I haven’t been to a PWG show and haven’t been following the promotion for about five years now. When I was first writing for SoCalUncensored.com years ago, I decided that I wouldn’t review any PWG events because I didn’t want to be accused of being bias or catch any heat for honestly saying what I wanted to say.
But now that I’m no longer associated with PWG (or any wrestling promotion/entity for that matter) I’m actually free to be as open, vocal, vulgar, and obscene as I want to be without worrying about catching shit from someone. I can just say what I want to say without a care in the world. And with this new found freedom, I review Pro Wrestling Guerrilla’s All Star Weekend 11 Night 1 .
Chuck Taylor vs. Mark Andrews
Last summer, I started to become interested again in indy wrestling after coming across a bunch of videos from European independent promotions. There’s a lot of great talent being produced out there, and Mark Andrews is one of those talents. He’s a really great high flyer, and Chuck Taylor was a great opponent for him as he’s a really good base for high flyers after having spent years working with guys like Ricochet and El Generico. Andrews busted out some awesome high flying stuff, and Chuck had some really nice looking offense. There was one spot that saw him toss Andrews onto the ring apron after catching him as he attempted a Tope Tornado DDT on the outside. Chuck Taylor got the win after he killed Mark Andrews with a vicious Awful Waffle. This was a really fun opener. Went about 10 minutes, had a bunch of cool moves at a nice pace.
Ricochet vs. Marty Scurll
Before the match we have a bunch of shtick with Santa hats. Wasn’t really funny, but this crowd eats up those whacky antics, even if its not funny sometimes. Match starts and before they do anything, Marty Scurll points out that Ricochet’s pants is his Prince Puma gear from Lucha Underground. Ricochet denies this and keeps going “NO!” to get Scurll to stop his accusations. The fans chanted “NO HE’S NOT!” The only really funny moment here came when the fans started a “WE LOVE KAYFABE” chant, to which Excalibur on commentary said “No you don’t. You’re chanting this chant, you do not.”
Ricochet came off as a cocky heel more than he did a babyface with his antics, but the crowd ate up his act. I noticed that Ricochet slaps his leg when he chops guys to make a sound. I’ll talk more about leg slapping later in the review. There’s a lot of that in this match and on these shows. Anyway, this match was good, but I felt like ti could’ve been better if it were a few minutes shorter. Scurll was solid in this and Ricochet was on point with his spots as usual. They do this one spot where Ricochet counters Scurll’s attempt at a Crossface Chickenwing, goes for a standing Shooting Star Press, but gets countered when Marty Scurll got his knees up, got up, and killed Ricochet with a vicious powerbomb followed by a stacked pin. The comedy was lame, but the match was good and there were a bunch of cool spots.
Joey Ryan had a funny (see also: sarcastic) comment about wanting to buy a shirt from Marty Scurll after seeing his character development. It was terribly delivered, but the context was still funny.
The Unbreakable Fucking Machines (Michael Elgin & Brian Cage) vs. The American Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards)
Everyone except for Brian Cage was making their PWG return in this match. Cage and Michael Elgin overpowered Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards at the beginning of the match, with both Cage and Elgin taking turns tossing both Richards and Edwards at the same time. The pace picks up as the match goes on, and there are plenty of cool double team spots throughout the match. They also landed some really stiff strikes in this, with lots of hard chops, elbows, and kicks. Cage and Elgin also hit double deadlift superplexes on Richards and Edwards, who were standing on the ring apron. Elgin and Cage get the win after they toss Eddie Edwards around like a rag doll with a series of suplexes capped off with a spinning Liger Bomb from Elgin. This match was fucking awesome.
There was a great (and by great, I mean hilarious) moment in this match where some drunk guy in the front row stumbled while getting out of his chair and fell into the lap of the guy behind him. The lady and security guard had some great reactions to this moment.
Sami Callihan vs. Drew Gulak
I like Drew Gulak. He’s a good wrestler. I don’t like Sami Callihan. He’s too goofy and his act feels so forced. He makes too many stupid faces too and dresses like a fat scene chick with one of those stupid one side of the head shaved and everything else long hairstyles. Gulak was great in this though. He started the match off by trying to win by count out when he was tossing Sami around outside the ring. When Sami would try to get back in the ring, he’d toss him out of the ring again and would try to go back to using that strategy. Instead, he ended up chopping the ring post and got suplexed by Sami into an annoying group of white chicks who can be seen talking to each other throughout the show when the floor cam ends up on them. The guy in the front row who tripped in the last match is passed out in his seat while Sami was delivering bootscrapes to Drew Gulak.. This match wasn’t horrible, because Gulak had a good performance in it and the fans enjoyed it, but Callihan just brought it down for me.
Post match shenanigans: Sami cuts a lame promo.
