Views from the couch

Views from the Couch 2: Wrestle Rampage: Ground Zero 2018

A Saturday night in meant a fantastic opportunity to watch some Australian Professional Wrestling, so I went ahead and rented WRESTLE RAMPAGE: GROUND ZERO from Wrestle Rampages’s Vimeo page. This show has a plethora of Australian talent, headlined by the Australian National Champion, “The King of Monsters” Jonah Rock, taking on his student and friend, Rat Daddy. When you go and rent or purchase this one yourself - Both options under $10.00! do yourself a favour (Sorry Molly) and search out Wrestle Rampage’s facebook page, give it a like and watch Jonah’s #NoMoreCheese promo along with the response video from Rat Daddy, as they were both amazing and certainly got me very interested in this event. If i lived in the surrounds of the venue, I would have attended this show based on the beautifully designed poster alone which featured Rat Daddy front and centre, flanked by the ‘Aussie Arrow’ Kyle Fletcher and Charli Evans, flanked again by ‘Punch Drunk’ Istria and the ‘World Beater’ Damian Slater, with a menacing ‘King of Monsters’ Jonah Rock hulking over them all in the background.

The video opens with the crowd counting down from 10 to lead us into the Wrestle Rampage title video, giving the viewer a taste of the sort of action to expect from a Wrestle Rampage show along with the superstars, some very familiar and some not so much for a Sydney based wrestling fan, which is exciting to see what I have been missing out on! The show itself opens with a song that the current Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Federal Liberal party mae be already trying extremely hard to forget in Fatman Scoop’s part classic “Be Faithful”. Our announce team of Luke, Matt and Ticia come to the ring, to cheers from the crowd. Luke grabs the microphone and advises that the Wrestle Rampage commissioner Benjamin Rosenthal is not in the building tonight meaning that in his absence, who better to run things than Luke himself. Luke runs down some of the action to expect throughout the evening including the Australian returns of Kyle Fletcher and Charli Evans, who have been killing it all over the world but in the United Kingdom and Europe in particular, Damian Slater going one on one with ‘Punch Drunk’ Istria and in the main event, Jonah Rock battling Rat Daddy with the Australian National Title on the line. Luke does mention that there may be a surprise or two as well.

Corey Adams, Kazaran Crowe and Tyler Trench def. Dean Valente, Gorgeous Greg and Willy Gibson (Best Mo on a wrestler - Period) aka Vanity Inc.

A couple of classic songs as ring entrances for this one, with Vanity Inc and Dean Valente entering the arena to the Tina Turner belter “Simply the Best” whilst former member of Vanity Inc, the ‘heart throb’ Corey Adams came out to Pat Benetar’s smash “Heartbreaker”, so I was ready to rock out with all six men in this encounter. I had never seen any of these wrestlers in action before, so this was a great match to introduce me to Wrestle Rampage in general and the way the match unfolded, I got to see them all on offence in different moments throughout the match. It really was a back and forth contest to start, with each team taking turns running through their offence, trying to be the team to get the upper hand in the match. Shout out to Tyler Trench in particular who is a formidable, terrorising (not Terra Rizing) human, throwing his partner Kazaran Crowe like a literal spear to hit a spear on Willy Gibson! But it would be Vanity Inc to be that team, isolating Kazaran Crowe from the rest of his team for a good portion of the match. Crowe ended up creating an opening, which allowed him to get the hot tag to Corey Adams who went to town on his former stable mates, but chaos certainly ensued as both teams took turns having a 3 on 1 advantage in the ring. We saw a nice high spot from Corey Adams on his opponent with a dive for the top turnbuckle to the outside and the Heart Throb broke the hearts of Vanity Inc Dean Valente when he hit the elbow drop from the top rope for the w. This was a nice match to kick off the show, but celebrations didn’t last long as a disgruntled Dean Valente, Gorgeous Greg and Willy Gibson attacked Trench, Crowe and Adams. But wait! the lights go out, back on and in the middle of the ring is EINAR IRONSIDE! Back form representing Iceland, he has returned to clean house taking out Valente, Greg and Gibson, before starting a viking clap with those in attendance, whilst paying respect to the victors of the match. Wow, didn’t have to wait long for a surprise!

“Who needs Benjamin Rosenthal?” Luke proudly questions rhetorically.

Robby Heart def. Nick Golfis

Robby Heart’s music hits first and he looks every bit the darkest soul, complete with wet hair, white face paint and his “Goth Life” tank. His opponent on this occasion is “The Sniper” Nick Golfis who had a fun little teasing twitter exchange with the other Robbie and Sniper of Australian wrestling Eagles, which might be a match to look forward to down the road.

