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SLAM Pro Wrestling League Rumble Review (03/02/2024)




By Mick Robson


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Right at the end of last year, I took a trip to Canberra to watch SLAM Pro Wrestling League. Made the drive for a few shows now, and they do a very nice job promoting family friendly entertainment, generally selling out their shows running every other month. The crowds are hot and the performers are generally high level, bringing in a mix of NSW and Victoria talent along with some core wrestlers based in the ACT.


Last show was a bit of a milestone, as they put on a supershow at the National Convention Centre. Although it didn't completely sell out, it packed 1700 people into the venue- a crazy number for an Aussie wrestling show featuring approximately zero overseas talent. Review here- https://www.thearenamedia.net/single-post/slam-pro-wrestling-league-rage-in-the-cage-review-16-12-2023 


I couldn't make the trip for this one, but thankfully SLAM sorted me out, as they live streamed it on YouTube! More promotions need to do stuff like this. Even the smallest feds record basically everything, so the fact that it sits in storage for no apparent reason is mind-boggling. I put out the call for promotions that aren't on FITE to link me up, and while some people provided YouTube links to the promotion channels, upon going to them they upload a match here, a match there, maybe a show here or a show there if you're lucky. Well done and thank you SLAM!


Let's do this.


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We're live (well, not really for us) at the Woden Southern Cross Club, as our referees are introduced hilariously to boos, and also our ring announcers- "Sweet" Pete Steele and Lawson "The Law" Cole- to a rousing ovation!


Lawson does his best Howard Finkel impression introducing our opening contest- and it's for the SLAM Pro Wrestling League Championship! Kicking it off big here!


Match 1: SLAM Pro Wrestling League Championship- Vinnie Bronson (w/ Josh) vs. "The Hope From The Top Rope" Luke Watts (c)


Massive reaction to our new champion! Watts runs the ropes during his ring introduction and looks very fired up. Watts takes control early and Bronson bails to the outside. Watts looks to dive onto him and the ref stops him. I always hate this spot- it's not against the rules to dive on an opponent, and we get dives all the time, so... why? Then, of course, Watts leaps over the ref and takes out Bronson anyway.


Back in the ring, Watts looks for a moonsault and Josh gets up on the apron and shakes the ropes, in plain view of the referee, and the champ falls into the Tree of Woe. Seriously, what the hell?! Even the commentators kinda pause and say, "...the referee letting things go here." Bronson takes over with a hammerlock slam and a neckbreaker. Josh gets involved again, Bronson has the decency to distract the referee this time, but the way he's called this match, why bother?


Josh grabs Watts by the hair and hangmans him on the ropes. The ref sees this one. Okay, this has to be a story now with a crooked referee. If not, this is total incompetance. Bronson hits a clothesline. Watts makes a brief comeback but is cut off with a powerslam and Shining Wizard. Bronson goes up top, Watts intercepts and looks to counter with what looks like a Spanish Fly. Josh holds onto Bronson's leg to prevent it, but both champ and challenger crash to the outside instead. Bronson slams Watts on the floor and then goes for a diving headbutt in the ring. It clearly misses but Watts sells it anyway.


Watts fights off Josh then monkey flips Bronson into the Tree of Woe! Okay, that's kinda cool. He goes up top then pulls Bronson into a shooting star press knee drop- called as the 270 Degrees of Knees- for the win!


Winner: Luke Watts (at 11:26)


Star Rating: **1/2. Super cool finish, but that was severely hurt by the referee letting numerous blatant interferences go. I get not wanting to call for a DQ, but damn, eject him from ringside! If it's an angle, then the commentary team needed to be giving shit to the referee, or questioning his motives, but the closest we got was "ah, get Josh out of here!" All the heat goes to the ref, not Bronson United as far as I'm concerned. Action was fun for the most part, more the booking and presentation that made that suffer.


