Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals! I was informed today by a random article by an etiquette expert that that phrase is bogan, but I go by either Mick or Robbo, so I think we’re too far down that rabbit hole now. Besides, we shouldn’t pigeonhole people. I can be incredibly bogan, or classy if the situation calls for it (adjusts tie and monocle). Oh, who am I kidding. I’m here sitting on my lounge on a Monday night, writing a wrestling review in my boxers. You can take the boy out of Dapto…
That’s right, we’re here for wrestling. Specifically, the PWA Premiership. I have been saying for weeks that this is the best weekly wrestling show going, and I’ll continue to say it until PWA and Aussie wrestling as a whole gets the recognition it deserves. Week after week, PWA have churned out bangers. I said the other week that PWA were booking Inferno Matches, because every match was fire- but (WWE TLC spoiler alert) considering Randy Orton burnt The Fiend to a crisp earlier today, maybe that’s not the best choice of words.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, or in the Firefly Funhouse, here’s the gist of what the PWA Premiership is all about:
- It is a round-robin tournament, similar in style to NJPW’s G1 tournament.
- There are two blocks- Block A and Block B- consisting of 8 wrestlers each.
- Matches have a strict 10 minute time limit.
- All wrestlers in each block will face each other, and the winner of Block A will face the winner of Block B in the finals.
- Points are awarded as follows- 2 for a win, 1 for a draw and 0 for a loss.
- If there is a tie after all wrestlers in a block have faced each other, both/all of those wrestlers advance to the finals.
Today it’s all about Block B action. With only a couple of rounds in each block left, the stakes continue to get higher than Snoop Dogg at a Christmas Day BBQ.
Let’s do this!
We start the show with an acknowledgement that this is a pre-recorded show on a closed set, as PWA wishes for us to stay safe over Christmas. I believe that statement would have been inserted due to COVID restrictions increasing here in NSW over the past couple of days. I had my suspicions that the show was pre-recorded, with Rose and Gale on Twitter during the show- but then again I’ve seen Cole and Graves on their phones during Smackdown too. The really quick cuts to post-match interviews- but then again the PWA Academy is pretty small. Nice to have the confirmation, and I have to echo the sentiments- everyone stay safe this holidays. We want to get out of this mess in 2021!
Andrew Rose and Kris Gale welcome us to another week of the Premiership. Rose says that they’re “live on OVOPlay”…
I kid, I kid. Let’s get to the wrasslin’!
Match 1: Jack J Bonza (3) vs. Lyrebird Luchi (5)
Luchi is announced as from ‘Sydney’s Northern Beaches”, making him the biggest heel in Australia right now. Bonza is all business. No more nice Red Commander.
They tie up and an angry Bonza pushes Luchi into the corner. Luchi plays the cat and mouse game for a bit before getting into a technical exchange where they trade front facelocks. Luchi scrambles to the ropes to slow things down as Rose calls him a “dictator of the match”. Nice of Rose to keep things PG and add the “-tator”.
Luchi tries to work the arm, but one back heel trip later and Bonza has the advantage. Uncle Jack tries to throw some chops, but Luchi bails from the ring completely and takes a seat at ringside. Back in the ring, the action speeds up. Luchi goes for an arm drag but gets slammed down hard. Luchi goes for an elbow drop but Bonza reverses into a crucifix pin. Bonza with the ankle lock and Luchi grabs the ropes with the urgency of a boy touching boobs for the first time.
Luchi ups the aggression and starts throwing hands! He hits a nice exploder suplex into the corner for a near fall. Rose gives credit to the production team behind the Premiership, and Gale gives him grief saying that it’s not The Bachelor. In all seriousness, they do a tremendous job. Luchi continues to take the fight to Bonza. Chickenwing pin, followed by a lateral press for a couple of near falls. Bonza battles back with some bombs, including a huge chop that folds Luchi up like an accordion, to borrow a JR-ism. Discus clothesline gets a near fall for Bonza.
Bonza with the bucklebomb and it scores another close 2 count. He attempts the Napalm Thunder Driver but Luchi lands on his feet and goes on another excursion outside the ring. Bonza gives chase as the clock starts to become an enemy. Luchi catches Bonza coming back in with a flying knee, followed by a DDT and a suplex. He stacks Bonza up for a pin, and grabs the ropes to get a 3 count!
Winner: Lyrebird Luchi (7) (at 8:16)
Star Rating: ***1/4. Holy upset, Batman! Who could have predicted Luchi’s run in this tournament after the way he copped it Full Force in the first round? His antics make for a frustrating watch in terms of action, but it’s brilliant character work because all his victories come by being cerebral, crafty and conniving. We can only hope the Lyrebird gets his comeuppance soon, but sadly, it was not to be on this night.
