Greetings – it is I, the inconsistent blemish on the wrestling community, Joel Yentis. I grace your presence here to feedback some more 1PW action that has been consumed by myself since hating on A Cruel Twist of Fate in my last Indy Corner offering, which you can read HERE
Firstly, the shows are getting much better. I have been watching March 2006 All of Nothing shows, highlighting that you can book talent over a weekend and sell 3,000 over those 2 days. A slicker operation, top quality matches and angles but looking at the shows, this is easily a giant loss maker. The amount of talent, flights, hotels for wrestlers, referees and announce teams. To me, this bleeds money and whilst I can enjoy the great action it does leave me to think what might have been if they were smarter with how they booked talent
So, the first and only irritant for me is the hugely distorted commentary. Always a massive pain on any Independents DVDs of the time. With that said, the black and white back stage promos are really cool. You get the opportunity to have a little more flesh to the bone with these matches.
Commentary has come a long way in 13+ years. Yes, there is a somewhat old school, distorted soundtrack to the action in PWG offerings for example but that makes me feel a little nostalgic. On 1PW it makes me feel frustrated and takes away from the great in ring product in some instances. I don’t want to mute the sound as the crowd reaction is really hot. It really does make me feel grateful that the current UK scene has improved this side greatly. For example, I watch RPW on Free Sports (free TV channel) and I get treated to the always improving, close personal friend, TV superstar Mr Andy Boy Simmonz as well as the hardest working man in broadcasting, Kevin Kelly. That’s crazy right? Commentary on Brit Wres isn’t perfect and of course improvements can be made, but it is night and day compared to 1PWs DVD offering.
The production over the course of the All or Nothing shows had also improved greatly from October 2015s Cruel Twist of Fate show. I was there live for night 1 where I met Christian Cage and his NWA title, Chris Daniels, had an awesome chat with Jerry Lynn and got to meet Samoa Joe. There were lights, cameras, a comic con like feel in the outside areas with a high level or merchandise and wrestler tables. This was a long way away from my local Corn Exchange show where I would be sold out of date WWF/WCW merchandise, terrible foam fingers and really poor looking masks. Oh and don’t forget the programs that contained wrestlers that weren’t booked on the show you were watching! Get your program signed by a bunch of people that do not feature. I don’t think I complained at the time, I have found two of these gems in my loft.
On my way into the “Dome” I saw a guy wearing a Jeff Jarrett T-shirt. He was legitimately the only person I ever met who liked Jeff at that point. That is because Jeff was an irritating heel and doing his job perfectly. I was young, naive and didn’t think that Double J deserved to be anywhere near the NWA title. Well, in passing the table after I got over my Jeff Jarrett fandom shock, I saw someone who looked really familiar at a table. I called my good friend Greg (bassist for The Fallen State – please do check them out) on my Nokia 6630 (humble brag) and said, “mate, is the security for 3 Doors Down a wrestler called Ulf Herman?” and the answer to this was a resounding yes. I spoke to Ulf, told him I knew him from the 3 Doors Down tour and didn’t put the wrestler and security together. He was a lovely guy so I got a t-shirt, picture and an 8×10. He would later go on to have a vital part in 1pw – a European wrestler who could carry himself in big main event plunder matches.
Nostalgia washes over me, seeing top quality pro wrestling and when the announcer says “scheduled for one fall” the crowd say…. NOTHING! Oh the good old days. A time of purity. In fact, the crowd were really into all of the matches during 2006 All or Nothing weekend. For instance, a match between Rhino and Samoa Joe and the crowd were rampant. So much noise. Chants of “Joe’s gunna kill you” and duelling chants of “lets go Rhino” versus “Lets go Joe”. 1500 people completely into this dream match card.
Now it would be a night where, for me I witnessed the most devastating Styles Clash to date. Sterling James Keenan tucked his chick and landed on his neck whilst receiving a Styles Clash. This was the first time that I was legit worried someone might have broken their neck in front of me. To this day I do not know just how bad it was, but either way it did leave me in shock.
Would it surprise you if I said Storm and Fleish were excellent? I guess not. It is such a shame these guys didn’t get world wide notoriety for their chemistry, their style and innovation. 13 years on and they are still excellent, having seen them wrestle in Rev Pro several times in 2018. These guys were the best team I had seen live until Project Ego in 2013 or Aussie Open in more recent years.
This promotion booked AJ Styles vs Samoa Joe vs Christopher Daniels in the UK for the first time. I remember clambering to the internet for the match and, when available on DVD I purchased for this match alone. Whilst this doesn’t highlight British talent completely or enhance the overall scene (something that Progress, ICW, RPW etc have done so well) it does put the concept of high calibre wrestling in the UK into the mind set of punters. It made me give live wrestling more chances because I felt I got more than my moneys worth.
Hopefully I will be covering a few more shows in the next few weeks and exploring 1PW in 2006 and seeing what this super US indy promotion did to elevate talent. We will see me at another show and the differences between the two and, continue to look at what did this promotion do for the overall scene.