The Prairie Wrestling Alliance returned to Edmonton on September 29 with PWA Fall Fever, and while I feel as though it’s repetitive to say by this point – boy, what a show. The talent in the P.W.A never ceases to amaze me, and Saturday was another great example of why the promotion has been succeeding in Alberta for 17 years; simply, they host high-quality wrestling shows. Another marquee card was set for last weekend’s show, including a highly-anticipated faceoff between PWA Champion Sheik Akbar Shabaz and former titleholder Michael Richard Blais.
Enough hype, however – let’s get to it! Don’t forget, you can check out our full post-show reactions from PWA Fall Fever on the Backbreaker Media Network, co-hosted by yours truly!
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Colton Kelly vs. Mo Jabari
The leader of the Millennial Rebels Colton Kelly clashed with “Kid Chocolate” Mo Jabari in the opening match of Saturday’s Fall Fever, and boy, what a way to kick off the card. Both Jabari and Kelly are incredibly talented, and both play their roles to absolute perfection. Jabari is quickly becoming one of the most popular members of the P.W.A roster, both due to his natural charisma and sheer in-ring talent. In contrast, Kelly is the consummate heel; it was in large part to his dastardly ways that Jabari was able to earn such resounding cheers throughout the match.
While the match may have formally been advertised as Jabari vs. Kelly, “Kid Chocolate” was truly up against the entirety of the Millennial Rebels faction. The Rebels used the numbers advantage early and often throughout their leader’s match, routinely interfering anytime Jabari was able to build some momentum or the referee was distracted. While Kid Chocolate was able to utilize his agility a number of times throughout the match, both the Rebels numbers advantage and Colton Kelly’s sheer ruthlessness were able to subdue him.
Throughout the early portions of the match, Kelly absolutely dominated. While Jabari was able to hit a number of big moves – including an excellent dive to the outside – it looked as though Kid Chocolate would be yet another victim of the Millennial Rebels. However, a missed cannonball spot from Kelly allowed Jabari to get back into the match, much to the delight of the crowd. With Kid Chocolate on the offensive and the Rebels temporarily incapacitated, it looked as though Jabari would come away with an unlikely victory. However, the Millennial Rebels – and Kenneth “Fury” Anthony specifically – grabbed Jabari’s leg as he tuned up the band for a Superkick. The brief distraction allowed Kelly to hit a massive piledriver on Kid Chocolate, and a short three-count later rendered Colton Kelly the winner.
Post-match, an attempted beatdown of Jabari was foiled by none other than Reid “the Thickness” Matthews, who’s been hunting down the Millennial Rebels since his shocking return to the P.W.A at Night of Champions. After chasing the Rebels off, he assisted the battered Jabari to the locker room amidst cheers for both men.
Overall, it was an absolutely excellent match to kick off the Fall Fever card.
Bobby Sharp & Kat Von Heez vs. Beri Grayson & Zoe Sager
What initially looked to simply be a quick match turned into a solid debut – debut viewing for this writer, at least – for Beri Grayson & Zoe Sager
It was my first time watching either Beri Grayson or Zoe Sager perform, and based on this first match alone there’s frankly not much I can say about my first experience with them inside a P.W.A ring. That’s not a commentary on their skill, however; it was sheer veteran savvy on the parts of Bobby Sharp and Kat Von Heez. The duo, joined by Body Break and former Team Flex Appeal cohort Michael Allen Richard Clark, took advantage early of the relative newcomers to the Prairie Wrestling Alliance. Von Heez was especially ruthless, tossing around Sager in a segment that couldn’t have been longer than a coughing fit. Sharp and Grayson got slightly more time in the ring but again, there simply wasn’t enough time to get a fair assessment of the newcomers’ skill. While the two were obviously talented, both Sharp and Von Heez simply have the ring awareness and veteran savvy to compete with any opponent, nonetheless two that are relatively new to the promotion.
However, it was Grayson and Sharp’s final encounter that really piqued the crowd’s interest. While no one can ever question the in-ring awareness of Bobby Sharp – the guy is a Canadian wrestling legend – a quick moment of unawareness allowed Grayson to roll him up in an attempt to win. It wouldn’t pan out, however, due to the quick thinking – and most importantly, friendship – of Michael Allen Richard Clark. Just as the referee was about to count three, Clark hit Grayson with a Cutter to break up the pinfall. While it cost the team the victory, it also meant that Grayson and Sager were left wanting for their first clean win in Edmonton.
While Grayson and Sager lacked a win, they did seemingly gain themselves a powerful ally at the end of the day. During a post-match beatdown courtesy of Body Break, PWA Hall of Famer Chris Steele ran out to make the save, easily dispatching of both Sharp and Clark. He quickly aligned with Sager and Grayson, and challenged the opposing trio to a six-person tag team match!
