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Break It Down: PWG Eight

October 4, 2011 | Posted by Ryan Rozanski
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Break It Down: PWG Eight  

Eight on July 23rd, 2011

Opening Match: PAC vs. Kevin Steen
Steen takes note of how much muscle PAC has gained since their previous match together. After some wackiness early on, they get into a shoving contest. Steen wins a test of strength with a kick to the midsection. PAC snaps off a hurricanrana and lands a standing moonsault. Steen goes back to the test of strength and transitions into a curb stomp. That was awesome. He does a few pushups to celebrate. PAC connects with a springboard dropkick. Steen avoids a dive but PAC lands on his feet. Steen powerbombs him onto the apron and comes off the apron with an elbow drop. In the ring, Steen takes control until PAC hits a slingshot ace crusher on the apron. PAC follows with a springboard corkscrew plancha to the floor. Back in, PAC lands a springboard crossbody but Steen catches him with an F5. PAC connects with a vicious enzuigiri and hits a snap german suplex. Steen blocks a charge and goes up top. PAC dazes him with a gamenguiri and goes up top as well. Steen finlay rolls PAC off the top rope for a nearfall. Steen lands a top rope moonsault but PAC won’t stay down. He lands another moonsault from the middle rope and applies a sharpshooter. PAC is able to reach the bottom rope. They battle up top and Steen gets knocked down to the canvas. PAC lands a reverse 450 splash for a nearfall. Chris Hero’s reaction on commentary is priceless. PAC goes back up top but gets crotched on the top rope. Steen hits a rope-assisted DDT for a two count. PAC hits a reverse hurricanrana but finds knees on a shooting star press. Steen sneaks in a quick small package for the win at 23:06. Steen has been on an absolute tear in PWG this year and with this being PAC’s return match, the crowd was extremely vocal for the entire twenty-three minutes of action. I’m sure that you can imagine a few of the awesome exchanges that took place in this match. These two complement each other so well and the nearfalls towards the finish were perfectly executed. I guess my only complaint would be that there was some interaction with the crowd early on that didn’t translate onto DVD. However, once this match picked up, it was everything that you could ask for out of an opener. ***¾

Match #2: Brandon Gatson vs. Brian Cage-Taylor
Cage hits a backbreaker-stunner combination and boots Gatson to the outside. Gatson blocks a dive with a right hand and locks in a boston crab in the ropes. He hits a fisherman suplex. Cage avoids a slingshot ace crusher and hits a german suplex. He takes control until Gatson fights back with a spin kick. Gatson hits a series of neckbreakers but gets caught by a northern lights suplex. He recovers with a spear and both men are down. Gatson misses a moonsault but plants Cage with a DDT. There’s an awkward spot where it looks like Gatson got the wind knocked out of him. Gatson misses a space flying tiger drop but lands on his feet. He boots Cage in the face and follows with a vicious superkick. In the ring, Cage hits Total Eclipse along with Weapon X for the victory at 14:15. While it was going to be incredibly difficult to follow the opener, these two tried their hardest and at the very least provided an entertaining match for the most part. They attempted some pretty intricate exchanges and a few worked out while some others didn’t. Gatson used to be pegged as a future main event star for PWG so I’m a bit surprised that he lost. It’ll be interesting to see where both of these men go from here. **½

