As I sit down to write this review, it’s 10:47AM on Saturday. I attended the show live last night at the Factory Theatre and had a great time- such a great time, in fact, that I’m sitting here first thing in the morning, coffee in hand, ready to write this review. Also, I’m immediately re-watching the show on FITE so I can give it the same level of detail and analysis as I did for the Premiership shows over those 13 weeks. Really, it’s just a convenient excuse to watch the show again.
With PWA making their debut on FITE TV– the home of AEW, NJPW, and a multitude of other pro wrestling and MMA companies- the lights are on bright and Pro Wrestling Australia is looking to shine. They’ve been at the forefront of Aussie wrestling for the longest time, and here they look to do it on the biggest stage yet at Back In Black Label.
With such a huge platform, PWA loaded the card up. We’ve got the PWWA Championship on the line as Jess Troy defends her intergender championship against the Sniper Of The Skies, Robbie Eagles. We’ve got the PWA Tag Team Championship up for grabs- literally, as the Velocities face off with MK Plus Ultra in a ladder match for the ages. And the Premiership Grand Final is decided, as the Rapscallion, Mick Moretti takes on Lyrebird Luchi.
It’s the next morning, I’ve already seen the show, and just writing the intro has me pumped all over again! PWA Back In Black Label… let’s do this!
We open with an acknowledgement of country from Andrew Rose and Kris Gale. And we’re wasting zero time here getting to the big guns… it’s PWWA Championship time! I will actually need to rely on FITE for the start of this match, as we walked in the door around 5 minutes late. Getting a park in Marrickville is a pain in the butt. Throughout this show I’ll give a mix of my live reactions/thoughts and the action based on the televised product, but it’s all TV to start, baby!
Match 1: PWWA Championship- Jessica Troy (c) vs. Robbie Eagles
Thunderous chants of “Robbie, Robbie, Robbie! Oi, oi, oi!” to start, swiftly followed by “Jess, Jess, Jess!” Two fan favourites here, and damn, I’ve missed this live energy from crowds! They tie up, and it’s Eagles with the power advantage, pushing Troy to the corner. They grapple again, and this time Jess rolls through to an armbar attempt, but Robbie makes the ropes. High stakes here.
Jess blocks a whip attempt and hits a springboard arm drag in a manner very reminiscent of Robbie himself. A hurricanrana follows. A dropkick, Robbie reels to the outside and Troy kips up! The champ is on a roll! Robbie gets back in and we get another quick grappling sequence, before Eagles drops Troy with a shoulder block, followed by a knee drop to the back of the knees! The signature surgical attack by Robbie on the legs of his opponent begins.
Robbie appears confident, verging on cocky, and the crowd turns on him a little. This is around the point I actually walked in the door, and it was fascinating seeing a crowd turn on perennial babyface Eagles. It speaks to the following Jess Troy has garnered in PWA though. Jess creates a little separation with a boot to the face, followed by a sunset flip for the first near fall of the contest. Robbie quickly regains control with some hard strikes that drop the champ. Jess avoids a corner charge and starts a comeback with some running elbows, but a follow up boot misses, and Eagles scores with a 619 to the back of the leg.
Robbie is 100% heeling it up at this point, wrapping Troy’s leg up in the ropes and yelling, “I have until 5!” It’s a line Bryan Danielson used pre-WWE, and Robbie confirms the homage by doing some mocking “Yes!” chants to the crowd. He goes for the Figure Four leg lock, but Jess escapes and monkey flips him to the outside! No rest though as Troy flips out of the ring and catches Eagles with a satellite DDT on the floor! Back in the ring, a Meteora gets a near fall. If I start wrestling, I’m naming my finish Hybrid Theory. Just saying.
We get the old “yay/boo” strike exchange. Hey, if you’ve got a crowd, might as well use them! Jess wraps Robbie up in a kimura with a bodyscissors, but Robbie escapes, looks for the Turbo Backpack, Jess escapes, then Robbie hits a brainbuster! VERY close near fall. Robbie woos and goes for the Figure Four, but gets caught with an inside cradle for a long 2 count. Eagles back up with a quick kick flurry. Jess responds by attacking the arm, but Eagles crumples her with a devastating high kick! He looks for a top rope Psycho Driver- holy shit- but Troy counters with a poison rana! HOLY SHIT! 1, 2, and noooo! Robbie kicks out!
