Cheap Wrestling For Cheap People 07.10.05: When Good EBayers Go Bad
Welcome to your mid-July edition of Cheap Wrestling for Cheap People. Today we’ve got a special treat, as I review one of my favorite cheap wrestling finds of all time. However, before we get to that, let’s go to the paragraph in which I shamelessly plug all of the other projects that I’ve been working on in the world of 411.
First of, as many of you are already aware, last week I dusted off my old column Rasslin and Real Life so that I could complain about the 2005 Raw Diva Search. It generated a good deal of feedback, and I’d like to thank everybody who wrote in. Depending on how much it offends my sensibilities, I may be back later in the summer to bust some more diva chops. Additionally, I put in my two cents on 411′s June Music Roundtable. Ari Berenstein lovingly puts those together every month and thus provides me a platform on which to rant about music, so I suggest that you check out his album reviews as a favor to me. Finally, though it has not been posted as of my submission of this column, Movie Zone newbie Tim O’ Sullivan will be debuting a new column in which I and several other 411 staffers make appearances. Be sure to keep an eye out for it this weekend.
Wow, I’ve been writing a lot this past week. So much, in fact, that Larry Csonka showed up on my doorstep and threatened to strangle my pet chinchilla Mr. Muffen with a piano wire if I didn’t stop “stealing his gimmick.” I love Mr. Muffen, so I’ll back off.
Larry did, however, say that he would permit me to write this week’s column. I shall do so . . . now.
Cheap Wrestling for Cheap People Tip #11: Avoid Shipping Scams
There are some pretty big scams being run on eBay right now, and they don’t involve those lovely phishing e-mails. I buy the vast majority of my cheap wrestling DVDs and tapes on the vaunted auction site, and I have noticed a disturbing trend. Many sellers have started artificially inflating their shipping prices so that they can reap additional profits. That way the sellers can entice individuals with low opening bids but still make a higher guaranteed profit, since any monetary amount above what they actually pay for shipping is additional income.
Quite honestly, this annoys me to no end. In some cases, I would have no problem paying the higher cost for the product being sold . . . but, if you’re going to charge me for something, at least be honest about what the charge is for. It’s just the right thing to do, people. I’ve gotten several e-mails form individuals since I started writing this column, and many of those individuals have told me that they love using eBay to find bargains on wrestling memorabilia. So, I’m calling on all of you folks to help me stamp out these shipping scams. If you shop on eBay, please boycott any sellers who artificially inflate their shipping charges. In the event that you just can’t keep yourself from buying their products, at least note that the charge was inflated when you’re leaving feedback for the seller. Nobody’s going to stop this overcharging unless the consumer gets riled up about it. Besides, if this problem is halted, it will wind up saving us all a lot of money on the products that we love to buy.
“How can I tell when a shipping price is being inflated?” you ask. My general rule of thumb is that, if I’m buying one DVD or cassette, shipping (minus any insurance fee) should not exceed $4. The Priority Mail rate offered by the United States Postal Service will ship a DVD for a flat rate of $3.85, and most sellers will generally use the cheaper first class or media mail options. Thus, there really is no reason to pay over $4 for shipping unless you’re using a service that guarantees delivery faster that Priority Mail’s 2-3 business days. Another useful tool is eBay’s recently introduced “shipping calculator,” which sellers can choose to use to calculate their shipping fees based on the weight of the product and the zip code to which it is traveling. If you see the calculator being used, the chances are much higher that you’re dealing with an honest seller.
Also, be sure to ask sellers to combine shipping fees if you win more than one item from them at the same time. Some will do it automatically, while others will require you to ask first. If the seller refuses, that’s another reason to suspect that something is fishy and is probably something to indicate in the feedback that you leave for them.
And, really, there are only a small number of wrestling tapes and DVDs that are so rare that you won’t be able to find them from another seller if somebody is inflating their shipping prices. For example, when I first saw the DVD in today’s review listed on eBay, the gentleman selling it was charging a ridiculous $7 for shipping and handling. Do you know what I found three auctions down? An individual selling the same DVD with essentially the same opening bid . . . but a $3 shipping fee.
