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Marty Scurll vs The Lion Kid

Show opens in front of a jammed in and very vocal crowd, both men get good pops from the crowd. Before the action gets under way Scurll asks for the microphone, he says that a lion against a man is not a fair fight, but how about Lion Kid vs …. Lion Man and pulls out a little lion mask from his trunks, he even suggests putting the powers of good and evil together to form a tag team. Despite the mask hindering his vision the match gets under way at a fast pace, Scurll bounding around on all 4s being a lion. The crowd are really into this right away and the fast past action results in Scurll missing a cross body only to be caught by referee Chris Roberts who instinctively body slams him to the mat! A confused Marty confronts him and pushes him into the corner prompting him to remove his shirt and hit Marty with a stunner!! (Thankfully Roberts put his shirt back on after)  Scurll uses the distraction to sneak around to the other side of the ring and jumps Lion Kid from behind and takes control of the match, as he is beating Lion Kid he leads the crowd in singing “The Lion Sleeps tonight” Eventually somebody shouts out that it’s ridiculous so Scurll decides to start wrestling properly and keeps Lion Kid down with very rapid brief holds and spinning around on his back. Offence goes back and forth for a little while until Scurll hits a flurry of moves culminating in a cross face chicken wing which leaves Lion Kid no choice but to tap out.

Crowd loved the match from start to finish, and was a great show starter – not too long but plenty of action and fun to get people going.

Violet O’Hara vs Lana Austin vs Leah Von Dutch

This match was presented by British Bombshells and they had their own female ref to officiate, wearing a very revealing referees uniform! I didn’t realise how tiny Violet O’Hara was until I saw this, so the start of the match when the taller Austin and even taller still Von Dutch called for a test of strength was interesting and got a decent reaction from the crowd. Match was fairly short but each of the ladies got some moves in with some decent spots. Timing was a bit off in some instances with some little misses but otherwise a well put together match – for me Lana Austin was the standout performer, not only does she look amazing she pulled of some great moves including a German suplex into a bridge which she executed perfectly. The finish came when O’Hara hits a shining wizard on Austin, only for Von Dutch to break up the pin fall and throw her from the ring before hitting a middle rope moonsault on Austin for the 3.

Adam Cole & Mark Haskins vs Project Ego

Unfortunately Chris Roberts is back out to officiate the first half main event. Cole and Haskins come out first and get chants of “Are you twins?” They do look a lot alike! Both men started getting pops off the crowd mimicking each other. Travis and Kirby come out to a mixed reaction – as a team and between the two of them, Travis gets a load of “Sexy Travis” chants and Kirby gets upset that he isn’t getting any chants! Crowd promptly oblige with “Baldy” chants.

Haskins and Kirby kick it off and go back and forth for a while, Cole comes in to “let’s go Haskins” chants and Travis shouts “I don’t like you Haskins!!” at him, Cole mocks him saying he doesn’t even know what his name is but still doesn’t like him. Cole gets Travis in an arm lock, every time Travis acrobatically eases the hold and celebrates Cole simply locks it back in harder than before. Ego try to double team Cole, each twisting an arm then giving him a double kiss on the cheeks – until Cole ducks out and they kiss each other. A cheap shot gets Ego in charge of the match and they work over Haskins until he makes the hot tag to Cole. Cole hits a yakuza kick and a brain buster onto his knee but only gets a 2 count as Travis breaks up the pin, all four men are briefly involved until Cole super kicks Kirby straight into Haskins finisher and they pick up the victory.

After the match Haskins and Cole put on each others t-shirts and pose for the crowd.

Big Bad Dave Mastiff vs Liam Lazarus

The second half kicks off with local boy (and one to watch) Lazarus takes on Dave Mastiff.  This looked like it was going to be a quick squash match; Mastiff had considerable size advantage and simply over powered Lazarus. Lazarus did manage to up the tempo and mount some offence and get a couple of pin attempts, but when he went for a flying cross body he simply bounced off Mastiff. He tries for a sunset flip but Mastiff just sat down on his chest for a two count. Then it was all Mastiff, dismantling him with chops in every corner of the ring with the crowd chanting for “5 more times” any sign of a comeback was easily fought off. Lazarus managed to float over and tried another sunset flip, Mastiff tried to sit on him again but this time Lazarus got out of the way and started to take the fight back to Mastiff. After getting some moves in and keeping Mastiff grounded for a while it all comes to an end when Mastiff blocks a leg drop then hits him with a trio of power bombs (more “5 more times” chants) followed by a senton for the win.

Good reaction from the crowd for Lazarus after the match, I was definitely impressed with his showing, especially up against such a big, experienced opponent.

Chuck Taylor vs El Ligero

Ligero gets a great pop from the crowd with loads of “Si, Si, Si” and “Arriba” chants – anybody would think he was local to Leeds not from Mexico) Taylor flips into the ring landing on Ligeros flag which upsets him so he goes out the back and returns with a Chuck Taylor t-shirt and promptly gives it an elbow drop.

Back and forth start to the match, at one point Ligero rolls up in a ball to protect himself, a confused Taylor nudges him with his foot and he keeps rolling around the ring before kicking out at him when the chance arose. Ligero gets thrown into the corner and ends up doing a head stand on the middle turn buckle taunting Taylor. Moments later Taylor attempts the same thing but fails at several attempts, even trying to come out of the corner with a cross body but falls short of Ligero.

