Rock 'N' Roll Wrestling
In a huge, darkened room, two nearly-naked men are illuminated by bright stage lights. They’re eyeing each other off and tensing their muscles as they wait for a third man, the adjudicator, to give them the all-clear. Then, they’ll lunge at each other, scraping at each other’s necks and pulling at limbs to throw the other off balance. The crowd will cheer while they snarl.
This is the world of WWE wrestling where fighters like the Undertaker and Ultimate Warrior influenced impressionable kids. Carlo ‘Cash Money’ Cannon and ‘King’ Huss were impressed so much that wrestling is exactly what they did. When the entertaining Rock ‘n’ Roll Wrestling comes to the House of Rock next week, these two will be facing off against some tough opponents. ‘King’ Huss will be taking on Krackerjak but isn’t intimidated.
“Everyone, including that peasant Krackerjak, must bow down to King Huss,” he says. “Kracker is nothing more than a little piece of trash redneck hick, who I will crush and humiliate – just like any other opponent who stands in my way.”
Huss is glad that Rock ‘n’ Roll Wrestling is returning to the House of Rock. He says it’s great for Melbourne wrestling because there’ll be a new crowd to impress with his skills. Rock ‘n’ Roll Wrestling originated in the early-‘90s, at St Kilda’s Prince of Wales Hotel as the brain child of Mr Damage, a prominent second-generation wrestler.
Back then, ring-side was the place to be on Saturday night in Melbourne because shit got wild. Wrestlers like Bully the Brawler, George ‘the Hitman’ Julio, Mr Damage and The Ox mauled each other until blood was spilled and the winner became legendary. Later, it was the Greyhound Hotel that hosted the brawls.
Veteran wrestler Mike Burr puts it best when explaining Rock ‘n’ Roll Wrestling. He’s been fighting for 12 years, both in Australia and Japan, so he ought to know what he’s talking about. “It brings the two best things in life together,” he says. “Music and fighting.”
However, it’s been six years since a Rock ‘n’ Roll Wrestling match was held in Melbourne. The House of Rock put its hand up to host the event and wrestlers and spectators alike are chomping at the bit to reignite the fire that burned in those early matches.
Wrestlers who were up-and-coming in 2007 have matured, refined their technique and have a reason to fight. Carlo ‘the Cash Money’ Cannon has been wrestling for seven years. “When I was five, I was bullied,” he says. “When I saw [WWE wrestler] Big Boss Man handcuffing Hulk Hogan to the ropes, I knew I could handle my bullies. I was drawn to those that knew how to handle their business swiftly and brutally.”
Someone who definitely handles their business brutally is Cannon’s opponent, Krackerjak. He’s been wrestling for 12 years, aims to be “as violent as possible” when fighting and has toured the US, Japan and the UK. He says he’s wrestled everyone in Australia, but learns a lot from each opponent, whether good or bad.
For someone who’s been set on fire, dragged through thumbtacks and wrapped in barbed wire, he’s still pretty keen on the whole wrestling thing. “I can’t imagine a better job than getting paid to kick people in the balls, gauge their eyes and set them on fire,” he says. “It’s so great to endorse a show that’s aimed at an 18-plus crowd because we can be as spectacularly violent as possible!”
Dowie Jones seems similarly dangerous. Although he hasn’t been wrestling as long as Kracker, only nine years in fact, he’s recently refocused his approach to wrestling. “It’s incredible timing that Rock ‘n’ Roll Wrestling is relaunching now,” he says. “I have refocused my attitude and training so they have no idea what they are in for!”
It’s not only the boys that are getting fired up about wrestling’s return to the forefront of Melbourne’s nightlife. The Rockettes, KC Cassidy and Nakita Naridan, are just as fit, just as dangerous and just as brutal as the blokes.
Naridan has been wrestling for four years and trained with numerous Rock ‘n’ Roll Wrestling greats. She says that her style of wrestling is unusual for a woman. But, as she’s the reigning NAW Women’s champion, it’s obviously working for her. “I’m thrilled to be part of a women’s match that will help make history,” she says of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Wrestling reinvention. “KC – be warned. I’m going to smash your pretty little face into oblivion.”
Opponent KC Cassidy is doubtful. She may have only been wrestling for two years but with a mother who was really into the Australian wrestling scene as well as the advantage of being a new competitor, she reckons she’s in it to win it. “I think she might be underestimating me,” she says of Naridan. “I’m a fresh, new face on the scene so she hasn’t had a chance to fully take in the technical skill I bring to the ring. She might tap out or I might take her down from the top rope. Either way, I will win.”
With so many competitive participants who will do anything they can to win, Rock ‘n’ Roll Wrestling is bound to be brutal, chaotic and probably even bloody. As Krackerjak says, “anything can happen”.
BY KELLY THEOBALD
Rock ‘n’ Roll Wrestling is on at the House of Rock at the Palace Theatre on Saturday March 31.