When I look for things to review for the site, I try to pick things that nobody else would as a point of interest. Case in point, Reslo, the Welsh wrestling programme that outlasted World of Sport. Orig Williams became the face and voice of the show, alongside actor Bryn Fon. I believe the majority of the shows were filmed in North Wales, where Welsh is more commonly spoken alongside English, rather than South Wales, where it’s not. I’m three quarters Welsh, based on my antecedents, with my family being coal miners that moved up to the West Midlands from South Wales for better jobs and houses, and I couldn’t tell you a single Welsh word except for araf, so no remarks to be made on the commentary!
Doc Dean vs. Aztec Warrior
The late Ian “Doc” Dean was kind of the Marty Jannetty to Robbie Brookside’s Shawn Michaels. Darker hair, didn’t stay in the business as long or enjoy the same kind of fame of success, but a great, great wrestler. No idea on the Aztec Warrior, a masked man, but I would think the closest to Mexico he got was going there on holiday. Both guys are smaller and lighter, so it’s akin to a cruiserweight match. Warrior takes down Doc with a nice high knee and a stomp to the stomach. He lifts Doc up by the sizable mullet and delivers some headbutts. Chokes on the rope, but Doc slips out and ousts him with a dropkick and a clothesline. Baseball slide dropkick knocks Warrior back, but another one is skipped and he rams his head into the steps. I was surprised he didn’t go through the barricade, which is constructs out of orange traffic cones and interconnecting plastic strips. Back in, Warrior goes to the eyes, then delivers a nice missile dropkick while Doc is blinded. Doc is really good at selling, which helps with the fact he’s incredibly loud! A dropkick comeback, then a flying… something to get the Warrior backpedaling. It looked like he was going for a Fishman dropkick but Warrior got to him before he could get the feet out and he just hit knees instead. Doc with a small package, but Warrior again goes to the mullet and rams him into the mat. He must be ready for the shower as he delivers a tombstone piledriver, and a stiff one too! Nice legdrop off the second rope as well, but Doc reverses a normal piledriver and gets a flying clothesline for two. Warrior heads out to slow it down. Back in, he throttles Doc down, then goes to a side headlock. Irish whip into the corner, followed by a clothesline, but Doc gets his feet up on another one and get a senton flip for two. Warrior gets a DDT in response, followed by another tombstone and a splash off the top rope for the win. Not the result I was expecting seeing as Doc was the known star and the masked man is not obviously someone, but it was a really good match other than some pacing issues.
Tina and Julie Starr vs. Naughty Nicky Monroe and Klondyke Kate
Ladies tag team action. I’ve definitely seen the heels wrestle in person and seen at least Julie Starr wrestle. I believe the story with the latter was that she was a ring girl who was attacked by one of the female wrestlers and got into wrestling to get revenge, which as far as origin stories isn’t too bad. Nicky and Kate are kinda like Bull Nakano and Aja Kong as far as appearance goes, with Nicky tall and solid and Kate REALLY big. They have a lame manager with them called Lord Kelvin Derbyshire, who will add nothing. Imagine Bill Dundee as Sir William, except with no working ability. Nicky starts with Julie and works on the arm while Orig says “Soho sex kitten” as the only thing I can recognise on commentary other than the names! Julie flips out but has no luck, so Tina comes in and manages to reverse an Irish whip and gets two off a leg sweep and jackknife pin. Kate comes in and sandwiches her while Nicky holds her, but as always the babyface gets away and the heels run into one another. They try battering rams, which the heels reverse, but the Starrs get dropkicks. Kate ends up kicking out Julie and comes in while she catches her breath. Kate has that great Miss Trunchbull look. Tina trips her on a charge, poorly, then Kate trips over Julie, poorly. Nicky comes back in to hopefully rescue it. She gets a gut punch on Julie and splashes the leg, then bites the forearm while holding a leglock. She misses another splash to the rope. Julie does the Greg Valentine headbutt to stomach, without Nicky screaming “MY VAG!”. She manages to get a tombstone, which looked awkward because Julie’s head hit her thigh on the way down. Kate comes in to finish with a legdrop and big splash. Disappointing match, Kate had a poor showing, but Nicky managed to pull everything back together where she could.
