As part of annual Adelaide Fringe Festival, Riot City Wrestling for the second year have a multi-night show incorporating the Strength Cup, which gives the winner a guaranteed title shot in two months. So as well as the 8 men competing in the tournament, we also have a number of other matches in what should prove to be an interesting pair of shows.
As an added bonus, due to questions from some readers (yes, I have some readers!), Iâ€™ll try and put these athletes into perspective using televised US wrestling as a basis for comparison. These guys are too good to be ignored.
The crowd was a good size, but as became evident as the night wore on, many of them were not regular RCW fans, but Fringe audience members. They sat on their hands a lot, despite what they were given in the ring.
To start the show the Strength Cup combatants were called out: Tama Williams (RCW debut, from New Zealand, fighting out of Sydney); TJ Rush; Rocky Menero; Elliot Sexton (wearing pink shorts thatâ€¦ well, yeahâ€¦ letâ€™s say we knew his religionâ€¦); Mimic; Voodoo; Wayne â€˜The Maniacâ€™ Mattei (RCW debut, and an interesting one at that); and Brad Smyth.
The opening round brackets were then announced: TJ v Tama (stare down); Voodoo v Rocky (handshake); Mimic v Sexton (Sexton shows disrespect); Smyth v Mattei (70-odd v 142 kg, and Bradâ€™s scared act is superb while Mattei just looked big and scary). This was a good way to start the show and gave the tournament importance.
As the men left, Commissioner Jack stopped Sexton and brought up last monthâ€™s ref-bashing antics. It was pointed out Rocky was suspended for less, but there has been a different decision made â€“ if Sexton touches a ref he would be fired, plus a $1000 fine. Not happyâ€¦
Match 1 â€“ GD Grimm v Shannon Mac Jarvis
Rematch from last month. Chain wrestling to start before Grimmâ€™s temper got the better of him. Shannon had a brief hope spot before it went outside. Back in and Jarvis had some offence, including a low impact spear. But Grimm got the torture rack to back-breaker, then the curb stomp, and the three-count
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Winner by pinfall â€“ GD Grimm
Interesting choice for an opener. In just one month, Jarvis has improved noticeably. Needs a bit more polish, but heâ€™s showing something. I have a small problem with this angle, though, as each of these matches will be foregone conclusions as Grimm works through the rookies. Heâ€™s better than that, and there will also be no rookie payoff.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Grimm, as always, had a great showing. If he can bulk up a little bit more, but maintain his move set, with his size, ability, agility, intensity and persona, he would be an awesome fit in the upper end of the big leagues, both WWE and TNA. He also has the mic work needed and can do heel or face. Think a taller Chris Jericho. Yes, in my opinion, he is that good.
Match 2 â€“ Brad Smyth v Wayne Mattei.
Bradâ€™s terrified act was something to see. Maniac overpowered him to start. Brad used smarts, going for the eyes and leg (which meant nothing in the way it was no-sold) to come back, but Wayne came back again. In the end, Brad managed to throw the turnbuckle pad away and while the ref was retrieving it, Brad grabbed a chair while Mattei was blinded by eye rake number twenty (or so). But Mattei cleared his head, so Brad slammed the chair into the mat, then threw it to Mattei, who caught it, and played dead. The ref saw Mattei with the chair, a prone Brad, heâ€™d heard the bang, and so he called for the bell (now where have we seen that ending before? Nice, though).
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Winner by DQ â€“ Brad Smyth
Mattei is big and his character harkens back to the 80s and the characters of that era. His moves look strong, but he moves slowly. And after watching Grimm and Jacko move like cruiserweights, and seeing Samoa Joe in the X-Division, I think he may need to up the tempo in RCW. Having said that, this was actually the best match I have seen Wayne Mattei in, so maybe RCW is going to be the best environment for him as a wrestler.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Brad is a great worker and great on the mic, and he really made this match with his mannerisms, actions and everything about himself. He would be a nice fit in Japan (from what Iâ€™ve seen of Japanese style) or maybe the X-Division if he can lift his weight by 10kg or so. If nothing else, Iâ€™d hire him as an actor. And I mean right now. He is a talent waiting to be exploited.
Match 3 â€“ Tama Williams v TJ Rush
Now here is an issue with bringing interstate workers in â€“ no one had a clue who Tama was and his generic look and Maori entrance did nothing to help. Having said that, he has some definite mannerisms which give him a personality that is his in the ring. Wrestling to start. Tamaâ€™s punches and kicks looked weak (and the crowd picked it up, calling him out on it more than once). Tama dominated to start until TJ reversed a second rope drop kick into a mid-air leg sweep (sweet move!) and took over. Tama went for his Air New Zealand (top rope splash, but he does not weigh enough for it to look really effective), but TJ was out at 2. TJ then missed an SSP, so Tama rolled him up and grabbed the ropes for the pin. (This was, by the way, the first real cheating he did in the match.)
