It’s time for another edition of “The Eye Gouge”. For those who don’t remember how this works basically this is a review column for DVD’s and Books and this time out we are reviewing the WSU Breaking Barriers DVD. For those who might recall this was WSU’s first iPPV and I was supposed to attend this show live but was held up to due to other circumstances and unable to attend. Having recently had a chance to attend WSU’s second iPPV I was curious to know how the product comes across on video and figured it would be a great candidate for “The Eye Gouge”. Of course anyone who has read the first column knows that “The Eye Gouge” has a unique rating system with the ratings being appropriately enough eye gouges with 5 being the worst rating you can get and 0 being the best rating you can get. So let’s get into the review.
DVD just immediately jumps into the commentary so we don’t get any introductions for the commentators. The commentators are in the middle of putting over Mercedes Martinez the reigning WSU Champion and mention her being the number 3 ranked women’s wrestler for the PWI Top 50 wrestlers which made her the highest ranking independent female on that list. Show opens up with Homicide coming out. The announcers put over Homicide as the best wrestler to come from the NY/NJ area in the last decade (Low Ki may take offense to that) and mention how over the past few weeks there have been rumblings of Homicide coming to this show specifically to challenge Mercedes Martinez but no one knew exactly what that challenge was. Homicide grabs the microphone and proceeds to call out the entire WSU Lockeroom. He mentions how this is there night and reiterates that he is there to give Mercedes Martinez both a challenge and an award. Mercedes music hits and she comes out. Basically Homicide puts her over as one of the best women of the business and puts over the roster and goes onto put over her opponent later on in the evening in Jazz. He mentions his challenge being for Martinez to be his partner in the upcoming NWS/WSU King and Queens Tournament and is then interrupted by the Cosmo Club led by Rick Cataldo. For those who are unfamiliar with WSU Rick’s gimmick is that he is a crossdressing manager who thinks he is a woman and at times wrestles the ladies. As comedic as it is he is actually very good in his role and well he went about trashing both Homicide and Martinez which ended with him smacking Homicide and Homicide laying him out with a stunner and would have whipped him with his belt except his pants were falling (I’m not making that up). He calls for the PWI Editor (actually he said “Jeff whatever the fuck your name is get out here before I kick your ass”) to come down and present Martinez with the award which was stated to be for WSU Woman of the Year. The PWI guy put over Martinez’s numerous matches along with her 70 minute Ironwoman match which then bought Angel Orsini into the ring who complained of being the other woman in that Ironwoman match and bashed the PWI guy for her being ranked number 28 in the PWI Top 50 and for not recognizing her unsactioned WSU All Guts, No Glory Championship. She went onto mention being a 14 year veteran who has had stints in ECW and wrestled a bunch of mainstream names and after teasing attacking him kneed him in the stomach while Martinez basically watched all of this go down even though the announcers hyped this up as Orsini ruining Martinez’s moment. Martinez would go to help this poor guy up and then Jazz tried to get a cheap shot in but Mercedes turned around which led to a staredown and Jazz repeatedly asking for them to ring the bell and have the match now. The whole thing broke down to a pull apart in which referees and such separated the ladies. Not a bad opening segment but not really how I would like to start a PPV type show. Even still there were a lot of things accomplished here as Homicide would basically put over Mercedes and the roster, hype up an upcoming NWS/WSU King and Queens Tag Team Tournament, Orsini getting involved would set her up for an eventual showdown with Martinez and Jazz getting involved towards the end would remind the audience what they were in store for later on in the evening. In hindsight there was probably more that could have been done with it such as getting Alicia who would be Orsini’s opponent in the evening involved and maybe even some of the other matches for later with a bleed over into the next segment but I’m not going to say this was bad at all.
Our opening match would be Brittany Force vs. Amber. The announcers would tell us that this was Force’s second match for the promotion and how Amber’s Boston Shore partner Lexxus was unable to be there due to being out with an injury. They would also mention the Boston Shore having a run in with Traci Brooks and April Hunter at a previous show foreshadowing something down the line between those two teams. This match was really nothing special. Amber got the heat early on and after a cool looking Ace Crusher/reverse Russian legsweep variation Brittany Force went into a mini comeback which ended with Amber hitting her with an ensuigiri for the pin at around the 5 minute mark. I definitely like Amber better as a tag team wrestler and would probably like to see a bit more of Brittany Force before making more of a judgment on her.
The Cosmo Club came out again with Rick Cataldo in a neck brace obviously selling the beating from Homicide earlier in the show. Brittany Savage takes the microphone and announces a new member of the group which turns out to be Melissa Coates the announcers mention that this is not the first time they have tried to recruit a new member as they have previously done so without luck with Alicia and Angel Orsini but Coates definitely looks to be on board. Savage mentions Coates being her body guard. Cataldo grabs the microphone again and Jennifer Cruz comes out for a match up with Coates while the rest of the Cosmo Club remains at ringside. Jennifer Cruz was out apparently a year with an injury before this match and well she didn’t come back victorious as Coates just destroyed Cruz here with an onslaught of power before finishing her off at about three minutes with a chokeslam.
