A Preview of PCW’s “Fantasm” on January 20, 2017

Now that the full lineup has been announced, I thought it was a good time to look ahead to PCW’s “Fantasm” on January 20, 2017. The one constant in indy wrestling seems to be that no matter what the initial card announced for a show is it is unlikely to be the actual lineup. PCW had to make a couple of big changes to their lineup as Pentagon Jr. and Matt Riddle are now off the show, but still has an incredibly stacked lineup for their 1st anniversary show. They are also moving out of the stuffy Oak Street Gym and into a much bigger ILWU Memorial Hall in Wilmington. They change of venue should be a huge positive as far as the fan experience goes, as the Oak Street Gym at times approached the temperature needed to cook bread and with a humidity that would scare off people in French Guyana. It was so bad at times that PCW is making a point to hype that the new venue has AC. Anyway, let’s take a look at the lineup.

PCW Heavyweight Championship
Rob Van Dam (c) vs. Willie Mack

I think PCW should have held off on RVD’s debut for this show, as the Oak Street Gym was at capacity without him and the first appearance of a wrestler is always worth more ticket sales than any additional appearances. That being said RVD is among the top three biggest stars in wrestling that is taking bookings. To top that off he isn’t as over saturated as most big names, as his bookings are few and far between. Prior to his appearance at the last PCW show, outside of the WWE, RVD had only wrestled a handful of times in Southern California. He wrestled one match in PWG as part of a six-man and before that, two matches for UPW in 2001. Three total matches in fifteen years.

Willie Mack, who was the 2010 Southern California wrestler of the year, is one of the best wrestlers in Southern California, and one of the most under rated wrestlers in indy wrestling. Part of what makes him so good is his ability to adapt to his opponents style. I didn’t see the match between RVD and Pentagon Jr. from the last PCW, but people I spoke to about it were generally underwhelmed. While Pentagon Jr. is great, I think Mack is better at adapting his style to his opponent and I would expect a much better match between RVD and Mack.

PCW Light Heavyweight Championship
Mr. 450 (c) vs. Alexander Hammerstone

I don’t know why but I don’t think of Hammerstone as a light heavyweight. Hammerstone has been solid in CWFH and PCW this year. Mr. 450 has a pretty good track record of working with anyone too. He had a really good match with El Sensacional Carlitos a few years ago and had some pretty good matches in Michinoku Pro. He managed to have a decent match with Bull Dempsey too. I wouldn’t be shocked if this ended up being the match of the night.

PCW Tag-Team Championship
Keepers of the Faith (c) vs. Warbeast (Almighty Sheik & Fatu)

On the last PCW show Fatu squashed Douglas James and then the Sheik and Fatu got Brody King to turn on his partner and join their stable. This will be the Sheik’s first match in PCW since June. I haven’t seen a lot of Keepers of the Faith outside of a few matches on YouTube, but from what I’ve seen they can be pretty good. They seem to wrestle with a lot of physicality and wrestle with very aggressive imposing style. Going against the Sheik and Fatu I expect a pretty physical match.

WOW Championship
Santana Garrett (c) vs. Khloe Hurtz

Khloe Hurtz is the WOW persona of Katie Forbes. She’s had a few matches in SoCal outside of WOW but is best known for her work in Wildkat Wrestling in Louisiana where she’s had some pretty good matches with Ruby Raze. Santana Garrett won the WOW title at their latest tapings in September. She also wrestled on the September AWS show and had a really good match with Taeler Hendrix.

Low-Ki vs. Drago

Originally Low-Ki was going to face Matt Riddle and Drago was going to face Pentagon Jr., but when Pentagon was pulled by AAA and Riddle took another booking instead, rather than rearrange the lineup they just put the two guys without a match together. I actually think this works out better overall for PCW. Obviously Pentagon Jr. and Matt Riddle wouldn’t be the first two people you’d drop from this lineup, but there are several benefits by them not being there. First I’m sure this will be a decent cut in PCW’s costs, while not really hurting their ticket sales too much with how stacked the lineup already was. Secondly, and more importantly from a fan point, it is one less match on an already crowded show.

Honestly, this match is far more interesting to me than either of the other two canceled matches. I think it could be a fun mix of their two styles. Drago is a regular in Lucha Underground, and last wrestled in Southern California at the Lucha Underground show in Escondido. Low Ki made his Southern California debut in 2001 for MPW against Super Dragon and is a former PWG champion. He won the 2008 Southern California match of the year for a match with Chris Hero in PWG. I don’t believe he has wrestled in Southern California since PWG stopped using him in 2011 however.

Jeff Cobb vs. Michael Elgin

It’s good to see Michael Elgin back from injury. He was having a really nice run in PWG earlier in the year before his injury. Jeff Cobb has really broken out this year and we have to enjoy him while we can. These guys are actually going to face each other for Wrestle Circus this month, so this will be a rematch. This should be good.

Joe Graves vs. Timothy Thatcher

This will be Joe Graves return to PCW after he suffered an injury after the June show. During that June show he and Alexander Hammerstone had really good match that has been nominated for the 2016 Southern California match of the year. This will be their third match in PCW with each having won one.

Douglas James vs. Lio Rush vs. Joey Janela

This will be the SoCal debut of both Rush and Janela, but they are both very familiar with each other. Douglas James has really shown he can elevate his game with his series of matches with B-Boy and he should fit in nicely in this match. The winner will get a shot at the lightweight title. This could be really good.

On paper this looks to be a really strong show with a pretty unique lineup you won’t see elsewhere. Tickets are on sale now at pacificcoastwrestling.com and stay tuned to SoCalUncensored.com for updates on the show.

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