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PWA @ Mounties Review (13/01/2024)

By Mick Robson

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My first wrestling show of the year! Feels like way too long, I was starting to have withdrawals. The last live show I was at was SLAM in mid-December- that's a whole month between watching someone get slammed live and in living colour!

And more specifically, since this is a PWA review, my last live PWA show was actually Colosseum at Liberty Hall. I wasn't able to attend the December show, Tuckman's Beer Bash, and I watched it on TrillerTV (fka FITE) instead. An epic street fight went down between Tuck and Will Kiedis, and new PWA Champion Jessica Troy tore the house down in a triple threat with the Velocities, Paris De Silva and Jude London.

We're here with something quite different- a family friendly show at the Mounties club in Mt. Pritchard! Apparently, PWA used to run shows here, but it hasn't been during the time I've been attending- six years now- and a quick scan of Cagematch isn't helping me out here. It's not being broadcast on FITE, and I was having live wrestling withdrawals, so I figured I'd go along, enjoy the show, and tell you guys all about it!

Let's do this!


I will say, it's a beautiful venue. There's a really great lighting set-up, and the room just looks very polished and professional. Plus, there's a bar off to the side, which never hurts.

The great Nick Wray is our ring announcer for the evening. He jazzes up the crowd, who sound pretty up for it as it is. A nice mix of families and the Black Label regulars. Nick gives the PSA about appropriate behaviour- but substitutes "don't be a dick" with "don't be mean". Now that just sounds like we can't boo the heels. But I get where they're coming from. I still hate that that was made necessary because of people being di- I mean, people being mean.

Match 1: Aaron Jake (w/ Belinda Pierce) vs. Big Brother Billy Preston (w/ the Playtime Pals)

Billy plays to the crowd- especially the kids- big time. He makes fun of the clearly jacked Aaron Jake, saying he has spaghetti arms. After an early flurry which included Aaron taking the 10 punches, the SMS member takes control for a while, but after Aaron gets in the face of Trevor the Dinosaur, Billy makes the comeback. A big cross body almost does it, but Belinda gets up on the apron and distracts the ref. AJ accidentally knocks her off the apron, and Preston gets the schoolboy for the win! Nobody kicks out of it! NOBODY!

Winner: Big Brother Billy Preston (at 8:57)

Star Rating: **1/2. The Big Brother character isn't my cup of tea, to say the least. But Billy Preston is extremely talented, as is Aaron Jake, and this was a good opener to set the more family-friendly tone of this show, with lots of crowd interaction and selling it as a generally wholesome experience.

Nick hypes the main event of Jessica Troy vs. Cherry Stephens for the PWA Championship, and introduces the champ and challenger for a little pre-match chat. Jess is very confident and respects Cherry for her abilities... but points out the lack of wins and championships that everyone's favourite student of wrestling currently has. Bit of a heelish edge to the champ here. Cherry responds that she's been preparing and has her trusty notebook- but when she goes to get it out of her backpack, it's not there! Jess has it! The champ gives it back though, saying "you can keep your book, and I'll keep my championship". Effective main event hype, settiing the face/heel divide- at least for the night.

Nick introduces the following trios match as happening under Australian Rules- which is just a renamed "lucha rules"- tags can occur the traditional way, or by rolling out of the ring, with both feet touching the floor.

Match 2: Ricky South, Michael Spencer & Melissa Averillo vs. The Braxslide Girls (Kingsley, Shay Kassidy & Ben Braxton)

The Backslide Girls do their usual entrance routine of singing and dancing, and new addition Ben Braxton throws in a backflip off the ropes to punctuate it. Cool stuff.

PWA do intergender wrestling, and at times intergender wrestling can be a controversial topic, especially for all ages shows. The general ethos of PWA is that everyone is equal, and there's no "women's wrestling", it's just "wrestling", and everyone is a wrestler. This started in a slightly comedic way, with former PWA Champion Ricky South almost falling to the deadly backslide pin from Kingsley. Melissa was a gamechanger here- taller than both of her male partners and the other girls, and almost equal in height to Braxton, the match got serious in a hurry as the two giants of the respective teams traded strikes. The action sped up as the Australian Rules were utilised, with members of both teams in and out. Ricky hits Shay with the piledriver and that's all she wrote.

Winners: Ricky South, MIchael Spencer & Melissa Averillo (at 9:53)

Star Rating: ***1/4. Strong action throughout. I could feel a little discomfort from the newbies at the intergender stuff, but after Brax and Melissa got going, it felt like everyone was just buying in to six great athletes kicking ass, which was great to see.

Lil Tony Stellino comes out, and he's babyfacing it up, smiling and slapping hands as he makes his way to the ring... and we've got some Rogue Army representation as Jack Bonza answers the open challenge! A bit of a surprise to see him here at Mounties.

Match 3: Lil Tony Stellino vs. Jack J Bonza

A fun hoss battle here. Bonza is a rugged, hard-hitting competitor, but Lil Tony is a 7 foot tall monster, making Bonza something of an underdog here. Bonza vows to knock Tony down, but is unsuccessful in the early going. A funny spot goes down as Tony yells "meatball!" while hitting repeated corner splashes. Bonza tries to get his bearings, and finally hits a huge body slam! In front of 80,000 screaming Bonza-maniacs, brother. Bonza tries something different as he goes up top, but gets caught in a chokeslam for a near fall. The fight spills outside the ring, and here, Bonza takes over, dropping Tony with a back suplex on the apron. Hardest part of the ring, you know. Back in the ring, a Boston Crab adds to the back trauma... and Tony taps out!

Winner: Jack J Bonza (at 6:50)

Star Rating: ***1/4. This was an enjoyable watch, particularly as it gave Lil Tony an opportunity against an experienced veteran. Hopefully, more outings like that will see Tony build up his confidence, and in turn his stock on the PWA roster. As for Bonza, I'm curious to see how he fits in on the PWA roster in 2024- does the Rogue Army continue? Does he ride solo? Time will tell, I guess.

Match 4: North Shore Wrestling (Sam Osborne & Will Kiedis) vs. The Tuckman & Scott Green

NSW cut a promo pre-match, talking down Mt Pritchard and wishing they were back at the beautiful Sydney North Shore. They found one good thing about Mt Pritchard... the road out of there! Oh ho ho ho.

Tuckman and Green get a great reaction, but Osborne and Kiedis are the more experienced duo, and are able to wear down Scott Green, who does a great job selling and playing the face in peril. Osborne and Kiedis are excellent for their part at needling the crowd and making sure they were the least liked people in the building. Kiedis does a nice job, reacting to a crowd heckle at the right time, right before Scott boots him in the face and makes a hot tag to Tuckman. Tuckman comes in on fire, taking out North Shore with a two-for-one top rope cross body. A suicide dive comes shortly after, Green pops back in with a rolling flatliner on Kiedis- shades of Grayson Waller- allowing Tuckman to nail Kiedis with the springboard cutter to put this one away!

Winners: The Tuckman & Scott Green (at 8:04)

Star Rating: ***1/2. Felt like that was the most high-energy match on the show to this point, with very popular faces going up against highly detestable heels. The finish was great too, and a nice reminder that regular wrestling fans might take some of the spectacular moves the wrestlers do for granted- the GASP from the crowd as Tuckman hit the springboard cutter was something else!

Intermission. Was going to go chat to my boys Tucky and Scott, but they were getting mobbed by kids and families. Stars.

Match 5: Digby vs. Mick Moretti (w/ Jimmy Townsend)

It was student vs. teacher in this one. Digby is from the band Big Red Fire Truck, and he's done some stuff with PWA over the last year, first appearing as a surprise entrant in the Rumble on the night BRFT was a musical guest on PWA, then at Colosseum he had an impromptu tag match, teaming with Mat Diamond to take on the North Shore boys. First singles match for Digby here.

I got a kick out of this, because of the student-coach story, Moretti could basically call spots under the guise of playful trash talk. "C'mon, try a wristlock", "have you got a counter for this?" Digby seems to get more comfortable, going for the Fameasser, but crashing and burning as Moretti moves. Soon after, Moretti hits the Fisherman buster to kick off the Rapscallion's 2024 with a victory!

Winner: Mick Moretti (at 7:18)

Star Rating: ***. Really enjoyed this. Moretti is such a pro, he could probably make me look good in a match, but Digby held up his end of the bargain for sure. He looked excited to be there, and didn't seem to mess anything up. Hopefully he does a lot more as part of the PWA family in the future. Doesn't hurt that Digby is already a performer, so confidence in front of a crowd doesn't seem to be an issue at all.

Match 6: The Third Eye (Xander Sullivan, Shelston & Ty Thayer) vs. Robbie Eagles, Jude London & Cosmo Cooper

Okay, a really funny aspect of this match was Cosmo Cooper, and the fans' reaction to him. More specifically, the people sitting around me, who kinda seemed like they could take or leave the rest of the show, absolutely LOST THEIR MINDS when Cosmo came out. I'm going to assume they were family members or friends. The presentation of his uber-positive character, complete with the Happy Days theme song and an entrance video which shows him smiling while he's getting suplexed, among other things, is brilliant.

