Zen Arcade Reviews: PWG Steen Wolf
Posted by Jake St-Pierre on 07.29.2012
Candice LeRae is a very good looking woman. Kevin Steen is a very ugly man. But they both take part in an absolutely phenomenal show.
PWG is one of my favorite promotions at the moment. They produce awesome cards every show and have some great homegrown talent, not to mention one of the pro wrestling's best crowds. Their commentary kicks ass too, as do their menu music from the awesome Barbarian Overlords, Brandon Bonham's band if I am not mistaken.
We are LIVE (actually taped from late October 2011 but it sounds better the way I said it) from the American Legion Post in Reseda, CA. Your hosts are Excalibur and a bunch of other dudes.
Peter Avalon, Freddy Bravo, & Ray Rosas vs. Chris Kadillak, Famous B, & Candice LeRae
Every one of these wrestlers except Candice and Avalon are making their PWG debuts. Kadillak is your typical skinny Indy guy. Freddie Bravo is short as shit and a bit stocky for a small guy. Famous B looks indy-riffic too. Ray Rosas is pretty good from what I've seen in PWG though. Peter Avalon is awesome and I adore Candice.
Famous B and Ray Rosas begin. B bests Rosas to begin, which enrages Ray enough for him to hug Bravo. "HEY! You leave my friend alone!" says Bravo, who tags in. Ha. Bravo gets the advantage, which draws in Chris Kadillak, who makes Bravo (which Kevin Steen refers to as Dino Bravo) tag in Avalon, who cleans house and fakes a Spinaroonie instead opting to flip off the crowd. Kevin Steen calls Kadillak out for no-selling. HA! Candice tags in and fires at Avalon. That brings in Ray Rosas. The heels isolate Candice and I think Freddie Bravo is the only one not trying to rape her. Famous B tags in and cleans house to a HUGE pop. We have our WCW cruiserweight diving spree of the night. We have more hell unleashed in the ring where Kadillak hits A SHOOTING STAR CANNONBALL!! Holy God, that was cool. Kadillak doesn't fare too well afterwards though. But don't worry, Candice valiantly returns with Ball-Plexes for the dastardly heels. Swanton/Frog Splash combo gets Chris Kadillak and his team the win in 12 minutes.
Analysis: ***1/4 Well, if you were ever going to debut in a promotion, this is how you do it. This was a spotfest, plain and simple, but this was also one hell of an exciting opener that showcased the strengths of all six wrestlers. No one botched or overstayed their welcome, which is an added bonus. I don't know how well, say, Chris Kadillak would do in a long singles match, but he did great here as did everyone else. Fun opener.
TJ Perkins vs. Rocky Romero
For a guy who shoves the fact that he's from SoCal down everyone's throat, TJP sure is far down on the card. I kid, I kid. Romero spends most of his time in Japan teaming with Davey Richards and whatnot.
Rocky Romero's ring jacket is so awesome. This is TJ's second match back in PWG after a long absence, which probably explains his place on the card. We get our first GENERIC INDY STANDOFF!~! of the show, after which we get some spitting. Referee Rick Knox gets caught in the crossfire in some early comedy, even chopping Romero for a two count. Romero eats a Tree-of-Woe Dropkick for a two count. Romero comes back not long after though and works on TJ's leg, even busting out a Spinning Toehold. Rocky totally just neglects that though and decides to put in a Gory Special. TJ outsmarts him later though and hits a kneeling dropkick for 2. TJ hits a sweet sitout powerbomb and the Detenation Kick for a botched nearfall. It's pretty obvious that the powerbomb concussed Romero, but Rocky recovers well until he taps from a leg-trapped sharpshooter of some sorts at the 13 minute mark.
Analysis: **1/4 This was a pretty dull match all things considered. Romero and Perkins don't click too well as opponents and it was pretty obvious here. They did have some good moments though and the crowd tried to be up for most of it, but the whole thing just fell flat. The crowd really turned on it when Romero didn't kick out of a nearfall when he was supposed to, but he's excused since it was in fact a concussion.
