The weekend of January 6 and 7 2006 saw the Doncaster-based 1 Pro Wrestling promotion host their second and third shows in front of sold out crowds of 1,700 inside the Doncaster Dome.
Both nights were built around the appearance of Bret "The Hitman" Hart, along with eight qualifying matches for their 1PW title tournament, featuring TNA stars such as Abyss, Petey Williams, Jerry Lynn, AJ Styles, Jeff Jarrett, Christopher Daniels and Samoa Joe. Now released on DVD, both nights of the No Turning Back weekend are available in two-disk sets, covering every single match from that weekend in Doncaster. I'll be reviewing both nights here on f4wonline.com, along with the extra Fan Slam/Bret Hart Q&A DVD that was also released.
Starting on night one, the show opens up with a video package showing various highlights from the old World of Sport days of British wrestling, featuring Big Daddy, Giant Haystacks and grapplers of that ilk, before fading away into highlights from the debut 1PW show. The show opens in the 1PW Arena with the appearance of Bret Hart to an extremely loud ovation, with Bret cutting the same promo that he would do three times over the weekend - and we'll skip it...
(1) Petey Williams vs Jerry Lynn
A brief backstage promo from Jerry Lynn and his Morphoplex T-shirt~! hypes up his tournament qualifying match with Petey Williams, which just so happens to be the first bout of the evening, and in the entrances alone we get some production problems, such as the loud entrance music distorting. The match itself wasn't too bad, although the as-live commentary of Joe Dombrowski and Antony Kingdom James gets a little tough to hear.
There's not too much high flying action early on, and the first foray onto the floor sees Jerry Lynn bend the now notoriously-weak 1PW security barriers as he gets whipped into the metal guard rails. Sadly, there's not much in the way of crowd heat for this match, as there's an eerie silence whenever both guys aren't hitting or teasing spots. A blocked Canadian Destroyer allows Lynn to hit the Novocaine for a two-count, although Petey Williams gets a nice pop when he locked in the Sharpshooter moments later. Another blocked Destroyer gives Lynn the chance to hit the Alabama Slam/Fly Swatter on Williams in the corner, with the Destroyer leading to the finish, as Lynn reverses it (again) into a Cradle Piledriver for the win, with Lynn being played out to Masato Tanaka's ring music. Oops. A decent match overall, with little to make it stand out.
(2) Elix Skipper vs Spud
We move straight onto the next match, with Elix Skipper facing Birmingham boy Spud. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Spud, take a look to your right, and then stop laughing. Kingdom James reels up some information about Elix's time in the Canadian Football Leagues, as "Prime Time" overpowers the local lad in yellow and black. Spud tries to power back, but walks straight into a spin kick, then gets absolutely flattened with a belly to belly suplex.
Just like the last match, this had little heat, short of the kids willing on Spud, and Skipper nearly dies as he loses his balance while walking the ropes before landing a missile dropkick. Spud fires back for a while with some kicks, then gets the win literally out of nowhere with a schoolboy. This was painted as an upset win for the 120-something pounder, but things were going to get worse...
Out came Sterling James Keenan and Abyss as Spud was celebrating, to continue the storyline they started in October. Keenan whips Spud into the ropes, and Abyss gives Spud the Black Hole Slam of Fuck (or if you'd prefer, a 720 Black Hole Slam) before some Shock Treatment kills off the plucky Spud. Keenan cuts a promo about D'Lo Brown, who was pulled from this show to do a show in Japan, while Abyss pointed to his scars. They built up the Keenan/Ulf Herman and Abyss/Sabu bouts from later in the night, and after a teased turn from Abyss, that's all you need to know about this segment.
(3) Steve Corino vs Masato Tanaka
This isn't a qualifier, and Corino comes out to his funky Japanese-sounding music (if anyone knows where I can a copy of it, you know who to e-mail...). Those who have only seen Tanaka's ECW work will be surprised by Tanaka using some submission moves in this contest, although the vast majority of the match as stiff as you'd expect - especially the chops. Corino waves Tracy Smothers and Chris Hamrick down to the ring, and as Corino distracts the ref, the pair beat the crap out of Tanaka while Kingdom James talks about how Corino, Hamrick and Smothers are part of an Old School stable. We go back to the strong style as Tanaka and Corino trade forearms, with the referee quickly becoming annoying as he rocks back and forth like he were taking the blows.
