So this is the 100th show put on by the RCW crew. Over the past 7 years I have watched them grow from a break-away fed of a break-away fed, spot monkeys with more than a touch of the backyard promotion about them to what they are now – arguably the most dynamic, most professionally run and best federation in Australia. They have used the amateur background of several of the guys, brought in strength trainers, boxing coaches, gymnastics coaches, actors and anyone else who could help them. They write coherent storylines. They have employed professional lighting technicians. They produce some great video packages. They mix and match the styles of the matches. It is something every good promotion should be.
That is not to say they are still not an “indy” fed. Some of the guys hit the ring too early in their training/development. Some wrestlers have a tendency to rely on high spots too often. Psychology is a little over the place at times (but, then again, nearly every match in WWE and TNA has that same problem – a lost art of wrestling, I’m afraid). And some of the characters are too over the top or just not believable.
Still, I have been watching a lot of wrestling on that thar Internet-thingy lately, and, dangnabbit!, if the RCW shows and matches are some of the best out there. It is one of the best independent federations anywhere. I could go through the 3 other Adelaide federations, the 3 Melbourne feds I’ve seen, the one NSW and one Queensland fed, and the one Western Australian fed (which is actually quite the awesome promotion as well) and say why RCW is better, but people in Australian wrestling already hate me so I won’t go there.
Now, before I hit the show, I missed the last 2 RCW shows and I may miss more in the future. I may also try going to one or two of the other promotions (although a few years ago one of them told me to never review their shows), but you never know. I’ll review a show if I go, but I’ll only go as a spectator nowadays. While it’s cool to be a heel, it sucks in real life.
Ladies and Gentlemen, are you ready to riot?
Your commentators are Josh (Mark Madden) Armour and Todd (Mike Tenay) Eastman. Josh has been on managerial duties, so this is his return to commentary and the crowd just hates him. Huge crowd, pushing that 400 person mark.
We open with a Damo Damo video to that South Park ‘Montage Song’, which was awesomely well done and extremely funny.
Match 1: The Armstrongs (Nick & Jett) v The BFFs (Carlo Cannon and Ryan Rollins). Surprisingly hot opener with Rollins finally looking the goods in the ring. The Armstrongs have got the best match out of him I have seen (and I’ve watched a bit of him on video as well as in real life). The whole opening sequence was hot as. Nick gets to play face in peril, then Jett has a turn. A four-high tower spot – holy crap! There’s the highlight. End comes when a Rollins moonsault attempt is turned into a Nick RKO, and Jett hits his own top rope moonsault for the pin. Great opener, and got the crowd pumped.
Match 2: Hammer (with Brad Smyth) v Big Brodie Marshall. This came about at the last show where Marshall won the Strength Cup, defeating Hammer in the final. Standard big man power match. Smyth interference occurs (of course). Some weak looking clotheslines and punches. Hammer is no longer the monster but just another wrestler, albeit one with a more intense look. Hammer in control for a while. Marshall back, distracted by Smyth. Marshall finally wins with a version of the Rock Bottom. Match didn’t really gel, and apart from Marshall’s vociferous fan club, crowd was not into it.
Eliza Sway (women’s champ) and Andy ‘Voodoo’ Roy (RCW champ) come out. Sway runs down the crowd. Voodoo says they’re coming in champs and leaving champs. Short sharp and shiny, the way promos should be – get the point across, don’t belabour it, make sure your face/heel persona is left in no doubt.
Match 3: Fatal 4-Way: Fuzion (with manager) v Shannon Jarvis v Josh Shooter v Luke Santamaria. Luke’s return match after a nasty shoulder injury. Typical four-way schmozz. Lots of pairing off, lots of back and forth. Luke is put out of action for a while (great way to protect the returning wrestler, and no, that isn’t sarcasm). Too much action to call and it never really stops. End comes when Shannon hits a nice flying kick on Shooter and rolls off. Fuzion’s manager grabs hold of him and Fuzion steals the pin to be the winner. Entertaining, non-stop match.
Match 4: Barnes & Brooks v The Rude Ones. Barnes and Brooks is an odd pairing, and their persona of beer-drinking yobs (they actually each have a bottle of beer with them that they regularly swig from) is supposed to make them heels in Australia? Start feels off until they quickly turn it into an old-school tag team match, with Marvel the face in peril and his leg the centre of attention. Hot tag to Del Taurino doesn’t go as planned. Tag back and Marvel pins Barnes but Brooks hits a senton across both men to break it. Ouch! It breaks down quickly, but Del Taurino keeps Brooks on the outside while Marvel locks the dragon sleeper on Barnes for the submission win. Another good match once it got going. Oh, and Marvel does the Bret Hart knee sell for the rest of the show.
