Saturday evening, I made the trip to Calgary, Alberta for P.W.A Nemesis. Expectations for the event were high heading into the event; featuring an appearance by Shane “The Hurricane” Helms, the night was headlined by P.W.A’s first-ever Three Stages of Hell match, with “The Omen” Gabriel taking on each member of the Western Lions; Sheik Shabaz, Brandon van Danielson, and Michael Richard Blais.
Heading towards Night of Champions, the biggest show of the year, how did P.W.A build towards Edmonton’s event on June 23rd?
As always, I’m Spencer Love with your recap of P.W.A Nemesis!
Aiden Adams vs. Mo Jabari
After looking outstanding in defeat against P.W.A co-champion Michael Richard Blais at Adrenalize on May 26th, the man known as “Kid Chocolate” was looking to build on his momentum against the bigger Adams. I talked about Jabari at length in last week’s wrap up, and he continued to impress tonight; hiss athleticism is up there with anyone on the P.W.A roster, and since beginning to write these reviews in January Jabari has improved exponentially in the ring. He’ll challenge Shaun Moore in Edmonton at Night of Champions, and while I’m a fan of Moore’s work as well I know who I’ll be cheering for on June 23rd.
However, to make it to NOC, Kid Chocolate had to make it through one half of the Above Average Joes, Aiden Adams. It was the first chance I’ve had to watch Adams perform in singles action, but man is he talented. It was only a small glimpse of what he can do, but I was thoroughly impressed in the short time that Adams was in the ring on Saturday.
Now, when I say that they were in the ring for a short time, I don’t mean that as a critique. Frankly, it would have been tough to keep up the pace that the two men were working at on Saturday. After exchanging handshakes to start the match, the two traded blows often and hard; both seemed as though they were trying to one-up each other, exchanging pinfall attempts on nearly every flurry of offense. Everything that Adams threw at Jabari, his opponent had an answer for and vice versa. At roughly the five minute mark at the match, neither man had been able to gain an advantage over their foe, forcing both to step outside of their comfort zones a bit and get riskier with their offence. It was for that reason that the winning pinfall occurred; late in the match, Adams headed to the top rope looking to put Jabari away, “Kid Chocolate” hit him with a Superkick straight to the chin, knocking Adams out cold. A three count later, and Jabari walked away with his hand raised. However, this match really could have gone either way, and was a terrific way to start the evening.
P.W.A Commonwealth Championship Match – Shaun Moore (C) vs. The Titan
The second match of the evening saw Shaun Moore defending his P.W.A Commonwealth Championship from the enforcer of the Millennial Rebels, The Titan.
Moore is talented as all hell; I mean, there’s a reason he’s a champion. After winning the title from Mo Jabari the last time the two met in Calgary, he’s defended the belt against P.W.A Hall of Famer Duke Durrango and already has locked up his spot on the Night of Champions card, where he’ll face “Kid Chocolate” in his guaranteed rematch. First, however, Moore had to face the Titan, and there’s no guarantee of surviving a match with the monster.
Honestly, early on it didn’t look like Moore would survive throughout the majority of the match. While he’s a thoroughly gifted athlete, the Titan is, well, a titan. Standing at roughly 6’7 by my estimates, he’s an absolute physical force. While still green in the ring, he’s simply too powerful to not have an advantage in nearly every match he’s involved in. He’s already markedly improved in-ring since his debut at January’s Resolution Rumble, and he proved it on Saturday, dominating Moore at every turn. For every brief burst of momentum the champion put forth, Titan had an answer. That is, all but one.
As mentioned, the Titan dominated the majority of the match. In fact, he even looked to have a victory sealed at one point. The Titan mistakenly believed the referee to count a pin late in the match; however, he was mistaken and in the confusion Moore capitalized. He hit the beast with a devastating backbreaker off the top rope to seal the win and retaining his Commonwealth Championship.
Kenny Stryker vs. Tiger Ali Saif
After an inexplicable heel turn at Adrenalize, Tiger Ali Saif returned to action on Saturday night. His Nemesis opponent? None other than Kenny Stryker.
