Rock N Roll Wrestling Halloween Havoc Review (28/10/2023)
By Mick Robson
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Let me talk to ya!
If I was to give anyone a crash course into Aussie wrestling, I would of course direct them to promotions like PWA and MCW- largely because they've got alumni who have made it big in mainstream, worldwide companies like WWE, AEW & NJPW. But I would also direct them to Rock N Roll Wrestling. My first exposure to Australian pro wrestling was RNR, when they were running shows at Dapto Citoz bowling club. For the past several years, I've watched as they've run family-friendly shows with high quality entertainment, consistently delivering, sending fans home happy and continually striving to improve.
At the helm of Rock N Roll Wrestling is owner and wrestler Hunter PS Hayes, who has served as champion and face of the promotion for much of the time that I've been attending. Hunter's ability to draw crowd support and maintain a positive attitude and a strong work ethic got Rock N Roll through some dicey times, as many people and businesses discovered during COVID.
For the main event of this Halloween-themed show, Hunter Hayes puts it all on the line. To get one last shot at our cocky young new champion, "The One" Moses, Hayes has put up his career. He loses, and he's done. But if he wins... not only does he get his title back, he also takes the infamous "mo" of Moses! It is quite majestic facial hair.
Let's do this!
The show kicks off with the iconic "gong" of The Undertaker. Man, RNR are really breaking the budget for this show! Unfortunately, Mark Calaway isn't here, but we do have ring announcer Lili dressed in full Deadman attire to play into the Halloween theme. She pulls off the mannerisms and the signature Taker growl quite well as she introduces the show.
We get Jack Harlow's "First Class" blaring over the speakers, which can only mean one thing- the champ is here! Moses struts on out... but wait a minute, he's looking a little different. It's Hunter Hayes, dressed as Moses, fake moustache and all. He briefly imitates Moses before ripping the mo off, hyping the main event, and plugging the Moses Is A Wanker packs at the merch desk- $5 for a sign and a fake mo!
Match 1: Morgan Rose vs. Lachy The Tradie
Rose does an excellent job riling up the crowd as he makes his entrance. Lachy is also in the Halloween spirit, with a zombie take on his usual Tradie outfit. Snappy match here, with Morgan bailing to ringside a few times to avoid the fight, but when Lachy gets rolling, he pinballs Rose around with some nice looking strikes and has him reeling after a suplex. Style points wrap this one up with a corkscrew senton to a prone Rose! Score one for the good guys.
Winner: Lachy The Tradie
Star Rating: ***. Simple but effective stuff. Lachy gains more crowd support and seemingly more confidence in every outing as a result, while Morgan Rose is such an effective heel, he always creates an engaging atmosphere. Set the tone nicely.
Otis comes out and he's got some trash to talk. He's looking for a worthy challenger for the Otis Invitational, and says that the Invitational cup is worth more than "anything in the world". Even Otis had trouble keeping a straight face on that one. He calls out anyone in the back to answer the challenge.
Nothing. So Otis gets in the face of referee Kye standing by. He asks the ref if he wants a shot at the cup. The ref tries to back off but gets knocked down for his troubles. Jack, one of the ringside stuff, comes in to check on the ref but gets shoved down as well. Ross, the cameraman jumps in to try and diffuse the situation, but Otis turns on him and starts getting in his face too, pushing him into the corner. Only the cameraman defends himself and shoves him back, knocking him on his ass! He grabs the microphone and challenges Otis- the grub vs. the three of them. Ballsy, but these are just RNR students... have they bitten off more than they can chew?
Big "Cameraman" chants too. Our boy is over!
Dicko makes his entrance for a match, but before Lili can introduce his opponent, Morgan Rose attacks him with a steel chair! Eric Fisher runs out and seizes the chair from Rose... only to smash Dicko in the back with it himself! Holy heel turn, Batman!
