WrestleWatch- MCW New Horizons 2022
By Mick Robson
Melbourne City Wrestling. Unquestionably at the top tier when it comes to Australian professional wrestling. I am a much closer follower of Pro Wrestling Australia in my own state, living a relatively short drive away from Sydney, but thanks to the magic of FITE TV, I can now watch MCW's best ply their trade without having to leave my house. Good times.
Unfortunately, life got in the way for me, and while I was able to watch half the show live, a family emergency interrupted things, then the past couple of weeks have been quite hectic for me personally once that was resolved. But we are a couple of short weeks away from PWA X MCW Colosseum, a 2 night tournament between the promotions that I am jumping on a plane for, so I thought it was only right to get this review done before I make the trip.
Let's do this!
The show opens with a recap of MCW's last event, Ballroom Brawl, headlined by a Rumble-style match which saw the return of MCW alumni and current AEW star Buddy Matthews. The House of Black member secured the victory, and a future shot at the MCW World Championship.The Ascension tournament continues, and we also have blockbuster matches such as The Family (Rocky Menero & The Parea) taking on Big Dude Energy and Caveman Ugg. A loaded show to be sure!
We begin with the ring announcer informing us that Zhan Wen is injured and unable to take part in his Ascension match, therefore Jake Andrewartha gets a bye. He is soon interrupted by the music of the "Loose Ledge", Adam Brooks.
Brooksy says that he's done everything there is to do in MCW. His dream was to come back and win the Ballroom Brawl so he could become MCW Champion. He turns on the fans who don't appreciate him "busting his arse". He said he doesn't need this shit and MCW management were happy to let him go (there was a post farewelling Brooks from the company before his main event title match with Mitch Waterman was made). He threatens to tell everyone why people have been leaving MCW over the past 18 months... then his mic gets cut. Waterman walks out to confront Brooksy but he leaves through the crowd. Strong segment cementing Brooks' status as a heel, while I most recall him being a fan favourite in the past.
Match 1: Six Man Tag- The Family (Rocky Menero & The Parea) vs. Big Dude Energy & Caveman Ugg)
Thoughts: Great heel work from The Family, riling up the crowd as they stalled and begged off from their opponents, especially Ugg. BDE are apparently a new team to MCW, but already loved by the crowd at the Thornbury Theatre, and manage to slow the bad guys down with some double team offense, including the old Team Angle/WGTT tandem move. The Family also show great tag psychology by isolating Rickie Gilmore, building to the eventual hot tag. The Parea excel in the cocky athlete role as well during the beatdown. Big Dave shows a great burst of energy once he gets tagged in, pinballing The Family around and punctuating it with a massive dive to the outside! Ugg takes a long time to get involved, but once he does, he starts absolutely throwing bombs with Menero! In amongst the chaos, Parea score with an elevated double team enziguri on Gilmore, alllowing Menero to pick up the 1-2-3.
Winners: The Family
Star Rating: ***1/4. Solid opener with clear cut personalities, enhanced by the crowd being very into the antics of all the characters. Seemed like Ugg had a pretty easy payday, but it may be getting tougher sooner rather than later...
Post-match, BDE have a moment with the crowd, who shows them appreciation, but then they are jumped by The Parea! Scoundrels!
A new Colosseum entrant video airs. It's Caveman Ugg! As I write this review, 7 of the 8 entrants have been announced, and all I'll say is that the Caveman enjoys a size and power advantage over everyone in the field so far. Definitely a game changer!
Match 2: Ascension Semi-Finals- Edward Dusk vs. Emman The Kid
Thoughts: Something of a David And Goliath battle here for Emman, in a contrast to the first time I saw him wrestle at the Renegades of Wrestling debut show, where he faced the similar sized Velocities. He uses his speed here to try and combat the size of Dusk, but Dusk shows a great vicious streak to slow him down, launching him off the apron into the steel barricade. He follows it up with a back suplex on the apron (THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING), and continues the assault on the back inside the ring as well. Bonus points to the commentators who calls a "Ace Steel special" when Dusk bites Emman. Dusk starts to get a bit arrogant with the taunting and slapping of The Kid, which fires Emman up, and he starts to mount a comeback. The Sliced Bread and the frog splash earn Emman a couple of great near falls, and the crowd is firmly behind the underdog! Dusk fires back with a Deadeye, but Emman gets his foot on the ropes. Moments later, Emman reverses an electric chair into a victory roll for the win! Excellent work all the way.
