Melbourne City Wrestling’s second show of 2023, Blood in the Water, took place at the Thornbury Theatre on Saturday 8 April. It comes after February’s The House Always Wins, where Buddy Matthews won the MCW World Title, and we established tonight’s four-way main event to decide his first challenger.
Running a show on Easter Saturday was, I thought, an interesting call, but it didn’t impact crowd numbers at all. It was still sold out, with only a small number of scattered single tickets and standing room tickets available a week out from the show.
I usually try and check out the Fusion pre-show match, which MCW uses to introduce new talent to the audience – but I was at home watching the footy, so I missed it on this occasion.
However, I can report that Matt Marauder defeated Black Diamond’s Seth Tanner.
Before the event starts, the highlights of the show are previewed, including the announcement of a new MCW General Manager.
MCW Women’s Title Match: Delta (c) vs Cherry Stephens
This is Delta’s first title defence after ending Jessica Troy’s near-12 month reign at MCW 12 in November 2022. At The House Always Wins she interrupted a ranting Jake Andrewartha, who hadn’t been pinned or submitted in almost four years, and tapped him out to one of the loudest roars I’ve ever heard at Thornbury Theatre.
New PWDownunder favourite Cherry Stephens earned this opportunity in the Ballroom Blitz match at MCW 12, where she eliminated all four opponents. She has only made sporadic appearances in MCW, but she is over like blazes with the wrestling student gimmick.
Cherry starts out the match really hot, and while she’s not playing heel, she’s leaning into the pre-match study by sticking and moving and trying to frustrate Delta.
Delta is a popular enough babyface that, when she grabs Cherry’s notebook and tears it, the crowd roars its approval. When Delta puts a piece of paper into Cherry’s mouth and slices the corners of her lips they pop even harder.
We got a really good, fast-paced match here, that ends with a hot finishing sequence where Delta hit a huge spear for a looong 2, Cherry cuts off Delta as she tries to ascend the turnbuckle and hits a powerbomb, which she follows up with a Shining Wizard that Delta needs the bottom rope to break up at the very last second.
As Cherry went for a second Shining Wizard, Delta caught her, hoisted her up, and hit the F5 for a 3-count to end a great opener.
Winner and STILL MCW Women’s Champion: Delta
As Delta is on the stage holding her belt aloft, Jarvis brushes past her – he’s not waiting for his match. Delta is indignant, but ends up making her way to the back.
MCW Intercommonwealth Title Match: “The Golden Boy” Emman Azman vs Jarvis
Emman has been on a really fun, longterm story arc where he won a 16-man tournament to get a shot at Mick Moretti’s Intercommonwealth Title, which he won late last year in a triple threat against Moretti and Adam Brooks.
Jarvis is still a relatively newcomer to MCW, and there isn’t a storyline or an explanation behind his title shot. In an interesting note though, these two were this week announced for another match next weekend at the Melbourne TAMASHII show, and they are comrades in Renegades of Wrestling’s heel “The Ambush” faction.
Emman is playing the good guy here though, and he starts out hot with a missile dropkick off the top rope. After a visit to the outside, the two start teeing off on each other with strikes, which Jarvis gets the best of, including hitting a sweet springboard suplex.
As we progress Jarvis goes to grab the belt, which ref Edwin isn’t having, and the distraction allows Emman to roll Jarvis up for a long 2. Emman then hits a springboard DDT followed by a standing Sliced Bread for another great near-fall.
Emman goes to capitalise, but Jarvis pulls the ref in between them which allows him to hit a springboard stunner for 2. Incredulous, he goes to grab a chair with referee Edwin wrestles from him – so Jarvis grabs the belt and wipes out Emman.
Jarvis pins Emman… And Delta is back to pull Jarvis from the ring. As Delta and Jarvis argue, Edwin finds himself shoved into the barrier, and he rings the bell.
Result: No Contest
Jarvis goes to shove Delta, which leads to a glare and a “you f**ked up” chant from the crowd. She hoists him for the F5, but out comes MCW ‘authority figure’ Jay Andrews to interrupt. (His role hasn’t ever really been explained, he just appears from time to time.)
As Jarvis escapes into the corner, Jay admonishes him, before turning and shoving Delta – again, the glare and the “you f**ked up” chant. She hoists him up, Jarvis hilariously bolts to the back, but Delta decides against the F5 to the guy writing the cheques.
Jay decides the now is the time to announce the new General Manager to deal with this stuff, and we get Rocky Menero.
Our last sighting of Rocky was MCW 12, when The Parea turned on ‘Dad’ costing him his Stone Burial match against Caveman Ugg.
Rocky announces that he’s not medically cleared to wrestle any more, which is news, and really sad news if it’s a shoot. He says he’s here to make MCW the best show it can be. He says he has a huge announcement…
Then Adam Brooks’ music plays, and he does his babyface entrance – the babyface music from the stage (not the stairs) – to a huge pop.
