As part of the annual Adelaide Fringe Festival, RCW puts on a 2-night tournament for their March show – the Strength Cup. The winner is guaranteed a shot at the RCW title. But because it is part of a bigger festival and so there are a lot of other events on, the crowd numbers are down. Plus each night clashes with a pre-season football game, the Saturday with the grand final featuring a local team.
Another quick bit: during the past month several RCW wrestlers chose to sever ties with the company. RCW released this statement: Riot City Wrestling management has come to terms for the release of Elliot Sexton, Jonah Rock, Steve Miller, Melody Summers, Jimmy Scarlet and Commentator JT Anderson. (full statement can be found here.)
Jett Armstrong has also apparently asked for his release.
But in the meantime a working relationship has been established with Melbourne City Wrestling. And so a new era begins.
I’d put my 2 cents worth in here, but that would most likely get me into trouble in Australian wrestling (seriously – the community is so small that if you are even the slightest bit negative about some one you are blackballed; I still get grief over a bad review I wrote of a show 5 years ago, and I think it was what led me to being kicked off Australia’s largest wrestling forum). But I will say that while those who left were, in general, clear talents, I do not believe the product will suffer any in the long run.
On with the show!
Our commentators are Luke Santamaria and Josh Armour. Commissioner Damon Matthews comes out to introduce the 8 men in the Strength Cup. He announces the pairings and makes them shake hands. We have Tama Williams, Brad Smyth, Ryan Rollins, Fuzion, Nick Armstrong, Andy “Voodoo” Roy, Concrete Davidson and Matt “Grimm” Basso. Only Fuzion and Grimm do not really shake hands.
Rollins then introduces Carlo “Cash Money” Cannon, one of the best wrestlers in Australia. His OTT entrance riles the crowd. He then cuts a promo. This whole bit goes on too long. 45 minutes and no wrestling? Crowd is not happy about that by the way, and not in a “good heat” way either.
Match 1: The Rude Ones (Del Taurino & Marvel with El Presidente) v The Benchwarmers (Shannon Jarvis & Damo). Damo is 5’4, 120lbs, and gets a pop you would not believe. This was a fun match to get the crowd pumped. Shannon starts and after a brief flurry, the Rude Ones take over and beat him up. Long beatdown. Jarvis keeps trying to tag, but just can’t. Crowd wants that tag. Finally he gets it, Damo in, gets caught by Marvel, Gory bomb/flatliner combo, he’s out. Bit of a downer ending, but realistic. The Benchwarmers are cheered on the way out.
Winners: The Rude Ones (pinfall)
Match 2: Strength Cup #1: Matt “Grimm” Basso v Fuzion. A fight, pure and simple. Both men take liberties with the rules. Inside, back out. More a brawl than anything else. Outside for a looong time; the ref is being really lenient. Grimm is hurt on the guardrail. Fuzion targets the lower back and ribs. A low blow by Grimm turns the tide. He hits a cut-throat driver (with a bad back and ribs?). Now Fuzion gets a chair, the ref takes it away, leading to a Grimm superkick. Grimm gets the chair, doesn’t use it, Fuzion gets it back, uses it, DQ. But Fuzion works Grimm after the match, and he is out.
Winner: Matt “Grimm” Basso (DQ)
Match 3: Strength Cup #2: Tama Williams v Nick Armstrong. Williams entrance is stereotypical Maori, but his moveset is not much different to anyone else (apart from some facial expressions). Fast and hard to start, back and forth until Tama takes over. Little thing – before the match Tama jawed with an audience member, and then during the match, every time he did something good, he would point at the same audience member, telling him to watch. Nice. Tama calls an audible and Nick takes over with some high flying, until Tama hits a sweet Samoan drop. Nick with the comeback. I like this back and forth. Nick up top, cross-body for 2. Outside, back in, Tama up top and a superfly splash for the pin. Clean win.
