Review: Wrestle Rampage – Bad Moon Rising

Wrestle Rampage’s March 2023 was uploaded to YouTube last week, and with a really high profile main event I’m looking forward to watching it!

We get a graphic of the first tag match, which the ring announcer begins to introduce – but we’re introduced by Tommy Knight off the top. He covers off on Corndog’s stipulation tonight that he would only face other Australian champions, cos there are no worthy contenders in Wrestle Rampage. He takes personal offence to this, and says that in their careers Corndog has been better than Knight for 3 seconds, and Ricky South has been better than Knight – “never”. 

He says Corndog is lucky that he’s not cleared to wrestle tonight, but when he’s back it’s his personal ambition to embarrass Corndog and to prove that he was never worthy of Tommy’s Australian National Championship.

Tag Team Match: Joey Graham & Punch-Drunk Istria vs Top Tier (“The End” Solomun Blackwell & Mitch Ryder)

We get a video of Graham and Istria with Graham asking why they’re in a grudge match with Blackwell, because he likes Solomun. Istria explains what happened between them in Queensland with video footage of Istria being sarcastic to Blackwell about his loss, so Ryder attacks him. Istria is left laying saying “you suck Sol!” Graham calls their opponents the hottest young tag team out of Queensland, and Istria says “payback’s a bitch.” This was a fun little video.

I haven’t seen a heap of Ryder, but Blackwell is… well, he’s top tier. I expect he’s going to become a real big deal across the Australian scene in the next year or two (more than he is already.)

Istria and Blackwell start off with some back and forth mat wrestling. We know that Istria is awesome at this, and Solomun more than holds his own in the opening exchanges.

Solomun establishes Top Tier as the bad guys as he powders to the outside, re-enters, and arrogantly sits in the corner demanding that Istria do something. Solomun tries a cheap shot but Istria gets the best of him and tags in Graham. Solomun manages to get back to his corner and now it’s Graham vs Ryder.

Following a sweet Northern Lights suplex from Ryder these two have a short mat exchange of their own, and Ryder goes to roll up Graham, unaware that Istria has blind-tagged himself in.

Ryder and Blackwell bail to the outside. Graham fakes a dive, before Istria hits a tope suicida, then Graham follows up with a moonsault from the middle rope to his opponents on the outside.

Istria throws Ryder into the ring and starts twisting him like a pretzel and slapping him on the backside. Solomun takes offence and breaks it up and his interference allows them to take control, and for Ryder to tag in Blackwell. Istria gets the better of their exchange though and gets a nearfall with a sunset flip, before Blackwell hits a back suplex and tags Ryder in.

Ryder looks great in this exchange with Istria, before he tags back out, but Istria finds a brak to tag Graham in, who brings slams to both opponents and lionsault to Blackwell for two. Graham attempts a cutter, which Blackwell blocks. He hits a double stomp to Graham, cheap shots Istria in the corner, and backs up Graham into his own corner. As Istria tries to help out his mate, Ryder hits an awesome springboard German suplex leaping outside-in, then hops up to the middle rope for a superplex to Graham. Blackwell heads up top for a diving elbow, and a looong two is broken up by Istria. (This would’ve been an awesome finish.)

Ryder throws Istria to the outside, but Graham defends the double team attempt, and we get an oddly contrive spot where Ryder powerbombs Blackwell for a nearfall. Graham tags Istria in, he hits Blackwell with a boot to the face, he follows up with slaps and a backfist, then tags Graham back in. Graham hits a big enzuigiri, cuts off Ryder, and Istria and Ryder hit a tag team assisted cutter to Blackwell for the win.

This match was bloody excellent. A phenomenal opener, and great showcase for Ryder and Blackwell, who arguably could’ve used a cheap win here.

Winners: Punch-drunk Istria & Joey Graham

Istria takes the mic and says his opponents aren’t bad guys, and talks about Ryder running a not-for-profit called Wrestling For Rescue. He invites his opponents into the ring and promotes the “Every Dog Deserves a Home” tshirt that Wrestle Rampage are selling to raise funds. A tremendous cause, and something I think wrestling companies could do more of.

