At the end of the night, after an exhausting evening of nine matches, Kevin Steen told El Generico that his career would mean nothing without him. Nine years of history. All the titles. All the various matches. All the times I thought they killed each other. Now, it was all over. Steen could hug Generico, and we could say farewell to not only one of the greatest independent wrestlers of all-time, but we could salute one of the best tag teams and feuds too. This was like a “Best of” or “Greatest Hits” as Steen and Generico took on two of the other best teams in independent wrestling. Maybe those matches weren’t the knockdown, four star classics of years past, but it was a fitting final night for El Generico.
Going into the 2013 DDT4 tournament, Generico was not expected to even be a part of it. I have no idea how his injuries affected his performance, but he was clearly wrestling to protect himself (justifiably so if you ask me). He and Steen’s tournament matches were good but not great. Unlike the 2012 version of this tournament, there were no matches worth saying the words “match of the year contender” for. On the other hand, I can’t say there were any bad or even mediocre contests. Everything fell between that three star range.
Curious to note I’m mentioning the actual winners of the tournament in the third paragraph. Considering the finish of the tournament was a quick roll-up and an immediate departure from the ring, it’s fitting that the Bucks were both literally and figuratively an afterthought. In winning the PWG world tag team titles, for a third time, we’ve got a similar story as the 2011 version of this tournament. The one hated entity in PWG goes over a series of babyface teams before eventually walking away with the tournament. No one can take away their ability as team. I firmly believe they can freshen up any division with their characters and in-ring work. However similar to the Briscoes in Ring of Honor, it’s a situation where seemingly no one else is around to win the PWG tag team belts, so the Bucks gets them. There wasn’t anything inherently wrong with their performances if you accept their use of the superkick as almost borderline parody and a big “Fuck you” to their critics, but their finishes were a little bit too.
In all three tournament matches, Matt and Nick used some kind of roll-up for wins. Generico also won a first round match against the Briscoes with a roll-up as well. If this were a Ring of Honor review, I would have brought out the old roll-up counter. I understand the story of the tournament, that the Bucks were escaping with wins using a cheap tactics good enough for them to get the win. Just because I get the story doesn’t mean I have to like it. To watch the Bucks beat two fresh teams who could absolutely have a future in this promotion (Inner City Machine Guns and The Unbreakable Fucking Machines) was frustrating. 2012 was about establishing new blood in PWG. The Super Smash Brothers ended the year as a tag team champions and were adding much needed freshness to the division. Adam Cole, who had wrestled exactly four matches as a singles wrestler in PWG, ended the year as world champion, adding much freshness to the singles division. Yet here we had a PWG show with the Young Bucks, Steen, and Generico on top. Generico even pinned Adam Cole in the second round even though he’ll never get to challenge for the world title.
It goes without saying the action on this show was high quality. The crowd was jacked and ready to explode on multiple occasions. On the surface, this was like so many other PWG shows before. By the standards of any other independent wrestling show, this would be one of the best of the year. Unfortunately, PWG has the highest standards of any promotion in North America. Every show since June 2009 has been an easy recommendation with multiple shows being considered for best of the year. DDT4 does meet the high standards in some ways but did not live up to its potential and reputation because of both the finishes and booking decisions.
Michael Elgin and Brian Cage teamed up for the very first time and won their first ever titles in PWG, only to lose the titles a half hour later to the Young Bucks thanks to a roll-up finish. Given the standings of both men within the world of independent wrestling, their first PWG titles should have meant more. The fact that Super Smash Brothers lost in such weak fashion must also be considered. The injury to Player Uno was unfortunate and probably made a significant difference in the match. Perhaps booking decisions had to be made on the fly. It was unfortunate to see the most pushed team of 2012 be eliminated in such a low key way during the first round of a tournament they won last year.
