Adelaide Arena 2015
November 28, 2015
Titanium Security Arena
South Australia, Australia
Back in 2015, it was very hard to find reliable information and opinions on the Australian scene. There was difficulty in finding what wrestlers or promotions were worth keeping an eye on. However, Wrestle Rampage appeared to be quite an intriguing group. As a company that was formerly known as NWA Australia and ZERO-1 Australia, they seemed to have international connections and that caught my eye.
Held at the Titanium Security Arena (also known as Adelaide Arena) which is a basketball stadium for the Adelaide 36ers team and has a maximum capacity of 8,000 (Rampage didn’t get close to that, but they apparently got over 1,000 attendees), this was the biggest show that Rampage has ever done. The only other time that it was used for wrestling is when New Japan did their Adelaide event during their national tour of the country in 2018. I was thinking of attending this Rampage show back in 2015, but I got stressed about upcoming exams and it slipped my mind. I regretted that and it became a ‘holy grail’ show of mine as there appeared to be no footage of the event besides highlights. That was until now.
Big thumbs up to MCW owner Mikey Jay, who has taken a break from promoting shows because of the coronavirus. He has been busy restoring and uploading old Wrestle Rampage shows for the promotion’s new VOD (as well as old Melbourne scene shows for the MCW Encore service). Cheers mate.
Robbie Eagles def. Nick Armstrong, Rufio & Link Barnett
Smart choice for an opener as this was billed as a ‘four-way aerial assault’ match to start things off with a bang. All four of these guys worked really hard to get the crowd fired up with fast-paced action. Robbie Eagles was great as he usually is. Armstrong and Barnett got some really nice spots in. Particularly Armstrong who absolutely spiked Eagles with a cutter. If there was a complaint, Rufio (who was probably the youngest and least experienced) looked a step off compared to his three competitors but even he had a couple of good moments. A 450 splash from Eagles was the finish and it was a fun ‘indietastic’ match that did not overstay its welcome or overindulge. ***1/2
Mr. Juicy def. Mikey Broderick
Mr. Juicy is current NJPW commentator Gino Gambino and this was definitely a much different variation of him compared to now. Broderick is a fitness jock and Juicy is a heavy man who enjoys his fast food (particularly donuts). You can see where this headed. Juicy had a box of Krispy Kreme donuts that he offered to Broderick but that ended with Mikey stomping the box which got heat from the crowd. The match featured a lot of comedy with the two men’s opposing personalities and playing off that juxtaposition. There is a lot of Gino’s ass in this match as he wanted to give Mikey a stinkface and would succeed in that goal. A stunner got Gino the three count. I have a golden rule that it is best to not give some comedy matches a rating and I stand by that. NR
The Australian All-Stars (Greg Graham, Willy Gibson, Dean Valente & Sean Kustom) def. Team Istria (AJ Istria, Mike Boomer, Green SMASH & Pat Graham)
Australian All-Stars is quite a stretch for a bunch of midcard level guys. I don’t know in what universe guys like ‘Gorgeous’ Greg, Willy Gibson or Dean Valente are considered ‘all-stars’ but ok. AJ Istria leads his team against the heels. Mark Aiston was bizarrely the manager of the babyface team, despite obnoxiously yelling at the teams and referee. For those who don’t know who he is, Aiston was a local sports talking-head who was disliked by Port Adelaide Football Club supporters (like myself) for his bad temperament towards the club (which manifested in subtle jabs and arrogant commentary). I guess that I might be my own bias coloring my heel perception of him.
Overall, this was fine for its place on the card. Patchy in some parts with the greener workers like Green SMASH (who had a rip-off Power Ranger gimmick) and Dean Valente. Istria was the MVP and came across as the smoothest worker of the bunch. Very much an underrated wrestler during this period and was rising up the ranks. Boomer looked sharp in his brief moments. Pat Graham and Sean Kustom did the big top rope suplex into everyone on the outside spot which was the highlight of the match as it looked very rough and devastating. The very cartoony/gimmicky heels Graham & Gibson used their villainous antics to win as Greg hit Istria with the brass knuckles for Willy to get the pin. ***
Havok def. Robby Heart
Havok is one of those unsung veterans of the Australian scene who has been around forever (As of 2020, he has a 20+ year career). Heart is a solid worker who would do some Michinoku Pro tours in the future. This tables match did plod along and lacked heat between the two at times. I wish that there was a bit more excitement and action to make the match feel more chaotic and intense to justify the gimmick match.
