Retro DVD Review: WWW – Champion v Champion
You know there are times when you buy a DVD and you put it in your collection, but don’t watch it, thinking you’ll get round to it at some point when you get the chance? The problem is, you buy more DVDs, watch them and the one you planned to watch in the very near future just gets forgotten about, until you see it one day and feel so guilty that you’ve neglected it for so long?
That’s the story with me and World Women’s Wrestling‘s Champion v Champion DVD. I bought it three years ago and always meant to get round to it, but the backlog of shows builds up and even though I had the best intentions, I never watched it. Until yesterday, when I finally slotted the disc into the player and settled down to see what I had been missing.
World Women’s Wrestling came about as an all-female offshoot from Massachusetts-based New England Championship Wrestling, a promotion which has been about since 2000, and has seen wrestlers such as John Cena and Kofi Kingston wrestle there early in their careers. It has also boasted an impressive women’s division back when many independent promotions presented solitary matches with a rather small roster – with IWA: Mid South being an obvious exception. On the strength of their hard work, WWW was formed in 2006, a few months after NECW created a Women’s Championship, which was first held by Mercedes Martinez.
Meanwhile, over in Rhode Island, PWF Northeast also had its own Women’s Champion, and both promotions agreed to co-recognise the titles, and eventually amalgamate them. When the first WWW show was held in March 2006, both titleholders were babyfaces – Nikki Roxx held the NECW Women’s belt, while Ariel was the PWF Mayhem Women’s Champion – though things would change before this title for title showdown…
Roxx v Ariel was the sole reason why I bought this DVD. I’d become a fan of her after buying up SHIMMER‘s back catalogue and being there live to see her defeat Amazing Kong at volume 17. She was adorable. After doing some searching for more of her matches on YouTube, I stumbled across a video package promoting the main event of WWW’s Champion v Champion, and it blew my mind. To this day, I still think it’s one of the best hype videos I have ever seen, and made me WANT to see this. I wasn’t just curious – I HAD to see it. Saying all of this makes me feel even more guilty that it took me three years to watch it.
Held at the Good Time Emporium in Somerville, MA on August 13, 2006, Champion v Champion also featured a four woman tournament to determine a new number one contender for the WWW Championship, which would be awarded to the winner of Roxx/Ariel to replace the NECW and PWF Mayhem belts. The opening match of the DVD featured the first semi-final, with current Women Superstars Uncensored Tag Team Champion Amber taking on fellow WSU regular Jana.
Jana had recently undergone a heel turn – subtle to start with, but then more and more pronounced as WWW held more events to the point that by this point, she was a full-blown antagonist. Bearing in mind that this is my first experience of WWW, how would I know this? Well, the commentary is excellent – informative, non-invasive and contributes to the match, rather than overpowering it or just describing what’s happening. It’s not trying to be witty, smart-arsey or an attempt to get themselves over, and it’s a welcome breath of fresh air to some of the commentary work you have to suffer these days.
As for the match itself, it was OK. Jana was playing the heel role well by using eye rakes, punches and chokes to gain an advantage, while Amber’s repertoire was more flashy, though things fell apart near the end when an Irish whip sequence ended with them stalling and not knowing what to do with each other. The end came when Jana nailed an X-Factor to advance to the final.
Still, this match was better than the other semi, which featured Della Morte against Violet Flame, who we were informed was the most experienced wrestler on the roster and trained with Killer Kowalski. That’s all fine, but these two put together a disjointed stinker of a contest, with Morte not bothering using her size advantage and insisting on working on Flame’s arm. For the record, Flame – who I found pretty unexciting – won with a double arm DDT.
Intergender tag team action next, as Mia Love teams with the Canadian Superstars of J Busta and Dave Cole against 2D Edge, comprised of Jose Perez and Pat Masters, along with third member – former NECW and PWF Mayhem Women’s Champion – Natalia, who has some awesome red, black and yellow gear. Following a shedload of talking – and an interruption of the singing of the Canadian national anthem – the match started with a chicken fight, with Love and Natalia doing battle on the shoulders of their male counterparts. Natalia got an early advantage by beating on Mia and then the Canadian Superstars before Perez got cut off and worn down for a good few minutes. Jose managed to make the hot tag to Natalia following an Air Raid Crash on Busta, who then ran wild on all of her opponents, before hitting an Overdrive on Love for the win in an entertaining contest.
