PWA’s 17th anniversary show has come and gone, and the landscape of Alberta’s biggest wrestling promotion has shifted drastically. The Prairie Wrestling Alliance is still in search of a commissioner after Big Bad Boris unceremoniously crushed former boss Andy Anderson at PWA 17. Resident monster Kat Von Heez is reeling after a surprise defeat at the hands of the debuting KJ Kash. The Millennial Rebels have imploded, with Colton Kelly – along with the Rebels former manager Dr. Kyoto – appearing to be the last man standing of the faction with “The Thickness” Reid Matthews missing in action.
However, the more things change, the more they stay the same. While much of the PWA is in a state of flux, The Western Lions still have a stranglehold on the PWA Championship. Both Michael Richard Blais and Brandon Van Danielson have been dominant in their run as co-champions; at the time of this writing, the Lions have held the promotions top prize for 303 days, with (seemingly) no one left in the promotion to defeat. The only man who appears to have even a slight championship opportunity at this point is fellow Western Lion and Resolution Rumble winner Sheik Shabaz; however, since winning the Rumble, the Sheik has been adamant that he won’t use his title shot on either of his stablemates. It’s looking more and more like the Lions won’t lose their title belts; who can step up to the plate?
PWA: Hysteria represented the promotion’s first show in Edmonton since PWA 17, and first overall since April 7th’s PWA: Apocalypse in Calgary. As always, I’m Spencer Love with your (admittedly unofficial) PWA Recap!
Four Corners Match – Sheik Shabaz vs. Ryan Eagles vs. “Kid Chocolate” Mo Jabari vs. “The Omen” Gabriel
The show opened with a four corners elimination match, pitting three longtime PWA talents against newcomer Ryan Eagles. It was a terrific way to open Hysteria; Shabaz, Jabari and Gabriel are familiar to long-time PWA fans, and the prospect of the three in the same ring was an exciting enough prospect. However, adding Eagles to the mix made this a must-watch match of the evening. The veteran Australian wrestler looked terrific in his PWA debut, with his signature Brainbuster devastating all three men at some point during the match.
It was obvious heading into the match that Sheik Shabaz held a clear size advantage over his three opponents, and man did he use it. While the babyfaces teamed up for short spurts of offence against the giant to open the match, he simply overwhelmed the trio. However, it was clear some damage had been done to the monster, and he bided his time outside the ring for most of the first half of the match while the good guys fought.
While Shabaz lurked on the outside, the good guys put on one hell of a match on the inside of the squared circle. While Gabriel and Jarabi used their high-flying offence, Eagles shut them down with his powerful clubbing blows. All three had their chances to shine, with Eagles teasing the Brainbuster multiple times.
However, there’s a reason that Shabaz is known as the ultimate opportunist of the PWA. For every time that Eagles hit the Brainbuster, Shabaz was there to pick up the scraps and steal the pin. The giant eliminated both Jabari and Gabriel in short order, leaving it to him and Eagles as the final two.
Eagles and the Sheik didn’t last long, however. As Shabaz bounced off the ropes, Western Lions manager Connie Blais inadvertently interfered with the Sheik, causing him to walk right into an Eagles Brainbuster and a subsequent loss.
Post-match, Shabaz and Blais continued to argue until fellow Western Lion Michael Richard Blais came out to the ramp. MRB and the Sheik got into a shoving match, with God’s Gift to Wrestling stating that the Lions don’t need the Sheik.
Kat Von Heez vs. KJ Kash
After a surprising defeat in Calgary, Kat Von Heez was looking for redemption against P.W.A newcomer KJ Kash. Von Heez was accompanied to the ring by the duo known as Team Flex Appeal, Bobby Sharp and Michael Allen Richard Clark. Von Heez is an absolute monster; any match that she walks into, she has to be a clear favourite. Even with the rookie Kash scoring a surprising victory in Calgary on April 7th, last Saturday my expectations were no different. Von Heez comes into every match motivated, nonetheless when she has something to prove.
That being said, I was thoroughly impressed with Kash throughout the match. While I’m not sure how long she’s been wrestling for, she was a natural in the ring, especially against her larger foe. While she only got in short spurts of offence, they were impressive; a number of strikes seemed to rattle Von Heez much more than I thought they would. She’s clearly talented, and I’m excited to see what she can do in future matches.
While Kash was impressive, she was still in for a tough night. Von Heez made Kash look like a rag doll throughout the match, tossing her around the ring effortlessly. At times, you could visibly see Kat laughing, almost taunting Kash to do anything. Unfortunately for the monster, KJ Kashed in – great pun, Spencer! – and shockingly rolled up Von Heez for her second straight win in the PWA. Will there be a rematch? What’s next for the two-time victor? Find out in Calgary at PWA: Mayhem on May 5th!
