PWG “Hand of Doom” January 18, 2019 – review

Pro Wrestling Guerrilla returned with its first show of 2019 on January 18 with Hand of Doom. Going in, it felt like this show was sort of a transition to a new era of PWG. There were several debuts and a couple of goodbyes, which has become fairly common lately. Over the last couple of years, there has been a lot of turnover but PWG has managed to maintain the match quality it’s known for.

Starting late, sometimes really late, used to be the standard for PWG, but with no Legion Larry at the Globe, the show started right on time. With Excalibur ring announcing and on commentary he kept his opening remarks short, and the show was underway.

Brody King over Jungle Boy [14’33]

Incredibly this was the first singles match in PWG between two Southern California trained wrestlers since January 12, 2013, when Willie Mack defeated B-Boy. Jungle Boy got a great reception here. They did a big man vs. little man match. Jungle Boy seemed pretty nervous at the start leading to a few spots that didn’t come off smoothly. Still, this was good. They set the match up well. King destroyed Jungle Boy with chops. One of the chops on the outside may have been louder than any chop Walter delivered in that building. Jungle Boy was able to use his high flying offense to mount a comeback, but King hit a couple sitdown piledrivers to get the win. Jungle Boy got “please come back chants.” I don’t like to fantasy book, but I wouldn’t mind if Jungle Boy and Jake Atlas got a chance to recreate their match from APW in PWG.
Rating: *** 1/2

Puma King over DJ Z via submission [14’53]

I thought these two worked really well together. This match was completely different than the previous match, which worked to its advantage. The sound guy was off on DJ Z’s music cues, a lot of times playing it after DJ Z did his moves [Edit: The sound guy is still awesome though]. Puma King hit a crazy Zach Sabre-esq submission to win.
Rating: *** 1/4

LAX (Ortiz & Santana) over Laredo Kid & Rey Horus [13’15]

Laredo Kid was replacing Flamita in this match. LAX is so good. Their match with the Lucha Bros. at Bar Wrestling last year was one of the best non-PWG/NJPW matches in Southern California in 2018. The match started with LAX pulling off Laredo Kid’s mask, only for there to be another match underneath. This match was all action. There were a ton of dives in this, including an insane dive by Rey Horus. Laredo Kid looked good but didn’t particularly stand out. LAX hit their finisher for the win.
Rating: *** 3/4

Robbie Eagles over Jonathan Gresham by submission [14’29]

Robbie Eagles, along with Bandido, has been one of the best additions to PWG in 2018. This looked like it was going to be a grappler versus flyer match, but Eagles decided to hang with Gresham at grappling. This was great. Gresham was working over Eagles’ arm, including chopping it instead of the chest. Gresham looked really good in this. The finish saw Eagles hit a 450 on Gresham’s leg followed by a modified figure-four for the submission.
Rating: ****

In doing some research on the Globe I had read that the entrance to the upper balcony is outside of the building because when the building was built that was the only place black customers could sit and they didn’t want them entering through the same entrance. During intermission, I decided to check around if this was true, and was able to confirm with Globe staff that the third-floor entrance is indeed outside the building. It is crazy when you come across reminders like this of our country’s racist past. We have a long way to go, but I’m glad we’ve come as far as we have.

The Rascalz (Zachary Wentz & Dezmond Xavier) over Best Friends (Chuck Taylor & Trent?) to retain the PWG World Tag Team Championship [16’41]

This was the first PWG show for the Best Friends in quite awhile. The Best Friends took the advantage early after Taylor told Trent to stop acting like a junior heavyweight and act like a heavyweight. There was a lot of comedy in this, which made the match get off to a slower start than most Rascals matches, but it eventually picked up. Rascals hit their assisted moonsault for the win.
Rating: *** 3/4

Bandido over ACH [18’08]

This was originally supposed to be Bandido versus Flip Gordon, but Gordon got injured in ROH so we had a chance to say goodbye to ACH instead. This was great as expected. ACH worked heel here and did a great job. ACH is so great at selling. He chopped a pole on the outside at one point, then he sold his hand the rest of the match. Bandido was fantastic as always here. Bandido won with his springboard German suplex.
Rating: **** 1/4

Jeff Cobb over Trevor Lee to retain the PWG World Championship [27’05]

Trevor Lee started with a promo, and to play off their BOLA match that lasted seconds, Cobb attacked him. Lee was able to get a small package on Cobb for a quick two count. The first five-plus minutes were fairly slow and had a weird vibe. No one wanted to boo Trevor Lee in his final match in PWG, and no one was going to be against Cobb either. Also, no one really expected Lee was going to be able to win at first. However, the work they put into putting together this match, plus the memories of Ricochet and Daniel Bryan winning the title when people thought they were leaving, had people going crazy for the false finishes towards the end.

Lee didn’t even try to work heel and did the ultimate face move in PWG by taking out Justin Borden. Lee went all out in this and held nothing back. Late in the match, Cobb hit a Tour of the Islands and Lee kicked out at one and the place went nuts. Cobb hit another Tour of the Islands and got the win. This was great.
Rating: **** 1/2

After the match, Lee got on the mike and thanked the PWG crowd. He talked about how he never believed he’d main event a PWG show and mentioned and how he wouldn’t be going to the WWE if not for PWG. He then said he’ll “probably get fired from WWE and be right back here to win the PWG Championship” to a huge ovation.

This was a really good show overall, with the last two matches being the two best. Trevor Lee is going to be missed in PWG, especially since there really another great heel right now to step into his role. This year is going to be interesting for PWG with so many wrestlers being signed to exclusive contracts. If there is one thing PWG has been great at, is finding new talent to bring in though.

The Hand of Doom DVD/Blu-Ray is available for pre-order now on PWG’s website and at Highspots.

About the Author

Steve Bryant
Fan of Godzilla.