Pro Wrestling Guerrilla held their first show of the year on January 12, coming off what may have been the best year in the company’s history, at least in terms of match quality. To start the year, PWG held their fifth Mystery Vortex show. Mystery Vortexes have no announced lineup or matches ahead of time and normally feature a few debuts and returns to the promotion. For Mystery Vortex V the biggest news going in was the show featuring one of the worst kept secrets in wrestling, Ricochet’s last match before leaving for WWE.
With Candice LeRae signing with WWE as well, a lot of people seemed to have expected her to make an appearance also, as she was a big part of PWG in the past. There seemed to be a lot more Candice and World’s Cutest Tag Team shirts in the crowd than normal, and a few people were talking about it before hand, but she wasn’t there.
Before the show there were no wrestlers selling merchandise to keep up the mystery of who would be on the show. This probably helped get the crowd in a little faster, and the show ended up starting about 25 minutes late.
David Starr over Fred Yehi [18’42]
Both of these wrestlers were making their PWG debuts. They started out doing a lot of shtick, and kept it up throughout the match. It really wasn’t even good shtick and a lot was pretty cringe worthy. A few minutes of it would have probably been OK, but they just kept it up. When there was action, there were long breaks in it and the match felt really long. It was really poorly structured. The crowd was completely dead for most of the match and there was very little pop for any near falls, as most people were likely hoping it would end. Over the last two years I can’t think of any debuts that didn’t get a “please come back” chant until this match. Starr reversed a submission into a roll up to get the pin. Both of these wrestlers are normally pretty good, but this match was bad.
Rating: * 1/2
Joey Janela over Flash Morgan Webster [13’54]
These guys were great additions to PWG last year. This was a really fun match that saw Webster take a ton of punishment from Janela. They did a great job of bringing the crowd back after the opener killed it, too. Janela hit a top rope brainbuster on Webster then submitted him with a crossface for the win.
Rating: *** 1/2
Sammy Guevara over Rey Fenix [13’50]
This started out absolutely amazing. The first half of the match was non-stop action with a bunch of really innovative offense from both wrestlers. It was on pace to be something really special then Fenix seemingly hurt his leg and the match sort of broke down at the end. I’ve seen some speculation that Fenix was hurt when Guevara hit a 450 on Fenix and landed on his knee, but it seemed like Fenix hurt his ankle a little before that and was favoring it. The match was still great but didn’t hit that upper echelon of matches. Guevara won with a Shooting Star Press.
Rating: **** 1/4
Keith Lee over Zack Sabre Jr. [19’09]
The match saw Sabre trying a lot of strikes on lee that didn’t seem to damage Lee at all and lots of submission attempts that Lee just powered out of. They worked a much slower, more deliberate pace than anything else on the show. I thought this was good, but I’m a fan of the style. Some people I spoke to didn’t like it as much. Keith Lee powered out a submission attempt to hit a Ground Zero on Sabre for the win.
Rating: *** 1/2
Trent? over Marty Scurll [20’10]
This match was pretty even with the wrestlers trading offense. Crowd was pretty split between Scurll and Trent. Scurll through babypowder in Trent’s eyes and hit Trent with an umbrella but Trent managed to overcome and hit the Dudebuster for the pin.
Rating: *** 3/4
Chosen Bros (Jeff Cobb & Matt Riddle) over Ring Kampf (WALTER & Timothy Thatcher) to retain the PWG Tag Team Titles [18’29]
This was really hard hitting with tons of strikes and suplexes. Ring Kampf really worked over Cobb and Cobb took the majority of the punishment. WALTER came off as a monster in this. WALTER is second to Keith Lee as the best addition to PWG in 2017. Riddle got tagged in and cleaned house. Riddle and Thatcher matched up really well. Eventually WALTER got knocked out of the ring and Cobb threw Thatcher into Riddle’s Bro To Sleep to get the win. This match was great and worth going out of your way to see.
Rating: **** 1/2
Chuck Taylor over Ricochet in a Guerrilla Warfare match to win the PWG World Heavyweight title [23’56]
Since Chuck Taylor was out on commentary early and he hadn’t wrestled yet, it was pretty obvious this would be the match. What wasn’t known was that it would be a Guerrilla Warfare match. This was the first Guerrilla Warfare match in a few years. There was a lot of weapon use in this, with Ricochet bashing Taylor’s head in with a trash can, chairs, ladders, tables, and thumbtacks. Ricochet was suplexed off the stage threw a pyramid of chairs Taylor setup. He also went through a table. This was really played off to be more of a fight than a wrestling match and there wasn’t as much high flying as a normal Ricochet match. Taylor spread thumbtacks all over the ring, and of course he got powerbombed into them first. His back was absolutely covered in tacks. Then Ricochet went for a 630 and Taylor got out of the way with Ricochet landing hard in the tacks. Taylor was then able to hit the Awful Waffle and recapture the PWG World title. Taylor is sixth person to have held the title at least twice.
Post match, Taylor cuts a promo about how he trained Ricochet and said he knew right away how much better Ricochet was than him, and he was destined for greater things. He then handed the mic over to Ricochet and left the ring. Ricochet gave an emotional speech thanking the fans and saying how he considered PWG to be his home.
Overall this was another really good PWG show. The opener was one of the worst matches in PWG in years, but the rest of the card was really good, including a potential SoCal Match of the Year candidate (though if 2018 is like 2017 4 1/2 stars might not cut it). It is going to be interesting to see where PWG goes in terms of the feuds for their world and tag titles, as there doesn’t seem to be any natural challengers for either at the moment. We’ll likely start to see that coming together next month though, as Mystery Vortex V really was meant to be the ending to a great chapter in the promotion’s history and a goodbye to one of the best wrestlers to ever wrestle regularly in Southern California.