DVD Review: PWWA Interim Title Tournament (10 June 2012 – 25 August 2012)

PWWA Interim Title TournamentPro Women’s Wrestling Alliance holds an 8-woman tournament to crown an Interim Champion after Madison Eagles‘ knee injury, which kept her out of action for all of 2012. Jessie McKay, Kellie Skater, Sway, Shazza McKenzie, Megan Kate, Evie, Harley Wonderland & Alex Lee all vie for the title.

Results
Quarter Finals:
1. Kellie Skater made Alex Lee tap out to an anklelock
2. Jessie McKay pinned Harley Wonderland with the Schoolgirl Crush
3. Shazza McKenzie advances via forfeit as Sway was unable to compete
4. Evie defeated Megan-Kate with the TTYL
Semi Finals:
5. Jessie McKay made Shazza McKenzie tap out with an Octopus Stretch
6. Evie pinned Kellie Skater with the TTYL
Final:
7. Evie beat Jessie McKay with the TTYL to win the PWWA Interim Championship
Extras:
a. Jessie McKay v Shazza McKenzie went to a 15-minute time limit draw
b. Jessie McKay beat Shazza McKenzie & Harley Wonderland in a 3-way when McKay made Wonderland tap out to the Octopus Stretch
c. Shazza McKenzie pinned KC Cassidy with the Shaztastic Stunner

Highlights
Jessie McKay Shazza McKenzie PWA New Photography• All the matches of the tournament add up to the big moment with Evie winning the Interim Title.
• Evie defeated then-tag team partner Megan-Kate, and former PWWA Champions Kellie Skater & Jessie McKay to take the tournament.
• Across the whole DVD, McKay and Shazza McKenzie wrestle five matches – three of them against each other. One was part of the tournament’s semi final; the other singles bout was in the extras along with a 3-way which included Harley Wonderland.
• Former WWE developmental talent Alex Lee (formerly Leah West in Florida Championship Wrestling) wrestled the opening match against Skater after spending three months wrestling in Japan with REINA x World (now Reina Joshi Puroresu).

Observations
• The opening quarter final between Alex Lee and Kellie Skater was a relatively simple outing, controlled in the most part by the Rate Tank. The gap in experience and ability was present here, though Lee got in a couple of nice moves including a sweet superkick near the end. Overall though, this was the weakest contest of the DVD. However, that means it all got better from here.
• Jessie McKay against Harley Wonderland had the simple story of fiery McKay agains the bigger and stronger Wonderland. A Gory Bomb attempt by Harley was countered into a Schoolgirl Crush for Jessie to advance. Better than the first match, no doubt.
• With an absence of commentary (a real shame for uninformed viewers), we were offered some video promos in the quarter final stages to establish characters, intentions and game plans. The best of the bunch was Shazza McKenzie doubting Sway’s reason for pulling out of the tournament (an appendectomy), which led to a challenge by Jessie McKay, which became an extra on the DVD.
• Still in their BFF mode at the time, New Zealanders Evie and Megan-Kate stuck to the rules but fought hard against each other in a fast-paced contest which showed off their respective abilities very well. In all honesty, Megan-Kate had more of the match – which is cool as Evie was advancing and also got her fair share of licks in – so both wrestlers benefited. This was the best match of the quarter finals.
• Heel Shazza McKenzie? Yes. All day long, yes. Acting all prissy and precious, she was a joy to watch. Coupled with McKay’s awesome babyface fire, and the scene was set before the bell rang – in fact, even after the bell rang, the pair spent two more minutes working the crowd. Great stuff.
• As for the wrestling, it was pretty damn great. Shazza kept it really simple with her moves, which made it even better for when Jessie rebounded A desperation Schoolgirl Crush from Jessie at the end only garnered a two, but she managed to apply the Octopus for the submission. I would happily watch these two wrestle a million more times.
Shazza McKenzie Harley Wonderland New Photography PWA• It’s a shame that the video quality of the other semi-final between Evie and Skater was a one-camera deal for the first few minutes due to technological issues (something which the promotion apologises for in a graphic before the match) – but despite it just being the hard-cam shot from the stage, you can tell the match was a belter fought at a frenetic pace between two wrestlers who hit hard and aren’t afraid of being hit. Make no mistake: these two battered each other in what was another thumbs-up match.
• The great thing about the final was that it told the stories of both wrestlers coming through their respective matches to get to the last match. Previous match-winning finishers were avoided, escaped or kicked out from, which perfectly explained the reason for their desperation as the contest went on. A great match with wonderful storytelling.
• Three other non-tournament matches are featured on the DVD – and two of them feature McKenzie and McKay, once in a singles and another in a 3-way with Wonderland. The singles match went to a 15 minute draw and is just as good as their tournament outing – which took place after this one – and the triple threat features some really slick spots, though was a little short for my liking. Despite that, Shazza still ended up with a bloody mouth.
• As for the other match, it’s KC Cassidy against Shazza, though McKenzie is a baby face – so I believe it took place in the early part of 2012, when you take into account that she’s wearing her older gear. While I like Shazza as a babyface (as she is scrappy and is adorable) and Cassidy is a bitchy heel, I would like to see a match with them on opposite sides of the track. I think KC could work well as a crowd favourite.

