WrestleWatch- PWA King Of The Metro Review
By Mick Robson
One of the defining characteristics of Australians is that we are tough. Resilient. Not afraid of the hard yakka. The Aussie spirit of pushing through and getting shit done is a key part of our vast and diverse culture. So it stands to reason, then, that Aussie pro wrestling would be the same way.
There's many out there that aren't quite aware of the Australian wrestling scene. But over the last decade plus, Sydney's PWA have worked tirelessly to help change that. From training a number of wrestlers who have made their presence known in WWE, NXT, AEW, Impact Wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling. To getting a deal on FITE TV. To even making their presence known in the mainstream, with appearances on Beauty And The Geek, Survivor, and even First Dates Australia.
One of the key examples of PWA's growth as a company is the venues they run. The first event I ever attended was in January 2018 at Parramatta RSL. Lock, Stock And Too Sweet Barrels, it featured members of the Bullet Club, Bad Luck Fale & Gino Gambino, taking on the Nations- Mick Moretti & Jack Bonza. Plus the work of Robbie Eagles, Caveman Ugg, Shazza McKenzie, Indi Hartwell... and a couple of names on the undercard who can now be seen on the USA Network on Tuesday nights as part of NXT 2.0- Matty Wahlberg & Facebrooke, now known as Grayson Waller & Persia Pirotta.
As PWA gathered momentum, the RSLs became music venues. Places like Max Watts and the Factory Theatre in Sydney played host to Australia's most prolific pro wrestling promotion as it was broadcast on various streaming platforms. They even jumped up to Sydney's Star Casino for a cross-promotion show with Progress. But this time, PWA are running solo. Pandemic be damned, they continued to build their brand until they got here. The iconic Metro Theatre. The same venue that has played host to the likes of Foo Fighters, Blink 182, John Mayer, Lorde, Anthrax and even Salt N Pepa... well, now PWA are here to push it to the next level.
My review will be a mix of the live experience I had last night, and elements of the FITE presentation as I watch it back this morning. One of my favourite parts of doing this is watching PWA shows twice back to back. One of my other favourite parts is spreading the word and bringing new fans into Aussie wrestling. When I started going to shows, it was me and one of my mates, but we hit the Metro with an awesome foursome last night!
Let's do this!
We open with the acknowledgement of country from the excellent commentary team of Andrew Rose & Kris Gale. I got a chance to say a quick hi to Kris during intermission, but unfortunately couldn't catch Rose. I did hang around a little after the show trying to find the guy, but he disappeared into the night. Great blokes.
Our show intro is narrated by news personality Matt de Groot, focusing on our main event- the 30 person Rumble to determine who will be crowned King of the Metro.
Diego, our ring announcer, kicks things off with emotion evident in his voice as we prepare for the first match. Quick note- the sound and atmosphere in the Metro is insane. It's first and foremost a music venue, so it makes sense, but wow! Massive speakers blaring out the entrance music, and the sound of a rabid crowd flooding the theatre... it's an incredible experience and we haven't even seen a headlock yet!
Match 1: Winner Gets #25 in the Rumble- Robbie Eagles vs. Jack Bonza
Fitting that we kick this off with two of the most influential men in PWA, both in-ring and behind the scenes. As coaches and promoters, they've grinded endlessly to make an event of this magnitude happen. Rose speaks about this show being "destiny", and the pride in his voice is clear. It's one thing for me to be a fan along for this ride, but it's got to mean the world and more to the people actually working here. Thunderous chants of "Robbie Robbie Robbie, Oi Oi Oi" ring out, and the Sniper of the Skies soaks it in. Bonza doesn't quite get the same love.
It's a battle of strength vs. speed. Bonza tried to power Eagles to the mat and pin his shoulders down, but Robbie does good lucha things to get out of it and goes for an early Ron Miller Special, but Jack is too technically savvy for that. Soon after, Robbie dropkicks his face off. No counter hold reversal for that one. Robbie keeps unleashing kicks with his powerful legs, but Bonza retailiates with a chop that sends his areolas into the mezzanine. Well then.
