WrestleWatch- PWA LFG @ The Roundhouse Review (21/10/2022)
By Mick Robson
Diego delivers the acknowledgement of country. Side note- the crowd at the Roundhouse is so amped up that Diego had to quieten us to do it, which I don't think has happened before.
The PWA opening video airs, with the sounds of SETMEONFIRE.
Andrew Rose and Kris Gale welcome us to "the biggest show PWA has ever done". Lines like that are common pro wrestling hyberbole, but in this case, there's a lot of truth to it!
Match 1: Winner Take All- PWA & ASCA Tag Team Championships- The Velocities (Paris De Silva & Jude London) (c) vs. MK Plus Ultra (Michael Spencer & Kai Drake) (c)
In my quest for journalistic integrity and accuracy, I need to point out that the cards falling from the sky during MK's entrance were not Pokemon cards, but actually Yu-Gi-Oh cards. Rose & Gale are clearly not ready for a duel.
MK Plus try to jump the Velocities before the bell rings, but Velocities quickly turn the tables with their warp speed offence. MK return fire in kind, but not kindly with their strong strikes that leave visible welts. Spencer unleashes a Spider German Suplex (shout out to the wifey, Madison Eagles) and Jude takes a hell of a tumble. Soon after, Jude and Paris take out Kai Drake with suicide dives in succession. Massive cross body by Paris on Spencer gets a near fall. Spencer gets back in control momentarily with a Codebreaker. Velocities almost get the win with a blockbuster/leg sweep combo. These two teams are wrestling like they've got a babysitter at home with the kids and they only paid up for an hour!
Kai launches Jude across the Roundhouse with a German suplex. Twitter jumps on Rose and Gale over the Yu-Gi-Oh mistake. All is right with the world. Paris kicks Kai's head off. Some lucky punter on the balcony caught it. Paris goes for the Shooting Star Press, but Spencer gets the knees up. The Prince of Wrestling goes for the pin, Jude looks to break it up with a springboard stomp, but Spencer moves and Jude drives both feet into his own partner!
Jude goes for the handspring stunner, and Spencer tries to catch him in a torture rack but drops him instead. Spencer recovers quick and gets Drake involved for a double team gutbuster. MK hit their kick/knee combo finisher... but Paris kicks out! MK try to use the tag belts as weapons behind Referee Hannah's back- but Paris ducks and Jude comes in with a double handspring Stunner! Powerbomb/slingblade combo on Drake, cover... and Spencer makes the save! Jude hits the Excommunicado kick, sending Spencer out of the ring. Paris goes up top and hits the Shooting Star DDT on Drake for the win!
Winners: The Velocities (at 8:25)
Star Rating: ***1/2. Not the epic war that these two teams have had previously, but a non-stop showcase of why both are the best in PWA. They like a fast pace, but you had to know this wasn't going long with how they sprinted through this. Extremely fun opener with a very hot and responsive crowd. Excellent start to the show.
We throw to Rose and Gale to hype the other matches coming up on the show, as well as a performance from Triple J Unearthed winners Towns.
Match 2: Concrete Davidson's Gimmick Battle Royal
This is in honour of Conco, who is getting married this week, and absolutely loves the Gimmick Battle Royal from WrestleMania X7. All the wrestlers come out to Conco's music. The field includes the likes of Rhys Angel, Carter Deams, Jay Sorbet, Gym Bro Jessie, as well as a handful of Newy Pro wrestlers, including Bob The Viking and Shay Kassidy. And unfortunately, Billy Preston's Playtime Pals are here.
Rhys hits the T-Rex with a Superman Punch, becoming my favourite wrestler for the night. The rest of the Pals are disposed quickly as well, as is Leo Tempest and Tommy Dee. Tucky hits the O'Connor Roll on Streamer and counts his own 3 count, but takes a superkick from Deams. Bob takes out Deams with a knee, and Shay levels the Viking with a clothesline! Carter steals Shay's teddy bear, and tries to use the Viking's Axe to end its days, but Bob stops the madness. Carter throws Bob over the ropes and to the floor. Shay takes it to Carter, but Carter boots her, eliminates her and then boots the bear into the rafters! That bastard!
Lil Tony Stellino knocks Tucky to the outside with a big boot. An imposing presence! Rhys and Carter team up to try and eliminate him, but Tony shrugs them off. Then Jessie runs up and dumps him to the outside! Sorbet scoop slams Jessie, and Shay's teddy, Barnaby, is introduced back into the match. So Sorbet drops an elbow on them both. Nice. Sorbet eliminates Jessie. Streamer hits Sorbet with an atomic drop, and Sorbet with the 80s level sell, being eliminated off that move!
Final four- Streamer, Pidgey, Deams & Angel. Deams quickly takes out Pidgey with an enziguri. Streamer dropkicks Deams off the apron. Rhys dumps Streamer to the outside and thinks he's won- but Deams went through the ropes, not over! They briefly battle and Rhys amps up the attack, but Carter stops him in his tracks with a superkick! The scissors kick follows up and gives Deams the victory!
Winner: Carter Deams (at 5:06)
Star Rating: **1/2. Seems unfair to rate this, but gotta keep this fair and balanced. On the fun scale, with the wacky cast of characters, it's a 5 star classic. I like that Deams, possibly the most serious character in the match, got the win. Whether the Gimmick Battle Royal is taken seriously or not, it's still a solo victory on a Black Label show for Deams. Love to see it.
The hype video for Cherry vs. Jimmy airs. A lot of history, and it really tugs at the heartstrings. One of the better hype videos I've seen in a minute!
Match 3: Soul of PWA Championship- Jimmy Townsend vs. Cherry Stephens (c)
They start with a show of respect as they bow and shake hands. They waste little time in going for the schoolboy- it's been well established from their time in The Prefects alongside Billy Preston that NO ONE KICKS OUT OF THE SCHOOLBOY! So definitely a story to watch in this match.
Cherry also goes into the old Prefects playbook with a flick of the nose and the "free shot" circle game, flustering Jimmy. A crossbody by Jimmy misses, and Cherry goes for a cradle pin, but it's not quite the schoolboy so Jimmy is able to kick out. Cherry goes for her leaping tornado DDT from the apron but Jimmy blocks it. Cherry is able to reverse into the schoolboy- but Jimmy is too close to the ropes. Jimmy breaks the run of chain wrestling by smashing Cherry with a forearm, to resounding boos from the live crowd. He hits a cannonball, followed by a senton for a near fall. A butterfly suplex gets another near fall for the Wandering Soul.
Cherry fights back and scores with the tornado DDT for a 2 count. Jimmy tries to set Cherry up for a superplex, but she counters and looks for a super schoolboy off the ropes! Jimmy backflips out of it, but walks into a Gory Bomb into the middle turnbuckle! Cherry goes for a running knee, but Jimmy blocks it and hits a powerbomb, followed by the Final Cut for a near fall. Jimmy sets Cherry up and hits the schoolboy... but Cherry kicks out! A "holy shit" chant erupts from the crowd. Cherry fires up and hits an enziguri, then a running knee, then the C-Bomb for the win!
Winner: Cherry Stephens (at 10:08)
Star Rating: ****. An outstanding match, playing well into the history and abilities of both wrestlers. Cherry Stephens cements her place near the top of PWA by getting a win without controversy, as well as the MOMENT of kicking out of the schoolboy with how protected that move has been in PWA. As for Jimmy Townsend... well, he got this shot after one win on a Black Label show, and it's back to the drawing board for him. He did acquit himself strongly, which should lead to more high profile opportunities in his future. An emotional thrill-ride!
Match 4: SMS (Unsocial Jordan, Belinda Pierce & Aaron Jake) vs. PPK (Frankie B & Nikki Van Blair) & Robbie Eagles
Shout-out to Kyle Eade, who correctly predicted Robbie as the partner for PPK here. Robbie was the biggest name available not already booked, but my prediction was for some kind of cross-promotion spot with Eagles and a surprise appearance from a NJPW wrestler, given that NJPW Tamashii is coming up next month. This was definitely an intriguing spot to put Robbie, supporting the younger new stars in PPK.
Carter Deams jumps PPK, which prompts the Sniper of the Skies to make the save. Carter was a riot at ringside, mocking Robbie and PPK. SMS beat down Frankie B for a short time, but she turns an Aaron Jake torture rack into an arm drag, then slides out of the ring to make Nikki legal under lucha tag rules. Nikki takes control for a moment, but a triple kick by SMS after Nikki poses for too long leads to a near fall.
Aaron and Belinda go for a double team splash on Nikki, who gets the knees up and the tag to Robbie Eagles! Springboard dropkick takes out both Belinda and Jordan, but Aaron Jake avoids it and goes on the attack. Robbie smashes Aaron and Jordan with a running kick and elbow combo. Eagles sets his sights on Jordan, and hits the double knees in the corner for a near fall. Robbie goes up top for the 450 but takes too long, misses and then Belinda turns him inside out with a Spear! Jordan tries to pick up the scraps with a Shining Wizard, covers, but PPK make the save!
Jordan goes for a kick on Robbie, but he blocks it. Nikki in to hit Jordan with a Wing Clipper. Belinda drops Nikki with a top rope cross body. Frankie hits Belinda with a fireman's carry slam. Frankie drops Aaron with a hangman then goes up top- but opts to moonsault to the outside, wiping out the rest of SMS! Carter was a total pro, catching Frankie and preventing her from moonsaulting onto me in the front row. Thanks, Carter!
Back in the ring, it's Robbie and Aaron. Robbie runs the ropes but goes right into a tremendous dropkick from Jake! Aaron goes for the boot, but Eagles catches it into the Turbo Backpack! He goes up top. 450 Splash to the leg, Ron Miller Special... and Aaron taps!
Winners: Robbie Eagles & PPK (at 7:22)
Star Rating: ***. Good midcard spot to showcase the ever-rising PPK, and SMS were an effective foil, easily riling up the crowd by simply existing. I was surprised that Robbie Eagles wasn't in a higher profile spot on such a monumental show for PWA, especially coming off the Colosseum victory, but he did mention during last week's press conference (which I was fortunate enough to be able to attend) that he didn't want to take away opportunities from younger talent. In this role as the mystery partner, he lived up to his word, only stopping in to lend his star power and experience to other rising stars. Quality action.
We briefly throw to Rose & Gale, who set up a hype video for November's New Japan Tamashii tour. It's stopping in Christchurch and Sydney, and features a mix of NJPW and local talent. The backing music is Scribe's "Not Many". Absolute tune!
Match 5: Jack J Bonza vs. Shingo Takagi
Bonza is played to the ring by Towns, who cover his old Seven Nation Army theme. Great stuff.
Chain wrestling masterclass here to start things off, shades of Bonza vs. Istria a few months ago. Shingo briefly controls with a hammerlock, but Bonza is able to turn it into a headlock takeover, holding his own against one of Japan's finest. Shingo turns things around and Bonza escapes the headlock with a hair pull. Not very technical! Bonza goes for a shoulder block but Shingo just absorbs it and calls for more. Shingo pops off a hip toss and drops Bonza with a shoulder block of his own. He gets Bonza in the corner and fires off with jabs and chops. Bonza is reeling!
Vertical suplex on Bonza gets a near fall, and the Dragon is in firm control. The fight spills to the outside, where Shingo continues to batter Bonza- until Bonza is able to hurl him into the steel ringpost. Back in the ring, Bonza maintains a beatdown, much to the crowd's chagrin. Bonza tries to slam Shingo's head into the turnbuckles but he wasn't having it, and fires up! He comes back with more jabs and a clothesline, and hits a twisting neckbreaker for a near fall. Bonza gets himself a break by turning an elbow drop into a crucifix pin. 2 count, but the opening allows Bonza to hit a release German suplex! Bonza looks for the Napalm Thunder Driver, but Shingo turns it into the Dragon Sleeper! Bonza fights out and locks Shingo in a submission of his own, but the Dragon escapes. Bonza throws a lariat, but Shingo doesn't budge, and responds with a snap DDT!
They reset and Shingo drops Bonza with a clothesline. He then hits Made In Japan outta nowhere... but Bonza kicks out! He avoids the second finisher attempt and blasts him with a lariat! Damn, these guys are beating the hell out of each other! They trade heavy strikes. Yay/boo. They trade running strikes, and eventually Bonza goes down to a Shingo lariat! Bonza crawls to the stage and Shingo gives chase. He sets Bonza up for Made In Japan on the stage- but Bad Luck Fale attacks Shingo! That's blatant interference, and it's a DQ.
Winner: Shingo Takagi (via DQ) (at 17:20)
Star Rating: ****1/4. Screwy finish aside, that was a war! A mix of technique and straight up smash-mouth, it's exactly what I was after when I hoped that Bonza would face Shingo at this show. Bonza and PWA fans gained a lot from this match.
Post-match. Fale and Bonza put the boots to Shingo. Takagi tries to fight back, but Bonza stops him with a low blow. Bad Luck Fale offers Bonza a cigar... then a Too Sweet! After a moment, Bonza accepts! Jack J Bonza has joined Bullet Club!
I like this move for Bonza. Obviously, more exposure for him, being the third Aussie to ever join Bullet Club after Gino Gambino and Robbie Eagles. Bonza is a far better fit with BC than Eagles ever was. Poor Robbie tried, but he's a natural babyface and never quite fit in with the villainous stable. Bonza, with his style and demeanour, fits like a glove with Bullet Club. This alliance with Fale creates possibilities for NJ Tamashii, but also with core New Japan shows. World Tag League?
Intermission. Normally, the FITE broadcast throws to a classic match, but for this show, we stay inside the UNSW Roundhouse for a live musical performance from Towns. They perform some of their own songs, then cover songs like "No Scrubs" before going into a wrestling theme medley that included DX, Stone Cold and a funny John Cena tease. They've got great stage presence and personality, and not too shabby with the music either.
Lyrebird Luchi interrupts them in his wheelchair and cuts a promo on Towns. He takes shots at one of the band members for being injured and accuses him of faking it to get out of a fight, which of course, Luchi would never do. After a moment, Jessica Troy makes her entrance (and Towns quickly play along with her music, awesome). Jess gets in the ring and invites Luchi in. Suddenly, Luchi leaps out of his wheelchair and attacks Towns! He hits the drummer with a cymbal and Troy gives chase. Jess attacks Luchi and they brawl all around the arena. Wait, Luchi can actually walk?!? I'll be damned.
Match 6: Lyrebird Luchi vs. Jessica Troy
The action starts fast and furious! Jess gets us fans in the front row to move so she can arm drag Luchi into the row of chairs. Luchi reaches out to me for help, but you're on your own, kid! They continue brawling around the venue and even go to the commentary position behind Rose & Gale!
In the ring, the match finally officially starts. Jess goes for the tilt-a-whirl into the Fujiwara armbar immediately, but Luchi blocks it and launches her head-first into the turnbuckle. Jess boots Luchi in the face and looks for the Meteora, but the Lyrebird shoves her off to the floor. A weakened Troy takes a while to get back into the ring, and Luchi keeps up the attack on the Arm Collector.
Luchi grabs his wheelchair from the stage and brings it into the ring. He sits in it, mocking Troy. He goes for a suplex while sitting in the chair- seems crazy, but he did it in Melbourne. Jess lands on her feet and tips the chair over! Jess fires back with forearms and boots, knocking Luchi back into the wheelchair- and then hits him with a Meteora! Awesome move, but Luchi kicks out.
They continue to battle and trade holds. Referee Ben almost gets caught in the cross-fire and cowers away, but Luchi decided to hit him anyway. He turns around, right into the Fujiwara armbar by Jess! Luchi's tapping like his life depends on it, but no ref to call the finish. Jess tries to revive the ref, which gives Luchi the opportunity to body slam her on the folded wheelchair! Ouch! Luchi grabs a steel chair from under the ring, but the drummer from Towns comes out to stop him! The singer hands Jess a guitar, and she smashes Luchi with it! Jeff Jarrett would be proud. Towns shove Referee Ben back in the ring, and we get the 3 count!
Winner: Jessica Troy (at 7:22) (plus some extra-curricular brawling)
Star Rating: ****. That was immensely satisfying. A pay-off to Luchi being the ultimate dick, insulting Towns, faking the injury, being horrible to Jess... it was truly cathartic to see Jess take out Luchi like that. And the result was never certain, given Luchi's propensity for winning big matches through underhanded tactics over the past several years. Plus, some momentum gained for Jess after her big Colosseum loss. A wild and wonderful battle.
Match 7: 5-on-5 Elimination Tag- Team Fudge (Big Fudge, Big Brother Billy Preston, Backman, Jack Pain & Caveman Ugg) vs. Team Kiedis (Will Kiedis, Kingsley, Adam Hoffman, Ben Braxton & Bossa Bones Rogers)
Team Kiedis have matching team shirts. Love the spirit. Big Fudge goes on a roll early with Butt Punches. I was going to say "on a tear", but that might imply something a lot more painful. For the second match in a row, I'm ejected from my seat as the action spills to ringside. Ben Braxton hits a massive flip dive onto the pile of bodies- and so does Caveman Ugg! In the ring, Kiedis is able to hit Fudge with the O'Connor Roll... and with a little pull of the tights, eliminates Big Fudge!
Kingsley in to hit a Codebreaker on Preston. Flashback to their battle in Wollongong last week. Hoffman and Braxton hit some great double team moves on Billy. Kingsley takes a sip of tea and lazily pins Preston- who turns it into a crucifix pin for the 3 count! Kingsley is gone!
Hoffman in to hit Preston with the Angle Slam. Preston gets the boot up on a charging Hoffman, starts swinging wildly at Team Kiedis, and gets over to tag Backman! Hoffman goes for a dropkick on Backman, who catches him and slingshots him into a Jack Pain spinebuster! Brutal! Hoffman is eliminated. Braxton in and almost immediately falls victim to the Doomsday Device from Backpain. Bye bye Ben.
An enraged Kiedis tags in Rogers, ordering him to go after Team Fudge and literally pushing him around. The big man doesn't like that and drops Kiedis, walking out of the match! Kiedis is all alone with the big boys! Spinebuster by Jack Pain. SBW into the Tour of the Caves by Backman & Ugg. Team Fudge wins the bet!
Winners: Team Fudge (at 7:25)
Star Rating: ***1/4. Carnage from start to finish. Fudge made some great team picks, and it was absolutely believable that they could score pins in quick succession. Great physical comeuppance for Kiedis, it may have not been directly at the hands of Fudge, but he's got friends in high places. You know, because they're really tall? ... I'll keep my day job. At least until I win the $160 million Powerball next week.
Andrew Rose and Kris Gale take a moment to show their appreciation for everyone involved in the PWA LFG Tour this month. From the wrestlers, to the people behind the scenes, to all the fans attending these shows. The passion and hard work from everyone at PWA is so evident at every show. I was beyond honoured to be involved in a small part of it at the PWA press conference, and as a fan, PWA shows never disappoint. Excited to continue to follow their growth from here- my first show almost 5 years ago was at a RSL, now they're running venues like The Metro Theatre and The Roundhouse. Who knows what could be next?
We transition to hype for the main event- Ricky South vs. Mick Moretti in a steel cage. Heavyweight champ vs. interim champ. After tonight, there will be only one!
Match 8: Undisputed PWA Heavyweight Championship- Steel Cage Match- Ricky South (c) vs. Mick Moretti (c)
The entrances are amazing, befitting of a big time main event and show. Ricky comes out in a WrestleMania III style mini-ring cart, and Moretti has a fire dancer adding a lot of life to the Rapscallion's appearance!
They start with chain wrestling, given that they made a "gentleman's agreement" at the press conference to not use the cage as a weapon, with it simply being a barrier to prevent the Nations interfering. Ricky's trunks read "The Example", but the lettering is peeling off in the opening moments- is it poor worksmanship on the tights, or symbolic? I'll let you decide.
They trade hard forearm strikes. Then chops. Then slaps. Then punches. A battle of wills! Ricky tries a big boot, but Moretti spikes him with a snapmare driver for a near fall. We've seen that win matches for Mick, so busting out the big guns early. Ricky drops Mick with a knee to the gut then locks in a seated abdominal stretch. Working on the chiseled midsection and seemingly endless cardio of the interim champion. Moretti uses the ropes to get to his feet- no rope breaks in a cage match- and this fight is getting more gritty by the second.
Ricky uses Referee Hannah as a shield of sorts, causing Moretti to stop- then he breaks the agreement, hurling Mick into the cage wall! He then hits a alley-oop bomb into the cage! Jesus! Moretti manages to kick out. Huge spinning uranage by South, and Moretti kicks out again. Ricky tries to lawn dart Moretti into the cage but he slips out the back and fights back. Ricky boots him down but Moretti sits up in creepy fashion. More trading bombs, and now Moretti throws South into the cage! All bets are off!
Moretti lawn darts Ricky into the cage wall, and it breaks! Hanging on by a thread is one side of the cage! Kick out by Ricky. Fisherman buster by Mick gets another near fall. Ricky fires back with a lariat and Misawa's Emerald Flowsion- some of South's best offence- and Moretti kicks out at 1! Mick throws Ricky head-first repeatedly into the broken cage wall, forcing the ringside crew to help hold it up. You don't see it on camera, but the front row on that side are VERY scared. Moretti hits the Series of Unfortunate Incidents (German/Dragon suplex combo) and the Curb Stomp. South kicks out again. No doubting the heart.
Moretti looks for a pumphandle, Ricky reverses into the piledriver- but Moretti absorbs it and headstands out of it! Unreal! Pop up headbutt, into the crossface, and the champ is in trouble! Ricky escapes, firing back with the Flamingo Driver and a piledriver! Mick pops the shoulder up at the last possible moment for a great close call. Ricky goes for a top rope piledriver but Moretti battles back. Moretti almost tips over the cage to the outside- which could have won the match, but instead comes back in with a Mick Togo! Crazy! Ricky kicks out. Moretti goes for a top rope Curb Stomp but South avoids it. Blatant low blow- legal- followed by a lariat and a Doctor Bomb. Kick out by Moretti.
Ricky decides to try and escape the cage- every part of the gentleman's agreement be damned- but Mick stops him. They battle on the top rope until South hits a powerslam back into the ring! Moretti is made of steel and kicks out yet again. Tight cradle pin for Moretti almost gets a shock 3 count, but Ricky just barely escapes. Ricky picks up Moretti in a straitjacket piledriver- that seems to be the limit breaker move, because it gets the 3! We have an undisputed champion!
Winner: Ricky South (at 20:00)
Star Rating: ****1/2. What a war! So when I write these reviews, it's generally me watching the match for the second time, watching it back on FITE after being there in person the night before. I'll tell you, I was equally as invested watching it again as I was last night. Two absolute pros, throwing everything they had at each other. Eminem would be jealous of the killshots that South and Moretti were landing! The one thing that could be perceived as a negative- the cage breaking- I actually felt added another element of tension and danger to the match. Masterful performance by Mick Moretti, who held the PWA fort down in Ricky's absence, but Tuff Stuff was the better man on this nite. Clearly back in top form and ready to carry PWA into the future.
PWA put everything that they had into this show- from people behind the scenes to the wrestlers themselves- and this was a show they can be more than proud of. In the time I've followed Aussie wrestling, it's never felt so big time. Top quality matches boosted by an electric atmosphere and an engaged crowd. The production was on point, we had special entrances akin to what WWE do on WrestleManias, a live band, Shingo F**king Takagi, and Bonza, one of our own, joining Bullet Club, just to name a few things that went down on this amazing show. Shout-out to the pacing too- the show felt like it flew by, nothing overstayed its welcome, and nothing disappointed. This is in a very short list of best shows that PWA has put on in my eyes. The LFG Tour was an incredible undertaking, and PWA Let's Fucking Go at the Roundhouse was an incredible result. Truly a special night.
If you missed it, go to FITE TV and order it now to experience Aussie wrestling at its highest level!
Overall Score: 9.5/10
Until next time, take care.