In the ring, Sweet Pete has a surprise for us, it's the FORMER Top Shelf Champ, Mikey Broderick! Mikey looks on the verge of tears. He says he's not going to get angry, and admits- Luke Watts beat him. After such a huge event, the biggest in Australia, he expected to get back to his feet and get a standing ovation, but instead, the Canberra fans booed him. This draws more boos, and a "Mikey Sucks" chant. He's entering himself in the SLAM Rumble, and there's nothing anyone can do about it.


Some music hits, and it's the World Beater, Damian Slater! He tells Mikey to shut up, then says it's been 13 years since he's wrestled in Canberra. Wow. He challenges Mikey "right now!" Impromptu match?


Match 2: Damian Slater vs. Mikey Broderick


Mikey with an immediate boot to the gut and goes on the attack. Commentary say that they knew Slater was here as a Rumble entrant, but it's an extra treat to get him in singles action. Slater tries a shoulder block, but Mikey is a tank and doesn't budge. He returns fire and Slater eats the canvas. He comes back with a springboard dropkick and the 10 punches in the corner.


They brawl on the outside, and after an eye poke, Mikey takes control and gets the action back to the ring. Mikey hits a snap suplex and does some sit ups. Delay vertical suplex follows to show off his great power. Slater then counters another attempt into a snap suplex of his own, followed by a rolling dropkick. Just like that, the pace quickens! Superkick by Slater gets a great near fall. Series of pin attempts- and Mikey gets the 3 on a high stack!


Winner: Mikey Broderick (at 7:46)


Star Rating: ***1/2. No referee shenanigans, just two elite wrestlers doing their thing. Wish it went longer, but a textbook example of maximising your minutes with some clean work. Welcome back to Canberra, Damian Slater!


Match 3: The Joker & The Thief (Mick Moretti & Jimmy Townsend) vs. The True & Blue Connection (Hugh Beauty & Lee Morrow)


Morrow and Townsend tie up, and Lee shoves Jimmy on his arse. They trade nipple cripples (yep, you read that right), then Lee drops Jimmy with a delay vertical suplex. Moretti tags in, and I've just noticed we have that awful ref from the opening match. On the other side, Hugh tags in. He launches Moretti with a monkey flip and gets a 2 count.


Lee tags in back but falls victim to Joker and the Thief related shenanigans, and Mick takes over. Quick tags back and forth as they beat down Morrow. Slingshot cross body gets Townsend a near fall. Moretti hits the Sweaty Moretti (ugh) for another 2 count. Lee fights back and drops Moretti with a Cody Cutter. Hot tag to Hugh. Big boot/leg drop combo for a convincing near fall. Townsend spits water in Hugh's face, allowing Moretti to get the roll up for the win!


Winners: The Joker & The Thief (at 8:43)


Star Rating: ***1/4. Quality tag outing with 4 over competitors. I always enjoy the antics of Moretti & Townsend. Look forward to seeing more from the True & Blue Connection!


Match 4: Bel Pierce vs. Rita Stone


Bel sits cross-legged, tells Rita to "calm down" and meditates. Bel then snatches her wrist and gets a fireman's carry, but Rita escapes with an arm drag. Bel stops her with a kick to the gut and... I guess a palm strike that drops her? Rita comes back with an inside cradle for a 2 count.


Rita ducks a clothesline and hits a flying headscissors. Another headscissors out of the corner, then a running forearm to the back of the head gets a near fall. Bel pulls Rita face first into the middle turnbuckle then hits a running splash in the corner for a 2 count. Bel takes control from here and beats down Rita. She tries to come back with a cross body, then a choke, but it's all blocked and Bel hits a suplex. Near fall.


Big "Let's go Rita" chants from the crowd. She creates separation with a neckbreaker. Top rope cross body and Bel barely kicks out! Rita locks up the arm in an omoplata, rolls through into the Crossface, the people chant "tap" and Bel does just that!


Winner: Rita Stone (at 8:07)


Star Rating: ***1/2. Keeping the bar high on this show with strong action throughout, strong flow and pace to what they were doing, with Bel building enough heat that the people were right behind Rita's comeback. Very well executed. With this win, the #2 ranked Rita Stone must be looking at a shot against new SLAM Women's Champion Kingsley soon! 


