WrestleWatch- PWA X MCW Worlds Collide
And now for something a little different... in the show we're looking at today, two powerhouses of Australian wrestling meet in a Best of 5 Series. Sydney's Pro Wrestling Australia (PWA) and Melbourne City Wrestling (MCW). Both companies have showcased the best in Aussie wrestling over the past decade plus, and continue that high standard today. Both have featured talent that have made their way to WWE, AEW, NJPW and ROH. Unquestionably the cream of the crop Down Under.
I've been following PWA for several years and it's my more local promotion, so I've got to stick with it. Admittedly, I only have a very basic knowledge of MCW. I've only ever been to one show- MCW New Horizons 2018. I was down in Melbourne for WWE Super Showdown at the MCG, and talked my casual wrestling fan mate into giving the local boys a shot. After seeing matches like Robbie Eagles vs. Gino Gambino, Caveman Ugg vs. Jonah Rock, and especially a thriller featuring Slex vs. Adam Brooks for the MCW Intercommonwealth Championship, we both went home feeling like even though WWE had the glitz and the glamour, MCW was the better wrestling show.
Fast forward to 2021. The pandemic has killed the momentum of Aussie wrestling a bit, just like it's impacted virtually everything on the planet. Even American wrestling hasn't been immune, as the closure of Ring Of Honor forced Slex, Brooks and Kellyanne to lose the international exposure they were set to gain. PWA stars like Ricky South and the Velocities were making waves in US appearances as well.
Now, it's time to claim it all back. I said on Twitter that this was bigger than the State of Origin, and I was only half joking. I'm a much bigger fan of wrestling than, well, basically anything else in the world. If I was going to follow a more "mainstream" sport, NRL would be it, but I digress. Time for PWA and MCW to take the ball and run with it.
Let's do this!
PWA's Andrew Rose & Kris Gale are on the call with MCW's Simon Takla. Rose does the acknowledgement of country in the open.
The opening video does a great job giving this event a sense of occasion, as it details the storied history of both MCW and PWA, including alumni that have gone international, from Matt Silva (Buddy Murphy) and Indi Hartwell to Matty Wahlberg (Grayson Waller) and Steph DeLander (Persia Pirotta).
PWA ring announcer JT Robinson is on the mic, and the hashtag we're using for the show is #PWAxMCW. Nice to see Melbourne recognise us as the A side.
Match 1: Best of 5 Series- Lyrebird Luchi (PWA) vs. Slex (MCW)
Slex emerges to a monster reaction and gets the crowd hyped up for the big "taking off the sunglasses" moment. Luchi attacks from behind to a chorus of boos. I love wrestling for being able to toy with people's emotions over a man taking off his sunnies. Luchi beats down The Business as Rose and Gale offer their begrudging support, admitting "he's a bit of a dick".
Slex gives chase to Luchi around the ringside area. Back in the ring, a back elbow drops the Lyrebird. Slex wastes little time going big, nailing a massive superplex for an early near fall. Luchi rolls out of the ring to get a breather, Slex pursues, and Luchi rams him into the ring post and the guard rail. The Queen of Marks, Riley, can be seen ringside, and I feel like this isn't the first time two guys have fought over her. They get back between the ropes and Luchi earns a 2 count after that ringside beatdown.
Luchi tangles Slex in the ropes, allowing him to tee off with some right hands. Another 2 count. He drapes his PWA jacket over Slex's head and mocks him, but this enrages The Business. Slex fires off a series of forearms and then hits a backslide for a near fall. On the kickout, Slex catches Luchi with a kick to the head. Bryan Danielson would be proud. Huge clothesline moments later turns him inside out!
Luchi tries to run to the outside again, but Slex catches him and gives him a back suplex on the guardrail. Straight back in the ring and Slex nails a torture rack bomb for a long 2 count. Luchi comes back with a O'Connor roll, Slex reverses into a rear naked choke, but Luchi flips into a pin... and Slex narrowly escapes. A couple of rapid reversals follow... and Slex nails the Slexecution kick for the win!
Winner: Slex (at 8:50)
Star Rating: ***. Really picked up in the closing stretch, and was boosted by the hot crowd way behind Slex. Was also fun hearing the banter between the commentators selling the rivalry between the promotions.
