Guerrilla Reviewfare: PWG Battle of Los Angeles 2013 - Night 1
Posted by Jake St-Pierre on 10.19.2013
PWG's weakest show since DDT4 still rules.
So after TEN, PWG continued their roll with perhaps the most stacked BOLA to ever take place. On paper, it has outward potential to top last year's in a big way with debuts from ACH and Tommaso Ciampa, and a host of really intriguing first round match ups. I've been hearing massive hype for both shows, and to say I'm excited for this would be a pretty hefty understatement. Without further Apu...
We are TAPED from the American Legion in Reseda, CA.
Your hosts are Excalibur and some other dudes.
BOLA First Round Match: Kevin Steen vs. Chuck Taylor
I don't know if I'm right here, but I believe this is the first time these guys have wrestled in a relevant indy. It has pretty good potential wrestling-wise, but I feel the comedy is where this match will excel. Just don't tell Corny it happened!
Kevin makes fun of Chuck Taylor's haircut, so Chuckie gets all self-conscious and wears a dude's hat. Steen takes the hat off and DROPS AN ELBOW on it. Chuckie MOONSAULTS THE HAT, to which Steen responds with a A PACKAGE PILEDRIVER ON THE HAT! Steen gets a Match of the Year chant, so he shakes Chuckie's hand and leaves. He decides to come back, and a wrestling match threatens to break out. Chuckie plays possum by crying, so Steen goes over...and earns himself a poke in the eye. Chuckie runs into an eyepoke himself after a big run. Chuckie hilariously whiffs a crossbody and pays for it when Mr. Wrestling sentons on top of him. It's strike-battle-in-the-middle-of-the-ring time, but they spice it up with STRONG STYLE EYERAKES. Chuckie knees Steen out of the ring and FOLLOWS WITH A TOPE CON HILO! Chuckie gets on the commentary mic and says "Excalibur, I'll be damned if I didn't dive out of that ring and land right on my ass." Steen comes and takes Excalibur's away, and they argue over who's the best commentator. Chuckie with a gem: "I was smart enough NOT to have a kid!" after Steen threatens Excalibur with his son. When it comes for Excalibur to decide, Excalibur POKES THEM IN THE EYE. Steen powerbombs Chuckie on the apron, but misses a Steenton Bomb. Chuckie nearly catches Steen with a hilariously hokey possum play. Chuckie gets two on a second rope moonsault. Steen responds with a sleeper suplex for 2, but quickly finds himself in a half crab! POPUP POWERBOMB! PACKAGE PILEDRIVER! Mr. Wrestling advances in 13 minutes. ***1/4I'm always a sucker for a good comedy match, and a good comedy match this was. It never gets old to me. That's basically all I have to contribute to my analysis. Have a feeling I'm getting the "Fired" email from Csonka soon.
BOLA First Round Match: Tommaso Ciampa vs. Brian Cage
I'm really not looking forward to seeing Cage wrestle again after he was dead weigh 1/4 of the way into his match at TEN, but I suppose it wouldn't hurt to give him another chance. And it helps that he's wrestling Tommaso.
Tommaso starts off with a dropkick right over Rick Knox's back! BARRAGE OF KNEES IN THE CORNER! Oh my God Tommaso just dropped Cage on his fucking head. And THAT'S why you don't repeat a botched spot. But God damn it, Cage GETS UP! Brian Cage is a fucking machine. Cage is still massively wobbled, and he severely botches an Irish Whip reversal. Cage still starts coming back on the outside, and he wallops Tommaso with some mean chops and uppercuts. POWERBOMB ON THE RINGPOST! Cage hits a spinning neckbreaker and lariats Ciampa for a two count. THE FUCKING MACHINE SUPERPLEX! Two count! Ciampa drops a knee right on Cage's dick for some reason and DROPS HIM WITH A GERMAN! BRIAN CAGE GIVES NO FUCKS! NEITHER DOES CIAMPA! MINDLESS GERMAN TRADING!~! BRIDGED GERMAN ON TOMMASO! TWO COUNT! DISCUS LARIAT FROM CAGE! Tommaso kicks out. SUPER AIR RAID CRASH FROM CIAMPA! CAGE KICKS OUT! HUGE DISCUS LARIATS FROM CAGE! ONE LAST ONE SENDS TOMMASO ON HIS NECK! That's it in a wild 14 minutes. ***3/4How Brian Cage managed to do that finishing stretch after dying a thousand deaths on that botch outside, I will never know. What I do know, however, is that this match was really good. Was it a bit mindless and indy-riffic? Sure. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy it. Hopefully Cage carries his momentum through the rest of the tournament because his performance here was excellent, as was Ciampa's. I hope to see Tommaso back ASAP.
