So after a period of inactivity in my writing, I thought it might be an idea to do some reviewing of some past shows. I know that personally I look at a wrestling company’s website and see the DVD’s they have for sale from their back catalogue but rarely know much about them. So I thought I’d start the trend.
I said it was an idea, not a good one!
To start the ball rolling, I’m bringing you a review I actually wrote last December but for some reason never completely finished or sent to be published on this site. Maybe it was due to my schedule at the time or maybe the lack of enjoyment at the live show I had attended when I made the purchase. Anyway, what follows in the next paragraph is what I originally wrote back in December.
So here we are – the very first Super 8 tournament in the UK. IPW:UK is hosting the event from the Angel Centre in Tonbridge, Kent, in front of what looks to be a nearly sold out crowd. Your referees are Chris Roberts, “Little” Tom Scarborough and Artemis. MCing the event is the not unattractive Vicky Haskins, who introduces Will Ospreay and her hubby Mark to the ring (well done Mark, well done). At some point during the latter’s introduction, something happens to the hard camera which loses it’s focus. Spoiler alert – this becomes infuriating in the process of watching this DVD.
First round action between Ospreay and Haskins is exactly what you’d expect from them – excellent. Ospreay keeps a fast pace whenever on offence and Haskins displays his technical ability and surprising power with good intensity, whilst never being the cowardly bad guy you would usually expect. A match that really felt it could go either way, Haskins counters a Shooting Star with lends to the gut but gets caught in a victory roll whilst going for Made in Japan. Good opener with both men looking great.
Next up is Sha Samuels vs Jonny Storm. This may have been the most entertaining match I’ve ever seen. Obviously both men can wrestle well, but their personalities are so huge that they can’t help but entertain. And that they do here in droves. Crowd involvement is the word of the day as half the match takes place out of the ring and the ringside people are brought into the action. Jonny Storm slams a young boy onto Samuels, who tries to do the same with a more rotund audience member but fails. Samuels’s tights are hitched up for a lady to give him a good spanking. Back in the ring, just when you think things are getting back to normal, referee Chris Roberts accidentally slams Sha! When a more traditional match gets underway, Samuels’ underhanded tactics lead to him delivering a piledriver to advance in the tournament, but it’s tricky to think of a more unexpectedly entertaining I have seen, or may ever see, than this one.
Battle of the hosses next as Joe Coffey makes a rare trip down south to face Dave Mastiff. You can tell what time of year this event was as the English crowd rile up the Scottish Coffey with a chant of “We still own you!” I was really looking forward to this match when it was made, but I have to say I was mildly disappointed. Quite a short match with not a tremendous amount of chemistry between the two. There was an exciting stretch involving Coffey trying to put down Mastiff with lariat after lariat and finally a German suplex. Mastiff eventually hit his own lariat which awkwardly set up the cannonball for the win.
The last of the first round matches was between Marty Scurll and Zack Sabre Jr. The two best friends entered this match as sportsmen, exchanging in some friendly banter whilst trying to tear each other’s limbs off. Scurll was not portraying his villain character here despite his ring gear, a fact lost on an audience member who tells him “Stop smiling – you’re the heel”. The brilliant response that Scurll gives this man is the main reason I will never use insider terminology in my writings ever again. Well ok, I might, but not as often. This is a great match that gets more intense towards the end as Scurll realises that it’s a tournament, so he should be more serious, but Sabre pulls out a prawn hold to pin Scurll and advance.
Semi final action starts with Will Ospreay vs Sha Samuels. Ospreay had apparently picked up a head wound in his previous match, which wouldn’t stop bleeding. Sha told him to leave, but in typical Ospreay fashion he wouldn’t have it. Samuels pounded away at the injury, leaving Ospreay seemingly concussed at various points, but his stalling cost him in the end. Ospreay hit a springboard stunner followed a shooting star press for the quick win. A short match that served it’s purpose in Ospreay coming from behind to win and also to give him some more recovery time before the finals.
Next up a battle of the SPLX teammates, as Dave Mastiff took on Zack Sabre Jr. Very stiff and hard hitting, with Zack utilising strikes and leverage takedown to try and ground big Dave, while Mastiff used his size and strength advantage well. Mastiff muscled up ZSJ into a powerbomb, from which the attempt at a pin was manoeuvred into the cross armbar, with repeated feet across the head, for the tapout. Great out-of-nowhere ending
In a break from the tournament, the IPW tag titles are on the line next as the London Riots defend against the World’s Cutest Tag Team. The opening exchange sees some slight miscommunication before Candice LeRae pretty much deals with the Riots on her own. A regular tag match takes place here, with LeRae hitting some pretty spectacular aerial manoeuvres, while Darrell Allen causes disruptions to Joey Ryan’s evening on the Riots’ behalf. The Riots eventually hit Candice with the pop-up spear to retain. Can’t say I much enjoyed this one. As much as I like her, Candice’s offence was a little unrealistic against the massive Riots and they seemed a little bit afraid to hit her with anything, so every move looked a bit too protected. Ryan was fine, but the result was never really in doubt, which didn’t help matters.
The finals saw Will Ospreay and Zack Sabre Jr face off. Ospreay’s head wound was still bleeding, but he soon forgot about that pain and concentrated solely on the pain in his left arm when Sabre punted it on a handspring attempt. From here, it became a waiting game, as Sabre was torturous in his attack on Ospreay’s arm, which Will sold impeccably, screaming his lungs out in pain. But Ospreay audibly declared that be would not quit. Sabre hit everything he could, including a fantastic sit down powerbomb. Ospreay countered an attempted Dragon Suplex from the top, but tried too many high risk moves as Sabre countered and hit the Penalty Kick but only got for two. Sabre eventually locks in a double arm bar, which Ospreay would not submit to, but several kicks to the back of the head meant Ospreay was helpless and referee “Little” Tom had to call for the bell. An excellent match, with Sabre putting over Ospreay, the company and British wrestling in general in a nice moment to end things on.
So there we go. The action in this DVD is generally of high quality, with only Coffey/Mastiff and the tag as the disappointments, which is not to say they were bad matches. Nothing was bad in terms of the wrestling. The production was pretty good, with the formula of shooting Vicky Haskins introducing the match then fading into the wrestlers’ entrances right away rather than waiting for musical cues. The ringside cameramen didn’t miss anything part of the action. The only bad part of the production was the hard camera, which switched between perfect focus and blurriness at seemingly random moments. It’s a shame as it made the production look shoddier than it actually was, being the DVD’s main camera shot. There is also no commentary on this DVD, nor on others from IPW:UK. This can work against some companies, but here it worked well. First of all, as the Angel Centre is quite a small venue, you can hear all of the interaction between fans and the wrestlers, which makes it feel more like you’re part of the show too. Also, if must be said, the UK does not have many great commentators, so it was probably for the best. The only point it may have been needed is when the injury to Ospreay happened, as it did seemingly happen between his first two matches. Maybe some focus on that by a commentator at the end of the Haskins match may have helped understand why he was suddenly bleeding before the Samuels match. But the lack of commentary makes you focus more on the match and the story they are telling in the ring, so it’s swings and roundabouts really.
You can purchase IPW:UK Super 8 2014 from www.ipwuk.com for £11.99. My recommendation? Well, it’s a historic show, what with it being the first Super 8 tournament in this country and as part of IPW:UK’s 10th anniversary, plus the wrestling is certainly good enough, so yes, I’d say it’s worth a purchase. It’s just a shame about that hard camera focus. If the company had knocked a few quid off for that reason, it would have been nice. So it’s recommended, but don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Until next time, Indy Cornerers!