(MCW- 1, PWA- 0)
Jimmy Townsend, the Wandering Soul (not to be confused with the Soul of PWA Champion, Mick Moretti) walks out, massive backpack in tow, but he can't get it into the ring. So, backpack abandoned, he gets in the ring and cuts a promo. He's unhappy about not being booked for a match, so issues an open challenge. He then sets his sights on retired Aussie wrestling legend Krackerjak, who is working ringside on the crew. Jimmy insults Krackerjak until it looks like he's going to fight... but instead he calls out his brother, GORE!!!
Match 2: Gore (w/ KrackerJak) vs. Jimmy Townsend
This isn't an official part of the Best of 5 Series here at Worlds Collide, but there will certainly be some arse-kicking! Jimmy charges at Gore and immediately gets dropped on his face. Townsend regroups and tries again, but falls victim to a judo throw. The big man's got technique too! Jimmy uses his speed for some evasive manuevers and hits a springboard crossbody to take Gore off his feet.
Jimmy gets distracted by KrackerJak, and tries to paw at him ringside, but Gore launches him across the ring with an exploder suplex, then takes his head off with a clothesline. It's a standard Sunday arvo for Gore. Gore tries to hit Jimmy with a tiger suplex but he grabs the ropes. KrackerJak intervenes by using his staple gun on Jimmy's hand. Townsend goes flying, and Gore pins him with one foot to end this in dominant fashion!
Winner: Gore (at 2:02)
Star Rating: *1/2. We love a good squash! The pre-match promo was some brilliant stuff too, tremendous fire from KrackerJak, and Jimmy seemed to relish the opportunity to play heel after being a lifelong babyface in PWA.
Promo for PWA Welcome To The Black Label Parade airs. Robbie Eagles is back, bay-bay!
Match 3: Best of 5 Series- The Velocities (Paris De Silva & Mat Diamond) (PWA) vs. The Natural Classics (Tome & Stevie Filip) (MCW)
The Velocities get the jump on the Filips as they make their entrance, just as Luchi did to Slex. I guess when we're in Melbourne, it's "say hello to the bad guys" in PWA. De Silva and Diamond kick the hell out of both boys in the opening seconds of the match. Expect a fast pace here.
We get control of the match as Paris stretches Tome and flips off Stevie at the same time. Stevie soon tags in and hits a beautiful handspring moonsault. A devastating chop follows, as although the Classics are certainly agile, they do have a notable size advantage here. Nothing new to the Velocities though. A slam/leg drop combo gets a two count for MCW. Quick tags between the Classics as they isolate and beat down Paris. Kris Gale makes the point that MCW do not abide by PWA's lucha tag rules, affecting much of the usual Velocities strategy.
Finally, a kick and a tornado DDT allows Paris some space, and he gets the tag to Mat Diamond! He soon gets a two count, the camera cuts away, but I'm going to say it was a standing shooting star press. Cool? Cool. A split legged moonsault hits that we do see, but Tome breaks up the pin. A boot into a flajack by the Classics plants Diamond into the mat, and a triangle moonsault wipes out De Silva on the outside. The Classics set up for a tandem powerbomb move, but Diamond escapes. Paris in with a rana on Tome, and Mat hits the Diamond Cutter on Stevie! Paris tags in, and Diamond with a tope con hilo on Tome, and in the ring, Paris connects with the Shooting Star Press on Stevie! 1-2-3!
Winners: The Velocities (at 6:15)
Star Rating: ***1/4. The action was great as long as it lasted, but I can't lie, majorly disappointed in the run time. I thought, given the reputation and status of these two teams, we could have had a 20-30 minute barnburner, something like the Velocities vs. Aussie Open earlier this year. Speaking of...
As De Silva and Diamond celebrate their victory, Aussie Open appear on the big screen! They're back in Australia, and they're going to be at PWA Welcome To The Black Label Parade! Could we get the rematch of this year's Aussie MOTY? Looks like it's on- the audio is particularly shocking for this promo for some reason- but Fletcher does offer a stipulation- if the Velocities lose, they can never team together again. Ooh! You might think such a stipulation telegraphs the results, but I wouldn't be so sure- Jude and Paris (and Mat, who is the third member of the Velocities) are promising as singles stars as well as being phenomenal tag wrestlers.
