Steve & Andrew review PWG Lëmmy, featuring Chris Hero challenging Roderick Strong for the PWG World Championship, Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Akira Tozawa, Drew Gulak and Timothy Thatcher put on a clinic, and more.
Brian Cage vs. Chris Dickinson
Andrew: This is Chris Dickinson’s PWG debut. He got the call after Angelico suffered a knee injury and this is my first time seeing Dickinson in years. The match itself was oddly paced and hard to get into. Both Dickinson and Brian Cage would do cool power moves and head drops, but there’d be a bunch of dull moments in between spots. Dickinson hit Cage with a Burning Hammer and Cage kicked out. Yeah, that happened. Whether the chemistry between Dickinson and Cage wasn’t there or they just didn’t mesh too well, it wasn’t a very impressive debut from Dickinson. There were a bunch of sloppy moments in this that both guys recovered nicely from, but overall I thought this was kinda boring and sorta sucked. I honestly believe that there are a bunch of guys in the area who would’ve had a better showing than the one Dickinson put on. While it was a mess, the fans dug it for some reason.
Steve: I’m pretty big on Cage’s Lucha Underground work, but I’m going to have to agree. Compared to most of the other matches on the show, this wasn’t as good. Don’t get me wrong, if this match was on your average show you’d be glad it was there, but at PWG the bar is set so high that this match looks worse than it was when compared to the rest of the show.
Drew Gulak vs. Timothy Thatcher
Steve: This was a pretty fantastic match, and was my favorite match on the show. On commentary Chris Hero suggested this should have been a loser-wears-kneepads match, and Excalibur promised that once a time machine is invented they will go back in time and make it one. There was a lot of really good grappling in this. Thatcher was really working Gulak’s wrist early on, and delivered a really stiff knee to Gulak’s head while he had him on the ground. There was a sequence when Thatcher did a deadlift double wrist lock on Gulak that Gulak countered into a German suplex. After that Gulak really started working over Thatcher’s thumb. Everything they were doing looked really crisp and made a ton of sense in the psychology of the match. Gulak was hitting some really nice stiff elbows. Late in the match Thatcher hit a deadlift gutwrench suplex but during the move Gulak punched him in the knee, taking Thatcher down too. The finish saw Thatcher hit a crazy stiff looking headbutt and then get the Kimora lock on Gulak to get the win by submission. Like I said earlier, this was my match of the night, and should be in the match of the year discussion.
Andrew: I have to agree on this one. Both these guys worked a really fun grappling contest with some real technique being used. Thatcher has been doing some training with Josh Barnett at Combat Systems Wrestling, and it shows here as he does so many little things well that a lot of people wouldn’t notice. The way Thatcher worked his Kimura and takedowns was great, as he looked like a something done by a legitimate grappler who knows what he’s doing. The lifted Kimura Thatcher did on Gulak was also really cool. Gulak was also really good in this and was doing a really good job of selling Thatcher’s arm work. Like Steve said, this should be in the running for MOTY.
Sami Callihan vs. Trevor Lee
Andrew: Sami Callihan still looks like a fat scene chick and might be the 2nd most annoying wrestler in the world right now. I’d say who the first is, but I don’t want to get sued. Anyway, Sami really sucks and his “intensity” cones off as way too forced. Trevor Lee is usually pretty good, and his performance in this was pretty solid. Sami though, he just sucks. The worst is when he does “no sell” spots where he gets hit with something and does a comeback while making faces that make him seem like he’s constipated. Lee did a cool spot where he threw a chair in Sami’s face and then did a running flying chest stomp onto Sami. Trevor Lee got a lot of offense in, and pretty much controlled the majority of the match. Sami won with an awful looking Stretch Muffler after getting a few moves in. This match was honestly pretty bad. Sami is just fucking awful. I wonder if Sami is going cry, claim I’m making “personal attacks” on him, and makes threats to file a frivolous lawsuit against this site because I gave him negative reviews.
Steve: This was my least favorite match on the show as well. I don’t dislike Sami Callihan in the way that my esteemed colleague does, but I don’t think he looked good in this match at all. Trevor Lee is pretty underrated and has a ton of charisma. I was expecting a lot more from this match. I’ll once again use the qualifier that if this match wasn’t on a loaded PWG show it wouldn’t seem that bad.