Match #3: El Generico and Ricochet vs. Alex Shelley and Roderick Strong
Shelley maintains control of a side headlock on Generico and yells “sorry I’m not PAC” to the crowd. Generico snaps off a few armdrags on Shelley and Ricochet adds a dropkick. Strong blind tags into the match and has a fast-paced exchange with Ricochet. Shelley traps Ricochet in a pendulum swing and stomps the back of his head. Shelley finds himself in the wrong corner and gets isolated by Generico and Ricochet. Strong eventually has enough and starts attacking Generico. Generico ducks a clothesline from Strong and lands a dive to the floor onto Shelley. Ricochet connects with a leg lariat on Strong but gets thrown over the top rope onto Generico. Strong drops Ricochet back-first across the apron and Generation Next isolate him in the ring. He connects with an enzuigiri on Strong, hits a leaping neckbreaker on Shelley, but barely misses the tag as Generico is pulled off of the apron. Ricochet fights back with a double pele kick and finally makes the tag. Generico hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker on Shelley, who retreats to the floor. Ricochet lands a dive over the ringpost onto Shelley. Generico hits a blue thunder bomb on Strong followed by a michinoku driver. Shelley flatlines Ricochet into the middle turnbuckle and Strong adds an olympic slam. Ricochet hurricanranas out of Strong’s orange crush backbreaker. Strong catches Ricochet with a gutbuster and Shelley follows with a flying double stomp for a nearfall. Shelley murders Generico with a knockout kick. Generico plants Shelley with a tornado DDT and connects with a corner yakuza kick on Strong. He follows with another yakuza kick on Strong and hits a brainbuster but he’s not the legal man. Ricochet misses a phoenix splash. Strong hits his orange crush backbreaker on Ricochet for the win at 22:05. If anything, the dynamic personalities of everyone involved made this match what it was. The recent history between Generico and Ricochet made me genuinely interested to see if they could turn their losing streak around. On the other hand, Strong and Shelley might be my favorite combination of Generation Next members and it was great to see them as a team again. The action didn’t rely as much on crazy moves and kept an excellent flow, which was ideal considering that this was only the third match on the show. The opener might have set the bar high but these two teams definitely rose to the occasion. ***¾

Generico is angry with Ricochet as he thought he had the match won after the brainbuster on Strong. The crowd chants “ring the bell” while they shove each other. Ricochet spits at Generico and runs to the back.

Match #4: Peter Avalon vs. Ryan Taylor
Taylor immediately targets the left shoulder and hits a divorce court. Avalon attempts a quick victory roll to no avail and connects with a leg lariat. He spends too much time celebrating, allowing Taylor to connect with an axe kick. There are many Booker T imitations happening right now. Stereo spin-a-roonies. Excuse my spelling. Taylor hits a back suplex and takes over. Avalon knocks him off the apron with an enzuigiri and lands a dive to the floor. Back in, Avalon gains the advantage until Taylor finds an opening after a clothesline. Taylor connects with a series of strikes and hits a uranagi. He follows with a roaring elbow and a knockout kick for a nearfall. Avalon comes off the middle rope with double knees and brings a chair into the ring. Brian Cage-Taylor comes out and steals it. Avalon pushes Taylor into Cage and rolls him up for the victory at 12:03. The local talent were in a tough position on this show, as Gatson and Cage had to follow an incredible opener while Avalon and Taylor had to follow a great tag team match featuring a Generation Next reunion. With that said, it doesn’t seem as though PWG has put much emphasis on its local talent this year. For instance, this match received a good bit of time but the finish took a lot away from it and doesn’t seem to be leading to anything new or exciting. Taylor managed to stand out slightly, but this match will probably be forgotten about come next month. **¼

