Saturdays are for the boys. And for wrestling! This Saturday had two wrestling shows from two of my main promotions- PWA’s Always Bring Your Gear on FITE, and Rock N Roll Wrestling’s Next Level– a show that is being filmed for a future online broadcast. Exciting stuff as RNR have delivered a quality wrestling product in the Illawarra for many years now, and their training academy is producing some viable talent for the NSW scene, several of whom are competing on this card tonight. It’s definitely a different product in tone to PWA, with Rock N Roll opting for a more family-friendly approach. That approach has proven effective as it’s built a loyal fanbase comprised of people of all ages.
As I write this, the RNR show has just finished and the PWA show is continuing on FITE. I’ll see how the Green Dingos and company do a bit later on- possibly tomorrow morning on VOD, but until then, it’s time to take it to the Next Level! Featuring an anticipated rematch between The Tradie & Morgan Rose, a mega main event between beloved babyface Captain Keato and hated heel Otis, as well as Eric Fisher welcoming Newy Pro’s Parker Tomas to Wollongong, it’s a big time show! Let’s do this!
The Announcer, Connor Smith, welcomes us to the show… but he’s in street clothes! He acknowledges his change in attire, and says that “the powers that be” have given him a promotion. I did no such thing… oh, he probably means Hunter PS Hayes. Carry on. Connor says that he cannot reveal the details of the promotion just now, but he will be watching the matches tonight very closely. Hmm…
Otis comes to the ring with his Alf Stewart doppleganger manager, Wayne Pickford. Pickford calls us hillbillies- surely “bogans” would be more appropriate? Otis talks about the success that he’s had in Rock N Roll, and lets us know that the Super 8 tournament returns next month. Otis won the last Super 8, defeating Dicko, Keato, and “the man behind the camera” (Hunter). Captain Keato comes out to defend the honour of the good people from “The Gong”, and also to take aim at Otis. He admits that Otis made a good point- Otis has beaten Keato every time, but it’s due to Pickford getting involved all the time. Keato challenges Otis to leave Wayne backstage- he says he’ll think about it.
Match 1: Hydro vs. Dave? Zucco
Hydro comes out to Gangnam Style and does some… unique dance moves. He’s a masked wrestler who is a favourite with the kiddies. In this Internet age where we can seemingly find out anything about our favourite wrestlers, Hydro’s true identity remains a secret. His opponent is announced as “the cousin of Robbie Zucco”, coming out to Zucco’s theme. I couldn’t quite make out the name, so I’m just going to say it was Dave. I mean, it couldn’t be Danny…
Zucco is love with himself and riles up the crowd immediately. The ref checks him for foreign objects and finds a number of hair combs. The match begins with Hydro trying to throw Zucco off his game with his dance moves and zany antics. Zucco displays his aggressive side and beats down the masked man, keeping him grounded for an extended period of time. We get a funny spot where Zucco stomps on Hydro’s hand and Hydro loosens the glove on his morph suit to give the over the top impression of a broken hand. Hydro completely steals Hulk Hogan’s move set on the comeback, nailing the big boot/leg drop combo for a convincing near fall. Shortly after, Zucco hits a rake to the eyes, followed by the Backstabber for the win.
Winner: Dave? Zucco
Star Rating: **1/2. Fun, simple work. Got the crowd involved with two over the top characters. My only real disappointment is that during the dance moves, Hydro hopped around the ring like he was going to do The Worm, but settled on a hip swivel. Boo-urns.
Lucas Parker makes his entrance. The crooked referee has got some explaining to do! He’s wearing his wrestling gear, as he did wrestle before suffering an injury and moving into the ref gig. He sits on a chair in the ring (the same chair he battered Tradie with at the last show). He says we can all go to hell and he doesn’t owe anyone an explanation. He suffered a neck injury but no one cared, not even his supposed best friend, The Tradie. The Apprentice interrupts and takes issue with Parker’s comments. Also, he’s wearing a bumbag that has the Tinder logo on it. Had me rolling! Parker slaps him in response and- oh shit, we’ve got a match!
Match 2: The Apprentice vs. Lucas Parker
Apprentice starts strong with some chops in the corner, and it appears he’s REALLY making Tinder his gimmick, as he does the “swipe left/swipe right” thing with his chops. Parker quickly cuts him off though, scoring with some brutal knees to the head, followed by a ripcord STO to end it. I hope Apprentice has better luck getting a match next time.
Winner: Lucas Parker
Star Rating: **. Did the job of re-introducing Parker as an active wrestler. He hasn’t lost any of the intensity that made him stand out in his last run. I hope he can stay healthy, there’s something intriguing about his act.
Match 3: Parker Tomas vs. Eric Fisher
Tomas is an absolute specimen. Following on from last show with CBK’s great performance, I’m completely on board with more quality Newy Pro-based talent making their way down south- along with any PWA regulars, should their schedules allow it. But Eric Fisher is a home-grown talent, and much like The Return show a few weeks ago, Fisher gets an epic response from the RNR faithful! By far the loudest they’ve been so far!
