The Wednesday Night Wars truly kicks off this week, folks, and its impacts are already being felt across the landscape of independent wrestling. The impending showdown between the WWE and All Elite Wrestling has forced not only the major promotions to step their respective games up, but the same holds true for indie wrestling promoters across Canada. The recent surge of popularity for the sport has already seen an influx of brand-new fans making their way to their first live events, and promoters have responded in-kind by putting on some of the finest examples of pro wrestling the province has observed in a long, long time.
At the apex, of course, is the Prairie Wrestling Alliance. Alberta’s longest-running promotion has a long-established reputation for excellence, and Saturday’s Fall Fever was no different. The eight-match card featured a little bit of something for everyone, including the ballyhooed return of All Elite Wrestling’s Shawn Spears to the PWA.
Tradition. Passion. Respect. Pride!
Saturday’s advertised main event featured a PWA Heavyweight Championship rematch between challenger Michael Richard Blais and titleholder Michael Allen Richard Clark. Though the two have faced off numerous times before in their respective tenures with the Prairie Wrestling Alliance, it was a dream matchup in every sense of the word. Both Clark and Blais represent two of the best in Western Canada, and many eagerly anticipated their first one-on-one matchup in Edmonton since the beginning of the Era of Archer.
Fans, when given the opportunity to watch either of these men wrestle, I’d highly encourage you to do so. On Saturday, both Blais and Clark made greatness look routine. It’s meant as the highest possible compliment when I claim that the two made every move look effortless; whether it be the standing Spanish Fly that the pair executed perfectly right off the hop or the pair exchanging finishers like they were going out of style, the two shocked and delighted the capacity crowd at the Northgate Lions Centre on Saturday evening. Given the events to close out the evening, even I recognize the irony in stating that both Clark and Blais should take a ton of pride in the match they pulled off on Saturday.
However, though the Heavyweight Championship was on the line, Saturday was all about Pride.
The crowd had reached a fever pitch as the match neared its conclusion. Both Blais and Clark had thrown everything but the kitchen sink at their opponents, with neither conceding an inch in the pursuit of the PWA’s top title. It looked as though we were destined for a time-limit draw until Blais locked in a devastating Sharpshooter than looked to have his opponent beat.
That is, until the shocking emergence of Jack Pride.
Yes, it was the First of the Fallen that emerged through the crowd, unleashing a flurry of blows upon both a cameraman and the referee in charge. Blais, with his jaw to the floor, rose out of his submission manoeuvre and stood to face the First of the Fallen. However, his gaze was met with a massive Swallowed Pride from the former Alberta Champion, who began to lay a series of shots onto God’s Gift to Wrestling. Within seconds, the PWA lockerroom had emerged from the back, and as quickly as he had appeared, Pride was gone. Unfortunately, though it left Blais and Clark victims of yet another non-decision, it was a thrilling conclusion to an eventful night in the Prairie Wrestling Alliance.
You Need to Know:
A Dynamite PWA Commonwealth Champion
In his final independent appearance prior to Wednesday’s launch of AEW’s Wednesday Night Dynamite, Shawn Spears defended his PWA Commonwealth Championship against former titleholder Shaun Moore.
Since claiming the title over 100 days ago, Spears has emerged as one of the hottest names in professional wrestling. Just after winning the Commonwealth title, the man formerly known as Tye Dillinger has emerged as one of the top villains in All Elite Wrestling, recently taking on one of the promotion’s top stars in Cody Rhodes at their signature event, All Out. Moore, similarly, has elevated his game since losing the title at Night of Champions, reaching another level of brutality in his quest to reclaim what he feels he never rightfully lost. It set the stage for a heated match, and many expected fireworks right off the bat.
Much like the main event I just wrote about, this was another match that featured a little bit of everything great about professional wrestling. Both Spears and Moore are two unique talents, and the pair worked fantastically together in their second PWA matchup. Looking for hard-hitting action? This had it in spades, with Moore especially laying into every strike like it was his last. Looking for a little chicanery involving the Sask Boys, as yours truly certainly was? Of course, you received it, with Davey O’Doyle running interference late in the match in an effort to aid Moore. Hell, if you were looking for a laugh, you found it early, with even Hall-of-Fame referee Michael “the Fitz” Fitzpatrick getting in on the action in removing his shirt to the delight of the crowd.
At the end of the day, however, it was Spears who emerged victoriously. In fact, he did so multiple times and would have left with his arm raised far earlier if it wasn’t for a continued string of ref bumps that left the officiating staff unconscious. It was the Fitz who was KO’ed first, failing to reawaken in time to see Moore tapping to a single-leg liontamer from Spears. A second ref fared no better, taking a shove from Moore that put him down for the proverbial count and caused him to miss yet another pinfall attempt from Spears. The third time, however, was the charm, as the Commonwealth champion was able to nail Moore with another Death Valley Driver to retain his title.
Now, we wait and see who Spears is set to face on November 16th in Calgary.