Eagles soon fires back with a snap rana and spinning kick that sends Bonza sprawling to the outside. He sets up for a dive but Bonza ducks away, so we get a pretty backflip fake-out. Back in the ring, Robbie goes for a springboard but is caught with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. That was CLEAN! A surfboard submission follows from Bonza- guess he picked up a trick or two from wrestling Jushin Thunder Liger pre-pandemic. He gets a little overconfident and charges at Robbie, but is caught in a sunset flip for a near fall- and we're back to the punishing Bryan Danielson-esque kicks from the Sniper. A spinning lariat by Bonza gets a close 2 count for the Red Commander. Is he still the Red Commander, since Kingsley took over and renamed it the Bad Bitch Nation? These are the questions we need to ask in PWA...
Robbie finally starts to build a little sustained momentum as the buzzing crowd surges to life once again. 619 to the legs, followed by the double knees in the corner. He works the legs a bit more before going up top, plays to the crowd a little too long and misses on the 450 Splash. Double wrist clutch into a Tombstone gains a thrilling near fall for Bonza. Bonza sets up for the Napalm Thunder Driver but falls victim to a handful of rapid fire roll ups that ALMOST get the job done for Robbie. Robbie goes for a kick but is caught suddenly in a STF! Seriously, these two are smooth as hell here. Eagles makes the ropes, to the adulation of the Metro Theatre.
Ankle lock applies but Robbie rolls through and hits a mule kick. Eagles soars with a flip dive into Bonza and the sea of people at ringside! Quickly back inside, springboard dropkick to the legs. Bonza turns the tides with a bridging pin for 2.75! After some battling on the turnbuckles, Bonza gets the better of it with a top rope powerslam! Referee Hannah counts both men all the way to 9, before Bonza rolls over to pin Robbie... for a near fall. A frustrated Bonza pushes his boot in Robbie's face, which only serves to fire him up and they trade strikes. Bonza goes for a powerbomb but Eagles lands on his feet and unleashes a kick combo. Bonza goes for the Napalm Thunder Driver but is countered with a satellite DDT, followed by a Sliced Bread for a near fall. Immediate follow up with the Turbo Backpack, deep hook of the leg- and Bonza kicks out again! Robbie feels the momentum shift though, and nails a swift kick to the head. Goes up top, 450 to the leg, Ron Miller Special- and Bonza taps!
Winner: Robbie Eagles (at 17:25)
Star Rating: ****. They set the bar super high with this opener. Often when I do a play-by-play, I tell myself, "alright, Mick, just include the big moves and near falls", but there was nothing but kill shots handed out here, especially down the stretch. The familiarity with each other was clear as everything they did was perfect and precise. Maffew from Botchamania probably watched this with a tear running down his face, as Eagles and Bonza gave him zero content!
A video package airs on the drama between Ricky South, Carter Deams, Unsocial Jordan and SMS. One of my least favourite stories in PWA honestly, let's see if they can make something worthwhile out of tonight and this tag match. Ricky South & Carter Deams have been interacting for seemingly forever, and they seemed destined to have a heated grudge match, and then we veered away from that to re-visit the Ricky/SMS stuff, which is exactly what South was doing for ages prior to his title win. Would have much rather seen a Ricky South vs. Carter Deams title match on this show.
Match 2: Carter Deams & Ben Braxton vs. Ricky South & Unsocial Jordan
Belinda Pierce comes out wearing a neck brace in a wheelchair. Total confirmation that the Beer Shed show isn't canon, as she was wrestling on there. But besides that, we're meant to believe that a table bump did that to Belinda? When she's a wrestler that has taken it to bloody Backpain? More importantly, Ricky is meant to believe this and go along with SMS? Prime example of why I don't like this storyline- either it treats the fans as stupid or makes Ricky South look stupid (or both).
Anyway, the match. Ricky and Carter start. The champ tackles down the would-be challenger and rains down right hands. Leaving out the "flamboyant" part of "flamboyant aggression" here tonight. Jordan calls for a tag but Ricky is choosing to do this by himself in the early going. Braxton gets tagged in- he's an incredible athlete, very bright future. He stalls South with a couple of dropkicks, but Ricky literally boots him out of the ring. Via PWA's lucha tag rules, Deams is now legal again. Ricky serves up blistering chops to both opponents here. The Newy Pro boys retailiate with suplexes and strikes, and this is virtually a handicap match as Ricky has opted not to tag Jordan even though he's had opportunities.
