Review: RCW Big Top Beatdown

RCW Big Top Beatdown

Last Saturday, 25 February, Adelaide’s Riot City Wrestling hosted its Big Top Beatdown show as part of its annual contribution to the Adelaide Fringe Festival – which incidentally, is one of the coolest partnerships in Australian wrestling. The show was uploaded to YouTube less than a week later, ahead of another Adelaide Fringe show on Saturday 4 March.

We don’t get much of an intro to the show – instead we just get a list of matches and competitors.

Our commentators Paul Roberts, Angus R Dacey and Brodie Marshall introduce us to the show with the “King of the Fringe” gauntlet match.

King of the Fringe Gauntlet match

We’re told it’s a gauntlet match that will be one-on-one, with a new entrant following an elimination.

1 – Kai Thorne

2 – Izzy Shaw

Thorne and Shaw start the match hot with Shaw throwing two exploder suplexes followed by a meteora. Thorne soon reverses the offence with a big boot and near fall. Shaw then rolls Thorne up for a nearfall before Thorne pins Izzy with his feet on the rope.

3 – Violet Blitz

Blitz comes in dominating Thorne with stomps an elbows in the corner followed by a bulldog. Her famouser attempt is turned into a powerbomb and Thorne attempts to pin Blitz with his feet on the rope, but is caught by the ref this time. After some jawjacking with the ref he hits a spinning neckbreaker and Thorne pins Blitz.

4 – Party Guy Ty

Last year’s King of the Fringe winner comes in still wearing the sunnies and immediately pins Thorne.

5 – Grimm

Matt “Grimm” Basso enters and Ty tries to involve him in a party. Grimm is having none of it, wears a chop, delivers a brutal chop, a snake-eyes in the corner, and punches in the corner before Ty swings the momentum. Ty rolls Grimm up for a nearfall before heading for the top rope where he misses an elbow drop. Grimm murders Ty with a chokeslam and pins him.

6 – Emerald Champion Redshaw

Redshaw won the Emerald title last month, beating his former tag partner Jett Armstrong. The commentators also put over history between Grimm and Redshaw at the Fringe. Lots of reversals and attempted hoss moves here. Redshaw gets a nearfall with a belly-to-belly suplex, before his slowness to take advantage resulted in Grimm delivering a chokeslam for a nearfall of his own. After some more back and forth, Redshaw ultimately delivers a powerslam for the pin and win.

King of the Fringe Winner: Redshaw

Following the match the commentators put over Jett Armstrong’s rematch against Redshaw at Superclash V, RCW’s second Fringe show this year.

Women’s championship match: Savannah Summers (c) vs Amber

Ahead of the second match, commentators tell us that champ Savannah Summers is not cleared to compete. She comes out with her belt in street clothes. Summers apologises for being unable to compete and announces a non-title singles match

Leah Lovegrove vs Amber

We’re told that this is just the third match of Lovegrove’s career and that she is representing Wrestle Rampage. Amber is representing the Purgatory faction.

I’m a big fan of Amber, her gimmick is really strong, but it doesn’t overshadow her at all – she works really hard to ensure that her gimmick is working for her, and she’s good in the ring.

Plenty of brawling outside the ring to start this, and we’re shown Savannah Summers watching the match.

Lovegrove gets a nearfall following a drop kick off the top, before she attempts a series of running forearms which Amber no-sells before delivering a big boot. A slightly botched sliced bread #2 into the Final Cut for a quick win by Amber.

Winner: Amber

Savannah Summers re-enters the ring, claims she does want the match against Amber, after all and hits her with the belt behind the referee’s back.

The ref rings the bell, and its

RCW Women’s Championship match: Savannah Summers (c) vs Amber

Amber immediately rolls up Summers for the 3-count to end Summers’ two-year reign as women’s champion!

Winner and NEW RCW Women’s Champion: Amber

Our next match is straight into the RCW title match.

