Melbourne City Wrestling
November 9, 2019
The Thornbury Theatre
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Watch: vimeo.com or mcwencore.pivotshare.com
Melbourne City Wrestling’s 2019 wraps up with Endgame 2019. It is a show with two stand-out matches as well as closing out 2019’s storylines and setting up the playing field for 2020.
I wanted to make a special mention of the fact that this was long-term MCW head booker Criss Fresh’s last show with the company. He is retiring from the position to devote more time to his twin passions of making dirty jokes on commentary at WrestleRock and appearing on Star Wars’ podcasts. For people outside Australia he is likely a relatively unknown figure but he’s been at the creative helm for MCW throughout this period of growth. Much of my interest in the Australian scene outside of my home territory is a result of the characters and stories that he creatively shepherded.
The show opens with a graphic in memory of Lachlan McLeod, a much-loved member of the MCW community who passed away recently.
On commentary are the regular team of Lord Andy Coyne, Lindsay Howarth and Krackerjack.
MCW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
The Brat Pack (c) def. The Last of a Dying Breed and Jett Rouka/Kaz Jordan
The card opens up with a Triple Threat for the Tag Team Championship. In my last MCW review I had interpreted the end of the Tag Title match as a sign that The Brat Pack had turned babyface. On October’s Anniversary show they defended the belts against Will Ospreay and Kyle Fletcher, getting the win after Gino Gambino’s interference.
Now they seem to be back to being heels (or at least tweeners). I would have been more interested in seeing this run position Brat Pack as babyfaces; but unfortunately, there have been no heel teams built up to the point of being credible challengers. I do wonder if confusion concerning their alignment is part of the reason why they got a flat reaction for their entrance.
Wrestle Dad Mike Burr has officially adopted Ritchie Taylor and they are now a full-time tag team. MCW Academy graduates Jett Rouka and Kaz Jordan are accompanied to the ring by a returning Tyson Baxter.
The match is an entertaining spotfest, but kind of suffers from the same sort of emptiness in terms of story or drama that most three-way tag matches have. A stand out spot is Kaz Jordan doing a hurricanrana to Waterman off the top, leading to Waterman unintentionally sentoning his partner. The other big spot is a dive from Tyson Baxter onto everyone on the outside; hopefully a sign that he’ll be ready to compete again at the start of 2020. Brat Pack ends the match by stealing the pin from Burr and Taylor, which suggests to me that we’ll see a program between the teams to kick off the new year.
Post-match, Disruption run in and layout Burr and Taylor. Their leader, Atlas Whittaker cuts a promo saying that his team is going to rule the tag team division and challenging anyone to come out and take Disruption on. He is answered by Sebastian Walker who comes out wearing a Bullet Club kimono; Walker then brings out Gino Gambino and Bad Luck Fale. Gino cuts a rare babyface promo in response (including some constructive criticism for Whittaker) and then a handicap match is on.
Gino Gambino & Bad Luck Fale def. Disruption
It is all three members of Disruption facing off against the two Australasian Bullet Club members. This is a total squash, but I quite enjoyed it. Atlas Whittaker, Emmanuel and Shaun Young make for good goons for Gino and Fale to throw around.
Fale works most of the match whilst still chomping on his cigar. Basically everything the Disruption team tries gets swatted away by the big men. At one point, both Gino and Fale stand on Emmanuel’s back and then they put referee Edwin on top of him as well. Shaun Young ends up eating the Piledriver from Gambino and then a Grenade from Fale for the finish.
Post-match, the other two members of Disruption drag Shaun Young to the back. This was a decimation and felt like the group being written off. Since their debut, they’ve struggled to look effective or come off as a credible threat in MCW (though I do think that Young has done well playing a total shitbag). If they are coming back, then it feels like they’ll need something new in 2020 (a new leader or completely different attitude) if they are going to break out of the lower-card.
Gino reiterates his promo from the Anniversary show saying that MCW is Bullet Club territory and that the Club is coming to take out Will Ospreay and Robbie Eagles.
Up next we have a promo from Dowie James to hype up the night’s main event. Since turning heel, Dowie has become the most interesting character in Australian Wrestling. He’s this broken person lashing out at all the people he felt rejected him (Adam Brooks, the fans and MCW management). He simultaneously is speaking truths with just enough pure bitterness behind those truths to be the villain.
Avary def. Lena Kross
This match puts two of my favorite women in the country against each other. Lena Kross previously appeared on one of MCW G.IRL shows but this is her first time on a Thornbury Theatre show. Avary has returned to Australia following her debut Stardom tour, but found herself losing in the first round of the MCW Women’s Title Tournament against Steph De Lander.
The commentary team does a good job of putting over the story of this match and introducing Kross to a new audience. In her home territory of Western Australia, Lena is a natural babyface and regularly has a flock of little kids following her around at intermission. With her couple of sojourns to the Eastern States; Lena has been placed as a default heel because of her height. She is starting to develop how to work as a heel character, and use her size and athleticism to bully opponents.
Lena beats up Avary for much of the match, throwing her around and overpowering her. Kross is able to hit a couple running knees to Avary; which also shows off how well Avary takes knee shots. She looks like she is breaking in half whenever she gets hit with one.
Avary is eventually able to hit a Tornado DDT off the apron to the outside and then throws Kross back into the ring to hit her Daddy Issues finish for the win.
After the match, we get a promo for Royce Chambers, who made his MCW debut at October’s Anniversary shows. He also has the best/worst mullet in Australian Wrestling. Chambers sinks a basketball shot facing backwards Mr Perfect style, but the camera cut makes me suspicious that he actually made the basket.
Jake Andrewartha def. Fun Time Phil
This is another squash win for Jake Andrewartha. Technically Fun Time Phil has a win over Andrewartha back at MCW 100 in 2018. This felt like another writing off of a character.