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Winner by pinfall â€“ Tama Williams
This is the first time Iâ€™ve seen Tama and he looks eager. He wrestled well, but still seems like he has a little way to go. But having not seen him before, I canâ€™t say too much.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â TJ would be an excellent fit right now in the X-Division. Maybe lacking a little height, everything else about him is there, including the mic skills. And while he has been almost exclusively a face in RCW, Iâ€™ve seen him as a heel and he can also pull that off. A match between him and Christopher Daniels would just be insane.
Match 4 â€“ Voodoo v Rocky Menero
A face v face match and a professional wrestling clinic. Non-stop, with even the restholds holding the crowd. Just amazing. Too much to really call adequately. The ending came when Elliot Sexton (who has a major beef with Rocky in a feud that has been building nicely for six months or so now) came in and kicked Voodoo in the head, thus giving him the win by DQ for outside interference. In the context of what we were watching, that was a shame, but it was understandable in every other aspect â€“ Sexton did not want Rocky winning the tournament. Until then, though, it was one of the best matches Iâ€™ve seen in a while. Voodooâ€™s improvement in the past two years has been off the charts, and Rocky looks more motivated in RCW than Iâ€™ve seen him in quite some time. Without the ending, MOTYC for sure. Yes, I was impressed.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Winner by DQ â€“ Voodoo
Like TJ, Voodoo could slot into the X-Division tomorrow, no doubt, while Rocky would slot into TNAâ€™s heavyweight group without a problem. I have not really heard Voodoo on the mic, but Rocky can deliver solid promos. Iâ€™ve also only seen Voodoo as a face, while I know Rocky can work both face and heel effectively. I think Rocky could even step into the WWEâ€™s midcard without a hesitation. In-ring wise, he would be above the Corre and Nexus members. Think Rick Rude for the 21st century (with less dancing). The only thing holding Voodoo back from the WWE would be his size, and nothing else (though he is bigger than Daniel Bryanâ€¦). Both of these guys have the goods to step into the big leagues now.
Match 5 â€“ Eliza Sway v Savannah Summers
Savannah dominated much of the match. Sway was a little loose, but she takes punishment really well. Nice match, though, and the ending was an interesting one. A female camera operator â€“ Melody, according to the commentators â€“ managed to clock Eliza in the head so Savannah could get the cheap win. Then the two of them put their boots into Sway until Miami came out to make the save. What a great way to introduce a new wrestler! Melody has been at ringside for months with her cameras, so her being out there was not out of the ordinary; her actions, though â€“ just perfect. Kudos for all involved.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Winner by tainted pinfall â€“ Savannah Summers
I havenâ€™t seen enough of Sway to comment on her really.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Savannah could easily â€“ easily â€“ be a star anywhere. Skill, look, attitude (as face or heel), mic skills, just great. And her wrestling ability is amazing. Maybe sheâ€™s not pneumatic enough for WWE, but Stacey Keibler was there successfully, so you never know. Sheâ€™s also not too tall, but I find it hard to judge the size of the WWE Divas, so who knows? In TNA she would be a perfect fit, as the skill level of their females tends to be higher (in general).
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Miami would also be a perfect fit for TNA. Tall and strong and with a skill level that is improving all the time. Think a better skilled Beth Phoenix. Probably not the look the WWE is after, which is a shame (as far as I can tell, WWE look for no waist, self-inflating boobs, and an ability to scream; wrestling ability is not a real consideration). Both these women are athletes above the vast majority of the women I see on TV. My current womenâ€™s dream match is Mickie James and Miami v Tara and Savannah. Not only would there be 4 good looking women in the ring, but the wrestling level of the match would actually be worth going out of your way to see.
Match 6 â€“ BeBop and TJ Rush v The Rude Ones (Del Taurino and Marvel with El Presidente)
The Rude Ones get an insane amount of heat on their entrance. Just awesome. I mean, even at WWE shows Iâ€™ve been to, very few get this sort of genuine crowd hatred. Comedy to start, then it went outside, and then TJ and BeBop dancedâ€¦ and then it got serious. The Rude Ones work so well together. Del Taurino has awesome strikes while Marvelâ€™s submission moves look nasty. Long heat sequence on TJ in the middle until he managed to cannonball Marvel in the corner. BeBop was taken off the apron more than once so the beat-down on TJ could continue. TJ missed a 450 moonsault and looked to injure his shoulder, BeBop came in and he was a house on fire. He went up top, but an El Presidente shoe to the head enabled the Rude Ones to hit a nasty double team for the win.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Winner by pinfall â€“ the Rude Ones.
