Results + Thoughts- PWA X MCW Colosseum Night 1
By Mick Robson
Writer's Note- A little formatting note for the Colosseum reviews- my typical review style takes a long time, and I don’t want to spend my entire Melbourne trip behind a laptop. So, I’ll give quick results/thoughts on each show, before adding details through FITE later in the week.
EDIT: Still got relatively detailed with it. I can't help myself, it's a sickness I tells ya! Will still update with snippets of analysis from the FITE broadcast.
The Colosseum Tournament. The most prestigious tournament in Australian wrestling. 8 world class competitors, vying for the prize to be recognised as the best in the fastest-growing pro wrestling scene in the world. Although the tournament does not have an especially long history, its notoriety has exploded due to the caliber of the matches and winners involved. The first winner, Mick Moretti, still often displays his Black Metal sword proudly in big matches (that's right, the prize is an f'n sword!) and is currently the Interim PWA Champion, and most recently held the Soul of PWA Championship. The second winner, Matty Wahlberg, can now be seen on WWE NXT as Grayson Waller. So it's kinda a big deal.
COVID got in the way for a few years, meaning that this show is the first Colosseum tournament since 2019. That tournament saw stars from WWE & AEW (including a rapidly rising Orange Cassidy) make the trip to Sydney. This time, the tournament heads south to Melbourne, to be a cross-promotional PWA x MCW show. And I'll be honest here and now- I was disappointed. Borders are open, they could bring international stars over, and I felt that having active performers from the big companies involved in Colosseum brought more eyes and heightened the prestige of the tournament and PWA as a company. I was also worried that it would feel like a re-tread- last year we had the PWA x MCW Worlds Collide show, and I thought it may have been similar to that.
I'll hold my hands up and say I was wrong. At the end of the day, Colosseum is an individual tournament, so the whole brand vs. brand thing doesn't overpower the show, and the talent between PWA and MCW is more than enough to make this feel like a huge deal (although it was never a question of talent). Aussie wrestling can stand on its own two feet, but I maintain that we could be put up against the best worldwide. Now we conquer, and all that jazz.
Let's do this!
We've got Diego on ring announcing duties. He gives a big reminder to everyone to not be "any kind of phobic", basically. It's a relatively new wrinkle to the standard intro, and speaking to someone at the show last night, apparently they was some awful behaviour towards Luchi at the first Selina's show that I missed. Sure, he's a heel, and give him plenty of shit, but the fact that we now need a "don't be homophobic, bigoted etc" disclaimer for every show reflects really poorly on that crowd, and on wrestling fans in general. Thankfully, most of the people I know would never go to that level when sledging the heels.
Diego also reels off the usual acknowledgement of country. Props to him for remembering to add "and MCW" to the usual 'we at PWA" bit.
Match 1: Colosseum Tournament Quarter-Final- Tommy Knight vs. Caveman Ugg
This was "big meaty men slapping meat" at its finest. Both men exchanged hard strikes, and Ugg unleashed a barrage of chops that had Knight's chest bleeding considerably. The ending sequence was awesome, with a lot of back and forth trading finisher attempts, before Ugg ended it with a sit down Tombstone.
Winner: Caveman Ugg
Star Rating (subject to change): ****. Brilliant start to proceedings. The physicality set an amazing tone for both the show and the Colosseum tournament itself.
Match 2: Fatal 4 Way- Rhys Angel vs. Kai Drake vs. Will Kiedis vs. Jimmy Townsend
As Tyler Breeze might say, a "prove yourself" Fatal 4 Way! I love these kind of matches. Fast and furious action, with Jimmy being tasked with carrying the babyface load against 3 major heels, and Will Kiedis was accompanied by Lyrebird Luchi, still in his wheelchair, slinging insults at Melbourne. Honestly, as a Sydney boy (well, technically, Wollongong), I'd take Melbourne over Sydney in a heartbeat. Beautiful place. Jimmy gets his shit in- except for the moonsault, because the roof of the Croxton Bandroom is quite low. Townsend wraps it up with a nice slingshot move into the schoolboy. And because NO ONE KICKS OUT OF THE SCHOOLBOY, he gets the 3- although the ref almost called it as a kickout, I guess no one told him.
Winner: Jimmy Townsend
Star Rating (subject to change): ***1/4. Everyone had moments to shine, and everyone was over with this predominately Melbourne-based crowd.
