Friday, September 6, 2013

PWG TEN Review

Pro Wrestling Guerrilla celebrates its 10th Anniversary with two big main event title matches!!

Reseda, California 8/9/13

1.) B-Boy, Candice LaRae & Willie Mack vs. Peter Avalon, Joey Ryan & Ryan Taylor: ***1/2

Joey Ryan is making his return after being released by TNA. This was super-fun. These five guys & one gal went out there and put on an exciting match. As good as any opener you'll see here in PWG.

2.) Brian Cage vs. Anthony Nese: **3/4

This is the PWG debut for Anthony Nese, who's been tearing it up in Dragon Gate USA & Evolve in 2013. The match itself was good, but nothing really special. I've seen a few people mention this already (Excalibur & Kevin Steen even made reference to it on commentary) but Brian Cage seems to be putting on more muscle and I think that's honestly hurting his performances. It hasn't been as evident this year since's he's been teaming with Michael Elgin on the year's first four shows, but it really shows here in singles competition. Nese looked impressive but I think he would have been better off with a different opponent.

3.) The Forever Hooligans vs. The RockNES Monsters: ***1/4

Romero & Kozlov are no strangers to PWG but I think this is the first time they are teaming in PWG as the Forever Hooligans. This was a good match. Their were parts of the match that were rather uninteresting but but the latter stages were really good, and made for a solid match in the end.

4.) "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin vs. AR Fox: ****

A great match here. It's amazing how good Elgin has become. At this point he's my pick for Indy Wrestler of the Year. He just keeps having Four-Star level matches everywhere he goes, and his match here with AR Fox, and ROH vs. Dragon Gate USA/Evolve Dream Match, is no exception. A ton of great spots with an incredible finish.

5.) Johnny Gargano & Chuck Taylor vs. Paul London & Brian Kendrick: ***1/2

The match starts in a chicken fight with Gargano & Kendrick on the shoulders of Taylor & London respectively. That sequence alone was just awesome. The rest of the match was a lot of fun. They managed to find a good mix of solid wrestling with comedy, and it made for a very entertaining contest.

6.) Kyle O'Reilly vs. TJ Perkins: ****

O'Reilly has been on a role as of late. On the last two shows he's scored singles victories against Sami Callihan and his mentor Davey Richards. He & TJ Perkins had a great match here. I find it incredible that these two wrestled a completely different style of match than Elgin/Fox, but it was equally as good. Really good stuff here.

7.) PWG World Title - Three-Way Guerrilla Warfare Match - Adam Cole vs. Kevin Steen vs. Drake Younger: ****

This is the first of the show's double main-events. Their were some pretty comedic moments (Adam Cole falling though a chair when he tried to sit on it and then getting hit with a traffic-cone wearing Drake Younger) and some pretty brutal spots (Steen giving Drake a Package Piledriver through chairs and giving Adam Cole the Top Rope Brainbuster). It wasn't overly crazy, but very entertaining nonetheless.

8.) PWG World Tag Team Titles - Three-Way Ladder Match - The Young Buck vs. The Dojo Bros vs. The Inner City Machine Guns: ****1/2

First of all, I will say that this Ladder Match was not as good as the amazing Three-Way Ladder Match from Threemendous III last year, but still, it was incredible. People really shouldn't compare though, because this match on its own had some great moments. These three teams went balls-to-the-wall for a thrilling main event. The only negative thing I have to say about this is that the end felt kind of anti-climactic. Other than that, an awesome way to conclude the shows.

Overall: 9.5/10

What a great way to celebrate your Tenth Anniversary. The double main events ended up being really exciting and definitely worth seeing. The rest of the show was on the overall pretty good. While there was a bit of a slump after the exciting opener, it picked up with Elgin/Fox and the show got event better from there. I'd say this show ties All-Star Weekend 9: Night Two for PWG Show of the Year thus far, and it's definitely worth checking out.

PWG Is Your Body Ready? Review

Adam Cole & Sami Callihan try to survival an hour of hell...all for the PWG World Title!

PWG Is Your Body Ready?
Reseda, California 6/15/13

1.) The RockNES Monsters vs. The Unbreakable F’N Machines: ***1/4

A pretty solid opener. I like the face that Johnny Yuma & Johnny Goodtime got this opportunity against two of the bigger names on the independent scene. This made for a very fun opener.