Match 5: Damo Damo (with Shannon Jarvis) v Brad Smyth (with Hammer). This is the culmination of months of build-up – Damo has to win by this show in order to have his contract with RCW extended. So this is it – the blow-off. And then Shannon is quickly sent to the back for punching Brad. Brad is in control with occasional flurries from Damo, but the crowd is HOT. Damo channels Grimm. Smyth kicks the ring post and now Damo channels Marvel (the two guys seen helping him in the video montage at the start of the show – continuity!) and focuses on the leg. Ankle lock by Damo, ho train by Damo misses and the tide turns. Hammer interference and he’s out of there as well! Damo with a top rope hurricanrana, then the Fly Damo Fly top rope cross-body gets the three-count. Damo finally wins! And the crowd EXPLODES! I mean, there are pops, and there was this. The walls shook. They have been so invested in this character of the little battler that this final overcoming of the odds was for them. A cathartic release, and Damo is the most over guy in RCW at the moment. Even me, a jaded old cynic, had shivers and a grin on my face.
We need intermission after this. No-one could follow that.
I had a good look around at intermission. They had a display of the last 7 years of RCW, with old photos, an old title belt, posters, programmes from shows, everything like that. Nice and understated. They have also started releasing a bare bones DVD of the previous month’s show. Good move, I think.
And we’re back.
Match 6: Matt Silva v Matt ‘Grimm’ Basso. This is very probably Silva’s last match for RCW as he has been signed to a developmental contract with FCW, leading hopefully to the WWE. I tried to get an interview with him, but that didn’t happen. Oh well… This was an intense match, one that went back and forth the whole time. Silva is the heel, but he is not wrestling in full-on heel mode and the crowd does not want to boo him. Good thing there was an intermission because the crowd got into this one right from the word go. Some good wrestling, and Silva’s strength is something to behold. He locks in a sweet STF and he is even knocked for a flip on a clothesline. Silva chants start! Then we get duelling Silva/Grimm chants. This is probably the first time since he fought Mimic that I’ve seen Grimm so overshadowed by an opponent, and full credit to the big man for going along with it. He knows what the crowd wants and gives it to them. That is the mark of a professional, not a selfish spot-monkey (not mentioning the names of any other local feds I’ve seen recently…). Silva powers out of the cut-throat driver and hits a brainbuster for 2. Grimm hits the big boot for 3 and the pin.
After the match Grimm and Silva embrace and Silva has a mic. He thanks the crowd and the RCW crew. He also puts RCW over as the best promotion in Australia. Cool and classy way to say goodbye.
Match 7: 4-way Elimination Match for the RCW Women’s Title: Harley Wonderland v Lou Lou Lockhart v Savannah Summers v Eliza Sway (c). Miami is making her return as the special guest ref, and her past with Sway shows itself from the word go. Quick start with stereo moves by Lockhart and Summers until it breaks down and Lockhart is quickly eliminated via a Wonderland pin. Now it seems to be 2-on-1, but everyone turns on everyone else and it becomes a full-on 3-way pretty quickly. Savannah pins Wonderland and Sway lets it happen. Wonderland then distracts Miami, enabling Sway to get the title belt and waffle Summers with it, and Miami reluctantly counts the pin, so Sway is still the champ. But Miami then attacks Sway and takes her out.
Note: Only the second heel to win all night.
Match 8: Ladder Match for the RCW Title: Chris ‘Mimic’ Basso v Andy ‘Voodoo’ Roy (c). Back and forth for a minute and then the first ladder brought in. Back and forth again. A chair gets involved and Voodoo takes an unprotected head shot. Awesome action at the moment. Mimic almost crashes in a ladder assisted flip tope. Ladders are everywhere. Mimic head first into a ladder, and starts to bleed. Mimic then suplexed onto a ladder. Drop toe hold and Mimic eats ladder. Mimic is being slaughtered here. And even as I write that he makes a come back. Fight on top of a ladder and Voodoo takes a gourd buster from the top. Set ups of spots are actually being done well in advance – that actually feels different. Voodoo slammed onto a ladder, but moves so that a Mimic moonsault lands on it. His chest is purple and red with bruising. Both up a ladder, both down with a crash. Back and forth until Mimic hits a double underhook piledriver. Voodoo chairs him off the ladder. Voodoo hits the Cannibal destroyer onto a chair. Mimic drop kicks Voodoo from the top of the ladder. Now the slow climbing starts and we lost the interesting transitions. Fight again on top of the ladder. Voodoo falls backwards with his leg caught and Mimic reaches up and grabs the belt. Winner and new champ – MIMIC!
Brodie Marshall comes out. He faces Mimic next month. They shake hands, but Voodoo interjects himself and Marshall throws him out of the ring. I’m guessing a 3-way for the title in May.
Now all of the faces come out of the back to celebrate with Mimic. Mimic thanks everyone for RCW making it to 100 shows, and Joe – the owner – comes out to thank everyone now.
Feel-good show for the 100th. And not only that, a great show.
On FaceBook, one of the guys I follow is ‘Angry Wrestling Vet ‘ (http://www.facebook.com/AngryWrestleVet), and he had this to say about Wrestlemania weekend: “#VetChallenge: A lot of wrestling events are going to be happening this weekend with a lot of eyes on all involved. Stand out in the crowd and make them remember you for the right reasons.”
Riot City Wrestling followed that advice and then some. Congratulations, guys and girls. Well done, and here’s to another 100.
Tags: Adelaide, Australia, Damo, Del Taurino, Fuzion, Grimm, Hammer, ladder match, Miami, Mimic, RCW, riot city wrestling, Savannah Summers, title, Voodoo, wrestlemania