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PWA Ringmasters Review (19/04/2024)




By Mick Robson


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Alright! After a metric f**kton of writing (yes, that's a real unit of measurement), we've made our way through all of the Starrcast coverage, and have made our return to Sydney for PWA!


PWA Ringmasters marks the first Black Label event of the year. Now, I'm not going to lie- I'm nothing if not honest- the absence of Black Label events had me a little worried. With the exception of the pandemic, we've had monthly Black Label events as long as I've been a fan. Now, I know things happen behind the scenes- some of it I'm privy to, a lot of it I'm not- but there was definitely a Black Label shaped hole in my heart for a few months there.


But! I'm happy to report we're back, and we're back in a new setting. PWA has thrown its promotional machine and world-class production behind a show to take place at the Sydney Spiegeltent. I genuinely thought it was happening in a circus tent. The actual venue is somewhat shaped like that, and looks very nice on the inside with all the lights and glitz and glamour. The actual wrestling card is loaded with 3 titles on the line. A lot to love on paper, but would we love it in practice?


Let's do this!


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Dark Match: MK Plus Ultra (Michael Spencer & Kai Drake) def. Cosmo Cooper & Sue Plex


A fun outing that saw Cosmo shine with his extremely "happy go lucky" character. My mate pointed out that Cosmo looks like a young Jay Sorbet and now I can't un-see it. Cosmo really wants a hug from one of his opponents but winds up hugging Referee Lili instead. Sue Plex has her moments, but also gets her wig snatched, and being the more experienced team paid dividends, as Spencer was able to hit a Buckshot Lariat, followed by the tandem springboard kick/knee combo to hand MK the win.


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We kick off the main show card (live on YouTube) with an acknowlegement of country, then the opening strains of "The Greatest Show" song, followed by a fire dancing performance by the beautiful Miss Fury. I was mesmerised on every level, before the music of the Violence Artist, Charli Evans, hits. Still somewhat mesmerised yet highly aware that some s**t is about to go down!


Match 1: Charli Evans vs. Ben Braxton


Jokes aside, this was one of the matches I was most looking forward to on this card. If you were unfamiliar with these two wrestlers, you might just look at them and go, "there's no way this should work". Charli is quite undersized compared to the tall, jacked super athlete that is Ben Braxton, but Chevs just has this incredible aura of being a killer, and adds to the dangerous feel during her matches by including the utmost aggression in every movement.


In the early going, they do some chain wrestling, and Braxton performs a flawless nip up out of it. In addition to his size and strength, he's got agility and finesse on his side. After Braxton condescendingly pats her on the head, Charli pushes him repeatedly and slaps him in the face. Like Tom Petty, she won't back down. Braxton invites her to run the ropes and easily drops her with a shoulder block.


Charli continues to fight, and sends Braxton flying with a diving top rope rana! After using the ropes for momentum, Evans finally succeeds at dropping Braxton with a shoulder block! Just when it feels like the tide is turning, Braxton blasts her with a dropkick! An uphill battle here for Chevs.


Charli grits her teeth and fights back, sending Braxton flying and landing high on an exploder suplex! She follows up with a flatliner into the middle turnbuckle, then a series of her signature facewash boots in the corner. A huge C-Trigger knee connects, followed by a perfect Fisherman's Suplex for a razor close near fall! They trade strikes and Braxton folds Charli up with a superkick! They slowly get up and Brax cracks Chevs with a Sick Kick, then a twisting suplex for a near fall of his own.


Braxton sets up for the Gamechanger but Charli turns it into a victory roll for a 2 count. A superkick knocks Braxton out of the ring, and Charli follows up with a cross body onto the stage! Back in the ring, a German Suplex, a Saito Suplex and a running knee- Braxton kicks out! Chevs wastes no time, and hits the Burning Lariat for the win!


Winner: Charli Evans (at 9:50)


That was outstanding! The mix of styles, non-stop aggression, that felt like a FIGHT. So much grit, violence and athleticism. Loved it. These two wrestlers are amazing and I wish them all the success, titles, and Colosseum entries in the future.


We go to our commentary team of Andrew Rose, Kris Gale and Unsocial Jordan, who talk about the rest of this stacked card.


In the ring, we've got the Executive, David Streamer. Streamer Capital Asset Management- and Barnaby the Bear- bring "the hottest wrestle-pop sensation, the Backslide Girlz!" Kingsley, Shay Kassidy and Everett Connors come out and deliver a musical performance. Well, the uber-talented Kingsley does the singing, while Shay and Everett dance along.