Robby Heart rushed Nick Golfis the second the bell rang, getting him into the corner with some aggressive striking. Golfis however, establishes ring control, forcing Heart to leave the ring, but this allowed Golfis to deliver a devastating soccer kick to Heart’s chest and the thud could be heard very clearly on the stream; he did not miss. The action at this stage returns to the ring, with the “part time commentator, full time arse kicker” Golfis calling for a lariat, only to be nailed with one himself for his trouble. Ring control then goes the way of Heart, who locks on a nasty camel clutch, but fortunately Golfis is able to get his arms free and struggle his way to the ropes to earn the break. Golfis then eats two running clotheslines in the corner before countering an attempted third one with a running bicycle kick on a running Robby Heart. Nick Golfis also shows off a beautiful move he has named the JPJ breaker on twitter, which was a shoulder breaker from an air raid siren position (check it and the soccer kick on Nick Golfis’ twitter). Despite this valiant effort from Golfis, the pendulum of momentum swung back in the favour of Heart delivering a sit out scoop slam on Golfis, allowing him to climb the corner turnbuckle and hit a big splash for the finish. Another solid match on this card with two people that I am relatively unfamiliar with being a Sydney based wrestling fan. Really enjoyed it and was impressed with what I saw.

Ticia Rose then makes her way to the ring to announce the next match which will be Charli Evans vs Joanie May

Charli Evans def. Joanie May

Charli Evans makes her return to Australia after moving to the UK to pursue her dream of being a professional wrestler. She has been wrestling everywhere, including Shimmer, Progress, IPW, Pro Wrestling Eve, Rise and like Madison Eagles, has qualified for the upcoming Pro Wrestling Eve She-1. This was a phenomenal opportunity for Joanie May, to wrestle someone of the global experience of Charli Evans.

The second Charli Evans makes her way through the curtain, she begins arguing with audience members, establishing herself as the heel straight away. Joanie with her Rockabilly style comes out to a fun cover of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”, making her way around the ring to high five members of the audience.

The first exchange we get, after Evans interacts more with members of the audience is some technical action, with a towering Joanie May grabbing an arm, but Charli was able to reverse using the pressure of the reverse to get Joanie onto the mat and while the crowd was clapping for Joanie, Charlie mocked them by clapping her hand with Joanie’s, which was very clever. Joanie then had a nice wrist lock hold on Charli in the middle of the ring, however that experience and ring awareness of Charli Evans came into play, using an outstretched leg to reach the ropes and force the break. Joanie May then put together a nice little combination of strikes definitely establishing herself as the bigger and stronger of the two. This was short lived however, as Charli Evans countered a corner move attempt and got Joanie to the ground, showing the streak in her hair is not the only streak in this match, as she showed a mean streak with relentless stomping of May and choking her using the bottom rope.

Charli then applies a horrifying submission on May, using her leg to pin both the head and left arm of May before using this position to generate powerful torque on a shoulder wrench, again using the outstretched arm to mock the crowd clapping for May. Joanie fires up after rolling out of the submission and receiving one too many strikes in the face from Charli Evans, hitting some nice clotheslines and a snap reverse DDT. Charli Evans would regain control again, showing some more of this vicious streak she has brought home, with a shining wizard along with some brutal kicks in the face. Joanie dug deep and found one last effort, in the form of a backslide pin, but Evans rolled out and set Joanie up for a package DDT, which she hit and ended the match. This was a good match, with Joanie getting a fantastic opportunity to work with one of the world’s best in Evans, who it was good to see back on our shores.

‘Punch Drunk’ Istria def Damian Slater

This is Damian Slater’s return to Wrestle Rampage after his suspension and there was no easy match back against ‘Punch Drunk’, who demanded this match of Benjamin Rosenthal according to the commentary team. I am not going to write much about this one, because you should search it out and watch it as it was my pick for match of the evening. It was a phenomenal technical chain wrestling match. There was plenty of both men’s incredible ground games on display, which comes from years of training in both wrestling and MMA. Both men showing high quality in all areas of the match and showing a variety of martial arts styles with some quality throws and striking also on display. This match went back and forth for it’s entirety and was anyones’s for the taking. Just as the ‘World Beater’ Slater looked mohave the match won, Robby Heart came to the ringing attempted to hit Slater with mist, but missed. Heart definitely did his job though as a distracted Slater allowed Istria to hit a wonderful flying armbar-kneebar combo for the submission. Great Match.

