This Saturday, Melbourne City Wrestling (MCW) is putting on the largest independent pro wrestling show in Australia in decades. At the Melbourne Sports & Aquatic Centre, which holds approximately 1,800, MCW 100 features some of the biggest names in wrestling today: Will Ospreay, Bad Luck Fale, and Tetsuya Naito. This is simply another chapter in the story of the rise of Australia wrestling. Earlier this year, Pro Wrestling Australia (PWA) had the largest independent show in Australia since the 70’s, with PROGRESS x PWA, which topped out at over 1,000 in attendance. This upward trend will only continue, and it won’t be too long before we’re talking about another event becoming the largest indy show in the country. But don’t let that underplay the significance of this event. The Aussie independent scene has gone from virtually non-existent to booking a 1,800 seat arena. This is a huge deal, not just for MCW, but for Australian wrestling in general. With that said, let’s check out what MCW has booked for this historic event.
Pick Your Poison Six Pack Challenge Match: Bad Luck Fale vs. Robbie Eagles vs. Tome Filip vs. Stevie Filip vs. JXT vs. Mike Burr
In this Pick Your Poison match, the winner chooses which belt they can challenge for, either the MCW Heavyweight Championship, or the Intercommonwealth Championship. This is probably the best spot for Fale, who can let some of the smaller, more athletic competitors sell big for him, and in this six person environment, it’ll be easier to hide his weaknesses. It was a little disappointing that Robbie Eagles, a super talent, didn’t get a one on one match on MCW’s biggest show ever, but he’ll stand out amongst the crowd in this one, which is the reason he has the best chance of winning this one. Fale is committed elsewhere, Tome and Stevie aren’t quite ready yet for a high profile title match, JXT just had a title shot last month, and Burr has been relegated to the upper mid card. Eagles is one of the biggest stars they have, and they’ll want to keep in the title picture, especially has he gets more international notoriety. After the victory, expect him to challenge for the heavyweight title, as matches against either Gino Gambino or Dowie James (the two in the heavyweight title match later that evening) are fresher than match-ups against Will Ospreay or Slex (the two in the IC title match later), since he’s worked both of them already this year. With a wide array of styles in this match, and the unpredictability of a six person match, this will very entertaining. Although this match will have a little more focus on spots than story, it’ll accomplish its goal of being a hot opener, and setting up Eagles as a real contender for the belt.
Prediction: Robbie Eagles.
Stone Age Street Fight for the MCW Tag Team Chamionships: The Brat Pack (Mitch Waterman & Nick Bury) (c) w/ Avary vs. The Prehistoric Death Cult (Caveman Ugg & Syd Parker) w/ Ericka Reid
This one has been brewing since November last year, and we’re finally getting the big blow off. After trading a couple singles matches at November Rain, the two teams met for their first championship encounter at Final Battle 2017, where Ugg and Parker took the belts of the Brat Pack. At Vendetta earlier this year, the Death Cult retained in a rematch. While that was the last match up between the two teams for months, they have only been at arm’s length of each other, as they haven’t been shy about interfering in each other’s matches since then. Finally, last month at MCW 99: Homecoming, The Brat Pack got their win over the PDC, and in this street fight the two side will settle their score. I expect both Avary and Reid to get involved in this one, especially considering the street fight rules, and at times it may feel more like a three-on-three war. This should be awesome, as everyone in the match can go, and in a feud ending match on the biggest show of the year, they’ll pull out all the stops. The Brat Pack will retain though. They only beaten the PDC once compared to two losses to them, and have been trading tag team wins and losses over the last few months. Ugg and Parker have had an eight month reign, and the time has simply come to let another team have a run. Coming out on top here will help reestablish the Brat Pack as big threats in MCW.
Prediction: The Brat Pack w/ Avary
Defiant Women’s Championship Match: Bea Priestley (c) vs. Indi Hartwell vs. Avary
Depending on the level of Avary’s involvement in the tag team match, she might be pulling the equivalent of double duty on the night. Defiant is a promotion based out of the UK (formerly WCPW), where Priestley is champion, and here she is putting their Women’s title on the line. Priestley and Hartwell are both coming off losses at MCW 99: Homecoming last month, and Avary works somewhat infrequently, as she more often just performs as the Brat Pack’s second, so all three could use a win here. Hartwell is already the Women’s champion in three other Aussie promotions, and will no doubt be going in with a belt collector promo, but in the end Priestly will retain. Other promotions’ titles have been defended in MCW before, and they rarely change hands when outside their home turf. This one will be good, and I anticipate Avary taking the fall, since Hartwell wrestles for the promotion more often, and thus it would make more sense to protect her more than Avary.
Prediction: Bea Priestley
TD vs. “Loverboy” Lochy Hendricks
These two used to comprise the World’s Friendliest Tag Team up through 2015, until Hendricks started teaming with Krackerjak to form the World’s Friendliest Bastards, whom Hendricks later turned on. TD, who has been absent since 2015, returned at the Ballroom Brawl earlier this year, and was scheduled to take on Hendricks at New Horizons, but was attacked by Hendricks and his crony Miami, and was unable to compete. Now, at MCW 100, we’re getting the match. This is reminiscent of last December, where Loverboy had a match against another former tag partner Krackerjak, and won – expect the same outcome here. Lochy was given a lot of wins early in the year, but has seen quite a few losses since, and is in desperate need of a win. A victory over a returning demon from his past is just the answer.
