EPW Going for Broke
March 7, 2020
Gate One Theatre
Perth, Western Australia
Going for Broke was Explosive Pro Wrestling’s second major show for 2020 and the major draw card for the show was the main event, which saw the founding father of EPW; Davis Storm putting his career on the line against long-time rival Marcius Pitt. This Coastal Championship vs Davis Storm’s career stipulation ended up drawing the biggest crowd I’ve seen at the Gate One Theatre in a couple of years.
I know that locally, a lot of people in the West Australian wrestling community are calling it the best EPW show ever. Personally, I might rate last August’s Hell or Highwater higher but nevertheless Going For Broke is a damn good show.
On commentary is the regular EPW team of Dean Olsen and Eric Mack. This show was also Olsen’s birthday, so the whole audience serenaded him with Happy Birthday after intermission.
TIPENE DEF. AARON HAWK
The opening contest sees one-half of the tag team champions take on one-half of their next challengers. Aaron Hawk won the tag titles with Dan Steel in a war against the Street Gang Hooligans at Re-Awakening last year. Tipene is the EPW Rising Star Champion and the reunion of him, Jack Edwards and Taylor King was the emotional highpoint of EPW’s first show of the year.
Tipene is a great character, and his gimmick of working in sunglasses is a lot of fun. Aaron Hawk ends up getting big heat for breaking the sunglasses. There’s an equally big pop for Jack Edwards handing Tipene a pair of replacement glasses.
Tipene is of short-stature but is a powerhouse with natural charisma. He is a talent to watch out for in the Australian scene for 2020. This is a solid opener, with the highlight being a massive spear from Tipene that Hawk manages to kick out of. There are some shenanigans on the outside between Jack Edwards and Hawk’s Plague teammate Jonathan Windsor that leads to Tipene getting a roll-up win. This sets up Tipene and Jack Edwards to be the next challengers for the EPW Tag Titles.
CASEY JOHNS DEF. EDITH NIGHT
This is the EPW main show debut for both women. Edith Night is a rookie coming up through the EPW school who has shown a lot of potential so far. Casey Johns is a product of Riot City Wrestling in South Australia (the same promotion where Rhea Ripley got her start). She has moved to Western Australia now and this is her debut with EPW.
Considering Edith Night’s level of experience, this was a really strong match. Edith has presence and a level of skill which is rare to see from someone with so little ring-time. Casey works a hard hitting brawler style that is rare to see female wrestlers adopt. There are a few moments where transitions felt a little awkward, but this was a very impressive match on the whole.
The finish to this match is so smart as well. Edith hits a Frog Splash for a 2 count. Rather than doing the big Johnny Gargano style oversell at the kick-out, she immediately transitions to a Brutalizer. Johns is about to tap, but then yanks at Night’s ponytail to escape. Johns holds onto her opponents ponytail and traps Night for a Package Piledriver for the win.
The match has been uploaded to YouTube for free as well.
DEL CANO DEF. JAY TAYLOR
This is the pay-off to a storyline that ran throughout most of last year. Jay Taylor was being disrespectful and abusive towards rookies coming up through the EPW School who he was afraid were going to steal his spot. Del Cano and Jay Taylor faced off at Re-Awakening with Taylor getting a sneaky pin.
This match ended up being really good. It’s the blow-off to the program, and both men put their all into the match. There’s a call-back to the finish of their last match with Taylor trying to catch Del Cano with a cutter after tangling him up in the ropes, but this time Del Cano is able to reverse. In terms of spots, the big moment in the match is Taylor catching Del Cano with a cutter out of mid-air just as Del Cano is about to hit a Shooting Star Press.
The match finishes with Del Cano wedgieing The Prince of Perth on the top rope, then hitting a top-rope Spanish Fly and following up with a Shooting Star Press for the win. This felt like a big moment for Del Cano and the start of him being elevated in EPW. Post-match Jay Taylor and Del Cano shake hands and hug. This feels like it might be the end for Taylor, who has been a long-time mainstay of the WA scene, at least for the time being.
EPW COASTAL CHAMPIONSHIP #1 CONTENDERSHIP
GAVIN MCGAVIN DEF. TAYLOR KING, DAN STEEL AND MICHAEL MORLEONE
This match is lots of fun. In a lot of ways this feels like a spot-fest, but not your traditional spot fest. It is a bunch of signature moves and cool spots; but everything feels in keeping with the normal styles and characters of the competitors.
I thought that Taylor King gave one of his strongest performances in this match (including him hitting his dive to the outside without crashing into the guardrail for the second show in a row) and he is someone who looks to be a future headliner for EPW.
There’s a great sequence near the end of Gavin McGavin catching his opponents in various submissions, and then he is eventually able to hit a Lucha style transition into the Crossface to tap out King for the win.