2.) Kyle O’Reilly vs. Davey Richards: ***1/2

This isn't the first time these two had squared off in 2013. Of course they've been part of the American Wolves/reDRagon feud in ROH, where they've already had two fantastic singles matches. While this was not as good as their matches in Milwaukee & NYC for ROH, it was still a very good match. I've heard some people say they didn't like it as much, but I didn't mind it.

3.) The Dojo Bros vs. Chuck Taylor & Johnny Gargano: ***1/2

Here we have a pretty exciting dream match between Ring of Honor & Dragon Gate USA wrestlers. While this was nothing blow-away spectacular, it was still a very entertaining tag team match. These four are some of the Best in the World and they can have a great match no matter where they are on the card.

4.) Kevin Steen vs. Drake Younger: ***1/2

I heard a lot of people say going into this that somebody was going to die. Although this was a straight up match with DQ's & Count Outs, it was still very brutal. Younger took a ton of punishment from Steen, but Drake was able to deliver high-impact punishment of his own. Adam Cole would get involved when Rick Knox was down, laying out Steen with the PWG World Title, only to get a Drake's Landing a few moments later (which in contest seems stupid on Cole's part to get involved since he would be involved in a grueling match for his World Title later in the night). Drake would end up winning with a backslide, which came off as anti-climactic, but the rest of the match made up for it.

5.) Non-Title Match – The Young Bucks vs. AR Fox & Samuray del Sol: ****1/4

This is a Non-Title affair, as well as what would end up being del Sol's last PWG match before heading to WWE. While I wouldn't call this as good as Inner City Machines Guns vs. Fox/del Sol from All-Star Weekend 9: Night One, it was still a very entertaining match. The Young Bucks were their usual great selves and Fox/del Sol certainly gave them a fun for their money.

6.) PWG World Title – 60 Minute Iron-Man Match – Adam Cole vs. Sami Callihan: ****1/4

Sami Callihan is also wrestling his last PWG show before he leaves for WWE. I've seen a lot of varying opinions on this match, but I thought it was very good. I like the fact that Cole used heelish tactics to go up 3-0 very early but Callihan would fought back. The finish, where Cole was up by 6-5, and had to withstand the Stretch Muffler for a full minute, was really cool. I know Iron-Man matches (especially the 60-Minute variety) can test a fan's patience but I thought they handled things really well.

After the match, the two embrace, only for Cole to kick Sami in the dick and start beating him up before Kevin Steen chases him off. Some of the other wrestlers & the fans then bid Sami a proper farewell to close the show.

Overall: 8.75/10

While this show didn't have anything that really stood out as being amazing, it was still yet another great show from PWG. The four undercard matches were all very good (I'd venture to say it's one of the best undercards of any show this year) and two main events were both equally amazing. This show is definitely a fun one to watch.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

ROH 7th Anniversary Show Review

A physically broken down Nigel McGuinness defends against KENTA and two ROH originals return!

ROH 7th Anniversary Show
New York City, New York 3/21/09

1.) Roderick Strong & Erick Stevens vs. Rhett Titus & Kenny King: **3/4

This was during the early stages of the King & Titus tag team. A pretty fine opening match. Good but nothing really flashy. Strong & Stevens pick up the win.

2.) Brent Albright vs. Claudio Castagnoli: ***1/4

A pretty solid match here. The action wasn't anything spectacular, but it was still fairly good. The match ends up going to the 15 Minute Time Limit. Their is a pull-apart brawl, and after they're separated Claudio (surprisingly, since he's heel) calls for five more minutes! Albright agrees and it's on, but it doesn't last very long as Claudio kicks Albright low and draws a DQ. Again, good match with the finish doing a pretty solid job at furthering the feud between these two.

After the match, Claudio continues to assault Albright.

3.) Adam Pearce (with Shane Hagadorn & Sara del Rey) vs. Bobby Dempsey: DUD

So Sweet 'n' Sour Inc. put out Open Challenge Contracts for people to come in and take out Dempsey. Adam Pearce steps up to the plate here. Before the match, they bring out George Oliphant, who's apparently from some local NBC station. Pearce berates him before the match starts. Speaking of which, it was very short. Pearce got some shots in, then talked some trash, the received an Avalanche and a Death Valley Driver for the 1-2-3. Basically a squash but a good way for Dempsey to get revenge on Pearce.

