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PWA The Tuckman's Beer Bash Review (01/12/2023)




By Mick Robson


(Photo Credit: PWA/New Photography Studios)


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The Tuckman has risen through the ranks in lightning-quick fashion. Seemingly in the time it takes Tucky to down a six pack of Wayward Brewing beer, he's established himself as a key player in the next generation of stars at PWA. For those not in the know, Pro Wrestling Australia can count among its wrestlers stars like former women's tag team champions, The IIconics, current Monday Night Raw monster Bronson Reed, current Smackdown icon Grayson Waller, and still plying his trade in PWA rings, the former IWGP Jr Heavyweight Champion, Robbie Eagles!


Tuckman can count himself among that elite company after capturing the Soul of PWA Championship in record time against Unsocial Jordan on Night 1 of Colosseum 2023. Less than a year after making his Black Label debut (On Die Hard Is A Christmas Movie), Tucky is one of the standard bearers of PWA, mixing comedic bogan charm with top notch athleticism and wrestling skills. Great sense of humour too, as he notes wiith a laugh, "the ranga's got the Soul!" The buzz he has generated in such a short space of hime, it's a no brainer that he got a Black Label show named after him.


Tuckman promised to be Booker of the Year with this show. Time to find out.


Let's do this!


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The broadcast kicks off with the acknowledgement of country by ring announcer Diego Retamales. The intro video airs, and a fired up Andrew Rose welcomes us to Liberty Hall. He's joined by Kris Gale... and special guest commentator Unsocial Jordan!


"Sharp Dressed Man" hits, signalling the arrival of The Executive, David Streamer. Streamer introduces the newest PWA pop sensation, the Backslide Girlz! Kingsley sings and dances in the ring with her partner, Shay Kassidy, for the opening tag match- contested, as always in PWA, under lucha rules.


Match 1: Backslide Girlz (Kingsley & Shay Kassidy) vs SMS (Belinda Pierce & Aaron Jake) vs MK Plus Ultra (Michael Spencer & Tommy Dee) vs. PPK (Frankie B & Nikki Van Blair)


We start with Frankie B and Kingsley. They tentatively shake hands then trade forearms. Tag to Shay, and they hit a double snapmare, sending Frankie into the ropes- and Spencer and Pierce team up to kick her from the apron- then Spencer gives Bel the bird. Interesting dynamics at play here.


An early backslide is attempted, and Jordan logically calls out the problem with calling yourself the Backslide Girlz- everyone knows what you're going for. Lucha rules quickly get competitors in and out, and we're getting a bit chaotic here. Nikki drops Tommy with a Lou Thesz press, and Frankie's in to hit a PPK backstabber/Russian leg sweep combo. Near fall. Frankie follows up with a moonsault, but Aaron Jake breaks up the cover. Kris Gale calls the chaos of this match a metaphor for the state of the tag division in PWA at the moment, with The Joker and the Thief sitting atop the mountain.


SMS blindside the Backslide Girlz and they're in control.  Kingsley comes back with a tornado DDT out of the corner. Tag to Shay. Kingsley hits a 619, Shay hits a huge German suplex on Jake. MK Plus in to wipe them out with lariats- Spencer does the Buckshot version. Far better than CM Punk. PPK wipes them out with big boots. Belinda takes them both down with a double spear.


Backslide Girlz and MK Plus become the legal teams and the Girlz go for the double backslide, but Kai Drake distracts Shay- he's got Barnaby The Bear- Shay's teddy that is in a wheelchair after its heroic dive off the balcony at Colosseum. Kai tips Barnaby out of the chair, enraging Shay. With the Girlz distracted on the stage, SMS hit Frankie with a double team facebuster for the win!


Winners: SMS (at 7:25)


Star Rating: ***. Frenetic start to the show with a lot of big personalities. The new act of the Backslide Girlz got spotlighted, and there's never a dull moment in PWA's lucha tag format, but in the end, this was about clearing up the mess in the tag division, and SMS are definitely viable contenders to face Mick Moretti and Jimmy Townsend for the titles.



We throw to the commentary team on camera, and Rose makes Unsocial Jordan promote Tuckman vs. Kiedis for the Soul of PWA title- that he lost at the last show.


Diego has an announcement- PWA will be returning to the Metro Theatre next year for the Rumble! June 14. King of the Metro '24! Huge news and I'll definitely leave that date open. It's the week before my birthday, so I might tie it into my birthday celebrations!


