The amount of ‘Carnage’ on the DVD Ballpark Brawl III: Canadian Carnage may be subjective but there is no doubting the Canadian content on this DVD.
Ontario indy fans will recognize local talent such as Petey Williams, Traci Brooks, Derek Wylde, Jennifer Blake, JT Playa and Cody Steele who now goes by the moniker Cody Deaner. Other Canadians also in action are Hart family members Nattie Neidhart, Teddy Hart, Harry Smith and a Hart Foundation reunion with Jim Neidhart, Bret Hart and Jimmy Hart.
This event was held on August 14, 2004 at Buffalo, New York’s Dunn Tire Park and combined pro wrestling action with the Buffalo Bisons Triple A baseball under one banner. It has taken the promoters over a year to bring this event to DVD but in my eyes it’s been well worth the wait. (And they promise 2005’s version is about to be released.)
With so many indy promotions rushing to get DVDs produced so they can quickly sell them at the next show, it’s nice to see that some thought and time went into this release. The DVD is best watched in its entirety rather than skipping to certain matches right away. Each match starts with Pro Wrestling Illustrated‘s Dan Murphy giving the viewer some history and information about the upcoming match. Most of the matches also include pre-match interviews with the competitors themselves. It’s refreshing to see that storytelling is just as important as the matches themselves on this DVD. Commentary is provided by Scotty Bender and Ivan The Impaler throughout the show.
The event featured a tournament to crown the “Natural Heavyweight Champion.” I was a little disappointed to see that not all matches from the tournament were included on the disc.
- Jim Neidhart vs. Jonny Puma: Puma is accompanied to the ring by Jimmy “The Mouth of the South” Hart but will Jimmy be able to manage someone against Neidhart? “Completely” Cody Steele vs. “Dangerboy” Derek Wylde with Jennifer Blake for the Neo Spirit Pro Independent Title being defended for the first and I believe only time: Neo’s JT Playa provides additional commentary and is quite amusing. After the match, Derek Wylde actually proposes to real-life girlfriend Jennifer Blake. Talk about a keepsake!
- The Monster Abyss with Jimmy Hart takes on Ron “The Truth” Killings in a tournament match up.
- In another of the three included tournament matches, Team Canada’s Petey Williams took on Harry Smith, son of the late British Bulldog, Davey Boy Smith.
- Jim Neidhart’s daughter, Nattie Neidhart took on Miss TNA, Traci Brooks in an impressive ladies match.
- Next came the in-ring Hart Foundation reunion bringing together arguably one of the best tag teams in professional wrestling history, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart and Bret “The Hitman” Hart, complete with manager Jimmy Hart. Very few words are said but it was nostalgic to see them again together in the same ring for the first time in 15 years.
- The tournament finals were up next with Bret Hart watching from ringside and waiting to present the trophy to the winner of the Teddy Hart vs. Harry Smith finals.
- Christopher Daniels then took on Amazing Red in a tremendous match just before the main event of the evening.
- The past, present and future would be a great way to describe the triple threat match up which pitted Sabu (with Bill Alfonso) vs. AJ Styles vs. Teddy Hart in a Table, Ladders and Chairs match. This was an action packed main event and exactly what you would expect from the three athletes involved.
The DVD does not end there as they have included a host of extras as well. Included is a Bret Hart interview where Bret discusses topics such as his stroke, his legacy, Vince McMahon, Shawn Michaels and more; A few unscripted in-ring Teddy Hart promos; a post-match Cody Steele interview; and some pre-game footage of which you can watch Ivan The Impaler dancing for your amusement.
Fans of current Toronto indy promotion Blood, Sweat and Ears will perhaps recognize a chubbier BSE ring announcer, Dave Blezard taking on Jimmy Hart in a DJ challenge as another bonus on the disc.
I highly recommend this disc. It is very well produced and the camera work is excellent with even live replays during the matches. My only complaint is that there is one camera angle that is a tad blurry. No matter what type of wrestling fan you are there is something on this DVD for everyone. And reason to hope they’ll get their acts together and release the 2005 version soon.
Emanuel Melo is a photographer and owner/founder of www.ontarioindywrestling.com, as well as the co-host of the Internet wrestling radio show Ontario Wrestling Recap. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.