Melbourne City Wrestling
New Horizons 2019
August 31, 2019
The Thornbury Theatre
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
New Horizons follows on from Melbourne City Wrestling’s Ballroom Brawl in July and whilst it isn’t as strong a show overall as its predecessor, the card is filled with (almost entirely) good matches and capped off with one of the best executed angles I’ve seen in Australian Wrestling.
Australia’s best regular commentary team are reunited for this show with Lord Andy Coyne, Krackerjak and Lindsay Howarth calling the action.
MCW INTERCOMMONWEALTH CHAMPIONSHIP
DANNY PSYCHO (C) def. MATTY WAHLBERG
Matty Wahlberg enters first, decked out in a fight robe and wearing Apollo Creed shorts. Wahlberg recently finished a run on the Australian version of Survivor, which makes him the wrestler with the most mainstream media buzz at the moment.
Danny Psycho won the title in a stand-out tournament final against Loverboy Lochy Hendricks on the last show and this is his first defence. The match was set-up at Ballroom Brawl with Wahlberg making the challenge after Psycho won the title.
One of the things I like about Wahlberg in MCW is that he is actually a heel here; whereas in Sydney he was turned babyface by the crowds. He can veer to being too close to the cool heel archetype sometimes to get genuine heat; but in MCW he can take advantage of playing off the 100 year old Melbourne-Sydney rivalry that the rest of Australia thinks is very dumb.
Something that really stood out to me watching this match was that Wahlberg’s MMA background is really evident in the way that he moves around the ring. He moves like a fighter in a way that a lot of other wrestlers just don’t capture at all. Wahlberg ends up taking most of the match, and in particular does a good job of working on Psycho’s knee.
A highlight spot is when Psycho goes for a senton onto Wahlberg, but the GameChanger catches the Champion in a choke. Psycho is eventually able to get some momentum back with a gorgeous looking Chaos Theory.
The finishing sequence sees Psycho hit his cutter but Wahlberg rolls out of the ring to avoid the pin. Back in the ring, Wahlberg is able to hit a beautiful spin-kick but then gets caught with a Psycho Driver for the finish.
This was a smartly worked and well put-together pro-wrestling match. I was somewhat surprised at the clean finish as I thought that this might have been the start of a longer program.
Post-match we get a vignette for the return of ‘Jag’ Hartley Jackson at MCW’s Ninth Anniversary weekend in October. Jag is the founder of Adelaide’s Wrestle Rampage and one of the core figures in the development of modern Australian Wrestling. He is also currently a coach for NXT at the Performance Center which makes his presence on an MCW show feel somewhat ominous. The placement of this vignette seems to suggest that he’ll be facing Psycho in October.
DISRUPTION (ATLAS WHITTAKER/EMMANUEL/SHAUN YOUNG) def. JAKE LINDO/JETT ROUKA/KAZ JORDAN
Disruption has a solid idea behind their gimmick; basically they’re a bunch of wrestlers who were seen as the next generation a few years ago but whether due to injury or other reasons have had their career come to a stall. They are jealous of the new generation of talent coming out of the MCW Academy and acting like dicks because of this jealousy. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been a particularly hot start for the group and they came off as being pretty ineffectual during the Ballroom Brawl match last show.
In this match, Disruption are challenged by the team of Jake Lindo (Atlas Whittaker’s former tag partner), Jett Rouka and Kaz Jordan. Jett Rouka has been Disruption’s major target since they formed and Kaz Jordan has recently come into MCW as a substitute for Rouka’s injured tag partner Tyson Baxter. Jordan also essayed the role of Slickback Cash on Underworld Wrestling.
This is a decent match that runs a little bit too long. The highlight of the match are Jett and Kaz’s dives to the outside. Jett’s kicks in particular look really good and he’s someone with the potential to be one of the top names in Australian Wrestling in a couple years.
Jake Lindo and Atlas Whittaker finally face-off but Lindo gets distracted whilst trying to thrust his crotch into Whittaker’s face (Lindo’s gimmick is that he’s a sleazy male stripper) allowing Emmanuel to pick up the win. Post-match, Lindo and Whittaker’s former manager Hawko tries to protect Lindo but gets slapped by Whittaker in retaliation.
So far, Disruption feels like a group with a mid-card ceiling. I suspect that they will need a new member who has more credibility with the MCW audience to ascend any further up the card.
