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When I first heard Fusae Etsuko was bringing back NGW, I think my heart skipped a beat. All my memories as a young wrestling fan came flooding back and although I tried to remain somewhat skeptical about this maybe being a nostalgia cash grab, I couldn't help but feel giddy. You're probably wondering what the hell I'm talking about. Allow me to explain.
 

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Fusae Etsuko was the female wrestler back in the first couple of decades of the new millennium. At some point in the late 90s, Burning Hammer decided to launch a sister promotion, a joshi brand by the very unoriginal name Burning Hammer of the Wrestling Goddesses. It was a short lived, spectacular flop (at least until the Inspire incident or the influence of the Modern Japan Movement) but it was enough to give Etsuko global exposure at the start of her career. When the company collapsed and after a brief stint in Canada with CWWF which also folded, she got into modelling and managed to get three naked photoshoots on different occasions, for Wrestling Illustrated, Penthouse and Playboy. The wrestling bug was still there though and when NGW made the offer, she ran with it.
 

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NGW had, up to that point, been a young upstart promotion run by Leon Harrison and John Silver. They were the first to survive and thrive in the desolate European wrestling scene that saw the rapid collapse of EWCW and UCR, with the likes of "The Gentleman" Nelson Frye and "Captain Hero" Stig Svensson leading the charge. By the time they signed Etsuko, she was part of a stunning expansion that included big names like "The Moscow Mauler" Marat Khoklov, Marihito Matsuko, "The Alpha Male" Edward Cornell and a young Champagne Lover. Debuting under the character of "The Gothic Grappler" with Sisters of Mercy's "More" as her theme song and outfits that still inspire imitation to this day (looking at you, Spider Isako), Etsuko was a force to be reckoned with, mixing stiff strikes with technical brilliance and a magnetic force of personality. She fought and beat all the big names of that time since the NGW roster was still integrated, to the point where the company had to make a separate women's division and title for her so that the men could also get a push. Etsuko's feuds with Geena the Warrior Princess and her last one against Joanne Rodriguez were both the stuff of legends.

Despite its success, the company seemed to struggle to break past being a cult phenomenon and expand into the British market, which led to its closing in 2013. Still, I think it's clear from everything I've said so far why NGW was a big deal, at least for us European pro wrestling fans, and why I am so here for this, so excited to watch Etsuko bring it all back in 2020.

 

Hope I don’t sound too much like a fanboy, but Etsuko’s announcements were the best Christmas gift this year. Yeah, I used plural there, because it wasn’t just about her bringing NGW back. We also got the name and logo for the new company, as well as a date for its debut show: first Saturday of January, aptly named “Rebirth”. Oh, it’s also going to be available on pay per view!
 

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No matches have been announced and I guess that’s part of the plan to maximize hype and mystery. Not like any announcements were necessary, the mere concept of resurrecting NGW is enough to sell tickets as far as I’m concerned. There have however been a few familiar names that were confirmed, whether officially by the company or by the wrestlers themselves revealing that they will be present for RotO’s debut show. Therefore, I’d like to take a moment and introduce them for anyone who might not be familiar with them or their specific part within NGW.

 

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Nelson Frye is obviously the biggest of the names announced, for many the heart and soul of NGW. Frye joined the company a year into its existence after a chance meeting that blossomed into a strong friendship with its booker, John Silver, at an indie show in the UK. After a few years of playing up his English origins as an old school gentleman and being built into the next big thing, Frye won the Heavyweight title in mid 2001, the first of his three reigns with that belt to date, last one going on for nearly a year from the summer of 2009 to that of 2010. Despite being gradually outshined by bigger stars that would join the roster, Frye was a consistent main event presence and a member of The League of Heroes, Stig Svensson’s group and NGW’s prime babyface stable. Even after Svensson’s retirement, Frye was personally selected to lead the group and take up the prestigious white mask of Captain Hero, which shows you how big a deal he was all the way to the final NGW show ever.
 

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Of course, you can’t talk about Nelson Frye without talking about “The Louisiana Pitbull” Robert Howard. A peculiar case, Howard is an American that went to Japan and joined the Golden Canvas dojo, where he was trained to work as a psychopathic wildman. NGW brought him in and quickly built upon his fantastic chemistry with Frye, turning them into an on-and-off pairing that won the tag team titles in 2012 (Frye had already won those twice in the past alongside Christopher Lister). Howard has been Frye’s teammate and ally, as well as a trusted lieutenant in the League of Heroes, though his career has been more about being the tag guy and #2 of the mix and it seems he’ll retire without ever having had a proper singles push.
 

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I’ve mentioned that Marat Khoklov was in NGW and of course he was their top heel. The company made several attempts to align “The Moscow Mauler” with various wrestlers from Eastern Europe, but it took a while before they struck gold by pairing him with the Ivanoff brothers as “The Czars”. Igor and Ivan were pretty green at the time though so with Marat on top of the food chain, someone was needed to bridge that gap and be the big man’s number two. That man was “The Bratva Bruiser” Dovydas Vidmar. Portrayed as a man of the underworld that had connections to the Russian Mafia, Vidmar may have never gotten outside his boss’ shadow, but he was nevertheless a great wrestler and talker. His signature vodka bottle that he brought to the ring has been smashed on opponents' heads on more than one occasion, a signature spot which I think was much more spectacular than just spitting it out of his mouth to blind someone.
 

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Of all the names to ever grace the NGW roster, Petter Eriksson has a reputation as a legitimate tough guy. Raised on a fishing village in Norway and having worked on an oil rig until his wrestling career took off, he is as rough as they come. Eriksson is mostly remembered alongside Viper McKenna, who was his manager as well as tag team partner. Teaming under the name of Fitness Fury back in McKenna's days as Miss Information, they have held the tag team titles on three separate occasions while also being part of misfit stables alongside "The Rock n Roller" Sebastian Koller and Hardcore Hernandez.
 

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Paula Edwards is a case of what might have been. The massive Colorado Crusher was trained in the NGW dojo, climbed the ranks of its developmental territory and debuted on the main roster under the mentorship of NGW Hall of Famer Viv "The Violence" Jacobs, with whom she'd also team on occasion as Wrecking Krew. Edwards was just breaking through the midcard and establishing herself as a credible title contender when the company folded, leaving a sense of unfulfillment in regards to her push that came to such an abrupt end. My hope is that RotO will provide her with a stage to grow further and maybe even get her first taste of championship gold.
 

