Riptide Wrestling: Blackwater (Review)

Millie McKenzie and Omari finally meet in a Riptide ring, whilst Jinny partners with CCK to face her mentor Jimmy Havoc, who is backed up by Wild Boar and Mike Bird…


Zack Gibson
vs.
Chuck Mambo
3star
(Winner via pinfall: Chuck Mambo)

El Phantasmo
vs.
Kip Sabian
vs.
Lion Kidd
2half_star
(Winner via pinfall: Lion Kidd)

Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis (“Aussie Open”)
vs.
Spike Trivet & Damon Moser
Aussie Open Challenge
3star
(Winners via pinfall: Aussie Open)

Kaggy
vs.
Rhia Ripley
vs.
Candyfloss
vs.
Charli Evans
vs.
Laura Di Matteo
2half_star
(Winner via pinfall: Kaggy)

Millie McKenzie
vs.
Omari
3star
(Winner via pinfall: Omari)

Matt Cross
vs.
Flash Morgan Webster
3half_star
(Winner via pinfall: Matt Cross)

Travis Banks, Chris Brookes & Jinny
vs.
Wild Boar, Mike Bird & Jimmy Havoc
4star
(Winners via pinfall: Banks, Brookes & Jinny)


Review

In something of a genius marketing move, Riptide Wrestling aired Blackwater for free on Facebook.com on Christmas Day 2017. Until that time, shows had only been available to rent or purchase via the company’s streaming service, so this was a wonderful opportunity for first time viewers to see what all the hype was about without parting with some money. Assuming, of course, that they could escape the Christmas festivities that they were taking part in on that evening. TalkProWrestling.com wasn’t able to take advantage of the one time airing, so instead watched it via Riptide‘s brand new monthly subscription service ($7.50 per month – check it out).

The pull of Riptide, originally, was its fantastic cinematography. For many new viewers that is still the case, but for those who jumped on for that same reason a while ago, the wonderfully unique visuals have now become the norm. At this point, it’s the content of Riptide‘s shows that will keep people coming back, and so the focus shifts somewhat more heavily toward the in-ring action.

Unquestionably, the main event of Blackwater was the best that Riptide has seen so far. The six-person tag match, which saw Jinny team with CCK to take on Jimmy Havoc, Mike Bird and Wild Boar, started well but only seemed to get better and better as it progressed. It also had significant time given to it, so much so that there were some great false finishes that worked so well because one expected that the match had reached its time limit at those points. It added a sense of unpredictability.

Jinny more than held her own against her three male opponents and, whilst she is an aggressive competitor at the best of times, her strikes here felt vicious in nature. She was up for it, and in many ways was raising the bar for everyone involved.

Mike Bird and Wild Boar continue to impress me, the more I see of them. Big 2018’s await both men, one hopes. Jimmy Havoc is just Jimmy Havoc, and I enjoy watching him seemingly have so much fun on Riptide shows.

Another strong match was Matt Cross versus Flash Morgan Webster. This was a fun little bout, which had some good social media chatter ahead of the event, but I wish it had been given more time. I’m convinced that this could have been the show stealer, particularly with Webster’s heel turn following the match, which was incorporated brilliantly into Webster’s post-match promo. You can only assume that this turn means that Webster will become a regular face in the promotion, which I think will benefit both parties as he is a superb talent, and something about Riptide‘s cinematography seems to absolutely fit with Flash Morgan Webster’s look.

Beyond those two matches, not a whole lot of ring action stood out for special praise, although it was all consistently entertaining viewing and probably was even better for those in attendance. Omari and Millie McKenzie gave the live audience a taste of what they can do with each other, without playing their whole hand, whilst Chuck Mambo continued his impressive run with a win over Zack Gibson. As I often say, Gibson is one of the best feels in the United Kingdom, perhaps even the world, so any show that features him is on to a winner from the start.

If I’m to be honest in this review, I must draw attention to the five-way women’s match, which felt a little sloppy throughout but not at all due to the talented individuals involved. From the very beginning of the match, it felt as though the cameramen had no idea where they should be, or what they should be filming, and what that resulted in was  some camera angles that didn’t work, and a feeling that we sometimes weren’t watching the best action taking place at any given time. In the hall, this wouldn’t have been an issue and I’m sure the match was much more enjoyable, but as a television experience, it wasn’t great. Put it down as a learning experience for a company who are still finding their feet with these things, and who usually have some of the best camera work in the business.

As I wrote earlier, I don’t come to Riptide for its visuals anymore. My interest now is purely in match lineups, and storylines. Spike Trivet’s rivalry with Jack Sexsmith has been done well, and the Flash Morgan Webster turn excites me, but I hope to see much more as the company puts out more shows in 2018. Their line-up being confirmed for the year fills me with confidence, and a few weekender shows really does suggest that a grand plan is already taking shape, so far as booking is concerned. The promise of a soon-to-debut championship will add a great deal to the promotion, and I’m excited to start seeing real storyline development right from the top to the bottom of the card.

Riptide Wrestling made waves in 2017 (no pun intended), and this show was a fun way to see out the year. I’m very confident that 2018 will be a breakout year for the Brighton-based company, and would recommend all fans of independent wrestling to watch the first four shows now that they are available under a $7.50 monthly subscription. Buy one month, check out all four shows, then decide whether you want to stay on the Riptide journey. I suspect you will.

Match of the Night

Travis Banks, Chris Brookes & Jinny vs. Wild Boar, Mike Bird & Jimmy Havoc

Rating

3star

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