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“Probably the best American women’s wrestling DVD I’ve seen to date.”

This 8-woman tournament took place on October 2004 as part of All Pro Wrestling’s Halloween Hell weekend, in in Hayward, California and.was the first under the ‘Chickfight’ banner. If you’re used to the Diva “matches” [quotes used advisedly] put on by the WWE, this will come as a pleasant surprise – it’s closer to the Japanese style, where technical skill is more important than breast implants. Perhaps the most surprising thing is the length of the bouts: rather than being a five-minute distraction, 15 or 20 minutes being not uncommon. The wrestlers come from Mexico and Japan as well as the US, though they really deserve better than both the location, which appears to be a lock-up garage complete with a roll-up door on one side, and the crowd, the bouts taking place in front of an audience that hardly seems to number fifty.

That said, the women still give their all, and Sugey is probably the most impressive, both in her quarter-final contest against Candice LaRae, where she totally destroy her opponent into unconsciousness, and then again in her semi-final match versus Nikki Roxx, where the pair roam turn the entire venue into the ring. Meanwhile, the other half of the draw sees Cheerleader Melissa – who can now be seen on TNA as Awesome Kong’s “Islamic” sidekick, Raisha Saeed – move through the tournament, defeating her opponents, Tiffany and Christie Ricci. The contests there are more evenly-balanced, though probably also count as somewhat less memorable – the acid test being that they failed to distract us as much from the appointed task of packing up boxes, in preparation for our imminent move. The final is a steel-cage match between the Princess and the Cheerleader [which, if it’s not a Disney movie, should certainly be one], held on a later evening – likely a wise decision, since otherwise, the wrestlers would be fighting their third contest in one night.

To be honest, the finale was a bit disappointing, since we believe it’s not a real steel cage match until the phrases “busted wide open”, “mask of blood” or “Oh, the humanity!” are used. This was far more like a regular wrestling bout inside a wire fence than anything, and the cage also hampered the camerawork, leaving me feeling like I was watching proceedings on CCTV. It didn’t help that the commentators didn’t know the rules for the fight, and weren’t aware that escaping the cage made you the winner. Really, it’s a pale shadow of a cage match when compared to something like the 1997 tag-bout, Las Cachorras Orientales (Mima Shimoda and Etsuko Mita) vs. Kaoru Ito & Tomoko Watanabe. That, dear readers, is a cage-match [and can be found on our video page for April 2009]. Overall, however, it’s a good-value package with some quality content and despite occasional qualms about the production values, I intend to check out other entries in the series down the line.

Star: Princess Sugey, Cheerleader Melissa, Nikki Roxx, Christie Ricci

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