BOLA First Round Match: Johnny Gargano vs. Willie Mack
I'm very, very interested in this match. Gargano finally wrestles his first PWG singles match, while Willie Mack gets another chance to shine beyond an opening tag match. I wish Willie would get in better shape though, because if he does, his ceiling will rise big time.
Gargano puts on Willie's shirt, and it "looks like a poncho" says Chuck Taylor on commentary. Willie puts on Johnny's shirt and it looks exactly how you'd expect. Gargano uses his speed to outdo Willie early. Willie leapfrogs beautifully and shoulder blocks Gargano inside out, and later bitchslaps him while Johnny's head adorns his shirt. Johnny kicks Willie outside, but eats an elbow mid-Tope Suicida attempt. Gargano hits a slingshot spear after Willie dodges a pescado. They bypass each other for like thirty seconds before Willie OBLITERATES Johnny with a POUUUNNNCCCEEE! TOPE CON HILO SCORES! Willie misses a double stomp off the top and misses a rolling enzuigiri from Gargano. Gargano PLANTS Willie with a slingshot DDT in the ring, but only for a 2 count. Exploder from Willie is turned into a superkick by Gargano, but WILLIE BEHEADS GARGANO WITH A SICK KICK! GARGA-NO ESCAPE! WILLIE GETS THE ROPES! Willie catches a slingshot spear and NAILS SISTER ABIGAIL ON A ROPE HUNG GARGANO! Willie goes up top and whiffs a Tornado off the top rope, so Gargano LAWN-DARTS WILLIE INTO THE SECOND TURNBUCKLE! NEARFALL! SUPERKICK! NEARFALL! GARGA-NO ESCAPE! Willie taps out in 15 minutes. ***3/4Willie Mack certainly is impressive when you give him the opportunity. I have a feeling that Johnny Gargano is going to go all Michael Elgin and steal the tournament, though. I couldn't tell you why exactly; it's just a hunch. I really liked this match too, but I'm also running out of things to say. That's just a testament to how great PWG's shows are. Matches like this would be standouts on a TNA or WWE PPV. Not knocking those companies by any means, but I think it's crazy that PWG has this sort of quality regularly. Great match of course, but I have a feeling that we're not even close to the top of the heap.
BOLA First Round Match: AR Fox vs. Roderick Strong
AR Fox had a great match with Michael Elgin at TEN, so hopefully he's rewarded with a decent spot in the tournament. I don't see much good in Roddy going ahead here.
They start with some chain wrestling, amazingly for the first time tonight. Fox connects with a dropkick and a split-legged moonsault for a casual 2 count. Fox boots Roddy out of the ring and hits a KICKFLIP MOONSAULT, but Roddy responds by SHOVING FOX OVER THE TOP ROPE. Jesus. Roddy counters a Casadora into a sick backbreaker! Things slow down from there for your usual resthold portion. Fox makes a comeback and skins the cat right into a corner dropkick, and a Shooting Star Cannonball! Fox hits a spinning brainbuster for 2. Fox hits his leg drop on the apron and THREE DIVES ENDING WITH A TOPE CON HILO! A Swanton finds knees for Fox, and Roddy comes back hard with a stiff knee and an Olympic Slam for 2. Superplex gets another 2 count for Roddy, who transitions immediately into the Stronghold. Fox gets to the ropes and starts something of a comeback, hitting a SPRINGBOARD CODEBREAKER! Roddy kicks out at 2. DEATH BY RODERICK! SICK KICK! FOX KICKS OUT~! Fox counters a Gibson Driver into a Sunset Flip for 2. Fox dives backwards into a cutter and HITS A PERFECT 450 SPLASH! RODDY KICKS OUT! RODDY DROPS FOX FACEFIRST ON THE APRON! FOX HITS A BACKSLIDE FOR TWO! END OF HEARTACHE BY RODDY! Roddy advances for some reason in 18 minutes. ***3/4I'm not TOO disappointed by the result, so I won't bitch too much I guess. The match itself took a while to get going, but once it started heating up, it turned into a pretty great sprint. AR Fox still looks pretty awkward in a lot of ways, I must say. He is young of course, so once he gets those quirks ironed out, he'll be golden. It was another day at the office for Roderick, but I find myself becoming disinterested with almost everything he does nowadays. I don't know if that's me being negative or not, but regardless, this was a great match in a long line of them for this show.
