WrestleWatch- PWA Eat, Sleep, Wrestle, Repeat Review
By Mick Robson
Back for another show from Australia's best wrestling organisation! It's been a month since PWA's last show, an absolute banger at the Metro Theatre, and since then, we've taken some time to let the smoke clear and the dust settle. This site has been rather quiet as well, partly because of the absence of PWA, but also because the schedule at work has picked up several notches. If only teaching was actually 9am to 3pm like so many people think it is... but that's another discussion for another time.
The one significant bit of news from Pro Wrestling Australia during the last bit has been quite a blow to the roster and the fanbase- PWA Heavyweight Champion Ricky South has suffered a neck injury, ruling him out of not only this event, but any action whatsoever for the next several months. Wishing Tuff Stuff a speedy recovery! Originally, after what has been a bumpy road as PWA's top dog, Ricky was set to be a centerpiece attraction of this show, defending his championship against longtime foe, Unsocial Jordan. The show was set to be named after Jordan's villainous faction, SMS, with the name of Extremely Strict Rules, but the whole thing was shaken up when Ricky went down, and now we have PWA: Eat, Sleep, Wrestle, Repeat.
So another PWA show- Black Label/18+, of course, and it emanates from another iconic venue in Sydney- Selina's at Coogee Bay Hotel. I couldn't attend this one, and couldn't even watch it live- family commitments- so here I am, early on a Saturday morning, ready for some top shelf Aussie pro wrestling. Just hook it to my veins!
Let's do this!
Our commentary team of Andrew Rose and Kris Gale start with an acknowledgement of country.
The usual (and excellent) PWA intro video airs. Shoutout to SETMEONFIRE.
Match 1: Jimmy Townsend vs. Unsocial Jordan
The Wandering Soul is back! Jimmy has spent the last few months abroad, travelling through the old US of A, but he makes his grand return with a beaming smile. Jordan makes his entrance to a frosty reception, and via Diego, delivers the message that the crowd is to refrain from profanity during this match. Yeeeeeeah... good luck with that. Jimmy gives Jordan the finger and receives a slap in response. Jimmy fires back with a slap of his own, and it. Is. On!
They run the ropes and Townsend scores with a flying headscissors. As Rose makes the point that Jimmy spent time in America with former PWA star and current NXT Superstar Grayson Waller, Townsend scores with a slingshot elbow drop that has all the style and grace of the 21st Century Success Story. Near fall.
Jordan gets his trusty tripod- consistently undertaking nefarious tricks, is the Unsocial One- and Jimmy's answer is.. a sleeping bag? Townsend puts the bag over Jordan's head then dropkicks him down. Jimmy goes up top, looking to fly, but SMS pull Jordan out of the ring to safety. Jordan soon responds with a sleeper hold on Jimmy on the turnbuckles, leaving him a 5 count to work with, but it's enough to do some damage. A diving elbow then earns the first near fall of the night for our number one contender.
Jimmy tries to steal one with an inside cradle, but Jordan kicks out and drops him with a half and half suplex. Ouch! Superkick to the back of the head gets Jordan a 2 count. Commentary refers to SMS at ringside in support of Jordan- according to Kris, they're the "awesome foursome" and according to Rose, they're "terrifying". Springboard cross body by Jimmy gives the former Prefect an opening. A firey comeback sequence leads to a butterfly suplex out of the corner that almost gets 3. Rough landing for Jordan there. Jimmy goes up top for a moonsault, but Carter gets up on the apron, and that distraction allows Jordan to move out of the way. Big crash and burn! Jordan scores with the Shining Wizard, followed by the sleeper hold.. and Jimmy goes out!
Winner: Unsocial Jordan (at 9:15)
Star Rating: ***. Fun start to the show. The work in America did Jimmy Townsend a lot of good, he had a level of confidence and poise opposite one of PWA's top guys in a singles match, which feels like a new level for him. And Jordan was on point as his usual slimy self, and it made sense for Carter Deams to be the difference maker here as the newest recruit to SMS.
Jordan grabs a microphone and accuses Ricky South of faking his neck injury. He believes as the number one contender, he should just be awarded the Heavyweight Championship. Fall with PWA, or Stand With Unsocial Jordan.
A video package airs featuring Backpain and Prima Pi Kappa at the PWA Academy. Backpain are working out, while Frankie and Nikki are... randomly thirst trapping? I don't know, there was slow motion and water and curves and I got all confused. Backpain were focused on a different kind of rack though, as they push their way through them to hit the squat rack. Getting that pump on, but PPK feel disrespected, it would seem.
