Keeping busy between AEW and PWA coverage! The best promotion in Aussie wrestling has been on fire since COVID restrictions relaxed a little in NSW. This past weekend, they held a great charity show- Movember To Remember. I attended with a couple of friends and had a blast. A detailed review is coming as soon as they add the show to OVO Play.
But the reason we’re here today- the Premiership. If you’re new to this, this is how the PWA Premiership tournament works:
- 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.
If you need to catch up on the previous weeks, here are the links:
Let’s do this.
Match 1: Matty Wahlberg (2) vs. Mat Rogers (2)
This is an interesting match-up, as you’ve got one of the tournament favourites in Wahlberg against a monster like Rogers, who decimated Luchi in seconds in the opening round. On commentary, Rose and Gale speculate on what Full Force’s opinions on Gen Now are, but are too afraid to ask him. Understandable.
Rogers immediately tries to take Wahlberg’s head off with a big boot, but the 21st Century Success Story dodges. Wahlberg then goes to his usual MO of trying to taunt and play mind games, which eats close to a minute of the 10 allotted here in the Premiership. Tie up and Rogers has the obvious strength advantage. Wahlberg asserts himself with a quick double leg takedown and some ground and pound. Matty did train with former UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker once upon a time.
Wahlberg dances around, peppering Rogers with low kicks and jabs, but one massive right hand from Full Force sends Matty crashing to the canvas. Matty gets up and tries to get back on track, but a massive shoulder block drops him again. Huge leg drop by Rogers gets him a near fall. Wahlberg low bridges, sending Rogers to the outside, and follows with a suicide dive that wipes out rows of empty chairs, colliding with the Academy wall.
They brawl around the ringside area, and Wahlberg seats Rogers on a chair. He then grabs another chair, makes ring announcer JT Robinson sit on it, then vaults over JT to wipe out Rogers! It’s not enough to take out the big man though, as he soon recovers and chokeslams Wahlberg on the apron! Hardest part of the ring, folks.
Back in the ring, Rogers maintains control and beats Wahlberg to a pulp. Wahlberg gets an opportunity and goes for perhaps a rolling Flatliner, but Rogers catches him in a sidewalk slam for a near fall. Rogers continues the domination, but the frustration is seeping through as well. Wahlberg tries to fight back and lock in a variety of submissions, but the clock is the enemy of both guys here. In the waning seconds, Rogers hits the pumphandle slam, 1, 2… and the time expires!
Winner: Time Limit Draw (at 10:00) (Wahlberg- 3, Rogers- 3)
Star Rating: ***. This made sense given the positioning of both guys. It seemed like they were stretching the clock at times, but Wahlberg did a good job of looking almost sympathetic as the underdog, and showed intelligent stretegy in relying on MMA skills to combat the big man. Rogers looked dangerous throughout and the drama built well in that final minute- PWA have established that draws will be a factor in this tournament, but we’ve also seen late finishes in matches that looked like they were heading for a draw.
Post-match, Rogers does an interview. He says, “Are you f**king serious, one point? That f**king ref should have counted quicker.” That’s a marathon promo by Full Force standards.
Match 2: Jimmy Townsend (w/ Cherry Stephens) (0) vs. Lyrebird Luchi (0)
Jimmy immediately goes for the schoolboy, but Luchi scrambles away and embraces the ropes. Jimmy then applies the nipple cripple, then does a springboard nipple drag. I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence. Jimmy with the schoolyard trip, followed by a rolling senton, then a traditional back senton. Two count.
Jimmy goes for the schoolboy again, but Luchi grabs the ropes, and then grabs Cherry, who is standing at ringside. Jimmy is concerned for her, but back to the action. Deep arm drag into an armbar by Luchi. Townsend fights back but the Lyrebird throws him down by the hair and gets a 2 count. Jimmy rallies and scores with the hip toss into the neckbreaker. He goes for the schoolboy once again but Luchi spills out of the ring!