Andrewartha gets the win with a series of strikes to the face for the submission. After the match, he needs to get forced away from Phil by management.
A couple shows ago I said I was ready to see Andrewartha actually get challenged and I’m still waiting to see it. He has been squashing people for half a year now and it feels like it is time to see him in an actual contest.
MCW WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
Steph De Lander (c) def. Kellyanne
This is a rematch of the Tournament final from the second night of the Anniversary show, where Steph De Lander became the inaugural champion.
I thought that the use of plunder helped this match have more energy than their last contest. Kellyanne jumps SDL right out of the gate, mirroring the way that De Lander had preemptively attacked the challenger a month beforehand.
There’s a very ugly looking chairshot from Kellyanne to the champion followed up by a cannonball through a table. Kellyanne brings out the thumbtacks, only for the move to backfire on her and she eats a Death Adder into the tacks for the finish. The tacks at the end felt a bit excessive but this was a solid plunder match.
Following on from this, we have Adam Brooks’ side of the main event. This show is really culminated years of build to Brooks becoming MCW Champion.
MCW INTERCOMMONWEALTH CHAMPIONSHIP
Danny Psycho (c) def. ‘Jag’ Hartley Jackson
Hartley Jackson returned to independent wrestling at last month’s MCW double-header after spending a year working as a trainer in the WWE Performance Centre. I was a big fan of his match on the second night against Caveman Ugg. Danny Psycho has held the Intercommonwealth Championship since Ballroom Brawl and this is a match-up of two veterans of the Australian scene.
I thought that for this match particularly, the commentary team did a really good job of explaining the psychology of the match to the audience. It was a hard-hitting affair, with Psycho hitting high-spots to try and combat Jag’s heavy offense. There’s a fun moment where Jag goes to the front row to steal someone’s seat and take a break.
I thought it was noticeable that there was no real reaction for the first finisher kick-out from Psycho. After another kick-out from Jag’s Death Valley Driver by Psycho, the champion is able to hit the Cutter for the win.
Post-match, Psycho’s victory celebration is cut off by a mysterious video of a masked figure stalking the Intercommonwealth Champion’s family. I really don’t know who this is going to be, and from the promo it suggests someone who has a history against Danny Psycho (and there’s a pretty short list of wrestlers still active from when Psycho had his first MCW run). This is the sort of angle that I’ll have to wait and see on; it could work out well and give Psycho some direction that his title reign has been missing since beating Lochy Hendricks in July. I’m somewhat apprehensive though as ‘Dark’ angles also have a spotty track record in terms of actually being effective in Australian Wrestling though.
Then we get a vignette for the return of Loverboy Lochy Hendricks in 2020. His new character seems to be a hippy guru which gives me Manson Family vibes.
Robbie Eagles def. Emman The Kid
Emman is a young Malaysian wrestler who has moved to Australia this year. He debuted in MCW the month prior. He previously faced off with Robbie Eagles in a match in Malaysia, and since then it seems like Eagles has somewhat taken him under his wing.
This is a really good match which demonstrates how much promise Emman has. Robbie Eagles is obviously Australia’s top talent at the moment, but Emman is able to hang and not look out of place against his experienced opponent. This is the first time that I’ve seen Emman work a match without wearing a shirt, and it goes a long way to making him look like a real professional wrestler rather than a child.
The finishing stretch to this match is excellent, and the crowd really gets behind Emman on his attempts to escape the Ron Miller Special. He eventually can’t and has to tap out, but this is a case where a young talent was genuinely elevated by a loss. Post-match Robbie bows in respect to The Kid.
They then do a good job of hiding the incoming Bullet Club angle, waiting until just before Eagles is going to go to the back for Fale to appear and take him out. Gino then tries to get a downed Robbie Eagles to Too-Sweet the Underboss, but Eagles flips the bird instead. The beatdown continues as Gino talks up all the destruction Bullet Club is going to bring to MCW in the new year. How much of a presence New Japan stars are in MCW in 2020 is likely to be one of the big stories of next year for the Australian scene.
MCW WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
TRIPLE THREAT ELIMINATION MATCH
Adam Brooks def. Slex (c) and Dowie James
At New Horizons, Adam Brooks and Slex’s contest ended in a no-contest thanks to the interference of Dowie James. The former Ace of MCW then went onto rant for 15 minutes in which he (rightfully) told off all the fans and made himself the hottest heel in the country.
The rematch between Brooks and Slex then became a three-way and the match starts with both men laser-focused on trying to take out Dowie James. There’s good action between all three men; until Dowie is able to sneakily hit Slex with a belt shot for the three count and thus eliminating the champion.
Dowie is just a fantastic piece of shit during this match, whilst Adam Brooks is the valiant hero. Brooks is able to hit his Buddy’s Murphy Law for a near-fall in a big moment. Then there’s a ref-bump allowing Dowie to hit Brooks with the title belt. The reaction to Brooks kick-out is one of the biggest of the night.
There’s an absolutely disgusting spot where Dowie drops Brooks from the apron to the floor; but soon after, Brooks is able to counter a cutter attempt with a Facebreaker then hit the Swanton for the three.
There’s a big pop as golden confetti is released to celebrate Brooks’ victory. He goes on to do Confetti Angels on the mat in celebration. After nine years, Adam Brooks has finally claimed the mantle of MCW Champion.
The two stand-out matches on this card are the main event and Eagles vs Emman. Whilst not a contender for Australian Show of the Year, it’s a fitting conclusion to MCW’s 2019 and Adam Brooks win is a great moment. With the upcoming changes to their creative team; MCW’s 2020 is somewhat uncertain but they have closed 2019 with a number of potential strong storylines and match-ups set-up to keep MCW on track to continue the promotion’s upward trajectory.