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I like to think Giovanni Bruno's character was based on that of Leisure Suit Larry Laffer. Sleazy, overconfident, cowardly, Bruno is the kind of guy who makes you laugh but is too slimey to like. His impeccable comedic timing and hammy Italiano character are only amplified by his tendency to stick "know what I mean?" at the end of nearly every sentence. NGW liked to portray Italian wrestlers in that light and Bruno was often the guy to stick next to any of them joining the roster, but he also had a decent run as one of Champagne Lover's lackeys at some point, so I'm curious to see his role in RotO.
 

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Petrov Yakovlev hails from Belarus, so of course NGW stuck him with Khoklov, Vidmar and the Ivanoffs. Yakovlev was the stable's fodder as well as its most unstable, unpredictable member. Unfortunately, he didn't get to do much on the main roster as the company folded shortly after his arrival. If RotO picks up from where NGW left off, I'm expecting him to be close to Vidmar.
 

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Alberto Montero (no connection to the famous Mexican family) is another guy whose wings got clipped too soon. The Spaniard had a good developmental run and was just about to join the main NGW roster when the company shut its doors. A talented brawler, he should have no trouble filling in for a multitude of roles in RotO, which makes him a valuable addition and likely part of the roster's backbone.
 

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Florida Simard is a French high flyer who idolizes Speedy Marie, to the point where she's dyed her hair red in order to look more like her. I'm told she was supposed to portray some sort of fangirl or imitator, but she barely made it out of the dojo before the company's end. It will be interesting to see how she will be utilised in RotO.
 

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Ryushi Ryusaki I know very little about. He was brought in very early in his career as a lone wolf character under the name of Okami and received a push his performances did not justify. Back then, NGW didn't have their developmental up and running yet, so he was released and sent to Japan. Once Ryusaki got enough experience, he was hired again under a developmental deal but like many others, never got a real chance to shine by 2013. There is an undeniable star feel to him though and I would expect RotO to push him hard.
 

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Tomohiko Yamagata is the last of the NGW alumni announced, another dojo graduate who didn't get to do much after graduating as he found himself without a home to ply his trade. All I know is he's a high flying daredevil, so I'm guessing he'll be using that to excite the RotO fans.

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3 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

I think you forgot one...

I can neither confirm or deny anything.

 

1 hour ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

Marat Smash!

Unfortunately, as I'm using the game's default 2020 database (to which I've imported the custom characters), in this universe Marat has retired from the business and spending his time in some monastery in Russia (nice touch, developers, just imagine him in a monk robe). Time to develop new stars!

 

Tuesday Mar.15 update

Final tally for the day is 500 ab crunches and about 100 wide grip pullups using a table, as I lack a proper pullup bar. I know the numbers seem impressive, but they were actually split into two sessions throughout the day, one for each movement. If I can't get the time and focus to do a proper workout, I'll just break it down to more, inspired by the video below, if nothing else to at least get something done each day even if I don't 100% subscribe to what this guy's saying.

 

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2 hours ago, DarK_RaideR said:

Unfortunately, as I'm using the game's default 2020 database (to which I've imported the custom characters), in this universe Marat has retired from the business and spending his time in some monastery in Russia (nice touch, developers, just imagine him in a monk robe). Time to develop new stars!

That's almost as good, since Russian Orthodox monks never shave, now I'll imagine him with a giant beard. 

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"By the Most-Righteous-and-Blessed Beard of Sir Tanktimus the Encourager!" - Jarl Rurik Harrgath

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Rebirth 2020
Held in Athens, Greece on Sat. W1 Jan 2020
Viewership: 4.779 fans in attendance, 81.388 PPV buys (0.16) on Euro Your Demand


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So I went to the first ever Ring of the Olympians show in Athens. Some dark matches took place as the crowd poured into the venue, I'd say we were about five thousand in total and I did spot a few small time local celebrities on the front row, but I won't get into the match specifics. By the time everything was ready, we were treated to a local band playing a few songs live, then Martin Bloydell and Jamie Anderson hit the ring for a short welcome. I'm told they also provided commentary for the live broadcast and although I haven't watched that to form an opinion, I gotta say I like the idea of their pairing, with Bloydell being the dapper clean cut announcer and "The Red Devil" as the sneering heel colour commentator who can also provide insight as a former wrestler himself.

Anticipation had built up to a boiling point and the announcers made their exit as the venue went dark. The familiar first few keyboard notes of "More" by The Sisters of Mercy travelled in the air and everyone lost their mind as Fusae Etsuko made her entrance, complete with her trademark long black lace outfit adorned with spiderwebs. She was in full Gothic Grappler mode and the fans loved every minute of it. Even after all the posing, she needed a moment to take it all in before she could talk on the mic.
 
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Her first words were how long it's been and how glad she is to be back, which of course elicited a loud reaction. Etsuko took the time to deliver a minor speech and welcome the fans, thanking them for their support all this time as well as now in this new endeavor, before she dropped the bombshell: not only would a champion be crowned in tonight's main event, but the winner would be determined via a ten man Starmageddon match.

Those who aren't familiar with NGW won't know what that is or why it's a big deal, so allow me to provide some context. Back in its heyday, NGW would host an entire Pay Per View event in the summer named Starmageddon. Its signature main event match was a 30 man royal rumble, with timed entrances and eliminations only happening via pinfall or submission. The winner would then have the right to headline the company's biggest show of the year in December, called End of the World, in a match for the top title. So Etsuko bringing it back on the first RotO show, even on a smaller ten man scale, struck a nerve.
Rating: 76

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The Fashionistas vs The Titans
For the first match of the night, we were introduced to two rather big boys, one with the Union Jack painted on his face and going by the name of Big Ben (pun intended) and one dressed up like something out of the God of War series with the fitting name of Ragnarok. Though Europeans, these two apparently were trained in Texas by Dread, one of the best big men in the business ever who runs his TITAN Factory dojo, hence the team’s name. Their opponents were The Fashionistas, Gianfranco Morelli and Roberto Milano, who I’m pretty sure have made some sporadic appearances for NGW in the past but never anything memorable. This was kind of the problem in terms of atmosphere, since hardly any fans knew who these four were, but there was a sense of something new or re-discovering something, so at least they were accepting and certainly got into the characters. They sure did bother with establishing that part at the start, as the Fashionistas made fun of their opponents’ outfits. Big Ben responded with the most courteous of slaps he could muster, but coming from such a big guy it was still enough to get Morelli spinning around. From there, the Fashionistas realized they had no hopes of winning this by fighting clean, so they fled the ring and tried all kinds of shenanigans on the outside. Chaos followed, which I’m guessing was intentional in order to get things off in spectacular, gripping fashion, but as good as the Fashionistas were working together, Ben and Ragnarok’s timing was all over the place and it threw me off on more than one occasion. Still, the good guys won when Big Ben did a belly to belly suplex on Morelli, which I’m told he calls London Falling, then covered him for the pin.
Rating: 25

