With a cold beer in one hand and a hot dog in the other, a capacity standing-room-only crowd gathered at Tenth & Gibson to watch the gladiators of Australian Wrestling Allstars clash.
The industrial feel to building, with it’s concrete floors and exposed metal ceiling beams felt more at home to a cock-fight or an 80’s action flick. In summation – the perfect place to house some indie wrestling. This wasn’t your standard night of grappling however, this was RetroClash; AWA’s comedy showcase, and boy did it deliver.
As the first puffs of dry ice flew and the crowd started to buzz Officer Nicholas Armstrong entered the building, hailing from Hindley Street Station. After whipping the crowd into a frenzy with cussing and threats of arrest, Armstrong was cut off by the incomparable Green SMASH entering the arena. Their match was effective and fun, however it seemed that the high flying SMASH was somewhat limited by the height of the ceiling. That didn’t stop him picking up the win with a gravity defying moonsault.
The second match saw the comedy pushed to the levels of Porky’s or other such raunchy comedies. Stephen (the rest of his name was redacted, and all we were told about him was that he was a sex offender) entered the arena looking like he had a rough night, and walking accordingly. His challenger, the bubbly Demi Bennett, came out like a house on fire. These two tore the house down, and pushed the limits of what’s appropriate in a wrestling ring. It was a good thing RetroClash carried an 18 and over entry rule for this match alone. The sexually-based pins and offense including Stephen shoving his hand down his pants then into Bennett’s mouth. Despite holding her own against him, Stephen ultimately walked away the winner. This did not sit well with the fans, and was perhaps the only booking decision of the night that seemed to fall flat.
Next, British grappler Professor Ashley Johnathon Istria III took on Australian wrestling legend Robbie Hart. The latter’s connection with the audience was instant and it is obvious that he has a charisma that is very rare in this industry. His high flying, high energy rock star persona fits him like a second skin. Despite wrestling most of the match still wearing his scarf, Istria picked up the win, and trash talked the fans on his way to the back.
When it was time for tag team action, The Amigos (a group of masked luchadores hailing from Mexico, despite one member being ginger) took on the Jonah & Jag (the Serial Killers). Jonah Rock is a world-travelled wrestling star and it shows. He is so crisp for a big man, and legitimately looks like he could break a bus in half with a single glance. Despite being played for laughs, the team of Jonah & Jag still lived up to their team moniker and looked like killers. They dismantled the Amigos with hilarious efficiency and, amid cries of “Come on Mang, those are my legs!” from the Amigos, Jonah & Jag proved the phrase on the back of Jonah’s tights was true: The Mighty Don’t Kneel.
In the main event of the evening, this writer’s personal favourite wrestler Damian Slater took on SA’s local wrestling hero Rocky Mereno. After lecturing the crowd on the epidemics of marijuana and ice, Slater turned his attention to the real blight of South Australia – Wizz Fizz. Again, their match was played for laughs and built around Mereno attempting to get Wiz Fizz from the crowd and the crooked referee (Slater bribed him with five dollars at the start of the match), denying any of the fizzy powder that made it near Mereno.
After brawling through the crowd the pair made it back to ring and Mereno laid out the referee, at which point it began to rain Wizz Fizz packets. Mereno face dived into a pile of the white stuff that would have made Scarface blush and preceded to give the world it’s first Wizz Fizz comeback. One top-rope elbow drop and it was all over.
In the ring Mereno celebrated with beers, and after raising one with Slater only to lay him flat seconds later, Mereno swam in the spilt beer and sent the crowd home cheering.
All in all, this was an excellent night, and an absolute showcase of the versatility of the AWA’s performers. A big shout out is also due to the AWA’s tireless promoter Steve Burrows, without whom none of these events would be possible. I cannot wait to see the next show, they just keep getting better each time.
Reviewed by Adam Gerard
Rating out of 10: 9