WrestleWatch- Slam Pro League Rumble (14/01/2023)
By Mick Robson
Slam Pro Wrestling League have established themselves in relatively short order as a very impressive addition to the Australian wrestling scene. Based in the nation's capital of Canberra, ACT, the best wrestlers from all over the country are featured for a night of top shelf, family-friendly entertainment. My first exposure to them was their 5th event back in November (review here), and it was a no-brainer to pick up tickets to this one! The first ever Slam Rumble. 20 men compete for a shot at the Slam Heavyweight Championship. Going into this show, that championship is held by Canberra's own, Mikey Broderick, but Adelaide's Tommy Knight may have something to say about that as he challenges for the gold!
Let's do this!
Match 1: Slex vs. Jimmy Townsend
It's a battle of experience versus youthful exuberance in this one. On a broad level, it's also power vs. speed, as Slex is a physical specimen, while young Jimmy often flies around the ring in dazzling fashion. That said, Slex is no slouch in the speed department either. A springboard cross body has "The Business" reeling, but Jimmy's moonsault fails to produce the desired result. A Disaster Kick, followed by the Slexecution tornado kick, spells the end of Jimmy's dreams in this excellent opening contest.
Winner: Slex (***3/4)
Match 2: Kingsley vs. Cherry Stephens
Before the match, we get a "breaking news" announcement from the Slam Board of Directors- there's a Slam Women's Championship coming in 2023! Rankings will be determined by match results in the coming months. That adds higher stakes to this match, which Kingsley and Cherry both look quite pleased about.
To start the match, Kingsley mocks Cherry and her notebook, calling her a nerd. Massive "NERD" chants erupt from the crowd- don't think that's what they were going for, but go off, I guess. Cherry shows off her chain wrestling acumen, and any time Kingsley gains the upper hand, she mocks Cherry and the book. She even hits an elbow drop on the book! In the end, the tea comes into play, as Kingsley blinds Cherry with it behind the referee's back. A Codebreaker follows, and that's all she wrote. Another high quality match with a lot of crowd investment, which elevated the whole atmosphere.
Winner: Kingsley (***1/2)
Match 3: Slam Tag Team Championship- The Natural Classics (Tome & Stevie Filip) (c) vs. Ricky South & Tim Hayden
Missed this one as I had to help a friend out, she was upset and overwhelmed when this started up so I went to check on her. From what I heard in the opening moments though, a very hot crowd who hadn't forgotten about the way that the "Classholes" won the titles on the last show. Came back in to see the Filips celebrating to their music with the belts in hand.
Winners: The Natural Classics (N/A)
Match 4: Slam Heavyweight Championship- MIkey Broderick (c) vs. Tommy Knight
Knight was all too happy to play the monster here, planting Mikey with a powerbomb in the opening moments. From there, they brawled around ringside, with many a blistering chop thrown, and Knight firmly in control throughout. In the end, Mikey shows heart and rallies, hitting a series of running elbow strikes, followed by a top rope elbow drop for the win. Heard the guys behind me complaining about this being predictable- perhaps, but executed well. It's important to remember the crowd you're playing to- this is an all ages show- and also we're still establishing our champions and our roster at Slam, sometimes the tried and tested formula is the way to go. I'm sure Mikey will run into more challenges as his reign continues and as Slam is built up further.
Winner: Mikey Broderick (***1/2)
Match 5: Dan Archer vs. Luke Watts
Watts gets a TON of love from this Canberra crowd, and everyone hates Archer. Watts was involved in the match of the night last Slam show against Robbie Eagles, and I daresay this followed in that vein. The ref gains some heat by stopping Luke from hitting a dive to the outside, only for Luke to perform a flip over him, wiping out Archer. A few fans get an opportunity to chop Archer- points for participation! Back in the ring, Watts crashes and burns on a Shooting Star Press, and Archer pounces, but Watts kicks out. Shortly after, Watts goes for a moonsault, but Archer pushes the ref into the ropes, causing a crash and burn. Archer lifts Watts out of the corner into the Tombstone- and gets the 3! A shade below the last match Watts had at Slam, but a shade below a Robbie Eagles match is a damn fine effort!
Winner: Dan Archer (***3/4)
Post-match, Archer whips Watts with his weightlifting belt, causing Slam staff to storm the ring. Archer says that he just turned the 20 man Rumble into a 19 man, and gloats about having a great number.
Main Event- 20 Man Rumble- Winner gets a shot at the Heavyweight Championship
1 & 2 are Rig and Mick Moretti. Two favourites, two heavy hitters starting this out! Jimmy Townsend and Luke Watts next, and boy, Luke is at a disadvantage with such an early number. Jengis Kong enters as a monster of the match and scores the first elimination by wiping out Jimmy. Josh from the radio enters at no. 12, followed by Crofty not even 10 seconds later. The timing felt off anyway, but that was especially bad. The boys from the tag title match were all in here, with Ricky turning on his partner Tim. Archer comes out at 18, which is prime real estate in this Rumble, but not as much as 20- Tommy Knight! Tommy is a wrecking ball, eliminating the likes of Slex & Mick Moretti, but eventually gets taken out by Luke Watts! Tommy is beside himself and sets up a table at ringside, looking to cause damage, but SLAM staff escort him away. Soon after, Watts back drops Archer through the ringside table- and against all odds, we have our first Slam Rumble winner!
Winner: Luke Watts (****)
After some table-based shenanigans, Luke Watts manages to suplex Archer through another table leaning on the ringside barricade. He also whips Archer a little with the weightlifting belt for some poetic justice. The crowd goes banana to end the show! Luke Watts now faces Mikey Broderick for the Slam Heavyweight title at their next show on April 1st. No fooling.
Like I said in the intro, Slam sees the best from around the country turn up, in what is essentially a family-friendly supershow. Everyone was on their game, boosted by a fiery hot crowd that reacted to everything and made it all seem like an even bigger deal. Like Dusty Rhodes used to say, perception is reality, and the perception that Slam Pro Wrestling League gives off is that it is big time. Very keen to see what they do next, well worth your time and money to go to Canberra and check them out!
Overall Score: 8.5/10
Until next time, take care.