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Florida Simard and Paula Edwards vs Maisie Laurels and Etelka The Hun
Next up we got another tag team match, but this one had women in it instead and even featured a few familiar names in Edwards and Simard, NGW alumni and thus natural faces that people cheered for. Their opponents were the facepainted powerhouse Etelka The Hun and Maisie Laurels, who looked and wrestled a lot like NGW veteran Viper McKenna. After the show I’d look her up to find out she’s actually inspired by McKenna, but for match and character purposes she acted like the second coming of McKenna and people hated her for it, so I guess you could say that was good heel work. All in all the gimmicks were fun and well received, but I’d argue the match had a lot of moving parts and fell a little bit apart. Edwards and Etelka would demolish their smaller opponents or face each other in a big hoss fight, Laurels would slow things down on the mat and Simard would pick up the pace with some crowd pleasing aerial moves, but in terms of flow and psychology this just didn’t cut it. I’m putting it down as an exhibition match mostly meant to introduce these ladies and looking forward to see what will happen with the women’s division, for now Simard pinned Laurels with a Victory Roll.
Rating: 26

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10 Man Mayhem match for the RotO World Heavyweight championship
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With only ten men in the match there were no timed entrances throughout it. Instead, everyone made their individual entrance to varying degrees of fan reaction and the match began with all ten men on the ring. Of the NGW alumni previously revealed as members of the RotO roster, Alberto Montero, Dovydas Vidmar, Giovanni Bruno, Nelson Fry, Petrov Yakovlev, Petter Eriksson, Robert Howard, Ryushi Ryusaki and Tomohiko Yamagata were present, the only surprise being the tenth man, Paolo Gandalfini. There was too much to keep up with here so I’m not going to break it down, but I was glad to see Frye and Howard work together, the Louisiana Pitbull actually scoring four of the eliminations before he himself got pinned by Vidmar. Frye and Vidmar were actually two of the last men left in the match, the other two being Montero and Eriksson, two faces and two heels. With more space to move, the pace picked up and 41 year old Eriksson looked a little winded, something Montero saw and pounced upon to eliminate him. Just as he was getting up, he caught a vodka bottle to the head courtesy of Vidmar (remember, no disqualifications in this kind of match) and it came down to two, a flashback to the days of Frye’s League of Heroes doing battle against The Czars. Fans were on their feet for the finish and about twenty minutes after the opening bell, Frye slapped on the Royal Armbar. Vidmar struggled to grab the ropes but when he finally did, the referee reminded him there were no rope breaks or disqualifications in this match so with nowhere to go, he tapped out.
Rating: 56

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Nelson Frye won the main event to become the first ever Ring of the Olympians World Heavyweight champion but his celebration got cut off when Marcello Ricci appeared to issue the challenge for the next show. Frye of course accepted and we got a nice bit of duelling promos from two great talkers to wrap up the show while also planting seeds for next month’s main event.
Rating: 50


All in all, I’d say the first show was a bit underwhelming, but that’s probably due to the fact that subconsciously, everyone was expecting another NGW show from the glory days and that’s just not the case. RotO are a new promotion, many of the NGW veterans have grown older and there’s new people to establish too. That will take some time, as will the introduction of storylines. There’s no way around it, people need to watch for some time in order to get emotionally invested. For now, I’d rate this one as a 53, a decent start that I hope will blossom into something grander.
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Thursday Mar.17 update

Forced rest day because I'm stupid and forgot that even with several smaller workouts, I still need to warm up before and stretch after. Everything hurts, especially my calves, even more so today.

 

18 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

Thanks for letting a face, especially Nelson, win the first championship. 

You don't have access to the numbers, but if you did, you'd instantly see he's my biggest star by far. It just makes sense to put the belt on him while I try to build up some villain to the point where they can believably beat him for it.

 

8 hours ago, EricMN said:

I like the narrative feel so far.

Thank you. Speaking of that...

 

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Valentine Day's Massacre 2020 Preview

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Ring of the Olympians have announced the date and name for their second show of the year, Valentine Day's Massacre, which will be taking place on the second Saturday of February. It was also announced that fans in the UK will also be able to watch it, as the company has signed a broadcast deal with GBTV Sports, on top of its ongoing European deal with Euro Your Demand.

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The show of course will be headlined by the RotO World Heavyweight championship match, as the inaugural champion Nelson Frye defends the gold against Marcello Ricci. Frye is a beloved NGW veteran with more than two decades of experience, but at age 40 his challenger is ten years younger and that might just give him the edge. Furthermore, Ricci has build a name for himself in Ultimate European Wrestling as a "giant killer" of sorts after defeating the hulking Menace, so he has the credentials to look convincing as an underdog who could pull the upset win.

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Fusae Etsuko also built up a lot of hype when she made an announcement on social media. According to the owner of RotO, she has brought a young prospect to the roster and will be revealing her protégé on the next show. Given Etsuko's career, this is big news if someone was taken under her wing and The Gothic Grappler further fanned the flames when she revealed that not only will she present her protégé to the world at Valentine Day's Massacre, there will also be a showcase match against a mystery opponent for fans to see this newcomer in action.

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Dovydas Vidmar and Petrov Yakovlev seemed to work together at times during the 10 man Starmageddon match, something that apparently has troubled Petter Eriksson who sees the potential for a revival or a group like The Czars, this time under Vidmar instead of Khoklov. Eriksson has found an ally in Ragnarok and the two Scandinavians are on a collision course with the Eastern European duo of Vidmar and Yakovlev in what should be a hard hitting contest.

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Maisie Laurels rubbed many people the wrong was as "the second coming of Viper McKenna" and certainly isn't happy with her RotO debut where she was pinned by Florida Simard. Fan backlash has started an online war after Laurels responded to the criticism on social media and essentially talked her way into a one on one match against Simard. The French high flyer certainly has the skills to come out on top again, but if Laurels has any of McKenna's wits, she must have some surprise up her sleeve.