Meteora to the arm gets a near fall for Troy, but then she transitions to the Fujiwara armbar! Eagles writhes in pain but makes the ropes. Superkick by Robbie. Pump kick by Jess. Robbie hits the Psycho Driver!… but Jess falls out of the ring. Eagles gets her back in the ring for a near fall, then goes up top, maybe for a 450- but Charli Evans pushes him off the top! That’s a blatant DQ!
Winner: Robbie Eagles (via DQ at 16:17)
Star Rating: ****1/4. That was on its way to being everything I dreamed it could be until that damn Charli Evans ruined it! Seriously, tremendous action throughout, with maybe the most believable heel work from Robbie Eagles I’ve seen, and Jessica Troy proved that she’s at that elite level. Bonza’s words from a few weeks ago during the Premiership may prove to be prophetic- we’ve got to enjoy and appreciate Jess while we have her. It’s only a matter of time before a major company snaps her up.
Post-match, Charli gets in the ring to check on Jess… and then levels her with a superkick! She raises the PWWA title to a chorus of boos! Charli vs. Jess again? Take my money! They had a killer match at Call 2 Arms last year, but empty arenas and all that. Charli’s happy to be the heel here, smiling and flipping off the crowd as we boo.
JT starts an announcement, and is interrupted by the music of Unsocial Jordan! The leader of SMS walks out with Bel Pierce by his side. He admonishes the crowd as we start a “Jordan’s a wanker” chant. He promises to not leave the ring until we stop swearing. Shazza McKenzie and Big Fudge are on the scene! After some back and forth, with Fudge unleashing all the swear words he can- including “poop dick” (I think that’s what he said)- we get an impromptu tag match, playa!
Match 2: SMS (Unsocial Jordan & Bel Pierce) vs. The Choc-Blockers (Big Fudge & Shazza McKenzie)
Before JT can conduct the intros, SMS jump Fudge & Shazza! Bel and Jordan isolate Fudge. Fudge goes for the dreaded fingerlock but Bel clocks him with a forearm. First near fall comes courtesy of a Jordan flying knee in the corner on Fudge. Jordan goes for a suplex but Fudge counters with a Stunner! He’s unable to tag to Shazza, as Pierce tags in and continues the beatdown.
Fudge dives for the tag but is a solid metre short. Jordan rips Shazza off the apron, and that might not go over too well at home later. SMS continue to punish Fudge. They go for a double back suplex- but Fudge lands on his feet and connects with the double butt punch! Fudge finally gets the hot tag to McKenzie! High angle back suplex on Bel. She knocks Jordan off the apron. Shazza with the trademark series of kicks in the ropes on Bel, but Jordan stops her and hits a half and half suplex! Near fall with Fudge making the save!
Jordan and Fudge trade punches. Fudge with the whirly-bird headscissors! Sugar Rush by Fudge is stopped with a Shining Wizard, but Shazza gets back on the attack before Jordan can make the cover. Shazza charges, but gets caught with a swinging sleeper hold! Jordan releases her so Bel can come in with a Spear, he makes the pin to get the win!
Winners: SMS (at 6:20)
Star Rating: **3/4. Nice change of pace after the intensity of the opening match. Gave us a chance to catch our breath, but still highly entertaining with the antics of Fudge, and the nuclear heat gained by Jordan. All four worked well, having a good amount of experience together.
Well, well, well, it’s Don Marnell. He invites JT to f**k off- his words, not mine. He does the ring announcing. He says the match is scheduled for one fall… and will end whenever Sam Osborne chooses it to. He hypes Osborne being undefeated, and says that he won a three-legged race by himself. Interesting…
Match 3: Sam Osborne (w/ Don Marnell) vs. Steph De Lander
Well, this event is Back In Black Label, and SDL is rocking some nice black gear. Marnell introduces her as a “snake”. I mean, she is the Python Powerhouse, but I wouldn’t quite use that verbiage! She’s a scary presence.
Osborne seems very confident, taking a sip of his coffee, and immediately turns into a big boot from De Lander! He manages to kick out, fortunately, I couldn’t imagine the embarrassment of only lasting a few seconds. Flying cross body gets another near fall for SDL. Vertical suplex for another 2 count, and this here is what you call domination by Steph!