Brooks says he doesn’t deserve the cheers, because the last time he was in this ring he was a scumbag. He says he lost the MCW Championship, he was eliminated from Ballroom Brawl, he couldn’t win Colosseum, he couldn’t win the Intercommonwealth title, and he was frustrated.
So he left for a bit, he thought the grass was greener on the outside, but he’s ashamed of how he acted last time he was here, and he’s sorry to the crowd and to the people in the back.
He tells Rocky that MCW has been his home since he was 19 years old, and he asks that Rocky reinstate him to MCW. Rocky says this wasn’t his big announcement, and jokes that Brooks has ruined his moment. He says MCW isn’t just a girlfriend he can cheat on and come back to. Brooks doesn’t just have to win over Rocky, he says he has to win over the people. Rocky asks whether the crowd trusts Brooksy, and the answer is no.
Rocky says he’ll have to earn his way back, and Brooks says he’s willing to earn everyone’s trust, so Rocky says the answer is “not now, Dad’s in charge and he’s going to teach you a lesson”, so he has to win everyone over. Brooks accepts this and leaves to the back.
Rocky goes back to his announcement and says that Ballroom Brawl will take place on 8 July, and that the winner of tonight’s main event will challenge Buddy Matthews at that show, but his announcement is quickly cut off by the recording saying…
The Sacrament is about to begin.
Edward Dusk enters the ringside area and starts emptying out weapons into the ring. With Rocky still in the ring, Dusk tells him that The Sacrament happens whether he’s here or not.
Rocky starts to hesitantly take his jacket off, but Brooksy’s redemption arc begins now as he runs out from the back.
The Sacrament: Edward Dusk vs Adam Brooks
The Sacrament is basically Edward Dusk’s own segment where it’s his world, and anything goes. So we got a fun little hybrid start where Brooksy is wrestling a Brooksy match, but Dusk is wrestling no-dq match.
We get Dusk piffing chairs, choking and hanging Brooks with a chain, and assaulting him with what I think was an oven tray.
It’s not a total domination from Dusk, but he takes the majority of the match, and he is made to look like a star by Brooksy here. The finishing sequence involves Brooksy hitting a leaping DDT from the ring apron to inside the ring, where he lands on some chairs, making him slow to get up.
As he goes to the top rope to attempt his Swanton Bomb, Dusk piffs another chair at him – which immediately breaks across Brooks’ head – and goes onto hit version of the One Winged-Angel, the Wicked End, onto the chairs for the 3-count and a massive win for Dusk.
This was easily Dusk’s biggest win in MCW, and may be the biggest win of his career. Brooksy has the ‘out’ of having to rescue Rocky, and the match taking place in “Dusk’s world” – but for Dusk, this was a star-making performance and result.
Winner: Edward Dusk.
The Parea (Eli Theseus & Gabriel Aeros) vs The Untouchables (Damian Slater & Marcius Pitt)
The Parea, billing themselves as “The Kings of MCW”, last appeared at MCW12 where they dominated Big Dude Energy before taking out their dad Rocky Menero. They did however provide a video at The House Always Wins at ‘Dad’s memorial’ where they proclaimed themselves the Kings of MCW.
The Untouchables, representing TMDK, are out of Perth and are the current top contenders to EPW’s tag titles. They aren’t regulars to MCW by any stretch, but they’re an incredible team.
What followed next is perhaps the best tag team match I’ve ever seen live. It had everything – it was hard hitting, it was athletic, it told an incredible story, and the crowd was super invested into it.
After an incredible match we see a wild finishing sequence where Pitt hits Theseus with a huge belly-to-belly suplex off the top rope – but Aeros is already on another turnbuckle, so he immediately hits a frogsplash to Pitt and dumps Theseus (who is the legal man) on top of him but Slater breaks it up, leading to Slater and Aeros trading.
The Untouchables hit their finisher on Aeros – an assisted DDT where Pitt has the opponent on his shoulder and Slater comes off the top rope delivering a DDT – but Theseus breaks up the count. They go for their finisher again, but Aeros moves, resulting in Slater delivering a DDT to Pitt.
The Parea hit a Magic Killer to Slater for a long 2, and then go to hit the Hart Attack, where Aeros is kind of pushed off, colliding with referee Edwin.
With the referee down, Theseus taps out to a Slater STF, and Pitt hits an F5 to Theseus. We have a new ref, so Aeros stomps on him. He hits double low blows, then they hit their tag team finisher, which is kind of an Aeros-bicycle kick to an opponent that Theseus is holding in a Hart Attack position. Edwin is revived – kind of – and we get a looong two.
Aeros grabs his gold chain and goes to hit Slater with it, but Pitt takes the bullet, The Parea deliver their finisher again, and an incredible match comes to a close to the roars of “that was awesome.”
This was a ‘pen down match’ on a ‘pen down show’, so you’ll have to go watch it – but it’s on the MOTY list to re-watch in December. An incredible match.
