I have heard a lot about the House Of Pain but never seen any shows and do not really know many of their guys so I was quite excited to get this on, and was going in with an open mind.
As soon as the DVD plays you can instantly tell it’s been well made and has some great graphics on the opening screen as well as an intro when you press play which is a great touch.
The venue at the Arnold Working Mens Club looks quite compact but a very nice, professional looking set up and a sell out crowd. G-Man and Rob Maltman are on commentary who make a pretty good combination with some good banter throughout.
First match is a tag match pitting the team of Stevie Mitchell and Kane Arnell against the team of Gabriell Kidd and Moustachio the HOP Tag Team champions. Mitchell and Arnell get a really hostile reception from everyone around the ring. Quite a frenetic pace throughout with Arnells body guard getting involved throughout. Moustachio picks up the pin after hitting a face buster followed by a Kidd super kick. Good reaction from the crowd to the opening bout.
Second match is a triple threat between Wozz, Tommy Taylor and “The Italian Stallion” Allessandro (who comes out to Shaduppa ya face and instantly makes me like him just for this) All three guys go at it from the start, Wozz tries to form an alliance with Allessandro but he refuses. There is a lot of back and forth, nobody really taking charge. Wozz looks like the most experienced participant in the match and pulls off some good moves; Tommy Taylor is a relative unknown but looks to have a lot of potential. Allessandro by all accounts is a bit mental, and takes charge of the match only to have Taylor roll him up for the victory. After the match Allessandro flipped out and attacked Taylor and the referee before Wozz made the save and raised Taylors hand in the middle of the ring.
Next match is another Tag match, with the winners gaining a spot in the Main event Rumble. First out are Zhukov and Guise – the Foreign Legion – who get instant heat. Their opponents Steve Harris and HOP Full Throttle champion Zak Northern. Harris starts off against Guise and uses his pace to keep on top of his bigger opponent. Zhukov comes in and takes control but Harris makes it to Northern who comes in regains control for a while with some athletic moves and high paced offence combined with some good double team moves with Harris. Zhukov takes over on Harris, dropping him down on the top rope and cutting him off from his partner, taking turns with Guise, man handling him and wearing him down, showing their tag team experience. Harris reverses a double team suplex attempt into a double DDT and reaches Northern for the tag who comes in and takes it to both his opponents with some big drop kicks and some quick moves. With Guise out of the ring Northern manages to knock down Zhukov and hit a running knee to pick up the pin fall victory and qualify for the Rumble. The Foreign Legion are booed out of the arena after the match
Zak Northern is a name I have heard before but this is my first experience of him, he has a great look and moves really well around the ring as well as having some great moves in his arsenal, definitely somebody to keep an eye on for the future.
The next match is also a Rumble qualifier as Jurgen Heimlich takes on Battle Squad: Awesomes Danny Chase. During his entrance Heimlich has a prolonged run in with some people on the front row after a kid tries to steal his flag and his father seems to take exception. Action definitely steps u with this match, both men are very skilled and they work really well together in the ring. Chase uses his speed and agility to control the early going but Heimlich drops him on the ropes and takes over, really slowing the pace down to how he likes it with a series of submission holds and power moves but he can also speed it up when needed too. Momentum is clearly in Heimlichs favour, every time Chase tries to battle back Heimlich knocks him back down. Chase uses his “educated feet” to get back into it, raising the tempo and feeing off the crowd. After a couple of near falls Chase heads up top but again Heimlich stops him. Neither man seems to be able to put the other away, after surviving a pin attempt by reaching the ropes Heimlich rolls up Chase and blatantly puts both feet on the second rope to pick up the win before making a swift exit to the back.
I really liked this match, lots of back and forth between the 2 men and could have gone either way at any point.
