PWG “Smokey and the Bandido” October 19, 2018 – review

This past Friday, PWG returned to the Globe in Los Angeles, one month removed from arguably the best Battle of Los Angeles in the promotion’s history, with Smokey and the Bandido. Going in, I got the feeling that some people, myself included, absolutely loved the card, while others were more ho-hum about it. It says a lot about the quality that PWG puts out show after show that anyone would consider this a lesser show.

The show started as always with Excalibur in the ring for his pre-show promo. He was a little angrier than normal, due to someone filming clips from the show during BOLA. He said they were going to a zero-tolerance policy now on anyone caught filming. He also mentioned Southern California which got a huge “SCU” chant. Apparently, this audience appreciates a good wrestling website that focuses on one region of the country. Thanks, guys!

Trevor Lee over Darby Allin [14’05]

Trevor Lee cut an amazing pre-match promo. He is the best promo in PWG right now, with no one else close. Lee is the most tenured regular in PWG now, passing up Daniel Bryan and Candice LeRae as far as the number of matches in PWG goes.

Allin played the face in peril for most of the match, with Lee using duct tape to tie Allin’s hands behind his back about half-way in. Ref Rick Knox watched the whole thing and did nothing to stop it. Rick Knox is afraid of Trevor Lee. Despite his hands being tied behind his back, Allin still hit a Lionsault and a tope con giro on Lee. Eventually, Lee hit his double stomp then held the tights for the pin. This was really fun.
Rating: *** 3/4

Puma King over Flamita and Rey Horus [11’54]

This was pretty much a lucha libre showcase sprint, and it was great. They worked incredibly fast but everything looked crisp. This was the type of match you show to people who aren’t familiar with lucha libre to make them a fan. Puma King hit a powerbomb on Horus from the second rope for the pin.
Rating: ****

Zack Sabre Jr. over Hechicero [18’29]

It felt like the audience was somewhat split on this match. I thought it was a fun mat wrestling showcase, with both wrestlers using some really nice counters. Sabre Jr. had a great reversal out of a surfboard at one point. They played on the backstory of Zack Sabre Jr. being hated by Mexican wrestlers, but that hasn’t really been a thing in PWG and I’m not sure everyone got it. Sabre one with a bridging cradle pin (with both middle fingers up). I liked this, but if you aren’t into this type of wrestling you may not feel the same.
Rating: *** 3/4

Bandido over Rey Fenix [23’22]

This was the first singles match between the two, and probably the match most people were expecting to steal the show. Bandido is so over in PWG right now and Fenix is one of the most exciting wrestlers in the world. They did a fantastic job building up the intensity until it hit a fever pitch late. Bandido did his somersault fallaway slam followed by a package piledriver to get the pin. This wasn’t quite a match of the year candidate, but still great.
Rating: **** 1/2

Timothy Thatcher over Brody King [14’17]

This was the first match after intermission, and it felt like the crowd was somewhat down for this early. Late in the match, it looked like Thatcher got busted open on a lariat from King and the site of blood pulled a lot of the crowd back in. This was good, but not great. I think the crowd energy hurt it somewhat too. Thatcher won with a Fujiwara armbar for the submission.
Rating: ***

The Rascalz (Dezmond Xavier & Zachary Wentz) over LAX (Ortiz & Santana) to retain the PWG Tag Team Championship [19’09]

It’s great to see LAX in PWG. PWG looked to be building a nice tag division months ago, but with talent being signed to WWE and being less available with ROH and New Japan there isn’t much of a division again. This was a blast. Really fast paced and innovative. Wentz hit a senton followed by corkscrew senton by Xavier for the pin. I know LAX is facing the Young Bucks on the Jericho Cruise this weekend, but I wouldn’t mind a rematch in PWG down the line for us land lovers too.
Rating: **** 1/4

Jeff Cobb over WALTER to win the PWG World Heavyweight Championship [18’45]

A lot of matches with these two consist of WALTER or Cobb dominating their opponents with power, but this felt like a match of equals. There was a spot early when WALTER took down Cobb with a shoulder tackle and the look on Cobb’s face sold what a fight he was in for. Cobb kept going for the Tour of the Islands, with WALTER continuously escaping it. When Cobb finally was able to hit it, he was too tired to go for the pin right away, allowing WALTER to kick out. The finish almost came out of nowhere, as they were scrambling on the ground and all of the sudden Cobb puts WALTER in a three-quarter nelson pin. The building exploded with the title change. This was great. Cobb becomes the 30th PWG World Champion, and first since El Generico (Sami Zayn) to have completed the PWG triple crown by winning the world championship, tag-team championship, and BOLA.
Rating: ****

While not quite on the level of any of the BOLA shows last month, this was another great show from PWG. Despite being in a constant restocking mode over the last year plus, it is amazing how they’ve managed to keep the level of wrestling as high as it is. There might not be the “name” value of the past, but the wrestling is as good as ever.

It will be interesting to see what happens with WALTER too. There were lots of rumors of him going to WWE/NXT, and when the report came out it was him and Keith Lee going. The Keith Lee part turned out to be true. After the show, WALTER sent out a “thank you PWG” tweet. I hope he sticks around, but he deserves to make all the money he can.

The show is certainly worth getting on Blu Ray/DVD when it comes out. It is available for pre-order on PWG’s site and from the good people at Highspots.

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