Saturday, September 5, 2015

Review: The Best of RHW

Way back in March, I was asked for a reco on the best match on my Rock Hard Wrestling casting post. I kind of gave an answer, but I thought I'd expand on it here.

It's probably pretty clear that I'm a huge fan of Rock Hard Wrestling. I have bought many matches from them and plan to buy more. So here is my review, to help you decide if you'd be a fan. I know that just because I like them, it doesn't mean you will.

Strengths (Subjective)

These are strengths for me, but I list them like this because they're very much personal tastes.

Talent: It all starts with the wrestlers. In terms of appearance, the guys are top notch, if you like the young, white fitness model type. Handsome, ripped and charismatic all describe most of the talent. While I obviously have an appreciation for a lot of different guys, based on my story casting and my reviews of Guido Genatto matches, I do like the roster of RHW guys a lot.

Josh Steel holds Dash Decker

The Look: Their clean, sleek aesthetic is my aesthetic. Everything looks crisp and professional. It's a real pro ring. No saggy ropes in RHW. The stark black background makes the action pop without unnecessary distractions of posters, stuffed animals or furniture.

Brodie Fisher and Alex Waters pop against the black curtain

Long-lingering holds: The action isn't that fast-paced, which might not sound like a positive, but for me it is. I like that the submission holds are usually held onto for a while, letting you really savor them. For me, this is one of the advantages of the targeted video companies over bigger pro groups, like WWE or TNA, whose wrestlers move between holds too fast and many of the hottest holds have fallen out of favor.

Jake Jenkins suffers in Alex Waters' hold

Strengths (Objective)

Rock Hard does a lot of things well. I feel like these are empirical judgments, not a matter of taste.

Consistency: You always know what you're going to get with an RHW match. They have a look, tone and style that remains the same.

Typical RHW with Jake Jenkins and Cliff Johnson

Value (Price): The matches have two prices - $17.95 for SD and $19.95 for HD. All the ones I've bought are at least 20 minutes, with the average being 25. That's great value nowadays. Other competitors charge a lot more and I question paying over $25 for one match. One company has literally priced me out of their product by going over $30 for a one-match download.

Alex Waters, Jake Jenkins and Josh Steel

Customer-First Delivery Options: Unlike most companies, they offer their downloads in multiple formats. You choose between HD for $19.95 or SD for $17.95. The great thing about their SD option is that you get three different formats for the one price - a small MP4, plus large MOV and WMV files. I really appreciate this, as it saves me time converting WMV's into something I can use on my iPad. The MOV files look great on my TV and the MP4 doesn't hog space on my devices.

Austin Cooper splits Alex Waters

Production Quality: The cameras are almost always in the perfect spot, the lighting is great, the video and audio are crystal clear. They're so close to perfect that on a recent release, when you hear someone off camera say, "one minute", it's kind of shocking because it's the first mistake I can ever remember. So I'd say 99% perfection.

Dash Decker splits Blake Keller 


Like anything, RHW isn't perfect. Here's things I thought you should know before buying ...

Diversity (Product): RHW does one thing and they do it well, but they only do one thing. They've tried to add some mild bondage and plots, but really, I'd say every match I have is pretty similar. Even the action has a formula, which is followed pretty closely. And the holds and moves repeat. The repetitiveness can be a deterrent for multiple purchases.

Jake Jenkins gets racked a lot, this time by Zack Jonathan

Diversity (Casting): RHW is like the best looking fraternity on campus at an all-white college. It's definitely the most homogeneous roster in the business and many of the guys are interchangeable to me.

Which mop-haired stud is which?

Wrestling ability: This is not always the most skilled group of guys. The guys I buy are not terrible, but I'd rank them in the middle of the industry, with some being much better than others. The submission moves are usually pretty good and there are occasionally some good power moves, like suplexes and bodyslams. But there isn't a ton of variety or creativity, there are moves attempted that don't work and selling isn't everyone's strength.

Dash Decker tries to sell Colt Stevens' ... Boston crab?

Favorite Wrestlers

As I identified in my original reply, I have three "go-to" wrestlers. I have bought a few videos that didn't star one of the three, but it's really these three that drive my purchases. I listed them in order of discovery, not preference.

Jake Jenkins: Jake is smaller, but highly skilled. He’s great at dishing it out and taking it (his high-pitched whimpers of pain are awesome). He wins and loses, but always fights well. He's short and ripped in the early matches, a little less defined in later matches. I like him in everything, but I'd say that his singles matches against Alex Waters, Nick Collins and Josh Steel come to mind as among the best.

Jake looks buff
Nick Collins racks Jake
Jake punishes Matt Engel

Alex Waters: He’s a cocky, southern, gorgeous heel. Like an evil frat boy, he's a perfectly coifed sadist. Great at dishing out, not as great at taking it. He trash talks a lot, so he'll keep talking when he should be suffering. He did an especially good job against Jake Jenkins, Z-Man and Dash Decker.