Match 3: Jack Bonza vs. Mick Moretti
This was a rematch of the finals of the first Colosseum tournament, The Fight For Black Metal, in early 2019 (technically finishing the 2018 tournament in 2019, it was a little weird). Tons of history between these two. As members of the Nations, they've tagged together and fought each other- sometimes at the same time- and that familarity made for an awesome battle. Bit of comedy with Bonza not falling for Moretti's "got your nose" bit... and then later kinda falling for it. The action definitely got serious down the stretch though, with Bonza catching Moretti out of his handstand bit and drilling him with a Tombstone. He then locked in a submission- I want to say a modified STF or a Stretch Muffler, I'm sure I can get it right once I watch it back on FITE... and PWA Champion Ricky South is in to break things up and attack Interim Champion Moretti!
Winner: No Contest
Star Rating (subject to change): ****. Lack of a finish aside, this was an absolute kick-ass match. Two pros, who know each other super well, putting on a masterclass. Ricky's interference gives a major push for the title unification match at the Roundhouse.
Post-match, Bonza stops the beat-down by Ricky on Mick. Both Nations members ultimately send Ricky scurrying away, and he leaves through the crowd. The Nations give each other a sign of respect. Love to see it. Great frenemies. those two.
Match 4: Tag Team Gauntlet
First team out is BDE. I don't really know them too well- covered their match on the last MCW show- but my god, are they over! Backpain are out representing PWA- I actually brought their OnlyPain shirt to Melbourne, but opted to wear a Robbie Eagles shirt to represent for the tournament. BDE eliminate Backpain, bringing out the Parea- who QUICKLY dispose of Richie and Dave! Next, it's Brawl & Bishop, repping Queensland, and they're taken out in short order too! Thanks for making the trip, guys. Finally, it's the Velocities! Far more competitive stuff, but Parea do get the 3 count! Bit of controversy as there was a clear kickout, but the ref sticks to his guns, and there's a LOT of talk between teams in the ring, before the ref bails to ringside, looking like he saw a ghost- same one that almost cocked up Jimmy's win earlier. Parea celebrate after a moment, although they look confused, and put the boots to the Velocities a little before leaving. Velocities yell to the crowd that they want a rematch.
Winners: The Parea
Star Rating (subject to change): **1/2. Yeaaaah, I feel like that was a fuck up. The ref looked shook with all the confusion, and time seemed to stand still after the bell rang. Whether the Parea were meant to go over in the end or not, there was definitely a kickout, and it wasn't late. It was a near fall. Messy stuff that overshadowed an otherwise fun tag battle. I do love a gauntlet. Gotta see more of BDE!
Match 5: Colosseum Tournament Quarter-Final- Jessica Troy vs. Punchdrunk Istria
This was the match I was most looking forward to on Night 1. These two had a cracker of a match at DMDU, Istria also had a tremendous outing recently against Jack Bonza in PWA, and honestly, when does Jessica Troy not kill it in the ring? The story of Troy matches is usually her opponents trying to avoid her grabbing their arm, but Istria was so confident in his own technical prowess that he actually offered Jess his arm in the early going. Things got serious in a hurry as they traded holds and strong strikes, with Istria pissing Jess off by trying to laugh off some of her attacks. Ultimately, it was smarts that got Jess the win, as she attempted an armbar, and when that was blocked, she turned it into a cradle pin for the 3!
Winner: Jessica Troy
Star Rating (subject to change): ****1/4. Met my high expectations, what a match! Jess Troy is my pick to win the whole thing. She's on another level right now. Robbie Eagles is another option that I'd be happy with, but he's had enough accolades. It's the Arm Collector's time!
Match 6: Colosseum Tournament Quarter-Final- Adam Brooks vs. Slex
Slex gees up the crowd with his dramatic taking off the sunglasses during his entrance, but Brooksy just boots him in the face and it is on! Brooksy with the beat-down on Slex, who sells this all like a champ. The new look Brooksy beats Slex around the ringside area as well, jawing away with fans. Back in the ring, the Business rallies, hitting the ROI and the Slexecution, but before he can claim the massive win, the Natural Classics show up on the stage! The distraction allows Brooks to hit a low blow, followed by a roll up with his feet on the ropes to advance!
