THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne
A few months ago I reviewed a couple of DVDs from the National Wrestling Federation (NWF), a promotion run by kids in the 1980’s that gained national television exposure in the United States via public access television. This edition of The Two Sheds Review is going to take a look at the second DVD in their Anoka Armoury series, Summer Sizzler Extravaganza, held way back in July 1986.
Once again the CD is introduced by the now-adult Shawn “Crusher” Crossen, the owner of the NWF, running down the card, before we get on to the action itself. After opening credits featuring the Human League classic “Don’t You Want Me” (boy that brings back memories, the first bout sees Sgt. Smash take on the masked Rattlesnake Jake. Smash is just a short chubby kid, and because of his height it looks somewhat ludicrous when he executes moves such as piledrivers and DDTs. As with much of the previous NWF DVD, the psychology and execution of the moves are very poor, and it seemed more like a playground fight at times. The end came when Jake clobbered the chubby kid…I mean Sgt. Smash with a chair, which was actually the best move of the match. This opener doesn’t leave me hopeful as far as the rest of the DVD is concerned.
After the match, both combatants are interviewed, in which Smash introduces his new manager, J.P. Kramer, and looking like he’s about to cry because of his defeat, and the Rattlesnake looks like he’s had too much coffee.
Tag-team action follows as the Super Ds challenge the Lightweight Tag-Team Champions the Rough Russians. As with the previous match, not much to write home about as far as execution of moves and psychology goes, so I don’t need to go into that again. If anything it’s actually worse than the first match, as the Ds get the title win after the one on the apron hits one of the Russians as he’s whopped into the opponent’s corner. But then for some reason the match is re-started, and the poor action continues until the Ds get the titles again following a flying clothesline off the second rope.
Another interview follows, this time with the Super Ds, as one of them announces that the Rough Russians “stink”, and that they’ll be touring around defending their new titles. Hopefully they found time to do their homework first.
Back to singles action as Dr. Destruction takes on Pretty Boy Taylor. Now these guys looked more like wrestlers, in the sense that they were actually taller than the top rope, and that Taylor was actually wearing proper wrestling gear. Some of the moves in this match were actually quite good, as it seemed that these two had actually gone to the trouble of planning out their match beforehand, which meant, unlike the first two matches, it didn’t look like a schoolboy fight. Taylor won this one, pinning the Doctor after a big splash from the second rope.
Backstage Destruction complains about the fact that his manager Ice Dragon was taken away from his ringside position. Then Taylor appears and cuts a promo that isn’t too bad, until Destruction re-appears and begins to argue with Taylor about his missing manager.
Grudge match time next, as Rough Ryan takes on the Iranian Sheik for the Lightweight title, and it’s the first time I’ve ever seen a blonde Iranian. I didn’t think it was possible, but this one was actually worse than the opener. It’s as per usual, poor psychology and execution of moves, yadda, yadda, yadda, referee gets hit, brawl involving the Russians and the Super Ds before the ref recovers, rings the bell and awards the title to the Sheik.
More tag action follows, as Invader 2 and some other guy defend the National Tag-Team title against the Mr. Nice Guys. Do I really need to tell you how bad this match was? It was poor, and it went on far too long, and the Invaders retained their title in the last minute of the match.
Backstage, one of the Nice Guys complained about losing the title. Then the Invaders came out, as the missing Invader revealed why he couldn’t wrestle.
Sticking with tag-teams, as the Rack-N-Roll Express face Ice Dragon and The Fly. Yep, you read it right. Guess they couldn’t come up with a more original name, but remember guys, these were only kids after all. By this time there’s over forty minutes left on the DVD, and I considered turning it off now. Buy hey! I’m a writer, and I promised Shawn Crossen I’d review all of his DVDs. Usual stuff, everything is awful, the Express win by disqualification.
Backstage, the Ice Dragon brags about “wasting” the Express in their match, denying that he ever hit one of his opponents with a chair.
It’s “The War to Settle the Score” (their tag line, not mine), as Crusher Crossen faces former friend Mr. X in a World title match. You know, parts of this match actually weren’t that bad, and the psychology at times wasn’t that bad either, as these two showed that they may have actually undergone some form of training, and although it won’t go down as one of the greatest matches in the history of professional wrestling, it was still the best thing on this DVD so far. And hey, we even got a brief appearance from David Letterman’s sidekick, Paul Schaffer, doing a spot as guest commentator. Well, that’s who he said he was. It looked like Crossen had won this one after a splash off the top rope, the second time that the referee had made a cock-up where he had to re-start a match, which sadly meant that this now over-long match had to continue, and after what seemed like an eternity, the match was declared a draw. Well, it started off well, but dragged on for far, far too long.
Backstage, Mr. X claims a moral victory against Crossen, before the champ himself says he wants a re-match.
The final match of the show sees The Barbarians against The Dream Team (not the Beefcake/Valentine team sadly). By now I’m past caring about who wins this one.
We then finish with the now-adult Shawn “Crusher” Crossen wrapping things up, saying how he was disappointed with the show’s attendance, and that to find out why the crowd was so low, you should buy his book.
In conclusion – well, first I’d like to make a public apology to Shawn Crossen. When I agreed to review these DVDs for him, he asked me to take into account the ages of the wrestlers when I reviewed the standard of the wrestling in the NWF. As a life-long wrestling fan, that’s something I just can’t do, because although I found the documentary about their promotion interesting, their actual shows contain the worst wrestling I’ve ever seen. Poor execution of moves, poor ring presence, poor ring psychology, poor everything leads to a poor overall product, and having watched two of their shows now, I really can’t see why the NWF gained such a cult following when it originally aired on public access television all those years ago. Maybe it’s because professional wrestling was perceived in a completely different way back then, I just don’t know. But all I will say is that these DVD releases are extremely poor, and I’m actually wondering if it’s going to be worth reviewing the other two DVDs Shawn sent me, because I know how my review will turn out.
With thanks to Shawn Crossen for sending me copies of these DVDs. For more information on the NWF, log onto www.nwfwrestling.net.
Now it’s time to plug a few items;
Visit A-Merchandise, the official sponsor of The Two Sheds Review, by logging onto www.a-merchandise.co.uk. They stock a wide array of DVDs from all over the world, including FWA, Premier Promotions and IPW: UK from Britain, ROH, Shimmer and PWG from America, as well as merchandise from WWE, UFC, Pro Wrestling NOAH and much more.
And finally, some of my work has made it into book form, with the first two stories of my 1990 Anglo-Force series, co-written with my brother Paul, The Two Sheds Review: Wrestling Pulp Fiction, featuring three wrestling-based fictional stories, and A Cornish Adventure, an account, complete with my photos, of my trip to the Cornwall in May 2001. All three books are now available to buy in either book form or via download in PDF format via www.lulu.com/twosheds316.
And don’t forget to keep an eye on my website, www.twoshedsreview.com, where you can read the entire Two Sheds Review archive, including articles on other sports such as boxing and football, and in the new and re-designed News and Entertainment section.