De Lander throws Osborne out of the ring and starts battering him around ringside. She leans him against the apron and lands a blistering chop… ah, I’ve missed the sound of those live! She repeats the feat on the other sides of the ring before throwing her victim, I mean, opponent, back in. Osborne goes for the backbreaker/T-Bone combo but SDL decapitates him with a clothesline before he can complete it. She covers, but Marnell gets up on the apron and distracts the ref!
The distraction gives Osborne the opportunity to take control of the match. He strikes De Lander’s pose and hits a suplex for a near fall. He applies a rear chinlock but Steph soon fights out and unloads with a series of suplexes! Back suplex. Gutwrench. German. The Prize Bull is getting a VIP tour of Suplex City! He manages to kick out and Marnell is flustered at ringside. Steph goes for the Death Adder but Don gets up on the apron once again. She decks him and Sam seizes the moment to stack her up for a pin- feet all over the ropes- and he gets the 3 count!
Winner: Sam Osborne (at 6:35)
Star Rating: ***1/2. Really strong action through that, everyone played their roles beautifully. I said there wasn’t a big personal issue heading into this one, but they could build a nice feud based off the events of this match if they wanted to. Osborne vs. SDL in a cage match, book it, PWA!
An outstanding hype video airs for the Kingsley vs. Jack Bonza match. Seriously, Jax Jordan deserves all the love for the work he puts in to these. Actually, the entire PWA production team deserve a coffee or two.
Match 4: Kingsley vs. Jack J. Bonza- If Kingsley wins, she becomes the leader of the Red Nation
Bonza comes out in his street clothes and tells Kingsley to go backstage, forget about this and she can go back to being the flag bearer for the Nations. A fired-up Kingsley responds, “I’m not your bitch anymore!” and the fight is on!
Kingsley with a flurry of strikes. She tries to whip Bonza but he’s too strong. He cracks Kingsley with an elbow, followed by some more strikes in the corner. He delivers a backbreaker to his “niece” and then tells referee Nick to count. This isn’t a Last Man Standing match! Kingsley gets to her feet, more clubbing shots by Uncle Jack, followed by a clothesline. Nick is forced to apply the 10 count again, and Kingsley once again gets up. This is an interesting approach on a couple of levels- Bonza’s character can justify this by saying that he’s giving Kingsley the opportunity to stay down, like he’s showing mercy, but really, it’s just prolonging the beating and making her suffer more than if he was working with the standard 3 count pin.
Kingsley pulls Bonza face-first into the middle turnbuckle and starts swinging and stomping. Kingsley goes for the wheelbarrow- which is usually the prelude to the X-Factor or the Codebreaker- but Bonza flips her into a Tombstone and absolutely spikes her! Kingsley gets her foot on the ropes at 9 to break the count- technically that puts part of her body out of the field of play. Clever. Bonza yells at Nick, who yells right back. Bonza charges Kingsley, who dodges, and Bonza spills to the outside. He gets back in and Kingsley catches him with a Codebreaker and a basement clothesline, but barely gets 2.
Kingsley goes for a sunset flip but no avail. Jack pulls her up… right into another Codebreaker! Wheelbarrow X-Factor scores for a more definitive 2 count. She goes to the ropes for a leaping version of the Codebreaker, is caught by Bonza, and turns it into a Destroyer for an incredibly convincing near fall! Kingsley goes for a victory roll but Bonza reverses into the ankle lock! Kingsley rolls through and Bonza almost hits the referee. As Nick turns away, Kingsley throws her tea in Bonza’s face! A couple of near falls result from an inside cradle and La Magistral cradle. High drama here.
Kingsley tries with all her might to execute a backslide, but Bonza blocks and hits a vicious powerbomb. He goes for the Napalm Thunder Driver- but Kingsley counters with a guillotine choke! He could grab the ropes but instead chooses to try the Napalm Thunder Driver again. Kingsley reverses into a rear naked choke. Bonza again opts to not grab the ropes, instead breaking the grip. Kingsley transitions to a half Boston crab. Bonza is about an inch away from the ropes, and his facial expressions don’t really indicate much pain, but he taps anyway! Kingsley did it!
