Steve’s View #134 – PWG, the Messiah attack, and more

Pro Wrestling Guerrilla ran it’s latest show on March 27th, only three weeks after coming off of what may have been it’s best show to date. This show featured the PWG debut, and SoCal return of Spanky.

The crowd was noticeably up from previous crowds, and PWG drew it’s second
largest crowd to date, with it’s largest being for their debut show. They ran
an ad in the OC Weekly for two weeks before the show, and I’m sure that mixed
with the addition of a PWG street team, the show being on a Saturday instead
of a Sunday, and the return of Spanky after leaving the WWE all helped with
the draw. Hopefully it’s something they can build off of and continue to grow.

The show opened with Adam Pearce, Colt Cabana, and Valentina coming to the
ring wearing all of Babi Slymm’s bling bling. This was a hilarious segment,
with Pearce and Cabana talking in Ebonics to set up Cabana versus Slymm later
in the night, and possibly Slymm and Pearce down the road.

Disco Machine over Charles Mercury [8’39]
I wasn’t really expecting a lot from this match but was pleasantly surprised
The crowd was super hot for the match, and right then I knew this was going
to be PWG’s hottest crowd to date. This was a good opener and a good match to
set the tone for the night.

Puma over Ricky Reyes [11’16]
Somehow before the show I had totally forgot about this match. Rocky Romero
was out of town, working a big lucha show in Atlanta, so that left Ricky Reyes
without a partner for the show. A singles match with one of the Pitbulls is
a rare treat. I want to say Puma is vastly under rated, but even though he doesn’t get a lot of hype, I mean he did win SoCal rookie of the year in 2001 and was nominated for wrestler of the year at one point, so I guess I can say he does
get the critical acclaim, just not the popular acclaim. Anyway, in my opinion
this was the best match on the show. Throughout the match Reyes basically beat
up Puma, but Puma just wouldn’t quit. At one point Reyes ripped off Puma’s mask, to reveal Puma had been Pinoy Boy all along. This was actually done because he is going back to being Pinoy Boy again and wanted to have a logical reason for the switch back. Reyes hit Puma with three fisherman’s busters, but Puma managed to kick out of all three. Puma was able to hit the tombstone and get the win. There’s a post on the SCU message board that says how the wrestlers
that are training at the New Japan Inoki Dojo (The Pitbulls, Pinoy Boy, American Dragon, Bobby Quance, among others) seem to be a step above everyone else right now. I agree with that 100%. These guys are just on fire right now. In my opinion American Dragon and Rocky Romero are the top two indy wrestlers in the United States at this moment. But I digress…

Ballard Brothers (Shannon & Shane Ballard) over American Dragon &
Samoa Joe by DQ [12’23]

Speaking of American Dragon, I thought he looked good in this match, but overall the match was just about average. There were some good moments, most notably American Dragon doing the European uppercuts, but really the point of the match was to setup an American Dragon and Samoa Joe feud. Joe got his team DQ’d when he grabbed a Ballard’s arm (not sure which one at this point), and held for longer than the five count. Post match the Ballards attacked Joe and American Dragon encouraged it.

Colt Cabana over Babi Slymm [12’27]
Referee Rick Knox banned Adam Pearce from ring side at the start of the match.
Valentina got to stay ringside though and man was she drawing tons of heat.
Some females in the audience seemed like they were ready to fight her for real.
This match featured a lot of brawling, as the two even brawled into the crowd,
which doesn’t happen that often at PWG. The match finished with the most elaborate ending to a match in recent history, when Pearce came back to ringside Cabana pretended he was hit with a piece of bling bling, the ref argued that he was right next to Slymm and it didn’t happen, and while this was being argued Pearce jumps in the ring and takes Slymm out, allowing Cabana to get the pin. The match was OK, nothing really special.

Spanky comes out for a promo, gets in the ring, looks around for a couple minutes, then says “never mind” and walks to the back. Hilarious in the way
only Spanky can be. He got a pretty big welcome back chant.

Adam Pearce over Bobby Quance to retain the PWG Heavyweight title [11’12]
In my opinion this was the second best match of the night. Quance and Pearce
worked really well together. Really well. A lot of people were questioning if
this would be a good match or not due to the contrasting styles, but Pearce
has proved in the past he can work against guys that use a more cruiserweight
oriented style with his matches with Joey Ryan and his excellent match with
Spanky a few years ago in MPW. Bobby Quance is the same way, having had good matches with pretty much anyone he’s faced. Anyway, as Pearce is known to do, he cheated then won with the piledriver. This lead to a huge, PWG style, intense brawl involving Pearce, Cabana, Slymm, and Frankie Kazarian. Paul T. was one of the people who came out to try and stop it, and he was knocked out for his efforts. Later in the show he suspended all four wrestlers from PWG for the next show.

Frankie Kazarian over Spanky [9’43]
This was really a disappointing match. Spanky worked heel, which with it being
his return there was no way that was happening. They did a lot of stalling, maybe three or four minutes of the match, and as it’s been said repeatedly on
the SCU message board, this was pretty much a WWE Velocity styled match.  After the match Spanky hit the Sliced Bread #2 on Kazarian when he tried to shake Spanky’s hand, but he even got a nice pop doing that. It’s planned for Spanky to become a somewhat regular in the promotion.

