WrestleWatch- Renegades Of Wrestling: We Are Renegades Review
By Mick Robson
Better late than never! We're continuing our journey through the wild and wonderful world of Aussie pro wrestling by looking at an event that went down last week in Melbourne- in Collingwood Town Hall, to be precise. While my last WrestleWatch review focused on a long-standing Aussie wrestling promotion executing their vision on its biggest stage yet, this one features a promotion very much in its infancy.
Renegades of Wrestling (or ROW) is a brand new venture from Mikey Jay and Criss Fresh, two men who were instrumental in the operation of Melbourne City Wrestling, the other major Aussie independent promotion besides PWA. They intend to gather the best talent available for their show from around Australia, with an eye on bringing in international talent in the future. With their first show, We Are Renegades, the headliner is a man who is both Aussie AND an international star- Jonah, formerly known as Bronson Reed in WWE/NXT, where he held the NXT North American Championship. Post-WWE, he's had successful runs in Impact Wrestling and New Japan, but here at Renegades, he returns home.
I am not overly familar with the Victorian wrestling scene, being based in Sydney. The last time I was in Melbourne was in 2018, as I flew down for WWE Super Showdown at the MCG, to see Triple H vs. Undertaker for the LAST TIME EVER! But, being the wrestling nerd I am, I couldn't resist when I found out MCW were running a show the night before at the Thornbury Theatre, titled New Horizons. It featured Robbie Eagles vs. Gino Gambino, a thrilling Intercommonwealth Championship match between Slex & Adam Brooks, and a hoss battle between Jonah & Caveman Ugg- which funnily enough, is the main event for this Renegades show!
Apparently this debut show will be uploaded to FITE TV, but at the time of writing, I do not have the luxury of watching it back. So this review will be a combination of my memory and the sparse notes I took during the show.
Let's do this!
Match 1: Mat Diamond vs. Murdoch vs. Robby Heart
Hell of a chaotic start to the show! Gotta love a good triple threat match, and if you wanted to call this great, I wouldn't argue with you. I was disappointed at Rat Daddy being scratched from the card at the last minute, as I've only seen him wrestle live in Rumble matches. That said, Heart was by no means disappointing in his performance, hitting hard, bringing intensity and firing the crowd up. I've seen bits and pieces of Murdoch through sporadically seeing highlights of DMDU, but his smoothness in a full match really impressed me. And of course, Mat Diamond shined bright as he does every time I see him, ending the match in a devastating and spectacular fashion by catching Murdoch with the Diamond Cutter, and when Robby Heart tried to fly in off the top rope, he was caught in mid-air with a Cutter as well! Explosive and entertaining start to proceedings.
Winner: Mat Diamond (***1/2)
A video package airs for the Dominion of Violence faction, arriving at Renegades' next show, Uprising, on June 4th.
Match 2: Aysha vs. Lena Kross
Lena Kross was a major standout in the PWA Rumble the other week, and she looked fantastic again in this spin on the David vs. Goliath battle. Like Murdoch, I've seen snippets of Aysha here and there, but I'm sure she was a babyface last I saw. Seeing her use cunning, cheap tricks and boatloads of attitude to overcome the towering Kross was really well done. Lena still got time to shine by shaking off a lot of Aysha attacks and firing back heavy shots and big power moves. Early indications are that the women's division in ROW is going to be of a very high standard. Aysha almost gets the W with a super close near fall on a shining wizard, but ultimately ends it with the Future Shock DDT.
Winner: Aysha (***)
We get a promo from Loverboy Lochy Hendricks. I've only seen him once, at the aforementioned MCW New Horizons 2018, and he was a pest heel that liked to make a "NYAH!" sound a lot. The crowd boo him to start, and a contrite sounding Loverboy says, "I probably deserve that." He gives a little speech on how he thought he had to be obnoxious and hateable to be the best wrestler and entertainer he could be, but he's looking to change his ways. He's here for the fans, and he's here to become the first Renegades champion. Damn. The man can talk! Completely got the crowd on his side in a matter of minutes with an emotional, heartfelt speech, and even seemed to slip in a few little jabs at MCW as well. Great promo.
Match 3: The Velocities (Jude "The Dude" London & Paris De Silva) vs. The Golden Eagles (Robbie Eagles & Emman The Kid)
This was the Velocities last weekend wrestling in Australia before they headed to the UK for a couple of months- they're participating in the Rev Pro Tag League, and likely booking more international work around that as well. I'd say Jude & Paris are the best tag team in Australia, and it's about time the world takes notice. They've wrestled Robbie Eagles a whole bunch of times in PWA, but the x-factor in this one was Emman. Wasn't familar with him at all, but the highest compliment I can pay him after seeing him wrestle for the first time- he looked like he belonged with the Velocities and Robbie. Lots of crazy high flying, fast paced and crazy athleticism, and with it being babyfaces vs. babyfaces, took turns with the hot tags and big comeback spots. Match of the Night in my book! Massive Shooting Star Press from Paris ends it.