The Fightin' Taylor Boys (w/ Chuck Taylor) vs. The RockNES Monsters
The Taylor Boys are Ryan Taylor and Brian Cage-Taylor, who used to be Kris Logan in FCW. He has the WWE look and he certainly can wrestle, so with their Indy kick lately, we'll see if they snag him up again. The Monsters are Johnny Yuma (Lars Only in TNA, the dumbest name I've heard in a while) and Johnny Goodtime. They're a pretty exciting tag team.
Brian and Goodtime start off fast early, which Goodtime makes the most of. Ryan Taylor tags in but does not fare too well. Johnny Yuma tags in and takes part in a very long tag team with his partner. Chuck Taylor tries to intervene but no dice. The Taylor Boys isolate Goodtime who takes a sweet powerbomb from Brian on Brian's knee. Yuma tags back in and cleans house and hits a STAGE DIVE to the Taylors on the outside. Cage-Taylor recovers and POWERBOMBS YUMA INTO THE CHAIRS! GOODTIME DIVES OUT ONTO CAGE-TAYLOR! TOPÈ CON HILO ON RYAN! Wow, sick sequence there. Cage-Taylor German Suplexes on the chairs! OH MY FUCK CAGE-TAYLOR JUST SPRANG RYAN INTO A FLIP PILEDRIVER ON GOODTIME! YUMA MAKES THE SAVE! Ryan looks to try and bicycle kick Yuma off of the top rope but miraculously Goodtime rolls him up for the pinfall in 13 minutes.
Analysis: ***3/4 Whew, that was insane. It did get a bit off after the fast beginning, but Jesus H. Christ did they ever redeem themselves. These four wrestled an absolutely crazy, fast-paced match that made the crowd go bonkers on multiple occasions. The RockNES Monsters played great plucky babyfaces to the much bigger Taylor Boys and it made for one hell of a dynamic, as the speed of both Yuma and Goodtime helped them win the match. Brian Cage-Taylor was great in this match too, using some power moves you don't see too often in the independent circuit. Just a hell of a match here without a doubt.
Wille Mack vs. Davey Richards
Willie Mack has a crappy physique and all that, but the guy can GO. He's pretty damn good. Davey is showing a bit more personality here than he was showing in ROH at the time, which is nice.
Willie escapes an Ankle Lock early. On the outside, Willie catches Davey's running kick on the apron and faceplants him on it. Davey returns the favor by kicking Mack right in the chest a few times. I think that's a hate crime. Mack gains some time to recover with a Russian Legsweep and soon explodes with a flurry of offense that's too fast for Davey to no-sell. Davey eventually makes his way back and hits a sweet Superplex but Willie's like NO WAY BITCH and he just fucks some shit up. Davey evades some stuff and puts in the Ankle Lock but Willie replies with a standing moonsault. Seriously, how is this dude so damn athletic? Davey comes back again though and puts Willie away with a sliding kick in 16 minutes. After the match, Davey puts Mack and the young stars of PWG over in a promo. Awwww.
Analysis: ***1/2 This was a very good match. They told a simple story of the hungry young guy looking to prove himself even more but after putting up a huge fight, he just doesn't get it done. This did a great job of putting Mack over and he did a good job of selling and he even no-sold at the exactly right time. It's been 8 months since then and now Willie is getting a friggin' title shot at Threemendous III. How time flies. He totally deserves it though, as he's insanely talented and he all but proved it in this match.
Lucha Rules: The Dynasty vs. Los Luchas
I've never heard of Los Luchas. They are Zokre and Phoenix Star. Joey Ryan is the great, great person who's been "invading" TNA lately. Scorpio Sky was Mason Andrews in TNA, a much better name than Lars Only if I say so myself. He's also been on Tosh.O. Because he's that awesome.
