Rock N Roll Wrestling- The Return Results & Review (11/03/2023)
By Mick Robson
February 2020. The last time Rock N Roll Wrestling was active in a licensed venue. Then COVID hit, and all shows since have been at the Rock N Roll Academy in Unanderra. After a lot of work behind the scenes, RNR returned to City Diggers in Wollongong this past weekend for The Return: We Built This City.
I attended the majority of the shows at The Academy, but did so without my mates that often come to wrestling shows. Part of the experience of a night out at the wrestling includes dinner with the show, and a venue a bit more comfortable than the little warehouse. So, the announcement of the return to the Diggers meant that my mate Chad came along, and with him for the first time, little Melissa and Henry. Henry (who just turned 2 today) is a bit too young to get what's going on, but Melissa is old enough to experience it and enjoy it, and she was immediately enraptured by it all. Her favourite wrestlers were Bel Pierce & Keato. More about that at the end...
My main criticisms of the night goes to the pre-show dinner. They've changed the menu very recently apparently. No kids menu, the schnitzels resembled an enlarged chicken nugget, and they forgot our ice cream with the dessert. The food tasted nice despite the delays and small portions, so... (*).
I was greeted at the door by Ross & Jack. Jack would like everyone to know that he's making his valiant return from his knee injury, and is set to take Rock N Roll by storm in the near future.
Onto the show!
The announcer, Jaylen, welcomes us back to Diggers and asks a couple of times if we're ready for some wrestling. He announces that the next show will be a charity of sorts, but before he can go into detail, he's interrupted by the music of one of the main event challengers, Otis.
Otis takes issue with everyone in the building, and the show's tagline- "We Built This City". Otis claims that HE is the one who built this city and Rock N Roll Wrestling. Morgan Rose enters and taunts the crowd as well, backing up his buddy Otis.
The Bachelor enters to a big pop, as the first babyface on the show (as much as we love Jaylen). We've got an opening match to have!
Match 1: The Bachelor vs. Morgan Rose
Bachelor shows off his size and power advantage with an early shoulder block, sending Rose flying. Rose uses some underhanded tactics, such as a hangman and a chop block, to take Bach down, and lays in the boots. Rose effectively grinds down the Bachelor with more stomps and a sleeper, but with the support of the crowd at the Diggers, he comes back to life and hits The Pedigree for the win!
Winner: The Bachelor. Good choice to kick things off, it didn't get too crazy, but the crowd were into it, jeering Rose and throwing their support (and some actual roses!) at The Bachelor. Crowd pleasing win and match. (***)
Match 2: The Original Greasers (Robbie Zucco & Tristan Slade) (w/ Flame) vs. Lachy The Tradie & Dicko
The crowd was WAY behind The Tradie & Dicko. I think the entrance themes may have helped- Working Class Man, and It's My Life by Bon Jovi. The Greasers did their part riling up the crowd with a lot of greasiness and hip swivelling. Dicko represented with the hi vis along with Lachy, and got the crowd behind them with a nice mix of speed and power. Flame also got involved by puttting the boots to Dicko behind the referee's back, giving the Greasers an unfair advantage.
Ultimately, the Greasers would score big with a double team finishing move on Lachy- Robbie came off the ropes and it didn't really connect right, so they adjusted with an assisted powerbomb instead to end it.
Winners: The Original Greasers. Hot crowd for this one, with an impressive mix of wrestling skills. Shame about the finish, but the rest of it was top notch. Babyfaces getting love, heels getting none of it, and both sides bringing the energy. Love to see it. (***1/4)
Match 3: Michael Spencer vs. Jay Sorbet
This was originally announced as Spencer vs. Parker Tomas, which I was curious to see because I imagine he'd play face against PT, who is an established heel in RNR, and Spencer kicked all the ass as a fiery babyface type on the PWA show in Wollongong last October. Not sure why Parker didn't make the trip, but it's a shame. That said, I'm never mad about seeing Sorbet. Some fun back and forth over Jay's "one scoop, two scoop" bit as they traded scoop slams, and Spencer got some shine with some vicious knees and a gutbuster. Ultimately, Spencer fell victim to the Wasteland, and a picture perfect 450 Splash!
Winner: Jay Sorbet. Really quality action, and it was great to see Spencer back in Rock N Roll. But as the Gold Rush briefcase holder, it was important to give Sorbet some MOmentum here. Speaking of... (***1/4)
Sorbet grabs the mic post-match to say he's held the Gold Rush briefcase far too long. Maybe his night's not done. Maybe he should cash in tonight...
Intermission. Rock N Roll like a snappy show, never going super long or late, but it's definitely a good call to break the show up here for the younger crowd. All ages are represented here, but you've got a decent amount of kids under 10 enjoying some RNR here.
Match 4: Belinda Pierce vs Gym Bro Jessie
Melissa decided she loved Belinda, but Gym Bro Jessie was slapping hands and full of energy. I think I need some of her pre-workout! The Gym Bro showed off her impressive strength in this one, even doing push-ups on Belinda's back! She gets Belinda on her shoulders, and I thought she was going to do squats with her, but nope, Death Valley Driver for the emphatic win. Pre-lockdown, RNR were looking to establish a women's division- Ashlee Spencer was involved back then, but could Gym Bro Jessie be the face of it in 2023?
Winner: Gym Bro Jessie. Fun outing that really showed off the Gym Bro character! Interestingly, I didn't catch Bel leaning too heavily into the SMS thing, but I look forward to seeing what role she might play in a more active Rock N Roll as well. (**3/4)
Main Event- Rock N Roll Heavyweight Championship- Otis vs. Captain Keato vs. Hunter Hayes (c)
This was a barn burner! Triple threat rules meant that Otis could introduce some chairs to maximise carnage, but he showed skills and went outside his usual repertoire as well, nailing a flip dive off the railing as they brawled through the crowd, and back in the ring, a Canadian Destroyer almost got the job done! Keato almost took both his opponents out with a double Six and Out, but ultimately it was Badstreet, baby! Hunter nails the DDT after Keato accidentally collides with the ref. 1-2-3. And still...
Winner: Hunter Hayes...
But wait, Jay Sorbet is here to cash in Gold Rush! He hands the briefcase to the ref... and then Keato smashes him with a steel chair! He lays out Hunter with a chair as well and rips off his cricketer shirt to reveal a singlet reading "The Moment". He drops Sorbet with a TKO. He takes the Gold Rush briefcase and demands to cash in it, to which the ref obliges. At first, Hunter kicks out, but a couple of chair shots, undetected by the groggy ref, and we have a new champion! He then slaps Sorbet (his old tag partner!) and hits a torture rack neckbreaker to a chorus of boos to end the show.
Winner: Captain Keato... or as he has Jaylen announce... Moses. One of the most exciting and dramatic Rock N Roll matches I've ever seen, and that was before the big Keato turn! Definitely blindsided me, I thought we were between an Otis reign of terror, or a successful Gold Rush cash-in by Sorbet to have a run as champ. Brilliant work by everyone involved! (****)
A smash hit return to Diggers for Rock N Roll Wrestling! Everyone played their roles well, but they truly struck gold with that main event. Captain Keato was such a beloved character, to turn to the dark side and become this "Moses", it adds a whole new layer to Rock N Roll storylines. Does Sorbet go after him first? Is it the former champion, Hunter? How does Otis feel about all this? Eric Fisher could be waiting in the wings. So many exciting possibilities. An excellent night of entertainment, I can't wait to see what the next one holds!
Plus, you couldn't wipe the smile off the kids' faces, still raving about it the next day. And that's really what family friendly entertainment is all about.
Overall Score: 9/10
Until next time, take care.