EWA Lethal Weapon Results & Thoughts (11/02/2023)
By Mick Robson
This past Saturday, I made the trip to the Hurstville Entertainment Centre to witness Elite Wrestling Australia for the first time. I had seen some images and short clips on social media from EWA, and was very impressed by the production value of what I saw. It was a busy weekend for Aussie wrestling to be sure, with MCW and PWA both holding shows- in fact, I had a ticket to MCW's The House Always Wins, but ultimately decided that a trip to Melbourne was outside my budget at this time. And PWA had an Academy show that I was made aware of too late, but that aside, I was sold on EWA ultimately by its main event- a Hardcore Royal Rumble to crown the Lethal Weapon Champion.
Also on this show- a Career vs. Title Match as Scottie Paulo went for Vinnie Vain's EWA Championship, a grudge match between Tyson Gibbs and Djaysonic, and the return of Niki Nitro after some time out of the squared circle! The show was also broadcast on YouTube, which I may check out at some point to hear the dulcet tones of Cameron Smith and Piers Austin. EDIT: Had a quick skim to go over some show details, very impressed with the video and audio quality!
Onto the show!
Piers Austin was also named as Acting General Manager for the evening, and presided over a championship contract signing for the Career vs. Title match. Piers- who is also Vinnie Vain's manager- promises to be fair and impartial. I'm not sure that he's shooting with this shit. Vinnie comes out, as does Scottie, and after a little back and forth, Vinnie hits Scottie with the title belt. A little more insult and injury to build some more heat for the big match, nicely done.
On that note, EWA do a great job with video packages, which is handy for the casual punters who may not be up to speed on their storylines. A nice touch. I had seen a couple of things on social media, but being my first show, I wasn't fully versed on all the characters and stories.
Match 1: Tyson Gibbs vs Djaysonic
Gibbs had a manager, who I believe introduced himself as Benny English, although the girls behind me were calling him "Baby English" and "English Muffin". He interfered a ridiculous amount of times on Gibbs' behalf, and the referee finally caught him on something like the 7th time and ejected him from ringside. Djaysonic was worn down from all the interference, and Gibbs was able to lock in a choke, and the referee checked the arm, but before it could either fall for the 3rd time or Djaysonic mounted a comeback, the 15 min time limit expired.
Winner: No Contest
Star Rating: ***. Good action, although the amount of interference stretched the suspension of disbelief a little too far at times.
Post match, Gibbs hit a Diamond Cutter and cut a promo essentially putting himself over. He wants "Jason" at the next EWA show.
Match 2: EWA Double Impact Tag Team Championship- Sorbeato (Jay Sorbet & Captain Keato) vs. The Greasers (Robbie Zucco & Tristan Slade)
Keato was a good choice as Sorbet's mystery partner after Scotty Magnum got injured- Sorbeato previously displayed a lot of chemistry at Rock N Roll in Wollongong. They've also worked with the Greasers at RNR, leading to a smooth, tried and tested formula in the tag match. Sorbet drew sympathy as the face in peril, Keato showed great fire in the hot tag, we had a convincing near fall after the Six And Out and the 450 Splash. Ultimately, it was the underhanded tactics of the Greasers that saw the winner's purse- as a trip and holding down the legs on a suplex attempt crowned new champs.
Winners: The Original Greasers
Star Rating: ***1/2. High quality outing, which drew the desired crowd reactions. Zucco and Slade were particularly effective in riling up the crowd, which made them bite harder on the near falls and hope spots from Sorbeato.
Match 3: Flame vs. Niki Nitro
Niki looked happy and emotional to be making her return, and maybe some slight nerves at the beginning of the match. She had MASSIVE crowd support though, maybe the biggest reaction to that point on the show. Flame tried some shenanigans while mocking the crowd at every turn, but Nitro came back with a strong flurry that included a bulldog, a leg drop. The finishing move looked a bit off but I believe it was a Stunner? Anyway, we saw a couple of stunners do battle, so all is well.
Winner: Niki Nitro
Star Rating: **3/4. A few rough points but built momentum as time went on, and the people were behind it all the way. Great to have the multi-talented Niki Nitro back in the ring!
Match 4: Career vs. Title- Scotty Paulo vs. Vinnie Vain (c)
Nice psychology in this one as Vain used a variety of leg attacks to chop down the larger Paulo. Vinnie also exhibited his speed with moves like a slingblade, and finally showed his cunning by using a schoolboy with his feet on the ropes to end it. Or did he? The referees conferred, and agreed to restart the match due to Vain's "blatant cheating" (where were they all in that opening match? Or the tag title match?). Anyway, Vinnie looks to use his title belt as a weapon for perhaps another way to escape with the championship, but Scotty catches him in a Sharpshooter! Although Vain almost makes the ropes, he is forced to tap out on his title belt in a great bit of symbolism. With what appears to be Scotty's kids at ringside- an emotional rollercoaster as his career lives on!
Winner: Scotty Paulo
Star Rating: ***3/4. Both guys worked hard and played to their strengths. The false finish with Vain using the ropes was excellent- they really had me going, "you're going to have him retire off that?" before the restart and happy ending.
I thought we may have gotten an intermission, but nope, straight to the main event.
Main Event: 20 Man Lethal Weapon Hardcore Rumble
This started extremely silly with entrants #1 and #2 being Fly Guy and the Toy Master- the latter's weapon being... a bubble machine? Fly Guy had a Playstation controller, but it doesn't help as he's dumped out quickly. Things get more serious with the arrival of Kasai, who has what looked like a giant kendo stick? Fun, but fairly standard battle royale fare through a lot of it.
Probably my one criticism- the weapons needed more variety. Too many wrestlers had some variation of a stick or a bat. "The Grub" Otis had the right idea though, with his weapon of choice being thumbtacks! In the final two, however, those tacks would be his undoing, as Kasai pushes him off the top rope onto the tacks. Otis went to Plan B as he was teetering, ripping off Kasai's mask, then back body dropping him to the outside! Otis is your Lethal Weapon Champion!
Star Rating: ***1/2. Above average battle royal action, with the weapons largely helping...although a few wrestlers threw the most obviously weak shots I've seen in a good 25 years of watching hardcore matches. Might need some work there. However, our winner, Otis, seemed far more comfortable in that regard, and credit to him for pulling double duty- he worked at All Star Wrestling earlier in the night, then came straight to EWA to pull double duty. Absolute beast!
Excellent first impression with EWA! It was a show built up quite a lot online, and the overall atmosphere and presentation was top notch. As I understand it, the company is fairly new, and the promoter has done a great job making the shows feel like a "happening", with money put in to make the stage, ring, pyro, sound look very professional for an Aussie indie. Combine that with veteran wrestlers and young, hungry talent looking to make a name for themselves, and it's a recipe for success when it all comes together. I'll definitely be back, and recommend that anyone who's able checks it out as well.
Overall Score: 8/10
Until next time, take care.