Riptide Wrestling: The Storm (Review)

Riptide Wrestling returns to Brighton, with Jack Sexsmith going one on one with Chris Ridgeway, and Pete Dunne stepping in to partner with CCK’s Chris Brookes in tag team action versus Aussie Open. Read on for a full review, and ratings for all six matches…


Cara Noir
vs.
Session Moth Martina
vs.
Candyfloss
vs.
Lion Kid
vs.
James Castle
2half_star
(Winner via pinfall: Session Moth Martina)

Spike Trivet
vs.
Darrell Allen
2half_star
(No Contest due to building evacuation)

Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis (“Aussie Open”)
vs.
Chris Brookes & Pete Dunne (with Kid Lykos)
3star
(Winners via pinfall: Brookes & Dunne)

Omari
vs.
Bea Priestley
vs.
El Phantasmo
3star
(Winner via pinfall: Bea Priestley)

Will Ospreay & Paul Robinson (“Swords of Essex”)
vs.
Kelly Sixx & Ashley Dunne (“South Coast Connection”)
2half_star
(Winners via pinfall: South Coast Connection)

Jack Sexsmith
vs.
Chris Ridgeway
3star
(Winner via pinfall: Jack Sexsmith)


Review

Something significant has happened with Riptide Wrestling since their previous show, Riptide Returns (reviewed here). Through good word of mouth from those who went to their first two shows, and some well deserved plaudits on social media for how glorious Riptide Returns looked on tape, Riptide has created a massive buzz around itself heading into its third show. As a result, the level of expectation for this show was rightfully quite high.

It took some time to readjust to the style of Riptide, with superstars I’m used to seeing treat the medium very seriously in other promotions, letting their hair down here. Pete Dunne, seemingly now allowing himself to enjoy the fan appreciation that has built for him these past twelve months, was a prime example of this as he stepped in for the injured Kid Lykos. As a fan who enjoys more serious professional wrestling, Riptide can be a shock to my system. That said, there’s a place for this kind of show in professional wrestling, and Riptide are very quickly cementing themselves at the top of that sub-genre.

I’ve been impressed with most aspects of what I’ve seen from Riptide, but The Storm also  highlighted some of my frustrations, as the wrestling fan in me really just wanted to see the talent wrestle more. I’ll admit that some of the comedy moments here were gold, and maybe I’ve been spoilt in 2017 by quality wrestling right across the wrestling spectrum, but with such talented wrestlers on the show, I didn’t feel like I saw enough of them actually going at it. Or rather, the moments that broke up the action felt like they sometimes went on too long. That said, as a live experience, I’m sure it was bloody brilliant. As a televised one, for this viewer sitting at home, I just wanted to see some quality down and dirty wrestling. Perhaps that is me still adjusting to just how different Riptide is to the other wrestling promotions I watch, and I need to remind myself going in that their show(s) is catering to other tastes of mine (some I might not even realise I have, until I see them!).

I can appreciate that all of the above suggests a dislike for the content Riptide Wrestling put out, but nothing could be further from the truth. I think that what they do is very good, and their attention to detail is quite incredible (did I actually hear storm noises throughout, via my headphones, or was it a tech failure on my part that actually added to the vibe?), but I’d love to see it get serious sometimes. I felt that they did that when they got to the main event in Riptide Returns, and expected the same here, but Sexsmith/Ridgeway had as many comedy moments bookending it as the other matches on the card did.

Getting down to the finer details of the show, because that’s what is really important, I really enjoyed Spike Trivet’s time on the mic prior to his match. His promo was wonderful, and he dealt with some rowdy audience members very well. Genuinely, it was heartbreaking to see his and Darrell Allen’s match come to an early finish due to a fire alarm going off in the building, as I felt we were robbed of a potential pinfall for Trivet that would have legitimised him as a threat.

Omari is one I’ve got my eyes on currently, and I thought his three way with Bea Priestley and El Phantasmo was great fun. Priestley continues to impress, and given her recent success in Japan, I fully expect to see her show up across more and more promotions in 2018.

I enjoyed the end to the show, with Ridgeway making the save for Sexsmith following Trivet’s attack. The main event, which on paper looked very exciting, took some time to get going due to the early fun/shenanigans, but I thought it did a very good job of putting both men over by the end. Ridgeway has a great future ahead of him, and Sexsmith legitimately looks like he could make the step up to being a main event player in the months to come. He doesn’t look out of place in that slot, and his in-ring skills continue to improve. I’ve even grown accustomed to his Ugg boots at this point!

All in all, this was a lighthearted show, and I can only judge it by those merits. I’d love to see some direction within the product, such as the introduction of championship titles, but that doesn’t seem to be a priority for the company at this point and I think their audience are more than happy to enjoy the fun shows they are putting on. There’s some fascinating ideas being worked on by the minds behind this brand, and whilst their televised shows look incredibly professional, I’m taking great enjoyment from watching what also feels like a work-in-progress. They’re trying things out, and I commend that.

For myself, however, in a crowded market where each promotion is fighting for the money of its supporters, Riptide Wrestling needs to do something greater to cement my investment each month. The card for their next show as a main event that looks incredibly appealing to me, and for that reason I’ll part with the near £10 these shows cost (I buy, rather than rent), but until there are angles/storylines that I can invest in as a viewer, I don’t think I’ll ever feel the loyalty to the company that one would get from being a regular live audience member. Truthfully though, they are redefining how wrestling shows can look, and after only a handful of shows they look like they will be absolute game changers moving forward.

Early days, and the signs are good!

Match of the Night

Omari vs. Bea Priestley vs. El Phantasmo

Rating

2half_star

You can purchase this event at the Riptide Wrestling website
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