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