Pro Wrestling Guerrilla held their second show of the year, Neon Knights, on February 16. The show felt somewhat like a glimpse towards the future of PWG, with seven of the twelve wrestlers on the show having debuted in the promotion within the last year, including two debuts that night.
Excalibur hit the ring about 30 minutes after the scheduled bell time for his normal intro. He did proclaim that Donald Trump is not welcome at PWG due to his hatred of sharks, which got a big reaction from the crowd. Donald Trump may not be welcome, but both Danielle Fishel and Sebastian Bach were in the house.
Adam Brooks over Brody King [11’36]
Brody King got a huge ovation when he was announced. When he was announced as being from Van Nuys it was easily the biggest pop for a non-BOLA debut in years. The reaction he got really surprised people in PWG. It was pretty cool to see, because as recently as the 2016 Battle of Los Angeles he was a sitting in the audience as a fan, and now he was there in the ring getting that reaction. The match really started out good and the crowd was hot for everything they did. Adam Brooks looked really good here. This was his best performance in PWG. King looked great as well and was the talk of the night. Not just for the reaction he got but for his lucha offense and the tope con giro he did. Late in the match there were some miscues but they did their best to cover for them. Brooks won with a senton bomb. This may not come out as good on video as live, as the crowd really added to the match, but live it was really good and a great way to start the show.
Rating: *** 1/2
Dalton Castle over Joey Janela [21’46]
Ty Ray was one of Dalton Castle’s boys. He recently lost a loser leaves EWF match to Super Beetle so I guess this is where he ended up. They did a lot of comedy in this. It was funny at first, but it seemed to go on a little long. That was the story of the match, as they really should have cut five minutes out and condensed it a little more. It was still good but it went too long. Castle hit the Bang-A-Rang for the win.
Rating: *** 1/4
Travis Banks over David Starr [10’20]
I thought David Starr’s PWG debut was really lackluster, but this was great. This was really fast paced and stiff. Everything Travis Banks did had such a quickness to it. They really got the crowd back into the show after the slower match before it. Banks hit a Kiwi Crusher off the middle rope to get the pin.
Rating: **** 1/4
Zack Sabre Jr. over Flip Gordon [15’33]
Flip Gordon got a great response in his debut. This was a really good showcase for what both could do, Gordon with super athletic highspots and Sabre being able to turn anything into a submission. There was a really cool spot where Gordon did a standing shooting star and Sabre caught him in an armbar from it. The negative to the match for me was Sabre was really working Gordon’s leg throughout, and as soon as Gordon escaped he was back to doing flips and jumps while showing no ill-effects of the punishment he took. This was still good, but I felt there could have been more drama with punishment Sabre was dishing out being sold. Sabre eventually won with sort of leg lock.
Rating: *** 1/2
Keith Lee over Matt Riddle [18’27]
This was excellent. These wrestlers were just brutalizing each other. Riddle’s chest was a total mess after the match. Late in the match Lee hit a second rope moonsault but Riddle kicked out at one. Lee then returned the favor by kicking out at one himself after Riddle hit a top rope seton. The entire crowd was on their feet the rest of the match. They actually broke the ring during the match, making a hill in the middle of the ring. They both kicked out of each other’s finishers before Lee hit another Ground Zero for the pin. I thought this was as good as Lee and Dijak from last year’s Battle of Los Angeles and should be a strong SoCal match of the year candidate this year. It was just a fantastic match.
Rating: **** 3/4
Chuck Taylor over Trent? to retain the PWG World Championship. [25’25]
I’m not sure what it is, but every time someone gets the PWG title they turn heel. This was good, but not great. It seemed to drag a bit at times. They fought into the crowd and Taylor setup a pyramid of chairs. He then got on commentary to say he’s “about to kill my best friend” before putting him through the chairs. Taylor started his heel turn with a belt shot. Later Trent could have hit Taylor with the belt, but decided not to and handed it off to the ref, Rick Knox. When Knox turned away, Taylor hit a low blow on Trent and rolled him up for the win. Taylor then immediately left the ring without talking to his friend. There was lots of boos. I thought the turn was well done, because really splitting up the best friends and ending the match on a low blow is one of the only ways you can get people against Taylor.
Overall this was another good show. The match between Keith Lee and Matt Riddle is worth seeking out alone. it is already available for pre-order at ProWrestlingGuerrilla.com.
I did want to add a few things about Brody King’s debut, which I felt the biggest story of the show, at least as it pertains to Southern California wrestling.
There has been this talk over the last few years that PWG doesn’t use local wrestlers or PWG doesn’t know about local wrestlers. PWG has evolved into an all-star show with some of the best wrestlers from around the world. Just on averages there are very few wrestlers in any area who would fit the bill of being among the best wrestlers in independent wrestling.
I mean San Diego hosted MLB’s All Star Game and I don’t remember people complaining there wasn’t enough players from San Diego in the game. PWG never stopped booking wrestlers from Southern California, as the Young Bucks appear fairly often. As far as other wrestlers who have been in PWG in the past and aren’t booked anymore, it isn’t like Super Dragon forgot they exist one day. They either had issues or just didn’t fit his vision of what he wanted to do with PWG. Which is fine. Every promotion, aside from ones that are there only to supplement a school, should work to put on the best show they can within their means.
Really the whole “PWG doesn’t book locals” is a crutch that some wrestlers used rather than admitting that maybe they aren’t ready for PWG yet. A lot of time people like to place blame on things outside of their control. People in PWG do watch wrestling outside of PWG, including SoCal wrestling. Brody King isn’t the only wrestler out of Southern California good enough to be in PWG, and there are other wrestlers that they are aware of and likely have interest in. Just the timing hadn’t worked out before. With Brody King getting in, a bar is set. Rather than people saying “PWG doesn’t book locals” they can instead ask “do I work as hard at being good as Brody King?”