Rock N' Roll Wrestling Christmas Vacation Review (08/12/2023)
By Mick Robson
(Photo Credit: Rock N Roll Wrestling & Marc K/Nell Photography)
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We wrap up the year at Rock N Roll Wrestling with an Academy show. It's a boiling hot day, at the time of writing it's 10:15pm, and still bloody hot. But I decided to brave the heat as I had a couple of mates making their in-ring singles debuts, so I wanted to support them... or boo them mercilessly, one or the other.
Let's do this!
We've got roughly 100 strong packed into the RNR Academy, and ring announcer Bobby welcomes us to the show. He's wearing suit pants and a black button-up shirt with long sleeves. I'd be rocking the Borat mankini if it were me, but it's not me, so we roll on!
Match 1: Coach Jay Sorbet vs. Trainee Jack
Jack absolutely revels in talking trash to the crowd, and Sorbet, and the referee... just everyone in the vicinity, really. Sorbet gets a big ovation as always, and as Jack works him over, referee Ben asks, "you alright?" and Jack responds, "no he's not!"
Nice athleticism by Jack as he busts out a flying headscissors, sending Sorbet reeling. Jay comes back with a sunset flip for a near fall, but any momentum building is quickly cut off by a pump kick by Jack, followed by a flatliner. Near fall for the rookie. He gets too cocky and misses an elbow drop, leading to an electric chair drop that gets a 2 count for Sorbet.
Jack hits a ripcord cutter, but Sorbet gets a foot on the ropes. He goes for the Fameasser, but Sorbet moves. Wasteland hits, and a unique cradle pin gives this one to the coach!
Winner: Jay Sorbet (at 6:55)
Star Rating: ***1/4. Really fun opening match, and a hell of a showing for Jack in his debut. He was very vocal and engaged with the crowd, as well as smooth and quite flashy in some of his offense. Sorbet was his usual excellent self, and can generally get a good match out of a broomstick, but Jack more than held his own here. I look forward to seeing what Jack does in the future at Rock N Roll, I'm sure there's more greatness to come following this first impression.
Bobby introduces the RNR Champion, "The One", Moses. Moses demands respect from the crowd, but before he can get started on his speech, he's interrupted by The Bachelor. Bachelor talks about it being Christmas time, and having a Christmas wish- he wants a shot at the RNR Championship. Moses seems a bit reluctant, but seemingly agrees to it before attacking the challenger. He lifts Bachelor up in a fireman's carry, but Bach slips out and hits a Spear. Seemingly effective segment to help set up the main event, although it was plagued a bit by audio issues- the mics weren't working at different times, and it was difficult to pick up everything that was being said from where I was sitting.
Match 2: Eric Fisher & Akell vs. The Tradies (Lachy & Dicko)
Akell is listed as a RNR trainee/debutant, but really, he's had experience up in Sydney, and it shows in his comfort level in interacting with the crowd and giving them shit. Lachy takes a bit of a beating, and Fisher makes sure to get in a cheap shot at Dicko on the apron as well. Finally, the hot tag is made to Dicko, oh wait, the referee didn't see it, and Dicko is forced back to his corner.
Finally, Lachy creates some separation and takes Akell down with a corkscrew moonsault. Tag is made to Dicko and he's FIRED UP! Clothesline, back elbow, Fisher takes a big spinebuster. Akell needs to stop this momentum, and opts to do it by grabbing a steel chair to bring to the fight. As the ref stops Akell, Fisher hits a low blow behind the referee's back and rolls up Dicko for the win!
Winners: Eric Fisher & Akell (at 8:10)
Star Rating: ***. Good action. Did feel at times like 4 separate guys wrestling, rather than 2 tag teams working together, but that'll come with time- especially Fisher & Akell in their first time joining forces. Even little tweaks in the presentation, like Lachy & Dicko both coming out together, or both teams coming up with a couple of double team moves, would have enhanced this one. The build to Dicko's run in the match was nicely done though.
Post-match, Fisher, with the steel chair in hand, says he's coming for Sorbet. That'd be a hell of an encounter at RNR in 2024!
Match 3: Robbie Zucco vs. Lee Morrow
Although Zucco had a TON of crowd support at the last City Diggers show, that wasn't really present here at the Academy. It still breaks my heart that no one fills in the "no way, get f**ked, f**k off" for Morrow's entrance theme.
This was, as Big E would say, big meaty men slapping meat. Quite literally, as the two men exchanged a plethora of chops throughout the match. We also had high impact as Zucco hit Morrow with a superplex, and Morrow responds with some great athleticism with a Cody Cutter. Morrow also showed great strength with a delayed vertical suplex. There was also great crowd interaction throughout from both men, particularly with Morrow picking a kid out of the crowd to launch at Zucco- the little lad really wasn't sure but was smiling ear-to-ear by the time his feet met the Original Greaser's face. Back in the ring, Morrow scores with the slingshot sunset flip for the 1-2-3.
Winner: Lee Morrow (at 11:03)
Star Rating: ***1/2. As far as bell to bell action, probably the best thing on this Academy show. Morrow and Zucco are two experienced pros that generally had the crowd eating out of their hand throughout, and brought a physical battle in the ring. After first seeing Morrow in RNR as a cocky heel- a really good one, at that- it's cool to see him flourish just as much as the loveable Australian Hero.
Post-match, Morrow offers Zucco a handshake. He's hesitant. Watching from outside the Academy, Tristan Slade yells at Zucco not to do it. He shakes the hand, and Slade flips out, throwing a chair and storming off. Interesting development in the saga of the Greasers!
