Ten years ago, Pro Wrestling Guerilla opened its doors to little fan fare in what was really not that good of show. Seriously, go back and watch it. It’s so rough and undeveloped. You won’t even believe Ten and the debut show were produced by the same people. For fans and wrestlers alike, Pro Wrestling Guerilla has become an oasis away from all the BS, all the politics, and all the frustrations that come with being involved in independent wrestling. Are shows perfect? Not at all. Does PWG get away with a lot more than other companies do because of they are? Absolutely. But for the last four years running, I’ve recommended every single show PWG has done. They may not run as many shows as Ring of Honor, AIW, or AAW, but they make what they produce count. This is the only company where people count down the moments until they see TRAILERS of shows. I’m fully aware PWG will never run an iPPV. I know the reasons, and they totally make sense. However, if for some reason PWG decided to run a BOLA or DDT4 on iPPV, I would stay up late and watch the show no questions or ask. I would pay 15-20 dollars just to see a live show. Hell, I’m seriously considering negotiating my life in such a way I can go back to Reseda next year for PWG, even if I have to sleep on Des Delgadillo’s couch to make it happen. Ten was not the greatest show in Pro Wrestling Guerilla history. It probably wasn’t even the best show of the year for them, yet PWG celebrated its birthday as it only it could and again showed why they are the Merlot of independent wrestling.
In a sense, a double main event was really the only way to go as both titles were on the line in stipulation matches. I could make an argument that having a Guerilla Warfare and ladder match was overkill, but I understand why it was done. Anyone expecting the ladder match between the Inner City Machine Guns, Dojo Bros, and Young Bucks to be as good as the one which took place at Threemendous is fooling themselves. I felt these six guys did an amazing job of keeping the action moving and putting on something close to what we got. To me, it felt like a lot of the matches on Ten took a long while to really get going and gather momentum, the ladder match being no exception. But seriously, there was about a minute’s worth of action where I was losing my mind and also thankful I no longer do PBP for DVD reviews. I have nothing against spoiling match results, but there’s a sequence that’s worth not hearing about and being surprised. Let’s just say Ricochet (and let’s face it everyone in the match) are crazy crazy men. My one nitpick is that the finish felt anticlimactic, sadly another theme of this show which I’ll repeat over and over until you get tired of reading about it. The Bucks sort of cleared the ring. Matt superkicked everyone and their mothers. Nick grabbed the belts. The end. Nothing inherently wrong and I wish I had an idea short of an exploding ring to have the show end with more of a bang… for your buck.
The world title match finish bothered me a bit more with Adam Cole essentially bumping from the top turnbuckle to the floor after taking a top rope brainbuster. A nice callback from Kevin Steen to his former partner El Generico. So Cole is dead but Younger pulls Steen out at 2.9999 to get the cover himself. Now I’m one to accept a lot in independent wrestling as far as lack of selling and wrestlers miraculously recovering, but when Cole crucifix pinned Younger out of nowhere and retained, I had a hard time not blaming the fans when they chanted “Bullshit.” I really enjoyed the match overall. In fact, the greatest comedic moment in PWG history may have taken place when Adam Cole tried to sit on a chair, and the damn thing broke. Cole not only fell on his butt, but Younger cannonball sentoned Cole while having a safety cone on his head. I seriously watched this moment like 10 times. The action was good but didn’t really meet the high standards of a Guerilla Warfare match. Being that there were two stipulation matches, this felt like it got hurt more than the main event because it wasn’t the last match on the card. If they had built this as just a regular no disqualification match, I don’t think ticket or DVD sales would have been hurt one bit (as opposed to Vine and Instagram videos which kill business dead). I still liked the match and feel Cole’s performance as a heel is almost watching any title defense he has by itself. Giving him the world title was the best booking decision any promoter has made in the last 18 months. I welcome any challenges on this assertion.
Funny story about Kyle O’Reilly versus TJ Perkins. I forgot about it. Legitimately. Thankfully, the match was so great, there’s no way I’ll forget about it now. As much as I’ve praised Elgin for his performance in every promotion he wrestles for, O’Reilly is making a strong case for PWG MVP. I’m happy for the success he’s had in reDRagon, but PWG is giving him a chance to shine like no other place across the country. The match with Perkins was not only one of my favorite matches on this show but also built up so simply. It wasn’t a balls to the walls match with a lot of movez and insanity. They paced themselves and kept me interested for the entire 21 minutes they wrestled. This did not take time to get going. These guys kept a brisk pace up to where everything made sense. There was psychology involved as O’Reilly worked Perkins left arm, and Perkins worked O’Reilly’s leg. In a bizarre way, I think a botch may have contributed to the psychology. At one point Perkins tried to springboard off the ropes and to the outside. He tripped and fell while grabbing his arm. If this was a screw-up, then Perkins did an excellent job covering himself and making it look like part of the match. If it wasn’t, then he did a better job of selling than 75% of the professional wrestlers going today. O’Reilly eventually won with his cross armbreaker in a close to classic technical battle. I would put this high on the rewatchability scale for sure.