Bobby Sharp, Michael Allen Richard Clark & Kat Von Heez vs. Chris Steele, Beri Grayson & Zoe Sager
After Steele made the save for Grayson and Sager and made the challenge to Body Break, Sharp, Von Heez and Clark accepted on one condition. Should the trio defeat the Hall of Famer and the duo of Grayson and Sager, they would challenge both Steele and Duke Durrango for the PWA Tag Team Championships at Fright Night.
Thankfully, this match was much longer than the previous mixed tag match and I got a chance to get an extended look at Sager and Grayson. Grayson was in the match for most of the first half and frankly didn’t get a ton of offence in on the more experienced duo of Sharp and Michael Allen Richard Clark. From the start, Clark and Sharp spent their time working over the more inexperienced Grayson; however, Bari was able to keep himself in the match despite a number of pinfall attempts. Eventually, however, he was able to make the hot tag to Zoe Sager, who quickly dispatched of the aforementioned Sharp and Clark. However, per mixed gender match rules, the two were no longer the legal individuals as Sager took them out; Kat Von Heez was, and she immediately made her presence known with a massive spinebuster/suplex combo to the much-smaller Sager. While the newcomer was able to get in brief spurts of offence against Kat – which is impressive in its own right – she had a tough time sustaining any sort of push, a victim of both Von Heez’s size and experience. However, a huge tornado DDT off the ropes was able to put the larger wrestler on her back for a long enough time for Sager to make a tag to Chris Steele. From there, the action broke down, with bodies flying around the ring at a ridiculous rate. However, it was Sager who was the last woman standing, and she looked primed to avenge the earlier beating at the hands of Kat Von Heez. However, seemingly out of nowhere Michael Allen Richard Clark flew across the ring and delivered yet another Cutter – this time to Sager. Von Heez immediately seized the opportunity and made the pin on her prone opponent.
While it was a disappointing result to the majority of the crowd, everyone in the match came out of it looking great. Sager, especially, was someone that looked impressive in the short time that I’ve gotten to watch live; her tornado DDT off the ropes is fantastic, and it’ll be interesting to see where she goes in what I expect to be a continued feud with Kat Von Heez. Grayson, too, looked good in my first live experience with them, and teaming with someone like Chris Steele is an excellent way to develop quickly. I’m excited to see where the two go from here; Grayson is scheduled to team with Mo Jabari and the Thickness against the Millennial Rebels in Calgary at Destiny in two weeks, while Sager – and I’m assuming here – will likely be facing off against the monstrous Von Heez.
The Titan vs. Brice “The Slammer” Sova
The two resident monsters of P.W.A clashed once again at Fall Fever as the Titan battled Brice “the Slammer” Sova in singles action. In an additional stipulation, if the Titan was to defeat the current Mayhem Champion, one of the Millennial Rebels would earn a championship shot at this month’s Fright Night event in Edmonton.
There’s not a ton to say about this match, in the best possible way. These two are incredibly familiar with each other, and it set the stage for an absolute slugfest. However, as with the Colton Kelly/Mo Jabari match from earlier in the evening, it was routinely interrupted by the Millennial Rebels.
Early in the match, it looked as though Slammer would easily dispose of his Titanous foe. A number of powerslams – accompanied by a catchy new song – had the Titan looking rattled until his Rebel brethren made their presence known for the first time in the match. While Sova is the consummate ring veteran, there’s only so much that awareness can do before simply being overwhelmed by the numbers advantage the Millennial Rebels possess. There are few ways to take down a man as monstrous as the Slammer; however, a low blow will certainly do that, and the Titan was able to nail Sova with a huge shot below the belt during one of the multitudes of referee distractions. One three-count later, and the Titan had emerged victorious.
While the hoss fight was terrific, it was the post-match shenanigans that truly had this writer intrigued. Per the pre-match stipulation, one of the Millennial Rebels had officially earned a shot at Sova’s Mayhem Championship; now, the only question was whom it would be. Immediately, Kenneth Anthony began to angle for the championship opportunity, which clearly incensed the Titan. Just as it looked as though the two were about to spar, Kurt Sorochan appeared in the ring and made the announcement that Titan, Fury and the Slammer would face off at Fright Night for the PWA Mayhem Championship!
Overall, these two delivered in spades – though can we really expect anything less from these two?
The League vs. The Above Average Joes
The evening continued with the second tag team match of the night, pitting the League against the Above Average Joes. The League entered the match with a brand-new manager; unfortunately, I wasn’t able to catch her name, but it added an interesting wrinkle to what was already a promising match.