The fun is interrupted by the cult- I mean, self-help group- the Third Eye. Leader Xander Sullivan calls the crowd sheep, and the Backslide Girlz include subliminal messages in their music, according to him. Also, Everett is apparently a lizard. The group- comprised of Xander, Shelston, Ty Thayer and now Jay Sorbet enter the ring, and the fight is on! Third Eye look for a triple powerbomb on Streamer, but the Backslide Girlz save him and Everett backslides Thayer for a mock 3 count. This is no match, but Third Eye scurry away. A bit of harmless fun that could build to a fun tag match featuring these new factions at a future show.


Match 2: Winner Gets No. 30 in the Rumble at King of the Metro- Will Kiedis vs. Cherry Stephens vs. Big Fudge vs. Big Brother Billy Preston


Billy has new music (Don't Change by INXS) and a new look! Despite what his entrance graphic reads, no Playtime Pals, and I couldn't be happier. Preston is talented, but man, I did not like that gimmick.


Kiedis knocks him out of the ring before the music can finish, and this high stakes match is underway! With Preston out of the picture for the moment, we have a throwback with Kiedis, Cherry and Fudge- honestly might be the best story PWA has ever done. Fudge takes out Kiedis with a Butt Punch, and Fudge and Cherry exchange forearms. Billy back in with a double clothesline! Billy walks the ropes, and despite a brief bit of Kiedis interference, pulls off an arm drag on Fudge.


Cherry drops Billy with an enziguri and Fudge follows up with a senton to the back. Fudge tries to steal the pin but Cherry breaks it up. Cherry with the Diamond Dust on Billy, and a springboard DDT on Fudge! Near fall. A big Tower of Doom spot which Kiedis gets the best of follows. The pin attempts don't work and the battle rages on.


Fudge throws Kiedis out of the ring and hits Cherry and Billy with a double chokeslam! Kiedis back in and looks for the Unprettier, but Fudge counters with a Butt Punch! Fudge sets up for the chokeslam on Kiedis- but wait, Ricky South is here! Looking like a dad that doesn't know how to put suspenders on, he stops Fudge from hitting the move. Backman attacks Fudge- he's wearing a dress shirt and clearly doesn't own an iron. Fashion choices aside, these two large men beat down Fudge! Backman hits a spinebuster and according to Rose, Ricky tells Fudge that he'll see him at the Metro- didn't catch that live, advantages of watching it back on YouTube. Ricky drops Fudge with the piledriver, handing the #30 spot to Kiedis.


Winner: Will Kiedis (at 9:00)


Fun Fatal 4 Way, with a big angle at the end to set up Fudge vs. Ricky, a match over a year in the making, and certainly a big enough match for a stage like the King of the Metro in June. Plus endless bonus points for apparently ending the children's entertainer gimmick of Billy Preston.


An ad airs for PWA at the Mounties 3, on April 27. I have prior commitments so I won't be able to make that one. A big day for Sydney pro wrestling, as Rock N Roll Wrestling are returning to Campbelltown RSL, and EWA are running their Vantage Point show at the same time!


The next match is contested under "Australian Rules", a renamed lucha tag rules, where you can tag the traditional way, or rolling out of the ring also constitutes a tag. Curious as to why that change was made.


Match 3: PWA Tag Team Championship- The Joker and the Thief (Mick Moretti & Jimmy Townsend) (c) vs. The Rogue Army (Jack J Bonza & Caveman Ugg)


Jimmy got a haircut! Handsome young man, it suits him.


In the early going, Joker & The Thief play games as they tag in and out, trying to throw off Bonza who starts for the Rogue Army. It pays off as they hit a great tandem move early- a Moretti powerbomb into a Townsend elbow drop for a near fall.


Ugg tags in and is a quick gamechanger as he flattens Jimmy with a big splash. From there, Rogue Army isolate Jimmy and beat him down- Ugg primarily with his clubbing style, while Bonza ties up Jimmy in knots with submissions like the Stretch Muffler. Rogue Army tag in and out, keeping each other fresh. Jimmy looks for the salvation of a tag but gets continually cut off. On his best opportunity to tag out, Jimmy escapes the clutches of Ugg, but Bonza rips Moretti off the apron from the outside.