Match 2: Dicko vs. Eric Fisher
Fisher almost immediately ends the match with a Claymore, but Dicko kicks out at the last second. Fisher continues to beat down Dicko after the sneak attacks and chair shots. Why, Fisher, why? He works the back with backbreakers and sidewalk slams. Fisher sets up for the Fisherman buster, but Dicko fights his way back with body shots then a thunderous Spear! He re-aligns Fisher's spine with a wicked spinebuster soon after. The crowd is behind Dicko all the way and he draws on that energy to hit a twisting suplex for the win!
Star Rating: ***. Dicko's been building momentum in recent months in RNR. I really enjoy his intensity and the way he goes about his work as a fiery babyface. His impromptu title match with Moses a couple of shows ago was a lot of fun. The Fisher heel turn was a bit of a shock- with Morgan Rose, Otis, Moses, and the Greasers, it seems like the roster is sorted for top level heels. At one point, I thought Fisher was being primed to be THE top babyface and champion at RNR. But hey, never seen him work as a heel before, so it'll definitely be an interesting ride.
Match 3: RNR Tag Team Championship- The Mega-Powers (The Bachelor & Lee Morrow) vs. The Greasers (Robbie Zucco & Tristan Slade)
I prefer Jay Sorbet's name for the Morrow/Bachelor team- Guns N Roses. But I also appreciate the 80s style level of cheese they both bring, and it was in full effect as they came out to Hulk Hogan's theme. No Angels tonight because the kids don't appreciate it... IYKYK.
Morrow and Slade work a large part of this match. We get dueling "Robbie Zucco/Zucco Sucks" chants while he's standing on the apron! Morrow shows great fire in spurts but gets cut off and worn down... until the hot tag to Bachelor! Bachelor is rocking AND rolling, with clotheslines, back elbows, back body drops- and after a little recovery, Morrow's around to kick some Greaser butt too! They hit duel Old Schools which gets a pop out of me. Lee goes to the audience to borrow a child to kick the Greasers with- it winds up being a larger than average kid (hell, may have been a small adult) who was dressed in a Spiderman costume. Spiderman revels in the adulation of the crowd for a moment. Good s**t, pal.
The challengers have momentum, and a Pedigree by the Bachelor seems to have this one in the bag! One of the Greasers distracts the referee, allowing the other one to use the RNR tag title belt as a weapon- and this one's done!
Winners: The Greasers
Star Rating: ***1/2. Lots of fun to be had in this one. High stakes with the tag titles on the line, which made it easy to invest, and both teams are so good in their respective roles that there was never really a quiet moment in the match. The crowd-pleasing spots elevated things further, but they were along for the ride regardless.
As the champs celebrated their victory and the challengers came to terms with the loss- I happened to glance away for a moment, but I believe Zucco may have extended his hand for a handshake in a sign of respect. Slade is infuriated and begins shoving Zucco, eventually knocking him down and putting the boots in! "Know your role!" Slade shouts.
Wow! What does this mean for the RNR tag titles? Are the Greasers split or is this some kind of abusive partnership where Zucco falls in line behind Slade? I may be overthinking that bit, but it seemed strange that Zucco showed no signs of aggression back towards Slade, and for Slade to remind Zucco of his "role" in the team while laying the boots to him was odd. But if I'm overthinking that and it's just a Greasers split, the Fisher turn and alliance with Rose makes more sense now if they need to fill the heel tag team void.
Match 4: Otis Invitational- Otis vs. RNR Students
Or, as Lili introduced them, "The Cameraman and friends". Big pop and chants for the Cameraman. Also quite a few "Cameraman" signs in the crowd... awfully convenient that so many people brought signs just to support the Cameraman! We also have a special referee in Hydro.
Kye's up first, and he plays to the crowd a lot, jumping up on the turnbuckles and all- but as soon as he jumps down, he takes a big boot and gets pinned. Thanks for coming. Next up is Jack, who clubs Otis from behind, which has zero effect. Then Jack lands a sweet superkick upside his head, and The Grub is reeling! A second superkick is blocked, and a discus clothesline puts Jack away.
