Guerrilla Reviewfare: PWG Sells Out, Vol. 1 (Disc One)
Posted by Jake St-Pierre on 10.15.2012
Sometimes selling out is the right thing to do.
Ah, old PWG... This DVD is an awesome deal for any self-respecting independent wrestling fan, as it has 9 hours of the best PWG had to offer during it's first 4-5 years. You get to see Super Dragon before he got fat, Scott Lost before he retired, and some old Samoa Joe stuff you might not have seen outside of ROH. That's not even the bulk of the DVD, so you'll just have to read the review to see now, won't you?
Samoa Joe vs. Bryan Danielson
From The Musical on April 17th, 2004. Yes, these two have wrestled in PWG as well. The building they're wrestling in looks like a high school drama room if I'm honest, and there ain't shit for a crowd. Rick Knox is the ref and my fuck, does he look young.
We have a little test of strength early, and Danielson even locks in a standing arm triangle. After a GENERIC INDY STANDOFF~! we see a WEST SIDE STORY SNAP-OFF! One of those things is more awesome than the other. Excalibur and Disco Machine are fucking hilarious on commentary here, talking about how Samoans eat babies and whatnot. Dragon schools Samoa Joe and does a little Disco Machine gyrating, causing Excalibur to tell Disco to sue for copyright infringement. Dragon gets a bit of a cradle for a one count, but Joe counters into an inverted CHIKARA Special. Joe then goes on to twist Danielson into a pretzel, but Bryan gets out before any major damage is done. Dragon doesn't let any of that faze him, but Joe counters a cravat into a back suplex. Joe pulls out the "I Have Till 5!" on Rick Knox, so Danielson one-ups him by yelling "FUCK 5!" as he washes Joe's face with his forearm. Joe dips out of the ring, so Dragon hits the best springboard tope con hilo he can in a tight setting. After Joe recovers, he SUPLEXES DANIELSON KNEE FIRST TO THE OUTSIDE! Apparently this building is an Elk's Lodge, and it looks a hell of a lot shittier than the Elk's Lodge where I live. Joe takes control of Dragon on the outside, hitting him with various chops and European uppercuts...and an Ole Kick on a theatre chair. One more Ole Kick and Dragon looks a bit dead. Action gets back in the ring, where Joe hits his jumping knee on Dragon for a two count. Bryan starts making a comeback, lighting Joe up with some chops and European uppercuts. Since Joe's in a bit of trouble, he takes the short route and takes out Dragon's knee. Joe puts in a disgusting Boston Crab variation and after a bit of struggling, Dragon finally gets to the ropes. Dragon catches Joe on the top rope and SUPERPLEXES HIM! Only a two count for Dragon, who jumps on Joe immediately thereafter. Joe gets out of trouble and puts in a cross armbreaker, but Danielson gets to the ropes before any damage is done. Joe hits a Spinebuster for a 2 count, but Danielson connects with a STIFF diving European uppercut. Dragon eats Joe's boots on a swandive headbutt but he still stays active in a strike battle, which he loses. They grapple out to the floor, where Joe drops Danielson with some nasty strikes. Bryan proves that he's game, mocking Joe and hitting an Ole Dropkick onto the Elk's Lodge seating. That pretty much pisses Joe off, so he hits a suplex on the floor. Nestea Plunge misses for Joe, and allows Danielson to take action back to the ring. Dragon tries to work Joe's knee, even hitting a modifed Dragon Screw...no pun intended. Joe hits a desperation side slam so he can catch his breath, and starts putting the hurt on the American Dragon. Joe counters Cattle Mutilation, but Danielson downs Joe with a rolling elbow for a nearfall. JOE BRAINS DANIELSON WITH A HUGE FUCKING LARIAT! Oh my Jesus. Danielson gets the ropes during a few knee oriented submissions, but Joe doesn't quit. The 30 Minute Time Limit is up, and that felt a hell of a lot shorter than it was. Both Danielson and Joe want five more minutes, but Ricky Reyes comes out and helps Joe attack Danielson. Danielson gets pissed and calls Joe a "pedophile World Champion", which is a reference to that fucking idiot Rob Feinstein. Dragon challenges Joe and Reyes for the next PWG show that Dragon's at. ****This was great stuff, as per the course for a Joe/Danielson match. They didn't incorporate much of a story, but they made a 30 minute match seem like a 20 minute one, and did so in great fashion. Had they gone the "crazy finishing stretch" route, I would be inclined to give this one a higher rating. But as a pure technical exhibition, you can't get much better than this.