(MCW-1, PWA- 1)
Match 4: Ballroom Blitz for the MCW Women's Championship- Skylar Cruize vs. Jessica Troy vs. Cherry Stephens vs. Chanel Phoenix vs. Aysha vs. Lily Blaze vs. Kingsley vs. Delta
Every 60 seconds, a new competitor enters. Wrestlers can be eliminated by pinfall, submission or going over the top rope. Skylar drew #1 and Jessica drew #2. Jess Troy is the absolute best, and proves it in short order, making Skylar tap to the Fujiwara armbar. #3 is Cherry Stephens, looking very excited to be there, notebook in hand. A seatbelt pin by Stephens almost gets her the upset victory, but she soon falls vicitm to Jess' patented armbar as well.
#4 is Aysha, who has made waves in promotions like PCW and DMDU, with a major opportunity here in MCW. JT Robinson is pausing A LOT before giving the names of any non-PWA wrestlers, guessing he's not familar with them? Aysha puts the boots to Troy and hits an exploder suplex for a near fall. Aysha then tries to throw Troy over the ropes, but the Arm Collector blocks it and fights back. Backstabber in the ropes gets another close call for Aysha though.
#5 is Chanel Phoenix, who blasts through Jess with a series of clotheslines. She's a powerhouse! Release German suplex on Jess gains Phoenix a long 2 count. Aysha & Phoenix form an alliance to try and take out Troy. As they try and dump her over the top rope, fellow PWA and Nations member Kingsley comes out at #6 to make the save! Clothesline off the ropes by Kingsley gets a 2 count on Chanel.
As the battle rages on, Lily Blaze enters at #7. She makes an immediate impact, coming in with a top rope cross body on Phoenix. Blaze goes on a run taking down Jess, Kingsley and Aysha as well. Blaze and Phoenix start trading chops here, and the heat is rising! The other ladies come over to eliminate Blaze & Phoenix at the same time!
One powerhouse gone, another enters, with the arrival of Delta at #8. She immediately cuts Troy in half with a spear and dumps Kingsley to the outside to earn an elimination. Delta hits Aysha with a F5 to pin and eliminate her as well. We're down to Delta and Jessica Troy as the final two competitors. Delta picks her up for the F5 but Jess looks for the counter with the Fujiwara armbar. Delta blocks, so Jess goes on the attack with kicks to the arm. Troy with the tilt a whirl, but Delta is still too strong, hitting a sidewalk slam for a near fall. Jess fires back with a high angle back suplex. A victory roll into an armbar, and it's locked in tight- but Delta just picks her up! What power! Delta looks to dump Jess to the floor- but she reverses it! Jessica Troy is your new MCW Women's Champion!
JT announces Delta as the winner. Damn, he's really having a rough day here!
Winner: Jessica Troy (at 13:06)
Star Rating: ***1/2. This was entertaining, constant action, and the best possible outcome. At some point very soon, Jess Troy is going to be snapped up by a major international wrestling promotion, and we're all going to be proud and maybe a bit sad. She's brilliant, and we've got to appreciate her while we've got her. The other competitors in the match showed that the future of wrestling in Australia is in good hands- maybe a couple of rough spots, but pretty solid all-in-all. Even though this event is PWA X MCW, it felt like everyone in the crowd was pro-Jess as well.
Intermission. The match they're showing is Robbie Eagles vs. Adam Brooks from MCW New Horizons 2021. I'm not doing a play by play on this. It's Brooksy vs. Eagles. It's awesome. Brooks wins with a gorgeous Swanton.
A hype video airs for the MCW Intercommonwealth Championship match.
Match 5: MCW Intercommonwealth Championship- Royce Chambers vs. Rocky Menero (c)
Chambers flattens Menero with a dropkick in the opening seconds for a near fall. Shotgun dropkick in the corner, and Chambers proceeds to mushroom stomp Menero. Clothesline sends Menero to the outside. Sasuke Special by Chambers wipes out Rocky again, and Chambers immediately throws him back in the ring. Menero finally halts the challenger's mometum with a European uppercut. Menero sets up for a suplex but Chambers turns it into an inside cradle for the 3!
