Pro Wrestling Guerrilla celebrate their tenth All-Star Weekend in style with the return of beloved former world champion Chris Hero taking on current champion Adam Cole, who has been steamrolling the PWG roster for the last year thanks to his Mount Rushmore cohorts. Also on the card: Davey Richards, Johnny Gargano, Dojo Bros, Best Friends, Kevin Steen, Young Bucks, Ricochet, Rich Swann, AR Fox, Brian Cage, Antony Nese, Candice LeRae, Joey Ryan, RockNES Monsters, ACH, Michael Elgin, Tommaso Ciampa, Drake Younger.
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I’m back babydoll! That’s right, after months of teasing I might be returning to PWP in a regular fashion on podcasts, yours truly, Matt Waters, has wrestled control of PWG reviews from Jerome Cusson. It’s about all I could do as I watch nothing but WWE and PWG these days, but I couldn’t be happier. Let’s get it!
Mount Rushmore and Excalibur have an awkward face-off to start the show, but before Adam Cole (Bay-Bay) can cut a promo the returning Chris Hero lays everybody out. The champ escapes before he can be elbowed while The Knockout Artist soaks in his rapturous applause. Hero wants his title match right now, and Cole naturally teases getting in the ring only to head to the back. Funniest moment was Excalibur hurling one of the New Japan world junior heavyweight tag titles across the ring at Matt Jackson like it was worthless. Let’s hope the bosses don’t watch PWG.
Brian Cage vs. Antony Nese
Recap: Cage prevailed over Nese thanks to his limitless strength, putting him away after a swinging full nelson slam and then a gross discus lariat. Cage had the early power advantage but Nese controlled most of the match thanks to his kicks and occasional high flying, getting closest to winning with a disgusting pumphandle powerbomb that elicited a â€œwhat the f***?â€ chant from the crowed. At one point Cage caught Nese flying off the apron in vertical suplex position, and almost managed the same off a suicide dive attempt, but couldn’t quite get a full hold on him. Impressive nonetheless.
Review: Brian Cage is a ridiculous looking human being. He looks like he’s going to pop. I used to dislike Antony Nese for reasons I can’t quite identify, but his PWG stint has begun to change my mind. He and Cage were essentially just showing off their athleticism for a few minutes. Not all that memorable, but still enjoyable.
Excalibur’s Line of the Match: â€œI guess if Brian Cage were to be a superhero â€“ I know he’s a big Wolverine fan â€“ but, I guess he would be the Credible Hulk.â€
The RockNES Monsters vs. Candice LaRae & Joey Ryan
Recap: Candice & Joey knock off the ‘veteran’ team thanks to Candice’s womanly wiles, distracting Johnny Goodtime with a kiss long enough for him to eat That 70’s Kick and a Moonsault. The Monsters isolated Joey for quite a while until Candice came in for her normal flurry of high spots. They did manage to recover though, preparing to put Candice away, but Joey shoved her aside and took the hit. With few options left, Candice planted one on Goodtime to kill RockNES’ momentum, leading to the finish.
Review: Joey Ryan has been more entertaining in the last year or so than at any point in his original PWG run in my opinion. I don’t know if he’s trying to prove himself to TNA for releasing him and WWE for rejecting him, or he just enjoys teaming with Candice and playing a hero for once, but he’s flying around the ring like a madman and I love it. Candice was a heat machine as usual, but did botch a couple of spots, again, as usual. Most of them were easily recovered from, and this crowd is more forgiving than any other, so the match was still pretty good.
Excalibur’s Line of the Match: â€œIs Candice kneeing him in the face? That’s pretty dickish.â€
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Drake Younger
Recap: Drake Younger pulled off what was arguably an upset, catching Ciampa off guard with a jackknife pin. Ciampa actually hit Project Ciampa less than two minutes into the match, but Drake rolled out of the ring. This led to both men taking a tonne of abuse on the outside, with Ciampa throwing Drake off the stage with a fallaway slam, and Drake hitting a Death Valley Driver on the apron. Tommaso seemed poised to win, hitting Drake’s Landing on Younger and then an Avalanche Air Raid Crash, but the Ultra-Violent Golden Boy was once again resilient enough to get the flash pin.
