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PWA X AM/PM EmoMania Review (02/09/2023)




By Mick Robson


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No, you're not reading that date wrong. We are reviewing a show that happened last September! So why the long wait? Well, this show wasn't broadcast live, and I wasn't there in person, making it one of the rare PWA events I missed entirely. Thankfully though, PWA uploaded the event to their YouTube channel last Friday event, keeping in the (Wrestle)Mania spirit.


Pro Wrestling Australia is a large reason why The Arena Media exists today. We started in 2016 as a simple little blog covering WWE and UFC. In 2018, it expanded to covering the Aussie wrestling scene, as I attended my first PWA show in January 2018. It featured some of the top names still carrying the Aussie indie scene today, including Robbie Eagles, Mick Moretti, Jack Bonza & Caveman Ugg, and also a number of wrestlers who have since found international success, Grayson Waller (fka Matty Wahlberg), Indi Hartwell, Kyle Fletcher (fka SnapChad) and Steph De Lander (fka Facebrooke).


The strength of the PWA Academy has ensured that more and more top tier Australian wrestling stars have continued to emerge over the last 5-6 years, and EmoMania should be a great showcase for those names.


Let's do this!


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The show kicks off with an intro video set to Fall Out Boy's "Sugar, We're Going Down". Worth mentioning that this event is a collaboration wrestling/emo night with AM/PM. I was never a big emo kid, with the fringes and rawr XD, I was more about the hip hop as a teen, and later heavy metal. Don't mind some Fall Out Boy though. I did attend Good Things last year- got to see FOB perform all of 4 songs before a storm shut the festival down.


Our commentators are Unsocial Jordan and Kris Gale. Kris assumes Jordan is a massive emo fan, but he retorts, "I would never listen to that garbage!" Wow Jordan. Tell us how you really feel. Is this more than you bargained for yet?


Match 1: TMDK (Robbie Eagles & Kosei Fujita) vs. The Joker & The Thief (Mick Moretti & Jimmy Townsend)


I triple-checked this- this was not declared as a title match in the ring announcements, in the promotional material, or by the Cagematch listing. The referee holds up the title belts anyway. Still appears to be a non-title match though.


We start with the veterans Eagles and Moretti. They have a lot of history, so of course counter each other's best moves in the early going- Robbie cartwheels out of a headscissors attempts, Moretti kicks free of the Ron Miller Special submission. Then the young boys, Fujita and Townsend, get a run. They do some classic chain wrestling, then Jimmy delivers a nipple cripple. Follow up springboard cross body gets a near fall for the Thief.


Both sides trade double team moves, showing cohesion and athleticism across the board. Robbie tags in after Moretti bullied Fujita a little, and TMDK hits the Rapscallion with a high/low before knocking Jimmy off the apron. They isolate and beat down Moretti. Moretti eventually backflips out of a back suplex and makes the hot tag to Jimmy. He comes in blazing! Joker and the Thief hit a powerbomb/elbow drop combo but Fujita makes the save.


The action gets wilder with all four men in the ring. Robbie looks for the Turbo Backpack on Moretti but is countered into the fisherman buster. Fujita hits Moretti with a massive German suplex. Jimmy puts Fujita down and looks for the moonsault but misses! Fuji with a lifting cutter for a near fall. Moretti spits a liquid in Fujita's eyes, allowing Jimmy to school boy him for the 3! Whatever it takes.


Winners: The Joker and the Thief (at 12:03)


Star Rating: ***1/2. A fun, fast-paced opener. After hearing lots about Fujita over the past several months, I believe this was the first time I've actually seen him wrestle, and he was impressive, didn't look out of place with the PWA mainstays at all. I look forward to following his upcoming run in NJPW's BOSJ tournament (along with Robbie, of course). Nice way to kick off the night at EmoMania.


Kris Gale says that Moretti and Townsend retain, while the ring announcer simply refers to them as the winners. The mystery of whether it was a non-title match or not continues!


Match 2: King of the Day Fatal 4 Way- Michael Spencer vs. Frankie B vs. Cherry Stephens vs. The Tuckman


Spencer comes out to Linkin Park's "One Step Closer". Okay, that's more my kind of music! If Linkin Park is considered "emo", then I guess I'm a little emo. Frankie B with "Good Girls Go Bad" by Cobra Starship. She's ridiculously good-looking, and well aware of it! Tuckman enters to "Teenage Dirtbag" by Wheatus. Old mate wasn't even born when that song came out! These different entrance themes are definitely a nostalgia hit for me, though. Lastly, Cherry Stephens enters to Billy Talent's "Red Flag". Don't know that one. Thanks for providing the song name, Kris Gale.


