PWA Hits From The Gong Review
By Mick Robson
Continuing PWA's tradition of excellent event names, this stop on October's LFG Tour is named Hits From The Gong. Held at the University of Wollongong, at the Uni Hall, it's my first time inside that particular building since my graduation from UOW in 2014. So, it's with a lot of happiness and nostalgia in my heart that I return for this stop in Wollongong, named after a Cypress Hill banger!
It's also nice to travel 5 mins from home for this PWA event. Walking into the Uni Hall last night, I didn't love the turnout, but the seats seemed to fill up more within the first 10 mins or so of the show starting. Classic uni students, fashionably late.
Ring announcer Diego welcomes us to the show, delivering the acknowledgement of country and the "don't be 'ist'" request. He makes a quip about the crowd size- "We can see every one of you, and we're coming after you!"
Match 1: "The Executive" David Streamer vs. Soul of PWA Champion Cherry Stephens
Thoughts: The crowd warmed up to this one as time went on. As a regular PWA attendee and fan, it seemed as if a large portion of the crowd were unfamilar with the product, but got right behind Cherry. Streamer was fun with his antics, in particular at the beginning where we had no referee for some reason. I thought they were setting up a special referee angle, but no, seems like the ref just missed his cue. A spirited, character-driven opener which Cherry wins after using her notebook to give Streamer a papercut, followed a slingshot schoolboy for the win!
Winner: Cherry Stephens
Match 2: PPK (Frankie B & Nikki Van Blair) vs. Juan Direction
Thoughts: PPK received a good amount of cheers during their entrance, looking phenomenal in pink gear, but that changed when Juan Direction made their entrance. The crowd was rocking along to this lucha rendition of a British boy band, but ultimately some smooth double-teaming gained PPK the victory, punctuated with a double Code Red.
Unsocial Jordan comes out and cuts a promo. He requests that we not swear, drink too much or get too violent. This brings out Big Fudge, who swears a bunch while promising to drink and get violent. They're going to have a No DQ match later in the show.
Match 3: Rhys Angel vs. Sk8er Boi Pidgey
Thoughts: I missed the start of this one as I went to get a drink after the Jordan promo. The bartender told me she was watching some of the show through the door and was getting a kick out of it. Pidgey had some fleeting moments of success from what I saw, but this was about making Rhys look strong, and he claimed the submission win after the Rings of Saturn. Complete with a lot of flexing and preening.
Winner: Rhys Angel
Match 4: PWA Heavyweight Champion Ricky South vs. Michael Spencer
Thoughts: Spencer is a Wollongong boy, so for the first time in 5 years of watching PWA- and maybe 8 watching Spencer in other promotions- I saw him play babyface. He was fired up and incorporated more high flying than usual. South, on the other hand, was more grounded and rugged. A ref distraction allows Ricky to hit a low blow, followed by the piledriver, to end it. Post-match, Ricky takes off his boot to show he's wearing socks, as some guys in the crowd were heckling him, claming that he doesn't wear socks. Weird but... effective, I guess? Possibly Match of the Night when all was said and done.
Winner: Ricky South
Match 5: No DQ- Unsocial Jordan vs. Big Fudge
Thoughts: This got surprisingly hardcore. Big Fudge matches always lean pretty heavily on the comedy, and while this match started with a bit of that, with a funny spot where they did a collar and elbow tie-up sitting in chairs, it actually got serious in a hurry. They brawled around the Uni Hall, Fudge brought out a 2X4 wrapped in barbed wire and Jordan brought out thumbtacks. Ultimately, Jordan would hit a Landslide onto the thumbtacks for the win. A real "hidden gem" match, a treat only for those in attendance in the Gong!
Winner: Unsocial Jordan
Intermission. They needed time to clear the ring of all the weapons, especially the thumbtacks. The poor ref got one embedded into his hand on the 3 count!
Match 6: The Green Dingoes (Dom Walker & Tommy Dee) vs. Backpain (Jack Pain & Gym Bro Jessie)
Thoughts: I see Backman is too busy preparing to be an international superstar next month, as he takes a trip to the States. Dom and Jessie have a really fun social media war of words going on, to the point where Dom got his comments removed. Instagram admin are simps! Anyway, the big beefy ones destroy the green rookies in short order. Good stuff!
Winners: Jack Pain & Gym Bro Jessie
Match 7: Kingsley vs. Big Brother Billy Preston
Thoughts: I feel like we haven't seen Kingsley in a minute, not sure where she's been but it was sure great to see her! Overflowing with personality and constantly interacting with the crowd, she brought the energy in the room up even more. This occupied the comedy role that Fudge would normally play, but he decided to be a deathmatch icon on this night. Fun battle which saw Billy's Playtime Pals get involved, but Kingsley smashes them, immediately becoming my favourite wrestler. The ref gets distracted by Playtime shenanigans, allowing Kingsley to hit a low blow, followed by the Codebreaker for the win!
Comments from my mates for this match:
Cam: "What the f**k is this?!?" (in reference to the Playtime Pals)
Chad: "Kingsley reminds me of a chihuahua."
Main Event: The Nations (Mick Moretti, Jack Bonza & Jessica Troy) vs. The Fast Bois (Robbie Eagles, Jude London & Paris De Silva)
Thoughts: This was as star-studded a match as PWA could possibly make. All my favourite Aussie wrestlers crammed into one match! Moretti and Paris made me slightly dizzy with the amount of running the ropes that they did, and lucha tag rules meant the action never slowed, so this was a lot of fun. Wasn't quite the 5 star classic I envisioned them having, but as a house show main event, it absolutely delivered. It reminded me a lot of the New Japan multi-man tags- there to include all the major stars in this leg of the tour, without risking too much serious injury before the major shows on the tour. Paris ends the night with a jaw dropping move for PWA first-timers- his gorgeous shooting star press on Bonza. Score one for the Fast Bois!
Winners: The Fast Bois
Post-match, Robbie Eagles thanks the crowd and asks if PWA should come to Wollongong again. He's met with a strong response, and leads us in a "Please come back" chant. This ends the show and sends everyone home happy.
A great stop on the PWA LFG Tour. It's testing out new markets, in an ambitious endeavour. The turnout wasn't so great, but the people that showed up were into it, and got more invested as the show went on. I daresay Hits From The Gong converted a few first-timers. I'm not sure how the advertising worked for this smaller show- I understand the focus has been largely on Colosseum and the Roundhouse show next Friday- but I didn't see a whole lot of ads for this otherwise. Hopefully word of mouth spreads- I tried to rope more people in, but work and children and silly life commitments got in the way for a lot of them.
Another positive of this show, besides going into new markets, was the ability for different wrestlers to get a chance to shine. We don't often see Michael Spencer work singles and never as a face, and he knocked it out of the park. Meanwhile, Fudge and Jordan got surprisingly serious, which was intriguing to see- a different side of Fudge, especially. And the all-star main event tag gave everyone a sample of PWA's top level, but didn't give it all away at once. Mick Moretti was especially entertaining riling up a group of guys at ringside who I suspect were fairly, well, marinated, let's say.
A top quality night out! Bring on the Roundhouse.
I wasn't able to attend the Newcastle show on Saturday night, so will provide quick results about that later on.
Until next time, take care.