Wam Bam Bellows w/ Vicki Void vs Leah Lovegrove

Bellows is out in the tin foil hat and camo poncho. Lovegrove is selling an injury, and says that in the last 24 hours she’s sustained an injury and is not cleared to compete. Bellows demands that his hand be raised. Lovegrove says she’s not scared of Bellows, and she’s certainly not scared of Vicki Void. For tonight, she’s found a replacement who doesn’t know the emotions here – too naive, too oblivious. But he’s here to PARTAY!

Wam Bam Bellows w/ Vicki Void vs Party Guy Ty w/ Leah Lovegrove

Commentary sells how surprised they are by the Party Guy’s appearance as he dances his way to the ring. 

Bellows attempts a couple of locks up, which Ty ducks before dancing – amazing!

He eventually gets Bellows in a side headlock and momentarily dons the tinfoil hat. Bellows runs the ropes in slow motion as Ty does some grinding, allowing Bellows to hit a couple of throws, before stepping on him a few times. Ty flips it around with a weak atomic drop and a double nipple cripple, before a crossbody attempt from the top rope misses. Bellows with a couple of clubbing blows to Ty’s back, followed by a body slam and a world’s strongest splash for two.

Ty manages to hit Bellows with a kick, he climbs to the top rope where he has to fight off Vicki Void, then hits a missile dropkick to Bellows for a long two. He follows it up with an elbow drop which misses. Vicki Void enters the ring, hits a side Russian leg sweep as the ref is distracted, then Bellows his a spinning chokeslam for the win.

It happened. I think party guy Ty is fun, and I think Vicki is the member of that alliance that has potential. I think Bellows could work on hiding his negatives and accentuating his positives.

Winner: Wam Bam Bellows

Three-way match: “The Eternal” Edward Dusk vs “Wreckin’ Ball” Will Gibson vs PAT

I wasn’t quite sure whether Pat Graham would be working heel or face here – but him getting in the face of a kid during his entrance made it clear. Awesome! Commentary also put over his rejection of the “Graham” name, so he’s now just going by PAT. We also know that Gibson and PAT are brothers, which is confusing given the last name thing.

They do the three-way thing where they get rid of Dusk and PAT & Gibson face off. Dusk then drags PAT from the ring, and it’s Gibson vs Dusk. Gibson ends up throwing Dusk to the outside on top of PAT but Gibson is cut off, so now it’s Dusk vs PAT in the ring, highlighted by a real crisp release overhead suplex by PAT.

Dusk interrupts the assault by biting PAT, and Gibson is now in the ring attacking both men. Graham hits a sidewalk slam and a Falcon Arrow for nearfalls to both opponents, but Dusk recovers to deliver a spinning neckbreaker to Gibson for a nearfall of his own.

Dusk goes for The Wicked End but PAT recovers to interrupt it. Gibson attempts a burning hammer, but Dusk interrupts it. PAT takes Gibson down with lariat, but Dusk – unable to reach his opponents – instead grabs the ref to stop him counting. PAT follows up with a lariat to Dusk, but it knocks him out of the ring. PAT goes for another lariat to Gibson in the corner, but Gibson ducks it and hoists PAT for a burning hammer.

This match was ok. I think Dusk is a star, so I always went to see more of him. I also don’t love these multi-man matches where it’s mainly throwing one guy out of the ring so the other two can fight, then rotating. I think there are more creative ways to do a triple-threat match than that.

Winner: “Wreckin’ Ball” Will Gibson

As Gibson leaves Tommy Knight, who has been on commentary, gets in Gibson’s face on the stage.

PAT and Dusk converse in the ring, with Dusk offering Pat his hand. Pat is conflicted, and instead rolls out of the ring, screaming his way to the back. Dusk remains in the ring, grinning and nodding his head.

Gorgeous Greg vs Sir Corey Adams

We get a video of Adams saying that when his career started, times were tough. You couldn’t be beautiful and gorgeous, but there was one man who would understand – Gorgeous Greg would become his mentor, but look what he’s become. “He’s not being very gorgeous” and someone needs to put him in his place.