Taylor eventually takes charge and tries choking Ligero, first with his flag and them with his cape all the while taunting the crowd. Ligero hides under the ring but Taylor eventually catches up with him and rolls him back in before performing a slow motion flip over the ropes onto him. The fight goes outside into the crowd before Ligero hits Taylor with a flip off the stage. When the fight makes it back into the ring Taylor manages to pick up the win via pin fall when he rolls up Ligero and gets both feet up on the ropes for the illegal advantage.

Another match that the crowd really got into, both men worked hard for each other and interacted well with the crowd. First time I have properly seen Taylor and will hopefully see a lot more of him.

Colt Cabana vs Rampage Brown

Time for the main event of the evening. Cabana out to a big pop, Brown out to a flurry of boos and fans getting in his face. When referee Chris Roberts is checking the men before the match can start Cabana claims that Brown has a knuckle duster down his trunks and tries to get him to check, at one point he shouts out “if he hits me with that big one I’m done!”

After the bell Cabana tries to shoulder block Brown but fails, Brown calls him a bitch so Cabana has a little cry in the corner before challenging Brown to try to knock him down. Brown can’t knock Cabana down either, physically they are pretty well matched, the biggest difference being that Colt just wants to have fun while Brown seems fuelled by rage. Both men start duelling wristlocks one after the other until eventually Cabana grounds Brown. Colt comes off the turnbuckles but Brown rolls out of the way, Cabana lands on his feet and leaps forward to still splash Brown. Cabanas antics including making Brown dance around the ring only serve to enrage him further. Cabana motions for a GTS which in itself gets a big pop. Brown fights back and mounts some offence, he heads up top but Cabana cuts him off and puts him up on his shoulders and nails the GTS for the three count.

Overall a very fun, entertaining show featuring some top talent. Match of the night is a tough one to call, I really enjoyed Scurll/Lion Kid and the tag match – both were highly entertaining and had some great spots but I think the Ligero/Taylor match just pipped them (plus today is Ligeros birthday so seems appropriate)

Definitely a promotion I will look out for more in the future, the venue was quite small but gave a great atmosphere for the crowd that was hot all night!

You can buy the DVD or Blu-Ray right here – http://tcwrestling.bigcartel.com

@Mattmatt316

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Above: PROGRESS champion Rampage Brown – Photo credit to Rob Brazier Jr of http://robbrazierphoto.com

Tommy End vs Mikey Whiplash

Whiplash making his Progress debut against End who was victorious on his debut at Chapter 9 against Dave Mastiff. A technical start by both men, neither able to take the upper hand. Some nice reversals and a nice spot when in a head scissors Mikey Whiplash does a head stand and uses his feet to get the crowd clapping. Both men start to hit harder but still matching one another. End hits 2 massive kicks but Whiplash replies with a brutal lariat that turns him inside out, follows up with a knee drop off the top rope but only picks up a 2. Tommy End hits some more massive kicks followed by a double stomp from the top to pick up the 3 count for the victory. Mutual show of respect from both men after the bell.

Project Ego vs Grado & Mad Man Manson

This is the first match in the Progress Tag tournament. At Chapter 9 Grado teamed with the Bhangra Knights to take on Project Ego and TBone in arguably one of the most entertaining tag matches EVER. Now teaming with another nutter this was bound to entertain. Manson came to the ring with his boots drawn on carrying some special white powder. Grado starts the match and gives Travis the run around, when Manson and Kirby get in the ring Manson calls for slow motion which him and Kirby perform amazingly, culminating with Kirby sat on the mat and Manson calls for an Indy kick, which sees him tap Kirby in the back with his foot then slap his leg, he tries this a couple of times before looking confused and Grado is in to help out but they still cant do it, even the ref has a go before Travis gets in the ring to show them how to do it – Kirby ducks but Travis instinctively hits him with a backward kick before apologising and asking Kirby why he didn’t just get up! The action goes back and forth for a little while including Manson taking his white powder and running around like even more of a mad man, before a series of rear waist locks on the outside leads to an impromptu conga around the Garage!

When all 4 men eventually return to the ring Ego hit both opponents with low blows followed by a quick roll up for the win and they progress in the tournament.

Thoroughly entertaining match that had me laughing out loud from start to finish, all 4 men are great at what they do and always entertain!

Nathan Cruz vs Doug Williams

This match was made after Cruz interfered in Williams title match at Chapter 9. As always Jim Smallman is not permitted to announce members from Screw Indy wrestling, so their associate Catherine Rose attempts to introduce Cruz but is completely drowned out in boos.

Doug goes straight after Cruz at the bell until a distraction from Rose allows Cruz to take the fight to him for a little while. When the action settles down Cruz is in control, he hits a huge suplex but misses a top rope splash, Doug fights back and the action goes back and forth but neither man can put their opponent away, some more outside interference nearly helps Cruz take the victory but Doug manages to hit the Chaos Theory and pick up the 3 for the hard fought victory.

Doug is always a pleasure to watch and its great to see more of him since his return, Cruz is great to watch and is always improving and has one of the best looks in the business.

Mark Haskins vs Adam Cole

Haskins issued an open challenge at the start of the show, wanting to prove he was the best in the business, he tried to call out any of the fans wearing DEFEND shirts and told Progress management they could send out anybody they choose.

Out comes PWG and ROH Champion Adam Cole to a huge pop from the Garage crowd.

Haskins jumps him from behind before the bell and the action spills outside before Cole takes control, beating Haskins around the arena. Haskins starts to work over the left arm of Cole and takes charge of the match, wearing Cole down. He tries to take the cheap count out victory leaving Cole beaten on the floor but he manages to make it back in at 9 and a half. Cole gets fired up and fights back, some near falls and some great innovative moves from both men – I’m pretty sure I see something new every time I see Haskins in the ring!