Intermission. We go dark on YouTube for a bit, then the countdown to the second half kicks in, with shoutouts to SLAM sponsors.


Match 5: "The Full Draw" Dan Archer vs. The Tuckman


They spend the first minute or so playing to the crowd to get them involved, which is good to see. Always adds to the atmosphere when you draw the people in. They trade lock ups, then Tuckman walks the ropes and hits an arm drag, followed by a big boot for an early near fall. 


Archer cuts off Tuckman with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and a dropkick. Archer chokes Tuckman in the corner- and we finally get a little ref criticism before Archer hits an exploder suplex. Archer lays in some elbows on a grounded Tuckman. Blue Thunder Bomb- or as he calls it, the Green Archer Bomb- gets a 2 count. Archer goes for a moonsault, but Tuckman moves! Comeback by the Tuckman, Archer bails from the ring but eats a suicide dive. Back in the ring, Archer comes back with White Noise for a near fall. 


Archer sets up for a superplex but Tuckman fights out of it. Tuckman calls on the support of the crowd- and hits the springboard cutter! A thing of beauty. He covers- but Archer gets his foot on the bottom rope! Tuckman argues with the ref about the count, giving the opportunity for Archer to hit a low blow- which the ref may or may not have seen- it wouldn't really matter with old mate Referee Joel from the looks of things. Archer hits the Archer's Paradox (Tombstone Piledriver), and this one's over.


Winner: Dan Archer (at 8:38)


Star Rating: ***1/4. Solid work there, and nice bounce back win for Archer after his quite one-sided loss to Robbie Eagles at the last event. Tuckman was also well-protected, with the low blow leading to the loss, and also his finisher was protected by Archer needing the ropes to escape rather than kicking out of it. Excellent stuff.


Main Event: SLAM 20 Man Rumble- Winner Gets a Title Shot


Entrant #1 is Hugh Beauty. Came super close to winning the Terry Campese $10,000 Battle Royal last month, but a tough road ahead here. #2 is Jimmy Townsend. History between these two, from, umm, about an hour ago.


Townsend offers a handshake but then rakes Hugh's eyes instead. He immediately tries to throw him out. #3 is King Vance. He yells "off with his head" as he hits Beauty with the Eye of the Hurricane. Hugh tries to fight back but Jimmy attacks him from behind. #4 is Mick Moretti! Joker and the Thief have a little disagreement after trying to get rid of Hugh, and Jimmy tries to eliminate Mick! They hug it out before #5, Lee Morrow! Lee cleans house, hitting a fall away slam on Vance without even leaving his feet! I don't know if I've ever seen that. Crazy power! He suplexes Jimmy & Mick simultaneously before clotheslining Vance out of the ring. We have our first elimination!


#6 is Jordane Lock, who takes the fight to Morrow. #7, after a dramatic pause, is Ricky South! The winner of the Terry Campese Battle Royal is here! Ricky fights everyone and is pretty successful at it. #8 is the Great IK! I saw him on an Academy show graphic but never actually seen him wrestle until now. He hits a couple of nice spinebusters. #9 is the Goblin Kid, who- just going off looks- not that impressive, but we love a good underdog story. Moretti eliminates him immediately. Never mind. 


#10 is a game changer- one of my Aussie wrestlers to watch in 2024- Tommy Knight! He comes in and starts destroying people. Ricky thinks about a cheap shot, but is caught in the act and begs off. Funny. Death Valley Driver on Morrow. Knight hits IK with a full nelson into a suplex then throws him out. Then Jordane gets dumped out. Jimmy gets military pressed to the outside as #11 enters- Slamoo! Knight drops him with a big boot- the force of the bump sending a couple of wrestlers over the ropes, hanging on for dear life- then a leg drop connects. He then lifts Slamoo and dumps him out! 


