Review: MCW The House Always Wins
Saturday night saw the return of big-time wrestling to Melbourne for 2023,
with Melbourne City Wrestling’s The House Always Wins emanating from a
sold-out Thornbury Theatre in Melbourne’s inner-north.
After a long road back from the pandemic, MCW went back to full capacity,
selling out its standing room for the first time since January 2020.
We came into the show with three matches announced, as well as an
appearance from one half of the Natural Classics, Stevie Filip, and
something from Edward Dusk, who announced that THAW would see him debut
MCW Tag Team Championship match: Slex & Tommy Knight (C) vs The VeloCities
After a brutal feud between Slex and Tommy Knight in the first half of
2022, they were randomly drawn as tag partners to challenge the 450+ day
reign of the Natural Classics. After winning that match they’ve told the
story of tag partners who don’t like each other, even involving other
Australian federations – Slex challenged Tommy Knight for the Wrestle
Rampage Championship in October, and Tommy screwed Slex in the SLAM Pro
Wrestling Rumble in January.
This match told a different story, as the champions learned to co-exist
against Australia’s best tag team, and the epitome of tag team cohesion. As
the match went on, the co-operation of the champs increased to the point
where they won the match using a tag team finisher, a Slexecution kick into
a quasi-electric chair.
We saw some post match signs of respect between the two rivals, however
Tommy wasn’t yet ready to accept Slex’s offer of his sunglasses.
Winners and STILL MCW Tag Team Champions: Slex and Tommy Knight
“The Phoenix” Stevie Filip vs “The Revolution Killer” Ryan Rapid
The Natural Classics lost the tag titles in September, before losing the
re-match in October. In the lead up to this event, social media indicated
something of a re-debut for Stevie Filip. This wasn’t immediately evident
however, as Stevie hadn’t changed from the heel look that we last saw him
Ryan Rapid is a favourite among fans of PCW in Melbourne’s south-eastern
suburbs, but only appears sporadically elsewhere.
This was a well-paced match, however the crowd appeared confused about how
to treat Filip, and Rapid worked as hard as he possibly could and won a lot
of people over.
Winner: “The Phoenix” Stevie Filip
Warrior Wrestling Title match: KC Navarro (C) v Mick Moretti
US talent KC Navarro announced at Chicago-based Warrior Wrestling’s recent
event that he was embarking on his “Blessed World Tour”, turning the
Warrior Wrestling title into a world title. Mick Moretti is coming off one
of the great years in wrestling in 2022, where he held 5 titles across 4
promotions, before losing all but one of them as 2022 came to a close.
This was quite a busy match. It started quick then slowed down to the point
that Navarro grabbed the mic and started talking smack mid-match while
holding Moretti in a sleeper hold. As Moretti made his comeback, the sounds
of a circus horn began to squeak through the arena as three creepy clowns
made their way into the Theatre, spread out, and then watched Navarro hit
his finisher for the win before clearing out. It’s obviously a major angle
to finish the match, but the timing was slightly off, as I’m not sure too
many people actually saw Navarro’s finisher.
This was a really fun, really good match that was overshadowed a little by
the storyline finisher. Navarro was fantastic to watch as an international
performer, and I would love to see him in MCW again.
Winner and STILL Warrior Wrestling WORLD Champion: KC Navarro
Following intermission we saw a video which explained Edward Dusk’s “The
Sacrament” – for the next 15 minutes there would be no rules, no
disqualifications, and falls count anywhere.
Edward Dusk vs WAIK
Dusk is someone who has been begging for a push in Melbourne’s biggest
promotion, and is one of Melbourne’s most improved wrestlers since the
pandemic. WAIK has appeared as part of the Ascension tournament, but is
only just making his way in MCW.
The match starts with Dusk blasting WAIK in the head with a garbage can,
and that was pretty much the tone of the match. Not a total squash, but a
very dominant performance from Dusk, winning with his version of the
One-Winged Angel, “The Wicked End”, through a chair. An interesting
introduction for The Sacrament.
Winner: Edward Dusk
Next we have the gargantuan Jake Andrewartha in the ring cutting a promo,
talking about not being pinned for 3 years, demanding opportunities, again
using the “this is why people are leaving this place” line. Sometimes-face
of the company Jay Stephens entered the stage trying to get him to leave,
and as Jake demanded an opponent new women’s champion Delta stormed past
him and demanded the match with Andrewartha.