Deams gets a near fall after a seated superkick on the champ, and he continues to apply the pressure, along with Braxton in his corner. Ricky tries to fight back with forearms, but Deams maintains wrist control. When Ricky tries to run the ropes, Deams pulls him back into a End of Days, followed by a scissors kick! Near fall. Braxton in and drops South with a brainbuster for another close two count. More brutal chops as Ricky fights back with all his might- does the PWA roster place bets on who can throw the hardest chop on a show or something? Braxton's chest has turned dark purple! Braxton's a tough cookie though, as he drops Ricky with a spinebuster and goes for his ridiculously cool no-hands Lionsault- but South gets the knees up.
Finally, after strong urging from the crowd, Ricky tags Jordan in! And hey, credit to the man- years of being on the receiving end of hot tags as part of SMS, and Jordan is a master at dishing it out! The energy level skyrockets as it seems that Unsocial Jordan has a personal vendetta against the city of Newcastle. Falcon Arrow gets a near fall on Braxton. Ricky tags back in. Jordan applies a sleeper on Braxton then throws him into a Ricky boot. Double superkick gets a near fall on Braxton.
Jordan tags back in and runs across the Metro stage to hit a shining wizard on Braxton. Damn, that looked cool! Back to Ricky, who hits a lariat, followed by the piledriver for the win!
Winners: Ricky South & Unsocial Jordan (at 8:27)
Star Rating: ***1/4. Can't fault the wrestling in this one. Jordan's babyface fire on the hot tag was probably the surprising highlight of the match. Shame he's such a prick otherwise though.
Post-match, Carter grabs the mic to tell Ricky that they're not done. Quick hug between Ricky and Jordan as he starts speaking. Deams gets in the ring and boots Ricky in the face. Carter grabs the "injured" Belinda and holds her in a piledriver position. Jordan says he can stop this and begs Ricky to stand with SMS. He reluctantly agrees to save Belinda... but why Ricky joining SMS would stop this, I don't know. Shouldn't Jordan be concerned with Carter doing this to Belinda? Unless, this was all some massive set-up... surely not? *cough cough* Jordan makes Ricky admit that he and SMS were right about everything. Then Jordan tells Carter to put Belinda down... and of course he does, because why else would Jordan have been cool with this whole scenario unless Carter was on his side? Oh my god, Belinda wasn't really injured! Carter reveals he's with SMS and they attack the champ. So, so dumb. Probably the most illogical storyline I've seen PWA do. Unsocial Jordan was already the no. 1 contender, they could have had a Ricky vs. Carter title match, set up Jordan to fight for the title afterwards and not put Ricky in a situation where he appears to have the IQ of a potato. And also, Carter is happy to play lackey in SMS after months of looking for a title shot? (Although that bit can be resolved by Carter saying he's first in line for a shot if Jordan wins or something, but still). If they took away the silliness of Belinda in the wheelchair, it might have just passed, but as it was, it jumped the shark and was a bit of a disaster.
Match 3: MCW Intercommonwealth & Soul of PWA Championships- Caveman Ugg vs. Mick Moretti (c)
A great palate cleanser after the mis-fire of that last angle. Can't go wrong with Moretti or Ugg as wrestlers or characters, as evidenced by the reactions in the intros- huge ovation for Moretti, huge amount of heat for Ugg. Amazing what a location change does- from "the third cave on the left" to "Melbourne".
Moretti plays a fun game of cat and mouse in the early going, frustrating Ugg. In the midst of swatting at the Rapscallion, Ugg hit his hand on the ring post. Springboard clothesline knocks Ugg back, but not down. Moretti avoids a charging Caveman and hit a snap German suplex, but Ugg pops up. Moretti goes into his signature headstand, but Ugg spears Moretti out of his boots while he's upside down! Very cool. Huge Keith Lee-approved beal out of the corner sends Moretti across the ring. The champ is definitely on the back foot now. Swinging side slam by Ugg gets a near fall.
Moretti avoids an Ugg clothesline by snatching the arm and attacking the hand. Masterful gameplan by Mick. Ugg comes back with a clothesline, and despite being a terrible traitor to Sydney, he starts an "Ugg!" chant. Moretti rolls out to the apron... and Ugg stomps him into the very narrow section between the ring and the Metro stage! That looked awesome! Ugg picks up Moretti in a military press, but Moretti drops behind and shoves him towards the ropes. The champ champ vaults in with a guillotine leg drop. Back in the ring, Moretti hurls Ugg shoulder-first into the ring post, then knees him in the head while he's sitting there! Vicious. Slingshot senton, the Sweaty Moretti... and we get a near fall. I'd stay down for that one.
