It’s time for another Mystery Vortex, the one night of the year in PWG where none of the matches or wrestlers are announced ahead of time, and according to Excalibur, even the wrestlers in the back don’t know who they’re wrestling or when. Believe what you will. All I know is, last time we had one of these events the Dojo Bros murdered the Young Bucks to death and Adam Cole shocked the world by beating Kevin Steen clean in a Guerilla Warfare match to begin his record-setting PWG World Championship reign.
Note: I’m going to change my recap segments into the traditional play-by-play you get with most wrestling reviews, rather than my little paragraph summaries. Leave me feedback on which style you like better, and any general comments you have.
Andrew Everett vs. Trevor Lee vs. Cedric Alexander
Recap: This match features two and a half debuts (Cedric Alexander wrestled like one match two years ago). They start off with shoulder tackles, arm drags and kick dodges before all going for a dropkick at once. Stalemate. Everett snaps off a headscissors and then hits a springboard dropkick on Lee before eating a massive punch from Alexander. He fires back with a springboard rebounding rana, but Lee dropkicks him in the head in the middle of a springboard moonsault, knocking him out of the sky. Insane back body drop to Everett, potentially the highest I’ve ever seen anyone get launched. Spike hurricanrana by Everett takes Cedric’s life. Lee gets back into the ring and hits a leaping mushroom stomp and then a running flip dive to the outside, earning himself a big chant from the crowd. Everett throws both men out of the ring and then hits a running fosbury flop on Alexander, almost tombstoning himself, before hitting a ludicrous springboard shooting star press on the other side to Lee. White Men CAN Jump! All three men trade strikes with Cedric standing tall after hitting a Mochizuki style triangle kick out of the corner. He nails an awesome air raid crash facebuster for a very close two on Everett. Lee sees a running crossbody coming and pulls a Brandon Gatson, backflipping at the moment of impact to reverse into a pin. Bananas. Lee lifts Everett into a vertical suplex and then turns it into a gross head-drop powerbomb. Alexander hits another brainbuster before a pin can be attempted. A THIRD brainbuster, because why not? Everett hits a springboard swanton on both men. More strike exchanges. Reverse rana by Everett to Lee. Cedric puts Everret up top but regrets it, getting thrown down. SHOOTING STAR PRESS! Forget about it.
Review: Holy cow. This match, man. Where do I start? All three men got their… stuff in and are sure to be welcomed back with open arms (in fact, they are set to team together to face Mount Rushmore at the next show). I’ve seen a couple of Andrew Everett matches before, but nothing like this. That Shooting Star was one of the best I’ve ever seen, he got so incredibly high on it before rotating, adding so much velocity to his impact. It seemed legit devastating rather than just a pretty move from the top rope. He’ll do very well here now that PAC is gone and Ricochet can be tricky to get hold of/is probably quite expensive. Trevor Lee I had never even heard of but put in a good showing. I believe Kevin Ford sang his praises to me once. While watching the ROH/New Japan shows this past week I commented on how much Cedric Alexander has improved, and that was apparent in this match too, although I’m not sure why he kept repeating moves. Nothing fancy about this, it was three newbies trying to get booked again by putting on a ridiculous spot-fest, and it was delicious.
Excalibur’s Line of the Match: “(Trevor Lee) is Bruce Lee’s North Carolinian bastard son.”