Tanaka gets a near fall from a tornado DDT out of the corner, but lands on his head from a Corino lariat, before Corino comes close with a Snow Plow. Following a struggle, Tanaka lands a vanilla suplex then squashes Corino with a frog splash for a two count as the crowd seems to be more interested in Tracy Smothers. A ref bump is the signal for Smothers and Hamrick to run in, but it's not long before Al Snow and the Blue Meanie save the day. No decision was announced, so I guess this was a no contest...
After the match, Corino announced the formation of Old School X, then went heel on a crowd that wanted a six-man tag match, until he asked the fans to pay £1 each to do the match. Al gets on the mic for a bit, and gives Masato get a chance to keep "knocking Corino's dick stiff" in the six man tag.
(4) Al Snow, Blue Meanie & Masato Tanaka vs Chris Hamrick, Tracy Smothers & Steve Corino
An impromptu six man tag here, and early on we get a lot of tags and no wrestling. Tracy grabs the mic and asks to replace the six man with a dance off between the JOB Squad and Southern Comfort. Smothers & co dance along to some wacky dance music - FIVE STAR DANCING FROM THE HEELS~! Meanie does his fat man shuffle to the bWo song, with Al and Tanaka joining in as well. This is, err, surreal...
(5) Al Snow & Blue Meanie vs Tracy Smothers & Chris Hamrick
It descends into a fight with Corino and Tanaka going to the back, as Al lands a tope off of the Meanie onto Southern Comfort outside. Some good old fashioned gay innuendo from Southern Comfort follows, as we switch into a decent tag match. The JOB Squad drill Hamrick with the Hart Attack, then a sick 3D as they rattle through some tag team finishers. Smothers gets the Doomsday Device, as Al gives Tracy Head (the mannequin), only for Snow to get knocked out with a chain for Hamrick to get the pinfall. Following the match, Meanie sets up a rematch on the next night, with the stipulation being "losers wear a dress".
As the ring crew comes in to dry up the ring, Joe Dombrowski tries to shill their next weekend of shows - only for Jeff Jarrett to interrupt. Jeff gets an unusual face pop from Doncaster, although that's possibly because he was the first major and active star the fans had seen that night. Jeff rips on 1PW for "losing" his guitars, and talks about his "mystery opponent", demanding that he comes out. It looks like Jeff wants his match before intermission, and he gives a five count for his opponent to come out...
At the count of four, Bret Hart's music hits, and he appears in the aisleway to introduce his mystery man: the son of the British Bulldog - Harry Smith. Jeff tries to cut a promo on a dead mic, then remembers to switch it on... and then the match starts.
(6) Jeff Jarrett vs Harry Boy Smith
When they finally lock up, Harry Boy overpowers Jeff to the mat, and there's a lot of stalling as the crowd chants "drop the title" at Jarrett. Jeff throws a few punches at Harry, who responds with a hiptoss, arm drag and dropick to send the champion to the floor. Harry teased a pescado, but Jarrett blocks it and drags him to the floor, where they work against those weak railings. Back in the ring, Harry flies in with a dropkick, then kips up, only to miss a big boot in the corner that gives Jeff a route into the match, as he works in the figure four leglock~!
A high clothesline and a high knee takes down Jarrett, as Harry gets a two count from a powerslam, then lands a running powerslam to a huge pop, only for Jeff to put his foot on the rope to at the count of two. Jeff grabs a chair, then smashes Harry over the head with it as he lands the Stroke for the win. Again, a decent match, but the crowd didn't seem to be into it.
And so it's over to disk two~!
(7) Low Ki vs Jonny Storm vs Jody Fleisch
It's the battle of the guys in baggy pants and someone in a white unitard~! The music gets screwed up for the Rottweilers, which includes Homicide, who is there but unable to wrestle because of his shoulder injury. The three way starts off with Low Ki vs the two Brits, although that doesn't last long as Storm clotheslines Fleisch as he prepared to dive out of the ring. There's some good spots in this, but sadly little in the way of cohesion between the participants as they move from one highspot to the next.
