Monday, March 20, 2017

KISS AND MAKE-UP (a review of IWA's RumbleRock2 @ 99 On York, Sydney (Friday, March 17)

IWA’s “RumbleRock 2” last Friday night at 99 On York in Sydney's CBD was a fun wrestling card coupled with performances by Kissteria, the fattest KISS tribute band in history.
Of greater importance, however, was the fact that this was the final gathering of the Poor Horsemen for possibly a long time. With Ric and Arn having relocated to sunny Melbourne, leaving Tully and Ole behind in Sydney, it would seem the Horsemen are no more, so RumbleRock 2 was our last hurrah...for the time being.
Fuelled by two exquisite-but-lethal cocktails known as Toffee Apples, I headed into the sold-out 99 On York Arena for some RASSLIN’!
Trans-Tasman champ Paris De Silva retained over Kai Drake in the short’n’sharp opening bout. The low ceiling made top-rope spots difficult, so this was far less high flying than you’d expect from these two guys. Still, a perfectly fine way to kick off the show.
The six-man tables match was a cluster-fuck (as you’d expect), but most of the tables behaved the way they were supposed to and the good guys won, so the crowd were happy. I was particularly impressed by newcomer Jackson Kelly. He has size, moves well and he clearly has the gift of the gab. This rookie could be going places and I look forward to seeing how he fares in singles competition.
I headed out during Kissteria’s first performance to catch up with friends and score a free beer from some chick offering us free beers. How could I refuse her generous offer?
I came back part-way through the hair vs hair match between Josh Gatt and Keegan Brettle.
Gatt, who is a tank but was inexplicably the face in this contest, defeated the smaller Keegan, but then got beaten up and had bits of HIS OWN HAIR CUT due to interference from commentator Jackson Johnson. It was a weird heel turn that didn’t work for me. Then again the dynamics of the whole match didn’t work.
Normally, I’d also complain about a promotion that stiffs the crowd out of a match stipulation, but as Australia has virtually no hair vs hair match history to destroy, I don’t think anyone gave a shit. Anyway, this was easily the weakest bout on the show.
Caveman Ugg defeated Turkish Delight after a power move onto a dildo. Not really sure what I can add after that. The bout was weird, crude, there was far too much man-on-man kissing and man-on-dildo mouth action, but the crowd enjoyed it. And there was even a post-bout run-in by Salem as he again put the boots to young Mehmet.
The main event was a very entertaining “first blood” contest between “brothers” Robbie Eagles and Ryan Eagles. Despite bleeding first, Robbie won after hiding his cut under his bandana, and making Ryan juice after a wrench shot.
It was a bit strange to see heels go over in the last two bouts, but I’m sure that was a long-term strategy, building up feuds for coming events.
Kissteria reemerged after seemingly scoffing everything in the dining room to deliver more KISS covers at a reasonable volume so as not to disturb the club’s neighbours. Very thoughtful of them.
That was my cue to leave and hang out with the Poor Horsemen some more. #scotch
All in all, a very enjoyable “adults only” show that probably didn’t need commentary. In fact, dumping the commentators from future RumbleRocks would probably help IWA further differentiate them from their regular “family-friendly” shows. Just a thought.
As for the Poor the South, we shall rise again.

RESULTS: Tran-Tasman Title: Paris De Silva b Kai Drake; Tables Match: Apollo, Randal and “Cowboy” Chris Abbott b Jackson Kelly, Matt Bailey and Alex Titan (w/- Lord Mark Williamson); Hair vs Hair: Josh Gatt b Keegan Brettle; Caveman Ugg b Turkish Delight; First Blood: Robbie Eagles b Ryan Eagles

Monday, March 06, 2017

FIVE STARS: the wrestling zine is now available on PDF

IN WHICH I review every goddamn match that's been named Match Of The Year in the prestigious Wrestling Observer Newsletter from 1980 to 2016.
You can download a PDF of Five Stars HERE.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

REVIEW: Wrestling GO! presents “Golympic Games” (Marayong Community Centre, March 4)

SEEMINGLY by accident, Wrestling GO has become my local promotion by default. I've been to their past three shows and enjoyed the booking (in general) and the matches (mostly). Sure, it's flawed - but name an Aussie promotion that DOESN'T have flaws?
Despite a less-than-stellar January card, I was enticed to attend last night's event, Golympic Games, because they announced they'd hold a Royal Rumble. I'm a sucker for Rumbles, so I had to see it.
The subsequent announcement that Melbourne's Mr Juicy would be tagging with his illegitimate son Mehmet the Turkish Delight against Big Fudge and Concrete Davidson was just (chocolate) icing on the cake.
Despite the shitty, rainy weather, I set out last night for the show. After getting lost (again) trying to find the Marayong Community Centre - that place is as well-hidden in suburbia as a venue can be - I arrived a bit late and the Rumble had already started. 
I was impressed by the crowd turn-out considering the miserable evening. It's a small venue, but the place was close to full. Maybe 100 people, I'm guessing.
I missed the opening bout - Sean Kustom vs Del Cano - but I heard it was a solid affair, as you'd expect if it involved Kustom.
The Rumble itself was a hoot - it went for an hour and featured a ton of entertaining storylines. These included a hilarious run of pins in the middle that saw the Watermelon Trophy change hands numerous times (the eventual winner was Concrete Davidson, who later handed it to Big Fudge). Massive Q was great as an unstoppable monster. Caveman Ugg is always funny (and scary strong). Mick Moretti was a constant crack-up. I liked some of the rookies' gimmicks. And it's always cool to see Shazza McKenzie (her apologising to boyfriend Unsociable Jordan before kicking him repeatedly in the chest was a highlight).
And then came entrant No. 30: PIKACHU...and he even did a moonsault! As if I couldn't love this Royal Rumble any more than I already did! 
Luciano and Moretti were the first two competitors - and I thought they'd be the final two, but they went out right near the end and we were left with Unsociable Jordan from SMS and Gatt from Wrestling NO. Jordan went on to win and became the first Wrestling GO silver medallist. It was an unexpected but neat ending to a fun Rumble where every wrestler got to shine a little bit.
After intermission came the only disappointment of the night - Mr Juicy was unable to catch his flight to Sydney from Melbourne and wasn't on the card. So Big Fudge and Concrete wrestled VIP instead. This was a fine comedy bout, although it probably went a few minutes too long. Still, I enjoy the shtick of all four competitors very much.
The main event - the gold medal final in the Go For Gold Tournament - was the culmination of several qualifying matches over previous shows.
You had the intensity of youngster Kai Drake against the surly, disrespectful veteran Ryan Eagles.
I loved this match so much, but then I'm a heel fan from way back. Eagles mocked Kai's war paint by painting his face like a pussycat. He than channeled the spirit of Larry Zbyszko and stalled for at least 15 minutes.
He later paid for this by being kicked half to death by Drake. Both men then stepped up the action and it was pretty fucking furious.
We even got juice on Eagles (courtesy of a wayward screw on a folding chair that was planted on his head) before he scored an upset pin with a roll-up.
What can I say? This was a helluva fun show. 
Going into last night's event, I had doubts on whether I'd be back for another Wrestling GO event after Golympics, but I was so entertained that I'm almost certainly returning for the April 2 show in Marayong.
Kudos to everyone involved for winning me over.

RESULTS: Sean Kustom b Del Cano; Unsocial Jordan won the 30-person Royal Rumble battle royal; Big Fudge & Concrete Davidson b VIP; Go For Gold final: Ryan Eagles b Kai Drake