I went to an indie wrestling show for the first time in about a year, so I’m going to review it, as is my custom.

I haven’t been to an RCW (Real Canadian Wrestling) show in a year or two, so I have no idea what’s going on in terms of storylines. My entire reason for going to this show was the main event, which is a steel cage match for the RCW Canadian Championship. I hadn’t seen a steel cage match live before, and wanted to correct that. Despite the lack of familiarity with the angles, there are a lot of familiar faces on this card.

RCW Heatwave 2016
June 24th, 2016
Edmonton, AB
Kingsway Legion
Estimated Attendance: 110

Slammer vs. Kat Von Heez

The way Slammer’s wardrobe has been evolving, he’s going to be Lord Humongous in like two years. He cuts a promo about being owed a title shot and not getting it, because no champions have the balls to face him. Kat Von Heez (the Women’s Champion) comes out, which is the first instance I’ve seen of an entrance being the punchline to a joke in a promo. She says that she and Slammer have an equal amount of balls, and we have a match.

This was mostly a comedy match with Slammer being cocky about his “nuclear biceps” and Kat making him look like a goof for it. Slammer probably sold too big for Kat’s strikes, though, as her shots didn’t look particularly strong and he’s a pretty big dude. Kat got on a bit of a run of offence, then Slammer grabbed the Women’s Title belt and tried to hit her with it. The referee grabbed it and, as he was passing it off to an attendant on the floor, Slammer pulled a pair of brass knuckles out of his Li’l Petey Pump gladiator trunks and popped Kat in the chops and got a cheap fall after about 7 minutes.

This was a fun opener, but that’s about it.

Winner: Slammer via brass knuckle punch.

Slammer taunted Kat like a dickhead, and was run off by RCW Canadian Champion Bobby Sharp. He’ll be in the cage match later.

Tyrone Ironside vs. Mutato

Both of these guys are pretty good in a comedy setting, but the bulk of his match was pretty standard, outside of the finish and Ironside’s regular schtick of being childishly upset by things not going his way. If Ironside did nothing but comedy matches, he’d probably be my favourite guy on the roster. For the finish, Mutato accidentally hit the referee with Ironside’s feet during a spinning powerslam, which gave Ironside time to grab a chair. He did the Eddie Guerrero “stomp the mat and give the opponent the chair” spot, which the referee bit on and DQ’d Mutato.

Winner: Tyrone Ironside via Eddie Guerrero shenanigans.

Mutato left to contemplate becoming a real mutant potato (I assume his name is a portmanteau of those words, because it would be if I wrote a character named that). Tyrone Ironside congratulated himself on his cunning while alternating selling (if the referee was looking) and giving the one kid who was loudly cheering for him a shit-eating grin and double thumbs up. Cujo (whose name I didn’t learn until later) came out and attacked Ironside, splashing him a few times and then dragging him away. One of the splashes involved putting an Ironside 8×10 and Cujo’s chain onto Ironside’s chest, which… I guess hurts more? I have no idea why this happened.

Texas Hangman vs. Barricade

Oh man, Texas Hangman’s gimmick is GARBAGE. It’s black coveralls, a black noose, and a featureless black lucha mask that looks like it came from a sex shop. He was decent enough in the ring, although I can’t say the sample size was in his favour, as he got killed in two minutes by Barricade. The most interesting part of this match was supplied by the kids sitting behind me (including Ironside Fan), who kept demanding that Hangman take off his dumb mask and reveal his face. At one point they started a very loud two-person “reveal your face” chant.

I have no idea why this was on the card, other than to get a regular (Barricade) a payoff.

Winner: Barricade via Avalanche Splash followed by a Belly-to-Belly Suplex.

RCW Canadian Tag Team Championship Match – Redneck Renegades (c) vs. Dogs of War

Dogs of War (Steven Styles and Britton Baylis) entered first, accompanied by Cujo. Styles cut an almost entirely incomprehensible promo. The only parts I caught were that Baylis is his partner because somebody is suspended, and the introduction of a new manager whose name I didn’t catch. He cut a short promo that was also mostly incomprehensible, because he doesn’t know how to hold a microphone. OOF.

Redneck Renegades came out, and easily showed the most charisma so far in rallying the fans behind them. Rex Roberts is carrying beers and dancing, which will be important later. At this point, I’m intrigued to see what they’ve got in the ring, and things start off pretty promisingly. Baylis seems pretty green, but he managed to keep up with the Renegades for the first few minutes. Unfortunately his partner was Steven Styles, who is fucking terrible.

