Saturday, 25 May 2013

Mick McManus Passes

Wrestling Legend Mick McManus Passes Away

This week saw the wrestling world mourn a true legend of the grapple game. Londoner Mick McManus was 93 when he passed away of natural causes.

Mick was a man who shone for decades on the UK scene and became a stalwart of the hugely popular World of Sport era that saw multi-millions gather around the TV set to watch their heroes try to beat him each week. He is also rumoured to have made more TV appearances than any other UK wrestler.

Billed as the 'Man you Love to Hate' McManus tore up arenas across the UK and had memorable feuds with every big name of the day. Often dragging even the most clumsy wrestler to an above average match.

McManus was a wrestler who relished his heel character and certainly found himself on the receiving end of many fan attacks and shot from handbag wielding grannies. However he took those assaults as part and parcel of his role and savoured his place on the card.

The world of wrestling took to Twitter /websites and forums to pay their respects to McManus, these tributes highlight just how much respect the man still has within the industry. It has often been said that without people like Mick the industry may never have seen the likes of Kendo Nagasaki, Mark 'Rollerball' Rocco and many of today's up and coming UK/Irish stars of the ring.

The documentary When Wrestling Was Golden: Grapples, Grunts and Grannies (originally shown in December 2012) is being re-broadcast this Sunday May 26th to celebrate the industry Mick worked so hard for. He also features in it of course.

By Phil Allely

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

WWE DVD Review - Live in the UK November 2012

With each UK tour the WWE keep pushing the envelope as they try to give their loyal fans even more value for their money. This past November saw the company roll into Birmingham, here they would not only put on one heck of a show, but they would also record episodes of the Monday Night Raw and Friday Night Smackdown shows before thousands of lively and excited fans. 

Another bonus here is the complete (unaired in the UK) WWE Main Event show that was recorded in Birmingham too.

Live in the UK saw many of the Survivor Series 2012 combatants and teams in action, as they embarked on the road to that Pay-Per-View.

So what can you expect from this two disc set? First up there are some nice features on the UK's own Wade Barrett and William Regal. Irishman Sheamus is also given the spotlight treatment. 

On the match front we have a great many to choose from. Highlights of which are CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler versus John Cena and Ryback. Wade Barrett teaming with Big Show to combat hard-hitters William Regal and Sheamus. Elsewhere Randy Orton and Alberto Del Rio have a well-paced Falls Count Anywhere encounter. Kofi Kingston and The Miz face-off for the Intercontinental Championship and the colourful combo of Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio tackle the fun duo of The Primetime Players.

WWE Live in the UK November 2012 is a very good DVD set indeed. Fans who attended will love this memento of their time there, others will enjoy seeing their heroes on UK soil and adapting their styles etc to suit them. These UK releases are very popular indeed and this is one of the best yet.

Extras wise we get two WWE Championship matches that were held in the UK. One is the near-classic Randy 'Macho Man' Savage and Ultimate Warrior scrap from Summer Slam 1992. The other is the very inventive match between The Rock and X Pac from the 1998 Capital Carnage PPV.

WWE Live in the UK November 2012 is available now on two disc DVD.
RRP £17.99
By Phil Allely

Sunday, 19 May 2013

WWE DVD Review: Elimination Chamber 2013

WWE DVD Review: Elimination Chamber 2013

The Elimination Chamber is one formidable and very unforgiving structure. This mass of metal was once the special feature in Pay-Per-Views, but it is now the star of its own. The concept is a good one and used sparingly it works very well indeed. What happens is six men enter caged environment. Two of them start off the match, whilst four others stand by in each corner, locked in a cubicle. Every few minutes a new competitor enters and things heat up. This is a pin fall/submission style scrap and it can get very violent indeed.

This year we saw Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, Kane, Jack Swagger, Mark Henry and Chris Jericho all participate and their reward was a World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 29. The action here was superbly paced, exciting and innovative.

The other big match on the EC 2013 card was the re-match between WWE Champion The Rock and former champ CM Punk. This match was the last chance for Punk to retain his belt and progress to WrestleMania. Punk and Rock have a very good rapport in the ring and Rock especially deserves praise for stepping back in to a semi-fulltime wrestling role so easily.

On surprise bout here was the one that pitted The Shield against the all-star trio of John Cena, Ryback and Sheamus. The surprise was not the talent involved or the effort put in to the encounter. It was the fact that the WWE really did decide to put so much behind the newest group on the scene The Shield.

Elsewhere we see World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio battle his nemesis Big Show. Their feud just went from strength to strength, Del Rio has certainly stepped up to the plate. Kaitlyn defended her Diva's title against the tough daughter of wrestling legend Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka Tamina. This was a fair Divas match, that did enough to warrant your attention throughout.

Elimination Chamber 2013 is a very good DVD release from the WWE. It certainly paved the way for WrestleMania 29 and offered an above average number of matches. The main event and chamber scraps are certainly well worth re-viewing as well.