Super Dragon vs. CM Punk
From The Reason for the Season on July 10th, 2004. Two of the biggest dickheads (in a good way) in a wrestling ring together? Count me in.
CM Punk uses some standard heel tactics to draw the ire of the crowd early. The crowd for this show is ridiculously larger than The Musical's crowd was. This pisses Punk off, so Dragon just starts fucking Punk's world up. Punk breaks cleanly after Dragon gets to the ropes on a submission, but Punk doesn't break without a bitchslap. Punk dodges a foot stomp from Dragon and goes to work on his arm. Punk maintains a headlock by grabbing Dragon's mask tassles, and soon takes him over for a side headlock amongst the hecklers from the crowd. Punk then goes back to Dragon's left arm. Dragon comes back with some stiff strikes and hits a couple double stomps for a two count. Dragon hits a Face Wash and gets a two count out of it. Punk botches a springboard move horribly and hurts his knee, so Dragon uses it for storytelling. Good way to wing what could have been bad. Despite his knee injury, Punk curbstomps Dragon. And contrary to whatver idiot told you, Punk did not invent that awesome move. Super Dragon did. Punk's curb stomps kind of suck. Instead of curb stomping Dragon a third time, Punk cradles him for a 2 count. Dragon finally ends this medium-amount of tedium (I kill me) with an enzuigiri and a tope suicida. Dragon hits a few VASTLY superior Curb Stomps on Punk, and it's awesome to see Punk's head bounce off of the mat like a super ball. CURB STOMP ON THE TURNBUCKLE~! EAT SHIT PUNK! I actually love CM Punk, but Curb Stomps are awesome and when you make them not-awesome, I'm cheering against you. Dragon plops on top of Punk with a diving senton, but Punk gets his foot on the rope at 2. PEPSI TWIST FROM PUNK! NEARFALL! Dragon rolls through a Frankensteiner for a 2 count, but Punk wades through any punishment, goes up top, and hits a guillotine leg drop for a two count. Dragon hits a Butterfly Suplex off the top rope, but he's too exhausted to cover. Dragon counters a Shining Wizard into a PSYCHO DRIVER II! That's an academic three count in 27 (!) minutes. ***1/4Good stuff for the most part, but this was way too damn long, something that both Punk and Dragon used to have a problem with back in the day. I did love the Curb Stomp battles and the finishing stretch saved an otherwise tedious affair, but as an all-around package, you'd have to call this a pretty big disappointment.
Steel Cage Match for the PWG Title, Loser Leaves PWG Forever: Adam Pearce (c) vs. Frankie Kazarian
Also from The Reason for the Season, these two were apparently embroiled in a rather bitter feud and are using a steel cage to settle things. You probably know who both of these guys are, as Kazarian is a TNA World Tag Team champion along with Christopher Daniels. Adam Pearce is a multi-time NWA World Champion, but that doesn't mean jack shit anymore.
