The Thing About Football…
It’s the pointy end of the AFL season as all footy fans cast their eyes on the finals and the journey to greatness on that “last day in September”. This is much like our roster of EPW wrestlers who have cast their eyes on the #RoadtoReAwakening.
For those fans who do not have a Doggies in the fight for this AFL Finals season, we’ve decided to give you a helping hand. Whether it’s because your team haven’t made the finals or you’re a resident of Neutralopis with no AFL allegiances, the guide below will offer up a team to support which aligns with the character of your favourite EPW wrestler.
Richmond Tigers – “The Don” Michael Morleone
Bear with me Western Australia. We get it. You love W.A. Don loves W.A. (as we saw at State of Origin 2017). That is actually the rationale behind this choice. The Don loves his home ground advantage at Bodyslam Central. Morleone feeds off the energy of the EPW fan much like Richmond feeds off their Tiger Army at the MCG.
Much like the Bulldogs after their magical run, everybody’s collective minds were excited when Richmond won the 2017 Premiership. Although the goodwill turned, they kept fending off all-comers. And though the turn was not from the fans, the goodwill did disappear at Vendetta when Hayden Zenith hit The Don with a steel chair and cost Morleone the EPW Championship. Will he be able to fight the fight and win against his former supporter and the new EPW Champion?
West Coast Eagles – Gavin McGavin
Speaking of the new EPW Champion, as much as it may pain some to admit, he has a lot in common with the big birds. Prior to this season, many pundits had written off West Coast. Yet, as they enter the finals race, they sit second and in a prime position to launch an assault on the flag. “The Real Wrestler” has had his fair share of doubters. Now he sits atop the tree of EPW as its champion.
From a fan standpoint, both the Eagles and McGavin polarise opinions. Staunch supporters of both will defend them to a hilt – regardless of logic and common sense. It can be argued that detractors of both also do the same. Finding a middle ground viewpoint on these proud entities is as difficult as finding a person willing to admit they enjoyed Meat Loaf’s live performances. And here you thought the comparison was going to be all about how they both never shut up about previous accomplishments…
Collingwood Magpies – Taylor King
Both Collingwood and Taylor King were once humble working-class beings. Hard to believe, isn’t it? Through a lot of hard work and moxie, they have developed themselves into glitzy brands. They are big entities who have passionate and loyal fans along with very vocal critics. The unhealthy obsession they have with an American could be the key to their success or the cause of their downfall.
Whilst here in the land of 2018, Taylor King’s momentum and ego are reaching a boiling point. However, he also shares characteristics with the Collingwood of the 1970’s and 80’s. The “Collingwobbles” was a term that referred to the Magpies not being able to win a premiership. Taylor King has gone viral this year but he hasn’t won the big one yet. So, as the EPW Invitational Tournament progresses, we will watch with anticipation to see if he will be able to shake off the “Taylorwobbles.”
Hawthorn Hawks – The Untouchables
Hawthorn is a dynasty team. When they get on a roll, they start to pump out premierships in quick order. A simple look at the stat sheets echoes the very same sentiment for Marcius Pitt and Damian Slater. They have dominated with EPW Championships, Invitational Tournament Trophies and now the EPW Tag Team Champions. Similarly, Hawthorn has been such a force that opposition supporters still hold nightmares over the Hawthorn club song blaring late into Grand Final evenings at the MCG.
After the Hawks’ run of three successive premierships was halted in 2016, they took a step back and altered their team strategy and personnel. They fell to the back of the pack briefly and now sit poised for a fresh assault on the finals. For The Untouchables, it was a similar story as a frustrated Marcius Pitt turned his back on his best friend Alex Kingston to join with Slater and Amber at Vendetta 2017. Much like when Hawthorn moved on from club legends such as Mitchell and Lewis, it was met with the disapproval of the fans. However, the proof now sits in the macro-friendly pudding. Pitt and Slater have captured the EPW Tag Team Championships and for the EPW tag team division, it is now the victory theme of The Untouchables that are dishing out the nightmares.
