On Friday 7/28 PCW was back at the ILWU memorial hall for their 10th show, Second to None. On paper the card looked stacked, and while I have missed some PCW shows I have always been very impressed with the quality of the product they put out.
My decision to go was somewhat last minute, so I showed up the day of the event with no ticket, but was able to easily walk in and get some GA tickets for me and a buddy. When we got there they had already let in the people who bought more expensive tickets for the meet and greet, but I was very impressed with line for GA that had formed outside. While we were in a line a couple of drunk dudes in front of us put on an impromptu wrestling match.
Pre Show Drunken Madness Street Fight: Random drunk guy 1 vs. Random drunk guy 2 with Random drunk guy 3 as the ref:
This match broke out randomly. Drunk guy one was wearing a lucha mask, PCW hat and world title fanny pack, drunk guy two was wearing normal people clothes and started the match. The match itself was pretty bad, there was no ring psychology (or ring for that matter) and the selling was terrible but the crowd was super into it. They almost fought into the street a couple of times which added to the drama. Drunk guy 2 ended up hitting a DDT on the concrete floor but didn’t go for the pin, so drunk guy 3 (the ref) ended up pinning the dude himself and claiming the fanny pack title. The would be luchador removed his mask to chants of “one more match” from those watching, but I have a feeling that we witnessed the end of his not so illustrious career. Again, the match itself was pretty poor but I liked the booking decision of the ref claiming the title off the pin.
Shortly after the drunken madness match the doors opened to GA and we meandered in to find our seats. For those who have never been to PCW (or haven’t been since they changed facilities) the place is awesome. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but inside its huge, with food, beer, and merch set up around the place. It is definitely impressive, and I assume that because of the location PCW gets a pretty killer deal on it (but I could be wrong).
Christian Cole started the show in the ring welcoming everyone in and teasing 3 huge announcements for the night. He gave us the first one on the spot, Pro Wrestling legend and WWE hall of famer Stan Hansen will be at their December 6th show, which is amazing. After that announcement we move to the first official match of the night
Fatu (w/MK) vs Andy Brown
When this match was first announced I just assumed it would be a complete squash match because Fatu is an absolute monster and has been built as one in PCW since his debut. I was a little bummed at the thought of it being a squash because Andy Brown is really freaking good, but I was still interested in how it would play out. Fatu was out first, his reactions kind of make me laugh because the audience cheers the hell out of him, but absolutely hates MK. I think this is a testament to how good both of these guys are at their respective trades. Andy was out next to a somewhat dull reaction from the crowd, which didn’t really surprise me because PCW doesn’t really draw the normal SoCal fans; it draws a whole different kind of animal. This match was for all intents and purposes a squash match, but I felt like it was a really well booked squash. Andy got some good work in that Fatu sold well, it gave everyone a glimpse of what Andy was capable of, and he played a great face in peril. I felt like he got in the perfect amount of offense to make Fatu still look like a monster, but also make him look tough as nails. Fatu ended up getting the win, as was expected, but it was a quality match and a good opener. On to the next match
Fatal 4 way – Winner is #1 contender for the PCW light heavyweight title: Misterioso vs. Eli Everfly vs. Shane Strickland vs. Fenix
As you might expect from a fatal 4 way match with these 4 dudes, this match was absolutely insane, in the best possible way. Misterioso, Eli and Shane (despite being a heel) all came out to pretty good pops from the crowd, but when Fenix came out they lost their minds. I wish I was the kind of guy who could remember every spot from a match so I could really paint a picture of what happened in the one, but the actual spots themselves aren’t necessarily what makes me remember a match, it’s the way a spot or a match makes me feel and this match made me feel like I was watching 4 legit superstars willing to risk everything for that number one contender spot. It felt like all 4 guys were really fighting for the ultimate prize, which elicited all sorts of emotions and reactions from the crowd. A couple spots that I remember coming to mind are Eli hitting a crazy spinny flippy move (that is the technical term) from the top to the outside on everyone. Fenix doing the lucha spot where he runs up the ropes and hits the arm drag as he jumps off, and falling on his back on the top rope and bouncing back to his feet (that description does it no justice). There were dives, there were headlocks, and there was a ton of stiff looking strikes from all of the guys.
