RISE – ASCENT, Episode 1 – review

With RISE running somewhat regularly in Southern California Gregg and Steve decided to take a quick look at RISE’s new weekly internet series, RISE – ASCENT. This show also starts the lead up to RISE’s next Southern California event on June 29, when Shotzi Blackheart will challenge Delilah Doom for the Phoenix of RISE title.

Gregg: The show opens with the commentary team of Lexi Fyfe and Sienna, hyping up the crowd. The crowd seems hot and ready for the show. It seems so natural and organic. Also, is that former diva Rosa Mendes I see?

Match #1 – Paradise Lost w/Rosemary over Kate Carney & Riley Shepard

Gregg: This was basically a glorified squash match. With Raven’s Ash (formerly Melanie Cruz) towering over both of her opponents (as well as her tag partner) they didn’t stand a chance. One thing that really impressed me was Riley Shepard’s gear. Her gimmick of being an elf from Evermore was definitely something unique. At first, I thought she was from the beloved early 2000s MMO Everquest (shout out to Jay Cal). I don’t know what she uses for her entrance music, but if it isn’t some kind of symphonic metal, she’s truly missing the boat.

Steve: I totally forgot about Everquest. I thought Evermoore was the island home of the elves in the Forgotten Realms world of Dungeons & Dragons, but a quick Google search tells me that is Evermeet. It doesn’t really matter what elf land Riley Shepard is from though, because we aint racist.

I think Dust is really underrated and hopefully RISE’s deal with Impact leads to her getting some more exposure. I thought this was a fun match, and a good introduction to Paradise Lost. I haven’t kept up on most of the angles in RISE outside of what has happened on the Southern California shows, but Lexi Fyfe and Sienna did a good job explaining things here as well.

Delilah Doom Video Package

Gregg: Everyone loves Delilah Doom. This video package was so well done and really played up Delilah being the reluctant champion since she never pinned Shotzi, but confident in her ability to do so. Definitely a declarative statement that Delilah is no longer just the loveable babyface, but a force to be reckoned with.

Steve: I agree, this was really well done and a great way to introduce Delilah Doom in the off chance anyone who is watching this isn’t already familiar with her.

Match #2 – Kikyo over Xia Brookside

Gregg: To me, this was the best match of the night. I’ve gotten behind on my Stardom viewing, but what has been impressive to me is how much Xia Brookside has grown from tour to tour. On her last tour of Stardom earlier this year, you could definitely see that her confidence had grown. Give her another year or two and she’ll hit that next level easily.

Steve: I thought Xia Brookside was pretty good at Bar Wrestling last year when she was in Los Angeles, but she has really improved a lot since then. I hope she becomes a RISE regular, and could see her in WWE in the future. I thought both Brookside and Kikyo had a good performance here and I enjoyed this as well. 

Gregg: The dynamic of two competitors at the opposite ends of the spectrum told a great story in this match. On one hand, you have international traveler Xia Brookside and on the other, the larger and more intimidating Kikyo. The commentary team really played up the chip on Kikyo’s shoulder and her manhandling of the second generation wrestler backed it up. Special shout out to Sienna for pointing out that trying to pin your opponent with one foot on her hardly works out (she speaks from experience).

Match #3 – Kimber Lee vs. Shotzi Blackheart

Gregg: While Xia vs. Kikyo was my match of the night, the main event delivered as well. It’s been interesting to see Kimber’s career trajectory since leaving WWE. Without missing a beat, she has jumped back into the independent wrestling fold and seems so happy just to be “wrestling” again. Shotzi was Shotzi, entertaining from the minute she stepped through the curtain. This back and forth match was the veteran versus the white hot ballsy badass.

Steve: I actually thought this was the best match on the show. I think Shotzi Blackheart has some of the most entertaining promos in independent wrestling. I thought this match told a good story and helped build nicely to Blackheart’s match with Delilah Doom in South Gate. It’s great to see Kimber Lee being able to perform rather than being hidden away somewhere in Florida too.

Final Thoughts

Gregg: I thoroughly enjoyed the show. The production value was really well done and the crowd was into the action. Lexi Fyfe and Sienna on commentary was good, given both of their in-ring expertise and respected places within women’s wrestling. The matches didn’t drag and neither did the show. I even watched it a second time just to refresh what I had watched a few hours earlier. Hopefully in the future, we can see beloved RISE ring announcer Joshua Shibata show up on these tapings.

Steve: I thought the show was well done as well. The pacing was good and I never got bored. The interview segments added to the show and didn’t feel like they were just there because hey, TV wrestling needs backstage interviews.  Going in I wasn’t sure how this show would turn out, but it was really enjoyable and definitely something I wouldn’t mind taking 40 minutes out of my week to watch.

Gregg: And don’t forget to floss…

RISE – Ascent is available weekly at riseascent.com.

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