After his teammate Aiden Adams lost his match earlier in the night, Stryker was looking for redemption for the Above Average Joes. Heading into a triple threat match at Night of Champions for the PWA Tag Team Championships, the team can use every available advantage; while the pair certainly has the talent to win, they’re up against more than capable opponents in Team Hall of Fame and Team Flex Appeal. A victory over the larger Saif would certainly help give the duo a much needed confidence boost.
However, an attack before the bell from Saif left the match in doubt, as Stryker was obviously shaken up. While obviously in pain, he was able to press on; even as Saif used his size to his advantage, Stryker was able to counter anything that was thrown at him. HIs resilience was impressive, and so was his grappling ability; I was impressed by Stryker’s ability to put Saif in multiple different submissions, which is something I haven’t seen out of him in my time watching. I’ve always been impressed by the co-#1 contender, and it was interesting to see him utilizing his submission ability.
It was his grappling skill, in fact, that earned him a victory in Calgary on Saturday. While Saif was able to cause a huge amount of damage to Stryker, he pressed on and was able to counter a pinfall attempt into an ankle lock for the submission win. While I thoroughly enjoy the Above Average Joes, I feel confident in saying that both Stryker and Aiden Adams will be phenomenal singles wrestlers should the team eventually parts ways.
Team Hall of Fame (C) vs. The League
— PWA Wrestling (@PWAwrestlingca) June 3, 2018
It may have been because it was the first chance I’ve heard either man cut an extended promo, but I came out of Nemesis incredibly impressed with both Brayden Parsons and Davey O’Doyle of The League. They’re both solid in-ring workers, and while I’ve been limited in my experience with the two I’ve enjoyed the matches that I’ve observed. However, on Saturday the two both cut promos on their evening’s opponents, Team Hall of Fame, and it was the first time I’ve noticed the amount of natural charisma the two have. It’s clear that the pairing have worked together before, and their natural rapport shone. In fact, it got under the skin of their opponents to the level that Chris Steele and Duke Durrango put their P.W.A Tag Team Championships on the line!
It was at that moment that Team Flex Appeal saw their opportunity to strike. They attacked their Night of Champions opponents from behind and joined The League in beating down their foes. Just when all looked hopeless for the Hall of Famers – and it’s not often that can be said – Brice “The Slammer” Sova made the save – accompanied by none other than Shane “The Hurricane” Helms! After a quick promo from Helms, the Tag Team Championship match was remade into an eight man tag team match (playa!).
Team Hall of Fame, Brice “The Slammer” Sova and Shane “The Hurricane” Helms vs. The League and Team Flex Appeal
After a quick break to organize their teams, The Slammer and Michael Allen Richard Clark started things off. Early on, the faces dominated; everyone was able to get their offence in, and the night looked like it would be over early for the bad guys.
However, as much as I want to cheer the super-jacked and team of MARC and Bobby Sharp, the two are still bad guys, and they played the part to turn the tides. While battling Chris Steele, MARC pulled the Man of Steele’s hair which allowed him to take advantage of his opponent. It also allowed him to tag in his tag team partner Sharp, and The Flex that Rules the Multi-Plex went to work all too quickly on Steele. He also left the ring all too quickly, tagging the League’s Parsons. After a brief breakdown in the match, the heels regained control and worked over both The Slammer and Steele. In fact, MARC was even able to counter a patented Sova Slam into a bodyslam of his own – an impressive feat considering the size of the Slammer, albeit after an eye rake from Clark.
However, things took a turn for the worse after Flex Appeal attempted to double team their opponents. Completely by accident, Sharp struck his compatriot on Team Flex Appeal, and allowed the faces to take control. Shortly thereafter, the team was able to tag in The Hurricane, and frankly from that point, it was all over.
Honestly, Helms is far smoother in the ring than I would have thought. It was my first time seeing him in person, and he truly do think he’s underrated after seeing him live. I suppose no one who makes it to the WWE would be a bad wrestler, but I think it does go unnoticed how smooth he is in the ring. Every move he executed, he executed with perfection and entertained the hell out of the fans in attendance. While it has nothing to do with the match, it’s also worth mentioning that he took the time to meet everyone in the arena that wanted to meet him, and that sort of thing should be both mentioned and appreciated.
As the action broke down, the faces regained the advantage, and eventually the win; both members of Team Hall of Fame took Flex Appeal outside the ring, while Sova and Helms pinned both members of the League.
Three Stages of Hell – Stage One – Sheik Shabaz vs. “The Omen” Gabriel – No Disqualification
After the intermission, the Western Lions entered the ring to begin the Three Stages of Hell main event.
As soon as the faction entered, you knew that “The Omen” Gabriel was in for a long night. The three men are imposing when they’re at their most lighthearted, and on Saturday all three looked completely dialed in to their task at hand. While the three obviously had an advantage heading in, Gabriel is a great wrestler in his own right and the Lions certainly seemed to be taking the matchup seriously.
Starting the series off was Resolution Rumble winner Sheik Shabaz. In the first of the three stages of hell, he faced Gabriel in a No Disqualification match. Due to the stipulation, it looked like MRB and BVD were going to join their Western Lions compatriot in the ring. That, however, was not the case, as P.W.A Calgary Commissioner Sgt. Hazard entered the fray and announced that both Blais and Van Danielson would be handcuffed to the entrance ramp for the entirety of the Sheik’s match. As security handcuffed the Lions and the Sheik argued with the commissioner, Gabriel attacked the larger man from behind and took control as the bell rang.
While Gabriel gave his best shots to Shabaz early, the Resolution Rumble winner was able to recover from the Omen’s onslaught with an eye rake that went undetected by the ref. From that point on, Shabaz was simply too much for the Omen, and while Gabriel was able to muster brief spurts of (impressive) offence, Shabaz controlled the majority of the match.
That is, however, until the Sheik got cocky. After brutalizing his opponent with a chair that he’d recovered from under the apron, the Sheik went for a finishing blow with the chair. Gabriel, however, used his quickness to get out of Shabaz’s way and watched with glee as his opponent struck himself in the head with the chair after striking the ropes mid-swing. While the two went back-and-forth from that point – including a few brutal chair shots from each man – Shabaz was able to regain his composure and looked to finish the Omen off once and for all. Attempting a low blow, Shabaz recoiled in pain as Gabriel revealed that he’d been wearing a protective cup throughout the match and countered with a low blow of his own; while that likely would have been enough to take down the giant Shabaz, Gabriel followed up with a devastating Brainbuster and with a single three-count, Gabriel moved on to the second stage of hell.
Three Stages of Hell – Stage Two – Brandon Van Danielson (C) vs. “The Omen” Gabriel – Last Man Standing
As Gabriel shifted his attention to Brandon Van Danielson, he learned one very important lesson; don’t turn your back on the Western Lions. As the Omen stared down the P.W.A co-champion on his way to the ring, Sheik Shabaz attempted another low blow on his foe and this time, it struck. Gabriel collapsed in a heap, and as Shabaz exited the ring Van Danielson made his way to the top rope. It was a hopeless situation for the Omen; as he finally recovered and stood, BVD hit him with a drop kick off the top and nearly ended the Last Man Standing match early. However, Gabriel was able to recover at the count of four, and the two went back-and-forth for a while.
It’s of note that the fans were firmly in Gabriels corner for the entirety of the match, which is a testament to both men’s work in their respective roles. Van Danielson is incredibly talented, and even as a heel I’m surprised he’s not cheered more simply for his high quality of work. He’s a bruiser in the style of Arn Anderson, and every move he hits looks like it hurts. Gabriel, too, is someone that I have to admit I had to grow to enjoy; when I first started watching him, I didn’t really enjoy his vampire gimmick; however, he’s a terrific babyface, and his in-ring work is incredibly impressive. I mean, there’s a reason that he’s consistently challenging the top guys in the P.W.A.
Challenge, frankly, is the perfect word to describe BVD. Throughout the match, he used his power to his advantage, and nearly put Gabriel away with a rolling senton. However, the Omen was able to avoid the ten count, recovering at six. This seemed to enrage Van Danielson, who immediately began to tear apart the ring in an effort to neutralize his opponent. A second drop kick off the top rope wasn’t able to put away Gabriel, nor was a series of vicious suplexes that included one from the second rope. Much like Shabaz did in their earlier match, BVD went for a chair in an effort to finish off his opponent. However, Gabriel had the same idea and the two struck each other mid-swing. While BVD dropped his weapon, the Omen was able to keep is grip and proceeded to pummel the cowboy with the steel chair. It looked as though Gabriel had Van Danielson finished with a vicious Falcon Arrow through two chairs, yet BVD showed his resiliency by refusing to stay down for a 10-count. However, it wouldn’t take much more to keep him down, as Gabriel flattened Van Danielson on the exposed wood of the ring, and after piling not one but two of the barricades on top of BVD, the Omen walked away the victor in round two.
Three Stages of Hell – Stage Three – “Gods Gift to Wrestling” Michael Richard Blais (C) vs. “The Omen” Gabriel – I Quit
While Gabriel recovered from his brutal victory over Brandon Van Danielson, Michael Richard Blais made his way to the ring for the third stage of hell – an I Quit match.
The match started out with a bang, as Gabriel left the ring to attack Blais prior to the bell even making the match official. The two brawled around the entirety of the venue to start their battle, and while MRB was able to get in his offence, Gabriel dominated at every turn. It speaks to the Omen’s stamina that he was able to be as aggressive as he was after two prior matches and nearly 45 minutes of ring time.
While Gabriel may have had the early advantage, there’s a reason that MRB is often referred to as one of the best wrestlers in Western Canada, if not the entire nation. The man is a human highlight reel; throughout the match, he continually pushed himself in an effort to dispose of Gabriel. When the Omen tried to bring the fight back inside the ring, Blais was one step ahead of him, throwing a chair at his opponent and keeping him on the outside. As Gabriel stood outside the ring trying to collect himself, Blair performed a stunning 360 to the Omen that this writer thought would be the end of the match.
However, somehow, the challenger was able to stay up and re-enter the ring. After doing so, though, he didn’t stay standing for long; Blais absolutely demolished Gabriel with a steel chair, and it looked as though things would be over. MRB looked to solidify his victory with a knee to the Omen’s face, but even that wasn’t enough to keep him down.
It may not be grammatically correct, but this sentence deserved it’s own paragraph – following Gabriel’s failure to quit, he remained lying on the ground. As God’s Gift to Wrestling scaled the top rope, he cut a promo on how he was the greatest, and how he could do things we could only dream of doing. Blais then proceeded to execute a 430 splash while cutting a freakin’ promo, and the crowd collectively gasped. It was one of the single coolest things I’ve ever seen in a wrestling ring.
As the crowd collected themselves, they realized that Gabriel had still failed to quit the match. The ring was in absolute shambles, exposed wood was everywhere, and somehow, both men remained legal. Hell, by this point Blais had beaten Gabriel with a steel beam that had previously been part of the exposed ring, but they still remained fighting.
By this point, Blais looked to put Gabriel away once and for all. Setting up a piece of plywood between the ring and the barricades, Blais looked to suplex his opponent through the wood onto the hard ground below. While Gabriel was able to escape the hold, he was unable to avoid Blais’ offence for long and soon found himself laying on the ground underneath a chair as MRB headed for the high-rent district. Just as he went to leap from the top rope, however, Gabriel managed to regain his strength and hit Blais with the chair and causing him to lose his balance. In one of the more painful things I’ve ever seen, Blais fell from the top rope, through the plywood and onto the exposed ground below. Gabriel, finally sensing an opportunity, brought Blais back in the ring and managed to place him in the Torture Rack. With the referee standing beside him, Blais screamed in agony and quit the match, sending Gabriel home as the victor.
That was it from Calgary! Next up, the Prairie Wrestling Alliance is in Edmonton for Night of Champions; will you be there? If you are, come say hi – there’s no way I’d miss this!
Night of Champions – Match Card To Date:
- PWA Championship Match – Michael Richard Blais vs. Jay Lethal
- Sheik Shabazvs. “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels
- Commonwealth Championship Match – Shaun Moore vs. Mo Jabari
- Brandon Van Danielson vs “Skyflyer” Jeff Tyler – Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat as the special guest referee
- Tag Team Championship Match – Team Hall of Fame vs. Team Flex Appeal vs. The Above Average Joes
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