Intermission. A lot of people went outside the Academy to try and get a bit of cool, fresh air. For my part, choosing to not to go inside and watch the show from the door was probably one of my smarter calls in a while!
Match 4: Morgan Rose vs. Ross The Cameraman
At the last Diggers show, the Cameraman was over like crazy, and this singles debut for Ross was more of the same! He's got family there, but he's such a likeable guy, everyone was behind him.
Rose gets under the skin of the crowd, then looks to engage with Ross, but he ducks under and shoves him into the corner! Ross plays to the people, and Rose bails from the ring. He's shook! Back in the ring, and with the assistance of a little hair pulling, Morgan takes early control. Ross comes back with a hip toss, enhanced greatly by the effeminate screaming of Rose. A bulldog by Ross gets a near fall.
Morgan takes control with a Mr Perfect neck snap and trash talks the crowd. He beats down the Cameraman for a while. A forearm to the back of the neck while the Cameraman is draped in the ropes gets Morgan a near fall. Ross starts to make a comeback, and hits a strong Samoan Drop for a near fall of his own. The ref almost gets taken out in the chaos, and Rose goes for a ripcord move, but the Cameraman reverses into a schoolboy to win his debut!
Winner: Ross The Cameraman (at 8:43)
Star Rating: ***1/4. Great work by Ross in his singles debut! He looked more confident and comfortable as the match went on. This was a success in a different way to Jack's debut- while his was slightly flashier, Ross had the crowd, he's got a natural charisma and likeability about him that really resonates with the people. Of course, Morgan Rose was a great foil for him, riling up the crowd while being aggressive on the attack. Another one to watch in the future at RNR!
Main Event: RNR Championship- The Bachelor vs. Moses (c)
Big chants of "Moses Is A Wanker", putting a smile on the face of Hunter PS Hayes, the former RNR champion who was next to me. Bachelor gets a more family-friendly/Christmas-friendly chant going with "ho ho ho", and Moses attacks him from behind. Not the wisest move to turn your back on the dastardly champion. Have you seen his moustache?
Bachelor comes back with a clothesline and some chops, and the 10 punches in the corner, with the crowd chanting "ho". Man, getting punched while a group of people are calling you a ho, rough night to be Moses! Then, just to stick it to Lee Morrow, Bachelor hits a delay vertical suplex for a longer period of time. Impressive!
We get some brawling outside the ring. Moses tries to chop Bach but gets the ring post instead. On the way back in, Moses kicks the middle rope into Bach's nuts and takes control. Big knee lift gets a near fall for the champ. Ripcord cutter gets another 2 for Moses. The champion ripping off Jack's stuff- I smell a feud brewing! Moses goes to the second rope, points at Hunter and yells, "Badstreet baby!" The follow up fist drop misses, though. Bachelor comes back with a sidewalk slam for a near fall.
Bach goes for the spear, but Moses moves and he collides with the turnbuckle! Bachelor no-sells it, though, and goes on the attack. Adrenaline in his soul, something something, ho ho ho. The big boot and leg drop combo hits, but Moses says, "that's not gonna work for me, brother", and kicks out. Soon after, Bachelor ducks a clothesline, and referee Ben gets smashed! Not in the way I typically do on a Friday night, but nevertheless, he's down. Bachelor hits a spear but there's no one to count the pin. As Bach tries to revive the ref, Moses grabs the RNR title belt and cracks him with it! And still.
Winner: Moses (at 12:08)
Star Rating: ***1/2. This one came across a little better on a second watch. The crowd was hot, and my mate Keanu made a really good observation about Moses- he seems to be able to get a lot of heat without having to overtly try too hard, which is the mark of a great heel. It's even more impressive when you consider what a beloved babyface he was as Captain Keato. Now, Bachelor fills that babyface role, and I'm curious as to whether he pursues the title harder in 2024, or goes back to the tag ranks, as the Mega-Powers act with Lee Morrow was really fun as well.
Well, that's it, folks, show's over... wait a minute! Some Christmas music hits, and Santa Claus comes out! He offers Moses some candy canes, then offers his lap for Moses to sit on, but the champ is having none of it. He suggests that they pose for a photo, and Moses is okay with that- then Santa hits him, err, in the sack with his sack! Santa with the Widowmaker... and wait, the hat and the beard came off- it's Lee Morrow! He poses with the RNR title, and the Bachelor. Candy canes for everyone!
Lee grabs a mic and says, "there's only one way we can end this show" and calls for The Cameraman! Ross comes out to cheers from the crowd. Morrow raises his hand and gives him the ring. Classy gesture. And NOW the show's over.
If you'd like to watch this show, the Cameraman set up a live stream over on YouTube that greatly helped in adding detail to this review, check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAgGm3rJDBU&ab_channel=Prando34
Really fun Academy show. They didn't lean too hard into the Christmas gimmickry despite the show name, saving the holiday shenanigans mostly for the post-main event to send the fans home happy after the heel win. My main takeaway is that Rock N Roll Wrestling is in good hands for the future, with Ross and Jack impressing in their debuts, Akell creating a bit of buzz about himself in the tag match, and the other mainstays of RNR all having good performances. The promotion was built around Hunter Hayes for the longest time, but this show ran basically independent of him, as he turned up for the first match as a spectator. Coaches Bachelor and Sorbet, as well as the whole RNR crew, should be proud of this one. 100+ invested fans on a hot Friday night, building into a strong 2024 for Wollongong's premier wrestling promotion.
Overall Score: 8/10
Until next time, take care.