Match 2: Caveman Ugg vs. Mick Moretti


Timely with the Metro announcement, as these two were in a featured match for the Soul of PWA Championship at the first PWA Metro show. Ugg tries to intimidate Moretti and the ref, but the Rapscallion flies at him with a shotgun dropkick! Quick, aggressive strikes, but Ugg blocks attempted Kawada kicks and just YEETS Moretti into the air in something resembling a back suplex. Poor Mick was sent into orbit there!


Ugg charges in the corner but Moretti gets the boot up. Moretti tries to stick and move but one good forearm shot by Ugg drops him. Soon after, Moretti gets launched again with a flapjack. They battle on the apron, and this is getting ugly with trading headbutts. Ultimately, Moretti pulls Ugg into the ring post.



Ugg tries to return to the ring, but is cut off with a Moretti knee strike. Moretti looks for a suicide dive, but is caught, slammed into the apron, and then has the life chopped out of him. Damn! Back in the ring, a big running splash by Ugg gets a near fall. Ugg goes for the Fire Thunder Driver, Moretti slips out, and we get a nice call back spot to the Metro as Moretti handstands, Ugg looks to Spear him while upside down, but this time Moretti is ready and monkey flips him into the corner! Awesome.


Moretti tries to Curb Stomp Ugg, but he refuses to go down. Moretti tries a top rope version but gets Speared out of the air! Ugg hits an over the shoulder gutbuster, followed by the bearhug- or the Ugg Hug- and Moretti is out!


Winner: Caveman Ugg (at 8:00)


Star Rating: ***1/2. Talk about maximising your minutes! These two are among the absolute best in PWA, and as much as I'd love to see them go a bit longer in a back and forth, this skewed more in the favour of Caveman Ugg, establishing that Ugg, as a member of the Bullet Club's Rogue Army in NJPW Tamashii, is a different level of threat. Really well done.


Post-match, Ugg hits the Fire Thunder Driver. Rose positions Rogue Army- that is, Ugg and Bonza- as challengers against Joker and the Thief. To be fair, much bigger match that SMS would provide.


Match 3: Secret Santa Tag Match


They play Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You", and I almost turn off the stream. The wrestlers take turns selecting green and black items from the stocking to determine what the teams are for the match. It becomes a six man- Ricky, Backman and Thayer vs. Eagles, Pidgey and Braxton.


Starting with Pidgeon and Thayer, and this is a big opportunity for the time travelling Ty Thayer... is this his Black Label debut? I feel like it is. I've seen him on Academy shows, but not so much at Liberty Hall. The crowd chants, "who are you?" and Pidgeon sends Thayer flying with an arm drag. Lucha tag rules sees Team Green clear the ring, with Eagles and Braxton launching huge dropkicks at Ricky and Backman.



The heels- who have a big size advantage- isolate Pidgeon and beat him down. Crowd chants "F*** you Ricky" and he responds with a body slam on Pidgeon. Pidgeon fights back with a big DDT and almost makes the tag to Braxton, but Thayer pulls him off the apron. Pidgey fights Ricky and Backman, and wipes out the former PWA champ with a cross body off Backman's back! Wow.


Hot tag to Braxton, who immediately takes the fight to Backman! Thayer comes in and takes a belly to belly, and Ricky cops a Superman punch on the apron just for the hell of it. Braxton drops Backman with a twisting suplex- looks close to a brainbuster- for a near fall. Braxton hits a superkick but Backman returns fire immediately with the SBW! Brax is crumpled in a heap in the corner.


South and Eagles become the legal men. This feels like a huge fight between two of PWA's biggest stars that hasn't really been explored. Robbie's split his time more in the past couple of years between PWA and NJPW, and hasn't been heavily involved in storylines. Prior to that, both men were babyfaces. All that to say, this feels massive and surely would make an excellent Black Label singles match in the future. Ricky sets up for the piledriver, but Robbie kicks his way out while upside down in the piledriver position! He then hits a rana that trips Ricky up into the Ron Miller Special! Beautiful stuff. Thayer breaks it up with a massive running senton on Eagles.


Thayer shines late in a sequence with Robbie, avoiding the Ron Miller and Turbo Backpack and drilling him with a spinebuster for a good near fall. Braxton gets involved and wipes out Ricky and Backman with an Asai moonsault! Robbie pins Thayer after a running kick.