Finish comes when Cole hits a super kick to the back of Haskins head followed by a brain buster onto his knee to pick up the 3. Great match from start to finish and this is only the halfway point of the show!

Bhangra Knights vs London Riots

2nd match in the Tag team tournament, the only reason the previously fired Riots have been allowed this match is because the Knights requested it after the beat down they received at Chapter 9. Jim Smallman retreats to the bar for his own safety and encourages the crowd to turn their back on the Riots when they enter – with no official intro and no entrance music.

The Knights are really fired up for this and throw everything at the Riots but the size advantage takes over and RJ Singh gets worked over until he makes the hot tag to Darrell Allen who is the smallest man in the match but he comes in and cleans house, flying all over the ring putting his body on the line. Singh takes to the air too, flying out of the ring as the match descends into chaos – giving the ref no choice but to count both teams out.

The crowd hate the decision but as the fight continues all 4 men fight outside of the building. Smallman says he would love to restart the match but what can he do when there’s nobody here! Instead he books a street fight rematch for the 2nd anniversary show in March

Rampage Brown vs STIXX – Progress Championship match

Stixx earned his shot by beating the other 2 members of Team Screw on previous shows. Both men are very well matched in size, power and experience and it shows early on, with neither able to get an advantage. Some big powerful moves by both men including a Stixx superplex off the top rope but neither can put their opponent away. The fight goes outside and up on to the entrance where Stixx gets back dropped onto the stage, Brown makes it back to the ring hoping that Stixx will get counted out but the crowd move their seats to give him a more direct route back and he just makes it. Stixx mounts a comeback and hits a black hole slam and then gets Brown in his single leg crab submission hold which had defeated Haskins and Cruz previously but Brown manages to make it to the ropes to break the hold.

The finish comes when Brown manages to hit a massive piledriver an pick up the pinfall victory to retain his title.

Mark Andrews vs Paul Robinson – Natural Progression final

The winner of this match not only gets the title of the inaugural Natural Progression champion, a trophy AND a shot at the Progress title at a time of their choosing there is also a extra, special prize to be announced at the end. Both men have their tag partners cheering them on in the crowd – Robinson defeated Eddie Dennis from Team Defend on route to the final, Andrews beat Swords of Essex member William Ospreay TWICE including costing him his spot on the Progress roster.

A very technical start to the match sees reversal after reversal, neither man being kept down for long and some great high speed exchanges. The crowd are behind both guys and really into the match. Robinson starts to take control for a while before Andrews starts to fight back and begins to fly around the ring. There are some ridiculous moves – I don’t even know the names for some of them – but neither man can pick up the win. The match goes back and forth, each man matching move for move and the hits getting harder and harder, neither should be able to kick out but they keep doing it. Paul Robinson misses a shooting star press as the pace continues to pick up, Andrews goes up to the top rope with Robinson with the crowd chanting “please don’t die!” and he hits the “lakeside flip ride” (??) and picks up the win. Mutual respect after the match and the crowd are on their feet to cheer for both competitors.

After receiving his trophy they extra prize is announced that Andrews gets to choose a wrestler who was previously eliminated from the tournament to be added to next years tournament. He thinks ong and hard about it but rather than choosing his own partner Eddie Dennis he decides to give the spot to William Ospreay which is met with a great reaction from Ospreay and the crowd alike.

Conversation moves to the title shot which Andrews can have at any point, he decides theres no time like the present and wants it RIGHT NOW! Nathan Cruz comes out laughing at Andrews saying that Rampage Brown will destroy him and accepts on his behalf. Brown enters the ring in shorts and a t-shirt and physically dominates Andrews, throwing him around the ring but Andrews wont quit, Brown hits a huge sit out powerbomb but only gets 2, he repeatedly tries to pin him but he keeps kicking out. Brown gets frustrated and gets in the refs face who pushes him away – straight into an Andrews roll up for 1-2-3! Andrews wins and is the NEW Progress Champion! Eddie Dennis gets in the ring and hoists Andrews on his shoulders to celebrate with the Natural Progression trophy and the Championship staff! The crowd are going crazy celebrating until Jimmy Havoc and the London Riots hit the ring and take out Andrews and Dennis – The Riots beat Dennis on the outside and tape his wrists around the ring post while Havoc destroys Andrews with his pink steel chair!

Havoc taunts Smallman on the mic and produces a signed contract that says he can have any match, any time, any stipulation … you can see where this is going! Smallman says no he wont let him do it so Havoc continues to beat Andrews, Smallman still says no until Havoc pours lighter fluid over Andrews and he has no choice but to give in to him. Havoc isn’t finished though and demands it be Smallman who counts the pin fall, taking out the ref to again leave him with no choice. Smallman sheepishly enters the ring with security in tow and counts 1-2 … but Andrews amazingly kicks out!! Havoc hoists him up and hits a reverse tombstone into a pin and this time gets the 3 count to become the NEW Progress champion and there is nothing anybody can do about it. Before he leaves he has more choice words for Smallman and the fans, after he heads to the back Smallman is left to apologise to the fans as Andrews and Dennis are helped to the back.

Highlights of the night would have to be the amazing finish to the show, the best thing about this angle is that it seems completely real and really makes me want to hate Jimmy Havoc! Match of the night would have to be Andrews/Robinson but very VERY closely followed by Haskins/Cole. A very solid show from top to bottom again from Progress, I can certainly see why they sell out shows so quickly, and for the second show running a real sense of the next show being “must see” – if only WWE could do this sort of thing!

