyard Dog, Jake Roberts, Dusty Rhodes, Jim Duggan, Magnum TA and many others, all of which went on to mainstream success.

The nice thing here is how the WWE have book-ended each match or segment with a interview or talking head piece about that event. It is so great to see some of our heroes now and also hear their first hand stories about these events.

Fans of 1980s wrestling will love to see some of the matches between The likes of JYD, Ted DiBiase, Rock 'n' Roll Express, Midnight Express, Jake Roberts and The Fabulous Freebirds. We also see wrestling legend Ric Flair drop by to take the wind out of Mid-South legend Terry Taylor's sails too. 

Legends of Mid-South wrestling is a very nice look back at one of wrestling's most influential companies and and it also highlights how they were able to do so. The matches are well chosen and the interviews are well selected. 

Fans old and new will savour this slick three disc set.

WWE: Legends of Mid-South Wrestling is available now from all good retailers.

RRP £29.99 (DVD), £34.99 (Blu-ray).
By Phil Allely

TNA Live Review: Bound For Glory 2013

TNA Bound For Glory 2013

In recent months TNA/Impact Wrestling has been the subject of much debate. Talent have left, storylines have altered and the company's future has been in doubt. The latest mystery was would Hulk Hogan re-sign or not. However coem what may Dixie Carter and co. had to deliver a hard-hitting Bound For Glory no matter what. So this past Sunday (last night here in the UK on Challenge) we saw the fruits of their labour.

First up four tag teams battled it out for a shot at the doubles gold in a 'Gauntlet match'. The teams did their job here and we got to see how well Chavo and Hernandez gel as a unit. The main points were Robbie E and Jessie Godderz picking up the win and perhaps the moment when we will finally see Joseph Park and Abyss reunite as a character.

Next up the usually impressive Ultimate X match did what it is designed to do and took early match of the night rights. Here we had Jeff Hardy (in his first Ultimate X encounter) facing off against Samoa Joe, Chris Sabin, Austin Aries and Manik. Now first up lets address the fact that there were four former World Champs involved here and as expected they delivered sterling efforts. The bumps, spots and high impact moves were crisp, nicely paced and well planned. The finishing sequence saw Sabin's girlfriend Velvet Sky get involved in proceedings and allow him to steal the win and the belt.

The TNA tag titles were then on the line as 'Gauntlet match' winners Jesse and Robbie E tackled the formidable duo of James Storm and Gunner. This was a decnt enough back and forth match that showed the champs (Storm/Gunner) to their best and also let us see their opponents positives too. The shock here was the duo of Mr E and Godderz being able to unseat the popular Storm and Gunner as champs.

Kurt Angle's Hall of Fame induction and return to TNA were highly anticipated. However his induction was short lived as the man himself declined the honour until he felt he is worthy of it.

The Knockouts Division in TNA was once the section of the show that grabbed ratings due to its talent. This has dwindled of late, but here we had three of the company's best ODB, Gail Kim and Brooke Tessmacher in a cat fight for the strap. Brooke has come on leaps and bounds recently, Gail Kim is a real pro and ODB can brawl with the best of them. This was a nicely worked battle and Kim's win via an assist by Lei'd Tapa really opens up the division once again.

Kurt Angle's return to the ring against Bobby Roode was and intense affair. It may not have lived up to expectations, but it did give us fans a chance to see what both me have to offer and that Angle is not invincible. His loss will surely mean he has a program with Roode upcoming and that will be worth the wait.

I'll quickly gloss over the Ethan Carter/Norv Pernum match as it really was meaningless.

Main Event Mafia men Sting and Magnus (the UK's biggest wrestling star in 2013) then battled out their differences in a pretty reasonable bout. The action was back and forth and each man attempted to lock in their finisher. The end saw Sting tap out and two eventually embrace.

The World Title 'No DQ' encounter between Bully Ray and AJ Styles rounded things off nicely. Both men pulled out all of the stops to give fans what they wanted. We got high-risk moves, career shortening spots and of course the inevitable run-ins from the remaining members of Aces & Eights. There was also an appearance by 'heel' Dixie Carter, who brought a steel chair into the fray. Styles however overcame it all to net himself his second world championship.

The show went off the air with AJ celebrating with the elated fans.

Bound For Glory was a perfectly reasonable affair. Some matches were predictable, a few disappointed, but we did see many title changes and storylines altering for the better. The big thing is how will TNA tackle the AJ contract situation, do they really need Hulk Hogan back on the roster and can they rebuild the damage the recent lay-offs have created to the company. The next few months will be very important for TNA and its fans .

By Phil Allely

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

WWE DVD Review: Money in the Bank 2013

WWE DVD Review: Money in the Bank 2013

The Money in the Bank matches first appeared  few years back and since then they have grown in stature and now even have their own pay-per-view as well. This years effort was a very well received one and here it is for us all to own.

This year we also got to see the WWE use the event to build up the hype for SummerSlam and reinvigorate a few storylines as well

MITB is a simple enough premise. There are two marquee matches on the card and in each the prize u for grabs is a metal birefcase that contains a contract for a shot at the Title (at any time). This leads to many interesting storylines and match-ups. The matches themselves are also multiple participant affairs and they pretty much always deliver on the action front.

Damien Sandow vs. Wade Barrett vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Fandango vs Jack Swagger vs. Antonio Cesaro

The opening encounter here was interestingly the MITB scrap for a World Heavyweight Championship shot.
This is a fun match that features a rather unique concept. That being the seven combatants were all heel characters, so the crowd had to decide who to root for themselves and the action was needed to keep our attention. The end sequence worked very well too.