Winner: Team Green (Robbie Eagles, Nathan Pidgeon & Ben Braxton) (at 12:19)


Star Rating: ***3/4. I'm going to echo Rose and say that this was a great time despite Mariah Carey. Action packed, with everyone, including the less experienced Pidgeon and especially Thayer shining. The preview of Eagles vs. South, and Thayer surprising the hell out of me, elevated this one.


Match 4: Soul of PWA Championship- Beer Bash Brawl- The Tuckman vs. Will Kiedis


Tuckman comes out to Untouched by the Veronicas. Should be the Australian national anthem. He's also got a shopping trolley full of weapons, and is wearing jorts. I'm getting Raven vibes... if Raven was an Aussie bogan.


When the ref held up the Soul of PWA belt, Kiedis snatched it and tried to hit Tuckman with it, but he ducked and took the Anchorman down. Rose and Gale discuss Kiedis appearing on the Today Show along with his "hero", Karl Stefanovic, earlier that day. Massive bit of mainstream exposure for PWA. Tuckman clotheslines Kiedis to the outside. Suicide dive follows, and it's time for some weaponry! Tuckman puts a trash can on Kiedis' head and performs another suicide dive!


Can to the head and Kiedis staggers through the PWA faithful. Tuckman launches Kiedis into the wall of Liberty Hall. They fight back to the ring and onto the apron, but Kiedis hits a low blow and Tucky falls onto the trolley at ringside. Kiedis grabs a trash lid and hits an Arabian Skullcrusher to the outside! Nuts! Back in the ring, that carnage results in a 2 count. Tuckman fights on. Kiedis grabs a bunch of chairs and kendo sticks and continues to punish the champ.


Tuckman avoids a suplex on the chairs by throwing some punches, and Kiedis just hurls a chair at him, Sabu-style. Okay, these boys definitely watched some old ECW stuff heading into this one. Near fall. Kiedis sets Tuckman up on the chairs and climbs up top... but Tuckman gets up and hits a superplex through the chairs! Damn! They slowly get up and trade strikes. Tuckman hits a powerbomb for a near fall. Tuckman gets a table as the crowd roars their approval. Tuckman goes for the springboard cutter, but Kiedis whacks him out of the air with a kendo stick! Deadeye hits for a great near fall.


Kiedis sets up a table with bad intentions. He gets a kendo stick and starts delivering more shots to Tuckman, but he fires up, catches the stick and breaks it over his knee. Kiedis picks Tuckman up in an F5, but gets countered into the Crossface! To give it a little Tuckman flavour, he uses the beer bong for an assist. Rose gives Unsocial Jordan shit for knowing what a beer bong is. Kiedis makes it out. They fight up on the turnbuckles. Kiedis gets Tuckman in the fireman's carry, but Tuckman fights out and hits a cutter on the table. Solid impact but Kiedis just bounces off, it doesn't break. I AM THE TABLE! It gets the 3 count.



Winner: The Tuckman (at 12:48)


Star Rating: ***3/4. These two guys went to war! They built a heated feud in a short amount of time given the polar opposite nature of their characters, and it paid off well here. Even with the big finish not going 100% to plan, it didn't hurt the spectacle that this match was. As big a moment as Tuckman's title win was at Colosseum, it was good to see him have a full-fledged match here that he looked great in. Credit to our newest mainstream mega-star, Will Kiedis, as well.


Post match, Robbie Eagles comes out with his Colosseum sword. He points it at Tuckman. The Tuckman vs. Robbie Eagles for Soul of PWA? Not a match I was expecting but I'll definitely take it!


Intermission an hour into the show? This has flown by.


Match 5: Wayward Six Pack Challenge- Cherry Stephens vs. Lil Tony Stellino vs. Xander Sullivan vs. Scott Green vs. Jimmy Townsend vs. Big Fudge


Xander tries to get everyone to join his Third Eye cult, I mean, organisation. The returning Big Fudge (not the DJ) shakes his hand and punches him in the face. Lil Tony (making his Black Label debut) clubs Fudge down. Jimmy goes for a sleeper but Stellino just slings him down. What a powerhouse! Cherry Stephens sends him to the outside with a flying headscissors, all while Scott Green is chilling on the top turnbuckle eating chips. He's just like me fr.


