WrestleWatch- MCW 12 (26/11/2022)
By Mick Robson
With a large break between major PWA shows, it's time for the other powerhouse of Australian pro wrestling, Melbourne City Wrestling, to step up. This event, MCW 12, celebrates the 12th anniversary of the promotion, and it has a loaded card to close their year out. Not only featuring the best talent Melbourne has to offer, MCW 12 also boasts world-class talent from around the entire country.
That fact is evident from looking at our main event, a 30 minute Ironwoman Match, pitting Sydney's Jessica Troy against Adelaide's Delta, for Troy's MCW Women's Championship. The young MCW World Heavyweight Champion, Mitch Waterman, takes on MCW pioneer and former ROH competitor, Slex. The Ascension Tournament winner, Emman Azman, cashes in his title opportunity against MCW Intercommonwealth Champion, Mick Moretti. Also, there's a Stone Burial match... whatever the hell that is.
Let's do this!
A beautiful opening video package introduces the main matches on the card. Unfortunately the audio is still a bit echoey and distorted- it's one aspect of the production that MCW are really having issues getting right in these early live streaming days. I will say, it all generally looks and sounds better than any Aussie promotion- not named PWA- that I've seen.
We go to Lindsay Howarth to introduce our first match, for the MCW Intercommonwealth Championship. Emman and Moretti make their entrances, but before the bell can ring, the music of Adam Brooks hits! Brooksy saunters to the ring through the crowd and gets in both their faces. He says that he's a major part of the legacy of the Intercommonwealth Championship, and wants in this match, slipping in an insult to Emman's mum along the way. Mick refuses the request, saying that Emman earned the title shot, but Emman snatches the mic and says bring it on. Mick shrugs, and we now have a triple threat!
Match 1: MCW Intercommonwealth Championship- Emman Azman vs. Mick Moretti (c) vs. Adam Brooks
This was a high octane battle, with some early one-on-one between Emman and Moretti, as was advertised, before Brooksy pulled Moretti out of the ring and smashed him into the guardrail. From there, we had a lot of exchanges between the three men, with Emman holding his own as the smaller and less experienced competitor. Emman has some great moments, including a double poison rana and smashing Moretti with a tornado DDT onto the apron! Brooks almost backdoors his way into another title reign by hitting a Swanton on Emman, but Moretti drags the referee out of the ring! Emman returns fire on the late addition by hitting a Frog Splash, but Brooksy is able to kick out. Emman hits the KL Gold elbow on Brooks, then Moretti snatches him with a powerbomb. Moretti goes for a second bomb, but Azman reverses into a hurricanrana pin for the 3 count!
Winner: Emman Azman (at 13:15)
Star Rating: ***3/4. I was wondering what role Adam Brooks would play on the MCW 12 card, given his star power and history with the promotion, and he fit well as the disruptor here. It's been a big year for Emman in MCW, with the commentary selling that he's become a man before our eyes. Great action, and I like the touch of Emman pinning Moretti- it eliminates controversy and legitimises Emman's claim as champion, although Moretti can still use the surprise of Brooks' entry as a claim to a rematch. Fun way to start proceedings.
A show of respect from Mick Moretti post-match as he straps the MCW Intercommonwealth Championship belt around the waist of Azman. And so ends the 200 day plus reign of The Rapscallion.
Match 2: The Parea vs. Big Dude Energy
The Parea get some last minute instructions from their "dad' Rocky Menero, and look very intense and ready for this one. BDE make their entrance- and damn, do the crowd love them! Parea jump BDE as they pose on the turnbuckles, then throw them into the ring post. Those scoundrels! Theseus stomps down Big Dave as the bell officially starts things. Aeros in with a neckbreaker for a near fall, and the BDE boys are well behind in the early going. Dave eventually fights back with a stun gun, and gets the hot tag to Rickie!
Rickie is fired up, but clearly compromised from the pre-match attack, and falls victim to a back suplex/neckbreaker combo. Elevated enziguri by The Parea- and just like that, it's over!
Winners: The Parea (at 3:45)
Star Rating; *1/2. Essentially a squash. Established Parea as a dominant force, and a bad night for BDE, even with the out of the pre-match attack, they lost in very decisive fashion.
