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Found 23 results

  1. Given the participants, and the chemistry that these two teams had - witness both the cage matches between them - this is a massive disappointment, and a complete mess. And a lot of it is down to the structure of the match inhibiting the wrestlers from being able to produce anything watchable. First of all, it's a gimmick better suited to one on one matches, second, while it's No DQ by definition as being a last man standing match, the wrestlers adhere to making tags after the first couple of mins where everyone is in the ring at the same time brawling. Then you have the rules whereby someone needs to be pinned before the 10 count is administered so you get - as can happen in Iron Man matches where people get pinned after a couple of mins by moves they would normally be kicking out of. While some of the work is decent because of the guys involved, because of the fundamental inhibitions of the match, it's so choppy with no flow. What AMW excelled in was classic southern tag formula but this doesn't allow that, as it's also elimination rules. The story coming in is that James Storm's knee was injured, but he doesn't really sell that much, although he is pinned and can't stand off a chair shot to the knee, which at least is logical. There is then a small heat section with Chris Harris having to fight of Daniels and Skipper but Daniels is eliminated very quickly, so we don't get much time for any heat to build from being two on one. I'm not sure where it happens, but Elix Skipper I think gets a concussion at some point - he definitely hits the back of his head hard on a chair for the final pin - and while it looks like he kicks out, the ref counts three anyway. In fact, both Daniels and Skipper's eliminations look botched. How bad this match is, can be summed up by the fact that Harris looks actively disgusted on being announced the winner, so happily they would get the chance to redeem themselves the next month with a terrific cage match at Turning Point. This match though is not good at all. (*)
  2. Daniels is the only guy in the tournament that wasn’t a former WCW or ECW ‘name’ (I know he was in WCW briefly, but he was essentially a guy that was making his name on the Indies). Because of being a key part of the first few months of ROH – there’s probably a fair crossover with the crowd from the early ROH Murphy Rec shows – there’s a buzz when he comes out and the crowd are behind him in this match despite him ostensibly being the heel. Vamp has lost the dreadlocks and face paint from his WCW run here, and Joey Styles on commentary is trying to put over the story of him being a more serious character and training in MMA. In the early exchanges there is a lot of mat work, and it’s wrestled at a very deliberate pace. Perhaps surprisingly – given he was coming off a run in WCW where he was involved in lots of garbage matches and hokey supernatural storylines – Vamp looks good in the mat work and he more than holds his own with Daniels. You can tell that there’s probably a mix in the crowd between fans who had been going to the early ROH shows and were starting to get into more technical wrestling and those that had been ECW fans, as you can sense some getting restless at the beginning but it never spills over into any “boring” chants. Daniels is so smooth in his movement and exchanges and you can already see how polished he is. The match is fairly low key until Vampiro takes it to the outside, where as more of a brawler he has the advantage. It’s clear that MLW is going down the ECW route of not really having DQs as Vamp uses a chair and then the timekeepers hammer to hit Daniels low. As I mentioned, I think Vampiro was meant to be the face here, but it’s Daniels who the crowd seems to be behind especially when he starts to bust out some of his big moves like the Best Moonsault Ever. This gets a good nearfall, before Vampiro takes the match with a belly to belly suplex off the top rope. (** ¾)
  3. Michinoku Pro could still deliver dope 6 man tag action in the 2000s. This a trademark high spot filled formula tag with everyone playing their roles. Curry Man is a pretty good use of Christopher Daniels as he doesn't pretend to be a master worker but just acts like a tool. His missed dive was pretty insane. Super Boy always looks so great in M-Pro (where the hell is his lucha material?) and this was no exception, he is so awesome as a massive fat guy crushing the tiny dudes with flippy moves, and working miscommunication spots. Hidaka was also a really good team captain, trying to unmask TMIV and attacking his bad arm, twisting up Yuasas leg and getting kicked in the face etc. Nishida as a Spike Dudley inspired guy working highspots with Super Boy was really fun too. This is the kind of match that is completely predictable but still puts a smile on your face.