Match 2: Backpain (Backman & Jack Pain) vs. PPK (Nikki Van Blair & Frankie B)
Backman and Nikki start as the powerhouses of their respective teams. Backman immediately knocks Nikki on his ass following the collar and elbow. Lots of flexing here. Nikki returns fire with a heavy headbutt. Frankie B in and she hits an assisted standing moonsault! Jack Pain in and Frankie hits him with a flying headscissors. Love her intensity in her moves. Top rope cross body but Jack catches her. Nikki saves her from disaster- but only for the moment, as Backman military presses Frankie into the crowd at Selina's!
In the ring, Backpain hit a double beal on Nikki for a near fall. Isolate and destroy. Nikki tries to fight back with a Samoan Drop, but Jack escapes and nails a big boot. Backman in and he goes for the SBW but Nikki reverses with a bulldog of sorts! Wait, Frankie's back and we get the hottest of hot tags to Frankie! She obliterates both big boys with a furious flurry of strikes. Headscissors sends both Frankie and Backman to the outside, leaving Nikki and Jack legal. The Samoan Drop finally scores... and it's a near fall! Jack Pain hits his lethal spinebuster, but Frankie breaks up the count. Frankie starts to build momentum... until Backman wipes her out with the SBW! Backpain with the double spinebuster on Nikki... and this one's done.
Winners: Backpain (at 9:04)
Star Rating: ***1/4. Extremely loose structure of the tag rules- even "lucha tag rules" doesn't explain a lot of that action- but damn, it was a blast. Frankie puts everything into every match she has, Nikki is a ball of charisma, and Backpain are an imposing force that seem to look more impressive with every outing. Really enjoyed this.
Backstage segment with Will Kiedis and Big Fudge. They talk about their clash in the PWA Rumble, then get to talking about Cherry Stephens. Fudge says, "she's special, she's not like other wrestlers". Aww, are we introducing a little love angle into this. Kiedis says it's best that she doesn't find out about the bet (that Fudge can make Cherry a PWA champion).
Match 3: The Rhys Angel vs. Big Fudge
Coogee's own Rhys Angel is somehow even more arrogant and obnoxious than usual, wrestling in his hometown. He knocks down Fudge with a shoulder block early and flexes. Back suplex. Another flex. If he keeps this up, he'll be an honorary member of Backpain! Angel applies a chinlock. This match just went up a star on the Randy Orton rating scale. Fudge comes back with a whirly bird headscissor to the delight of the crowd. He delivers a snake eyes, followed by a senton to the back for a near fall.
Fudge goes for the Butt Punch, but Rhys counters into a La Magistral cradle for a 2 count. Very innovative! Big time offense next as Rhys hits a TKO for a long 2 count. Fudge is hurting! Rhys goes for the double underhook DDT, but Fudge reverses into the Butt Punch! He applies the seatbelt pin- and gets the 3 count!
Winner: Big Fudge (at 5:05)
Star Rating: **1/2. Short and sweet, but a bit of a shocker! Seemed like Rhys was heading up the ranks, and he may still be, but he hit a Fudge-sized roadblock here. Great to see after Angel's arrogant antics the whole way through.
Big Brother Billy Preston is here to sing us a song! He plays guitar and sings about the Key To The Card match. I flip flop on whether I like this character, but this was nice. "And I'll need your support, so come cheer for Billy. And all the ladies know that I've got a massive.. chance of winning." Welll played, sir. Well played.
Match 4: Key To The Card Match- Big Brother Billy Preston vs. The Executive David Streamer vs. Kingsley vs. Cherry Stephens
They literally have a key that Referee Nick holds up before the match. Brilliant. So the winner of this match can book any match they want- which seems a little like Money In The Bank, but I guess technically you could use it to put your worst enemy in a 10 on 1 handicap deathmatch, so let's see where they go with it.
They start the match taking turns posing for the hard cam- which based on the episode of Young Rock I watched yesterday, makes everyone in this match better than The Rock in his Survivor Series debut. Streamer grabs Cherry's notebook and rips it up, even dropping an elbow on one of the pages. Brutal! A well earned "you sick fuck" chant erupts from the Coogee crowd. Everyone takes turns teeing off on Streamer. Err, everyone in the match, that is. A big clothesline from Billy sends the Executive to ringside.
Cherry and Kingsley drop Billy with a double back suplex. Billy soon comes back with a springboard double axe handle. Fast and furious action in this fatal four way! Billy crotches both Streamer and Cherry on the ropes. 10 punches on Streamer in the corner follow. Kingsley comes back into the fray and drops Billy with a Codebreaker for a near fall. Cherry on offense with a series of arm drags and a rolling neckbreaker on Billy. Streamer with a shotgun dropkick on Cherry, and he takes control momentarily. Billy attacks Streamer with a series of chops and a sidewalk slam. Billy goes up top, but everyone gets involved for a Tower of Doom!