BOLA First Round Match: Drake Younger vs. Joey Ryan
After coming up short for the PWG World Title once again at the 10th Anniversary, Younger faces a sleazy challenge in the returning Joey Ryan. It reeks of cooldown match, but what'll ya do.
Drake Younger's ovation is by FAR the biggest of the night. Wow. Drake sends Joey to the floor, but Joey comes back in and eats a crossbody. Joey quickly turns things around and takes control. Joey wins my heart back by saying "I'm a TV guy, I gotta work the hardcam," as he controls Drake. That's great. Drake hits a swinging DDT for a 2 count. Drake goes and gets a BAG FULL OF CANDY, because apparently that's what happens when you quit deathmatches. They sell the candy pile hilariously well, AND JOEY POWERBOMBS DRAKE ON THE CANDY! DRAKE KICKS OUT! Only in PWG. The crowd plays it up perfectly too. Joey goes out and gets his own bag, of used condom wrappers I'd imagine...nope...LEGOS! Might as well be tacks Joey, you sick fuck. That shit hurts. DRAKE SHELLSHOCKS JOEY ON THE LEGOS! DRAKE'S LANDING ON THE LEGOS! Drake advances in 11 minutes. ***Considering Joey isn't that great of a wrestler (you don't know how much it pains me to say that), they worked this match about as perfectly as I could hope. They didn't go for serious wrestling and instead focused on having fun with one of the most ludicrous sequences of wrestling I've ever seen. You don't always have to go for crazy spotfests and this was a great example. I'm loving this show so far. Surprise, surprise.
BOLA First Round: ACH vs. Anthony Nese
I've been waiting for a while to see ACH in a PWG ring, and I'm pretty damn glad he's in one now. He's tailor-made for this kind of atmosphere and it's going to be fun to see what he can do. I'm also looking forward to seeing what Anthony Nese can do beyond carrying a blown-up Brian Cage.
We start of with your run-of-the-mill chaining, of course. ACH ranas Nese out of the ring and does a bunch of retardedly cool flips after Nese dodges a dive. Nese hits a sweet springboard rana that sends ACH out of the ring, and HE flips around when ACH dodges a dive. This is ricockulous. ACH flips to the floor to dodge something from Nese, but NESE FOLLOWS RIGHT BACK UP WITH A NO HANDS MOONSAULT TO THE FLOOR! Nese hurt his ankle pretty badly on that one. ACH plays around with Rick Knox in amazing fashion, leaving Nese open for a one-legged comeback. ACH powers through a crossbody with a swinging backbreaker and an Exploder for a 2 count. Nese--despite his injury--fires off a sweet spin kick. They trade kicks in the middle of the ring, and Nese comes out on top with a dropkick. His knee looks in pretty bad shape, but he still trucks on. They trade some DISGUSTING slaps that eventually turn to forearms. ACH sends Nese outside and NAILS AIR JORDAN PERFECTLY! Nese hits a pumphandle powerbomb for 2, and rolls around for some kind of ankle lock. ACH slingshots in for a Stunner, and looks to finish. Nese hits a running knee in the corner instead, but only for 2. ACH meets Nese up top and looks for a superplex, but runs into a rollup for two. NESE DEADLIFTS HIM UP FOR A BUCKLE BOMB! ACH kicks out. ACH FUCKING FLASH KICKS NESE ON THE TOP ROPE! PUNT TO THE HEAD! ACH WITH HIS BIG BANG ATTACK! ACH advances in 19 minutes. ***1/4For Nese being hobbled most of the match, they did a good job of working a good match. You can tell that Nese's injury still hampered the it a bit, but those things happen in wrestling. If anything, it's a testament to how good these two are that they were able to work a 20 minute match in such a situation. Nese is alright, since he worked the latest EVOLVE show without any issue that I know of, so I expect him to have a good future here. As for ACH? As if you didn't already know.
BOLA First Round Match: Kyle O'Reilly vs. Trent?