Speaking of this week’s review, let’s get to it!
Title: King of Carnage
Released By: Future of Wrestling / World Wrestling Network
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 110 Minutes
Found At: eBay
Price: $5 (including shipping)
Future of Wrestling was an independent promotion based in Florida that began in 1998 and closed its doors in 2003. Not to disrespect the hard work of the wrestlers and the promoters involved in the company, but it didn’t leave behind that much of a legacy. Once the company closed, the majority of its wrestlers who were worth keeping in the business moved over to rival NWA Florida, which is currently the predominant indy in the state. (Well, unless you count TNA.) FOW did leave at least one thing behind for current fans, though . . . and it’s this video. King of Carnage immortalizes FOW’s fourth anniversary show, for which the company brought in a ton of outside talent to go up against the local boys.
Would the investment pay off? Let’s see.
Match Numero Uno: Barry Horowitz (c) vs. Rusty Brooks for the FOW Hardcore Championship
Yes, it’s a battle of the former WWF jobbers for one of this promotion’s prestigious championships. Most wrestling fans are well aware of Horowitz’s history in Florida as Jack Hart, but apparently Brooks has a good deal of indy cred. in the state as well, having helped train guys like Gangrel. I still don’t know that I’d call either guy hardcore, but that’s not what I’m here to do.
We start with some basic lockups and punching before Rusty looks to take the advantage with a clothesline in the corner. He misses a shot with a broom, however, allowing Horowitz to get a corner choke and a series of European uppercuts. That sets up a jawbreaker from Chris Candido’s greatest foe, and Brooks heads to the outside, where he manages to smack Barry with a trash can lid. Horowitz is then sent in to the rail, but he comes back with some headbutts and a chair to the gut. Even more weapons get involved, with Barry using a lid of his own, as well as a bullrope that Brooks brought to the ring. When we get back to the inside, Barry barely gets a gutwrench suplex on the 280 pound Brooks, only to have Rusty mount a comeback with an eye poke and a garbage can shot. Brooks looks to repeat that move, but Barry dropkicks the can back in to his face. A can shot from Horowitz then sends Brooks rolling out on to the timekeeper’s table, allowing Barry to drop a leg from the apron. Brooks regains the advantage, though, sending his man in to the post and hitting him with the bullrope. It’s then back to the ring one more time, where Barry gets in a shot with a plunger but then runs in to a back elbow to set up a Vader Bomb from Brooks, which ends the match at 7:41.
Post-match, Horowitz hits Brooks with another trash can and cradles him for a three count, so apparently FOW has lifted Crash Holly’s 24/7 rules for their Hardcore Title. Barry celebrates his title victory until the Sandman makes an appearance, caning both members of the JOB Squad, pinning Horowitz for the title, and then celebrating with some beer and some incredible amped up fans.
Match Thoughts: This was two guys from an entirely different era attempting to do what they thought was “cool” in modern day wrestling, and it wasn’t all that great as a result. Neither man had the speed or intensity necessary to put on a traditional “hardcore” match. Even if they had, the style was completely overexposed and stale by this point in wrestling history. So, not only do you have a dead style, but you have a dead style being done poorly, which, as you can imagine, is even worse. 1/2*
Backstage, Kevin Sullivan cuts a promo about this evening’s main event. He’s quite possibly trashed, dropping the f-bomb at least seven times and offering to punch the interviewer in the stomach so that his testicles will finally descend. There are interviews with wrestlers after every match, but I refuse to write about any of the others, as they could not live up to the hilarity of this segment.
Match Numero Dos: The Vandalz (Tommy & Ricky) vs. Christian York & Joey Matthews
The Vandalz are a local tag team comprised of two brothers who seem to be quite over with the young ladies. They both have pretty good sized frames, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see WWE come calling for them if they stick with the business and put on some muscle mass. I’m assuming most of you are familiar with York and Matthews by this point, or more specifically the fact that Matthews left his longtime partner high and dry so that he could become one half of MNM. Can’t say that I blame the guy, really.