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20 hours ago, DarK_RaideR said:

Fusae Etsuko also built up a lot of hype when she made an announcement on social media. According to the owner of RotO, she has brought a young prospect to the roster and will be revealing her protégé on the next show. Given Etsuko's career, this is big news if someone was taken under her wing and The Gothic Grappler further fanned the flames when she revealed that not only will she present her protégé to the world at Valentine Day's Massacre, there will also be a showcase match against a mystery opponent for fans to see this newcomer in action.

Can't wait to see how this develops

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HUNTER OF ALL THINGS SHINY

Intro Thread   Challenge Log   Bodyweight Exercise Library   Shuffle Club 

 

Level 2 Ninja

Strength: 13 Intelligence: 14 Wisdom: 6 Dexterity:14 Constitution: 12 Charisma: 11

 

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Valentine's Day Massacre 2020
Held in Athens, Greece on Sat. W2 Feb 2020
Viewership: 5.468 fans in attendance, 69.605 PPV buys (0.13) on Euro Your Demand and GBTV Sports


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Straight down to business, the show began with Fusae Etsuko. The owner of RotO announced the launch of a new TV show airing Mondays (so just 2 days after this show!) on Euro Cable Sports 4 and GBTV Sports, then presented her protege to the world. Out came a dark skinned woman clad in an outfit of chains and leather, complete with occult makeup and an inverted cross painted on her forehead. Not sure how I feel about the reddish hair with the sides shaved, but as a first impression it sits better with me than if she'd gone all in with the gimmickry and done, I dunno, straight jet black hair. Etsuko introduced her as Malady and whaddya know, we were going to see her in action immediately.
Rating: 55

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Etelka the Hun vs Malady (with Fusae Etsuko)
Out came the imposing Etelka the Hun and immediately I knew this was not going to be Malady squashing a nobody to look super strong. If anything, I was afraid it might turn out to be the other way around, because after a couple of flashy spinning kicks, Etelka no-sold the last one and tackled her opponent against a corner ringpost, then things spilled to the outside of the ring where utter chaos ensued. I was honestly expecting something horrible to happen, because I looked up Etelka after the first show and her main claim to fame is deathmatch wrestling, namely a match where she powerbombed her opponent onto a board of scissors. Not that this was booked like a deathmatch, but you get the idea of what Malady was in for once the ringside brawl began. In hindsight, I realized this chaos was probably set up this way to make up for the fact that fans didn't really know any of the competitors, even if the excitement for Malady's reveal was there and Etelka had already made her RotO debut the month prior. Somehow, Malady was able to keep up with her opponent, including spots where she kicked a chair into her face and another where she curb stomped her head onto the ring steps. Still, Etelka would have the last laugh when she hit her finisher, which she calls the Hungarian Death Drop, to get the pin.
Rating: 20

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Giovanni Bruno vs Paolo Gandalfini
Match two of the night was an all-Italian affair and what I believe to be an attempt on RotO's part to escape NGW's stereotype and present at least one Italian wrestler as more than a slimy and/or airheaded heel. Kind of a past versus present/future thing, given how Bruno has been portrayed in NGW for years and as much as I like the man's comedic timing and character work, perhaps it's time he dropped the gimmick for something less silly if he's going to get any kind of a push, which he absolutely should. He's way more experienced and well rounded than Gandalfini, who stuck to brawling and big power moves, though they still popped the fans when he hit them. All in all I'd say Paolo was quite protected in this match, he got to do most of the offence and look good doing it, though in the end Bruno would rake his eyes, chop the throat and put him in a sleeper hold to get the dirty submission win.
Rating: 30

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Florida Simard vs Maisie Laurels
Nice to see more than a single women's match on the same night, though it should come as no surprise since NGW was known for its presentation of female wrestlers, to the point where they would even headline shows before Etsuko's days. As I've mentioned when this match was announced, it was built on Simard pinning Laurels in a tag match at Rebirth. This time it was one on one and they told a basic story of the heel trying to slow down the pace and take the high flying babyface to the mat for a stretch. Maybe it's just me, but that start-and-stop thing really messed up the pace and flow of the match for me, wasn't as good as it could have been so those ten plus minutes felt more like thirty. Interesting finish though, with Laurels putting Simard in McKenna's signature Boston Crab and getting disqualified when she refused to break the hold even after Simard had made it to the ropes.
Rating: 23

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As a break from the back to back matches, Dovydas Vidmar and Petrov Yakovlev hit the ring next to address their match against Petter Eriksson and Ragnarok. They were escorted by a blonde woman in a black fur coat and hat, who they introduced as their new ally and manager, Tereza Smirnov. Yes, that Smirnov, of the vodka brand. She's all over social media so it wasn't hard to look her up, apparently she's indeed a member of the family that produces one of Russia's most famous vodkas and was mad enough to embrace the rumors of Mafia connections that surround her lineage in order to create her wrestling persona. Considering Vidmar is supposed to be "The Bratva Bruiser" and his signature vodka bottle, I think this was a genius match that made absolute sense. Tereza looks and talks like a star from what little she could get on the mic for this segment, not sure about her actual wrestling skill but she is a very vocal fan of Karen Bilous so that's promising.
Rating: 53

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Petter Eriksson & Ragnarok vs Dovydas Vidmar & Petrov Yakovlev (with Tereza Smirnov)
I was expecting this to turn into a wild crazy brawl all over the venue, but perhaps this type of intensity is being saved for later when this feud has reached a boiling point. That's not to say the participants were taking it easy, just that they went for stiff shots instead of ringside chaos. The Scandinavian duo was in control at the start of the match, but Ragnarok's youthful enthusiasm and inexperience led him into making a mistake. Vidmar and Yakovlev used quick tags and tandem offence to wear the big man down, exciting fans as they built up to Eriksson getting the hot tag to clean house. Smirnov, who up to that point had done a great job as a manager antagonizing the front row fans or snobbishly dismissing them, climbed on the apron to scream at the ref and distract him just enough for Vidmar to hit a low blow. From there, Vidmar worked the big man down to the mat and tagged in Yakovlev; the Belarussian delivered the Knock Out Left Hook and it was good night from there. Big win for what appears to be RotO's first ever faction, assuming Smirnov will also wrestle and not get pigeonholed into being just a manager.
Rating: 46