Alberta’s Women’s Wrestling > Anywhere Else’s Women’s Wrestling
The history of Albertan professional wrestling reads like a veritable whos-who of top females in the industry; whether it be Natalya Neidhart, Rachael Ellering, Taya Valkyrie, or Tenille Dashwood, our province has been graced with a number of world-renowned professional wrestlers that have gone on to make a measurable impact on the sport.
Get ready to add two more names to that list: Zoë Sager and Kylie Morgan.
It’s easy to envision both Morgan and Sager as polar opposites, given their wrestling styles. There are few who combine cunning and athleticism quite like Kylie Morgan; debuting nearly a year ago as the manager of the League, Morgan has developed from a shrewd manager into a stellar in-ring competitor in her own right. There aren’t many who would argue that Morgan is one of the fastest-rising stars in Alberta, and
Conversely, there’s a reason that Sager’s star has risen as quickly as it has in Western Canada. The inaugural PWA Women’s Champion is an absolute bulldog, both in spirit and tenacity. She’s as tenacious as they come, with a never-say-attitude that’s endeared her to not only the PWA faithful but a wide variety of Western Canadian wrestling fans. Frankly, you would find little argument if you were to name Sager as the top female talent in the province; she’s simply that good.
Saturday’s matchup, while not the first between the two women, was quite possibly their best. Both women came out of the gate hot, with the pair exchanging blows right off the hop before settling into what would become one of the highlight matches of the evening. Morgan was at her vicious best throughout, routinely toying with Sager at every opportunity. However, the champ isn’t one to back down, and was consistently able to fight her way through anything Morgan threw at her. The capacity crowd at the Northgate Lions Centre were on the edges of their respective seats, waiting with bated breath to see if Sager would retain.
In the end, it was, in fact, the PWA Women’s champion who left with her arm raised after a vicious liontamer caused Morgan to tap out. Though it was yet another impressive victory for Sager, Morgan’s in-ring efforts have to be commended. It’s a great time to be a fan of professional wrestling in the province, and especially for those fans of women’s graps.
I love me a gauntlet match.
Few matches in wrestling have the potential to elevate its combatants quite like a well-done gauntlet match, and that’s exactly what the fans in attendance on Saturday got. Six of the PWA’s finest faced off for the opportunity to become the number one contender to the PWA Heavyweight Championship, or in Alix Zwicker’s case, the PWA Women’s Championship.
Rather than write a novel discussing the entirety of the nearly 40-minute match, let’s update on some highlights:
- Brandon Van Danielson and Colton Kelly are two terrific professional wrestlers, folks. The pair opened up the gauntlet, and though the two disappointingly ended their tilt with a double count-out, both BVD and the Millennial Rebel delivered one of the most entertaining 10-minute sprints of the evening. The two absolutely thrilled the crowd in their short time in-ring, both dishing out an abundance of brutal blows on their opponent. These two deliver every time, folks; as Brittney Spears once said, Gimme More.
- Alix Zwicker is so easy to hate, in the best possible way. From the second that the Masterpiece of the East entered the ringside area, she was at her grating best, verbally lambasting each and every fan in attendance. While her in-ring endeavour wasn’t quite as successful - losing to Aiden Adams shortly after their match began - I would hazard a guess that not one person in attendance on Saturday wasn’t entertained. She’s been a terrific addition to the PWA Women’s division, and this fan is excited to see more.
- Aiden Adams could wrestle a broomstick and put on a great match, full stop.
- Though he may not have come out on top, Mo Jabari looked to be at the best he’s been since returning from injury just under two months ago. I’ve sung his praises for years, but the man known as Kid Chocolate is a star in the making; all he needs is his breakout opportunity.
At the end of the night, it was Sheik Akbar Shabaz who claimed victory on the evening; however, rather than accept the number one contendership, he exchanged his opportunity for a match with Andy Anderson at Fright Night. Anderson, to his credit, was all too eager to accept.
Our first official match for October 26th is set. Excited, wrestling fans?
Thickness Meets His Worst Nightmare
Saturday was set to see “The Thickness” Reid Matthews take on the monstrous Mephisto in a Last Man Standing Match for the PWA Mayhem Championship. Unfortunately, with Mephisto purportedly not in attendance, many were left wondering who the King of Thick Style would battle at Fall Fever.
That question was answered by the dulcet tones of OMC’s “How Bizzare”. From the back, one of the seemingly endless Nightmare’s made his way to the squared circle, ostensibly looking for his opportunity at the Mayhem Championship. Thickness, obviously displeased by his opponents’ inability to show up for the match, obliged the Nightmare nonetheless and commenced with an absolutely ruthless beating, effortlessly tossing his opponent around like a rag doll. The Nightmare was unable to muster up even the slightest bit of offence; to be blunt, the in-ring action was comparable to Mike Tyson battling an infant. It was sheer dominance from Matthews, and it almost goes without saying, but the Thickness retained.