Winner: Tama Williams (pinfall)
Match 4: RCW Women’s Championship Tournament, Semifinal 1: Savannah Summers v KC Cassidy. Savannah jumpstarts into a back and forth series of near falls. Savannah takes over, nicely too. KC with a brief comeback, Savannah back, then KC hits a top rope hurricanrana to take over for a bit. Savannah with a Bubba bomb into a surfboard. KC back with a great spear, but Savannah in the ropes. Savannah hits a knee jawbreaker and that’s all she wrote. Can I just say this was one of the best women’s matches I have seen in years? Craps on TNA and WWE, and even better than the Shimmer I’ve seen. I thought last year’s RCW was good, but what a way to start 2012. Clean moves, good finish, even the story of Savannah desperate to win the title and KC just out to stop her. These are two women who belong in the ring. Hope we see more of KC in RCW.
Winner: Savannah Summers (pinfall)
Match 5: Strength Cup #3: Brad Smyth (with Hammer) v Concrete Davidson. Concrete’s gimmick is that he is a 19th century carnival strongman, with moustache and leopard-skin print, one-strapped outfit. He is announced as being born in 1896 and weighing 14 1/2 stone. Odd and unique, and he does the act superbly, from the way he stands, to the way he walks, to his theme music being ‘The Entertainer’. And he maintains this without fail throughout the match. This was 100% Concrete, with no deviation. Awesome. And unfortunately rare. Fun match with Concrete having his way with Smyth until Hammer interferes. Concrete comes back, Hammer again. Concrete again, including an atomic drop and airplane spin into gorilla press slam, but Hammer again. Hammer hits a Bossman slam and Brad gets 2. Hammer in again and he and Concrete play duelling strongmen, and this time Brad gets 3. But, hang on, the ref was only 3 feet away while Hammer and Concrete fought for like a minute; how stupid do the refs want to look? There’s suspension of disbelief, then there’s ridiculousness. But Concrete Davidson was fun as all hell, lived the gimmick without a single fail, and I want to see him again.
Winner: Brad Smyth (pinfall with interference)
Match 6: Strength Cup #4: Ryan Rollins (with Carlo Cannon) v Andy “Voodoo” Roy. Ryan’s OTT pretty boy germaphobe persona grated pretty quickly. Yes, he got heel heat for it, but it was verging on X-Pac heat. Maybe Adelaide audiences are different to Melbourne ones. Back and forth to start with until Cannon attacks from the outside. Back and forth again, and again Cannon interferes on the outside. Two matches in a row for this outside crap? Into resthold territory. Voodoo comes back. Back and forth again. This match feels awkward, like they aren’t meshing. Ryan’s hand lotion finally gets involved, but Voodoo hits his Canadian destroyer for the pin. Then Cannon attacks until Chris “Mimic” Basso comes out to make the save.
Winner: Andy “Voodoo” Roy
Mimic on the mic. Instead of tomorrow night, he wants to face Cannon for the RCW title now. Cannon says no, Damon Matthews says yes, and it’s on like Donkey Kong.
Match 7: RCW Title Match: Chris “Mimic” Basso (c) (with Andy “Voodoo” Roy) v Carlo Cannon (with Ryan Rollins). Slugfest to start, back and forth, until Cannon causes Mimic to crotch himself on the top turnbuckle. Cannon takes over. Rollins interferes. Voodoo saves a second attempt. Cannon still in control. Some nice skills from Cannon, showcasing himself while Mimic takes the beating. Mimic with a sudden top rope swinging neckbreaker! Both down, into a chopfest, then yay-boo punches. Cannon misses a superkick, Mimic hits a bridged German suplex for 2. Cannon with emerald frozion for 2. Cannon with a missile dropkick for 2. Mimic goes for a driver, but Rollins jumps in for the DQ. Voodoo in, Cannon takes him down, Mimic comes in with a chair, heels scatter. Great match, and my recap did nothing to put forth how good it was.
Winner: Chris “Mimic” Basso (by DQ)
Cannon now on the mic. He and Rollins challenge Mimic and Voodoo to a tag match tomorrow night. Matthews comes out and says that if Voodoo wants into the tag match, he must forfeit his place in the Strength Cup. Voodoo takes that option and we have a main event for night 2.