Post-match interview with Luchi. He basically notes that he’s been underestimated by everyone, too concerned with their faction squabbles to pay attention to him.
Bonza with a few words too. He acknowledges that he’s mathematically out of the tournament (he still has to wrestle, but can’t win the tournament points-wise). He sheds some more light on his issues with Generation Now, giving a brief history of the lows and highs of Aussie wrestling. From 50 people at Casula Powerhouse to 1100 at Star Casino. To Max Watts sellouts. To the Colosseum. Now the young guns just walk in and have it made. No more handing it to them. Very passionate promo, one of the best we’ve seen. Absolutely needs to be watched.
Match 2: Big Fudge (4) vs. Matty Wahlberg (4)
Fudge gives us a laugh early by pointing at Wahlberg’s Gen Now shirt and saying, “I hate young people!” Matty isn’t in the mood for games though, and immediately goes on the attack. Takedown and quick strikes as Wahlberg goes MMA styles. That’s something I’ve noticed about Wahlberg over the past couple of years- the more serious he is for a match, the quicker he tends to lean into that background, having trained in the past with former UFC Middleweight Champion Rob Whittaker.
Shoulder blocks exchanged and Fudge is in pain. He scores with a sneaky dick flick- it was too quick a jab to be called a traditional low blow- and the sneaky foul allows the 275kg Butt Puncher to run over Wahlberg with a shoulder block. Fudge celebrates, Wahlberg kips up and levels him with a clothesline. Oh. This is serious serious. Wahlberg puts Fudge in the tree of woe, looking for the groin stomp, but Fudge blocks it by clinging onto his leg, like a toddler chucking a tantrum. Fudge gets the advantage by landing a mule kick to Wahlberg’s Christmas baubles, and then exhibits some actual grappling skill of his own with a flying armbar! Wahlberg escapes.
Wahlberg puts Fudge in the tree of woe again, but Fudge escapes. Shortly after, Wahlberg scores with the leg lariat for a near fall. Fudge goes for the Butt Punch, but Wahlberg turned into it, making it a Ball Punch. Fudge convinces the ref to not disqualify him. Small package (heh) gets a near fall. Fudge puts Wahlberg in the tree of woe and hits him with the groin stomp! Funny how that move was always legal but a deliberate kick in the nuts is a DQ. Fudge hits a senton for a near fall. Fudge goes for the chokeslam but Wahlberg fights his way out. He puts Fudge in the tree of woe and hits a pair of running dropkicks, followed by a Coast To Coast! The triangle choke follows and Wahlberg advances in this Premiership.
Winner: Matty Wahlberg (6) (at 6:38)
Star Rating: ***1/4. Another quality encounter. Was interesting seeing Wahlberg play it so straight and not fall into Fudge’s antics. He said as he applied the choke, “Hey Mick, this ain’t over. See you soon.” Whoa, Matty, I don’t want the smoke, man!
Wahlberg, the mic’s on you, you know what to do! “When I’m in the clutch, there’s no one better than me, yeah?” That was odd, almost seemed like he was doubting his own statement. He had to get his frustrations out if he couldn’t face Moretti. It’s game time. The time for talk is done.
Fudge comes to the desk. He’s carrying the Gen Now shirt that Wahlberg draped on him. Tomorrow is a new day. He rejects the apparent invite to join Generation Now. He’s in Generation Fudge, and he’s gonna win the tournament!
Match 3: Jessica Troy (7) vs. Jimmy Townsend (2)
Aww, Jimmy comes out looking nervous with flowers. My suspicions from the last round were correct- someone’s got a crush on Jess! I mean, I’d say that’s just about every guy with a heartbeat, but Jimmy’s shooting his shot here. He’s even wearing a tie. Go son! Jess accepts the flowers but drops them when Jimmy turns his back. Townsend whips out the cologne and checks his breath. Man, I’m relating heavy to this, flashbacks to high school- and my more recent attempts at dating. Best way to describe my love life- dude that missed out on a PS5. I got no game.
The bell’s rung, so I assume there’s going to be a wrestling match here. They tie up, Troy looks for the arm, Townsend grabs the ropes. So far, so good. Test of strength somehow winds up with Jess twirling into Jimmy’s arms like a dance move, and he drops her like she’s on fire. Of note, Cherry Stephens is watching from ringside and she doesn’t look impressed by this at all. Chain wrestling exchange ends with a go-behind by Jimmy… and he abruptly jumps out of the ring to compose himself.