Winner: Royce Chambers (at 1:35)
Star Rating: *1/2. High energy, as brief as it was. What a shocker! The big title match of the show is over in record time. Huge wins for Royce Chambers. Possibly career-defining.
Match 6: Best of 5 Series- Jack Bonza (w/ Kingsley) (PWA) vs. Mitch Waterman (MCW)
Kingsley has a different outfit on to her Ballroom Blitz look. What a pro. Lock up and Bonza powers Waterman back to the corner and slaps him in the face. There you go. Headlock takeover by Bonza, headscissors by Waterman, both men up. Bonza palms him in the face again. Tie up, go behind, standing switch, waistlock takedown by Waterman. Surprisingly technical start given the personal nature of this match. I half expected Uncle Jack to bring a shotgun to the ring. They continue to trade holds and Bonza bails from the ring after an arm wringer.
Back in the ring, a backbreaker gets Bonza a two count. Submission applied- bit like the Edge-a-cution, only Jack also grabs Mitch's fingers and pulls on them as well. Torture. Waterman makes the ropes and Bonza just stomps him. That's more along the lines of what I was expecting. They trade chops, and credit to Waterman for giving as good as he gets! Bonza runs the ropes and Mitch puts him down with a dropkick. A slingblade follows, called by Rose, for a near fall. Credit to our PWA commentators here as well- when Rose and Kris Gale first started, everything was just a "suplex" or a "slam", but they've both come into their own as wrestling commentators, calling the moves and adding to the stories being told.
Bonza looks for a breather but Waterman wipes him out with a tope con hilo! Waterman throws Bonza back in and goes up top, but Jack dodges the next attack and slings Waterman into the turnbuckle. Waterman tries to fight back and execute a suplex, but Bonza counters with a double wrist clutch into the Tombstone! Mitch's head bounces off the mat, but he still somehow kicks out at 2! Bonza is bewildered and Kingsley looks concerned. Bonza sets up for the Napalm Thunder Driver- but Mitch reverses into a DDT! Waterman unleashes a kick flurry then springboards off the ropes into another DDT! Waterman hits the frog splash... but Bonza kicks out at 2.999! Look, if you wanted to argue that was 3.001, I wouldn't be mad at ya.
Waterman tunes up the band, looking for a superkick, but Bonza counters into an ankle lock! Waterman rolls through and connects with a couple of superkicks. Kingsley gets up on the apron, and appears to be convincing Mitch to throw her teacup in Jack's face- but instead hits him with a hangman on the ropes. Waterman staggers back into a southern lariat, followed by the Napalm Thunder Driver, and it's all over!
Winner: Jack Bonza (at 10:32)
Star Rating: ***3/4. Fantastic battle that had a bit of everything. In what seems to be the theme of this show, I would have liked to see that match go a little longer, but they did a lot with the time they had. Great chemistry with the different styles of Bonza and Waterman, and Kingsley as always did a great job adding to the match with her reactions and facial expressions, before becoming a real factor in the finish.
(PWA- 2, MCW- 1)
A promo airs for MCW Fight To Survive, Jan 15 at the Thornbury Theatre. Is it going to be on FITE? I hope so. I just bought a PS5 and Christmas presents, I haven't got "travel to Melbourne" money this month.
Match 7: Best of 5 Series- Mick Moretti, Kai Drake & Mat Rogers (PWA) vs. Tyson Baxter, Mikey Broderick & Caveman Ugg (MCW)
Rose is beside himself at Caveman Ugg, the longest reigning PWA Champion, being a part of Team MCW. MCW need to win here to stay alive in the Best of 5 Series.
Drake & Baxter start off. I've never seen Baxter wrestle, so I'm curious. Given the other talent in this match, he's gotta be good to hold his own. Arm wringer by Drake, into a headlock by Baxter. Leg sweep by Baxter, but it appears he hurt his own knee somewhere in the exchange. Tag out to Ugg. Kai tags out to Rogers for a battle of the big men. They trade punches and chops. Ugg chops Rogers so hard, his nickname just became Half Force. Ugg runs over Rogers with a clothesline and tags in Mikey. Gotta say, this six man tag is easier to cover than the faster paced lucha style of PWA tags.