The Rude Ones could slide into TNAâ€™s tag division with just a little bit of work on wrestling basics for Del Taurino (although if his improvement over the past 18 months is any indication, he would not take long to learn much more) and bulking up for Marvel. But the way they work together, their double team move set, their in-ring presence and mannerisms are perfectly formed. With his skill, especially at submissions, Marvel could also slot in WWEâ€™s current mid-card â€“ with a little bit more size â€“ without a problem as a singles wrestler.
Match 7 â€“ Elliot Sexton v Mimic
Sexton tried to intimidate to start, but failed. A wrestling exhibition from these two. Back and forth action. Not structured traditionally, which made it even better. It genuinely seemed like two evenly matched opponents out to win. First one was on top, then the other. And it was good to hear the crowd â€“ even those there for other reasons â€“ accept wrestling as wrestling in a match like this, a long main event. They kicked out of each otherâ€™s big moves over and over and the crowd actually felt ready to explode. The end came when Rocky distracted Sexton and Mimic used this to hit the Sega Mega Driver for the pin and the 3-count. MOTN!
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Winner by pinfall â€“ Mimic
Both of these guys have a unique look and have great wrestling skills as well as being very good on the mic. While I havenâ€™t seen Sexton as a face nor Mimic as a heel (well, once, but that was in a different situation), I believe both could easily work in the other side of the divide. Both men could slot into the WWE midcard with ease, and the TNA upper card without a problem. Mimic against AJ Styles would be worth seeing anywhere. Mimic could also easily slot into the stiff, Japanese style I have recently started to watch. Their skill, story-telling, in-ring psychology and ring presence are beyond their years. And I am serious. Why Australian wrestling is not more widely regarded is beyond me when looking at the talent on this roster.
Enough ranting. Night two is just going to be the matches and a little less commentary from meâ€¦
Disappointing crowd, numbers-wise, but a better crowd than night one, knowledge of product and noise wise.
TJ Rush was introduced as a commentator tonight. Apparently when he did the 450 moonsault last night he was not selling a shoulder in jury, he had a legit dislocation. I got to see the x-rays. OUCH!
Match 1 â€“ Strength Cup semi-final: Mimic v Tama Williams
Fast-paced, back and forth match. Tama was a step slower than Mimic; his kicks looked stronger tonight, though. Then a long heat segment on Mimic, then back and forth again. Tamaâ€™s top rope Samoan drop on Mimic was nice, but only for 2, and this was followed by a Mimic top rope Frankensteiner also for 2. Air NZ missed, and Mimic hit the Sega Mega Driver for the win. Better outing for Tama tonight, for sure.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Winner by pinfall â€“ Mimic
Match 2 â€“ Strength Cup semi-final: Brad Smyth v Voodoo
Brad did his weight thing tonight (if he reaches 80kg/176lb he gets a guaranteed title shot; this is a long-running â€˜Bradâ€™s too smallâ€™ storyline), and where last month he was 76.5 kg (168lb), tonight heâ€™d dropped weight to be 71. He threw the scales into the ring and pouted. Chain wrestling to start, then it sped up and went outside and Brad got the upper hand. Brad worked the throat and head. Brad dominated for a long time until Voodoo came back with a top rope superplex. Series of back and forth two-counts. Referee distraction with a turnbuckle saw Voodoo miss out on a pin after Bradâ€™s attempted use of the scales as a weapon backfired. The referee was then knocked out so Voodoo missed out on another pin, but Brad clocked Voodoo with the scales (hard! I meanâ€¦ Christ!), and there was a slow three count.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Winner by tainted pinfall â€“ Brad Smyth
GD Grimm came out and confronted Fuzion, sitting in the audience after last monthâ€™s attack. Nice continuity! Grimm then complained about the rookie stipulation heâ€™s been forced to endure. Commissioner Jack responded by explaining again why he is starting at the bottom, and then brought out another rookie.
Match 3 â€“ GD Grimm v Damo
Damo is maybe 60kg. Grimm promised to eat him, but said this guy was just a snack. Grimm squashed Damo like a bug, with Damo getting a few amazing kick outs and not much else. Two big boots to the face and that was all she wrote. Nice pinball-like debut for the small fella!
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Winner (with ease) â€“ GD Grimm
Match 4 â€“ The Rude Ones v Jacko Lantern & Shannon Mac Jarvis
Started off as essentially Jacko v the Rude Ones, then Shannon came in and there was a long heel beatdown on him. They worked Shannonâ€™s leg methodically and Shannonâ€™s selling of it was spot on. Shannon couldnâ€™t lift Del Taurino for a slam because of it, and couldnâ€™t lift his knee in the corner on a Marvel charge. But it was a lo-o-ong heat segment. He finally got a hot tag and Jacko cleaned house. El Presidente attacked Shannon on the outside, but inside Jacko rolled up Marvel for the win. And Shannon kept selling the leg even as they posed. Fine match.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Winners â€“ Jacko Lantern & Shannon Mac Jarvis
Continuing on with RCW wrestlers: with a change of gimmick and bulking up a bit, Jacko (a name change as well? they sort of have gone away from pun names of late) Lantern could easily slot into the midcard of the WWE. Not too sure about TNA unless he really bulked up, although with his risk-taking he could be a different sort (i.e. tall) of X-division competitor. Good on the mic, some good comedy timing, face or heel, and nice wrestling skills, heâ€™s another RCW wrestler who could find a home on US television.
Match 5 â€“ Rocky Menero v Elliot Sexton
Rocky was blind-sided by Sexton as he came out to the ring. This has been a grudge match build and it started out as such, going into the crowd before the bell was even called for. They beat on each other through the audience and the crowd was hot! They finally got back to the ring and the match officially started. Rocky dominated to start, but a low blow turned the tide. Then back and forth, hard-hitting until Sexton apparently had enough and walked out. Rocky was not happy. Bizarre ending, but it looked like Sexton was playing mind games with Rocky. The final blow off match between these two could well be the match of the year from RCW.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Winner by count out of the ring â€“ Rocky Menero
Match 6 â€“ Savannah Summers & Melody v Miami & Eliza Sway
Melody the camera girl from last night was identified as Savannahâ€™s sister, and this match was her debut. They came out in matching outfits (not identical, but same colour scheme and style). Miami and Sway started by dominating with some nasty looking double team moves. One or two small errors from the debutant through this, but the crowd did not ride her for it, so they clearly did not care. An eye rake turned the tide and then we had a long heel beatdown on Miami. I mentioned last night how she had better skill than Beth Phoenix? Well, her selling is so good, with some real subtle touches, that there were people in the crowd asking if she was legit hurting. Finally Miami got the tag and Sway was, you guessed it, a house on fire (ah, clichÃ©s). All hell then broke loose, with all four fighting. Miami and Savannah spilled to the outside, leaving Melody and Sway in the ring. Sway locked on a vicious looking submission move and Melody tapped. After the match Savannah berated Melody for giving up and she apologised profusely. Savannahâ€™s pissed off big sister act was another nice touch to her character.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Winner by submission â€“ Eliza Sway & Miami
For the record, despite the mistakes at the start, Melody had one of the better debuts from a member of the RCW Academy I have seen (and Iâ€™ve seen most of them). Not only was she allowed to be in a high profile match, but she made the most of the opportunity. Kudos also to RCW for putting her in this position and taking a chance. From the way she was introduced to the way she interacted with Savannah and mirrored Savannah, and the way Savannah acted with her, just really well done.
Match 7 â€“ Strength Cup Final: Mimic v Brad Smyth
Brad came out with the scales again, but Commissioner Jack took them away. This one went outside quickly where Mimic soon took control. Brad took over, bit of a beatdown, Mimic took over again and then Brad took it back. Back and forth. Weak ref bump (another one!) and Brad got a second set of scales, but Mimic cut him off. Mimic went for a powerbomb, but Brad still had the scales and clocked him at the top of the move. Ref came to, counted the slow three.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Winner by tainted pinfall and 2011 Strength Cup Champion â€“ Brad Smyth
Brad got the trophy and a mic, talked a bit about beating everyone, and then started to lay into Mimic. Voodoo ran out to make the save, but the Rude Ones followed and set on him. Rocky made the save there, but Sexton came out to beat on him, and finally Jacko entered the fray. Huge brawl until finally we had the four faces in the ring and the four heels on the stage. Commissioner Jack then announced that at the next show â€“ April 2 â€“ there was to be a six-man elimination tag featuring Del Taurino, Brad Smyth and Elliot Sexton against Mimic, Rocky Menero and Jacko Lantern.
End of show.
Overall: Two nights of wrestling. Again, not a bad match. RCW are going through some changes with the roster â€“ new people from interstate, new established wrestlers from Adelaide, old guys leaving or having a break, rookies coming up from the training academy â€“ and so things are going to change all over. This weekend showed that these changes are not going to be detrimental to the in-ring product. If you ever get the chance, and are in Adelaide, come along to a show. You wonâ€™t be disappointed. Or buy a DVD (they are set as multi-region). Or go to their YouTube channel. Hey, like them on FaceBook! [/blatant plug]
Tags: 2011, Brad Smyth, Elliot Sexton, GD Grimm, Miami, Mimic, RCW, riot city wrestling, Rocky Menero, Savannah Summers