Winners: The Velocities (****1/4)
Post match, both teams shake hands and show love, although a dejected Emman has to be coaxed into it a little by Robbie. Then, Krackerjak and Gore, the Bastard Brothers, hit the ring and destroy the Velocities! Powerbombs galore from Gore, and Gore even powerbombed Krackerjack onto the Velocities! Krackerjak, the Aussie Wrestling Legend, makes a bit of mission statement as a new tag team in ROW. Well, there's a ready made feud when the Velocities do return.
Intermission. I visit the merch table to chat to the Velocities- been watching them for god knows how many years in NSW and finally got a photo with them in Victoria! Same with Mat Diamond. I also finally met Lord Andy Coyne in person on my way to the loo! Absolute gent.
Match 4: Caity Luxe vs. Tarlee
Seen Tarlee wrestle a few times, once in person and a couple of times online. Last time was rough, through no fault of her own- it was FWA's first show on FITE TV, and their production, especially the audio, made the show basically unbearable. It'll be interesting to see how Renegades looks on FITE (although they will have the advantage of post production rather than live streaming). Anyway, tangent. Tarlee looked fantastic, and I've only just realised how tall she is. Her size and power give her the early advantage- not knowing either lady very well, it seemed that Tarlee was face and Caity was heel, but the size difference required Caity to try and create movement. I happened to glance away at the wrong moment, but Caity was looking for a springboard and I believe Tarlee may have caught her with a powerbomb for the win. Dragged a little in points, but Tarlee was charismatic enough to carry the slower portions of the match. I need to see Tarlee vs. Lena Kross, stat!
Winner: Tarlee (**1/2)
Post-match, Shazza McKenzie appears on the big screen. She warns Tarlee and all the Renegades that she's coming to Uprising on June 4th. We've definitely got Heartbreakcore, chip on her shoulder Shaz coming to ROW!
The ring announcer draws our attention to Jake Andrewartha, who I believe heads the Dominion stable, sitting up in the balcony. Of note, Collingwood Town Hall is a great looking venue, much like Newcastle City Hall was the other month, and I'm hopeful that with continued success, Renegades can fill up the balcony level at future shows.
Match 5: Kendo vs. Tommy Knight
Poor Kendo. This was an absolute squash. Tommy beat him down, threw him around the place, and finished him with a brainbuster in a couple of minutes.
Winner: Tommy Knight (*)
Match 6: Caveman Ugg vs. Jonah
Monster reactions for both men (no pun intended), but the roof practically comes off for the returning hero Jonah! And I don't know if it's because they've greatly improved in the last 4 years, or if it's because they're in a high profile spot, but I much preferred this match to their MCW match that I was at in 2018. Hard hitting, especially when they opted to trade chops at ringside. Ugg displayed unreal power, deadlifting the 300+ pound Jonah with a swinging gutwrench slam, and later a splash mountain bomb, but this show was only ever going to end one way- Jonah with the top rope Tsunami splash for the 1-2-3! A true hoss battle!
Winner: Jonah (****)
Post-match, Jonah grabs the mic. I don't know if this will make the FITE broadcast or if it was just meant for us. Jonah draws attention to the promotion colours of black and gold, and references the old place he worked at being black and gold. He then responds to a couple of booing fans, "Black and Gold was cool, the new stuff, not so much." They used to say "We Are NXT", but he gets us to finish with "We Are RENEGADES!
I planned a weekend in Melbourne around this show, and it was well worth the trip. For a debut show, it felt really polished, which is a testament to Mikey Jay, Criss Fresh, and the roster of talent they've been able to assemble. Collingwood Town Hall was an excellent venue, and I'm looking forward to seeing the place fill up more to really get a rowdy atmosphere going. The 400 or so fans in attendance brought the energy, and the great Aussie wrestlers brought their world class abilities. Now, it's just a matter of building up the roster, establishing the championships and storylines, and some great seeds were planted in amongst the quality wrestling action. Must watch matches are Velocities vs. Golden Eagles & Jonah vs. Ugg, but I would happily recommend this show to anyone once it's available on FITE. Top tier start to the Renegades era! Onwards and upwards.
Overall Score: 7.5/10
Until next time, take care.