EWA Lethal Weapon
I recently wrote an article on PW Downunder giving an overview of some of Australia’s top promotions. I’m always open-minded when it comes to Australian wrestling though, so when EWA’s recent Lethal Weapon show from 11 February was recommended to me I was keen to give it a look.
According to Cagematch, this was EWA’s fourth show, having commenced running in early 2022. This show features a rumble, which I think are generally great “jump on” points for any promotion, and I’m excited to revisit a couple of Sydney wrestlers that I’ve seen before.
Before the live stream kicks off they show some recap videos and some videos that they’ve posted on social media. I love this – I think local wrestling needs to make itself accessible to its non die-hards, and re-cap videos are the best way to do this.
We kick off with an in-ring segment, which is a bummer of a way to start any show when you’re new to the promotion. But the first impression is really positive. The arena looks tremendous, the lighting is great, the ring looks great. They could probably do a better job hiding empty sections among the crowd, and the audio isn’t great – but there are plenty of more experienced indies doing these things worse.
Ring announcer Luke Hutchinson welcomes us and introduces the commentators before telling us the main event for tonight still has to be signed. He introduces acting EWA General Manager and prolific podcaster Piers Austin, who cuts a long promo about the main event.
The segment ends with Vinnie Vain assaulting his challenger Scottie Paulo with the contract table and his title belt. Like every contract signing ever!
We get a video pre-match for the Tyson Gibbs vs Djaysonic highlighting the personal nature of the feud. But before the match we get Ben English cutting a promo. The audio makes it difficult to understand word-for-word, but he cuts a heel promo before introducing Tyson Gibbs, who has sadly rid himself of one of the all-time beards, highlighted in the pre-match video.
Grudge Match: Tyson Gibbs vs Djaysonic
The match is announced as having a 15 minute time limit, which is strange for a grudge match. We then get Tyson Gibbs powdering on the outside wasting time while the commentators tell us that someone will be unconscious within 15 minutes.
We get a bit of action on the outside before we go to the ring and it’s heel 101 from Gibbs and his manager with English choking Djaysonic behind the refs back, cocky pins, and generally slow arrogant work that didn’t seem congruent with the “grudge match” that had been promoted.
Gibbs largely dominates the match with English continuing to get involved until he is caught interfering and ejected. Following that Djaysonic takes over for the final few minutes before the ending comes with Gibbs choking out Djaysonic as the time expired. Gibbs goes on to hit a TKO after the match, before cutting a promo and challenging his opponent to an ironman match.
I thought this was a fun house show-style opener, and both guys look good in the ring. But the pre-match video talking about each other’s families and hyping the grudge match didn’t do it any favours.
Result: 15 minute time-limit draw
Ring announcer Luke announces that the following match will be for the tag team titles after previous champions, Osama Hussein and Mick Farook broke up.
Double Impact Tag Team title match (vacant): Captain Keato & Jay Sorbet vs The Original Greasers (Tristan Slade & Robbie Zucco)
Both of these teams are certainly over with the crowd. Both really strong gimmicks, with Keato wrestling in cricket gear and the Greasers’ gimmick pretty self explanatory.
The match starts with basic tag team wrestling. Sorbet does some pretty good looking stuff off the top. There were a couple of fun comedy spots, which the strong gimmicks in the match probably leant themselves towards, then we got another heel 101 finish as Sorbet picked Slade up for a suplex before Zucco tripped him up and held Sorbet’s legs as Slade pinned him.
Winner and NEW Double Impact Tag Team Champions: The Greasers
Flame vs Niki Nitro
The commentators put over the 20-year rivalry between these two women. After two matches that felt a bit “house show” in style, the presentation and the commentary leading into this match made it feel like a big deal, and made it feel like the real show was starting now.
The match had a bit of everything. Some chain wrestling to start, some stiff shots, and then some heel work from Flame to take advantage. Extended heat spot before they start going back and forth and Nitro hits her stunner for the win a little out of nowhere. This match was just ok, it didn’t really seek to tell much of a story, and it lacked crispness.
