THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne
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It’s been a while, but this edition of The Two Sheds Review sees us paying a return trip to New England Championship Wrestling. Having reviewed their Gateway To Greatness, Best of 2005 & Iron 8 Championship DVDs, I’m now going to take a look at the two disc Best of 2007 set. This was one I was really looking forward to, having been impressed with what I’d seen of NECW in the past.
Disc one begins “The Golden Greek” Alex Arion face the DNA faction in a special gauntlet match. The rules for this one were simple – Arion had to beat all of the DNA members to get his brother Frankie re-instated.
Arion fast Scott Reid first. Reid didn’t last long. A super kick later, and Arion got the first pin.
The second man to face Arion was Max Bauer. This one began while Bauer and T.J. Richter were arguing at ringside. Arion took the fight to the remaining DNA members by diving over the top rope onto Bauer, beginning the battle. The massive Bauer had more success against Arion than his team-mate, mainly because of Richter’s illegal help at ringside. Bauer dominates for the most part, thanks mostly to his size and power advantage, until Arion is able to mount a comeback, and almost got the pin after a top rope senton, but didn’t get the pin. First, Richter distracted the referee. Then, Reid returned to the ring and attacked Arion, draping Bauer over his body. But Arion was still able to kick out of the pin. Shortly afterwards Arion’s temper almost got the better of him as he brought a chair into the ring, but as Bauer did the same, he got disqualified when he clobbered Arion.
This left Arion to face Richter. Richter took the fight to the groggy Arion from the beginning, but the Golden Greek just wouldn’t quit. Eventually Reid and Bauer returned to the ring again, and after a miscommunication between Bauer and Richter, Arion got the winning pin on Richter with a schoolboy roll-up. The enraged DNA then attacked like a pack of dogs, before the now reinstated Frankie Arion came down to the ring to clean house.
A very good match to begin the collection with, with some good action and a good storyline from start to finish.
Next it was a match to determine the number one contender for the NECW TV title, with “The Real Deal” Brandon Locke taking on Handsome Johnny. A short but sweet match here. To say that Locke is over with the fans would be a massive understatement as he goes up against the vain heel, who seemed to spend a lot of time flexing his pectoral muscles, and didn’t take too kindly when Locke went Ric Flair on his chest. The action here is fast paced, hard hitting, and a joy to watch, with two evenly match men putting on a tremendous effort, with Locke taking the win and earning the title shot with his version of the Alabama Slam called the Lockdown. Boy was this good.
Action from NECW’s sister promotion, World Women’s Wrestling, follows, with WWW Champion Tanya Lee, accompanied by her manager Sean Gorman, against Lexxus in a non-title match. This was a great example of women’s wrestling at it’s best, with a fine display of technical wrestling, mixed in with the heel tactics of the champion and her manager. It may not have lasted that long, but it was well worth watching. Lexxus came out on top here, taking down Lee with a fisherman’s suplex after the failed attempted interference of Gorman. Not bad, girls, not bad.
T.J. Richter then makes his second appearance of the collection, going up against “The Human Nightmare” Evan Siks. Before the match begins Siks, via the medium of video screen, is confronted by his then-rival Michael Sain in quite an eerie promo. Then Richter came to the ring, in severe pain from an apparent jaw injury, and taking quite a bit of time to actually get into the ring. But despite this obvious discomfort, Richter attacked early, only to be thrown around like a rag doll by Siks. What followed was a good display of power against speed and agility, with Richter controlling Siks down on the mat, but Siks coming back with some good displays of power. Towards the end Siks took Richter down with his Siks Sense, his version of the fireman’s carry, but instead of going for the pin, he decided to try and take Richter down with the same move again. This proved to be his undoing, as Sain made another appearance on the video screen to distract Siks, giving Richter the chance to recover so he could score the winning pin with a roll-up. A very good and enjoyable match here, with Siks once again proving just why he’s one of NECW’s top stars. I really must see more of this Michael Sain character though.
The action continues with D.C. Dillinger, accompanied by Tanya Lee, facing “Straight Edge” Brian Fury, with the winner getting a shot at the NECW Triple Crown title. Before the match begins Dillinger tells the crowd that Fury won’t be competing because of injury (injuries he’d inflicted), and he demands that the referee declares him the winner by default. Eventually Fury comes out for the match with his ribs strapped up, with head honcho Sheldon Goldberg trying to talk him out of competing, a decision that his taken away from him when Dillinger attacks him in the aisle. What follows is little more than a brawl between the two heated rivals, with Fury taking it to Dillinger early on, before Dillinger fights back and begins working over Fury’s injured ribs, getting more and more frustrated with Fury’s never say die attitude, and getting quite a bit of help from Miss Lee along the way. The back and forth action is well executed, making you really care for Fury’s plight as he’s able to take Dillinger down, but unable to follow up on his moves because of his injuries. As the match progressed Fury began to bleed from the mouth as Dillinger locked him in an abdominal stretch, a move Fury eventually passed out from, with the referee giving Dillinger the submission victory. This was by far the best match of the collection so far, and possibly the best NECW match I’ve seen so far.
T.J. Richter makes his third appearance in the next match, as TV Champion in a scramble match against “The Exotic” Kristian Frost, “R.I.O.T.” Kellan Thomas, “Sensational” Scott Reid (second time around for him here) and Triplelicious. Fought under elimination rules, this one began quickly with some good inadvertent double-team moves, before it settled down somewhat with two men in the ring and three on the apron with tagging in effect.
