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By Stuart Carapola on 2010-11-26 15:30:02
In my neverending quest to try and expose the readers of PWInsider to great wrestling they might not otherwise be privy to, this is my first ever review of show from Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, a promotion out in Southern California that is kind of like the Ring Of Honor of the west coast in that they use a lot of the same talent and have done a great job of building a lot of notoriety for themselves despite being located across the country from a lot of internet writers who generally cover independent wrestling. They have a great product with some really innovative concepts as far as matches and storylines go, and present a bit of a different product than other wrestling companies in that, while ROH (which I compared it to earlier) likes to present a straightforward wrestling promotion where it's all about the competition, PWG likes to throw a lot more comedy into their product. That's not to say that wins and losses don't matter because they do, but as you will see as you read the review, they like to supplement the serious quests for title and blood feuds with a healthy dose of offbeat comedy where they often poke fun at themselves for the sake of entertainment.

We start our PWG DVD review series with the first show of 2007, which saw some major feuds come to a head and some new directions set for the new year.

PWG Based On A True Story: 1/13/2007 in Reseda, California

We start the show with a major blowoff match as Frankie Kazarian takes on Scorpio Sky in a Loser Leaves PWG Match. Kazarian has a long and storied history in PWG, main eventing the first show against AJ Styles and becoming the first PWG Champion, but had spent much of 2006 embroiled in a heated feud with Sky, who was at one time a masked fan favorite but, after losing the mask, became a cocky, arrogant heel and eventually joined the Dynasty, the top heel group in PWG which also included PWG Champion Joey Ryan, Chris Bosh, and Scott Lost. The feud really got super extra heated when Sky knocked Kazarian out and did what Vince McMahon couldn't by cutting Kazarian's hair. Great opener between two of the best workers in the company, they had a nice long brawl all over the building and took some hellacious bumps on the outside, including Sky diving off the stage onto Kazarian and Kazarian powerslamming Sky on the floor. Sky has the awesomest Groucho Marx eyebrows I've ever seen on a real person since Groucho himself, by the way. Bosh and Lost came out at the end and Bosh distracted the referee while Lost gave Kazarian a Diamond Cutter, but Kazarian kicked out and the match continued until the referee kicked Bosh and Lost out of ringside, but then got bumped and Sky KILLED Kazarian with a chairshot, but Kazarian kicked out after the ref revived and started to count. Next plan: Jade Chung holds Kazarian for Sky to nail from off the top rope, but Kazarian breaks free and tosses Jade at the corner and crotches Sky, then goes up and hits the Wave Of The Future on Sky to pick up the win and send Sky to the unemployment line. After the match, Jade Chung blatantly rips off the Wrestlemania 7 angle where Sherri was pissed at Randy Savage for losing and attacks him, but instead of Elizabeth coming out of the crowd to make the save, Sky got Dino Winwood, an overweight comedian who doubled as PWG's Commissioner. Well, what did you expect from PWG? Sky extends his hand to Kazarian and Kazarian hesitates, but ends up shaking it in a show of sportsmanship and then, just like Savage and Elizabeth at Wrestlemania 7, Sky and his former manager Dino Winwood embrace in the middle of the ring that Sky is now contractually prohibited from wrestling in. Awesome match and a great way to get this show off to a good start.

We follow that up with Rocky Romero taking on Colt Cabana, who had been sitting in to do commentary on this show and continued to do so on his own match. Oh wait, it's not's his brother Curly Cabana! Well, that makes total sense now. Total comedy match, and it never ceases to amaze me how much Cabana can get out of doing so little, the guy is a genius to have such entertaining matches by literally playing around doing slapstick sight gags like overselling a kick by laying writhing on the mat for two minutes, or releasing a wristlock and having the other guy fall and land on his butt then prance around the ring holding his behind. Just tremendous. Romero gets an anklelock and Cabana reverses to a victory roll for 2, and Romero goes back to the anklelock and Cabana again reverses, but Romero reverses the reversal and ends up on top for the win.