Match of the Night
Evie v Jessie McKay
PWA05The final between started off in a friendly fashion but after both agreed to really go for it, the match kicked into high gear with Jessie taking the early lead with forearms and a straightjacket neckbreaker, though Evie responded with some big kicks. Much like Evie’s other two matches, it was fought as a quick pace and made for another exciting contest.

A really nice spot came when Evie went for a tope suicida to the outside, only for McKay to counter with a forearm. It stopped Evie dead in her tracks and looked great – Evie looked like one of those endorphin characters, slumping to the mat. However, the Kiwi got a dive to the outside when she flew from the top to the floor with a plancha.

McKay got a tantalisingly close near fall with a Schoolgirl Crush, with Evie responding with her corner Yakuza kick for another close two. Following some rapid pin attempts, Jessie’s Boyfriend Stealer attempt was countered into a TTYL, but Evie took too long going for a pin and only got a near-fall. McKay then locked in the Octopus, which was turned into another TTYL for the title-winning pin. As mentioned, this was gripping stuff.

Overall impressions
Unlike most tournaments these days, the matches don’t all take place on one evening, but on a series of PWA shows between June and August of last year. However, because of the presentation of the DVD, it allows the viewer to follow the tournament’s story and means the final is even more engrossing than it was as a standalone match – and on its own, it still holds up greatly.

In all honesty, there was only one duff match in the tournament itself, with Lee v Skater not being much to write home about. The match between McKay and Wonderland is fair enough, but after that things go into high gear and don’t let up. Part of that may be down to the intensity and pace of Evie, though she was well served by three great opponents. It’s even more impressive with Evie in that as a New Zealander, she has a smaller pool of talent to regularly work with – but the ones she does wrestle are clearly of a high standard as she didn’t miss a beat in her matches against Skater and McKay.

Evie will debut for SHIMMER in April. Photo: PWAAs it was pointed out earlier, heel McKenzie is a riot. Great crowd work, constant talking, acting all high and mighty, doing everything possible to irritate. Seriously, Shazza should be booked in this role everywhere she goes. McKay was good as the heel but is better as a babyface – despite being easy to get behind, it’s much more fun to hate her. She is easily the best character on the DVD.

It is a pity that this tournament has taken more than a year to become available – and as of this writing, you still cannot buy it online – but we understand that technical issues have plagued PWWA. Hopefully this is a sign that the wheels are turning and the PWWA show from last October is on its way. As for this DVD, when it becomes available you should definitely buy it – four out of the six matches in the tournament range from good to great, and the McKenzie v McKay match from the extras is also worth a watch.

– Lee Burton
– Photos by New Photography & PWA

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