Match 3: Ballroom Blitz- Winner Gets A MCW Women's Championship Shot
We start with Rita Stone and Cherry Stephens, as the commentators talk up the pedigree and experience both ladies have against top level competition. They reference Rita vs. Jessica Troy at SLAM Pro League in May, and I'm still sad the rematch didn't happen a few weeks ago in Canberra. The rules of this match are like a mini Royal Rumble, except pinfall and submission count as well as going over the top rope. Rita hits a roaring elbow and goes for the 450, but Cherry avoids it and tosses Rita out of the ring for the elimination.
Caity Luke is the next entrant in. She calls herself the "Bougie Bitch" and brings a flask to the ring. She may have just moved up in my list of favourite Aussie wrestlers! After a bit of an exchange, Luxe suckers the innocent Cherry in by feigning a knee injury then booting her. Skylar Cruize is the next entrant, and Cherry finds herself at a 2 on 1 disadvantage. The egos of Luxe and Cruize get in the way though, as they argue over who gets to eliminate Cherry.
As they get into a shoving match, we get our final competitor- it's Steph De Lander! The former NXT star makes her return to Aussie rings here. As the ladies are in shock, Cherry rolls Skylar up for an elimination! Cherry then locks Caity in a submission and she immediately taps! We're down to Cherry vs. Steph!
Steph tries to throw Cherry out, but gets countered into a tornado DDT. Steph fires back with a brutal release German suplex. She goes for a moonsault but Cherry rolls out of the way. A low bridge on a charging Steph follows... and the Powerhouse Predator spills to the outside!
Winner: Cherry Stephens (at 13:40)
Star Rating: ***1/2. Entertaining concept that has worked well the past couple of years in MCW, elevated by the heart shown by Cherry, and the "surprise" of SDL returning- many predicted it, but it didn't make it any less fun.
Intermission. The Natural Classics vs. Slex & Tommy Knight from Colosseum plays on FITE (although the graphic mistakenly lists it as "New Horizons"). Looking forward to seeing Knight back in action soon!
Krackerjak is out to give out the first MCW Recognition award. He talks about MCW not being possible without the fans, and also the people that work behind the scenes. He introduces a beautiful video package on the late Bassem Abousaid, who tragically passed away a couple of months ago. Bass' partner is there to accept the award. Touching stuff.
Match 4: MCW World Heavyweight Championship- Slex vs. Mitch Waterman (c)
Evenly fought match. Both men go for the biggest moves- Mitch with the Tempest Backfist and Slex with the Close Of Business submission- but both are wise to it. They trade chops and heavy strikes, and Waterman appears to be digging deep and looking for respect from the veteran. Slex shows a degree of arrogance, leading to Mitch throwing an absolute barrage of chops!
Mitch goes for the Tempest, but Slex manages to lock in the Close of Business! It's not in fully, and Waterman makes the ropes. They fight to the outside, and Slex hits the ROI on the entrance ramp! The challenger throws the champ back into the ring, but we get a kick out. The referee takes a bump at one point, leading to Slex getting a visual pinfall following the a torture rack bomb. Waterman kicks Slex in mid air, then the lights go out. We get an on-screen message from Buddy Matthews, who call his shot for February 11. The lights come back on and Slex and Waterman furiously trade strikes. Slex looks for the Close of Business again, but Mitch counters into a victory roll- but then holds the ropes to get the 3 count! The crowd showers Mitch in boos, but he's still the champ.
Winner: Mitch Waterman (at 19:30)
Star Rating: ****. Easily best match on the show to this point. Straight up competitive wrestling until the ref bump, then the shenanigans that followed were great- Buddy Matthews set up the next major MCW event, and we saw the champ resort to desperate tactics.
Lindsay Howarth starts to announce the main event, then stops himself to announce the Stone Burial match! Whoops.
Match 5: Stone Burial Match- Rocky Menero vs. Caveman Ugg
Rocky comes out dressed as a caveman, which feels like someone signing their own death note. There's an arrangement of boulders on the stage, and to win, you need to beat your opponent down to where you can bury them in stones. A prehistoric take on the Buried Alive match, if you will.