Kingsley gets her tea and throws it in the eyes of Streamer. Streamer says, "the business degrees, they do nothing!" or something to that effect. Billy's posse of freaks carries Kingsley away from the ring, and Fudge brings Cherry a notebook to deal with the blinded Streamer. She hits the Tiger Driver... and gets the 3!
Winner: Cherry Stephens (at 11:10)
Star Rating: ***1/4. More comedy-heavy than the rest of the show to this point, with all four characters having their share of comedic elements. Cherry was a great choice as winner after the massive reaction she got at King of the Metro, and there's a more serious story bubbling under the surface with the whole Kiedis/Fudge bet, which poor Cherry is bound to be hurt by when she finds out. Billy, Kingsley and Streamer were all really good in their roles as well. Speakng of streamers, I occasionally stream myself- twitch.tv/robboentertainment (cheap plug).
We throw to Rose & Gale, where they give a well deserved shout-out to PWA's production team. Easily the most professional production of any wrestling promotion I've seen outside of the major world-wide players. Whenever I check out any other indie promotions, it gives me a new level of respect for the work that Ben, Jax, and the whole PWA crew do.
Intermission. Robbie Eagles vs. Sam Osborne from Call To Arms 2019. I don't know why Osborne stepped away from wrestling, best of luck to him, but he was fantastic. And Eagles is killing it in the Best of the Super Juniors in NJPW as I type this.
Match 5: SMS (Aaron Jake, Belinda Pierce & Carter Deams) vs. Juan Direction (Funny Juan, Romantic Juan & Tough Juan)
As soon as the bell rings, SMS rush and attack all of Juan Direction- save for Giant Juan standing at ringside. Carter hits End of Days for an early near fall. Rose makes the point that Deams' loose cannon aggression is something that SMS may have been missing previously. Belinda and Carter take turns blasting one of the Juans. The Juan creates separation with a tilt a whirl headscissors and looks for a tag. Deams and Jake knock the other Juans off the apron though.
The beatdown continues until Juan is able to connect with a jawbreaker and make the tag! We get the Juan Direction version of the Five Knuckle Shuffle, and the masked man is en fuego! Interesting spot where SMS are stacked into each other and dropkicked into a double DDT. There's hope! A new Direction on the horizon! Near fall. They stack Belinda and Aaron in the corner and take turns delivering Stinger Splashes. Stereo airplane spins follow. Belinda pulls the mask then Juan Direction start airplane spinning each other. Whatever floats your goat, I guess. Pierce takes them out with a double spear. Aaron Jake is down, though, and Juan goes for the 450 Splash, but misses! Aaron chokes Juan with the turtleneck, allowing Carter to score with the scissors kick! It's good for the win.
Winners: SMS (at 9:47)
Star Rating: **3/4. Juan Direction never really felt like a true threat, but this was effective in establishing the new SMS. And like in the opener, Carter Deams was instrumental in the finish. Nice to see he's being treated as a force in his own right, seemingly a level above Aaron and Belinda in their lackey roles.
Match 6: Will Kiedis vs. Mat Diamond (Special Ref: Cherry Stephens)
Aggressive tie-up, and they're in the ropes. Cherry tries to break it up, and Kiedis pushes her out of the way and cheap shots Diamond. Diamond responds with a beautiful dropkick. Arm drag, flying clothesline and Kiedis is reeling! Diamond charges, and Kiedis pulls Cherry in front of him like a human shield. Disquality him, Cherry! Kiedis pulls Diamond to the outside and gives him a back suplex on THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING!
Back in the ring, Kiedis works over Diamond with a backbreaker stretch. Diamond escapes but gets planted with a sunset flip bomb. Cherry fast counts for her employer but Diamond still kicks out at 2. Diamond makes a comeback with a series of running forearms and a spinning heel kick on Kiedis. Split-legged moonsault, Cherry slow counts, and Kiedis kicks out at 2. Diamond goes for a sunset flip, Kiedis sits down and blatantly holds the ropes, but a conflicted Cherry won't count that one. Kiedis pushes her... and Cherry pushes back! Atta girl! Diamond takes advantage of the drama with a sunset flip pin- but Kiedis kicks out at 2! Diamond goes for the Cutter, but Kiedis hits a clear low blow. He warns Cherry not to call it. Big "ring the bell" chant. She doesn't, though, and Kiedis hits the Unprettier for the win!
Winner: Will Kiedis (at 7:41)
Star Rating: ***1/2. This was excellently executed. The perfect mix of drama and action. At this point, I'm not sure if Cherry uses her Key To The Card for a title match, wininng the bet for Fudge, or if she'll use it to book herself in a match with Kiedis to get free of this mess.