Riot City Wrestling Championship match: Cadie Tre (c) vs Banjo Powers (w/ Party Guy Ty)

Cadie Tre won the belt two months ago via shenanigans, ending Matt Hayter’s 9-month reign. He also cheated to beat Banjo’s tag partner Party Guy Ty at the previous event.

We get the special title match ring announcing and the crowd is hot for Banjo, before we’re introduced to the “RCW Championship Dog Show” in honour of Tre.

We get some fun, quick back and forth action to begin with, including a series of reversals and a real nice arm drag from Powers leaping from the middle rope. Cadie bails to the outside and we get a random “Cadie’s a boy scout” chant.”

Powers goes for the tope suicida and is cut off buy a Cadie Tre right hand. He steals a sign from the crowd – that’s where the “Cadie’s a boy scout” chant came from – but he’s unable to tear it. So instead he does a hilarious elbow drop on the sign before frisbeeing it back into the crowd.

We re-enter the ring with Cadie in control, delivering kicks and facewash boots in the corner. Tre removes one of the top turnbuckle pads while the ref is distracted, but Powers reverses before it can be used.

Cadie goes on to utilise some heel 101, goading Party Guy Ty into the ring and distracting the ref, before Tre exits the ring to deliver a blow taking out Ty. He returns to the ring, but he has taken too long and Powers takes control.

After some more back and forth Tre gets a nearfall using the ropes but Ty interrupts that. Powers gets a nearfall of his own before Tre delivers a backbreaker. Another reversal with Powers hitting the lung blower before missing a kick in the corner. Tre hoists Powers into a fireman’s carry from the middle rope and hits a Finlay roll/rolling senton that almost went horribly. It’s a nearfall, and with Tre almost running into the unprotected turnbuckle and Banjo hits a sweet poison rana and sunset flip powerbomb into the corner.

Sadly, it ends quickly as Powers chargers at Tre, Tre elevates Powers and drops him into the unprotected turnbuckle, which is enough to get a dirty 3-count.

Winner and STILL RCW Champion: Cadie Tre

This was a really good, fun match. Cadie Tre doesn’t quite have a million dollar look, but he’s big, he looks like a bad arse, and his work is extremely convincing.

As Cadie Tre celebrates, Tyler Daniels returns for the first time in 12 months to challenge Tre. Commentary puts over Daniels as a 20-year+ legend of South Australian wrestling who hurt himself at last year’s Fringe and hasn’t been seen since.

He enters the ring where Tre attempts to hit him with the belt. Daniels ducks and Tre bails.

We’re immediately informed that Daniels will challenge Tre for the belt at the Superclash show.

RCW Tag Team Championship match: Brady Ltd (c) vs Purgatory

Purgatory are challenging for the belts after successfully ending the “Gods and Monsters” faction when Einer the Strange beat Grimm at January’s RCW ReAnimated show.

Purgatory are represented by Einar the Strange and Barren. They are former tag team champions, losing the belts to Brady Ltd last year. They are also trying to back up Amber, who has already won the Women’s title tonight.

Champs Brady Ltd are represented by Dean Brady and Delta, who is probably the hottest female talent in the country at the moment.

Barren, who is enormous, starts by booting Delta in the face. Purgatory then throw Dean to the outside before Delta throws both Purgatory members to the outside and hits an awesome tope suicida.

We’re back in the ring and the match starts with Delta playing the smaller, more athletic wrestler in the ring – a role I’ve never seen her play in Melbourne or in Adelaide.

Brady Ltd dominate early before Dean finds himself isolated in the Purgatory corner and being abused by Barren and Einar. Tag team wrestling 101 as they keep Dean in their corner and utilise quick tags. Following an extended heat spot on Dean we get the spot where Dean finally makes a tag, but the ref doesn’t see it and Dean remains isolated in the ring.

Following some more punishment he eventually does make the tag to Delta, who is able to evade a chokeslam from Barren and a fireman’s carry from Einar, whom she rebuffs with a German suplex. Delta climbs to the top before Barren cuts her off. A failed superplex results in Delta hoisting the massive Barren up for a powerbomb – incredible, Delta is amazing!