4.) Jerry Lynn vs. Mike Quackenbush: ***

Not much to say about this one. A pretty entertaining exhibition....what you would expect from a Mike Quackenbush match.

5.) Revolution Rules Match – Tyler Black, Delirious (with Daizee Haze) & Necro Butcher vs. The Age of the Fall (Jimmy Jacobs & Brodie Lee) & Austin Aries: ***1/4

Essentially, it's an Elimination Match, where each fall has to be different from the previous fall. On paper, I liked the match stipulation, and I think this had the potential to be really good. Unfortunately, I wasn't booked very well and it ended up just being ok. They had so many stories going on in this match (Brodie/Necro, Delirious/Jacobs, Black/Jacobs, Black/Aries, the Aries/Jacobs "frienemies" thing) but the booking of the actual match hurt it to a degree. In my view they did the eliminations wrong. If it was me, I would have had Necro & Brodie eliminate each other first via Double DQ, then leading to a Black/Delirious vs. Jacobs/Aries No DQ bit of the match & you could have gone from there. Overall, a good match that could have been better.

6.) Bison Smith & Jimmy Rave (with Prince Nana) vs. Bryan Danielson & Colt Cabana: ***1/2

So the story here was that Danielson & Smith were both bringing in mystery partners. Prince Nana comes out with Bison Smith and cuts a promo, thanking "Barack Alabama" for the "Stimulus Money" and introduced Smith's partner is the returning "Crown Jewel" Jimmy Rave! Danielson rushes the ring after this but gets beat down. Grizzly Redwood tries to help but to no avail. Colt Cabana then hits the ring to a large reaction and saves Danielson! The match itself was pretty good. Nothing over the top or outstanding, but a fun match that reintroduces two ROH originals back into the company.

7.) D-Lo Brown vs. Jay Briscoe (with Mark Briscoe): **1/2

Before the match, D-Lo Brown cuts a promo basically saying he's going to make the most of his situation after being let go be WWE. Over the course of the match, D-Lo slowly starts using heelish tactics and eventually gets the win via one of these heelish tactics - a rollup with a handful of tights. It was an ok match, though I'm not sure how D-Lo's slower style fits with ROH.

8.) ROH World Tag Team Titles – No DQ – Kevin Steen & El Generico vs. The American Wolves (with Shane Hagadorn & Sara del Rey): ****

Steen has one of his knees taped up after several attacks by the Wolves leading up to this match. It was a pretty good No-DQ Match. I'd say it was somewhere in the middle of the "No DQ" spectrum...not too little, not too much. The match ends with Steen getting a submission win over Richards. Again, very good match. These teams have great chemistry.

After the match, the Wolves, not satisfied, attack Steen & Generico post-match. They put El Generico through a table and attack Steen's knees with chairs after tying Steen in the ropes. This serves as a great set-up to the Tables Match they would have on HDNet.

9.) ROH World Title – Nigel McGuinness vs. KENTA: ****

The match itself was pretty good, with a lot of excitement that one would expect from these two, but simply put, Nigel was nowhere near 100% with his injuries, and that definitely hurt the match. Still, these two did what they could and put on a solid main event effort.

Overall: 8.25/10

This was a pretty good show. Nothing really stood out, but at the same time nothing was bad either. I'd say the two titles matches are the best matches on the show, and the returns of Jimmy Rave & Colt Cabana make for a very solid Anniversary Show.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Wrestling is Respect Quest To Be Best Review

Eight Men battle for the right to be called "The Best"!

Wrestling is Respect: Quest To Be Best
Boonton, New Jersey 6/30/13

All eight participant in the tournament pose for an in-ring picture.

1.) Quest To Be Best Quarter-Finals - Frank O'Rourke vs. Anthony Stone: **3/4

I really like O'Rourke's "Frank 3:16" T-Shirt. Stone would get some offense in but this was pretty much a competitive squash for O'Rourke. Stone took some sick bumps in a match that sees O'Rourke advance to the next round. Stone would need help to the back.

