What’s up readers, Chris GST here again with another VWAA DVD review. This one took place on April 7th 2012 in Oak Forest, IL and was the final show leading into their big end of the year blow off, Manifest Destiny V which featured top talents such as Colt Cabana, Isaias Velasquez, and Lamar Titan, the latter two who are doing some tremendous work also in AAW (you can read my Manifest Destiny V review by clicking here). I apologize for this one being out of order but hopefully that won’t take away as this was one helluva show. As always I want to say that there are many men better at doing hold for hold, move for move reviews. This is not like that. While I will include details of the matches, I will be providing more of an overall review. Let’s get started. First up is the promo vid to get you ready for the show.
Better than the Best Semi-Finals
1. John E. Kash vs VWAAA Tag Champion Amazin’ Kuan vs Isaias Velazquez vs VWAA Circuit Champion Rick Walsh
As the commentators mentioned, this opening semi final was actually the final match at the last Better than the Best show. I may have to check that out but for right now, I’m looking forward to this. We have Walsh going after Kuan and Velazquez getting the better of Kash. We have basically the two big brawlers against two more striking/technical wrestlers. These tournament semi finals are set as four four-way matches that lead to one final four-way at the end of the night so we can expect to see a lot of different clashes of styles and see how guys have to make sure they can execute their game plans while facing different opponents. Kash is the base of this match as he is so good at getting under the skin of all his opponents, even if they are on the “same side of the tracks”. But that allows him to also distract all three men who want to get their hands on him. The ending of this match though sees Velazquez getting a double stomp on Walsh who is covering Quan to steal the pinfall for himself. Good opener, not a lot given away as no doubt they are conserving themselves for the finals.
2. Benjamin Boone vs CorVus vs Joe Firoz vs Freek
Hilarious to hear a fan chanting ‘Joe’s gonna kill you’ obviously talking about Joe Firoz who is probably the smallest competitor in this match. This is going to be a different kinda match as all four men are pretty much technical style wrestlers and it’s going to be a showcase of who can outdo the other. Boone has the advantage of being the larger opponent here and he tries to use that advantage for all it’s worth. But Freek is always fun with his antics including biting the bums and just overall being unpredictable. The ground work here was more emphasized and I thought that grounded the fans a bit more and allowed the participants to show what they do best. This match though did drag a bit as most of the time it felt like the competitors were spending more time trying to verbally spar with each other. A good match, nothing wrong with it but if it wasn’t a semi final, I probably wouldn’t say go out of your way to see it. Firoz would get the win over CorVus.
3. Cedric Keys vs Joey Marx vs Rickey Shane Page vs Eric Ryan
Pretty cool to see Eric Ryan & Rickey Shane Page of notable AIW matches here. VWAA doing the best they can to bring you some of the top talent of the indie scene. Cedric Keys was the one truly hated man of this match and all three competitors wanted to make sure he was not the winner from the get go as all of them threw him from the ring, but also showed he was a strong threat to them. Page and Ryan started off with some fantastic wrestling to get this match really going and the crowd loved it. I do hope both men see more bookings for VWAA and that more people who enjoy their stuff in AIW take a look at these guys in VWAA. Joey Marx is probably one of my favorite athletes going right now. In fact all four men in this match are some of the better indie talents out there right now and this match truly could be called a show stealer. Ryan would dump Keys out of the ring and perform a picture perfect suicide dive. Shane Page wouldn’t let that go and did one of his own, but it was Marx who would take it to the next level with a phoenix press to the outside on all three men. Ryan and Marx would face off and this is a singles match I’d really like to see. Both men so technically proficient that it gave the fans something different to see as normally it would be top talents such as Isaias Velazquez and Thomas Sinclair who have matches like that. Keys would capitalize though as Ryan & Page took themselves out of the match with a fun sequence and Marx would go for his high risk finisher but Keys was able to side step it and get the pinfall. So far best match of the night.
4. Bobby Beverly vs Jordan Pryde vs VWAA Champion Lamar Titan vs Lee Valiant
Given the talent in this match, it could also prove to be a show stealer of the night. Bobby Beverly has been tearing it up all over while Pryde & Titan are cornerstones of VWAA. Lee Valiant is the wild card here but he’s more than able to hold his own. Beverly and Lamar open this match with some good wrestling while Pryde and Valiant wait on the outside. Letting their opponents beat up eachother. Pryde is a former winner of the Better Than The Best tournament so he already knows what it takes to win this. The man with the ‘Iron Fist’/presumably loaded glove tries to come in to capitalize against the two tired men but gets caught. It seems the heels of the match in Pryde and Valiant have a sort of understanding but it all comes to nothing as Lamar Titan dives onto both men outside the ring. The story of this match was clearly the heels just not having good communication as they were pretty much dominated in every way by Titan and Beverly. Valiant though ultimately would be able to steal the win by spearing Pryde after Pryde helped get rid of Titan & Beverly. An upset to be sure.
