PCW Review – April 27th, 2003

Arrived at around 6:15. There was about 15 fans there. By the time the show started, I’d peg attendence at around 50. A very disappointing turn out for the first ever Super Dragon vs. Messiah match. Poor advertising plus a disadvantageous date running against a WWF PPV. Also a poor venue (parking lot). It’s tough to get a grungier venue than the Anaheim Marketplace, but any parking lot will do.

Maximum Title Tournament Matches (Round 1)

: Scott Lost over Foob Dog

I heard Foob Dog wasn’t much good, but this match was passable. They did a standard “big guy vs. little guy” match, with Lost trying to use his quickness while Dog used his size. They didn’t do any stupid “Low Ki vs. Samoa Joe” spots where the little guy wallops the big guy with strikes, so I smiled like this :). After a few reversals, Lost hit a diamond cutter/ace crusher for the win. Bo Cooper came out and attacked both guys, but mostly just hit Dog with his cane. Cooper’s “Rude, Crude, and Tattooed” catch phrase has potential to get over, provided he gets over as well. The match was, like I said, passable. No blown spots, straight forward storyline, and the right man won. *3/4

: Joey Ryan over Dante

Dante’s a crazy little guy, with a Mohawk, but really long bangs coming out the front. He also screams in a very high pitched voice, which naturally brings catcalls from the crowd. This was basically clean cut cutey-pie Joey Ryan vs. Evil Dante. The match was a sprint, with things going back and forth. Near the end, Dante reeled off a series of nice moves, including a great drop kick and an even greater standing shooting star press for a near fall. Ryan transitioned back to offense and finished things off with his top rope swinging neck breaker. A nice sprint, but nothing special. Ryan mugged for the crowd a lot during the match. Dante’s athleticism impressed me. **

I should point out that there was a baby (maybe 2 years old) in the crowd that rocked, literally. When they had Godsmack playing, this kid was rocking out. He also was cheering like a crazy baby during the show, running around like a… crazy baby. At one point, he took off out of the parking lot, only to be tugged back in by his older brother. His father (I presume), then calmed him down with a cigarette.

Maximum Title Tournament Match (Round 2)

: B-Boy over Mike Vega

This match started off kinda pedestrian but really picked up. Vega went to the top rope and B-Boy pushed him off, sending Vega flying into the second row of chairs. Completely psychotic bump that took my attention off the baby with a “holy shit”. Vega got mangled in the ring after this, with some brutal kicks to his back and B-Boy’s usual running drop kick in the corner. Vega came back with some offense but the end was all B-Boy with a brutal backdrop driver (which Vega took right on his head), followed by a shining wizard. I think following a brutal head bump with a shining wizard is a little stupid, sicne one looks horrible while one may look cool but ultimately doesn’t look very hurtful. The only matches where Muto’s Wizard really came off like a real finisher was against Kawada, where he used about a dozen and Kawada sold every one like death. Using one to finish a match, as B-Boy did here, just looks weak. But anyways, another nice match. Vega shows great effort and a desire to destroy himself for the fans. B-Boy is great at carrying lesser experienced guys and this match flowed nicely. **1/4

: Lil’ Cholo & Mace over Stepfather & Red Headed Step Child

This was the worst match of the night but it wasn’t too bad. Stepfather and Step Child have a funny gimmick. Father is your stereotypical redneck in wife beater, using a belt to whip his kid, who wear sa Santo mask with red hair coming out of it. It’s pretty bizarre but their interactions are real funny, classic disgruntled family. This was my first time seeing everyone here except for Cholo. Maybe it was their comedy gimmick, but the family didn’t’ seem as good as Cholo or Mace. Since it was a comedy match, it was tough to gauge everyone’s skill level. Decent entertainment, nothing special. *1/2

: Lucky over UK Kid

This was the best Lucky singles match I have ever seen. They were working at a million miles per hour. I seriously didn’t know Lucky could go that fast so seamlessly. I heard good things about UK Kid before, particularly his match against Joey Ryan, and he followed up here. He has a good smug charisma that fits his foreign heel gimmick. He is also a very smooth wrestler. They did some nice chain wrestling and reversals. They got up on the top rope where Lucky got crotched. He must have been legit hurt, cause he rolled off whilst Kid tried setting him up for a suplex. After some stalling, Kid put him back up and hit a really great looking top rope vertical suplex. They traded reversals with Lucky hitting a reverse DDT for the win. There wasn’t much selling as they just sprinted the whole time, making it very much like a 90s NJPW Jrs match. Post match, Lucky rolled up Kid twice more for pinfalls, just to rub it in. Very nice match to end his tenure in SoCal. They worked great together. **1/2

Maximum Title Tournament Match (Round 2)

: Joey Ryan over Scott Lost

This was like “brother vs. brother”. I can’t count how many reversals there were. In fact, they may have played up the “I know your every move” facet of the storyline too much, as it became predictable towards the end. I knew there was no way either guy would string together more than one move, because they would always be able to reverse the next one. Because of this, neither guy established much momentum, and while it was dazzling to see them move a million miles per hour and pull out nifty reversals, in the end, it didn’t mean much and didn’t establish a strong emotional connection with anyone in the audience. That doesn’t mean it was a bad match, because it took a lot of skill to do the complicated stuff they did without flubbing. It reminds me of a Super Dragon vs. Excalibur match from June 2001. They did so many reversals and “we know each other” spots that the match lost its sense of competition and resembled a choreographed dance more than a fight. This was similar. After Ryan won with a roll up (I think?), the Philly Connection attacked both guys, injuring Ryan’s neck with two B-Boy pile drivers. As a result, the Joey Ryan vs. B-Boy final to the Maximum Title tournament will be next month. That’ll be a good match. This match was nifty and both guys displayed a lot of skill but it could have been better. **1/2

