Rising Sun Till Death Do Us Part
February 8, 2020
Siamo a Milano, Italia per l’ultimo spettacolo di Rising Sun.
This was supposed to WrestleMania weekend. There were supposed to be 40+ shows waiting for me to review. Well, there ain’t 40+ shows to review. So I’m taking this opportunity to review a few promotions I wouldn’t normally get the chance to see instead. Starting with Rising Sun Wrestling Promotion (occasionally shortened to RSWP but more frequently to SUN). They’re an Italian promotion that started out in 2016 and are headed up by excitable Italian promoter Fabio Tornaghi. You may recognize the name of the promotion if you saw the wXw Now showcase show over 16 Carat Gold weekend. If you don’t want to shell out the five Euro this double header show costs you can head over to their YouTube channel, link on Rising Sun’s website (RisingSun.it) and get a bunch of their stuff gratis. This includes matches featuring Will Ospreay, Josh Bodom, Bad Bones, Joel Redman and an assortment of local talent.
March 17, 2018
Will Ospreay vs. Ashley Dunn
While I was trying to figure out the process of buying the latest SUN show I dropped into their YouTube to watch this heavily hyped bout from 2018.
The atmosphere is similar to White Wolf Wrestling. The crowd are very animated. What I immediately like about the set up is the yellow mat, the colour of the sun, which gives the whole thing a very distinctive feel. There’s also a lot of kids at the show, which feels unusual as almost every promotion that’s heavily touted at the moment seems adult-orientated. Ospreay is clearly a cause for celebration but Dunn lives up to his part in the match. He’s not as graceful as Will, few are, but he’s able to keep up with the pace of the match. The crowd are very excited and there are many mat slappers (Linus would be proud). At a moment’s notice the ring is completely surrounded by kids. Will decides to work heel as the matches progresses in an attempt to get Ashley over as Italy’s number one. They do some crazy shit in this including a Superbomb over the knee reversed into a short DDT where Ospreay goes splat, forehead first into the mat. The Oscutter that finishes this match is one of the best Will has ever hit. Dunn throws himself face first into it like a guy jumping in front of a moving car. The match isn’t as fluid and perfect as so many of Ospreay’s best matches but I really appreciate it based on the imperfections. This shows Ospreay can have a match of great quality against just about anyone. No offence intended to Ashley Dunn, who I think is very underrated and underused in BritWres.
Final Rating: ****1/4
Anyway, back to 2020. Ring announcer is Fabio Tornaghi, who is also the owner. I would take a screenshot of him but he doesn’t stop pacing around the ring here. The venue is the Palazzetto Dello Sport, a big sports hall. The event hasn’t been well attended, presumably as we were approaching a Coronavirus outbreak, and there’s only a few hundred. The building feels echoey and large. Another ring announcer joins us after the intro. This is El Panzero! Going for the jeans, t-shirt and blazer look. Tom Pratt would be proud. The ring canvas looks really springy and the wrestlers sink into it.
Rising Sun Tag Team Championship
Party Hard Inc (c) vs. The Fat Machine Guns
The standard European approach to wrestling names is that Anglicized names rule the roost. So Party Hard Inc includes Jesse Jones. He’s Italian. His tag team partner is Trevis Montana. The Fat Machine Guns are Jason Cain and “Trucker”. These are big units.
Kyle Fletcher was regretting the sixth trip to the all you can eat buffet.
Party Hard Inc bring booze and in wacky containers; a super soaker and a gasoline can. They clearly like to party, if that wasn’t already evident by the name. This match clearly involves a few inexperienced workers but they’re smart enough to use the size vs. speed/charisma/comedy approach to distract from that. It allows Cain & Trucker to minimize the stuff that leaves them looking exposed. When you’re that big, it’s best to stick to basics anyway. In modern wrestling big men are expected to be capable of keeping up with the speedy little guys and that’s not necessarily how it should be. That said, I’ve seen a lot of big men in the past where I simply wasn’t interested in their plodding style. Party Hard Inc retain thanks to double teams and that’s how it should be. The smaller team needed to rely on their skills and familiarity to overcome the big guns.
Final Rating: **1/4
Hardcore Cassi vs. TG
TG stands for “The Greatest”. Cassi has a money in the bank gimmick, frosted tips and a bleached goatee. He looks like a real asshole. He has a masked friend called Rust who probably isn’t big enough to be walking around in the all black/evil mask routine. TG, aka Giacomo Giglio, is much smaller and I genuinely like him. He reminds me of Santino Marella and Marty Jannetty and I mean that as a compliment. TG is in his late 30s and knows his way around sports entertainment. In times gone by Vince McMahon could have made money with this guy as a cruiserweight amidst the New York audience, who loved to route for Italians.
They keep this basic, with TG’s relatively mundane offence drawing big responses. Another positive of having an over character vs. being a gymnast. He has far better mobility than me at age 37 though. They work in a ref bump, which is actually well executed, but the referee oversells it. Why are the zebras so fragile? Predictably Rust interferes and the crowd berate him with “baas” because he has a goat mask. Rust fucks up the finish, the old ‘hold the feet from the outside’ spot. I’m sad for TG but he did the best he could with what he was given. This was a straight up traditional sports entertainment finish, so I naturally hated it with a flaming passion. I’ve seen it done hundreds of times and usually a lot better than this.