2.) Quest To Be Best Quarter-Finals - Matt Taven vs. Gran Akuma: ***1/4

Taven comes into this as the reigning ROH World TV Champions, and the commentators mention this as well as his time in ROH (such as the fact that there was no "Hoopla" at ringside with Taven). A very solid match that sees the veteran Akuma get the win and advancing to the next round.

3.) Quest To Be Best Quarter-Finals - Drew Gulak vs. Jervis Cottonbelly: ***1/4

This was easily Jervis Cottonbelly's best match in 2013 and no surprise that it came against Gulak. It's nice to see Jervis have a competitive match for once. A solid technical contest that sees Gulak pick up the win which sends him to the next round.

4.) Quest To Be Best Quarter-Finals - Arctic Rescue Ant vs. Green Ant: ***1/4

Here we a small part of the overall rivalry between the Colony & it's cheap knock-offs. This was actually a pretty good match, though the outcome is no real surprise as Green Ant gets the win and moves on.

5.) Quest To Be Best Semi-Finals - Frank O'Rourke vs. Gran Akuma: ***1/4

Once again, we get a very solid match on this show. Both guys gave it their all but it would be O'Rourke getting the win and moving on to the finals

6.) Quest To Be Best Semi-Finals - Drew Gulak vs. Green Ant: ***1/2

A really good match here. These two are pretty familiar with each other, and it showed here with a great match. Green Ant would escape with the win and advance to the finals. 

7.) The Colony: Xtreme Force (Missile Assault Ant & Orbit Adventure Ant) vs. The Baltic Seige (The Estonian ThunderFrog & Lithuanian Snow Troll): **3/4

Here we have an interesting clash of characters. Nothing really fantastic, but a pretty fun match. ThunderFrog lost his patience when the Xtreme Force wouldn't wrestle and kept shouting their names. In the end, however, the Xtreme Force would get the win via a distraction from Arctic Rescue Ant and a 450 Splash from Orbit Adventure Ant.

After the match, Gavin Loudspeaker revealed that it was the Snow Troll's Birthday, and led everyone in singing "Happy Birthday" to him.

8.) Pieces of Hate (Jigsaw & The Shard) vs. Delirious & Leech Landa: ***1/4

Delirious faced both member of Pieces of Hate in singles matches on the first two shows but this time brings a partner in the form of Leech Landa. A pretty good tag team encounter. Haven't seen much of Leech Landa but he shows here that he can hang with the big boys. Unfortunately, he would end getting pinned after a superkick from Jigsaw.

9.) Quest To Be Best Finals - Frank O'Rourke vs. Green Ant: ****

Green Ant comes out in his Patriotic Green Ant Mask that he used in CHIKARA during his feud with Tursas (since it was a few days before the 4th of July). This was a great main event. Not only great wrestling, but still stuff from both guys. In a war of a match that saw chairs used and O'Rourke get busted open, it would be Frank O'Rourke who would get the win and is the Quest To Be Best Tournament Winner.

Overall: 8.25/10

This was by far the best "Wrestling is..." Show to date (taking the top spot from Wrestling is Art Pop). Not a singe match was bad and everything was entertaining. The show let us see some of the true bright spots of the "Wrestling is..." Promotions such as Frank O'Rourke, Drew Gulak & Green Ant as well as one of the better "Wrestling is..." Promotions in Wrestling is Respect. All of the Tournament matches were solid and the tag team matches were entertaining. Overall a great show, and if you're going pick a "Wrestling is..." Show, make it this one.

Here is a highlight video of the show I found on Youtube:

ROH Best in the World 2013 Review

The Briscoe Brothers do battle over the ROH World Title!

ROH Best in the World 2013
Baltimore, Maryland 6/22/13

1.) "The Prodigy" Mike Bennett (with Maria Kanellis & "Brutal" Bob Evans) vs. BJ Whitmer: **3/4

The weird thing is, you would figure that the American Wolves/Adrenaline RUSH match would have opened the show. Probably would have been the better choice. Still, this match was fine. A miscommunication with Bob Evans costs Bennett the match.