P.W.A Tag Team Championship Match – Team HOF (Chris Steele + Duke Durrango) vs. The Above Average Joes (Kenny Stryker + Aiden Adams)
Christopher Steele and Duke Durrango are on top once again after Team Hall of Fame captured the Tag Team Championships at the 17th anniversary show on March 22nd. It represents yet another in a long line of accomplishments for the veterans; between the two, they hold five PWA Championships and ten PWA Tag Team Championships. Team HOF isn’t just a moniker, folks; the both are bonafide hall-of-famers, and deservedly so. It was only a matter of time before they held the tag straps again – but as I’m sure they’ve found out before, there’s no rest once you’re champions.
At Hysteria, the two were challenged by the up-and-coming team of Kenny Stryker and Aiden Adams, the Above Average Joes. I’ve sang the praises of both men in previous PWA reviews, so I won’t spout off too much here. However, it was clear that the two have a genuine connection with the crowd; both are at ease on the mic and have a ton of charisma. Hopefully the two are able to stick together as a tag team for a while – I’m sure that they’ll go far with a little bit of luck.
Adams and Durrango kicked off the match, with the veteran targeting the Above Average Joes’ arm early. Durrango is a thinking man’s wrestler; from the start, he approached Adams with a strategy that worked throughout the early portion of the match. However, Adams was able to escape and tag in Stryker, while Duke subsequently tagged in the Man of Steele.
While I certainly like Kenny Stryker, he didn’t make the smartest move to start the match. Squaring up with the Hall of Famer, Stryker challenged Steele to a test of strength. I can appreciate the gumption put into making such a move; however, I’ll never advise doing so. Steele decisively won, and between himself and his tag-team partner worked over the Joe for a large portion of the match. While Stryker bent, he didn’t break and Team HOF was unable to put away the Above Average Joes. Stryker, battered and beaten up, was finally able to tag in his teammate late in the match and Adams exploded out of the hot tag. A valiant fight ensued; in a mirror image of earlier in the match, Adams worked over the hall of famers, but was unable to put either away to clinch the championships. Team HOF was finally able to recover, and after a Doomsday Device to Adams was able to retain their championships.
While the Above Average Joes were obviously upset with their loss, Team HOF came back to the ring to shake hands post-match in a show of respect for their opponents.
Brandon Van Danielson vs. Tiger Ali Saif
Did someone say Hoss Fight?
Two big dudes squared off on Saturday, as PWA co-champion Brandon Van Danielson battled Tiger Ali Saif in non-title action. BVD was accompanied to the ring by both Connie Blais and fellow Western Lion Michael Richard Blais, and the two would play a huge part in the match to come.
The two squared off face-to-face in the middle of the ring to start the match, staring each other dead in the eye. Both men put on a brutal effort, and I mean that in the best way possible. The two hit each other hard and often, with neither willing to concede an inch to the other man. BVD is co-champ for a reason, and he routinely took down the larger Saif throughout the match. He’s quicker than expected in the ring, and likely tougher than expected, too; he seemed to gain pleasure from causing pain to Saif.
However, Saif is no slouch in the ring, and proved it multiple times throughout the match. Multiple times he had me convinced that he would had the co-champion beat, especially off of a top-rope arm drag that had BVD shaken. However, the Western Lion would receive help from his stablemates multiple times throughout the match, as MRB and Connie Blais both provided interference and distractions to preserve the win for BVD. While the challenger put forth a valiant effort, Van Danielson picked up the win after throwing Saif into an exposed turnbuckle courtesy of Michael Richard Blais.
Mayhem Championship Match (Flag on a Pole Match) – Brice “The Slammer” Sova vs. Colton Kelly
A big win in Calgary had Colton Kelly lined up for a Mayhem Championship opportunity on Saturday night against current champion Brice “The Slammer” Sova. As with all Mayhem Championship matches, the title couldn’t be defended under regular rules, and the title was put on the line in a Capture the Flag match.
I’ve waxed poetic a number of times about Colton Kelly as a character, but this was likely the most impressed I’ve ever been in a match of his. While he’s always been solid in the ring, both he and the Slammer put their bodies on the line throughout this match. The two made the Mayhem Championship name proud; a cannonball off the apron from Kelly to Sova was absolutely ruthless, and Sova’s powerbomb to the exposed turnbuckle certainly reciprocated the amount of pain that the Millennial Falcon caused to the champion. However, though Kelly tried to put the Slammer away multiple times – including off of a top-rope suplex that looked to be a sure thing – Sova persisted, not allowing Kelly to capture his t-shirt hanging above the ring.
In true Mayhem Championship fashion, the end of the match was absolute chaos. As both men climbed the turnbuckles – Kelly to claim his shirt, Slammer to prevent him from doing so – the teams knocked over the pole holding the shirt, just as the Millennial Falcon had it in his grasp. It was a shrewd move from the veteran Sova; in the confusion, he was easily able to climb his pole and claim his shirt – and therefore, his title. Kelly, however, didn’t take the loss well; while the Slammer celebrated, Colton grabbed the mic and stated that Slammer may have won, but he was leaving with the championship. Dropping the microphone, the former tag-team champion ran out of the arena with the title belt.
