Thursday, 20 March 2008

Wrestlerock 8: End of Year Bash - DVD Review

It’s time to take a trip down under again with another look at the Wrestlerock series of shows, this time looking at their eighth show, End of Year Bash, held at the Corner Hotel in Richmond, Melbourne on December 27th last year, and headlined by Mad Dog taking on Spike Steel for the Wrestlerock title. Our hosts for the evening are Julian James and Michael Basham.

The show begins with former Wrestlerock champ Lazer facing Joey Russell Junior, the Wrestlerock sheriff. Now, how can I put this politely. If this is the first Wrestlerock review of mine you’ve read, Russell is actually a person of very short stature, very much in the Hornswoggle mode. There, I think the PC brigade will be happy with that. Needless to say, Lazer isn’t too happy with the opponent he’s been matched with. Lazer asks Russell to lay down for him, but Joey replies with a chair shot to the back when Lazer wasn’t looking. Russell proceeds to dominate Lazer, even getting off a couple of suplexes as Lazer sold the moves as if he was facing the Great Khali. However, it isn’t long before Lazer gains control, eventually taking Russell out with a TKO and then an axe kick across the back of Russell’s head, before getting the nonchalant pin. Lazer then brought a chair into the ring, and connected with another axe kick onto the chair, before Spike Steele ran in to save Russell. To be honest with you I’m not really sure what to make of this one, so I think I’ll reserved judgement for now.

Then it’s on to tag action, a blind date tag-team match, which is basically a mystery partner match, following the falling out between Gino Gambino and Carlo Cannon in the last show, with each man choosing a partner. Gambino chooses Jag, while Cannon gets Chris Knight. After the somewhat bizarre opener, it was nice to get back to normal wrestling action. While Knight, Cannon and Jag looked great in this one, I have to admit that I’m not really a fan of Gambino. There’s just something about him I don’t like. He was definitely the poorest man in this match, which was a shame considering how good the other three looked. With Jag abandoning his partner when he took to dancing instead of finishing Cannon off, the two-on-one situation was too much for Gambino as Cannon and Knight doubled-up on him, with Knight eventually pinning him after a great looking spine buster. An enjoyable match in many ways, except for the poor showing of Gambino.

Hardcore action follows with the Krackerjack Kontinental match between the man himself, Krackerjack and Brave Dave, a man who has been trying to spoil everyone’s enjoyment in Wrestlerock for months, even going as far as putting bubble wrap on Krackerjack’s weapons before a hardcore match. Just think of Steven Richards in the RTC with an Australian accent. This one begins with Dave trying all he can to get out of the match, before finally agreeing to the rules after Krackerjack offers him a free chair shot. Dave then proceeds to use the chair in a variety of holds such as leglocks and a camel clutch, before trying to scarper once again, with Krackerjack going off after him. And that’s when things got a bit better, but not by that much. For a match between two heated rivals, this match certainly lack intensity as Dave and Krackerjack hit each other with a variety of weapons and bled for their art. But when you have two wrestlers trying to get a faulty staple gun to work, that’s when you realise that there is something wrong with this match, and with the match lasting over twenty minutes, it just seemed to drag on, and when Julian James asked the crowd if they wanted the match to go on after Jack put Dave through a table, I must have been the only one who said no. The end eventually came, thankfully, when Jack, wrapped in barbed wire, speared Dave through a large piece of wood that was standing in one of the corners. This definitely wasn’t the best or most entertaining Krackerjack match I’ve seen, and I was glad when the final bell rang. It certainly won’t go down in history as one of the greatest hardcore matches ever.

Main event time, as Mad Dog defends the Wrestlerock title against Spike Steele. Given the disappointment of the last match, I was hoping that this one would go some way to make up for that. Sadly, it didn’t. Although some of the early exchanges were good, as the match went on things looked a little sloppy at times, and, as with the previous match, this one also lacked intensity of any kind, despite the fact that it was a title match and the main event, and when, again, like the previous match, it dragged on, it left me wanting the end to come sooner rather than later, which it did, when the Dog executed a poor looking tombstone piledriver from the second rope. In fact, the most interesting piece came after the match, when video footage of a kidnapped Rohan Herbstreit, tied up and gagged with petrol poured over him, signed Carnish to a Wrestlerock title match.

Then Sebastian Walker, Carnish’s manager, appeared in person, and announced that Carnish was getting his title match there and then. With Walker’s large associate attacking Mad Dog while Walker himself brawled with Julian James, the match started when Carnish put Mad Dog in a camel clutch, and with the Dog refusing to give up and losing consciousness, Carnish was declared the winner, once again getting a hold of the title he had been stripped of at the last show. A few moments later James announced that Carnish would be defending the belt against Australia’s own WMD, Chris Knight. This segment was perfectly executed, and the best thing about this whole show.

DVD extras including pre-and-post show interviews from the likes of Mad Dog and Carnish, as well as a segment from the rock of Wrestlerock, the Speed Demons.

In conclusion - when I asked Rohan Herbstreit, the guy who normally sends me these DVDs to review, why he hadn’t sent Wrestlerock 8, his reply was that he thought the show wasn’t that good, and I have to admit, the man was right. Apart from some segments of the tag-team match, and the angle surround Carnish, this was probably the worst Wrestlerock show I’ve seen. The poor matches led to the quietest Wrestlerock crowd I’ve ever seen, which added to the overall blandness of the show. Indeed, the crowd only seemed to come alive during the Carnish angle. That being said, credit to Rohan and the Wrestlerock management team for putting this DVD up for review, and for letting this writer form his own opinion of this show. It’s just a shame that our opinions were the same.

With thanks to Rohan Herbstreit for supplying a copy of this release. For more information on Wrestlerock and their upcoming shows and DVD releases (most of which are very good!), visit www.wrestlerock.com.