2.) Adrenaline RUSH (ACH & Tadarius Thomas) vs. The American Wolves: **

I know some people like to hate on the Adrenaline RUSH name but I like it. The match itself was really good. Exactly what you would expect from an American Wolves match. Thomas & ACH looked really solid as well. Great tag team action here.

3.) Roderick Strong vs. Adam Cole: ***1/2

This stems from Cole refusing to shake Strong's hand following the match at Honor in the Heart of Texas (which Cole later apologized for at Liv3 & Let Die). I wouldn't say it was as good as their Texas match, but it was still very good. The match ended when Strong crashed through a table following a Cole superkick, and Cole was going to help Strong get back in the ring, but decided to leave him on the floor and took the count-out win. Normally Count-Out endings kind of suck, but here it worked perfectly in the context of the story.

4.) "The Sicilian Psychopath" Tommaso Ciampa vs. "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin: ****1/2

Simply put, this was a fantastic match. Elgin continues to have great match after great match in ROH and Ciampa proved that he's a good as he's ever been. A different match from some of Elgin's other classics, but still very good with a lot of brutal stuff. I should also note that RD Evans was on commentary, and took it upon himself to mention his law-firm and how they help clients that have suffered things such as "Unsolicited Time Travel" in an obvious shout-out of sorts to CHIKARA.

After the match, QT Marshall comes out to try and pick the bones of Ciampa, but he & Elgin get back up and QT runs off. 

5.) ROH World TV Title - Matt Taven (with Truth Martini) vs. Jay Lethal vs. Jimmy Jacobs: ***1/4

This is the first of two three-way title matches involving members of S.C.U.M. The match itself was pretty good. It was a standard ROH Triple Threat match yet at the same time the variety of competitors added something different. Lethal & Jacobs both looked good and Taven did as well. Interference from Truth Martini and the Hoopla Hotties (including Scarlett loosing her top and Seleziya lifting Jacobs for an Air Raid Crash only to get superkicked by Lethal) eventually led to a Taven victory

6.) ROH World Tag Team Titles - reDRagon vs. C & C Wrestle Factory vs. S.C.U.M.: **1/2

I thought going into this that the addition of S.C.U.M. could add some to the match. They did not. This was not good. Another short three-way World Tag Team Title Match, and this one was worse than the one at Final Battle. Nothing seemed to work in this match and the finish was very flat, with Fish's reaction being the only saving grace.

7.) No DQ - Matt Hardy (with Steve Corino) vs. Kevin Steen: ***

The stipulation was granted by Nigel McGuinness after Kevin Steen requested it. Of course this led to all sorts of S.C.U.M. interference, but the match itself was still good, one of Hardy's better ROH performances in this latest run. The self proclaimed "Icon" would eventually pick up the win, and Steen is beaten down by S.C.U.M. post match.

8.) ROH World Title - Jay Briscoe vs. Mark Briscoe: ***1/2

As far as a match goes, this was pretty good. However, this did not come off as a World Title/iPPV Main Event type of match. Both of Jay Briscoe's iPPV Title Defenses have been good but nothing exceptional, which is a problem in my eyes. The crowd was into it for parts of the match and not so much for others. Their were some brutal spots in this match. The top rope elbow through the table by Mark to Jay was pretty cool, and Mark braking out the Cutthroat Driver for the first time in awhile was cool as well. The three Jay Drillers, which included Mark kicking out of the second Jay Driller at one, was not necessary.

Overall: 7.75/10

The rating is of course excluding the iPPV issues that plagued the show. This is probably the weakest ROH iPPV of the year. Their were still some great matches on here. Elgin/Ciampa stole the show and American Wolves/Adrenaline Rush was a great tag team encounter. Cole/Strong was good and had some great character advancement for Cole. The World Title Match was good but is probably a mixed bag for some, depending on how much you like the Briscoes. The rest of the card is just kind of there. I'd compare it to Liv3 & Let Die in that the first half was great but the second half was lacking. Overall a good show, but it's the second year in a row that Best in the World hasn't lived up to most expectations.

The DVD also includes the Kevin Steen/Cliff Compton Empty Arena Match from Liv3 & Let Die as a bonus. Matt Hardy also came out and cut a promo on Jay Briscoe after the show concluded, setting up their Title Match at the next day's TV Tapings: