RIPTIDE Wrestling is in my opinion, the most must-watch independent promotion in terms of storytelling, cinematography, and the culture we should foster most.
Going into hiatus eight months ago, Riptide showed that it was willing to adapt. Whereas other promotions found either loopholes or risked safety, Riptide instead attempted to innovate in a way that would allow the promotion to still maintain a presence but not endanger the safety of its audience or competitors.
In adapting, they have put together highlight videos of their best matches for those eager to see for themselves what the past of their promotion has to offer. Organizing merch products of which 100% of the proceeds go towards groups like Black Thrive and LGBT Switchboard amongst others. They have also cultivated a vibrant discord community of which they regularly put together watch-alongs of must-see IWTV events.
Alongside this, they have shown outward actions in the wake of #SpeakingOut by purging their previous shows of those accused of wrongdoing and making a promise to not allow them back through their doors.
But Riptide also brings something else to the table. Well, many things new to the table. But two stand foremost amongst them.
Presenting new performers that those in America may not be aware of, who they regularly pair in amazing bouts with those you would be more familiar with. And a style of filming their shows that is quite unseen and brings a whole new meaning to the words “cinematic wrestling”.
And by writing this piece, I hope to be one to convince you that Riptide’s appeal goes far beyond simple flash over substance
A different style of wrestling.
While promotions such as MLW and Paradigm Pro Wrestling prefer to emphasize the sport aspect of pro wrestling, Riptide takes to the entertainment part of it. But unlike the WWE, Riptide opts for a more moody atmosphere that serves it well.
With cold lighting, swinging spotlights, and a switching camera point of view from the audience and above the ring itself, Riptide Pro Wrestling excels in making you feel like you are witnessing an experience and not simply just watching any show. Many shows will call matches they host cinematic for simply changing the location to a backyard. But as an early watcher of Riptide, I say with all my vows that they do not hold a candle to the style of Riptides’ cinematic escapades.
From a bare of borders repeating shots of big, show-stopping moves. To artful zoom-ins on the fallout of moves like the ones I just mentioned. Graphics that go far and beyond the style of your average indie.
They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Well, as someone who produces indie RPGs, presentation and layout make all the difference. Riptide also understands this. And damned if it doesn’t help set them apart from any and all indies around.
An up and coming roster of star-bound wrestlers
While Riptide removed many matches involving outed abusers from their history, that does not leave the promotion as a shell of itself. No, it has regular talent that would be a fine fit in any promotion the world over.
Their current Brighton Champion in Spike Trivet, the self-proclaimed “wrestling’s answer to Theresa May” is easily one of the most hateable heels in pro wrestling, but in a good way. Playing into every detestable privileged, Tory archetype, Spike is a champion who the hiatus has only made the fans more eager to see dethroned. Combine this with an in-ring style that only amplifies his heel nature and a roster of faces eager for a shot, you have a must-see bout once hiatus ends.
The former champion is quite the opposite, however. Chuck Mambo is the epitome of a good time. Bringing an exciting striking style in combination with the ability to bring smiles and laughs to the audience’s faces, it’s easy to see why Mambo was the choice as the inaugural Brighton Champion.
On the subject of Chuck Mambo, his best friend and occasional tag team partner/occasional rival, TK Cooper, is someone I am amazed hasn’t been flown across the world. A master of all trades in styles from top-rope, to powerhouse to striking, TK Cooper equally brings it as hard in his highly memorable promos, blurring the lines between face and heel in his promos that strive to show why he’s earned every compliment he has gotten.
Chakara is one of the many women who shows that it’s not just the men who you should be catching matches. With an amazing heel style backed up by technical skill, Chakara can fill a hole in any roster’s division. Her dueling matches with Big Swole on the Brighton Spirit Show weekend formed possibly the singular best storyline of Riptide’s history.
In the same vein of Spike Trivet, a figure who the Riptide faithful love to hate and you may know from his Twitter antics, is the “Keyboard Warrior” in Kurtis Chapman. Usually winning matches with an infuriating smash over his opponents’ head with an actual keyboard, Kurtis Chapman is an example up there with Orange Cassidy about the power of character in wrestling.
The Black Swan of Riptide, Cara Noir adds to the importance of a wrestler’s character. While I could do without the ‘Gay Panic’ spots in his matches, I can’t deny that his ability in-ring against such wrestling greats as PAC and Mike Bailey is phenomenal to see.