Reid was the first one eliminated, after he and his buddy Richter had doubled-up on Triplelicious, Trip managed to get the pin after taking him out with his version of the RKO. Some excellent exchanges between Frost and Thomas followed, with Frost getting the pin with an awesome looking DDT. This brought Richter and Trip back into the ring, with yet more great exchanges. Richter was about to finish Trip off when Alex Arion came down to the ring to distract him. The champion took his eye off the ball, as it were, as he was counted out while confronting Arion. Needless to say this didn’t sit too well with the champion, as he attacked Frost and threw several chairs around ringside. This left Triplelicious in the ring against Frost. Trip really took it to Frost, but no matter what he tried, he just couldn’t put the exotic one away. Frost took control after Trip missed a top rope attack, and eventually took him down with a neck-tied back cracker. Another good match for this collection, with all five men giving a good account for themselves.
The next two matches were a part of the NWA World title tournament in the summer of 2007. The first saw my favourite Swiss wrestler, Claudio Castagnoli, take on Pepper Parks. A really good match this, with Double C showing why he’s one of the best independent wrestlers out there at the moment, playing the heel extremely well, especially when Parks got the old “USA” chants going. Parks also did his bit to make this match good viewing, but for me that standout was Castagnoli. Plenty of false finishes in this one, and thankfully my fellow European was able to get the pin, taking Parks out with a sit down powerbomb to advance to the next round.
The second tournament match featured Australian star Mikey Nichols against Irish star Fergal Devitt. A nice technical match to finish the first disc off with. This battle of international star proved to be compelling from the start, with both wrestlers showing just why they’re highly regarded in indy circles. It was a joy to watch, especially as neither man seemed to be playing the heel, although the crowd were clearly behind the Irishman. In fact the action here was so good I really didn’t want it to end. Unfortunately, it had to, as Devitt locked in what could only be termed as a variation of a camel clutch, or perhaps a variation of a reverse chin lock, to get the win. Remember what I said about the Dillinger/Fury match being the best one on this collection. Well, that one just got pushed down to second place.
Disc two begins with a last man standing/loser leaves NECW match, with “Hurricane” John Walters attempting to eliminate Jason Blade. To say that this was a hard hitting match would be an understatement. In an attempt to stop themselves from behind barred from competing in NECW for ninety days, Walters and Blade really took it to each other in a match that would easily rank alongside similar gimmick matches in WWE and TNA. Lasting over twenty minutes, it was a minor classic as both men went all out in attempt to save their NECW careers. They beat the hell out of each other with normal wrestling moves, then they tried to beat the hell out of each other with ladders and chairs, and they still couldn’t put each other away. Eventually, a table came into play, and after a couple of failed attempts by both men, Blade put Walters through the table via a top rope back suplex. Both men were down as the referee began his count, slowly rising to their feet, with Walters collapsing again as the referee reached ten to end what was a tremendous match, one of the best I’ve seen in recent months. Guess Dillinger and Fury will have to make do with that number three spot now.
Back to WWW action next, with Nikki Roxx (aka TNA Knockout Roxxi) and “The Portuguese Princess” Ariel facing Malia Hosaka and WWW Champion Tanya Lee, accompanied to the ring by their manager Sean Gorman. This proved to be just as good as the Lee/Lexxus match. Lee and Hosaka made for a great heel team, really taking it to their opponents, especially to Ariel. Once again the standout for me was Roxx, and seeing her here in NECW/WWW action makes me realise that her talent is being wasted over in TNA. In the end, it was the evil girls who got the win. As Gorman distracted Roxx, Lee and Hosaka were able to take Ariel down with a combination front face powerbomb/DDT to get the winning pin to end what was a very good match.
The final match of the collection saw “Die Hard” Eddie Edwards, accompanied by Sean Gorman, take on “The Infamous” Bobby Fish. They definitely saved the best for last with this collection. These two had gone to a twenty minute draw a month before, so this time they were given a thirty minute time limit. From the opening exchanges to the final bell, this match had me hooked as two evenly matched wrestlers went all out in an attempt to get the victory. There was hard-hitting stuff, fast-paced action and high flying mixed in with some great technical wrestling, topped off with a nice dose of drama. In short, this match had everything, and after nearly thirty minutes of top notch action, Fish, with mere seconds left in the match, got the pin after reversing Edwards’ sunset flip attempt, even though I was convinced that, given Edwards’ tactics in the final minute of the match, that this would end in a draw. Great match here, one worth viewing again me thinks.
The extras in this collection are on disc two, and feature the history of the Dillinger/Fury feud, a promo from the Sabotage tag-team, and a bonus match, with Evan Siks, Rick Fuller and Nikki Roxx facing Sabotage and Tanya Lee.
In conclusion – now I know I’ve only reviewed a few NECW/WWW DVDs, but this is the best release I’ve seen so far. There isn’t one bad match here, and I don’t get to say that too often. From top to bottom, every match impressed, with the Edwards/Fish near thirty minute war the highlight of the set.
Production wise, while it’s definitely not up to WWE or TNA standards, NECW have high standards as far as American indy promotions are concerned, with very good film quality and production values, topped off nicely by Sheldon Goldberg’s commentary. In fact I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I think Goldberg could be one of the best play-by-play announcers currently plying their trade in the wrestling business.
So does this DVD set come highly recommended. Of course it does. It’s a perfect example of both the NECW and WWW product, and I’m really looking forward to seeing more of their brand of wrestling in the future. It certainly is a viable alternative to what the big boys are giving us at the moment.
With thanks to NECW for supplying a copy of this collection for review. To find out more about New England Championship Wrestling, and to purchase a copy of this release, visit www.NECWwrestling.com. To find out more about their sister company, World Women’s Wrestling, visit www.WorldWomensWrestling.com. Finally, to download NECW’s online television show, visit www.NECW.tv.