The Rapscallion is in firm control now, and snaps Ugg's fingers in the turnbuckle. A stomp follows- shout out to his old rival, Grayson Waller, maybe?- but Ugg quickly kicks out. Ugg flattens Moretti with a single chop. Rose with a funny line about where Moretti's from- "it's a town called Somewhere, just near Dapto". As a Dapto boy born and bred, I appreciate the reference! Moretti gets up and begs for another and Ugg obliges. Again. And again. And again. Then he catches the chop and wrenches him down to the mat! Ripping on that injured hand! Ugg gets out of it by standing up and hitting a buckle bomb, followed by a one-handed splash mountain bomb- but Moretti kicks out into an armbar! Ugg makes the ropes though.
Ugg blocks an attack, nips up (holy shit) and hits the Fire Thunder Driver! Cover, 1, 2.... and Moretti gets a toe on the ropes. Excellent near fall. Moretti slid the Soul of PWA title into the ring, Ugg grabs it, forcing Referee Hannah to take it off him. As the ref gets rid of the belt, Moretti hits Ugg with the MCW Intercommonwealth title that he had behind his back! Ugg no-sells it, and as Moretti backs off, the ref disposes of the MCW belt- allowing Moretti to hit Ugg with the green mist! Fisherman buster is the next hit, followed by a curb stomp from the second rope... and with all those shenanigans, it's all over!
Winner: Mick Moretti (at 13:45)
Star Rating: ****1/4. That's what the doctor ordered. Moretti was physically outmatched, so used his cunning with the hand attacks, then every Rapscallion trick at his disposal to get the job done. Ugg was dangerous to the very end, which kept the drama high. Loved to see it.
Match 4: PWA Tag Team Championship- The Velocities (Jude London & Paris De Silva) vs. MK Plus Ultra (Michael Spencer & Kai Drake) (c)
Big time bonus points to MK Plus for the Pokemon-inspired entrance and gear. Rose says that tag team wrestling is something that PWA does better than anyone in the world, and I would have to agree. See Velocities vs. Aussie Open as Exhibit A.
Spencer and Paris start off. Spencer nails a shoulder block and Paris immediately nips up. Setting the tone right away. They run the ropes and Paris goes into hyper-speed. I'd need a Ferrari to go that fast! Paris catches Spencer with a rana. Drake comes in and kicks Paris in the gut, and then Jude comes in. Completely illegally, we're a minute in and Referee Nick has already lost control. Stereo tilt-a-whirl headscissors and suicide dives by the Velocities!
Jude and Drake legal. Jude connects with the mushroom stomp, but finds nothing but canvas on the follow up standing moonsault. Spencer tagged in and they cut the ring off, keeping Jude on their side. Double back elbow gains a near fall for the champs. Jude manages to break away and tag in Paris, who moves Unsocial Jordan to 2nd place for the best hot tag of the night, wasting no time dropping Drake with the Stundog Millionaire and a spinning heel kick for a near fall. Spencer grabs Paris' leg, allowing Drake to hit a single leg dropkick for his own near fall.
Spencer in to rip apart Paris with stomps and submissions. High knee from Spencer smashes Paris for another near fall. Drake tags in to hit a strong bridging German suplex for another close call. The tag champs are working like a well-oiled machine here. Paris finally creates separation with a missile dropkick and makes the tag to Jude. I said it a couple of years ago about the Velocities- there's often the discussion with tag teams about, "well, who's the Jannetty?" We've got two HBKs here with Jude and Paris in my opinion. Jude runs the ropes and hits a combo arm drag/headscissors on MK Plus Ultra! Beast mode. Moonsault on Spencer gets the first Velocities near fall in a while. Could the tides be turning?
Jude cracks Spencer with an enziguri then hits a springboard spinning reverse slingblade for a near fall. It's gotta have a shorter name than that, but that's what it was. Kai gets involved, but Paris takes him out of the equation, allowing Jude to score a victory roll, but only 2, no victory this time. Spencer is dumped to the outside, making Kai legal, and Velocities hit a blockbuster/leg sweep combo for a long 2 count. Spencer back in with a pair of pop up knee strikes, and such is the striking prowess of the champs to take down both Velocities that quickly. They're not down for too long though, as Jude hits an assisted Code Red that almost holds Spencer down for 3!
