By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
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World Series Wrestling “Phoenix Rising”
Streamed on FITE TV
July 8, 2022 in Adelaide, Australia at the Adelaide Oval
I previously reviewed day two of this tour. This is a review of day one. I noted this in my last review that the venue was set up like an Impact taping, with the entrance ramp opposite the hard camera. The production was top-notch. Jesse Adams and Johnny Del Racco provided commentary.
* Matt Cardona and Chelsea Green hit the ring, with Cardona’s arm in a sling. Cardona is carrying his “Internet Championship” title belt. Cardona complained about the long flight to Australia. He said he came all the way here, not for the dumb marks, but for the pay day. Chelsea got on the mic and told them that she is the hottest person they’ll see today. Cardona got back on the mic and said he suffered a “life-threatening injury” when he tore his bicep, and the crowd taunted him with a “p—y” chant. He vowed when he comes back, it will be for the title. This was essentially the same promo he would give the next night.
1. Nick Moretti defeated Trey Miguel at 12:58 . Nick is a bundle of energy, making me think of Mojo Rawley competed in PWG’s Battle of Los Angeles tournament a few years ago. Half of his face painted white; he has no hair on the top of his head, but some on the back of his head. Moretti does a spot early where he’s doing a headstand and draws Miguel in, but he hits a huracanrana. Trey nailed a flip dive to the floor at 4:00. In the ring, Trey tied up Moretti on the mat.
Moretti hit some chops and was in charge. He hit a kick to the face and got a believable nearfall at 8:30. They traded mid-ring forearm shots. Moretti hit a full nelson suplex for a believable nearfall. Trey fired back with a brainbuster suplex for a nearfall at 11:00. Moretti hit a Poison Rana and was fired up. He nailed a Stomp to the back of Trey’s head to score the clean pin. A surprise finish.
2. Taya Valkyrie defeated Chelsea Green (w/Matt Cardona) and Tenille Dashwood in a three-way to win the vacant WSW Women’s Title at 14:22. Tenille got a great hometown reception, and she shouted “Aussie Aussie Aussie!” into a mic and got the “Oy Oy Oy!” response. The crowd was fired up. Chelsea grabbed the mic and did her own introduction, listing off all her accolades. Chelsea rolled to the floor and stalled at the bell. Tenille and Taya traded standing switches. Taya hit her sliding under the ropes move where she hits a snap suplex at 4:00.
Chelsea got in and hit a supex on Taya for a nearfall, and she tied up Taya on the mat. Taya fired back with a crossbody block for a nearfall. Chelsea hit a stomp to Tenille’s head, and she taunted the crowd before getting a nearfall at 7:30. Tenille hit a series of forearms and the crowd was fully behind her. Tenille applied a Tarantula in the ropes. She hit a running crossbody block in the corner for a nearfall at 9:00.
They did a tower of doom spot, with Chelsea falling from the top, and all three were down. They all got up and traded forearm shots. Tenille hit a top-rope crossbody block onto the other two women on the floor at 12:00, and she got a nearfall on Chelsea back in the ring. Taya hit a spear on Tenille. Tenille got a cover on Chelsea, but Cardona put Chelsea’s foot on the ropes. Chelsea hit the “Unpretty-her” face plant for a nearfall. Chelsea accidentally hit Matt with a title belt. Taya immediately hit the double-arm Implant Buster faceplant on Chelsea for the pin. Really good match with great heat.
3. Buddy Matthews defeated Alex Zayne at 14:17. Huge pop for Australian native Matthews, and fans chanted “Buddy’s gonna kill you!” Matthews landed a knee strike to the jaw to start the match, sending Zayne to the floor. They traded mat reversals and Zayne caught him with a hard forearm, which caused the fans to chant “you f—ed up!” at Zayne. Matthews chased Zayne and slammed him on the ring apron at 3:30.
