Best of British – Rollerball Rolls On!

Seeing as the review yesterday of some of Maniac Mark Rocco’s matches were enjoyed, I thought I’d have a look at some more of his matches from Screensport, which was a satellite channel in Europe. Most of the matches are from the North Staffs area unless noted. There’s a bit of a WWF and American influence with interviews and little angles and a bit of “bedlam”. The announcers are Vince Miller and Maxton G. Beesley. Neither actually had a wrestling background, Miller was a pub singer and comedian and Beesley was an actor (his son, Max Beesley, ended up becoming quite famous in the nineties for a cup of tea), so they’re a bit ropey at time. Rocco was running an angle with them where he was threatening to and would sometimes beat them up, mainly focussing his ire on “NB” Beesley (NB for Nancy Boy) for wearing a pink bow-tie.

Rollerball Rocco vs. Steve Fury

This looks like it was actually held in a circus tent with barely anybody there. Rocco straight away hitting a kneedrop and Samoan drop. Fury manages to get the leg off some kicks, but Rocco escapes to the ropes and starts fishhooking him. Referee John Harris has a gravelly voice Bob Orton would envy. Rocco throws Fury out and runs him into the tent support, earning a public warning. Back in, more kicks as Rocco continues to dominate until the ring starts falling apart, quickly finishing with a tombstone. Total squash, nothing much to it.

Rollerball Rocco vs. Chic Cullen

Frank ‘Chic’ Cullen, actually, who was a Scottish wrestler who had a bit of time in Stampede as Robbie Stewart. I always think of Rocco coming out to TNT, but he actually comes out to It’s a Long Way To the Top (If you want a sausage roll) here. Trying out period to start before it starts getting a bit more heated. Unique spot as the ring is in front of a stage that is higher than the canvas, so Rocco throws Cullen out onto it, climbs the ropes, jumps and runs at Cullen. As he returns to the ring, Cullen runs back across the stage and jumps over the ropes to hit him with a phenomenal dropkick! Cullen catches him coming back in with a superplex (called a penthouse splash by Beesley) followed by another splash, but for some reason the ref won’t count it, allowing Rocco to regain the advantage.

Rocco ties Cullen’s head in the ropes, giving us a good closeup of him struggling to breathe. Rocco then hits him with a Screensport plaque off the stage, but misses a top rope kneedrop, leading to a single leg Boston, and again for some reason referee Frank Casey fucks up and asks Cullen to break. Cullen gets a beautiful belly-to-belly suplex for two. Escapes a headscissors move to go back to the legs, ten minutes into the thirty minutes for the match. Rocco pulls off the turnbuckle padding and rams Cullen’s back into it and gets a brief backbreaker, followed by his tombstone for two. Senton flip, leading to a front chancery. He sets up for a suplex, but gets small packaged. Back to the rear chinlock at twelve minutes. Cullen gets a beautiful piledriver (with Rocco not even holding the legs for support, just free hanging), but misses a flying headbutt off the top. Rocco gets his suplex, but gets pancaked on a charge and then whipped into the ropes upside down. Cullen elbows him right in the balls and follows with an inverted atomic drop that he loses a bit of control of, but looks nasty. Rocco hammerlock at fifteen minutes in, followed by barring the arm, as the announcers joke about an old lady in the front row being Cullen’s mom and shit themselves over who has to interview Rocco if he wins. Back out to the stage and a slam outside, as a woman actually hits Rocco with her handbag!

Cullen hits Rocco from behind, sending him into the cameraman, then launches him back into the ring. Dropkick, but he meets boot on a charge, but avoids an elbow. Rocco then gets a slam and goes up the ropes facing the crowd and then falls back and misses a Ted Dibiase elbow from the top. Cullen gets pulled off the top too and German suplexed, followed by one more tombstone from Rocco for the win at about eighteen minutes. They just threw everything out here! Some truly inventive but credible stunts involving the stage. Both were great wrestlers.

Former boxer John Conteh presents Rocco with a trophy for winning that night’s tournament. Beesley goes to interview Rocco but gets a punch in the mouth for being cheeky. He then gets dragged outside and slammed on the stage, but he has no idea how to take the move so it looks crap. Rocco rants at the camera while Beesley is picked up off the floor, covered in blood, but from no apparent cut. Methinks foul play took place! Miller rants about his friend “having his face taken apart” while Cullen calmly waits to do his interview, then says on the mic that he’s a “fucking animal” (with the swear word barely bleeped)! They don’t do many promos like that nowadays!

UK Battle Royal 1986

Finish today with this one, then some more tomorrow to finish the weekend up with. Back to a tent, but it’s a different one this time. Participants are Rocco, NXT trainer Robbie Brookside, Keith Haward, Brian Maxine, Sandy Scott (a Scottish wrestler, not the brother of George Scott and SMW promoter), John Kenny (Brookside’s trainer), Shane Stevens (a professional conman and maker of some vile and illegal adult movies), and Mal Sanders. They pair up into four groups. Brookside tries to run the ropes with seven other men in there until Kenny pulls him back. Kenny gets eliminated by Sanders. Rocco gets his somersault senton on Brookside and ties him in the ropes. Maxine dropkicks Stevens in the back so that he rams into Scott like he’s bumming him and both take the bump out. Haward and Maxine team up against Sanders in a weird two face vs. one heel dynamic when they’re all the same size. Brookside gets front suplexed onto the ropes by Rocco and punched out.

Slows down as Sanders and Rocco form a heel team as a guy screams “Get on with it, you pair of wallies!”, then eliminate Keith Haward. A proper two-on-one with Rocco and Sanders against Maxine. Sanders holds Maxine for a Rocco double axehandle, but then Maxine gets a bodypress (called a Thesz press, bizarrely!), but gets slammed out by Sanders. Rocco and Sanders do the Bad News Brown and Bret Hart finish from WrestleMania IV, with Rocco being the one to throw Sanders out. “That’s like Colonel Sanders telling a chicken to trust him!”, opines Miller. Kentucky Fried Crap Battle Royal.

Miller and lady wrestler Mitzi Mueller (promoter Brian Dixon’s wife) present Rocco with a full China tea set and a grand in an envelope. I bet there was less than a tenth of that really in his paycheck. Rocco rants about wanting to break Cullen’s bones and then smashes the China over Miller’s head. They cut away to Beesley holding a handkerchief to Miller’s head, almost entirely red with blood, but again no evident cut on Miller. Those hucksters!

 

Conclusion: A bit of Rocco hijinks around an excellent match with Cullen. We’ll finish our weekend of Rocco tomorrow with some more fun.