Velocities look to turn up the tempo. Handspring stunner by Jude. Snap dragon suplex by Paris. 619 to the back of the head by Jude. Penalty kick by Paris. Somehow, it's not over as Kai Drake makes the save! Everyone's exhausted but they get up to fire sharp kicks at each other. The action is breaking down but still going. Spencer puts Jude on the ropes and hits a top rope Spanish Fly! Paris flies in to hit him with the breathtaking Shooting Star Press! Kai in with a kick to the side of the head... but Paris kicks out at 2.75!
Down to Kai and Paris trading strikes. Jude and Spencer join and everyone is throwing down! Jude goes for a rana off the apron to Kai on the outside but Kai blocks it, catching him in a powerbomb position. Spencer comes through the ropes and catches Jude with a 619, allowing Kai to hit a powerbomb on the apron! In the ring, the combo kick/knee finisher of MK Plus- but Paris kicks out! A "Oh, Paris De Silva" chant rings out- I got that started- but then MK Plus hit the finish again for the win. Damn it!
Winners: MK Plus Ultra (at 18:45)
Star Rating: ****1/4. Wasn't quite Velocities vs. Aussie Open, but it wasn't that far from it, either. MK Plus Ultra have come such a long way, from pest heels who literally stole the championship belts for a long time, to credible champions who really beat the Velocities clean here. Wouldn't mind too much if they needed shenanigans to beat the highly regarded Paris & Jude, but the fact that they didn't means they'll be seen as a serious threat going forward. My highlight of the show. Rose was right- no one does tag wrestling any better. Also, as a Pokemon fan... Team Rocket won something?!?
Intermission. They play Matty Wahlberg (Grayson Waller) vs. Orange Cassidy at the 2019 Colosseum Tournament. Cassidy was signed to AEW at the time and Matty was scouted by WWE on this night. PWA got your real Forbidden Door right here! Wahlberg beats Cassidy, and would go on to defeat some jabroni in the finals to win the Colosseum Tournament that year. To date, that was the last Colosseum. We've had others scheduled, but damn COVID got in the way!
Coming back from intermission, we get the tail end of a promo for Extremely Strict Rules, a PWA event on May 27. Tickets available soon. SMS are featured on the poster. Okay, let's get the Ricky South vs. Unsocial Jordan match (which I'm sure will be really good) and then let's leave the Ricky/SMS story alone forever after that.
Match 5: King Of The Metro 30 Person Rumble
#1 is Funny Juan of Juan Direction. #2 is Big Brother Billy Preston with his Playtime Pals. Bit of light comedy to start things off, which I don't mind as the show has been pretty heavy and serious to this point. Variety is the spice of life! They struggle to get each other over the ropes, and all the people at ringside are quite distracting. #3 is Mat Rogers, and we're back to being serious again. Rogers knocks them both out of the ring in short order, but their entourages save them and carry them around the ring. They get back in but not for long, as Rogers soon eliminates them properly. #4 is The Executive David Streamer. Rogers hits him with a boot and a pumphandle slam, and dumps him out right before #5, Rhys Angel. TikToker Lachy McIntyre is with him. Lachy looks like he could do a bit of wrestling in his own right. Angel almost dropkicks Rogers out but he holds on. Rogers hits a Black Hole Slam and looks to throw Rhys out, but Lachy, who is actually in the ring, stops him. Rogers drops him with a right hand then eliminates Angel without issue. Well, Angel was Grayson Waller's pick, I guess he chose poorly.
#6 is Jack Pain. Battle of big boys coming! Jack drops Rogers with a shoulder block, shocking Full Force. #7 is Clancy Overell from the Betoota Advocate. I read Betoota articles often, but didn't realise the people behind it were actually known! Thought it was just anonymous satire. Clancy cuts a pro-Queensland promo before immediately getting thrown out by Rogers and Jack Pain. #8 is Big Fudge (the clear winner if there's any justice in this world). He tries the contractually obligated Hurricane double chokeslam spot. Rogers & Pain try and dump him out but he clings to the ropes. Rogers gets Jack Pain out of the ring. #9 is Cherry Stephens, who gets a massive ovation! She rushes to help her "trainer" Fudge. She tries a flurry on Rogers but gets dropped with a single right hand. Fudge takes a side slam then Cherry knocks Rogers down with a cross body! Rogers goes for a big boot on Cherry, who low bridges and Rogers goes over the ropes. Rogers hangs on the apron- but Cherry dropkicks his legs out and eliminates him! By far the loudest reaction of the night. What a superstar Cherry Stephens is becoming!
