It’s always a pleasure when I get to attend a local wrestling event put on by an independent company. You never know what you’re going to get – it could be awful or it could be amazing. There could be something you’d like to see buried and never come back again, and once in a while you find that diamond in the rough.
On Thursday, August 21st, I attended Winnipeg-based promotion Premier Championship Wrestling’s 2014 edition of the Back 2 School Bash. This was a comeback show of sorts, as PCW has been on a break since March. The company has been figuring out what to do with their Championship, after PCW Champion Steve Corino has refused to appear and defend the title until PCW can provide what Corino calls “suitable competition”.
A1-Wrestling.com previously featured PCW ring announcer John Hammerstein on Episode 193 of the A1 podcast to talk about the show and the direction of the company, and it was Hammerstein that opened the PCW show to welcome the almost-packed rowdy house and get things underway.
Zack Mercury makes his entrance, accompanied by manager Michael J. Arnott, who fills us in on the current state of PCW, and how his client, Zack Mercury should be the PCW Champion and deserves a title shot. Mercury gets on the mic and tells us that all roads to the PCW Championship go through him. He wants the title, he deserves it, and to prove it, send someone out from the back and he’ll take them on right now.
Match 1: Zack Mercury vs. Glen Average
Glen Average is introduced as Mercury’s opponent, but despite his namesake, is less than average against Mercury, who quickly dispatches him. Average got some offense in, but it just wasn’t enough to overpower the much bigger and stronger Mercury, who finishes the match with a flying leg lariat.
Post-match, Mercury grabs the mic again, and talks about how quickly he won his match, and this domination is proof that he is who he says he is, he deserves the title, and to prove it again he’s going to take on someone else. Send someone else out from the back!
Match 2: Zack Mercury vs. El Localle
El Localle comes out from the back, and with his cruiser-weight-like ability, he too manages to get some offense in, but again Mercury is too much and overpowers him, this time using a submission maneuver that looks like a modified Walls Of Jericho.
Post-match, Mercury says he’d take on someone else, but the fans don’t deserve it, and leaves with Arnott.
My take: It’s good to see Mercury still wrestling on the local scene. He was around over a decade ago during my time with No Holds Barred Wrestling. He’s a big dude with a decent look, and still appears to be a decent hand. I think he was hampered a bit by his opponents – they were good for him to toss around, but he had to sell some pretty awful offense, especially from El Localle.
At least we’ve accomplished something and established Mercury as a bad ass for later shows. Arnott as a manager is basically 80% Paul Heyman and 20% Jimmy Cornette – which isn’t a bad thing if you can incorporate bits of them into your own character, but Arnott ripped off a big part of Heyman’s shtick, introducing himself with the “My name is…” and using the phrase “my client”. That being said, the guy has a great presence, is really good on the mic, sells the action well, and during the match is a pretty good example of how a heel manager should act. Just needs a couple tweaks to the presentation and he could be excellent.
Match 3: Real Canadian Wrestling’s Steven Styles vs. Cory Diamond
Once both men are out at ringside, Styles does a ton of stalling, refusing to get into the ring, and heading out into the crowd, refusing to get the match started. Classic heel tactic, but when it goes on for close to five minutes, it’s overkill and took me right out of the match. Once it got going, Styles shows he has some skill and bumps well for a big man, but by this time they lost me. Styles wins with what looks like Dean Ambrose’s finishing move.
My take: I pretty much said it all. The pre-match stalling, while when used properly is effective in getting a heel over as a weaselly heel, but in this case it was way over done. When it was over, there was a lot of talk and comedy attempts, and it really overshadowed anything that was happening in the ring. By the time the match got going, I wanted it to be over. Not a good sign.
Match 4: Leo London & David London (with PCW Canadian Champion James Beaver) vs. Big Trouble In Little China (Shao Ming & Adrian Reaper)
Time for some TAG TEAM WRESTLING!
The Londons were accompanied by PCW Canadian Champion James Beaver, and pre-match, Beaver put out probably the worst piece of singing along with their theme music (Queen’s “We Are The Champions”) I’ve ever heard. Again, good for a heel spot, but it went on far too long.
That being said, once this match got underway, it was like a switch had been flipped, all the rust had been shaken off for PCW, and all the negative had been thrown away like the proverbial baby with the bathwater. This match had a good pace. There was lots of tags, and tons of double team action to go along with it. We got the time-honored classic spot of the heels making the tag without there actually being a tag, and the face being prevented from making a tag due to the heels double teaming the face’s partner right behind the ref’s back, as the ref was admonishing the face on the ring apron. Good stuff.