#12 is Randy Chambers. He hits a huge clothesline on Beauty. A sidewalk slam on South. #13 is Damian Slater, who goes right after Moretti, and throws him straight out! Damn! Lee Morrow avoids elimination right before the Tuckman arrives at #14! He's selling his neck from the Tombstone but still gutting it out. Ricky drops him with a back elbow. #15 is Mikey Broderick, who resume hostilities with Slater as soon as he gets in. Mikey thumbs Lee Morrow in the eye and throws him out. Boo. At #16 we have Skol, dangerous looking Viking dude. Knight and South both try and headbutt him, but hurt themselves instead. #17 sees Dan Archer in action for the second time tonight. He goes for Tuckman, who avoids elimination for now. 


#18 is Cyclone Jr! He starts in spectacular fashion, hitting a rana from the top rope on Archer. He goes for Skol but gets slammed down. #19 is Vinnie Bronson, who we saw in our opening championship match. Good chance at getting another shot here with this late entry! Tuckman goes for a springboard cutter but Bronson shoves him out. Booooo. Our final entrant... Crofty's music hits... and it's Josh at #20, dressed like Crofty. That evil man! Big "f**k you Josh" chants. Hey, I thought this was a family-friendly show! 


Bronson looks to powerbomb Cyclone Jr to the outside- but Cyclone reverses with a hurricanrana! Bronson is eliminated! Mikey takes the opportunity to knock Cyclone out of the match as well though. Bronson's manager Josh is all alone, and everyone beats him down. Cathartic. Skol dumps out Josh, Archer dumps out Skol. The ring is starting to clear out a little.  Hugh Beauty knocks Chambers to the outside with a running chop. The remaining guys start hitting big moves- Spears, piledrivers, superkicks, cross bodies. It's madness! Archer and Mikey get eliminated! Out goes Slater, and the cameras miss how as they were focused on Mikey. 


Final three of Ricky South, Tommy Knight and Hugh Beauty. The commentators say that Hugh has to have been in for at least 60 minutes... it's almost 30 at this point. Knight and South turn on each other, and Tommy drops Ricky with a massive clothesline. He looks for a brainbuster but Ricky rakes the eyes. Hugh comes in with a running dropkick that knocks Knight to the apron. Another dropkick and Tommy Knight is eliminated! Hugh rains down chops on Ricky. Big back body drop. South picks up Beauty and tries to dump him out, but Hugh holds on, and they both spill to the apron. They trade strikes but end up back in the ring. Ricky hits a clothesline, piledriver, then throws Hugh out. History repeating itself from the Terry Campese Battle Royal.


Winner: Ricky South (at 34:16)


Star Rating: ****1/4. Shorter than the average Rumble, given that there were only 20 entrants, but damn, that was fun! It actually excelled where WWE failed this year in the men's Rumble- it had fun characters, action, surprise moments and intensity. An absolute thrill ride, and although Ricky's win won't please fans in the moment, it does set up an epic title match between Ricky South and Luke Watts at some point in the near future. That was a blast!


Ricky celebrates to end the show. I thought Luke Watts might have come out for a face to face, but I guess the champ is letting him have his moment.


Overall Thoughts


This was a very strong show, which seems to be becoming a habit for SLAM Pro Wrestling League. They've figured out what works for them and their audience. I do like the way that they do family friendly wrestling. It's family friendly without being childish or intelligence insulting, they generally keep it simple and logical- which is why I was so annoyed about the ref in the opener, because it seems to fly in the face of how logical the rest typically is. The rules need to be enforced and the heels need to do a better job of not getting caught breaking them. Or maybe Referee Joel needs to join Bronson United.


Everything else though, was totally on point, and I feel like so many wrestlers came out of this event with their stock risen. Even Cyclone Jr! Sadly not the Goblin Kid, though. Highly enjoyable show, definitely recommend checking them out on YouTube and definitely go to a show if you can. Being able to watch at home is great and I'm absolutely for it, but nothing really beats the live experience, and SLAM always deliver the goods.


Overall Score: 8/10


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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