  4. This is the second match of the Round Robin Challenge. Ki is, as usual, vicious & beats the hell out of Daniels in the beginning. He targets the head with those nasty kicks of his to set-up for the Ki Krusher. Daniels' is simply overmatched when it comes to dealing with Ki -- his wiliness & experience edge all come short when matching up with Ki's brutality. Not only that, but Ki's fresher since this is his first match of the night. Daniels' falls back on the neck work to soften up Ki for the Angel's Wings, but it's not as effective as it was on Dragon. He's slowing the pace down to conserve energy, but the prior wear-and-tear is leaking into his offense & lessening the impact of his moves. The Angels' Wings fail to keep Ki down & Ki catches him in the Dragon Clutch for the submission victory. A tad below the Daniels vs. Dragon match, but still quite good. Rating: ***¼
  5. Very good opener, and the first match of the Round Robin Challenge between Daniels, Dragon & Low Ki. The opening exchanges are just perfunctory, feeling-out sequences. Nothing particularly memorable, but nothing bad. The match becomes more compelling once Daniels starts isolating the neck of Dragon. The commentary is selling how huge a deal this is since Daniels' finisher is neck-based. Dragon does an excellent job selling the neck, and there's multiple moments in the match where he's unable to create offense because of the neck. Curiously enough, he decides to hit a diving headbutt, but besides that oversight he was very good at incorporating the injured neck into the story of the match. Dragon fails to hold the bridge during the Cattle Mutilation because of the neck & Daniels reverses it into a Crossface for the submission victory. Daniels never even teases the Angel's Wings, but he wrenches viciously on the neck of Dragon in that Crossface, so that ruled. They understandably don't go all-out since both are wrestling again this evening, but both guys worked hard and produced a good, well-paced match. Rating: ***½
  6. There's some sequences where I think the match became a little too "cute", but all in all, this was an absolutely great weapons trios warfare. The SCU lads especially did such a good job selling the gimmick of the thing w/ their viciousness. Great, brutal spot action w/ some really great psychology with the continuity of Matt Jackson's banged up back. ****1/4
  7. Going into the main event, things are tied between the FWA and ROH at 2 wins, 2 losses and 1 draw each. Daniels makes it known beforehand that he is not representing ROH, but the Prophecy. In fact, he’d actually been FWA British Heavyweight Champion just two months before this, having defeated Fleisch in October 2002. He lost the belt to Doug Williams at ROH’s Night of Champions in a match that I’d heartily recommend. Williams is actually an interesting absence from the card tonight, given his prominence in both companies, but I'm pretty sure that was because of commitments in Japan where he was part of NOAH. Fleisch was also someone appearing somewhat regularly for ROH at this time, but he’s not in his Special K guise tonight, rather as lead babyface for the FWA. Early on we get plenty of stalling from Daniels, with him threatening to walk and arguing with members of the crowd on the balcony. When Daniels finally gets in the ring, Jody’s signature gymnastics and high flying quickly sends him running for the outside again and more crowd arguing. Once the match settles down, Jody is actually the one that tries to take a more mat based approach and I enjoyed his working of the headlock to stay on top. The result is Daniels trying to up the pace which proves a mistake and Jody headscissors him and hits a quebrada. As in the AJ Styles/Jonny Storm match earlier in the night, they fight up to the ramp where Jody gives Daniels a snap suplex on the entrance platform and then disappears and returns with a chair, which he springboards off into a rana on Daniels. The spot is fun, but the fact he had to go back stage to grab a chair to then do a rana off felt very unorganic and takes you out of the moment. This was a criticism I had of some of the spots in his ladder match at British Uprising. When they return to the ring, Daniels is finally able to get some control, where he proceeds to work over the back and neck. The work is pretty consistent and I enjoyed The Best Moonsault Ever onto the back which then sets up a cross face. Fleisch gets a late flurry including a springboard Shooting Star Press, but Jonny Storm, cementing his heel turn, hits Jody with a chair as he tries a second one and Daniels picks up the win, and completes a come from behind 3-2 victory for ROH. At just under 25 mins, the match is probably too long, with lots of stalling from Daniels early on. I appreciate him trying to build heat, but you feel that comes at the expense of the match in the beginning. I actually liked Jody adopting a more methodical pace and working in some chain wrestling at times, showing versatility. There are lots of nice sequences, but a tighter match would make it feel more coherent. Even though the ending features interference I liked the story of Jonny allowing his personal jealously of Jody to get in the way of company unity, and it further escalates the issues between them which the company was looking at as one of the key storylines for the year. Further heat is added in the post match where Storm and Daniels try to piledrive Fleisch on a chair, until both locker rooms chase them off, however, Storm and Daniels take out the FWA’s acting Commissioner at that point – Dino Scarlo - with an absolutely brutal and hard-to-watch-with-2018-eyes chair shot. (*** ¼)