As the video pans out we see Greg reacting to the video – he simply says “well we’ll see about that” to end the video.

Greg is out to Tina Turner’s “Simply the Best”. Rest in Paradise legend!

Both competitors start bickering about who is more beautiful. Our ring announcer says the only way to decide is a walk-off. The ring announcer calls for some inspiring music, and it’s Right Said Fred’s embarrassment to the 90’s “I’m Too Sexy”.

Adams does a half-arsed walk before being booed heavily. Greg isn’t sure about walking, but he’s promised better, “more gorgeous” music – and it’s The Divinyls “I Touch Myself.” Another legend that I hope is resting well!

The crowd cheers, and Greg accuses the camera man of thinking this is easy – so he takes the camera and the cameraman walks.

All of this was a bit dumb, but not long enough or bad enough to be offensive.

Gorgeous Greg gets a huge applause. He asks for an applause for the camera man, the crowd pops again. The ring announcer says it’s a tie between Gorgeous Greg and the cameraman.

As Greg celebrates with confetti raining down, Adams attacks him from behind. It’s short lived though as Greg delivers some running forearms in the corner. He goes up to the top rope for a moonsault but is cut off and he tumbles to the mat.

Adams delivers chops and kicks in the corner, followed by a European uppercut and a neck crank. Greg momentarily fights him off, only to be met with an exploder suplex from Adams. Adams tries a double arm sledge off the top rope, but Greg catches him for an exploder of his own. Greg hits the spinning neckbreaker for two, and he’s trying hard to revive a really quiet crowd.

Greg Hoists Adams onto the top turnbuckle, but Adams slaps and kicks him off before hitting a tornado DDT for a two-count.

Adams takes off the golden glove and he’s looking for his “A touch of class” finisher – Greg ducks it, attempts a piledriver, is blocked, then dueling roaring elbows lead to Greg successfully hitting the piledriver for three.

This was a bit strange. I think Gorgeous Greg is typically pretty over, and certainly he was over during the walk-off. Then the match started, and I’m not sure what happened – I’m not sure whether this crowd only viewed Greg as a gimmick, or whether they weren’t into Adams.

Winner: Gorgeous Greg

Australian National Championship Match: Corndog (c) vs “The Example” Ricky South

As we know from Tommy Knight’s earlier promo, Corndog threw out a challenge to existing Australian champions, which was answered by PWA’s longtime champion Tuff Stuff Ricky South.

We start out slow with lock ups and technical wrestling, with South winning the wrestling exchanges and Corndog winning the power exchanges. Corndog then wins the chop exchanges, sending South to the outside.

Corndog chases South to the outside, delivering more chops and forearms. The commentary then puts over that Corndog is winning the slugfest, and South is looking for “a wrestling match”.

Back inside the ring, they trade atomic drops before Corndog delivers a running bulldog for two. He heads up top, but South cuts him off and delivers a double underhook suplex from the top rope for two. South takes Corndog down with a snapmare followed by a neck stomp and a cannon ball before Corndog fights his way out of a standing surfboard.

We back to a slugfest, but this time Ricky gets the best of it with an atomic drop and big boot. Corndog replies with a big boot of his own from the ring apron, leading to another slugfest on the apron. Corndog then hits a running cannonball from the apron to Ricky on the floor.

The referee’s count gets to 8 as Ricky returns to take more strikes from Corndog. He replies with a lariat and strikes to the back of the neck, but Corndog blocks the piledriver with a lariat of his own. 

Corndog’s chokeslam attempt is blocked, and he’s dropped with a clothesline and a powerslam for a long two. Shortly after, Corndog kind of gets a flashpoint with a rollup.

Strange finish, but likely one that’s just designed to protect other promotions’ champions. This was a bloody excellent match. I’ve only been watching Wrestle Rampage a couple of years, but this might be the best Corndog match I’ve seen, I really enjoyed it.

Winner and STILL Australian National Champion: Corndog

Ricky attacks Corndog after the match – Gorgeous Greg interrupts for the save.

Corndog says that Greg’s performance earlier was worthy of a champion. Greg’s not sure, so Corndog shows a video promotion the match – Corndog vs Gorgeous Greg at the next event. Corndog asks what he thinks.