It's time for some six man action as Scott Lost, Bino Gambino & Karl Anderson took on Disco Machine, Nemesis, and TJ Perkins. These may seem like a couple of oddball teams that don't really seem to have a common thread, and you'd be right if you said so, but with PWG you are usually guaranteed to get one of these matches on every single show, and will almost always include at least a couple of the following guys: Excalibur, Bino Gambino, Nemesis, Disco Machine, Topgun Talwar, Los Luchas, Hook Bomberry, and Ronin. In other words, the guys who are always going to be there but they don't have anything better to do with. This was also Karl Anderson's PWG debut, and if you've never seen him he looks like Adam Pearce if he put on about 40 pounds of muscle. Scott Lost was my favorite west coast wrestler for a long time and I always assumed he would eventually get a push in ROH or TNA, but he never did. He retired earlier this year, and I consider it the biggest waste of an indy talent in at least the last few years. TJ Perkins is probably right below Lost in my "favorite west coast guys" list and another guy I wish would get a nice push somewhere, but he sometimes has a habit of letting his mouth cost him work. Disco Machine is one of the owners of the company and also the lead play-by-play announcer for PWG DVDs, including this one. Unlike Colt & Curly Cabana, Disco Machine can apparently be in two places at once and do commentary on his own matches. These matches also tend to be combination comedy matches/spotfests that have no bearing on any ongoing storylines in any way, and that's pretty much what we got here. Disco pinned Gambino with the chokebreaker (chokeslam into a backbreaker) for the win.

Next up is a #1 contender's match between Kevin Steen and Chris Bosh, and Steen had defeated AJ Styles for the PWG Title and held it for several months before Joey Ryan stole it from him, and Steen had spent most of the time since chasing Joey to try and get his title back. Bosh, on the other hand, is a member of the Dynasty (which also includes Joey and Scott Lost and, up until about an hour ago, Scorpio Sky) and while he had issues with Joey in the past, the group is now finally all on the same page. Bosh is also well known for cutting vulgar, and often sexually and racially charged, promos in an apparent effort to become the most offensive wrestler in history. Case in point, Bosh cuts a prematch promo telling Steen he wants to raise the stakes beyond just the #1 contendership, and while I will not repeat the name of the match he suggests, it is similar in spirit to the stipulation match Bret Hart and Jerry Lawler had at King Of The Ring 1995, except that it is in reference to a different appendage. And a different action will be performed upon that appendage. And let's leave it at that. Both men fought for their lives in this one for the obvious reason, with Bosh even becoming one of the few men I've ever seen kick out of the Package Piledriver, but Steen quickly followed that up with what can best be described as an overhead Package Piledriver into the second turnbuckle and that was enough for Bosh to go down in defeat. Speaking of going down, the payoff to the second stipulation didn't happen before we went on to the next match, so either it was so disturbing that even PWG wouldn't put it out on DVD, they just forgot about it, or it's a DVD extra.

Whatever the case, it's time for our next match as Super Dragon took on Ronin in a match between two of the stiffest SOBs on the indies. If you've ever seen Super Dragon wrestle, you'll remember him because he is stiff to the point where it almost looks like he's taking liberties with guys, though from what I've heard he's more than happy to let other guys give back to him whatever he dishes out. There seem to be two schools of though on the guy, one is "Oh my god, this guy is amazing" and the other is "I don't see what's so special about him, it doesn't take talent to potato people." Here's my take, I don't think he's at that top level like a Bryan Danielson, Samoa Joe, Low Ki or AJ Styles, but at the same time I'm not ready to bury him, either. In fact, he's had some pretty damn exciting matches, a lot of which (especially during his PWG Tag Team Title reign with Davey Richards) have surpassed the 40 minute mark, and while going long doesn't make a match good in and of itself, his matches have generally been pretty good as far as I've seen, so he's not like an Eddie Kingston type who just comes out and punches and kicks and brings nothing else to the table. And the argument is moot at this point anyway since he retired in 2008. But we're still in 2007, and he's now wrestling Ronin in what's being billed as a Student vs Teacher match. I never knew Super Dragon trained Ronin, but I guess Ronin learned how to throw that forearm somewhere. Ronin survived through a ton of heavy shots from Super Dragon, including a double stomp to the face, and eventually hit Super Dragon with his finish, the Death Valley Driver, but Super Dragon kicked out so Ronin hit a second DVD, and Dragon again kicked out. Ronin was through messing around, and delivered a lariat that turned Super Dragon inside out followed by another DVD and finally it was enough to put Super Dragon away. Ronin had been beating major indy stars like Matt Sydal and SHINGO leading into this match, but beating Super Dragon was a huge deal for Ronin and a pretty big step for a guy who started out as just a generic fat masked guy.