If I'm honest, I was sort of surprised to see Trent back after his lackluster All Star Weekend performances. Not that I was totally opposed to it, since I'm almost 100% sure that 4 months of constant indy bookings (and NJPW bookings!) does nothing but help you. So I'm happy to give him another chance, especially since Kyle O'Reilly is freakishly good at what he does.
It still baffles me that Trent is so big when he was a smaller guy in WWE. Not a knock on anybody, but it is weird. Trent tries to gyrate after Kyle, but gets showered with boos. Kyle tries to go to work on Trent's arm, and flies beautifully into a cross armbreaker. Trent sweeps Kyle's legs out from under him on the turnbuckle and gets a one count off of it. Trent uses that to take control and antagonize Kyle a bit. Trent beautifully drops a leg on Kyle through the ropes, AND FOLLOWS UP WITH A BEAUTIFUL TOPE CON HILO! Trent crashes and burns on a knee in the corner, falling all the way to the outside. Trent finds himself in a chair across the ring and KYLE SPRINTS INTO A JUMPING DROPKICK THROUGH THE CHAIR! Kyle goes crazy with a combo in the middle of the ring, and nails a running slap to a seated Trent. Kyle hits his butterfly suplexes into a cross armbreaker, but he has to transition to the other arm after Trent initially blocks it. Kyle runs at Trent in the corner, but Trent SCOTT LOST STOMPS him straight to hell. Trent nicely counters some kind of choke into a cradle for a 2 count. Tornado DDT hits for Trent, but only for two! Things head to the top, WHERE TRENT JUMPS UP FOR A BELLY-TO-BELLY! BUSAIKU KNEE! O'REILLY KICKS OUT! ROUNDHOUSE KICK FROM O'REILLY! ENZUIGIRI FROM TRENT! REBOUND LARIAT FROM KYLE~! GUILLOTINE! TRENT FLIPS OVER THE ROPES TO BREAK IT! GUILLOTINE ON THE OUTSIDE! TRENT COUNTERS INTO A FUCKING BACK PILEDRIVER ON THE FLOOR!~! SUPERKICK FROM TRENT! CRADLE PILEDRIVER...COUNTERED INTO A GODDAMN TRIANGLE! PUNT TO THE FACE! SWINGING DDT! BRAINBUSTER! TRENT KICKS OUT!~! CROSS ARMBREAKER! TRENT TAPS! Kyle advances in an awesome 20 minutes. ****So yeah, I'm for Trent coming back. That match was fantastic. It lulled in the middle a bit, but the minute those flips switched, it was great stuff. Kyle O'Reilly has really won me over this past year, becoming more of a total package than he was even a year ago. His promos are massively improved, and he always has great matches whether he's with Bobby Fish or by himself. Trent played a great heel here, doing some vicious stuff to O'Reilly throughout, including that ridiculous piledriver on the floor. Like I said, invite him back. He showed me more here than he has since I first saw him in WWE. Match of the Night so far.
BOLA First Round Match: Michael Elgin vs. Rich Swann
Because murder is the "in" thing here in Reseda.
Rich Swann takes the mic and asks who the crowd came to see. He proceeds to antagonize Elgin because he's stupid. Want proof? "TEST OF STRENGTH!" Oh, but Rich decides to dance...so MICHAEL ELGIN DECIDES TO GO MICHAEL JACKSON IN THIS BITCH! He showed more personality in 10 seconds there than he has his whole career. RICH SWANN STARTS HOT WITH A CORKSCREW TOPE! Rich Swann shows more personality than brains, and it doesn't bode well for him. Elgin goes to the second rope with Rich in his arms and TOSSES HIM WITH A SECOND ROPE LAST CALL! 80 second vertical suplex from Elgin, which I had to count myself since the crowd was on like 7 different pages with it. Rich Swann goes all Strong Style and caves Elgin in with a double stomp. Rolling Frog Splash gets Swann another two count. Elgin comes back with Emerald Flowsion of all things, but only gets two, as does a Deadlift German Suplex. Swann nails a sweet spinning enzuigiri and a SPIKE headscissor takedown. Elgin goes for Splash Mountain, but SWANN COUNTERS INTO A SUPER RANA! FROG SPLASH! ELGIN KICKS OUT! Swann runs into an ST-Joe and a HELLEVATOR! Swann gets out at the nick of time. Swann goes for a back handspring, but gets CLOBBERED with a lariat. BUCKLE BOMB! ELGIN BOMB! Michael Elgin advances in 14 minutes. ***1/2I'm a little disappointed this ended so early, because it seemed like they were going somewhere great with this. I guess you can't win 'em all. That's not a knock on the match itself really, as what I got was more than good enough. I just think tacking on an extra 4-5 minutes here could have really thrown this over the top. Nitpick, nitpick, nitpick. Good stuff either way you look at it.
