WrestleWatch- PWA Fite Nite
By Mick Robson
Big treat for me during the school holidays! Not only did I manage to enjoy a major PWA Black Label show on Friday night (WrestleWatch review here), but we were able to go back-to-back, with a family-friendly all ages show on Saturday! Originally set for Campbelltown RSL, this was moved to the PWA Academy in Ingleburn. Always enjoy Academy shows, it's the easiest/shortest drive for any PWA events for me. And I got a kick out of the theme- as someone who plays Fortnite with my mates and routinely gets shown up by my 14 year old brother, it's about as relatable as a family-friendly show could be for me.
Was a little up in the air on whether I was going to attend- my Cerebral Palsy causes pain and fatigue issues, and although things have improved drastically, two nights in a row might have been pushing it. Decided to bite the bullet once I saw some of the card. A main event of Robbie Eagles vs. Jimmy Townsend was must-see as far as I was concerned- the best in PWA vs. one of the most promising young guys. Then we had a returning Nikki Van Blair, who is always a riot with his character work, and finally, we had the PWA debut of Frankie B! Frankie has been around PWA for a long time, but her wrestling career has been stalled a lot by injuries. Looking forward to seeing what she can do in the ring when healthy.
A lot to like on a Saturday night! Let's do this!
Match 1: Big Brother Billy Preston def. Will Kiedis
Thoughts: This was a nice hit of ridiculous fun to kick off this family-friendly presentation. The cool thing about PWA is that it does typically have silly humour along with the intense action, and Preston is a perfect example of a character that can work in both settings with some slight tweaking. For example, the Black Label show saw Preston under the influence of various substances, but here, the only influence in the match was Preston's entourage of friends wearing various costumes at ringside. At one point, Billy calls in a guy in a banana costume and has him lie down in the ring, causing Kiedis to slip on a banana peel.
In the end, Kiedis gets mad and beats up all the friends of Billy, including a pirate, a dinosaur, and the aforementioned banana. We also get some kid-friendly weapons in the form of a pool noodle. Ultimately, Billy puts it away with the Overdrive (**1/2)
Match 2: Green Dingo David Streamer def. Green Dingo Tommy Dee
Thoughts: Good opportunity for the Dingos to get a little experience working in front of a small crowd. It seemed that Tommy Dee was the more popular Dingo, but Streamer didn't exactly play heel either, more of an exhibition. The Dingos are PWA's rookies working their way up through the Academy system, so it wasn't as polished as other matches that we typically see. Few moments where things weren't timed right and moves weren't totally crisp, but they definitely put the effort in. Streamer almost puts it away with the Dingo Stretch (inverted Boston Crab), but Tommy makes the ropes. A few moments later, Streamer hits the Sky High to get his first singles win in PWA! (*3/4)
Match 3: The Nations (Mick Moretti & Kingsley) def. Nikki Van Blair & Frankie B
Thoughts: I'm not sure you could pack more personality in a team than to have the duo of Moretti & Kingsley! Both are in The Nations, but I can't recall seeing just those two in a match before. Nikki Van Blair was excited to be back (his first match since March 2020) and Frankie looked over the moon as well. Moretti and Frankie had a fun exchange in the early going, but it was the tandem moves on both sides that really got my attention, really working well as teams rather than just individually doing their thing. Nikki launched Frankie into a moonsault which looked fantastic, and the end came when the Nations locked in dual Ankle Locks. Lots of fun, and this had both time and substance. Great return for Nikki, great debut for Frankie B, and Moretti and Kingsley were their usual excellent selves. (***)
Match 4: Silvio Milano def. Rhys Angel
Thoughts: Rhys Angel is another character, like Billy Preston, who really didn't have to change his style for an all-ages show. Arrogant narcissist is a pretty universal persona. He spends a lot of time posing and preening, and while Silvio plays along a bit in the early going, he eventually gets annoyed with it, and shows great fire in kicking some heavy duty booty. I talked to him briefly after the show and he talked about how happy he was to be back, and it really showed in this match. He gets the dub with a double underhook facebuster. (**3/4)
Match 5: PWA Champion Ricky South def. Donnie Mako
Thoughts: Mako went from "the most cooked man in PWA" to a regular Shark Bro for this one, while the champ was a little marked up from his war with Adam Brooks the night before, but still brought the fight. Rowdy crowd atmosphere with a group of guys wearing nWo Wolfpac shirts who LOVED them some Shark Bro. Ricky teases them a bit, and the pro-Mako sentiment spread through the Academy crowd a bit, leading Ricky to almost show some heelish tendencies. Loved that kind of adjusting on the fly. This was the most competitive, physical match on the show to this point, and while Mako got some moments to shine, Tuff Stuff prevailed with the piledriver. (***1/4)
Intermission. A lot of times I just stay put in my seat during intermission, but this time I bailed to get outside. It was like a sauna in the Academy!