Lexxus needed some backup in her match with Tanya Lee in the next match, as Lee (who was sporting the loudest gold tights the human eye may ever see) had NECW Champion DC Dillinger on the outside, so called upon his future challenger Evan Siks to nullify any interference. That didn’t work out well, as Lexxus was tripped from the outside before long and suffered a sustained attack from the southpaw Lee. I mention that she is left-handed as it was somewhat awkward to the eye at the start, but once I – and Lexxus – had adapted to it, it wasn’t a problem.
Even though Lexxus had only debuted three months previously, this was a hell of a contest, and fought back with clotheslines, dropkicks and a released Northern Lights Suplex before being hit by a missile dropkick from Lee. As the match reaches its zenith, the men take to the ring to hype their upcoming match, and during the confusion, Lexxus sneaks behind Lee and rolls her up with a schoolboy for the upset win. A good match, and a lot of fun, with the interference adding to the contest rather than detracting from it.
The penultimate bout of the DVD wraps up the number one contenders’ tournament with Jana taking on Violet Flame. Considering their semi-final bouts, I wasn’t expecting much, and that’s exactly what I got – a disjointed, plodding match with no story and no real reason to care. The ending came when Jana tried to nail Flame with a belt wrapped round her fist, but was cut off by the ref. While he was busy removing that from the ring, she pulled out a chain and waffled Violet with it to get the pin and become the next challenger to the WWW belt, which leads us to the main event.
As you will have seen from the hype video, the heat for this match was off the charts, with the fans hoping the cocky Portuguese Princess would be murdered by Roxx in this no holds barred, no count out, no DQ, falls count anywhere title for title match. What they got was a tremendous building-wide brawl which used weapons appropriately, and had a great narrative, despite a lot of the action not taking place in the ring.
Natalia was assigned the special ref for the contest, based on her championship history, and called it down the middle the whole time – no debating on if she would screw someone over, no dodgy counts or “mistakes” due to her inexperience as an official. Just a straight ref who let the wrestlers do their thing without getting in the way. God, I love the simplicity of this promotion…
The match starts with a forearm and chop contest with Ariel cheating to gain an edge, but Roxx returned fire with a spear and punches before the match spilled to the outside, where the PWF Mayhem Women’s Champ regained the lead. However, the pendulum would swing again, as Nikki took the first major chance of the match by nailing Ariel with a crossbody from the bar to the delight of the crowd.
Annoyed, Ariel used one of the fans’ chairs to leather the NECW Women’s titleholder around the head, and then summoned the spirit of Abdullah The Butcher by stabbing Roxx full-force in the head with a fork before digging away at her opponent’s forehead until she bled.
It’s roundabout this point in the match that I fall in love with heel Ariel. She’s mean, bitchy, rude and has no scruples when it comes to inflicting pain. Meanwhile, Roxx is the perfect foil for her evilness, by commanding sympathy and drawing emotion from the crowd like few other women can. By now, I’m kicking myself for waiting so long to see this match, as it’s so goddamn great.
Seeing her own blood, Roxx took her aggression to a new level by throwing chairs at her opponent and whipping her into a security door with such force that while it doesn’t open, it takes the door off its hinges. Back in the ring, Ariel managed to sneak in a D’Ariel (Ace Crusher) for a long two count, before Nikki tried to get the win with the Barbie Crusher, but likewise, could only manage a near-fall.
As the fight spilled to the outside for the final time, Ariel decided to slide a table into the ring in order to splash Roxx through it, but managed to stop herself from going through it after Nikki moved. However, she could not avoid a second Barbie Crusher through the table which earned Roxx the pin, both belts and the honour of being crowned the first World Women’s Wrestling Champion.
This DVD was billed as a one-match show, and that’s essentially what it was. However, it was a fantastic match, and was assisted by a fun six person intergender tag match and Tanya Lee taking on Lexxus. The other matches aren’t really worth writing home about, but you can’t have everything.
As for comments on the production of the DVD itself, the camerawork and editing isn’t brilliant – the hardcam doesn’t have the best angle and is too dark, while the roving camera is a little shaky – and the commentary is a second or two ahead of the action, meaning they are reacting to moves before they take place, but these are minor gripes, as I’ve experienced far worse camerawork and commentary in my time. The bumf on the back of the DVD has a typo – incredile, anyone? – but again, this is nit-picking.
I’d recommend that you check it out though, as the main event is goddamn great. You can still buy it, as well as other WWW DVDs by clicking here.
- Lee Burton
Photos courtesy of Mike Jas