Jack Evans vs. Drew Galloway
Steve: The match starts with Jack Evans cutting a promo trashing everyone and then challenging Galloway to a dance contest. While Evans is doing a handstand Galloway drop kicks his head and takes him out. Everyone has that one friend who talks a ton of trash and no matter how much of a beating they take, they keep going. Jack Evans is that friend. Galloway was basically tossing Evans around. Evans tries a couple of dropsaults but Galloway doesn’t budge and then just destroys Evans with a lariat. Evans gets out of the ring and actually goes under to try and avoid Galloway, and tries to attack Galloway when he is looking for him. Evans does a cross body and Galloway catches him and tosses him into the ringpost. There was some nice acrobatics in the middle of the match including Evans channeling Sasuke with a corkscrew tiger drop and Evans reversing a move into second rope avalanche DDT. Galloway eventually wins with the double underhook DDT then the pin. I enjoyed the match, but it while Evans got some decent offense in, it was mainly him taking a beating and getting back up.
Andrew: I’m a huge fan of Rudo Jack Evans. He’s basically the perfect dickhead heel. He knows how to rile up the fans and is extremely entertaining on the mic. The guy is a natural shit talker as he tries to make the crowd want to see him die. Seeing Galloway destroy him throughout the match was very gratifying to watch. Galloway was great as the big man, and Jack bumped like a machine. This was a a lot of fun.
Adam Cole vs. Mike Bailey
Andrew: Adam Cole is such an entertaining prick heel. Not in the same way Jack Evans is, but entertaining nonetheless. He works the crowd pretty well and gets people into his shit by acting like an annoying douche who flips people off and tells them to suck his dick. Mike Bailey has been one of my favorite wrestlers to watch in the last few months. He blends his Tae Kwon Do background with his high flying offense very well and is not afraid to do crazy shit. His kicking technique looks very solid in the ring, and does some crisp looking flippy shit. At one point in the match, Cole worked over the knee of Bailey, who then busted out a Karate Kid-style Crane Kick on Cole sending Cole to the outside, and followed it up with an Asai Moonsault to the outside. After that, they do a cool sequence that ends with Bailey doing a Standing Moonsault Kneedrop onto Adam Cole. There was another cool spot where Cole was waiting to hit a move on Baily, told him to suck his dick, only to receive a spinning head kick from Bailey who followed that up with a running Shooting Star Sky Twister. Adam Cole get the win with a Flipping Piledriver/Brainbuster on the knee combo on Bailey to get the pin. Bailey was super impressive here and continues to put on awesome performances.
Steve: Yeah, this was a really good match. I haven’t seen a whole lot of Bailey, but I’ve liked what I’ve seen. Adam Cole is awesome and heading towards that really elite status. I also agree on what a great heel he is. You could tell the crowd wanted to cheer him, but he just would not allow it. I liked how Cole worked over Bailey’s limbs to slow down his striking. The pacing was really good as it built from a methodical start to a finishing sequence that was nothing short of being on fire. I think this was my third favorite match on the show.
Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Akira Tozawa
Steve: The match starts off with the crowd having dueling chants of their names while they pose. It then turns into a “both these guys”, then “this is awesome”, and lastly “match of the year.” All before a single move was made. They hug and then leave the ring. Pretty funny. As you’d expect this was another really good match. It’s hard to describe the match, as explaining some of Sabre Jr.’s moves is impossible. There was a sequence where Sabre Jr. was outside the ring and Tozawa did a tope suicida that Sabre Jr. countered into a flying octopus hold. Honestly, Sabre Jr. has to be one of the top 5 technical wrestlers in the world right now. I remember the first time I saw Doug Williams wrestle and his submissions that I had never seen before. It was awesome. Every time I see Sabre Jr. it is like that. Anyway, Sabre Jr. won with the penalty kick. A really excellent match, but I thought the Thatcher vs. Gulak match was a little better, though I can certainly see how someone might like this one better.
Andrew: I really hated the opening part of this match. I wish Tozawa and Sabre Jr. would’ve just wrestled while the crowd was going nuts. Like, I get it. This is PWG. Comedy. Funny. Fun. Blah. Blah. Blah. It just did nothing for me. As far as the match, Steve mentioned how hard it would be for him to describe the match, and he’s right. Zack Sabre Jr. busted out some Eddie Bravo/10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu shit when he had Tozawa in The Truck and transitioned into a Banana Split/Crotch Ripper variation before taking his back. If you’re a catch wrestling/jiu-jitsu/grappling dork like me, you’ll know most of his shit. If you don’t train or read up on that stuff, a lot of the techniques that would be mentioned here would sound strange to you, and rightfully so. Tozawa awesome in this as well, and he works a crowd better than a lot of people in wrestling can. And speaking of Doug Williams, I thought Sabre Jr.’s version of the Chaos Theory with a Dragon Suplex instead of a German Suplex was a really awesome twist on a classic move. The finishing sequence was pretty cool, and overall the match was pretty good. I’m not sure if I’d rank this above the Thatcher/Gulak match, but it’s up there. If the first few minutes of the match didn’t feel like a waste of time, I would’ve thought this was the best match of the show.