RockNES Monsters & Peter Avalon vs. Joey Ryan, B-Boy & Willie Mack
Recap: Joey (in his Samoa Joe gear) teases announcing their team name (you know the one) but lets Angelo Trinidad do the honours… until RockNES & Avalon bum-rush them before he can finish. They can’t abide racial slurs apparently. The GameBoy Bezerkers (good name) take turns lifting each other up and using their partners as battering rams, but go too far when Johnny Goodtime tries to lift Avalon and Yuma at the same time and buckles under their enormous combined weight (which is probably less than Michael Elgin) and they end up eating a massive leaping double clothesline from Mack. MDX to Goodtime and then a slingshot corner dropkick that accidentally nails him riiiiight in the wang. Deadly Driver on the apron by Mack!!! Ouch. Avalon ducks three B-Boy lariats and then pokes him in the eye. Devious. Sunset flip attempt is countered via… B-Boy shoving his hand down his pants and then rubbing it in Avalon’s face. Gross. Joey hits a huge spinebuster on Yuma and then nails a massive tope suicida (because he’s Samoa Joe). Tope con hilo by Goodtime wipes out everybody! RockNES run the train on Joey in the corner and then hit one of their trademark rope-hung combos for a two count. Avalon hits a vertical suplex on Joey. I’m actually impressed. Rest hold! Pumphandle suplex by Joey launches Avalon to the moon and he tags in Willie. Double MDX! Pounce to both men! Samoan drop, kip-up and a standing moonsault to Avalon. Doomsday Bulldog by the Realest N-Words! Iconoclasm/X-Factor combo by B-Boy and Joey to Yuma but Avalon breaks up the pin. He’s left alone with all three opponents and they ding him up pretty good with right hands. Andrew Bynum! Avalon avoids B-Boy and Willie and then hits Marti-knees on Joey! Frog Splash by Goodtime! B-Boy erases his face with a corner dropkick. Enzugiri by Avalon. Running dropkick by Willie Mack. Sex Factor! Spear! Joey powerbombs Yuma out of the ring but gets pulled out with him and the ring is clear. B-Boy hits a cannonball off the apron onto Goodtime! Willie powerbombs Yuma into chairs! Yeesh. Joey hits a Superkick on Avalon back in the ring for the win.
Review: Locals! What’s old is new again really, as this was essentially the same formula all these matches follow, but with a couple of new combinations/counters/sequences. It was brief, entertaining, but forgettable. Joey Ryan in 2014 might be the best he’s ever been, which is kinda crazy given he had a very long title reign and won BOLA, but the less said about the latter, the better. It was really just business as usual for everyone else.
Excalibur’s Line of the Match: “There have been three earthquakes in Southern California, and I believe, just the very nature of the show starting, that first match and now this match are the cause of it.”
Anthony Nese vs. Roderick Strong
Recap: They grapple a bit to start and Roddy ruffles Nese’s hair, drawing a you sick fuck chant. This crowd. Nese briefly locks in the legit weirdest submission I’ve ever seen. It looks like something Cima would do. Springboard headscissors gives him control. He loses it quickly, as Roddy dropkicks him in the ankle and then knees him hard in the back for two. Chop! Chop! Stomp! Stomp! St… I’ll stop. Strike exchange! Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and a two count for Strong. Soccer kick to the spine draws the ire of Excalibur. Roddy tries to make Nese humble with a camel clutch. He fights free but eats a huge dropkick. Strike exchange! Enzuigiri by Nese knocks Roddy out of the ring. Running backflip over the top rope by Nese! Missile dropkick gets two. Counterfest 2014 culminates in a very low angle German suplex and another two for Nese. Step-up enzuigiri by Roddy and a Drunk Slam gets two. Roddy yanks Nese off the top rope and cradles him like a child before hitting a disgusting backbreaker for two. Roddy lights Nese up with elbows, a running high knee and a running forearm smash in the corner but Nese avoids the gutbuster and hits a double stomp. Strike exchange! Pumphandle powerbomb by Nese gets two. He heads up top but Roddy hits a rising knee, carries him out and hits a gutbuster and then hits a torture rack backbreaker for two. Nese school boys him but then dead-lifts him into a buckle bomb for two. Back up top and he misses a 450 Splash. Sick Kick! End of Heartache! Done!
Review: How long has Nese been announcing himself from Strong Island, New York? I mean if it happens in Evolve, does it really happen? Anyway, funny things aside, this was a good, stiff match. I’ve missed Roddy, and hope he can build some singles momentum in PWG and maybe even win either BOLA or the title. One gripe though: I really hate it when wrestlers stand still and watch each other do fancy moves off the top rope, making no pretence about the fact this is all rigged, so if I gave star ratings, this would lose half a one for the springboard rana Nese did near the start that took ages to hit while Roddy just hung out and took a fiver. Take that away and they just hurt each other a lot, like most of their respective matches, and thus they were well matched opponents. I don’t know about Nese. He’s certainly a good opponent for people, but I can’t see him being a feature player.
Excalibur’s Line of the Match: “They want to see his life diminished to a terrible, terrible point. What is wrong with these people?”