We move on to the PWG Tag Team Title Match, as champions Cape Fear (El Generico & Quicksilver) defended their newly won title against Los Luchas, Zokre & Phoenix Star. Winning the tag title was a long time coming for Generico and Quicksilver, who had both been champions before (Quicksilver with Scorpio Sky as the Aerial Xpress, and Generico with Human Tornado as Two Skinny Black Guys), but had been chasing the title for much of 2005 & 2006 before finally beating Super Dragon & B-Boy and becoming champions at the last show of 2006. I've never seen Los Luchas outside of PWG, so I'll take them at their word that they're really Mexican luchadores, and Colt Cabana on commentary spends much of the match translating all the Mexican names of the wrestlers and moves into English for us. Solid match, though Los Luchas have never been portrayed as anything other that a low level team that gets a win every now and then, but never really goes over big. If you've never seen Quicksilver before, the guy is amazing. He just looks like a generic, skinny white guy under a mask (kind of like Generico, except skinnier), but the guy is ridiculously athletic and is constantly popping me by just coming out of nowhere with these killer moves, like in this match where he was on the apron and shot through the ropes and hit a tornado DDT. He's a great example of some of the great west coast talent that just never gets the exposure they deserve because they don't live in the Northeast. Generico finishes with the brainbuster to retain in their first title defense.

And finally, we come to the main event as Joey Ryan defends the PWG Title against Human Tornado in a Guerrilla Warfare Match. Lots of backstory to this one: Joey Ryan defeated Kevin Steen to win the PWG Title in late 2005, and at this point had been the champion for over a year, and was far and away the longest reigning PWG Champion in company history. That said, we're not exactly talking about a Samoa Joe kind of dominant title reign, because Joey did not win one single title defense cleanly: he would either cheat to win, blatantly get himself disqualified either on his own or due to Dynasty run-ins, and a couple of times actually get pinned, but end up retaining the title on a technicality or a reverse decision. Human Tornado was Ryan's toughest challenger and had Ryan's number, but Ryan would retain the title every single time by the skin of his teeth and sheer luck. To finally settle the score once and for all and to take away the possibility of any untoward shenanigans or anything else that might result in a controversial finish or Ryan retaining via unscrupulous means, this match would be contested under Guerrilla Warfare rules, which is basically the same thing as ROH's Fight Without Honor, it's a No DQ match with a fancy proprietary name.

Awesome brawl, and it started out with a lot of the normal hardcore stuff with chairs and fighting on the outside, and then out of nowhere Joey Ryan grabbed a beer bottle and broke it over Human Tornado's head, Sabu & Cactus style, and then the real fun started. They went back in the ring and Jade Chung came in with a purse full of thumbtacks, which Joey poured out in the middle of the ring, and Tornado's valet Candice LeRae came in and went after Jade, so Joey pulled the heel move of the century as he grabbed a handful of thumbtacks, grabbed Candice and pulled out the front of her top, dumped the handful of thumbtacks into her top, and then dropkicked her in the chest. Then they fought out of the ring and up onto the stage after Ryan had set up a table on the floor and he tried to toss Human Tornado onto it, but Tornado hung on and hit a Canadian Destroyer off the stage through a table, and then Candice got her revenge by climbing a ladder that had been set up in the ring and dove onto Joey on the floor. Tornado then upped the ante even further by pulling out a barbed wire board he had stashed under the hard camera and set it up in the corner, but Joey tossed him into it, with bloody wounds immediately opening up on his arms and back. Joey called for Chris Bosh and Scott Lost to come out and help him, but Cape Fear and Kevin Steen ran out and fought the Dynasty off, leaving Tornado and Joey alone in the ring. Tornado hit a Pounce that sent Joey crashing into the thumbtacks, then gave Joey a tornado DDT onto the thumbtacks, and finally a Regalplex (whose name I will again not repeat here for decency standards) that literally dropped Joey face first on the thumbtacks, and then Tornado dragged Joey out to the middle of the ring and covered him for three to finally end Joey Ryan's reign of terror as the PWG Champion to a huge ovation from the crowd.

* * *

This was a terrific show that combined all the elements I spoke about in the opening paragraph: you got a ton of great wrestling action, an awesome hardcore brawl in the main event, great wrestling between Sky and Kazarian, a stiff fest between Super Dragon and Ronin, and more comedy than you can shake a stick at. I definitely recommend getting this DVD if you like indy wrestling and want to see it presented in a somewhat different fashion than what you're used to. There was not one point where I was bored watching it, and it really got me excited to see where they went as 2007 progressed.

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