Classic tag booking aside, these four guys are all very solid wrestlers. I love the name Big Trouble In Little China – Reaper is a taller, more solid (BIG) guy, and Ming is a smaller (LITTLE) Asian dude that can race all over the place. Classic combination. The Londons had complimentary gear, befitting a tag team. We got the classic “one face partner (Reaper) gets destroyed to set up the hot tag/face house a fire” spot. There were so many good team spots in this match I can’t possibly name them all, and fitting the style of the match, it ended on a tag team maneuver from the Londons, a double shoulder carry into a big drop.
My take: An entertaining match with two solid teams. Really enjoyed this match. This match also brought the chant of the night with the rowdy locals chanting “SHORT ROUND” at Ming (a reference to the Indiana Jones movies).
Too bad, as we’re just getting going with the quality wrestling. Big thanks to Josh Hammerstein and PCW for the shout out to A1-Wrestling.com at this time!
Match 5: Jay Walker vs. Outlaw Adam Knight
We’re back from intermission, and pre-match, Walker calls himself the Social Media Superstar, since he uses Twitter and Facebook to connect with all his fans, but tonight, he was shoving all that aside and focusing on defeating his opponent because he wanted a shot at the PCW Canadian Championship.
This match turned into a brawl VERY quickly, almost immediately spiling out of the ring, and the two men battled through the crowd as Outlaw pretty much manhandled Walker, dragging him around the venue, through the crowd, busting a table, using the venue’s own support beams and generally beating the hell out of Walker. After several minutes of this, Walker manage to turn the tide and go after Outlaw’s knee, and back in the ring, worked over the knee with a series of stretches and attacks that took the much bigger Outlaw off his feet and neutralized his offense. The two men continued the battle in the ring, with Outlaw landing massive, vicious chops that resounded through the venue as well as using an arsenal of power moves, and Walker employed the smaller, faster, technical offense to ground Outlaw and take away that power game when he could.
Ultimately, it was Walker that came out ahead, as he finished off Knight with a Pedigree, followed by a top rope elbow for the three count.
My take: This was a really fun brawl. Both men took liberties outside the ring, and inside the ring it was classic David vs. Goliath match, and it was well done. This match was a welcome surprise for me, as Adam Knight has been a fixture in local wrestling for quite some time, but yet I’d never managed to see him in action. I met with Outlaw after the show, and while he had his own opinion of the match, I thought it was a fun brawl and most importantly, the match entertained me, and that’s all that matters.
Match 6: Main Event: Jackie “The Jet” Lee vs. Alix Vanna
The winner of this match faces Antonio Scorpio for the #1 contendership to the PCW Championship and face Champion Steve Corino at a future event.
Both men are larger cruiserweights/smaller heavyweights, and we quickly spill outside where Lee lands a couple of great chair spots, beating Vanna and setting him up in a chair, and taking off running the width of the venue to land a running knee into Vanna’s face. The men continued to brawl outside where it was all Lee, and he used every inch of the venue, leaping off rails, the bar, and chairs and using the venue’s support poles, before heading back to the ring and the real match got underway as these two men put on a cruiserweight clinic of moves, countermoves, and fast attacks. Both men traded the advantage back and forth, mixing up holds and tactics alongside power moves and drops.
Later on in the match, both men again ended up outside, this time with Vanna in control, and he planted Lee on a pool table about 20 feet from the ring before heading back to the ring and climbing up to the top rope. There isn’t much room above the ring in this venue, and this prompted the line of the night from the crowd, where one fan yelled: “THE ANGLES ARE IMPOSSIBLE!” Lee got up from the pool table and raced back to the ring to confront Vanna on the top rope, and the match continued right where it left off and the two men extended their athletic display.
Vanna had Lee down near the end of the match after a series of big moves and counters, each man gathering near falls, and Vanna went up top, looking for a finisher, but Lee popped up to his feet and caught Vanna on the way down with a palm spike to the face, laying out Vanna, and getting the three count for the right to face Scorpio.
Post-match, both men shook hands, but then Vanna kicked Lee in the nuts and left the ring, leaving Lee on the canvas to recover before being able to finally celebrate the big win.
My take: I think you get from the way I described this match, that it was hot, entertaining, the crowd was into it, and the two men involved were certainly very skilled. Definitely the match of the night.
Other notes: The venue has some work to do, as the sound system was not set very well, and with the loud crowd, it was virtually impossible to hear the announcements from the ring. I had to get PCW to provide me with a card run down, since I had next to no idea who anyone was and who was in what match since it was so hard to hear.
Overall: The show was a little late getting underway – about 25 minutes – and the first couple matches were rough, but 2/3 of the show was super enteraining and fun to watch. These guys have a lot of potential, and with a little tweaking, they can easily put a solid card on from top to bottom.
PCW returns to Doubles Fun Club on September 25th, and A1 will be there to cover all the action!
Check out the image gallery below for some (mediocre) shots of the action.