Will Ospreay vs. Trevor Lee
This started off hot with Trevor Lee going at Will Ospreay at the start of the match. Ospreay would do some crazy high flying offense early on as well, busting out a springboard 360 splash to counter an Irish Whip, a standing twisting front flip denton, a springboard handspring enzigiri, and a running rana before Trevor Lee countered a Space Flying Tiger Drop by dumping Ospreay to the outside of the ring. During the match, Chuck Taylor (who is now on commentary) made the observation that high flyers have shitty nicknames in the middle of the match, and also wondered why people use their middle fingers to express anger. Trevor Lee was a total dickhead heel in this and he did a good job playing the role. He wasn’t generic or boring, something a lot of wrestlers in SoCal think is the key to being a “good” heel. He tossed Ospreay around and played a smarmy dickhead without being lame or cliche. Ospreay bumped like crazy and did cool flipping spots. The finish was really hot and the fans loved this. Trevor Lee’s Fisherman’s Buster is an amazing finishing move. Great match. I can’t describe a lot of the shit they did, so I’m not even going to try. Check this shit out. Ospreay hits his shit so smoothly. He’s the new PAC.
Mike Bailey vs. Kenny Omega
This was a match that I really enjoyed, but I hated the toy chainsaw spot. I don’t get why fans eat that shit up, but whatever. Besides that, this match was all sorts of crazy fun shit. Mike Bailey is fucking awesome. The way he’s able to blend his Taekwondo background with his high flying moveset is really great. He’s going to be a huge star and is a guy that SoCal promoters should look into for their own events if they want to bring in outside talent to help get attention on their shows. I worry about Mike Bailey’s knees though, cause he likes to do Shooting Star Press Knee Drops a lot and does a bunch of crazy shit. Kenny Omega is also great, but a lot of people already know that. These two worked so well together, and the crowd really loved this match. They do some hilarious spots with a plastic garbage can including Bailey putting Omega in the can, kicking and hitting a standing Sky Twister while Omega was in the garbage can, and seeing referee Rick Knox getting the trash can thrown in his face by Omega. Omega gets the win after hitting a running knee followed up by the One-Winged Angel on Bailey. Awesome shit here.
PWG World Tag Team Championship Match: The Young Bucks (Nick & Matt Jackson) (c) vs. Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa
I’ve been watching a lot of Young Bucks matches in ROH and NJPW and they’re in a league of their own right now. I wasn’t a big fan of them from when I first saw them coming up until about 2009-2010 when they just became completely different performers. They went from being two dorky Christian dudes who came out to Hanson with no personalities, to being two of the most charismatic guys in the game right now. They overdo it with the DX shit, but the crowd is really into it for whatever reason. We seem to live in a society where 80’s and 90’s nostalgia is all the rage with people, so more power to the Young Bucks for being able to make money off that shit. Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa are in NXT as most people probably know. If you didn’t know before, you know now.
Anyway, this match started out with goofy antics and a fun opening sequence that saw Gargano hit a tope on Nick Jackson, who was on Ciampa’s shoulders while Matt Jackson was behind them. This disturbed the drunken passed out guy’s slumber. The Bucks are awesome heels in this. The dorks at Championship Wrestling From Hollywood should watch what they do instead of following the typical heel formula that’s causing a lot of SoCal wrestlers to suffer from being mediocre workers and performers. The Bucks make the heel vs. face tag team formula not suck when they worked over Gargano before doing a “hot tag” spot to bring in Ciampa. They do gross pots where they check each others oil. If you don’t know what that is, look that up at home and only if you’re over 18. Ass-based comedy aside, this was a fun match. The Bucks hit four 450 splashes in a row, and while some people might see that as overkill, I thought it was hilariously awesome for no reason. They also used a chair in this after Gargano accidentally superkicked referee Justin Borden. Finish saw the Bucks hit the Indy-Taker on Gargano, who kicked out and transitioned into a submission on Matt Jackson before Matt reversed it for a pinfall. Before the pin, Ciampa hit an Air Raid Crash on Nick Jackson on the ring apron.
PWG World Championship Match: Roderick Strong (c) vs. Matt Sydal
This isn’t the first time Matt Sydal and Roderick Strong faced off at an All Star Weekend, as they faced off at All Star Weekend 3 Night 2 in 2006. The match starts off with Roderick Strong doing a bunch of boring crowd work, stalling, and getting in some giant fat guy’s face. Even Chuck Taylor and Excalibur talk about how it derailed the main event. Once it got going, Sydal would use his speed to try and get the better of Roderick, and Roderick would chop and toss him around. Sydal did a bunch of head scissors and tilt-a-whirl stuff, and at some points Roderick would counter those with various backbreakers and other cool looking shit I can’t describe. At one point in the match, Matt Sydal was sitting on the top rope, and Strong pulled him off, caught him, and delivered a vicious backbreaker that saw Sydal land on his head at the same time. It was sick and most of the crowd reacted to it, except for the fans in the front row who were having another conversation that seemed more important than the show. Back to the match, they go into the finishing stretch that saw Sydal countering a lot of Roderick Strong’s offense, only to miss a Shooting Star Press attempt, followed by Roderick hitting a Sick Kick/End Of Heartache combination for the win. Outside of the crazy amount of leg slapping, this was a great match.