Townsend goes for a dive but Luchi grabs Cherry and uses her as a human shield! Jimmy goes to save her, and Luchi rams them both into the apron… then undoes the skirt of the apron and wraps them in it like a cocoon! He gets back in the ring and that’s good for the countout victory.
Winner: Lyrebird Luchi (2) (at 5:03)
Star Rating: **3/4. Bonus points for the inventive finish. I’ve seen wrestlers get trapped in the apron, but never quite like that!
Post-match interview with Jimmy Townsend. He protests the legality of what Luchi did, then says, “you wrapped me and Cherry up, our bodies were so close…” Someone’s got a crush! He asks someone off camera who he’s facing next round. His face drops when the answer is “Bonza”.
We see PWWA Champion Jess Troy warming up outside the Academy. She’s got Jude London up next. This is gonna be good!
Interview with Luchi. He speaks in airy riddles, talking about young people having a lot to learn. “But the Lyrebird knows”.
Match 3: Jessica Troy (1) vs. Jude London (0)
Jess is coming off a big win at Movember to Remember this past weekend, defeating Steph De Lander and Charli Evans in a Triple Threat. Her first round battle against Jack Bonza was the match of the tournament so far, although it ended in a draw. Confidence is high. London has no points on the board, but was still impressive against Matty Wahlberg in the opening round.
Aggressive collar and elbow to start, then it’s Jude trying to work the arms of the Arm Collector. Jess tries to reverse the pressure, and London hits a back heel trip for a quick 2 count. Jess bridges up and they work a lucha sequence ending in a tilt-a-whirl arm drag for the PWWA Champion. Another springboard arm drag follows. London responds with one of his own, scaling to the top rope to get a little extra torque on it. Ooh boy. This is going to be a close one!
A rapid-fire sequence ends in a double kip up. Thank god for OVO Play and the pause button, because these two are moving faster than I can type. London misses on a standing moonsault and Troy seizes his arm, looking for the Fujiwara armbar. Jude quickly gets to the ropes, but Jess is tenacious with her attack on the arm. Jude eventually kicks her off and starts to mount a comeback. Handspring back elbow connects. Unfortunately, I don’t think Jude is going to hit the green mist in this match. Slingblade for a near fall, but it hurts his arm to execute the offense.
Kris Gale makes the point that everything is accelerated in this tournament due to the 10 minute format, and Jude and Jess wrestle at a very high pace as it is. Jude looks for the Koji Clutch, but Jess makes the ropes before it can be locked in. He goes for the back elbow again, but Jess dodges and hits a pump kick, followed by a brainbuster! Jude somehow pops up and retaliates with a tiger suplex! Bruh. London with the shotgun dropkick, then races to the top to look for a double stomp. Jess moves, Jude rolls through. He goes for the slingblade again, but Troy counters into the Fujiwara armbar! London is forced to tap.
Winner: Jessica Troy (3) (at 7:00)
Star Rating: ***1/4. Excellent effort by two of PWA’s young stars, who are in top form in this tournament. A lot of action and energy packed in there. As time went on, Troy took control and it seemed set for her to take her bounce-back victory after the draw in the first round. I wonder where London goes from here. Two matches in the Premiership, two losses, two tapouts. They were against two of PWA’s best, but still… how will he recover? Or will he?
Post-match interview with Jess Troy. She thanks Jude for adding to her arm collection. It’s a little unsettling.
Highlights of Fudge vs. Townsend from last round. AKA the greatest match of all time.
Match 4: Jack J. Bonza (1) vs. Big Fudge (2)
Rose calls this a “hoss fight”. Damn right. They begin with a test of strength… which Bonza easily wins. He grounds Fudge and starts to work the arm, but the ice cream man scurries to the ropes. A quick exchange, Fudge does a drop down, and Bonza puts on the brakes and rolls into a pin, which gets a 2, then he transitions to a single leg Boston crab. Smooth as silk. Fudge makes the ropes again.