“This is Progress – clap clap clap clap clap”

Extras

Show opening – very funny including Glen Joseph “breaking Progress” by introducing Jazz hands! Zack Sabre Jnr announced as the new number 1 contender for the Progress Title.

Natural Progression tournament documentary – interviews with some of the competitors discussing the tournament, their opponents and what it meant to them to take part. Some interesting stuff in here and worth watching

Interviews with some of the participants – some short interviews from “Answer The 10 Count” the highlight for me being Grado who is just hilarious!

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This is the first but hopefully not the last WWE release for the Mid South territory, if you’ve seen the front cover of the DVD don’t be confused as Jake Roberts barely features unless you buy the Blu-Ray option. This review is the DVD release.

Unlike many recent WWE compilations this does not feature a documentary but rather 2-3 minute segments highlighting a performer followed by one of their matches. As I did with the Bret Hart – Dungeon Collection review I did in September, I’ll give my thoughts on the best things on each disc followed by my overall thoughts.

Disc 1
The most entertaining thing on Disc 1 relates to Magnum TA, among the features is why Magnum chose to learn from Mr Wrestling II. Frankly hilarious footage of Magnum training which includes him running backwards down a long road as Mr Wrestling II (with his mask on) is trying to give a serious interview about Magnum TA. It really is an awesome segment but definitely a product of its era.

All this leads to a tag team match between Magnum TA & Mr Wrestling II facing Jim Cornette’s Midnight Express. This is a great showcase for Magnum, as both Condrey & Eaton bump all over the place for him. An accidental collision leads to the Express getting the advantage and when Magnum as the gallant youngster can make a tag he finds his partner distracted by Cornette and the punishment continues.

Finally Mr Wrestling II has had enough and leaves his protégé on his own where he succumbs to the Midnight Express. As per the stipulation the losing team has to whipped with a belt, as he’s on his own Magnum agrees to take both whippings as the fans rally behind him. He’s saved from that though as another young babyface comes out to save him in the shape of Terry Taylor.

Magnum TA finally gets his revenge over Mr Wrestling II when he beats him for the North American title a couple of months later, although we only get around 5 minutes of highlights.

The most famous match  is the gimmick laden ‘Coal Miner’s Glove Steel Cage Tuxedo Loser Leaves Town’ match between Ted Dibiase and ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan. They were former partners in the Rat Pack group that had been discussed earlier in the disc and here Duggan as the babyface was seeking revenge. Despite the match containing 4 gimmick/stips which is a bit of an overkill it had great drama and strong performances from both men. Jim Ross was on commentary and even back in the mid 1980’s he was talking about ‘slobberknockers’ and ‘government mules’. To the delight of the fans Duggan finally emerged victorious which meant Dibiase had to leave Houston for 30 days, luckily though he had an All Japan tour to go to.

Speaking of the Rat Pack, they featured in another Loser Leaves Town match, this time for 90 days. It was Dibiase & Matt Borne (went onto become Doink) against Junkyard Dog & Mr Olympia. This wasn’t that great but has the famous angle where Duggan attacks JYD while wearing a gorilla outfit which led to the pin. It’s followed by an awesome heel interview by Dibiase and Duggan, it really was a shame that Duggan never got to be a serious character in the WWF.

Among the other stars highlighted on the opening disc is the Junkyard Dog who was easily the biggest star in Mid South with great charisma but unfortunately was not a good wrestler. He’s featured in a ‘Dream Match with a 10 minute time limit’ (don’t want to give the fans too much!!) as he teamed with Dusty Rhodes and a mobile Andre the Giant to face Ernie Ladd, Afa & Sika. The match was fun but didn’t go past 6 minutes.

Also interesting was a match between Ted Dibiase and Paul Orndorff from December 1981, a lot of good basic wrestling but had a finish that I’ve never seen before. Dibiase used the figure four leglock as his finisher but Orndorff managed to turn it over, this was seen as legitimate finish as Dibiase desperately clung on until the time expired.

Disc 2
This is by far the strongest of the set, with famous angles and strangely for this set long and full matches this was a great disc. We start with ‘Hacksaw’ Butch Reed (who later teamed with Ron Simmons in WCW as Doom) and his feud with the Junkyard Dog.

There is two famous angles that are shown, in the first Reed with the assistance of the Midnight Express pours yellow paint over the JYD. In the second he tars and feathers JYD with the help of Buddy Landel. The Junkyard Dog is really great in the second as he keeps his calm and predicts he’s going to hurt Butch Reed badly.

This leads to a Ghetto Street Fight which is very well received by the fans although it’s incredibly basic and consists of punches, kicks, belts being used to choke and whip one another. The amazing thing is that this goes about 17 minutes and the fans never stop caring. It’s also got a lousy finish as we get run-ins before JYD is announced the winner. There is no pinfall, Butch Reed can’t be DQ’d so why he loses is anyone’s guess. Even Jim Ross on commentary couldn’t explain why JYD won.

The quality of wrestling skyrockets as we get back to back Midnight Express vs. Rock ‘n’ Roll Express matches. In the first Cornette get’s his tennis racket removed and it appears that this has worked as he doesn’t interfere and it looks like the Ricky and Robert are going to get the win.

Following a couple of insane bumps, which sees Bobby Eaton get his head split open. Cornette emerges with a bottle of ether and a cloth and sends Robert Gibson into sleepy land. This allows Eaton to get the win and the titles much to the fans horror. Hilariously Cornette then does an interview saying he only went into ring to wipe the blood of Bobby’s face with disinfectant and he’s so impressed by how great Bobby Eaton is.

