By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
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World Series Wrestling “Phoenix Rising”
Streamed on FITE TV
July 9, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia at South Eastern Entertainment Centre
The ring announcer said this was their 12th consecutive sellout. The setup of the venue is no different than any recent Impact taping, with the entrance ramp opposite the hard camera, and perhaps 800 fans in attendance, but they are calling it a sellout. The quality of the video/lighting was on par with Impact, as well. The sound was really good, particularly the mic (the mic just isn’t picked up well for viewers at home on so many indy shows).
* Matt Cardona and Chelsea Green hit the ring. Cardona held a title high above his head with his left arm, and his right arm still has a good-sized brace on it. Chelsea got on the mic and said, “All hail the death match king!” Cardona said he suffered a “life-threatening injury.” Chelsea made fun of Tenille Dashwood, saying the fans only cheer for her because she’s from this “shitty area.”
Jesse Adams and Johnny Del Racco introduced themselves as the commentary team.
1. Trey Miguel defeated Alex Zayne and Emman the Kid in a three-way at 11:29. Emman is the “Malaysian Sensation;” at first glance he looks like Dante Chen. He is shorter than his two U.S.-born competitors. Everyone traded quick rollups early. Zayne hit his corkscrew senton on Miguel at 2:30. Emman hit a huracanrana on Zayne. Emman hit a plancha from the corner onto both opponents on the floor.
In the ring, Zayne hit a cannonball on both competitors. He then hit an Asai moonsault from inside the ring to the floor on both opponents. Cool twist on that move. Miguel did a baseball slide to the floor, caught Zayne and hit a tornado DDT at 5:30. In the ring, Emman hit a blockbuster for a nearfall on Zayne. Zayne hit his forward roll-into-a-huracanrana from the corner on Miguel. Miguel applied a Muta Lock on Zayne, but Emman hit a frogsplash to break up the move at 8:00. The crowd was hot!
Emman hit a tornado DDT for a nearfall on Zayne. Zayne picked up Emman and slammed him on Trey to get a nearfall at 10:30. Miguel hit a 619, then a top-rope Meteora/flying knee drop on Emman to score the pin. Zayne expressed frustration that he didn’t get the win. That was fun, fast-paced, and a great opener.
2. Alexander Hammerstone defeated Flip Gordon at 13:01. Hammerstone is full-fledged babyface here and he carried a belt to ringside. They shook hands. Obviously, Hammerstone is much larger, and he powered out of Flip’s early offense. Hammerstone no-sold Flip’s chops. Flip hit a headbutt but he missed a Pele Kick. Hammerstone unloaded some chops in the corner, and he was in charge. Hammerstone hit an impressive overhead fallaway slam at 4:30.
They brawled to the floor, with Hammerstone still in charge, and he nailed a delayed vertical suplex onto the thin mats at ringside. Back in the ring, Hammerstone slowed it down with a chinlock on the mat. Gordon fired back with a nice sprinboard missile dropkick at 7:30 and a Death Valley Driver from the corner, then a kick to the head for a nearfall. Flip hit a second-rope Asai moonsault to the floor. In the ring, Gordon hit a running powerbomb for a nearfall. Hammerstone fired back with a Mafia Kick and a German suplex.
Hammerstone picked him up, spun him around, then turned it into a faceplant for a nearfall at 10:30. Flip nailed a dive through the ropes to the floor, and he was fired up. However, Hammerstone nailed a powerbomb onto the ring apron. In the ring, Flip hit a top-rope Spanish Fly for a believable nearfall but he missed a 450 Splash. Hammerstone immediate hit a swinging sideslam, then the pendulum slam for the pin. That was a really, really good face-face matchup. They shook hands again.
3. Chelsea Green (w/Cardona) defeated Shazza McKenzie at 9:49. McKenzie just completed a three-month U.S. tour where she boasted competing in more than half of our states for multiple promotions. Green got quite the introduction, listing all the promotions she’s been in. Chelsea jawed at the fans. Shazza nailed a chop, sending Chelsea to the floor to get a hug from Cardona. Cardona grabbed Shazza’s ankle, allowing Chelsea to take control. Chelsea hit a baseball slide kick to the floor, and she beat up Shazza at ringside.
In the ring, Chelsea hit a basement dropkick to the face for a nearfall at 4:30. She hit a nice snap suplex for a nearfall, and she yelled at the ref. This allowed Matt to choke Shazza in the ropes. Chelsea hit a Stomp onto the bottom turnbuckle for a nearfall; that looks more dangerous than needed. Shazza hit a huracanrana out of the corner at 7:00. They hit simultaneous clotheslines and were both down.
They traded mid-ring blows. The crowd is totally into this match. Shazza tied Chelsea in the ropes, and she hit 10 consecutive spin kicks to the chest. Shazza hit a top-rope crossbody block for a nearfall at 8:30. Shazza hit a nice belly-to-back suplex. Shazza hit a stunner for a nearfall, but Cardona put Chelsea’s foot on the ropes. Massive crowd heat for the cheating. They traded rollups, with Chelsea hooking the tights to get the tainted win. This was fun and topped my expectations.
4. Buddy Matthews defeated Brian Cage at 15:39. Cage also came to the ring with a belt; he is apparently half of the tag champs, so his title isn’t on the line here. Buddy is introduced as representing the House of Black. Buddy hit a running shotgun dropkick at the bell. He hit a running punt kick on the apron. They brawled on the floor. Cage powerbombed Matthews onto the ring post. The referee signaled the X, indicating an injury. Of course, the referee kept Cage at bay while physicians checked on Buddy. However, Matthews shoved them down and got back in the ring at 3:00. “He’s not going to go through with this, is he?” one commentator said.
Cage immediately hit an Irish Whip and a backbreaker over his knee, and Buddy was selling the back pain. Cage hit a delayed vertical suplex for a nearfall. Buddy went for a top-rope move but Matthews caught him and did some arm curls with Matthews in his arms. The crowd was really behind hometown hero Matthews. They traded forearm shots. Matthews nailed a Death Valley Driver out of nowhere, and they were both down at 7:00.
Matthews hit a second-rope missile dropkick, then a top-rope Meteora knee drop for a nearfall. Cage nailed his impressive second-rope superplex for a nearfall at 9:30. Cage went for a moonsault from the corner, but Matthews cut him off. Cage hit a side suplex, then an F5 faceplant for a nearfall. The crowd chanted, “Buddy Buddy Buddy! Oy Oy Oy!” Cage spun Matthews, but Matthews’ legs struck the ref, who went down. Matthews hit a Stomp for a visual pin at 12:00, but we don’t have a referee.
Matthews hit another Rollis-style Stomp, then a thrid one. Matthews got a chair from under the ring. He slid it under Cage’s head, setting up for a fourth Stomp. However, Cage hopped up and hit an F5 onto that folded chair for a believable nearfall at 14:30. Cage missed a second-rope moonsault. Matthews hit a Stomp. They traded rollups. Matthews hit a Death Valley Driver to score the win. “What a win for the hometown hero!” the announcer shouted. Really good match. “That was insane,” the other announcer said. They shook hands.
* 20-minute intermission. Good, I’d hate to have to follow that last match.
5. Joey Janela defeated Caveman Ugg in a No-DQ match at 21:44. I have only seen Ugg once before, when he competed in PWG’s Battle of Los Angeles. Think Killian Dain or Ivar, but a little shorter, and you’ll have a good idea of his look and size. Janela is playing the cocky heel he’s doing in GCW these days. Right on cue, the announcers mention the PWG shows. Janela’s shoulder tackle doesn’t faze Ugg. Ugg body checks Janela, sending him to the mat. Ugg hit a couple hip tosses, sending Janela flying across the ring. Janela went for a crossbody block, but Ugg caught him and hit a Samoan Drop for a nearfall at 4:30.
They both got weapons. Janela threw something at Ugg that skimmed off his head and into the crowd. Unnecessarily dangerous. What if a fan got injured with that??? Janela channeled his inner Sabu and ran, leapt off a chair, and hit a knee strike on Ugg. Ugg got a chair and jabbed Janela in the gut. Back in the ring, Janela hit a drop-toe-hold that sent Ugg crashing onto an open chair at 7:30. Ugg hit a headbutt and he set up four open chairs in the ring. However, Janela nailed a sunset flip powerbomb out of the corner, sending Ugg crashing onto the chairs, and they were both down at 10:30.
Janela hit a clothesline that leveled Ugg. He threw a chair that hit Ugg’s unprotected head; I hate that. Unnecessary. Ugg flipped Janela onto an open chair and got a nearfall at 13:00. Ugg went under the ring and got a large board, and he set it up in the corner. However, Janela hit a Death Valley Driver through the board for a nearfall. Janela then hit a top-rope double stomp onto the board on Ugg’s chest, but Ugg kicked out at a one-count. Janela hit an overhead unprotected chairshot to the head. He slammed the board onto Ugg’s head too.
Ugg slammed Janela to the mat and he went back to the floor to get more weapons. He set up four chairs on the floor and placed another board across them. He found a ladder too. Ugg set up for a Razor’s Edge, but Janela escaped, and Janela hit another chairshot at 17:30. Janela walked to a wall away from the ring and returned with a giant ladder. This has to be between 15 and 20 feet tall! Janela leapt off the ladder (about four rungs from the top) and hit a frogsplash on Ugg, who was lying on the board on the floor. Janela rolled him into the ring and got a nearfall at 20:00, and the crowd popped for the kickout.
Janela rolled to the floor and got a purse-sized package. Ugg hit a Razor’s Edge powerbomb for a nearfall. Ugg missed a moonsault. Janela opened the purse and dumped thumbtacks all over the ring. Ugg wrestles barefoot, and he ran across them. Janela superkicked Ugg, who fell on his butt on the thumbtacks. Janela hit another superkick to score the pin. A wild brawl and the crowd was into it. That said, it didn’t need those unprotected chairshots to the head. The announcers talked about the thumbtacks in Ugg’s feet.
6. Taya Valkyrie defeated Tenille Dashwood to retain the WSW Women’s Title at 9:36. Tenille got the hometown babyface pop, and they booed Taya. They were apparently in a triple threat match a night earlier, which Taya won for the title. Tenille hit a neckbreaker out of the ropes for a nearfall. Taya took control early and tied her up on the mat. Tenille tied her in the Tarantula in the ropes at 4:30. Taya hit a spear for a nearfall. Taya nailed a Stomp for a nearfall at 6:00, and she is turning up the heel antics.
Tenille nailed a top-rope crossbody block for a nearfall. They traded mid-ring forearm shots. They did the double hair-grab faceplant spot. Chelsea and Cardona ran into the ring, but Cardona accidentally hit Chelsea. The match continued after that brief interference. Tenille hit a kick to the head for a nearfall, but Chelsea or Cardona pulled the ref to the floor. Taya hit the double-arm Implant Buster faceplant to score the pin. Chelsea immediately hopped in the ring and attacked Taya, and challenged her to a match at Sunday’s show.
7. Johnny Down Under (a.k.a. John Hennigan/Morrison) defeated Slex to retain the WSW Title at 12:58. We saw a bit of Slex in Ring of Honor before the pandemic started, and he got a massive hometown pop. Neither man wanted to remove their sunglasses. An intense lockup to start. Someone chanted “boring” and both men stopped and jawed at the fan. They wrestled on the mat, with both still wearing their sun glasses. Slex hit a big boot and they both lost their sun glasses. They put on each other’s sun glasses at 4:00, and the crowd mockingly chanted “holy shit!” Fun silliness.
Slex dove through the ropes, barreling into Johnny. They brawled on the floor, with Johnny crotching Slex on the guardrail. Back in the ring, Johnny grounded him on the mat. Slex hit some chops. Johnny hit a Samoan Drop for a nearfall at 7:30. Slex hit a swinging sit-out powerbomb for a nearfall. Johnny hit a running knee strike to the face. Slex hit a DDT as Johnny’s feet were on the top ropes at 9:30. They brawled to the floor, with Johnny dropping him throat-first on the guardrail, then a super kick.
Johnny accidentally kicked the ring post. Slex hit a tornado DDT on the floor. In the ring, Slex hit a top-rope moonsault for a nearfall at 11:30. Slex hit a top-rope superplex, held onto him, and hit a Falcon Arrow slam. Johnny fired back with his swinging neckbreaker, then the StarShip Pain corkscrew press from the corner to score the pin. Good match.
Final Thoughts: What a show. I’m going to rave about this for a moment. The ring looked good. This was pretty top-notch overall presentation for an indy show. And they brought in a great crew of top indy wrestlers for this event.
Cage-Matthews easily gets best match, and I’ll give the three-way opener second best. I am a huge Flip Gordon fan. When Tony Khan purchased ROH, I had Flip on my short list of guys he’d bring in to AEW. I wasn’t aware he was on this tour, so this was a pleasant surprise, as I think I’ve only seen him in two matches since ROH shut down last fall (I saw him have a match during the Dallas WrestleMania weekend, so I was surprised he wasn’t on the ROH show that weekend). His match with Hammerstone earns third-best.
However, there were no bad matches here. The two women’s matches were both well worked and well-received by this hot crowd. While I object to those unprotected shots to the head, the no-DQ match was a hit from this crowd. The show clocked in at just under three hours.