Newcastle Pro Wrestling Rumble In The Jungle Review (11/08/2023)
By Mick Robson
(Image Credit: Newcastle Pro Wrestling)
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Last year I made my way to Newy Pro for the first time. Despite being one of the more prominent wrestling promotions in the country, it didn't have the presence that its sister promotion- PWA- had online and on various streaming services. So I did a big road trip for Brawl At City Hall in 2022 and was highly impressed by the show.
I didn't really get a chance to check out Newcastle a whole lot, driving for the show then driving straight back. A lot of time, a lot of petrol and a fair bit of energy spent. So this time I took the train and stayed overnight at a hotel. Much more comfortable experience. The train from Wollongong to Newcastle was only slightly longer than driving would have been, and the light rail in Newcastle literally dropped me off at my hotel door.
Now, Newy Pro has finally joined FITE, and although I could have stayed at home, there's nothing like the live experience. The last Hoose show they did was their first FITE broadcast- I didn't get to reviewing it due to some technical difficulties on that broadcast. Hopefully all runs smoothly now as I watch it back to review the show after just enjoying being there live and enjoying the sights of Newcastle.
All in all, I was well rested- after a quick detour to Rascal then the beautiful Newcastle Beach- and I was ready to rumble. 30 wrestlers. There could be only one winner.
Let's do this!
A very well produced opening video airs, highlighting some of the wrestlers that call Newy Pro home, including Mat Diamond, Lena Kross, Adam Hoffman, Carter Deams, Ben Braxton, and many more.
We begin the FITE broadcast with ring announcer Rob Oxley hyping up the crowd for the Rumble and the big title matches on the card- but first, we acknowledge the passing of Aussie wrestling super fan Kyle Eade. He gets a 10 bell salute, with all the wrestlers coming out on stage to acknowledge him. Everyone in the Aussie wrestling scene knew Kyle, and although he sometimes pushed it with how loud and over the top he could be, he had a heart of gold and was as passionate about Aussie wrestling as anyone you'll ever meet. For those that knew Kyle, keep an eye on my reviews for my little tribute to him, just a little saying he had that will be a staple of all future reviews and interviews.
Newy Pro, in a classy gesture, have made a custom Kyle Eade Memorial seat that will always be ringside at Newcastle Pro Wrestling events.
Match 1: Newcastle Pro Wrestling Heavyweight Championship- Sam Osborne vs. The Chief Rig (c)
As we get set for a huge opening match, Oxley informs us that this match won't be "for that Newcastle Pro Wrestling Heavyweight Championship"- because they've got a beautiful new belt made up! With royal blue backing, the new championship looks exceptional.
They aggressively tie up in a battle of bulls, pardon the pun. The commentary are quick to point out that both men are superb athletes around the 100kg mark, as Rig shows when he kips up after taking an Osborne shoulder block. Osborne tries to do the same but fails. I did the same thing when I was 12!
Rig hits a suicide dive then dacks himself to reveal undies that have "Bloke" written on the arse. Osborne does manage to show his proficiency with his trademark backbreaker and T-Bone suplex combo after blocking a cutter attempt. Osborne tries to put Rig out with a sleeper but he comes back to life. Rig rattles the spine of the Prize Bull with a big vertical suplex! A slingblade and People's Elbow (with the griddy dance included). Attitude Adjustment gets a near fall for the champ.
Rig goes for another AA, but Osborne escapes and hits a Pedigree for a near fall of his own. Osborne moves right to the Sharpshooter but Rig makes the ropes. Osborne puts Rig on the top turnbuckle and hits a couple of blistering chops. Osborne sets up for a superplex but Rig shoves him off and hits a flying elbow drop for a great near fall!
They trade strikes. Yay/boo. Rig delivers a superkick, followed by the Newcastle Cutter, and a Trouble In Paradise. Cannonball- a thing of beauty- and it's over!
Winner: The Chief Rig (at 12:50)
An incredibly fun opening match, highlighted by just how insanely over Rig is. He's a great, powerful, explosive worker- but it's his charisma and ability to control the crowd that makes him such a great champion. As for Sam Osborne- he's just elite across the board. Aussie wrestling is better for having him back in it.
After a shout-out to the sponsors, Oxley introduces the Middleweight Champion, Unsocial Jordan. Jordan says he's injured and cannot compete tonight. He said that last PWA show to weasel out of a Soul of PWA Championship match against The Tuckman. But then he relinquishes the Middleweight title! Wow. He's really injured? Jordan will have a replacement against Lena Kross.