Zokre starts with Scorpio Sky and takes control. We have our second GENERIC INDY STANDOFF!~! of the evening. Soon after, Phoenix Star and Joey Ryan come in. Ryan hits a hurricanrana much to the surprise of Excalibur. The action at this point is too fast to call, as Los Luchas bust out some pretty sweet stuff. The Dynasty takes turns isolating and grounding Zokre. Zokre makes a comeback but it's short lived however, as Scorpio Sky hits a sweet topè con hilo. Joey Ryan hits a fucking Pedigree on the apron. SPRINGBOARD TOPÈ FROM PHOENIX STAR! Holy God, that was pretty. Zokre launches Sky into the air and Star SPEARS HIM IN MID AIR! Some of these moves are too complicated and awesome to describe right now. TKO from Scorpio Sky gets the win in 13 minutes.
Analysis: ***1/4 Even though there were some not-so-subtle moments of miscommunication, these four wrestled a very exciting match with all sorts of cool moves. No psychology or story to speak of, but it doesn't matter as these teams went out there and performed. That's all that matters. Plus this match had Joey Ryan in it. That's probably worth star in itself.
Ricochet vs. Chuck Taylor
Ricochet is a RIDICULOUS high flyer and a pretty good worker to boot. Chuck Taylor is known for being fucking hilarious. He's not very good in EVOLVE considering that promotion is insanely boring, but I've enjoyed the crap out of him everywhere else.
We get some early comedy, as both guys try and grab the belt that's ascended from the vent for the main event later. It's a slow match early, with your usual Chuck Taylor antics and whatnot. Chuck Taylor gets a bit of control with some restholds. He prevents a comeback with a Tilt-a-Whirl Backbreaker. Ricochet doesn't let that faze him and hits some kind of cartwheel reverse rana thing. Chuck Taylor takes control again and hits a reverse DDT on the ring apron. Ricochet's like 'I can top that ho' and hits a sweet corkscrew dive. Chuckie tops that with a sweet topè con hilo. SASUKE SPECIAL BY RICOCHET! Chuck Taylor misses a "triple moonsault" and Ricochet hits a standing shooting star press! Shooting star press from the top! Chuckie kicks out! AWFUL WAFFLE BY TAYLOR! RICOCHET KICKS OUT! 630 FROM RICOCHET! That gets the pin in 20 minutes.
Analysis: ***1/2 This started off slow, but was kept fun by Chuck Taylor's antics. When they got serious and heated up down the stretch, they fooled the crowd with some good nearfalls and exciting moves. Ricochet is insane and Chuck Taylor held up his end of the bargain along with showing some personality (which he doesn't show much in EVOLVE) making this match very fun. Really good match to segue into the two main events.
PWG World Tag Title Match: The Young Bucks (c) vs. Future Shock
PWG is really the only place I can tolerate the Bucks as heels, probably because they're actually over in California. Future Shock is making their PWG debut here.
Nick and O'Reilly start here. Kyle explodes early and Future Shock impresses early with some nice double teams. Adam Cole falls to a Shiranui on the apron to stall their momentum though. O'Reilly tags in and hits his contrived double dragon screw. The Young Bucks are so forced as heels, it's not even funny. They're way worse in ROH though. They isolate O'Reilly in the ring and do their horrible Ric Flair impression. Adam Cole finally gets the hot tag and cleans house, even hitting a vicious wheelbarrow suplex on the apron. O'Reilly tags in and gets a Regalplex for 2. Cole gets a wheelbarrow suplex for 2 but Matt barely makes the save. SUPERKICKS GALORE! DISCUS LARIAT FROM O'REILLY! Oh my fuck that was insane. Double powerbomb into a Buckle Bomb from Matt! SPIKE TOMBSTONE!! O'Reilly breaks it up! Cole counters More Bang For Your Buck! GUILLOTINE FROM O'REILLY! GUILLOTINE FROM COLE! Superkick from Nick finally breaks the guillotine up from O'Reilly. More Bang For Your Buck gets the Bucks the win in 22 minutes.