Low Ki is easily the most over guy in the match as the crowd chants for him to "fuck up" the two Brits across the ring, which he gleefully does along with the help of some liberal interference from Homicide at ringside. Some hard kicks and chops continue to establish Ki's dominance, before he blocks a sunset flip by Storm and kills him with a hard double stomp. The match gets a bit boring until they go for the tower of doom spot, which ends with Storm giving a German Suplex to Fleisch, with Low Ki ending up taking a moonsault from Fleish out of that sequence. Jonny Storm misses his cue to break up a pincount from Fleisch's split-legged moonsault while the crowd starts a "this is awesome" chant.
Low Ki does his Kobashi impression by chopping Fleisch in the corner, which Fleisch quickly gives him a receipt for, but any attempt at a comeback ends when he botches a vertical leap moonsault to Ki, as Ki turns that into a sick ghetto stomp. Ki gets up and wanders into Storm's Wonderwall finisher for a two count. Storm then botches his rewind huracanrana and gets thrown into Fleisch, before Storm eats a Ki Krusher for another two-count. Storm gets set up for a Ghetto Stomp, but Fleisch knocks Ki off the ropes and calls for the 720 DDT, which Homicide blocks. Storm goes up to superplex Ki, but gets kicked off the top. The finish comes with Fleisch landing the 720 on Storm, before falling to Ki's Ghetto Stomp. It was a really spotty match, if you like that sort of thing, but this just fell apart too m any times for my liking.
(8) Sterling James Keenan vs Ulf Herman
Ulf breathes fire as a part of his entrance nowadays, as he makes his 1PW debut, replacing D'Lo Brown in a title tournament qualifier. Keenan tries to outrun Herman, and after a brief spell on top by the German, Keenan slows the pace of the match down as he works over the knee, which leads to the second Figure Four of the night, which Herman quickly escapes. One chokeslam later, Herman's on top, but that doesn't last for long as Keenan gets the win out of nowhere with a low blow. This one was average at best.
(9) Darren Burridge vs Doug Williams
Words cannot express how much I hate Burridge's gimmick... this is another tourney qualifier, and Doug tries to do a technical match (aside from Burridge's foot biting, which defies all logic). Burridge pulls a pair of furry dice out of his trunks (you read that right), and continues to beat on Williams, who sells this really well bearing in mind that his opponent has two furry dice hanging from his groin. Burridge gets a two count from a German suplex, before Williams rebounds with some jumping high knees and his Bomb Threat knee drop off the top rope for a near fall. Burridge takes down Williams with a shoulder block for another two as he calls for Williams' own Chaos Theory finisher. Burridge misses, but ends up locking Doug in some wacky submission move, then gets himself tangled in the ropes. Williams connects with a tope to the outside, which remarkably doesn't buckle those barricades. Back inside the ring, Burridge tries for a rope-assisted sunset flip pin, which the ref breaks up, but "the Pukka One" gets the win with a body press near the ropes for the upset.
We go backstage now to AJ Styles, who's cutting a promo to build up the four-way featuring TNA's top three X Division stars... and Charlie Haas. And yes, that's next!
(10) Christopher Daniels vs Charlie Haas vs Samoa Joe vs AJ Styles
Everyone in this match gets a monster pop... except Charlie Haas. Jeremy Borash makes his presence felt at ringside as he's panning the crowd a lot with a camera to get footage for Impact. The crowd are eating this one up, and the bell hasn't even rung. I'll try to keep this one short: you got the great ring work between Daniels, Joe and AJ that you'd expect whenever any two of those three lock up in the same ring. The crowd's reactions dropped a little when Haas went in, but he put on a good display of amateur-style grappling, apart from one spot where he nearly dumped AJ on his head with a takedown.
