By John G M Burke and Scott Carey
It’s Saturday night ,and it’s time for Western Canada’s premiere wrestling company Prairie Wrestling Alliance.
Saturday the 24th was the first time that I attended a PWA wrestling event. I have not been to a local wrestling event in Edmonton since WWE came to town on their road circuit many years ago. I had kept up here and there during the years about what has been happening in the world of wrestling through family, friends and the internet. I have slowly been becoming more and more interested in the spectacle of pro wrestling with the introduction and growth of the newer organizations and independent boom over the last few years. I won’t get into all them in this particular article, but my interest had me wanting to check out PWA.
PWA has had a presence in the Western Canadian pro wrestling scene since 2001. I have seen them at the local Comic and Entertainment Expo’s here in Edmonton and Calgary in the past few years. I was impressed by what I saw outside the ring, so I figured it was time I checked out the in ring action. So how was it you ask?
It was a great night of entertainment. Simple as that
I had no knowledge of the wrestlers or storylines except one, and had no idea who the personalities were that I was about to see. Pretty much a blank slate except for the pictures in the promotional material. By the end of the card I felt I had been more thoroughly entertained then I had been watching “the big shows” on cable during the week. Match quality, presentation, storyline advancement and crowd energy I really wasn’t expecting.
So what went down on the card? Here is a quick recap.
The first match was a fatal 4-way match between Michael Allen Richard Clark, Shawn Moore, Moe Jabari, and Sheik Shabaz. A very entertaining, fast paced, opening match. I was wondering how these big guys would perform in what I considered a smaller ring then I was used to seeing wrestling in. It was a very competitive match with solid back and forth between each participant and even a comedy spots here and there. Snug wrestling overall. There was a few slip ups, and a bit more selling would have added to the match. Michael Allen Richard Clark did a great job both in the ring and working the crowd. Winner: Sheik Shabaz
The second match, Bobby Sharp vs Davey O’Doyle. Davey was having fun playing with the audience. Reminds me a bit of a younger Kevin Owens. One hell of a fine beard on the lad also. Another solid and entertaining match with a significant amount of back and forth. These are not squash matches by any stretch. These are competitive 15-20 matches so far.Winner: Bobby Sharp
Next up a tag-team match between D.E.D and Above Average Joes. Aiden Adams of the Above Average Joes was not able to attend, so a sub was brought in and the name of that sub would be none of other then “The Titan“. A good match with good cohesion between the last minute substitution Titan and Kenny Stryker however D.E.D took the win.
The fourth match of the night was Millenial Icon Colton Kelly vs Brandon Van Danielson. Colton Kelly reminded me of what would happen if Michael P.S. Hayes and Mick Foley had a love child. Brandon Van Danielson had a smash mouth Stan Hansen John Bradshaw Layfield vibe to him. Just a couple of hefty big ol boys beating the shit out of each other. Winner: Brandon Van Danielson by DQ. This feud is clearly not over.
Match five of the night was for the woman’s title between Ally Zwicker and Champ Zoe Sager. I was very surprised how small the Champ, Zoe Sager was but the gal can take care of herself. She was also trained by one of the best as she graduated from none other then Lance Storms school down in Calgary . Great pedigree right out of the gate. Ally Zwicker made sure she was heard during the match and could trash talk the crowd and the champion with the best of them. The gal has a set of pipes and can hit like a brick as I could hear the smacks of her forearm chops from where I was sitting. Winner: PWA Champ Zoe Sager
Finally, we arrive at the main event. The title match for the PWA championship. Michael Richard Blais vs PWA champ Kenneth Anthony.Michael is considered to be one of the premier wrestlers in Canada, Michael Richard Blais is damn good and my understanding is that he has a NXT try out in his sights. Blais, the fan-favorite came out to a big pop from the fans. The hometown champ Kenneth Anthony came to the ring a companied by Colton Kelly and Dr. Keto.
It was a great match with both men pushing the other to their limits. They beat the living hell out of each other and left with chests red from some nasty knife edge chops. Both men kicked out from what looked like finishes that I would assume end the match. A really great back and forth of false finishes. Anthony did get a little help from Colton Kelly but he was caught by the referee and kicked out. The matched ended with Blais putting Anthony in a Sharpshooter for the win and the PWA championship.
What should have been a moment of sheer joy for Blais was turned into a nightmare within minutes.
PWA commissioner Thaddeus Archer III came out to what we all believed to celebrate Michael Richard Blais’s victory, but these words echoed through the arena
“You’re the perfect champion – of another era,” said Archer. “Not MY era. You’re not MY PWA Champion.”
That’s right folks the drama continued as Michael Allen Richard Clark came out. Thaddeus then forced ring announcer What About Ivan to start the match which now would be between Michael Allen Richard Clark and new PWA champ even though Blais had just finished his match mere moments ago. Blais and Clark put on one hell of a great surprising final match. But with the help of Thaddeus, Clark became the new PWA champ to boos and anger from the audience.
I have to say for my first-ever PWA event I had a great time. Far better than I ever expected. I am looking forward to September 28 when PWA returns to Edmonton with headliner and AEW wrestler Shawn Spears. Thanks for reading folks.