To the match itself, the babyfaces got to shine a good amount here, as Robbie and Jude- veterans and tag team specialists- hit some of their best and flashiest stuff. The Third Eye, a brand new cult- I mean, self help group- are looking to establish themselves here. They definitely look the part, with snazzy new shirts and wrestling gear. Robbie hits some of his best moves on Xander, but fails to connect with the 450 Splash. Cosmo tags in and has a nice little run, including a good-looking dropkick. Hardcore Holly would be proud. Or he might beat the rookie, who knows? Cosmo just wants a hug- which he looks to turn into a belly to belly suplex, but it's countered. Xander hits the Crop Circle (UFO spinning slam) to get Third Eye their first win as a team!

Winners: The Third Eye (at 12:37)

Star Rating: ***1/2. Great action from both teams in this one, but I actually really enjoyed the character work. Xander reminds me of a cartoon supervillain with how delightfully over the top he is, and Shelston and Thayer did a nice job constantly interacting with fans, even when they weren't the legal man. And dear Cosmo... never stopped smiling or otherwise emoting through the whole match. The poor guy- his people next to me were devastated when he took the fall.

Main Event: PWA Heavyweight Championship- Cherry Stephens vs. Jessica Troy (c)

As they start the match, Jess asks Cherry if she wants to use the notebook, which is sitting in the corner. Cherry doesn't need it right now. Jess goes for the Fujiwara armbar early, but Cherry scrambles to the ropes. Lots of chain wrestling early, during which Cherry does grab her book. Jess then throws the book out of the ring. After Cherry gets the better of an exchange, the champ goes to the outside and grabs the book. They brawl through the crowd- Troy hilariously gives the notebook to a fan but he almost immediately hands it back to Stephens.

They make their way back into the ring and Cherry starts to build momentum. A Diamond Dust, a tornado DDT and a Gory Bomb all get near falls. Jess rallies with a Meteora and a brainbuster. There's a furious, intense pace to this, and then Troy hits the La Jesstica into the Fujiwara... and Cherry is forced to tap!

Winner: Jessica Troy (at 11:41)

Star Rating: ****. Didn't go as long as I would have maybe liked, but they packed a lot into the time they had at a fast pace. Probably the most technical match of the night as far as all of the holds and chain wrestling went. Cherry definitely had some shining moments, but this night belonged to the champ.

Post-match, Jessica shakes Cherry's hand in a show of respect. Love to see it.

PWA are back at Mounties on the 27th of April. It occured to me as this show was wrapping up- I'm slightly concerned about the plans for PWA in 2024. They promoted the King of the Metro show happening in June on the last Liberty Hall show, but they typically announce Black Label shows for the following month as we go along. No Black Label show in January- there's a Crowbar "fight club" show, which isn't the same as Liberty Hall and also may not be televised. Nothing announced for February or March. Are we not getting any more Liberty Hall shows? Are we not getting any more Black Label shows? Are we down to Mounties shows every couple of months until the Metro?

Would be a major kick to the guts if so. It looked like the last couple of Liberty Hall shows- including Colosseum which would have cost a lot- didn't draw as well as past Liberty Hall/Max Watts shows. It'll be a major downgrade from monthly Black Label shows to family-friendly non-broadcast shows every couple of months.

Overall Thoughts

Fears about the future aside, this was a fun show, well worth the trip up to Mounties. Absolutely a different tone to the Black Label shows- some of the silliness, I wasn't the target audience for, and that's okay- I'm not going to kick and scream when every single thing doesn't cater to my individual wrestling tastes. It's a slightly different PWA, but it's not bad by any means. It's the old ice cream analogy- my favourite is cookies and cream, but if they serve me banana, I'm happy with that too. It's still ice cream.

The wrestling was still top-notch, the production was top-notch, and it's always a treat to see new characters tested and developed, which we had a good amount of on this show. Plus, for $30 a ticket (or $15 or something if you become a Mounties member), it's incredible value for money for a night of entertainment!

Overall Score: 8/10

Until next time, take care.


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Who's Behind The Blog
Image of Mick Robson, founder of The Arena Media

Mick Robson is a freelance writer from Australia. A lifelong fan of pro wrestling and MMA, he endeavours to bring that passion through his coverage in news, reviews and opinion pieces.

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