Winner: Niki Nitro
EWA Heavyweight Title match – Title vs Career: Vinnie Vain (c) vs Scottie Paulo
Both these men have dominated EWA’s title picture since the company’s inception, with Scottie Paulo winning the inaugural title and Vinnie Vain winning it on his second opportunity at the previous event. It’s led to this, with Scottie Paulo putting his career on the line for one last final match against Vinnie Vain.
We have a very well-defined heel/face dynamic between these two, and both are clearly over with the EWA audience. Paulo even stopped to check on some kids that were knocked over when Vinnie ran into a barricade.
Paulo was dominant to start with before Vinnie resorted to heel tactics to take advantage. He gets a near-fall, tries for a couple of count-outs, but his momentum is stalled when Paulo catches him off the top rope into another near-fall.
After some back and forth, Vinnie gets the 3-count with his foot on the ropes. As he attempts to hightail out of the arena with the belt, the ring announcer and a second referee alert the ref to Vinnie’s feet on the rope and re-starts the match. While I generally try to view these events through a positive lens, I hated this – there are 100 ways to do a “Dusty finish”, and involving the ring announcer and a backstage ref isn’t a good one. As much as anything, it discredits every dodgy heel win on the next show.
The match re-starts with Paulo bringing Vinnie back into the ring the hard way. A slam and an unfortunately shot hip attack that showed Paulo nowhere near Vinnie leads to Vinnie trying to hit Paulo with another belt shot before Paulo locks him into the sharp shooter for the tap out.
There was a lot happening in this match without any great ring work to tie it together. I’ve seen Vinnie Vain live and was impressed by him, but there wasn’t much to love about this match.
Winner and NEW EWA Heavyweight Champion: “The Samoan Warrior” Scotty Paulo
EWA Lethal Weapon Hardcore Title Rumble Match (vacant)
This is a new belt for EWA, and we’re told we’ll get a new entrant every 60 seconds, with standard rumble elimination rules with both feet hitting the floor. As a hardcore title match, every entrant will bring a weapon to the ring.
#1 – Fly Guy
#2 – Toy Master
We’re told this is Toy Master’s EWA debut, and he comes out blowing bubbles and handing out gimmicks to the fans. They shake hands and pose on the ropes, with Toy Master taking the opportunity to eliminate Fly Guy.
#3 – Kasai
The commentators put Kasai over bigtime, saying Toy Master isn’t in his league, and Kasai attacks the Toy Master before he bails under the rope.
#4 – Mini Mo
Mo immediately starts dominating Kasai as Toy Master remains on the outside. Kasai is almost eliminated but saves himself.
#5 – Pain Machine
The 4th masked wrestler so far out of 5. Pain Machine locks in an armbar on Mini Mo who taps, but obviously isn’t eliminated. As those 2 pair off, so does Kasai with Toy Master, before Kasai uses the nunchucks brought to the ring by Pain Machine to lay the field out.
#6 – “Cowboy” Chris Abbott
Abbott uses his weapon, a bullrope, to eliminate Pain Machine before laying out Mini Mo and Kasai. He and Toy Machine hit Kasai with dueling five-knuckle shuffles.
#7 – Osama Hussein
Hussein comes enters a house of fire, thumping guys and eliminating Toy Master.
#8 – Mojo
Mojo takes most of 60 seconds looking for a weapon before entering the ring empty handed.
#9 – Massive Q
The enormous Q enters an enormous favourite, taking out everyone with the pool cues that he brought as weapons.
#10 – Parker Tomas
My personal favourite in this match, Parker has one of the more enjoyably punchable heads in Australian wrestling. He takes his time getting in the ring as Q threatens him with a pool cue. Mojo is eliminated by Osama Hussein.
#11 – Otis
Otis wrecks Mojo on his way to the ring as Hussein puts a beating on Abbott. Otis enters the ring laying out everyone with an oven tray.
#12 – Mick Farook
Farook, the inaugural tag champ with Osama Hussein, enters the ring and the two face off. Otis puts a beating Osama before Hussein is eliminated. Farook then eliminates himself.
#13 – Apollo
Parker Tomas finally enters the ring along with Apollo, and now we’re starting to fill the ring.