We get a get well soon messsage for Ricky South from Lyrebird Luchi. Dripping with insincerity. He laughs about how he cruised his way to the top of PWA. He says he got Ricky a voucher to watch the show from his hospital bed. Luchi tells Ricky not to bother coming back. Just retire. He believes he deserves to be handed the PWA title, just as Jordan said earlier.
Match 7: 8 Person Tag- Team Luchi (Lyrebird Luchi, Ben Braxton, Michael Spencer & Kai Drake) vs. Team Nations (Jack Bonza, Jessica Troy, Adam Hoffman, and Mick Moretti)
Ricky South's music hits, and Luchi comes out wearing Tuff Stuff-inspired attire to massive boos. Big fight feel with all the Nations together in one match- first time in almost 10 years!
This is going to be crazy to cover, 8 people under lucha tag rules, meaning going out of the ring and to the floor constitutes a tag. PWA tag team matches tend to set a wild pace as it is. Time to strap in! Hoffman & Spencer start. A few swings and misses from Spencer, then Hoffman grounds him with a headlock takeover. It's the KISS principle- keep it simple, stupid. They trade holds and Hoffman seems to have the technical wrestling advantage. Crucifix pin by Hoffman earns the first near fall of the contest.
Bonza in. Sweet double team where Bonza hits a drop toe hold then Hoffman hits a diving elbow off the back of Bonza. Kai hits a leaping kick from the apron on Bonza then tags in. Double hip toss by MK Plus Ultra gets a 2 count. Jess comes in and launches off the back of Drake to hit a flying headscissors on Spencer! Luchi enters and tries a sneak attack, but Troy victory rolls him for a near fall. We get the mother of all tilt-a-whirls into a Fujiwara armbar! Braxton tries to break it up but Bonza snatches him in the Ankle Lock! Braxton rolls through, breaking up both submissions, and goes on the attack on Troy.
Troy gets isolated and beat down for some time, but does manage to pull off a hellacious DDT to give her some space. Troy with the hot tag to Moretti, and the Soul of PWA Champion is fired up! He wipes out MK Plus as Luchi runs for the hills. Moretti goes up top but Braxton cracks him with a Superman Punch. Hoffman in to hit a 619, and Bonza hits a bridging German suplex for a near fall. Moretti, Bonza and Hoffman take turns hitting Braxton, until Kai comes in and hits a superkick. A few wrestlers take turns scoring with heavy strikes. They battle to the outside and Jessica Troy hits the pile with a suicide dive! Moretti follows suit with a flip dive! Braxton follows with an even bigger flip!
Back in the ring, MK Plus hit Troy with stereo seated superkicks. Luchi tags in and tries to steal the pin but Jess kicks out. Luchi taunts, but the other Nations surround the ring and attack. Hoffman lays him out with an assisted splash, and looks to have it won, but the ref gets pulled out of the ring! Braxton gets in the ring but takes a powerbomb from the Nations. Spencer in to take out Hoffman with a torture rack backbreaker. Troy in with a brainbuster on Spencer. Drake in with a Michinoku Driver on Troy! Quick back and forth between Drake and Moretti that culminates in Moretti hitting a dragon suplex! Luchi in and he strikes with the Skull Crushing Finale... but Moretti kicks out at the last moment!
Luchi sets up for Ricky South's piledriver but Moretti counters with a back drop.Moretti looks for the Stomp, but Luchi avoids it and tags out to Braxton, who is dazed and in no shape to tag in. Moretti immediately Stomps him for the 3 count!
Winner: The Nations (at 17:38)
Star Rating: ***3/4. Lots of chaotic action in this one, which really flew by. Great action, with most people in the match highly familiar with each other, with only Braxton being an outlier, and he looked every bit like he belonged in a PWA main event. The Nations beat Team Luchi, but it looks like we'll have to wait a little longer to see him get his individual comeuppance.
Luchi grabs a mic and protests, saying he doesn't lose. He blames Braxton, before saying that becoming King of the Metro means he gets a shot at any title. Mick Moretti gets in his face, but instead Luchi says he wants to be given Ricky South's title. Moretti grabs the mic and points out that Unsocial Jordan said "the same bullshit". Moretti says he's the champion around here, and wants in as well. The Nations music plays us out to end the show.
A strong showing from PWA off the back of possibly their biggest show ever. Selina's looked to be a great venue, although the crowd didn't seem quite as rabid as usual... probably because I didn't make it with my crew. Sorry guys. But in all seriousness, this show was very high quality, and while the absence of Ricky South is certainly tough to swallow, the roster is stacked enough to carry on in the meantime.
Overall Score: 8/10
Until next time, take care.