I often sing the praises of the Above Average Joes, but for good reason. Kenny Stryker and Aiden Adams are two of the most talented members of the P.W.A roster and it was exhibited in spades on Saturday. Adams, especially, was impressive; his ring awareness is off-the-charts, and he utilized that multiple times throughout the course of the match. While the League dominated the early portion of their match – partially due to a pre-match beatdown of the AAJ’s – Adams routinely was able to break up every pinfall attempt made on legal man Kenny Stryker. When he was finally tagged in, he ran rampant over the members of the League, dominating both Parsons and O’Doyle with a series of athletic strikes. He quickly regained the momentum for the Above Average Joes and looked poised to make quick work of the League and subsequently retaining their league fees. However, their manager – and again, I couldn’t be more thoroughly sorry for not catching her name, as she was excellent in my opinion – was able to distract the referee long enough for O’Doyle to hit a low-blow to Adams. While the League may be scoundrels, they certainly have one of the coolest-looking tag team finishers I’ve observed in a while, with Parsons hitting a rolling Death Valley Driver into O’Doyle’s variation of the Vader Bomb (which henceforth shall be known as the O’Doyle Bomb unless I’m otherwise notified). Exactly three counts later and the League emerged victorious.
In no way is this a complaint, but these two left me simply wanting more; the match was terrific, and like many matches on this card I’d have no qualms about watching these two teams face off again.
“The Omen” Gabriel vs. El Asesino
A P.W.A staple took on a relative newcomer to the promotion on Saturday, as “the Omen” Gabriel faced off against El Asesino in singles action.
I was thoroughly excited to check out El Asesino for the first time; after all, this is someone who defeated former PWA Champion Michael Richard Blais just over two weeks ago in Calgary. It was a huge statement for the luchador; defeating someone with MRB’s track record speaks for itself, and it immediately established Asesino as a force to be reckoned with in the Prairie Wrestling Alliance. He was faced with an opponent many would consider the top babyface in the company in Gabriel; another victory over a big-name foe could potentially have set Asesino up as the next #1 contender for the PWA Championship.
From the begging of the match, Asesino was absolutely dominant. He routinely toyed with Gabriel, almost mocking him in the ring. He was equally vicious and talented; while I feel as though he definitely has more to give, it was a great first experience with the luchador. He looked excellent opposite his opponent, which is a testament to the skill of both men.
There doesn’t seem to be any sort of lack of self-confidence in El Asesino, but his cockiness proved to be his undoing. While Gabriel may have had a size disadvantage against El Asesino, he was certainly quicker and was able to evade an attack in the corner from the luchador roughly midway through the match. The mistake seemed to rattle El Asesino, and from that point on Gabriel seemed to gain the momentum. While the luchador still had his brief moments of dominance – a vicious step-up enziguri and a top rope elbow drop among his highlights – Gabriel seemed to have an answer for everything Asesino threw at him.
In a wild finish, Gabriel was able to hand El Asesino his first singles defeat in PWA, hitting a devastating Falcon Arrow following a missed Frog Splash on the part of the luchador. I’m excited to see if this feud continues; the two have some solid chemistry, and I’d love to see them work together again.
Reid “Thickness” Matthews vs. Fury
In the evening’s penultimate match, Reid “the Thickness” Matthews faced off against former friend Kenneth “the Fury” Anthony.
Since returning at Night of Champions in June of this year, Thickness has been on a crusade of justice against his former brothers in the Millennial Rebels. After dispatching of Kenneth Anthony in Calgary just over two weeks ago, a rematch was made for Fall Fever – however, Matthews was more than ready for his opponent on Saturday, hitting a vicious dropkick/cannonball combo for the pin.
In a “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” moment, Thickness defeated Anthony in just under ten seconds!
Seizing on his momentum, Thickness immediately turned and challenged Colton Kelly to a match! While Kelly was noncommittal, the enraged Fury picked up a microphone and announced that he’d be happy to face the Thickness for the second time of the evening. However, his rematch would come with a cost – if the Thickness was to win, he’d get his desired match against Colton Kelly. However, should Thickness lose, he would be forced to leave the Millennial Rebels alone. The stakes were high, but Thickness was more than eager to accept.
While nowhere near as short as their initial match, the Thickness was still able to make relatively short work of Kenneth Anthony. That’s not an indictment of Anthony, however; his spurts of offence were impressive, and he again used his brothers in the Millennial Rebels to his advantage. The numbers game was utilized often and effectively in this match, with the Rebels allowing Fury to hit a number of devastating moves, including a huge tornado DDT that looked to put Reid Matthews away. However, the Thickness was insatiable in his quest to get to the leader of the Millennial Rebels and was able to utilize his dropkick/cannonball combo to score another victory over Anthony – and a date with Colton Kelly at Fright Night. Who’s excited? This guy!