Before the match, Adam Pearce refuses to get in the ring "with that fucking homosexual." At least he didn't say "Super Faggot" or else everyone would make a big deal out of it. Kazarian has enough of this and starts brawling with Pearce into the crowd and they even head outside. We finally get back to the ring, where Kazarian hits a springboard leg drop for a 2 count. Pearce takes control and tries to escape the cage, but Kazarian stops all that with a superplex! Kazarian tries to escape, but Colt Cabana comes out and stops him, trying to help his fellow Second City inhabitant. Cabana is thrown out by some big black dude, but Pearce still has enough time bought to take back control. Pearce puts in a figure four, but a slap from Kazarian stops that. Pearce replies with a Nash-esque Jacknife Powerbomb. Pearce tries to escape and almost dooes, but Kazarian meets him up top just in time as he pulls Pearce back over into the cage. TOP ROPE FLUX CAPACITOR! Pearce puts in a sleeper-hold, because he's OLD SCHOOL!~! Kazarian's arm goes down twice, but nary a third time. Kazarian puts in a sleeper hold of his own! His hand ALMOST hits the mat the third time, but ADAM PEARCE DON'T GIVE A FUCK! Pearce almost hits a piledriver, but Kazarian counters by catapulting Pearce into the cage wall. Kazarian puts in another sleeper hold, but on the third hand-drop, Pearce flips off Rick Knox. DDT FROM PEARCE! Pearce hits two low blows and a PILEDRIVER! NEARFALL! WAVE OF THE FUTURE FROM KAZARIAN! NEARFALL! Pearce KILLS Kazarian with a release German, but is too winded to cover him...instead he tries to ascend the cage. Kazarian catches up top, but Pearce elbows him down. DIVING ELBOW! NEARFALL! Kazarian takes a low blow, but gives one of his own. Kazarian screws up a back elbow, but thankfully the camera angle made it look better than it was. PILEDRIVER FROM KAZARIAN! PEARCE GETS HIS FOOT ON THE ROPES! This match is awesome. ONE MORE PILEDRIVER! NEARFALL! THIRD PILEDRIVER! Frankie Kazarian wins the PWG Championship and sends Adam Pearce out of PWG in 20 minutes. ****1/4This was a delightfully old school grudge match and probably my favorite match out of either men. They used the cage as a WEAPON, and the escape spots weren't phony or out of place at all. They kept up a rather slow pace, but they did it in an engaging way that never lost my attention. They didn't have to dive off of the cage, or flip a jillion times to make this seem heated; they used their storytelling and body language to sell this as a big time fight, which is something that rarely happens on the independent scene anymore, much less mainstream wrestling. The nearfalls were fantastic, and the finishing sequence with Kaz piledriving Pearce to oblivion was even better. Awesome stuff and a real hidden gem amongst the PWG archives, and you'll love it especially if you're an old school type fan.
Jack Evans vs. Christopher Daniels
From Free Admission (Just Kidding) on November 13, 2004. Jack Evans is a guilty pleasure of mine, and his flips are mindblowing. Christopher Daniels is always awesome.
Evans uses his flips to get out of a couple holds from the Fallen Angel, and he bails after an arm drag. Daniels uses his technical expertise to ground Evans, but Evans again uses his speed and flippyness to escape. Evans gets a rollup off of a wheelbarrow, but Daniels doesn't let that take him off his game. However, a dropsault throws him off of his game, as Evans boots him in the face to counter a back drop. SPRINGBOARD SKY TWISTER BY EVANS! Daniels slides into the ring and CATCHES JACK IN MID AIR WITH A POWERSLAM! Daniels hits a beautiful delayed vertical for a 2 count. Evans back elbows Daniels and hits a springboard moonsault press for a 2 count, followed by a spinning heel kick. QUINTUPLE TILT A WHIRL BACKBREAKERS FROM DANIELS! Daniels stretches Jack to hell with a spinning Bow and Arrow, and Jack is taking a shit kicking. Jack starts making a comeback and gets a 2 count off of a leg lariat. A "Standing Spinny Springy Thing" gets a 2 count, and Disco Machine is appalled by how he can do that. Daniels BRAINS Jack with an enzuigiri. "He hit Jack so hard that he knocked his pants off", Exaclibur - referring to Jack's falling pants. JACK HITS AN INSANE FUCKING SPRINGBOARD DOUBLE JUMP PHOENIX SPLASH! That was nasty. We head back to the ring, where Jack Evans hits a springboard knee to the back of the head. This match is awesome. Evans and Daniels go back and forth on small packages, but no one even gets a one count before they get dizzy and part. Daniels moves out of the way of a 630, and JACK EATS SHIT ON THE LANDING! Daniels wins a fantastic match in 20 minutes. ****Man, Jack Evans is a monster. But really, Christopher Daniels carried this match as Evans didn't really have enough steam to go fast and furious for that long. But even with questionable cardio, Jack really wowed the crowd with his flying here, and he took some killer bumps. I also love seeing Christopher Daniels in this kind of climate, where he doesn't have to take everything so seriously and he can loosen up. This rating may seem a bit high to some, but it's certainly four star entertainment.
