Three reviews in seven days? Who am I? Anyway, last night Ayesha Raymond and Adam Woods posted an alternative commentary for Renegade Wrestling Dojo’s first event ‘No Backup Required’ via the According To Woods web show so I thought I’d take a look.
Originally due to be run under the Fierce Females banner, about three/four days beforehand it was announced that the Dojo had parted ways with the promotion and were rebranding as Renegade Wrestling Dojo so things were up in the air about how this event was going to go, if it was still going to be at the Source Wrestling School, if the card would change because of it, all that stuff. I had a chat with Brodie Adler the night the change was confirmed when we previewed the event here. So there were a few more eyes on how Ayesha Raymond and the team were going to do with some mounting pressure.
The show itself took place with no changes to the announced match card but how was it?
We kicked off with Luke Matthews on ring announcing duties, welcoming fans to the venue to see some wrestling. Though the crowd wasn’t huge by conventional standards, be it limited tickets and the fact that we’re still in a pandemic, they made up for it with a good amount of noise and enthusiasm.
Ayesha Raymond was introduced, she thanked the crowd for coming and gave a bit of an explanation on what Renegade Wrestling Dojo is and will be, and that is inclusive. A nice touch.
tom fulton defeated london lovelust by pinfall.
The wrestling portion of the show started with this inclusivity pledge in full effect. For those unaware, Tom Fulton is from the future, not much has changed but they live underwater from what I’ve heard. He travels back in time to wrestle one match at a time.
Sounds perfectly plausible in the word of professional wrestling.
His opponent, London Lovelust, is one of the trainees from the Dojo whom I’d heard a bit about due to their quickness to take to the ring so I was interested to see what they’ve got. Back to the inclusivity for a moment, London identifies as non-binary and came to the Dojo due to Ayesha Raymond’s promotion of providing a training environment open to anyone so that were made comfortable to learn. A big test was ahead for not only going into the ring with someone with the experience of a Tom Fulton but also as the opening match for this new venture.
Lovelust entered with an incredible swagger for someone having their first match in front of a paying audience. Fulton used his power in the early going but was was soon being thrown for an armdrag or three into a nice pinfall transition. Fulton bailed to the outside, London gave chase but was soon fallen to the crafty Fulton booting them when re-entering the ring. Back on the outside Fulton bullied London before ramming them rib first into the ring post.
London fought back with a sunset flip, escaping a right hand from Fulton and answered with a dropkick to send Fulton once again scurrying to the ropes to create some breathing room but suckered Lovelust in for a swift boot to the midsection to regain control.
Again, Lovelust got an opening, tossing Fulton with a monkey flip from the corner. Throwing some kicks and building momentum but Fulton dodged a corner rush and rolled up London and aiding the fall with his feet on the ropes for the tainted victory.
As always with these kinds of shows when it’s heavily debutantes you have to give some leeway on the in-ring action and look at the potential. Yes, London is a bit rough around the edges, they have the character part down but has to translate that to being a bit more physically expressive in the ring, spread them wings. It’ll all come with more show time. I did enjoy the crumple physics when they got knocked down. That aside, they gave a good account of themselves, especially for their first match.
Iona Sky defeated Ayesha Raymond by pinfall.
Early shoulder barge exchange in the opening section with Sky being unable to knock down the much taller Raymond. Sky switched tactic to try and out agility Ayesha but was caught attempting a crossbody and was thrown overhead for a fallaway slam.
Raymond continued to almost condescend her opponent. Like she was toying with her prey. Ayesha scraped Sky’s eyes across the top rope, a move I last saw when playing Legends of Wrestling on the PS2, and continued to pick at Sky, putting on a keylock briefly before landing a couple corner splashes.
Sky burst out from the corner with a spear for a two count. Raymond dodged a basement crossbody but Sky smashed Raymond’s face against the middle turnbuckle, locked in a crossface before looking to transition into, what looked like, a Rings of Saturn but instead rolling Ayesha through into a pin for the three.
I liked this one, finding out Iona Sky had been training for seven years before she even got her first match it could go either way but she had the little things down. The reactionary facials, trying to swat away Raymond in the corner, just the extra moments that can make a match easier to invest in so that it’s not just moves, it’s a fight. The crowd were firmly on Iona’s side in this match. Again, there’s still plenty of room for improvement but she was bold and ready to be in front of a crowd. The whole, big scary Ayesha underestimating her opponent line throughout the match was very well told. The crowd loves an underdog.
Katzabella & London Lovelust defeated The Struthers Sisters (Maven Struthers & Raven Struthers) by pinfall.
Heading into this match it was the big scary Struthers Sisters taking on Katzabella with a mystery partner. It turned out to be London Lovelust. Which automatically gave the match a totally different dynamic in that it was four newbies, no veteran to provide a safety net.
Raven and Katzabella opened with the lock up which saw Struthers easily overpower the petit Katzabella. I was automatically on board with the Katzabella’s character with her hands like claws in her lock up stance and her posture after being overpowered like a cat landing on their feet.
Katzabella went to agility (as all cats would do) with some nice armdrags before being muscled and thrown by the larger Raven Struthers. Raven tagged in Maven in the corner who started gnawing on the arm of Katzabella. Katzabella rolled away from a corner rush to tag in Lovelust for a little tandem offense. Maven threw London down and started wailing with punches. There’s something a little unhinged about Maven Struthers. Raven tagged in and started targeting the limbs of Lovelust, slamming them against the mat.