Winner: Kingsley (at 9:05)
Star Rating: ****. That was such an emotional thrill ride. I was Team Kingsley all the way, but the match structure sucked in everyone, the reactions for Kingsley got louder and louder as she tried to overcome the odds. The finish was interesting- was it a case of Bonza deciding that Kingsley had done enough to prove herself?
Match 5: Generation Now Open Challenge- Matty Wahlberg & Ricky South vs. Aussie Open
The challenge was to anyone in Australia, and Aussie Open answer the call! I’m not super familar with them, but I know they had a lot of success over in the UK, and I know Kyle Fletcher from his recent PWA exploits. Big boys fighting here! Rose tells us that Mark Davis is returning from an ACL injury.
It’s Wahlberg and Fletcher starting, and Wahlberg immediately taunts him with a playful kick and a slap. Tie up and a quick grappling exchange that the Aussie Arrow gets the better of. Tie up again and this time Matty gets the better of it with a modified arm drag. He goes to lock in an armbar, then a triangle choke, but Kyle escapes by initiating a stack pin. Rapid fire exchange ends with a Wahlberg STO and a standing Kobe elbow for the first near fall of the contest.
Ricky tags in and asks for Mark Davis. He gets it, and as Wahlberg tells us from the apron, we’ve got a hoss battle here! The big boys soon collide with shoulder blocks, neither man really budging! Davis with a solid boot to the face and Aussie Open take control. Double flapjack and South gets crazy height, followed by a PK and a senton. Great stuff. Wahlberg back in and a tandom strike flurry leads to a near fall for Gen Now. Wahlberg goes up top for the OG Kobe, but Fletcher knocks him to the outside with a leaping kick. Aussie Open with stereo back suplexes on the apron! Ouch!
Wahlberg and Davis square off. Wahlberg hits a couple of chops and Davis absolutely flattens him with one. Davis with a scoop slam, and Matty scrambles up and shoves him, tell him to “come on”. So Davis obliges with another spine-tingling slam. Fletcher tags in, charges across the ring and boots South on the apron, because reasons, I guess. Fletcher taunts Wahlberg, who pops up and cracks him with a leg lariat. South tags in and trades forearms with Fletcher, and the match gets about 5X faster in a heartbeat. Ricky suplexs Fletcher onto Davis, and Tuff Stuff is on fire! Stalling Northern Lights suplex gets him a near fall.
The pace picks up some more, and Fletcher SPIKES South with a Michinoku Driver! Davis in, big clothesline, but Wahlberg breaks up the pin attempt. He scores with a Stinger Splash and some Muay Thai knee strikes. He goes for the Posterize, but Davis counters with the Alphamare Waterslide (thank you WWE 2K for giving me that move name!) . Davis lifts Wahlberg into a powerbomb, but he counters with a triangle choke. Ricky gets Kyle with the abdominal stretch. Fletcher lawn darts South into Wahlberg, and this war continues!
South and Davis trade a brutal series of chops that may give me nightmares. Absolute carnage! Pump kick by Davis, but Ricky rebounds with a lariat for a great near fall! Powerslam/flatliner combo by Gen Now. Wahlberg with a crazy flip dive onto Fletcher on the outside. But Davis kicks out! Ricky hits a piledriver, and that should be all, but Fletcher breaks up the pin. Tandem cutter on Ricky by Aussie Open, but Wahlberg breaks up the pin. This is madness! Butterfly lift by Davis into a Fletcher spinebuster, but Wahlberg kicks out. Wahlberg accidentally boots South, and Wahlberg takes the Aussie Open finisher- almost like a double team version of Lance Archer’s Blackout? Can’t find an actual name. Anyway, this one is over!
Winners: Aussie Open (at 19:06)
Star Rating: ****1/2. That was awe-inspiring. I knew basically nothing about Aussie Open going into this, but now I want to go and find as many matches as I can of theirs. That was truly a war. I saw Wahlberg and South after the show, and they were covered in welts. All four guys absolutely worked their asses off for our entertainment. In the moment live, one of my favourite tag team matches. Watching it back, it’s still right up there. Incredible.
As Gen Now recover in the ring, a video plays. It’s hyping the next big Black Label event- March 12, PWA It Started Out With A Kiss, at Factory Theatre. It’s hyping Ugg vs. South finally happening… will we actually get it? I don’t want to dwell on bad news, but earlier in the day before this event, Victoria was placed into a Stage 4 lockdown. Will borders be open to finally allow this mammoth PWA Championship match?
