Live Review: The Metalhead Royal Rumble


Written by Brett Kihlmire

How often do heavy metal, wrestling and video games combine in a public atmosphere? Not enough, that’s for sure, but thanks to Dustin Moon and Samyaza, it’s going to be a yearly tradition.

Hosted by Frank’s Power Plant in Bay View, Wisconsin, USA, and Dustin Moon of Samyaza, the first ever Metalhead Royal Rumble was an astounding success. Around eighty musicians and persons of influence in the Southeastern Wisconsin metal scene were loaded into WWE 2K17 and pitted against one another in the legendary Royal Rumble match.

Due to the game’s limitations, two royal rumble matches were run. The first saw Archiver guitarist Zach Mayo claim victory, while the second crowned Ian Reese the second rumble winner. The two were pitted off in another classic WWE match, the Hell in a Cell. Sadly, Mayo’s real life experience as a US Marine didn’t translate into the game as the shredder was manhandled for much of the match.

While video games may not be that interesting to many, the Metalhead Royal Rumble was something for the ages. It was an absurd concept that brought many of us out thanks to pure intrigue. What came about was an absolute blast. Cheap beer was flowing, killer chili was served up courtesy of Danielle Strampp, and prizes were handed out for a variety of reasons. Hell, I won a pack of Pop Rocks for cleaning house for a few minutes before getting thrown out on my ass, in the game of course.

Our videographer, Kolin McCormick, was also featured in the rumble, and though he didn’t make it to the end much like his boss, we added some extra spice to the evening. Taking up the role of an old school WWE PR team, we interviewed the winners of the rumble in a comical fashion and gave the fans some good laughs. Of course, that wasn’t the only hilarity of the night. Many of the fans, much of which grew up with pro wrestling on TV, were shouting classic commentator lines and cheering on every big hit and elimination. Hell, I think there was even a little betting going on.

Though the Rumble ran for around two hours, the fun didn’t end with the presentation of the champion’s belt. Milwaukee natives, H1Z1 took to the stage and rocked the house with some of the best groove metal around. At no point was the crowd not banging their heads, and not a single song passed without some horns in the air and loud cheering. The same was for the night’s hosts, Samayaza. Honestly, I was wondering how these hard hitting bands were going to be able to groove in the tight quarters of Frank’s Power Plant, especially with the drum set taking up much of the stage and the venue packed wall to wall, but the bands pulled it off.

All in all, the Metalhead Royal Rumble was easily one of the best shows I’ve been to in my life and that’s saying a lot. It was something so out of the ordinary that it was impossible to ignore. Thankfully, this wasn’t a one-off deal, either. The Metalhead Royal Rumble will be returning next year and hopefully someone from the MATG crew will take home the belt.


An exclusive video by Metal at the Gates featuring our color commentary, interviews, and a blooper reel will be loaded as soon as editing is finished. For the time being check out the two bands that rocked the house.

Samyaza –

H1Z1 –


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