PRO WRESTLING REVIEW: The Launch — Ronin Pro Wrestling’s First Event
A few weeks ago, I previewed Ronin’s upcoming event that took place this past weekend. Heavy promotion went into the event, which even went as far as having a commercial run during Monday Night Raw for a few weeks. Their goal was simple: “To change the landscape of wrestling in South Florida, Florida, and beyond.”
This past Saturday, they did not disappoint. From the beginning of the Fan Fest to the last bell after the main event, attendees at the Miami Airport Convention Center were entertained. Their cheers and chants let everyone involved know one thing: Mission Accomplished.
In total, there were 10 matches over the course of three hours. Here is my review of an unforgettable event that deserves all the fanfare it’s getting:
Rock ‘N’ Roll Express vs. T.E.C.H.
Usually when you hear that two guys in their 50s are going to be wrestling, you think it’s a match that you should shrug off. Well, after 40 years of wrestling, Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson (better known as the Rock ‘N’ Roll Express) still have plenty of gas left in the tanks. With a huge pop from the crowd, The Express got it going with a lot of good old school wrestling. A lot of good grappling and slams had the momentum going in favor of the Rock ‘N’ Roll Express, but a quick shift in the action and some crafty distractions from their ring manager gave T.E.C.H. the ability to steal the match and pick up the win.
Great opening match and a great output for both teams, especially Morton and Gibson. I would have liked to have seen more involvement by the manager of T.E.C.H. with either the crowd or in the match itself.
Joey Bricco vs. Mikaze
This was the first time I had seen either of these two and I hope it’s not the last. Bricco came out first and gathered a lot of heat with inflammatory comments aimed at the crowd and parading around the ring. Chants of “Richard Simmons” broke out, as the crowd wanted no part of Bricco’s “superiority fit” diatribe. Mikaze came out to quiet Bricco. After a brief dance around the ring, the two wrestlers locked up, going into a intense back-and-forth. Ultimately, Mikaze used his speed and aerial abilities to take down Bricco for the win. Bricco claimed post-match that we hadn’t seen the last of him.
First time seeing Mikaze and Bricco in ring and neither disappointed. Can’t wait to see both in action at the next event.
Leva Bates vs. La Rosa Negra
This match started off with the introduction of La Rosa Negra and the Thorne Agency, a stable of women managed by Nick Thorne. After Thorne riled up the crowd, boasting superiority, Leva Bates entered to much fanfare. This was not your average women’s match. Both ladies fought fast and rough, using take-downs as well as some great aerial displays, but in the end Negra–with the help of the rest of the Thorne ladies–put Bates down for the count.
These women put on a hell of a match and left a huge impression. I look forward to seeing a match take place between them again if this is just a sample of what both can do.
Donovan (with Joey Bricco) vs. Oliver Cain
For anyone who remembers the match between Goldberg and La Parka in the WCW days, this was pretty much the same. Cain was outweighed by what looked to be about 100 lbs., and this became a David and Goliath match that started and ended with little fanfare, complete with Ryback and Goldberg chants directed at Donovan. While Donovan did a good job of striking up heat from the crowd, there was no real memorable part to the match. What resonated the most was the altercation between Donovan and a crowd member that ended with security separating the two and paramedics tending to the fan.
I would like to see both wrestlers compete against others in their weight class to see their real abilities, or maybe see a triple threat between Donovan, Chamberlain and Stone. Curious to see if this angle plays out further or if this was just needless filler.
Next, Shawn Prime came out to cut a promo, mocking Tommy Dreamer, who would be his opponent later in the night. Prime showed great skill on the mic and was able to get some good heat before his match with the fan favorite “Innovator of Violence” Tommy Dreamer.
Edward Malken vs. Al Snow
“This is awesome,” the crowd chanted. At 51 years old, Snow showed that he still has what it takes to put on a great match. Equally impressive was Malken, showing great ring chemistry with Snow despite the fact they had never worked together before the match. Both men worked the crowd well and Malken’s manager, the Golden Sheik, added that extra dash to top it off. Ultimately, Malken got Snow down for a quick roll up and escaped with the win. Snow stuck around post-match to fight with Head and deliver a plethora of moves that included The People’s Elbow, a Stone Cold Stunner and even a Leg Drop a-la Hulk Hogan.