Oh yes, the winner of this match will be facing off against the FOW Tag Team Champions TONIGHT. If that doesn’t telegraph the winner just a little bit, you probably shouldn’t be reading this column. The Vandalz aren’t twins, but they’re damn near identical anyway, so I hope you don’t expect me to be able to tell them apart. One of them starts off with York and scares him off with an armdrag, causing the heels to bail and regroup. When we get back to the ring, the Vandalz respond to some York & Matthews cheating by double teaming Christian behind the referee’s back and switching without a tag. Wow, smart faces . . . there’s a concept that’s taken about a century to develop. Things then get a bit disorganized, as a Vandal hits a lariat on Matthews, only to be tripped by York. The heels get their commupence, however, eating a double lariat from the good guys. York then gets sandwiched between kicks from each Vandal, and Matthews is hit with a side slam/legdrop combination that brought back fond memories of the Smoking Gunns.
Matthews leaves the ring after that, but there’s no rest for the wicked, as the brothers Vandal grab York and throw him out of the ring on top of his partner. It looks like one of the Vandals is going to go for a plancha after that, but York & Matthews start running to the locker room. The local boys catch up and bring their opponents back in to the ring, and we finally settle down in to the normal tag format with York in against one of the Vandals, who gives him ten punches in the corner. Matthews tries to interfere from the ring apron, and, in a cute spot, the Vandal just reaches over and punches him in the head ten times as well. After that, it’s a lariat for York, but he finds an opening and tosses the Vandal out of the ring, where Matthews sends the pretty boy in to the guardrail. When the Vandal is tossed back in, York hits a vertical suplex before tagging in his partner, who unloads with a back elbow, dropkick, and legdrop, all of which lead to a nearfall.
York is back after that, and he gets in some boot rakes as the crowd begins to chant boring. What does Christian do to counter this? He applies a chinlock. I now see why WWE picked up the other guy. Once the hold is done, York gets his man up in to a fireman’s carry and drops him hard to set up a FAT senton splash. There’s our tag to Joey, but he misses a Stinger Splash in order to set up the hot tag to the other Vandal. The fresh man cleans house with a back body drop on York, and then he puts Matthews in the tree of woe, where he proceeds to stand on the ECW alum’s scrotum. York saves, however, sneaking up on the Vandal and powerbombing him out of that position for a nearfall. That doesn’t slow down the Vandalz, however, as they’re both in the ring now and hit a double team move in which York is back body dropped in to an X-Factor-esque facebuster. Zero time is allotted to selling that move, as York pops right up and hits the Snapshot with Matthews. After that, York tries to come off of the second rope, but lands crotch-first on one of the Vandals’ boots. Now it’s time to finish, as the Floridians hit Total Elimination for the three count at 12:50.
Match Thoughts: Well, this was a mess. Both teams busted out some pretty good double team maneuvers, which is generally what I like to see in tag team wrestling. However, they seemingly had no concept of WHEN to hit those moves within the context of the match. The bout only briefly settled down in to the normal face-in-peril format of a tag team bout, which is apparently a format that every tag team feels compelled to follow these days. Here’s a hint, guys Do it right, or DON’T DO IT AT ALL. Doing it right includes doing the heat segment for at least five minutes with a few hints that the babyface might be able to make it to the corner. It does not include a token resthold being applied for thirty seconds followed by a “hot” tag. Even during the poor heat segment, there was far too little sellin. Four major moves were hit leading up to the pinfall, all of which would have been sufficient to end the match. All of these moves were within seconds of each other and not sold in the least, lessening their overall impact. We’ll call it *3/4 for good execution of the moves making up the match but poor execution of the match itself.
Match Numero Tres: The Redneck Mafia (c) (JJ Kodiak & Big Daddy Gonzo) w/ Flex Magnum vs. The Vandalz (Tommy & Ricky) for the FOW Tag Team Championship
Immediately after Vandal gets the pin on York, two incredibly fat men and their manager hit the ring for a beatdown on the good guys. They get the stereotypical big man offense for a minute or so, hitting avalanches, splashes, legrops, and nearly blinding me by showing far too much ass crack. The Vandalz come back when one of them tries a body press on Kodiak and is caught, only to have the other Vandal come in and hit a body press on to the whole mess of wrestlers, knocking the big man down. The champs’ manager Flex Magnum then hits the ring with a chair, which is permissible because there are no DQ’s in FOW title matches. That rule winds up being the undoing of the Mafia, as Magnum accidentally hits JJ with the chair. That angers Gonzo, who takes the weapon for his own use but gets it sent flying in to his face by a Vandal missile dropkick. That leads to the three count, making the brothers three-time FOW Tag Team Champions at 3:02.