In the ring, Zayne rammed Matthews shoulder-first into the middle turnbuckle. Zayne hit his second-rope Asai Moonsault from inside the ring, drawing a pop. They brawled on the floor. Zayne accidentally chopped the ring post at 7:00. Zayne went for a huracanrana off the ring apron, but Buddy caught him and slammed Zayne’s back on the ring apron, and both men were down at 9:00. They both dove in the ring before the double count-out. They traded stiff forearm shots. Zayne nailed a spin kick and a second-rope moonsault, then his corkscrew senton for a nearfall.
Buddy hit a double-arm DDT as Zayne’s feet were in the ropes for a believable nearfall. The fans rightfully chanted “This is awesome!” Zaynew nailed his forward flip-into-a-huracanrana from the corner and a kneestrike in the corner. He got a nearfall, and they were both down at 12:00. Zayne missed a top-rope double stomp. Matthews hit four kicks to the face as Zayne was trapped in the corner, then a running powerbomb for a believable nearfall at 13:30. They each hit a knee strike. Mathews nailed his Murphy’s Law pump-handle spinning bodyslam for the pin. WOW that was incredible. Two of my favorites just had a classic.
Intermission. I said this after the first Phoenix Rising show I watched… I wouldn’t want to follow that match.
4. Brian Cage and Flip Gordon defeated “The Parea” of Gabriel Aeros and Eli Theseus to retain the WSW Tag Titles at 19:11. My first time seeing The Parea; they wore identical metallic blue trunks with their names on the front. Flip and Gabriel started, and they are the same size. Flip did his backflips and frustrated Aeros. Flip hit a Lionsault press for a nearfall. Eli tagged in; he’s Cage’s height but not nearly as muscular. Cage got a huge pop as he tagged in to square off against Eli. Cage speared Eli into the corner and beat him up in the turnbuckles.
Cage tried for a delayed vertical suplex, but the heels cut it off. So, Cage hit a double suplex on them at 5:00. Flip hit a standing moonsault, so Cage hit one too, drawing a “holy shit!” chant. The heels scampered to the floor to regroup. Back in the ring, they jumped Flip and began working him over. Gabriel hit a Rude Awakening standing neckbreaker at 7:00. They worked over Flip for several minutes, including choking him with a flag.
Cage finally made the hot tag at 11:00 and he hit a swinging neckbreaker on Aeros, then some running forearms on each opponent. He hit a double German Suplex, drawing a huge pop. Cage nailed a Bulldog Powerslam on Aeros for a nearfall. Gabriel hit a frogsplash on Cage for a nearfall at 12:30. Gordon hit a missile dropkick, hitting both opponents. Flip got in Cage’s arms and did a backflip over the top rope to the floor on both opponents. In the ring, Gordon hit his Death Valley Driver and kick to the head for a believable nearfall. The heels hit a team swinging faceplant for a believable nearfall at 14:30.
Cage hit a second-rope deadlift suplex on Aeros, but Eli immediately hit a frogsplash on Cage for a nearfall. Cool spot. Cage hit a tornado forearm on Aeros. Gordon hit a mid-ring Spanish Fly on Eli, and all four were down at 16:30, as the fans chanted, “Fight forever!” Cage hit an F5 faceplant move for a nearfall, but the ref got pulled from the ring. Eli hit double low blows. The heels hit Gordon with a chain. The referee made the count, but Gordon kicked out at 18:00! In an unbelievable spot, Cage caught one opponent, then the other, and he slammed them both. Cage hit a bucklebomb, then the Drill Claw sit-out powerbomb for the pin. Excellent match.
* Cage spoke on the mic and said it was good to be back in Australia. All four shook hands.
5. Alexander Hammerstone defeated Chris Basso at 17:09. Basso has shaved sides of his head but a small ponytail in back, like Matt Sydal these days. Hammerstone wore his MLW world heavyweight title belt. They opened with standing reversals and mat holds. Hammerstone removed Basso’s hair tie, so Basso did the same. Silliness at the overreactions to these being removed. Basso hit a hurricanrana at 4:00, then a second-rope moonsault to the floor. They brawled on the floor. Hammerstone whipped Basso into the guardrail at 6:30.
