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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

DVD Review: XPW Wrestling Television: The Complete 3rd Season

Courtesy of Main Event Radio's Steve “Rockamaniac” Wilson:

When you check out the back cover of XPW’s complete third season DVD the hype line informs you that coming off of the “Go Funk Yourself” event, XPW entered season 3 with “the drama at a all time high” To say the least that is very true. With XPW having “venue problems” at the time, no new matches were being taped and thus weekly TV focused in on soap opera like storylines full of cheesy jokes, controversial topics and x-rated content. The so called “venue problems” is a whole other story but beyond these problems, two events were announced and these episodes would serve as the buildup towards them.

Season 3 begins as owner Rob Black returns from his vacation in Japan. Although at first glance he seems to be back to normal, Black is still somewhat off his rocker, talking to his black santa claus doll “N.C”, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what NC stands for. Another thing that hasn’t changed is Black’s desire to get the XPW world title away from Sabu. Late in season 2 he had brought in Terry Funk who was unable to get the title away from Sabu, so while in Japan, Black recruits hardcore Japanese legend Atsushi Onita, the only man who Sabu fears, and Black sets up the “first ever exploding ring match in the US” for December and also supposedly sells the company to Onita and changes the name to XPW Japan. This dies out as unfortunately the December show would be cancelled, and Sabu would first face off against Kronus and Big Dick Dudley in November. Black’s wife Lizzy Borden is kidnapped by the mob over a stolen car, Meanwhile Supreme and The Messiah continue to feud and attempt to one up eachother in actual street fights leading to a final confrontation to crown the true king of the death match, Kid Kaos continues to try and put the moves on Supreme’s wife Krysti Myst, White Trash Johnny Webb takes Homeless Jimmy’s advice and returns to girlfriend Jessica Darling, but Jimmy goes missing and the pair go on a city wide hunt to make sure he is ok, while Jessica’s dark past continues to rear it’s ugly head as Tool and Cypher attack Webb and Jessica and nearly kill them! Some new stuff for season 3 is the addition of Playboy Buddy Rose as the mentor of the gigolo Steve Rizzano, as well as the debut of Juventund Guerrera, and quite frankly seeing Juventund speak on mic is hilariously bad. New Jack also debuts in a big way late in the season, taking everyone out in true New Jack style.

At times the storylines didn’t click. Rob Black often seems unfazed by the fact that his wife was being held hostage somewhere, and promo segments with hosts Kris Kloss and Larry Rivera often seem misplaced. You also have to get past the fact that a show just after the big events presumes you were there and thus your seeing reaction to what happened, with the footage only being shown later. It may have been marketed as wrestling, but these weekly tv episodes were really just storyline buildup via short segments leading to the big monthly events they had planned at the time, One could argue that the formula would maximize the interest in seeing the actual match, while others say that they want to see some actual wrestling on a wrestling show. Taking the product for what it is, I always found myself interested in finding out what happened next and being able to see the entire progression in one fell swoop is a plus.

As far as in ring action is concerned, all the “dramatic” buildup does lead to something as you get to see some big matchups and by the end of the season things are getting back to normal as they have some action to show. First off is a Hayabusa/Onita exploding ring match from Japan to hype up Onita’s debut with the company. You also get some of the pay off matches from the monthly events including Sabu vs Kronus vs Big Dick, Supreme vs Messiah in the King of the death match championship match, Sabu vs Messiah, Big Dick Dudley vs Tool, Johnny Webb vs Supreme and many more.

You also get a bunch of Unaired Bonus Matches include Abdullah The Butcher vs Homeless Jimmy, Christopher Daniels vs Donovan Morgan, Kid Kaos vs Michael Modest, Phenomenal Phil vs Dynamite D, Supreme vs Homeless Jimmy and Tool vs Dynamite D. Other bonus features are XPW commercials, The Jessica Darling Love Triangle video, and a in ring strip tease from Kristy Myst.

XPW’s complete season DVD’s are often on sale for 9.99$ at Big Vision’s website (bvdvd.com), other times you’ll see it listed at retailers for 14.99, at those prices, for a 3 disc, 9 hour set, its basically a steal, especially if you enjoy in depth storyline buildup, albeit at times corny, or x-rated, but there is some good stuff in the abandoned Sabu/Onita build (would have been classic had we gotten the payoff), as well as the Supreme/Messiah feud which eventually leads into Messiah vs Sabu, throw in the payoff matches for most of these feuds not to mention the bonus features, and for the small price your paying I don’t see how you could be disappointed.

XPW Wrestling Television: The Complete 3rd Season as well as the first two seasons are available on DVD now from Big Vision Entertainment. Check out BVDVD.com or thexpw.com for more information. To read my previous DVD reviews check out www.MainEventRadio.com/Reviews.htm