Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Download Review: Wrestlerock: New Era, New Rules

A few years ago I had my first taste of Australian wrestling in the form of the Wrestlerock promotion, and I liked what I saw. The company was like a breath of fresh air. They were rugged, a little rough around the edges. They weren't PG, or even PC for that matter, and they were damn proud of that.

But having enjoyed a ton of great matches featuring the likes of Krackerjak, Jag Hartley Jackson, Slex, Mad Dog and the rest of those crazy b*****ds it came to an end, and I was quite saddened when I heard that Wrestlerock were closing their doors.

But guess what, kiddies! They're back! Those mental Aussies made their triumphant return to their old stomping ground last February at the Corner Hotel in Melbourne. Wrestlerock were back, and for them it was a New Era, New Rules.

The show began with the introductions from commentators Julian James and Criss Fresh, and after they warmed the crowd for a few minutes the first match of the evening almost kicked off when Slex and Adam Brooks brawled their way to the ring. They were eventually broken up so the first match proper could take place, with Michael Basham guy Josh Shooter could take on Wrestlerock original and perennial underdog Cletus.

This proved to be a very enjoyable opener. The early exchanges were great as Cletus took his man down with a variety of moves, but it wasn't long before Shooter took control, with a little help from his man at ringside.

Despite his good fortune Shooter once again fell to Cletus fast-paced offence, and it got to the point where Basham was so worried that he tried to stop Cletus in his tracks with a bribe. Cletus wasn't buying it though. Shooter responded to this by clobbering Cletus with a chair, earning him an immediate disqualification.

This didn't stop Shooter from engaging in a form of post-match celebration, a la Rick Rude, as Cletus was carted away, but his attempt to give the ladies in the audience a show was stopped when a rather portly gentleman called Mr. Juicy made his way to the ring, beginning an impromptu match between the two. This was basically a brief brawl, with Juicy dropping his ring attire and giving Shooter a full stink face in the corner. Shooter got his revenge a few seconds later though when he took Juicy down with a superkick for the winning pin.

The Hardcore Hotel then made it's return, as current owner and crazy b******d Krackerjak took on Mad Dog and crazy b***h Vixsin in a three-way.

Now, when thumb tacks and wire boards are introduced into the equation before the match has even begun you know what sort of match you're going to get, a crazy, all out, balls to the wall kind of encounter, and that's just what we had here.

Technical niceties went out of the window as soon as the bell sounded as these three beat the proverbial out of each other with anything they could get their hands on. They held nothing back as they clobbered each other with chairs, slammed each other through light tubes and onto thumb tacks, and attacked each other with scissors and staplers.

It may not have been my cop of tea, but it was strangely compelling in a car crash sort of way, and as the match went on you just knew that it would take something really bloody crazy to end this thing.

And crazy it was. As Vixsin, with pieces of barbed wire board dangling from her long blonde locks, tried to choke Jak from behind the Dog wrapped them both in barbed wire. He then jumped onto Vixsin's back and wrapped even more wire around all of them. Then all three of them fell backwards, and eventually Jak reached over and covered the Dog for the winning pin, retaining his ownership of the Hardcore Hotel and it's new death match wing.

Normal service resumed with a battle of musical philosophies as emo guy Dowie Jones took on rocker Bobby Heart.

Now this was good. Young Mr. Jones was somewhat reluctant to engage at first, and at one point he even read a "roses are red" type of poem to Heart. When the match eventually began Heart impressed the hell out of me with his high-flying prowess.

Jones looked pretty good when he took control, and things got even better when they turned things up a notch or two, with the emo guy even borrowing a few moves from Bill Goldberg at one point.

Sadly only one man could come out on top in this one, and after Heart regained his senses it wasn't long before he came down off the top rope with a superfly splash to take the winning pin.

The big grudge match followed as Adam Brooks, accompanied by the lovely Kelly Ann, went up against Slex.

Can I use my now this was good line again? Because that's what this match was, and then some.

These two took up where they'd left off before the bell rang as they gave us a good old fashioned slobber knocker with plenty of fast-paced back and forth action and great storytelling throughout.

Slex hasn't lost a step since I last saw him a few years ago. He's still a hell of a wrestler, and his performance here was top notch throughout. Everything he did looked so good, from his moves to his timing to...well...everything. As for Brooks, this is the first time I've seen this young man, and to say I was impressed would be a massive understatement.

Together these two put together some great exchanges from start to finish. It was one of those matches that you just couldn't take your eyes off, and it didn't matter who won and who lost because this match was just pure quality.

Slex came close to getting the win after a sit-down powerbomb, but just when the referee was about to complete his count the lovely Kelly pulled the official out of the ring. A brief argument between them followed until Slex grabbed Kelly by her bright red locks and dragged her into the ring. The young lady was none too pleased with her predicament, and after she slapped Slex a couple of times it looked like he was going to take out his frustrations on her.

It was then that Brooks came to his maiden's rescue and attacked Slex from behind. But just as Slex was about to take his man out with an enziguri Brooks ducked out of the way as Kelly took the full force of the kick. As Slex looked on in shock at what he'd done Brooks came up on him from behind and rolled him up for the three count and win.

The main event featured tag team action as Elliot Sexton and Mike Petersen faced Rocky Menero and Wrestlerock Champion Craig Cole.

I think fun would be the best way to describe this particular encounter. Menero came to the ring rather the worse for wear in a Jake the Snake sort of way, so much so that when the match began he tried to lock up with the referee. Cole then tagged himself into the match and took a bit of punishment for a few moments, but when dance music suddenly played over the speakers Menero suddenly came to life. Cole managed to get back to his corner so Menero could come in and clean house, but a big boot from Sexton stopped him in his tracks.

Menero then took on the role of crash test dummy as the two hated heels beat the hell out of him. Menero, who was definitely the worse for wear by then, eventually managed to get the second hot tag of the match to the Pitbull. The champ looked great as he put his own slant on the house cleaning tactic, and although the bad guys try to double up on him at one point Cole came back and took Petersen down with a spear for the winning pin.

In conclusion - so what's the best way to begin this part of the review? How about this: boy, have I missed these guys.

It's true. I've really missed my regular fix of these crazy Australians, and while I had doubts as to whether they'd be able to entertain me in the way that they did a few years back I have to admit that this mix of Wrestlerock originals and newbies captured the spirit of the company brilliantly, and it was as if they'd never gone away.

As for my prestigious match of the night no-prize there were a couple of candidates, but in the end I decided to go for the big grudge match between Slex and Adam Brooks.

So with all of that out of the way there's just one thing left to do, and that's to give Wrestlerock's glorious return the big thumbs up.

With thanks to the powers that be for supplying a copy of this release. For details on how to buy Wrestlerock DVDs and downloads visit www.wrestlerock.com.au.