MOTN: Savannah Summers v KC Cassidy.
WOTN: Concrete Davidson
Night 2 – March 17
Huge crowd, near capacity. And a different feel from night 1. And we jump straight into the matches… and after last night, thank goodness for that.
Match 1: Strength Cup, Semi-final 1: Brad Smyth (with Hammer) v Matt “Grimm” Basso. Grimm with a huge bruise on his ribs from last night. Grimm tries to overpower, but Smyth targets the bruise. Chop exchange until Grimm chops Smyth into a Janetty oversell. Hammer on Grimm outside while the ref deals with Smyth. Smyth goes after those ribs. Every time Grimm starts to come back., Smyth goes back to the ribs, and every move leads to pain for Grimm. Hammer then holds Grimm, but he ducks a Smyth kick. Hammer is angry, drops down to the floor and one kick from Grimm and it’s over. Post-match, Smyth and Hammer have words. Dissension already, after only 3 months? I’m guessing it’s a hiccough on the road.
Winner: Matt “Grimm” Basso (pinfall)
Match 2: Strength Cup, Semi-final 2: Tama Williams v ?. With Voodoo taken out of the tournament, this is now a wildcard entry and it’s… Luke Santamaria. He comes off of commentary to a pop. Luke gets the best of Tama until they go outside and Tama chops the skin off him. Back in and Tama stays in control, but crowd is into Luke. A Luke come back is cut off by a great back splash. Tama again, another Luke come back. Nice back and forth. Tama levels Luke with a nice drop kick, hits the superfly splash (called, I am now told, Air New Zealand), and gets the pin. It is interesting to note that Tama is a heel, but he has not cheated in any of his matches yet. He has just out-wrestled his opponents. Really good match.
Winner: Tama Williams (pinfall)
Luke’s selling post-match even results in him going back stage and not returning to commentary straight away. A little thing, but worth noting.
Match 3: Fuzion v Nick Armstrong. Mat wrestling to start, back and forth. Nick with a series of two-counts, including a great crucifix. Fuzion comes back with a high spinebuster, but can’t put Nick away. Nick hit with corner clotheslines twice, but gets the boots up on the third. Cross body from the top turnbuckle by Nick and both guys are down. Yay-boo punches, enziguri from Nick gets 2. Low blow from Fuzion turns the tide. Tornado bossman slam gets 2. Fuzion out of the ring, grabs a chair, but Grimm comes down to ringside. Fuzion is distracted briefly, but that’s enough for Nick to roll him up. Fuzion is pissed.
Winner: Nick Armstrong (pinfall)
Match 4: Semi-Main Event: Carlo Cannon and Ryan Rollins v Only The Strong (Chris “Mimic” Basso & Andy “Voodoo” Roy). The Victorians jumpstart, but Only The Strong quickly turn the tide and we’re outside. Back in and Mimic pulls off a spinning European uppercut to the back of Rollins’ head. Only The Strong in control. Finally Cannon in, but he fares no better. Cannon comes back and Voodoo is your face in peril. They cut the ring in half really well and the crowd is hot for a tag. Long heel beatdown, lots of 2 counts, but they can’t keep Voodoo down. Cannon distracts Mimic, and Voodoo gets to his corner – no tag! Crowd almost wets itself. More 2-counts, Voodoo hits a spike DDT, both men are down. Cannon makes the tag, Voodoo misses by inches. But, five seconds later, he gets it. Mimic explodes along with the crowd. He takes both guys out, until Rollins reverses a double underhook into a Frankensteiner. All 4 men in. The heels are out and a tope / somersault plancha from Only The Strong takes them out. Mimic and Rollins in, Cannon and Voodoo fighting outside. Mimic gets a 2-count, Cannon breaks it up. Neckbreaker / splash combo by the heels on Mimic gets 2, but Voodoo breaks it up. Voodoo turns an Alabama slam into a destroyer. All 4 men are down. Cannon stays down as the others get to their feet, where Rollins is killed. Bit more with all 4, leading to a double stomp / death valley driver for the Only The Strong win. Holy Shit, what a match!