Mat Gauge struts out. Is he the replacement for the championship match? Well, no. Can he be in the Rumble then? Oxley considers Gauge as an option, then says if he can outlast the other Newy Pro competitors that also want a shot in the Rumble... then he has what he wants. Damn, this Gauge fella is full of energy! I've heard his name before but this is my first time seeing him.
Match 2: Battle Royal- Mat Gauge vs. Shelston vs. David Streamer vs Tommy Jewel vs EC Brownie vs. Kareel vs. Alistair Fleming
Big thanks to Newy Pro socials for some of the names, didn't catch them all clearly on the broadcast. A referee wants to be in it, so Streamer clocks himm in the back of the head and throws him out immediately. Tommy Jewel lasts just long enough for me to find out his name and that he's been gone 5 years. Welcome back, buddy.
EC Brownie is put in a triangle by Alistair Fleming, but Brownie powerbombs him to the outside, Rampage Jackson style. Brownie Spears Kareel and throws him out. He then hits a spinning Bossman slam on Shelston and chucks him out too. Gauge knocks Brownie off the apron and out, and Streamer knocks him off to win it!
Winner: The Executive David Streamer (at 3:17)
Opportunistic way to win for Streamer. Given the pre-match, I would have liked a way to Gauge to look stronger before losing by underhanded means, but this still gives Streamer something to (unjustly) gloat about. Good stuff.
Match 3: Unification Match- Middleweight & Women's Championships- Lena Kross (c) vs. Will Kiedis
Kiedis got pulled from the Rumble to get this shot as a top ranked middleweight. Lena looks full of confidence here. She mocks Will by offering a test of strength- Kiedis lacks the vertical capability- before trading holds. Lena goes for the big boot, but misses. Kiedis attempts the Unprettier, but is shoved away. He bails to the outside and calls for a time out.
Back in the ring, Lena catches Kiedis with a hip toss and a running knee strike. She goes for the spilt legged moonsault but Kiedis shoves the ref into the ropes, catching her in the tree of woe. Kiedis goes for a basement dropkick but Kross sits up, and Will crotches himself on the ring post. Lena follows up with a penalty kick across the apron, near fall back in the ring.
Kiedis avoids another big boot from Lena and hits a back suplex. Near fall. Kiedis takes control of the match and quickly grows in confidence. Snapmare and a running boot gets the Anchorman another 2 count. Kiedis hits a buckle bomb but Kross fires right back with a big boot! Lena hits a gordbuster for a near fall.
A beautiful scorpion kick lands, followed by the split legged moonsault for a convincing near fall. They battle on the apron and Kiedis gets the better of it with a sunset bomb to the floor! Near fall back inside. Kiedis tries to use the championship belts as weapons behind the ref's back, but Lena comes back with a bridging German suplex for a close 2 count. Lena hits the Krossbreaker (Ushigoroshi), but Sam Osborne runs down and pulls the ref out of the ring! Kiedis lands a shot with the title belt, unseen by the referee... Shining Wizard connects, 1, 2, 3.
Winner: Will Kiedis (at 13:17)
High quality match, with Kiedis needing all the shenanigans to win. Lena is such a physical presence in the ring that Will felt like the underdog in this one, and he made up the difference in classic heel fashion.
Rob Oxley steps in for a post-match interview. When asked how it feels to be the unified champion, Will mocks the idea and says he's both the middleweight AND women's champion. He's better than every middleweight and every woman on the roster. He's DUAL champion, Will Kiedis. Very interesting story possibilities ahead. It struck me that he threw the women's championship belt on the ground a few times. Can't see the women of Newcastle Pro Wrestling being very happy with that.
Match 4: Newcastle Pro Wrestling Tag Team Championship- The Exception (Ben Braxton & Carter Deams) vs. The Blue Nation (Adam Hoffman & Rita Stone) (c)
The Exception have a big time size advantage. Adam Hoffman is the oldest champion in Newy Pro, with 20 years of experience, while Rita Stone is the youngest champion. Lucha tag rules apply, so this may get a little crazy.