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Nelson Frye and Robert Howard made an entrance next, the champion wanting to say a few words before the main event. Frye talked up Ricci as a dangerous challenger, but then added that he himself has been in this business for over twenty years and has more or less seen it all, so just as a backup policy, he had asked Howard to be at ringside tonight and ensure that no shenanigans would occur. I didn't think of it at the time, but this was nicely executed for two reasons. One, he didn't have to say or even imply that Ricci, being an Italian heel, was kind of expected to play dirty and two, having seen Bruno cheat, Laurels refuse to break a hold and how Smirnov gave the assist to her team, Frye's concerns were actually very valid.
Rating: 55

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RotO World Heavyweight championship match
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Marcello Ricci vs Nelson Frye © (with Robert Howard)
So I watched some of Ricci's matches before this show to get familiar with him. Ultimate European Wrestling, where he usually appears, is a no-frills, old-school catch as catch can style promotion and his calling card there is being the one guy who actually has something of a colorful character. His RotO situation was quite the opposite, a cocky guy who proved he can also actually wrestle on top of playing a fun character. This was further emphasized by the frantic pace of the match and the constant barrage of big moves; I don't know if it was Frye trying to get the best match out of Ricci or the company telling these two to take it to another level for the main event title match, but it was quite the spectacle. Howard's presence also paid off, there was no interference and at one point where Ricci went for a chair, Howard put a foot on it and waved a finger in refusal, with the challenger immediately backing off and throwing his hands in the air to proclaim innocence. This inability to cheat was probably what threw Ricci off game and kicked off the finishing sequence of the match, which ended with Ricci in the Royal Armbar tapping out.
Rating: 46


I'd rate this show as a 42, it was well structured and executed, with some of the matches announced and hyped up in advance, but the storylines still haven't really kicked in, plus it inadvertently lacked the excitement and mystery of the first ever show. I think long term, the big takeaway here was the announcement of a weekly TV program. Should help establish the wrestlers, get fans invested, explore storylines and build up Pay Per View shows better.
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40 minutes ago, DarK_RaideR said:

So I watched some of Ricci's matches before this show to get familiar with him. Ultimate European Wrestling, where he usually appears, is a no-frills, old-school catch as catch can style promotion and his calling card there is being the one guy who actually has something of a colorful character. His RotO situation was quite the opposite, a cocky guy who proved he can also actually wrestle on top of playing a fun character. This was further emphasized by the frantic pace of the match and the constant barrage of big moves; I don't know if it was Frye trying to get the best match out of Ricci or the company telling these two to take it to another level for the main event title match, but it was quite the spectacle. Howard's presence also paid off, there was no interference and at one point where Ricci went for a chair, Howard put a foot on it and waved a finger in refusal, with the challenger immediately backing off and throwing his hands in the air to proclaim innocence. This inability to cheat was probably what threw Ricci off game and kicked off the finishing sequence of the match, which ended with Ricci in the Royal Armbar tapping out.

A face with a brain? Be still my heart.

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On 3/21/2022 at 2:50 PM, DarK_RaideR said:
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Etelka the Hun vs Malady (with Fusae Etsuko)

Out came the imposing Etelka the Hun and immediately I knew this was not going to be Malady squashing a nobody to look super strong. If anything, I was afraid it might turn out to be the other way around, because after a couple of flashy spinning kicks, Etelka no-sold the last one and tackled her opponent against a corner ringpost, then things spilled to the outside of the ring where utter chaos ensued. I was honestly expecting something horrible to happen, because I looked up Etelka after the first show and her main claim to fame is deathmatch wrestling, namely a match where she powerbombed her opponent onto a board of scissors. Not that this was booked like a deathmatch, but you get the idea of what Malady was in for once the ringside brawl began. In hindsight, I realized this chaos was probably set up this way to make up for the fact that fans didn't really know any of the competitors, even if the excitement for Malady's reveal was there and Etelka had already made her RotO debut the month prior. Somehow, Malady was able to keep up with her opponent, including spots where she kicked a chair into her face and another where she curb stomped her head onto the ring steps. Still, Etelka would have the last laugh when she hit her finisher, which she calls the Hungarian Death Drop, to get the pin.

I'm here for this. 
 

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Pro Wrestling Hero Europe #1
Mon. W3 Feb 2020, 37.913 viewers on Euro Cable Sports 4 and GBTV Sports


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Oh man, a weekly TV show and I feel like I'm being spoiled. Of course I watched it and of course it picked up right from where Valentine's Day Massacre left off, with Marcello Ricci complaining about Howard's presence at ringside and blaming his loss on him. I think it was a refreshing twist to have the main event go that way, a reversal of the usual trope where the heel has ringside assistance that costs the babyface the match, but it also gave Ricci and excuse and something to whine about instead of just accepting his loss. The man from Milan more or less said that if Howard hadn't been around, he'd have won the match and be standing here now as the RotO World Heavyweight champion. This of course brought our the actual champion himself, who seemed to be amused at what was transpiring. Ever the courteous gentleman, Nelson Frye revealed that he happened to overhear Ricci and discussed the matter with Howard backstage before coming out. If Marcello was actually willing to put his money where his mouth is, the Louisiana Pitbull would be happy to give him a chance to avenge his loss, tonight, one on one in the main event. A fairly standard opening angle to set up the night's main event, but executed nicely as the next chapter in this story.

Rating: 45

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Ryushi Ryusaki vs Wes Stryker

First match of the night saw Ryushi Ryusaki go up against "Dutch Courage" Wes Stryker. Fast paced action and spectacular moves to get things rolling, which makes sense from a production and booking standpoint I guess, but it really exposed Stryker's inexperience. He seems well rounded and might turn into something, but right now he's greener than grass and it messed with my suspension of disbelief at times, taking me out of the vibe of things. At least they didn't go on for too long, six minutes tops before Ryusaki caught the youngster in the Olympian Clutch for the tap.

Rating: 35

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Dovydas Vidmar and Tereza Smirnov then had a message for the viewers at home. Smirnov teased getting in the ring soon to actually wrestle, saying she's more than just talk and stunning looks, but the thing for now was the fact that later tonight, Petrov Yakovlev would be handing a beatdown to Ragnarok as the two men were set to wrestle one on one.