Orig Williams vs. Psycho Shane Stevens
The man himself makes an appearance here against Shane Stevens, who in real life is a super shady character who’s been involved in fraud, theft and some far more sinister activities. Orig is probably 60 at least here. I’m immediately reminded that Stevens was not a particularly good wrestler and just relied on stagy gestures, walking around a bit like Bob Backlund. Orig takes him down and tries a knucklelock on the mat, but that’s unsuccessful, so Stevens snapmares him down and stomps him out, so Orig drags him to the post and pulls while he’s wishboned, unfortunately not inflicting permanent damage. Back in, the bell rings, signalling the end of round one.
Second round, Stevens attacks early with elbows and chokes. He quickly gets a slam for the first pinfall.
Third round, Stevens attacks again while Orig is recuperating. Cover after a snapmare gets one. He goes to a rear chinlock. Orig reverses an Irish whip and gets a back body drop for the equalizing fall. Even past it, I will say that Williams had booked his territory and established his presence to still come across as a national hero.
Fourth round, Orig dumps Stevens to the outside, then ties him up in the ropes when he returns. He and the ref have a to-do over whether he should be able to attack him in that prone position, so a funny solution sees Orig wait for him to come back to a standing position and then clotheslines him out for the count out. Very Hulk Hogan-like with the supposed hero getting to bend the rules to his favour. Very basic, almost pantomime match, but Orig’s inherent charm overcomes my personal disdain for Stevens, so I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt based on the amusing finish.
The Superflys vs. Tony Stewart and Geraint Clwyd
I mentioned my liking of Jimmy Ocean in the last review, so here he is with his tag team partner Rowdy Ricky Knight (Paige’s dad) against two young babyfaces. The tights here are pretty dazzling, with the heels wearing what I believe Kent Walton once called Battenberg cake colours, bright yellow and pink quarters, with the babyfaces wearing neon green cycling shorts. Imagine Tito’s tights as El Matador, just far more obnoxious. Joined in progress with Ocean beating on Stewart, getting a stiff elbowdrop and going for a splash off the top. It hits knees, which Jimmy does a great flip sell over. Geraint comes in and whips Ocean into the corner, crotch first, then stomps the balls. Slam followed by a kneedrop and legdrop, but Ocean gets a punch to the gut. The babyfaces actually utilise some cheating with Stewart tripping Ocean on a charge, distracting him enough to be rolled up for the first fall. Interesting and different!
Next fall, same men in, with Ocean getting a punch to the stomach and bringing Knight in. Knight is already mouthing off. He gets a legdrop and an elbowdrop that barely brushes Clwyd. They antagonize Tony into coming in so they can trap Geraint in their corner, but Stewart gets a tag and comes in. Ricky is comparatively svelte here, as opposed to the fat, old, toothless boy he is now. They manage to throw some powder in Tony’s eyes to get the second fall. Worth noting the old, lazy ref, who is of the Bronko Lubich mold, not going down to the mat for the pin and instead just pointing three times.
Final fall, Jimmy works on the still blinded Stewart. Must be the middle of summer too, because everyone is sweating bullets. Stewart gets a monkey flip out of a neutral corner to come back, but he follows Ocean into the heel corner and gets swatted off by Knight, allowing Ocean to pin him with a Ric Flair pin. The ref’s method du jour is to air punch the mat while down on one knee. He seems to pick up on the malfeasance, and waves off the pin despite counting three. Stewart gets a comeback and brings in Clwyd, who whips Ocean into the corner for a Ray Stevens bump. Knight comes in off a chance tag and chokes away. Stewart comes back in and Ricky runs away. Ocean then comes in and gets catapulted over the top rope. The babyfaces bring both heels in and whip them into one another. Double dropkicks follow. Knight comes back in with a cheap shot and holds Stewart for Ocean, who has taken one of the plastic strips from the barrier. Bear in mind it’s about five feet long and less than half an inch thick. Of course, he misses and hits Knight with it, which must be akin to being swatted with a magazine. While Ocean checks on Knight, Stewart sunset flips over him. One of those matches where either team could’ve reasonably won and everyone knew what they were doing, so it resulted in a good match. Nice to see young babyfaces in the early nineties with decent haircuts, too, although that might be cancelled out by the Superflys’ barnets.
Marty Jones vs. Skull Murphy
A cage match, and it’s quite a reasonable one for a British promotion of the era, probably about eight feet tall and of the WWF style, though not as solid. Skull Murphy is named after the more famous American wrestler, but had a pretty impressive moniker as the Indestructible Skull Murphy. Marty tries to climb the cage immediately, but is yanked back down. Murphy tries to ram him into the cage, but it’s blocked and Marty gets an elbow. He tries to back out via the door, but get caught while unbolting it. Murphy gets some stiff-looking shots in and goes for the door, but is rammed into it to block him escaping. He gets a low blow in, but again is rammed into the cage. Marty misses a charge into the cage and very clearly blades while facing the mat. Murphy works over the cut and grinds his forehead against the bars. About as much blood forthcoming as if you cut yourself shaving. Strangely heatless affair, with the crowd acting more like they’re watching a snooker match. Skull gets a DDT that Jones does a good sell off. He sets him up for a falling headbutt, but misses. Marty gets his own DDT, which I expected with how much he swung his legs to be a lot better than it was. He tries to escape over the top, but Murphy slams him off. Skull misses an elbowdrop, so Marty knocks him out with a missile dropkick, laces his foot between the bottom rope and the bar, then climbs over the top to win. The crowd popped for the ending, but seemed to miss a lot of the match otherwise. Match was OK, but felt like the best bits of a better match, without the things between that build them up.
Giant Haystacks and Drew McDonald vs. Pat Roach and Robbie Brookside
One more before I down tools for a little while. Giant Haystacks everyone should know. Drew McDonald is a nasty Scottish wrestler who had quite a funny blog on his website when he was alive and was part of a story in Jericho’s first book where he left a parting gift on the door handle after going to a specific type of cinema. Pat Roach probably would’ve been reasonably famous as a wrestler on account of being pretty big, but achieved far bigger fame for his roles in films like the Indiana Jones movies, Clash of the Titans and Willow as well as starring in the British comedy Auf Wiedersehen, Pet (related bonus at the end). Robbie Brookside I’ve mentioned earlier, but is probably most famous post-retirement as one of the preeminent trainers for WWE.
Joined in progress with Drew overpowering Robbie. He controls him with a side headlock. These two would be wrestling each other regularly under different circumstances in the next decade as the elder statesmen of the FWA. Robbie gets an armdrag and armbar. Referee Brian George is actually Brian (George) Dixon of All Star Promotions. Robbie goes for another armdrag and Drew just doesn’t go down for it, which is a cool counter, but they f--- up a clothesline over the top rope. Haystacks comes in to beat on Brookside. He’s moving more than he did in WCW, but already massively dilapidated from his heyday in the seventies. He throws Brookside out over the top rope, which you’d actually think would be a DQ given the sensibilities of British wrestling, but it’s not. Roach helps him back in.
Drew comes in with a slam and elbowdrop. Suplex follows. Roach is hanging over the ropes, almost horizontal, trying to get a tag. Brookside reverses another suplex and goes for a missile dropkick instead of tagging. He just about gets Drew down on a running cross body block for two, but gets slammed off going for another move. Drew misses another elbow and Roach finally comes in. Pat was given a lot of leeway because so many people liked him, but he wasn’t as good a wrestler as Hulk Hogan. He gets a shoulder block and flying… something, then tags Brookside back in.
Brookside gets elbowed in the back of the neck when he puts his head down. Haystacks comes back in with an avalanche, which eliminates Robbie from the match. Roach carries on alone. Haystacks knees him in the gut. I’m reminded of the 1991 match from the Arena show I reviewed with Haystacks against Kendo Nagasaki and special guest referee Steve Grey constantly referring to him as “Mr. Stacks”. McDonald comes in with an impressive dropkick (for him!). Roach gets a side backbreaker of the Jos LeDuc type (not going down to a knee) then sends him flying out and slams him upon his return to eliminate him from the match.
Roach goes for shoulderblocks against Mr. Stacks, with McDonald trying to pull his leg from ringside, so Brian just disqualifies him and awards the match to Pat Roach. LAME! Couldn’t they have done the deal of threatening to levy a major fine if McDonald didn’t return to the locker room? Something like £12.50? Match was decent when Robbie was in, less than decent when Pat was in, and that finish… The shits!
The Bottom Line: Some fun matches of variable quality, probably doing their own thing to differentiate themselves from the older ITV product. It was fun. I’ll be back with something else some other time, but until then…