Moretti in and he and Mikey trade headstands. Wonderful. Headscissors by Mikey, followed by a dropkick, and squats. Well, he is the Squat King. Everyone gets in the ring and we have a stand-off. Moretti takes the opportunity to point out that Ugg and Broderick were PWA guys first. Turncoats. Massive "MC-Dub" chants from the home crowd. Ugg and Mikey tease joining the PWA crew, only to start throwing hands. We get Rogers and Baxter alone in the ring, and Rogers hits a massive fall-away slam. Running leg drop gets Rogers a near fall. Moretti tags in and applies a wristlock/chinlock combo. Never know what the Rapscallion is going to do!
Team PWA isolate Baxter, and Kai Drake tags in. Basement dropkick gets a 2 count. Eventually Baxter fights out of the corner and hits a DDT. Tag to Broderick, who comes in on fire. He launches Moretti to the sky with a belly to belly. A stunner/DDT combo wipes out Drake & Rogers. Squat drop on Moretti and a tag to Ugg. Devastating clothesline on Drake, followed by a spinning uranage from the Caveman! Rogers in and he hits Ugg with the Black Hole Slam! Action breaking down here.
Baxter in with a slingshot cutter. Barely connects, but his knee is fucked, so we've got to cut him some slack. Moretti from behind with a German suplex, followed by a dragon suplex. Mikey back in and Moretti goes for the stomp, but Mikey blocks it just by doing push-ups! Drake and Rogers in and Mikey goes for a squat drop on Rogers but Moretti saves him. Drake and Rogers with a big boot/German suplex combo on Baxter. Bodies everywhere. Did we adopt lucha rules halfway through this match? Ugg back in and Kai unloads kicks on him, before going for a running shot- but Ugg catches him with a Samoan Driver- and it's all over!
Winners: Tyson Baxter, Mikey Broderick & Caveman Ugg (at 11:45)
Star Rating: ***1/2. This felt right. Everyone had their moments, hard-hitting and never dull, even for a second. I hope Baxter is okay, the commentators mentioned him having bad luck with injuries right before his knee gave out and he sat a decent portion of the match out.
(PWA- 2, MCW- 2)
Main Event: Best of 5 Series- PWA Champion Ricky South vs. MCW Champion Adam Brooks
Ricky comes out to no music. Unsure if a production blunder, or a deliberate choice to not play the crowd-friendly "I Will Survive". JT forgets Adam Brooks' name, which I'm about 99% sure is an actual mistake given JT's track record on the show.
Big staredown between the champs. They tie up a couple of times, each getting an advantage, and Ricky bails from the ring to collect himself, drawing a smirk out of the Loose Ledge. South gets back in the ring and delivers a snug European uppercut, followed by a shoulder block that sends Brooks sprawling to the corner. Much more deliberate pace in this one compared to the other matches we've seen here.
Ricky mocks Brooks by blowing a kiss at him, causing the MCW champ to start teeing off. Brooks on the move, and Ricky halts him with a Manhattan drop, but the Ledge returns fire moments later with a rana. Evenly matched in the early going with some definite mind games and tinges of bad blood. Brooks trips South up and hits him with a running dropkick in the corner, but it only gets a 1 count. Brooks looks to springboard but Ricky counters with another Manhattan drop, followed by a cannonball. Ricky pins, but only gets a 1 count as well.
They trade strikes, and Ricky gets the better of it with a running axe handle. Brooks comes back by catching South in the ropes with a neckbreaker, followed by a guillotine leg drop that sends the PWA champ to the outside. Brooks goes for a suicide dive, but Ricky catches him and drops him in almost a brainbuster on the apron! Brutal! Back in the ring, a crucifix pin gets that elusive 2 count for South. Brooks tries to get moving, but gets dropped by a kitchen sink knee. Ricky continues to beat down Brooks, who tries to come back again, only to take a stun gun that sends him straight to the mat. Ricky goes for a series of clotheslines in the corner, only to be caught with a spinning heel kick that knocks him to the outside. They brawl outside the ring, and Brooks uses a chair to hit Poetry In Motion! Well, he is rumoured to be something of a Jeff Hardy fan...