African American Wolves vs. Unbreakable Fuckin’ Machines
vs. Inner City Machineguns
Recap: This is going to be a long recap. Ricochet starts off dancing so Elgin puts him in his place with a ridonkulous worm that causes Swann, Fox and ACH to flee to the back. Where do we all go from here folks? Elgin’s not done, as he cartwheels over Ricochet like he’s a damn luchador. Ricochet gets speedy and hits a zig-zag and a standing shooting star for two. This match has been going on for sixty seconds. Cage and ACH tag in. LARIAT! ACH leaps for the corner and tags Fox who looks genuinely bummed out. Cage does bicep curls with Fox but it leads to a dropkick and Swann blind tags him. Flippy boys do flips. Swann goes for an Outsider Edge but fails. Double hip toss, double kip-up, double dropkick by the guns. Cage clears the ring and the Machines tease dives to the outside but all four opponents put a stop to it. Fox jumps onto Swann’s neck, almost paralysing him just like he almost did to someone else in PWG a few months ago. Maybe Chuck Taylor. Corkscrew split legged moonsault by Fox gets two. Elgin cares little for tag rules and dives in with a flying back elbow. He lifts Swann and Fox at the same time, while Cage lifts Ricochet and ACH. Stereo fallaway slam/Samoan drops. What is life? Tope con hilo by Elgin!!! WHAT IS LIFE?! Moonsault to the outside by Cage!!! WHAT. IS. LIFE?!? Cage just starts high-fiving fans because this match should be stopped. It’s that time again folks: stalling vertical suplex. Elgin and Cage pass Swann back and forth while Ricochet makes funny attempts at stopping it. Elgin does a sexy dance before finally dropping Swann after literally two minutes and AR Fox is perplexed. Hip-toss backbreaker by Cage. Rest hold! The Machines botch a double team but it doesn’t matter, because everything they do hurts. Swann avoids a powerbomb and tags Fox who lariats Elgin in the face twice but doesn’t floor him. ACH leaps into the ring with a complete shot and the Wolves run the train on Cage in the corner… but ACH keeps going and going because he has mad cardio, bro. Doomsday Dropkick to Cage. Ricochet hits a neckbreaker on Fox, forcing him to DDT ACH. Fox hits a complete shot/Scorpion Death Drop on the Guns. The Machines recover and Cage hurls Ricochet into a backfist for two. Spin Kick by Ricochet knocks Cage out of the ring, and then he reverses a buckle bomb into a rana. 3D by the Wolves! Cage puts Fox onto ACH’s shoulders and then german suplexes him, but eats a Lethal Injection from Swann. Sunset bomb by Swann. Bicycle kick by Fox! Superkick by Swann! Cage pulls him out of the ring and Ricochet and AR Fox jump OVER the posts to hit insane dives. Twister by Fox on Ricochet! He tries some sort of dive but Cage catches him and Jackhammers him. ACH hits a slingshot cutter! Trouble in Paradise by Swann! He tries it on Elgin but gets discus punched unconscious. Reverse rana by Ricochet! After quite some time, people manage to stand up again. Ricochet leaps over Swann and hits a dropkick to ACH. Double superkick to Fox. Standing top rope hurricanrana from Swann sends ACH down onto his own partner. 630!!! The Machines break up the pin. Stereo stalling superplexes from the apron by the Machines and somehow the middle rope doesn’t snap. Frog Splash and a Springboard Swanton by the Wolves! Only two. I’m tired. ACH hits the most insane running dropkick in history to Cage and then the Wolves try a double suplex but he reverses and lifts both men himself. Elgin hits a double Alabama Slam on the Guns. Buckle bombs in both corners! Elgin Bomb to Fox! Cage hits ACH with a Dicus Lariat to prevent him from breaking up the three count.
Review: Seasons changed during this match. It lasted forever and was exhausting, but I mean that in a good way. It was bombastic and a total farce, but I mean that in a good way. It was the same sort of stuff you’ve seen them all do over the last few shows, but evolved to its apex. I don’t think you’ll see any of these guys against each other again in the near future, because where would they even go from here? Downhill, I suspect, because they reached a pretty high peak. There’s really not a lot more to say, the scarily athletic men did incredible things to each other and nobody died.
Chuck Taylor’s Line of the Match: “I love to see a guy do the most graceful thing I’ve seen in my fucking life and then fall down climbing into the ring.”