Greg asks when he had time to make that. Greg says he’s a fat old shell of a man, and says let him go home, put on his towel, sip on his wine, and think about it. The crowd pops, so Greg announces “you’ve got yourself a match champ.”

Australian National Tag Team Championship Match: “The Master of Mayhem” Havok & “Demigod” Link Barnett (c) vs “The Empress of Darkness” Amber & “The Darkest Soul” Robby Heart

We get an intro video of how Amber managed to coax Heart into their alliance. She tells him that he sold his soul as we see him in the new facepaint, and says that Havok and Link will burn. “The Empress will be champion.”

Amber and Heart are out to a creepy version of itsy-bitsy spider, so that happened. The Adventures of Havok and Link have been champs for 364 days, one day short of a year.

Amber immediately tags out to Heart, and it’s a quick start between him and Havok. Heart hits a springboard shoulder block to Havok for an early two then tags out to Amber who delivers a running boot for a nearfall of her own. She does the Bray Wyatt spider pose, so Havok freaks out and tags in Link – who tries to do the same. Link is also freaked out, but Havok won’t tag in.

As Link creeps in to pat Amber on the head, she bites him, then takes him down with a head scissors. Amber maintains control before tagging in Heart, who immediately cedes control to Link. He tags in Havok, and the champs take control of the match.

Momentum switches when Link gets too close to Amber’s corner and she screams at him, distracting him long enough for Heart to deliver the Final Cut. Amber is tagged in and hits a chop block to Link’s knee, followed by a DDT for two. Heart then does the wheelbarrow allowing Amber to hit an assisted codebreaker for two, and as Link recovers a double clothesline ends up with both men on for a double count.

Heart makes it to the corner, and Amber mounts Link’s back and locks in a choke. She’s almost able to choke him out, but Barnett hits a desperation neckbreaker and both wrestlers are down for an 8-count before reaching their respective corners.

Heart tries to hit Havok with a double stomp but misses, and a Michinoku Driver from Havok is only enough for two. He calls in Link for the assisted headbutt, but Heart moves and takes out the ref. Amber re-enters the ring and tries to mount Havok to lock in a choke, but Barnett hits the backstabber to Amber while she’s on Havok – a really cool looking move!

Heart hits a Michinoku Driver of his own to Barnett, before Havok hits him with a Blue Thunder Bomb – but the ref is still down. As Havok tries to revive the ref, Heart spits black mist into his face – and here is Istria and Joey Graham to attack Heart.

Graham inadvertently hits Link, so Havok takes him out, Heart hits Havok with another Mochinoku Driver, Amber spits mist in Link’s face, Heart hits a top rope splash to Havok – then Amber squeals at the ref to wake him up in time to count the three.

I really enjoyed this match, but it was very much a storyline match – especially the finish of it. I generally prefer to see matches like that a little bit further down the card, and in this case I’m not sure why it went on last with Corndog vs Ricky in the semi-main.

Really fun tag team match though, and I think Amber and Heart are going to be a really fun team to watch as champions.

Winners and NEEEW Australian National Champions: “The Empress of Darkness” Amber & “The Darkest Soul” Robby Heart

Final thoughts: Once again, Wrestle Rampage give us another cracker of a show that requires less than 2 hours’ investment. I love that.

This match had some outstanding quality on it as well, I thought the opener, the title match, and the main event were all really good.

Wrestle Rampage continues to build a roster of really strong characters – as a result, I think they’re right on the cusp of being able to use those characters to tell really great, compelling stories. Now would be a pretty good jumping on point if you’re interested in Wrestle Rampage!

How to watch: Wrestle Rampage air their shows for free on YouTube anywhere from 4-6 weeks after the show. Visually they’re really well produced, the commentary generally does a great job of telling the stories, and while the audio isn’t perfect, it’s good enough that you can hear everything.

If you’re in Adelaide, or if you’re visiting any time soon, I think Wrestle Rampage would be a super fun show to attend. Follow them on twitter at @WRAustralia to learn about upcoming shows.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *