I don’t think there is any doubt that wrestling wise Pro Wrestling Guerrilla is the best promotion in the western U.S. if not the whole country. There was a lot of hype going into this show that it would be the best show in SoCal in years. While it didn’t live up to that hype, and in my opinion it wasn’t even PWG’s best show, it still was an excellent show, better than 99% of the other shows out there.We were actually running a little late getting to the show because of rain and traffic, but they hadn’t even started letting people in yet when we arrived at 8:10, which was ten minutes after the scheduled bell time. The show actually started about 35 minutes late or so due to the ring not arriving till around 7:30. The attendance for the show was about 155, which in the Westside Jewish Center is about 80% or so full. Almost as soon as everyone was in the show started.
Topgun Talwar & The Ballard Bros. over Lil’ Cholo, Chris Bosh, & TJ Perkins (Pinoy Boy) [11’57]
As has been the norm for PWG, the show started off with a six-man tag match. Topgun Talwar is over like crazy. A lot of people don’t know he actually got the name Topgun by joining the mile high club with another flight passenger on the way to Philadelphia. Anyway, the match was pretty fast paced as expected and did it’s job of getting the crowd into the show. There was nothing really stand out in the match, everyone looked pretty good. I’m glad Pinoy Boy is back working in SoCal, and hopefully he’ll get more singles matches where can better show his talents. The finish came when everyone hit their finishers one after the other with Talwar hitting the Dangah Zone on Cholo for the pin.
M-Dogg over Jardi Frantz [10’57]
I was never much of M-Dogg fan prior to his PWG work. In fact even after his first PWG match with Super Dragon, which I still think is probably one of Super Dragon’s worst matches of the year (not saying it’s bad, just not up to par with the rest of his stuff). However after the PWG debut show I have become more and more impressed by M-Dogg. One of the reasons I think he never really stood out before aside from being a guy who does lots of unnecessary flips I think is the level of his opponents in the past. In all his Ohio and East Coast matches (aside from XPW where he wrestled against Mexico’s Most Wanted) the wrestlers I’ve seen him face haven’t been on the same level as the guys he’s faced in SoCal such as Jardi Frantz and Colt Cabana. Jardi came out totally playing up being a stoner, since everyone has been chanting “stoner” at him for months due to his facial expressions etc. He even came out to Afro Man’s “Because I Got High”. That match itself was pretty under-whelming. The crowd never really seemed too much into it, and there were a few blown spots that hurt the match. Jardi seemed to have slowed his tempo down also, which may be because of the stoner gimmick he was doing, but that seemed to hurt the match also. M-Dogg won with a shooting star press.
Funky Billy Kim & Scott Lost over Disco Machine & Excalibur [11’07]
Before the match Excalibur announced he forgot to book a referee and that one better get out there now. That lead to Chris Bosh, who Excalibur has been feuding with, coming out in a referee’s shirt. Excalibur objected but Bosh swore he’d call it fair and got to ref the match. The match was pretty good, but like the previous two matches nothing spectacular. The crowd wasn’t as into it as they should have been, but I think that’s partly because they never really did a whole lot to establish who the heel and who the face was, aside from Excalibur’s interaction with Bosh. Both teams were even giving the fans high fives during the match. It was much easier for people to get behind the Lost and FBK against the Ballards last show because of the clear heel and face separation. Anyway, like I said the match was pretty good overall, but just seemed blah at times. The finish came when Excalibur laid out FBK and Bosh was distracted and didn’t count the pin. Excalibur took exception to this and got in Bosh’s face, allowing FBK to roll Excalibur up for the pin. After the match Excalibur challenged Bosh to a hair versus Hair match.
Super Dragon over Joey Ryan [31’46]
First let me say this was an excellent match. Now that I got that out of the way let me say that I think it’s being way over rated on the message board. I thought their match from the Bad Ass Mother tournament was overall a better match, though this one may be more memorable in the long run. When people take a second look at it on tape, and are away from the live crowd I think the matches flaws are going to stick out a little more.
Both wrestlers did an awesome in the match, and they really incorporated the use of foreign objects into the match well, never really resulting in the “hit each other with a bunch of stuff to pop the crowd” mentality that is apparent in a lot of hardcore matches in indy wrestling these days. Everything had meaning. The main problem with the match itself was the time it took to set up a lot of the spots. At one point it seemed like it took Joey Ryan a week to get a table into the ring, which kind of screwed up the pacing of the match. Their tournament match went a little over 22 minutes, but probably had near the same amount of wrestling as this one due to the delays. Another, smaller nitpick is that Joey Ryan didn’t blade. It wasn’t all together necessary in the match, but it definitely would have made it more memorable, especially since Joey Ryan is a guy that never blades in his matches, and with no one having seen him bled before, the extra impact would have been there. Another thing I didn’t like about the match, though it has nothing to do with how good the match was, is it’s place on the card, as it was going to be very hard for anyone else on the rest of the show to follow this match.
Enough of the negatives though. Everything else in the match worked, and worked well. The finish came with Super Dragon bringing a guardrail into the ring, and after a move onto it in the corner failed, it was setup in the middle with a ladder and a chair stacked in their too, and Dragon gave Joey Ryan the psycho driver onto it to finish him off. The finish was just insane.
Adam Pearce over Colt Cabana [13’26]
Another really good match. With the amount of DQ’s and whatnot I imagine this was one of Pearce’s longer SoCal matches. Like everyone expected these two worked really well together and with the exception of the ending. Pearce rolled Cabana up, and his manager Vanderpyle helped Pearce keep him down for the three, which made sense in continuing to get Pearce over as a cheating heel, but came off flat with the crowd. Vanderpyle is funnier every time I see him though. Manager of the year.
Samoa Joe over CM Punk [12’22]
Before the match Paul T. came out and announced Hardkore Kidd wouldn’t be there (he was filming an episode of the TV show “Faking It” for TLC), but his replacement would be CM Punk, which got a pretty large pop from the crowd. Samoa Joe got a pretty nice “welcome back” chant as well. It’s a shame that Samoa Joe lives in SoCal and gets booked out her so seldom now days. I really liked this match also. I was looking forward to seeing Hardkore Kidd versus Joe, but CM Punk was a more than suitable replacement. Punk worked over Joe’s knee for most of the match, while Joe’s plan was just to brutalize Punk. At one point Joe put Punk in a chair on the outside and gave him a bootscrape right into the guardrail. Joe got the win when he powerbomed Punk and then got him to tap with the STF.
Frankie Kazarian over American Dragon to retain the PWG Title [22’32]
This was my match of the night. This was a near flawless match. Probably a very strong match of the year candidate. American Dragon is so intense it’s insane. Dragon dominated most of the match, working over Frankie’s arm. Frankie and Dragon at one point were both on the ground going toe to two head butting each other. Frankie was eventually able to battle back and hit the Wave of the Future, but American Dragon kicked out of that. American Dragon got the Cattle Mutilation on Frankie, but Frankie was able to get out of it and kick Dragon in the head, then hit him with the Flux Capacitor for the win. Fantastic match.
After the match Pearce came out to attack Kazarian, which brought out Joey Ryan for the save, which brought out Super Dragon to attack Ryan, then Cabana came out and turned heel attacking Ryan and Kazarian, which brought out CM Punk for the save. That set up Super Dragon, Pearce, and Cabana versus Punk, Ryan, and Kazarian at December 13th’s PWG show.
Overall it was a really good show, but I don’t think it was as good as their last show, and maybe not as good as night one of their tournament. I don’t think there is any question at this point which promotion is going to be named promotion of the year either.
Sorry for the delay between columns. With my vacation, the recent fires, and general laziness I just didn’t have the energy to finish my MPW column. To make up for that I should have three columns, including this one, out over the next week. My column on how MPW changed the SoCal scene will be up in a couple days, followed by a look at this years top tag teams.
SoCal wrestlers appearing in dark matches and possible TV matches at the local WWE shows over the next few weeks include The Ballards, Mako’a The Hawaiian Warrior, Sabbath, Andrew Hellman, The Miz, and Tony Stradlin. Also working the December Raw and Smackdown shows will be Minnesota indy wrestler Shawn Daivari.
Revolution X is scheduled to run shows outside of the South Gate area, possibly including in San Diego starting in February.
Lucha Va Voom’s next show is February 12th.
I’ll be back in a couple of days with my MPW column.