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express  now back as champions but still feuding with the Midnights have an idea to stop Jim Cornette from interfering. They are going to put him in a straightjacket, they announce this in an interview and Ricky Morton puts his partner in it to show how effective it is. To absolutely no surprise Eaton and Condrey attack the helpless Gibson and also Morton for good measure.

It’s the big match time, Cornette now wearing a mask has he’d recently being shaved is placed into the straightjacket and then put in a lift over the ring. I imagine that was probably for his own safety as the Mid South fans genuinely hated him, in the Midnight Express scrapbook there are copies of actual death threats that Cornette received.

This is your typical great tag match full have quick paced action, great double teams and superb selling from Ricky Morton. These teams just had perfect psychology to work together, eventually the Midnights frustration got the better of them and Condrey got DQ’d for the loss.

Which leaves us with Terry Taylor challenging Ric Flair for the NWA title, it’s essential you watch Taylor’s interview about this as it really makes a lot more sense then if you just watch the match. It’s basically Taylor’s biggest match and he’s very hyped about it, Flair on the other hand turns up late and drunk. So Terry thinks that he’s only going to get to wrestle a standard 10 minute match so he’s really pissed off.

By match time, Flair is in full NWA Champion mode and does a killer job of making Terry Taylor look the greatest wrestler in the world. Taylor dominates everything including a spot where he has Flair in a front facelock for around 5 minutes and Flair just can’t escape.

It’s not the greatest Ric Flair match but it really is a wonderful example of someone going into a territory and making the local star look like they should and deserve to be the World Champion absolutely great performances from both men.

Disc 3
This is where Bill Watts decides that if they are going to survive then they can no longer sound regional, so Mid South becomes the Universal Wrestling Federation.

I would say this is the weakest of the three discs but there is still some good stuff. On the listings you would think that a match between Ted Dibiase and Ric Flair would be an amazing encounter. Instead it is an excellent angle which turns Dibiase babyface.

The story being that Dibiase is replacing Butch Reed in the match, he then gets attacked by Dick Murdoch who feels he would be a more deserving challenger. Dibiase is rammed against the ringpost and busted open and is taken staggering to the back. Minutes later and determined to wrestle, Dibiase re-appears and as the upperhand against Flair until he gets kicked to the outside and because of the loss of blood he can’t get back in the ring and loses by count out. To further the double turn, Murdoch again attacks him.

Also on the disc is the Fabulous Freebirds, the match between Hayes and Buddy Roberts facing Dibiase and Steve Williams is another strong match until you get an unsatisfactory finish.

Jake Roberts makes his only appearance against The Snowman (top black babyface after JYD left) who was seconded by none other than Muhammad Ali. The match itself sucked but Jake was superb as a heel antagonising Ali until eventually Ali had enough and knocked him out.

Jim Duggan’s attempts to win the UWF title from Terry Gordy was yet another surprisingly good performance from Duggan. One of the unexpected treats from this compilation is watching Duggan play a full role in having really entertaining matches.

The Terry Gordy vs. Steve Williams match was very similar to the Freebirds vs. Dibiase/Williams match, well worth watching but won’t stay in the memory long. Towards the end we got features on both One Man Gang, described as the best big man ever (have these people not seen Vader?) and Steve Williams who was the man on top when the UWF folded. His title win is captured in a 60 second clip when he defeated Big Bubba Rogers to end the compilation.

For those of you that like to watch squash matches, you can enjoy Rick Steiner vs. Nick Patrick (yes the referee) and also an early match of The Bladerunners (Ultimate Warrior & Sting) managed by the slightly more coherent Eddie Gilbert.
Overall Thoughts

As an introduction to Mid-South this is a  fine set but my general feeling is that it could have been a much better than it turned out to be. At 6 hours overall it has to be the shortest WWE 3 disc set that they have released.

I would have ideally loved to have seen a full length documentary and then 6 or 7 full length matches on the second and third discs. However there are still some really good matches and probably the highlight to me was some of the best wrestling angles I have ever seen.

I hope that they we see a second Mid South set and if it follows my suggestions even better.

Best Five Matches

1. Rock ‘n’ Roll Express vs. Midnight Express (May 1984)
2. Terry Taylor vs. Ric Flair
3. Magnum TA & Mr Wrestling II vs. Midnight Express
4. ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan vs. Ted Dibiase
5. Rock ‘n’ Roll Express vs. Midnight Express (October 1984)

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ACH & Tadarius Thomas vs. RD Evans & QT Marshall – You could tell Peck was going to be Marshall’s mystery partner even before he announced it on the basis he was wearing his white wrestling boots with his suit! The irony of course, is that Peck is a far better worker than Marshall, but is playing the bumbling manager here. ACH & Thomas is a decent pairing; probably a better deal for ACH than Thomas, but we’ll see how it pans out. An OK opener which the crowd enjoyed; ACH hit Marshall with the royal butterfly at 9.52. (Incidentally last year that move was called Cram for the Exam; now it’s called the Big Bang Attack). 

Shelton Benjamin vs. Mike Bennett – So this was supposed to be Benjamin vs. Haas, but the latter’s meltdown at the War show put paid to that. So Shelton has an in-ring conversation with ‘Cheeseburger’ – the ROH wrestling school student that Haas slapped about a few times. This brings Mike Bennett to the ring, moaning he doesn’t have a match. I legitimately hadn’t noticed Bennett had been gone for the past four months. Cheeseburger calls Maria a cum-guzzling gutter-slut – a nod to Christy and Carmela in the 2004 diva search – and gets punched by Bennett for his troubles. Usual lacklustre Bennett match replete with a rubbish hands-on-the-ropes pin for him at 8.58. 
 
