REVIEW: Rock N Wrestle The Great Highland Bash 30/06/17

The Ironworks, Inverness

Rock N Wrestle in The Ironworks once again for another night of wrestling action. The second Great Highland Bash promised a new champion with the Rock N Wrestle Tag Team Champions being decided.

There were some rumors coming into this event following the last minute rescheduling of Christopher Daniels. I know of some folk that decided not to go to the event as they were only going for Daniels. However, unless the balcony was deserted, the front row and general admission were packed.

If I had got my ticket specifically to see Christopher Daniels I would’ve been annoyed. However, I got my ticket to see Jack Jester against Wolfgang. Seeing as this may be one of Wolfgang’s last appearances. I also wanted to see Just Uz versus The Purge.

So I get the gripes folk had, it was sort of addressed during the show and those concerns are coming into play but trying to strike a balance so it doesn’t insult the audience. We’ll get to that later on.

What struck me straight away when seeing the set up was the camera’s, several handheld cameras and a photographer. Rock N Wrestle certainly stepped up the production levels. Toby Michaels being the new ring announcer was a stroke of genius, someone who is performer and with experience in getting crowds hyped. Plus kids go crazy for him and they are generally the most vocal and fearless of the audience.

What was also a great move was having an experienced referee in Thomas Kearins. In February it was a PBW trainee who had that deer in the headlights look for the whole event and an untucked shirt. With The Vigilante Ref himself, the matches just felt to be in more control, well until the main event…

The show started with Saqib Ali and Donnie T, Pure Gangster, against The Upstarts. Now, I’d seen Smith and Jakks last time and was less than stellar in my opinion on them. These two have certainly come on leaps and bounds since February. They’re still young and far from polished but they made more of an effort to connect with the audience and they looked better in the ring. Baffling to think that these two are 16/17, they will certainly have some big futures at their current rate of improvement. The match wasn’t perfect with some miscommunication and slips but an impressive match considering all that.

Before the second match, Rock N Wrestle COO Steve Robertson entered to address some of the rumors swirling around about Rock N Wrestle and Christopher Daniels. He was interrupted by Kid Fite, who entered with Krieger and Lou King Sharp. Fite addressed those rumors also by pointing out that Rock N Wrestle consistently had no shows, match changes and not giving the fans what they were promised. You’d think Fite would get cheered for this, but he is some fantastic at being a total villain that he could read a thank you card and sound like a total b*stard. He offered Steve an opportunity to join The Fite Network and they would all run Rock N Wrestle and split the profits. Steve hesitated but declined the offer, Sharp got made and Steve squared up to him to only get a beat down by the three. Logan Smith and Owen Jakks came out to help Steve but they got attacked for their troubles. To add insult to injury, Sharp gave Steve a stink face. He must’ve picked up some tips a couple weeks back.

Really enjoyed this segment, to throw out some of that good ol’ wrasslin talk, a great ‘worked shoot’…well I feel dirty using that phrase…lets move on.

Second match of the night, Davey Blaze, without Charles Boddington, against Ravie Davie who was still popular in The Ironworks. Nice match, a little bit of wrestling and some fine chain sequences. Ravie Davie’s tie-dyed gear was…an eyeful. Not a lot to this, Davey Blaze hit a Sparrowhawk spear and that was it for the three count.

The first half main event was the super heavyweight clash, TJ Rage against the former NXT star Bull James. Match started with some headlocks traded, good wrestling. It built up to a some splashes and was really starting to get going, TJ Rage hit a corkscrew elbow from the second rope and that was three…

Match ended before it started. Especially with no build to the finish. It just happened out of nowhere. Unless I missed something, or if there was an injury that cut it short…this wasn’t great. Bull did have blood on his lip afterwards. I dunno, couldn’t give a full opinion as this wasn’t a full match.

A tepid start to the event, the first half was slow. A couple good matches and a weird main event. The second half was like chalk and cheese.