: Ian Knox over Bo Cooper

I’ve never seen Knox before but he entertained me quite a bit. He does a smug drunk gimmick. He’s also quite an athlete and incredibly strong for his size. He picked Cooper up and did an overhead slam ala Scott Hall or Bradshaw. They did some standard American-style wrestling, no blown spots, good execution. Cooper has good charisma and seems to have good execution in the ring. Promotions seem to be using him as a lone “monster”, but I think he’d do well in a heel tag team with a smaller wrestler. I havent’ seen him in a long match which makes me think he probably doesn’t have the stamina to wrestle twenty minutes without getting blown. Pair him up with a decent heel manager like Schwag, Vanderpyle, or Bennets and a smaller wrestler to log some time in the ring like Primetime Peterson or TARO, and you’d have a great tag team. Post match, Cooper and Dog battled with a chain and agreed to a chain match next show. Cooper bladed, but in the darkness the blood was lost on the audience. *3/4

: Damage Inc. (Matrix & Preston Scott) over Off Da Hook (Shawn Riddik & Supa Badd) to become #1 contenders for the PCW Tag Titles

These guys work very well together. This was a good match but the one they had at WCWA was better. They were rushing this, probably because it was becoming impossible to see in the dark. PCW must not have been paying attention last year when GSCW ran outside in the spring and ended up having a main event take place in the dark. Damage Inc. are great heels while Off Da Hook are great baby faces. Riddik could display a little more emotion in the ring, though. Execution was near flawless. Manager Jason Bennets is one of the best with interaction during the match. His antics don’t take away from what’s in the ring and his stuff only adds to what is going on. After a clusterfuck of stuff at the end, the heels hit a double team move for the win. Like I said, good execution and smooth work, but rushed. **

: Messiah over Super Dragon to retain the PCW Championship

This was match of the night and also a match of the year contender. It’s too bad only 50 people saw it live and any video of it will be impossible to follow since it happened in the dark. Since it was for so few people and it was hard to see, they kept things confined to the ring. Very little high flying and a lot of limb work on Messiah’s knee. Dragon worked it relentlessly, whenever Messiah would make a comeback, Dragon would hit a low drop kick to stall it. He hit a second rope footstomp that Messiah sold like death. He also did an MMA-like knee bar for a nice near submission. Probably the sickest thing was a twisting, gruesome looking dragon screw leg whip. He tried it a second time, but Messiah countered with an ensigurie. Throughout all of this, Messiah sold his leg well. He limped on offense and on transitions, not just when it was being worked on. It was very convincing and showed me he definitely knows more than how to fall through tables. One thing I found odd was his penchant to duck out of Dragon’s strikes, rarely taking any near full force. You’d think a guy that’s gone through tables, fallen on thousands of thumb tacks, and had light tubes busted on his head wouldn’t be afraid of a forearm, but that looked to be the case. Dragon really took it too him in the corner a few times, although Messiah never really retaliated with the same viciousness. Somewhere, the Cubanitos frowned like this :(.

Anyways, the match built really well. After the initial back and forth, the second period was all about Messiah’s knee, which he sold throughout. Messiah’s strategy was to hammer Dragon’s neck, which he did with some cool moves, including a DVD onto his knee. They did a prolonged finishing sequence with near falls. Some seemed masturbatory (included for no reason other than to do a kick out), but others were awesome. In one sequence, Dragon attempted a brain buster but Messiah continually fought out. Dragon hammered him to the ground and finally picked him up for the brain buster and a dramatic two count. That kind of build just to one move is what made a simple power bomb mean so much in a Kobashi or Kawada match. Dragon tried to finish it with a Psycho Driver but Messiah reversed it into a running Burning Hammer for the win. It was the right move for Messiah to win with, as his spinning godsmack kept getting avoided by Dragon, and it is nowhere near as deadly looking as the running Hammer, especially with a guy like Dragon that can make a head bump look spectacular. Even though it was the right move, it came off flat. IT came after a string of dramatic offense by Dragon, and I think it should have taken Messiah more than one move to put him away. A kick out of the spinning Godsmack followed by the more impressive Hammer would have been a great finish. The knee work didn’t figure into the last move either, which is a nit pick, but still true none the less.

The match was still very good. Every Dragon match builds superbly and both guys worked well together. The match was more like a face vs. face match with neither guy pulling any heel antics, which I liked, it made it more like competition. The Philly Connection was surrounding the ring making noise which also made the match seem important. If only this match had been in a better venue in front of more people, the atmosphere could have made this a MOTY. Best Messiah match I‘ve ever seen; both guys very impressive. ***¼

I give the show a slight thumbs up. There were no bad matches which is incredible for an indy, so you’d think it’d be an easy thumbs up. But the venue was terrible. The lack of light made the last few matches frustrating to watch. Also the atmosphere was dead. I like the angle development in PCW and the match making, but there are things to improve on. This was my first time at PCW, and I liked it. Hopefully they continue to grow and put on more great matches.

IM – neojmc