Michael Elgin vs. Jay Lethal – Really good outing from both men with some nice near-falls towards the end. Lethal hits the Lethal Bizzle, but Elgin no sells it; the former then lands TGOBR and the BM Funkster, but Elgin kicks out. Lethal tries for a top-rope rana, but Elgin gives him a powerbomb off the second rope. A backfist and buckle bomb paves the way for Spin City and an Elgin win at 19.05. It’ll be interesting to see where Lethal goes from here, given that this is his second high-profile job in the space of a month. 
 
After the match SCUM run in and beat down both men. Corino tells ROH to send out five of their best. Thus we get….
 
Jimmy Rave, Jimmy Jacobs, Cliff Compton, Rhyno & Rhett Titus vs. Mark Briscoe, Mike Mondo, BJ Whitmer, Caprice Coleman & Cedric Alexander – Hmm, I wouldn’t exactly describe that collection of five of ROH’s best – five of their best midcarders maybe. Anyway, SCUM looked a lot stronger here than they did one week ago at WAR. During the match Caleb Seltzer was giving Corino lip on commentary, and ended up getting thrown into the barricade for his troubles. If that was supposed to get Corino heat it surely didn’t – Seltzer is such an annoying little prick I can’t be the only one who popped for that. An enjoyable brawl ends up with Rhyno goring Coleman at 11.15 to give SCUM the victory. 
 
During the interval they show highlights of all of Jay Briscoe’s losing title challenges. 
 
Karl Anderson vs. Roderick Strong – A lot of people thought this match was disappointing; I have to say I quite enjoyed it. I have to say I didn’t think much of Anderson in PWG, so naturally he went on to become a huge star in New Japan. A spirited 13 minute scrap ends with Anderson hitting the Gun Stun to pick up the win at 12.33. 
 
Matt Hardy vs. Matt Taven vs. Adam Cole (Elimination Match) –  This was an ok match that was hurt by a couple of things, most notably a spot where Scarlet Bordeaux gave McGuinness a lapdance at ringside; whoever booked that needs shooting, as it completely took away from everything the guys in the ring were doing. The fans also completely shit on Hardy, who I actually think has done pretty well since he came in – but I guess from a Wrestlemania weekend crowd that reaction was inevitable. Cole hits Hardy with a low blow while the referee is distracted and rolls him up for the first elimination at 10.04; after Corino interferes Taven hits the Headlock Driver (which Kevin Kelly is still calling a “modified Neckbreaker) at 11.26 to retain the TV title. The way the match was booked really didn’t do Taven any favours; he came across as an afterthought. 
 
reDRagon vs. The American Wolves – In many ways you might say this was a typical ROH match; virtually no psychology, a perfunctory amount of heat leading to a hot tag that you couldn’t really call a hot tag – but the action was so good, and the crowd so into it that it almost made up for it. I did think the finish was a bit naff, on the basis that O’Reilly really shouldn’t have kicked out of the double-double-stomp – the near fall killed suspension of disbelief (but then some might argue that the whole match did). Anyway, O’Reilly rolls up Richards with a handful of tights for the pin at 21.06. The fact reDRagon didn’t hit their finisher and all four men wrestle each other in singles matches tomorrow suggests a rematch will happen at some point. 
 
Jay Briscoe vs. Kevin Steen – Well, at one point in his career Steen was called the most unlikely Ring of Honor champion, but surely that mantle has to pass to Jay Briscoe. And I actually called it, on the basis that the match seemed such a foregone conclusion that there was no reason for it to be main eventing an iPPV unless the upset was on. The match itself was probably way better live than on disc – the OTT commentary largely ruined it, also Veda Scott getting involved in heading off SCUM was just laughable. Once again ROH nick the Chikara gimmick and all the faces come out to cheer on Jay. Matt Hardy runs in to hit the Twist of Fate on Briscoe, but Steen throws him out of the ring. Steen kicks out of the Jay Driller; Briscoe kicks out of the Package Piledriver. Briscoe hits another Jay Driller, and this time gets the pin at 18.19. As is obligatory with every ROH title change, Cary Silkin gets himself on camera as soon as possible. Naturally the crowd went nuts for the win; but Jay Briscoe isn’t World Title material, and the sooner he drops the belt the better. 
 
Overall – This is probably as good a card as you’re going to get from the current incarnation of ROH. Some dross at the start; but everything after Bennett vs. Benjamin mostly delivered.

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This is an interesting weekend in terms of the overall history of PWG, as the departure of El Generico definitely felt like the end of an era; and maybe as a consequence that’s why they’ve bought a ton of guys in making their debuts on this double-shot.

Paul London vs. Kevin Steen – Remember when Paul London looked like being the future of the business? Instead he became wrestling’s equivalent of Colin Hunt (U.S. readers – YouTube this in order to get the reference). That said, at least he seems to have gotten himself in shape for this outing. London left PWG on bad terms in early 2011, but clearly they’ve patched up their differences. The first five minutes consisted of fairly forgettable comedy, but after that they had a decent match. Surprisingly, London goes over with the London Calling at 20.59. If you’re a London fan you’ll enjoy this; personally I want to see a few more solid outings from him before I start getting worked up about Paul London. On a side note, Sami Callihan does commentary; based on this and his other PWG commentary efforts, I’d say he’s not the sharpest tack in the box. (You’re just jealous he’s shagging Jessica Havoc – Ed).

