Back for the Premiership after a busy week! I jinxed myself- I mentioned in my Week 1 review that Mondays were pretty mundane for me, but I found myself busy for the first time in forever on a Monday night last night! Lost track of time and missed the first part of last night’s episode, but thankfully, PWA/Ovo Play are real ones and uploaded the video quickly. That means it’s time to get into this review!
For those that missed last week’s show, here’s the recap and results of Week 1’s Block A action: http://snapmayorsmedia.com/professional-wrestling-news/australian-wrestling-news/pwa-premiership-week-1-results-19-10-2020/
If you’re unfamiliar with the rules of the PWA Premiership, they are as follows:
- 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.
This week’s show features the first matches in Block B. The wrestlers in this tournament are:
- Matty Wahlberg
- Jude “The Dude” London
- Big Fudge
- Jimmy Townsend
- Lyrebird Luchi
- Mat Rogers
- Jack J Bonza
- Jessica Troy (PWWA Champion)
With all the housekeeping taken care of, in the immortal words of Brock Lesnar- let’s do this!
Awesome production in the opening video, giving a brief intro to what the Premiership is and a look at all the wrestlers in the tournament. I’ve said it before but it bears repeating- the production values of PWA have shot through the roof in the past couple of years. Legitimately wouldn’t look out of place on mainstream TV. Put PWA in a timeslot after The Project or something!
Stats graphic for Wahlberg vs. London is interesting. While Matty has the obvious size advantage and a higher profile in PWA, London actually has the experience advantage, with 5 years in wrestling to Wahlberg’s 3. I first saw Wahlberg in late 2017 in a small show in Dapto. It was abundantly clear back then that he had IT. Charisma out the wazoo- whatever the hell a wazoo is.
Match 1: Matty Wahlberg vs. Jude “The Dude” London
A little display of sportsmanship as we begin, as both men are affiliated with Generation Now. Big time sequence of move/counter move, with London flying around and Wahlberg largely serving as the base, being the bigger man. Leg lariats by Wahlberg miss, but just barely. London looking excellent, and goes for a standing moonsault, but Matty catches him in a triangle choke attempt. London stacks him up on his shoulders for a near fall.
London gets a lot of shine here, with a ton of offense landed by the Velocities member on last year’s winner of the Colosseum. Handstand into a Meteora in the corner- think Jeff Hardy’s Hardiac Arrest, but landing with the knees. Handspring stunner followed by a handspring elbow. Shades of the Japanese Buzzsaw, Tajiri.
On commentary, Andrew Rose needles Kris Gale about his boy Wahlberg being in trouble. Kris asserts that Wahlberg is aware of the clock and just biding his time. Those words prove to be prophetic as moments later, Wahlberg displays his background in MMA, taking the back, transitioning to an armbar, flowing into a triangle choke for the submission victory!
Winner: Matty Wahlberg (2) (at 8:03)
Star Rating: ***1/2. I made comments last week when rating matches that a couple were “about as good as you can get” for the 10 minute parameters of this tournament. As impressive as last week’s matches were, I think I spoke prematurely, because this bout took things to another level. Balls to the wall action, and an interesting little story of apparent Gen Now leader seeming to overlook his recruit, and almost paying the ultimate price for it. I feel like people talk more about Paris De Silva when it comes to the Velocities individually, but this was almost a coming-out party for Jude London.
Post-match, Wahlberg grabs a Generation Now shirt and throws it to London. He accepts it, but leaves the ring looking disappointed.
In the customary post-match promo, Wahlberg compares the Premiership to the NBA. Game 1 doesn’t matter, but Game 7 does. Still, it feels good to get points on the board. Wahlberg says that the only person he’s beat in PWA this year is a Green Dingo (rookie). I didn’t realise that! He puts London over, saying that he’s what Gen Now is all about. He says he’s got his eyes on everyone. Including Block A. Including Mick Moretti.
We hear from Jude “The Dude” London. He talks about wanting to prove himself as a singles competitor, but tapping out isn’t a good way to start the Premiership. He says he will regroup. Finally, “I wasn’t sure how to feel about Generation Now. But this (puts the shirt on his shoulder), this feels right.” Interesting!