  8. We are in the Broxbourne Civic Hall, which was the company’s main base for most of it’s run. It was a building that had a cool set up for wrestling with tiered seating on one side and a stage which the FWA also set up with seating that then gave off an appearance of being a bigger venue than the 450 or so capacity it had. It’s a venue that traditionally always had a hot crowd. Going into this match, Doug was in his first reign as FWA Champion and was already starting to be presented as the ace of the company. Timewise, it is just a week before the big Revival show which I’ve written about here: http://prowrestlingonly.com/index.php?/topic/39613-doug-williams-vs-eddie-guerrero-fwa-revival-king-of-england-tournament-02092002/ We are also in the midst of the main storyline going on in the FWA for most of 2002; the ‘Old School’ - veterans who didn’t like the new direction for wrestling in the UK and the newer, younger guys brought up on the Attitude era and ECW. This match plays into that, with Christopher Daniels being managed by the Old School’s manager Dean Ayass and brought into be a hired gun to take the title off Williams. When the promotion wide storyline had begun Doug was something of a tweener, but after rejecting the Old School’s advances he’s now very much in a face role. The nice hook is that Daniels has been brought in specifically as he already has a victory over Williams in the UK. This is a really fun match, and as you’d expect between these two, very smooth and technically sound. Both guys match up well and Daniels is excellent at playing the slimy heel trying to exploit any advantage or opening. Looking at the FWA roster at the time, Doug was clearly the most polished and best performer and he’s really enjoyable in showcasing his mat wrestling skills, incorporating a number of traditional British wrestling/WOS counters to keep Daniels off his game. Recognising that he is outmatched technically, Daniels is always looking to up the pace and when the match speeds up he is able to take control. I enjoyed his work on top in the match, as he kept working the neck and upper back, It was also refreshing that Ayass on the side didn’t get too involved to overshadow or distract from the match. Earlier in the show he’d been involved in a tag match and he sells his neck, which I guess was also an effective way of stopping him getting constantly involved. At this point in 2002 you could see why Daniels was so highly regraded on the indy scene and why he would be a key part of the early days of ROH and then TNA. He is already very polished and everything he hits is crisp and on point. I know some find him to be a guy that can be quite mechanical in the ring, but I’ve always been a big fan and in this match he brings a nice variety to his offence and moves that would become his signature spots. The match has a satisfyingly clean ending which puts Williams over nicely, showing he can defeat an opponent that already had a growing reputation. It’s a rivalry that interestingly the FWA would revisit later in the year and into 2003 and which also crossed over into ROH, and shows how well the two guys meshed. Their matches together in ROH are well worth seeking out, as is this one. (*** ¾)
  9. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bftPCKrQfpA This is just a couple of weeks after the big British Uprising show and kept up the FWA’s momentum nicely. On the undercard there is not too many big stories to note, the biggest probably being Alex Shane and Ulf Herman beating the UK Pitbulls for the tag titles. Given the very bloody and intense feud that Shane and Herman get into with The Family that runs for pretty much all of 2003, that’s a big moment. We are in Walthamstow Town Hall, which is a fun venue (I’m biased for having worked there), and one I’m glad that Rev Pro is now running again. The main event is Fleisch putting the belt that he won at Uprising on the line for the first time, with Daniels a late addition to make it a three way. With Fleisch and Williams both being faces, the addition of Daniels means there is an antagonist which helps the structure. At the beginning he is content to sit out while Fleisch and Williams go at it. It’s interesting that the Low Ki/Daniels/Dragon three way from the first ROH show was