Finally, Moretti tags in and the action picks up. We get double team work on both sides and the action gets a little more high risk. Moretti turns an Ugg moonsault attempt into a cutter and Jimmy hits a beautiful moonsault, but Bonza breaks up the pin. Caveman Ugg is a big man, but also deceptively agile, as he performs a monkey flip into a sit-down powerbomb on Townsend for a near fall for the challengers. The fight spills to the stage, where Ugg looks for a Splash Mountain Bomb from the stage back into the ring, but Moretti counters with a headscissors, snapping Ugg's neck on the top rope. A Mick Togo from the ring to the stage follows. Very cool. Jimmy looks for a springboard crossbody on Bonza, who catches him and hits a modified Napalm Thunder Driver on the stage! Great strength.


The carnage spills back to the ring, where Moretti hits a Fisherman Driver on Ugg for a near fall. Jimmy hits a beautiful top rope cross body on Bonza. With Jimmy as the legal man, we get a tag between Townsend and Moretti- or do we? Bonza drops Moretti with the Napalm Thunder Driver, but Jimmy runs back in and rolls up Bonza for the 3 count! It was a fake-out!


Winners: The Joker and the Thief (at 13:37)


Great performance by all four men, and also great work by the commentary team- they sold how Jimmy was the least experienced, how the Joker and the Thief were outmatched in size and strength- only for the smarts and shenanigans of the less experienced duo to be the difference in the end. Excellent story-telling to go along with the high quality action.


Intermission time! On YouTube, they're replaying a past PWA match- Aussie Open vs. Ricky South & Matty Wahlberg (now known as Grayson Waller). An awesome match from the Back In Black Label event. It was the return of PWA after pandemic lockdowns, and one of Waller's last PWA appearances before heading off to WWE. Worth re-watching Ringmasters on YouTube just for this alone.


Match 4: Soul of PWA Championship- Robbie Eagles vs. The Tuckman (c)


Interestingly, there's boos for the legendary Robbie Eagles during the introductions. Speaks to the exploding popularity of the rookie champion Tuckman!


Tuckman chugs a beer to start the match, to the strains of "Here's to Tuckman, he's true blue..." Tuckman offers Robbie a beer, but Robbie's all business and knocks the beer out of his hand. "Robbie's a wanker" chants from the crowd. They lock up and break free, neither man budging. Robbie goes for a flying bodyscissors into the Ron Miller, but Tuckman kicks free and nips up. Beyond the fun and games, Tuckman is an exceptional athlete.


A rare mistake on commentary as they talk about 3 people holding the Colosseum sword- Robbie Eagles, Mick Moretti and Zach Sabre Jr. How could we forget about the man we saw in the intermission match, Matty Swordberg himself? Jordan picks it up a few seconds later. Meanwhile, Tuckman is keeping up with Robbie step for step in several wrestling exchanges. He laces Robbie's legs and mocks him with the "Oi Oi Oi" chant that Eagles usually uses.


Robbie comes back with a spinning kick, sending Tuckman to the outside. He looks for a dive, but Tuckman moves and Robbie flips back. He then launches with a tope con hilo towards the corner, right into Tuckman in the crowd! Nuts! He chops Tuckman in front of the champ's dad. Back in the ring, Tuckman looks for the Rock Bottom but Robbie blocks it and rolls into the Ron Miller! Tuckman makes the ropes quickly.


Robbie gets angry at the mocking, the crowd reactions, and Tuckman keeping up. He hits Tuckman with more intensity, and his face turns into somewhat of a sneer. He performs a cocky pin sitting on Tuckman's chest to get under the skin of the pro-Tuckey crowd more. He slowly sets up for the Ron Miller again. Tuckman tries to kick out of it, but Eagles just kicks him in the thigh full-force. A springboard dropkick to the knee follows- classic Robbie Eagles. More kicks, a 619 to the legs, double knees in the corner- the champ is in trouble.


Robbie looks for the 450, Tuckman moves, and Robbie rolls through. Another hard kick to the chest by Eagles. Robbie goes for the Turbo Backpack, but Tuckman catches him into the AA! Great counter by the champ. He tries to mount a comeback with a pump kick, a back elbow and a clothesline in the corner. He goes to the apron and hits the springboard cutter! It's won him so many matches, but he's slow to cover with the injured leg, and Robbie kicks out!