Rita takes out Braxton immediately and Hoffman goes after Deams. Stereo dives by the Blue Nation wipe out The Exception! Stone hits the Rita Rotator (450 Splash) on Deams but Braxton breaks it up and hurls her into the lighting rig. Yep, crazy start to this one! Hoffman takes the fight to Braxton with a 619, but soon takes a double slam AND a double superkick by The Exception.
Braxton and Deams take turns beating down Hoffman. Showtime punch. Big boot in the corner. Twisting suplex by Brax gets a near fall. They go for a double back suplex but Hoffman lands on his feet. He opts to leave the ring rather than go for a tag, which in lucha tag rules amounts to the same thing. Rita's legal and she takes out Braxton with a diving cross body. High angle back suplex on Deams. Huge poison rana on Braxton! Carter with a scissors kick, allowing Braxton to hit a Lionsault, but Hoffman breaks up the pin.
Exception set up for a double team on Stone, but she counters with a satellite DDT on Deams! Braxton gets one too, and the crowd is alive for the Blue Nation! Hot tag to Hoffman and he goes right to work with a shotgun dropkick. Spinebuster on Deams- thing of beauty- but Braxton breaks up the pin. Angle Slam for Braxton! Rita tagged back in and they're looking to go airborne... but the Exception get up and knock them down. Double stomp/Dominator combo on Rita Stone. Muscle buster by Braxton on Hoffman. Deams follows up with a top rope splash and immediately rolls out of the ring. He appears to have dislocated his elbow upon landing- shades of Eddie Guerrero early in his WWE run. Carter goes immediately to the back and Braxton is going to finish this match solo, it seems. Hoffman looks for the spinebuster, but Braxton counters into his spinning Flatliner- called "The Gamechanger" on commentary- for the win.
Winners: The Exception (at 12:32)
Crazy-paced, all action match, tons of fun and seemingly no end to the athleticism on display by both teams- but the injury at the finish does put a damper on things. Carter Deams is insanely talented, you can check his Twitter for the X-Ray of the elbow being completely out of the socket, not for the weak at heart. Wishing him a speedy recovery and hopefully a return to action stronger than ever, he's seemed poised to break through to the top ranks for the longest time. Just starting to see it pay off and this happens. Awesome match besides that horrible situation.
Intermission. The line for the bar was crazy, but you'll be pleased to know I got my drinks and got back to my seat before the Rumble match started. Over on FITE, no intermission match as PWA does, just a still Rumble In The Jungle graphic.
Back on stream with the raffle- an odd timing thing, the raffle's only for the live crowd, why bother broadcasting it?
Main Event: 30 Person Rumble In The Jungle
Entrant #1- Dazza. A former Middleweight Champion and one of the most popular young stars in Newy Pro. Entrant #2- Robbie Eagles! The world-renowned star, a great representative of Aussie wrestling in NJPW, and representing TMDK. The crowd is far more pro-Dazza than pro-Robbie, which is an interesting dynamic.
#3 is Backman, the first in a parade of big men signed to this Rumble match. We get a further mix of characters as Frankie B and Bob the Viking join the fray. We're joined by the beer-drinking, barely thinking Tuckman to bring some comedy, but make no mistake, he can go! He gets in a "shootout" with Sherriff Jake Walker and Backman. Lovely stuff. Sadly, Tuckman is taken out shortly after.
Gatt and Leo Tempest join in, but Bob eliminates Gatt with a flying knee. Dazza and Robbie form an alliance, but Robbie quickly turns on him and eliminates him. Backman pushes Robbie out in a shocker. Jessie Flynn enters and soon takes out Frankie B! Not to dinner, sadly, but out of the match.
For entrant #11, it's David Streamer! They put up the name graphic before the countdown finished, whoops! Next up is Kingsley, and she takes the fight to everyone, zero fear! More big boys with the arrival of Shayne Sheffield Sinclair! He gets rid of Jessie Flynn, Bob The Viking and Sherriff Jake Walker in short order. Lil Tony Stellino to add even more beef to the match! Godzilla vs. King Kong as the two giants trade clotheslines.
Halfway there with #15, Parker Tomas! The giants waste little time knocking him down, but then we have another behemoth with #16, Matt Boyton! He eliminates David Streamer then Kingsley steps up to him! He almost immediately throws her out, though. All the giants turn their attention to the smaller PT. Shit. They knock him down but don't eliminate him... yet.