Cassius and Jordan Breaks are both two very different but very exciting performers. Cassius’s high energy and crowd engaging style when he comes out to Hey Mickie never fails to bring a smile to my face. Contrasted is the equally loveable Jordan Breaks, but in the variety of a young up and comer who is proving through a clean, babyface aura just why he is the “Future of Brighton.”
Where To Start with Riptide Pro Wrestling
Cards on the table, this was a hard part to write. Mainly because there is solely not one way to begin Riptide Wrestling. With a library of over 25 shows, Riptide has a veritable cornucopia of matches for you to enjoy. To say one show is the “right way” to begin watching would be to do a disservice to the promotion.
So! I’ll give three matches that I believe are good beginnings for this promotion:
For fans of high-energy matches : Mike Bailey vs Jordan Breaks-Brighton Spirit 2019 Part 1.
What begins as a simple affair of seasoned veteran vs up and coming rookie takes a stark turn when the classic kicking and high flying techniques of Mike Bailey slowly begin clashing with the ground and submission style of Jordan Breaks, turning the bout into a matter of what will happen first: A pinfall for Bailey or a submission for Breaks.
For fans of in-ring storytelling and evolution of characters: Chakara vs Big Swole-Brighton Spirit 2019 Part 3.
This one follows a match in part 1 of Brighton Spirit and I implore you to watch it first before watching this one.
Continuing her losing heel streak of singles matches in the first bout against Big Swole, Chakara is offered a chance of a rematch against the now AEW-star the next night on the condition she fights on her own merits without resorting to heel tactics. Chakara, in an emotional response reflecting on her lack of success, accepts.
The following night’s match is one of pure magic. Big Swole continually tries to push Chakara to her potential as a competitor. Chakara slowly but surely gained the support of the crowd that only the night before was booing the life out of her. And finally ending with Chakara pinning Big Swole clean, earning the respect of both her opponent and the Riptide crowd.
I mentioned earlier that these two matches summed up the storytelling potential of Riptide Wrestling. That is underselling it. This duo of matches sums up the storytelling potential of wrestling as a whole.
For fans of feel-good stories that build up to a crescendo: Cassius’ Pride of Brighton win-Riptide Bank Holiday Wrestling Show.
Alright, I am slightly cheating with this one. But it sure lives up to being a reason to. With Cassius only earning a way into the tournament due to Candyfloss selecting him as a replacement after her injury in place of her, Cassius works through Chakara, gaining a back injury in the process which is ruthlessly exploited by Kurtis Chapman in the finals. But like any hero, Cassius battles through and emerges with the medal around his neck. And that smile Cassius brings once again found its place on my face at this result.
For fans of drama and tension: Chuck Mambo vs TK Cooper-Riptide Rumble 2019.
Beginning with a phenomenally filmed dueling intros between the two wrestlers, you can tell what type of match this will be by Chuck Mambo’s gleeful exclamation of friendship with Cooper is contrasted by TK’s own interview where he declares his victory is the only thing that matters.
In the vein of DIY, it becomes a bout where Chuck Mambo struggles to fight through an ankle injury that TK Cooper mercilessly targets and exploits throughout the bout. The relationship of this tag team and how they continue to clash is one of the biggest draws to Riptide for me and this match is a cornerstone of that dynamic.
And if any of these matches piqued your interest in the promotion after watching, Riptide has begun putting together mixtapes of their best matches from across their show’s line for those watching to enjoy. I would seriously recommend checking it out. It’s really REALLY good.
Final Thoughts and how to support/watch Riptide Pro Wrestling
Riptide can be described as adaptive. That is the message I hope to convey to you with this guide. They adapt to new ideas of what pro wrestling can be. They adapt to changing circumstances. And they adapt to what makes wrestling interesting. They are unafraid to experiment and try something new in the field of this sport.
If you want to support Riptide Pro Wrestling, you can check out their Big Cartel homepage to buy some of the most creative, inclusive, and just flat-out aesthetically pleasing merch in wrestling, bar-none.
For catching up on their prime backlog, you can find it on Independent Wrestling TV.
And alongside this, the promotion runs a vibrant Discord community with regular group watches of their own shows and must-see independent promotions. It’s a great group with just as great wrestling to watch. You can find a link to the Discord on their Twitter.