Just a quick note, I was going to do all of HWA “Best Of” DVDs in chronological order, starting with the Best of 2003 set. But since I can’t seem to find it anywhere, I’ll skip to 2004. To be honest, I’m both worried and excited about what could be contained on here. Worried because it’s 2004 HWA and the matches may be crap but I’m excited to find out exactly what matches are on here since I’m not too familiar with nor do I recall any of the product during that time.
1) J.T. Stahr vs. Nigel McGuinness – 2
The meat of this has been clipped to hell so I can’t give an accurate rating but I will rate of what was shown. The last few minutes that were shown in full were decent though. Nigel had a good comeback out of a submission hold and Stahr took his offense pretty well. I would’ve like to have seen the whole match. Let’s hope this won’t be a recurring trend on this disc.
2) Matt Stryker vs. T.J. Dalton – 3
Fun little match with Stryker controlling the match on offense. Dalton had no expression on his face when selling. He knocked off the apron, got hit with a baseball slide and sold both moves with all the enthusiasm of a corpse. Stryker wasn’t much to look at either as he laid in the ring like a dead fish while the interference from Cody Hawk and J.T. Stahr was happening.
3) Lotus vs. J.T. Stahr – 3
The pace in this was pretty quick. Lotus, the current Dave Crist, hit a Japanese arm drag at an early point in the match. I’m guessing he only did that because he saw it on an All Japan tape the previous night in his parent’s basement and thought it might look cool to try. Stahr didn’t provide much to the contest except just showing up to collect a paycheck. Stahr’s partner T.J. Dalton was on the outside with a ridiculous Triple H shirt and tried to interfere but failed. Lotus’ standing dropkick looked like shit. Nice to see Dave Crist give a shit for once.
4) Crazy J vs. T.J. Dalton – 4
Couple nice moves in this one. Crazy J hit a really nice springboard knee to the head from the top rope and Dalton hit a brain-scrambling implant DDT. I always though Crazy J was the more talented of the Crist brothers and my argument is proven here and this match was more crisp than the previous match on this set featuring his brother. Dalton’s selling of an arm consisted of shaking it every now and then. His facial sells were better here but still nothing too great.
5) Hoss & Nigel McGuinness vs. Matt Stryker & Cody Hawk – 4
Hoss looked lost early with all four guys brawling in the ring. Nigel has the world’s least threatening manager in his corner. I mean this guy looks like he couldn’t even manage to open a bag of potato chips. Stryker and Hawk looked good as a team here. Hawk hit a good double top-rope double leg drop and Stryker’s facials on offense were really good. The announcers spent the entire match speculating on Hoss’ retirement with the color guy asking the Easter Bunny to bring him another Hoss match for Easter. Wait, what? To me that seems like it’s the equivalent of asking for a case of herpes for Christmas. Hoss hit some move called a swirly for a nice near-fall but it was all in vain as Stryker and Hawk picked up the win.
6) Four Way Scramble Match: Necessary Roughness vs. Lotus & Crazy J vs. Southern Breeze vs. Mike Desire & Tack - 5
I saw this match live but have no memory of it what-so-ever. The giant spot where everyone dives on everyone else takes place right as the match starts. Lotus & Crazy J had some really smooth looking high-risk spots, namely the perfectly executed Spanish Fly manuever near the end of the bout. Necessarary Roughness is Jon Moxley and Jimmy Turner doing a football gimmick and it is very strange to see Moxley dressed as a football player. Moxley was showing the skills that have made him one of the top indy stars today. There was one point where Lotus & Crazy J screwed up their spot, resulting in one of them taking a crash landing in an empty ring, and Moxley stood on the apron laughing. The color guy kept calling Southern Breeze legendary. Yeah, that’s a pretty ridiculous comment. The big spot at the end featured Necessary Roughness and Southern Breeze brawling around the entrance to the arena with Tack and Lotus brawling on the balcony. Bet you can figure out what happens from here. Tack gives Lotus a piledriver on the balcony and then tosses him off onto the two teams below. Fun stuff here, worth it just to see early Moxley if anything else.
7) Barbed Wire Match: J.T. Stahr & T.J. Dalton vs. Matt Stryker & Cody Hawk – 3
This really was not good at all. It was obvious to me that all four guys were limited in what they could do given that the ropes were covered in barbed wire. Another problem was that it went 40 minutes … 40 minutes I tell you! Why on earth anyone would give these guys 40 minutes is beyond me. It’s almost like the guy running the show said “Ok, we’ve got time to kill. Just go out there and fuck around for 40 minutes.” The heels spent the first 10-12 stalling with regional indy schlep manager Brock Guffman pulling out medical gauze and tape from his pants. Also, T.J. Dalton has a ridiculous N*SYNC t-shirt on. Why wear that? Did you want to relive your days from junior high where you pimped the New Kids on the Block tee and got your ass beat by the school bully? Stryker visibly laughed at Stahr’s overselling of the barbed wire barely touching him in the ass. There were no really big bumps, probably the biggest bump of the match was Stahr getting tossed over the top rope on to the floor, and not much blood at all. I give these guys credit for trying but if your looking for Funk/Sabu or Whitmer/Necro levels of brutality and violence, you’d be better off searching someplace else because you won’t find it here.
8) Jon Moxley vs. Cody Hawk – 4
Short, fast paced match with Hawk controlling most of the offense. I still can’t get over Moxley with the football tights on as he looks completely out of place in that garb. Cody’s offense for once was pretty smooth and it didn’t look like he was dragging ass in the ring. Mox bumped around well. Hawk hit the world’s shittiest muscle buster while the referee was distracted on the outside with the two valets. At the end we get interference from Mox’s tag partner Jimmy Turner and then a cavalcade of shit with the valets brawling and Hawk covering Mox, Turner, and their valet for the win.