Rocky punches Ugg in the face to start, but it has no effect and the Caveman beats him down in the early going. Menero eventually fights back using a spanner (no DQ), then gets the advantage after tangling Ugg in the ropes. Rocky gets a pair of scissors and cuts the beard of Ugg, enraging the big man. The Parea come out, and the distraction allows Rocky to hit a low blow. Parea toss Ugg out of the ring... and then turn on Menero! They throw Rocky in the Stone Pit, then Ugg returns to pour the stones on him!
Winner: Caveman Ugg (at 11:30)
Star Rating: ***. Interesting turn of events. Rocky Menero was the world's biggest prick to Ugg during the build-up, and continued to be throughout this match, but The Parea turning on him was presented in a way to make Rocky look sympathetic. If this is turning Rocky babyface, it's a poor way to do it. It's reminiscent of Randy Orton turning face when he got booted from Evolution. He didn't really do anything to be liked, he just had people being bigger pricks to him. Alternatively, if it's Parea turning face (which I didn't get that vibe at all), it'll also be an uphill battle. Definitely curious about how that's going to be followed up.
Match 6: MCW Women's Championship- Ironwoman Match- Delta vs. Jessica Troy (c)
The crowd at the Thornbury Theatre have turned on Jess in recent appearances, and here she talked a little smack back to them. The commentary sold her as being unhinged. The crowd were also being annoying by doing countdowns every time we got close to on the minute with the timer- it just takes away from the match, Seth Rollins and Dolph Ziggler had an Ironman Match almost ruined that way a few years ago.
Jess gets the early advantage with a roll up around 6 minutes in, going 1-0. An enraged Delta gets a chair and wallops Troy, earning a DQ and making it 2-0, but is able to use the resulting damage to soon even up the score 2-2. The power of Delta helps her maintain control for a time, as Jess fights from underneath and looks for opportunities to attack the arm and take that power away. Delta also displays some smarts and attacks Jess' arm, affecting her ability to apply the armbar. Jess does lock in the armbar, but Delta stacks her up to get a pin! 3-2 Delta. Troy powers back into the armbar and gets the tap. Back even at 3-3. They battle to the outside and we get a double countout! 4-4. It's a battle of attrition, and time is ticking down. With about a minute to go, Delta drags Jess up the turnbuckles and hits an avalanche F5! It's good to make it 5-4 with seconds to go, and it's enough to crown a new champ!
Winner: Delta (at 30:00)
Star Rating: ****1/4. Outstanding main event. The obvious underdog story played out with a slight twist- Jess brought out a bigger vicious streak, but did the crowd get into her head a bit. Like Moretti earlier, Jess enjoyed a long reign with the belt, and we go into 2023 with a fresh face leading the women's division in MCW.
Post-match, Jess tosses the MCW Championship at Delta. Not quite as classy as Mick Moretti strapping the belt around Emman's waist. Big time "Brock hurling the belt at Vince" vibes!
The top matches delivered in a thriving atmosphere. The Thornbury Theatre is a unique place- the energy and vibe is very different to other shows I've been to- I think the main difference is that MCW is family-friendly to a point, so kids are welcome and they're enthusiastic, but it doesn't entirely alienate the hardcore adult fan as some family friendly promotions do by playing things overly simplistic. The news of AEW star Buddy Matthews- who JUST returned to AEW programming this past week with the House of Black- coming back to challenge for the MCW Championship in early 2023 is major, as was the return of Steph De Lander after her NXT run... although her ultimate loss in the Ballroom Blitz may indicate she won't be Down Under for all that long. And of course, the crowning moment of Emman capturing gold was perhaps the feel good moment of the night.
It's worth noting too, although it wasn't perfect, the audio was much improved. I could actually hear the commentary and it was level with the crowd and ring noise, so great to see progress in that area. All in all, a very successful outing for MCW on FITE. Looking forward to The House Always Wins on Feb 11- already got my tickets and making the trip down!
Overall Score: 8/10
Until next time, take care.