Adam Cole & The Young Bucks vs. Forever Hooligans & TJ Perkins
So if there was ever a way to cap off a night of good wrestling, this would be it. The Bucks and the Hooligans had a showstealer a couple months ago in ROH, while TJP is coming off a couple great performances in PWG rings. Adam Cole is Adam Cole, so this has the ingredients to be Match of the Night already.
Koslov and Cole start, and it's all Koslov early. He gets the "Suck my Dick" treatment, but he makes sure one of the Jacksons gets a face full of Cole dong. Rocky Romero and Nick Jackson are in now, because that's the way six man tags are on the indies. It's all Romero early here too, so Nick tags in to his brother. So guess who else comes in? TJ Perkins! "Do you think Legion Larry has a Tumblr?" asks Excalibur. Well I don't see him decked out in flannel and skinny jeans, so I'm guessing not. Although a hipster Legion Larry would be something. Seriously, imagine him drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon and listening to Fleet Foxes. Tell me you wouldn't pay Front Row for that. All three of the faces do their arguing thing, but it's a three-way hug! At least they're kind of freshening it up. Romero and Matt are alone in the ring, but Nick gets a blind tag and LEVELS ROCKY WITH A BACK ELBOW! Jesus Christ. TJP get the dropkick treatment to the outside while Romero tries to fight everybody off. Running chinlock from Adam Cole, and somewhere Randy Orton raises his fist. Koslov gets a warm tag and goes all Russian on Matt Jackson's head. Next thing you know, every heel is stuck in some kind of submission hold. Things start to break down big time, with fast double teams and superkicks from the Bucks. Cole joins in for a couple moves. WHEELBARROW SUPLEX ON THE APRON FROM COLE TO TJP! TOPE CON HILO FROM ALEX KOSLOV! Matt picks up Koslov's hat, and attempts half-heartedly to put it on. Koslov eats a superkick from Nick, who eats a knee from Romero. COLE SUPERKICKS ROCKY! TJP HITS HIM WITH THE DETONATION KICK! MATT SUPERKICKS TJP! MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK EATS KNEES! DOOMSDAY DEVICE WITH A KNEE! LUNGBLOWER FROM TJP! THE PIN IS BROKEN UP! PANAMA SUNRISE ON TJP! TRIPLE SUPERKICK! HOOLIGANS BREAK IT UP! ROMERO EATS EARLY ONSET ALZHEIMER'S! SO DOES KOSLOV! EARLY ONSET ALZHEIMER'S INTO A FLORIDA KEY! The Bucks and Adam Cole win at the 19 minute mark. ***1/2Color me underwhelmed. I guess it was a good enough way to cap off the night, so there's that. Did it feel like a main event, though? Not exactly. Personally, I'd have taken a risk and put Swann/Elgin in the main event spot. Not that I'm qualified to say that, but I'm 100% sure that match would have been a weekend stealer with 20 minutes. For this match, it was a very fun spotfest, but it's something we've seen a million times before. The Hooligans' antics are getting old fast, and they didn't really add much to this in the end. This isn't me slagging them as wrestlers, it's just what I observed from this particular outing. The Bucks and Adam Cole really kept this going for me because of their respective personalities and how they worked with each other's movesets to adjust. Little things like speak more to me than tired gimmicks like Forever Hooligans' stuff. So yes, this was a good sprint, but nothing I'm going to care about in a couple weeks.
The 411: Yes, you read the teaser; I think this is PWG's second-worst show of the year, and it's still pretty damn good. If ROH had this kind of show, we'd be looking at a Show of the Year candidate. But it's PWG, and they've set the bar so high that a Show of the Year in any other company could very well be below their standards. My main problem with this show lies with the main event. It felt like a before-intermission spotfest more so than an actual main event. If it had a little better placement, I'd probably come out of Night 1 with a better conclusion. Still, this was a fantastic show full of consistent wrestling and entertainment. I'd recommend it obviously, but there are better PWG shows in 2013.