PWA Championship Match – Sheik Akbar Shabaz vs. “God’s Gift to Wrestling” Michael Richard Blais
Two of Alberta’s top independent talents squared off in Saturday’s main event, as PWA Champion Sheik Akbar Shabaz squared off with former titleholder Michael Richard Blais.
Admittedly, this is the first P.W.A show I’ve had a chance to attend in two months, so I didn’t exactly know how to react to Sheik Shabaz when he made his entrance. Remember, the Western Lions turned their backs on Shabaz at P.W.A Retribution just over a month ago, essentially turning the Sheik babyface in the process. While I’d never doubt the talent of the Sheik, I’m always curious at how fans will perceive a freshly-turned babyface, and especially a bad guy as legendary as Sheik Shabaz. That being said, the fans absolutely loved him, erupting in cheers as he made his entrance opposite the former champion MRB.
In the case of Blais, I’ve sung his praises many times; personally, I don’t think there are many independent wrestlers in the world that have the talent that MRB does, and it’s always a treat to get to watch him in the ring.
The bad blood between the two was evident from the start; as the opening bell rang, the two met in the middle of the ring in a good ol’ fashioned hockey fight. MRB may be the most athletic member of the P.W.A roster, but his agility was no match for the Sheik’s sheer power in the early goings of the match. Shabaz controlled the ring, using his size to counter any attempts Blais made to re-enter the squared circle. However, it’s difficult to keep Gods Gift to Wrestling down for long, and he was able to get back into the match quickly with a patented kick to the jaw of Sheik Shabaz.
From there, the momentum seemed to swing Blais’ way. He’s one of the most powerful strikers on the independent scene today and was able to use his lethal kicks to keep Shabaz at bay. While the Sheik attempted a quick roll-up in a stealthy attempt to beat MRB early, Blais was able to hit a knee similar to a V-Trigger to incapacitate the PWA Champion.
However, while there are a few reasons that Shabaz is the champion, a major reason is that he’s opportunistic. As Blais continued to hit the Shiek with a number of kicks, Shabaz was able to take advantage of a slight pause between strikes and hit a massive powerslam to the Western Lion. He was able to work Blais over with a series of strikes of his own; however, a patented MRB superkick was able to subdue the champ and sent the previous champion straight back to work. Again, he seemed to have an answer for everything Shabaz threw at him, countering a Razors Edge attempt from the Sheik into a Frankensteiner into a 450 splash. However, the ensuing pinfall attempt was unsuccessful, throwing Blais into a fit of rage.
Cutting a mid-match promo, Blais told the crowd that Shabaz was an undeserving titleholder and that he was needed in the PWA. Calling for a Brainbuster, MRB looked poised to put the champion away until a massive big boot from the Sheik put Blais on the ropes – both literally and figuratively. It was Shabaz’s turn to snap, attacking Blais ruthlessly. However, in his anger the champion put his hands on referee Michael “the Fitz” Fitzpatrick and getting himself disqualified in the process. While remaining champion, he failed to defeat Michael Richard Blais, ensuring MRB would remain in the P.W.A in the near future.
In the confusion over the finish, Blais managed to acquire a chair from under the ring and proceeded to work over Sheik Shabaz. When all looked lost, however, none other than “the Omen” Gabriel made the save, running Blais out of the ring and allowing the Sheik to recover.
As the three men stared daggers at each other, it was announced that at Fright Night, the Western Lions would battle “the Omen” Gabriel and PWA Champion Sheik Shabaz in the main event, pitting the longstanding tag team against the unlikely duo of the Shiek and the Omen.
Told ya’ll i’d win…one way or another. BVD & I, we’ll get out PWA Title back. If we gotta have a little tag fun first thats all good with us. We like to hurt people! 😎 https://t.co/A8HZhkRjbR
— Michael R. Blais (@GodsGiftMRB) September 30, 2018
Overall, it was an absolutely excellent show from the P.W.A roster. Especially in the cases of the Millennial Rebels/Thickness storyline and the Sheik Shabaz/Western Lions/Gabriel clash, the Prairie Wrestling Alliance has done a fantastic job of developing storylines for it’s two major factions. In addition, the burgeoning mid-card scene is due to absolutely explode soon, with names like Mo Jabari, Aiden Adams, the Thickness and Colton Kelly looking poised to be main-event level talents for the promotion in the near future. All-in-all, the Prairie Wrestling Alliance delivered once again.
Next up, the PWA heads to Calgary for PWA Destiny on October 13th at the Cedarbrae Community Centre, followed by their return to Edmonton on October 27th. If you’re in the area, be sure to check out one of the most highly-touted independent wrestling promotions in the world!
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