It's time for the Cameraman to get in there. He fires off some chops, but Otis grabs him by the shirt, rips it off him and starts battering him. Then Cameraman comes back with a running cross body! Then a Samoan Drop! Could we see an upset? Nope, Otis hits a pop up powerbomb and gets the 3!
Otis thinks he's done, but the announcer introduces the final member of Team Cameraman- Fly Guy! Making his RNR debut, Fly Guy buzzes to the ring and fires away with rapid fire strikes. Much more successful than the other RNR students, but Otis is able to cut him off. Otis doesn't have fly spray, but he does have a GTS, and that puts away our Fly Guy.
Star Rating: ***1/4. That was a blast. Great to see the RNR Academy students out on a show doing their thing, they've worked very hard for it. Also gives me motivation to try and get past some of my physical issues and really give wrestling training a proper shot! For Otis, he looks strong- beating 4 guys. Sure, 3 are trainees, but it's still an impressive feat and makes him look like a killer compared to the average person. Meanwhile, Fly Guy's been around on the NSW scene, but this was the first time in front of a RNR audience, so it's nice to see new blood on the roster looking to establish themselves.
Post-match, Otis gives Hydro a GTS. Just because he can. Guessing he hates Gangnam Style (Hydro's theme song).
Main Event: Title vs. Career- Moses (c) vs. Hunter Hayes
Hunter tries to get a "Moses Is A Wanker" chant going, but even when he gives the crowd the right cadence, it's still a little awkward to chant. These guys have been feuding for months, so they brawl with the appropriate amount of intensity around the venue- a RNR main event staple. Back in the ring, Hunter shows off his power with a stalling vertical suplex, then takes to the skies with a diving fist drop. A DDT is called for and attempted, but Moses throws him off. Later on, Hayes does hit the DDT, spiking Moses, but the champ kicks out! Soon after, the defiant champ throws up the double middle fingers, followed by the Six and Out- and that's it!
Star Rating: ***1/2. A quality main event, kept pretty by the book outside of a little brawling in the crowd. It makes Keato's offense, especially his finisher, look strong as it only took one of them to end the career of Hunter Hayes. I was expecting a kickout on the finsher and some more trading of moves, but it was a real passing of the torch moment to have it end that definitively.
Moses gloats about his victory and goes to ringside to get in the face of Piers Austin. Long time readers of The Arena may know that Piers is a pro wrestling personality/manager/podcaster. What is he doing at Rock N Roll?
Post-match, Hunter bows to the crowd and takes off his gloves and his DDT shirt, draping the shirt over the ring ropes. Some of the RNR students and superstars join Hunter in an embrace on the stage. Thank you Hunter. And that's our show!
Pro wrestling retirements being what they are, I don't expect this to stick. Hell, Hunter's already walked it back a little in his first social media post this morning. But it's still a great feather in the cap of the already obnoxiously arrogant Moses, to be able to say he put away the Australian Freebird. The champ deserves to be commended for the work he's put in, especially physically, he's a whole new man. He carries himself with confidence and the wrestling ability is there, showing that the future of Rock N Roll Wrestling is in good hands.
As an overall show, I thought Halloween Havoc was a very good one. In-ring, I think the tag title match really delivered. The Otis Invitational had the "moments". And the main event had the MOment- but more seriously, the emotion and high stakes. Boosted with things like face painting, costume contests, prizes for best crowd signs, chocolates for the kids and spooky Halloween decorations around the place, along with the top notch wrestling action, it's clear RNR are onto a winning formula. It's spent 2023 re-establishing itself in a regular venue, while expanding the roster, and it's all paying off. I expect 2024 to be an even stronger year for Rock N Roll.
Overall Score: 8/10
Until next time, take care.