October 22, 2011

Chuck Taylor . . . finally wrestles his longtime rival in PWG.

Future Shock . . . make a great first impression, and tear down the house with the Young Bucks.

Kevin Steen . . . tries to end El Generico’s career, and retain his PWG World Title in a brutal ladder match.


This is a good example of why the term ‘spotfest’ isn’t always a bad thing. The four debutantes were looking to make an impression, and they certainly succeeded. The spots and sequences are clean more often than not, the only real flub seems to be when Bravo wasn’t quite in place for a knee drop, so Famous B had to stop and reposition him for it. The match has the standard control segment, with the heels working over Candice. Their work isn’t anything special, but they get across the notion of how big jerks they are. Candice hot tags, the spots commence, and the babyfaces win to make the crowd happy.


If this didn’t have such a stupid finish, and the body of the match actually mattered, then this would have been good. Despite Excalibur harping on about how well they know each other, it doesn’t really come out at all during the match. The only time is when they both hang themselves up in the ropes, and that works more because it’s funny rather than any other reason. The mat segment toward the end is nice, if one discounts Perkins doing the Kurt Angle-like roll through to escape Romero’s ankle lock. Romero singles out Perkins’ leg early on, and they work back to it a couple of times, including a nice moment when Perkins sells it after leaping over Romero to avoid a charge. But, the finish sees Romero tapping out to Perkins’ cloverleaf. It’d have made more sense for the guy who had the bad wheel to be tapping out.


Overall, this is a good bit like the opening trios match, which is disappointing to a degree. The opener featured four wrestlers who wanted to make a memorable first impression. This match is between two teams that are already established in PWG, so they should have tried to accomplish more. Yuma and Goodtime bring the flashy spots, Brian tries to end their careers with big spots like the powerbomb on the floor to Yuma, and Ryan does some nice stooging and selling early on. Like the opener, their timing and execution is spot-on, and nothing winds up looking bad, although Goodtime really should have sold the German suplex on the floor longer, but, it’s impossible to shake the feeling that these teams have a better match in them than this.


At first, this looked promising, with Willie showing how prepared he was by avoiding a bump into the apron, and dodging Davey’s kick and then slamming him down on the apron. Later on, Davey started sharking on Willie’s arm, and that was fun too. But, then this turned into the stereotypical ‘super indy’ match, where it’s all about spots rather than story. Davey gets Willie up for a superplex, which is impressive with how big Willie is, but it doesn’t matter because Willie blow it right off, and then they go into an extended sequence of no-selling Exploders. They come back to earth for the finish, with Willie barely surviving the roundhouse to the head, and clearly being out of it, so, there’s almost no doubt that the sliding kick will finish him off. But, the damage was already done. The idea seemed to be showing that Willie was elevated because he was able to hang with Davey, but, all he really did was follow his lead and jump off the deep end with him.


This is yet another case where the wrestlers opt to go with spots over story. Los Luchas do some impressive things, which make it easy to get behind them (the juji-gatame spot was especially nice) but, Ryan and Sky wind up playing the spotfest game with them. They establish themselves as heels through their crowd playing, but, there’s nothing at all in their work to push that idea forward. It’s basically just two teams pulling out various spots and sequences (and, again, some of them are very nice) without telling any story, or doing much of anything that would cause someone to make a real emotional investment in the match.


With how much these two have wrestled each other, it’s no surprise that their exchanges and sequences are as smooth as they are, their only real missteps are Ricochet’s flying cutter being a bit flubbed, and Chuck not quite being in place for one of Ricochet’s dives. But, at the core, this is mostly just another spotfest. There are a couple of times that they seem to be finally moving things in the right direction, like Taylor rolling through the Chocolate Rain and getting the Cross Crab, and then, after Ricochet gets the ropes, he does a powerbomb, and goes back to the Cross Crab when Ricochet kicks out. But, Taylor never goes back to the hold, or to the leg, and Ricochet doesn’t bother selling afterwards. Ricochet’s flying is amazing, and it’s impressive to see that Chuck can actually follow along to some degree. But, considering the history that these two have, this should have able to blow the rest of the undercard out of the water, and it didn’t.


After such a lackluster undercard, this is clearly the best match of the show. Both teams have truckloads of big spots, their timing is just about perfect, and they both add lots of smart touches to the match, especially Nick’s brilliant escape of Cole’s guillotine choke. Like their match against Aries/Strong in May, the ‘Bucks do a perfectly fine job of working the standard heel control segment on Kyle, to build to Cole’s hot tag, and the tag comes on the heels of them being too cocky and letting Kyle recover, rather than Kyle having to blow off anything big. After the tag, the spots commence, as expected with the Young Bucks, but it works better in this context because the bigger moves get more meaning, as opposed to Ricochet kicking out of the Awful Waffle like it’s nothing. Sometimes their sequences stretch the bounds of credibility, like Cole’s early dive after the champs caught Kyle’s attempt to dive onto them, and also the Sweet Chin Symphony, but, those are exceptions rather than rules. One of the smarter moments was Kyle’s blind tag while the ‘Bucks were setting up Cole for More Bang for Your Buck, and the sequence with Kyle trying to choke out Matt, and Nick not being able to make him break it, until he finally got the superkick, and with Cole down from the foul, Kyle easily falls pray to MBFYB. No, this isn’t the Midnights vs. Rock ‘n’ Roll, or even Rockers vs. Brainbusters, but, this is still a damn fun match. ***1/4

KEVIN STEEN © vs. EL GENERICO (PWG World Heavyweight Title - Ladder Match)

I’m impressed that Generico was even able to walk after this, let alone continue wrestling. It’d be easy to knock this as being little more than an exhibition of various ladder bumps, and that description isn’t completely out of left field. But, although accurate, that doesn’t quite give this its just due. Steen and Generico manage to pepper the match with a good amount of smart moments and good ideas. Their selling is just about perfect, even when Generico is in control, he shows the effects of the bumps he’s taken. The only issue is when Steen fouls Generico and tries for a powerbomb, but Generico blocks and back drops him to the floor. It wouldn’t have been that big a deal, except that the tag titles match featured the foul being used to take Cole out the match and let the Young Bucks finish off O’Reilly. Some people won’t like the run-in from the Young Bucks to attack Steen, but, it came off perfectly. The angle sets up the Guerilla Warfare tag match for the following show, and, it was the perfect excuse for Steen to not grab the belt after the turnbuckle brainbuster, because there was no way Generico was getting up from that anytime soon. The only thing that could have been better would have been if they helped Generico back into the ring. It just seems too convenient that he recovers right after they finished attacking Steen. But, then again, they attacked Generico after the match too, so why would they help him, just to attack him five minutes later?

The layout and structure of the match isn’t exactly complex, but, it doesn’t need to be. Two hated rivals lock horns one more time, and basically try to maim one another with the ladder. It’s much more believable than what you normally see in WWE ladder matches, where the main concern is ladder assisted spots and dives. From the first ladder bump that Generico takes until the end when he sunset flip powerbombs Steen on the bridged ladder in the corner, everything is perfectly believable. You believe that they hate each other enough to do this with nothing at all at stake, let alone the PWG World Title.

Conclusion: My two favorite things about PWG, The Young Bucks (who’d have thought I’d have that opinion when I first started reviewing PWG) and Steen are the only reasons to check this out. But, both matches are definitely worth checking this out for. It’s far from a stacked show, but they’re good enough to warrant seeking this out.