Final Rating: *3/4
They do a promo in the ring where the Rebel Souls are introduced. Steve McKee is another very un-Italian name from mainland Europe. Kronos is a 6’5” giant, who looks like a biker and the trio is completed by “Matt Disaster”.
Rebel Souls vs. Lyon & Nico Narsico vs. More Than Hype
MTH is Kearney & Martin with LJ involved in action elsewhere later. More Than Hype look like stand outs in this field and work large with big mannerisms to get across their enthusiasm. A lot of the sequences are straight out of the camps and designed to nail down reps. Psycho Nathan continues to have a nice time and makes a point of covering every inch of the building so the fans get to see him up close. Lyon is a powerhouse and gets his character across nicely. Nico Narsico is a somewhat flamboyant egotist. They make for an ok team.
Kronos is a big, big lad and has better big lad offence than the guys in the opener. He doesn’t try anything over complicated and all his moves look good. Sideslams and spinebusters. It’s good solid work. I get really into Lyon’s powerhouse move set too. Double team Brainbuster sees MTH pin Nico Narsico. I enjoyed this. The standard of work was a lot higher here.
Final Rating: ***1/4
God of Sun Championship
Alessandro Corleone (c) vs. LJ Cleary vs. Matt Disaster
Matt Disaster desperately needs to change his name. It’s so bad. If he looked like a complete shitshow I would laugh and enjoy it but he looks like a decent kid and he needs to change his name. I also like that his gear is based on Stonecold Steve Austin in the Attitude Era. Denim shorts, black leather vest. He’s 100% a cruiserweight though. I’m getting Italian Shark Boy vibes. Corleone is over six feet tall so it’s a nice contrast for LJ depending on who he’s working.
I keep thinking of Corleone as a stretched Chris Dickinson. He’s a decent wrestler but he works a dominant style and doesn’t really have the body mass for it. Imagine Chris Brookes working that way? He does a very solid ‘clubbing blow’. It’s an underrated spot. Corleone throws Matt Disaster around for fun at the end. Finishing with an F5 where he hauled Matt up into position for it. This was a good little match that didn’t outstay its welcome.
Final Rating: ***
“Macho” Riot vs. Doblone
Riot shows up dressed like Randy Savage for shits and giggles. I appreciate them using his music too.
Doblone, not to be outdone, comes out here dressed as Hulk Hogan.
The Handshake! This is pure comedy as they involve the referee in spots, recycling Laurel & Hardy routines. They get one of the other boys involved as “Elizabeth”. Weapons here include an inflatable parrot and a plastic trumpet. The level of intentional lameness is pretty high. At one point Riot is using a toilet seat as a shield. The big boot, which is done with a fake leg, is a work of art. They mix in a lot of other comedy spots before upgrading to Attitude Era finishers. As if to say they can get sillier they bring a nappy full of shit into play. Riot gets it shoved in his face and submits. Riot exposes his posterior in defeat. This was certainly something. I enjoyed it, for what that’s worth but only as a one off.
Final Rating: ***1/2
AB Knight vs. Paxxo
You may know Paxxo as Luca de Pazzi. I’m guessing they don’t sell much pre-made stuffing mix in Italy. If he yells out “sage and onion” before hitting his finisher I’ll know though. I’ll know. AB Knight, another classic Italian name, is a skinny dude with very small trunks. Like if he bulks up, a la Taichi, they’ll be microscopic. Paxxo looks a cut above most of the roster. His timing is good, his face paint looks great and he feels like he’s been transplanted in from a bigger promotion to teach this skinny fucker the business. AB is some way off the pace set by Paxxo although he’s ambitious and tries hard. When he’s attempting the Gargano kick and the Slingblade he rather exposes his mobility issues. He’s not been wrestling for very long though. Cagematch has his career as under 50 matches and that really shows. He telegraphs extensively. I can tell exactly what he’s going for some five seconds before it happens. The window needs to tighten up. They blow another spot with someone on the floor. Paxxo’s corner man is extremely late putting his man’s foot on the bottom strand. Everything with the corner man, whose name I missed, sucks and is a detriment to an otherwise solid wrestling match. The interference leads to Paxxo winning too, which is unfortunate because it means the finish is bad. A shame. They deserved better.
Final Rating: ***
Il Lupo vs. David Starr
Lupo is the local boy. A 15 year pro in his early 30s.
Starr is a tremendous talent and it’s great to see him in a new environment. You’re never quite sure if he’s going to be a mega babyface or a dickhead heel. His work in this feels like a feeling out process as to which he should do in this promotion. Lupo has no problem keeping up with Starr but the match feels somewhat unimportant and doesn’t have that vibe that Ospreay vs. Dunn had in the same company. I guess it is Night One and the big match is tomorrow for Starr. They have some tidy work. It’s smooth and all Starr’s stuff lands nicely. Blackheart Buster finishes. This was a good wrestling match. It never quite hit a higher gear and drew the crowd in like a main event probably should but it was good enough and the crowd respond in the end with a standing ovation.
Final Rating: ***1/2
It may not be reflected in the star ratings but I really enjoyed this show from Rising Sun and this is just the afternoon show. The venue needs some work and a lot of the Italian talent are clearly not at the level of the imports but not all of them. The standard is actually a little higher than expected and seems better than the same level scenes in Denmark and Spain that get so much praise.