Analysis: ****1/4 Wow. These four fucking killed each other and they got an insanely great match out of it. They told a good story too, that the Young Bucks couldn't prepare very well for Future Shock and were take to their limit because of it. They pulled off some amazing spots between the four of them and had the crowd going insane for them the whole time. This match earned Future Shock full time bookings in PWG and with good reason. This was an exciting low-end MOTYC with molten crowd heat and flawless wrestling.
Ladder Match For PWG World Title: Kevin Steen (c) vs. El Generico
These two apparently love killing each other. I'm all for it because it's always awesome. This is the second ladder match in PWG history so yeah, you gotta imagine that they're gonna all but maim each other here.
They brawl wildly to start because no shit they do. We bring out the ladders and soon after, Steen reverses a swinging DDT into a backbreaker. Generico just waylays on Steen with a smaller ladder. STEEN BACKDROPS GENERICO THROUGH THE TALL LADDER! Steen is going around biting things. Yeah. He's Kevin Steen so it's okay. Steen WHIPS GENERICO HARD INTO THE LADDER! GENERICO 180'S ON IMPACT! Generico comes back and HITS A YAKUZA KICK ON THE LADDER! Steen hits a Codebreaker on the ladder! MICHINOKU DRIVER ON THE LADDER FROM GENERICO! HALF NELSON SUPLEX ON THE OTHER LADDER! Oh my JEBUS, this is bonkers. Steen sets the ladder on the bottom turnbuckle and soon after POWERBOMBS GENERICO THROUGH THE DAMN THING! Steen eats an Exploder in the corner but comes back by hitting a powerbomb on the apron. Steen sets a ladder on the apron and a couple of chairs and tries to powerbomb Generico on it, but GENERICO BACK DROPS HIM ON IT! Generico ascends the top rope but Steen stops him and HITS THE TURNBUCKLE BRAINBUSTER! And here come the Young Bucks. They attack Steen's knees with chairs. They're still bad heels when it comes to talking. Generico comes back in and the two fight it out on the ladder. Generico hits a SUNSET POWERBOMB ON THE LADDER ON THE FLOOR!! STEEN ONLY HITS HIS HEAD! That kills Steen dead and Generico gets the belt at the 26 minute mark.
Post-Match: The Bucks come back again and challenge Steen to Guerrilla Warfare. But he doesn't have a partner...that is until the lights go out and SUPER DRAGON RETURNS!!!! HE CURB STOMPS MATT!! PSYCHO DRIVER TO NICK!! Steen has a partner for Guerrilla Warfare. Oh my God, that has to be one of the best segments in PWG history. Just brilliant. After all that madness, Generico stands tall with his title. Kevin Steen: "I'm not pleased with the end result, but I knew we'd tear the fucking roof off." Boy did you.
Analysis: ****3/4 I can't go five stars here based on the unnecessary Young Bucks interference, but holy shit did everything else kick so much ass. They killed each other and they really topped their Final Battle 2010 match, which I thought couldn't be done. This was non-stop action and it built upon every single spot until the last one became the most brutal and fittingly gave Generico the title. They took a lot of risks and put themselves in danger, blah blah blah, but it had to be worth it as this was one of the best matches of 2011 and one of best matches in PWG history to boot. This was my second place MOTYC for 2011 and I liked it even better on this viewing. Just an awesome, hate-filled, brutal brawl. The Super Dragon return was just icing on the cake. What a conclusion to one of the best shows I've ever seen.
The 411: There's not much to say here other than get all of this. This is an absolutely FANTASTIC show with only one match under three stars. That's insane. Add on two MOTYCs and a storming tag match in RockNES/Taylor Boys and you've got a show. This is one of the best shows I've ever seen and you need to buy it if you're even remotely a fan of independent wrestling. It's that damn good.