This begins as a very technical match with both men trading arm wrenches. PT firmly establishes himself as the heel by jaw-jacking with the crowd, but everyone was definitely a Fisher man (or woman) already. As Tomas gets Fisher to the mat, he flexes to show off his impressive physique. I could look like that- with the power of Photoshop. Big delayed vertical suplex gets a near fall for Tomas. A pumphandle neckbreaker gets a closer call for PT. Fisher mounts a comeback and hits a solid Claymore for a 2 count. He sets up for the Fisherman Suplex but PT counters with an inside cradle for a great near fall. Fisher rallies and hits the Fisherman Suplex- with a nice release, close to a Fisherman Buster actually- and it’s good for the 3 count!
Winner: Eric Fisher
Star Rating: ***1/4. A little longer and a little more back and forth could have made this a truly great match, but it was still really, really good for what it was. Every move was precise and they kept the crowd in it by playing to them in different ways, but not in a way that was too cheesy. Perfectly balanced crowd interaction with the sense that they were competing to win.
Intermission. I just took this as an opportunity to stretch my legs and walk outside. I needed phone reception- I was adding little clips to my IG/FB stories but they wouldn’t upload properly inside the warehouse!
Match 4: Morgan Rose vs. The Tradie
Big rematch from The Return show here, and this one’s personal. Tradie begins by ramming Rose’s head into the turnbuckles 10 times. Audience participation- tick. Impressive power display by Tradie as he catches Rose in a cross body and lifts him into a vertical suplex. Morgan manages to get the underhanded advantage shortly after by dragging Tradie crotch-first into the ring post. Tradie makes a comeback but gets distracted when Lucas Parker’s music hits. Rose takes the opportunity to drill Tradie with a dropkick to the back. He also jacks the jaw of Tradie with a Eat Defeat.
Tradie rallies with a snap powerslam, followed by a running powerslam for a near fall. Another great show of strength with the Black Hole Slam for an extremely close call. And just to prove he’s not just a power guy- Tradie ends it with the Tools Down flying clothesline. Insane agility for a big guy!
Winner: The Tradie
Star Rating: ***1/4. Another high quality battle that may have been even higher if it was more competitive. This was largely the Tradie show outside of the Parker faux-distraction- which is not a bad thing by any means. It just shows the roster hierarchy at this stage. I remember back in the pre-COVID days- many moons ago- Tradie and Otis kicking the crap out of each other in some brutal bouts. Wouldn’t mind seeing something like that again, where Tradie really gets let loose, because there’s great energy in what he puts out there.
Match 5: Captain Keato vs. Otis
Wayne Pickford comes out with Otis, and we have Dicko as the referee. Dicko’s laying down the law and sends Pickford to the back, and we’re loving it. Big “nah nah hey hey goodbye” sing-along as Wayne exits stage left. The aggression immediately flares up between these two as they trade chops and hard strikes. Of note, Dicko is far more assertive than usual, and it really enhances this as a main event match to be taken seriously.
Otis surprises me a little with a dropkick that puts Keato down. Not for long as Keato battles back- then hits the Pounce! Yes! I love a good Pounce. A baseball slide follows and they brawl through the crowd for a few moments. They break the count and keep fighting ringside- until Otis hits an apron powerbomb on Keato! Okay, that was great. Keato is a large man, that would not be easy to pull off on both sides. Back in the ring, Otis scores with the Ushigoroshi for a near fall.
Keato fights back and delivers an Irish Curse backbreaker. He goes for his 6 And Out finsher, but Otis takes his head off with a lariat. Keato somehow re-attaches his own head and kicks out. Otis goes for the cannonball in the corner but misses. Keato makes a comeback but Otis halts his momentum with a pumphandle neckbreaker. Long 2 count. Shortly after, Otis connects with the cannonball for a very convincing near fall. He goes up top and attempts the Swanton- but finds nothing but canvas. Otis goes for a big boot but wipes out Dicko instead. Keato delivers the Rainmaker, followed by the 6 And Out. He counts the 3 himself, but it’s gotta be the ref who calls it, and Dicko’s having a snooze. Wayne takes the opportunity to come out and interfere, but Keato decks him. Otis tries to hit the GTS, but Keato escapes and delivers the torture rack neckbreaker. The 6 And Out follows and it finally gets the official 3 count!
Winner: Captain Keato
Star Rating: ****. That was excellent. Outstanding pay-off on the heat Otis and Pickford have built up over the past couple of years in Rock N Roll. Not that it’s over for the bad guys, but this was definitely a “light at the end of the tunnel” moment, a feel good ending to a strong show.
The Return had a bigger atmosphere and setting with the fancy entrances, but I actually think this may have been the superior RNR show from a wrestling standpoint. Fisher/Tomas and Tradie/Rose were both spirited battles that hold up against a lot of matches in and out of Rock N Roll in recent memory, and the main event was reminiscent of the Otis vs. Tradie matches I mentioned earlier. Otis has a lot going for him, with an aggressive demeanour and wrestling style. It’s worth noting that he had a match with Hardcore Holly a couple of years ago and lived to tell the tale. He excels when facing someone who can match his physical style, and on this night, Keato brought his working boots and was that man. Highly enjoyable show, and one that I’m looking forward to watching back whenever it becomes available online. Definitely a show that Rock N Roll Wrestling can be proud of!
Overall Score: 8.5/10
Until next time, take care.