Quicksilver & Chris Bosh over Joey Ryan & Scott Lost to win the
PWG Tag Team titles [8’08]

I really liked this match until near the end. The pacing of the match was really
good, and they did a good job of getting the crowd back into the show after the last match. Toward the end of the match Scott Lost accidentally super kicked Joey Ryan, allowing Bosh to get the pin. However Ryan was clearly not the legal
man, and came in right in front of the ref. Little stuff like this really brings down a match to me, because what’s the point in even doing tags if people just come in whenever they want? The same thing happened at the last PWG show during
the ten-man, when wrestlers would just selectively decide if they were going
to even bother tagging or not, and do it right in front of the ref. Also, while
PWG has done a great job in building up their singles title as having meaning,
they’ve done a pretty poor job with the tag titles, as they’ve changed hands
in every defense. When people see something a lot, it loses it’s specialness,
much like that guy from American Idol who can’t sing. It was funny at first,
but who cares about him now?

Super Dragon over Scorpio Sky [22’00]
I liked this match for the spectacle, but overall wasn’t that impressed with
the match itself. Like most hardcore matches, the selling was pretty suspect
at times, especially with Super Dragon, but that was more than likely only because Scorpio spent most of the match on offense. There was a sequence where Dragon went for a phoenix splash, but Scorpio hit him with a diamond cutter, taking Dragon out. Almost right away Dragon hit a psycho driver as a desperation spot then went back to selling, but maybe it’s me but I didn’t think it worked. There was really no selling throughout the finishing sequence by Dragon, but to his credit he did sell the effects of the brutal match afterwards. The transitions between spots were weak at times, but at other times they were able to transition well. What worked in the match is that they were able to play off their history, and Scorpio came out like he really studied up on Dragon, which allowed him to actually dominate most of the match. Scorpio’s downfall was when he had Dragon for the pin, but pulled him up before the three. This lead to Dragon regaining control, and putting Scorpio through the back of a folding chair and doing the double stomp from the top rope to Scorpio’s head and then the pin. I liked the first Guerrilla Warfare match between Dragon and Joey Ryan better, but I can see how some liked this one better.

Overall I thought the show was good, but PWG’s weakest show of the year so
far. While there were a couple of really good matches on the show, nothing stood out as must-see match of the year contender type matches. The shows pacing was a lot better than previous shows, and I really have to give PWG credit for actually starting on time. The next PWG show features the return of Christopher Daniels and the Messiah to PWG.

Speaking of the Messiah, America’s Most Wanted (the TV show not the tag team)
is contacting people for a possible follow up on the Messiah attack story for
when they re-air the segment coming up soon. Despite all the publicity the attack got with the original airing on America’s Most Wanted, and nearly every wrestling news outlet picking up on it, little progress was ever made in actually bringing anyone to justice.

I want to put out two plugs, one to SCRAP magazine, which is a great magazine
dedicated to the SoCal indy scene done by SoCal referee Rick Knox. I know that
I’ve plugged it before, but if you haven’t checked it out yet, you are really
missing out. It’s done more in the Pro Wrestling Illustrated vain, where almost
everything is worked. The newest issue, #7, has a great road report of Knox’s
trip down to Tijuana with the San Diego Horsemen (Adam Pearce, Jason Allgood, Hardkore Kidd, and Al Katrazz work as a heel group in Tijuana called the San Diego Horsemen). For information on ordering SCRAP e-mail Rick Knox at whoknox@pacbell.net.

The other plug I wanted to give is to Shanesphotos.com.
If you read the SCU message board you are no doubt familiar with his photographs of SoCal shows, but in case you don’t be sure to head over there and check his site out. There are very few people out there that take photos of the shows, and even fewer still who share them, so Shane is doing a great service with his site. Even has a 2003 SoCal photo year book available for purchase, which I highly recommend.

March 13th marked the three-year anniversary of SoCalUNCENSORED.com being open, so I thought I’d share a few stats on the past three years of the site’s rankings. These are current through February 2004 (as March’s rankings aren’t even done yet).

Times ranked number one:
13 Super Dragon
8 B-Boy
3 Frankie Kazarian
2 Scott Lost
2 Joey Ryan
1 Scorpio Sky
1 Samoa Joe
1 Ricky Reyes
1 Pinoy Boy
1 Lil’ Cholo
1 John Black
1 Excalibur
1 Rocky Romero

Times ranked:
33 B-Boy
31 Super Dragon
31 Frankie Kazarian
27 Joey Ryan
22 Scott Lost
20 Rising Son
20 Excalibur
18 Lil’ Cholo
17 Samoa Joe
17 Disco Machine
15 TARO
15 Hardkore Kidd
15 Adam Pearce
14 Mr. Excitement
14 Messiah

Promotions with the most matches ranked in the top 5:
34 Revolution Pro
24 Ultimate Pro Wrestling
19 Pro Wrestling Guerrilla
18 GSCW / APW LA
17 Xtreme Pro Wrestling
13 Pacific Championship Wrestling
13 Millennium Pro Wrestling
9 EPIC

Promotions with the most matches of the month:
9 Revolution Pro
7 GSCW / APW LA
6 Pro Wrestling Guerrilla
4 Ultimate Pro Wrestling
4 Millennium Pro Wrestling
3 EPIC
1 Alternative Wrestling Shop
1 Pacific Championship Wrestling

I’ll be back shortly with a look at the 2004 Southern California Pro-Wrestling
Hall of Fame nominees and why I think it’s important not to lose wrestling’s
history.

Steve

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