Post-match, McGavin is laid out by an attack from Marcius Pitt; setting up later on in the show.
DAN MOORE AND BOBBY MARSHALL DEF. DAMIAN SLATER AND JULIAN WARD
This tag match puts two-thirds of The Untouchables against the newly formed team of Dan Moore and Bobby Marshall. Moore has turned to Marshall in an attempt to learn how to be aggressive. Meanwhile, Bobby Marshall is learning from Dan Moore’s protege Jesse Lambert how to appeal to the youths.
This is the first time that Slater and Ward have teamed together as The Untouchables on a main card and they demonstrate good team chemistry until the end of the match. Moore and Marshall with the lovable but kind of dumb Jesse Lambert on the outside is a great paring. Two of the most experienced members of the EPW roster with a fun character dynamic. They immediately stand out as a potential top babyface team for the promotion.
The sub-story to this match was that Jesse Lambert had a crush on The Untouchables’ manager Amber and she ended up leading him on and then purposefully standing him up. This plays into the finish of the match, where Amber is offering a devious kiss to Jesse, he turns around to apply some chapstick. Meanwhile, Marshall throws Amber out of the way and catches Damian Slater. Jesse then gets to share his first kiss with the handsome Damian Slater. The shock leads Slater to accidentally superkick Julian Ward and costs The Untouchables the match.
JUNIOR LI VS BRUNO NITRO – NO CONTEST
Both men in this match are looking to establish themselves as EPW main card competitors. Bruno Nitro is coming off a strong showing against Gavin McGavin at Hot Summers Night. Junior Li broke away from the cult he was previously in and is striking out on his own.
Both competitors have a lot of potential and demonstrate some cool moves at the start of the match. Junior Li, in particular, is trying to synthesize a lot of joshi influence into his work. Unfortunately for them, Brock Freeman a wrestler from the early days of EPW comes down the ring in a snazzy suit to livestream the match on his phone. This is a distraction for Joel Hagan to come out of the crowd and take out both Nitro and Li. Hagan is another new talent from the EPW School; who is one of the biggest wrestlers in the State. Putting him with a manager is a good choice in helping him to develop as a talent. The match gets thrown out, Nitro and Li try to fight back but end up getting double-chokeslammed.
EPW COASTAL CHAMPIONSHIP
CAREER VS TITLE
DAVIS STORM DEF. MARCIUS PITT (c)
I fucking loved this match. Rare match that I’ve gotten more out of on the second viewing on tape compared to the live experience (watching it back on tape I’m not standing next to a bachelor party who had hit the point in the night where they’d drunk enough that there was no filter between their brains and mouth).
This match has two of the best of Australian Wrestling going all out in an epic main event. The crowd response speaks to how loved Davis Storm is by the people of Perth and what a strong job Pitt does playing heel in this match.
This match is very well structured. The managers for both wrestlers (Amber for Pitt and Richter for Storm) are used in a way that enhances the story of the match. There’s a truly disgusting spot where Storm get belly-to-belly suplexed into a guardrail (that is now permanently warped by the impact) and when he just gets into the ring by 9, it was the biggest pop I’ve ever heard live for a save from a count-out. Pitt also delivers his version of Ibushi’s Deadlift German off the ropes which is my favourite signature move in Australian Wrestling.
So far, this is my Australian Match of the Year behind the Dowie James vs Will Ospreay match from MCW Vendetta. (For star rating people, I’d go ****¾ on this). The match is busier than that one (or the Storm vs Morleone EPW match I loved last year); with a ref-bump leading to Untouchables interference. This interference backfires however, when Julian Ward turns on Slater, hitting him with a kendo stick rather than Storm (and calling back to his heel turn nearly a year ago at Goldrush). The end of the match sees Gavin McGavin also run in and cement his babyface turn by blasting Pitt with the Coastal Championship. Thankfully this wasn’t the finish; and Storm follows up with The Eye of the Storm and a running knee for the win, the championship and defending his career.
The show ends with a triumphant Davis Storm. We then get a post-credit scene as Storm welcomes Julian Ward back to the ring. Ward is leaving Australia to go to Canada for the foreseeable future. Julian Ward gets the hero’s farewell he deserves from the EPW crowd. Ward is, in my opinion, one of the top rising talents on the Australian scene. Whilst it is a shame that he’s moving on; the Canadian independents should all be looking at using him and I’m looking forward to following his career from afar.
This is a damn good show that will be remembered in Perth for a long time to come. I don’t know if it’s the best EPW show ever, but it is in the conversation. If you’re looking for a new show/promotion to check out whilst we enter this sudden unexpected absence of pro-wrestling, then I strongly recommend taking a gamble on Going For Broke.