Bonza hits a shoulder block and Fudge roars in agony. Possibly a dislocated shoulder? (Not really.) There’s a funny spot where Fudge declares, “I’m going to take you down, Jack Bonza!” He runs the ropes and avoids contact on several occasions before getting blasted to the mat with another shoulder block from the leader of the Red Nation. Fudge is screaming again, but kicks out at 2.
Bonza wraps the legs in almost a sharpshooter variant before going into a modified bow and arrow lock. Fudge escapes. Bonza goes for the Napalm Thunder Driver but Fudge lands on his feet and hits a jawbreaker, followed by the whirly-bird headscissors. Fudge starts moving, but don’t call it a comeback, he’s been here for years. Senton from the middle rope to the back of Bonza! Fudge goes for the headscissors again but Bonza counters with the ankle lock! Fudge gets to the ropes once again but is struggling. Referee Xander checks on him while telling Bonza to back off. Fudge starts to loosen his boot to relieve the pain. Bonza applies the ankle lock again… and the boot slips off! Fudge surprises Bonza with an inside cradle for the 3 count!
Winner: Big Fudge (4) (at 8:16)
Star Rating: ***. Not as funny as Fudge-Townsend, and not as action-packed or dramatic as Bonza-Troy, but it was a solid middle ground. Fudge is 4-0 in 2020, baby! I think I need to write to PWI, because they obviously made a huge mistake in determining #1 in the PWI 500. That’s also 2 Fudge matches in a row where he’s taken inspiration from WrestleMania XX matches- the start of the Townsend match seemed to almost be a parody of Lesnar vs. Goldberg, and the finish to this one was lifted straight from Eddie Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle. A cool tribute.
Bonza’s story arc is interesting here- since returning, Rose and Gale on commentary have floated the idea that the stoic Bonza has mellowed a little after his time away. He did seem a bit too willing to play into the games of Big Fudge here, and it may be what cost him the match and those crucial Premiership points.
Post-match, Fudge celebrates with a few streamers and a guy comes out with sparklers. He’s following COVID protocols and wearing a mask, but Rose & Gale tell us that he likes to party. A real Party Boy, if you will. Have I mentioned how great PWA production is?
Interview with Bonza. “What the hell was that? F**king pathetic.” Bonza makes fun of Fudge’s winning streak- how dare he?!?- and then turns his attention to the Prefects. He mentions that he respected them because they stick to the fundamentals and don’t do the “Robbie Eagles flips”. But he promises to put an end to Townsend next week.
Interview with Fudge. He correctly notes that he’s on top of the board, and requests his celebratory cake, which Frankie B brings. He’s facing Mat Rogers next week, and he’s going to be undefeated for the next hundred million years.
It’s really cool to see the Premiership heating up. The deeper we get into this, the higher the stakes and the more the points matter. AEW promised a sports-based product with their rankings system, but I actually think it’s PWA who are delivering the goods in that department. All the matches on this show made for a great watch, and it flies by insanely quickly on a Monday night (8PM on OVO Play). It’s light, but has substance. High quality wrestling that doesn’t take up hours of your day or night. You gotta love it!
Overall Score: 8.5/10
CURRENT PREMIERSHIP STANDINGS
- Mick Moretti: 4
- Unsocial Jordan: 4
- Sam Osborne: 3
- Charli Evans: 2
- Paris De Silva: 2
- Kai Drake: 1
- William Preston: 0
- Kingsley: 0
- Big Fudge: 4
- Jessica Troy: 3
- Matty Wahlberg: 3
- Mat Rogers: 3
- Lyrebird Luchi: 2
- Jack J. Bonza: 1
- Jimmy Townsend: 0
- Jude London: 0
I’ll be back next week with my coverage of the PWA Premiership! Hope you all have a great week!
Until next time, take care.