5. Backwoods Brown vs Matthias Kelevra
This was merely a test for new owner Daniel Zigwa to see what Kelevra can do. Not a technical marvel at all but Backwoods Brown, who is bigger than Kelevra, did what he was supposed to do and Matthias looked good while destroying a large opponent to truly push home that the other vanguards are not going to have much of a chance against him. Matthias is part Mike Awesome, part Vader, and probably just as dangerous as both. Dominant win by ‘The Cleric’ Kelevra. Titan would come out to stop the beating Kelevra was continuing to do on Brown even after the ref stopped the match. The title match would be made here to main event the show.
6. VWAA Tag Champ Atlas J. Horn vs Thomas Sinclair w/Dr. Pinder
Thomas Sinclair is another of my favorite wrestlers right now. A style similar to Bryan Danielson/Daniel Bryan in terms of hard strikes and he knows how to target a limb and really work it. Horn’s leg was that target this night. Despite the big size difference between them, I would not have counted Sinclair out for a second as I do believe skill can outdo size. But the ongoing feud between Isaias would take Pinder out of the match. This was short and sweet and semi confusing at one point as the bell was not wrung until long after the three count. Not the best showcase for either man but don’t let that take away from Sinclair. Watch the matches between him and Isaias and no doubt you’ll be as big of a fan of him as I am.
7. Better than the Best 4-Way Elimination Finals
Isaias Velzquez vs Cedric Keys vs Lee Valiant vs Joe Firoz
These four men were all a part of four-ways earlier in the night though I’d want to say that Velazquez probably did the most work in his while Firoz, Keys, and Valiant really didn’t suffer all that much. Some interesting tandem work here made this a fun match but I can’t avoid bringing up some of the bad timing in this match in the beginning. This match obviously a good set up to showcase some of the younger talent in VWAA and I do not want to take away from that. This match got into it’s groove about five minutes in and after that it was fun to watch. It also was good to note that due to the elimination rules, the heels were able to team up and were taking it to the younger faces but it would be Valiant who ended that teamwork and turned on Keys to almost eliminate him. This match would go into second gear as a ladder and door, yes a door, were brought into it. In quick succession Sinclair would come out and attack Velazquez to allow Valiant to spear him through a door to eliminate Velazquez from the match. FIroz and Keys were fighting on top of a ladder in which a tower of doom blockbuster/powerbomb combo saw the end of Keys. And then after a good try, Valiant would defeat Firoz with a spear into the ladder. Lee Valiant is the 2012 5th Annual Better Than the Best winner.
8. VWAA Championship
“God of War” Lamar Titan (c) vs “The Cleric” Matthias Kelevra
Pretty basic match. But the story telling here was clear and definite. Titan did the most he could do against the monster known as The Cleric but it was too much. Kelevra was weakened at a few moments but never was taken down to even one knee. From the way the crowd reacted to this match, I’d have to say they were ready for Manifest Destiny where these two would meet again. But on this night Kelevra was the better man, and shown to be the future of VWAA.
Overall:Â I would have to say it’s a thumbs up. VWAA makes it very easy to get into their product. The production values get better and hopefully in the new year they will make a switch to HD. The wrestling is good and on par with most other indie wrestling promotions with talent who I feel are necessary to see. We’ve at PWP already seen guys like Isaias Velazquez and Lamar Titan doing well in AAW and hopefully more talents will be featured in other companies. But VWAA is where it all begins and even though they have been in business for 5 years, I feel as if this year they hit some good strides. Bringing in talents such as Colt Cabana, Ricochet, Bobby Beverly, Rickey Shane Page, and Eric Ryan and having top athletes of their own like Sinclair, Marx, and others. This DVD is currently out of stock on it’s own BUT for only $18 you can get the entire 2012 collection from Jan to Apr, so that includes this event. For less than the price of most DVDs, you get 6. I highly recommend that. Then for just another $10, get Manifest Destiny and complete the 2012 set for VWAA. Support indy wrestling.
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