Saturday, November 12, 2016

Review: Alex Waters vs. Zack Johnathan KOTR7 (RHW)

UCW has rejuvenated my interest in their belt. Can Rock Hard Wrestling do the same? I skipped the last two King of the Ring matches, unable to summon any interest in either one. Now we've got King Zack Johnathan vs. Alex Waters.

Two veterans in a KOTR disappointment

Putting Alex back in the KOTR series convinced me to buy this. The guy is my favorite RHW wrestler and his last KOTR appearance is one of my two all-time favorites (now tied with Alex v Bruce, reviewed here). I've seen these two wrestle and I liked it, so it became an immediate download.

So how'd it go? Meh.

I think it's the first Alex match that's disappointed me. Dash's KOTR 4 vs Austin was his only disappointing video, so maybe it's something about the series. Maybe it's too big a thing now. Or maybe my expectations are too high. Or maybe it's because I watched this right after a depressing election. Whatever it is, I struggled to get through this video.

The guys are the guys. This is the bigger, more rugged Alex Waters with the floppy hair and thicker muscles. He's got the mouth and attitude I love. I'm biased, but I think he puts on a better performance than Zack here. Zack Johnathan is a guy I've praised before. He looks good and talks a lot. When he's got chemistry with his opponent, he's pure gold. I love his rivalry with Big Sexy for example. I just wasn't feeling it here.

I'm not a fan of the side-breaker style rack,
but Alex still looks good

Suffering or lounging?

The action is pretty lackluster. There's very little flow and the transitions often involve just giving up a hold, rather than any kind of logical progression, counter or reversal. A lot of RHW favorite holds and moves are here, but the match felt more Thunders than RHW with the jumping from one thing to another.

Looks cozy

Alex is a lot of man to do this to now

A classic backbreaker makes a nice moment

Things aren't helped by Alex once again being the viewer's voice. He questions Zack's moves and decisions right from the beginning. For example, Alex calls him out for weak punches that barely connect. It's true, but calling attention to it doesn't help. Alex regularly points out that Zack is just letting him up, too. And Zack says, "It's a long match, five falls", making it even more obvious that this is following a script. Unfortunately Alex as narrator works better when he's dominating against a rookie like Wes(t). Here, it just points out the weakness of the video.

Alex sells it, but when he asks, "That it?"
I had the same question

Surfboard + choke on the ropes

Alex dominates the King

And things aren't helped by the camerawork, either. It doesn't highlight the best of the guys or the action. For example, Zack gets Alex up in an over-the-shoulder backbreaker. Hot move, but you watch it from the opposite side, which is pretty much the worst angle. Maybe it's on the wrestler to turn around, but you end up basically looking at a side view of Zack standing instead of Alex's suffering. So even when you've got a great hold, it's not maximized.

Lots of potential, but it's never realized

In the end, this felt more like a collection of holds and moves than a complete narrative. It's nice for GIF's and JPG's, but I didn't find it particularly compelling or engaging as a match. Surprising considering the constant chatter. The guys were the selling point, but I actually.preferred their first match (reviewed here).

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



  1. I agree. I'm finding the RHW matches more and more lackluster and uninteresting. They wrestlers are hot, to be sure, but there's not a lot of energy and the action is, as you note, so obviously by rote that there's just no heat. Same old script, different actors. And those actors seem to be tired of the script, too. Meh is right.

    1. Thanks for the comment. I'm glad it wasn't just me, although that doesn't make it any better.

  2. I actually still like the formula and in an odd way the problems with this match prove the point. Zach has done a hell of a lot for the scene as a whole but I never feel he fits in so much at RHW. He often seems detached as he does in this match.

    But really I am shallow as a puddle because I could watch Alex all day and actually like the new beefy version as much as the old ripped incarnation.

    But the key question is are we ever going to see some hot new wrestlers? Let's face it if we had never seen Alex Waters or Josh Steel or Jake Jenkins or Austin Cooper before and they suddenly popped up at RHW I think questions over the format would fade away. But one of the many miserable things about 2016 is the fact that we haven't seen a single new wrestler at RHW this year. The last group from 2015 were not as interesting as the old guard, although Rex and Tanner had potential.

    Thanks for the review though and to be honest I do agree with most of it.



    1. You're welcome, Sid. I agree with you. The formula can still work, but the guys need to be into it. Zack is one of the best of this generation and he has worked for me in RHW, just not this time. And I've praised Alex new look, too.

      As for new talent, it'd be great to see some new star emerge. There's no one who can even challenge for King without it feeling like a re-tread. Even Bruce and Zack were pushing it in my opinion.

  3. Last month you reviewed a Gunner Buyani match and someone like Gunner would be very useful in todays RHW. He's an experienced pro who can carry rookies to fun matches (see Gunner vs Nick and Lucas).

    It seems like something's gone wrong with their talent recruitment process. The last really good rookie was Bruce in 2014. Since then the guys have all been good looking but lacking in skills. The RHW bosses need to remember that the W in their name stands for wrestling and that's really sells: good wrestling. I'd rather see a 7 who can wrestle than a 10 who can't. Ethan is living proof of this theory. Some new blood in the match making process would help too.

    1. Thanks for the thoughts. Yeah, I think that'd be a great direction for recruiting. It occurred to me in my Rise and Fall of RHW post back in January. It seems like there are so many hot young pros nowadays.

      Gunner v Lucas is actually my RHW 1.0 match for this month, likely being posted on 11/27.