Last Friday Pro Wrestling Guerrilla held their 14th anniversary show, Pushin’ Forward Back. There was an excessive heat warning for the area, with temperatures expected to reach 106 during the day. The Legion Hall where PWG runs is not known for its ice cooler like atmosphere either. That combination made for an extremely hot time in the venue. Despite the heat, the crowd remained pretty hot throughout the show, and was absolutely electric during the main event.
The show started right about on time with Christian Cole in the ring. Then Excalibur came out for his usual preshow speech. He did mention he was trying to filibuster some, as the beer line was so long it was stretching around the ring still. He then mentioned that people would be flying out of the ring shortly, and asked if the beer was “worth your life.” This got a “yes” chant. Excalibur also mentioned Lio Rush was 7 years old when PWG ran their first show.
Sammy Guevara over Rey Horus [19’09]
Both of these guys were making their PWG debuts. The match started with Sammy flipping off Horus instead of a handshake. There were a lot of good sequences in this match. Sammy was outside the ring and Horus went for a dive and Sammy just ducked it causing Horus to wipe out into the entrance area. Later Horus setup a chair in the ring and used it to do a tope con giro onto Sammy. They worked really well together. The one negative with the match is they really spent too much time trying to establish Sammy as the dickish heel and it messed with the matches pacing at times. Still, this was really good. Sammy got the win after hitting a 630 senton.
Rating: *** 1/2
Unbreakable F’n Machines (Michael Elgin & Brian Cage) over Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) [18’25]
The Bucks were billed at 206 pounds each, as that is 1 pound more than 205. The Bucks played faces in this and did a lot of speed and flashy moves to counteract the Unbreakable Machines’ power offense. I’ve seen some people talking about Nick Jackson slipping on the ropes and botching a spot, but I thought the recovery on that was handled well. Some “you fucked up chants” started, but they “too sweeted” each other really quickly and all was forgiven. Both Elgin and Cage had a lot of nice power offense. This was good, but the pacing of the match felt really off. Elgin hit an Elgin Bomb on Matt for the win.
Rating: *** 1/4
Keith Lee over Lio Rush and Trent? [22’10]
A lot of this match was Trent? and Rush teaming up to try and counter Lee’s size. At one point in the match Rush started teaching Trent? how to do highspots. Trent? became a highspot machine and was doing flips and climbing the ropes. Rush got a huge heel reaction when he attacked Trent?. Keith Lee was manhandling Rush throughout the match. This was really good and a lot of fun. Keith Lee his the Ground Zero on Lio Rush for the pin.
Rating: *** 3/4
Dezmond Xavier over Sami Callihan, Jake Crist, and Dave Crist [10’04]
This was supposed to be Sami Callihan and OI4K against Xavier, Shane Strickland, and Jason Cade, but Strickland and Cade had flight issues. Sami Callihan said the PWG brass told him he could do whatever he wants and this was turned into a four way. This was a fun, quick sprint that saw everyone just going full speed. Even Rick Knox got into the action and did a bunch of dives. Xavier hit the Spiral Tap on Dave Crist for the win.
Rating: *** 1/2
Ricochet over Trevor Lee [14’44]
Trevor Lee was still getting lots of “fuck TNA” comments. Guess the name change to GFW hasn’t caught on yet. This was the first match that I thought the crowd was a little out of it for, but this was still another really fast paced good match. Ricochet hit his Kings Landing finisher for the pin.
Rating: *** 3/4
Chuck Taylor over Zack Sabre Jr. to win the PWG World title [29’22]
The crowd came back alive for this big time. There were a lot of chants for both guys, though it did slant slightly more towards Taylor. Sabre was working over Taylor’s arm for most of the match but every time he’d get a submission locked in, Taylor would get a rope break. At one point Sabre started trying to remove the bottom rope himself, and when he couldn’t do it, he forced one of the ring crew to remove the rope. After the rope was gone, Sabre got another armbar on Taylor and when Taylor was able to extend and reach the second rope the crowd went nuts. At this point I don’t think anyone sat down the rest of the show, and the majority of the audience was on Taylor’s side. Sabre hit Taylor with the belt, but Rick Knox refused to count the three and also refused to DQ Sabre. Then Sabre put his hands on Knox and gave Taylor a low blow, but Knox wouldn’t DQ him. Sabre pulled out thumbtacks, but finally Taylor hit the Awful Waffle on Sabre into the tacks and got the pin and won the PWG championship. This was great and they told a great story with the match. This was the hottest (literally and figuratively) that I’ve seen the crowd in some time, and that’s saying a lot for the normally great PWG crowd.
Rating: **** 1/4
After the match Trent? came out to the ring to congratulate Taylor. Taylor cut a promo saying he’s “been in PWG nine years before winning this title” and that he was going to keep it for nine years.
Overall I thought the show was good, but wasn’t quite on the level of some of PWG’s better shows. Still, there wasn’t a bad match on the show and the main event was fantastic and a must see if you are a fan of PWG and worth getting the DVD for that match alone.
PWG’s next shows will be the annual three night Battle of Los Angeles tournament on September 1st-3rd. Pushin’ Forward Back is available for pre-order now on DVD and Blu Ray at PWG’s website and Highspots.com.