This edition of The Two Sheds Review features the return of one of one of the best indies I’ve seen in recent years, New England Championship Wrestling.. I last looked in on Sheldon Goldberg and his crew back in 2009, so let’s catch up with things a little by taking a look at their recent DVD release of last year’s Iron 8 Championship..
For those of you who are unfamiliar with this tournament it basically goes like this: there’s four first round matches, with the winner of each match entering the final, a 45 minute iron man match, with the man with the most pins, submissions or whatever wins not only the Iron 8 Championship, but the vacant NECW title as well.
Disc One began with NECW Champion Slyk Wagner Brown coming down to the ring on crutches to surrender the title to General Manager Paul Richard, and after getting a standing ovation from the fans and the roster it was on to the first round as Scott Levesque took on the masked Todo Loco.
This was a nice little opener. Levesque, rocking the Flair-like ring robe, tried to intimidate the man from Tokyo, Mexico early on, but he soon found himself on the receiving end of a few fast-paced moves. Levesque managed to recover quickly so he could take control, but his cockiness proved to be his undoing, and even though he managed to stifle Loco’s comeback at first when he tried to take him down with a slingshot back suplex Loco turned in mid-flight, turning the move into a body cross and taking the win, the masked man advancing to the final.
Levesque was none too happy, attacking Loco from behind while he was being interviewed and putting him down with three DDTs, leaving many to wonder if Loco would be make it to the final.
Match #2 saw Damian Wayne taking on Dirty Money.
These two apparently had a bit of history with each other, and it showed with their fluent exchanges as they gave us a good old fashioned wrestling match, with hold countered by hold and so on and so forth. It was a nice little match for what it was, with both guys getting in their fair share of great moves.
But despite the apparent good sportsmanship that had been in display throughout Wayne pulled a fast one at the end. When Money went for a roll-up Wayne managed to reverse the positions, grabbing the rope on the referee’s blind side as he took the winning pin.
The penultimate first rounder saw former champion Sean Burke going up against Brad Hollister.
This one only lasted a couple of minutes. After a couple of lock-ups things got a little bit heated when Hollister pushed Burke, showing that he wasn’t intimidated by the former title holder. A few moments later Burke got the better of things after pushing his man throat first into the middle rope, but just when it looked he was about to take it up a notch or two Hollister took him down with an O’Connor roll for the three count.
A somewhat shocked Burke looked on as Hollister extended his hand. Burke eventually grabbed it before raising his arm.
The final first round match saw newcomer Jay Freddie taking on former WWE star Antonio Thomas.
The longest match of the round by far was also the best, with both guys pulling out all the stops as they took each other to the limit.
Like some of the other matches in this read it began with some good old fashioned wrestling as they tried to out-think and out-manoeuvre each other. Neither man could really gain an advantage until Freddie took a spill over the top rope and banged his head on the ring apron.
Thomas took control for a few moments, but it wasn’t long before the back and forth action came back as they ran through the gears. But when Freddie crashed and burned with his second top rope short elbow Thomas pounced, locking in a crossface as Freddie tapped out to give him the submission win.
Afterwards Thomas helped his Freddie to his feet, describing the encounter as the toughest match of his life.
Disc Two contains the tournament final, a 45 minute iron man match with Todo Loco, Damien Wayne, Brad Hollister and Antonio Thomas battling for both the Iron 8 Championship and the vacant NECW title.
How best to describe this marathon encounter? Well, the slow and methodical approach was called for early on, which was understandable enough considering the time these guys were being asked to put in, and there were some decent exchanges early on, particularly when Thomas and Hollister were against each other.
But as Thomas, Loco and Wayne collected a fall each I couldn’t help but think that as good as the action was a spot of urgency from the combatants was needed. Thankfully that soon came as the rules kind of went out of the window, signalling the start of the all hell breaking loose segment as the big guns came into the equation.
But as the clocked ticked down those who had already scored falls couldn’t add to their number, and when Hollister finally bothered the scorers in the last couple of minutes the final two minutes were a somewhat frantic affair, but with nobody getting that final pin it meant that the match went into sudden death overtime, with the action continuing until somebody scored a pin.
That pin came just a couple of seconds later. As Loco and Wayne’s brawl spilled to the outside Thomas and Hollister went back and forth with their counters until Hollister took his man down with a judgement slam (think Angle/Olympic slam) for the three count, winning the tournament and the vacant NECW title.
Disc two is where you’ll also find the bonus match from NECW’s TV show, a mixed tag affair with TV Champion Mike McCarthy and WWW Champion Mistress Belmont taking on Jimmy Preston and Davienne.
In conclusion – as I said at the top of this piece it’s been a few years since I’ve seen any NECW action. I pretty much enjoyed everything I’d seen of them, so I was looking forward to seeing how far they’d come since those days.
Well, I’d have to say that if this release is anything to go by then they’re still putting on decent shows. Although there were a couple of dodgy exchanges this show was quite enjoyable. Everyone involved put in a great effort, especially during the iron man match.
Production-wise it’s about the same as it was back in 2009, the usual kind of indy DVD you’d find from a company on NECW’s level, so don’t go expecting massive stages and constant pyrotechnics throughout. If you did you’d be greatly disappointed.
As for my match of the night no-prize I’m going for the first rounder between Antonio Thomas and Jay Freddie. Not a bad match for someone making their debut for a new company.
So with all of that out of the way there’s just one more thing to do, and that’s to give this thing the thumbs up.
With thanks to the powers that be for supplying a copy of this release. For information on how to purchase this DVD, or for any other information about NECW’s upcoming live event or their television show visit www.necw.tv.
By day I‘m an unemployed retail worker, and at weekends I volunteer in a local museum, but by night I’m the author of The Two Sheds Review, Britain’s longest running professional wrestling and mixed martial arts blog. It’s been online in one form or another since June 2000!