Match Thoughts: Obviously this was a very quick match given that a.) the Vandalz had just wrestled and b.) the Redneck Mafia would’ve had a collective heart attack if required to wrestle much longer. Actually, this was a smart booking move, as it allowed FOW to have their top babyface tag team win the straps on a big show without them having to do it in a quick match that would seem unimportant or a long match with two guys not capable of pulling one off. Regardless of the smart booking, however, three minute matches are never going to rate that highly in my world. 3/4*
Match Numero Cuatro: Scoot Andrews (c) vs. Low Ki vs. Mike Sullivan for the ECWA Heavyweight Championship
By way of introduction: Low Ki is your standard internet darling, while Andrews is a guy who got his start in Florida but got good enough to take several trips to the Northeast, the most notable of which included appearances on the early Ring of Honor shows. Sullivan, meanwhile, is another Floridian who wrestled up north as well, though not with the same frequency or notoriety as Andrews. They’re going at it for the ECWA Title, with ECWA being the indy league that hosts the annual Super 8 Tournament, which was one of the biggest indy events of the year in the days before WCW and ECW folded.
Low Ki kicks things off by making both of his opponents rather uncomfortable due to some stiff, stiff kicks. As a result, Sullivan and Scoot team up to take him out before locking up themselves. While they’re grappling, Low Ki charges at the duo, but the Florida boys just duck down and throw Ki over their heads in a nice spot. That leads to a breaking of the lockup and more working over of Low Ki. Andrews and Sullivan take turns hitting him with vertical suplexes, legdrops, and elbowdrops, before fighting over the pin off of a double press slam. The dissension allows Ki to come back and take both guys down with a split-legged dropkick and a series of chops. His comeback is short lived, however, as Sullivan and Andrews take him down again, this time with a back suplex/neckbreaker combo. After that, Mikey takes over on Andrews, hitting him with a shoulderblock and a flying forearm. Scoot responds with a leg lariat, but now Low Ki is back up, and he dismantles Andrews with more kicking. Ki then goes for his springboard enzuguri on Sullivan, but Mike ducks, allowing him to POWERBOMB LOW KI IN TO THE TURNBUCKLES! I’ve seen it before, but that remains one of my favorite spots. It’s just such an asshole thing to do, and it is my opinion that heel wrestlers should go out of their way to be the biggest assholes possible, both in and out of the ring.
Sullivan then grabs Low Ki and heads to the second rope, looking to throw him off with a fall away slam. Andrews cuts that off, though, sneaking in and powerbombing Mike, who still winds up tossing Ki as a result. I really think they should retire three-way spots like that, as they make no sense. Here Sullivan was going to land on his back anyway as a result of the slam, and chances are good he wasn’t going to sell it all that much. However, because Andrews got under him and love tapped his legs, that’s supposed to make the fall devastating? I don’t think so. Lack of logic aside, the match goes on. Ki eventually gets up and does hit his flying enzuguri on Sullivan, following that up with the Tidal Crush on Andrews. The Phoenix Splash is next, but Sullivan breaks up the ensuing pinfall and hits a release Northern Lights suplex on Ki. He then goes for another turnbuckle powerbomb, but it’s reversed. Mike tires to stay on top of his man with a slingshot suplex, but Andrews is up and grabs Low Ki out of his hands in mid-move. With Ki over his shoulder, Scoot spins around, taking out Sullivan with Ki’s leg. Andrews then drops in to his Forces of Nature sit-out piledriver for the victory at 8:43.