Just quickly, I think the commentary for this was post-recorded. Kris is making a few little allusions to it, like barely holding back a laugh as he says he doesn't ever see Tuckman as a champion. Think he got in a sly dig at Jordan losing the Soul of PWA title quickly as well earlier, which happened a couple of months after this show took place.


Spencer starts the match by kicking the other three in the gut. Spencer definitely read the book "How To Win Friends And Influence People" before the show. Tuckman and Frankie kick him back, and Cherry hits him with Diamond Dust. Strong start. Cherry and Frankie go at it, and Tuckman kicks them both down. Tuckman plants Cherry with a powerbomb, and she comes back moments later with a Code Red. Fast and furious.


Spencer hits everyone with some big moves, looking like he's well in control, until Tuckman flies back in with the springboard cutter and gets the victory!


Winner: The Tuckman (at 3:28)


Star Rating: ***. Look, it was super short, but the definition of maximising your minutes. Basically just a showcase of all of them hitting some of their best moves in a sprint for maximum entertainment value. Sometimes you just gotta go, "that was some cool fun shit". Actually a great call to capture the attention of the casual punter, the emo night fan that thought they'd come along to wrestling for a different night out.


Jack Bonza's music hits, and he comes out with Will Kiedis and then-PWA Champion Ricky South. They're all wearing "Emo Sucks" shirts.


Kiedis starts on the mic and says they're here to end EmoMania. Bonza adds that Charli Evans said that sexism and bigotry won't be tolerated, and she's right. But the "filthy emo c**ts" (his words, not mine) aren't welcome either. Ricky joins in and says "we're going to crush your heroes", including the DJ, BIgg Fudge (not to be confused with the wrestler, Big Fudge, who he unmasked earlier in the year). They leave to a chorus of boos.


Up next is the Break Stuff Battle Royal. Fred Durst was right, everything is fucked and everybody does suck. Except you fine readers here on The Arena!


Match 3: Break Stuff Battle Royal


We've got a diverse cast of characters here. Backman and Ben Braxton bulldoze most of the field down, while Scott Green just stands there eating chips. Excellent. After Backman sends Brax sky high, Green offers Backman some chips, and the big man gives the chip packet an elbow drop. Green hits a springboard arm drag and a superkick in response. Don't mess with a man with the munchies!


Streamer hits Green with an old office phone. Bit of a tribute to new Hall of Famer, Paul Heyman. Kinda. Might be reaching on that one. Nikki Van Blair gets involved and whips Stream and Xander Sullivan with a rider's crop. Billy Preston interrupts and asks to be whipped. Hey man, whatever floats your goat. Nikki hits an X-Factor for a near fall. Oh, so this isn't over the top rules?


Sk8er Boi Pidgey flies with a cross body, wiping out Streamer and Sullivan. The fight goes to the stage and we get more weapons involved! We've got a skateboard, a trash can and a stapler, which Preston uses on the forehead of Backman and Green. Then Backman cops a staple to the nuts- poor bastard.


Xander hits Nikki with the Crop Circle. Backman wipes out Xander with the pounce. Braxton back in to knock down Backman and hit him with a standing shooting star press. Scott Green appears on stage with a door! Green destroys everyone with his wood. Wait a minute... Backman blasts Green with the lariat, but misses a cannonball through the door! Brax hits Green with a Claymore, using the trash can for an assist, followed by the Lionsault. 3 count and it's over!


Winner: Ben Braxton (at 10:54)


Star Rating: ***1/2. The rules for this "battle royal" were super unclear, but in the theme of tonight, fuck it, it was fun. Nice win for Braxton, as he continues to impress in every outing. A bit of comedy, lots of characters, highly enjoyable.


Match 4: Aaron Jake vs. Kingsley


Aaron comes out to his usual theme. Kingsley comes out to "Kingslayer" by Bring Me The Horizon. Another song I'm unfamiliar with, but I have listened to a little bit of Bring Me The Horizon in recent years. I think their song, "Throne" was an NXT theme, which made me aware of the band.


They start by playing to the crowd on opposing corners, then AJ yanks down Kingsley by the hair. She fights back by kicking the legs- nice strategy to negate the size and power disadvantage. Aaron kicks her then slams her down. AJ wears Kingsley down with a chinlock, leaning into it to make the most of his strength.


Aaron misses a leg drop and Kingsley looks to come back. A couple of clotheslines connect but don't knock him down, so Kingsley trips him up, hits a 619, followed by a Codebreaker for a near fall. She needs something more, and finds it with a huge tornado DDT! Another near fall.