Rating: 58

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Viewers were then treated to a sit-down interview with Maisie Laurels and some interviewer out of sight. The emphasis was on her and she spoke of her background, idolizing Viper McKenna as a child, how she broke into the business, met her hero and what she aspires to do in RotO. Laurels mentioned Florida Simard and Paula Edwards by name, saying they're the two to beat for her and her immediate goal, at least until RotO introduces a Women's title.

Rating: 28

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Paula Edwards vs Primrose Darlington

I guess Laurels' interview was the lead-in for the women's match of the night, Paula Edwards against some obnoxious "daddy's little girl" kind of character by the name of Primrose Darlington. Can't say there was much action here, Primrose messed with the flow of the match on purpose and when she wasn't avoiding Edwards, she was trying to get away and interrupt her before she'd get into any sort of groove. Which was fine for her being super annoying but not great for the actual in-ring action. I guess they were putting that in the background in order to tell a story, which they did because my gosh did people hate Darlington. They wanted to see her get beat so bad, when Edwards finally got her hands on her and managed to hit more than a couple of moves, there was collective rejoicing. From there it was basically a squash, the official time is something like ten or twelve minutes but the actual wrestling was three to five, tops.

Rating: 36

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It was then time for the Scandinavians to respond. Eriksson was never a great talker (which is why Viper McKenna used to be at his side) but Ragnarok can hold his own, it seems. The Icelander just had to bring up the Vikings conquering the Baltic to go down the rivers and become the Rus, yet somehow he brought that analogy around to say that tonight the slaughter would yet again commence.

Rating: 39

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We then got a vignette of Malady being broody about her debut loss and Etsuko giving her a rough pep talk about having to rise to the occasion; next week, the Gothic Grappler has just the opponent for her protégé to face.

Rating: 55

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Petrov Yakovlev (with Tereza Smirnov) vs Ragnarok (with Petter Eriksson)

I thought Ragnarok was exaggerating when he spoke of slaughter, but man he and Yakovlev brought the fight. Not much wrestling to speak of, this was a down and dirty fist fight. Yakovlev as the scrappy, foaming-at-the-mouth bare knuckle boxer, Ragnarok as the big hard hitting Viking, those two are just made to fight each other and I could watch it for hours. Things got even crazier when the two men ended up in the front rows, trading shots amidst the live audience while Eriksson and Smirnov did their own little act every time the competitors were down on the ground. I was expecting Vidmar to chip in and smash his signature vodka bottle, which did not happen but there still was a dirty finish as Smirnov interfered to draw Ragnarok's attention away just long enough for Yakovlev to line up his Knock Out Left Hook. Bang, drop, pin.

Rating: 47

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Alberto Montero & Giovanni Bruno vs Paolo Gandalfini & Tomohiko Yamagata

I'm guessing this match was a continuation of Bruno versus Gandalfini at Valentine's Day Massacre, but their teammates felt a little random. Things kinda fell into place as the match went on though, with Montero providing the power needed to stand up to Gandalfini and Yamagata on high flying crowd pleasing duty. Didn't expect much out of this match but it actually turned out pretty decent, even if yet again Bruno had to cheat and use his tape to choke out Yamagata while keeping him in a sleeper hold to prevent the ref from noticing the weapon.

Rating: 48

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"Milan" Marcello Ricci vs "The Louisiana Pitbull" Robert Howard

I've been thinking about why this match didn't turn out to be as great as I had expected it and the best explanation I could come up with is that it fell victim to those that came before it. Not that the fans were burned out by that point, but having seen Yakovlev and Ragnarok go wild earlier, in comparison Howard really lacked that edge and it turn he didn't quite feel like the great obstacle that Ricci was trying to overcome. I'm glad that Ricci didn't wrestle like a cowardly cheating heel though (that role had already been filled by Bruno in the previous match) but he brought a more serious mat grappling version reminiscent of Ultimate European Wrestling, using technical skill to counter Howard's size and power advantage while being absolutely vicious in his joint manipulation. It worked too, and some ten minutes into the match he dropped the Milanese Elbow for the pin.

Rating: 44



Ring of the Olympians delivered a good first episode without seeming like they're trying too hard to put on something bombastic for their TV debut. Vidmar's group against the Scandinavian duo of Eriksson and Ragnarok seems to be an interesting storyline, apparently they're trying to make a program out of Bruno versus Gandalfini and after the main event's outcome, a clean win for Marcello Ricci, I'm curious to see where he goes from here and if he'll challenge Frye for the title again. In the women's division, I can tell they're trying to turn Maisie Laurels into a thing and this storyline about Etsuko's protege, Malady, apparently will feature heavily. 48 out of a hundred, let's see if they can keep it up.

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4 hours ago, DarK_RaideR said:
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Pro Wrestling Hero Europe #1
Mon. W3 Feb 2020, 37.913 viewers on Euro Cable Sports 4 and GBTV Sports


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Petrov Yakovlev (with Tereza Smirnov) vs Ragnarok (with Petter Eriksson)

I thought Ragnarok was exaggerating when he spoke of slaughter, but man he and Yakovlev brought the fight. Not much wrestling to speak of, this was a down and dirty fist fight. Yakovlev as the scrappy, foaming-at-the-mouth bare knuckle boxer, Ragnarok as the big hard hitting Viking, those two are just made to fight each other and I could watch it for hours. Things got even crazier when the two men ended up in the front rows, trading shots amidst the live audience while Eriksson and Smirnov did their own little act every time the competitors were down on the ground. I was expecting Vidmar to chip in and smash his signature vodka bottle, which did not happen but there still was a dirty finish as Smirnov interfered to draw Ragnarok's attention away just long enough for Yakovlev to line up his Knock Out Left Hook. Bang, drop, pin.

Rating: 47
 

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"Milan" Marcello Ricci vs "The Louisiana Pitbull" Robert Howard

I've been thinking about why this match didn't turn out to be as great as I had expected it and the best explanation I could come up with is that it fell victim to those that came before it. Not that the fans were burned out by that point, but having seen Yakovlev and Ragnarok go wild earlier, in comparison Howard really lacked that edge and it turn he didn't quite feel like the great obstacle that Ricci was trying to overcome. I'm glad that Ricci didn't wrestle like a cowardly cheating heel though (that role had already been filled by Bruno in the previous match) but he brought a more serious mat grappling version reminiscent of Ultimate European Wrestling, using technical skill to counter Howard's size and power advantage while being absolutely vicious in his joint manipulation. It worked too, and some ten minutes into the match he dropped the Milanese Elbow for the pin.