Match Thoughts: Given what these three men are capable of doing, it’s a little bit disappointing that they went less than ten minutes. However, given that this was being booked below three other matches on the card, my guess is that they didn’t want to overshadow anything. However, for the amount of time that the three had, they put on a good little spotfest. There wasn’t much down time for selling, but that makes sense in a match like this, as you can have the two fresher men going at it while the other individual sells. Everything seemed to be timed perfectly here in that regard, as nothing was undersold . . . but men also weren’t out of the match for so long that you were wondering what happened to them. Good pace, good spots, good match. **3/4
Match Numero Cinco: Bruno Sassi (c) vs. Christopher Daniels for the FOW International Championship
This Sassi fellow is apparently in the middle of a huge singles push given the way that the announcers are putting him over. TNA fans will know the guy as Brother Bruno of Phi Delta Slam, and here he holds the International Title, which was apparently formed on FOW’s tours of South America. I always thought it was odd that we didn’t hear about professional wrestling happening down there more often . . . I mean, really, a whole continent that’s only hosted a couple of fictional title tournaments? Surely there’s got to be enough wrestling fans in Brazil for SOMEBODY to put together a card down there.
Err, yeah, there’s a match going on here. The two start off by trading basic holds like headlocks and armbars before Sassi opens up with the big offense, catching Daniels as he attempts to leap off of the ropes and bringing him down with a spinebuster. After that he works the arm for a bit, getting multiple armdrags and bars in. Then, just to vary things a bit, he shoots the Fallen Angel in to the ropes, grabs his arm, and slams it down in to his outstretched knee. He follows that up with the Divorce Court, which gets two. Sassi then attempts to shoot Daniels off the ropes again, but that’s countered with a jawbreaker, and Curry Man follows it up with a leg lariat. Daniels then drops a knee and an elbow for two two counts before getting in a swinging neckbreaker. That brings us to resthold time, as Chris applies a unique looking hybrid of a chinlock and a half nelson. Bruno looks to make the traditional babyface comeback by powering up and elbowing out of the hold, but Daniels cuts that off with a lariat. However, when he attempts to follow up with an elbowdrop, Sassi rolls out of the way. The Angel charges at him, so Bruno grabs his opponent and tosses him down crotch-first over the top rope. Well, that’s certainly a unique way of dealing with that problem.
After that, the champ is solidly in control, getting a flying forearm and stomping on Daniels’ face. He gets in a couple of lariats and counters Chris’ attempt at a rana with a sitout powerbomb, which leads to a nearfall. However, both men pop up from that move at around the same time, and Daniels beats his opponent to the punch offense-wise, nailing an STO. That sets up the BME, which gets TWO. The announcers are shocked that Sassi was able to kick out of Daniels’ big move. With that failing, the Angel tries for an Irish whip, but Sassi blocks it and counters with a hotshot. He sets up for his finisher, a variant on the DDT, but Daniels snakes out of it and hits the Angel’s Wings. Sassi kicks out of that as well, although the announcers don’t seem to realize that it’s Daniels’ finisher and thus miss the importance of the kickout. Both men get back up after that, and Chris goes for the Angel’s Wings again, but Sassi tries to turn it in to a backslide. The backslide is blocked by Daniels, but Sassi turns him in to the Initiation, which appears to be a DDT, except that the opponent’s head is being driven in to Sassi’s knee instead of the mat. It was a little difficult to tell what was going on with the move because of the camera angle. Whatever it is, it finishes the match at 11:17.
Match Thoughts: I know the IWC wasn’t a big fan of Phi Delta Slam in TNA, but Sassi as a singles wrestler did pretty well here. The match was not the pseudo-Japanese style that everybody’s used to seeing Daniels work these days, but it had the feel of a very good, old school US match, spiced up with some more flashy modern offense. I especially liked the finisher reversal sequences at the end of the match. WWE does several similar sequences in big matches, but these were fresh because they weren’t counters to the same old finishers that I’ve seen the E’s stars do time and time again. The best part of it all, however, was the performance of Chris Daniels. It was pretty clear that he was told to go out there and help make this Sassi guy look like a million bucks, and he put all of the effort that he could in to doing so. As refreshing as the reversal sequences were, that sort of attitude is even more refreshing in today’s business. ***
Match Numero Seis: Billy Fives (c) vs. Norman Smiley for the FOW Heavyweight Championship
Our local wrestler vs. bigger star theme continues, as Fives is a Florida guy through and through, having really not branched out anywhere else. It’s a shame too, because I always thought he was quite talented. He’s not going to get that opportunity to branch out either, as he wrestled what was supposedly a three-way retirement match against Mike Sullivan and Scoot Andrews earlier this year. Additionally, in an interesting twist to this match, Norman apparently trained Fives, so we’ve got that teacher vs. student vibe going on.