Joe refuses to get tagged in early, which means we have Haas working over AJ and Daniels, until Joe hit a blind tag on Haas and unleashed his FAT MAN FURY~! on Daniels, who quickly rolls out and tags in AJ. Joe no-sells a chop or two, then kicks the piss out of AJ, to the point where Styles nearly fell out of the ring. Styles tries a flying cross body out of the corner, but Joe nonchalantly walks away and then goes back to work on those stiff chops. AJ and Daniels work together on Joe for a while, with Daniels getting a two count from a reverse lungblower on Joe. In comes Haas, who shows the middle finger to a crowd chanting for everyone but him, as he gets a two count from a T-bone throw to Daniels. Daniels gets thrown to the floor, where Joe finds him and delivers the Olé kick as the crowd chanted "one more time". Haas chokes Daniels for a while before getting a two count, then tags in Joe who crushes Daniels with the combo knee drops. Joe does a "Phantom Audio Tag~!" for Haas, who works over Daniels' arm for a moment, before Joe and Daniels resume battle.
AJ comes in and eventually hits his moonsault reverse DDT on Haas for two, then gets another near fall from a torture rack powerbomb as Joe comes in and punts AJ's gut again, then twists AJ inside out like Rikishi with a lariat. Now we get the legitimate "this is awesome" chants, as opposed to the shitty ones from the three-way match earlier in the night. For some reason, a "Cena Sucks" chant breaks out as Joe does his submissions combo. Daniels drills Joe with a Death Valley Driver for a two count, then locks in the Koji Clutch, before Haas breaks up a pin from the BME. Haas plants Daniels with an Angle Slam, but Joe breaks up a Haas of Pain attempt, as the Joe/Daniels interaction ends with a split-legged moonsault to the floor. Haas dives off the top too, while AJ completes the diving for the night with a tope con hilo. Okay, I was wrong - Joe smashes into Daniels on the floor with a tope, and the finish comes not too long after when AJ hits the Styles Clash on Haas, ending what was easily the match of the night.
And now, ring announcer/commentator Joe Dombrowski gives us a parental guidance warning, as he tells us that the main event - a Survival of the Sickest match - will be graphic in nature. I hope there aren't any kids watching...
(11) Abyss vs Sabu
This is the final qualifier of the evening, and Sabu quickly grabs a table and a chair from underneath the ring. We see some ECW-era Sabu as he crotches himself while attempting a springboard moonsault onto Abyss, and the pair smash the security barriers as they wander through the crowd and back into the ring. Abyss wedges a chair into the ropes, then kicks Sabu below the belt before tossing him into the aforementioned chair. Sabu blocks an Earthquaske splash by crotching Abyss with the chair, then switches a Black Hole Slam into a tornado DDT.
Sabu sets up the table, then avoids being chokeslammed through it as all resemblance to wrestling gets thrown out of the window here. Abyss takes a bump through the table after Sabu hit a top rope legdrop, but then the referee gets squashed by Abyss in the corner. Sabu finally connects with the triple jump moonsault, after crotching himself earlier, and Sabu gets a visual three count from it. Sterling James Keenan runs out and hits Sabu with the back cracker, then revives the ref in time for Abyss to get a two count. Keenan grabs a bag from underneath the ring - and it's the thumbtacks! Thousands of those shiny drawing pins get sprinkled on the ring, but Sabu blocks two attempts at being thrown into them, only to take a Black Hole Slam into the thumbtacks for the finish. Not much of a match, but by christ did Sabu take a sick bump to end the night, with Ulf Herman coming out to pick the pins out of Sabu's back after the heels left the scene. Then it's a spot of kayfabe killing credits (well, it is if you're Kingdom James) and we're out...
For those of you who care about these things, the extras on the DVDs include the two dark matches from earlier in the night, Kindgom James shooting on the (soon to be ex) 1PW referee "Afro", and footage of Joe Dombrowski being wheeled all around the Doncaster Dome in a caged trolley in a Jackass-style rib.
Compared to their debut show, the first night of No Turning back was a solid affair with nothing really bad on the card. As we'll see in night two though, this was the weaker of the two shows, but 1PW need to do a lot of work to improve their live production. Visually, the post-production (graphics, and the like) are spot on, but the camera work is wildly inconsistent, as is the editing which provided us with the dreaded gem of hearing an announcer talk without his lips moving.
- 1PW’s “No Turning Back: Night One”, as well as their entire range of DVDs, can be purchased via highspots.com, ROHwrestling.com (for delivery in North America and worldwide), or via the 1upgames.co.uk website. The company's last two shows from March, entitled All Or Nothing, will be released as two separate DVDs in May, along with their Fan Slam event .
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