PCW KRIS TRAVIS – ALL THE BEST THINGS (FSM 107; June 2014)
Information: – Blu Ray Region: Region Free • Distributor: Preston City Wrestling • Price: £13.99 • Other info: 193 mins • Release: Out now • Weblink: www.PrestonCityWrestling.com
With the British wrestling scene thriving and featuring more great talent than in many years, it’s quite the accolade to be crowned UK Wrestler of the Year. That, however, was the title that FSM readers bestowed upon Kris Travis for his work in 2013, and this Blu-ray set features some of Travis’ best work for arguably the top promotion in England, Preston City Wrestling.
With each match briefly introduced by the man himself, a six-way bout from December 2011 opens proceedings, as Travis battles Bubblegum, Joey Hayes, Martin Kirby, CJ Banks and El Ligero for a Money in the Bank-style title shot. Travis’ Project Ego team-mate Kirby is somewhat reluctant to fight his partner, but with such an opportunity at stake, they do engage in a slightly awkward sequence. A six-way suplex comes off well, as does a stunning tornado DDT on Kirby by “The Shooting Star”. A final exchange between Travis and Bubblegum concludes an entertaining bout.
Lionheart is Travis’ next opponent, in a bout contested under I Quit rules. A stiff brawl into the crowd is highlighted by Lionheart climbing onto a ledge and hitting a perfect flying clothesline, while a ladder and a makeshift table are used as weapons. It’s a long, intense and bloody fight that is truly captivating.
Against Dave Mastiff, with the weight and strength advantage going to his opponent, Travis has to rely on speed and guile, which he shows in abundance. You do get the impression, however, that these two could achieve even more together.
Lionheart returns in match four, this time for the PCW heavyweight title, but it’s an exceptionally swift bout that seems included only to show a Money in the Bank cash-in. A Falls Count Anywhere feature against T-Bone gets things back on track, with fans reacting loudly as they trade hard punches and battle outside into the car park. Drawing pins and a table again come into play in what is another hardcore showing.
Noam Dar is the reigning PCW cruiserweight champion as he faces Travis in November 2012, and after so much brutal action, it’s refreshing to witness a more technical wrestling match. There are, of course, some high-impact manoeuvres thrown in amongst the exchanges.
MASTERS AT WORK
Chris Masters makes his first appearance next, putting in 15 minutes of back and forth action that rarely pauses for breath. T-Bone then returns for another violent war, this time in a Bullrope match with the PCW title on the line. It’s another long, brutal bout with a particularly nasty finish.
Fast-forwarding to April 2013, Kevin Steen’s physique is mocked by our subject, but the subsequent beating the Canadian dishes out makes it seem like one of Travis’ worst ideas. Throughout this collection, though, his resilience is under the spotlight, and that shines when they end up having a close contest, even if the former ROH World champion often seems to be one step ahead.
Martin Kirby, El Ligero and Joey Hayes feature in the penultimate affair, with the winner of this four-way becoming the number one contender to the PCW cruiserweight title. The FSM Readers’ UK Tag Team of the Year, Project Ego, square off in exciting fashion, as does Kirby with Ligero. Hayes and Travis, who bear a striking resemblance to one other – a fact playfully suggested on the Blu-ray cover – engage in a lighthearted sequence based on looking into a mirror. It would be nigh on impossible for these talented individuals to produce a bad match, and there’s no letdown here.
As if to complete the accolades, the final bout here was also named UK Match of the Year by FSM readers: Travis versus Chris Masters in a No Disqualification battle. After a tentative opening few minutes, they build slowly by trying to one-up the other, and while a Travis topé seems to gain him the advantage, a Masters powerbomb onto a chair on the edge of the ring turns the tide in the other direction. Another venue-wide brawl captivates the audience, before they return to the ring for a stunning series of dramatic, escalating moves. This is a wonderful exhibition that deserves every plaudit it receives.
All The Best Things does a fine job of showing off the qualities that Kris Travis possesses. This set, in fact, upholds everything written in last year’s FSM Reader Awards.