Elimination Chamber 2013 is available now from and all good retailers.
RRP £17.99 (DVD), £19.99 (Blu-ray)

By Phil Allely

Nigel McGuinness - The Last of McGuinness : UK/Irish Tour News

Former Wrestler Nigel McGuinness brings his acclaimed documentary to a town near you
Eros Comedy presents ‘The Last Of McGuinness’, a film by Nigel McGuinness UK/Ireland Tour

Nigel McGuinness was on the brink of wrestling superstardom… And then he wasn’t.

The Last Of McGuinness is a powerful, poignant documentary chronicling the farewell tour of Nigel McGuinness, considered by many to be one of the greatest British pro wrestling exports of all time. Directed and edited by Nigel himself, it doesn’t pull any punches depicting the wealth of conflicting emotions of a man trying to come to terms with the end of his career. From the US to the UK and back again, it also provides a unique and honest insight into the life of an independent wrestler. An incredibly moving film, regardless of whether you’re a wrestling fan.

“Unflinching in depicting Nigel’s pain, frustration and, quite often, bitterness. Give “The Last of McGuinness” a try. Nigel's heart, hopes, sadness, frustration and ultimately his redemption are all over this film.” Mick Foley, WWE Hall Of Famer
“You're a depressing sod, aren't you?” CM Punk, WWE Superstar
Tickets on sale now. Price includes an exclusive live Q&A with the Ring Of Honor and TNA star, as well as a meet & greet with autograph and photo opportunity. 
Sunday 26th May – The Comedy Store, Manchester
Monday 27th May – The Classic Grand, Glasgow
Tuesday 28th May – The Stand, Newcastle Upon Tyne
Wednesday 29th May – The Glee Club, Birmingham
Thursday 30th May – The Garage, London
Monday 3rd June – The Empire, Belfast
Fame will be at the Belfast showing, why not say to us and look out for our exclusive follow up interview with NIgel himself.
By Phil Allely

Sunday, 12 May 2013

DVD Review: The Best of Raw and Smackdown 2012

The WWE produce so many of hours of TV each year that we fans cannot possibly tape or own them all. So the company very kindly produce DVD sets like this one. Here they pull together some of the best moments of the raw and Smackdown shows throughout the past year and offer them up in one nicely presented package.

This year we get to see the action unfold throughout 2012 and as all of us know this was a period in WWE's history that embraced not only the company's newest stars, but those of times gone by.

Across these three discs we get to see some superb matches and moments from 2012.

So what can you expect to see here? Well first up there are some superb verbal encounters between The Rock and John Cena. Rock and his guitar sing-along are worth the price of this release alone. You will also see Brock Lesnar make his return to the company.  There are also some nice touches as D-generation X re-form (for one night only) and some old school names turn up as well. I for one enjoyed seeing Vader back on WWE TV again. The build up to some of the biggest and most highly anticipated feuds of modern time are included here too. All of which make this a must-have purchase for fans across the board.

The Best of Raw & Smackdown 2012 is a nice look at the goings on within the company over the past 52 weeks. The best and most interesting matches and feuds are highlighted well. The quality of the bouts does range from decent to excellent and each does progress a storyline in some way. Nothing here is throwaway at all. 

One other bonus here is that the majority of the events featured here will be unique to this release and less likely to be repeated elsewhere. Which makes them all the more desirable for fans.

Whilst the matches are well chosen, it is nice to see the WWE have handpicked some choice moments from these shows too. I'll not ruin them, but any fans viewing will savour some of the events that book end the bouts here. 

Blu-ray buyer will be privy to six bonus matches and a host of back stage interviews and footage.

The Best of Raw & Smackdown 2012 is available now on DVD and Blu-ray from FreemantleMedia, via all good retailers.

RRP £24.99 (DVD), £34.99 (Blu-ray)
By Phil Allely

Thursday, 9 May 2013

TNA One Night Only - Joker's Wild Review

TNA One Night Only - Joker's Wild 2013 review

By Phil Allely

His career may have stalled when he lost the TNA World Heavyweight Championship, but recent matches have shown James Storm to be a man at the top of his game. His performance throughout the recent Joker's Wild 'One Night Only' event proved that too. He stole the show and won the match by beating his former team mate Bobby Roode in the over the top rope finale of the show.

The tournament itself (shown this week in the UK on Challenge) was the second of TNA's new themed event events. This time around TNA brought back its very popular Joker's Wild format. Here tag teams were drawn at random and pitted against another team. The winning teams would then go on to a (WCW Battlebowl style) battle royal, where the last man standing would win a $100,000 prize.

Kicking things off James Storm and Christian York made pretty easy work of the returning duo of Crimson and Gunner. Storm and York would make a wonderful tag team in your reviewers opinion.

