PWG “Mystery Vortex IV” December 16, 2016 – review

Pro Wrestling Guerrilla held their latest show on December 16, 2016, “Mystery Vortex IV.” If anyone is unaware, PWG’s Mystery Vortex shows are shows where they do not announce the lineup or the card in advance. These shows have normally featured PWG returns or debuts and while there were no debuts, it did have its share of returns.

The show ended up starting about an hour late, which is normal for PWG. Excalibur came out to the ring and did his normal pre-show spiel. He brought a Moana toy for PWG’s annual Toys for Tots toy drive and talked about it was a brave choice for the Rock to play a 15 year old girl.

Trent? defeated Candice LeRae in 12:36

Candice got a huge ovation when she came out. She is a Southern California native and while she is very popular she probably doesn’t get the respect she deserves as far as where women’s wrestling in SoCal is. When she started SoCal was really a wasteland when it came to women’s wrestling and her work in EWF, AWS, and PWG is credited by quite a few women as inspiring them in wrestling. This was only her second match in Southern California in 2016 though, with her other being a Lucha Underground dark match. The match consisted of Trent? reluctantly attacking her while she was doing what she could to bring the fight with him. Candice hit a move on Trent? on the outside (my view of it was blocked) and the crowd chanted “one more time” but Trent? managed to powerbomb her onto the apron which got another “one more time” chant, to which Trent? asked “what’s wrong with you people?” Candice did an excellent job selling in the match and Trent? did a great job showing his reluctance to fight her. Trent? eventually hit the Dudebuster for the win. This was a fun opener and it was nice seeing Candice back in PWG.
Rating: ** ¾

Trevor Lee defeated ACH in 14:54

This was ACH’s return to PWG as well. Lots of “delete” chants in this. Trevor Lee only added to that by doing some of the Hardy spots. Trevor Lee has been really good in PWG all year. There were lots of really athletic spots from ACH in this. Late in the match Lee kicked out late on a couple of near falls and the ref had to stop counting which came across bad. Still a fun match overall. Lee won with a fisherman buster.
Rating: ** ¾

After the match ACH called out Dave Meltzer, who was in attendance, for some stuff he wrote that ACH said wasn’t true and said he can now report “ACH is on another level.” It was an awkward moment to say the least.

Matt Sydal defeated Pete Dunne in 17:23

This was Matt Sydal’s first match since I think September, after spending some time in a Japanese detention facility. You could tell early on he had a little bit of rust, but as the match went on it seemed to go away. Pete Dunne is really fun to watch and it’s great to see a somewhat different style mixed in there. They seemed to work really well together for the most part, but there was a couple miscues, such as Dunne rolling the wrong  way after a move. Still, a good match. Sydal won with the shooting star press.
Rating: ***

reDRagon (Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish) defeated Death By Elbow (Chris Hero & JT Dunn) in 27:07

Chris Hero is so good in everything he does. He’s easily in my top 5 wrestlers in the world right now.  Tons of good stuff in it from all four guys. I always feel JT Dunn is underrated in these matches. He does a lot of stuff that really makes his opponents look good. The match went long, but they managed to keep the action up throughout the match. This was really good. Chris Hero submitted to a cross arm breaker.
Rating: *** ¼

After the match Chris Hero talked about the story about him heading to the WWE. He said nothing is definite yet and he doesn’t know if this was his last match in PWG or not. He said once he knows he’ll tweet it out.

Chuck Taylor defeated Adam Cole in 9:59

This was announced as a number one contenders match for the PWG title. Chuck Taylor is on a long winning streak in PWG. He is also great on commentary at PWG as well. When he does commentary, a running joke is for he and Excalibur to talk about how out of shape Adam Cole is. Excalibur was handling the ring announcing on the night, and started the match by announcing Adam Cole as being over 1000 pounds or something. This brought Adam Cole to the commentary table where he went to attack Excalibur. Taylor intervened and Excalibur got some offense in on Cole. Lots of comedy in the match.  This was a fun, short match. Taylor won with the Awful Waffle and is now the number one contender to the PWG title.
Rating: ***

Matthew Riddle & Jeff Cobb defeated The Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson) in 18:47 (non-title match)

Jeff Cobb and Riddle came out first to try and make it appear that they would be facing each other, then the Young Bucks music hit. This was announced as a non-title match. Riddle and Cobb being teamed up was a pretty cool surprise. This was a lot different than any other Young Bucks match in PWG this year as it was structured more traditionally and less going all out at break neck speed hitting move after move. It started with the Bucks each trying to go one on one with Riddle and Cobb and quickly learning that they were no match individually so it shifted to more double team offense from them. Tons of really good stuff from Riddle in the match who has quickly become one of the most fun wrestlers in the indies to watch. Cobb was tossing people around as expected and hit a double lariat on the Bucks that seemingly killed them at one point. The finish saw Jeff Cobb hit a Tour of the Islands on Matt Jackson in what was a great match.
Rating: ****

Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Marty Scurll via submission at in 37:23 to retain the PWG World Championship

This was a great match. There was a ton back and forth technical wrestling in this and they were able to tell a fantastic story with the match. Tons of really stiff strikes and both guys sold their exhaustion well. There were times when they were beating the hell out of each other and both guys would go down and kind of sit there for a second as if to question how much longer they could go on. Sabre took a ton of punishment and sold everything throughout the match. For example he may have taken damage to his neck early on, and 30 minutes later he was selling it. He took the Scurll finger snap spot twice, and throughout the match he would adjust his fingers as if to sell that. But he wasn’t doing it in some obvious oversell way. It was much more subtle and really added to what they were doing. There were times when the crowd seemed out of this, as it was late and the match was long, but I don’t think it is the fault of the match. I think the first 34 minutes or so of the match was a masterpiece. The last part of the match felt a little over booked with a ref bump, powder being thrown into the eyes of Sabre, Scurll of course getting the pin while the ref was out. After the ref was taken out Scurll got his umbrella and contemplated hitting Sabre with it, but decided against it as likely a show of respect for the match they’ve been having, but then still throws powder in his eyes? They still ended up with a clean finish, as Sabre was able to recover from the powder and get a cross arm submission on Scurll for the win. This was an excellent match that was heading towards being a serious SoCal match of the year candidate before the last few minutes. Still it was a really great match.
Rating: **** ¼

After the match Taylor came out to the ring and had a face off with Sabre Jr.

An interesting side note to this show, is this could have been the first PWG show at another venue in years. PWG feels that the American Legion Hall is part of what makes PWG PWG, and in a lot of ways it is part of the identity of the promotion. However, when tickets went on sale there was an error where Paypal oversold the tickets. When it was first realized there was consideration to run the show at a larger venue so that everyone who bought tickets would have been able to attend. With tickets going on sale so close to the date of the show and the lack of affordable venues that are slightly larger in the area there wasn’t time to change venues so a choice of a refund or guaranteed tickets to the next show was offered.

Overall this was a good show. I’ve heard some people say that it wasn’t one of PWG’s better shows, and I think that says a lot of the standards PWG has set with their shows when you have a show where the average match rating is approaching 3 ½ stars and people are down on it. I’d recommend getting the DVDs even if you aren’t a PWG completest if for nothing more than the last two matches. The show is available for pre-order now at prowrestlingguerrilla.com and Highspots.com.

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