Tommy Knight def. Kyle Fletcher

Exactly like Charli Evans, ‘Aussie Arrow’ Kyle Fletcher has been based in the UK, Wrestling all over Europe in singles action, as well as a cohesive unit with fellow Ex- Pat Mark Davis as ‘Aussie Open’ and returned back home for a brief stay. Thankfully he did take a booking and it was against ‘The Prodigy’ Tommy Knight. Unlike Charli Evans however, Kyle seemed to have much more respect for his opponent, with the two shaking hands to kick things off. The first thing you notice about Tommy Knight is how strong he is, giving Kyle Fletcher all sorts of trouble in the opening exchanges in this contest. Kyle could not seem to get Knight off his feet, just unable to get the force even with several seconds of running the ropes to build momentum in a fun spot. Despite his frame, the next thing you notice about the prodigy is his athleticism, leapfrogging Fletcher and flipping over a grounded Fletcher. Knight appealed to the crowd for some appreciation and got it in spades, with the crowd very impressed. Again, much like Charlie Evans, ‘Aussie Arrow’ needed to show a bit of a mean streak to get some ascendancy in this one, throwing Knight into the barriers on the outside and stomping Knight heavily against the bottom rope when the action continued in the squared circle. But still despite this, Fletcher still had massive problems getting Knight off his feet, unable to knock him over with strikes or lariats. Tommy on the other hand, was able to throw Kyle around with ease. Kyle had to be innovative to get back into this contest and got an open when he though Knight through the ropes, knocked him to the outside and followed up with a tope suicida. With Knight back in the ring, Fletcher climbed to the top rope, but before he could even consider doing anything, Knight launched himself into the corner and delivered a superplex, before rolling the hips, holding Fletcher and delivering a tour of the islands on the Aussie Arrow. Fletcher did dig deep, hitting the Lawn Dart on ‘The Prodigy’ who still had the fight left to kick out. A frustrated Fletcher, despite failed attempts before, went into a striking exchange again with Knight, which ultimately left him leaving his back open and ‘The Prodigy’ rolled the ‘Aussie Arrow’ into a textbook rear naked choke and this one was over. A fantastic match and showed both men have massive futures in this game.

Mike Boomer (c) def Jax Jordan, Loverboy Lochy Hendricks and Link Barnett to retain the Cruiserweight Cup

Mike Boomer cut a promo to kick off this one stating the competitors had two choices, kiss his feet and join him and his follower Brother Bellows or leave now. Jax Jordan was having none of that and attacked Boomer first. This was a really fun match that saw everyone have an opportunity to show what they have got. ‘Party Boy’ vs ‘Loverboy’ was fun, along with Link Barnett unleashing hip attacks galore. I found myself mimicking Lover Boy, yelling “LOVERBOY SON!” at my monitor because I am weird like that. Mike Boomer unfortunately spoiled the Wrestle Rampage debut of Jax Jordan, hitting a low blow on Jordan after a distraction by Brother Bellows, following a Killswitch DDT and a pin with the ropes assist for good measure. 1,2,3 and Boomer retains the Cruiserweight Cup. Like I said, really fun match and was great to Jax Jordan over in Wrestle Rampage for the first time.

Australian National Championship Match: Jonah Rock and Rat Daddy ended in a No Contest.

Before you watch this match, you should dig out the promo videos of both men. Jonah Rock’s #NoMoreCheese video and Rat Daddy’s incredible response video. Wrestle Rampage’s Facebook page should have both easily accessible.