We start off with a lockup and several armbar reversals, culminating with Smiley cartwheeling out of the way of a Billy Fives monkey flip and hitting the Little Wiggle to a good pop from the crowd. After that, Norman applies an armbar and keeps trying to force Fives down to the mat. The champ keeps kipping up, but stays down on Norman’s last attempt . . . which was really just Billy’s way of suckering him in to a kick to the face. Fives tries for a victory roll after that, but Norman reverses, and the two keep rolling end over end until they reach the ropes, where Fives loses his balance and falls over the top. In a show of respect, Smiley holds the ropes open for him and shakes his hand when he reenters. When things get going again, Smiley runs right in to a small package by Fives, which only gets two. The two then trade armdrags before locking up again. This time the challenger shoves his man back in to the corner and unloads with some rights. Norman then shoots his man in to the ropes and looks for a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, but Fives slips out and tries an enzuguri. Norman ducks under that and gets ahold of Fives’ legs, asking the crowd if they want to see the Big Wiggle. The champ cuts that off, however, rolling up Smiley for two.
After another lockup, Smiley winds up getting a fireman’s carry gutbuster before dropping his man stomach-first over the top rope. A series of European uppercuts is next, but Fives blocks the last one and shoots for Norman’s leg. Norm is rolled up in to a unique pinning predicament as a result, but he gets out of it and holds on to Fives’ leg, moving him in to position for the Big Wiggle at long last. With the Wiggle out of the way, Norman gets his wind-up bodyslam, but he’s kicked square in the face when he bends over to pick Fives up off the mat. That sets up a snap mare and a kneedrop for Billy, which gets two. Fives then attempts an Irish whip, but Smiley blocks and tries to apply the cross-face chicken wing. Billy wiggles out of that hold and goes for a sunset flip, but Norman sits down on his chest for a two count. Smiley’s next trick is running in to a back elbow, which Fives uses to set up his version of Sliced Bread #2. The champ rolls up the challenger after that, but Norman is all over the ropes.
That brings us to our finishing sequence, as Norman again looks to hit his wind-up slam. Fives slips off his shoulder, however, and sets up for an inverted DDT. Smiley slips out of that position, gets behind Fives, and applies the cross-face chicken wing for a tap out at 9:07.
Match Thoughts: These two guys went out there and put on a chain wrestling CLINIC. I’m not talking about chain wrestling in the Benoit/Angle sense, in which you’ve got a couple of guys reversing UFC-style holds all night long. This was chain wrestling done with traditional pro wrestling moves, and it was so beautifully fluid that I’ve come back to this bout and watched it time and time again. If you’re like me and love seeing creative counters to wrestling moves being pulled off in rapid succession, then you should hunt this match down immediately. However, the ending did feel a little bit anti-climactic, as generally big chain wrestling matches will open up towards the end for a minute or two of high spots that lead up to the finish. I understand that not going for the high spots and ending a chain match with more chain wrestling is a bit more realistic, but the highspots have been the norm for so long that the finish here came off as abrupt. Then again, had they taken the last two minutes of this match and turned it in to a spotfest, I’d likely be complaining that the chain wrestling wasn’t allowed to go on for long enough. So, what I really think this bout needed was the addition three minutes or so, which would have allowed for a hotter finale. Overall, though, I’m still willing to call this one ***1/2.