She goes for a spear, but Barren catches her and drops her with the highest Razor’s Edge I’ve ever seen! She kicks out, tags in Dean, but Dean accidentally hits Delta as they go for their tag team finisher.

Einar takes too long jumping off the ropes and he and Dean wipe each other out.

Dean goes to tag Delta… and she withdraws her hand. She tells Dean that’s twice he’s kicked her now and pie-faces him. The siblings get into a push and shove before a hitting double big boot to Einar. Dean goes for the pin, but he’s not legal. Dean bails to the outside to recover and Delta is attacked from behind. Purgatory hit a double-team flatliner to Delta, and we have new champs.

Winners and NEW RCW Tag Team Champions: Purgatory (Barren & Einar the Strange)

We’re only an hour into this show – it’s flying by, and it’s great fun at this stage. The tag title match was short, but it was such good, fun tag team wrestling that made use of the obvious strengths of all four competitors. Go and watch this match!

Carnival of Horrors Match: Havok vs Zac Sabbath

We’re told there are no rules, no disqualifications, and its pinfalls only. We’re “READY TO RIOOOOOT” and our competitors enter the arena brawling.

They fight around the ring beating each other up as our commentators do a great job explaining the history of this feud. Sabbath enters the ring just long enough to hit a great tope con hiro over the top rope onto Havok before rolling him into the ring and bringing out the toys (including a bowling ball.)

We’re back in the ring swinging weapons at each other, and Sabbath eats a trash can lid, followed by a trash can lid-assisted leg drop for a two-count. Havok lodges a chair in the corner and we go back to beating each other up before Havok misses a spear and headbutts the chair.

As the match continues Havok eats the rest of the trash can before Sabbath places it between Havok’s legs and delivers a strike with the bowling ball. Havok eventually reverses momentum putting Sabbath through a door that’s set up in the corner, but he kicks out at 2.

Havok brings in a table, giving Sabbath time to re-take control, cutting Havok off on the top turnbuckle. Sabbath puts the trash can over his head, lowers him into the tree of woe, adds a chair, and his a huge delayed dropkick. Once again, no pinfall, so Sabbath goes for the bag of thumbtacks. It’s worth noting at this stage that the crowd is super hot for this match.

Havok blocks a pile driver into the thumbtacks, so Sabbath goes up top where Havok tries to cut him off but is blocked. He runs into the ropes causing Sabbath to stumble and joins him on the top rope, where Havok hits a HUGE superplex into the thumbtacks, and it looks genuinely gross with thumbtacks sticking to every part of their body.

Sabbath denies us the merciful pinfall, and Havok can’t believe it. Both pin cushions rise to their feat and trade shots. Sabbath falls to one knee… where Havok stomps on his hand. Forcing them into the thumbtacks. Sabbath is having none of it, sprays the black mist into Havok’s face, and hits a Death Valley driver through the table. It’s 1-2-3, and we’re done.

Winner: Zac Sabbath

Overall thoughts: I loved this show. I doubt I’ll be considering it among the shows of the year by the end of 2023, but it’s everything I want in local wrestling. It was under 2 hours. There were only 5 matches, so the card wasn’t crowded. All 5 matches were really different to each other. And the last three matches were really good. I’m not big on star ratings, but we’re talking 3 matches of at least 3.5 stars in a 90 minute show. To me, that’s outstanding.

RCW also have great production, and I think their commentators usually add a lot to their shows. Local wrestling commentary can sometimes be a little hit and miss, but if I have commentators telling me the backstory of the feuds, that goes a long way to being successful commentary.

For a free YouTube show, this was a really enjoyable way to spend an evening. I thoroughly recommend it, and if you’re not familiar with RCW this is a good, short show to introduce yourself to RCW’s characters without having to invest too much time.

Where to watch it: FREE on RCW’s YouTube page –

Zabbath v Havok

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