A staredown between Fudge and Cherry as we recall their history ("I'm a f**king bet?!"). La Magistral cradle by Fudge gets a near fall, then they trade forearms. Scott is still chilling. Easy payday for him. He finally gets down, and Xander snatches his chips and throws them to the outside. Scott reaches into his pants and pulls out another packet! Springboard arm drag- with the chips- sends Xander to the outside. Fudge sends Green to the outside with the headscissors, and Xander back in to try and surprise him with the O'Connor roll. 2 count.



Fast and furious action as Cherry and Tony re-enter the fray. We get a brief Prefects reunion between Jimmy and Cherry. Jimmy tries to surprise her with a schoolboy but the other competitors break it up. Meanwhile, Fudge can be seen sitting in a front row chair just enjoying the action. Everyone gangs up on Lil Tony but he shakes them off. Townsend finally gets him down with a springboard cross body, then Green comes in with a rolling Stunner. Insult to injury, hitting that move on the protege of Grayson Waller!


Everyone trades roll up pin attempts. Lil Tony boots Fudge, slams Xander and flapjacks Scott. Cherry boots him in the face and hits Diamond Dust, which just staggers the big man. Cherry looks to follow up, but Jimmy grabs her legs and... duct tapes her to the ring post? Alrighty then! Jimmy hits Tony with a Shining Wizard and looks to follow up with a Shining Wizard, but Caveman Ugg comes out! Jimmy dives at him but gets caught in the Ugg Hug, just like his partner Moretti earlier! Ugg grabs the tag title belt and drags Jimmy backstage! Is this a kidnapping?


In the ring, Fudge can't chokeslam Lil Tony, so he boots him in the nuts and hits a DDT. Xander comes in and hits the Crop Circle on Fudge! Scott hits Xander with the Green Out (AA). Fudge scores with the Butt Punch on Scott! Chokeslam! 1-2-3!


Winner: Big Fudge (at 8:47)


Star Rating: ***1/4. Similar to the opener in that it had a frenetic pace and allowed for a number of characters to be showcased. It also advanced the fledgling story of Joker and the Thief vs. Rogue Army. A little disappointing to see Cherry Stephens kind of be just another face in there, she's a star that deserves to be featured. Hopefully 2024 sees her back in the spotlight. Scott Green is starting to establish himself on the PWA roster, Lil Tony looked like a menace, Xander Sullivan is becoming more credible in-ring, and it is so great to see Big Fudge back in PWA!


Post match promo by Fudge. Says he's been alone in an apartment for 8 months, he didn't know if he'd come back, but he's back to face Ricky South. Passionate words from Fudge. I had thought Fudge's revenge would end with him costing Ricky the PWA title, but given the indignity he suffered being beat down AND having his mask removed, it makes sense he'd be out for more blood.


Match 6: David Streamer vs. Sue Plex


It's no surprise that Sue Plex got fast tracked to Black Label shows. She recently made her debut on an Academy show, and her drag queen act was immediately over with the crowd. Entering to "Man, I Feel Like A Woman" by Shania Twain, she's "the Queen of PWA". And she has an excellent name.



Streamer offers a handshake and Sue Plex offers her hand for a kiss, psyching out the Premium Pro Wrestler. Side headlock by Sue Plex, Streamer gets out of it by grabbing the hair and delivering a chop. He then snatches the hair off her head! It's a wig?! Well, I never... This fires up Sue, who delivers a series of forearms and a spinning back elbow. Sue goes for the 3 Amigos, complete with the "What's my name? (Sue Plex!)" call, but Streamer lands behind on the 3rd Amigo and hits a chopblock. Soon after, a running splash gets a 2 count. 


Sue comes back with a slingshot sunset flip for a near fall of her own. Comeback sequence punctuated with an atomic drop/back suplex combo. Near fall. Sue goes for the Suplex Extravaganza, but Streamer fights out with elbows and a DDT. The Executive Decision chokebomb follows, and it gets the win!


Winner: David Streamer (at 4:55)


Star Rating: **3/4. Fun outing to give Black Label/FITE audiences their first look at Sue Plex. Didn't give away too much, but the charisma and athleticism was obvious. And Sue Plex was presented as such a big deal in her debut, it was a credibility boost for Streamer to get the win. Good stuff.


