PWDU Live Review: MCW Ascension (Saturday 9 September 2023)

Saturday 9 September saw PWDU back at the Thornbury Theatre in Melbourne’s inner north for another really exciting looking Melbourne City Wrestling card. We’re sold out once again, and the atmosphere is crazy from the moment you walk in.

Sadly I had some dire phone issues, so my notes aren’t great – but let’s see how we go.

Fusion Pre-show: “The Artist Formerly Known As” Lockie vs Jake Taylor

Coming out of PCW’s training school, this is Lockie’s second MCW appearance after a quick stint in July’s Ballroom Brawl. Jake Taylor is a Fale Dojo/TAMASHII representative.

Lockie wins a short match.

Winner: “The Artist Formerly Known As” Lockie

Barry “Lucky” O’Leary vs “The Phoenix” Stevie Filip

Lucky O’Leary is another PCW talent who has just started appearing with MCW. He has such a strong heel narcissist gimmick, it’s perfect for local wrestling because you know immediately what the act is and how you’re supposed to react to it.

Seeing Stevie in a singles match here struck me as a little strange. The Natural Classics had gone their separate ways at the end of last year after falling out of contention for the tag titles, but I don’t think either has really taken off as singles. As a tag team they’re stars, as singles guys they’re a little “meh.” They appeared to re-unite during the Ballroom Brawl before being eliminated by The Parea, but Stevie was back to singles here.

We get good, albeit pretty standard opening match fare that got the crowd excited without going overboard. Stevie ultimately wins it with a Phoenix Splash.

Winner: “The Phoenix” Stevie Filip

We get a post match video promo from Robbie Eagles, who notes the Classics’ reformation during Ballroom Brawl, says it’s about time for one of his MCW visits, and introduces the friend with whom he wants to challenge the Natural Classics at the next show in October. It’s TMDK’s Young Boy Kosei Fujita, who is currently on excursion in Australia.

MCW Intercommonwealth Title Match: Emman Azman (c) vs Jarvis

Jarvis won the Women’s belt at Ballroom Brawl by cheating to defeat Delta. He wants to pay respect to the lineage of the women’s title, and shows a quick video that ends in his own celebration.

Rocky Menero enters the ring and has decided the match is going to be title for title.

MCW Intercommonwealth Title + MCW Women’s Title Match: Emman Azman (c) vs Jarvis

New PWDU favourite Emman is currently on the tear of his career, having recently faced off with el Hijo del Vikingo, and having banger matches all year. This was another one – Emman and Jarvis is such a great match of styles. 

This match gave us a combination of athleticism, high-flying, and really hard-hitting striking – it leant into both of their strengths, and made for a really outstanding match.

The ending comes when Jarvis retrieves the Intercommonwealth Title, but is prevented from using it by the ref. As the ref hands it back to the outside, the Women’s title is randomly on the outside – Jarvis is just able to reach it, wipe out Emman with it, and pin him with his feet on the ropes to become double champion. It wasn’t a fluke win though, Jarvis took quite a lot of this match, they’re building him as a wrestler at the same time they build him as the world’s most unlikable jerk.

I really enjoyed this, and the crowd really enjoys hating on Jarvis.

Winner and NEEEW Intercommonwealth Champion + STILL Women’s Champion: Jarvis

We get a promo from Robbie Thorpe, who I think is immensely talented. He talks about how the Ballroom Brawl was meant to go, but he failed. He goes onto put himself over as “The Project” while saying “The Gift is coming.” Nice little promo.

The Sacrament: Edward Dusk vs Carlo Cannon

Edward Dusk is just about my favourite wrestler in Melbourne at the moment, and I’ve been really enjoying the originality of “The Sacrament” – it makes him and his matches automatically different to everything else on the show.

Carlo Cannon is a former MCW Champion who was a surprise returnee at Ballroom Brawl. Dusk eliminated him, which is what led to this match.

What follows is really violent – this was very much a hardcore match with chairs, oven trays and various other weaponry being broken. The violence was perfectly demonstrated by the finish, which involved Dusk hitting Cannon with multiple conchairtos before hitting the Wicked End on the stage.

I really enjoyed the point of difference to this match, and I was stunned by how over Cannon still was. I’m unsure whether this was a one-off appearance though, cos this was very much designed to make Dusk look increasingly like a savage. He took 80% of the match, and the ending was essentially a murder.

I don’t quite see the path from here to the title for Dusk, but that’s the direction I believe they need to be heading. He’s the best performer on almost every show he’s on, and he’s one of the most over.

Winner: “The Eternal” Edward Dusk

We’re back from intermission with Mick Moretti, and I’m not sure how to begin describing what happened next. 

Moretti had three clowns stalking him, who then kidnapped him at High Stakes. At Ballroom Brawl a garbled promo apparently revealed that Moretti had masterminded everything himself.

So he enters the ring with two clowns, not three, and they’re unmasked.

He introduces them as “Shadow Alley”, and introduces his faction mates only as “Snap” and “Crackle”, because “I’m the pop!” However the faction mates are PCW’s Ryan Rapid and Blake Malik, who are both extremely talented.

Moretti explained that he “Fight Clubbed himself with alcohol” and goes onto say that anyone who gets in their way will get “proper f**king hurt.”

This was/is so confusing. As a device for a heel turn, as a piece of storytelling, as a method to introduce new talent, I don’t really understand any of this, it’s just really confusing.

Caveman Ugg enters the stage and essentially says that he’s in the way, leaving Moretti to ask him “you and what army?” Ugg congratulates Shadow Alley on their energy, but his energy is… big. With that, RIcky Gilmore and Big Dave from Big Dude Energy join us, and we have a 6-man tag.

Trio’s match: Shadow Alley (Mick Moretti, “Snap” Ryan Rapid, “Crackle” Blake Malik” vs Caveman Ugg & Big Dude Energy (Big Dave & Ricky Gilmore)

The story of the match largely involves Ugg trying to get his hands on Moretti, while Moretti does everything he can to avoid him. His minions are repeatedly thrown to the wolves to protect himself.

We got a couple of cool high spots with Big Dave coming off the top rope, but the match ends when Moretti manages a quick hit and run, stomping Gilmore onto Big Dave and pinning Dave.

This match was just there – more than anything, it was about introducing Moretti’s new faction. But I’m not sure I understand or like the faction, nor do I understand or like the reasoning behind it, so the match confused me more than anything.

I’m a massive fan of Moretti’s so I’ll stick with this to see where it’s going, but right now if I’m a Ryan Rapid or a Blake Malik who has been waiting for an opportunity, I’m concerned as to where this might lead me.

Winners: Shadow Alley (Mick Moretti, “Snap” Ryan Rapid, “Crackle” Blake Malik)

Delta vs Aysha

Nice to see a match featuring a couple of women on the card. As I’ve noted in previous reviews, it’s a repeat source of disappointment for me that MCW doesn’t prioritise developing and providing opportunities to female talent.

The crazy thing is Delta proves that people will go banana for female talent – she’s the most over thing on the show. She might be the most over performer that MCW has ever had. I can’t fathom why you wouldn’t use Delta’s immense popularity to try and elevate other women.

At least if they’re giving us a women’s match, they’ve gone with Melbourne’s best. And they didn’t squash her – on the contrary, I felt like Aysha probably took 50% of this match, and was given the opportunity to look great. Down the stretch she hits a Sliced Bread #2 followed by a Shining Wizard for a 2.9 that genuinely had me, despite everything I know about wrestling!

Nor was Delta particularly convincing in the finish. The ref is inadvertently knocked down and Jarvis, who had been on commentary, enters the ring with one of his belts. He goes to wipe out Delta, but misses and takes out Aysha. Delta hits Jarvis with her F5 and pins Aysha – Jarvis’ belt shot was enough for the win.

I hope it means that Aysha is being somewhat protected against the biggest female star so they can come back to this, and possibly even do Aysha vs Jarvis down the track. If we’re talking about the need for more female talent as well as the need for more Melbourne talent, Aysha surely has to become a regular feature.

Winner: Delta

Delta takes the mic post match and challenges Jarvis for both his titles. She holds up his belts in the ring as Jarvis goes bonkers on the outside. She lays them down and heads to the back, when Jarvis remembers his courage and starts celebrating with his belts in the ring. I love Jarvis!