Review: Ciampa was awesome in ROH before most people realised he was awesome, and he’s taken to PWG from the get-go thanks to his very stiff style. Stiff is exactly how Drake likes it (weird sentence to type), and even though he’s stopped doing death matches, he’s still probably going to get paralysed one day from the insane bumps he takes. This was like most Drake matches, he gets murdered, hits a few big moves of his own, then wins with a roll-up. I like Drake, but not as much as the live crowd.
Kevin Steen’s Line of the Match: (In Roderick Strong voice) â€œOh shit, I was supposed to be out there for commentary… should I go?â€
Davey Richards vs. Johnny Gargano
Recap: Johnny Gargano taps Davey out with a step-over GargaNo-Escape. There were a lot of kicks, clever pin exchanges, elaborate submissions and sexy dances. The crowd even chanted â€œThis is sexy!â€ after Rick Knox joined in. Things remained even and extremely hard hitting until Gargano just overwhelmed Davey with a sunset bomb, corner dropkick, lawn dart, superkick and a Hurts Donut. He couldn’t get the win with the GargaNo-Escape, so switched to an ankle lock, and then decided to merge them into a hideous mutant submission that Davey survived for approximately four seconds.
Review: Everything you’d expect, so depending on your level of admiration for both men, that will mean different things. I enjoyed it a lot, and Gargano really has grown in the last few years. I knew he had improved, but I don’t watch DGUSA or Evolve, so it takes matches like this one to show me. Just two technically sound little spitfires trading bombs and controlling a crowd. Fun, fun match, with a sick, clever ending sequence.
Kevin Steen’s Line of the Match: â€œDavey’ll be your buddy one minute, and then the next thing you know he’s saying you can’t wrestle in a shoot interview.â€
Davey Richards says part one of his goodbye, praising everybody else on the show and mentioning that while he said he was going to Orlando, he didn’t say where. Of course by the time this DVD was available that tease was rendered obsolete, but hey.
The Best Friends vs. The Dojo Bros
Recap: Best Friends pull off the upset, pinning Eddie Edwards after a Double Chokeslam because of course that’s their finisher. Edwards and Strong controlled the majority of the match as usual, almost getting the win after a Sick Kick/Yoshi Tonic combo, but the power of friendship prevailed, with Trent? hitting a Fade to Black on Roddy, leaving Eddie victim to a Sole Food/Busaiku Knee combo. One double chokeslam later, and we have winners.
Review: This was entertaining as hell before the match even started, with the Best Friends holding hands, and the Dojo Bros play-fighting, causing Excalibur to lose it while attempting to do their introductions. Trent? has been a revelation, Chuck Taylor is a better wrestler than he’ll ever realise, and the Dojo Bros have been PWG’s best tag team for a year now, so throwing them all together was marvellous. The Dojo Bros’ uncanny ability to obliterate combined with the Best Friends’ delightful shenanigans made this my personal match of the night.
Excalibur’s Line of the Match: â€œWhy would you do that again?!â€
ACH vs. Michael Elgin
Recap: Michael Elgin gets the W after an Elgin Bomb. Elgin dominated for the most part, and popped the crowd big time with a dead-lift avalanche falcon arrow for a near fall, but ACH hung tight and kept picking his spots, even hitting the Big Bang Attack for two. This was the second time he muscled the far larger Elgin up with relative ease, both times making Excalibur lose his mind. Elgin held on tight after a top rope frankensteiner, rolling through, hitting a colossal powerbomb, following it with a backfist, and then finishing the match with his ever-devestating spinning powerbomb.
Review: We’ve seen quite a few of these Elgin vs (insert high-flying wrestler) matches as of late, but ACH wrestles quite differently to other flyers, using more big impact moves and whatnot, so it gave this a different flavour. The formula was still the same though, with Elgin throwing ACH around for most of the bout, while ACH got his stuff in where he could. I still don’t think I’ve seen someone go for a frankensteiner on Elgin and it not almost immediately lead into him winning. I don’t feel this ever reached a high enough gear, but it was fun and I’d be game for a rematch.
