Friday, May 19, 2017

REVIEW: Melbourne City Wrestling’s Keep It 100 (Ukrainian Hall, Essendon) on Saturday, May 13




NOOOOOO! Say it ain’t so! Preston and Payne are no more! My first Melbourne City Wrestling show in 18 months and I was there to see the implosion of the most entertaining tag team in Australian wrestling.
Bummed doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings about this development. I’d planned for some months to fly to Melbourne for a belated 50th birthday celebration weekend and catch a wrestling card while there.
Mr Juicy facing former best friend Elliott Sexton in a “falls count anywhere” match was an enticing prospect, as was the news that NZ sensations TK Cooper and Dahlia Black (the South Pacific Power Couple) – most recently causing waves in the UK wrestling scene – would make an in-ring appearance.
And then came the late news that Preston and Payne were challenging the World’s Friendliest Bastards for the MCW tag team belts. There was NO WAY I was gonna miss Keep It 100.
The Ukrainian Hall (aka the MCW Arena) was chockers for the event and the crowd was rabid from the start. These hardcore fans are into all the personalities, the angles and the matches (which isn’t hard when the matches are so good). This was only a five-bout card, but it definitely delivered the goods.
First up, my heroes Preston and Payne put in a great effort but fell short against Krackerjak and Lochy Hendricks. I’ve always enjoyed P&P’s artistic, creepy promo videos but my fear was that they couldn’t back that up in the ring. I’m happy to say I was proven wrong. These guys were fantastic and they had the perfect foils in crowd faves Krackers and Lochy.
Preston and Payne have renewed my passion for local wrestling unlike anyone has in years, so they’re post-match bust-up was disappointing to me on a personal level.
That said, Johnathan Preston aligning himself with the returning Emmanuel is intriguing and the upcoming promos and feud with a babyface (if still insane) Allan Payne should be fun.
Next came a women’s contest. Kellyanne’s encounter with Sydney’s Charli Evans was essentially a squash, but was brutally entertaining. Sadly, Charli didn’t bring any doughnuts with her this night to help ease her pain a little afterwards.
Except for one minor botch, TK Cooper’s bout with veteran Mike Burr was great. TK and Dahlia have so much charisma it’s unbelievable – and the gimmick of a stud constantly pashing his hot girlfriend is a perfect heel gimmick to wrestling fans (a large percentage of who probably have never kissed a woman in the first place). Buuuuuuurn!
A victorious Cooper challenged Dowie for the MCW championship, which Dowie rejected in a post-match promo.
JXT’s Intercommonwealth Championship match was another squash and easily the least engaging bout of the night. No offence to Dean Valente, but not a single person in the hall thought he was going to win. However, I admire Dean’s optimism in brining merch to sell on the night.
Finally, it was time for the “Falls Count Anywhere” main event between monster heel Elliott Sexton and Mr Juicy. The big crowd went mental from the moment Elliott stepped out from behind the curtains.
This contest was a brutal war from start to finish, just a hellacious bout where the two warriors went flat out from start to finish.
As someone pointed out to me, the idea that one attacking move of Sexton is worth three of his opponents really gets him across as a near-unstoppable force of nature. Soon, Mr Juicy had…well, JUICED and things looked grim for the crowd favourite.
However, after much brawling around the hall and the use of many weapons (including thumbtacks and bins), Sexton wound up at ringside lying on a table, which Mr Juicy crushed with a dive from the squared circle. It was an incredible move that led to the final three-count and a greatly deserved, hard-fought victory.
I would have to say that this is easily the best match I’ve seen either man in during their long careers, so kudos to them both for pulling out all the stops. It was a phenomenal main event and I urge you to check it out when the event is released on Vimeo.
Mr Juicy then challenged Dowie for the title, which brought the beloved champ to the ring once more. However, he was blindsided by Cooper, who beat up Dowie AND Mr Juicy, leading the champ to accept Cooper’s challenge, setting the stage for a hyoooooge bout at Hostile Takeover on June 10 at the MCW Arena.
Sadly, I can’t make that show, but I’m sure it’ll be fantastic. Hey, it’s MCW – how could it be anything less?
* For more details and ticket sales, head to https://melbournecitywrestling.com.au.

RESULTS:
(MCW Keep It 100 @ Ukrainian Hall in Essendon, Victoria – 200+): MCW Tag Team Titles – World’s Friendliest Bastards (Krackerjak and Lochy Hendricks ) (c) b Preston and Payne; Kellyanne b Charli Evans; TK Cooper (w/- Dahlia Black) b Mike Burr; MCW Intercommonwealth Championship – JXT b Dean Valente; Falls Count Anywhere – Mr Juicy b Elliott Sexton.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

REVIEW: Riot City Wrestling’s Strength 2017 (Latvian Hall, Adelaide) on Saturday, April 22