Match Numero Siete: Kevin Sullivan w/ Abudadien vs. Abdullah the Butcher vs. Dusty Rhodes vs. Terry Funk in a Four Way King of Carnage Match
And now for something completely different. This match has quite the unique stipulation, as all four men have to be bleeding before falls will count. I guess that’s one way of guaranteeing fans a wild brawl. Things get off to an odd start, as Dusty Rhodes enters and then Terry Funk comes out to “Auld Lang Syne.” This pisses him off, and he accuses Rhodes of changing his entrance music. Err, ok. During the confrontation, Sullivan and Abdullah randomly saunter out to the ring, and it’s a three-man beatdown on Dusty as the bell rings. A garbage can and Abuadien’s staff get involved, as does Abby’s trademark fork, which opens up Dusty’s forehead at 1:08. Damn, there’s so much scar tissue on these guys’ foreheads that you could probably harvest it and build a whole new wrestler. After some standing around and hitting each other, Abby is the next to bleed, as Funk gets the fork and uses it on him at 2:14. Immediately after that, Dusty decides that it’s time for his comeback, as he tosses Terry out of the ring and unloads on Sullivan and Abdullah with a ton of elbows.
Eventually we pair off with Dusty and Abby in the ring and Sullivan and Funk on the outside. Terry props up a table against the ringpost, but irony interjects itself as it’s actually Sullivan whipping Funk in to the furniture. Sullivan gets back in to the ring after that, and he’s mysteriously started bleeding somehow. It’s not clear what happened, but the blood first popped up on screen at 3:11. Speaking of blood, a referee juices now, as Abby stabs him with the fork. Abudadien gets the same treatment as Terry Funk DDTs the referee. With that, Sullivan pulls out the GOLDEN SPIKE~!, which connects with Funk’s head. Then things get even more bizarre, as FOW wrestlers start running in on the match for no apparent reason. Mike Sullivan is one of the first, and he gets tied to the tree of woe for a Sullivan knee smash. Scoot Andrews and another referee are the next victims of the Abby/Kevin alliance.
With Sullivan and Abby occupied in the ring, Funk and Rhodes have decided to brawl through the crowd, with a Dusty chairshot opening up Funk at 4:48, meaning pinfalls can now be counted. They eventually walk outside of the arena and take turns slamming each other in to an all too conveniently located truck. Funk gets in to the cab and acts like he’s going to drive away, but he really just sits there for about three minutes before Rhodes reaches in through the door and starts punching him again. Meanwhile, back in the ring, Sullivan has taken to ripping the clothes off of FOW officials and beating them with their own belts. The Redneck Mafia run in, and Sullivan, at half their size, takes them out with the belt as well.
At this point, Funk and Rhodes brawl back through the crowd, dueling with chairs the whole way. The make it back to the ring, and Sullivan does something to Dusty that the cameras miss. Whatever it was, it lets him get the pin at 13:20, but that doesn’t stop the brawling even though it ends the match. Sullivan then pops Abudadien for no apparent reason, as Funk hits himself in the head with a trash can at least ten times. Rhodes gets ahold of Abby during all of this, and they go through the crowd and up on to the grandstand. (Did I mention this whole show has taken place in a rodeo arena?) Anyway, they tease throwing each other off of the stand, but nothing comes of it. Eventually Abby gets tired of fighting and just walks off, perhaps because it’s early April and he’s forgotten to file his taxes. The show wraps up with Terry Funk staring at the grandstand while Dusty is perched on top of it throwing furniture at him. If there had been a barrel or two, it would’ve been a near-perfect recreation of Donkey Kong.
Match Thoughts: Four guys who are past their primes stood around and hit each other with weapons for over ten minutes. There was not a single professional wrestling hold utilized. There were run-ins that made no sense and marginalized younger talent. I think you see where I’m going with this. -**
DVD Bonus Features
We’ve only got one bonus match here, and it’s an additional match from earlier on the card that they could’ve just included in the main feature. Well, at least they put forth a little bit of effort.
DVD Bonus Match: J-Dawg (c) vs. Al Bino w/ Ron Niemi vs. Johnny Vandal for the FOW Lightheavyweight Championship
Here we’ve got three young Florida indy guys going at it for the title, and they’ve got some family ties to (slightly) bigger stars. Johnny is the brother of Tommy and Ricky, the Vandals that we saw tagging up earlier in this review. J-Dawg, meanwhile, is the son of Rusty Brooks and was trained by his father. Finally, Al Bino is probably the most well-known of the three, although I still don’t think that he’s moved outside of Florida in his wrestling career. He’s better known as Naphtali and has long-time Florida manager and promoter Ron Niemi in his corner.