#10 is Taylor King, all the way from EPW in Perth. Wrestlers from all over Australia have converged on Sydney for this event! And damn, King is a specimen. And right after I type that, Rose says the same thing. Great minds... King looks to eliminate Fudge, but Cherry saves him. Cherry catches Taylor with a leaping tornado DDT, then works with Fudge to do Old School into a hurricanrana! Nikki Van Blair comes out at #11 with a picture of Frankie B on a stick (Frankie's on her way back from her trip to America). Nikki drops Taylor King with a Wing Clipper after he wrecks the Frankie picture. Fudge hits Nikki with a Butt Punch and Cherry follows up with an enziguri. #12 is Will Kiedis. Kiedis charges Nikki but gets low bridged and almost eliminated. Cherry and Fudge save the goober. They work together and eliminate Nikki. Fudge and Cherry celebrate and start a conga line, which Kiedis joins for a moment before throwing Cherry out! That bastard! #13 is Delta Brady from Riot City Wrestling in Adelaide! She looks like a powerhouse. Clothesline on Fudge. Spear on Kiedis. Yep, definite powerhouse. Taylor King body slams Delta, and she soon responds in kind but not kindly! Fudge then hits Delta with the Butt Punch, then throws out Kiedis! Good man. They shit-talk each other, and while that's happening, King dumps out Fudge! At #14, Mat Diamond. He quickly eliminates Taylor King with a headscissors.
#15 is Aaron Jake. He blasts Delta with an elbow and Diamond with a dropkick. #16 is Dean Brady. I'm unfamiliar but he's from Adelaide and has similar tights to Delta. Rose tells us he's Delta's brother. There we go. Solid Brady Bunch reference by Kris Gale follows. Press slam by Dean on Diamond. Suplex by Delta on Jake. #17 is the new Newy Pro Middleweight Champion, Dazza. I was there for his title win against Mat Diamond in the steel cage, and they go at it again here! #18 is Gym Bro Jessie! She throws Dean Brady to the floor almost immediately! Jessie and Delta go at it for a bit. Jessie picks up Dazza in a fireman's carry and does squats with him. Delta does the same with Mat Diamond! Aaron Jake breaks it up and stops the fun. Typical. #19 is the Arm Collector, Jessica Troy! My personal favourite to win. She immediately knocks Dazza off the ropes to get an elimination- before she's even in the ring herself. Jess then hits a double Meteora on Jessie and Aaron Jake! She then throws them both out. Then Delta gets chucked as well. See? That's why she's my favourite.
Just Jessica Troy and Mat Diamond in the ring. Troy casually busts out a poison rana from the top rope, no big deal. A big boot gets Jess another elimination. She's on fire!
A big surprise entrant at #20- it's Charli Evans! Jess' best friend and sometimes better enemy, they hug it out once Charli enters. Then- hey, that was all of about 30 seconds- #21 is Adam Hoffman! History in the Nations, but also he helped train Jess and Charli. They all hug it out, but then Jess and Charli take the fight to Hoffman. #22 is another Adelaide import, Rat Daddy! He locks Hoffman in the Rat Trap, then Jess, then Charli hits him with a superkick. Charli grabs a bag that could be full of thumbtacks, but it turns out to be cheese! Must be a Rat Daddy trick, so Charli German suplexes him onto the cheese slices. It ain't easy being cheesy. #23 is Backman! He gives Troy a backbreaker then the SBW. Rat Daddy hits him with a slice of cheese, then takes a SBW as well. Hoffman rounds out the trifecta of Sonny Bills. #24 is Concrete Davidson. Penny farthing and all. Concrete avoids the SBW and body slams Backman! The unstoppable force moved the immovable object! Troy follows up with a satellite DDT on Backman and we get the Andre spot where everyone throws the big man out!