Samoa Joe vs. Super Dragon
From All Nude Revue on February 12th, 2005. Head Drop City, yo.
Dragon Pearl Harbors Joe, hitting him with a running forearm early. Joe responds by sweeping Dragon's leg out from under him. Joe face washes Dragon as well, but Dragon comes out on top with a Dragon Screw and an AWESOME Tope Con Hilo. Joe drop toeholds Dragon to prevent a curbstomp, and he STOS HIM TO DEATH OUT OF THE CORNER! ELBOW SUICIDA THAT KNOCKS DRAGON INTO THE FOURTH ROW! Holy CRAP. Super Dragon gets in the ring at 18, but eats Kawada kicks as soon as he gets to Joe. Joe then puts in an STF, but Dragon gets his foot on the ropes. Dragon builds up a head of steam, but Joe downs him with a powerslam in mid rope-run. Dragon KILLS JOE with a diving spinning wheel kick. Dragon CURB STOMPS JOE BY HOOKING HIS NOSE! Two count only, but son of a bitch. DOUBLE STOMP TO THE BACK OF THE HEAD! Dragon puts Joe up top and hits a SUPER BUTTERFLY SUPLEX! NEARFALL! Man, that shifted the ring like a bitch. Joe catches Dragon in mid air with a big DVD, but ONLY gets a 2 count. Joe hits his strike combo, but Dragon BRAINS HIM WITH AN ELBOW! PSYCHO DRIVER!~! BUT SAMOA JOE ROLLS OUT OF THE RING! Jesus H. Christ on a stick, Joe landed right on his head. Dragon tries to go out of the ring and get Joe in the ring, but JOE SLAPS HIM TO DEATH! Dragon throws Joe out of the way before Rick Knox counts them both out, and Super Dragon wins by countout in 14 minutes. After the match, a Super Dragon impersonator (which ended up being Kevin Steen...who is skinny!) curb stomps an already prone Super Dragon. Disco Machine fights the fake Dragon off as the real Dragon is tended to. ***3/4While the finish was a tad deflating, this was an insanely exciting match that was actually helped by its short length, as both men were able to go 100 mph the whole time. That made it easier to get invested in, and they KILLED each other with some disgusting stuff. If you don't like stiff strikes and big moves, then don't watch this, you pussy. But if you do like that stuff, this match is your best friend.
AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe
From All Star Weekend on April 1st, 2005 even though the DVD says November 13th. This should rule accordingly.