Match 2: Jimmy Townsend vs. Big Fudge
It appears that both these guys have been studying tape in preparation for this match. More specifically, it seems like they were watching Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg from WrestleMania 20, as they begin with a stalemate in a tie-up, side headlock, shoot off the ropes, then a litany of shoulder blocks with neither man budging. A real battle of the bulls here. A test of strength somehow turns into a game of pattycake! Following this, both Jimmy and Fudge attempt to leave the ring, but referee Xander tells them they can’t win the match via pattycake. Gold!
So, we get to actual wrestling action… with a little comedy still sprinkled in with the body language. Kris makes the point that Fudge may be playing this tournament for draws in order to maintain his 2020 undefeated record- he’s 2-0, baby! An exchange of hammerlocks ends when Jimmy cracks Fudge with a knee lift.
Fudge goes for a suplex but wrenches his own back. He can’t stand the pain and almost taps out from the agony. Jimmy gives him a backbreaker- which fixes the back! Fudge goes for the suplex again, Jimmy lands on his feet and goes for the schoolboy, but Fudge grabs the ropes.
They start pushing each other, which breaks down into both men pawing little girly slaps at each other. Jimmy tries to bite the chocolate bar on Fudge’s mask, Fudge pokes him in the ribs, Jimmy points at his chest then flicks him in the nose, Fudge kicks him in the shin. Technical wrestling at its finest. This is brilliant!
Jimmy gets Fudge with his patented “free shot” schoolyard move, and punches him on the arm. Fudge almost taps again from the pain! He manages to trick Jimmy into a “free shot” and hits the Butt Punch! Jimmy stops the Fudge rally with an enziguri. He hits Fudge with his Maths textbook behind the ref’s back… but Fudge falls on top of him and gets the pin!
Winner: Big Fudge (2) (at 6:31)
Star Rating: *****. Fudge is 3-0 in PWA in 2020, 2 in Premiership points, and 200-0 in all our hearts. What a classic. There’s Steamboat-Savage, Austin-Rock, Punk-Cena, Okada-Omega… and Fudge-Townsend. Seriously though, that was an excellent comedy match that suited both characters to a tee.
In his post-match promo, Big Fudge is covered in streamers thrown in the ring after his victory. After he takes some time to figure out the intricacies of a microphone, he celebrates getting an early lead in the tournament and still being undefeated! He gets some cake to celebrate the win, complete with candles to mark 3-0. Big Fudge is a national treasure.
Match 3: Lyrebird Luchi vs. “Full Force” Mat Rogers
Rose and Gale go to lengths to point out Luchi’s change in attitude along with the name change, but he still gets announced as “Treehugger Luchi” by JT Robinson. C’mon JT!
Luchi charges Rogers in the corner with body shots, but Rogers beals him across the ring, takes his head off with a big boot, followed by the pumphandle slam. It’s all over!
Winner: Mat Rogers (2) (at 0:45)
Star Rating: *. Thanks for saving my word count, Mr. Full Force!
Post-match, we get a few words from Mat Rogers. He confirms the time of the match, before saying, “Lyrebird, right? The Lyrebird just copped it full force.” They replay the entire match.
Luchi gets on the mic. “I lost the battle, but the war is just beginning.” The Lyrebird will do whatever it takes.
Jessica Troy comes to the ring carrying a plastic arm. She’s terrifying. Lovely, but terrifying.
Match 4: Jessica Troy vs. Jack J Bonza
Sign of respect to start the match. Bonza works the arm but Troy flips out of it. We get a lot of counters and reversals to show how well the Nations members know each other. Not a single strike thrown in the first 3 minutes, very technical exchanges where they take turns working holds on the arms, legs and head. Bonza offers another fist bump after getting the better of the exchanges, but Jess kicks him in the gut.
Jess starts throwing bombs and creating more movement. She runs the ropes and connects with a snap rana. Bonza is launched arm and shoulder first into the turnbuckle. The Arm Collector is going to work. Jess goes for the tilt-a-whirl but Bonza halts her momentum with a backbreaker. Bonza proceeds to tie Troy in knots, and I need to do my submission homework, because I’m not sure what these holds are called. It’s a combination of holds, starting as almost a sharpshooter, then he pulls both of Troy’s arms while still putting pressure on the legs. He pulls her up so high that he is able to transition to a neck vice while the legs are still tied up. Unreal.
Bonza sets up for the Napalm Thunder Driver but Jess drives Bonza into the corner. Bonza tries to break out into a bucklebomb but Troy counters into another hurricanrana. Slick as hell. Meteora in the corner, followed by another Meteora off the top to the back of Bonza’s neck. This gets a near fall for the PWWA Champion. Jess is relentless, going after the arm, but Bonza counters into a backslide for a near fall of his own. Sunset flip by Troy gets a close 2 as well. Back and forth we go.
Bonza says, “we’re keeping this clean”- a callback to how the match started with zero strikes.Troy responds with forearm shots, followed by a pump kick to the face. Uncle Jack responds with a back elbow and it is on! Jess snatches the arm and hits the rolling armbar, but Bonza rolls through into a slam and an armbar of his own! Furthering the teacher vs. student motif and this battle is heating up tremendously. Jess is able to stack him up for a 2 count, breaking the hold.
Jess goes for the tilt-a-whirl again into the Fujiwara armbar, but Bonza rolls through again and hits an emphatic sit-out powerbomb for a razor-close near fall. Bonza goes for the Napalm Thunder Driver. Jess blocks. Jack smashes her with a forearm. Tries again. Is blocked again. Then Jess gets the strength out of nowhere to nail Jack with a vertabrae-shifting vertical suplex! Both Nations members take a while to get up after that, and by the time they get to their feet and are ready to throw more hand grenades at each other… the time expires. What a war!
Winner: Time Limit Draw (1-1) (at 10:00)
Star Rating: ****. PWA are continuing to re-define- to me, at least- the quality of match someone can have in 10 minutes. I’ve been watching wrestling for 22 years, and I always thought you needed at least 15 minutes or so to get to that really high quality match. I didn’t think you could pack enough action and drama into that short of a time to really be outstanding… well, Jack Bonza and Jessica Troy absolutely made a fool out of me. That was definitely outstanding. And the draw isn’t a disappointment in the context of this tournament- I normally hate draws and non-finishes because they don’t really resolve anything, but they serve the purpose of a greater story here- both in this tournament and with the dynamics of the Nations as a faction.
Post-match, it’s Bonza on the mic first. He talks about how he was there for Jess’ first training session, and he’s seen a lot of her progress first-hand. He seems to almost break character as he says, “she’s someone we’ve got to take a lot of photos with to prove we knew her once when”. He talks about Gen Now and says that even though Jess is in that age bracket, she was smart enough to respect her elders. He closes by saying the Premiership will be interesting.
Post-match, Jess Troy talks. She’s not satisfied with the draw. “Even though Bonza’s my trainer, I expect better from myself.” She wants to collect arms. She talks about Jude London- I guess she’s facing him in the next round? “It’s me vs. your arm.” Chilling.
I guess the theme of this week’s show is “variety is the spice of life”? PWA established here that many things can happen within a 10 minute allocated timeslot. You can have a match where the underdog surprises the favourite, but still comes up short- Wahlberg vs. London. You can have a comedy match that is completely faithful to the established characters- Fudge vs. Townsend. You can have a devastating squash that takes seconds- Rogers vs. Luchi. And finally, we had two titans of PWA, the absolute elite, going back and forth, unable to get the advantage over the other enough to claim bragging rights. And although we already had a time limit draw in Week 1, this was structured differently, with Bonza and Troy incorporating high impact moves along with the technical submission work. Almost as if they watched Drake vs. Osborne and learnt from it. PWA knocked it out of the park once again.
Overall Score: 8.5/10
Current Premiership Standings
- Mick Moretti: 2
- Charli Evans: 2
- Unsocial Jordan: 2
- Sam Osborne: 1
- Kai Drake: 1
- Paris De Silva: 0
- William Preston: 0
- Kingsley: 0
- Matty Wahlberg: 2
- Mat Rogers: 2
- Big Fudge: 2
- Jessica Troy: 1
- Jack J Bonza: 1
- Jude London: 0
- Jimmy Townsend: 0
- Lyrebird Luchi: 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,