Going Ham in Skaterham

KOTR: Going Ham in Skaterham event review

The dictionary defines disrespect as ‘a lack of respect or courtesy.’ Synonyms include mockery, scorn and opprobrium…

…Actually I have no idea where I was going with that. Sorry. I’m Bard, here’s a recap of the last KOTR event in Caterham.

First off, I have to shout out the venue. When you’re in a skate park that’s been converted from a church, complete with stained glass windows, you know you’re onto something special. It was a little out of the way down in Surrey, which contributed to a weird crowd (more on that later), but the vibe and enthusiasm was there in force. Let’s take ‘em to church.

JtC vs 142 kicked off the evening’s entertainment. This was the clash of self-awareness vs lack of self-awareness when it comes to who’s funnier. Jack brought his trademark dry, laconic wit and clever structure, but a lot of it centred on deconstructing an image that the crowd weren’t really aware of in the first place. As such, there was nothing pre-built up for him to knock down.

142, meanwhile, continues to show steady improvement as a writer, but the flashes of entertainment gold here came from bars which were presented as being far better than they actually were. He’s moved on from outright cringe-funny to a calmer, Pilkingtonesque performance. 142 won in the closest KOTR decision I’ve witnessed so far and I’m not sure I agree with it. Either way, funny backle.

Hulk vs Frequent Thought summed up the mood of the night. With a crowd of skateboarders and not battle fans, a technically proficient approach is always going to be an uphill struggle. Unfortunately Frequent Thought is all about those bars and it just wasn’t connecting with a bunch of kids who wanted to hear Oshea-style dick/fart/mum jokes.

Hulk didn’t have an easy time either. His approach focused on proving his credentials as a rapper and out-delivering what FT could write, but realness doesn’t matter when the Surrey skateboarding fraternity don’t know who you are. At the end of his third, though, the strangest thing happened. Hulk choked and started freestyling. The crowd finally had something they could get their heads around. It was battle rap the way most people think of it, and it was handling this choke that won the battle for Hulk.

This match is going to be great to watch on camera, credit to both guys for sticking to their guns. Frequent Thought probably out-barred Hulk, but that’s just not how it works around here.

Kray Shendo vs JayBe was the most significant battle KOTR has witnessed to date, and depending on what you’re into, it may even take the GOAT slot from Tony D vs Pedro. Predictions for this match ran along the lines of, ‘JayBe is the better writer, Kray a touch better with freestyles/general performance,’ and that’s pretty much how it played out.

What we didn’t take into account was the sheer strength of writing JayBe is capable of. Kray went first and each round set the bar at a high level, then JayBe went second and rose to the challenge. Kray Shendo knew he had to rely on his strong freestyle ability and every round was flipping like his life depended on it with fantastic, crafted-sounding material.

It all looked dead even at the start of JayBe’s third round and the slightest slip was clearly going to cost him the match, the UK title and the Norway tournament. He didn’t slip. In fact, he executed one of the single finest personal angles in battle rap and it shot Kray clean out of the water.

I won’t spoil the angle for you, suffice to say that nothing JayBe said was untrue. He left out a little bit of context, but the way he pulled it off invited Kray to try and explain himself and Kray took the bait, damning himself in the eyes of the crowd. This was a clash for the ages containing all the elements you could possibly want out of a battle of future veterans.

Mac Sherry vs Micky Worthless, finally, rounded off the evening in tremendous KOTR style. Ironically, the most pressure was perhaps on Micky here to show that he could make good on his promise of a big payoff at the end of this storied feud. He didn’t disappoint, it was loud, bombastic, disrespectful and quite possibly the best Micky Worthless we’ve seen in the ring for years! I don’t particularly like catchphrases but even this lukewarm crowd was roaring along to his round closers by the end and while the content itself wasn’t stellar, it was delivered in true heel fashion. It all came together.

As for Mac, he choked. Let’s get it out of the way, he had months to prepare and still couldn’t quite nail three full rounds. However, the 2.6 rounds he did spit were his best to date. Mac didn’t have to win this battle to find his redemption, merely survive it and still refuse to be intimidated.

He took the fight to his nemesis with some haymaker personal angles which got the crowd on side and backed it all up with a strong, composed presence. In this battle, like in his EMC battle, he looked like a battle rapper and not one of the wannabes. If it wasn’t for the choke, or if he’d called time on the choke a little sooner, he’d have pulled it off but it wasn’t to be. Poppa Doc won in another close-as-hell crowd decision.

And then we all went home. KOTR: Going Ham in Skaterham was a surreal event, no lie, but it brought strong battles and career-defining performances with it. What’s next for the victorious Ronalds as they march towards Norway? Is this the end for Kray Shendo? Will Mac and Micky now form a tag team on some Sting/Hogan shit? All these questions and more will be answered in the next thrilling instalment of King of the Ronalds. You can’t copy disrespect!

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