Joey Ryan’s Line of the Match: â€œYou notice that when Angelo’s not here the ring stuff gets left in the corner?â€
Mount Rushmore vs. Ricochet, Rich Swann & AR Fox
Recap: Mount Rushmore overcame the spectacular aerial assault of the Inner City Machineguns, picking up the win with the most disgusting triple team finish ever conceived: Steen threw Nick over his head, bringing him crashing down into a tandem tombstone with Matt. The heels cheated and isolated, while the Crazy Shit Collective executed some of the most insane dives you’ll ever see, none more insane than Ricochet hopping onto the top rope and popping off a shooting star press to the outside like it was nothing. If I did move-for-move recaps, this would be a verrrrry long paragraph.
Review: Steen and the Bucks on the same side of the ring is the best thing since Steen and the Bucks on opposite sides of the ring. Not only did he dress like them, he got involved in their signature moves, including a glorious sequence where he rolled forwards and backwards before hitting the back rake. The flippy boys thrilled as much and more than expected, and this was a spot fest in the best possible sense. It was exactly what people like about PWG, and it was awesome. Ricochet is the best wrestler on the indies to me, and his newest move, The People’s Moonsault â€“ which is exactly what it sounds like â€“ is my new favourite.
Chuck Taylor’s Line of the Match: â€œThat’s how I do it. There’s at least nine very disappointed women in Murray, Kentucky.â€
PWG World Championship Match
Â© Adam Cole vs. Chris Hero
Recap: Adam Cole retained his title in yet another controversial match, with Hero having to dispatch Steen and the Bucks before falling victim to a superkick to the knee and the Panama Sunrise. Early in the match Cole went for a leapfrog and Hero simply put his foot up and swatted him clean out of the sky, filling Matt Waters with joy. Cole soon took control with his underhanded tactics, but awoke the beast by yelling â€œClaudio was always better than you.â€ Hero had an answer for everything, earning several near-falls, until Cole pulled Rick Knox in the path of a huge kick. From there we got visual pins from both guys, and Cole superkicked the replacement ref. Hero overcame the interference and tried to use his old golden elbow pad but crafty Cole found a way to cut him off at the pass.
Review: PWG are playing with fire by robbing the hottest crowd on the indies of the clean finishes that they crave, but Cole is still a phenomenally good smarmy heel, and when somebody does take the strap from him, the crowd are going to lose their minds. Hero is amazing, but the same old problem persists; every one of those disgusting elbows is treated like and should be a kill-shot, but every one of his opponents kicks out of at least six of them, cheapening his offence. He adds new ones every so often, including in this match where he dropped Cole out of an electric chair into a rolling elbow to the back of the head, and they’re always clever, but at some point these things have to beat people. This started and ended well, but it felt like there should have been more to stitch it together, seemingly racing to the finish out of nowhere. Neither man’s best work, but still worth seeing.
Excalibur’s Line of the Match: â€œ(Florida) is America’s wang.â€
Hero expresses his disappointment with the loss and somebody in the crowd shouts â€œf*** Norman Smileyâ€ in a poor attempt to show support, causing Hero to launch into a tirade defending Smiley, promising to bring Norman to Reseda. He then vows to wrestle the PWG regulars, the international fly-ins and everyone in between to re-prove himself as the best wrestler in the world.
Is AR Fox dead yet? No, despite a springboard imploding cannonball, two running flip dives, a diving leg drop onto nobody on the apron, a siiiick superkick to the side of the head, a double superkick during a suicide dive and being flung effortlessly into some chairs like a small child.
Did anybody kick out of the Falcon Arrow? Yes, ACH.
Why You Should Buy This DVD: Another strong card top to bottom. No dead weight at all, with three tremendous matches in Gargano/Richards, Dojo Bros/Best Friends and Mount Rushmore/Inner City Machineguns. How PWG keep pulling this off, I don’t know, but Cole’s cheating ways are putting a little bit of a downer on the endings of these DVDs, with even the six-man probably more likely to send the crowd home on a high, but I’m not going to argue against a world title match being the main event.