After the video plays, a jubilant Ricky goes to fist-bump Wahlberg, but Matty, still stinging from the loss, blows him off and walks backstage. Damn. Trouble in Gen Now?
Rose & Gale offer some psycho-analysis for Wahlberg, perhaps questioning his own place as de-facto leader of Gen Now, before throwing to the long-awaited Prefects Playground Brawl. PWA’s first ever cinematic match!
Match 6: Prefects Playground Brawl: Jimmy Townsend (w/ Cherry Stephens) vs. William Preston
Jimmy and Billy sit down at the bench to discuss their differences. Jimmy says he gets it, he understands Billy trying to become his own man, but he could have said something. It hurt him. Billy responds that it wasn’t his fault that Jimmy failed high school. He was hurting too, he was all alone at uni. Then they start yelling at each other and the brawl is underway!
They throw each other into the playground equipment and the nearby steel fence. “You want a cage match?” yelled Preston. Cherry gets involved and starts taking shots at Billy too. Billy gets knocked onto a see-saw and with Cherry’s assistance, gets propelled into forearms from Jimmy. Some great drone shots of the playground, along with the backing music. Billy throws Jimmy down a slide… and the landing actually looked a little painful. Cherry takes a couple of bumps when both Billy and Jimmy knock into her by accident.
They climb up a spiderweb structure. Billy gets his head stuck in the middle and both Cherry and Jimmy kick him in the head a bunch of times. Jimmy yells, “Cherry, get the backpack!” in the same way Bubba Ray would tell D’Von to get the tables. Cherry pulls out a pencil sharpener and Jimmy uses it on Billy’s pinky. Okay, that could potentially hurt! A nipple cripple follows. Bringing the pain! They then use a textbook as a deadly weapon. Those things have some weight in them!
Jimmy gets Billy with the “free shot” circle game and lands a superkick. They go into an actual wrestling sequence, with Townsend trying the butterfly suplex, Preston blocking and going for the Overdrive, which is avoided. They climb up the playground, Billy throws Jimmy over the edge but he holds on. They do the Lion King spot, but when Jimmy falls, he lands on his feet because they’re about 2 feet off the ground. Classic.
Cherry to the rescue, but Billy hip tosses her over the picnic table. This launches a Wild West parody in the form of a handball game. Then they get rulers and have a sword fight. Intense stuff. Cherry sets up a folding table and they knock Billy onto it. Jimmy then hits a Swanton onto Billy from the playground equipment. Looks great with the slow motion and angles. They pull themselves onto a swing set and sit down. Jimmy says, “I don’t think it’s working out any more, man”. Billy puts his hand on Jimmy’s shoulder and walks off. Cherry still looks ready to fight, but Billy hands her a fake ID and keeps going. He looks back at Jimmy and flashes the “free shot” sign with a smile, which is returned.
Credits roll, but we get a post-credits scene in the style of Paul Walker saying goodbye to Vin Diesel in the Fast And Furious, complete with “See You Again” playing in the background. It goes along with a Prefects montage of their best (and worst) moments. I may have shed a tear or two.
Winner: Jimmy? Maybe? Both? Us? (in approx 22:00)
Star Rating: *****. That was wonderful. Fun and silly, but with just the right amount of tension and true to character moments. School’s out, forever.
Match 7: PWA Premiership Grand Final- Mick Moretti vs. Lyrebird Luchi
Moretti comes out with a bunch of clown friends. More Joker style than Doink style. Mick is also rocking some cool new facepaint. Kris says “I won’t be able to sleep, these clowns will eat me!” Love a good Simpsons reference!
The Lyrebird bails to the outside away from Moretti, but the clown posse scare him back into the ring. They seem slightly insane. Moretti charges Luchi in the corner, then hits a fisherman’s buster for an early near fall. Luchi messes with the turnbuckle pad and tries to throw Moretti into the exposed buckle, but the Rapscallion’s not having it. Moretti boots through Luchi- although, of note, he’s not actually wearing boots tonight, instead wrestling barefoot. With Referee Ando”s back turned fixing the buckle, Luchi deliberately runs into him, taking him out of the match for the time being.