The Young Bucks vs. Chuck Taylor & Johnny Gargano – This is Taylor’s first PWG appearance since the 9thanniversary show. I’d argue this was almost as good as their match at Chikarasaurus Rex from last year. There’s not really much else to say about this one; two tremendous teams having a tremendous match. As it was non-title a lot of people thought F.I.S.T. would go over; but in the end the Bucks hit MBFYB on Taylor at 16.27.

Eddie Edwards vs. Jay Lethal – oh dear; as anyone who reads my ROH reviews will know, I’m not a fan of Lethal whatsoever, so was none too pleased to hear PWG were flying him in. The match actually got off to a cracking start, and I was thinking I might have to write something positive about Lethal; but then he killed it by deciding to do his Randy Savage gimmick. There was also a bizarre spot where Lethal got two fans to give him an Irish Whip which ended up with him hurting himself on the apron. If this had gone fifteen minutes it might have been ok; but at over 20 it felt like an eternity. At least the right man went over; Edwards made Lethal tap to the single leg crab at 21.15. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; Lethal is a decent mid-card hand, but just doesn’t have what it takes to be a top guy. Sorry kid.

A.R. Fox & Samuray Del Sol vs. Rich Swann & Ricochet – As anticipated, this one featured all sorts of high-flying craziness; pure insanity, and a must-see match. Ricochet pins Del Sol at 19.33 with the 630 senton.

Roderick Strong vs. Trent Barreta – a bit of a curates’ egg this one. For the first two thirds of the match Barreta wrestled the WWE style (which some will have you believe doesn’t exist – it must be one of those MI6 kind of “doesn’t exist”), but then in the last few minutes the match really picked up a gear. As with Lethal and Edwards, this could definitely have done with have five minutes shaved off it; it also didn’t help that it went on post-intermission when people were still trying to get their heads around the DG:USA tag. Strong picks up the victory with All the Landslides Birds Have Ever Seen at 17.05.

Michael Elgin & Brian Cage vs. Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly – A decent enough tag outing. I know I keep saying this, but the difference between smiley-babyface Cole is ROH and heel Cole in PWG really has to be seen to be believed. As for Elgin and Cage, they’re a decent enough big man tag team, but you have to think Cage is getting a lot more out of teaming with Elgin than vice-versa. Again, this was another match could have done with losing a few minutes time-wise. Elgin pins O’Reilly win Spin City at 23.19.

Drake Younger vs. Sami Callihan – Best of Three Series: Match 3 – Guerrilla Warfare – Man, there’s been a lot of hate for this one, on the basis that it was a good old-fashioned CZW garbage match; cue many people getting on their high-horse and saying this kind of thing has no placed in PWG. My view on this sort of thing has always been that if the two guys in the ring are daft enough to be ok with doing it, then who I am I to moralise about it? I also think there’s a little bit of double standards here, as a lot of the people moaning about this were probably marking out for the Steen/Cole match that also featured chairs/ thumbtacks. The nastiest spot of the match was a fairly innocuous one; Callihan suplexed Drake onto a trash can, and the back of Younger’s head caught the edge of it, slicing him and leaving a huge flap of skin hanging off. A staple gun is used at one point; and Callihan pours salt in the wounds! I haven’t seen that spot since the early days of IWA Mid-South. Younger takes an unbelievable beating; but triumphs with the Drake’s Landing onto thumbtacks at 21.43. The idea that both men have to wrestle tomorrow night is insane. I really enjoyed this; but it won’t be for everyone.

Overall – as with many a PWG, there’s some good stuff here; but with seven matches and the shortest one clocking in at sixteen minutes, you need the requisite stamina.

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Adam Cole vs. Silas YoungReally good opener. As I said in the Hunt for the Gold review, EVOLVE’s loss has definitely been ROH’s gain as far as Silas Young is concerned. Cole gets the victory with the criss-cross German suplex at 8.39.

Bobby Fish vs. Tadarious Thomas – This looked quite tasty on paper, but didn’t really deliver. At the start Fish was more focused on heeling it up than wrestling; then halfway through the match Truth Martini came out, which took the crowd’s attention away from the bout. Then towards the end Thomas did a spot where he injured his knee on the turnbuckle, and after a good thirty seconds of work on the leg Fish applies the Fishhook, causing Thomas to tap at 9.51.

Charlie Haas vs. Rhett Titus – Art imitates life before the match, as Haas complains that he should be wrestling Kevin Steen for the ROH title; and I want a blow-job from Ellie Goulding; but that isn’t going to happen either. As you’d expect, this was pretty much a disaster in both design and execution. Haas uses a chair on Titus on the outside, and the referee has to turn a blind eye; then Haas wheels out multiple rear chinlocks when he inevitably gets blown up mid-match. And the finish came when Titus hit Haas with a beer behind the referee’s back; went for the Frogsplash; Haas got the knees up, and rolls up Titus at 12.03. So to clarify: the babyface cheats and still can’t win, while the heel goes over clean. Fuck me. As with last night’s review, we now know Haas is thankfully history; but Titus is just in a complete tailspin – but again, we know after the fact that he’s going to change gears in a show or two.

The Briscoe Brothers & Jay Lethal vs. Jimmy Jacobs, Steve Corino & Rhyno – An energetic tag bout that achieved what it needed to in terms of the SCUM vs. Briscoes/Lethal feud; but it needed up being a straightforward match as opposed to the “six man war” that was advertised. Rhyno hits the Gore on Mark Briscoe to pick up the win at 12.09. Fun stuff.