Up next is a vignette of Aussie Open announcing that they will be at MCW’s Anniversary shows in October. They promise to come after the MCW Tag Titles. Somewhat bizarrely, this will be Aussie Open’s first time ever working together in Australia itself.
JAKE ANDREWARTHA def. TONY VILLANI
Tony Villani is a MCW Academy graduate who made his debut in the Ballroom Brawl. He comes out with a lot of energy and a catchy theme tune.
Jake Andrewartha is going to murder him.
Jake Andrewartha does murder him, this time using more submissions and ground-based offense than his last squash. The Olympic Judoka gets the win again with a standing chokehold that he’s calling The End.
I’m onboard with the Andrewartha push so-far. He is just wrecking guys at the moment, showing off his moveset and improving his execution each time I see him. I’m not sold on his manager Siren Monroe being the right fit for his character; but we haven’t really seen much promo work from her so it is too early for me to decide whether she is effective in the role.
Next we have a vignette announcing the return of the MCW Invitational tournament in October which will crown the long-anticipated first MCW Women’s Champion. Based off the promo we presumably have seven out of eight participants announced: Avary, Kellyanne, Kingsley, Xena, Tarlee, Steph De Lander and Jessica Troy. Assuming that the eighth participant is Australian, my personal pick for the spot would be Lena Kross. If I can widely speculate for a moment however, imagine how cool it would be if Avary bought someone like Hana Kimura or Konami back with her from Stardom to fill that last spot.
RITCHIE TAYLOR def. DCT
Wow, they actually used My Way for the promo package.
This blows off the feud that has been going on since DCT came into MCW in March. DCT enters to Bad Company rather than his normal theme and is decked out in Street Fight gear. Ritchie Taylor then comes out to good pop and they immediately start hockey brawling.
They brawl through the crowd and up to the bar to start. Once they’re back in the ring it turns into a pretty good plunder match. The crowd is very into the match and Taylor gets a big reaction for his win. I suspect if I was at the match live I would have gotten more into it than I was watching it back on tape.
An early highlight is DCT seducing Krackerjack into handing over his prized staplegun. Eventually Ritchie Taylor smashes a pint glass over DCT’s head and then sets-up DCT onto a table outside. The big spot in the match is Taylor climbing onto the scaffolding of the set and splashing DCT through the table, which I kind of wish was the finish.
The ending sees Ritchie taking a Barbed Wire Baseball Bat out and using the weapon in a crossface for the submission. Taylor gets a big reaction for his win, and he is someone who should be elevated to title contention at MCW.
Other people (and especially people there live) were more into this match than I was. I thought it was a good version of a plunder match, but it just isn’t a style of match that I got particularly into apart from a few spots. I do hope that Ritchie Taylor doesn’t get typecast as a ‘hardcore wrestler’ following this, as I prefer him when he’s in more of a striking specialist mode.
STEPH DE LANDER def. INDI HARTWELL
At the last show; Steph De Lander turned on her best friend Indi Hartwell after Indi gave her farewell speech to MCW. The rationale for her turn being her jealousy of Hartwell’s success whilst Steph De Lander had to sit out most of 2018 with a shoulder injury.
Indi’s last match in MCW is the first time I’ve seen her play babyface in MCW, so that takes a little bit of time to get used to. These two had a match against each other in PWA earlier in the year, which I thought ended up feeling flat. I was glad that they started this one off with more intensity than their earlier matches against each other.
The highlight of the match was SDL using Indi’s own ‘throw opponent headfirst’ into the guardrail move against her, and then a nasty looking electric chair drop throat-first onto the top rope. De Lander gets the win with her Death Adder finish (a sit-out TKO)
The match feels like it loses some of the earlier intensity by the end. I most enjoy Steph De Lander’s work when she’s throwing around a smaller woman, and I still feel like I haven’t seen her work a match against someone of a similar size that has fully clicked for me. It is a pity that the pairing with her and Indi Hartwell wasn’t able to go longer as I thought it was an effective act.
Post-match, Indi Hartwell has her goodbye moment where she is showered in “Thank You Indi” chants. It is pretty much an open secret that she is heading off to NXT; and she has the tools to be a success in the WWE system. It’s a loss to the Australian scene, where she has been one of the top women for the past couple of years.
Up next is the latest episode of Krackerjak’s Bastard TV, in which he continues to deal with existential ennui and body horror.