Luchi immediately hits a low blow, and Moretti responds with a headbutt to the dick. Only the finest in journalism here, ladies and gentlemen. They trade eye rakes. Moretti kicks the middle rope into Luchi’s groin. If there’s a rule to break, they’re gonna break it here! They fight to the outside, momentarily getting wrapped up in the apron. Moretti hits his running version of the Taker leg drop. Luchi crawls under the ring, Moretti follows. We hear some loud banging but don’t actually see it, so use your imagination, I guess… Moretti gets the better of things, throwing Luchi back into the ring, and also picks up referee Ando on the way.
Luchi comes back with a flying knee and starts raining strikes down on Moretti. Moretti eventually recovers with some upkicks, and the patented handstand into the headscissors. Luchi returns fire with an exploder suplex into the corner, getting a near fall for the Lyrebird. Luchi keeps knocking Moretti down with strikes, but he keeps getting back up to bring the attack back! Slingshot tope turns things firmly in the favour of the Rapscallion. He drapes Luchi over the middle rope and hits a double stomp that seems to put him through the mat, but he kicks out at 2.
Luchi hits a back fist but it has little effect, as Moretti fires back with a clothesline that folds him up for another great near fall. Both men back to their feet, and Luchi back drops Moretti to the outside! Whoa! With Moretti looking to beat down the count back to the ring, Luchi tries a baseball slide, but takes a suplex on the apron instead! Back in the ring, Moretti with a dragon suplex, but Luchi somehow escapes at 2.85. Moretti goes up top and the clowns from earlier enter the ring and stand in his way! Moretti starts swinging at them, and amongst the chaos of the referee trying to restore order, Wahlberg enters the ring dressed as a clown and hits the Posterizer! Luchi picks up the scraps and wins the inaugural Premiership!
Winner: Lyrebird Luchi (at 12:28)
Star Rating: ***1/2. They definitely thought outside the box with this one, a lot of zany antics. It seemed more designed to show off the creativity and underhanded tactics of both characters. Very different to everything else to this point on the show, which is a good thing, because variety is the spice of life. Also, surely I’ve got to get my wish now? Moretti vs. Wahlberg?
Match 8: Will Kiedis vs. Charli Evans vs. Rhys Angel vs. Mat Diamond
Charli getting a frosty reception from the crowd after her turn on Jess Troy at the start of the night.
Rhys Angel takes a triple superkick to start the action. Evans and Kiedis temporarily team to take on Diamond, who blasts them both with a double Pele kick. Mat looks to do a dive but Rhys intercepts him with a Superman Punch! Diamond returns fire, then Kiedis hits him with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Kiedis hits his Goober elbow drop on Diamond and Angel. Charli Evans in and Kiedis takes her down too, but won’t give the crowd a third Goober drop. Charli cracks him with a superkick, and Diamond catches her with a dropkick to the back of the head. All action here!
Charli tries to German Suplex Diamond off the top rope, but it becomes a Tower of Doom spot with Kiedis adding a powerbomb to the mix! Rhys tries to steal the pin but everyone kicks out. He gets another near fall off a standing moonsault, and Kiedis breaks it up with a springboard dropkick. Kiedis ducks a Superman Punch, hits the Unprettier and goes for the pin- but Diamond breaks it up with a Shooting Star Press! Mat hits Kiedis with the Diamond Cutter, but Charli breaks it up with a cartwheel splash. Total, non-stop action!
Apparently, Rhys Angel has left the match due to facial damage- completely missed that live. Charli and Mat are trading strikes in the ring. Charli launches him with an overhead throw, Diamond returns fire with a German suplex, but she pops up and hits a high angle back suplex, followed by a massive lariat for the win!
Winner: Charli Evans (at 7:10)
Star Rating: ***1/2. That was wild. Charli Evans looked like a monster, which makes complete sense if she’s next in line to challenge Jess Troy for the PWWA Championship. It was a sprint, and a damn fun one.
Match 8: PWWA Tag Team Championship- Ladder Match- Velocities (c) vs. MK Plus Ultra
Jude and Paris hit stereo dives to the outside within the first few seconds. This is going to be a rollercoaster ride! Also, Paris has a new hair do. Very snazzy. Velocities get Spencer out of the way and hit some double team offense on Drake. Spencer drags Paris out of the ring and throws him into the ring post. Drake and London trade forearms. They start running the ropes in a sequence ending with Jude going for a handspring, and Spencer throwing a ladder into his back! Here we go!