It’s battle of the theme songs for me Pusha T’s “Numbers on the Boards” for Rat Daddy vs "Death Grips “Guillotine” for Jonah. A photo finish one in my book, with Jonah just getting it. This encounter was Sensei vs Student, Rat Daddy’s breakout year vs Jonah’s Belt collecting year. The contest commences with Jonah giving Rat Daddy a Wet Willy after holding him in position with wrist control. Rat Daddy has a rather obvious size disadvantage against ‘The King of Monsters’ Jonah Rock and has terrible difficulty doing anything. He does however hit a nice Hurricarana which leads to getting Jonah to the outside he then follows up with another hurricarana into the guard rail. Jonah however is as tough as they come and seems relatively unfazed by this attacks. Jonah takes Rat Daddy into the crowd, fighting him to the bar before spitting a punter’s beer into Rat Daddy’s face. Jonah takes Rat Daddy back towards the ring, not before a detour via a fan with a #NoMoreCheese sign and whacking Rat Daddy with it, before Rat Daddy responds in kind. Rat Daddy then uses a wheelchair on ‘The King of Monsters’, ramming him with it. After basically travelling the entire perimeter of the building, the combatants return to the ring, with Jonah in control. Jonah misses a back senton and is tripped into the corner by Rat Daddy. Rat Daddy’s swiftness and speed come into play against a weary Jonah Rock here and this leads to a momentum crushing Canadian destroyer from Rat Daddy on Jonah Rock. Incredible stuff. Rat Daddy appears to be caught in a compromising position before hitting a sunset flip bomb on Rock! Snapmare Driver on Rock! both only get two counts. Jonah at this point wrestles back control (pun intended) hitting DDT to stop Rat Daddy’s momentum dead. After a series of moves, Rat Daddy is lying defenceless on the floor and Jonah calls for the moonsault. As Jonah reaches the top rope, Rat Daddy recovers reaching Jonah to deliver an astounding Super Sit Out Powerbomb! Rat Daddy does not cover, instead climbing the turnbuckle himself, only for Jonah to recover to deliver a top rope superplex to Rat Daddy with ‘Holy Shit’ chants from the crowd. Both men can barely get to their feet at this point. Somehow after all the exchanges, Rat Daddy uses Jonah’s momentum to get him up on his shoulders to deliver a Ratitude Adjustment but can only get a 2 count. Rat Daddy follows up with a cross body and curb stomp and can only AGAIN manage a two count. Jonah replies in just as incredible fashion, hitting a piledriver with Rat Daddy’s arms pinned and a brain buster and both time Rat Daddy kicks out! Neither man willing to surrender to the other. Rat Daddy hits three super kicks but still is unable to put the Australian National Champion away. After a brief exchange, Rat Daddy super kicks the referee by accident and cops a huge lariat from Jonah Rock. A phenomenal match but we are cheated out of a finish as Robby Heart then enters the ring and attacks Rat Daddy, whilst Istria attacks Jonah Rock. The referee comes to and declares it a no contest. Damian Slater then runs in for the save, attacking Heart and Istria allowing Rock and Daddy to come to and return serve. With Rock holding Istria in position, Slater goes for a bicycle kick but misses, Istria instead hitting TMDK teammate Jonah Rock. At this point the locker room empties to put a stop to the chaos.

This leads to an announcement for Wrestle Rampage: All or Nothing Saturday December 1 - Jonah Rock defends the Australian National Championship against Rat Daddy, Robby Heart, Istria and Damian Slater and NO DQ! there must be a winner!

This was the first Wrestle Rampage card I have watched and it was thoroughly enjoyable. Solid contests throughout and the event itself told an individual story that didn’t matter that i had not seen previous shows before. I will certainly be watching plenty more Wrestle Rampage in future. Make sure you check out the show on Wrestle Rampage’s Vimeo to rent for only $4.99 for two and half hours of great entertainment!

https://vimeo.com/ondemand/wrgroundzero2018/

#NowWeConquer

Views from the Couch 1: Melbourne City Wrestling (MCW) x Evie's Disco Diner Presents: G.L.O.W. I.R.L.

Dan Wilson

On Sunday 23rd September 2018, Melbourne Wrestling fans were treated to a fun, new collaboration between Australian professional wrestling powerhouse MCW (or Melbourne City Wrestling) and Evie’s Disco Diner, an energetic converted warehouse venue on Gertrude Street in Fitzroy. This coming together was simply titled: G.L.O.W. I.R.L., or those not down with the abbreviations, the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling In Real Life! As it’s marketing for the event would suggest, it was at least partially inspired by the 80s phenomenon, which was recently recreated as a fictional Netflix show starring Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin and Marc Maron. However, on this night it was not Hollywood’s best actors on display, but rather fans were presented with some of Australia’s best wrestlers in Erika Reid, Avary, Vixsin, Chanel Phoenix (MCW Debut), Indi Hartwell and KellyAnne.

The night played out as follows: Three one on one matches, where the victor would progress to the final, which would be a triple threat elimination match to determine the first Queen of G.L.O.W I.R.L. This was complete with crown, which was reported in jest to be valued at $250,000. This event actually sold out in three days, such was the interest surrounding the collaboration and I myself had to rent this special event on MCW Encore on Vimeo (https://vimeo.com/melbcitywrestling), which came out this past weekend. There was no commentary, which was a great move as it would have been a logistical nightmare, but it also gave a great indication of the energy in the venue, as you could hear every chant, every bit of banter, the instructions from the official laying down the law and every “DIE ERIKA!” from Avary. The venue itself looked fantastic, A cosy spot, with booths for people (and KellyAnne), to enjoy their meals and above the ring was a great balcony that flanked it. I don’t believe there would have been too many bad viewing locations in the house.

