December 10, 2011

Willie Mack . . . attempts to show that his BOLA win over Chris Hero wasn’t a fluke, but, isn’t entirely successful.

Dick Togo . . . shows that he’s still a viable legend by dishing out a beating to the PWG World Champion.

The Young Bucks . . . finally reign themselves in, and put on a remarkably smart Guerrilla Warfare match.

I suppose that the first match is technically Kenny King vs. T.J. Perkins. But, it’s not like anything important happens before the Taylor Boys show up and turn it into a tag match, so we’ll just call the tag match the opener.


It’s nice to see the Taylors follow up on their fun match from the previous show with a win here, but, this isn’t all that special. The only time that this seems to pick up is when Perkins tags King, and the match breaks down, and, even then, it’s just the four of them throwing out spots, rather than making a genuine attempt to tell a story or develop any themes. It’s cool to see that a monster like Brian can pull off a moonsault, but, it was pretty much a wasted spot rather than being a match breaker.


The fact that they at least tried to tell a story makes this better than the opener. Strong targets Red’s midsection as a way to cage the flyer and shut him down, as well as wear him down for the Stronghold. It pays off in the end by virtue of Strong getting the pin after a monster Gibson driver. But, Red needed something to do in order to not get squashed, and, he apparently doesn’t have anything else to do other than fly around. He can’t even be bothered to sell after hitting something big like the standing SSP, to at least show that Strong’s body attacks wore him down. The once nice idea they had is Red’s counter of the Stronghold into the Code Red, even though the term ugly doesn’t even come close to describing how the spot looked, but, the idea was nice.


You would think the addition of B-Boy, Ryan, and Sky to the mix would make this a marked improvement over the spotfest from October. Well, it’s an improvement, but not a huge one. The match pretty much goes back and fourth between good exchanges and sequences, and comedy spots. Some of the comedy is OK, like the babyface side all coming off the top, and the heel side all using low blows to stop them, except Candice is immune, and then she makes the rounds and backhands everyone. But, by and large, the wrestling is better, and even that’s pretty much the same spotfest that was seen last time around. Yes, the dives and spots are nice to look at, but, they’d be better served to tell a story to keep the crowd’s interest, especially with vets like Ryan and B-Boy right there to take the lead. Giving them so much time to work with seemed to be a step in the right direction, but, it’d have been nice to see them take advantage of it.


Strictly from a booking standpoint, this is some nice progression. Willie follows up a close loss to Davey Richards, by getting the upset over a former PWG Champion. But, pretty much until the final stretch, this is the same mentality as Willie’s match with Davey, he just follows along and lets Hero have his usual match. Replace Davey’s “Super Indy” match of spots and no-selling with Hero piling on the strikes, mostly elbows, and it’s pretty much the same match. Willie shows some flashes of promise with a couple of counters, the Mountain bomb was especially nice, but it still feels like Willie is just along for the ride rather than being in charge. From Hero’s missed moonsault until Willie plants him with the CTD for the win, they had the right idea, with Willie finally showing what he could do. He just should have done a lot more of it.


This doesn’t have the story or smart work to put it anywhere close to the match that Future Shock had with the Young Bucks, but, this is still fun for what it is, which is a well-executed spotfest. Both teams get ample time to show what they can do, and, they all get a chance to do some ample selling to give the bigger spots more meaning. The only misstep in that regard was Yuma getting to his feet a little too quickly after the lung blower combo, but, even then, Goodtime still made the save when Cole tried the pin, so it wasn’t like he just took the spot and leapt right up to his feet. Like Willie Mack and the Taylor boys, it’s nice to see the progression from the prior show, and, by defeating the previous challengers for the tag titles, it shows that Yuma and Goodtime can still be considered threats to the titles. It’s just too bad that the four of them couldn’t produce something closer to what the Young Bucks did with Future Shock.


Although there isn’t anything bad here, this doesn’t pick up the way you’d expect. It’s as close as “going through the motions” as I’ve seen from Eddie and Davey. Everyone does their stuff, but, there doesn’t seem to be much snap or urgency to it. Even when Eddie and Davey get a chance to work over Player Uno for an extended time, it feels like they’re holding back instead of going all out to brutalize him and build up to the hot tag. There’s a nice moment when the Wolves give Uno the Force of Nature, as a payback for the Smash Bros giving Eddie a similar move, and, the finish is fun, with Uno refusing to stay down, until Eddie locks in the half crab and then stomps the bejesus out of him and forces him to give it up, but, this is far below the level of what I expected from two generally respected teams.


Even though they went a bit nuts toward the end, this was still the best match up to this point, if only just because they attempted to tell a story. Both of them feel like they have something to prove, Togo is nearing retirement, but wants to show that he still has what it takes to give the PWG Champion a run for his money. Generico wants to prove that, champion or not, he’s got it in him to go toe to toe with a legend like Togo. It also helps that Togo brings the simple and effective offense, and there are few who can sell better than Generico, so the fans mostly get a good show. The first sign that things are going to get out of hand is when Togo blows off the release Tiger suplex, but, they make up for it by working a nice mat segment that ends with Togo getting the crossface. But then they completely go overboard with the big moves and finishers, three FFF’s, one of which was off the top and a senton bomb, along with the Heluva kick, brainbuster, and the turnbuckle brainbuster. Again, Generico’s selling is top notch, at least until it’s his turn to do something, and, the final image of a spent Generico finding the strength to cover Togo after the turnbuckle brainbuster ends the match on a nice note. But, it’s just too bad that felt they needed to go that route, when they should be capable of so much better. ***

NICK JACKSON/MATT JACKSON © vs. KEVIN STEEN/SUPER DRAGON (PWG World Tag Team Titles - Guerrilla Warfare Match)

Although not in the same vein as the previous match, this is as close as PWG could realistically get to putting on a dream match. The tag team champions, who are cemented as the top team in the company, going against two men who’d beaten respect into each other in this same match, and, on their own, are as close to being synonymous with PWG as it gets. It’s similar to the Steen Wolf ladder match, in that both teams simply want to hurt one another, and the anger and intensity that they show is more than enough to make that seem perfectly plausible. Also, like the ladder match, there are some smart moments sprinkled throughout the match, to make it more than just mindless violence. My favorite was when Nick was on the apron and saw Steen coming at him with a chair, so Nick shoulder tackled him to make him drop it, and then did the springboard facebuster onto the chair.

This is also as close to reigned in as I’ve seen the Young Bucks, they mostly drop the overly flashy offense and follow Steen and Dragon’s lead of just trying to beat the hell out of them. The closest thing to a superkick party is when Nick hits one on Steen and he doesn’t go down, and spits at Nick, so Nick does two more to drop him. They all do a nice job of not letting things get too out of hand. The splash through the table from Matt puts Dragon out of commission for a long stretch and lets the champs have fun with Steen, and the big finish of the diving curb stomp and then the package piledriver to Matt are the only times either of their finishers gets used. This isn’t anything great, but, like the ladder match, it’s impressive to see them make a concentrated effort to work smart, even in this setting.

Conclusion: It looks like business as usual for PWG (at least PWG in 2011). Some decent stuff on the undercard, and Steen, Generico, and the Young Bucks doing the heavy lifting.