Ten years ago, Matt Silva left Australian wrestling. Ten years later, Buddy Matthews is back to make his way back to the top of the mountain.
Matthews – WWE’s nee Buddy Murphy – captured the most prestigious title in the country Saturday night, reclaiming the Melbourne City Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship in a brutal war with Mitch Waterman at the Thornbury Theatre.
A house full of budding young superstar Waterman cheered as well as Matthews, now working for AEW, No. 2 in the US, thanks to the real-life story that brought them together.
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Waterman was a young fan when Matthews first left MCW. As his pre-fight buildup package showed, he can be spotted in the crowd during Matthews’ final match against longtime friend Adam Brooks, wrestling on April 13, 2013 in Tullamarine.
Matthews lost that match — as would be expected when a wrestler leaves a territory — before moving to Florida for a WWE development deal, which saw him spend eight years in the world’s largest pro wrestling company. His career peaked (appropriately) at the MCG when he won the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
But, the spotlight on WWE television was only at that moment, Matthews left the company in 2021 and has since wrestled around the world – as permitted under the more open terms of AEW’s contract.
Returning to MCW late last year, now Matthews has regained the title he fought for almost exactly a decade ago (February 16, 2013).
“It’s one of those things where you realize the journey that I’ve been on over 10+ years,” Matthews explained after his win on Saturday night.
“It took a long time, but it was also very fast. It’s great to come back and remember — kind of sharing the wisdom that I went and found. It comes full circle.”
While Matthews explained that he wasn’t able to catch every MCW show while he was in the States — they now air the main shows on the Fite.TV platform, including the Saturday night event — he “heard back in the day about Mitch, and that he was going to be where he is today” because of his promise.
“To be inspiring him through those years, to make him want to be a wrestler my way out — and now he’s like the poster boy for MCW. I go back and mix it up with him, a new talent, it’s fun for me, it’s challenging for me,” Matthews said.
“I enjoy imparting that wisdom. Making my brain think. I have a mind that, if I don’t share it, I’m selfish. So I think MCW is the pinnacle of Australian wrestling, and if I can be here and help show that on a bigger stage – I’ve got the flag now, Let me run.”
MCW has been a big player on a national level for quite some time. Before the pandemic, they worked with New Japan Pro Wrestling and featured superstars like Kazuchika Okada and Tetsuya Naito, but since a change in management — and with global travel becoming more difficult in recent years — that relationship has slowed.
Instead, they focused on working with the biggest companies in Australia’s other capitals, such as Sydney Pro Wrestling Australia (PWA) and Adelaide’s Riot City Wrestling (RCW), and booking their own superstars.
The latter was where Royal Rumble winner Rhea Ripley got her start; Foxsports.com.au You realize she was at MCW’s event on Saturday to cheer on her partner, Matthews.
“The shows have gotten a lot better. It’s a whole bunch of entertainment, as you saw tonight—it had a mix of everything, for everyone.”
“They’re taking these steps forward. So they pull me in, knowing which direction they want to go, I want to be way out of it. I want to hop on the train.”
“Ultimately, my goal is to show Australian wrestling on free TV – the talent is here, the production is here, so I dream big.”
Matthews’ appearance on Saturday certainly helped draw one of the biggest and hottest crowds in MCW since before the pandemic, and as champion it’s clear he’ll be back.
The post-match angle saw local stars Sleeks, Tommy Knight and Mick Moretti appear, along with former champion Waterman, to challenge Matthews for his new title. The champion was cautious about whether his first defense would be at MCW’s next show on April 8.
“It’s all about the travel—it’s how often I want to hop on a plane and travel for 30 hours,” he explained, back home.
“Seeing my family is everything, and my WWE schedule has been so hectic. Not that it isn’t, but AEW – I’m so lucky to work for a company that allows me to go see my family. Pop out and help these guys. It’s really cool that you come and do that.
“After all, I’m Australian. As far as I lived in America and I’m an American now, it’s my home, and it’s good to get away.”
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