However, I do dig that Havok is this tough and imitating slug of a man who can ground things to halt. Also, Robby had some pretty quick and clean offense in the match that impressed me. Punk babyface Robby Heart is far more engaging that his recent heel stuff with the goth gimmick. He just seems more comfortable and natural as a babyface. Ultimately, Havok would low blow Heart and then powerbomb him through a table. ***
Elliot Sexton def. Rocky Menero
Sexton is now WWE wrestler/jobber Brandon Vink. The rest of the VOW Oceanic writers and I rate him highly. He is the complete package: Big, good-looking, excellent physique, charismatic and can go in the ring. Someone that WWE could do more with. It’s very much worth checking out his web series SMUG, where he gets to show off the personality that WWE hasn’t given him an opportunity to display yet.
‘A-Town’s Finest’ Rocky Menero has been around the South Australian scene for many years. He is not necessarily the flashiest or most spectacular wrestler, but he is excellent at character work and doing the little things to get a crowd riled up. His smarmy body language, jaw jacking and taunts were on point here. Perfect opponent for Sexton to overcome in a nice, short contest with simple psychology. That is what happened here. It’s a well-executed three-star match. ***
The Brotherhood (Damian Slater and Chris Vice) def. The Mighty Don’t Kneel (Mikey Nicholls and Marcius Pitt)
The TMDK/Brotherhood stable warfare was the hot feud in Wrestle Rampage from 2015 to 2016. Basically, TMDK was the biggest and baddest group in Australia and the newly formed Brotherhood wanted to take them down. The rivalry was just warming up in this tag battle. It was Mikey’s first time in Rampage and he was still working for NOAH at that juncture. The rest were regulars in the promotion.
The Brotherhood’s manager Benjamin Rosenthal was quickly sent to the back after attempting a trip on Pitt. The heels would ground babyface Pitt and that garnered ‘Sisterhood’ chants. Chris Vice is absolutely sensational in this. It felt like Slater took a backseat because Vicey stole the show as he was in beast mode and looked ferocious. I was in awe with how he did a Samoan drop on Pitt and exploder suplex on Nicholls at the same time. A very strong lad. Mad Mikey would have a nice hot tag to change the tide.
There was a nice Tower of Doom spot where Nicholls powerbombed Pitt who suplexed Slater. Then Nicholls shrugged and put legal man Pitt over Slater. Eventually, Brotherhood would get the advantage on Pitt and Vice would nail a sitout tombstone piledriver to get the victory over their rivals. The Brotherhood continued their momentum as a legit threat to TMDK. Came out looking very strong in how they picked apart TMDK and were the more well-oiled unit in this case. Interesting how Nicholls felt very protected in the match and Pitt took most of the beating. Not a complaint at all as Mikey is the TMDK co-founder and the most successful member of the gang (well, him and Shane Haste). Overall, four great workers having a great tag match with a standout Chris Vice showing to boot. ***3/4
Mikey went to get in the face of the two winners but got beaten up with a superkick and powerbomb.
We’re then treated to an engaging pair of black and white promos of Jonah Rock and ‘Jag’ Hartley Jackson talking about their student/teacher dynamic (Rock being the student and Jackson being the teacher), their friendship and the importance of the main event in showing the best of the Australian scene. Simple but effective.
Australian National Championship
Jonah Rock (c) def. Hartley Jackson
It had a big fight feel with the crowd showing support for the two TMDK men. Also had a few smart asses in the crowd. Someone yelled ‘looking a bit doughy Jag, too many carbs’ which got a giggle from me. Both guys go straight into ramming each and throwing beefy strikes.
This match was a stiff back and forth. A grueling and physical contest. Everything felt tight, even with the simplest of moves. Like Jonah countering a spear by raising his knee and it just looked mean. Hartley Jackson wrestled with an extra level of motivation and urgency. You really felt that this was the biggest match in his career and he was pulling out all the stops. Jonah also matched his intensity and brought out his big guns like the moonsault and the turnbuckle brainbuster. Ultimately, Jonah would prove too much and just overwhelmed Hartley by the end. The third brainbuster by Jonah was enough to retain.
Excellent championship match that felt special to the crowd and the performers in the ring. Not necessarily the most outstanding match that you will see or something that you might call a MOTYC, but still top-notch pro wrestling that delivered as an important main event. ****1/4
All the TMDK members came to the ring to celebrate with Jonah and Hartley would cut a retirement promo. That was until Slater, Vice and Havok of The Brotherhood came out. Damian called Jackson ‘a bitch’ and made the challenge to TMDK. Hartley renounced his retirement to take care of those three with Pitt and Rock on the next show in a steel cage (which ended up being pretty awesome as someone who has seen the match).
This show holds up as a special event and lived up to the hype. I’m quite surprised by how easy this was to watch as it is just a little over two hours and that is what I liked about it. Refreshing to watch a big supershow without it feeling like overload. It’s such a shame that it took so long for this to be released. Probably Wrestle Rampage’s best show that they have ever done.