at the beginning of that year, as Daniels again takes on the role of being the more heelish and looking to take shortcuts. This match is in no way up to that standard, but there is a similar story they are trying to tell. As you’d imagine for the time, the action is fast paced with some pretty spotty selling, but it’s always engaging and you could tell that the UK guys were really starting to look at the style being worked in ROH as well as the X Division in TNA for inspiration. At this time, both Jody and Doug had been across to the US to compete for ROH, with Williams getting a pretty decent push. Doug is largely presented as the most dangerous of the three, being the more powerful but with the technical base, and he is coming off an impressive year when he’s been able to cleanly defeat both Eddie Guerrero and two weeks before this, Jerry Lynn. For most of the FWA’s run he was presented as the ace of the company and I like how in this match Daniels is largely trying to avoid him, which also plays into the feud they were having in ROH at the same time. A criticism would be that Fleisch - given he had just won the title in the big feel good moment at the end of Uprising I - feels like a bit of an after thought at times, although it’s more a comment on his size rather than his ability, that both the other two look to target him. He also still gets in some hugely impressive moments such as the springboard shooting star press to the other guys on the outside. This leads to the key part of the match with him selling a knee injury when landing, to where officials take him to the back and say he can’t continue. This being wrestling of course he ignores their best advice and comes storming back. It’s a decent way of trying to not make him look too weak in losing the title so soon. As befitting his character, Daniels takes advantage of Fleisch being injured to pin him and win the title in a pretty shocking moment. At the time I think a lot of people thought that Daniels being added to the match was just a way of adding cache and in terms of ‘having a good match’ and no-one expected him to win, not least as he wouldn’t be a regular and given Jody had just had his big crowning moment two weeks before. Reading Greg Lambert’s book, Holy Grail, on this period, he says that it was a way of raising the prestige of the title and getting more international eye balls on the FWA, while booker Alex Shane was also working with ROH to get them over for a show in 2003. He also says that it was a move designed to be shocking to the FWA fanbase that was very much a hardcore ‘smark’ audience. Looking back, I think it was a good move – with the FWA not running weekly shows, they didn’t need the title defended on every show and it was smart to try and raise the international prestige of the title. It also meant that the next show at the end of 2002 was centred around finding a No. 1 contender with a round robin tournament. Finally, the storyline of the title being taken hostage by an American was pretty compelling, and crossed companies to being a part of an ROH angle with Doug Williams trying to get it back. Overall, this is a fun match, with lots of action, that wouldn’t look out of place on a 2002/2003 ROH show, although I think at this time, Doug in particular was still trying to find himself, as in 2003/04 he would utilise his technical skills more. At this point I think he (along with a lot of the roster) was trying to work a more high flying/spot heavy style to fit in with the vibe that the company was trying to move away from the more traditional British style that in 2002 was seen as outdated. (*** ¼)
  10. I thought this was pretty easily the worst ROH PPV main event since their return to PPV three years ago (for BitW in fact). Yes, even worse than the Anniversary show 5-way with the bad ending. Commentary tries to put over Cody as this bad heel, but it comes off empty because the crowd is fully behind him. Then they structure parts of the match around getting him heat (like with Cary Silkin - and BC interference), which comes off as flat as possible. Poor Kazarian saves Daniels and fights off Scurll to CRICKETS. Cody's lip is legit busted pretty early, so there's that as a visual I guess. The timing is not good at all between these two. And what makes the bad timing even worse is that the final stretch - which is very planned out - looks so fake and choreographed compared to the crap earlier that it comes off terrible. Probably generous at **
  11. I thought that Cole played his role pretty much perfectly. The cocky, younger heel champ. Talking shit & dominating most of the match. I wish that Daniels had shown more emotion, thinking of something like what Lio Rush showed in his match vs. Marty Scurll, then this could've been ****1/2+ easily. I still enjoyed this tremendously, and when ol' Todd counted to 3 I got goosebumps. Gonna be hard to beat that moment this year. ***3/4
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