Rating: 44

 

My favorite two matches of this show. Howard was such a savage back in his heyday, having Ricci beat him straight-up instead of in a screw-job did a lot to establish him as a legit heel contender for those who remember both guys from NGW. Like old people, like me.
 

3 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

I'm enjoying the first person perspective. Ragnarock is a lot of fun too.

Agreed. I'm imagining something like this, except waaaaaay less 'Murica-centric, with match clips and promo stills.
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On 3/22/2022 at 3:50 AM, DarK_RaideR said:

not sure about her actual wrestling skill

 

On 3/24/2022 at 7:04 PM, DarK_RaideR said:

Smirnov teased getting in the ring soon to actually wrestle, saying she's more than just talk and stunning looks

 

I am really looking forward to seeing this character and how she develops

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Pro Wrestling Hero Europe #2
Mon. W4 Feb 2020, 40.523 viewers on Euro Cable Sports 4 and GBTV Sports


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Since the debut of their new TV show, RotO announced on social media they would be introducing a Television title so of course the follow-up began with a focus on it. Dovydas Vidmar cut a promo to hype up Yakovlev's attempt to capture the title against Eriksson, then threw a curveball when he also announced that Tereza Smirnov would not only be making her in-ring debut tonight, she was actually the one that Fusae Etsuko had arranged to face her protege!

Rating: 52

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Malady (with Fusae Etsuko) vs Tereza Smirnov (with Dovydas Vidmar)

The hype was immediately capitalized on and we jumped straight into the two women facing off. I think it's interesting how Malady skipped the grandeur and theatrincs to just walk straight to the ring. It was an interesting contrast to Smirnov, who came out wearing a shiny designer tracksuit and made a big deal out of herself debuting. Sparks flew immediately once the bell rang and they jumped on each other's throats for a striking exchange of forearms, a pace they kept up all the way to the finish. Despite not really being invested in the characters or stories yet, fans ate up the spectacular action and I can't deny these two had something special between them. Not sure if Smirnov was trained by Vidmar, but she sure operates with with that same brawling style that he and Yakovlev employ, which is another reason why she fits in so nicely with that group. I did however look up Malady and apparently she does have a kickboxing background, which would explain her more crisp strikes. Of course, she wouldn't be Etsuko's protege without having a solid grasp of the fundamentals and some great technical skills, standing or on the mat. And just like Etsuko would do a running penalty kick to an opponent on their knees (her "Darkness Falls" finisher), Malady hit a Shining Wizard (flying knee) to knock out Smirnov for the pin.

Rating: 30

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Camera swung back to Martin Bloydel and Jamie Anderson, who calmed things down to allow a breather after all that frantic action. RotO's broadcast duo had some back and forth as they spoke about what we would be seeing tonight and they let us know that the TV title match would not headline the episode, as the main event would see the reunion of The Gentleman and The Pitbull, the legendary tag team of Nelson Frye and Robert Howard, in a match against the Italian duo of Giovanni Bruno and Marcello Ricci!

Rating: 38

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Big Ben vs Roberto Milano (with Gianfranco Morelli)

Remember back in January, that first ever RotO match? Well apparently Ragnarok's now off doing his own thing with Eriksson, which makes sense seeing as he and Ben just didn't click. I'm guessing they tried to wrap this up here and give Ben a chance as a singles wrestler. The Fashionistas are still together though, which in my eyes meant that Milano would lose and down the road, the scene will replay with Ben beating Morelli. Pretty standard stuff here with the Englishman being a powerhouse and Milano as the cowardly comedic heel, but fortunately it was not an absolute squash. Ben's still a bit green and I'd think his moveset's also somewhat limited, so his opponent got in a fair share of offence and essentially carried the bout while selling Ben's offence to make him look good. Not only that, but Milano somehow made Ben submit, completely overturning my expectations. There might be some kind of story developing here.

Rating: 35

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Maisie Laurels vs Paula Edwards

Much as I liked watching this match, it quickly dawned on me that it was a bit too similar to the one before it, powerhouse face versus technically versed heel. The recipe may have been the same, but the execution was better, part because fans knew the wrestlers better and part because they didn't have to tone down the actual wrestling in favour of storytelling. Plus the finish was also different, since this time Edwards hit a pinning powerbomb with authority to get the win.

Rating: 40

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Florida Simard had a few words in response to Laurels' interview last week, saying she got called out but she doesn't have anything to prove to "bootleg McKenna". As far as she's concerned, she beat Laurels at Valentine's Day Massacre and that's the end of it.

Rating: 48

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RotO Television title match
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Petter Eriksson vs Petrov Yakovlev

Seeing how their tag match at Valentine's Day Massacre was a barn burner, I had high expectations from this one and it didn't disappoint me. Eriksson is past his prime for sure but he's still a big scary individual and a veteran of the business, while Yakovlev brought heaps of energy and intensity to the bout. This was no frills old school brawling and although several times they went out of the ring, it never went out of control in the stands like the Ragnarok match from last week. To be fair though, Eriksson probably is too banged up and lacks the cardio for something like that, so he played to his strengths and kept it contained but hard hitting, a Spinning Back Elbow flattening Yakovlev for the pin. Kind of a surprising outcome, but I guess for now it makes sense to go with the established guy and give Petter one last huzzah; Yakovlev still hasn't hit thirty years of age, he'll get plenty of opportunities down the road.

Rating: 50

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This one caught me by surprise, Paolo Gandalfini cut a promo and said he wants to prove that not all Italians are slimy cheaters like Bruno and Ricci, some like him are actual proper professional wrestlers. Ryushi Ryusaki then walked in and challenged him to prove his claim in the ring against him next week, which is a match I never knew I wanted to see until now.

Rating: 62

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The Gentleman and the Pitbull vs Giovanni Bruno and Marcelo Ricci

At first I thought they just randomly threw the two Italian heels in there together for no apparent reason other than perhaps Gandalfini's promo before, but the announcers brought up the quite valid point that Bruno hasn't lost any matches in RotO, except that 10 man Starmageddon at Rebirth, which again doesn't feel like a personal defeat per se. Also, remember how I said about the previous match that it didn't go completely off the rails? Well this one did and we got a classic chaotic brawl that you'd expect to see back in the wrasslin' days of the Texas territories. And as much as I love the face team and know they can go, it was the heels actually that got me. Ricci completely changed his game from last week's shoot style grappling while Bruno proved he can get down and dirty once comedy's thrown out the window. Well, not completely out, because cheating's in his nature and once again, he just had to grab Howard's tights to secure the win for his team.

