PWA Academy Showcase Review (12/08/2023)
By Mick Robson
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As I recover from a big weekend- and I don't mean a hangover- we're catching up on our results and reviews. This past Saturday, Pro Wrestling Australia held an Academy Showcase. As the name indicates, it was held at the PWA Academy in Ingleburn. In a classy move, PWA have donated all proceeds of this show to the family of Kyle Eade.
Ring announcer Lili Edea welcomes us to the show and notes that this show is for Kyle. As one of the loudest fans Aussie wrestling has ever known, she encourages us to make as much noise as we can for all the wrestlers on the show- vets and Dingoes alike. I certainly tried to be more vocal than usual, and overall I'd say the noise in the Academy was the loudest I've heard, and I've been to a good number of Academy shows now.
Match 1: Kaye E Prince vs. Scott Green
Prince drew heat from the crowd immediately with his arrogant demeanor, and a couple of fans around me referred to his tights as "grandma pants". Scott Green was fresh off his big return the previous night at Newy Pro's Rumble In The Jungle, and received a big time response from the Ingleburn crowd.
Prince continued to draw heat by avoiding the fight and bailing to ringside, then raking the eyes when he was forced to fight. Green got the flashy offense in- including a rolling flatliner- shout out to Matty Wahlberg/Grayson Waller. Green gets on a roll and hits the Death Valley Driver to end it.
Winner: Scott Green
Fun opening match. Kaye E Prince seemed to revel in getting under the crowd's skin, and Green seemed to bask in the atmosphere and energy of being back at it.
Xander Sullivan comes out to cut a promo. He calls everyone "sheep"- we respond with "baas"- a couple of the fans around started mooing and clucking. Ready for a Barnyard Brawl in the Academy. He refers to "the wrestling Illuminati", but his rant is cut short by Michael Spencer! One half of MK Plus Ultra, Spencer is in babyface mode here, and puts out a challenge for the main event of the show. Interesting opportunity for two guys that haven't had experience in main events in PWA, but are certainly very talened.
Match 2: Sk8er Boi Pidgey & Alistair Fleming vs. Ty Thayer & Shelston
Once again, a thank you to Newy Pro socials for providing Fleming's name in their Rumble results post- I couldn't really hear Lili's announcing too clearly once the crowd got going. I had him written in my notes as "MMA guy".
Pidgey really suits being an obnoxious heel- his plucky underdog deal didn't really catch fire- but he seems in his element riding Shelston like a skateboard here. Shelston had a few fun fiery moments, powered by Zinger Boxes, and the somewhat comedic Ty Thayer looked threatening at one stage with a swinging backbreaker. Fleming has this intimidating presence with his shaved head and striking style, and really freaked out the lady sitting next to me as the fight spilled to ringside. He was the illegal man though, and in the ring, Pidgey scored the pin! Didn't see what the finishing move was, and neither did the people sitting around me, but nevertheless, a big victory for the Sk8er Boi and the MMA Boi.
Winners: Skater Boi Pidgey & Alistair Fleming
Fast-paced, all-action match. Never a dull moment, and Pidgey & Shelston in particular stood out for their ability to work the crowd. Zing on!
Big Brother Billy Preston comes out to talk to the crowd, and is interrupted by the debuting Sue Plex! She appears to have some friends and family in the crowd, with half a row or so of glittery Sue Plex signs. They give her a huge reaction, and the rest of the people are on board as well.
Sue Plex and Billy engage in a dance off, and when Sue Plex appears the more adept at busting a move, or whatever the kids say these days, Preston attacks her from behind. We've got a match!
Match 3: Big Brother Billy Preston vs. Sue Plex
Brilliant name and easy to chant, the self-proclaimed Arm Drag Queen has the crowd on side immediately. Billy's not a fan though, and rips off her wig in the early going. An easy but fun spot follows as she yells, "What's my name?" The crowd responds, "Sue Plex!" and she gives Billy a suplex. Lovely.
As much energy as Sue Plex has, Billy has the experience, and he is able to counter his way into the Overdrive (still the worst finisher ever) to put this match away. He at least puts his feet on the ropes to ensure the win and to ensure that no one likes him coming out of it.
Winner: Big Brother Billy Preston
That was a blast! Hell of a debut for Sue Plex. Clearly very athletic and charismatic, she should find her way onto bigger shows in short order with such a fun presence. Billy deserves a ton of credit as well for helping her look so good in defeat. Sky's the limit.