Prediction: “Loverboy” Lochy Hendricks
Fun Time Phil’s Open Challenge
Phil has not had a lot of luck in his Fun Time challenge this year. He’s 0-5 in his open challenges this year (including a deathmatch against Jimmy Havoc at Ballroom Brawl), but his fortunes may be changing. MCW’s website has brought up his losing streak for his open challenges, which may indicate an angle out of it, and MCW’s biggest show of the year would be a great spot for the lovable loser to get his win. MCW regulars that aren’t on this card like Alan Payne and Jake Lindo, would be great suggestions for who would answer his challenge, but he’s already lost to them earlier this year, so it looks likes that spot falls to Campbell Crawford, who will take the fall for the fun loving Phil.
Prediction: Fun Time Phil
Kellyanne vs. Madison Eagles
This honestly somewhat of a dream match, as these are two of the best women’s wrestlers in the country. Madison Eagles, a trainer for fellow Aussie promotion PWA, has worked for SHIMMER and Shine, in addition to the Australian indies, and recently qualified for Pro Wrestling EVE’s SHE-1 Tournament this year. She’s been wrestling since 2007, and it’s an absolute shame she is not more well-known internationally. Kellyanne, who’s been working the Aussie independent scene since 2009, has been a mainstay. These two haven’t gone one on one since 2015, and Madison Eagles hasn’t worked a match for MCW since 2014. This all started last month at MCW 99: Homecoming, where Kellyanne called out Eagles, and the match was made. Expect this to be one of the best matches on the night. They’ll pull out all the stops as the featured women’s match on the show. Kellyanne, who works much more consistently for MCW than Eagles, will get the win here. Since she’ll be returning to perform while Eagles may not be, it’s much more important to keep her strong. Don’t sleep on this one, folks.
Intercommonwealth Championship Match: Slex (c) vs. Will Ospreay
Well, if you ever seen these two guys before, you know how good this will be. Will Ospreay is world class, and Slex is one of the best Australia has to offer. In a little less than a year, Slex has had killer matches with Pete Dunne, Robbie Eagles, and Kazuchika Okada. If you’ve never seen him, he’s someone you need to go out of your way to check out. He’s been the IC champion since February, where he defeated Eagles in a stellar ladder match to recapture the belt. That same night, after Will Ospreay defeated Mr. Juicy, Ospreay called out Slex, and Slex came out to the stage area, but refused to enter the ring. Last month, in his second match of the night, Ospreay won a number one contender’s match over Stevie Filip. Ospreay has since promised to win the belt, and wear it down the ramp at Wrestle Kingdom this upcoming January. If I had to pick one match to be the match of the night, it would be this one. Slex will utilize a few more power moves than Ospreay, and both are technically talented, and we all know how well Ospreay moves, so this should have a bit of everything, and with how great Ospreay’s ring psychology has gotten in the last year, not to mention his drive to elevate Aussie wrestling, this has the perfect recipe for an instant classic. Look for Ospreay to regain the belt for his second reign, as he plans on sticking around as much as possible, and for him to do exactly what he said he’s do: bring that strap to Wrestle Kingdom.
Prediction: Will Ospreay
First Blood Match for the MCW Heavyweight Championship w/ Special Guest Referee Seb Costello: Gino “Mr. Juicy” Gambino (c) vs. Dowie James
Personally, I’m not a fan of First Blood matches, nor special guest referees, so this one feels a little overbooked to me. First Blood matches have too much of a risk of someone accidentally bleeding before getting to the finish, plus someone merely bleeding doesn’t often feel satisfactory; special guest referees often get in the way of a good story instead of adding to it. That said, there are obviously exceptions to those, and Gambino and James are talented enough to pull it off. Back at Ballroom Brawl in April, Gambino defeated James for the title, and turned heel in doing so, getting the assist from heel commentator Sebastian Walker. Last month at MCW 99: Homecoming, Gambino successfully defended against JXT, and was blindsided by James afterwards, setting up the rematch. Seb Costello is a radio show host in Melbourne, and was guest commentator for the title match at MCW 99. Gambino hasn’t had a long reign, but it’s been enough so that a title change here doesn’t feel too soon. Since this is their biggest show ever, the brass at MCW will want to have a babyface go over in the heavyweight title match, and I expect James to do just that. This will be a wild brawl, and James will play the daredevil before the night is over.
Prediction: Dowie James
Jonah Rock vs. Tetsuya Naito
Oh boy. This one will be a doozie. Jonah Rock is one of the foremost Australian wrestlers, and has worked for PROGRESS and PWG in addition to promotions in his home country. He’s a super heavyweight, and will no doubt demonstrate his power set against the smaller Naito. And Naito? Well, he’s simply one of the best in the world, period. The former Stardust Genius has become a rock star in his native Japan, leading Los Ingobernables de Japon faction for New Japan Pro Wrestling. The former IWGP Heavyweight champion is making his debut for MCW, but I suspect this may not be his last appearance. Last November, Kazuchika Okada headlined MCW’s November Rain, and afterward asked the crowd if they would like to see more superstars from New Japan. This past February, New Japan did outright tour of Australia, and now we see Naito main eventing the biggest Aussie indy show in decades. New Japan’s intentions with Australia seem obvious, and it is rumored they are looking to do another tour before the year is out. The match itself will be spectacular. The crowd will be hot, and Rock will work hard, and this should deliver big. This isn’t something you’ll want to miss out on. New Japan typically doesn’t like their stars losing for smaller promotions like this, so expect Naito to go over in this one, pinning Rock with a Destino.
Prediction: Tetsuya Naito