Matt Hardy vs. B.J. Whitmer – The latter is now being billed the “The Buzzsaw” – file that under the ‘arbitrary nicknames’ column. This was the opposite of the Fish/Thomas bout – a fairly unappetising match on paper that actually turned out to be quite good. The match was built around Hardy working over Whitmer’s neck due the latter landing on his head at Final Battle. I just wish Hardy would get himself in decent shape – it’s really hard to take him seriously with that gut. Whitmer kicks out of two Twist of Fates, and Hardy locks in a butterfly clutch. Whitmer refuses to quit, but Rhett Titus comes out and throws in the towel at 12.19. After the bout Hardy continued to complain about not getting a TV title shot; Adam Cole came out, and after a brief skirmish Hardy whacks Cole with the TV title belt.

Kyle O’Reilly vs. Davey Richards – Given that this one has been building for quite a while I’m surprised it wasn’t on an iPPV, but there you go. Anyway, this was a belting contest, on a par with Cole/Jacobs from last night’s show. I’ve read some reviews of the match that complained about the excess of near-falls towards the end; but for once I thought said near falls made O’Reilly look really strong before he finally got beat. Some really stiff spots throughout this one, including O’Reilly giving Richards a nasty-looking brainbuster on the apron. There was also some nice storytelling with Richards countering O’Reilly’s attempts at the Regalplex on a couple of occasions. O’Reilly kicked out of the tombstone and a top-rope doublestomp; but a second kick to the head puts him away at 18.56. I can see why some people might not like this one; but I thought was a really compelling bout.

Michael Elgin vs. Eddie Edwards vs. Roderick Strong vs. Kevin Steen – Elimination Match – As with 2011’s Defy or Deny match, if you get pinned by the champion, you can’t challenge for the title as long as Steen is champion. If you pin Steen, you get a title shot. This was all-action from beginning to end, but it never degenerated into guys doing moves for the sake of moves. There was also some nice psychology with Elgin and Strong knocking seven bells out of each other every chance they got, and also with Edwards slamming Steen onto the ramp from the apron as revenge for Steen giving him the apron bomb in the opening minutes. Strong eliminated Elgin with All the Landslides Birds Have Ever Seen at 15.52; a few minutes later Edwards locked in the single leg crab on Strong – and Steen gave him the front flip legdrop while he was still in the hold, knocking Strong out at 19.38. While the referee was getting Strong out of the ring, Steen low-blowed Edwards and gave him the Package Piledriver, only for Edwards to kick out. A Package Piledriver on the apron sees Steen get the win at 21.19. I have to slightly take issue with the finish; someone kicking out of the PP should be a big deal, but with the crowd still digesting Strong’s elimination it didn’t really mean anything. A very good main event though, and a vast improvement on the fabulously dire Defy or Deny match from 2011.

Overall – As with last night’s card, by ROH’s recent standards this was a pretty good show.

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Noam Dar vs. Dave Mastiff – This is a #1 Contenders Match for the Progress Title; as it was noted that Mastiff was neither pinned or tapped out in his title match with Ligero last month; while Dar has won his last three bouts in Progress. An enjoyable big man vs. little man match that saw Dar work over the knee of Mastiff; but the main factor in the finish was Nathan Cruz, who distracted the referee allowing Dar to hit a low blow and roll up Mastiff for the pin at 11.56.

Paul Robinson vs. MK McKinnan – A solid enough cruiserweight bout, which Robinson wins with a top rope legdrop at 7.43, which is apparently called “The Biggest Legdrop Ever.” If ever there was a better exemplar for “I really can’t be bothered to come up a decent name for my finisher”, I’d like to hear it.

 Nathan Cruz vs. Jimmy Havoc – A bit of a curate’s egg of a match; there some good stuff here, but also some not so good: for instance, an infuriating spot where, after being battered for the best part of ten minutes, Havoc does the old “come on, hit me” routine. Was it Al Snow that said when you do that you might as well be saying to everyone that wrestling is fake? (Mind, that’d be one of the few decent points Al ever made if indeed he did say it.) Cruz looks every inch a top-liner, and picks up the win here with new mainstay of British wrestling finishers, the tombstone piledriver at 14.42.

The London Riots vs. The Hunter Brothers – Weapons Match –  As with earlier, the name “The Hunter Brothers” really doesn’t smack of something that an awful lot of thought has gone into; then again, they are from Tipton. An enjoyable garbage match, the highlight of which was surely one of the Hunters executing a tope suicida while wearing a cricket helmet. After tying one of the Hunters’ wrists to the ringpost, the Riots hit Project Mayhem on the other brother to pick up the victory at 16.08.

 Mexican Eagle vs. Loco Mike Manson – comedy match. The Eagle wins after hitting Manson over the head with a Ukulele at 6.42. Meh.

Bhangra Knights vs. Eddie Dennis & Mark Andrews – I had a chance to see Dennis on an Attack Pro Wrestling card last year and was reasonably impressed. He’s still got a bit to learn psychology wise though;  a guy his size really shouldn’t be taking armdrags, and hitting a double-pump handle maneuver after you’ve been selling for five or so minutes isn’t the greatest idea either. Anyway the match itself was ok, if a touch overlong. The Knights hit a double team Samoan Drop/Neckbreaker on Dennis at 19.42.

 El Ligero vs. Ricochet – Very good main event between two of the best high flyers in the US and UK respectively. Ligero hits a Que Brada DDT on Ricochet at 18.14 to make a successful second defence of his Progress title.

 Overall – it’s always difficult reviewing these shows on disc, as from what I read they’re super-fun live, and therefore you feel a bit bad about nit-picking. A solid card of wrestling with a very good main event.