Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Review: Jake Jenkins vs. Gunner Bayani (RHW 1.0)

Jake Jenkins vs. Gunner Bayani is probably a weird Rock Hard Wrestling match for me to choose to feature, because it's not necessarily a favorite. It is, however, still enjoyable depending on your tastes. I picked it because it breaks the expected mold in a few ways. RHW was the most consistent and homogeneous of the video companies, so a little variety was and is interesting to me.

It's Jake vs. Gunner


Jake Jenkins was a real force in RHW 1.0. The stud was a competitive, cocky bad boy who was always quick with the takedowns and put-downs. In addition to his looks, body and vocalizations of pain, Jake's in-ring personality always captivated me as a viewer and RHW was the best place to see it. Jake won and lost, but he was never a complete jobber. During his matches, he fought hard with attitude and viewers enjoyed long alternating stretches of dominance and suffering. In RHW, you see the most complete Jake and it's his appearances here that made him a star.

Jake's intense here, dominating the rookie

Love this version of Jake - the compact powerhouse

The variety starts with Jake's opponent here. Gunner Bayani isn't your typical RHW wrestler. He's skinnier and far less frat boy looking. He actually looks more like the local street tough who hates the rich, preppy studs of Gamma Eta Psi (ΓHΨ) than one of their own members.

Gunner also seems to be more talented than most RHW rookies. They say he's an indy wrestler and I believe it. He moves smoothly and executes complex moves with ease, which I really liked.

Gunner shows off with a classic arm drag

Smooth ... I do believe this isn't
Gunner's first time in the ring

And this isn't your typical RHW match. It strays from the usual formula a couple of ways. First, Jake is the most dominant that I can remember, owning the first round. He suffers less, so don't buy it looking for a great Jake suffering moment. I was surprised by this. Since Gunner is pro-trained and looks more heel than babyface jobber, you'd think it would've been more even.

There are a few submission holds
to break up the power moves

It's tough to find a moment where they're not moving

Jake doesn't just hold the rack,
he makes it hurt

It also breaks the formula in terms of cadence. RHW matches can be formulaic. There are usually no more than one or two reversals in any fall and they end in a pained cry of submission. This results in long periods of domination and a solid run up to the final submission. Here, we have a pinfall, not a submission, along with a second round that is completely back-and-forth, full of short runs, reversals and a sudden ending with a one-move finale.

The action itself is very fast-paced, with few long-held submission holds. Instead, you get a lot of flips, slams and other power-type moves. Really, this post should be all GIF’s, because it seems like the guys never stop moving.

Beautiful atomic drop

Jake shows his power - reversing the cross body

So it feels different, but is it good? I did like it or I wouldn't have featured it at all. I think that "Jake the jobber" fans could be disappointed, but I enjoyed the non-stop action. Jake's dominant side is appealing to me. Gunner's surprise skill at wrestling and suffering made me even hotter for Jake as he pretty much crushes the rookie in a mere 16 minutes.

In the end, this worked for me, even as it worked against expectations. I can't think of a match when Jake has been more dominant. In terms of actual wrestling, it's great to see both guys having solid ring-sense and this feels a level above most RHW matches of the time.

So that's my take. What's yours?

Alex

3 comments:

  1. Thank you for reviewing this. I actually thought Gunner was damn cute and was hoping to see more of him as time went on. Alas, he was only there a short time. Great body though, too bad about the horrible gear they saddled him with :)

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  2. Thank you for reviewing this. I actually thought Gunner was damn cute and was hoping to see more of him as time went on. Alas, he was only there a short time. Great body though, too bad about the horrible gear they saddled him with :)

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    1. Thanks for the comment! Nice to hear from a Gunner fan. Yeah, he was one of their flashes, which is too bad because he did work well in the ring.

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