Main Event: PWA Heavyweight Championship- Jude London vs. Paris De Silva vs. Jessica Troy (c)


Three of the best in PWA, three of my personal favourites, doing battle for the top prize in the company. All coming off career highlight performances at Colosseum. I am so ready for this!


Jessica damages the arm of Jude early and sends him to the outside with a springboard arm drag. Paris comes in and immediately drops the champ with a shoulder block. Paris sends Jess to the outside with a rana and looks for a suicide dive, but Jude stops him. Here we go! Do the Velocities implode here? Jude vs. Paris is teased, but Jess gets back in and attacks both their arms and fingers. They briefly team up on the champ, but then friction begins as they fight over who gets the cover. The crowd chants "FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT", but they remain on the same page... for now.


Double pendulum hold by the Velocities on Jess and they plant her face-first. They go for a double suplex on Jess... but Jude rolls up Paris in the process! Looking for a sneaky pin! Troy comes back with a pump kick to De Silva. A kick to the arm of London. Brief double team by the Velocities stops Troy- but then Paris dropkicks Jude out of the ring and hits Jess with a bridging German for a near fall!


The Velocities hit another double team, and this time Jude clears Paris from the ring and gets a near fall on Jess. Jude goes for a handspring and Jess kicks his arm out mid-move. Paris back in and she belts them both with chops. Kicks and knees follow, and she spikes Jude with a springboard tornado DDT! Awesome. Near fall. Jude goes for the slingblade, but Jess counters into the Fujiwara armbar. Paris in, but instead of breaking it up, puts Jude in the Crossface! They exchange submissions for a bit in a beautiful display of violence.

 


We have a face-off between Paris and Jude and they exchange... kisses? Cool cool. Won't win you a championship though. Except for that time I won the World Kissing Championship in 2009. It gets serious with a strike exchange. Paris applies the Throne and Jess breaks it up with a top rope cross body! With everyone down, Rose shouts out the PWA production team. By far the gold standard in Aussie pro wrestling. 


All 3 exchange strikes, then Jess avoids a massive springboard attack by Jude, and he crashes and burns. Bit like my sunburn after Good Things this past weekend. Jess goes for a destroyer, Jude counters with the Dudebuster, Paris breaks it up with a penalty kick, reversing the pin, which only gets a 2 count. Whew! With both opponents down, Paris goes up top for a frog splash, but they move and he eats the canvas. Jess puts Paris in an armbar, but Jude breaks it up with a springboard stomp! Near fall.


After a wild series of counter moves, Jude hits the Excommunicado on Jess! He covers, but Paris breaks it up at the last second. We get a blindingly-fast sequence between Jude and Paris. Paris gets Jude down and goes up top. After a conflicted pause, he hits the Shooting Star Press.. and London kicks out at 2.99! Jess back in with a destroyer on Paris, a brainbuster on Jude. Jess makes Paris tap to the Fujiwara. Awesome.


Winner: Jessica Troy (at 23:09)


Star Rating: ****1/2. Okay, Tuckman can have his Booker of the Year for this one. As it should be, the main event was the best thing on the show. Non-stop action, with story intertwined through the Velocities drama. And Jess got to retain clean as champion, and didn't have to play as heavy an underdog role in this match as she has through most of 2023, considering that the Velocities are similar sized wrestlers. Just brilliant wrestling that only increased the stock of all 3 athletes, continuing the great momentum from their stellar work at Colosseum.


We close the show with Jess raising the PWA Heavyweight Championship. No shenanigans here. We look forward to 2024!


Overall Thoughts


When evaluating the show as a whole, it's not as simple as taking the star ratings and averaging them out. Undercard matches aren't supposed to be 5 star classics, everything serves a different purpose on the card. This show, I felt like just about everything served its purpose. It felt like a show where PWA were getting their puzzle pieces in place for a big 2024, after Colosseum was the true high point of the year. The next generation of PWA talent are starting to shine through- as much as Jess and the Velocities have been mainstays in PWA for many years now, they're still all in their 20s, and they gave us a classic main event. Tuckman put on a wild performance, proving why PWA were right to build a Black Label show around him. And we'd best give the devil his due- Will Kiedis might be one of the unsung heroes of PWA as well. Lots of fun overall. At 2 hours, 15 minutes (including intermission), this was a fast, breezy show that managed to entertain every step of the way. Kudos.


Overall Score: 8.5/10


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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