PWG World Championship Match: Roderick Strong (c) vs. Chris Hero
Andrew: Before the match, Roderick Strong got on the mic and cut a promo. He requests that Rick Knox no longer referee any of his matches and demands Justin Borden be his referee. Why does that guy get so much heat? The match started off hot with Hero going after Strong at the beginning of the match and controlling things early on. Eventually Roderick made a comeback early on and delivered a backbreaker on the ring apron on Hero, and another one when they were on the outside to take control of the match. They do a slow paced, hard hitting type match for awhile, landing stiff strikes and chops, basically beating the shit out of each other for some time, with Hero making comebacks from time-to-time after taking Roderick’s offense. For some reason, the crowd seemed flat and not very invested in the match. I can understand why, as PWG has had a lot of shows with crowds that are burnt out by the main event. They probably also weren’t buying into the idea of Hero winning the title as PWG was building up Zack Sabre Jr. challenging Roderick Strong for awhile now. if this took place in front of a more heated crowd, this could’ve been a really good main event. They spent a lot of time building up to a Superplex spot that saw Roderick Strong follow that up with a Fireman’s Carry Gutbuster followed by a Sick Kick on Hero for a near fall. Hero also landed some nasty looking jumping Piledrivers on Strong that seemed to bring some life into the crowd. Roderick threw Justin Borden into Hero, hit a Tiger Driver on Hero, and Rick Knox came out to count the near fall. The heat quickly died down for a moment until Hero was beginning to mount some offense, until Strong pulled Knox in the way of an elbow from Chris Hero when Justin Borden counted a near fall for Hero. The finishing sequence was pretty cool, with Hero kicking out of a pin at 1 after Strong hit him with the PWG title, followed by a Sick Kick. Strong hit a pair of jumping knees and a running Sick Kick to get the win. I thought this was a good match, but it suffered from having a crowd that was too smart to believe Hero was going to win when they knew PWG was building up a match between Sabre Jr. and Strong.
Following the match, Strong is in the ring with Adam Cole when Zack Sabre Jr. comes to the ring and cuts a funny promo on Strong and tells him that he’s coming for the PWG World Championship. Backstage, Strong and Cole give each other gifts. Cole gave Strong a signed 8×10, and Strong gave Cole his shirt. Strong ripped the 8×10 when Cole left, and Cole spat and threw down the shirt. You can see the promo in the preview video below.
Steve: First, I hope PWG fixes their in-ring mics. Strong’s promo was difficult to understand and luckily the announcers explained what was said. Or maybe I’m just getting old. Probably both. Both Strong and Hero are great wrestlers and this was a pretty good match. I think it suffered a little from the referee shenanigans though. I’d have preferred a clean finish as well, but I understand that PWG was trying to put as much heat on Strong as possible so it fits the story they are presenting.
Andrew: Yeah atox, fix the mic!
Andrew: The first and third matches were pretty bad. Sami Callihan is dog shit, and I feel like a local worker could’ve done better in Chris Dickinson’s spot. Gulak vs. Thatcher was the best match of the show, and I think Sabre Jr. vs. Tozawa would’ve been better if the comedy stuff at the start wasn’t so long, but it was still a pretty cool match and showed why Zack Sabre Jr. might be one of the best wrestlers in the world right now. Adam Cole vs. Mike Bailey was a really fun match, and it was a really fun display of Bailey’s offense and Cole’s heel work. Jack Evans though was the better heel of the night, as his Rudo Jack character continues to rule and made seeing him getting tossed around by Drew Galloway more enjoyable. Hero vs. Strong was solid, but the lack of heat and the obvious build up to Strong vs. Sabre Jr. made it obvious to the crowd who was going to win. I liked the backstage segment with Strong and Cole. Overall I thought this was a good show from PWG.
Steve: I thought it was a really good show. I think the first and third matches come across worse than they were only because they are being compared to the rest of the show. We agreed not to do star ratings before the review, but if I were to have done star ratings, I don’t think any match would have gotten worse that 2 1/2 stars, and the Thatcher versus Gulak match I’d put at 4 1/4 with everything else in between. Any show that has Trevor Lee and Sami Callihan as the worst match on the show is going to be pretty good.