Tuckman looks for the Rock Bottom, but Robbie gives him the finger mid-set up! So a pissed (not in that way) Tuckman clubs Eagles to the mat and rains down strikes. Tuckman goes up top and goes for the 450- great form, but gets nothing but canvas! Robbie hits the Turbo Backpack, kick out, right into the Ron Miller Special! After a great struggle, Tuckman makes the ropes. Robbie goes for the running kick that has won him matches in recent months, but Tuckman just collapses in a heap. Robbie drags Tuckey up, who hits a desperation flurry of strikes. He looks for the springboard cutter again, but Robbie clocks him with a kick out of the air! Robbie with another kick combo to the face and goes up top. 450 to the leg, followed by the Ron Miller again- no, he ties Tuckman up and kicks him in the face! Referee Hannah intervenes. Another running kick to the face- and Hannah waves the match off!


Winner: Robbie Eagles (via referee stoppage) (at 15:50)


Wow. What a fascinating watch. You could definitely feel crowd support building for Tuckman in the lead-up to this match, but for the crowd at the Spiegeltent to be THAT anti-Robbie, and for Eagles to lean into it so heavily and viciously... it was a spectacle. A violent spectacle, akin to a slaughter, but absolutely compelling. Now, where does Tuckman go from here? From speaking to Robbie post-match, it seems like he might be taking the championship overseas for a while, but our young former champ now needs to rebuild. Excellent, albeit somewhat uncomfortable match.


Post-match, JT Robinson, Jax Jordan and Madison Eagles- key PWA backstage personnel- come into the ring to check on Tuckman.


We throw to the commentary table where Kris says that "evil was emanating from Robbie Eagles".


Match 5: Aaron Jake & Bel Pierce vs. The Velocities (Jude "The Dude" London & Paris De Silva)


Aaron and Bel were not introduced as SMS, something that Rose makes note of. They also have different music. I suppose if Unsocial Jordan is retired, it doesn't make a ton of sense to keep the SMS thing going. Aaron cuts a promo saying the Velocities disrespected them, and insults the crowd saying that we're all "freaks".


The fists start flying immediately, as "Jude "The Dude" Silva and Paris", according to ring announcer Diego, start throwing hands at the apparent Street King and Queen. They fight at ringside, and you can feel the heat in this one early! In the ring, Paris and Bel are our legal wrestlers to start things off. Paris hits some quick elbows, then Jude tags in to hit a flurry of kicks. Paris tags back in. Aaron comes in illegally and drops Paris with a clothesline. Jude goes after Aaron.


Aaron and Paris become legal, and Aaron hits a leaping knee drop for a near fall. The usual chemistry of the Velocities feels off as they exchange words and aren't doing their normal flashy double team attacks to this point. World's Strongest Slam by Aaron, who then dropkicks Jude off the apron. Top rope splash by Bel gets a near fall.


Jude tags in and hits a springboard forearm on Aaron. Exploder suplex on Bel. Arm drag/headscissor combo on both. Paris tags in and goes for the Shooting Star but Aaron gets the knees up! Aaron goes for a pin, and Jude looks to break it up with a springboard stomp, but Aaron moves and Jude crushes Paris! Double team slam on Paris- who kicks out! Paris avoids a Bel spear, which takes out Aaron, allowing the tag to Jude. Jude with a top rope stomp, but Aaron kicks out!


Aaron looks for a powerbomb on Jude, but it gets turned into a hurricanrana. Bel tries to Spear Jude, but Paris intercepts and dropkicks her down. Roll up by Aaron, called as a 2 count, but looks like it could have been 3. Jude goes for a blockbuster, but Aaron moves and Jude wipes out Paris again! Bel spears Jude out of the ring. Aaron blasts Paris down with a dropkick- 1, 2.. should be a 3 but for whatever reason Referee Jackie doesn't call it! So Aaron repeats the spot and we get a 3 count.


Winners: Aaron Jake & Bel Pierce (at 11:37)


This was a weird match for a couple of reasons. One, the Velocities dissension, which was the story they were trying to tell, but also that referee! Several people around me noticed him throughout any matches he had, he was constantly smiling, which was distracting, and he was checking his watch a ton, leading to a big chunk of guys behind me chanting "check the time", because it was so obvious when he was doing it. Then the pin f**k up was really the cherry on the shit sundae here. The match felt off and the energy felt off, but I don't blame the wrestlers, it falls right on the ref there.


