â€œSizzlinâ€™ Summer Bashâ€� at the Warner Robins Civic Center was Rampage Pro Wrestlingâ€™s second attempt at a doing a supercard at a larger venue. On all fronts, it was in improvement over their first supercard two months ago in Macon.
The pacing of the show was much better in terms of keeping the crowd fresh. The ladder match made my list of top live matches for the year. Match quality was better across the board with one glaring exception.
The show drew 400 fans paying approximately $3500, which translates to better than break even business. They fared much better financially at the Civic Center, being that it is a far less expensive venue to run than the Macon City Auditorium.
Chris Jacobs won a pre-show Free For All Battle Royale consisting of RPW trainees. I didnâ€™t see it so I canâ€™t comment but company officials were pleased (see notes below).
(1) Glacier & J-Rod beat Hot Like Lava (Cru Jones & Shaun Banks)
Weird seeing Hot Like Lava so low on the card. Glacier looked fine. Lava made him look like gold bumping after the hot tag. Finish saw J- Rod fighting with Jones on the outside. J-Rod tripped up Banks, who was then superkicked by Glacier for the pin. OK match.
(2) The RPW Intercontinental Title Match between Champion Kaotic Romeo and ERA ended as 10 minute time limit draw
My first time seeing either one of them live. Two promising and they had a nice match -- lots of aerial moves, fast-paced and well put together. It was apparent theyâ€™ve worked each other a good bit. ERA came out flying. He slipped off the apron on a spot where Romeo delivered a kick to the face. Romeo did a number on ERAâ€™s elbow. He used a sweet top wristlock drop for a near fall. Romeo blocked a tornado DDT and planted ERA on the top buckle, but ERA hit a sunset powerbomb from there. Spinning headscissors and a huracanrana by ERA for a near fall. Romeo came back with a triple german suplex for a near fall. Romeo missed on a slice â€˜n dice guillotine legdrop, ERA hit the tornado DDT but no water in the pool for his frogsplash. The time ran out but they kept fighting, and the crowd was into it. It ended with the technico (ERA) standing in the ring and the rudo (Romeo) laying on the stage. It left me wanting to see more.
Prior to the Hotties Championship Match Exotic Ones (Rick Michaels & Simon Sermon) came out. Sermon wanted to know how they could possibly have a hotties match with those two hags and without the Exotics. A challenge was issued. The size difference between Isis at a legit 6-8 and Sermon was positively freaky. Isis said bring it on. Exotics decided to take a seat on the stage.
(3) Tracy Taylor beat Isis to win the Hotties Title in 6:43
Much better than their match in Macon. Isis has improved a ton, and Tracy did a good job selling and carrying the action. Tracy has cut weight and lighter on her feet. Tracy surfed on Isisâ€™ back in the early going. Isis has geared her offense to spots that take advantage of her strength and freaky size. She posted Tracyâ€™s back and used a bear hug. Taylor tried to escape, but Isis used her incredible reach to take Tracy down by the hair. Taylor fought back with kicks. Isis kept going for the chokeslam, and Tracy kept countering with wristlocks. The finish was a chinbuster out of the wristlock. It got messed up the first time, so they redid it.
Postmatch, Exotic Ones confronted Isis. Michaels stood on a chair so he could talk down to her. Tracy ran back out and upended Michaels, who crotched himself on the chair. Exotic Ones tucked tail and gingerly walked out. Isis and Tracy shook hands. Crowd popped for it.
(4) Evil Inc. (Colt Derringer & Rob Adonis) beat Joel Deaton & Abdullah the Butcher (with â€œHonestâ€� John Cheatum) in 6 minutes
Between Abby and Derringer, there was bloodshed a plenty. Once again, Abby didnâ€™t make inside the ring. His left wheel is giving him hell. He had to lean on Cheatum to get down the ramp. He got to a kneeling position on the apron. Evil Inc. started beating on Abbyâ €™s head with the cowbell and he bled. Deaton blasted Derringer with the cowbell, and Colt was busted open. Abdullah then used the fork on Colt. The usual gruesome looking stuff when Abby is involved. Deaton, who looked in good shape for a guy that has to be around 50, got a near fall on Adonis with a bulldog. Adonis pinned Deaton with a fistful of jeans. It was about all you could expect from a match involving Abdullah at this point.