Great amateur wrestling exchange early, but Styles bails after Joe wins. AJ drops Joe with a dropkick and bodyslams him, which Excalibur and Disco Machine think is insane. Styles also hits a snap suplex on Joe, and even hits a backbreaker! AJ looks for a rana, but Joe sidesteps and AJ LANDS ON HIS FUCKING HEAD! KIP UP RANA BY AJ! Joe dodges a pescado from AJ, and kicks his feet out from under him on the apron, making the Phenomenal One land right on his face! Joe has control for now, hitting his usual repertoire on AJ and even pulls out a half Liontamer. AJ eats a Facewash, and he looks deader than a doornail at this point. AJ almost gets a jack knife pin, but Joe catches him in the Coquina Clutch...AJ gets to the ropes though, and soon after hits a Moonsault into a Reverse DDT! Joe catches a running corner clothesline into a SICK STO! ELBOW SUICIDA OF DEATH! Joe finally drags AJ's dead ass back into the ring for a nearfall. AJ fucks up his comeback at first, but he makes up for it by KILLING Joe with a sliding dropkick to the face. Joe makes it known that he isn't dead, and there's no better way of doing that than plopping down on him with a senton. AJ isn't dead yet, and he TAKES JOE'S HEAD OFF WITH A ROLLING LARIAT! AJ looks for the Styles Clash but JOE BRAINS HIM WITH A LARIAT! NEARFALL! Joe now puts in an STO, but AJ struggles to the ropes and gets his foot on the bottom rope. AJ hits a Pele Kick and a BLUE THUNDER BOMB~! NEARFALL! PALM STRIKES FROM JOE! ENZUIGIRI FROM AJ! AJ goes up top, but Joe catches him and nearly gets a Musclebuster, but AJ counters into a Styles Clash for a 3 count in 20 minutes. ***3/4It certainly doesn't match their better TNA bouts, but what these two turned out here was still great. It had a good little loose story, of AJ coming back after getting pummeled. However, the biggest knock I could put on this match is that they looked like they were dogging it during the first ten minutes or so. I need to be fully invested from start-to-end to be totally enthralled by a match, and the "going-through-the-motions-until-we-go-home" crap that so many wrestlers do gets old after a bit. Despite that criticism, this was still an awesome match with some great nearfalls (non-finisher...crazy, eh?) and a hot crowd. Good stuff overall.
NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match: AJ Styles vs. James Gibson
From Guitarmageddon on June 11th, 2005. Hmmm, wonder who's winning this one.
Gibson starts off with an armbar, but AJ doesn't let him get far with it. This is basically your "Scientific Wrestling!~!" moment of the match. A bit of a story threatens to be told, as AJ struggles with all his might to break a headlock from Gibson. AJ counters by DROPPING GIBSON ON HIS FUCKING NECK. AJ latches Gibson's bad arm behind his back and SUPLEXES HIM ON IT like a huge dick. Gibson buys himself some time by heading outside and slamming AJ's chest on the ring apron...thus, he takes control. Gibson nearly takes another bump on his neck with a crucifix bomb, but he prevents that by hitting a Fireman's Carry Gutbuster for a 2 count. AJ smacks Gibson with an enzuigiri, but James catches him with a midair Dragon Screw and a Cloverleaf! AJ starts coming back with feverish strikes and A DOUBLE JUMP MOONSAULT! Gibson dodges the reverse DDT out of it though. They struggle over moves on the ring apron until AJ KILLS GIBSON WITH A NASTY FUCKING BRAINBUSTER ON THE APRON~! AJ misses the Spiral Tap, and that allows James to DESTROY HIM WITH A DEADWEIGHT GERMAN SUPLEX! TIGER DRIVER REVERSED INTO A RANA BY AJ! PIN REVERSALS! STYLES CLASH BY AJ! AJ retains his titles in 20 minutes. ****Killer match for the most part, as they didn't really drag this match out like other wrestlers would. They knew their boundaries and they stayed within them...what resulted was a great technical bout with a finishing sequence from the Gods. Underrated little match to close out Disc 1.
The 411: Talk about starting off with a bang, jeez. Every match on here was fantastic, maybe except for the Super Dragon/Punk, which was pretty good even if it was disappointing, The surprising highlight of this one is the Kazarian/Pearce cage match, a delightfully bloody and old-timey fight. There's a bunch of other great stuff on Disc 1 too, so don't think that's the only bright spot. Everything here is at least a highly interesting watch, which makes for stunning consistency. Thumbs way, way, WAY up for disc one.