Mike Reviews – NJPW Nexess VI – Part One (Matches 1-3)

Konnichiwa!

I’ve recently picked up some New Japan shows from their “dark period” in the 00’s, and this Tokyo Dome event was one of them, so I’ll be chopping it up and reviewing it over the next few weeks in my regular Wednesday slot here on the Blog of DOOM. I’ll probably separate it into three parts as the show has nine matches, but I’ll be flexible with that and amend it if and when I need to.

New Japan Pro Wrestling was pretty much on its arse from about 2002 to 2006 until Hiroshi Tanahashi won the top belt and rescued them from disintegration.  The issues were myriad, with Antonio Inoki’s scattershot stop-start booking being the biggest, along with a fascination of signing up guys from MMA and pushing them over all the regular roster members, whether they could actually work or not.

Even though this was a pretty miserable period for the company I’ve always been kind of fascinated by it, and because 2003ish was when I first really became aware of New Japan this era holds the slimmest slice of nostalgia for me as well. At the very least we should get a few good matches here if the line-up is anything to go by, so let’s watch the first three matches!

Read more

Mike Reviews – WCW Capital Combat: Return of RoboCop (19/05/1990)

Hello You!

I haven’t watched this one in a while and I’ve always enjoyed it, so I decided to make it the show I review this week. I’m actually watching the UK version of the Turner Home Entertainment official VHS result for this one as opposed to the WWE Network version.

The main reasons I’m watching this version of the show are that it’s shorter, it doesn’t dub out some of the music (meaning we get “The Chase” for the Midnight Express’ entrance) and (at the time of writing this) the WWE has done a pretty lousy job with the move over to Peacock so, even though we still get the full version of the Network over here in the UK, the whole situation has left me with a bit of a sour taste so I’ve been on a bit of a physical media kick as a result.

Plus, I finally got a replacement remote for my VCR, so reviewing just became a lot more convenient as I don’t have to keep getting up to pause/rewind the tape on the actual VCR itself. There’s also that additional nostalgia factor of sitting down and watching a tape on a real VCR that takes me back to watching my wrestling tapes as a kid that I kind of like. I obviously won’t be swearing off The Network forever or anything, but right now I’m enjoying a bit of a blast from the past.

This show took place in the May of 1990, with current top babyface Sting out on the shelf with a knee injury due to a botched spot where he tried to climb a cage to get at The Horsemen. As a result of not really having any challengers for World Champ Ric Flair, Lex Luger was turned back babyface to feud with him. Of course this presented some additional issues for WCW, because Flair had given Sting his word that he’d be getting the belt from him once he was healthy, which meant Luger wouldn’t be getting it in this feud. Luger had failed multiple times in the past to defeat Flair for the Title though, so yet another failure wasn’t exactly going to do wonders for his “choker” image.

For this show they did at least give Luger a bit of an out by having him sell a leg injury, with the story being that he shouldn’t really be competing in the match but he was going to do it anyway because he was so gosh darn brave. You’d think that a stoppage finish where Luger’s leg went out and the referee ended it rather than Luger having to quit himself would be the most likely ending to the match seeing as it would be a way for him to lose without looking weak due to the match being in a cage, but WCW had other ideas (Oh my DID they!).

WCW had also been saddled with having to bring in RoboCop onto the show as RoboCop 2 was due to hit cinemas. Thus they had to pretend that RoboCop was an actual real super cop and not just some dude in a costume, which was overly silly even for something like wrestling. They couldn’t even get Peter Weller in to do it either, so it really is just a random bloke in the costume!

Read more

Mike Reviews – Transatlantic Wrestling Challenge – Episode 1

Alright Squirrels!

Transatlantic Wrestling Challenge was something put together by NWA: Hammerlock back in 2000, with the idea being that it’s 8 wrestlers from Britain and 8 from America in a big tournament. I wasn’t actually able to watch it back in the day as it was shown on ITV 2 and this was prior to Freeview and whatnot, so if you were like my family didn’t have satellite or cable telly, then you were stuffed.

Someone has uploaded it to YouTube though, so I’ll review an episode of it this week and if ya’ll enjoy it then I might return to it at some point. There are only six episodes I think. If you want to watch along with me then you can do by clicking right HERE.

Read more

Mike Reviews – ECW Hostile City Showdown (20/04/1996)

Hello You!

Back with another classic ECW review, as I’ve been meaning to watch this one again for a while and now seemed like as good a time as any.

1996 was a hot year for ECW from a creative perspective, with Taz’s “Path of Rage” and Raven’s feud with The Sandman being notable highlights. Most of the year was spent trying to finally get the company on to pay per view, with things like the Mass Transit incident delaying it until 1997. The product had a good mix of brawls, character work and wrestling still though, and when I first became aware of the company in 1999 I had a lot of fun going back to hoover up some of the better shows from the companies 96 prime.

Going into this show, Raven was the ECW World Champ and was still embroiled in multiple issues with the likes of Tommy Dreamer and Shane Douglas. Dreamer had recently stolen Raven’s girlfriend Beulah away from him, so Raven had in-turn shacked up with Kimona Wanalaya, although he made it clear more than once that he was still in love with Beulah and didn’t have much time for Kimona outside of a purely physical relationship. As a result that relationship fizzled and Kimona actually ended up with Douglas, as this was before Douglas had taken on Francine as his valet.

Douglas had been kind of a tweener since coming back to ECW following a failed stint in the WWF, in that he was still as disgusting and despicable human being, but he also was feuding with guys like Raven and occasionally even helping out Dreamer from time to time, even though it was mostly for selfish reasons. It was very much “shades of grey, bro”, but in 96 that concept hadn’t been beaten into the ground yet, and because Raven was such a clear villain and Dreamer was a clear face, it worked having Douglas in the middle pulling the strings.

Elsewhere, Taz had gone heel at the end of 1995 due to the fans welcoming Sabu back to the promotion, and he was tearing through everyone in a vicious manner on route to an eventual collision with his former tag team partner. Sabu was a bit busy feuding with Rob Van Dam at the time though, so his eventual blow off with Taz would have to wait.

Going into Hostile City Showdown, the two main matches were scheduled to be Rob Van Dam facing off with Sabu and Raven defending his World Title against Douglas, with Tommy Dreamer taking on Raven’s hired thug “Bulldozer” Brian Lee in the under card. It was a pretty stacked show and there was good interest for it as a result, especially as Douglas had been teasing that he would reveal the identity of a supposed secret lover of Beulah.

Will the big matches deliver? Let’s watch on and find out!

Read more

Mike Reviews – On The Mat (17th March 1981)

Greetings Friends!

This week we’re going back to On The Mat, an NWA affiliated show from New Zealand that was mostly built around “Maniac” Mark Lewin. I enjoyed it well enough last time and the episodes are only half an hour long, so it’s not like it’s going to eat into too much of my time.

If you’d like to watch along you can do so by clicking right HERE

Read more

Mike Reviews – WWF UK Rampage 1991 (24/04/1991)

Hello You!

I was digging around in DVD collection and found this show, and decided that I fancied watching it again as I hadn’t seen it in a while, hence it’s the show I’m reviewing this week. I actually have it as part of the Silver Vision Video “Tagged Classics” series, where Silver Vision (The UK distributer of WWF/E videos for many years) would pack in two shows together in one box. The good thing about these is that they usually don’t bother doing any dubbing or whatnot, so you usually get the original music and they never bothered editing out the Attitude Era “scratch” logo either back when WWE had to do that.

This event took place on the usual spring European tour that the WWF used to do, with it essentially being a televised house show that they showed on Sky Movies over here as a special. There’s nothing mind blowing on the under card from a star power perspective, but we’ve got a WrestleMania VII rematch in the Main Event as Hulk Hogan defends the WWF Title against Sgt Slaughter, which is kind of a big deal.

The WWF was pretty hot in the UK at the time and they would of course run Wembley Stadium for Summer Slam the following year, so hopefully that means the crowd is jazzed for some wrestling action. I had a look at the card on CageMatch and apparently William Regal worked a dark match opener, although it didn’t lead to him getting a deal and he ended up in WCW by 1993.

Anyway, that’s enough chatter, let’s get a brew on the go and sit down to some chuffing wrestling!

Read more

Mike Reviews – NOAH The Glory (29/04/2021)

Konichiwa!

I’ve really gone off the boil with New Japan recently, ever since the shenanigans with Ibushi and the briefcase in all honesty, but NOAH has done a nice job of stepping in to scratch my Puro itch instead. This card intrigued me enough to slap down the cash to purchase it on FITE and, seeing as I’ve got a rare day off scheduled, I decided I’d sit down with a nice cuppa and maybe a cheeky biccie to watch the show.

If you’d like some info on the backstory then there’s an article below that you can click on which goes into detail on the three Title matches. I’ll also try and relay anything that the commentary team throws my way too.

https://lastwordonsports.com/prowrestling/2021/04/28/preview-pro-wrestling-noah-presents-noah-the-glory-04-29-21/

Anyway, enough chatter, let’s watch some chuffing wrestling!

Read more

Mike Reviews – Eastern Championship Wrestling (17/08/1993)

Hey to the hey ya’ll!

This week we’re going to go way back to 1993, when ECW was yet to become “Extreme” and was still essentially a Tri-State territory called Eastern Championship Wrestling. It wasn’t until 1994 that they finally changed the name following the whole NWA World Title tournament thing.

I picked this episode mainly because it’s got Eddie Gilbert in all his wacky pomp, and indeed it wasn’t long after this that he got punted from the company and Paul Heyman got control of the pencil. I’ve always really liked Gilbert, so I’m welcome for any excuse to watch something involving him.

Read more

Mike Reviews – California Championship Wrestling (3rd August 1986)

Wow, I think even the SEGA Saturn had a more successful launch over here in the West than the European Super League did!

Brother brocore suggested this one in the comments a couple of weeks back so I decided to give it a go. I’m not sure on the exact date of this show, and I’m not sure the uploader even is either, with 3rd of August being a guess on their part. Dave Newman has already had a bash at reviewing a show from this company, and you can read what he thought of a show from June 1986 by clicking right HERE

I’m not entirely sure on the backstory of CCW, but this features Rocky Johnson and Jimmy Snuka, so it at least has some star power if nothing else.

Anyway, let’s watch some chuffing wrestling

Read more

Mike Reviews – WWF Backlash 1999 + Sunday Night HeAT (25/04/1999)

Hello You!

I reviewed WCW’s April 99 offering last week, so I decided I’d take a glance at what the WWF was doing at the same time, and as an additional bonus I’ll also be watching the Sunday Night HeAT preview show prior to the pay per view portion of the event.

WrestleMania XV had been a bit of a bust for the WWF, as last minute changes to the match card destroyed a chunk of interesting storylines and most of the bouts failed to deliver. It was crash TV of the Attitude Era at its absolute worst.

Thankfully the Main Event between The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin was at least a good match, and fans were suitably interested in seeing the two rematch with one another. To set that up The Rock and Shane McMahon teamed up to steal Stone Cold’s “Smoking Skull” Title belt, and then Rock upped the ante even further by flinging Austin into a river!

As for the under card, The Undertaker had been making unwanted advances to Vince McMahon’s daughter Stephanie, so Vince had enlisted the help of Ken Shamrock to try and take Undertaker down. Meanwhile, Triple H had turned on D-X to go Corporate, setting up a match with former stablemate X-Pac.

The other major match of the under card was Big Show Vs Mankind, with Mankind looking for payback on Show after the big man sent him to the hospital at Mania. Big Show had just started working as a babyface though, so they would do battle in a Boiler Room Brawl so as to ensure that Big Show wouldn’t get booed by the fans.

These top matches, combined with what looked to be a solid selection of bouts elsewhere on the card, suggested that Backlash would be one of the WWF’s better pay per view offerings of 99, but would they stick the landing?

Let’s read on and find out!

Read more

Mike Reviews – Southwest Championship Wrestling – August 1983

Hello You!

Chael Sonnen’s Coke Dealer suggested giving this a go in the comments section last week, so I had a search over on YouTube and picked a show at random. You can watch along with me if you like by clicking HERE.

Southwest Championship Wrestling was based out of San Antonio and run by Joe Blanchard (The father of Tully and grandfather of Tessa). Southwest was apparently the first ever promotion to get a slot on the USA Network, but Vince McMahon ended up bring an end to that by flashing his nickers at USA and getting Southwest dropped for All American Wrestling.

I have no idea what to expect here, so let’s watch some chuffing wrestling and find out!

Read more

Mike Reviews – WCW Spring Stampede 1999 (11/04/1999)

Hello You!

I was a bit rough on ol’ WCW a couple of weeks back in a Stinker Review, so I thought I’d redress the balance a bit and review one of their notable good shows in the form of Spring Stampede 99. WCW actually had a relatively solid start to 99 pay per view wise, with Souled Out, SuperBrawl IX and Uncensored all featuring some good wrestling, even if some of the booking was pretty head scratching.

For instance, WCW decided to close Uncensored with Ric Flair winning the World Title and the Presidency of the company (something most of the fans would likely be cool with) but also had him go heel in the process. This was mostly down to Flair himself pushing hard for the heel turn as he felt he did his best work that way, but it was still an odd way to take the storyline, especially as Flair had been so beloved since his return in the autumn of 98 and having a babyface authority figure was a nice change of pace after yonks of having a heel one in the form of Eric Bischoff.

Thus not only did Flair go heel but so did his Horsemen cohorts of Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko and Arn Anderson, which certainly improved the tag division at least but also kind of felt weird too as they’d just done a big babyface quest for the belts and finally won them at Uncensored, only to now go heel. This did lead to a feud between The Horsemen and Raven/Saturn though, which led to a series of great matches and got even better once Rey Mysterio Jr and Kidman were added to the mix.

Flair’s first pay per view Title defence was to be at Spring Stampede, as he’d defend the belt in a four way against freshly face turned Hogan as well as Sting and Diamond Dallas Page. Meanwhile, the big feud on the under card was Goldberg trying to avenge his Starrcade loss to Kevin Nash, which was at least a story the fans could get their teeth into. Combined with what looked to be a solid under card from a wrestling perspective, Spring Stampede promised to be a really good show, but could WCW deliver on the night?

Let’s watch on and find out!

Read more

Mike Reviews – Continental Wrestling (28/10/1989)

I wasn’t really feeling All Japan this week, so I decided to try something different. We might go back to it, we might not, I’ll see how I feel in a few weeks.

This week we’re going for something a bit different, in the form of Continental Wrestling, which was a territory operating out of Knoxville and Dotham that ran from the 50’s to the 80’s before finally going out of business in 1989.

The main reason I chose this particular episode is that it has a young Mick Foley working in one of his first territories, and I believe it was in Continental that he invented the famed “Nestea Plunge” bump off the apron, which of course led to him taking it night after night for a while, because wrestling.

He was also in World Class/USWA around this time as well though and I haven’t sat down to re-read “Have A Nice Day” in a while, so he might have invented it there instead, but he was still young in his career at this stage at any rate, so this should hopefully be an interesting time capsule.

If you’d like to watch along with me you can do by clicking HERE

Read more

Mike Reviews – EVOLVE 8 “Style Battle” (20/05/2011)

Hello You!

Happy Easter if you’re into that sort of thing

Something new this week as I review an EVOLVE show for the first time. I decided to do this one because it’s got an interesting premise of an 8 man tournament where every wrestler supposedly brings a different wrestling style to the party, which should hopefully mean we get some fun contests as “styles make fights” as they say.

I’ve actually watched this show before but that was a LONG time ago and I honestly don’t remember who even wins the tournament, so it will hopefully all be fresh for me again. It also features Brodie Lee and I felt like watching something with him involved because I miss him and his wild marauding ways.

For those not au fait with EVOLVE, it was created in 2010 by Gabe Sapolsky after Gabe had left ROH. The early days of the company had more of a classic UFC feel to them, as everyone entered to the same entrance track and there was more of a focus on shoot styled grapplers like Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly.

My friend and I were actually going through a period where this was “our” company when it first started up, as we’d both hopped aboard the ROH train once the company had already been around for a year, so we decided that we’d be with EVOLVE from the very start just in case it happened to become the “new” ROH. We of course fell off that waggon after a couple of years and I haven’t personally watched an EVOLVE show since something like 2013, and the company itself was actually bought by WWE in 2020 after a few years of being a feeder promotion for it.

Anyway, let’s set the way back machine to 2011 and enjoy ourselves some Style Battle!

Read more

Mike Reviews – WWF WrestleMania III (29/03/1987)

Hello You!

I have a Stinker Review scheduled for next week, so I decided I would review something good and historical this week to take the edge off my impending doom, thus we’re going to watch WrestleMania III!

For those of you that aren’t familiar, this was one of the biggest events in WWF history, built around the unfathomable heel turn of long-time babyface Andre The Giant, as manager Bobby Heenan got in his ear and convinced him to challenge WWF Champ Hulk Hogan for the belt. This was of course a gigantic bout (pardon the pun) and the WWF ended up coaxing thousands of fans to part with their hard earned cash to attend the show at the enormous Pontiac Silverdome.

The actual attendance for the show is disputed, with the WWF claiming 93,000 whereas promotor of the event Zane Bresloff claimed it was closer to 78,000. Regardless of which version is correct (My personal view is that the answer likely falls somewhere in the middle) A LOT of people showed up to watch dudes pretend to fight one another, so ultimately I don’t think it really matters.

I’m watching the “Championship Edition” DVD version of the event as opposed to the one on the WWE Network, so if there are any key differences between what I’m watching and what’s on there than that’s why. The DVD comes with a host of extras and the complete run-time of the entire two disc collection is bordering on 7 hours. This version also comes with pop-up factoids and comes in a neat special black DVD case, so if you haven’t completely shunned physical media and fancy having something to stick on your shelf then this could be the way to go.

Anyway, I don’t think we need too much preamble being that this is Mania III and all, so let’s just watch some chuffing wrestling eh?

Read more

Mike Reviews – WCW Uncensored 1997 (16/03/1997)

Hello You!

Last week we had a look at an episode of WWF Monday Night Raw from March 1997, so this week why don’t we have a look at the other show in town to see what WCW was up to during this period? I’ve actually watched this show quite a bit as I had it on bootleg DVD in the pre-Network days (Getting WCW pay per views in the UK was a nightmare for a long period as the official releases were super hard to track down. Thankfully Extreme Central UK in Manchester had this one for sale) and thus used to dip into it quite a bit.

WCW was easily atop the American Wrestling Mountain in 97 owing to the hot New World Order storyline, fantastic wrestling in the mid-card and the fact the WWF kept bungling any real attempt at a fight back. Of course eventually the New World Order would outstay their welcome, the great wrestlers in the mid-card would never get out of the mid-card and the WWF would stumble across the hottest feud in wrestling with Stone Cold Vs Mr. McMahon, but until then WCW was the undisputed king of Yank Grappling.

Uncensored was traditionally the WCW show where they threw stuff at the wall to see what would stick, with the “non-sanctioned” motif allowing them to book some slightly more out there matches than they would on other events (Such as the cage match debacle from the 1996 event). In keeping with that theme, the Main Event of this show is a big battle royal where WCW takes on both the nWo and The Horsemen. Originally The Horsemen team was supposed to be Roddy Piper and a slew of random guys, but that died a death in the ratings so Piper just recruited The Horsemen instead.

There isn’t really much in the way of big marquee bouts besides that one, with Rey Mysterio Jr actually finding himself in the Semi-Main, which was super rare back during this time period. However, if memory serves there are a couple of really good bouts on the under card and there’s a BIG angle to close out the show, so there should be plenty for us to get our teeth into!

Read more