It’s not as simple as not believing the Bucks should have both the tournament and the titles because giving Steen and Generico them is a repeat from when Danielson won the PWG world title at Guerre Sans Frontires and forfeited the title. I think if Steen and Generico had won the belts in the first round, defended them successfully in the next round, and bowed out to Cage and Elgin, I would have walked away much happier. Instead, I’m left wondering who is left to challenge the Bucks. Of course PWG will find a way because they always do. I’m sure the Bucks will have some four star title defenses and lose in classic fashion once again. But it feels like we’ve been here before. The one danger always facing PWG is that people will one day get tired of the Bucks or that the dream matches will run out. The importance of pushing new faces while continuing to deliver top flight action must be the priority for PWG in order for people to continue buzzing about them and calling them the best independent promotion in North America.
There were two non-tournament matches which should be of interest to fans as well. B-Boy and Willie Mack was a surprisingly fun match. B-Boy decided to wrestle heel, and I believe it made a huge difference. I’m sure a lot of people have seen the .gif of Mack being dropped on the top of his head in the corner. Quite the dramatic moment. More importantly, the right man won as B-Boy continued to be the good veteran putting over younger wrestlers in a reduced role. I kind of think there’s money in one last B-Boy chase for the title, but his latest PWG run has been very enjoyable. I respected and appreciated the work done in this match. On the other hand…
If Sami Callihan and Drake Younger weren’t meeting again on the first night of All-Star Weekend, I’d say this was the dumbest match of 2013 and would consider shutting the ballots down now. These two either haven’t watched Nigel McGuinness’s documentary or watched it and didn’t get a single thing from it because these two were reckless in their Knockout/Submission match. Not every wrestling match, particularly ones in PWG, are going to be subtle in nature. However, it’s unpleasant seeing two talented wrestlers taking the types of bumps they did in their match. Younger taking unprotected chairshots in particular (Yeah, I’m that guy) was particularly disturbing. I know many folks who will love this match more than me. That’s fine. If you like car crashes and some of their prior work, I’m sure you’ll holds this in much higher regard than me. I could honestly deal with never seeing these two men wrestle again in singles ever again.
I can’t DDT4 2013 is the kind of must buy show as DDT4 2012 was, yet there’s still a great deal to enjoy. It’s a chance to say good-bye to one of the greatest wrestlers PWG has ever helped develop. Who knows if Steen and Generico will ever get the chance to team up ever again? Despite some issues, there’s still a lot to enjoy about Pro Wrestling Guerilla. Seeing Steen and Generico one more time? Priceless.
Quick Results, times, and star ratings:
1.) 2013 DDT4 Quarterfinal: The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) defeats Inner City Machine Guns (Rich Swann and Ricochet)/(12:24)/***1/2
2.) PWG Tag Team Championship-2013 DDT Quarterfinal: The Unbreakable Fucking Machines (Michael Elgin and Brian Cage) defeat The Super Smash Brothers (Player Uno and Stupefied) to win the PWG tag team championship/(14:30)/***
3.) 2013 DDT Quarterfinal: Future Shock (Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly) defeat The Dojo Bros. (Roderick Strong and Eddie Edwards)/(19:31)/***3/4
4.) 2013 DDT Quarterfinal: El Generico and Kevin Steen defeat The Briscoe Brothers (Mark and Jay Briscoe)/(11:23)/***
5.) PWG World Tag Team Championship-2013 DDT4 Semifinal: The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) defeat The Unbreakable Fucking Machines (Michael Elgin and Brian Cage) to win their third PWG world tag team championships/(16:20)/***1/2
6.) 2013 DDT4 Semifinal: Kevin Steen and El Generico defeat Future Shock (Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly)/(8:46)/***1/4
7.) Willie Mack defeats B-Boy/(9:07)/***
8.) Drake Younger defeats Sami Callihan in their best of three series, Series tied 1-1/(15:17)/**
9.) PWG World Tag Team Championship- 2013 DDT4 Final: The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) defeat Kevin Steen to retain the PWG World Tag Team Title/18:38/***1/2
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