#25, by virtue of the opening match win, is Robbie Eagles! He takes the fight to everyone, and then takes a spinebuster from Hoffman. Jess and Charli team up to throw Hoffman out. Lena Kross from Perth in at #26, and I'm an immediate fan. Imposing presence, but also, coming out to "You Don't Know" by Eminem, 50 Cent and Lloyd Banks. Awesome. She quickly boots Concrete Davidson and Rat Daddy to the outside. Lena and Charli fight on the turnbuckles, and Robbie pushes Charli off to get a cheeky elimination! Rose with the awesome callback that that's what happened to Robbie at the hands of Charli a while back- I had totally forgotten! #27 is Everett Connors. All I know is that he's Charli Evans' boyfriend, and thanks to the commentary, I now know he's American. Let's see what he can do. He fires off a series of snap ranas and turns a Robbie powerbomb into a DDT. Then strikes a "cute" pose. Not my cup of tea, but that's okay, I'm more of a coffee drinker.
At #28, it's Matt Hayter. Heard a little about him, but never seen him wrestle. Another interstate guy, he's the RCW Heavyweight Champion. Leaping European uppercut on Jess. Boo. Spike tornado DDT on Connors. Yay. Lena Kross makes Hayter spin like a Beyblade with a devastating clothesline! Hayter retailiates fairly quickly with a superkick though. Hayter trades chops with Robbie Eagles. Entrant #29 is the birthday boy, Silvio Milano! He comes in blazing, and drops Hayter with a Black Hole Slam. Robbie quickly eliminates him though. A short, but sweet run. Robbie then scores a big elimination with a superkick on Lena Kross. Matt Hayter and Everett Connors are out too courtesy of Robbie.
#30 is Lyrebird Luchi, that smarmy bastard. Of course, he refuses to get in the ring at first, even though both Robbie and Jess are beaten down and tired. Robbie tries to throw Jess out, and only then does Luchi enter. Jess boots Luchi over the ropes, but he hangs on! Robbie and Jess battle precariously on the apron, but eventually find their way back into the ring. Troy applies the armbar, but when she sees Luchi looking to strike, she goes on the attack. Big Tower of Doom spot follows. Luchi rolls to the outside. Big time battle between Robbie and Jess. Troy turns an Eagles powerbomb into a rana over the ropes for the elimination, but Luchi is right there and knocks her off the apron. Scene.
Winner: Lyrebird Luchi
Star Rating: ***1/2. The finish soured me so much on this match. As soon as Luchi came out, it was clear what was happening. It seemed so clear, in fact, that I was hoping PWA would subvert expectations and have Luchi's tricks finally backfire. What annoys me most about this isn't Luchi winning- they're clearly committed to making him a strong heel, and that's fine. What gets me is that it was an exact carbon copy of what happened in last year's Rumble. Heel comes out at #30. Two bigger stars worn out from a long night. They battle on the apron. Heel takes advantage. Sam Osborne, Lyrebird Luchi. Totally identical. Would have liked to see a different sneaky, creative way to get there. Other than that, great action, loved the interstate flavour and all the little moments throughout between different characters. A highlight was Cherry Stephens' run, and the surprise of Charli Evans.
All in all, this was a victory lap for PWA and Aussie pro wrestling. 4 matches featuring top level talent on the undercard, and a main event Rumble match featuring some of the best from not only Sydney, but all around Australia. Velocities vs. MK Plus Ultra was a highlight, as was Moretti vs. Ugg, as was Eagles vs. Bonza- all in their own unique ways. The nature of a Rumble match meant that the potential for drama and excitement was always there. What brought parts of the show down for me was the repetition of things PWA have done in the past- there's a new audience out there that may have missed it, but they could have got where they wanted to go with a Ricky South vs. Unsocial Jordan singles match, or a Luchi Rumble win without repeating step by step what older fans have already seen. That said, the show had far more ups than downs, in a new venue with fans new and old, and they all created an unforgettable atmosphere that elevated the whole product, both live in person and watching it on FITE. Also, the production was top notch, visuals/graphics and sound looked high budget, leagues above broadcasts of any indy promotions I've watched on FITE. It makes me optimistic for the future of PWA, and excited for the potential of a return to the Metro Theatre!
Overall Score: 9/10
Until next time, take care.