Melbourne City Wrestling. WWE Cruiserweight Classic competitor and MCW Alumni Damien Slater, is just one example of the superb Aussie talent originating from this humble abode.
Ukranian Hall in Essendon is just over half capacity. There’s a slight musty smell emanating from the plastered walls, and the ramp protrudes the mahogany curtains and antique floral wallpaper of the stage. The line for the sausage sizzle is longer than that of the merch desk. This is indie wrestling.
The “War with TMDK” continues here at Fight to Survive, and is far from resolved one stop before the blow-off.
The resurgence of factions in the wrestling industry today has contributed to some great stories over the years. Inspired by the likes of D-Generation-X and the N.W.O., factions are what create a sense of reality in wrestling, where peer groups with different beliefs and ethical approaches interact and stir shit with one another. Kind of like high school.
TMDK (The Mighty Don’t Kneel), formed by the tag team of Michael Nicholls & Shane Veryzer under the same name (now TM61 in NXT), became a stable in Explosive Pro Wrestling, with the inclusions of Jonah Rock, Marcius Pitt and Slex. They’re the imposing heel force with a desire to destroy MCW from within – They’re not quite the Bullet Club, but it’s still pretty cool.
To kick things off, Adam Brooks teams with Mitch Waterman and Nick Bury, two young lads dressed for their footy match at nine the next morning. Overconfidence is their downfall, as Brooks feigns an eye injury, and they suffer a defeat the hard way to Man United and Mike Burr. The crowd is raring to go.
The onset of TMDK fever begins, as Melbourne heart-throb JXT faces Marcius Pitt. Marcius’ penis seems to be the talking point of the bout – He hits a huge suplex on JXT before being showered with chants of “Small Dick City”. Pitt is justifiably pissed. He looks to address his beef with the hecklers as he takes off his tights, and JXT capitalizes on the distraction to roll him up for the pin. I’m in stiches.
The pace of the night is rather disjointed, with long-winded announce segments in between matches. But this one takes the cake. Australian Olympic Judo competitor, Jake Andrewartha, looks to try his hand at some pro wrasslin’. He’s a freshy alright, as his character wavers and the nerves escape in his jerky prose. The crowd are accepting and remain fairly neutral, showing respect for the newbie.
There’s a rumbling energy looming. Set up by a couple of charming video package promos on a projector screen, Jonah Rock of TMDK will defend his title against Mr Juicy. We see a new side of Juicy, a man with pride and integrity that he hopes to uphold. Juicy has seen the world – he’s battled with Shinsuke Nakamura in Japan, and has earned the right to be hailed as a frontrunner in the Australian landscape.
A huge match – two mega heavyweights showcasing their power. Rock gets the advantage early on, and the crowd gets hotter and hotter for the underdog babyface. Juicy starts to come back, and its superkick for superkick, before Juicy seals the deal with a Candy Crusher and becomes the new MCW Intercommonwealth Champion. The audience erupts, and Juicy is embraced by his adoring fans, as he adds a new piece of hardware to his impressive resume.
The half time raffle, with special guests the “World’s Friendliest Bastards”, Lochy Hendricks and KrackerJak, is a story in itself. The Bastards amuse the crowd with larrikin antics, KrackerJak attempting to cheat paying customers out of their raffle prizes. He is handcuffed to the ropes to resolve the issue. A little old lady comes up to collect her second prize, before being drawn again as first prize. To the tune of boos, she ever-so-elegantly flips off the entire audience and returns to her seat. KrackerJack laughs, “leave some heat for the rest of us, lady!”
Preston and Payne emerge to wreak havoc on Lochy, who cops a savage and bloodied beating while KrackerJack can do nothing but watch on helplessly. It definitely sedates the mood.
The second half of the show is oddly flat from here onwards. Things take a weird twist where Syd Parker takes on the newly debuting Brook Duncan in an exhibition match, whose gimmick is a try at Val Venis, but leaves a sour taste Big Dick Johnson in your mouth. The stuff of nightmares. It was all mind games, and I couldn’t help but fidget awkwardly. Maybe that means it worked.
The women’s match is hyped up, but falls a little short of expectation. Kelly Anne and Avary take on Erika Reid and Evie. Kelly Anne is fresh from last night’s Lucha Fantastica show, alongside some of her fellow male performers. Erika Reid picks up the win for her team, before her courter/stalker Hawko spoils the party. Erika promises a date, in the form of a match at the upcoming Caged Warfare show.
Women’s wrestling is still very young here in Australia. MCW has hosted names like KC Kassidy (NXT’s Peyton Royce), and Sydney-born Billie Kay will face Ember Moon at her first NXT Takeover this weekend. Aussies Kellie Skater and Madison Eagles are killing it at Shimmer Women Athletes. Then of course, there’s WWE’s Emma from Melbourne, who has competed alongside Skater and Eagles down under, as well as Christie Hemme, Vixsin and Aurora. As the blueprint of women’s wrestling is changing on the surface level, I pray that this “evolution” will continue to disseminate into the Indies, and eventually grasp Australia’s roots.
The main event of the night sees TMDK’s Slex take on the boy next door, Dowie James. Slex is undoubtedly the most hated man in Australian wrestling, having turned his back on MCW to join TMDK. But Slex laps it all up, what a star. They get a decent stint out of each other before TMDK and MCW front men invade the ring. Slex picks up the win, earning a one-man advantage for his team at Caged Warfare.
The question that looms is, where does Elliot Sexton stand? Literally, it’s clear where he stands. Twice in one night, he came to the ring and emulated a voiceless statue of a comic book super hero. But there is tension in the ranks of team MCW, as golden boy Dowie James gains the favourability of the fans, and it seems to be getting under the skin of the Heavyweight Champion. There are cracks in the foundations, and it’s enough to make you want to come and see the outcome.
The bitter MCW vs TMDK feud will culminate at Caged Warfare on September 10. A steel ring enclosure, and anything goes rules. I’m hooked.