Match #5: Johnny Goodtime and Johnny Yuma vs. Joey Ryan and Scorpio Sky
The Dynasty attack before the opening bell with stereo dives. Ryan rams Yuma into the ringpost. Both teams brawl on the floor for awhile. Sky lands a dive off the apron onto Goodtime. In the ring, Sky snaps off a slingshot headscissors on Yuma. Ryan hits a spinebuster on Goodtime and the Dynasty lay in knee strikes. Goodtime recovers with a asai moonsault to the floor onto Sky and a flying crossbody onto Ryan. Yuma plants Ryan with a tornado DDT. Goodtime sends Sky and himself to the outside with a suplex over the top rope. Yuma blocks a spear from Ryan with an innovative facebuster. Ryan superkicks Yuma to the floor. Goodtime connects with a missile dropkick on Ryan and hits a german suplex on Sky. Ryan responds with an overhead suplex into the turnbuckles. He hits a tombstone on Yuma and Sky follows with a frog splash. Goodtime dead-lift bucklebombs Sky and connects with a bicycle kick. He follows with a small package driver on Ryan for a nearfall. Ryan superkicks Goodtime and Sky adds a TKO. Sky makes the cover but the Young Bucks run out and distract the referee. The RockNES Monsters hit an enzuigiri-ace crusher combination on Ryan and follow with the Weapons Grade Bolognium for the win at 14:02. Both teams tried to set this match apart from the other two tag team bouts on the card by keeping the action flowing from bell to bell. In fact, I don’t think there was a single tag made during the entire match. However, the Dynasty and the RockNES Monsters know each other very well so they were able to make this kind of match work. I didn’t love the finish for the second match in a row, but hopefully it adds some fire to the upcoming Young Bucks vs. Dynasty title match. ***

Match #6: Matt and Nick Jackson vs. CIMA and Kevin Steen
The Young Bucks attack during Steen and CIMA’s entrance. CIMA double stomps the Young Bucks and Steen hits a double senton. CIMA challenges Nick to a pushup battle. When Nick attempts his pushups, Steen and CIMA just start stomping him. CIMA tries to scoop slam Steen onto Matt and actually succeeds in lifting him. Steen convinces Patrick Hernandez to get scoop slammed onto Matt. When Steen lifts Hernandez, Nick takes out his leg with a chop block. Matt connects with a baseball slide on Steen and powerbombs him into the apron. The Young Bucks isolate Steen until he connects with a series of superkicks and makes the tag. CIMA takes down Nick with a double stomp and hits a suplex on Matt. He follows with a lungblower on Matt, who responds with a superkick. Nick lands a springboard frog splash onto CIMA for a nearfall. He dropkicks Steen off the apron and lands a dive to the floor. CIMA hits a rolling senton on Matt. Nick lands a 450 splash onto Steen. Steen answers with a package piledriver on Nick. CIMA comes off the top with Meteora on Nick for a nearfall. Steen powerbombs Matt and applies a sharpshooter. CIMA stops Nick from breaking the hold by laying him out with the Schwein. CIMA connects with Meteora while Matt is still in the sharpshooter. Matt taps out, giving Steen and CIMA the victory at 15:43. I felt that this match was similar to the Generico/Ricochet vs. Strong/Shelley contest in a lot of ways. Instead of relying on big moves or a crazy finishing stretch, they focused on the personalities of everyone involved and it made the action easier to follow. Steen worked well with CIMA and I would like to see them receive a title match in the future (or even insert Akira Tozawa into the mix). While some might have been hoping for a higher rating, this match was still thoroughly entertaining for the entire sixteen-minute duration. ***½

After the match, Nick congratulates Steen and CIMA on their victory but reminds them that it was a non-title match. The Young Bucks plead for their job back at TNA because Steen and CIMA can’t compare to Eric Young and Shark Boy. Their words not mine. Matt says that “CIMA hasn’t been relevant since 2006” and Steen should go get “fake fired by another promotion.” Steen chases the Young Bucks through the crowd but they are able to escape. CIMA thanks the crowd and claims that Akira Tozawa is coming back to team with Steen to take the tag team titles.