After this match Savage grabs the microphone and calls out Sassy Stephanie for their match up for the WSU Spirit Championship. The announcers put over that Stephanie was screwed out of the title previously thus the reason for this rematch. This was an old school heel/babyface match with Stephanie looking good early on and constantly getting cut off by the interfering members of the Cosmo Club to give Savage the advantage. The finish came at around 6 minutes when after seemingly rising against the odds and hitting the Kiss my Sass on Savage the Cosmo Club distracted the referee and Coates ran in and chokeslammed Stephanie to give Savage the win. Savage took the microphone and told Cindy Rogers and Jana how they better win tonight to keep the Club undefeated. Jana grabbed the microphone and told the rest of the Cosmo Club they could go to the back and the whole group took a big photo op and the rest of the Cosmo Club left which led us into the next match up.
We had the Belle Saints come out for their WSU Tag Team Championship match against Jana and Cindy Rogers. The announcers put over strong how the Cosmo Club members didn’t think much of their challengers and how the Belles Saints earned this match with singles victories over each member of the champions in matches that took place on an august show. During the course of the match the announcers put over an insectv spot featuring Oscar De La Hoya training Tina San Antonio of the Belle Saints and mentioned how he didn’t like the Cosmo Club. The challengers looked great with fire and tandem offense early on but were cut off to give the Cosmo Club a chance to get some heat in. Heels beat up on Tina San Antonio for awhile but didn’t kill her off as they gave her plenty of little hope spots until she was able to make the hot tag to Marti Belle who came in and did the house of fire on the champs. Her comeback was very short as before you knew it all four combatants were in the ring and the Belle Saints would win the titles on a backslide pin from Marti to Cindy Rogers at around 10 minutes to give the Saints the win and the tag team titles. I liked the Belle Saints here a lot more than I did when I saw them compete separately at the last WSU iPPV I just wish the heat and the comeback could have went just a bit longer to have that finish be more impactful. After the match we saw Jana and Cindy Rogers argue in the ring with both of them taking turns shoving each other and Jana leaving Rogers in the ring.
Next we had Portia Perez vs. ODB. I believe this may have been ODB’s first independent show since leaving TNA and she appeared to be very over with the WSU crowd. Portia Perez looked totally ripped to shreds as she obviously puts her time in at the gym. Early on we saw Portia basically tell ODB she has a bear gut and how great her abdominals are which led to a lot of jaw jacking and ODB and her getting it on. The announcers kept putting over Portia’s technical skill saying how much she needed to get ODB on her back due to ODB being much physically larger than Portia and Portia having an advantage there and this proved to be true as ODB early on woman handled Portia until cut off where Portia was able to wrestle her down to the mat. ODB would come back throw Portia around again and defeat her with a powerslam at about 5 minutes for a victorious WSU debut.
Next up we had Rain who was accompanied by Jessica Havok come out and the announcers put over that Rain is putting together an army and how Havok was her enforcer. Rain came out and put over her WSU title shot at the winner of the main event and said she wanted a warm up match at which Jamilia Craft came out and we had a match. While we already had one squash with Melissa Coates vs. Jennifer Cruz this was a bit more of a competitive squash but the key word there is it was still a squash. Considering this was WSU’s first iPPV I don’t know if I would have had 2 squash matches on this show. Rain made short work of her opponent defeating her with double knee to the ribs in about five minutes and Jessica Havok would grab the microphone and issue an open challenge for an opponent and then challenged “Primetime” Amy Lee and out came Amy Lee.
The announcers did their best freak out job of wondering why Havok would challenge Amy Lee while putting over both women as women you wouldn’t want to mess with. Havok once again reiterated her challenge to Amy Lee and the match was on. This was basically a knockdown dragout as Amy came out strong early on with Jessica finally cutting her off and doing her best to keep the much larger, stronger Amy Lee down. Amy would make her comeback until being cut off by Havok with a Scorpion Death Drop Backbreaker for the surprise win. The announcers put this over strong as they would go onto to mention what an upset this was as Havok beat WSU’s biggest bad ass. Amy would get up and pay tribute to Luna Vachon who had recently passed and leave to applause. I really enjoyed this match and the show seemed to pick up a bit with this match up.
We had Traci Brook vs. Serena Deeb up next. Serena took the microphone and mentioned how wrestling in WWE changed her, she would go onto mention how she doesn’t care for the cheers of the fans and how insulted she was that she had to compete for a title shot in WSU. She promised to eventually win the WSU title and give it credibility. I will say I did find it a bit funny to see Serena letting her hair grow back but yet still wearing a Straight Edge Society shirt but anyway I digress, it was obvious going in that this was the beginning of a build up for Serena’s eventual shot at the WSU Championship, what made it even more obvious was the announcers referring to Traci Brooks as a gate keeper which I wouldn’t have done since it sort of made Traci look a bit weak in my eyes and not on equal footing with Serena. Other than that I have no complaints to make. If you were ever fans of either of these two women you would really enjoy this match up and if you weren’t maybe you should watch this match up as it may cause you to redefine them a bit as I thought both looked very good. The finish came when Amber came out and distracted Traci to allow Serena to spear her for the win at around the 5 minute mark.
