Australian Stampede Rundown: By Michael Lee (AWC)

Written By: Michael Lee

I’m Michael & Ive been a Australian wrestling announcer & commentator for the past six years. Since 2021 I’ve been the mind behind the online Australian Wrestling Community which aims to promote all activity regardless of borders & highlight the achievements of our hard working Australian superstars. During Starrcast Weekend I was given the illustrious opportunity to help announce for Bret Harts Australian Stampede & here is how it unfolded!

After an explosive pre-show outing where Luke Watts retained the SLAM Championship against Dan Archer, we begun the show in earnest with the TNA World Champion Moose greeting the audience of Selkirk Stadium. Whilst not one to mince his words, Moose begun reminiscing about his last visit to Australia for IMPACT Down Under in Wagga Wagga. In the beginning he initially hinted finding Ballarat the superior city before proclaiming that Ballarat was no better then Wagga Wagga & the entirety of Australia must simply be trash. In the weeks leading up to ‘Australian Stampede’ Moose was originally scheduled to face his storied rival ‘The Walking Weapon’ Josh Alexander for his world title but wished to pick give the chance of a lifetime to a ‘nobody’ of Melbourne. Enter the OPW Champion Adam Brooks!

The G.L.O.A.T sized up the man from Moose Nation relaying his experiences across his 15+year career to reinforce he is the farthest from a nobody in Australia but sees this as the perfect platform to challenge the champion given his faction ‘The System’ not apart of ‘Australian Stampede’. All of this talk about match-making & creating moments like no other beckoned forth the General Manager for the Night, Eric Bischoff (and he was indeed, better then ever).

With his trademark ear-to-ear smile, revelling in a position of authority once more, Bischoff tells the duo they’re making his job all to easy swiftly granting their request! This however left another matchup to be decided which summoned Mance Warner to the ring demanding Bischoff fix the situation as he was scheduled to face Brooks the OPW Championship. Enter Josh Alexander giving Bischoff the inspiration to make their matchup ‘ANYTHING GOES’. After Bischoff gave Mance some incentive to begin proceedings with some swift karate, the bell rung & both men begun brawling up the rafters & all around the stadium!

From wheelchair users to chairs , Tim-Tams & a Shrek enthusiast, anything & everything could be weaponised!

Although a match like this would ordinarily be more in ol’ Mancer’s wheelhouse, Alexander adapted his technical wizardry to the surroundings keeping pace with the American rough houser! After a superplex by Mance onto a board that didn’t break, Alexander upped the ante & emerged victorious powerbombing Mance through two of them before locking in the Ankle Lock & scoring the win!

‘The Walking Weapon’ Josh Alexander def. Mance Warner

As part of the Australian vs India Six-Man Tag, renowned Cricket Commentator Bharat Sundaresan begun proceedings talking about his love for Australian Wrestling & OPW before revealing his intentions to proclaim India as the superior country not just in the world of sports! Bharat then introduced the CWE Tag-Team Champion followed by former WWE Superstar Shanky! Team Australia quickly raced to the ring following words from Bharat & the CWE Champions & the match begun with Shanky & Stevie Filip trading heavy overhand chops before ‘The Golden Boy’ stepped onto the scene. Emman showcased his elusiveness & agility against all of Team India for several minutes, however the match would quickly shift gears after Shanky flung Emman across the ring like a rag doll, to being Baba & Singh neutralising the former Intercommonwealth Champion with several innovative holds. Emman would eventually tag in ‘The Tiga’ which triggered all six competitors trading signature offence ushering them to the outside. Bharat would later hand Baba a cricket bat but accidentally struck Shanky delaying his ferocity long enough for The Natural Classics to hit the ’Mother of All Bombs’ followed by the ‘KL Gold’ from Emman for the pinfall!

Shortly following this match So Cal Val appeared on the entranceway to interview the Stu Hart Heritage Champion of Dungeon Wrestling, ‘The Masterpiece’ Chris Masters! Masters highlighted the legacy of the Harts in wrestling not intending to leave Ballarat without his championship then warning his opponent Mike Rallis (FKA Madcap Moss) that he would fall to the Masterlock!

‘Goldenboy’ Emman Azman & The Natural Classics (‘The Tiger’ Tome Philip & ‘The Phoenix’ Stevie Philip) def. Shanky Singh, JT Baba & Toofan Singh

Next up was a dream bout for both the competitors & the fans of New Japan Junior Heavyweights as the ‘Time Splitter’ KUSHIDA battled Australia’s own ‘Sniper of The Skies’ Robbie Eagles! Both veterans while renowned high flyers also double as expert technicians which was on full display all throughout with both men knowing the others offence inside & out! KUSHIDA would gain some control after delivering a sliding dropkick to the outside followed by picking apart Robbies left leg & arm. A springboard back elbow would fling Eagles onto the apron but in his second attempt at a springboard Eagles clung to KUSHIDA’s legs in a makeshift tarantula bringing both men back to even footing. With their good legs we saw a flurry of kicks to the injured limbs before KUSHIDA transitioned into an armour that required a rope. break. Robbie managed to deliver three rapid kicks to KUSHIDA before KUSHIDA transitioned into his ‘Hoverboard lock’. After another exchange of submissions Robbie would finally get the win with his signature 450 splash to KUSHIDA’s leg followed immediately after with the ‘Rod Miller Special’ submission & the victory.

Eagles would say a few words following his victory that he will continue to be the backbone of Australian wrestling & that he is chasing the OPW Championship!

Sniper of the Skies’ Robbie Eagles def. ‘Time Splitter’ KUSHIDA

In his first match back on the independent circuit, ‘The Gold Standard’ Shelton Benjamin was given a challenge of the highest order sizing up ‘The Last Heavyweight’ from South Australia, Tommy Knight! Both men had different scheduled opponents leading up to Stampede in the form of Powerhouse Hobbs (Knight) & SLEX (Shelton) however circumstances would pair these two together instead for a hard-hitting affair the moment Knight struck Shelton before the bell rung with a discus forearm. Knight was eager to end proceedings early with a near fall spear with several strikes that grounded Shelton early on. Shelton would regain his footing later on after landing his dragon whip kick. Knight would later miss a top-rope senton enraging the South Australian prodigy to the point after a release German suplex to respond in kind with a vicious lariat for a nearfall. In Knight’s arrogance of heading to the top once more, ‘The Gold Standard’ would leap to throw Knight overhead followed by a running top-rope punt then the ‘Paydirt’ for the pinball! Both men had something to prove heading into this contest with Knight showing he can give superstars the threat of their lives while Shelton proved he is still an elite athlete & a benchmark for all independent powerhouses to pursue.

‘The Gold Standard’ Shelton Benjamin def. ‘The Last Heavyweight’ Tommy Knight

To further build up to the international championship bout, the host of ‘Australian Stampede’ & WWE Hall of Fame Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart addressed the Ballarat faithful thanking them for their attendance before explaining the importance of the Heritage Championship & that having the title featured in Australia is a key highlight in his decades long career. Bret would then take a seat at ringside ready to see first-hand who would hold the Heritage of the Hart Dungeon by the end of the night.

Much like Shelton Benjamin, Mike Rallis was having his first match back on the independent scene in Ballarat on this night & determined to remind the wrestling world how much of a threat he posed. As Masters implied earlier the night the them of this match was Masters trying to secure the Masterlock with Rallis having to find more increasingly creative ways to block/delay the hold being applied. Rallis wanted to not only outclass Masters in this contest but flaunt his accomplishments to Bret Hart at ringside even going so far as to apply the sharpshooter staring directly at ‘The Hitman’ until Masters grabbed the ropes. The end came when Rallis was bouncing off the ropes for a burning lariat only for Masters to counter his momentum into the Masterlock forcing Rallis to tap out! Bret would enter the ring one final time & congratulate his champion on a successful defence before heading to the guardrails to interact with the Selkirk Stadium audience.

 ‘The Masterpiece’ Chris Masters (c) def. Mike Rallis via submission with the Masterlock

Sitting in the realm of excellence…

In the only OPW title defence of the night, the ‘Kings of The Continent’ The Parea put their tag-team gold on the line against the unholy union of ‘The Eternal’ Edward Dusk & the ‘fanging & banging Vampire Warrior’ Gangrel! Initially we saw all four men taunting & sizing up the capabilities of each pairing, then after The Parea swiftly cut Dusk from his corner the aim of the contest became unleashing Gangrel. The Parea would employ several tried & tested methods to delay Gangrels presence but after Aeros & Theseus missed two elbow drops it allowed Dusk to roll to his corner & tag in his new dark mentor. Gangrel would slam The Parea would employ several slams for some near falls but displayed his supernatural endurance when he kicked out of the Kalinikta which has put away several of The Pareas most fearsome foes. Aeros would then try to strike Gangrel with his gold chain but ducked out of the way causing him to strike Theseus! In the confusion Dusk struck Aeros with a clubbing forearm guiding him in the perfect position for Gangrel to deliver the Impaler DDT & win the bout ending The Parea’s 286 day reign!

The Eternal’ Edward Dusk & ‘Vampire Warrior’ Gangrel def. The Parea (Gabriel Aeros & Eli Theseus) (c)

Finally in our Stampede main event it was Champion vs Champion as Moose defenced his TNA World Title against the ‘Greatest Ledge of All Time’ Adam Brooks. While a contest between two fighters in the ring, the second contest was between Moose & the people of Ballarat as he would take every opportunity available to taunt or beatdown Brooks before swiftly flipping off the fans reinforcing his growing displeasure of Australia. Moose set the pace for the entire contest flinging Brooks around the ring as well as into the barricades. When Moose positioned Brooks for a shoulder block into the barricades, Brooks ducked out of the way causing Moose to fly into the crowd. When Moose regained control once more he would chuck Brooks onto the floor allowing him to recover in the ring & potentially earn a contour victory were it not for Brooks to enter back into the ring at nine. When Brooks regained control he would employ increasingly vicious tactics following a tope suicida including forearms to the back of moose head & a crossface broken up by the ropes. In Brooks’ state of adrenaline & egging on the punishment from Moose, the TNA champion distracted the ref with a thrown pad before swiftly kicking him below the belt. Moose would nearly deliver his signature spear were it not for some last minute thinking from the OPW Champion instead landing a shotgun dropkick. As Brooks landed a Swanton only thwarted by Moose’s foot on the ropes, Moose gained a final burst of energy to flapjack Brooks onto the ropes then finally landing his spear to retain his title!

Moose (c) def. ‘The Loose Ledge’ Adam Brooks

OPW will return to the Civic Hall & Ballarat Aug 30th, 31st & Sep 1st for ‘Gold Rush’ in conjunction with Major League Wrestling! With over 7,000 tickets sold for this international Starrcast extravaganza, we await with bated breath what moments Oceania Pro Wrestling will craft next for Australian audiences! 

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