Up next is an 8-man tag match, again with the winners entering the Rumble. The first team out comprises of Bam Bam Barton, Syntax, Tony Asbo and Dan James, and their opponents Matt Hall, Caleb Crow, Heavy J and Big Mike Wyld, who are clearly the fan favourites in this one. Caleb Crow has a bizarre look but moves very well in the ring and is very agile. Syntax is equally bizarre but much bigger and more methodical. Tony Asbo, in his shirt and trousers with red football socks is a brawler but very effective, even if he had to stop to refuel on cider. The heels are totally in control working over Matt Hall, Bam Bam Barton comes in brutal and aggressive but Hall manages to buy himself some time and manages to reach Big Mike Wyld who takes out three of his opponents at once, before going after Barton who is a match for him. Crow tags himself in but gets turned inside out by Barton and then worked over by Dan James. Heavy J comes in and shifts the momentum back before chaos ensues in and out of the ring. Caleb flies over the top rope leaving Asbo and Hall in the ring both getting close 2 counts before Asbo hits a huge power bomb for the victory so their team enters the Rumble match. Decent match which was well paced and had some good wrestling as well as some hard hitting action. Barton was the stand out for me but Dan James also had a really good showing, somebody I have not seen before but will certainly look out for in future.
A 4-way match for the HOP Championship is next. “Noisy Boy” Alex Gracie is out first to “Nancy boy” chants from the crowd. His first opponent is LJ Heron who gets a great pop, next up is “Special Edition” Joseph Connors who enters to an even bigger pop. The final entrant in the match is the champion Barricade who is a monster of a man. All four guys I have seen previously to varying extents and all have impressed in their own way. Heron and Connors work well together in the early going taking out their opponents until Gracie manages a sneak attack and the power of Barricade takes over. Barricade and Heron battle out into the crowd before Connors joins in for a double suplex on Barricade onto the floor. Connors and Gracie end up one on one in the ring, Connors takes advantage of the no disqualification rules and while the crowd count along he pummels Gracie 50 times in the corner before Heron reappears to hit a superplex on Gracie which also takes out Connors. The battle goes back and forth between all four men; all getting so close to the win before somebody else breaks it up. Any civility between Connors and Heron breaks down when Connors breaks up a pin attempt resulting in Heron punching him in the face, this distraction however was enough for Barricade to recover and hit Heron with a huge power bomb to pick up the win and retain his HOP Championship.
After the match Heron and Connors have words with one another with Gracie trying to stir things up, all three nearly come to blows resulting in Stixx getting in the ring to restore order, making a match at the next show – Heron and Connors vs Gracie and a partner of his choice.
This was a good match, I enjoy seeing Connors as a singles competitor – having predominantly seen him as half of The Predators tag team – and he can more than hold his own, he is somebody that is still under rated but I think with time this will change. Heron is also a great athlete and his interactions with and against Connors were very impressive. Gracie, I have only seen a couple of times but he certainly has a lot of potential as a heel. Barricade is an extremely tough big man with some good character work and makes a good monster and a dominating champion.
Now it is time for the main event, the Rumble match. Fast and furious action from the start with entrants emerging every 60 seconds. Jurgen Heimlich had a good showing before getting eliminated by Jenna, who soon fell victim to Bam Bam Barton who quickly established him as a favourite to win the match, but it was not to be, as the ring filled up eliminations happened all over the place until the final four emerged – Zak Northern, Wozz, Syntax and Stevie Mitchell. To begin with Northern and Wozz teamed together and got the upper hand against the heels but then Wozz got eliminated and Northern was left on his own. Against the odds he managed to eliminate Syntax and was close to tossing Mitchell over the top rope too when Syntax hit him with his gas mask. Mitchell however was over confident and against the odds Northern was able to pick up the Rumble victory and the opportunity to face a champion of his choosing.
G-Man got in the ring to ask him who he wanted to face and he chose the HOP Champion, the monster Barricade! Northern even called him out to issue the challenge to his face, to which Barricade obliged and accepted and the match is made for the next show.
Overall a very enjoyable show and proves that you can have an entertaining card without having to bring in big names or have elaborate gimmicks. There are some good wrestlers at the House of Pain and certainly some names to look out for in the future as well as some under rated talent like Joseph Connors. The quality of the DVD itself is also very good, and comes across very professionally made. I will certainly be keeping an eye on HOP from now on. BUY IT HERE http://tinyurl.com/HOPDestined4Glory