Curtis Axel vs. The Miz

The Intercontinental Title has lost a lot of its prestige in recent years and whilst Miz and Mr Perfect's son (Axel Curtis) is a decent enough match, there was something lacking here. Axel is coming along nicely with this latest character and does his family proud by showing some true in-ring talent. Miz though in my opinion will inevitably always be a mid-carder. 

AJ Lee vs. Kaitlyn

The Divas division is one that I personally feel needs an overhaul. The WWE have some fine female grapplers and yet fail to utilise them to their best advantage. This was an average cat fight and saw the former best friends tackle each move with everything they had.

Ryback vs. Chris Jericho

Chris Jericho (someone we have interview many times) is a part-timer now in the WWE and this match really did showcase that his time may well be over as a main eventer. Ryback was once the unstoppable 'Goldberg' type character and at this point in time he was jobbing to many as well. So in reality this should be a match where the pair took it upon themselves to show their worth.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler

Ziggler and Del Rio do it again this review should read. Why? well after thier hugely popular match at Extreme Rules, the duo did it once again here. They had already switched places in the heel/face divide and now we were presented with a smart long-term piece of booking by the WWE. 
This match deserves repeat viewing, hence the need to add this to your WWE DVD collection.

John Cena vs. Mark Henry

Now forgive me Cena fans, but I am not sold on him and never was if i am honest. But you cannot fault his appeal to the masses and the sheer volume of merchandise he shifts. The other reason why this match should not have worked for me was the fact that the barely mobile Mark henry was in the ring with him. However you know what this actually did work. Henry's Philadelphia fan base helped as well. The match itself was a strong man type thin and showed both men to be tough, strong guys. Henry especially came across as a real bad ass.

Randy Orton vs. Rob Van Dam vs. CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus vs. Christian

The main event MITB scrap for the WWE Championship was of course the big one and featured a lot more a-list WWE names. It also saw the return of Rob Van Dam to the fold. The combatants really went for it here and made this the match of the night. RVD provided some highlights, Daniel Bryan and CM Punk paid their dues as well. The only odd man out for me was Christian, who perhaps needs to upgrade his character.

MITB 2013 is available now from Freemantle Media and all good retailers.

On the extras front we also get: The pre-show match (The Shield versus The Uso's). 
Blu-Ray buyers will also get some matches (Kane/Christian, CM Punk/Randy Orton, Sheamus/Randy Orton) and some confrontations between some key wrestlers.

RRP £17.99 (DVD), £19.99 (Blu-ray
By Phil Allely

Monday, 16 September 2013

Austin Aries Interview by Phil Allely

Austin Aries Interview
By Phil Allely

In a few short years Austin Aries has already done it all in TNA. He has held the X Division and Team Team titles and of course raised the world Heavyweight belt.

Fame's Phil Allely caught up with A Double this past week to discuss his inclusion on the upcoming UK/Ireland tour and much more. Here are some highlights.

On the upcoming Maximum Impact tour in 2014.

'I'm really happy to be on the UK/Irish tour again. We all want to be a part of it. I'm looking forward to being out there in front of the fans and feeling their energy. They really love and appreciate what we do in the ring and the TNA product.'

'The reason the fans there embrace us so much is (I feel) because they only get to see us live once a year and are not spoiled by seeing us too often. They get to see our calibre of wrestling and feel more passionate about coming to see us.'

'That dedication and passion carries over to us in the back too. We always step it up in the ring during these tours.'

'I enjoy meeting fans and the fan interaction events are great ways for them to get up closer to us. But what I will say is that some fans need to be more respectful to us and show some more manners. It does not hurt to say please and thank you. I know that means a lot to me and I am sure the boys feel the same way.'

On World Title dreams.

'Do I want the World Title back of course I do!. I don't care who has it I'll get it from them. I've beaten Bully, Roode and countless others. I have the skill-set and drive to do it. All I need is the opportunity and shot at the belt.'

On why he has not joined a group or faction in TNA.

'You know I've never ran with the crowd. I don't subscribe to things like that. In college I never joined fraternities or gangs etc. so why start now. I do things my way and the benefit of that is that I know I can trust myself and my career is most important to me and not others.'

On morale backstage.

'There have been so many rumours about us (TNA) since the start and they never come true. People online and in many so-called 'dirt sheets' love making up stories. I think most of us just want to turn up and go to work, not have those things flying around us. This is a business and things like this (talent releases) happen. I believe things need a shake-up regularly and that leads to fresh match-ups and storylines, it is a natural part of the business.'

His favourite TNA match.

'That's a tough call, but my favourite match so far has been my ladder match against Jeff (Hardy). What I don't think people realise is that I was suffering from some serious injuries then. I had herniated discs in my back and it was for the title, so I had to work through the pain and deliver on the night. We all have to work through an injury (it's part of the business), but you know I am very proud of that match and that I was given the opportunity to carry the company for a while too.'

On possible future feuds.

'I would love to step back in the ring with Kurt Angle, when he comes back he will be a lot stronger and a match with him would be awesome. Sting is a guy I'd like to wrestle him too. I like a physical challenge and am happy to work with anyone. I see some great young talent out there as well. The likes of Garrett (Bischoff) and Wes (Brisco) get knocked a lot, but they work hard and have great potential. They are solid dudes and fans should watch out for them. I guess I am happy to work with the top guys and maybe even help the younger ones improve their game and move up the ladder.'

By Phil Allely

Phil Alle