Next up is the time travelling Ty Thayer, looking like the wrestling version of Ned Flanders. #18 is Jay Law, in a little blast from the past in his own right. Backman gets eliminated during his entrance- big threat gone. Law throws Thayer out- even bigger threat gone.
Jimmy Townsend in and he reunites with his tag team partner in PE Class, Parker Tomas. Seems like a much longer interval before we get #20, Gym Bro Jessie. She curls Jimmy and then gives him a fall away slam! She even picks up Boyton in a fireman's carry and puts him on the apron, but PE Class join forces to eliminate her.
Big Brother Billy Preston is here, and he brought his Playtime Pals with him. Yay. PE Class almost eliminate him, but the Pals save their Brother. #22 is Jack J Bonza, and things are about to get serious. He punches out Trevor the Dinosaur. Well, a little more serious.
Law takes out Boyton. Bonza takes out Law. #23 is Albie Anne Troska, and wow, is she over! Parker Tomas is eliminated due to being out of the ring during her entrance, and referees/security escort him out. Love to see it. Albie hits a top rope flying rana on Jimmy. Awesome.
Next entrant is Tyler Gunn... but Oxley has an announcement. Gunn is locked out of the building, in his place is Mat Gauge! Gauge trades strikes with Albie... and then they dance? Billy wants to join in, so he and Gauge dance for a moment... before Albie hits a superkick on Billy. #25 is a big one... Mick Moretti! Mick almost eliminates Albie, then has a moment with Bonza and Jimmy. Whose side is he on??? Jimmy and Mick double team Bonza. Gauge and Moretti trade "got your nose" spots. Gauge eliminates Moretti! Quick and easy payday for the Rapscallion.
Mat Diamond is in next! Mat Gauge is eliminated during his entrance. Diamond on fire early with a standing shooting star press and a split legged moonsault. Diamond cutter on Billy then gets the elimination. Bonza military presses Albie to the outside to end her night. Massive Q in next at lucky #27. Double chokeslam on Bonza and Jimmy. #28 (for a super short interval), Lena Kross is back! Jimmy goes for a springboard cross body but Lena boots him out of the air. Another really quick turnaround for #29 (definitely a timing issue here), Charli Evans! Another world-renowned wrestler that got her start here. She laces up the long legs of Lena and hits Diamond with a German suplex at the same time. Brilliant.
#30 is a returning Scott Green! Coming out to The Next Episode, munching on some chips, you know what he's about. He wants all the smoke! Immediate rolling flatliner and elimination of Jimmy. Massive Q looks for a chokeslam but Green counters with a knee to the jaw! Everyone takes the opportunity to gang up and throw Q out.
Bonza throws Lena Kross out. Our final four- Bonza, Scott Green, Charli Evans and Mat Diamond. Green superkicks Evans out, Bonza dumps out Green. Bonza looks to military press Diamond but he counters with a DDT. Bonza fires back with a discus clothesline. Diamond counters a Blue Thunder Bomb into a headscissors and dumps him to the apron! Bonza gets back in but takes a Diamond Cutter, then gets clotheslined out of the ring! Diamond's done it!
Winner: Mat Diamond (at 56:18)
On the higher end of Rumbles in Aussie wrestling I've seen, as far as providing variety. You had strong action sequences, funny comedy spots, callbacks to previous feuds and alliances, and it kept the crowd engaged throughout. It didn't really make any new stars, but it positioned Scott Green in a prominent spot for his big return. I was also quite surprised to see the likes of Robbie Eagles and Mick Moretti eliminated with very little fanfare. Mat Diamond and Jack Bonza are already extremely established on the Aussie wrestling scene, especially in Newy Pro, but I'm curious to see where Diamond goes next, now that we can follow Newy Pro on a regular basis on FITE.
Another really strong show at City Hall for Newcastle Pro Wrestling. I'll most certainly be back for more shows live. The trip was fairly easy, the only thing that knocked me around on the weekend was actually the next day- attended a memorial for Kyle Eade and then the PWA Academy show in Ingleburn that took it out of me. But I love the atmosphere and energy of the Newy crowds, particularly how they support their own- the beginning of the Rumble match with Dazza's support overwhelming Robbie F'N Eagles was certainly something. Major thumbs up across the board, thoughts with Carter Deams, and I'll be back for more Newy Pro!
Overall Score: 8.5/10
Keep an eye out for a review of the PWA Academy show, interview guests coming soon, and other articles in the works!
Until next time, keep killing it as always!