Last weekend saw me take PWDU on the road for PWA Black Label’s “Requiem for a Tag Team Dream”, with that show name being focussed on the final of the PWA Premiership tag team tournament that’s been ongoing this year.
I’ve been to PWA shows in Melbourne and Coogee, but this was my first show in its spiritual home of Liberty Hall in Sydney’s Moore Park Entertainment Precinct – as an aside, the wrestling was starting as the footy finished next door, with the Swans inflicting an all-time pounding on the West Coast Eagles.
First impressions are that it’s an incredible layout for wrestling – there’s room for the merch table without being in the way, the bar is very accessible but out of the way, and the stage and lighting look great.
We start out with an Acknowledgement of Country and the general PWA stinger – nothing specific to this show.
Ben Braxton vs Robbie Eagles
Hot way to start the show with the super athletic big man Braxton taking on “The Sniper of the Skies”. Robbie is fresh off his MVP performance in NJPW’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament.
Lots of wrestling on the mat here with headlocks and head-scissors – they spend the first few minutes fighting to a draw until Robbie gets a chance to fly, hitting a tope to Braxton on the outside.
They resume the story of wrestling a really evenly fought contest but Robbie’s experience has him finding holes to exploit. Down the stretch, Braxton is suffering a knee injury, causing him to miss a middle rope move and getting locked into Robbie’s Ron Miller Special before he gets to the rope. They pretty much repeat the spot when Braxton’s knee buckles on a backflip.
Braxton manages a final effort with a spinning brainbuster, but Robbie goes back to the knee and hits a Shining Wizard for the win. A really good opener here that was really successful in elevating Braxton against the top guy in the country.
Winner: Robbie Eagles
Will Kiedis’ live Goober Report w/ Ricky South
Kiedis says that he didn’t used to like his guest, but since an attitude adjustment a year ago he’s now a champion we can be proud of.
Ricky South comes out looking a million bucks – he’s grown a full beard, and he’s wearing a pink suit that looks amazing.
South criticises Jessica Troy’s PWA Rumble win, saying anyone could have won from 30 and she hasn’t proven anything.
They switch their attention to the ongoing feud with AM//PM’s Emo Night, with AM//PM’s Bigg Fudge in the crowd again – South makes some terrible zingers and Kiedis says he’s not to be confused with the other Big Fudge “who’s dead!” (That’s a major storyline development!)
Bigg Fudge enters the ring to face off with Kiedis and South, and then comes Charli Evans to tell them “they’re both f*cking dead.”
The segment ends with the bad guys bailing through the crowd and Fall Out Boy on the speakers.
We then go into a video promoting the PWA vs AM//PM Emomania show on 2 September.
Speed Force (Matt Boyton, Paris de Silva, Jude London) vs Prima Pi Kappa (Frankie B, Nikki Van Blair & Bel Pierce)
PWDU favourite Nikki Van Blair comes out with the bigender flag and new gear inspired by the same colours, and she looks amazing. (I was fortunate enough to meet Nikki later on during intermission, and she was every bit as gorgeous as I knew she would be, it was my highlight of the show!)
PPK start out hot with frequent tags allowing them to get the upper hand before Boyton uses PWA’s lucha tag rules to his advantage, attacking Frankie from behind before she hits a wild tope to The VeloCities on the outside!
Bel Pierce – introduced as Bel, rather than Belinda, after turning SMS at the PWA Rumble – gets a really good babyface house of fire spot, which I thought was noteworthy. Being in the live crowd, PPK are significantly more over than they appear on the stream. It’s justified too – the sounds they make, the things they do with the crowd, it’s live wrestling 101, but man PPK did it super well during this match.
The finish of the match comes when The Velocities hit a double stomp followed by a moonsault, allowing Boyton to pin Nikki. It was a really good outing from PPK though – good enough that I thought they could’ve easily had a cheap win here to set up a challenger for The Velocities.
Winners: Speedforce (Matt Boyton & The Velocities – Paris de Silva & Jude London)
We get a video with a “doctor” informing Jack Pain and Gymbro Jessie that Backman is injured – Jessie says “put me in coach”. After thinking about it, Pain asks coach Jessie what to do – and Jessie is in the match.
Carter Deams vs The Tuckman
Deams starts the match super arrogant, mouthing off with the crowd and treating Tuckman as a nobody – fair enough too, I’m pretty sure Tuckman hasn’t won a match on PWA Black Label yet. That’s part of the story, along with Tuckman eliminating Deams from the Rumble.
Tuckman gets some bursts of offence, which the crowd is super into, but he’s routinely getting carried away allowing Deams to cut him off, wear Tuckman down and continue mouth off at the crowd.
Deams’ hubris ultimately gets the best of him though, as Tuckman hits some big moves and near-falls. A couple of axe-kicks from Deams earns some near-falls of his owns, but he doesn’t hook the leg. (Deams’ axe kick looks sick.)