Chris Hero vs. Tommaso Ciampa
Recap: Hero starts out ahead in a grappling contest, but Ciampa ends up on top. He starts using the old Alex Shelley skull-fuck, but Hero slips out without him noticing and then dropkicks him in the face. Ciampa tries a leapfrog but Hero just stands there and casually knocks him the F out. He tries his version of a baseball slide but gets kneed in the face on the way down. Hero tries a kick in the corner but gets caught and hit with a lungblower for two. Ciampa gets all cocky, paint-brushing Hero and stepping on his face, casually walking around the ring and hitting him with chops and stomps. Hero fights back with a series of chops and kicks to the face and then hits a running cravate neckbreaker. Twisting cravate cutter from the top rope gets two. He locks in the Stretch Plum Alpha but Ciampa gets to the ropes. Hero flies into the ring from the apron but gets hit with another rising knee strike. Hero sneaks in a Rolling Elbow for two. Two running yakuza kicks get more two counts. He hits a third but Ciampa stays on his feet and rallies back with two more rising knee strikes. Hero begins to spin for the Rolling Elbow but then just collapses and Ciampa gets a two count. They stand still and just throw punches, elbows and colossal kicks to the face. They take turns doing cravate knee strikes until Hero hits a cravate suplex and then the Death Blow but Ciampa kicks out at freakin’ one. Rolling Elbow! Ciampa is still on his feet! Cyclone Kill! Still on his feet! Roll-up by Ciampa gets two and the moment Hero starts to get back up he hurls his entire weight behind a brutal knee strike and they’re both down. Ciampa hits like 5 Yakuza kicks and then three running knees while Hero is down. Hero reverses a suplex into that vertical suplex neckbreaker move he does sometimes. Electric Chair Deathblow! Only two. Stretch Plum Alpha! Ciampa taps out.
Review: Hero is the fattest he’s been in a long time, if that kind of thing is important to you. The crowd chanting “Chris Hero ain’t nothin’ to fuck with” because he was wearing Wu-Tang Clan inspired gear was marvellous. There was really not a lot fancy about this, they kicked, elbowed and kneed each other really damn hard in the face, frequently while just standing still and taking it, so if it bothers you to see wrestlers just trade shots, you’ll hate this. Ciampas knee strikes are getting to be like Hero’s elbows; they look so devastating that they should just end matches immediately, because when he does ten of them per match, they seriously lose their impact. This was kept short, which makes sense given it was built around them going for knockouts, so it didn’t have enough time to be anything special. They could probably do more together.
Rich Swann’s Line of the Match: “N-Word!”
Kyle O’Reilly vs. Johnny Gargano
Recap: Much chain wrestling, many holds. Kyle snaps on a cross armbreaker out of nowhere and Gargano frantically counters into GargaNo-Escape. Both men miss big strikes and bail for the corners. More grappling leads to another sudden submission attempt by Kyle that is reversed by Gargano. O’Reilly begins attacking Gargano’s arm, wearing him down. Hammerlock cradle northern lights suplex (yep, I think I invented that) gets two. Gargano fires back with kicks and a lungblower. Kyle avoids Gargano’s strike attempts and hits a kick combo culminating in a leg sweep. Jumping knee strike, snapmare, running… slap to the face. Sleazy Kyle! Gross knee to the face, grosser German suplex, and Axe and Smash (head stomp/rolling elbow) gets two again. They head outside and Gargano avoids the apron missile dropkick and then hits a running cannonball off the apron. Slingshot DDT for two. He puts Kyle up top but ends up eating a diving armbreaker. He escapes a kneeling armbar but winds up in a cross armbreaker instead and barely reaches the ropes. Kyle goes for a tornado DDT but Gargano reverses into a suplex into the corner. Ouchies. Strike exchange! GargaNo-Escape! Kyle dead-lifts him into his disgusting Regal-plex for two. Triangle choke! Johnny powerbombs his way free… but only for a moment, Kyle snaps it right back on! He gives up the hold to kick him in the face. Two superkicks from Gargano send Kyle reeling into the ropes… for the Nigel Lariat! Strike exchange on the apron! Tope suicida by Gargano! He goes for the slinghshot spear but gets kneed in the face! Hanging guillotine gets reversed into a brainbuster, which is followed with the Lawn Dart for two. Many many counters! Gargano ducks another Nigel and goes for Hurts Donut but gets rolled up for two. Strike exchange! Superkick! Kyle side-steps a spear and throws Gargano out of the ring before killing his face with the apron missile dropkick! Tornado DDT! Brainbuster! 1 count! Kyle hits all of the strikes and then another Brainbuster for two, but he immediately snaps on a Cross Armbreaker! Gargano taps!