Winner: Emman The Kid
Star Rating: ****. Great match structure here, elevated a notch higher with the intensity of Dusk and the selling of Emman. Dusk came across as the most vicious man in MCW, and Emman seemed close to death, gaining major sympathy from the people. Really enjoyable match and result.
A video airs showing Zhan Wen entering the building, and Jake Andrewartha attacking him. So THAT'S why Zhan can't compete!
Jake Andrewartha makes his entrance, and apparently the Ascension final is going to happen now! The commentators show indignation, as it was supposed to happen in mid October, and questioned how Andrewartha can make matches.
Match 3: Ascension Final- Ladder Match- Emman The Kid vs. Jake Andrewartha
Thoughts: Forget David vs. Goliath, this is David vs. Godzilla! Andrewartha, known as The Final Boss, is a massive man and former medallist in the Commonwealth Games. Emman just went through an absolute war. This is an uphill battle to say the very least! Emman takes some shots before starting to even the odds by using a ladder as a weapon. Emman tries to climb the ladder to grab the contract, but Andrewartha seizes him and lawn darts him into the top turnbuckle! A super snake eyes, if you will. Andrewartha continues the beating for some time until Emman is able to catapult a ladder into his face! Emman then grabs a steel chair as another equalizer- hey, it's no DQ- and whales away on the big man. Andrewartha then unleashes one of the most violent moves of the match- a running powerbomb into a ladder! He makes the climb up, but is stopped by a chair-wielding Zhan Wen! This allows Emman to climb up himself and claim the contract! We love a good underdog story!
Winner: Emman The Kid (earning a future MCW Intercommonwealth Championship shot)
Star Rating: ***1/2. Slightly slower-paced and less action packed than the previous match, but it fit the overall story they were telling. As a package, top tier wrestling and storytelling, and a true breakout performance for Emman The Kid in MCW. He's got a date with Mick Moretti as a result of this momentous win.
Intermission. No classic match, just some tunes in the background and the sounds of the Thornbury Theatre.
The Natural Classics make their entrance. They're celebrating being the reigning MCW Tag Team Champions. More than 490 days with the gold. Ring announcer Lindsay Howarth reads out a prepared statement inviting everyone to "pay tribute to Tome and Stevie Filip, going onto to gush about their skills and accolades.
Tome takes the mic and addresses Stevie, noting his bright future and how fans chant "Stevie's better". After seeming like he's taking issue with that sentiment, he then echoes it to the shock of everyone. He introduces a hype video set to Queen's "We Are The Champions". He says they will put the titles on the line at the next MCW event. They choose those challengers by drawing their names out of a bag- it'll be Slex and Tommy Knight! Damn. Slex and Knight come out onto the stage. Lindsay says "I've been informed that match will not take place next show. That match will take place right now." Going to the impromptu match well again, interesting. Tome and Stevie sell their anger and shock well though.
Match 4: MCW Tag Team Championship- Slex & Tommy Knight vs. The Natural Classics (Tome & Stevie Filip) (c)
Thoughts: Slex & Knight are an odd couple, but they want gold, while the defending champs are wrestling in their street clothes. Intriguing dynamics all around. As top level singles stars, Slex & Knight get the early advantage, with Slex hitting ROI (slingshot draping DDT) in the opening moments. The Filips find their tag team chemistry and wrestle with a sense of desperation. Tommy initially doesn't seem to care about Slex getting beaten down, but starts to give a shit after Slex is caught in a figure four, and tags himself in. He cleans house, but knocks over Slex along the way, which "The Business" takes issue with. They get in a shoving match, and Knight goes for a clothesline, but wipes out Stevie instead of Slex. Slex goes for his Slexecution tornado kick on Knight, but knocks out Tome instead! Knight gets the pin off that and we have new champs!
Winners: Slex & Tommy Knight
Star Rating: **. From killing each other last show in a Falls Count Anywhere match to becoming tag champs now. What a ride. The "odd couple/feuding partners" trope isn't new or revolutionary by any means, and this was a fairly short match, but I did get a chuckle out of Slex & Knight trying to knock seven shades of shit out of each other and accidentally maiming their opponents in the process. Good stuff.