Winner: Adam Brooks
Star Rating (subject to change): ****. Great outing by the Loose Ledge and the Business, who- like Bonza and Moretti earlier- are mainstays of their promotion who have had countless battles, and could probably have a banger with their eyes closed. The new Brooksy character uses far less high flying, and lets him work a different wrestling style. It's intriguing to see this evolution from Brooks.
The only downer on this one was myself somehow getting involved in the action- trying to put together a vlog of my Melbourne trip, so I was recording a suicide dive attempt, didn't realise exactly where I was, and copped a steel guardrail to the ribs from the force of Slex and Brooksy hitting it. Hurt for a good bit after that!
Post-match, the Filips mock Slex, "oh, you weren't ready for that?" They tell Slex to find his partner, Tommy Knight, because on Night 2 of Colosseum, they want a rematch for the MCW Tag Team Championship!
Match 7: SMS (Unsocial Jordan, Belinda Pierce & Aaron Jake) vs. Cherry Stephens, Emman Azman & Mitch Waterman
We see a little slice of the brand rivalry here, as Jordan questions why the Soul of PWA Champion is on the same team with two MCW guys. Honestly, not a bad point, to be fair. Cherry says, "f**k you Jordan", which the crowd chants, and the fight is on. At one point everyone brawls in the ring, and it's a fun bit of chaos. Everything breaks down, and it's hard for the ref to catch everything, allowing Jordan to blast Emman with his tripod for the 3 count!
Star Rating (subject to change): ***. Score one for the bad guys! Emman, who won the Ascension tournament, and is set for a MCW Intercommonwealth title match with Mick Moretti, was the proper choice as the fall guy here, considering Waterman is the MCW Heavyweight Champion and Cherry is the newly crowned Soul of PWA Champion. Entertaining match that played its role as a buffer between the big Colosseum tournament bouts.
Post-match, Jordan lays out Cherry with a kick. Waterman comes to her defence and challenges Jordan to a match for the MCW Heavyweight Championship on Night 2.
Main Event: Colosseum Tournament Quarter-Final- Robbie Eagles vs. Charli Evans
Well, I'll be damned. This blew me away! Not just the quality but the style of it- every high profile Charli Evans match I've seen has hardcore/deathmatch elements, so I was expecting a ref bump and to see a bunch of weapons involved. And although steel chairs were grabbed- they were only used to sit in and trade strikes, which Charli got the better of. Robbie held nothing back, dishing out brutal strikes, to which Charli was only too happy to return fire. High impact move after high impact move, and while the Sniper of the Skies is known for his leg submissions, Charli showed proficiency in that realm too, working on the legs and almost making him submit to the ankle lock! Ultimately, it would be the 450 Splash by Eagles- super impressive with the low roof- and the Ron Miller Special forces the tap from Evans!
Winner: Robbie Eagles
Star Rating (subject to change): ****1/2. Absolutely unreal. While I was expecting this to turn into a hardcore war, the fact that it didn't doesn't make it any less physical or hard hitting. Charli Evans showed why she's world-renowned and one of the very best Australia has, by going into the wheelhouse of Robbie Eagles and more than holding her own. Absolutely brilliant match, somehow managing to save the best match of the night for last on a loaded card with plenty of Match of the Night contenders already.
Australian pro wrestling at its finest! Several excellent matches, showing why each competitor was selected for the Colosseum tournament, and the rest of the card delivered massively too, especially the Bonza vs. Moretti battle. Unfortunately, the crowd turnout wasn't the largest, but the people at the Croxton Bandroom were loud and passionate. If I was a businessman, I'd want more punters, but as a fan, I'd take a couple hundred fans who are screaming and engaged with the product over 500 who were lifeless. Could be events like PAX affecting the turnout- definitely a big crossover between pro wrestling and video game fans- or it could be that Colosseum is a PWA staple, and not every Sydney PWA fan would be willing to make the trip like I was. That said, the show itself was outstanding, and I can only hope for more of the same on Night 2!
Overall Score: 9/10
As for me, I intended to keep this fairly brief- task failed successfully? Now I've got to get moving- an afternoon performance of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child awaits me before heading to the Thornbury Theatre for Colosseum Night 2! Then on Sunday, I'm going over to PAX. No rest for the wicked!
Until next time, take care.