Monday, September 03, 2007

My better-late-than-fucking-never Adelaide rasslin' review

Masato Tanaka

Flamin' 'eck! Havok goes through the fiery table at the conclusion of the main event at EPW's Burning Tables

Havoc slams Jayson Cooper through a (non-burning) table

10/8 Adelaide, South Australia (International Assault Global Attack – 840): Greg Graham vs “Dirty” Dick Donovan – no contest, Robby Heart b Chris Vice, Damian Slater b J-Rock, Masato Tanaka b “Jag” Hartley Jackson and Bruce “Havoc” Mills, AWF Title: TNT b Kid Kash, Jayson Cooper b Spike Steele, WSW Title: Kidman b Heidenreich

IT’S rare that I get the chance to go to Adelaide, let alone check out some local wrestling while I’m there. Well, last month I managed to see TWO wrestling shows in two days.

Me and my old mate Kami caught International Assault Global Attack at the Thebby Theatre on the Friday, followed by EPW Burning Bridges at Cosgrove Hall the next night.

IAGA (for short) boasted four international superstars – former ECW world champ Masato Tanaka, Billy Kidman, Kid Kash and Heidenreich but, let’s face it, I was only going to see Tanaka in a three-way hard-core match against EPW veterans Jag and Havok.

It was a reasonably big crowd and, overall, the show was okay. The EPW Adelaide undercard workers didn’t disgrace themselves (which can’t be said for the AWF undercard at the IA shows on the east coast).

Graham and Donovan never got started as Heidenreich came to the ring and destroyed both youngsters to get him over as the mega-heel of the main event. No matter how hard Heidenreich tries – and he may genuinely be a nice guy – his ring work sucks and his mike skills suck even harder. The fact that the new LOD had to be carried by Animal speaks wonders about big Jon’s “skills”.

Heart vs Vice was a nice little bout, especially as I’d heard on the QT that Vice wasn’t all that. Well, he surprised me.

Slater and J-Rock was slower paced, but Slater impressed me (as he has every other time I’ve seen him in the past).

The pre-intermission “main event” was the three-way and it was easily the bout of the night. Tanaka took an ungodly amount of unnecessary damage (were all those chair shots to the noggin really necessary, Masato?) and got over huge with the crowd in the end.

The AWF title was disappointing. Kash spent way too long on the mike – what IS his obsession with men’s asses? – although by the end of it he had the locals pretty angry. Making kids cry and getting a bloke to storm the ring (where was security?) is kinda impressive. TNT wasn’t however. The Sydney promoter still hasn’t got the hang of being a babyface. And Greg, ya gotta stop brushing the hair out of your eyes every time you’re meant to sell your opponent’s move.

And either Kash dogged him or the two do NOT work well together. Either way, this match kinda stank.

Cooper and Steele’s bout was good but too short. Then again, it was designed solely to put Cooper over before Havok came out and beat the shit out of him to promote their flaming tables match the next night.

The main event was okay thanks to Kidman (who had his working boots on) and a lot of shortcuts using a ladder and other assorted weapons.

Like I said, an okay show, but nothing impressive. Frankly, the two things that stood out most to me on the night were Masato vs Jag vs Havok and the fact that some of the EPW wrestlers are massive dudes. Something in the Adelaide water, perhaps…

11/8 Clovelly Park, South Australia (EPW Adelaide – 200+): Elimination Challenge match 1 – Greg Graham b J-Rock, Elimination Challenge match 2 – Wreckin’ Ball Wilson b Ryan “Bones” Malone, Damian Slater b Chris Vice, “Jag” Hartley Jackson b Robby Heart, Elimination Challenge final – Wreckin' Ball Wilson b Greg Graham, Flaming Tables Match – Jayson Cooper b Bruce “Havok” Mills

Frankly, the EPW card blew away IAGA. The crowd was hot, even beforehand, possibly riled up by a budding feud between the kid in a Rey Misterio mask holding one belt and the kid in the Sting mask holding two belts (frankly, Rey Rey, you got owned by the Stinger).

There were a lot of mates in the audience there to support various wrestlers and it helped the crowd heat no end.

My fave new wrestler quickly became Wreckin’ Ball Wilson (seconded by “Dirty” Dick Donovan). While some guys chanted “Dick! Dick! Dick!” behind me, I kept singing out “Balls! Balls! Balls!” and “Leave my Balls alone!” and “You hurt my Balls!”…much to the embarrassment of Kami and his daughter Beth.

"Balls" and Dick


Slater vs Vice was slow-paced but enjoyable, Jag vs Robby Heart was excellent as was the quirky finish to the Elimination Challenge…where Dick KOed Graham behind the ref’s back right at the start of the bout, allowing Balls to earn the tainted victory. I’d already embarrassed myself further by running to the aisle and screaming at Balls, “I love you, Balls!” He turned to me and snarled, “I know you do!” Yep, a new hero is born.

After Balls left the ring, heel manager/commentator Benny English issued an open challenge to anyone out the back to face “Dirty” Dick.

Wayne "The Maniac" Mattei

The crowd immediately turned to the back and started chanting, “Wayne! Wayne! WayneWhich brought to the ring the hyooooooge figure of Wayne “The Maniac” Mattei, who beat the shite out of Dick till Jag hit the ring to challenge Wayne to a match at the next EPW show. The Maniac, a former security guy who will be working his first singles bout, accepted the challenge by chokeslamming Jag, much to the delight of the fans. Wayne is clearly the 911 of EPW. But can he work a real match? Can the extremely talented Jag carry the big guy to a decent match? I guess local fans will find out next month.

The main event was, simply put, FUCKING FANTASTIC. Jayson Cooper is bloody impressive and I’ve always had a high opinion of Havok. They worked more than 20 minutes, threw in a lot of swerves (one table got lighter fluid poured on it, but Cooper got put through the table before it was set on fire, then another table got set on fire, but Jag put it out with a fire extinguisher just moments before Cooper put Havok through the table) and beat the living shite out of each other in one of the best local live bouts I’ve ever witnessed. My fave moment came right at the end when a groggy Cooper climbed a ladder while Havok was pouring lighter fluid on the third table. Havoc looked up, saw Cooper and snapped, “What the FUCK are you doing?!” He then climbed the ladder, but the EPW commish Tom Chocolate lit the table while his back was turned and Cooper clobbered Havok with a garbage can, sending Bruce through the table and ending the bout. Like I said, fucking fantastic.

EPW Adelaide impressed the hell out of me on August 11. The matches were great; the wrestlers have talent and personality; there’s a good mix of brawling, technical wrestling and high-flying; the angles make sense; and each bout builds logically towards the next card. These guys are doing everything right – the solid crowd numbers they’re drawing and heat they’re generating proves it.

If you wanna learn more about EPW, head to http://www.epwadelaide.com/news.htm.

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