Jessie Godderz took most of the punishment in the next bout. Teaming with Mr Anderson Godderz really looked vulnerable and beaten down by opponents Kid Kash and Doug Williams. Anderson did however finally get a hot tag and decimated all to pull off the win.

Former X Division stars Christopher Daniels and Samoa Joe united next to form a formidable combo. This was the perfect mix of speed and power. The talented Chavo Guererro and Rob Van Dam worked hard against them, but ultimately fell to the superior team.

The best part of the following scrap was Bobby Roode's reaction to his partner Joseph Park. He made it watchable and helped push the Park character throughout. After a beat down by Robbie E and Zema Ion Joseph tapped into Abyss territory and nailed a Black Hole Slam. Roode then capitalised, making a blind tag and pinning Ion to pull off the win.

With two members of Aces and Eights on the other side of the ring it seemed to be an uphill battle for Hernandez and newcomer Alex Silva. Supermex did try his best, but the might of Devon and DOC proved too much. DOC pinned Silva to see his team progress.

The final tag team match of the night was entertaining in more than one way. This saw big men Matt Mogan and Robbie T square up to Joey Ryan and Al Snow. This was particularly fun as Morgan/Ryan are of course connected and Al Snow has beef with them too. The finish came as Snow and T left Ryan and Morgan to trade blows. After a few exchanges a 'Carbon Footprint' sealed Ryan and Snows fate.

The shows finale was the 12 man battle royal for $100,000. James Storm and Bobby Roode kicked things off and every two minutes a new competitor entered the fray. Roode and Storm fought each throughout, but did team up to eliminate DOC (which fans liked a lot). The action here moved along at a fair rate and the eliminations came thick and fast. It was good to see Robbie T show his mettle by eliminating a few bodies here. The same goes for Matt Morgan.

This was all about James Storm though. He started the match and ended it with his former tag team partner Bobby Roode. This final sequence was timed perrfectly. Roode though he had eliminated Storm, but he skinned the cat and sent Roode to the apron, one 'Last Call' superkick later and Roode hit the ground. Storm stood victorious and netted himself a nice pay day too.

Joker's Wild was a very well received and presented offering by TNA. The idea of theming events and bypassing storylines seems to be working well. It was also good to see that the company have re-found their faith in James Storm too. Here's hoping he gets to rise to the top again and wear the gold once again.

Friday, 3 May 2013

DVD Review: The Best of Monday Night Nitro Vol. 2

These days many wrestling fans will be unaware of just how cutthroat the industry was in the late 1990s/early 2000s. Yes the WWE may be the most well known name in the grapple game today, but it does have serious competition from its young challenger TNA/Impact Wrestling.

However during this period the good ship WWE was almost sunk by the might of the Ted Turner funded and Eric Bischoff ran WCW. 

This battle between the WWE (then WWF) and WCW kickstarted the infamous Monday Night Wars and created a wonderful few years for wrestling fans across the board.

WWE's Monday Night Raw went head to head with WCW's Monday Night Nitro and Raw lost an awful lot of the time, but the bubble did indeed burst and a 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin led WWE clawed things back.

This second installment of the best of Monday Nitro is a very welcome release for anyone (like myself) who was a loyal fan of both promotions during this time and relished the way both organisations attempted to outdo their opponent.

There were of course over five years of Nitro and here we have another selection of the best, most memorable and interesting moments from them.

Our host Diamond Dallas Page is perfect for his role. He after all worked his way up through the ranks in WCW. Page first started off as a cocky manager type character and eventually after many years of hard work and determination he became an active wrestler and even a World Champion. Page is now known for his work as a fitness/yoga instructor and aide to fallen wrestlers.

Content wise this three disc set features matches involving Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Sting, Kevin Nash, Rey Mysterio, Goldberg, Bret Hart, Lex Luger and many more. 

DDP is an amiable host, he may not say much at times, but his smile and enthusiasm is infectious. 

The Best of Monday Night Nitro Vol 2 is a wonderful homage to a bygone era and a nice tribute to a company that were so close to taking the mantle of the number one wrestling company in the world.

WCW in its prime were able to poach countless WWE stars and make them (both WCW and the wrestler in question) a fortune too. This period saw many of the WWE's top stars jump ship and in many cases rejuvenate their careers.

The creation of the N.W.O. was the catalyst back then and its presence is felt here throughout. This was one of the first times the wrestling industry in the US had seen a faction invade a promotion at this level and dominate its show. many have tried to re-create the magic, but none have succeeded yet.

Match quality wise we range from decent to very good, we also see as many of the WCW key roster of the time too at some point.

I highly recommend this to any old school fans who have longed for a DVD of classic WCW matches and also suggest newer fans check it out to see what all of the fuss was about.

The Very Best of WCW Monday Night Nitro Vol 2 is available now on DVD and Blu-ray.
RRP £24.99 (DVD), £34.99 (Blu-ray)

By Phil Allely