Winners: Only The Strong (Chris “Mimic” Basso & Andy “Voodoo” Roy)
Match 5: RCW Women’s Championship Tournament, Semifinal 2: Harley Wonderland v Miami. Miami overpowers her to start, but Harley soon takes over. This is a woman’s power match – something different, and done well here. Miami back in control, goes up top, but is taken down by Harley. Harley now in control. Miami is pissed (those forearms look nasty) and fires back, but Harley once more takes control. She hits a Gory bomb for 2. Nice as well. She goes up, misses a second rope leg drop. Miami takes over. A quick two count is followed by a bridged Samoan drop for the 3. The final will be Miami v Savannah Summers.
Winner: Miami (pinfall)
This is unfair. While not quite as good as last night, this was still a great match and a different sort of women’s match. See? Two women’s matches, both worked differently, and both damn entertaining. Why aren’t all 4 of these women better known? While they may not be pneumatic, vacuous bimbos of the WWE or TNA, they are wrestlers, look good and can deliver.
Match 6: The Benchwarmers (Shannon Jarvis & Damo) v The Rude Ones (Del Taurino & Marvel). Rematch from last night. But before the bell even rings, the Rude Ones hit two Tequila Sunrises on Damo to kill him. He is out and unconscious on the floor. No match… hang on! Concrete Davidson comes out. He rips a phone book in half, abuses the Rude Ones and offers his help to Shannon. The crowd loses it – Concrete has become the new favourite.
Match 6a: The Rude Ones v Shannon Jarvis & Concrete Davidson. Concrete overpowers Marvel, then defeats Del Taurino in a test of strength. Concrete overpowers both, then tags in Shannon. He gets a quick 2-count on Marvel, but Del Taurino makes the save. Del Taurino in and Shannon is your face in peril. Long beatdown, hot tag to Concrete! Slam to Del Taurino, slam to Marvel onto Del Taurino, tag Shannon back in. Taurino interferes, Concrete chases him, but Marvel locks Shannon in a Texas cloverleaf for the win. Crowd is not happy, and neither is Concrete. Concrete hoists Damo to his shoulder and carries him backstage.
Winners: The Rude Ones (submission)
Match 7: Strength Cup Final: Tama Williams v Matt “Grimm” Basso. Tama interrupts Grimm’s entrance, starting the mind games straight away, and, damn!, it’s done well. Grimm has taped ribs now. Bell rings and Tama goes straight for the ribs. The taping is soon gone, and is used to choke Grimm briefly. Tama really dominating here. He goes up top, but Grimm launches him across the ring. Slugfest, chopfest, backbreaker by Grimm straight into a second, but his ribs are too sore to hold Tama there. Tama with a knee to the ribs to slow him down. Tama with a back senton for 2. Back and forth now. Tama hits his Samoan drop for 2. Tama hits a reverse Samoan drop, then goes up top and hits Air New Zealand. For 3! A nice, clean win again. The fact Tama is outwrestling his opponents makes him a genuine threat, because he can back himself up in the ring, and could cheat if he had to. I like that.
Winner, and Strength Cup 2012 title holder: Tama Williams.
Mimic comes out and confronts Tama. Josh Armour then reads a text message from the absent commissioner Damon Matthews. In April, the main event will be a 3-way dance for the RCW Title. Mimic v Tama Williams v… Sonjay Dutt! Yes, that Sonjay Dutt, from TNA and ROH.
Staredown between Mimic and Tama ends the show, but the crowd applauds Tama anyway. He has earned it.
MOTN: Cannon & Rollins v Only The Strong
WOTN: Tama Williams
The first night was good, but not brilliant. The second night was great. We had great women’s wrestling, a surprise but deserving winner of the Strength tournament, a gimmick wrestler getting over superbly, a tag match off the charts… It was everything you could want in a wrestling show. Riot City Wrestling is the best promotion in Australia. The loss of higher level talent did not hurt the show. New talent filled the void, and filled it so well there was no void.
This promotion should be better known.
Huge thanks to Nathan and all the folks at RCW for use of the photographs.