The Dogs of War got a heat segment on Rex Roberts which felt like it was going to last until the heat death of the universe, then Other Redneck Renegade, who was the best worker of the four, got a hot tag. Excitement picked up, then Rex Roberts accidentally tagged himself back in while Other Redneck was hitting the ropes. This led to the referee refusing to count an Other Redneck pin on Baylis off of a top rope missile dropkick, which spelled the end for the Renegades. Other Redneck was cleared to the floor, Styles and Baylis hit a Hart Attack/Mafia Kick combo on Roberts, and we have new Tag Champs.

Winners: Dogs of War via Hart Attack/Mafia Kick combo.

After the match, Other Redneck (I have no idea what his name is, which is a shame because he was easily the best guy in this match) was mad at Roberts for tagging himself back in. Roberts pleads his case, claiming it was an accident. It seemed like the two were going to reconcile, and a “hug it out” chant began. Other Redneck initiated a hug which turned into a Codebreaker. OH NO! He proceeded to cut a pretty good promo claiming that Roberts never really believed in Other Redneck, because he would always tag himself in when Other Redneck had things under control. Other Redneck claimed he had to carry Roberts, who was too busy drinking and having fun.

I don’t know if this was a well-told story leading into the match, but all of the logic in the promo was supported by what happened in the match, from entrance to final bell.

At this point, the heel turn and promo by a guy whose name I don’t know is the best thing on the show. Between the ropes, things have not been very good.

Leon Grayson w/ Thaddeus Archer vs. The Bosnian Adonis

If Leon Grayson was like 20 pounds heavier, he’d probably be one of the most intriguing prospects in Alberta indie wrestling. Dude is a toothpick with kickpads. Bosnian Adonis is, I think, a Lance Storm trainee. He’s got pretty good size and good look if he can add some definition.

I really enjoyed the story of this match. For the first five minutes they chain wrestled, with Bosnian Adonis proving to be more than Grayson can handle. Frustrated, Grayson bails to the floor, where he uses Thaddeus Archer as a distraction and then rams Adonis into the post. This establishes the narrative that continued throughout. Adonis was the better wrestler, but Grayson knew when to cheat to cut off Adonis’ advantages. As Grayson cheated, Adonis started selling frustration at not being able to maintain an advantage while being obviously better. Eventually the action spilled onto the floor, where Grayson missed a soccer kick from the apron. The two started brawling while the referee counted, but neither could get into the ring without the other cutting off the attempt.

This match had one major strength and one major weakness: the major strength was the quality of the matwork and striking exchanges. Excellent stuff. The weakness? I see a lot of complaints on Twitter about wrestlers not selling enough, but in my estimation this match had the opposite problem. Both men spent too much time in between spots selling damage, and it killed the pacing of the match toward the end.

Winner: Double Countout.

The two continued to brawl on the floor until they were broken up by other wrestlers. If they maintain the story of this match throughout the feud, this could turn into something really engaging. It was also a huge relief to finally get something on this card that hit 3 stars.

British Commonwealth Championship Match: Scott Justice (c) vs. Nite vs. Paul Destre w/ Thaddeus Archer

This was the first match where everyone involved looked like a wrestler. It was also very enjoyable. The match started with Nite and Justice knocking Destre out of the picture so they could do some mat work. Why I mention that at all is because every time Destre tried to get back into the match, Nite and Justice got rid of him WITHOUT STOPPING THE MATWORK. In one of the most creative three-way spots I’ve ever seen, Destre charged Justice, who was in an arm wringer. Nite cranked on the arm wringer, causing Justice to double over in pain. This was timed so that as Justice recovered from the pain and straightened up, he was back dropping Destre. Fucking awesome.

The mat work ended with some dives to the floor, then everyone started throwing bombs at each other. Destre was clearly the third guy here, as Nite and Justice got the bulk of the offence. Justice tried to go for an avalanche One Winged Angel on Nite, but wisely settled for a regular version when he realized that the way he was attempting to set up the avalanche version was a terrible idea. It involved putting Nite on his shoulders in a sitting position BEFORE climbing the ropes. Nope. Nuh uh. Bad move. Thaddeus Archer distracted the referee to prevent a pinfall.