Queen of G.L.O.W. I.R.L. Qualifying Match - Avary def. “The Dreamtime Voodoo Witch” Erika Reid

The show commenced in style and I’m not talking about the announcers Hawaiian shirt, as we got to witness the talented Avary taking on the always dangerous and intriguing Erika Reid. The Dreamtime Voodoo Witch wanted to instil mutual respect and sportsmanship, but was met with the saliva of the wrestler that really puts the brat in Brat Pack, as Avary spat straight on Erika’s hand. Erika, just smiled; unfazed by what had just occurred, before licking up the saliva, unleashing a primal scream and unloading on Avary. Both of these wrestlers are super talented and this was on display in this match with both wrestlers dishing out some solid offence. Erika had what appeared to be a ‘Last Chancery’ style bridging STF, but Avary was able to get to the ropes. Despite missing her first attempt at a fisherman DDT, Avary countered a bicycle kick attempt from Reid into the fisherman DDT for the win and became the first competitor to progress through to the final later in the evening.

Queen of G.L.O.W. I.R.L. Qualifying Match - “The Hardcore Bitch” Vixsin def. Chanel Phoenix

Banshee like screams and the ‘Simon Says’ instrumental can mean only one thing: The Hardcore Bitch. Vixsin is an intimidating monster and if you need any evidence of this, watch this event on Encore and watch her scare the pants off both the referee and the announcer simultaneously. Wow. The other thing we go to see in this match was the MCW debut of Chanel Phoenix, who did start off with a flurry in this contest. However, the “Hardcore Bitch” battered and bruised Chanel with her arsenal including savage chops, choking Phoenix using the top rope and even a submission. Chanel Phoenix showed great heart here, escaping the submission and eating so much punishment, but Vixsin delivered a fatal one two punch in the form of a lariat and hip drop pin for the win. Phoenix certainly earned the respect of Vixsin who raised her arm after the match, before celebrating her win.

Queen of G.L.O.W I.R.L Qualifying Match - “The Leader of the Fiend Club” KellyAnne def. “Impressive” Indi Hartwell

Indi Hartwell had some fun schtick with the announcer and her “Impressive” coat, whilst KellyAnne was encouraging those in attendance to enjoy their meals, whilst fist bumping them on her way to the ring. After a few “I’m not Ready”s from Indi, KellyAnne go the first offence of this match, with a fish hook style finger in the mouth STF and a hair pull STF as well. After further back and forth between the two and Hartwell still not ready, KellyAnne left the ring and sat with a spectator, enjoying some of the potato gems on offer. In general, the leader of the fiend club had great banter with the crowd. Once the action returned to the ring, the impressive one took control for a while. Indi Hartwell had some fun with the referee and how both quickly and slowly his counts were, illegal hold vs pinfall attempt respectively. Indi also singled out one of KellyAnne’s fans Nick in the crowd, calling him out on a couple of occasions during the match. Despite the threat of an “Impressive” F5, KellyAnne was able to knock Indi into the corner with a spinning forearm which were followed by two devastating cannonballs and this one was over.

Queen of G.L.O.W. I.R.L. Final - KellyAnne def. Vixsin and Avary to be crowned the Inaugural Queen of G.L.O.W I.R.L.

From the outset, Avary knew she needed a gameplan and what better one than to team with Vixsin to take out KellyAnne. With a little persuasion, the Hardcore Bitch was in! The team quickly dissolved after Avary tried to steal Vixsin’s cover on KellyAnne. Vixsin battled with Avary through the crowd and punters drinks ended up over each competitor. The action returned to the ring with Avary and KellyAnne taking each other to task, until Vixsin re-entered the fray, leading to an excellent Superplex Powerbomb spot by all three competitors. KellyAnne and Vixsin briefly teamed up to remove Avary from the match by way of spinning forearm from Kelly Anne and a choke powerbomb from Vixsin. KellyAnne and Vixsin battled briefly before Vixsin hit a hip drop on KellyAnne, which she countered into pin and got the victory. The show ended with KellyAnne crowned the Queen of G.L.O.W I.R.L and celebrating with the crowd.

This was a fun show to watch so I can only imagine how fun it was to actually be there, especially with the 80s fancy dress and jovial crowd. It was a great showcase of some of the talent in MCWs ranks and would have been a fun sized treat for your typical wrestling fan and a great introduction to the great Australian wrestling scene for someone unfamiliar with the local product or professional wrestling at all. If you have an hour up your sleeve, get onto https://vimeo.com/melbcitywrestling and rent the show, you won’t regret it. A second G.L.O.W. I.R.L. has already been announced for Sunday November 25 with Impact Knockouts Champion Tessa Blanchard involved, so it will be interesting to see who MCW also puts into the second instalment of what I hope to be a long running collaboration.

#NowWeConquer