PWA Fright Night Reviewon October 24, 2010 at 8:21 pm
On Friday, October 22nd the Century Casino in Edmonton, AB hosted the PWA’s annual Fright Night show. The first point of interest came up before the action even got started: the PWA graveyard. Usually the entryway for the wrestlers is a curtain hung over the locker room door. It lacks flash, but is otherwise perfectly functional. For this show, however, the smallest section of seats was removed to make way for a large graveyard entrance stage, featuring several headstones, a badass gargoyle thing, an opening casket, and mannequins of Leatherface, Freddy Krueger, and Michael Meyers. Very cool. There were also lasers and fog, but those weren’t evident until later.
CHUCKY BLAZE vs. KING DUSTY ADONIS
Last time I saw Dusty Adonis in action was at Hysteria, where he and Apoc set about hitting each other as hard as possible for about twelve minutes. Apparently between then and now he’s become a king. The king gimmick has always been a solid one throughout wrestling’s history, probably because it’s pretty simple: the king is better than you, and acts like it. Instant heel heat. Until some guys near the front, who would spend most of the night cheering on the heels, started a “long live the king” chant, which of course the impressionable youth of the audience got in on. Dusty played with this in a clever way, encouraging more fans to join in by pointing out the chanters and applauding their good taste. I like the idea that heels believe that they should get face reactions, and then get upset when they don’t (usually because they’re smarmy bastards that cheat like hell). Also, there’s a match, so let’s talk about it. Dusty and Chucky put on a very entertaining and competitive bout based on the classic “isolate a body part” tactic. Dusty works over Chucky’s arm, which Chucky sells well by avoiding unnecessary use of his left arm. Around the ten minute mark the king decides it’s time to end things and does what is essentially a more awkward version of Randy Orton’s “coiling viper” routine to signal an ace crusher. Chucky counters the ace crusher by shoving Dusty into the corner, then grabs him and hits Sliced Bread No. 2 from the opposite corner to score the fall in a very strong opener.
DYLAN KNIGHT vs. ANDREW HAWKS
Everyone’s favourite Newfie takes on everybody’s least-favourite Aussie in our second contest. Dylan Knight, fresh off of a dark match on Smackdown!, has some new tights which don’t make him look like he crapped his pants. I applaud this move. He also has a boomerang, which I hoped would get used during the match. It didn’t, but the match was a good one anyway. In a classic power versus speed match-up, Knight tried to keep Hawks grounded while Hawks tried to put Knight off-balance with kicks and high-flying offence. Knight punctuated his big moves with demands for crowd approval (I think the specific phrase was “How was that?”), which was a nice touch. In another interesting counter-move finish, Hawks sprung off the ropes in an attempt to hit Knight with a kick, but Knight caught him and spiked him into the mat with something between a classic Death Valley Driver and an Attitude Adjustment. Knight got the one-two-three in our last non-title match of the evening.
PWA CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
ALEX PLEXIS (c) vs. M
Alex Plexis comes out first wearing Kam-ikaze’s mask, but without his gold, which Kam-ikaze stole at Fall Fever. Plexis gets on the mic and cuts a pretty impressive promo about wrestling being a brotherhood, and what kind of man is Kam-ikaze to steal from one of his wrestling brothers? He then plays on the “Stand Up for the WWE” campaign and tries to convince the crowd to stand up for him by petitioning the government and writing their city councillors, which causes the crowd to laugh at him. He gets frustrated and M comes out, removing his entrance gear to reveal a PeeWee Herman Halloween costume. It was pretty spot-on, and got a big pop. Things start off with fast-paced technical wrestling, showing some pretty good chemistry between M and Plexis. After a while, M hooks in an arm bar while Plexis is in the ropes, causing the referee to call for a break, which causes M to run around screaming after announcing that “break” is the word of the day. About a third of the crowd finds this hilarious, the other two thirds are very confused. The ring announcer explains that you’re supposed to scream when the word of the day is said… and it’s never said again. What started as a funny idea really killed the pacing, but M and Plexis get back to work and things pick up again. Eventually there’s a ref bump, M gets sent out to the floor and the lights go out, at which point several Kam-ikaze’s run out and surround the ring. The lights go out again and only one Kam-ikaze is left, standing behind Plexis with the PWA Cruiserweight title belt. PWA boss Kurt Sorochan comes out; the match has been ruled a no-contest, but since it’s a Halloween show, it’s time for some trick or treat action. The treat? Well, it’s for the fans; the next Edmonton show will feature Plexis vs. Kam-ikaze, mask vs. cruiserweight championship. The trick? If Plexis doesn’t agree to it, he’s fired.
I feel like this match could have stolen the show without the pace-killing PeeWee Herman joke (which, to be fair, was pretty funny for the people who got it, but took too long when it needed to be explained) and a proper finish, with the Kam-ikaze stuff happening after Plexis got the W.
FATAL 4 WAY MAYHEM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
APOC (c) vs. “RAVENOUS” RANDY MEYERS vs. TEX GAINES vs. MATTIAS WILD
This one was originally going to be for the number one contendership for the PWA title, but Kurt Sorochan comes out and announces another treat: this one is going to be for Apoc’s Mayhem title instead. Apoc is not a happy camper. Tex Gaines (who, it turns out, I’ve seen at the comic shop but wasn’t aware he was a wrestler) and Mattias Wild are introduced as the two mystery men, and “Ravenous” Randy comes out to one of the most hilariously over-produced theme songs I’ve ever heard (a bit of the Two & a Half Men theme song, Steve Regal’s old Real Man’s Man theme, Salt ‘n’ Pepa’s “What A Man” and another song I recognized but don’t know the name of). Apoc cuts a promo that’s a bit weak, then the match starts with a huge brawl. After getting pinballed between the three challengers’ strikes, Apoc isolates Ravenous Randy beats the tar out of him on the floor, which I mostly ignored because Tex Gaines dragged Mattias Wild out into the section of the audience where I was sitting. Eventually things get into the ring, where the heels team up to keep the faces on the defensive in a series of stereo spots. The heels turn on each other when Tex tries to score a pinfall, but the faces still aren’t getting in much offence. The heels turning on each other is where I realize that it’s not an elimination match, though, so that was useful. Mattias Wild superkicks Tex, taking him out, then finds himself tossed out of the ring. Randy pulls a pinfall out of nowhere on Apoc, winning the Mayhem belt.
Afterward it’s intermission time. At the end of the intermission there’s a costume contest, split into categories for adults and kids. An 18 month old dressed as a spider wins the kids’ contest, to the surprise of nobody. Drunken Juggalos are booed, and some pretty nifty Hart Foundation costumes get a big pop. As a wrestling fan, I found the contest to be a bit too time-consuming, but I see it’s value to the family friendly branding of the PWA, so I can’t really complain about it.
PWA CANADIAN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
SCOTLEY CRUE & BOBBY SHARP (c) vs. THE NIGHTMARES
This match has a special stipulation: if either Nightmare is pinned, they’re fired. Why? Not sure. The champs are accompanied by Mr. Kyoto, who’s wearing some kind of zombie mask, and Strife, who I’m not familiar with, but took a lot of abuse from the fans and even the ring announcer previously in the show. Why he’s out here, I’m not sure. I’m also not entirely sure why Bobby Sharp is wearing American flag workout pants, circa the Sandman in 1993. Scotley Crue points out that Sharp is now the All-American American American Canadian… or something to that effect that is confusing.
So anyway the match gets started and is a pretty good tag team contest that improves on the bout between the two teams at Fall Fever. Scotley Crue takes abuse from the crowd while the heels isolate one of the Nightmares. There’s a really fun false tag spot where the other Nightmare gets tagged in while the referee is distracted, then Scotley Crue makes a show of calling the referee’s attention to the heel teams completely legal tag following the Nightmare’s ejection to the apron. The Nightmares start to build some momentum, then Strife cracks a Nightmare (apparently #4) with the tag title belt, KOing him and helping Sharp and Crue retain the gold. The belt shout sounded terrific, although why Strife was there for it when the champs already had Mr. Kyoto in their corner, I don’t know. Nightmare #4 gets fired, resulting in goodbye applause from the audience and a “Nightmare Four” chant. Although I suspect we’ll be seeing a Nightmare #5 shortly.
PWA HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP CHAIN MATCH
CHRIS STEELE (c) vs. “T-BONE” JACK SLOAN
Chris Steele beat T-Bone in a street fight in Calgary to claim the ten pounds of gold, so the roles are reversed coming into this match. The belt is hung from the rafters above one of the turnbuckles, and the two men are attached by a chain. The match starts with some nice psychology as both guys tentatively measure each other, trying to gather up the chain so that the other guy can’t use it against them. Which of course is what happened. Pretty much the entire match was worked around the chain, which I liked. Too often, gimmick matches are just that – a gimmick. They’re a normal match that happens to have a prop that gets used a little bit. The way the chain was made integral to the entire psychology of the match put it on a higher level than most of the “two guys attached to each other” matches that I’ve seen. The first five minutes or so were mostly striking, with a few attempts to get the belt which were easily countered by yanking the chain. T-Bone wound up a decent length of chain around his fist and clocked Steele, busting him open. T-Bone was busted open in a similar spot later on. At one point, Steele’s chain accidentally broke off during a bump. He looked around then reattached it, which could have been made awesome if Steele had yelled something like “I’m not done with you yet!” before re-hooking himself. One of my favourite spots involved Chris Steele yanking the chain so that T-Bone punched himself in the crotch, then flowed smoothly into a pump-handle slam. After about fifteen minutes of battering each other, T-Bone climbed up top. The belt nearly in his grasp, he found his own arm rammed into his crotch twice by Steele yanking the chain. Steele scrambled up the ropes and dumped T-Bone with a back suplex, giving him enough time to secure his title belt.
Spot of the Night: There were a few pretty good ones, but I’m going to go with the finish to Dylan Knight vs. Andrew Hawks.
Match of the Night: Steele vs. T-Bone. This is an easy choice, as the psychology based on the chain was superb and elevated this match above the rest of the card. Which is just as well, since it was the main event.
Overall: A strong showing from the PWA with no big names to lean on.