MCW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
THE BRAT PACK (MITCH WATERMAN/NICK BURY) def THE NATURAL CLASSICS (Tome Filip/Stevie Filip) (c)
When this match was first announced, I was pretty disappointed with the news. It is well known that the Filip Brothers are leaving Australia for an extended period in the imminent future. The Brat Pack are one of the best tag teams in Australia; but putting the titles straight back onto them felt like a regressive move. Thankfully, whilst my predicted result came to pass I ended up being much happier with it than I expected.
The Brat Pack jump The Natural Classics straight away to start the match. That ends up being pretty much the last heel move they do. This is different to the other matches these two teams have had in that it isn’t built around a heel/babyface dynamic. It’s all action and high-spots.
It clicked for me about half-way through that this was designed as an all-action face/face match. The closing stretch sees Nick Bury get his chin smashed up by a moonsault from Stevie Filip and then very quickly after, The Brat Pack hit a double-team blockbuster for the win. I couldn’t tell if the match was intended to finish there or if they went straight to the finish after the injury.
Post-match, The Natural Classics give The Brat Pack a fist-bump on their way out to cement the turn. A bloody Bury (who comes off tough as hell here) celebrates the win by getting a fourth slit shaved into his hair to represent their fourth title reign.
A babyface Brat Pack is a completely new dynamic for the MCW Tag Division and will allow the team to work a flashier style rather than being typecast as sneaky heels. That being said, the MCW Tag Division is still drastically in need of fresh teams. If I were a wrestler in Victoria trying to break into MCW, I’d be getting together with another worker and establishing a team because the Tag Division is clearly where the company most needs new talent.
MCW WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
SLEX (c) vs ADAM BROOKS – NO CONTEST
Last show, Adam Brooks won the Ballroom Brawl in a surprise return and immediately challenged Slex for the next event. These are two of the best and most beloved wrestlers in Australia against each other for the most important prize in the country.
The work in the match is excellent. There’s a level of fluidity and finesse to Brooks and Slex’s movements in this match that feels a level above the rest of the card. Knowing where the match is going takes a little bit of the sting out of the near-falls, but for about 30 minutes these two are having a killer face vs face world title match.
It’s a pity that a portion of the crowd shat all over their efforts.
I think that for the most part Australian Wrestling crowds are pretty solid. There are some bad habits that they have copied from UK crowds or NXT; but for the most part Australian crowds are loud and respectful. If there’s a major failing of Australian crowds it is that we have a high percentage of crowd members who want to shout stupid shit in an effort to pop themselves and their mates. I suspect that this is a cultural problem, some false belief that the ‘Australian larrikin’ is in anyway a charming persona to adopt. It could also be that a portion of Australian fans should never be allowed to drink alcohol because it enables their worst tendencies. Alternately they could just be shit people who don’t give a crap about anything other than amusing their own decaying brain.
So this is what happened; the referee was wearing a pair of white suspenders that are barely visible on tape. A loud minority of fans during the main event took it upon themselves to shout “SUSPENDERS” in the gap between numbers during every 10 count. And they do this, throughout the entire match. This isn’t funny or clever or additive in anyway to the match. It isn’t some sort of act of resistance against a media conglomerate that has stopped giving a damn about what their core audience actually wants to see. It’s just masturbatory self-indulgence from people who were either too drunk or too stupid to understand how they were hurting the performance they paid money for. It’s the most damaging crowd behaviour I’ve seen in Australian Wrestling, with the exception of when crowds are racist/sexist/homophobic. Bless the one person who shouted at them to shut up though.
Everyone shouting ‘SUSPENDERS’ fucking deserves what came next.
As Adam Brooks is about to hit the Swanton Bomb and take the championship, Dowie James comes out chair in hand. He wallops Brooks with the chair, takes out Slex for good measure and then takes control of the ring.
What follows is Dowie getting 10 minutes of nuclear heat. He tries to start the promo a few times, but the heat just keeps building and he holds off talking because he’s in total control of this situation.
Then we get his manifesto. Dowie rails against the fans who make everything about themselves, the wrestlers who have just used MCW as a stepping stone to NXT, fly-in talent who just are looking to hock merch and fans perpetuating a system that holds Australian Wrestling back. He is the person working to make MCW world class and he has gotten nothing but resentment for it.
It’s the best heel promo I’ve heard in Australian Wrestling. Everything Dowie says is on some level true, but he’s being a dick about it. The awful behaviour from part of the audience hurt the main event but helped fuel this angle.
Dowie James is the God of Melbourne City Wrestling.