Jimmy gets back in the ring and tries to use the “free shot’, but Jess covers her eyes. He goes for the nipple drag- a surprisingly effective move in this tournament for him- but stops himself. He catches Jess in his arms and puckers up his lips- but she ain’t got time for that. At this, Cherry storms away and sits with her back to the… umm, action feels like an inappropriate word here. Cherry’s not watching the match, and she seems upset. Jimmy checks on her and takes a Meteora from Jess, and the PWWA Champion begins to beat down the Prefect!
Jess works the arm and Jimmy tries to counter into the schoolboy. Troy blocks it and locks in the Fujiwara armbar! After some writhing, Townsend is able to counter it into the schoolboy for the 3 count!
Winner: Jimmy Townsend (4) (at 4:19)
Star Rating: ***1/2. Man, that match had everything. Action, comedy, drama… romance? It was a hilarious, cringy reminder of my schoolboy crushes, and with that upset victory, Townsend had more success than I ever did. Good on you, Jimmy!
An extremely awkward Jimmy and Cherry sit down at the interview desk. A tense silence as both of them start to say something, but stop themselves. Finally, Cherry gets out a couple of words “You know I just have one…” and Jimmy storms off. “…Question.” Cherry gives a confused look to the camera.
Jess Troy’s turn to talk. She’s mad now. Mat Rogers and Lyrebird Luchi better watch out!
Match 4: Mat Rogers (5) vs. Jude London (2)
Speed Force members squaring off here. A respectful handshake to start. London has been in the role of giving killer performances in defeat throughout this tournament, and he’s got an uphill battle giving up so much size and strength to Full Force.
Jude peppers Rogers with some low kicks to start. Quick roll up gets a 1 count for London, and a Rogers big boot narrowly misses his head soon after. London goes for a tilt-a-while headscissors, Rogers blocks. Rogers goes for a sidewalk slam, London lands on his feet. Well scouted, as you might expect for tag team partners. London hits a dropkick, but Rogers stays upright and mows him down with a shoulder block! Scoop slam, followed by a leg drop, gets a near fall for Rogers.
London speeds up the pace with some flying elbows in the corner, and then does some (involuntary) flips as Rogers delivers a clothesline with extreme force! Rogers follows up with a delayed vertical suplex that makes the ring shudder. Near fall. London fights back with a series of chops and a springboard arm drag. He knocks Rogers to the outside and scores with a suicide dive! Back in the ring, a springboard double stomp- by London, not Rogers- but it only gets a 1 count!
A flying tornado DDT scores for Jude, followed by the Koji Clutch! Rogers powers out with a uranage slam. He goes for the pumphandle but Jude fights out of it. A roll up by London gets another 1 count. Another springboard move by London, but Rogers blasts him out of the air with a big boot! Another crushing boot follows but London kicks out at 2! Yet another big boot, and another kick out by Jude! Rogers picks up London’s limp body and finally hits the pumphandle slam. It’s finally over.
Winner: Mat Rogers (7) (at 7:54)
Star Rating: ***1/2. That might be the best Mat Rogers match I’ve ever seen. London played an awesome David to Roger’s Goliath, but Full Force was a convincing monster for every second of that match. The selling of London was top tier, made Rogers look great but also made himself look tough as nails by continuing to fight through the agony.
Post-match, Speed Force does an interview together. London notes that he’s mathematically out, but with Rogers leading the board, Speed Force can win this Premiership. Rogers said he’s leading Block A, “or Block B, whatever the f**k.” Everyone’s gonna cop it Full Force.
Great show, once again. The last 2 matches in particular made me feel all the emotions. Troy vs. Townsend made me laugh and cringe from second-hand embarrassment, while London vs. Rogers had me invested as a straight up wrestling match full of action and drama, using one of the oldest but most effective tropes wrestling has. Earlier in the show, Bonza’s promo gave me goosebumps, especially as a fan who came in right as PWA were starting to make all the strides he mentioned. As far as the tournament itself, we now have a 3 way tie in both blocks, meaning that this tournament could go any number of ways over the next 2 rounds. Still think it’s a Moretti vs. Wahlberg final, but if one thing’s for sure about PWA, it’s that nothing’s for sure.
Overall Score: 8.5/10
CURRENT PREMIERSHIP STANDINGS
- Unsocial Jordan: 8
- Sam Osborne: 8
- Mick Moretti: 8
- Charli Evans: 7
- Paris De Silva: 4
- Kai Drake: 3
- William Preston: 2
- Kingsley: 0
- Jessica Troy: 7
- Mat Rogers: 7
- Lyrebird Luchi: 7
- Matty Wahlberg: 6
- Big Fudge: 4
- Jimmy Townsend: 4
- Jack J Bonza: 3
- Jude London: 2
I’ll be back next week with my coverage of the PWA Premiership! Hope you all have a great week, and that Santa spoils you, and all that jazz!
Until next time, take care.