I felt like Eli really shined in this match, which doesn’t surprise me but I was super glad to see. He didn’t look at all out of place against these guys who are more well known in the indy world. Shane ended up picking up the win, setting up a match vs. the winner of Douglas James and Lio Rush for the title. At the end of the night I definitely left feeling like this was the best match on the card
Martin Stone vs. David Starr
Next up was the British themed wrestling match (I cant remember what they actually called it). David Starr came out first; talking the whole way to the ring and being announced with bajillion different nicknames, which I found pretty entertaining. Martin Stone was next and some people seemed to know him from his NXT work (as Danny Burch). The match was much slower paced and more technical then the previous match, which for me was a decent change of pace as I can really appreciate that kind of wrestling. I feel like more casual fans can get bored with that style but I love that PCW is trying to showcase all styles of wrestling.
At one point Starr left the ring and sat there, not wanting to fight and Stone grabbed a chair to sit and wait for him. I know this was done to draw heat, but for me it didn’t add much value to the match, and made it kind of weird at the end when Stone called for a rematch (why would he be calling for a rematch against a dude who ran during the match?). There were some NXT chants during the match but when Stone won he got on the mic and said he does work for NXT but that night was about PCW. This match super technical and gave me a bit of a flashback to Thatcher vs. Graves from PCW’s first show, but I do think that match was a little better.
Mecha Wolf (Mr. 450) vs Dave Crist
Alright, I am just going to get this out of the way to begin with, I am not really sold on Mr. 450. I don’t really think it’s a knock on the guy, I think he looks cool and he isn’t bad in the ring I just don’t connect with him at all, and don’t think he is spectacular, despite the fact that most everyone else seem to like him (based on the crowd reaction). With that being said I am a huge fan of Dave (and Jake) Crist, and OI4K as a whole, so I was stoked for this match. Crist came out first looking super badass, but it didn’t seem like a lot of people in the crowd really knew much about him.
450 came out next and was announced as Mr. 450, which confused me because I thought he changed his name to Mecha Wolf, and I am not really sure what to call him at this point, but he also looked super cool and got a much better reaction. I feel bad writing the words I am about to write, but I was kind of let down by this match. I was looking forward to it because it was my first time seeing Dave Crist live, but it seemed uncharacteristically slow for both guys and I found myself spacing out during the match. The one spot that really stood out to me was Dave’s badass cutter, which always looks perfect and I was glad he hit it. Mr. Mecha 450 Wolf ended up getting the win via submission after Dave kicked out of a 450, and was transitioned right into the transition. Despite not being my favorite match, I still love OI4K
During intermission Brian Cage made his way to the ring and talked about how he was ready and excited to return to PCW, and gave a contract to Christian Cole, telling him to find someone in the back to face him October 6th.
At some point in the night (I honestly cant remember when, but I assume it was around this point) Dan Masters announced that ECW legend The Sandman would be at the October show. They also played Sandman’s music and everyone (myself included) got up in excitement like a bunch of idiots thinking he was coming out even though Masters clearly said October 6th. That was the 2nd big announcement of the night, and so far they were 2/2 in announcements that made me pop.
PCW Light Heavyweight Championship Match: (c) Douglas James vs. Lio Rush
After intermission we are into the first of 3 title defenses, as SoCal favorite and now PCW exclusive Douglas James defends his title against Lio Rush, who going into this match was covered in a shroud of rumors regarding an impending signing to the WWE. I was super stoked for this match, as I have literally watched Douglas’s career unfold from one of his earliest matches in a preshow match for IWL to becoming a bonafide star and one of SoCal’s absolute best. He has been tremendous in PCW and seized his opportunity (and the title) in an impromptu title match against Mr. 450 after Hammerstone failed to make weight at the last show. Lio is one of the top indy guys in the world after making a name for himself in ROH and being an absolute stud despite being only 22 (I think). This match was fantastic, with both guys getting in a ton of offense and making each other look like a million bucks. Lio blows my mind with how quick and smooth he moves around the ring and he has the potential to be a huge star. As for Douglas, I am very excited to see his career keep progressing. He has a great look, a strong work ethic and looks fantastic in the ring. He has all the potential to be a big star, and if he keeps having matches like these its only a matter of time. Douglas ended up getting the win, defending his title and setting up a match with Shane Strickland that should be absolutely fantastic.
