While many enjoyed NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia on January 27th, this writer was at the Northgate Lions Center in Edmonton, Alberta to check out the latest live event from PWA. The Prairie Wrestling Alliance was founded in 2001 by Kurt Sorochan, Tex Gaines, and Hercules Ayala, and has been a staple in the Edmonton wrestling community ever since. Lance Storm is a former booker, and former wrestlers include names like Tyler Breeze, Natalya, and Jinder Mahal have wrestled there. Samoa Joe is a Hall of Famer.
What I’m trying to say is, it’s damn good wrestling.
After a fight moratorium across Edmonton that threatened their ability to put on shows locally was lifted on Tuesday, PWA returned with a bang on Saturday night. Six matches made up the card, including the annual Resolution Rumble, a battle royal in which the winner receives a guaranteed title shot. Admittedly, it was my first PWA event in a while, so my knowledge of the product may be a little lacking - but a damn good show deserves a damn good shot at a recap.
With that being said, I’m @SpennyLove, and here’s your first-ever PWA recap!
Colton Kelly vs. “The Omen” Gabriel
Since I’ve started coming to PWA, I’ve been a huge fan of Colton Kelly’s work. I’ve been lucky enough to bump into him at a few WWE live events in Edmonton throughout the years, and there’s nothing cooler to me than someone who’s passionate about what they do - that’s the case for Colton Kelly. He’s also got a great presence in the ring; outside of Sheik Shabaz, he may know how to work a crowd best in PWA. He’s a guy who can draw genuine heat, and that’s always a great thing.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is “The Omen” Gabriel. I think he’s a fantastic wrestler, but the vampire gimmick has never really worked for me. That’s just personal opinion, however; he’s been one of the most popular members of the roster since I’ve been attending these events, and it was no different last night. They put on a hard-hitting match, with Gabriel defeating the tag-team champion in a great start to the evening.
BVD vs. Kenny Stryker
One-half of the Western Lions was in action early, as Brandon Van Danielson took on Kenny Stryker in a non-title match. However, BVD was joined at ringside by his Lions stablemate Michael Richard Blais, which begged interference later in the match. Both of the men involved are solid workers in-the-ring; I’ve enjoyed Van Danielson since I started watching PWA, and Stryker grew on me immensely throughout the match. He’s an excellent wrestler, and him and Van Danielson play off each other extremely well.
However, as predicted, Blais and their manager interfered in the match causing BVD to be disqualified. Both men left me wanting more, and I’m excited for a future match between the two.
Poor Boris. After the sound cut out during multiple entrances to start the show, Commissioner Andy Anderson came out from the back and proceeded to lay the verbal smackdown on sound technician Big Bad Boris. It all ended with Boris - who, frankly, doesn’t seem like the wrestling type - being forced to enter the Resolution Rumble, or lose his job. Pretty easy decision for the sound manager - much like Heath Slater, the man apparently has kids, and needs this job.
After the announcement, ring announcer Ivan did what he does best and, well, announced the next match.
Mayhem Championship Match - Brice “The Slammer” Sova vs. Michael Allen Richard Clark and Bobby Sharpe - 2-on-1-Handicap Match
Throughout this match, someone in the front row kept shouting at Brice “The Slammer” Sova to change his gimmick. That man couldn’t have been more incorrect. While not the most technically proficient wrestler, the Slammer was easily one of the more entertaining parts of the evening. If you’re gonna tell me that he has to change his gimmick, then so does Brock Lesnar.
What I love about the Mayhem Championship is the stipulation it can’t be defended in a regular one-on-one match. With Clark challenging the Slammer to the match tonight, he selected a handicap stipulation and called out Bobby Sharpe to assist him in his quest for gold.
That being said, it was a quick match between the three men. While Clark and Sharpe tried their best to outwit Sova, he was simply too powerful for the duo, ending the match quickly with one of his many power slams.
I love wrestling.
I received a note from Bobby Sharp on Twitter that my recap of this match is completely incorrect. I promised him that I’d make the correction here and apologize, but also wanted to point out that Sharp lost to the Slammer twice on Saturday. Read on!
Mo Jabari vs. Reid Matthews
Mo Jabari captured the Commonwealth Championship on January 6th, and defended it for the first time on Saturday against Millennial Rebel Reid Matthews. Not a ton to say about this match; it was a solid, quickly worked match with Jabari retaining his championship.
Western Lions vs. Kenny Stryker and Aiden Adams
After a scheduled match between Michael Richard Blais and Aiden Adams boiled over, Kenny Stryker returned to call out both members of the Western Lions and issued a challenge for a tag-team match. I was frankly disappointed in the decision; I think MRB is hands-down the best wrestler on the current roster, and that’s not meant as a shot at any of the other talent. It’s apparent that Blais has talent; both Monday Night RAW and NXT have noticed him enough that he’s earned TV appearances with the company.
Fun Fact - Michael Richard Blais was actually Lars Sullivan’s first tag-team partner in NXT, and part of his debut match on the brand.
That being said, I was really excited to get to watch Blais perform in one-on-one action in a while; I unfortunately missed his last match with Cody Rhodes at Christmas Slam, but their first match together was outstanding. Frankly, I’ve never seen him have a bad match, and Saturday was no different; maybe I’m just selfish. The Lions won via pinfall if I remember correctly - however, full disclosure that I didn’t write down the result.
Sorry, PWA fans - it’s a first-time recap!
Resolution Rumble Match
I’m such a sucker for a Rumble match. Prior to tonight’s event, it was announced that Sheik Shabaz would enter the Rumble in the final position after his win at December’s Christmas Slam event. Already one of the odds-on favourites to win, Shabaz had a huge advantage over the rest of the field before having to set foot in a ring.
The aforementioned Michael Allen Richard Clark was the unlucky participant to draw the #1 position, with Aiden Adams also pulling double duty and entering at #2. After entrances by Bobby Sharpe and Kenny Stryker, the crowd was finally treated to the entrances of not only Nightmare #5, but last year’s Rumble winner Nightmare #2! It was a shocking turn of events, with absolutely no prior rumour of any return.
However, the Nightmare’s stay was short-lived. At #7, a debuting wrestler known simply as “The Titan” entered and proceeded to wreak havoc in the ring, eliminating both Nightmare’s and Kenny Stryker. While it looked like the Titan may take out everyone, a saviour hit the ring at #8 in PWA Hall-of-Famer Chris Steele. It was outstanding to see him in a PWA ring again, and the Man of Steele clearly hasn’t lost a step.
Our next four entrants came quickly - Tiger Ali Singh, Reid Matthews, Colton Kelly and Boris all entered the ring without an elimination to speak of; however, the Millennial Rebels quickly got organized and and eliminated Boris the Sound Man, followed by Chris Steele subsequently eliminating Aiden Adams. It’s worth noting at this point that Michael Allen Richard Clark was still in the match as of this point with an unofficial time of 20ish minutes. (Sorry guys, no official timekeeping duties for this guy!)
Following the Slammer returning to the ring at #13, the action picked up quickly. In a shocking elimination, the Millennial Rebels teamed up to take out the Titan; I was completely shocked, having called the debuting giant to win the event soon after he entered. The Rebels got another break at #14 as well, with stablemate the Fury entering. Shortly after, both Bobby Sharpe and Tiger Ali Singh were eliminated by the Slammer and M.A.R.C, respectively. PWA Commonwealth Champion Mo Jabari entered next, which seemed to spark another rush of eliminations. Somehow, the Slammer was able to eliminate Colton Kelly, who’d been dominant up to this point in the match. However, Michael Allen Richard Clark - still legally in the match, by the way - was able to capitalize and eliminate Slammer, bringing his total to two eliminations. The Thickness was also eliminated at this point, getting taken out by Chris Steele.
With Fury, Mo Jabari, and Michael Allen Richard Clark still in the ring, the countdown began for #16. After winning his earlier match with Colton Kelly, “The Omen” Gabriel returned to the ring for the second time of the night, and in a prime position to win. As he battled M.A.R.C, Jabari eliminated the Fury, shutting down any chance that the Millennial Rebels had of a title shot. However, Fury wouldn’t take the elimination lying down, and came back into the ring to eliminate the Commonwealth champ. With the No DQ stipulation, the elimination stood - leaving only Gabriel, Chris Steele and Michael Allen Richard Clark in the ring when Sheik Shabaz’s music hit.
It can’t be said enough, but Shabaz has a ton of charisma, especially in a smaller venue. In what was likely my favourite moment of the night, he stole an elderly man’s hat at the side of the ring, and proceeded to wear it for as long as possible throughout the match. It’s little things like that that make him a top heel in PWA. It likely also helps that he’s built like a monster, but I digress.
As the three men left standing battled Shabaz, a roar erupted through the crowd. Corrupt commissioner Andy Anderson was entering the ring, and joined forces with the Sheik to eliminate fan-favourite Michael Allen Richard Clark in a heartbreaking moment. It was clear from there that the odds were completely tilted in Shabaz’s favour; after eliminating Steele, the Sheik turned his sights on Gabriel, with one of the two headed to the main event of PWA’s 17th Anniversary Show. After a tense showdown, Shabaz eliminated Gabriel
As Shabaz and Anderson celebrated together, the Western Lions music hit and the co-champions appeared in the ring. As MRB lifted the PWA Championship, he embraced Shabaz in a shocking turn of events. It became clear that the Lions were in on the plan the whole time, forming an alliance with Shabaz and Anderson. The show closed with Blais shouting to the crowd that they wouldn’t have to defend their championship at the Anniversary show as part of their plan to have Shabaz win. Dastardly.
All said and done, what an event. Calgary, Alberta is the scene for the next PWA event, as Evolution takes place on February 3rd. We won’t have your recap from that show outside of a quick recap, but be sure to check out February 24th for your full reactions to PWA Fruition in their return to Edmonton!