Tuckman fights out of a Kimura Lock and rolls up Deams for a flash 3-count, and everyone – including Tuckman – is stunned! A good story of Tuckman’s resilience vs Deams’ hubris.
Winner: The Tuckman
We see a video promoting the next show – PWA It’s Coming Home on July 29 at Liberty Hall with every title on the line and a 6-person ladder match Money in the Bank concept.
PWA Premiership Final: BackPain (Jack Pain & Gymbro Jessie) vs Mick Moretti & Jimmy Townsend
As we saw from the earlier video, Jessie is a replacement for Backman. There’s been a couple of replacements through the tournament, it’s been a bit snakebitten. That said, there’s no guarantee that it’s a shoot injury…
The story of Mick & Jimmy has been Mick taking Townsend under his wing and trying to teach him to win by any means possible. It led to some teased dissension during their semi-final at PWA Rumble. They tease it off the bat here – Jimmy doesn’t come out with Mick, then Jimmy’s music takes a little long to play, as Mick sells concern in the ring. Mick then refuses to help Jimmy get in the ring with his backpack on.
We see a lot of the “Tricky Mickey Mo” tricks early in the match, before he makes a point of screaming at Jimmy – who responds by tagging himself in. He maintains control, but won’t tag in Mick, and they’re laying it on really thick with that dissension as BackPain takes over.
Jimmy gets beaten down for a while, but Mick manages to tag in and take over. Micky and Jimmy start working together momentarily, until Pain forces Mick into Jimmy and Townsend cracks it. It results in him copping another beating though, until a Moretti distraction gives Townsend an assist.
Mick throws a chair into the ring in a call back to PWA Rumble when Jimmy refused to use it. Townsend thinks about it, but Pain grabs the chair, throws it away and hits a powerbomb for a nearfall.
Mick ends up rubbing some sort of cloth in the refs face knocking him out and throws Jimmy the chair again. Jimmy won’t do it, so Mick pie-faces him – and Jimmy blasts Mick with the chair. As the ref recovers, Jimmy throws Jack Pain the chair and bails to the outside – and the ref catches him with the chair and calls for the DQ as Mick & Jimmy successfully Lie, Cheat and Steal their way to the PWA Premiership. As Mick recovers, he embraces Jimmy, he’s stoked that Jimmy finally did what he had to.
I really enjoyed this match, I thought it was really fun from a storytelling perspective.
I had been a bit disappointed with the PWA Premiership leading into this – it looked like they’d done this big, 6 month tournament… to get nothing out of it in the way of storylines. It all came together here though – Mick and Jimmy is an interesting story when they go to it, they have options for a BackPain rematch given Backman wasn’t involved here and given the schmozz finish, and the Cherry/Bel Pierce was the catalyst for what was to come.
PWA Premiership Winners by DQ: Mick Moretti & Jimmy Townsend
The PWA Tag Team Champions, The Velocities, immediately hit the ring and challenge the Premiers.
They announced a 30 minute intermission here, which absolutely stunned me. 30 minutes? Why? That sucks for people at the venue and on the stream! The positive is that PWA fans seem to chat and meet strangers, so the 30 minutes went quickly.
Jessica Troy vs Jack Bonza
This match was announced after Troy won the PWA Rumble and Ricky South denounced her status as number 1 contender. Despite their previous Nations relationship, Bonza also denounced her for winning the rumble from 30, and Troy said that when she beat Bonza, then she gets her shot at Ricky South for the title.
Jess enters first, but there’s no Bonza.
Ring Announcer Diego says he has a message from Bonza that Jessica Troy isn’t worth his time, however he has a replacement from his Army (the Rogue Army.)
Caveman Ugg’s music hits
Jessica Troy vs Jack Bonza
Jessica Troy vs Caveman Ugg
Caveman Ugg arrives through the crowd at high speed, almost knocking your PWDU correspondent from his chair! He proceeds to decimate Troy, throwing her around the ring by her hair then beating her up on the outside. There was also a noteworthy, savage overhand chop from Ugg.
This was a domination that sucked a lot of life out of the crowd. Jess got a couple of heat spots in, but they were so short. She shows a lot of babyface resilience, but she’s unable to overcome the early savaging from Ugg’s sneak attack.
The end comes when Jess has locked in the Fujiwara armbar. Bonza’s music hits, and distracts the ref. Jess gets up and yells at the ref, then turns into a sitout piledriver for the three.
That’s an odd way to treat your Rumble winner and nominal number 1 contender. It’s not just that Jess lost, it’s that Ugg took 90% of this match. I think the crowd was ready for Jess to win the title – this match would suggest she’s going to have to go through the Rogue Army to get there.