After the match Lio got on the mic and said this was his last booking in California, and that he was honored it was at PCW because they are one of the top promotions on the scene and the fans were some of the best he has worked in front of. He didn’t say whether or not he signed, but he did say that no matter where he ends up he will kick ass and will never forget PCW.
PCW Tag Team Title Championship Match: (c) War Beast (Brody King and Josef w/ Karleena Gore and Kevin Sullivan) vs. La Familia De Tijuana (Damian 666 and Bestia 666)
Next was the tag title match, and I had a fantastic seat for War Beasts entrance which I think is super dope (Karleena Gore shooting fire is badass). As War Beast got closer to the ring Damian and Bestia flew past us and attacked them from behind, thus starting the madness that has become PCW tag title matches. As good as my seat was for the entrance, it was terrible for the match itself. The start of the match was just crazy brawling around the ring that I saw 0% of, but I heard the reactions of the people who did see it. Eventually Josef and Damian brawled into the ring and I could see again. The artist formerly known as Sheik pulled his patented railroad spike, but gave it to Damian to use on him, which really added to the crazy factor or War beast. Karleena ended up getting involved, hitting a pretty nice looking rana and taking a double Muscle Buster from Damian and Bestia (which I give her mad props on). Brody ended up picking up the win via pinfall. I can’t say much about the quality of the match because I wasn’t able to see most of it. I really like Brody and Bestia, and was somewhat disappointed I didn’t get to see more of them. I would love to see a one on one with those guys at some point. This is definitely one I will have to check out on Highspots when the show is released.
PCW Heavyweight Championship Match: (c) John Hennigan vs. Penta El 0 M vs. Sami Callahan
Main event time: The Callahan Death Machine was out first, and I was firmly behind him (see previously mentioned love for OI4K). Sami got a pretty solid reaction and came out like a bat out of hell, throwing chairs into the ring and being crazy. Penta El 0 M came out next and got a HUGE reaction, like possibly the loudest I have ever heard live. I realize I am going to be called a blasphemer for this, but I kind of feel the same way about Penta as I do about Mr. 450. I know he is good in the ring, and he has an incredible ring presence, but I don’t feel the same connection or love that everyone else seems to feel. I do feel that way about Fenix and personally think he is by far the better of the Lucha Bros (alright now that I am done setting myself up to be a victim I will continue). The Champ John Hennigan entered next, and got a good reaction but compared to Penta’s it seemed like nothing.
There were dueling “Death Machine” and “Cero Miedo” chants to start that match that fired up randomly throughout the match. I feel like people wanted to cheer for Hennigan, but John Hennigan isn’t the easiest chant and he doesn’t really have a catchy nickname to chant like the other two. The match itself was great, and the audience was hot the entire time. At one point Penta went for a suicide dive and ate double chair shots from Sami and Hennigan. The fight ended up spilling into the audience and they spent a good amount of time fighting literally right in front of me, which was super rad because they were beating the hell out of each other. The eventually made their way back to the ring area and continued the match there. Dave Crist came out and slid a pair of Brass knuckles to his OI4K brother Callahan who used them effectively on Penta, but he kicked out and Sami went for the submission instead. Hennigan ended up coming in and hitting an O’Conner roll on Sami to get the 1-2-3 and reclaim his title.
After the match Christian Cole announced that Hennigan would next defend his title against Brian Cage on October 6th.
As everyone was getting ready to leave Cole reminded us he had one more big announcement, then proceeded to say the beautiful words that Terry Funk will be there for the October 6th show. I was overcome with joy, followed quickly by sorrow when I remembered I will not be here for that PCW event. I am happy for everyone who gets to attend though, take pictures and tag me in them!
PCW has quickly established themselves as one of the best promotions in SoCal after just 10 shows, and they are really hitting their groove using a good blend of fly ins and local talent. It doesn’t hurt that they have a really cool venue. They also do a better job than any indy promotion I know at drawing in casual fans and marketing to a different audience, which I think is really cool and gives the business good exposure. I am very curious and excited to see where PCW goes. Next up they have the 2nd young guns tournament and then a stacked card on October 6th that includes Hennigan vs Cage, Brody vs. Cobb, OI4K vs. The Lucha Bros and Daga, and TERRY FREAKING FUNK plus a ton more. I would highly recommend checking out their shows.