Rating: 53



I think RotO outdid themselves on this night, they've found their groove, they're telling stories and fans are more familiar with the roster. A solid 54 means they did even better than their debut show, so I can only hope it gets even better from here.

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Pro Wrestling Hero Europe #3
Mon. W1 Mar 2020, 110.417 viewers on Euro Cable Sports 4 and GBTV Sports


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Episode three and it seems we still have some way to go with these, as RotO announced their next pay per view, March Into Battle, will be held near the end of March, presumably to be near the national holiday of the 25th. The announcing duo of Martin Bloydel and Jamie Anderson also took some time at the top of this episode to discuss tonight's proceedings, namely the Gandalfini-Ryusaki match that was agreed upon last week, Vidmar facing Ragnarok after past week's TV title match between their allies, as well as Florida Simard and "The Louisiana Pitbull" Robert Howard who would be competing inside the ring.
 

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Robert Howard vs Thorsten Sigurdsson

We then went directly to the first of these matches, as Howard faced the debuting berzerker from Norway by the name of Thorsten Sigurdsson. This wasn't just a moniker either, the man really went overboard as soon as the bell rang and we got a chaotic fight outside the ring with the referee not daring to disqualify either man and suffer the consequences. It was exciting watching it live, but in hindsight it seems all the smoke and mirrors were there to draw attention away from how green Sigurdsson is. Not only that, I re-watched it and realized that it's not just him keeping things simple to avoid a botch, but Howard's also refraining from any of his moves that would normally involve dropping an opponent on their head. Still, the trick worked at the time and Howard was able to get a half decent match out of the rookie before he took him down with a Big Boot for the pin.

Rating: 35

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Alberto Montero then cut a promo, essentially announcing himself as Eriksson's first challenger for the RotO Television title, next week.

Rating: 38


A video aired next, haphazardly edited to show some blurry, smoky images of chains, candles and other dimly lit items while a faint giggle could be overheard every now and then. Strong Joker vibes from this one, it seems RotO are building up hype and mystery for some new character to debut soon.
 

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Big Ben vs Gianfranco Morelli (with Roberto Milano)

As I expected last week, we got Ben wrestling the other half of The Fashionistas this time. Once again, the emphasis was placed on telling the story of the powerhouse but green babyface against the sneaky heel and once again, it was a somewhat competitive bout instead of an absolute squash. This time however Ben was able to get the clean victory, even if it took a while due to Milano's constant interference.

Rating: 30

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Cut backstage as Florida Simard was making her way to the ring and ran into Masie Laurels. In response to her promo last week, Laurels reminded Simard that the victory over her had only been due to a disqualification. In her eyes, Laurels said, she had Simard beat before the ref interfered and come March Into Battle, she'd be glad to finish the job.

Rating: 43

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Florida Simard vs Mad Millie Morgan

Perhaps Laurels' words got into Simard's head because she allowed the debuting youngster in Mad Millie Morgan to get the jump on her once the match began. Morgan's punk look and attitude instantly won me over but apparently she has the chops to back it up too. Solid fundamentals, stiff strikes and crisp technique, that was some old school British strong style on display. As Jamie Anderson pointed out in commentary, the clue is in the name: Millie is the daughter of UK shoot grappler Walter Morgan and has also been trained by "Trademark" Thomas Morgan, which explains her in-ring style. Simard was rocked alright and had to refocus fast, which led to an exciting, fast paced match as she mustered a counterattack through her high flying offence. Didn't expect the rookie to get so much offence in, but Morgan looked great despite the loss in the end and Simard had to work hard to come out on top, scoring a quick win out of nowhere with a backslide pin.

Rating: 34

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Fusae Etsuko and Malady were shown watching the match backstage and Etsuko sung Morgan's praises. You guessed it, she's going to be Malady's next test. Another match is set up for next week and I'm hyped to see it.

Rating: 51

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Dovydas Vidmar (with Tereza Smirnov) vs Ragnarok

I don't know if Vidmar, Yakovlev and Smirnov versus Eriksson and Ragnarok is the hottest rivalry in RotO right now, but it's certainly given us some of the best matches so far. This one was no exception, though the action was mostly contained inside the ring and it didn't play out as another arena wide brawl. Ragnarok looked like a million bucks as he laid in the offence and with Vidmar past the 40 year mark, it looked like he had him beat on more than one occasion. In fact, Smirnov had to distract the referee and prevent her (have I mentioned that RotO has two refs and they're both female?) from counting a crucial pin attempt by the Icelander. This frustrated Ragnarok who confronted her and the ref, but Smirnov pretended to stumble and dragged the referee with her for a couple of seconds, allowing Vidmar to spit vodka in his opponent's eyes, as apparently he'd taken a sip during the argument. One Bratva Breaker and Ragnarok fell.

Rating: 45

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Marcello Ricci then took to the ring to air his grievances for not getting a title rematch despite beating Howard. Instead of the champion or the Louisiana Pitbull, this brought out Giovanni Bruno, of all people. Bruno congratulated his compatriot, but pointed out that himself remains undefeated in RotO and during last week's main event tag match, it was him who got the pin. Thus, if anyone deserves a shot at gold, it's Giovanni Bruno. Seems like we got two potential challengers and for now we got no resolution, since the two Italians ended their confrontation with a staredown.

Rating: 51

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Paolo Gandalfini vs Ryushi Ryusaki

Ryusaki's one of the great "what ifs" of NGW and I like how Gandalfini's portrayal escapes the mold of another cocky Italian heel, but I wasn't expecting to see such a good match from the two of them. Sure it was a little short at just under ten minutes, but the chemistry between the two men was undeniable, producing a good mix of impact moves and technical grappling. Gandalfini got the win after he hit a Full Nelson Bomb with authority as the show went off the air shortly after.

Rating: 48



Highs and lows overall, some good stuff but can't say things were better than last week. The main event was the only match hyped ahead of time, something that apparently has been addressed as we got more matches set up for next week. Action was good too, but I think they tried too hard to push too many new people at once and it threw fans and viewers a little off. 48 all in all.

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