Winner: Caveman Ugg
6-pack Challenge: Aaron Jake vs Shay Kassidy vs David Streamer vs Kingsley vs Michael Spencer vs Everett Connors
Kassidy carries a teddy bear that apparently has magic powers to repel people? She’s one of the babyfaces, along with Kingsley and Connors, which is significant to the story of the match.
It’s mostly typical 6-pack fare with short bursts of action between two competitors before they’re dragged to the outside and a different two go out it… and then there’s a series of dives to the outside.
Highlights included some power moves from Streamer, Kingsley’s vocals and character work, and the dives from Connors and Spencer.
Shay Kassidy’s teddy bear attacks the faces of Spencer and Streamer before Jake hits it with a massive leg drop. So that was fun. The finish comes shortly after with all 6 in the ring – Connors is paired off with Streamer, Jake with Kassidy and Kingsley with Spencer – and the three babyfaces hit simultaneous backslides for the three count.
It was ok for what it was, these 6-packs are never there to steal the show, just for some light-hearted relief – this achieved that, especially after the match with Kingsley leaving the ring yelling at Kassidy and Connors that she won.
Winners (tie): Shay Kassidy, Kingsley, Everett Connors
We get a super special pre-match video and entrance for Unsocial Jordan and SMS, noting the betrayal of Bel Pierce.
Soul of PWA Championship: Cherry Stephens (c) vs Unsocial Jordan
PWDU favourite Cherry Stephens has been champ since beating Mick Moretti in September last year. She teamed with Bel Pierce in the PWA Premiership, Cherry and Bel pledged PPK, and at the PWA Rumble Bel betrayed Jordan.
Jordan is out with Aaron Jake and Carter Deams. Stephens is out with Bel Pierce as his “entrance demons” try and offer them alcohol (which they refuse.)
The match starts off pretty even, before distractions from the outside allow Jordan to take advantage as SMS crowd and intimidate Pierce. We also get a creative spot as Jordan traps Stephens’ arm in the turnbuckle pad and wails on her with a kick.
As we move into the middle of the match the pace picks up with Cherry hitting slick kicks, elbows and a dive – she then hits a Tiger Driver but Jake pulls the referee from the ring. So here are Nikki Van Blair and Frankie B to attack Jake and Deams and fight them to the back. It was significant that Pierce wasn’t involved in this brawl at all…
Jordan is on the top turnbuckle with a sleeper hold on Cherry, lifting her off the ring by her head and neck. Cherry finds her way to the ropes and manages to reverse a fireman’s carry on the top rope into a top rope blockbuster. Cherry is in too much pain to pin Jordan immediately though.
The finishing sequence comes when Jordan tries to hit a Shining Wizard, but misses and takes out referee Hannah. Stephens hits a Shining Wizard of her own, but there’s no ref to count the 3.
Stephens and Pierce are checking on the ref while Jordan grabs his tripod. Cherry sees it though and steps on it, kicking it away. Pierce picks it up, enters the ring behind Stephens… and Stephens sees Jordan and Pierce do the SMS sign and is knocked out with the tripod.
Pierce revives the referee, she counts thee, and we have a new champ.
I liked this match. It wasn’t a 5 star classic or anything, and I do think they probably rushed Belinda Pierce’s part of this story – but I thought that, bell-to-bell (no pun intended) it was good storytelling, and I thought Cherry, Bel and Jordan all played their roles really well.
Winner and NEEEW Soul of PWA Champion: Unsocial Jordan
Final thoughts: I’d traveled interstate for this show, so when I learned that I wouldn’t get to see any of Ricky South, Lyrebird Luchi or Charli Evans wrestle I was a bit flat, and I was wondering whether I’d picked the right show.
As it turned out, I really enjoyed it! I don’t always love PWA storylines, but I love the commitment to them, they’re obviously a greater priority in PWA than they are in most of the Melbourne promotions I frequent. As I mentioned, I think they pulled the trigger on Bel Pierce’s “re-heel turn” a little quickly, but the way the three protagonists told that story during the match was really well done.
I also thought the opener was really good, I think PPK are turning into PWA’s next longterm tag champs, and I liked the storytelling of the PWA Premiership final.
If you’re based in Sydney, or if you’re visiting any time soon, you could do a LOT worse than checking out a PWA show! Great product, great storytelling, great venue, great crowd – and conveniently they’re announcing shows months in advance, with shows announced for 29 July, 2 September, and Colloseum in mid-October.
It made me wish I could go back for next month’s show! As it is, our next excursion for PWDU will hopefully be Colosseum.
How to watch?
Follow PWA on twitter @PWAaustralia to learn about upcoming events and view links to ticket sales.
This was the first PWA show since they went live on Fite+ – which means you can watch it live or On Demand with the basic Fite+ subscription. That’s an incredible deal that also gets you MCW and Renegades of Wrestling here in Australia, and gets you GCW from the US, among a whole heap of other things. The link to the show is https://www.fite.tv/watch/pwa-requiem-for-a-tag-team/2pd7i/