Kingsley keeps up the attack but runs into a World's Strongest Slam for an Aaron Jake near fall. Aaron goes up top and gets bealed off by Kingsley. Kingsley looks for a belly to belly but gets charged into the referee in the corner. Kingsley apologies to the ref, turns around and gets blasted with a big boot for the 3!


Winner: Aaron Jake (at 7:48)


Star Rating: **3/4. A more grounded, normal match than the relative craziness of the other matches of the card. A possible come down by design between the wild Break Stuff spectacle and the main event. The crowd loved Kingsley though, which carried the atmosphere a long way.


Main Event: Jack Bonza, Will Kiedis & Ricky South vs. Bigg Fudge, Jessica Troy & Charli Evans


Bonza talks more shit to the emos before the match. Team Emo is here to save the day! Coming out to "Helena" by My Chemical Romance, we're way out of my musical realm with this one. Charli and Jess look dark and brooding and cool. And Bigg Fudge is there. He's a big man! Lives up to the billing indeed.


The "Emo Sucks" crew jump Team Emo during their entrance, and the fight is on! The ring clears and we end up with Charli vs. Ricky. They talk shit and stare down each other. Ricky pops one of the emo balloons from the entrance. Wait, Fudge tags in! He looks physically imposing, but all he does is rip off Ricky's shirt, throw him in the corner, and a quick tag out to Jess.


The woman who would become PWA Champion some two months after this show immediately attacks the arm of South. Jess takes control, but after a Kiedis distraction, Ricky drops her with a backbreaker. Bonza comes in to join the beating and chokes Troy with his "Emo Sucks" shirt. Kiedis back in and also delivers some shirt-based offense, whipping Jess with the garment. Ricky in to continue the punishment. Jess almost escapes but takes a back suplex. Bonza back in and Jess almost sends him with a headscissors, but Bonza counters into the ankle lock. He transitions into a surfboard, then we get some quick tags between the Emo Sucks team, who have truly taken over here. The emo crowd seem distraught, but I think that's just their default.


Any time Jess looks to create separation, her partners get knocked off the apron. Desperate times. Troy eventually delivers with a double satellite DDT on South and Kiedis, and makes the hot tag to Charli Evans! Bonza gets wiped out with a cross body. Strong strikes to South and Kiedis. Running knee (called as the "C-Trigger" by Jordan), followed by a fisherman suplex for a near fall.


Bonza enters as a difference maker with the discus lariat. Bonza hits a boot, but Charli fires back with a lariat of her own! Hot tag to.. Bigg Fudge? who comes in with some awkward clotheslines on everyone. Double clothesline on South and Bonza which looks a little better. Fudge with a body slam on Kiedis! He throws South and Bonza to opposite corners. Big splashes, then a double Stunner! Okay, that's kinda cool.


Kiedis stops the fun with a steel chair shot on Fudge. No DQ? Okay then. Charli and Jess also bring in steel chairs. They throw the chairs at his TV-ready face. Jess hits Bonza and South with a suicide dive! Cut my life into pieces... Charli sets up a row of chairs in the ring. Kiedis lays Evans on them and goes up top- but Bigg Fudge crotches him! Fudge with a chokeslam on South! Troy wtith a boot on Bonza! Charli with a powerbomb on Kiedis through the chairs- and Team Emo stacks on for the 3 count!


Winners: Bigg Fudge, Jessica Troy & Charli Evans (at 19:25)


Star Rating: ***3/4. This was a smartly laid out match. Jessica played the face in peril, as she's so good at evoking sympathy when need be. Charli got to play the fiery shining star, as she's clearly in her element with EmoMania and emo music in general. And Bigg Fudge's involvement was limited- he won't be mistaken for a great athlete, but his size made it believable that he could step in the ring, and they picked out doable spots for him. Just great work all around.


The balloons fly, My Chemical Romance blares, hugs all around. And that's how we end EmoMania!


Overall Thoughts


This was a fun watch! Really the theme of the night. We didn't really have blockbuster classic matches that you see on a typical PWA Black Label show, but everything was a little bit extra, a little bit hyped, and the emo theme definitely added a cool wrinkle to things. From memory of the schedule and social media posts, they did emo DJ sets all night between the matches, and it made the matches have a bit of a party atmosphere, which was different. I'd be up for EmoMania 2!


As a regular wrestling show, hard to rate it the same way. Kris made note of it being 2am when this match was live, and it felt like the crowd were feeling it at points in the main event, although the finish got a great reaction. The DJ sets were cut out of the YouTube upload (the copyright monsters would probably get triggered there), so the wrestling portion clocked in at roughly 1 hour 20 minutes. By all reports the live experience was a blast, so combined with the wrestling on display here, we'll give it a strong rating.


Overall Score: 8.5/10



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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