Brooks goes for a penalty kick off the apron, Ricky looks to catch him with a powerbomb, but Brooks turns it into a hurricanrana into the guardrail! This match is getting wild in a hurry! Not to be outdone, Ricky drops him groin-first on the apron then clotheslines him to the floor! Ouch. Rose brings up Adam Brooks limping, to which Simon retorts, "the only limp we're talking about is Brooksy's love of Limp Bizkit." Niiiiice. The new album is a banger, as the kids say.
Ricky pounds away with forearm strikes, which causes Brooksy to fire up, but Ricky just flattens him with a chop. It gets a 2 count. The PWA champ soon displays his power with a spine-jarring uranage for a closer 2 count. Ricky then gets a bit nasty by putting his PWA armband around Brooksy's neck and choking him with it. Brooks rallies back with a series of kicks, followed by a brainbuster over the knee! A surge of adrenaline turns the tides in favour of MCW! They trade strikes, but South fires off a southern lariat, followed by a gordbuster on the ropes. Ricky tries to grab Brooksy, but cops a boot to the face, followed by a huge slingshot DDT that sends him out the other side of the ring! Brooksy takes the opportunity to fly and hits the Fosbury Flop! Top rope Meteora follows back in the ring for a 2 count. Still annoyed that there's no move I know of called Hybrid Theory...
Ricky hits a boot and looks to set up the piledriver, but is countered with a jackknife pin for a near fall. A big kick drops South and Brooks goes for the Swanton- but he takes Ricky's knees in his lower back instead! They fight out to the apron, and Ricky plants Brooks with a huge powerslam on the Hardest Part Of The Ring! Ricky throws the corpse of Adam Brooks back in the ring, but we must have a zombie apocalypse on our hands, because Brooksy kicks out! South goes up top- he's not much of a high flier- and Brooks catches him with a leaping kick. Ricky is able to fight back, drop down and hit a high cradle driver for another close call. Nail biting stuff.
Thunderous "MC-Dub" chant breaks out from the crowd, and South responds by pointing to the PWA logo on his trunks. The two men fight up the turnbuckle, and Brooks gets the better of it with a top rope superplex! Very impressive! The crowd chants "this is awesome", and they would be correct. Brooks finds his fourth wind and hits a springboard tornado DDT, followed by a springboard codebreaker. Over 20 minutes into this match, how the hell? Ricky survives, but is on the bad side of a long 2 count. Brooks starts up the engine with a couple of running dropkicks in the corner, but South explodes back with a lariat, quickly followed by the piledriver! 1, 2... and Brooksy gets his foot on the ropes!
South sets up for a top rope piledriver, but Brooksy fights out and hits a poison rana! He follows up with a massive Swanton halfway across the ring! 1, 2... and Rocky Menero pulls the referee out of the ring! Slex runs out and takes out Menero with a suicide dive! Moretti runs to the ring and hits Brooks with the Soul Of PWA Championship belt! How poetic. Ricky hits the piledriver... and PWA beats MCW!
Winner: Ricky South (at 25:37)
Star Rating: ****1/4. What an absolute war. The fuckery in the finish kinda hurt things for me, but if the MCW champ is going to lose on his home turf, I understand needing some shenanigans to make it happen. South & Brooks are unquestionably two of the very best in Australia, and this match was Exhibit A. Masterful pro wrestling.
(PWA- 3, MCW- 2)
Post-match, the PWA representatives come out to celebrate with the champ. Newly crowned MCW Women's Champion Jessica Troy is wearing a Steph De Lander shirt. A classy tribute to the Python Powerhouse, the former MCW Women's champ. Jack Bonza and Kai Drake lift Ricky on their shoulders to end the show.
This was an excellent showcase for Aussie wrestling. A true super-card. The energy from everyone- from the fans, to the wrestlers, to the commentators- this all felt like a major happening. Even when a couple of the matches didn't deliver like I hoped- Velocities vs. Natural Classics being the biggest example- it was never bad, flat or boring. Mostly just wanting more time and focus on certain parts of the show. Maybe the PWA crew had an early flight home? We had some huge moments, like Jessica Troy winning the MCW Women's Championship, and Royce Chambers virtually squashing Menero to win the Intercommonwealth Championship. And finally, Adam Brooks and Ricky South sent us home on the highest of notes. Someone buy a beer for Rocky Menero for me!
Overall Score: 8/10
Until next time, take care,