For both wrestlers to work so well in the ring together and bring the chemistry witnessed speaks volumes for them both. Of course, Al Snow’s antics always keep the crowd engaged and entertained as well.
Triple Threat Tag Match
T.E.C.H. vs. Frenemies vs. Fanboys
Normally when you see this kind of match, it drags out needlessly and leaves at least one team with nothing to do. This was not the case in this contest. All six men absolutely put on a great show, complete with high-risk moves and bodies all over the concrete floor. I guarantee they all woke up the next day feeling sore. In the end, Mike Monroe of T.E.C.H. once again pulled out a big win, starting them off at 2-0.
Everything I could want in a triple threat tag match happened. Excellent showing by all six wrestlers.
Eddie Graves vs. Jonny Vandal
Another match with two great wrestlers. Vandal recently has had a few runs with WWE NXT and it shows why the invite him back every time he gets in the ring. Graves’s persona drew easy heat from the crowd, as Vandal got the cheers in this one. Both men put on the match I expected them to, and that’s a good thing. Vandal showed off his in-ring expertise and in the end picked up a huge victory over Graves.
Good chemistry and wrestling ability by both wrestlers made for an entertaining classic wrestling match.
Justin Silver vs. Solo Darling
Silver entered accompanied by Thorne and associates. Thorne once again got solid heat from the crowd, both for himself and his ladies. Solo Darling then entered to the exact opposite reaction, as fans–particularly the men–cheered loudly. In all honesty, the match itself was just okay. It was my first time seeing Silver perform, but I had seen Darling wrestle quite a few times so I would have liked to see the same intensity for this match that I’d seen when Bates and Negra wrestled earlier. Darling got the win via disqualification, as Thorne and the rest of the his crew interfered, pummeling Darling. Bates came in to make a big save and set up a future potential team up with Darling.
This match had more potential than what was delivered. Knowing the capabilities of Darling, I am going to say that this was a fluke and better matches are on the way.
Shawn Prime vs. Tommy Dreamer
The promo cut earlier by Prime worked, as the crowd let the boo’s rain down as he made his way to the ring. Then, in by far the biggest pop of the night, Dreamer entered the ring. The exchange to start the match between the two was a little slow but was quickly sped up by Dreamer, who asked for a change from a classic one-on-one match to a good old-fashioned hardcore match. Chairs, garbage cans and even the ringside barrier played a part in the brawl. The biggest moment came when Dreamer hit a dropkick to the chair he had propped up against Prime’s face in the corner. Unfortunately, the chair’s presence in the ring backfired and Prime used it to capitalize on Dreamer, putting him down for the count.
This match was great. Another legendary pro and indie wrestler putting together a solid match with great in-ring chemistry. The ending also gave us a great stare down to build tension between Prime and Commissioner Bond, who is in charge of Ronin.
Frank Stone vs. Alex Chamberlain
To finish the night, these two veterans faced off. The match itself was well executed by both men, showing off great wrestling abilities, but the lines between heel and face became very muddled during their back and forth. Overall, it was a good showing for both, but at the end Chamberlain would finish Stone off with an emphatic clothesline and have his hand raised by the ref.
Post-match, Chamberlain shook Stone’s hand in a show of sportsmanship and turn over the mic to Stone. Stone invited his girlfriend, Dynamite Didi (who was originally slated to face Bates but is currently sidelined by injury) and proceeded to drop to one knee and propose, which she happily accepted. A huge smile came over both of their faces as the crowd applauded. Stone may have lost his match moments earlier but he definitely left the ring feeling like a champion.
While both men put on a great match, I have seen both in action and expected just a little more. I hope a rematch takes place, because these two definitely have great chemistry and in-ring ability.
Overall Grade: A
This event blew away the Raw I attended back in July. It had everything a wrestling fan could want and no stupid plugs for networks or horrid promos that meant nothing to the crowd. I am excited to see the next event that was just announced for November at Animate! Miami.
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