Lovelust broke through a double clothesline attempt but it couldn’t stop the Struthers duo from knocking them down, making use of quick tags to keep Lovelust in their sights, and constantly keeping the punishment targeted to the legs.
London eventually kicked Maven back long enough to tag in Katzabella who bolted into the ring with a flurry. Wriggling out of a powerslam from Raven and using her claws to scratch the back. A dropkick from Lovelust left Raven dazed enough for Katzabella to hit a crossbody from the top rope for the win to the delight of the crowd.
The finish was outta nowhere, but the crowd were hot for it. Maven Struthers is 100% committed and it showed, she looked very comfortable in the ring, trash talking the crowd throughout. Raven was a bit refrained in the beginning but as the match went on she gained that confidence and together they were an imposing force of two big bruising monsters.
Though we didn’t see too much of Katzabella, outside of the top and tail of the match, there’s definitely something very palpable about her. I really liked the feline characteristics she has brought to the character, it’s not just a costume and name. Once she has a few more outings in a ring to smooth out some of the rough spots she will be a very special talent.
In their second match of the night, London once again showed plenty of potential, I’m looking forward to seeing their character evolve.
Ronnie Knox defeated Cassie King by submission.
In the penultimate match up of the show, Cassie King finally made her debut after originally being slated to get in the ring late 2019 but injuries and then a global crisis put halt to all of that. She was facing a veteran in Ronnie Knox, trained by Robbie Brookside, who has made appearances across England with this being her Scottish debut.
Knox got the early upper hand from the lock up, cinching in a headlock, taking King to the mat. King was able to wrap her legs around the head of Knox, who then countered out and put the exclamation point on it with a hard slap to the face.
King picked up the pace with some quick kicks and flew into an armbar but Knox powered out. Knox roughhoused King, not giving her a second to catch her breath by keeping King moving and stretched. Cassie evaded a shoulder block to send Ronnie into corner ring post which allowed her to build up a sequence of strikes.
Knox escaped an armbar by getting the tip of her boot to the bottom rope. While Knox kept the referee between her and Cassie King, she thumbed King in the eye to allow her to get trapped into a submission, like a keylock-headscissor combo that looked brutal for the tap out.
A change in pace from the previous matches, a lower impact, more technical bout. King got into the match as it went on with her feeding off the crowd. I like how Knox worked on the head, back, and arm of King throughout the match via stretches or just straight up punches and kicks which lead to the tap out being so quick without King looking weak in the grand scheme of things.
Cassie King impressed. A long awaited debut and she made it worthwhile.
Brodie Adler vs Regina Rosendahl ended in a draw.
In the first main event in Renegade Wrestling Dojo history, it featured Finnish wrestling pioneer Regina Rosendahl against one of thee ones to watch in Scotland right now in Brodie Adler.
The aesthetic of the all in white Ice Queen of Regina Rosendahl against the all in black Brodie Adler created a nice contrast. Rosendahl dropping her ring jacket as the referee attempted to retrieve it from her was a great subtle insight into her character.
The irresistible force met the immovable object early on, clashing with a big shoulder block. Ever the veteran, Regina followed Brodie’s second attempt and met her with a knee to the gut. Brodie ran back with a shoulder tackle, following up with a running leg drop for a two count.
Adler kept the momentum in the ring, throwing Rosendahl out of the corner with a neck snap faceplant for good measure to send Regina rolling out of the ring. Rosendahl grabbed the legs of Brodie to bring her down the apron, laying in forearms and a boot to the head to gain control. Ramming Brodie’s back into the ring apron before casually re-entering the ring.
Rosendahl continued the attack, aiming a hip attack and followed up with a facewash boot to a seated Adler in the corner. Taking her sweet time and relishing the moment. Clawing at the ear of Adler and clubbing off an attempted comeback. Brodie forced her way out of a ground headscissor but Rosendahl went straight back on the attack with a short armed clothesline.
Nothing flashy about Rosendahl’s attacks with boots to the face, the ribs, the hands, and a nasty straight fist to the face of Brodie while she lay on the ground. Brodie met Regina while Rosendahl was seated on the top rope, carrying her across the ring for a big Samoan Drop but couldn’t make the pin.
Adler fired up with a couple clotheslines and a running crossbody for a near fall. Regina pushed back an attempted uranage and ran into Brodie with a spear for another two count. A second rope leg drop could only muster another two as Brodie got her shoulder up.
The two traded tired forearms, Regina broke the deadlock with an uppercut but was caught in an uranage. Brodie put on a bow and arrow submission that Regina kicked out of and put on her own modified sleeper. After a struggle the bell rang and, after a little confusion, it was declared a time limit draw.
After a brief pause, Regina offered her hand to Brodie and the two shook as the roster gathered into the ring to close the show.
This was a war to end the show, two brute forces colliding. The wily of the veteran Regina Rosendahl coupled with the exuberance of Brodie Adler. It wasn’t a pretty match, no flips and whoopsie-doodles, but plenty of hard strikes and impactful moments with a story. The draw opens up the door for a rematch and some escalation of stakes to settle who is best.
Overall a really enjoyable show. I’ve possibly overused the word “potential” but there was plenty on this show from top to bottom. All the new faces really showed why they were trusted to be on this debut event, and they all have an upside when it comes to growth. I’m looking forward to checking out the next show and seeing the confidence of getting in front of a crowd going into their in-ring training. Ayesha Raymond should be proud of what she accomplished, especially with the week that lead to this event being all sorts of drama behind the scenes.
The full event is available on YouTube with commentary from Adam Woods and Ayesha Raymond: