WrestleWatch- PWA Now We Conquer
Oh, it feels good to be back! Six long months since Pro Wrestling Australia have graced our screens on FITE TV with a Black Label event. We dipped our toes in the water a couple of weeks ago with an Academy Showcase event- We're Gonna Need A Montage (review here), but today we're gonna cannonball in. It's PWA Now We Conquer, baby!
But I'm getting ahead of myself. For anyone new here, my name's Mick and I'll be your tour guide here at The Arena Media. You may have seen my past reviews and articles on Snap Mayors Media, but sadly the site is no more. The site has changed, but the goal remains the same- to give as much love and coverage to pro wrestling (and also MMA) as I possibly can. I fell in love in pro wrestling when I was 8 years old, and that's basically been me ever since.
Over the past few years in particular, I've really fallen into Australian wrestling, and that is largely due to PWA. They first caught my attention in early 2018. The event was PWA Lock, Stock And Too Sweet Barrels, and I found out about it through the power of Facebook targeted advertising. It was suggested in my news feed, and I recognised guys like Jack Bonza, Mick Moretti & Robbie Eagles who had done the rounds in my local promotion, Rock N Roll Wrestling. And they brought in the Bullet Club- Bad Luck Fale and Gino Gambino. Well, off to Parramatta RSL I went!
Since then, I've attended almost every PWA show, and watched them kick goals consistently. They went from RSLs to calling the Max Watts concert venue their home. They got a deal on FITE TV. They even got some mainstream exposure with top star Matty Wahlberg getting a spot on Australian Survivor: Champions vs. Contenders. And they can boast that a lot of their top talent has been scouted and picked up by major worldwide wrestling companies. The IIconics, Peyton Royce & Billie Kay, are PWA homegrown talent that went to WWE (now plying their trade in Impact Wrestling). Robbie Eagles got signed to New Japan Pro Wrestling. Shazza McKenzie was featured in both NXT and AEW. And currently, former PWA stars Matty Wahlberg and Steph De Lander can be seen on NXT 2.0 on the WWE Network, now known as Grayson Waller & Persia Pirotta.
Aussie wrestling, largely led by PWA, has continued to soar to new heights. And just when it felt like it was going to really break through in a way it never had before- the pandemic happened. The FITE TV deal happened in between lockdowns, and PWA burst onto the platform with some very well received shows... and then we were thrown in a lockdown for basically the second half of 2021.
Okay, enough with the history lesson. I thought it was important to go back given the time away and the site re-branding. But now, we're back. We're home. Let's do this!
We open with this slick "welcome back" video. Part of what makes PWA so appealing is the world class production. Amazingly produced hype video by Ben Anderson and the gang!
Live in the Factory Theatre, we go to the band SETMEONFIRE, led by CJ Phoenix to perform the PWA theme song, appropriately titled "Now We Conquer". I was sitting ringside for this show, and I had goosebumps. Looking forward to watching this back on FITE now for the purposes of writing this review in greater detail. I swear that's half the reason I write these reviews, just to have an excuse to watch more PWA!
Match 1: Non-Title Match- PWA Champion Ricky South vs. Carter Deams
What a way to kick things off! The top dog of PWA, Ricky South, coming out to start the show off hot! The crowd is immediately electrified, clapping along to the theme song "I Will Survive". How good would Ricky South vs. Tommaso Ciampa be? "I Will Survive" vs. "No One Will Survive". The fine people in attendance also started the iconic "Rick South For The Boys" chant. It's almost like we missed live wrestling a little bit.
Carter Deams comes out with a major chip on his shoulder, spitting water at the crowd- not very COVID-safe, Mr. Deams- and generally yelling at everyone in the vicinity. He gets in Ricky's face, but his eyes are fixed on that PWA title belt. The man is very upset about this being a non-title match.
Deams gets in South's face again as the bell rings, prompting a "kiss!" chant. Carter smirks and offers his cheek. The one on his face, I know this is 18+ Black Label, but c'mon guys! They eventually tie up and the champ pushes the would-be challenger into the corner. Deams fires back with a vicious chop, and that's sure to up the aggression level in this one! Quick takedown by Carter, but Ricky asserts himself by scrambling up and hitting a Manhattan Drop, followed by a cannoball for an early 1 count. He then blocks a superkick attempt and hits a sledge to the back of the head for our first 2 count of the night.
Ricky goes for a big boot but Carter low bridges him out of the ring. He steps to the apron and delivers a superkick, followed by a massive tope con hilo! Back in the ring for a moment, trading clotheslines but neither man falls. Deams trips South up and slides outside the ring in one motion. He then drapes South across the apron and hits a scissors kick! So incredibly smooth.
Carter takes control in the ring for a short while, but the champ isn't on the back foot for long, draping Deams over the ropes and hitting a off the shoulder backbreaker! Great innovation by Tuff Stuff. Fantastic northern lights suplex follows to get a near fall for Ricky. South goes for a suplex but Deams lands on his feet and they trade heavy strikes. Kitchen sink knee strike into a seated abdominal stretch, into a crucifix pin for another South near fall. Beautiful sequence.
Huge lariat and a piledriver by Ricky follows, and that normally finishes matches, but Carter rolls out of the ring to avoid getting pinned. They fight to the apron and Deams hits a package piledriver! Carter goes for the countout victory, but Ricky just makes it into the ring at 9, so Deams scores with the top rope splash, pop-up powerbomb and scissors kick in quick succession- but the champ kicks out!
Carter looks despondent for a moment, but shakes it off, jaws at the crowd some more then commits himself to trading more heavy bombs with Ricky. They slug it out, both men staggered... and then Ricky hits a rocked Deams with a seatbelt pin and gets the 3!
Winner: Ricky South (at 12:53)
Star Rating: ****. This reminded me a little of CM Punk vs. Eddie Kingston from Full Gear in how emotionally charged it felt, how much action they packed in, and how much it felt like a straight up fight. Bonus points for the creative finish, it truly came out of nowhere! I normally believe the heavyweight champion should close any show- save for a Rock vs. Hogan level attraction- but in this instance, it was the perfect choice to capitalise on an energetic crowd salivating for some top shelf pro wrestling.
Post-match, an enraged Carter Deams attacks Ricky South- and even hits Referee Nick! Ricky needs some back-up... and gets it from a surprising place, as Unsocial Jordan and SMS make the save! The crowd unleashes hell on the villainous faction, or as someone behind me yelled "Right To Censor from Wish". Jordan extends an invitation for "Richard" to join SMS once again, and tells him to think about it. As a show of good faith, Jordan says he has a surprise for Ricky... and brings out PWA's old ring announcer, Diego! Massive pop for Diego, who we haven't seen in a couple of years. He hugs Ricky, and somewhat reluctantly hugs Jordan. Smiles all around. What a moment for long time PWA fans!
Match 2: Big Brother Billy Preston vs. Jimmy Townsend vs. Big Fudge vs The Rhys Angel
Preston's entrance is absolutely ridiculous! I truly don't know what to make of it. A parade of characters in wacky outfits and animal costumes. It made me laugh, and I'm genuinely unsure if I'm supposed to like him or not, but it creeps me out a bit. He gets quite a large cheer from the audience though.
Preston plays to the crowd and gets hit from behind by Angel, sending him spilling to the floor. Jimmy grabs Angel, who says "not the face!" Fudge gets Townsend with an arm wringer, and Rhys applies a headlock on Fudge. Sure to be lots of action in this fatal four way! Jimmy takes control of the match with a couple of stylish arm drags, then scores with a springboard cross body on Fudge and Angel for an early near fall on both men.
Townsend & Preston, formerly known as The Prefects, briefly team up, but Rhys cuts them off. Angel hits Preston with a Rock Bottom for a 2 count. Angel poses for the cameras but gets photobombed by Fudge. Fudge, who is looking in great shape, hits the dreaded babooshka! He pokes Preston in the eyes and wipes out Jimmy with a whirly-bird headscissors. Fudge stands tall, all 7'5" of him! He sets up for a Figure 4 on Townsend but gets knocked down with a Superman Punch by Angel. We get a funny "Human Centipede" spot with a chain of headscissor holds, and Fudge locks in the Figure 4 Leg Lock on the end.
Billy stops proceedings to play "duck, duck, goose". Fudge is the goose, and Billy ultimately knocks him down with a right hand. When the dust settles, the Prefects face off. Will it get more serious now? Maybe, maybe not. Rose says he's "excited but sad" about them battling, Kris quips that he feels that way doing commentary with Rose, and Rose sneaks in a "that describes my sex life". Take a bow, gentlemen!
Rhys Angel interrupts the fun so Bily crotches him on the ropes. Fair. Fudge back in and takes down Billy with a Stunner and a Butt Punch! Rhys Angel in with the Future Shock DDT (I don't know if he's got another name for it). Jimmy in and he punches Rhys in the face, causing the narcissitic Angel to flee from the match. Back to Preston and Townsend, and Jimmy looks conflicted but goes on the attack. The hesitation costs him though as BIlly reverses and hits the Overdrive for the 3 count!
Winner: Big Brother Billy Preston (at 6:45)
Star Rating: ***1/4. A lot of fun packed into a short run time, and it did a great job getting the new character of Billy Preston over. Also, probably the best looking Overdrive I've seen, I normally hate the move, but the way Preston did it actually looked effective!
We throw to Rose and Gale at the desk who greet everyone on FITE and encourage the use of the hashtag #PWAonFITE. Silly me forgot that that was the hashtag for events now and put my Tweet out to #PWANowWeConquer. Ah well. Live and learn. They throw to a video package. It's next month's Black Label event- PWA Welcome To The Black Label Parade. It's at the Factory Theatre, Friday January 14... and judging by the focus in the video, it looks like the Ace of PWA is returning! The Sniper of the Skies, Robbie Eagles!
Match 3: The Bad Bitch Nation (Jack J Bonza & Kingsley) vs. SMS (Aaron Jake and Belinda Pierce)
As Rose notes, Bonza does not seem enthusiastic about this match, and it shows in the opening moments, with Uncle Jack being hesitant to pummel the SMS members. Kingsley is extremely irritated by this on the apron, and demands a tag. Kingsley beats the crap out of Belinda with zero hesitation. Belinda goes for a sunset flip but Kingsley rolls through. An up and over spot in the corner doesn't quite work out, but they recover nicely and Kingsley takes Belinda down with a clothesline from the second rope. Bonza tags back in and is still hesitant, refusing to hit Belinda, so Aaron tags in and boots, well, the former Red Commander, I guess.
Bonza finally comes alive a little and charges Aaron down with a shoulder block. He misses an elbow drop but turns Aaron's elbow drop into a crucifix pin for a near fall. He rolls through into the ankle lock, Aaron makes the ropes and Bonza lets go immediately. Very uncharacteristic of Bonza, and Kingsley reads him the riot act for it. Aaron Jake mocks Bonza for taking orders from "a little girl", to which Bonza retorts, "you take orders from Jordan, what's the difference?" Aaron dropkick Bonza into Kingsley, causing him to inadvertently strike his niece.
You can almost see the steam coming out of Bonza's ears after this. No more Mr. Nice Guy. Punches and chops in the corner. Discus lariat and Bonza rips his Bad Bitch Nation shirt off. Because he's fired up, or a little symbolism? He clearly hates the name... Bonza's got some new ink across his chest and shoulder too, cool stuff. Huge Liger Bomb by Bonza but Aaron kicks out. Belinda in and she spears Bonza. Bonza rolls to the outside, making Kingsley legal via PWA's lucha tag rules.Guillotine choke by Kingsley, but Belinda fights out with a suplex. Assisted tilt-a-whirl splash by SMS gets a near fall on Kingsley.
Belinda sets up for another spear but Kingsley counters with a Codebreaker. Aaron back in and Kingsley gets the tag to Bonza. The Bad Bitch Nation hit the double team finisher, the Code Red Nation, for the 1-2-3!
Winners: The Bad Bitch Nation (at 7:25)
Star Rating: ***1/4. More about the story than the action in this one, although the action was definitely solid. It's fun to see Bonza's conflict as a character- a tough guy with a soft spot for his niece Kingsley, and also hating the Bad Bitch Nation name but wanting Kingsley to be happy at the same time. Good stuff!
Match 4: Shazza McKenzie vs. Cherry Stephens (w/ Will Kiedis)
As usual, monster pop for Cherry, a chorus of boos for Will Kiedis. Mostly boos for Shazza now too, playing heel these days, but still a few cheers in respect to what she did to pave the way for Aussie wrestlers today. Shazza immediately trips Cherry up and hits her with an axe kick to the upper back. Cherry goes for the schoolboy but Shazza rolls through. Stand off. Cherry tries to appeal to the good heart of Shazza that she believes is still in there somewhere, but McKenzie just hits her. Shoulder block then the classic HeartbreakCore pose. They trade pin attempts which Cherry seems to get the better of. Neck snap by Cherry and she does a little pose of her own. You love to see it.
Will gets up on the apron and Cherry gets confused, thinking it's a tag match. The confusion allows Shazza to gain control and hit a facewash in the corner. It gets a near fall. The commentators speculate that the pro wrestling student Cherry brought the wrong textbook to ringside. Shazza mocks the crowd chanting "Let's go Cherry" and repeatedly kicks Stephens in the lower back. Running leg lariat on a seated Cherry gets Shazza a 2 count.
Cherry fires up with some forearms in the corner, but McKenzie grabs her by the hair and unloads a series of chops in response. Big Saito suplex by Shazza, but the follow up German is blocked and turned into a victory roll for a razor close near fall for Cherry! Cherry hits a sunset flip, but McKenzie rolls out and applies the Shazzmission. After a great struggle, Stephens makes the ropes.
Shazza fires off a series of kicks but Stephens blocks one and turns it into a Dragon Screw. A little do-si-do culminates in a reverse DDT for Stephens! She rallies with a series of elbows. Shazza catches Cherry in the ropes and hits a draping DDT. Shades of Randy Orton! Cherry kicks out, makes her way up and unloads a barrage of kicks and stomps in the corner. Aggression! Leaping DDT from the apron gets Cherry another close call. Shazza comes back with a spine-shattering Fisherman suplex off the ropes for 2.75!
Shazza hits a running knee to the head. She sets up for the Stunner but Cherry blocks. Shazza with the Heart Punch, followed by the Shazztastic Stunner.. .and that's all she wrote!
Winner: Shazza McKenzie (at 8:53)
Star Rating: ***1/2. Really spirited battle between the veteran and the rookie. Wild to think that Cherry was a Green Dingo shortly before COVID, she's gotten so good so quick. And Shazza is going all in with this vicious side of her character. Intense, entertaining match.
Hype for MCW X PWA Worlds Collide. Unfortunately, a little too close to Christmas for me to be making an interstate trip. But I'll be watching and reviewing on FITE! Should be an amazing show. Hey, I'm briefly in the video package when they show a shot of Ricky. Awesome. I'll take any TV time I can get!
Match 5: PWA X MCW- The Velocities (Jude "The Dude" London, Paris De Silva & Mat Diamond vs. Mitch Waterman, Slex & Caveman Ugg
Rose is beside himself at Ugg's betrayal, declaring that "this is war!" Kris with "we're professionals, we're gonna call this down the middle- ah, fuck it." Get em! Ugg held the PWA Championship seemingly forever, but is choosing to represent MCW here. Actually makes sense when you consider how hostile PWA crowds have been to Ugg in his more recent appearances, so here we are.
The size difference between the two teams is staggering. MCW's smallest guy, Mitch Waterman, is still considerably bigger than all of the Velocities. Slex and Paris to start as a roaring "PWA" chant breaks out. Big waistlock takedown by Slex, showing off both the power and technique. Paris hits the ropes to try and knock Slex down, no luck. Back and forth running the ropes, Paris avoids a springboard move, Slex goes for a German but Paris lands on his feet, no Brexit here, ladies and gentlemen! Finally Paris hits a hurricanrana, following by a spinning wheel kick. Jude with the tag in. Frenetic pace to start this six man tag!
Waterman in to work over Jude. London gets a sunset flip for a near fall, but Waterman is essentially matching Jude hold-for-hold here. Pride in our state and company aside, we can't deny the incredible talent of the MCW crew. Jude walks the ropes and hits an arm drag, followed by a hurricanrana. Velocities run through quick tags and tandem offense, punctuated by a running shooting star press by Diamond for a near fall.
Waterman scurries out of the ring- that's a lucha tag- and in comes Caveman Ugg! Diamond hits him with a bunch of elbows, and looks to fly with a springboard- but Ugg just chops him out of the air. Brutal short-arm clothesline earns the Caveman a near fall. Ugg clubbers Diamond down some more then tags in Slex, who blasts down Diamond with a single shot- technically it's called a chop, but that was more like a T-Bone steak, damn! Reverse elbow earns Slex another 2 count on Diamond. Mat is in serious trouble here. Waterman in and he and Diamond trade suplex attempts- and it's Diamond who nails it! The window is open for Diamond to make a tag, but Ugg comes in and launches both Paris and Jude off the apron.
Slex, Ugg and Waterman continue the beatdown on Diamond. Diamond tries to fight back but Slex obliterates him with a devastating draping DDT. Ugg in, who drops Diamond again with a single chop, but Diamond nips up and unleashes a flurry of forearms! Then the Cave-In Stomp by Ugg kills Diamond's hopes and dreams.Slex tags back in and he and Ugg set up for a double team- but Mat hits the Diamond Cutter outta nowhere! Ugg sets Diamond up for the Splash Mountain Bomb, but Diamond counters with a hurricanrana... and gets the hot tag to Paris, who explodes into offense!
De Silva launches into a suicide dive on Ugg, allowing Jude to come in with a high cross body on Waterman. Handspring stunner, reverse slingblade, Jude is on fire! Ugg breaks up a pin attempt and hits a spinning slam. Paris in to save the day with a HUGE satellite DDT, but before he can enjoy his work, Slex wipes him out with a Disaster Kick! Waterman and Diamond become the legal men trading shots, then they knock each other down with simultaneous kicks. Brilliance!
The crowd breaks into a "this is awesome" chant. We get a group effort from the Velocities in stacking up Waterman following a tiger suplex, but the pin is broken up by the other members of Team MCW. Jude and Paris superkick Slex to the outside. Diamond gets involved for a triple superkick on Ugg. Paris and Diamond dive to opponents on the outside, leaving Jude to dive onto Ugg- but Ugg catches him in a Fire Thunder Driver for the 3! Wow!
Winners: Team MCW (at 12:28)
Star Rating: ****1/4. Clear Match of the Night, and if it wasn't for Aussie Open vs. Velocities, it might even be in Aussie MOTY considerations. That was incredible, and what I thought would be a simple appetiser for MCW X PWA Worlds Collide turned into an all-out war where the action and violence simply never stopped. Ugg's defection added an emotional component which made every move in the match mean so much more. Absolute magic.
Intermission. Robbie Eagles vs. Tyler Payne from PWA Friday Are For The Babes. Robbie wins. I believe Tyler Payne has retired now, which is a shame as this was a great match!
Match 6: No. 1 Contender's Fatal 4 Way- Jessica Troy vs. Mat Rogers vs. Unsocial Jordan vs. Lyrebird Luchi
Luchi tries to form an alliance with Jess and Jordan, but they're not having it. They grab the Lyrebird, and throw him at his rival Mat Rogers. Luchi has a death wish, as he opts to use the momentum to slap Full Force, and then runs for the hills. Jess and Jordan go back and forth, exchanging different arm drag variations as Rogers chases Luchi in and around the ring. Jordan gets Troy with a victory roll, and Luchi comes in to break it up, but accidentally put Jess on top. A pair of near falls to kick off this high stakes number one contenders' match.
Luchi throws Jordan and Jess at Rogers, trying to use his opponents as human shields. Jess low bridges Full Force out of the ring, and Jordan hits him with a running Shining Wizard. Jess dives through the ropes and catches Jordan with a DDT! She's the best. Better than all the rest. Luchi catches Jess coming back into the ring and tries to steal the pin on Jordan. Only gets 2 though.
Rogers back in and Luchi begs off. Jordan gets in the way so Rogers decides to stack them both up and go on the attack. Jess goes for a flying rana but gets caught and squished in the corner as well. Rogers finally gets a clear shot on Luchi with a flying shoulder block. Rogers goes for the pumphandle slam, but Luchi slides out the back door and leaves the ring. Troy and Jordan try to chop down the big man. We get a brief alliance but Rogers wipes them both out with a double clothesline. Rogers sets both Jordan and Jess up for a superplex but Luchi interrupts with a chair shot. It just seems to annoy Full Force more than anything. Rogers gives chase to Luchi once again.
Jess batters Jordan and hits an amazing top rope rana on the Unsocial One! Jordan somehow kicks out, Jess looks to float into the Fujiwara armbar, but Jordan rolls through. He scores with a seatbelt pin for a 2 count. Jordan with a huge half and half suplex, but almost immediately, Jess returns fire with a brainbuster! Luchi comes back in and observes the carnage, trying once again to steal a win, but no luck. Luchi tries to cover Jess, but she snatches his arm. Luchi escapes the hold and launches Troy head-first into the turnbuckle. Looked nasty!
Jordan locks Luchi in a sleeper but Jess breaks it up. Jess with a reverse Meteora on Luchi but Jordan capitalises with a superkick to the back of the head of the Arm Collector. Jess grabs the ropes, Referee Nick misses it, so she kicks out anyway. Jordan locks Luchi in a sleeper again, and then Jess adds on with a Fujiwara armbar! Luchi quickly taps... wait...
Winners: Jessica Troy & Unsocial Jordan (at 9:08)
Star Rating: ***3/4. Almost blended serious action and comedy, I, for one, got a great giggle out of Luchi running all over the place away from big bad Rogers. The finish is an interesting one, with the ref declaring co-winners. You don't often see that in a double submission, in those rare instances the match is determined as a no contest or the submission is waved off. But it looks like we may get Jess vs. Jordan vs. Ricky for the PWA Championship. PWA doesn't often contest its main prize in multi-person matches, so it'll be intriguing to see how it gets handled.
Backstage, Kingsley is having a chat with Mitch Waterman. Bonza walks up and Kingsley introduces him, saying that they used to tag in Newy Pro. Bonza enters protective Uncle Jack mode and tells him to leave. Mitch goes to give Kingsley a hug goodbye and Jack stops him, reiterating, "LEAVE. NOW." Kingsley is upset. "Why you gotta be like that?"
Diego is in the ring, and seems surprised by the arrival of MK Plus Ultra. Spencer takes the mic and moans about the tag titles not being around (because Aussie Open are in the UK). He issues an open challenge to any tag team, which Kai Drake co-signs by screaming "OPEN CHALLENGE!!!" The music of Juan Direction hits!!! The awesome foursome of boy band luchadors are back, baby!
Match 7: MK Plus Ultra (Michael Spencer & Kai Drake) vs. Juan Direction (Giant Juan & Romantic Juan)
MK jump Juan Direction before they can complete the dance routine in their entrance. Juan Direction haven't been around PWA in a very long time, I genuinely can't recall the last time I saw them. Maybe the early Max Watts shows? I have a memory of them being on the Progress X PWA super-card, but surely they've been around since then. (Checked Cagematch, apparently their last PWA match was on Diego's Last Show in January 2019. How fitting!)
MK hit the Juans in the butt to knock them out of the ring (okay then), then follow up with stereo suicide dives. Back in the ring, MK beat down one of the Juans as Rose & Gale discuss how difficult it is to identify the Juans (besides Giant Juan). I'll be honest, me writing "Romantic Juan" above is a complete guess on my part. Kai Drake with a basement dropkick for a near fall. Spencer back in to work over Juan with shoulder blocks in the corner. Flying knee by Spencer gets another near fall.
A leaping kick by Juan allows the hot tag to the Giant Juan! He pinballs MK with punches, then hits them both with a Stinger Splash. Double clothesline drops the Ultras again. Giant goes an atomic drop on Kai, who rakes the eyes. Spencer comes in with a flying knee that takes Giant out of the ring. Rebound lariat by possibly the Romantic Juan pops the crowd, he nips up but doesn't quite stick the landing, but he gets the love anyway! Kai dives to the outside to take out the Giant Juan, but in the chaos, Juan Direction pull Twin Magic, and are able to roll Spencer up for the win!
Winners: Juan Direction (at 5:25)
Star Rating: **1/2. Not a lot to it, but fun to see one of the lighter acts from PWA's past make a return! Between Diego and Juan Direction, it feels like this show is celebrating the past as well as looking forward to the future. Aussie wrestling has a unique style where it can be incredibly silly one minute and incredibly intense the next. It's one of the things I love about Aussie wrestling, it can really be anything. The best form of entertainment out there!
Main event time. The pre-match video package chronicles Sam Osborne's whole PWA run practically, from losing every match- including to Big Fudge to give him his first ever PWA win- to aligning with Don Marnell and the MMA and finding success. Then to the ultimate success of Prize Bulls On Parade, which I'm still not okay about. Justice for Jess!
Main Event: The Soul Of PWA Championship- Sam Osborne (c) (w/ Don Marnell & Will Kiedis) vs. Mick Moretti
Pre-match, Don Marnell says that the PWWA Championship is no more, and introduces a brand new championship belt- The Soul of PWA Championship. I don't know about the name, I like the meaning behind it, it just doesn't quite roll off the tongue. The belt looks nice- it was tough to see in person, but it is a very cool aesthetic up close.
They tie up and break once they end up in the ropes. Lot of tension and a big fight feel here. Osborne gets Moretti to the mat with a lightning quick fireman's carry takedown and works the arm. Headscissors by Moretti and we get separation. A much more measured approach to start this match than the other matches on the card tonight. Osborne picks the leg and laces it up, trying to negate the often manic approach of Moretti. Moretti transitions to a headlock and Osborne makes the ropes. Despite the shenanigans both sides are capable of here, both are very technically sound. Bit of a chess match early here.
Moretti with a headstand into the headscissors, right from page 1 of the Rapscallion playbook. The Mick Togo soon follows, and Moretti is in fine form here. Don Marnell gets a bit mouthy, and the crooked referee Ando gets involved to stop Moretti going after him. Back in the ring, Osborne hits a snap suplex for a 1 count. Osborne continues the pressure with a chinlock, and the crowd soon rallies behind Moretti. Moretti starts to make a comeback, but Marnell grabs his foot, allowing the champ to blast him to the outside. With the ref conveniently distracted, Marnell & Will Kiedis lay the boots in. Back in the ring, Osborne hits the backbreaker/T-Bone suplex combo on a weakened Moretti for a long 2 count.
Osborne lifts Moretti up high and dumps him out of the ring, virtually at my feet ringside. I offer to step in for Mick but he declines. Kidding. Maybe. Moretti is clutching at his knee after an awkward landing. Like a shark smelling blood, the champ isolates the leg once the challenger gets back in the ring. A series of shin breakers amplifies the pain Moretti is in. Moretti fights his way back and scores with a bulldog, followed by the patented Sweaty Moretti elbow drop. It's like the People's Elbow but twice as electrifying. Near fall. I'd be tapping after that, personally.
As the crowd starts a "Mick Moretti" chant, the Rapscallion nips up! Feeding off the energy of the people. They fight to the apron and Kiedis gets involved. Referee Ando is watching and does nothing. Moretti hits Osborne with the headstand into a headscissors, sending Osborne off the apron right into Kiedis! Moretti climbs the lighting rig structure and dives off onto Osborne and Kiedis, getting a well-earned "holy shit" chant. That crazy bastard!
Back in the ring, Moretti has the advantage with some knife-edge chops. Osborne manages to apply the rolling kneebar, and although Moretti makes the ropes quickly, referee Ando applies the world's slowest 5 count to break the hold. This starts a "we want Nick" chant, as we are in desperate need of a competent official. Moretti fights back with right hands and looks for the fisherman's buster, but his leg gives way. Moretti throws Osborne to the outside and looks to follow with a dive, but Ando blocks his path. So Mick springs to the ropes and flips over Ando to wipe out the MMA!
As we get back in the ring, Osborne hits an inside cradle, and Ando looks to fast count it, but Moretti still kicks out at 2. Osborne looks for the Mosman Driver, but Moretti blocks and hits the fisherman buster! He goes up top and hits a huge Swanton, 1, 2... and Ando "hurt his hand" yet again! Moretti gets in Ando's face, but Osborne charges and accidentally wipes out his personal referee! Osborne locks in the kneebar, but Moretti hits him with a headbutt to escape, followed by a curb stomp! He hits a second one and referee Nick comes down- 1, 2... and Don Marnell drags him out of the ring and decks him! Marnell then spits beer in Moretti's eyes- really not COVID-safe!- then kicks him in the dick. Kiedis comes in with a Shining Wizard, and this is just ridiculous...
Jessica Troy runs in with a chair! She unleashes hell on everyone in sight to even the odds. Our hero! We're left with Osborne and Moretti, finally one-on-one. Osborne goes for the kneebar but Moretti counters with a DDT. He hits a super Sweaty Moretti from the top rope for the 3 count!
Winner: Mick Moretti (at 21:25)
Star Rating: ****. This was fantastic, and shocking. I thought this was the beginning of the Osborne era? Like I said pre-match, I'm not a massive fan of the championship name, but I appreciate the sentiment behind it. And nobody embodies the spirit, the soul, the heart of PWA like Mick Moretti. He was here before all the great things we see today. It's because of people like him that we have those things. A well deserved accolade, in a balls-to-the-wall (no pun intended) performance. Osborne was at his smarmy best, and the incredible amount of shenanigans had us begging to see someone save the day, which is why the Jess Troy run-in worked so perfectly.
Also, this was the last PWA appearance of Sam Osborne & John Anderson. Both Mick Moretti and Sam Osborne gave speeches after the FITE cameras stopped rolling. I'm not allowed to say what Moretti said or did, because clown will eat me, but I can reveal exclusively that Sam Osborne admitted he's not really from Mosman. But he plays the North Shore Wanker so well!
Is he WWE bound? Seems to be where everyone who leaves PWA is headed these days. He's certainly got the talent. Certainly wish Sam Osborne all the best in his future endeavours, and many thanks for the entertainment. Also, I'm sorry for flipping you off. Just playing my role.
This was a statement by PWA. The lockdown didn't negatively affect the performances at all, if anything it seemed to light a fire under the wrestlers on the card. From Ricky South, who hasn't yet had the chance to be the true standard bearer with the promotion not running shows. To people like Cherry Stephens and Jimmy Townsend, who were just finding themselves pre-lockdown. To people like Shazza McKenzie and Mick Moretti, who have grinded away for years to be on the cusp of something big, only for circumstances outside their control to put a halt to it... it's like everyone here took any frustration, anger, sadness and let it manifest itself into making them all the best possible versions of themselves to entertain the fans. What an incredible show- I can't wait to see more of them!
Overall Score: 9/10
I'll be back next week with another review, of PWA: Don Marnell's Beer Bash, at the Beer Shed in Leumeah. It'll be a much shorter review, given that I won't have the luxury of watching it back on FITE to do full play-by-play, and I won't be giving the history lesson intro either. I hope you all join me on this ride as we watch the best wrestling we can get our hands on! And hot tip- the best pro wrestling is Down Under!
Until next time, take care