What an asshole. I love it.
Team Flex Appeal (Bobby Sharp + Michael Allen Richard Clark) vs. The League (Davey O’Doyle + Brayden Parsons)
Team Flex Appeal returned to the ring for the second time of the evening, this time for their own match against Davey O’Doyle and the debuting Brayden Parsons. I’ve always liked MARC and Sharp; while the two are heels, they’re just goofy enough to be loveable (although I’m sure they’d hate me saying that). If – and when – they turn face, the two are going to be huge fan favourites among the PWA faithful.
While I don’t know much about The League, both O’Doyle and Parsons are quality wrestlers that compliment each other well. They proved that early in the match, too; as Flex Appeal showboated, the League rolled the team up for an early one-count. It served as a wake-up call to MARC and Sharp; after O’Doyle tagged out, the team worked Parsons over for a fair bit of the middle portion of the match. While the newcomer was eventually able to tag his partner back in and regain some momentum, Sharp hit Parsons with an absolutely deadly fireman’s carry neckbreaker to end the League’s comeback.
Just when things looked to be over for O’Doyle and Parsons, the Above Average Joes saved the day. Stealing Bobby Sharp’s container of protein from Flex Appeal’s corner, AAJ distracted both Sharp and the legal man, MARC – who was subsequently rolled up by O’Doyle for the loss.
Post-match, the three teams argued in the middle of the ring and looked to be coming to blows before PWA co-founder Kurt Sorochan appeared. He stated that the Andy Anderson era is over, and that the three teams would be facing off on May 26th in a mini battle royal to determine the #1 contenders to the PWA Tag Team Championships. The winners would then face the champions at PWA: Night of Champions the following month.
PWA Championship Match – “God’s Gift to Wrestling” Michael Richard Blais vs. “Skyflyer” Jeff Tyler
Saturday’s main event was an absolute barnburner, pitting PWA co-champion Michael Richard Blais against Regina’s own “Skyflyer” Jeff Tyler. I’ve been thoroughly impressed with Tyler since his first appearance in PWA in August last year; crowds simply love the guy, and he’s got the in-ring ability to back up his charisma. He makes a hell of an underdog, and I hope he continues to appear in the main-event scene.
That being said, he was tasked with facing a familiar opponent in MRB. “God’s Gift to Wrestling” is one of the more talented individuals in PWA; a two-time champion in the midst of a 300+ day reign on top, Blais has proven time and time again that he’s one of the MVP’s of the Prairie Wrestling Alliance. There’s not many wrestlers who stand a chance when stepping into the ring with MRB, especially when he’s joined at ringside by his Western Lion compatriot BVD and manager Connie Blais, as he was on Saturday. While not one to be discounted, Tyler was in tough to leave as champion.
Saying that, the Skyflyer more than held his own against PWA’s top titleholder. Even outside of BVD and Blais’ outside interference, Tyler had an answer for everything that MRB threw at him. He looked to gain the upper hand early in the match; however, as God’s Gift distracted the referee, Connie Blais tied Tyler up in the ropes and hit him with the double knees off the top rope. The maneuver killed any momentum that the Skyflyer had built, and MRB carried much of the middle part of the match from there.
It was at this point that Tyler suffered a fairly convincing knee injury. Audibly screaming across the auditorium, Tyler looked to be in a massive amount of pain, and many fans in attendance seemed disappointed that the Skyflyer wouldn’t get an end to his match. Blais, however, had other plans. As the Skyflyer writhed in pain, Blais attacked, looking to put away his opponent once and for all. In a true testament to his character, Tyler continued to kick out, bum knee and all. While in obvious pain, it looked as though nothing could stop him from at least finishing the match. Even a brainbuster to Blais expose knee couldn’t put Tyler away, and he nearly finished his comeback with an absolutely massive Spanish Fly off the top rope to Blais.
That’s when Sheik Shabaz made his entrance.
Carrying the Resolution Rumble briefcase, Sheik made his way to the ring seemingly looking to cash in his guaranteed title opportunity on a prone Blais. Brandon Van Danielson pounced on the Sheik, looking to save not only Blais title but his own. During the commotion, a distracted Jeff Tyler was hit with a low blow by Connie Blais, and after yet another Brainbuster, Michael Richard Blais pinned Tyler to remain PWA co-champion.
Post-match, Shabaz and the Western Lions teased tension – however, the four revealed it was all a ruse, holding their championship high to end the show.
— PWA Wrestling (@PWAwrestlingca) April 22, 2018
Yet another terrific show from PWA. I’m especially excited to see where the Mayhem Championship situation goes with Kelly as it’s illegitimate titleholder. As well, it has to be said that I’m never disappointed with an MRB match, and I’d highly suggest checking him out at some point or another.
Next up, PWA is in Calgary for PWA: Mayhem on May 5th. What else will occur two weeks from now? You can always find out by following PWA’s excellent Twitch channel, or staying tuned for updates on Win Column Sports!
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