Best commentary line of the match:
Excalibur: I think Roderick Strong just spit on Mike Lano.
Chuck Taylor: Good.
Post match shenanigans: The Young Bucks hit the ring and super kick Matt Sydal out of the ring. Whoever was in charge of the light cue fucked up and started to turn them off early. Roderick Strong got on the mic and said even though Zack Sabre Jr. has earned a title shot, he’s going to fight him when Roderick feels like fighting him. Mike Bailey, Joey Ryan, and Candice LeRae hit the ring to save nobody since Matt Sydal is already dead. Mike Bailey beat up Roderick, Candice did a Ballsplex on Nick Jackson, and Joey Ryan did that stupid Dick Move on Matt Jackson. The lights go out and Super Dragon is in the ring. Wait a minute, that’s not Super Dragon, it’s ADAM COLE! WATCH THE SWERVE GIMMICK BROS! They end up destroying Candice, Joey, and Bailey. The crowd went nuts for Adam Cole, who gets a kiss from the Young Bucks in the ring as they reveal him to be the newest member of Mount Rushmore 2.0. Adam Cole hands Roderick the belt, who is confused by Adam Cole’s return, causing a bit of tension among the group.
Backstage, we get this promo:
Let me get the negatives out of the way: there weren’t many when it came to the wrestling, but there were so many little moments that were distracting and annoying. Namely, anything involving Mike Lano (who you can read more about by clicking here) walking around and taking photos at ringside, as well as some of annoying fans in the front row, but that’s whatever. When it comes to he wrestling aspect of the show, the only person I found to be unwatchable was Sami Callihan. I never got to see his first PWG run, as by the time he came around I wasn’t watching any wrestling at all. All I remember about this guy when I saw him before his NXT run was him being a massive goofball with stupid facial expressions and terrible ring gear.
There were a lot of leg slaps and hand claps during matches whenever wrestlers would do kicks, punches, or stomps to make a sound. It looks really terrible when guys do that, and in wrestling it seems like guys don’t make any effort to hide it anymore. This isn’t a problem exclusive to PWG. This is a serious epidemic going on everywhere in wrestling right now. For some stupid fucking reason, I also kept track of the amount of times they were done in each match. After this, I swore to myself for the sake of my sanity that I would never do it again. Most of these counts are off by one or two possible noticeable slaps/claps, but for the most part this is on point:
Chuck Taylor vs. Mark Andrews: 3
Ricochet vs. Marty Scurll: 18
The American Wolves vs. The Unbreakable Fucking Machines: 8
Sami Callihan vs. Drew Gulak: 5
Trevor Lee vs. Will Ospreay: 8
Mike Bailey vs. Kenny Omega: 4
Young Bucks vs Gargano & Ciampa: 29
Roderick Strong vs. Matt Sydal: 25
Post match angle: 3
But besides those stupid complaints that nobody will give a shit about because nobody should give a shit about my complaints, this show was really good. Now I’m sure (actually, I fucking know) some people reading this will be all like “fuck you bro you’re all like bias towards PWG and you don’t give anyone a chance fuck you PWG sucks they don’t use SoCal talents anymore they don’t belong on SoCalUncensored cause they’re not booking untalented dorks with shitty fake-Russian gimmicks on their shows” and other bullshit, but let me just say this; PWG is booking guys who are fucking good. That’s why they produce good shows. I know this is going to bother a shitload of people, but a lot of the guys on these shows seriously shit all over 80% of the wrestlers here in SoCal who complain about not getting attention or respect. When you see these guys in action, you can tell they put in their work and do they need to do in order to improve their performances. They’re not sitting around and crying on Facebook about not being put over, they’re actually putting time in the gym to get better. While there are SoCal guys who are on the levels of some guys booked on PWG events, watching this show makes it painfully obvious how SoCal wrestling is many notches below other places around the world when it comes to producing talent.
Kenny Omega vs. Mike Bailey tore the house down, and the American Wolves vs. the Unbreakable Fucking Machines match was all sorts of crazy fun. Will Ospreay vs. Trevor Lee was another great match, and a really great showcase for both guys. Chuck Taylor vs. Mark Andrews was a fantastic opener, and it shows just how underrated Chuck Taylor is as a wrestler. He was also great on commentary with Excalibur. The post-main event angle with Adam Cole’s return was also really well done. I totally recommend this show to people who are interested, especially on Blu-Ray.
Check out my review of PWG All Star Weekend 11 Night 2
The DVD and Blu-Ray are now available at www.prowrestlingguerrilla.com and Highspots.com.
Also if you’re into MMA, check out my recap of WSOF 28: Moraes vs. Barajas