Sunday, November 27, 2016

Review: Lucas Payne vs. Gunner Bayani (RHW 1.0)

This month's classic Rock Hard Wrestling match is Lucas Payne vs. Gunner Bayani.

I truly believe that this could have been a battle between two icons if both guys had stuck around. They both impressed me, but neither returned to fulfill their wrestling destiny. So instead of Gunner being on the level of talented lightweight bad boys like Eli or Ethan and Lucas rivaling musclemen like Dash or Austin, they are mere footnotes in the storied history of RHW.

Hard fought and hard-hitting - this match is great

I can never praise Lucas Payne enough. His body is incredible, shining even in bland brown gear. More importantly, he consistently brings a great attitude to the ring. The guy is great as a dominant stud, but also as a suffering muscleman. Everyone probably knows my appreciation of muscle guys who are willing to be dominated and Lucas is one of them.

And even though he's not the most talented wrestler, it works for him, especially here where he's given a logical plan of power moves.


Gunner gets wrapped up tight in Lucas' tree trunks

Opposite Lucas is Gunner Bayani, who is physically smaller, but that doesn't deter him. The indy pro is confident and bold, bringing energy to the match. Gunner once again proves his pro wrestling chops here. He shows skill, speed and ring sense that exceeds most RHW guys. This talent makes him a believable challenger to the bigger Lucas.

No simple knee drop - Gunner makes it big

Another simple move made more impressive

I really enjoyed the action here. It makes a ton of sense as Lucas relies on power with Gunner relying on speed and skill. The big muscle teen punches, stomps and slams his opponent, weakening him with rough body abuse. The lean pro wrestler uses creative submission holds and a lot of momentum to amplify the impact of his shots.

When you're big, you do a lot of this

I love this hold and Lucas' reaction to it

And Lucas does a lot of this, too

This match goes the full three falls and you might wonder who will win, but as I often say, the real winner is the viewer. Each fall is worthy of a single viewing on its own. The sound, look and feel are all top notch, the kind of quality that helped me fall in love with RHW. Two HD cameras, no obvious dissolves, clean black background and microphones that capture everything - this is how you do it.

Can hot submission moves keep the big man down?

Or is his power too much to be contained?

If you passed this one up because it doesn't feature a superstar, I'd say check it out. It has hot contrasting wrestlers who are both on their game. It's a tale of power vs. skill done very well. There's a ton of great action that culminates in a hot conclusion.

What did other bloggers say?

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



  1. Always have felt like there should be a documentary series, a la "where are they now", so we can be reacquainted with wrestlers who are no longer active.

    1. That sounds like fun. Thunders is actually pretty good about answering those questions on their Tumblr, even when it's just "he disappeared".

  2. The energy and intensity these two bring make this a fun match. Those qualities have been missing in many of RHW recent matches. I hope they can turn things around in 2017.

    1. Agreed. Energy and intensity were both big from these two. Thanks for the comment!