Postmatch, Deaton and Abby continued to beat on Evil Inc. Deaton was choking Derringer with his bullrope. Derringer took a back bump on the ramp off a cowbell shot. The truly disgusting part of it was when Abdullah fishhooked referee Dustin Robinson with the fork. Abby tossed the fork into the crowd as a souvenir. Deaton did some unintelligible mic work.
(5) Cash Vault (Frankie Valentine & Kyle Matthews with Charlie Cash) beat S & S Express (Sigmon & Shawn Shultz) and Slaughter Pit (Pitbull & Sam) and Exotic Ones (Rick Michaels & Simon Sermon) to win the RPW Tag Team Championship in 13:33
Decent match. It opened with S & S pounding Exotics like they owed them money. Story was the heel teams tagging each other in to avoid escape the punishment. This really gave S & S a chance to shine. Something I love about RPW is the opportunity to see unique match ups, like Shultz and Valentine squaring off. Express eliminated the Exotics after a double dropkick at 6:43. Exotics blinded Express with hairspray, and the defending champions were both pinned by Cash Vault at 7:08. The two teams battled to the back. Slaughter Pit gave Matthews a double gorilla press. Slaughters are way over. It must be a local thing. Cash Vault began working over Samâ€™s knee. Pitbull took the hot tag and was light up Cash Vault with chops. Valentine pinned Pitbull with a jaw cracker variation. Crowd chanted for Slaughter Pit after the match.
(6) Sal Rinauro defeated Jimmy Rave and Chris Jones and Chip Day in a Ladder Match to retain the RPW Cruiserweight Title in 17:34
Match of the night and one of the best matches Iâ€™ve seen live in â€™09. They did innovative spots along the way and told a clear and interesting story at the end. They all worked extremely hard, but Jones was off the hook. Heâ€™s a small guy, billed at 167 but chiseled. Rave is over as babyface in RPW. There were several â€œTNAâ€� chants for him. Day is even more over. A lot of kids ran down to the rail when he came out. It was heels vs. faces early. Day hit a pescado on Jones and his body smacked the concrete. Jones hit a hilo dive on Rave. A 6 foot ladder was brought into play for some double team impact spots. Rinauro spilled Rave and Day off the ladder with a missile dropkick. Rinauro tried to climb an 8 foot ladder for the belt and was brought down with a powerbomb by Day. Jones took Day out with a spinning headscissors into a ladder. Rinauro used a ladder as a springboard for a Pele kick on Rave. A 12 foot ladder was bridged from the rail to the ring apron. Jones backdropped Rave on the bridged ladder (a nod to the spot he did with Nigel McGuinness at ROH in the UK '07). In the most vicious looking spots of the night, Rave gave Rinauro a uranage on the bridged ladder. Big crowd reaction for that one. Rave gave Jones a backbreaker from about 6 feet up on the 8 foot ladder. Yikes. Sal leveled Rave with a superkick and set the 12 foot ladder up in the ring. Day dove off the top and through the middle of the 12 foot ladder with double flying knee knocking a second ladder into the faces of Jones and Rinauro. It got a well deserved â€œthis is awesomeâ€� chant. Jones was busted open hardway around his eye. Day did a huracanrana off the top of the 6 foot ladder on Rinauro, who was seated on the 8 foot ladder - a vaguely psychotic thing to do. Jones climbed the 12 foot ladder and got one hand on the belt before Day cut him off. Meanwhile, Rinauro superkicked referee Danny Starr. Jones took a bump from near the top of the 12 foot ladder. Day got the belt and fell to mat with the prize in his grasp. Rinauro ripped the belt out of Dayâ€™s hands, blasted Rave with it, and revived the ref. Crowd went nuts about Rinauro winning like that. Rinauro stood on the stage pointing at his brain. Fans gave the other three guys a standing ovation.
Ring Announcer Ted Guinness called the ladder match one of the top five of all time. Just a bit of hyperbole there, but it did stand out because they kept the really contrived spots to a minimum and didnâ€™t copy stuff from other ladder matches.