Jake Andrewartha vs Delta
Intergender wrestling isn’t something that MCW does much, if at all. There
was a soft introduction to it during the co-promoted Colosseum shows, but
the rarity made this a big deal. Andrewartha, the former Australian
heavyweight judoka, has been talking for over a year about how long it had
been since he had been pinned. Delta is the brand new MCW Women’s Champion,
beating Jessica Troy in an ironwoman match in the main event of MCW 12, the
final event of 2022.
Delta is over like crazy with the MCW crowd. They roared their approval
when she stormed the ring. They roared even more when she picked up
Andrewartha and hit her version of an Attitude Adjustment. And they lifted
the roof off Thornbury Theatre when Andrewartha tapped out to the new
darling of MCW.
Delta is a star in the making, and she is one to watch in MCW this year
having been established as one of the promotion’s very top stars.
MCW Heavyweight Title Match: Mitch Waterman (C) vs Buddy Matthews
Where to start with the story of Buddy Matthews? Wrestling as Matt Silva,
Matthews was one of the original pillars of MCW and a former MCW champ.
After his WWE stint as Murphy and his subsequent release, he is now
wrestling with All Elite Wrestling (now available in Australia/New Zealand
on ESPN) which gives him availability to work indies. His title shot was
earned after his surprise appearance in MCW’s 2022 Ballroom Brawl, where he
was the final entrant.
Mitch Waterman is a true homegrown talent, with MCW regularly telling the
story of him being a kid in the crowd to now being champion – they told
that story for this match, with a young Mitch Waterman being in the crowd
for Matt Silva’s final MCW match in 2013. Waterman has been champion since
March 2022 after successfully cashing in his own Ballroom Brawl title
opportunity from 2021.
We came into this match with the story of Waterman’s championship reign
being that of a squeaky clean babyface calling out his own challengers to
prove that he truly was the best. This changed at the final event of 2022,
when Waterman faced his white whale Slex. When Matthews called his shot
mid-match, and with Waterman still unable to overcome Slex, he held the
rope for the assisted three-count to ensure he would go on to face Matthews
– tricks that the MCW knows he’s well-versed in following his time as half
of the dominant heel tag team, the Brat Pack.
Which brings us to the match, which is one of the best MCW matches in
recent history. I won’t describe it hold for hold, but it was a match that
told a great story. Mitch appeared to have his nose broken within the first
few minutes, leaking blood throughout the match. Struggling to overcome a
stronger, more powerful opponent who was brutalising him with kicks and
knees, Waterman again reverted to nefarious means. He attempted the
assisted three-count from the previous show, however the referee caught
him. Referee Edwin then took a savage bump to the outside, allowing the
opportunity for Waterman to undergo a personal crisis as he held his title
deciding whether or not to hit Matthews with it. In the end his indecision,
his attempt to cheat, and a new referee resulted in his downfall, with
Matthews winning the title that he last fought for almost 10 years ago to
Winner and NEEEW MCW Heavyweight Champion: Buddy Matthews
Following the match Matthews cut a promo saying the talent in MCW had
gotten much better since he had left. However, the title proved that he was
better than all of them.
This prompted Slex enter the stage. Then Mick Moretti. Then Tommy Knight.
Then Mitch Waterman, recovering from his beating. Buddy Matthews appeared
to accept all challenges ahead of the next show, MCW Blood in the Water.
Overall thoughts: This show is why I believe MCW is the best promotion in
Australia. We got three really great matches on this show, and a couple of
really interesting stories going forward. We have a women’s champ who is
even more over than she was after winning the title, we have a world-class
heavyweight champ who can hopefully bring increased knowledge to MCW
outside Australia, and we have a queue of challengers
The crowd was the biggest and loudest it has been since the pandemic, and
the diversity of the crowd makes for a very fun night out.
Critically for me, we also got a lot of variety, which is all I want on
wrestling shows – that, and shows under 3 hours. This show was over within
about 2 hours and 35 minutes, which was perfect. A lot of promotions could
learn from this, because I don’t believe anyone in the crowd left feeling
short-changed. The value comes from the quality, not the quantity!
How to watch: Melbourne City Wrestling live streams its shows on Fite, and
are then available on demand. For just $15, their shows are amazing value.
What’s next? MCW Blood in the Water on Saturday, 8 April 2023. You can buy
tickets from mcwtix.com.au or watch live on Fite. Announcements so far
include the returns of “The Taiga” Tome Filip and “The Kings of MCW” The