Next match on the card was for the WSU All Guts, No Glory championship as we had defending champion Angel Orsini vs. Alicia. The announcers put over the fact that the All Guts, No Glory championship which was a created championship by Orsini is now officially sanctioned by WSU and they also put over that Alicia is a 2 time Triple Crown champion in WSU and would become a grand slam champion with the win here. This was a good back and forth contest in which we had a wardrobe malfunction which led to Angel wearing of all things a Mercedes Martinez shirt for the rest of the match. The story of this match was that both women are basically considered Icons of WSU and both are former WSU champions who want another shot at the gold and are going to stop at nothing to get it. Even though this was a no disqualification match there was a door introduced that was slipped from under the ring by Orsini only for her to get gored through it by Alicia for a near fall (who keeps doors under the ring anyway?) The finish would come only about a minute later when Angel after recovering from that gore through the door would hit her Kiss of Death finish on Alicia on top of a piece of the door at about 18 minutes for the win. The announcers put over her victory as she continues to elevate her title which I guess is basically WSU’s version of the FTW title as they mentioned her wanting to make that title more important than the WSU title. This was the longest match of the show up until this point and the best match of the show also.
We had the main event next which was WSU Champion Mercedes Martinez taking on Jazz. The announcers mentioned this being the 32nd defense of the title by Martinez. Homicide would come out to join the announcers on commentary and would put over the company throughout the duration of the match. During the ring introductions if you didn’t know already you learn all of Jazz’s accolades including her past in WWE and ECW as well as her being a WSU Hall of Famer and winner of the 2010 Uncensored Battle Royal which is how she was the number one contender for this match up. I really enjoyed this match above all others on the show. For one thing it was the longest and the other most important was that it was a wrestling match in the truest sense of the word with both ladies exchanging holds from the word “go”. If you actually ordered this for the first time on iPPV it was a glowing example of WSU at its finest with its greatest wrestler in Mercedes Martinez going hold for hold with a true legend in the world of women’s professional wrestling in Jazz. I’ve said more than once both spoken and written that I am not a fan of women’s professional wrestling and believe it or not despite reviewing WSU shows I still wouldn’t consider myself a fan of that particular genre however I can say in watching this match I didn’t see 2 women competing but 2 great athletes, which I guess is the point of WSU to break barriers so to speak (no pun intended) and get you to focus on the fact that athletes in all sports come in all shapes, sizes and yes genders. Jazz looked great in this match and I kept wondering how this woman does not have a job in WWE or TNA at this point given her history as at 37 years of age she still indeed has it. Mercedes Martinez continues to impress as the most dominant women’s champion in the modern age of wrestling and came away victorious in this math at around the 21 minute mark after playing possum and hitting Jazz with the fisherman’s buster for the win. Rain would come out after this and challenge Martinez to an “I Quit” match for their upcoming title match which Martinez of course accepted and I came away from that wanting to see that title match.
That brought an end to the main show but of course with the DVD we got some bonus matches which included Mercedes Martinez defending her title in a very enjoyable match against Cindy Rogers and Jana and Niya taking on Brittany Savage which gave the DVD something if you did purchase the iPPV.
All in all these were my observations. I thought this was a fine offering which built up slowly with the top half of the card far outdoing the bottom half which is the way a wrestling card should be structured. I was never bored watching the show as the matches never seemed to drag on to the point where I wanted to turn the DVD off. I still think I wouldn’t have had 2 squashes on the show as this was again an iPPV and well you don’t typically pay for that kind of thing when you are watching from home. This was the first WSU event I ever watched on DVD and I found some of the audio problems at times frustrating as the volume would rise in and out and I would hope that they would correct that in the future if they haven’t already. I didn’t enjoy Homicide throughout most of his commentary during the main event as there is a reason why he is not known for his promo ability. However despite that I came away wanting to know what would transpire between The Boston Shore and T&A going forward, looked forward to the next Mercedes Martinez title defense which was against Rain in an “I Quit” match, eagerly awaited the next appearance of Brittany Savage who is slowly becoming my favorite female heel in all of wrestling and was sort of curious to see where Jazz would go from here now that she lost her shot at the title. I’ve always said the key to having a good show is giving your viewers enough but keeping them wondering what will happen next and that’s where I am at now as I may just have to review Martinez vs. Rain II to keep my viewing in order. At the end of the day I gave this show 2 gouges out of 5 and well until the next “Eye Gouge” review I am out.