Review: Somewhere on the Internet there is an archive, whether written or spoken, of me stating that Kyle O’Reilly would surpass his mentor, Davey Richards, sooner rather than later. I think we’ve passed that point, because he’s a genuine pleasure to watch as he picks apart arms, shows off inventive and exciting counters and just knows how to pop a crowd at any given moment. Need an indication of how good Kyle is? People booed Gargano, one of the most popular guys on any show he’s on. Two of independent wrestling’s best chain wrestlers, technical wrestlers, submission wrestlers and counter wrestlers got to do all of the above for 15 minutes, so of course it was good, dummy. I really hate Kawada kicks being no-sold, though, minus eight stars.
Excalibur’s Line of the Match: “I think two guys are chanting that was sexy at Johnny Gargano. Very comfortable in their sexuality. And ya know what? California, very open minded state.”
PWG Tag Team Championship Match
Young Bucks vs. Best Friends
Recap: Chucky hits belly to belly suplexes on both Bucks early. Tags on both sides and we get some lucha avoidance sequences. Trent? chops Nick so hard he screams and tags out. Matt chops Trent? with his cast-covered hand and of course hurts himself. Chuck tags in and hits an axe smash to the hand. Trent? hits the most electrifying slingshot foot stomp in wrestling, which Chuck follows with the slow motion tope atomico. Clothesines and hugs all round. Chuck says it’s over and Trent? gets the giant trench coat and takes approximately 9 months to put it on. They go for the Giant Chokeslam but Nick hits a doomsday device to save Matt. Nick puts on the trench coat, badly, and it just falls apart while Excalibur and Chris Hero have a good lol. Chestbreaker/flipping neckbreaker combo gets two. Handspring back rake! Devious! The Bucks isolate Trent? in their corner for a few minutes and just when it looks like he’s got a tag, Chuck gets pulled off the apron and Nick hits Trouble in Paradise for two. Trent hits a tornado DDT and finally tags out. Missile dropkick! Tope con hilo! Assisted ace crusher gets two. The Bucks are right back in it though, after an assisted shiranui. Nick tries some sort of superplex but Trent sprints up to the top rope and hits a german off the top rope! Swanton from Chuck! Sliding Knee! Two count. Trent misses a Doomsday Knee Strike and gets superkicked harder than I’ve seen anyone in a while. Swinging DDT off the apron to Chuck! Matt tries a powerbomb but gets lifted into a Fade to Black… Superkick/Yoshi Tonic! Springboard Double Tombstone! Chuck breaks up the pin. He ducks a double superkick and the ref is dead! Taylor locks in the Cross Crab on both Young Bucks at once and they tap out, but of course, the ref is dead. Double Chokeslam to Nick and the ref is alive! Matt kills him again with his cast. The Best Friends hit superkicks and then the Fade to Black and a Piledriver at the same time. Rick Knox! One… two… Adam Cole pulls Knox out of the ring. Superkick from Knox! Tope con hilo by Trent! Awful Waffle!!! Nick Jackson kicks out! Whoa. Cross Crab! Adam Cole back up on the apron distracts Knox and Matt low blows Chuck with his cast and that’s it.
Review: I love the Best Friends. They seem to have a predilection towards shorter matches though, because while this wasn’t as brief as their DDT4 bouts, it felt like they skipped to the end. It was fun, but it was like most Young Bucks matches, so a known entity. I was genuinely shocked when Nick kicked out of the Awful Waffle, and the low blow directly into a pin was a downer for me. I would rather have seen the low blow followed with More Bang for Your Buck, but I get that the cast is treated as a weapon. I do have to wonder though, if not the Best Friends, who is ever going to end this title reign of the Bucks? Do they just get bored one day and retire as champs?