We get a video package before the main event. That's one thing we were missing at the Spiegeltent live, was a video screen, but the rest of the production- lights, music, fire dancers- was so good that it didn't even occur to me until someone pointed it out after the show.


Main Event: PWA Championship- Sam Osborne vs. Jessica Troy (c)


Those guys chant "check the time" at Referee Hannah before the match, but she's too good to fall for that shit. After the introductions, Will Kiedis walks out to corner Osborne.


Jess sets a fast pace early, hitting a top rope rana and seated Meteora for an early two count. She also goes after the arm in the early going. She counters an attack by Osborne into an armbar, and the challenger quickly makes it to the ropes.


Kiedis gets involved behind the ref's back and clotheslines Troy. This opens the door for Osborne to take control. Backbreaker/T-Bone combo gets a near fall for the challenger. Jess tries to come back, trapping both Osborne and Kiedis' hands on the apron and stomping them. She follows up with a Meteora attempt on Osborne but gets body slammed on the floor. Not only does the champ have to deal with the cheating Kiedis, but Osborne's physical prowess is enough of an obstacle in his own right. A clear and obvious size and strength advantage.


They battle back in the ring on the ropes, and Troy fights back with a headbutt, then a top rope Meteora! My favourite Linkin Park album. A leaping tornado DDT follows soon after, and Osborne is reeling. Near fall. Jess throws more strikes but Osborne mows her down with a clothesline. He tries the backbreaker/T-Bone combo again, but Jess turns it into the Fujiwara armbar! Osborne rolls through into the kneebar! Great technical wrestling. Jess escapes and finds her way back to the Fujiwara with the added leglock, the same way she beat Ricky South to win the title. Kiedis pulled Referee Hannah out of the ring to avoid a submission being called. Jess tries to hit Kiedis with a baseball slide, but takes out Hannah instead!


Kiedis attacks Jess in the ring but gets locked in the Fujiwara. Osborne tries to stop it and we get a double Fujiwara! Jess breaks the hold to check on Hannah, but she's out. Back to the ring, where Osborne hits an enziguri, Kiedis hits a flying knee, then Osborne hits his finisher- which is kinda like a Stormbreaker with less torque. Hannah thrown back in the ring to count... but Jess kicks out!


A frustrated Osborne confronts Referee Hannah- and drops her with a forearm shot! Boos ring out through the Spiegeltent. That bastard! Osborne and Kiedis grab steel chairs, and this is looking real bad. Charli Evans makes the save! She sends Kiedis scurrying away and launches Osborne sky high with a release German suplex! Kiedis back in to attack with the title belt, but Jess and Charli lock him in a dual submission! Referee Jackie runs out to huge (ironic) cheers. He gets Chevs and Kiedis to the back. Osborne clocks Troy with the title belt- Jackie comes back- he may have missed the belt shot but like it would matter, the way he referees- but Jess kicks out again! Osborne goes for the Stormbreaker finisher but Jess counters into the Fujiwara! Osborne fights it, but Jess does a huge tilt-a-whirl into it- the La Jesstica- locks in the arm and leg and Osborne taps!


Winner: Jessica Troy (at 20:40)


On a night with other epic matches- the other title matches and that Chevs/Brax opener- they still saved the best for last. Osborne was at his smarmy best, Kiedis was an obnoxious pest, and Jessica Troy was the ultimate underdog that prevailed with a little help from a friend and a lot of skill. She might be smaller, but she's also a highly skilled badass, and a joy to watch every time in that ring. An amazing match to close a triumphant return for PWA Black Label.


Diego interrupts the celebrations- he's just received word of Jess' next opponent. June 14. King of the Metro. DELTA.


Whoa! They had an absolutely incredible Ironman match down in MCW, and DELTA's continued to shine in performances against talent like Jordynne Grace on the HER show last weekend. As if the Rumble wasn't enough of a draw, Jess vs. DELTA is must-see!


Overall Thoughts


It makes my heart so happy to see PWA Black Label back like it never left. It hosts some of the best talent in the country, talent that is among the best worldwide. Production-wise, it's so far ahead of any other indie company, and I can only hope that the show quality shown here leads to continued success and growth of the company. It was a loaded card, with an outstanding start and finish, with some excellence spread throughout as well.


I just want to know why Robbie Eagles hates rangas so much. And whether Referee Jackie's obsession with checking his watch every 2 minutes is a medical condition.


Overall Score: 9/10



Until next time, take care.

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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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