So after a long absence from PWG live events, I decided to head out to PWG’s 13th anniversary show “Thirteen.” From PWG’s first show till now, they have gone through a complete transformation. When they started, they had the best wrestling in Southern California but now they easily have the best wrestling in the world. I picked a great show to make the effort to get back out too, as it was their best show of the year so far (to be fair I’m, comparing this show to shows I’ve watched on video and sometimes things come across different live than on tape). Also, any PWG review requires the standard disclaimer that there were no bad matches, and the review is just comparing good to great matches.
The show started as always with Excalibur in the ring. He was thanking the fans for getting them to their thirteenth anniversary. He mentioned that the first show had a main event of Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles (the main was actually AJ Styles vs. Frankie Kazarian, though Samoa Joe vs. AJ was what was originally booked but Joe had to pull out due to injury) and only drew 68 people (obviously he was joking here, as from my memory they probably drew 150-200).
Adam Cole over Brian Cage [11’43]
I thought this was the weakest match on the show, while still an above average to good match. They didn’t seem to gel well with each other at times and there were a couple sequences that probably didn’t come off as good as they had hoped. Both guys had a few nice sequences in the match however. Adam Cole won when he had his feet on the ropes to help get the pin. Rating: ** ¾
Roderick Strong over Timothy Thatcher [10’48]
I really liked this match. I think the PWG strong has been one of, if not the best heels in the indies over the last few years. Most in the audience felt this would be Strong’s last match in PWG and he was getting a lot of love during the match as compared to normal. Timothy Thatcher looked pretty great in the match as well and has some pretty nice offense. The match really got better as it went on too. Strong won after a jumping knee to Thatcher’s face. This was a really good match that and it strangely didn’t feel like it was the end for Strong despite the “thank you Roddy” chants after (of course that would be explained later). Rating: *** ½
Jeff Cobb over Trevor Lee [11’20]
This was a terrific match that let both guys showcase what they can do while making sure that Cobb was still portrayed as a complete monster. Cobb has been amazing this year with his work in Lucha Underground, FCW, PCW, and PWG (haven’t seen any of his non-SoCal stuff, I’m sure he’s great there too). Trevor Lee managed to get a lot in, and did so in a way that looked believable as well so not to make Cobb look weak. At one point Trevor Lee, being the TNA guy that he is, yelled “Brother Nero” and did a twist of fate on Cobb, to which the entire crowd started chanting “delete.” Cobb won with the Tour of the islands in a really good, borderline great match. Rating: *** ¾
Chuck Taylor over Trent? [15’47]
The match started with the crowd chanting “no” as they didn’t want these two best friends to go at it. The match started with a really nice back and forth technical sequence that ended in a hug. After that it got pretty brutal, with crowd brawling, chairs, and some pretty crazy ladder spots. They were basically trying to kill each other. Trent? poured thumbtacks into the ring, and both guys took bumps into the thumbtacks at points too. I always feel bad for the refs in these situations since they have to do the count in a ring full of thumbtacks. Taylor eventually hit Trent? with a piledriver into the tacks and got the pin. This was a great match with tons of crazy moments. Trent? has taken some pretty crazy beatings this year in PWG. Chuck Taylor kept his winning streak going. Rating: **** ¼
Marty Scurll over Sami Callihan by submission [20’23]
Sami Callihan came out as Space Cat with a cat mask that it seemed like most of the crowd loved, but I admittedly wasn’t a fan of. The match started with a lot of comedy stuff and a lot of “cat offense” for Callihan. Once again, I wasn’t a fan, but at least they were going for something different. After they moved past the comedy stuff and the match actually got going, it was pretty good. Marty Scurll has been excellent in PWG and Sami Callihan has done some good stuff as well. Towards the end there were a few sequences that didn’t look that smooth but I though Callihan did a real nice job of covering. Scurll won via submission. Rating: *** ¼
The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) over Death by Elbow (Chris Hero & JT Dunn) to retain the PWG Tag team titles [22’26]
This was a terrific match, and my match of the night. I’m convinced that Chris Hero might be the best wrestler in the world. He never seems to have a match, no matter the opponent, that wouldn’t be considered at least good at the minimum. Prior to the match some guy in the crowd was mouthing off at Hero, and Hero started tearing him up in his promo, talking about how the fan was here as a part of Make a Wish etc. The fan didn’t stop and Hero got out of the ring and pushed him to the ground hard. Once the match started it was just fantastic. All four wrestlers had terrific performances. At one point JT Dunn took a doomsday superkick and went to the floor and supposedly took a bad bump that kept him down for a few minutes. It was on the opposite side from where I was so I didn’t see the bump. Hopefully he is OK. This was a serious match of the year candidate. Matt Jackson got the pin with a backslide on Hero. Get the DVD if for no other reason this match. Rating: **** ½
Zack Sabre Jr. over Kyle O’Reilly by submission to retain the PWG World Heavyweight title [22’00]
This was another fantastic match. Sabre Jr. was doing a lot of heelish stuff in the match and actually got the crowd to boo him a bit. With Roddy gone maybe we are seeing the start of a turn here. Lots of great stuff in this match. Some of Sabre’s reversals are just amazing to watch. As the match went on the crowd was super-hot, easily the hottest they were the entire show. The dueling Sabre Jr. and O’Reilly chants were deafening. I liked the tag match a little bit better, but this was a terrific match. Sabre won with some variation of an octopus hold with an armbar. Rating: **** ¼
After the match Roderick Strong runs in, attacks both guys and says he wants his return shot at the title now.
Zack Sabre Jr. over Roderick Strong to retain the PWG World Heavyweight title [5’30]
This match had a ton of run ins, starting with the Bucks coming out to help Strong, Scurll coming out for Sabre, Trevor Lee came out, Adam Cole came out, at one point it looked like we’d see the whole locker room out there. Anyway, this was a great send off for Strong but really not much of a match. Sabre Jr. won via submission.
After the match Sabre Jr. asks Strong is they are done, and Strong says “for now.” Strong then thanks the fans and brings out the PWG locker room, starting with the Young Bucks and Cole who all hug in the ring. He also announced he’d have commemorative t-shirts for sale as well! Loud “thank you Roddy chants.”
This was a terrific show, and I’d highly recommend getting the DVD once it comes out. The two title matches will probably get some SoCal match of the year votes, and Taylor versus Trent? is worth going out of your way to see as well. PWG will be back in September with the Battle of Los Angeles.
For another opinion on the show check out Shawn’s hot tub review with Lucha Jon and T-Cat.