The Dragon's Den - British Wrestling Classics vol. 2
British Wrestling Classics vol. 2
You can get this beauty at IVP Videos.com for all of $3 US.
This is actually my first foray into the World of Sport, British style of the 80s. Iíve heard great things, so letís see how it holds up.
World Heavy Middleweight Championship: Marc Rocco © vs. Dynamite Kid - ****1/2
Yes, thatís actually the titleís name. This is from well after Kid made his name in Canada but before he shacked up with the WWF, as you might be able to tell from his size. And this match...oh boy this match. Anyone who liked the Finlay vs. Benoit matches should check this out especially, because itís almost like a blueprint. They fight over every hold, not giving each other so much as an inch. Then, when they amp things up, every move is crisp, every strike hard. Itís a downright war of attrition. They also know how to work the round system to their advantage, using it to build suspense.
But itís not all counters and hard hitting. We all know the Dynamite Kid can put together a match, but Rocco is just as good in that regard. They build things around Kid being a younger, faster, better wrestler than Rocco which seriously puts his title in danger. Making this more frustrating for the champ is that Kid is on loan from Stampede in Canada, which means a title win will send the belt over with him. So Rocco does the best he can but he canít outwrestle the Kid, and he canít outfight him, so he ends up bending the rules to even things out. It starts with a vicious kick to the face in the second round out of frustration, and continues with him keeping holds on after the bell and with Dynamite in the ropes, as well as attacking him while he enters the ring and immediately upon the bell. The desperation shown by the champ along with the awesome comebacks and control segments by Dynamite has everyone looking for a new champ, and while the double countout finish isnít particularly satisfying, it fits the build of intensity preceding it well enough to work within the context of the match. Rocco doesnít beat Dynamite, but he keeps his title. Thereís an easy setup here for the rematch on the second half of this disc, and I already canít wait to see it.
Dynamite Kid vs. Marty Jones - ****1/2
Jones is the Heavyweight champion, but this isnít a title match. It is two falls to win though. Itís a little alarming how quickly Dynamite grew, in retrospect. Speaking of Dynamite, heís a nasty fucker in this. Jones dominates him early on, being much more powerful and knowing how to use that to his advantage. Dynamite is less used to facing opponents with a significant power advantage, so he gets frustrated and basically ends up using the same sort of tactics seen from Rocco in the last match, only with more blatant cheating. The whole match is great, with Jones getting a quick pinfall with a rollup just as Dynamiteís getting control in the third round, leading to a frenzied Dynamite using every trick, legal or not, to regain the advantage. The use of the Diving Headbutt was tremendous since itís illegal here, but Dynamite escapes a public warning and hits a simple slam to tie things up while Jones is still dazed. The finishing stretch is great, with each guy doing everything they can to get the fall, and Jones BARELY pulling out the win over the punk Dynamite. Seriously though, heel Dynamite RULES and while I didnít like this match quite as much as the one previous on the whole, it had a better closing stretch and a more satisfying finish. Call it even.
Roy Regal vs. Marty Jones - **1/2
Today you might know Roy better as William Regal. This is six, five minute rounds. Two falls to win. Regal gets a one fall handicap, and is all of 18 at this point. Apparently this is his televised debut. Itís not at all bad, very weird to see a nice clean match after the last two brought the violence. Marty is taking it pretty easy, but Regal keeps up with him pretty nicely despite being fairly green at this point. You can see the makings of his later greatness even when they havenít quite manifested fully yet. Unfortunately, the match never gets too far as itís stopped suddenly in the second round when Regal takes a dropkick way too hard in the face and fails to meet the 10 count. Except it looks like it was very legit, as they stop the match entirely. A disappointing finish, but a good showing on the whole from Regal and a great carry job by Jones.
Owen Hart/Ross Hart vs. Dave Finlay/Rocky Moran - **3/4
Owen is only 18 at this point. Finlay is the same Finlay who loves to fight in WWE. Incidentally, you can also thank him for the improvement of Trish Stratus and the womenís division on the whole around that time. This has a 20 minute time limit, with two falls to win. Despite being very young, Owen shines in this match. Everything he does is really crisp and well executed and he plays the face in peril very, very well. Itís not just that though. His work stands out as being more dynamic than everyone elseís. Finlay stands out on the other end, generally being a vicious prick and earning the first warning of the match by attacking Owen without a tag. Itís no surprise they went on to be the biggest stars in this one.
The falls go pretty well. Owen starts building some fire against Moran but gets caught with a victory roll by Moran for the first. Moran tries to keep the pressure on in the second, but Owen leaps up to the top, backflips off, then hits a bridging German Suplex on the shocked Moran for the second fall. See what I mean about dynamic? The third fall is where things really pick up, with Finlay bringing some nasty offense to Ross. Ross manages to tag Owen, and the end of the fall is a nice nod to the second with Owen flipping off the top only to be hit with an elbow strike and a nice Samoan Drop to give Finlay the third fall. Some really nice tag work by guys who would go on to become bigger stars with time.
Marc Rocco vs. Dynamite Kid - ****1/2
Awesome. This is a rematch I think, and Roccoís still the World Heavy Middleweight Champion which you could tell even without the order by the slap Rocco delivers before the bell. 6 rounds, two falls. Itís on. The announcers mention Rocco and Marty Jones are rivals, and I *need* to see those matches. These guys just tear into each other here. Itís got all the crispness and storytelling youíd expect, but theyíre going at triple speed right from the bell, and the warning donít take long to pile up. Thereís some incredible bumping and violence, with Rocco taking the first fall early after basically beating the shit out of Dynamite and hitting a nasty Vertical Suplex. Things just pick up from there, when Dynamite gets his second warning via the SICKEST top rope knee drop Iíve seen. It pays off though, with Dynamite getting the second fall with a nasty Backdrop. He keeps up the momentum with a Tombstone, Diving Headbutt, and a wicked Gutwrench Suplex. With the win, Dynamite earns another shot at the Middleweight belt. Awesome. I could watch these two wrestle for months. This one may not be as technically good as the last bout, but itís more intense, violent, and awesome with a better finish. So itís a wash.
Final thoughts: If you havenít seen WoS era British Wrestling, youíre missing out. Itís some of the best mat based work around. Itís easy to see why so many of the greats started out there, or at least passed through at some point. If youíre looking for a schooling in it, this is a great starting point with many names even the most casual fans would recognize along with some of the best of that time. Must see.
DVD Rating: 9/10
THIS MAN SPEAKS TRUTH!
WWE should do an angle where Nick Hogan hits Stone Cold with a car
so they can set up the Hogan/Austin dream match that will never happen
2006 Last Resort Winner
EPW Deathmatch Champion: October 20, 2005 - January 26, 2006
EPW Tag Team Champions (w/ Jake Steel): June 26, 2006 - October 24, 2006
EPW Primetime Champion: December 20, 2006 - April 8, 2007 *stripped*
EPW Champion: January 13, 2007 - October 28, 2007
EPW TV Champion December 10, 2006 - January 21, 2007
2009 Last Resort Winner
EPW Champion: April 14, 2009 - November 8, 2009