MK look to use a ladder on Paris, who leaps over it and dropkicks it back into their faces! It’s actually a step ladder- you’re not my real ladder- so it’s no good for grabbing the belts, but fine as a weapon, getting launched into Kai’s face. Spencer gets sandwiched between the ladder, which is then dropkicked by the Velocities. They set up the ladder in the corner, throw Drake into it, and hit Poetry In Motion. They try it a second time and Spencer hurls a chair at them! Kai breaks the ladder, prompting Spencer to shout “what the f**k”. FITE didn’t pick it up that well, but we sure got it!
Kai gets a full sized ladder and they are in business. Both he and Spencer climb the ladder, but Jude knocks them off it with a handspring elbow. Looked cool, but what about his funny bones? The Velocities set Spencer up on a ladder and London hits a springboard stomp! Kai gets involved and kicks the crap out of everyone. Kai Drake will do Kai Drake things. Jude catapults the ladder back into Kai’s face! Yep, they’ll be feeling this one tomorrow (Or today, as I write this) . Jude launches off the broken ladder- set up in the corner as a bridge- with a blockbuster on Drake, and Paris follows up with a shooting star press!
The Velocities find what Rose calls “a big boy ladder” in the corner of the Factory Theatre. They set it up ringside in the entrance way. Spencer springboards, uses the ladder as a vaulting point and hits them with a plancha! De Silva and Drake get in the ring and trade strikes. Paris puts Kai in the tree of woe and absolutely decimates him with forearms. London slides in a chair to place over Drake’s face, and Paris scores with the hesitation dropkick! Not to be outdone, Jude goes up top and hits a chair-assisted stomp!
We’ve had ladders, we’ve had chairs and now the Velocities grab a table! The table also has the name “Kai” on it. Looks like they planned their targets ahead of time. Paris tries to suplex Kai through it, but Spencer got involved with a kick, allowing Drake to destroy De Silva with a Michinoku Driver through the tables! Holy shit! In the ring, Spencer has a chair and is smashing Jude with it. Paris tries to shield Jude and he takes a chair shot as well. Jude comes back with a Van Daminator- it’s not clean but it’s enough to knock Spencer over and grab the chair himself. London with some retribution. He maybe gets a bit too aggressive as he slides the chair out of the ring and it apparently whacked someone in the crowd. Kai comes in with a chair and wrecks Jude. Kai and Paris scale the ladder and fight, then Drake grabs him and hits an Air Raid Crash off the top of the ladder! Wow!
Spencer and London have their turn at battling over the ladder. Spencer stomps London and then gets a table. It’s got “Prince” sprayed on it, because Spencer is the Prince of Wrestling, according to himself, anyway. He uses the broken seats of the chair as well as the table, and goes up top to put London through it all. He thinks better of it- and climbs the ladder instead. Jude gets up and climbs the other side- and hits Spencer with a sunset flip powerbomb through the table! Paris gets back in and grabs the ladder- but instead of climbing for the belt, he climbs it to hit a corkscrew dive to the outside on Drake. With MK Plus Ultra well and truly taken out, Jude climbs the ladder and retrieves the belts!
Winners: The Velocities (at 27:36)
Star Rating: ****1/2. That. Was. Outstanding. I wasn’t sure about this in the main event slot, largely just because I thought Robbie vs. Jess should have been, but this was unquestionably a main event level performance. It was the kind of performance that showed PWA at its best- guts, heart, death-defying, and skill. An amazing payoff for well over a year of build, a symbolic reward for all of us for getting through the shit-show that 2020 was. PWA is back, and life couldn’t be better.
I’ve missed this so much! It’s one thing to watch the Premiership on TV. It’s another to attend the Academy shows. But having a proper crowd back to witness Aussie wrestling at its best, knowing it’s going out to a worldwide platform… that just fills my heart with joy. Back In Black Label truly had something for everyone. There wasn’t one facet of what the weird and wonderful world of pro wrestling is that wasn’t explored through this show. Action, drama, comedy… okay, there was no romance? Screw it, it’s Valentine’s Day weekend and wrestling is my one true love. This absolutely ruled from start to finish.
Overall Score: 9/10
Until next time, take care.