More stuff happened, including a really great shoulder roll over Nite’s back by Justice which fed into a superkick (I think?) by Destre. The match ended with Justice catching Destre in a full nelson and Nite grabbing a waistlock on Justice – the resulting dragon suplex/German suplex combo scored several pinfalls, depending on how you want to count it. All three men’s shoulders were down, but since Destre wasn’t pinning anyone, Nite and Justice were declared co-winners. This sets up a singles match for next time.

Paul Destre wasn’t really featured in this match, but I hope he comes back. He had a dumb surfer gimmick, but seemed like a good worker.

Winners: Nite and Scott Justice via double pin.

At this point we had an intermission so that the cage could be set up. It was fun watching the cage be built, although it took much longer than I think the crew expected it to.

RCW Canadian Championship Steel Cage Match: “Lion Warrior” Bobby Sharp (c) vs. Big Jess Youngblood

I figured this one would be good coming in, as I’ve seen plenty of Big Jess and Bobby Sharp in the past, and they’re both excellent. What I got was a  4 1/2 star cage match.

This one was a pinfall/submission only match. No escapes. Y’know, how cage matches SHOULD be. Take two guys who hate each other and lock ’em in a cage until one of ’em is dead. That’s exactly how this match played out. Big Jess jumped Bobby Sharp during his entrance, leading to a wild brawl around ringside. Both men teased going into the cage a few times, then eventually ate some steel. The first big spot of the match happened before the bell rang – Big Jess charged Bobby Sharp at full tilt, but the cage door was still wide open. Sharp grabbed it and slammed it into Jess’ face with an impact that sounded like a gunshot. Jess was rolled into the ring, bleeding, and the bell rang.

The story of this match saw both men trying to figure out how to take down a juggernaut. Big Jess, physically a monster, and with brutal one-shot offence. Sharp, showing a lion’s courage, and willing to empty his entire arsenal. Jess’ offensive bursts were methodical and focused on hitting a small number of devastating moves. Sharp, by contrast, would hit the NBA Jam turbo button and try to throw as much offence at Jess as was possible before he got going too fast and ate a counter. Late in the match, neither man had found an answer for the other, but it looked like Jess had taken control. A superplex from the cage had gotten him the closest near fall yet, and Sharp seemed dead in the water as Jess climbed the ropes for a moonsault that would crown him champion. Unfortunately, Jess stopped on the top rope to remind the fans of Sharp’s mistake in climbing to the top of the cage, one Jess loudly proclaimed he wouldn’t repeat. By the time he was in mid-air, Sharp had rolled out of the way, and it seemed like the impact made the bottom of the ring touch the floor. Even after hitting the mat like a comet and receiving a top rope Lion Splash, Youngblood kicked out. In a superb bit of subtle acting, when Jess kicked out of the pin, Sharp looked sullen, then up at the top of the cage. He knew what he was going to have to do to win, even if he didn’t want to do it. He remembered last time. But he climbed up anyway.

Lion Splash from the top of the cage. Bobby Sharp retains the title.

Winner: Bobby Sharp via Lion Splash off of the cage.

Post-match, Bobby Sharp expressed his respect for Jess’ performance. Jess didn’t return that respect, instead spitting that he would win their next encounter. Sharp continued his promo as Jess left, telling a story about Edmonton’s importance to his career thus far. Win, lose, or draw, this would be his final match in Edmonton for a while, as he had an opportunity to make himself a force globally (see what he did there?).

Slammer interrupted, prompting a female fan in the front row to yell “don’t you ruin this for me, Slammer,” which cracked me up and ruined some of the gravity that Slammer was going for. Slammer attacked Sharp and held up the RCW Title, saying that Sharp was going to have one more match here, because Slammer was cashing in his title shot at the July 9th show.

If you want to watch the cage match, the guy sitting in front of me recorded a fan cam of it! It doesn’t translate quite as well as it did live, but if you want to hear an old lady demanding that Bobby Sharp “make him bleed!” is this video ever for you.

Spot of the Night: As much as I want to give it to my first live cage dive, it’s going to the arm-wringer/back drop thing from the triple threat match. I hope that pops up on YouTube.
Match of the Night: The cage match. It was everything I want out of a cage match, and I was about 10 feet from the cage. Awesome.
MVP: Bobby Sharp. An excellent performance and Ric Flair in the ’80s levels of blood.