#14 – Harvey Falco
Falco enters taking out Kasai and Abbott before he breaks a chair on Massive Q’s back. There’s bit of a rough spot here as Apollo and Falco try a really awkward back and forth in the corner.
We get an entrance video for the Deadly Sins tag team, but no one appears and the match continues. Falco continues to beat people up with a chair and Kasai gives a Abbott a rough ride on the top rope.
#16 – Ethan Hughes
Hughes brings an ironing board as a weapon, which is a fun choice. The commentators put him over as a returning legend and he starts wiping people out with his ironing board before suplexing Abbott through it. Hughes then suplexes Kasai through the ironing board and bends it in half.
We get the Deadly Sins music and video again, but again there is no entrant forthcoming. Tomas eliminates Falco.
#18 – Joey
Joey is put over as being a commentator and a big, scary looking one at that. He enters the ring and goes back and forth with Kasai. Joey takes out Kasai and Tomas before Joey and Hughes stand in the middle of the ring and… look at each other for a little bit. Chris Abbott tries to assert a bit of control over the match as the countdown begins.
#19 – Akell
As we wait for Akell, most of the wrestlers are just standing around the ring waiting for Akell to hit them all with a shoe. Massive Q then takes over delivering chokeslams and Joey is eliminated.
I believe Parker Tomas is also eliminated here, but it isn’t shown on camera.
#20 – Vinnie Vain
Vain is back after losing his heavyweight title in the previous match. He hits Q with a chair and convinces everyone to work together to get rid of Massive Q, who is eliminated.
The remaining entrants put a beating on Vinnie Vain before Vain is eliminated by Apollo.
Everyone then works together and Ethan Hughes is eliminated.
The final four remaining are Kasai, Chris Abbott, Otis and Apollo.
Abbott and Otis pair up in one corner, and Abbott is eliminated.
Kasai uses a head scissors to eliminate Apollo.
Kasai and Otis square off with Kasai quickly thrown over the rope, but he squirms back under the ropes without his feet hitting the floor. They do a similar spot with the roles reversed and Otis saving himself, before a series of chops, an Irish whip over the top rope and a boot to the chest of Kasai – however Kasai saves himself hooking his feet under the bottom rope.
Kasai manages to athletically re-enter the ring before eating it on an attempted top rope move. Otis hits a powerbomb, dumps some thumbtacks, and Kasai gets out of the slam attempt.
With Kasai on the top turnbuckle, Otis throws some thumbtacks into Kasai’s face, before Kasai blocks a superplex attempt and sends Otis back first into the thumbtacks.
Kasai throws Otis over the top rope, but Otis again hangs on, rips off Kasai’s mask, and then throws a defenceless Kasai over the top rope to the floor while still on the ring apron himself. Kasai goes on to freak out on the floor as the camera’s try not to show his face.
The exchange between the final 2 was really good, but this was one of those disjointed rumbles that sometimes results in people standing around waiting for something to happen. There didn’t appear to be much focus on those details that fill in the match between all the big spots, and it relied heavily on some experienced hands like Chris Abbott, Parker Tomas and Vinnie Vain to hold it together. Having two empty spots with the Deadly Sins that we didn’t get an answer to also felt weird.
Winner and NEW Lethal Weapon Champion: Otis
Overall thoughts: I watched this mainly for the rumble match, which was a good, entertaining match, without being great. Which is probably a good summation of this show as a whole – it was good, it was entertaining, but it certainly wasn’t great.
This was my first look at EWA, and there are some things that they clearly do very well. The visual production looks outstanding, they have a great following of kids who are really into the show, and while they didn’t land everything on this show, I like the emphasis on storytelling.
Things I didn’t love so much were the audio production – but once again, there are plenty of indies that do it much worse. And my biggest gripe was just match quality. I always hope to see something great on a local show, and EWA Lethal Weapon just didn’t have that great match or that great moment. A lot of the show felt a lot like a house show in terms of match pacing and quality.
With all that said, EWA appears to be a well-produced, family friendly show for people with young wrestling fans at home. It’s not a promotion that I would travel from Melbourne to see based on this show – but that’s not to say it was a bad show. I think for its target audience, this was probably a very successful show. If you live in Sydney and have kids who are into wrestling, EWA appears to be a really good option.