Chris Hero’s Line of the Match: “CZW alumnus Ruckus called that the Stinky Dimebag… probably not what the Young Bucks call it.”
– Adam Cole lays out an open challenge during a chorus of boos, and despite the crowd chanting Candice and her being on the front of the DVD, I’m stunned that it’s answered by Candice LeRae!
PWG World Championship Match
Adam Cole vs. Candice LeRae
Recap: Chris Hero’s unexpected return at All-Star Weekend X took this match away from us earlier in the year. Cole demands Candice lay down but she flips him off. He shoves her down and then mocks her height so she spits in his face. Two monstrous body slams, and Cole is running laps with a grin on his face. He misses a dropkick and gets a V-shot to the face. Yep, what it sounds like. Violence Party!!! Octopus Stretch by Candice! He rams her into the turnbuckles to break the hold. Cole hits her with a big elbow smash and then puts her up top only to drag her off into a backbreaker. Eww. Joey Ryan has seen enough and gives his headset to Chris Hero. Cole continues to mock her but eats a swinging DDT. Elbow smashes again by Candice. Diving hurricanrana! Tope suicida! Mushroom Stomp gets two. She avoids a Death Valley Neckbreaker, rolling Cole up for two, but he hits the move on his next try. Cole seemingly has the pin but pulls Candice up at two. He tries a suplex but she locks in a sleeper! He escapes but finds himself hung on the middle rope after missing a strike and she hits another Mushroom Stomp, to the crotch this time. She tries a Tornado DDT but gets murdered to death with the brainbuster onto the knee! She gets her foot on the rope but Cole thinks he won. Shoving contest with Knox! School boy! Only two. Cole is done with this and just kicks her in the damn face. He brings a chair in and for some reason Knox does nothing, but it’s okay because he does the old Kurt Angle swing and a miss, only for the chair to bounce off the top rope into his face. Reverse rana!!! Panama Sunrise by Candice!!! Only two though. She flies off the top but gets Superkicked! He’s sure it’s over but she kicks out! Crowd chant “you can’t beat her!” and Cole is getting irritated. He yells at her but gets slapped in the face. Superkick! Florida Key! Done-zo.
Review: Candice was essentially wearing a GameBoy but with cleavage where the screen would be, so, ya know, 5 stars. This was the single best Candice LeRae performance I’ve ever seen, which is appropriate as she’ll never be in a bigger match. She laid all her strikes in properly, didn’t hesitate, hit her high spots at the right times, the crowd were 100% behind her, and Cole played the master foil. She also took one of her worst ever beatings, sporting a massive red mark from the backbreaker for the entire match, amongst other unnecessarily large bumps. The bottom line is that there are not many female wrestlers who could wrestle a male world champion in the main event of a show and make it compelling, but she managed just that. It felt like an exhibition in what Cole has been about from winning BOLA to now, acting like a total dick, but still being a good wrestler, and with maximum heel heat now, I feel a title change is upon us.
Excalibur’s Line of the Match: “Just spitting in the face of Adam Cole. Adam Cole would have probably paid good money for that.”
Adam Cole claps for Candice, while she gets a standing ovation. He lays the title at her feet and hugs her, but Nick Jackson already ran in, so we know what’s about to happen. Elbow strike, superkick. Joey prevents further damage, show over.
Did Anyone Kick Out of the Falcon Arrow? No, nobody kicks out of the falcon arrow.
Is AR Fox dead yet?: No, despite climbing in the ring wrong and hitting a flip dive over the post to the outside. Yep, a surprisingly quiet night for the Foxy one.
Why You Should Buy This DVD: They’re still doing these depressing finishes to shows, but I guess when you get this passionate fan base to such highs constantly, you can kind of get away with it. Adam Cole is great as a dick who is irritatingly good, but it got a bit much like 3 shows ago. If everything that preceded the endings wasn’t as good as it was, there would be things being thrown in the ring by now. Anyway, that aside, this was a bananas show, with an utterly insane opener, a fun six-man, two decent, if generic singles matches, the exhaustingly fun three-team tag match, another good tag title match and a pretty different main event. Three of the matches were pretty forgettable, but I’m pretty sure the strength of the opener sold this DVD to most people, and there are far worse matches to buy DVDs for. If you care about Candice even the slightest bit, you’ll want to see that main event, too.