The Purge entered and the atmosphere changed. These two are just bad dudes through and through, nothing fancy about it. Just Uz entered and the place just started rocking. There were no physical belts and the champions would be crowned at Winter Slam on December 9th. These four had a great match, plenty of tandem offense and some nice moves. BT Gunn and Stevie Boy Xavier are just so fluid, their entrance was even in sync. Plenty of chops and kicks, The Purge threw in some hard clubs and stomps for good measure. The match broke down and started getting wild, Stevie James ate a doomsday device and Just Uz were now the first Rock N Wrestle Tag Team Champions. After the match Xavier thanked the fans. Great match, possibly the best of the night.

Time for the main event. Wolfgang entered looking confident, okay, looking smug. Jester entered to a big reaction with lots of noise. Championship introductions, which I always enjoy. Wolfgang attacked Jester prior to the bell and stomped him into the corner. Wolfgang got onto the microphone and declared that he could choose the match stipulation per his contract and declared the match a no disqualification, falls count anywhere, hardcore match. So it was only a matter of time before we got a visit from the two near the bar area, then the sound area…then the foyer…then the balcony…then almost off the balcony. It was wild, chaotic and just crazy from start to finish. Jester used a child as a weapon, a fan’s crutch was in play and Wolfgang’s brass knuckles made an appearance. Wolfgang got the upper hand but couldn’t quite finish Jester, a Howling later and it still wasn’t enough so Wolfie called out for reinforcements and The Purge strutted out. He then declared the match to be a no disqualification, falls count anywhere, hardcore, three on one handicap match. Jester rallied back and sent The Purge out using Krobar’s…crowbar and hit Wolfgang with a Tombstone for the win. Really fun match, what you expect from Rock N Wrestle really. Using the venue to the max, the balcony spot is the first time that’s happened at The Ironworks at Rock N Wrestle (from memory) and it was fantastic.

Much like last month, Wolfgang refused to leave after the bell. His shenanigans included nabbing a fans championship belt and declaring himself the ‘Bad Company Champion’, he then send The Purge to attack Ravie Davie who was sneaking out to do some after-show fan meetings, Jester returned to chase them off…but that didn’t stop Wolfgang who hid behind a curtain and poked his head out until the coast was clear. Very funny stuff. Wolfgang will certainly be a character missed when he’s finally called up to NXT full time.

Overall: I often find that Rock N Wrestle book their shows with two clear halves. First half has some less experienced wrestlers, like PBW Academy trainees or folk that don’t have any clear storylines in the company, filler matches, the matches are fine enough but it’s not going to get you out of your seat. It warms folk up to get in the mood for the main event. Then the second half blows the first out of the water. It’s well done in a sense that you aren’t spent by the main event, it’s paced as a constant build up to the main event, you’ve seen enough to make you stick around and make you want to come back again for the next show a few months down the line. I took a friend to this as his first independent show, he’d been to the AECC to see WWE and NXT. He was coming to see Wolfgang, someone who brought him back into wrestling really (him and Kevin Owens). What I got from his opinion was that it was value for money, it wasn’t WWE but he’d strongly consider going back. Which I would certainly take as a positive.

I would like to see both halves kind of equal. Armchair booking over here, I would’ve put the tag title match as the first half main event and moved the Rage-Bull match after the interval.

This event was very fun, the second half matches were brilliant, the first half was fine. The inclusion of the power struggle that Steve is beginning to have between Ravie Davie wanting to rename the company and now Kid Fite wanting a piece of the company adds something I want to see play out.

The tag team division is starting to form with Pure Gangster, The Upstarts, Krieger & Sharp, The Purge and Just Uz. You then have teams that have appeared like Polo Promotions easily able to slide into the mix. Exciting times in the Highlands. See you all on December 9th!

Quick Results:
The Upstarts (Logan Smith & Owen Jakks) defeated Saqib Ali & Donnie T by Pinfall.
Davey Blaze defeated Ravie Davie by Pinfall.
TJ Rage defeated Bull James by Pinfall.
RNW Tag Team Championships – Just Uz (BT Gunn & Stevie Boy Xavier) defeated The Purge (Stevie James & Krobar) by Pinfall to win the RNW Tag Team Championships.
RNW Highland Championship – Hardcore Match – Jack Jester defeated Wolfgang by Pinfall to retain the RNW Highland Championship.

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