Normally, when you say a match is very good, then that’s a compliment to the two athletes involved. Given AR Fox and Michael Elgin are two of the best at what they do and they were booked in a dream match on this night, I guess they almost disappointed me. I think this is a case of perhaps having way too high of expectations, but it felt like this match took a long time to get going (one of themes of the nights) and really picked up steam when Fox started making his comeback. Very cool counter as part of the ending sequence as Elgin hit a bucklebomb to counter the cannonball senton. Elgin winning with a top rope powerbomb seems like a great way to finish both this match and am upcoming tourmanent final. I hate myself for having too high of expectations, but this was still very very good.
There are two teams who everyone goes ga ga for, and I’m not nearly as into. The first is Londrick. Funny enough, I loved a match Paul London had with Michael Elgin in Ring of Honor. I also enjoy when they wrestle the Young Bucks as it seems to bring out the best in them and actually get them motivated to have a good match. The positive of London and Kendrick’s match with Johnny Gargano and Chuck Taylor is it didn’t follow the typical formula. The lack of formula also deterred a bit from the match as it never really felt like there was a beginning, middle, or end. Taylor and Gargano even won with a move that serves as just another double team typically. Have Taylor and Gargano ever won with the toss into the acecrusher? There was a funny aspect to the match which got things going in an amusing way as Gargano and Kendrick had a feeling out process while on their partners’ shoulder. My argument about being realistic and making sense is pretty much rooted null and void based on my enjoyment of the opening sequence. I will accept this and move on.
Part of me doesn’t understand the hype surrounding Alex Koslov and Rocky Romero. They are for sure more competent than 95% of the wrestlers in the world. The argument I would make is within that five percent. I like to think of them as being good but not great. When I look back at the year 2013, I honestly don’t think I’m going to look back and think about the Forever Hooligans mini-tour as anything but them having a series of good, competent matches with other teams. Something that does bother me is the schitck they use in every match with them teasing a break-up after Romero hogs all the glory by delivering clotheslines in the corner. Once in a while. Fine. Doing it every match gets old really fast. Gargano and Taylor dancing might be goofy, but I can still buy them being the idiots who dance in every match because they’re idiots. No way am I buying Romero and Koslov breaking up in every match. You may have noticed I’ve spent this paragraph talking about the Hooligans instead of the RockNes Monsters. Given the way PWG has treated Yuma and Goodtime, this shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Even as they change their to look more professional and improve in the ring, they’re still being treated as jobbers to the stars. Up until the very end, it was tough to buy them winning and complicated further by the mention of their opponents being named IWGP Junior Tag Team Champions. If nothing else, they are improving, and this match showed they can hang with a team regarded by others as one of the best in the world.
In the anticipated debut category, Anthony Nese went to California for the first time and matched up with Brian Cage. These two had teamed up before in Evolve, but it was nice to see them have a one-on-one match. It felt like Nese was holding something back or that both guys were trying to fit their position on the card moreso than having a show stealer. The match was perfectly fine and well-executed, but my hunch is they can do better. In the time given, this was fine.
Fittingly, a six person tag opened this show as one did on the debut one ten years ago. Who says PWG doesn’t have storytelling. Thankfully, security didn’t decide to just run in and pull out of the competitors out of the ring either to celebrate a birthday. But at least Joey Ryan and Candice LaRae were matched up again. If there’s one match I never ever need to see again, it’s that one. Please, fly someone, anyone to wrestle LaRae. The official match was B-Boy, Candice LaRae, and Willie Mack against Peter Avalon, Ryan Taylor, and Joey Ryan. Early on, Ryan Taylor forearmed what appeared to be a fan, and I wondered what was going on. It was not a fan but rather former PWG wrestler and Dynasty member Scott Lost. Lost came back later and hit an acecrusher on Taylor. No, there wasn’t a disqualification. Mack did end up winning what was a fairly entertaining opener by pinning Avalon with Chocolate Thunder. I was enterained. The fans were entertained. Good times were had by all.
PWG Ten was a very good show which you can have a ton of fun with despite some minor issues. It’s not perfect, and PWG has set the bar really really high at this point. However, good wrestling shows are still being put forth, and I would have no trouble saying the streak is alive.
-Taped from Reseda, California
-Commentators: Excalibur, Kevin Steen, Rick Knox, Joey Ryan
-B-Boy, Candice LaRae, and Willie Mack vs. Peter Avalon, Ryan Taylor, and Joey Ryan by pinfall. Mack pinned Avalon after the Chocolate Thunder./16:08/***1/4
-Brian Cage defeats Anthony Nese by pinfall with Weapon X./12:50/***
-Forever Hooligans (Rocky Romero and Alex Koslov) defeat RockNes Monsters (Johnny Yuma and Johnny Goodtime) by pinfall after a Contract Killer on Yuma. /16:14/***1/4
-Michael Elgin defeats AR Fox by pinfall with a top rope powerbomb/18:46/***1/2
-Johnny Gargano and Chuck Taylor defeat Brian Kendrick and Paul London by pinfall. Gargano pins Kendrick after a double team acecrusher./16:05/***
-Kyle O’Reilly defeats TJ Perkins by submission with the cross armbreaker/21:50/***3/4
-Guerilla Warfare- PWG World Championship: Adam Cole(champion) successfully defends over Drake Younger and Kevin Steen. Cole pins Younger with a crucifix pin./15:05/***1/2
-Ladder Match-PWG World Tag Team Championship: The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) successfully defend over Inner City Machine Guns (Rich Swann and Ricochet) and The Dojo Bros (Roderick Strong and Eddie Edwards)/17:46/****
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