Monday, January 30, 2017

REVIEW: Wrestling GO! presents “(500) Fights Of Summer” (Marayong Community Centre, January 29)


THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE VERY, VERY, VERY UGLY

RECENTLY, I read a review of Florida wrestling’s “Battle Of The Belts II” event from 1986 – the one main-evented by Ric Flair vs Barry Windham, which was named the Wrestling Observer’s Match Of The Year for ’86 – and there was a comment that stuck in my head: “I cannot stress the term ‘show saver’ enough when it comes to the main event”.
I felt the same way after watching Wrestling GO!’s “(500) Fights Of Summer” – the main event of Kai Drake vs Mick Moretti was so freaking good that it salvaged what was, otherwise, a sub-par event.
I went to this card because I won free tix at the previous event last November, but there were points during the first half of this card that I felt like demanding my money back.
The afternoon started promisingly enough with a crowd of around 80 (well up on the previous show) there to see Foghorn Leghorn replaced by the infinitely better Robert Oxley as GO!’s new ring announcer. He did a fine job, too, despite being plagued by dodgy microphones.
Riley O'Neil opened the show with a looooong interview. Not sure why, but this guy doesn’t do sincerity well, even when introducing his ex-tag team partner Bee Boy. Seriously, he was turning heel before Ryan Eagles arrived to put him out of his misery. Eagles is always entertaining but Bee Boy seemed off for this Go For Gold Tournament bout (maybe he was injured). Eagles won to progress to the Go For Gold Tournament final in March. Solid opening bout.
Next came the first of two squashes for the arvo. It’s always fun to watch Matt Bailey kill rookies and this was no exception. Bailey is such a DICK in these situations.
Afterwards, Luciano gave another looooong interview. Fuck me, I thought I was watching an AWF show for a moment there. Anyway, the gist of his promo was that he was putting up his Silver Medal (which he won at a previous show) in a 30-man Royal Rumble on the March show. OK, I’m a sucker for Royal Rumbles, so I’m definitely coming to the next show.
Sadly, this is where the card fell off a cliff. I’ve thought and re-thought how I should word what I’m going to say next about the six-man tag. After much consideration – and being fully aware that every single person involved in this bout could kick my arse six times over – let me just be as diplomatic as I can and say that the match was FUCKING HORRIBLE.
And the guys involved know that. Right?
It went for far too long and the ending was beyond terrible – and I’m not even gonna blame the rookie referee who tried really hard and worked his arse off all day – this has to fall on the guys who came up with that ending. It wasn’t a tornado match so how can THREE guys apply a submission hold on one guy and score the victory without being DQed? Even by pro-wrestling logic, that was pretty bloody stupid.
While technically better, I had even more problems with the following bout. Now, I’m no fan of mixed gender bouts, but I’ve seen them work in the past. Michelle K. Hasluck, Madison Eagles and Shazza McKenzie have all done it successfully. Hell, even the Floozies did a passable mixed gender bout with VIP last November. Of course, those two teams are about the same size and height.
But the gals working against the far taller SMS was beyond ridiculous. And then you had the guys HITTING the gals (who were heels on this show, even though they were faces on the last show). No wonder the crowd was (a) confused, (b) quiet and (c) uncomfortable. Sorry, folks, but babyface males who punch chicks are automatically HEELS. End of story.
As for VIP dressed in cop uniforms at ringside...all I can say is that they are now the GAYEST tag team in Australia. Seriously, those cossies look like they came straight from The Tool Shed.
Anyway, this match dragged and DIDN’T WORK.
Intermission was followed by Big Fudge and Mehmet The Turkish Delight coming to the ring to open a package they’d received from Mexico that contained a sombrero, poncho, corn chips...and their watermelon plushie. Yes, luchador Australian Suicide had relinquished the title back to Fudge and Mehmet. Next came what I call the Watermelon Gauntlet with Fudge and Mehmet defending the watermelon against three opponents. None of the bouts outstayed their welcome and the comedy was pretty good. It was a shock to see Massive Q come out as the winner.
This was followed by another entertaining squash with Caveman Ugg crushing Diego, then carrying his carcass back to the locker room. Just so much fun. To me, Diego was the surprise of the afternoon – he was very good in his role and quite amusing, too.
Finally, we had the main event, another Go For Gold Tournament bout with the winner earning the right to face Eagles in the final. This was a hellacious bout – Kai Drake is going to be a superstar one day. Nasty Nick reckons Mick Moretti is the best wrestler in NSW. He’d certainly be in my top three.
It was a brutal affair with lots of kicks, submission holds and some innovative outside-the-ring brawling. It was the match that saved the show and was enough for me to give “(500) Fights Of Summer” a thumbs up.
One other observation. Kay fabe may be dead, but there’s no need to go to the graveyard, stand over the coffin and piss in the corpse’s open mouth. Seeing a heel hanging out at the concession stand during the intermission, or seeing another heel watching the main event at the canteen is a bit much. Or am I being very fucking old-fashioned when it comes to that sorta thing?
Ah well...
I can’t say I like everything that Wrestling GO! has to offer – some of the lucha comedy falls flat or sits uneasily next to the strong-style bouts and man-on-women violence. And there’s certainly room for some “editing” and “tweaking’ of the mid-card bouts. Shorter is sometimes better, yeah?
But the booker tells good stories and has a clear direction of where he wants things to go. This group is certainly very different to what is being offered by other promotions in Sydney and I really hope it keeps going.
Roll on March and the Royal Rumble at “Wrestling GO-lympics!” (Love that name by the way.)

RESULTS:
Go For Gold Tournament Match: Ryan Eagles b Bee Boy; Matt Bailey b Luciano; Wrestling NO! b Keegan, Paris & Jason Dewhurst; The Floozies b SMS; Watermelon Gauntlet: Big Fudge & Mehmet the Turkish Delight b KASAI; Fudge & Mehmet b Jack Bonza; Massive Q b Fudge & Mehmet; Caveman Ugg b Diego, Go For Gold Tournament Match: Kai Drake b Mick Moretti.