Match 6: Jack Bonza & Caveman Ugg def. SMS (Belinda Pierce & Aaron Jake)
Thoughts: Bonza & Ugg embraced the family-friendly aspect of this show in the most hilarious way, coming out to the Jackson 5's ABC, wearing hats and colourful shirts. I was in stitches! Rivals Billy Preston's Black Label performance and the Acclaimed's diss track as the funniest things I've seen this year. Bonza wrestled barefoot, which I've always thought would be extremely difficult. Uncle Jack was in a jovial mood, dancing around and even wiggling his butt, to which the young boy down the row from me exclaimed, "That's not very family-friendly!" I would have done a spit-take if I was drinking something right then.
We had some comedy spots, like Ugg singing Belinda a lullaby and rocking her in his arms like a baby before slamming her, but the finish was genuinely impressive, as we saw Ugg perform a monkey flip on Aaron into a powerbomb from Bonza. Fantastic stuff all-around. (***1/4)
Match 7: Backman def. Jay Sorbet
Thoughts: Sorbet cracks the "I haven't seen you all year!" joke. Backman isn't amused, so Jay tells him to "back off." Nice! Backman is amped up- must be the pre-workout that Gym Bro Jessie gave him. Sorbet tries his scoop slam and a fireman's carry, but doesn't have the strength to pull it off. That's until Sorbet takes some pre-workout himself and Hulks up, and suddenly he can do it all! Great Lionsault which pops the dad sitting next to me, but Backman takes charge with the Sonny Bill (Pounce), followed by a powerbomb, which looks a bit tricky at first but they get it done for the finish. Sorbet told me that the pre-workout went up his nose and made him feel like he was going to throw up- but he held it together well! Entertaining battle. (***)
Match 8: Robbie Eagles def. Jimmy Townsend
Thoughts: This had shades of the Ricky South match, with Robbie halfway turning heel, at least on the Wolfpac side of the room. Probably the most crowd investment overall here, with dueling Robbie/Jimmy chants. I like both guys, but when push comes to shove, I'm a fan of the Sniper of the Skies all day. Jimmy hit a lot of his best stuff, but it takes more than that to beat the current IWGP Jr. Tag Team Champion! Eagles kept a frequent target on the leg of Jimmy, and it eventually paid off, with the Prefect submitting to the Ron Miller Special. Robbie led the dance, and Jimmy stepped to it well. (***1/2)
Post-match, Robbie offers Jimmy a show of respect, raising his hand to the appreciation of the crowd. He even ever so briefly puts his IWGP belt on Jimmy's shoulder before jokingly snatching it back. Eagles leads the crowd in PWA chants to close the show.
A shorter, snappier show than the Black Label events, this was nonetheless well worth my time. It's a shame it wasn't broadcast, because a show like that would have been a fine offering on FITE. The Dingos match was a little choppy, but they're Dingos, the more reps they get, the better it'll be. The matches that sold me on a second night heading up Sydney way delivered, and more than anything, all the performers seemed to be enjoying themselves. The crowd took a little while to warm up, but they peaked at the main event for what was a fun atmosphere. The venue wasn't the original plan- I'm sure Campbelltown RSL would have been more comfortable for both the fans and the wrestlers- but PWA made it work, as they always do.
Overall Score: 7.5/10
Until next time, take care.