Melbourne Demons – Julian Ward
Talent and potential. Terms synonymous with both Julian Ward and the Melbourne Football Club. However, it hasn’t culminated in that big victory… yet. Melbourne saw some dark days at the beginning of the decade, but the playlist now is a youthful one that delivers an exciting brand of football when switched on. The knock on them has been that they’re nice to watch, but lack that mental toughness and killer instinct. In an effort to instil successful traits and behaviours into this group, Melbourne previously appointed AFL Legend Paul Roos to coach them, which has proved fruitful. Ward followed a similar path by studying under the tutelage of wrestling legend Lance Storm at his Storm Wrestling Academy in the hopes of doing the same from a wrestling perspective.
However, Julian Ward has struggled to finish off that next-level opponent. He reached the Invitational Tournament Final in 2017 but ultimately fell short against “The Smashing Machine” Chris Vice. Perhaps, the turning point for Ward will stem from his Last Man Standing Match against Gavin McGavin. Although unable to pick up the victory, Ward showed another level of aggression and toughness in his match. This intensity could be the special sauce that catapults him through the end of the year and into a period of sustained success for the years to come.
Sydney Swans – Tyler Jacobs
For years, players seemed to chase the COLA at the Sydney Swans. This salary cap concession led to players such as Buddy Franklin and Kurt Tippett to the harbourside and follow in the fabled “Bloods Culture”. Tyler Jacobs’ good book may be as transparent as Kurt Tippett’s contract dealings, but much like Sydney, he now has a squad of Children who are following not only him but also his fabled “Light.”
In addition to the hype surrounding both recruitment strategies, the performance on game day can still be foolishly overlooked. The Sydney Swans have game-breaking superstars that can defeat any team on any day. This is a team that could do the job, whether it’s in perfect conditions or a cold, rainy day in Moore Park. Tyler Jacobs is a versatile veteran who, with multiple EPW Championship reigns under his belt as well as an Invitational Tournament win, has proven his adaptability holds him well-placed in the next phase of his career. Given all that, Jacobs could be the real dark horse (or perhaps a light horse?) in the 2018 EPW Invitational Tournament.
GWS Giants – David Nero and Kiel Steria
The expansion team. The one that was seemingly forged out of nowhere. Their fans probably even still support another team. However, GWS is now starting to click, and to the dismay of football purists, still sit within a premiership window. Steria and Nero are also an expansion team that just seemed to happen. Unlike the charcoal and grey (yes, that’s the Giants actual colours! The focus group got that wrong.), Nero and Steria have the goodwill and support of the EPW fans.
Out of respect for David Nero and Kiel Steria, let’s take a look at some of the positive traits of GWS. What they have been able to do is blend together a great mix of youthful talent and experienced veterans who work together seamlessly. It’s early days for the tandem of Nero and Steria, but we have already seen a glimpse of what they may be able to put together. For GWS, they have had to deal with off-field distractions such as managing all of their talent under the salary cap. A distraction for Nero and Steria is Kiel Steria’s progress in the EPW Invitational Tournament. Kiel is a decorated champion but the Invitational Tournament Trophy has alluded him. Will his focus on winning this tournament railroad the important formative moments of the Nero/Steria partnership?
Geelong Cats – Street Gang Hooligans
Unique timing and circumstances bought Geelong’s dream team together. Patrick Dangerfield wanted to come home to have a bit of a surf, and Gary Ablett wanted to finish his career playing at home in Geelong because no amount of sun could make up for having to play on the Gold Coast. It was also unique circumstances that bought the team of Alex Kingston and Logan Grey together. When Marcius Pitt shockingly turned against Alex Kingston, he found a kindred spirit in Logan Grey to form the Street Gang Hooligans.
Both Kingston and Grey have claimed many individual accolades along the way, much like Ablett and Dangerfield. As a combination, both the Hooligans and Ablett and Dangerfield of the Cats can amaze with their sheer wealth of talent and ability. However, as a combination, they have yet to put it together for the ultimate team success. Signs are the tide is turning as Geelong finished their season with two massive 100 point hatchet jobs, and the Street Gang Hooligans earned themselves an EPW Tag Team Championship match at ReAwakening in a Ladder Match. For the Cats and the Hooligans, things are coming up Milhouse at the right time with every indication that the ultimate team success is imminent.
So whether it’s EPW or the AFL, we’re down to our socks and it’s business time. The Road to ReAwakening goes through the Aberdeen Hotel for EPW at the Deen on September 9. We will find out who will make the EPW Invitational Tournament Final and the fate of our current EPW Champions heading into ReAwakening. Whether it’s on the football field or inside the squared circle, let’s hope your team picks up the win.