One of the fun little stories it told was of Aeros and Pitt being really wild units who needed an element of calming from their partners – I think that would be a really fun one-on-one match at some point.
Winners: The Parea
We get a brief intro/recap video reminding us of “The Phoenix” Stevie Filip.
The next match is a surprise match up, however an appearance by Tome Filip was announced beforehand.
Zhan Wen vs “The Taiga” Tome Filip
Zhan last appeared in MCW late last year as a monster challenger to Jake Andrewartha. While he didn’t get the win, I expected we’d see him back in some sort of monster role – that’s not the case here, he’s facing a re-debuting Tome Filip.
This was a brutally difficult spot for these two to be in after the tag match, but they worked really hard. Tome was working semi-heel with a lot of back rakes, but it wasn’t completely overt.
Funnily enough, he won the match with the Deadfall at about the same time as SANADA was using it to win the IWGP Title. (The Deadfall is a kind of Sister Abigail-turned-DDT.)
Winner: “The Taiga” Tome Filip
Before the main event we get an incredible video, narrated by Buddy Matthews, commenting on each of his potential opponents.
Four-way Elimination Match: Mick Moretti vs Slex vs Tommy Knight vs Mitch Waterman
That match came together at The House Always Wins after Buddy Matthews beat Mitch Waterman for the MCW World Heavyweight Title. Other storylines of note coming into the match are Mick Moretti and some clowns that have been accosting him, and Slex and Tommy as Tag Team Champions learning to co-exist.
The story of this match saw Slex and Tommy working together throughout – there were a few instances where Slex accidentally hit Tommy, or almost hit him, and Tommy was getting cranky, but it wasn’t paid off within the confines of this match.
They worked together at the start to keep Mitch on the outside while they worked on Moretti. This went on for quite a while until Mitch switched in for Mick. Moretti and Waterman realised they needed to work together and began doing so.
During this phase of the match Waterman appeared to injure himself jumping to the outside. I originally wondered if it was a severe oversell, but as the match went on it became clear that he was hurt.
The period of the match with all four men lasted a good while, but then we heard the clown music and three clowns enter through the crowd. As they jump on the ring apron it gives Mitch the chance to roll him up for three, and Mick Moretti is eliminated.
The clowns put the boots to Moretti and kidnap him, taking him through the crowd.
The next phase of the match was quite short, with Waterman really struggling to work the injury – he couldn’t even bounce off the ropes from an Irish whip. There were a couple of moments of confusion between Tommy and Slex. Slex goes to kick Mitch but misses, hitting Tommy instead. In Slex’s confusion, Mitch took the opportunity to hit a sick Hidden Blade (that he calls the Tempest) and pins Slex. Slex is eliminated.
The Waterman injury really hurt the match here, cos instead of getting a fun exchange between two fresh opponents with massive stakes on the line, Waterman pinned Slex, then Tommy hit him with a lariat for the 3-count almost immediately. Mitch Waterman is eliminated.
I think the Mitch injury hurt this. While all four men were in the match, they were largely able to cover for it, and it was a fun match that was building to something. Sadly though we never quite got the finish – it ended very quickly with little drama, which is the last thing you expect from MCW shows.
Winner and #1 contender to the MCW World Heavyweight Title: Tommy Knight
As well as announcing Ballroom Brawl for 8 July, the show also closed with an announcement for MCW High Stakes on 20 May.
Final thoughts: MCW shows are always great. The production is great, the crowd is generally excellent, and they tell really good stories. This show was no different. We also got one very good match between Delta and Cherry, and a phenomenal match between The Parea and The Untouchables.
I do think there was a little something lacking compared to most MCW shows over the last year. I think the lack of heat and drama in the finish of the main event hurt how the crowd felt leaving the show.
The booking of the women’s division concerns me a little as well. If Delta’s feuds with men are leading to the women’s title being phased out, ala PWA when it became the Soul of PWA title, I think that will be really exciting – but if she’s just wrestling men to get over as a powerhouse while MCW doesn’t book any other women who could eventually challenge? I think that’s a bit ordinary, and I think we’re past that in 2023. MCW’s treatment of women’s wrestling has always been my biggest complaint with the company, and there’s such an outrageous amount of female talent in Australia I don’t think there’s any great reason to not involve more women.
Bonus Final Thought: I will always try and look for the positives when covering local wrestling, I think the standard is incredible and so much better than we have any right for it to be. So my additional final thought (/rant) is that if you’re going to come to a show and completely disrespect the talent by trying to get yourself over and make a fool of yourself? You’re a jerk.
How to watch: MCW live streams its shows on Fite TV for a very reasonable $15, and its production is outstanding. Shows also go free on Fite+ after a month.
If you’d like to check out a live show – and I absolutely recommend it – tickets to MCW High Stakes on 20 May are available at mcwtix.com.au.