MCW Tag Team Championship Ladder Match: Big Business (Slex & Tommy Knight) (c) vs The Parea (Gabriel Aeros & Eli Theseus)

The Parea have become Australia’s best tag team not named The Velocities over the last year, and have been champs in waiting for a while. They agreed, and stole the belts at Ballroom Brawl, citing Slex and Tommy Knight’s individual focuses on the Heavyweight title.

An obvious pen-down match, this was a really cool, old school ladder match. The low height of the belts, combined with the fact that the belts are just attached to the lighting rig, presents all sorts of problems if you’re going to do crazy stuff off the top of the ladders. In previous ladder matches, wrestlers have tried to work around these limitations and their matches suffered.

This was different though – they seemed to have decided that these limitations are insurmountable, so it wasn’t at all a modern, high-flying ladder match with crazy dives; on the contrary, it was very 90’s style, using the ladder as weapons and introducing ring psychology to a gimmick match.

The only real crazy spot we saw from the top of the ladder was when Aeros was atop the ladder, and Slex dumped him to the outside on top of Theseus and Knight.

Slex is all alone in the ring, he’s about to grab the belts… and the lights go out. We see Buddy Matthews’ House of Black entrance, so Slex descends the ladder expecting to see Buddy. Of course there’s no Buddy though, it’s just mind games ahead of their title match at MCW 13.

The distraction allows The Parea to recover enough to enter the ring, hit Slex with their Hart Attack/Dropkick finisher through a ladder, and ascend to the titles.

The ending was a little predictable, including the House of Black part, but I thought this was a really enjoyable match, and The Parea are super deserving champions.

Winners and NEEEW MCW Tag Team Champions: The Parea (Gabriel Aeros & Eli Theseus)

After a period of celebration atop the ladder, The Parea randomly grabs a chair and puts it around Slex’s neck. Rocky Menero runs in for the save. Edward Dusk then runs in to attack Menero.

Next in is Emman Azmann, who goes after Dusk, then Mick Moretti who attacks babyfaces in general. Then we have Caveman Ugg and Lucky O’Leary.

Rocky takes the mic and announces that the main event of the next show will be Fight to Survive, which is MCW’s Survivor Series style elimination match, and it looks like it’ll be Slex, Tommy, Rocky, Emman and Ugg vs The Parea, Edward Dusk, Mick Moretti & Lucky O’Leary. (There’s a chance this could change, with Rocky supposedly retired, and a storyline happening in the background a few months ago where Adam Brooks was going to have to earn his way back to MCW.)

This was a fun bit of chaos at the end, and the crowd was going nuts for it, but it’s pretty lazy booking. There’s a lot of guys there who’ve never had anything to do with each other, and we have O’Leary who, to date, has been been portrayed as a lower card guy, who has never had a win, and has never associated with any of these main event guys.

Final thoughts: This was an enjoyable show, with a great main event and a great Intercommonwealth/Women’s Title match. Delta’s storyline arc continues to be really fun as she gets more over with the crowd, and as I mentioned, I’m glad that Aysha was given more than enough in her match against Delta to warrant an MCW return.

I’m still uncertain about Jarvis holding their women’s belt, especially if it’s only going to result in Delta beating Jarvis for both belts – they could’ve done that without putting the belt on a man, and they could’ve done that without running 6 months worth of shows that almost all only featured one woman.

I’m still perplexed why they aren’t using female talent for a second Fusion pre-show match. There’s a reasonable argument to be made that MCW shouldn’t book women for its own sake, and that the women have to be ready to hold their own on the show. While I can see that point of view, the fact that they aren’t scouting or developing female talent, even on the pre-show, largely delegitimizes that point of view in my opinion. 

I’m glad the Parea finally won the belts – it’s very much deserved – and while it was a little predictable, I liked how they got the tag belt of Slex before he goes into the Buddy Matthews match at MCW13.

All in all, another really fun show from MCW that you should check out when it becomes available!

How to watch: MCW Ascension will be available to stream on Fite+ this Saturday, 16 September. MCW shows are no longer pay per view – the Fite+ subscription will also get you other companies like PWA Black Label, Renegades of Wrestling, and Newy Pro.

I also suggest following MCW on X at @mcitywrestling to learn about upcoming shows. Their shows all sell out nowadays, so you’ll need to be following the company on social media or be on their email list to learn about upcoming ticket sales.

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