Interference? In a League Match?!
Before we get started here: someone, somewhere has to acquire me one of the League’s glorious Saskatchewan Roughriders-style merchandise. It’s wonderful.
Alright, back to business.
Saturday’s sole tag team matchup saw the former PWA Tag Team Champions facing off with the emerging tag team of Space Mountain. Featuring both “Spaceman” Beri Grayson and The Titan, Space Mountain has quickly gelled into becoming one of the top teams on the PWA roster. Despite their lack of time together, the two have formed chemistry with each other, and look to be ascending into championship contention sooner rather than later.
Unfortunately for Space Mountain, a clerical error had resulted in their league fees remaining unpaid, and both Brayden Parsons and Davey O’Doyle were looking to collect. Both men represent two of the best in Western Canada, whether it be in singles action or a tag team matchup. The duo works seamlessly together, and the addition of the aforementioned Kylie Morgan slightly over a year ago has truly taken the team to the next level. Since losing their tag team titles at Night of Champions, the trio has developed a new level of brutality, and when mixed with the wiliness of Kylie Morgan, create a cocktail of dangerous proportions.
The battle, as could be expected, was about as evenly-matched as possible. Despite the League’s experiential advantage, both Grayson and the Titan took it to the duo, proving that they’re nothing to be taken lightly in a stacked PWA tag team division. With no clear advantage for either team in sight, it was Morgan, of course, who served as the X-factor on Saturday.
Late in the match, it looked as though Space Mountain was primed to pull off an upset victory. With the League reeling, Grayson and the Titan launched an all-out offensive that left both Parsons and O’Doyle reeling. Despite the abundance of obvious war wounds, Grayson took to the skies like only he can, utilizing the Titan as a springboard of sorts and leaving it all on the mat. However, when just seconds away from victory, Morgan stepped in between the duo and seemingly looked to be having a temper tantrum. As both Titan and Grayson looked on confused, Morgan’s plan became evident; much to the chagrin of the PWA faithful, both Parsons and O’Doyle emerged with chairs and began with a ruthless beatdown on Space Mountain. If not for a timely save from both Aiden Adams and Mo Jabari, who knows what damage would have been dealt on the duo? Though the post-match actions may have dismayed the fans in attendance, it doesn’t take away from the excellence of the bell-to-bell action. Don’t sleep on either team, folks.
Man Promises to Beat Wife, Proves He’s a Liar, Too
Bobby Sharp made a promise after defeating Davey O’Doyle last month.
Bobby Sharp was going to beat his wife. After months of tension, interference and surprise attacks, Sharp was going to meet the love of his life one-on-one inside the squared circle.
Unfortunately, he must have forgotten who his wife was. If he had, he would have realized what a grave mistake he had made from the moment he’d opened his mouth.
Unfortunately for him, Sharp was set to face off with Kat Von Heez on Saturday, and as any Albertan wrestling fan will tell you, he didn’t stand a chance. Yes, Sharp is a world-renowned wrestler and yes, he was able to gain the upper hand on occasion. However, this is Kat Von Freakin’ Heez we’re talking about here, folks. It’s hard to oversell the sheer brutality Von Heez brings with her any time she steps inside the squared circle. On the best of days, Von Heez is absolutely dominant, and that was most certainly the case on Saturday. Frankly, considering the strife that Sharp has put her through over the past few months, who could blame her? In the husband-versus-wife classic, it was Von Heez who rightfully emerged victorious, with Sharp passing out in Kat’s patented Bridging Sharpshooter. Hopefully, this closes the chapter on her feud with her now-defeated husband. However, knowing Sharp, the fact that he technically never submitted to the manouever will be a point of contention for the CAC member. Could we see round two?
It’s been mentioned ad nauseam, but the Prairie Wrestling Alliance put on a truly excellent show on Saturday night. In speaking to fans leaving the show, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who left unsatisfied. Not only did the promotion put on an excellent individual show, but between the announced Shiek Shabaz/Andy Anderson tilt and the shocking appearance of Jack Pride, there’s no reason to not want to check out their next show.
Three personal highlights from Saturday’s Fall Fever:
- It almost sounds silly to say, but Saturday’s main-event was truly main-event quality. You’d be hard-pressed to find two better workers in Alberta than Blais and Clark, and Pride’s shocking interruption has to be on any year-end Albertan highlight reel.
- Each of the women on the card brought something unique to the table on Saturday, and all were a shining example of why the PWA currently hosts the province’s most well-stacked women’s division in the province. As a side-note, please give Alix Zwicker a microphone at every opportunity
- I never fail to be entertained by the League; whether they’re laying down the law on any given opponents, whether they’re on the mic in the middle of the ring, or whether Pepsi Parsons is simply excelling at his cola-based drinking abilities, the trio simply kick ass.
The PWA returns to action this Saturday for PWA Destiny in Calgary, Alberta. Tickets are available through any of the Prairie Wrestling Alliance’s social media channels or any PWA talent.
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