For some reason, this one starts out under the old WCW “triangle match” rules, in which two guys wrestle while the other has to stand on the apron waiting to be tagged in. Even more confusing is the fact that the wrestlers start ignoring the tag rule after about ninety seconds. Valiant kicks it off in the ring with Bino, and they trade armbars before Al takes him down and gets a couple of big kicks to the back. That brings J-Dawg in to the ring, and he gets a shoulderblock and a slam on Valiant for two before getting another nearfall off of a spinning heel kick. Since he can’t seem to get the job done on his own, J-Dawg teams up with Al Bino and hits a double team hiptoss, which is followed up with a double lariat. Of course, somebody’s going to turn on somebody in this situation, and Al takes care of that with a forearm and series of kicks to the champion. He attempts to capitalize by heading up to the top rope, but he’s crotched, which leads to one of those tired three-man superplex spots that I complained about earlier.
Valiant was the man on the bottom in said spot, so he’s the healthiest and gets a bulldog on Al Bino for two before teaming up with J-Dawg to toss the pasty-skinned challenger from the ring. Al skins the cat, however, and he drags J-Dawg out of the ring with a headscissors in the process. That leaves Bino on the apron, and Valiant charges at him. Al pulls down the top rope, though, and that leads to Valiant smashing in to J-Dawg with a tope suicida. After that, both Johnny and J-Dawg get tossed in to the audience, and Al Bino comes off of the top rope with a huge cannonball dive down on to them. Surprisingly, the two guys who were hit with the move are the first two back in the ring, and J-Dawg gets a pair of suplexes to set up a bow and arrow submission on Valiant. Al Bino then gets up on to the top rope and plants a senton atomico Johnny, who was still in the submission hold. That’s some sick stuff right there. Afterwards, all three men wind up trading punches, and Al takes a big bump over the top rope, smacking in to the guardrail. The referee goes out to check on him, missing J-Dawg getting a powerbomb in on Valiant and coming off of the top rope with the Sicilian Slice, one of my personal favorite moves. That looks like it will give J-Dawg the win, but Ron Niemi is in with a chair, and he takes out the champion, allowing Al Bino to reenter the ring and pin Valiant with a German suplex at 8:36.
Match Thoughts: For three young guys in the opener of an indy show, this one wasn’t too bad. Though there wasn’t a ton of psychology involved, the three men structured their match so that all three were involved for the majority of the time, as opposed to one man repeatedly being taken out of commission so the other two can fight. Additionally, Al Bino was willing to bust out some big moves to make this one special, and he busted out those moves at points during the match where they made sense. It wasn’t the ROH-inspired strong style that seems to be dominating indy shows these days, but it was a good, solid American cruiserweight match. **1/4
Number of Matches: 7
Highest Star Rating: ***1/2
Lowest Star Rating: -**
Average Star Rating: *1/2
The average match rating for this particular show is a bit deceiving, as the main event is rated so much lower than everything else and really drags down the mean as a result. If I had to rank the best wrestling shows that I have found on the market for under $10, this show would definitely be in the top three. Ignoring the four way, you have two matches that break the *** mark, and the remainder of the card ain’t that bad either. Additionally, there is quite a mix of styles on the program, which is rare in today’s wrestling world, as it seems that the majority of wrestling promotions are attempting to promote one “style” that can be associated with their group. Here there is a fabulous combination of technical wrestling, high flying, garbage wrestling, and old fashioned catch-as-catch can pro wrestling. Further, I think that this is a particularly good purchase for individuals who have stuck exclusively with the Northeastern promotions to satisfy their indy cravings, because it takes the stars of those groups and combines them with some fresh new faces for surprisingly good results. Though it’s not the best wrestling show in the whole world, I don’t think that I can praise King of Carnage enough as a “budget” wrestling event and think that everybody who can give it a try should give it a try.
Plus, it gives you a chance to see the Big Wiggle one more time. Who doesn’t love the Big Wiggle?