(7) Dr. Johnny Gayton pinned Mr. Jones (with Charlie Cash) with Ronnie Garvin as the special referee (15:07)
This was multiple levels of horrible. Rarely has such a simple story been told so poorly. This should have been five minutes. The good doctor needs a reality check for going 15 minutes. Not to take anything away from Gaytonâ€™s age group powerlifting records, but weâ €™re talking about a fifty something guy that stands 5-7 and has minimal training in pro wrestling. Jones is a junior-sized backyard looking â€œBig Daddy Vâ€� knockoff and very green. Jones destroyed Gayton, but not before Gayton knocked him down with a shoulder block. Jones first pissed Garvin off by not allowing the pin. Then he got pissed at Garvin for not making a three count. At least that was the idea, but Jones is no actor and the match went on forever. The one cool spot was Jones running down the ramp and splashing Gayton on the floor. Gayton came back with a crossface that had fans calling for Jones to tap. Finish saw Garvin punch Jones, who was then caught by Gaytonâ€™s vaunted Samoan Drop for the pin.
(8) Gayton pinned Cash in around 1:30
The stip was Gayton got 5 minutes with Cash, but they did a match so it was over quickly. Thank God for small favors. Cash (Texas oilman type) took advantage of Gaytonâ€™s weakened condition with an extended choke hold. Gayton came back with an elbow drop for the pin. Jones returned. Garvin and Gayton made a heel sandwich. Garvin did the Garvin Stomp on Jones. Gayton followed suit on Cash. People didnâ€™t care like they should have because the illusion was already destroyed.
A fair number of fans departed at this point. I donâ€™t know if it was because they had seen their hero vanquish the villain or they just couldnâ€™t take any more crap like that. Probably a bit of both.
(9) Usual Suspects (RPW Heavyweight Champion Murder One & A.J. Steele with Koonce) beat Micah Taylor & Vordell Walker in 16:22
Usual Suspects is an updated version of the Gangstas. Nice gimmick. Koonce was great as the smart mouth street punk with the loaded back pack. Walker and Steele opened with a test of which one was bull of the woods. False heat on Micah with the Dark City beatdown from M-1. Crowd got behind Micah. He leapfrogged M-1 to make the tag. Bigtime heat on Walker. They did the deal where ref Jeff McGowan didnâ€™t see the tag. M-1 then blasted Micah off the apron to prevent a tag. Micah was great with the outrage, and they really had the crowd into it. Walker hit a shadow lariat. The hot tag led to high backdrop for the Suspects. Things got a little clunky here. Suspects tried to double up on Micah. The babyfaces answered with a couple of messed up spots. Suspects hit a massive double Alabama Slam but Micah kicked out. A train of finishers left all four down and selling. Good stuff. Micah and Vordell started posting Steeleâ€™s shoulder in attempt to demolish it. I assumed this was revenge for something in the storyline. Koonce tossed the loaded back pack to M-1, and he used it on Micah to get the pin. Strong heat for the finish as there were a lot of upset fans. Solid main. They did a great job of getting the crowd back after the Gayton debacle.
Postmatch: Gayton came out to threaten Koonce. Koonce is pretty awesome with the facial expressions and body language. Cash Vault attacked Micah and Walker. S & S ran in for the ring clearing save. Walker grabbed Koonce before he could make his getaway. Micah and Walker delivered a devastating powerbomb/backstabber combo that by all rights should have killed Koonce dead. He got up way too quick and was moving around just fine. The babyfaces celebrated in the ring. Koonce is a great character, and I wasnâ€™t up for seeing him laid to waste just yet. In fairness, I donâ€™t know where they are in the story, so it may be that Koonce had escaped the consequences too many times already and was due for comeuppance. If the intent was the send the fans home happy, it worked.
NOTES: Tracy Taylor is head to Mexico this weekend to work for a new promotion called EWA that feature two rings at different heights. Micah is going in three weeks laterâ€¦Ben Masters, the former promoter of the legendary Peach State Wrestling was in the houseâ €¦Television commentary was handled by Nigel Sherrod and The Professor. Nick Patrick was observing from behind the announcer's tableâ€¦Company officials were pleased with the overall quality trainee battle royal. Theyâ€™re particularly high on Jacobs and Tâ€¦RPW will be back in action at their home base â€“ Johnny Gâ€™s Fun Center in Warner Robins â€“ on Sundayâ€¦ Rave and Rinauro host Shot in the Dark every Tuesday night at 9pm as part of the GWH Radio Network.