Match 4: Jack J Bonza vs. Cooper Ward
Another debut here, and although Cooper is a more "by the book" Dingo, with the green trunks and no fleshed out persona, he's clearly a good athlete and fired up to be there. We'll see how he goes against one of PWA's best.
He surprises Bonza early with a big dropkick, and shows zero intimidation going up against the Bullet Club member, Bonza. He gets a couple of nice near falls- including one on an inside cradle that the crowd bit on- but ultimately, Bonza's technical proficiency was the difference, making the Dingo tap to the STF.
Winner: Jack J Bonza
Bonza gave Cooper a good amount of offense, and it seemed for a split second moment like he might score the upset of the century in his debut. It all looked good and had the people invested. Somewhere in the mix, Bonza got his ear bruised up (maybe on that dropkick?), but hey, it's not ballet.
Match 5: Parker Tomas & David Streamer vs. Jay Sorbet & Lil Tony Stellino
Talk about an odd couple tag team in Sorbet & Stellino! Also interesting to see Stellino in a full fledged match on the babyface side- only really seen him in battle royals and had him pegged as a heel. But the combo of PT and Streamer are sure to bring the heat against anyone.
This was a little less frenetic than most PWA tag matches I see, not really leaning into the rapid fire pace of lucha tag rules. Sorbet did a good job selling the pain and anguish that his opponents were putting on him, before the tag to the big man. He cleaned house, and then the pace picked up down the stretch. With Sorbet and Stellino both rolling, the crowd were into it and it seemed like the Scooperman had this one with a slingshot sunset flip, but PT sat down, grabbed the ropes (undetected by the ref) to get it done!
Winners: Parker Tomas & David Streamer
The team of Sorbet and Stellino really held my attention. I like both of them, but their characters and styles are so polar opposite, I wasn't sure how it would work. Pretty well all in all! PT and Streamer played their role as foils well- a little comedic in spots, but not so much that they couldn't be taken seriously in the match. I particularly enjoy how "The Executive" is so straight-laced, but more than happy to bend a rule when the situation benefits him. An excellent character.
Main Event: Xander Sullivan vs. Michael Spencer
After years of seeing Spencer play a dastardly bad guy, it's cool seeing him do something different here with a bit of a babyface run. I don't know if it'll ever get play on main PWA shows, but I cast my mind back to when PWA toured in Wollongong last October, and he went full blue eye in a banger with Ricky South.
Xander Sullivan is a deceptively great athlete underneath all the crazy, and has seemed to really put in the work to improve himself over the last year or so. While most of his stuff was cutting off the intense flurries of Spencer, he has an awesome moment and near fall with the UFO, that gets some serious impact and rotation. In a funny moment, Spencer borrows Kai Drake's scooter for his injured ankle (Kai is sitting at the back of the room near the entrance way) and he runs over Sullivan with it!
We get some more serious, high impact stuff to end it, as Spencer hits a sunset bomb, followed by a springboard kick to the back of the head, and that sends Xander back to Area 51.
Winner: Michael Spencer
Very entertaining main event, where both guys rose to the occasion. It's a shame it's come about as a result of Kai Drake's injury (get better soon mate!), but Spencer works really well as a singles guy. He's a smaller guy with incredible athletic abilities, and going face allows him to be more flashy in his offense.
After the main event, Robbie Eagles comes into the ring to say a few words! He thanks everyone for their support, and encourages those who are there supporting friends and family to keep coming to shows, as the more support and fans they have, the better chance they have of doing pro wrestling for a living
An excellent Academy Showcase. Very snappy show, running just over an hour and a half, but after a long couple of days between Newy Pro and Kyle's memorial on the Central Coast, I wasn't mad about it. I was highly impressed by the debuting rookies, and I also enjoyed seeing other developing talent making the most of the time they had. The atmosphere was amazing, as Robbie noted in his post-show promo. I hope we did Kyle proud on that one.
Overall Score: 8/10
Speaking of Kyle.. this show raised just over $1800, enough to hit the GoFundMe goal for Kyle's funeral. RIP Kyle Eade. It was a pleasure to know you, and thank you for your support of all things Aussie pro wrestling- including The Arena Media.
Until next time everyone, thank you for reading, take care, and keep killing it as always!