Match 5: MCW Women's Championship- Delta vs. Jessica Troy (c)
Thoughts: Delta is an absolute powerhouse, and she used her physical advantages to shrug off Jessica's early arm attacks. Interesting here that Jessica got a fair amount of boos while Delta got the lion's share of the cheers, something that seemed to even take the commentary team aback. Unfortunate for the Thornbury Theatre if they don't have great taste. Not to say Delta's not impressive- but Jess is a sweetheart. However, Delta doesn't care about being sweet, catching a Meteora attempt on the outside and slamming Troy into the ring post. She keeps the pressure on back in the ring, but slowly and surely, the arm attacks start to cause some damage, and Jess starts to find openings. Delta hits a devastating Spear for a near fall, but also hurts her own arm and shoulder in the process. Delta goes for the F-5, but Jess turns it into the Fujiwara armbar. After a struggle, Delta gets a stack pin that gets a 3 count- but she taps to the armbar at the same time! We have a draw.
Star Rating: ***1/2. The finish hurt this one- not only was it inconclusive, but it's a pretty damn close re-tread of what we saw recently with Liv Morgan & Ronda Rousey in WWE. That said, the story is not over between these two and they had some strong chemistry throughout this match, so I'm looking forward to seeing it run back, perhaps with a stipulation.
After the match, Delta attacks Jessica. Troy turns the tides and locks the armbar back in, and referees and security are in to separate in. Delta breaks free and lays Jess out with a spear. Oh yeah, this is far from over. Delta raises the MCW Women's Championship above Jessica's prone body.
A very quick promo airs for MCW 12, coming soon. (It has since been announced that this is an event taking place on Saturday 26th November, at the Thornbury Theatre, celebrating the 12 year anniversary of MCW).
Match 6: MCW World Championship- Mitch Waterman (c) vs. Adam Brooks
Thoughts: Brooks came out to a remix of his old theme, wrestling in jeans and making his entrance through the crowd. I hear the commentary team reference this match being cancelled earlier in the night- honestly the audio has been pretty brutal at a lot of points throughout this show, making it difficult to hear promos and commentary completely, so I missed that plot point. Barely heard a thing during the women's championship match. For whatever reason, the commentary audio is much better for the main event. Brooks jumps Waterman before Lindsay can get the traditional ring announcements out. Intense, big fight feel.
Commentary describes Brooksy as "unhinged" as they brawl around the Thornbury Theatre. This is almost Attitude Era-esque! Back in the ring, Brooks maintains a brawling styles as the more refined Waterman tries to find openings with technique. After taking a beating, he eventually finds that gear to start fighting back with punches and chops, bringing the crowd to life! After Waterman starts to build momentum, we get a ref bump, leading to Brooks grabbing a steel chair. Waterman eventually kicks the chair through his skull, but the savvy veteran gains the advantage yet again. He gets distracted by a crypic video with Buddy Matthews/House of Black style imagery, allowing Waterman to find the opening for the Tempest Backfist and the win!
Winner: Mitch Waterman
Star Rating: ****1/4. As it should be, the main event was the highlight of the show. It got over the "new" Adam Brooks and the heart of the young champion. The atmosphere of MCW was on full display with the energetic brawling around the arena, and we had a great mix of brawling and wrestling finesse as the match went along. Extremely entertaining bell to bell.
Post-match, a bitter Brooks attacks Waterman. The Loose Ledge grabs a steel chair and wraps it around the champ's ankle, looking to do the Pillman special.. but Slex runs out for the save! He grabs the MCW World Championship belt and gazes at it for a moment or two before putting it on Waterman's shoulder and leaving the ring to him.
Once again, MCW deliver a very entertaining wrestling show, chock-full of some of the best talent Australia has to offer. This show also featured a little less of the NSW talent that I'm more than familar with- I know Mick Moretti, Jessica Troy, Caveman Ugg etc etc very well, but not so much the likes of Emman The Kid, Mitch Waterman and even Adam Brooks to a degree- he's made some PWA appearances in the 5 or so years I've been going to Aussie wrestling shows, but not a ton. He's MCW through and through, and whatever truth was in the social media posts, it's made for a very compelling story. Was there some truth, and they've sorted things out? Or are MCW savvy enough to completely use social media to tell an intricate, engaging story? Either way, it's got me hooked. Besides Brooks/Waterman, Emman The Kid's performance was a true delight. Can't wait to see Emman vs. Moretti.
The only negative, as was the case with Ballroom Brawl, was video and audio issues. Audio was the bigger issue, frequently bouncing up and down in volume, mostly commentary- I could hear the bumps and noises from the ring clear as day, while commentary sounded like a whisper. And the video got jittery, although it was less of an issue than the sound, but it did get pretty dodgy right at the Brooks/Waterman finish. I'm sure it's something they'll iron out the more FITE streams they do though.
Overall Score: 8/10
Until next time, take care.