Alex boston crabs Jake Jenkins
Josh Steel stretches Alex out
Alex mocks Kyle Carter

Dash Decker: As RHW’s uber-stud, Dash is a big, muscular heel. He dominates most of his matches more than anyone else, probably 70% of the time. While he’s not much of a talker, he does suffer well against smaller guys, like Gage Cardona and Colt Stevens. Alex Waters and Ethan Andrews tested him. I liked his match against Colt Stevens, who was a mouthy wannabe model. The only one I’d avoid is the Josh Steel match. Josh is supposed to be drunk during the match, so while the action isn’t bad, the drunk gimmick put a damper on it for me.

Dash does a lot of this
Dash chokes Colt Stevens
Dash bearhugs Gage Cardona

Best Match

I can't name one favorite match, but I have a suggestion for the first-time RHW buyer.

Best Series: King of the Ring. This series gets you the top stars with the most action. There have been three so far, Jake Jenkins vs. Josh Steel, Alex Waters vs. Dash Decker, and Dash Decker vs. Ethan Andrews. You can't go wrong with any of them, but if I ranked them, it'd be 2-3-1. If you don’t like these matches, you probably won’t like RHW.

KOTR 3: Dash Decker trapped by Ethan Andrews

Best Value: King of the Ring 2 - Alex Waters vs. Dash Decker. It's $17.95 ($19.95 for HD) for 31 minutes of their best action. The biggest names and hottest studs through five rounds and a lot of great punishment on both. Regardless of who you want to see punished or as punisher, there's enough to keep you going.

It's one hell of a battle

And one I can watch over and over

So that's my Rock Hard Wrestling assessment. What'd you think? Was it helpful? Agree? Disagree? Does it motivate you to check them outfit you haven't? Or confirm that they're not the company for you? Please let me know in the comments!



  1. This is a great post:

    RockHard has come a LONG way since they first began. Between having Bruce Ballard, Alex Waters, and Dash Decker on their current roster they have the cream of the crop in underground wrestling as far as I'm concerned. The only other stars I would put in these guys' league that are not at RockHard would be Kid Karisma at BG and Marco at Thunder's Arena. (Note: Frey/Austin Cooper just barely misses being up there with these guys)

    I used to think that RHW was indie but it is one to beat now. Their production is stellar, their cast is great (pay attention to both those statements BGeast), and their prices are extremely fair (take notice ThundersArena).

    The only things I would criticize them for is that they only release 2 matches per month. That's not much content especially when you consider that the other guys release 2 to 3 times that content in the same span of time. The other thing is their fighters are ALWAYS way too covered up. I mean on every other site you got guys in hot outfits for the most part showing off their wonderful assets (pun half-way intended)...could you imagine Bruce Ballard in a skimpy bikini/speedo...I wouldn't even be able to breathe long enough to watch that!

    Other than that, though, keep up the good work RHW!!

    1. I agree on the gear, but I've gotten used to the shorts look. When Dash wore the briefs, I was pretty darn happy.

      On the releases, I'd love more, but I think that might be because of how focused they are. With so little variety, the market might not support so many videos.

  2. P.S. You are %100 correct about Jake Jenkins when he cries out in pain. His pleas for mercy are a HUGE turn on. A lot of fighters don't seem to know how to suffer "correctly" lol. Some of them barely utter a word to the point where you wonder if they're even in pain while others are very irritating when they are suffering (Brad Barnes is a perfect example of this: the way he yells out when getting beat is HIGHLY ANNOYING to the point where I don't buy his matches anymore).

    1. Thanks, I agree with you again. Just a few few whimpers from Jake and I'm done. He's the best sufferer in the business today.

  3. Alex R:

    Great post. I do have to say that the talent they get is extremely hot. I can definitely see the correlation between your stories and RHW. I tend to agree that it would be great if they employed more racial variety. Dont get me wrong the white boys are really kicking ass and getting their asses kicked, but I think other boys want to play too!
    Okay another thing that I agree with you is the fact that they maintain the holds for a long time. whoof! That is hot. Bruce Ballard being dominate in an ab stretch by Austin Cooper...speechless.

    1. Thanks for the comment. I think a little more variety with the same quality of guys - fit, athletic, handsome, charismatic - would be great.

      Yeah, when they have these studs, it's great to see a long hold so you can really savor it.

  4. Totally on point Alex! Weeks ago I was running that same analysis in my head and I coincide with you in each and every point.

    1. Thanks! That means a lot coming from you, given how insightful and interesting all your posts are.

  5. Alex, good post, we agree on many points. The Josh vs Dash match would've been better without the drunk angle but I think Josh did a pretty good job playing his part. I think a rematch between those two should be considered. I thnk it'd be even hotter if Dash was dressed like the All-American babyface.

    I think it's a shame Eli Black didn't have a longer run in RHW. His selling is equally as good as Jake's. Even now with his excessive tattoos, I'd still welcome him back.

    RHW's roster from the very beginning has been pretty impressive. Their wrestling action might not be the polished but most the guys have looked good doing it.

    1. My guess is that Josh has moved on. He hasn't appeared for awhile. A re-match with Dash could be really good.

      I'm actually not a huge fan of Eli Black, but coming up later this month (9/26) I do have a positive review of his UCW match vs. Marcus Ares coming.