I’LL be the first to admit that I know very little about Riot City Wrestling. I mean, my cousin Savannah Summers has wrestled for them from practically day one and I’ve seen the likes of the Basso brothers and the Armstrongs in action in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.
But I’d never ACTUALLY attended a live RCW event until last Saturday. I had a very good reason to attend as it would be the final RCW bout for women’s champion Demi Bennett (above), who is bound for NXT in the very near future.
Me and some friends arrived and could barely squeeze into what appeared to be a sold-out Latvian Hall in Wayville. Apparently, there were 387 fans in a venue that holds 500 – how that is even possible without having punters hanging from the rafters is beyond me. Either way, it was an impressive crowd.
I give kudos to RCW for a classy ring and stage set-up, including a pre-show video on their big screen featuring heel tag team The Savage Gentlemen, who have a very cool gimmick.
In fact, they opened up proceedings with one half of The Gentlemen, Brodie Marshall, facing off against one half of the Armstrong brothers, Nick, in the Strength Cup 2017 semi-final. The two combatants didn’t click as well as I thought they would, but had a perfectly acceptable quick bout with Armstrong earning the shock three-count over the much bigger Marshall to go onto the final later that night. Perhaps Brodie was having an off night.
Nick’s opponent in the final would be Zak Sabbath, who downed promising rookie Eli Theseus in the other semi-final.
Next came a 12-man battle royal featuring a bunch of guys I’d never heard of, but I immediately made lil’ Andy Capp look-alike Tuffy Calhoon my favourite and was shattered when he fell...ahem, short. The eventual winner was Cadie Tre, but the big story was the split between heel faction The Millennials, with Luke Santamaria and "The Blue Chip Athlete" Dean Brady coming to blows before Tre eliminated them both.
I’m a sucker for battle royals and Royal Rumbles, and this was a fun affair, so congrats to everyone involved.
The last contest before intermission was a non-title match pitting heavyweight champ Matt “Grimm” Basso against Melbourne’s Adam Brooks. I told my friends that this would be the match of the night and I wasn’t wrong. These two tore the house down in a superb, fast-paced, hard-hitting bout. Hats off also to Grimm for his Game Of Thrones-ish gimmick, which is pretty damn awesome.
After the break came the tag team title match – The Rude Ones defending against Chris Basso and Davey Green – that was, surprisingly, a little disappointing. Sure, I spent the match chatting to a friend I hadn’t seen in 30 years, but if the action had been particularly engaging, I would have tuned back into proceedings. I can’t blame Chris Basso, because he’s always great, so I’ll point my fat finger of blame at the other three dudes. Anyway, the masked guys won, then got challenged and destroyed by The Savage Gentlemen in a surprise title change stemming from an angle on a previous show I’d missed. The ending was messed up ’cos the bell rang, then one of the Gentlemen hit one of the masked dudes with a belt RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE REF, which should have been an automatic DQ. Then everyone pretended the bell hadn’t rung and they had a very brief match and the Gentlemen won. To be honest, it’s all a bit blurry, but the belts will mean way more now around the big fellas’ waists.
Next came the Strength Cup final, which was a good bout that saw Sabbath cheat to get the three-count over Armstrong. Both guys are very talented workers. Also, I like Sabbath’s Goth gimmick and I like Armstrong’s hair.
Now it was time for the main event for the RCW women’s championship and it was easily the SECOND-BEST MATCH on the card. The crowd came unglued for Demi Bennett, but there were few boos for Kellyanne, who is clearly the top women’s wrestler in Australia NOT signed by NXT.
The last time I saw Demi wrestle was as a rookie in PWWA in Parramatta four years ago. The change in her ring presence and skill level has been meteoric. These two ladies were brilliant: chain wrestling, hard chops, brawling in the crowd and so much more. Quite simply, they kicked arse and, in something of a shock, Demi retained her title. Afterwards, the roster came out to cheer Demi on as she gave a brief speech to the adoring crowd. Let’s hope she enjoys massive success overseas. With her in-ring abilities and undoubted charisma she should go far.
So that was Riot City Wrestling – it’s a fantastic promotion and Strength 2017 was a fantastic show. My two regrets are, firstly, that I can’t get to Adelaide more often to see RCW on a regular basis and, secondly, that Tuffy Calhoon wasn’t at the merch table to sign my photo.

RESULTS:

(RCW Strength 2017 @ Latvian Hall in Wayville, South Australia – 387): Strength Cup 2017 semi-final - Nick Armstrong b Brodie Marshall (w/Tyler Daniels); Strength Cup 2017 semi-final - Zak Sabbath b Eli Theseus; 12-man battle royal  won by Cadie Tre; Matt “Grimm” Basso b Adam Brooks; RCW Tag Team Title - The Rude Ones (Bulldog McKenzie & Marvel) (w/Venus ) (c) b Chris Basso & Davey Green; RCW Tag Team Title: The Savage Gentlemen (Marshall & Daniels) b The Rude Ones (c); Strength Cup 2017 final - Sabbath b Armstrong; RCW Women’s Title - Demi Bennett (c) b Kellyanne.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Feed The Gorilla #3 PDF - ready for download

THE best damn wrestling sheet by the best damn wrestling sheet writer in Australia.
Articles and interviews covering Don Fargo, Chris Colt, Mario Milano, AAA's Australian Suicide and more!
Download your full-colour PDF HERE.

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 Horsemen...like 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


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.