Match #7: PWG World Title: Claudio Castagnoli © vs. Chris Hero
Claudio makes sure that the top rope is sturdy before getting the action under way. Hero attempts a rollup to no avail and they trade control on the mat. Claudio accidentally puts his foot on the bottom rope and immediately breaks his submission. That causes the crowd to chant “sportsmanship.” The man doesn’t need leverage. Hero grabs hold of a cravate and transitions into a crucifix for a two count. Claudio responds by maintaining control of a side headlock. He transitions into a vicious wristlock and Hero looks to be in pain. They start shoving each other and Claudio goes back to the side headlock. Hero connects with a mafia kick followed by a sliding dropkick. Claudio misses a chop on the floor and his hand collides with the ringpost. In the ring, Hero hits a senton. Claudio catches him with a dragon screw leg whip in the ropes and starts working over the left leg. Claudio is becoming increasingly cocky and maniacal as the match goes on. Hero eye rakes his way out of a figure four. Claudio slams him onto a chair for his troubles and then throws another chair at him. Hero finally makes a comeback with a cravate neckbreaker. He takes off his right knee pad and puts it on his left knee. Hero somehow lands a springboard crossbody and connects with a flash kick. Claudio hits a dragon screw leg whip and applies a half crab. Hero is able to reach the bottom rope. Hero blocks a springboard european uppercut with an elbow strike. He follows with his stomp-roaring elbow combination and Claudio falls to the floor. Back in, Hero connects with another roaring elbow for a nearfall. Claudio answers with a single-leg giant swing and locks in a half crab. He transitions into a stretch muffler but Hero is able to make the ropes yet again. Hero fights back with a cravate neckbreaker but doesn’t have the strength to connect with a roaring mafia kick. He tries again and succeeds. Claudio blocks the Deathblow and applies a spinning stretch muffler to retain his title at 37:03. This might be the last singles match between these two for quite some time. I’m happy to say that this was also the best singles match that I’ve seen between these two. The first ten minutes were an absolute mat wrestling clinic. Hero and Claudio know each other so well and their exchanges on the mat were tremendous. Then Claudio started to show a vicious side that we rarely see from him and the match appropriately escalated. He did an excellent job of working over Hero’s leg and the subtleties in Hero’s selling were extremely entertaining to watch. The finish brought everything together and I couldn’t be happier with how this match unfolded. It doesn’t feature frenetic action or jaw-dropping spots. However, it’s certainly a match that only Hero and Claudio could produce together. ****¼

Kevin Steen suddenly grabs a microphone and makes his way to the ring. PWG officials have told him that he has earned a title shot. He asks Claudio for a title match at the next…actually make that right now! Claudio simply replies with “no” and walks to the back. Steen starts cutting a promo about PWG’s anniversary. Claudio runs back into the ring and connects with a bicycle kick, leading to…

Match #8: PWG World Title: Claudio Castagnoli © vs. Kevin Steen
Steen escapes the Ricola Bomb and applies a sharpshooter. Claudio starts tapping but there’s no referee. The Young Bucks run into the ring and connect with superkicks on Steen. Claudio covers for a nearfall. The Dynasty come out to fight off the Young Bucks. Steen counters the Ricola Bomb with a code red for a two count. Steen connects with a superkick and hits the package piledriver to become the new PWG World Champion at 1:44. Claudio is moving on and if anyone was going to take the title off of him, I think Steen was the best option by far. The fact that this match even happened had everyone on the edge of their seat and this was the perfect way to end an anniversary show.

Steen heads to the back with his title as Chris Hero comes out to check on his partner. Claudio is nearly immobile as Hero and Patrick Hernandez carry him to the back.

The 411: When talking about independent professional wrestling right now, it would be hard not to bring up Kevin Steen. He has been one of the most entertaining wrestlers to watch for quite some time and this show is evidence of that. He's involved in a tremendous opener with PAC and almost matched that effort later in the show when he teamed with CIMA against the Young Bucks. Finally, his title win at the end of the show will undoubtedly go down in PWG history. However, there are other aspects of this show that need to be mentioned. The tag team match involving Generation Next nearly stole the show despite only being the third match on the show. Then the main event happened. Claudio Castagnoli and Chris Hero have had many matches against each other over the years but I can't remember seeing a better effort from them. I feel as though this recap has been all over the place but there's too many things to like about this show. I would pick up this DVD immediately - it truly is PWG at its best.
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Final Score:  9.0   [  Amazing ]  legend

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