Back in the ring, Hammerstone was in charge, and he hit a kidney shot, and he tied him up in a mid-ring Octopus hold. Hammerstone hit a powerslam at 8:30, then an overhead belly-to-belly suplex for a nearfall. Basso hit a second-rope Spanish Fly at 11:00, and they were both down. Basso hit a Honky Tonk Man-style swinging neckbreaker and a running boot for a nearfall. They fought on the ropes, with Basso dropping him across the top turnbuckle for a nearfall at 13:30.
Hammerstone hit a top-rope missile dropkick and a TKO stunner for a believable nearfall, and they were both down. Basso hit a Lungblower to the chest and a top-rope moonsault for a believable nearfall at 16:30. Hammerstone hit a burning hammer, then his swinging sideslam for the clean pin. Wow, that was really good. Hammerstone is so underrated.
6. Johnny Down Under (John Hennigan/Morrison) defeated Joey Janela to win the vacant WSW Title at 21:36. They took turns playing to the crowd. One of the commentators (tongue in cheek) said he’s never heard of Johnny Down Under and wondered how he got a title shot. The other commentator ran through the long list of Johnny’s alter egos. Funny stuff. LOTS of stalling and a dance-off, but the crowd was entertained by the silliness.
Janela hit a belly-to-back suplex at 3:30 and celebrated like he won. They brawled on the floor. Janela worked him over in the ring with chops and forearm shots, and he continued to celebrate after nearly every move. He hit a snap suplex for a nearfall at 8:30. He began to work over Johnny’s arms, then he hit a Rude Awakening standing neckbreaker for a nearfall. Johnny hit a springboard spin leg kick and they were both down at 11:00.
Johnny hit a running knee strike and set Janela up for Starship Pain. They brawled on the ring apron, where Janela nailed a Death Valley Driver, and Johnny collapsed to the floor, at 13:30. Janela dragged him into the ring, hit another DVD, and got a nearfall. Janela rolled out of the ring and got chairs and wood boards from under it. He set up a wood board between two open chairs. However, Johnny hit a moonsault press with Janela in his arms, as they crashed down through the wood board, for a nearfall at 16:00.
Janela hit a German Suplex. Johnny hit a Mafia Kick. Janela hit a Canadian Destroyer, so Johnny also hit a Destroyer, and they were both down. They traded mid-ring forearm shots. Janela hit a superkick for a nearfall at 18:30. He got another board from under the ring and again set it up between two chairs. Janela nailed a double stomp to Johny’s chest as he was lying on the board. Janela hit a jumping piledriver for a believable nearfall at 20:30. They did the spot where Janela swung a chair and it hit the top rope and ricocheted back onto his head. Johnny hit a swinging neckbreaker onto a folded chair. Johnny then hit Starship Pain onto a wooden board lying on top of Janela, to score the pin. He then celebrated with the title.
Final Thoughts: That Buddy Matthews-Alex Zayne match was insanely good and had unbelievable crowd heat. Matthews has to be my favorite guy to make it to the WWE roster in recent years that I hadn’t seen compete in the indies first. He is still only 33, and actually two years younger than Zayne, who has just caught fire over the past four years.
That tag match was really good and earns second-best. Hammerstone impressed me against a guy I’ve never seen before, and that earned third-best. The main event started slowly and it was obvious they were going long, which is fine. My biggest problem is that Janela rarely sells anything. He got dropped through a table and shrugged it off seconds later; that should have ended the match, or at the very least, slowed him down for a minute.
Overall, a really strong show. The crowd was hot, no matches were bad, and this promotion just has a really good presentation with top-notch lighting, sound and commentary. Bravo. The show clocked in at just over three hours.