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Guerrilla Reviewfare: PWG All Star Weekend 13 (Night 2)

February 8, 2018 | Posted by Jake St-Pierre
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Guerrilla Reviewfare: PWG All Star Weekend 13 (Night 2)  

We are TAPED from the American Legion in Reseda, CA.

Your hosts are Excalibur and whoever’s left to do commentary with him.

Adam Brooks vs. Jonah Rock
Brooks had a pretty good debut last night against Mark Haskins, while Jonah had one of the best PWG matches of the year against fellow monster Keith Lee. The two losers of those matches collide, and both happen to be from the slowly growing Australian scene to boot.

Brooks comes out strong with a dropkick, trying to overwhelm the big man from the jump. He gives Rock a Rana to the floor before coming out on top of him with a Spaceman Dive! Brooks postures a bit and hits a Senton to rub it in Jonah’s face, so Jonah chops him to bits and gives him a proper Senton to pay him back. Brooks battles back with his speed and nails a dropkick for a tentative two count. Standing Meteora scores for Brooks, and he just smashes his poor kneecaps on the mat. Never understand why wrestlers do that move. Brooks runs into a big Jonah elbow, but dodges a lariat and hits him with a BIG REVERSE RANA! Running knee lands for Adam Brooks, but Jonah doesn’t stay down. Brooks measures for a cocky Brainbuster, but Jonah makes sure that doesn’t happen and hits a Sick Kick and a big Ligerbomb! That only gets 2 though. Jonah heads up top for a Frog Splash, but Brooks dodges and hits him with a Lungblower! Shotgun Dropkick, followed by a DDT and an attempted Swanton for Brooks, but Brooks eats knees on the Swanton and gets turned inside out by a Jonah Rock lariat. Jonah goes up top again, but Brooks throws Borden into the ropes and crotches the big man. Brooks follows him up top for a Super Frankensteiner… COUNTERED INTO A SUPER LIGERBOMB! BRAINBUSTER! Jonah Rock gets his first PWG win in 10 minutes. **3/4 Not much in the way of analysis to do on this match as it was your usual cut and dry 10 minute opener, but it did the whole shebang in pretty entertaining fashion. Jonah Rock quite clearly has something and I think the PWG crowd sees him as a star after his phenomenal showing against Keith Lee, but I don’t know if they were convinced on Brooks. So the balance of power on the reactions was a little off, but that’s not something that affected the match really. Not sure if Brooks has it in him to be a showstopper but I think I’d like to see him back eventually.

The Young Bucks vs. Mark Haskins & Flash Morgan Webster
This is an odd usage of all four men really, especially Haskins and Webster as the makeshift Brit team… but then again, PWG has phased the Bucks down the card since they lost the tag belts so this sort of placement makes sense upon further thought. And if anything, it’ll be a fun little midcard tag.

Nick Jackson tries to walk the ropes and takes a horrific bump on his screw-up, the poor idiot. He gets up and says he’s outta here as a result. Thankfully he reconsiders this. Nick and Webster start things off, and the younger Jackson brother wants a test of strength. Flash throws his hands down into a very similar positon as the famous Suck It, which as Nick says, he’s not allowed to do. We get a big four way standoff after a fun little sequence. The Bucks offer to shake Webster and Haskins’ hands, and they TOO SWEET THEM instead. You could see that coming from a mile away and it was still great. The Bucks can’t take it when they Too Sweet Rick Knox though, and they blindside them. Haskins and Webster put on stereo Octopus Holds and MAKE the Bucks Too Sweet each other. The Bucks are able to worm their way out, and they use their cohesion and general skill to get the upperhand. They send both Brits down to the floor for stereo Tope Suicidas. The Bucks isolate Flash and work him over in their usual fashion, full of delightful schtick and double teams. The crowd wants the Bucks to run Flash into FOUR BOOTS, so Marty Scurll comes out for a cameo and assists his Bullet Club mates. The crowd wants SIX BOOTS~! now, so the Bucks string up Rick Knox to be five and six… only for Flash to counter and send one of the Bucks into the boots instead! TOPE CON HILO ON THE BUCKS! Haskins comes in and starts working over Matt in the ring, slowing things down as he and Flash start working him over together. Haskins not only works over poor Matt, but ambushes Nick and takes him off the apron. But when he whips Matt into the corner, Matt SPRINGBOARDS INTO AN APRON DDT ON WEBSTER! Nick gets the hot tag and CLEANS HOUSE! He gives Webster a PK from the apron and hops right into Haskins, giving him A GERMAN SUPLEX ON THE APRON! The Bucks work over Haskins in the ring, and Matt puts in a Sharpshooter. Haskins tries to get the ropes, but NICK GIVES HIM A SPRINGBOARD X FACTOR… INTO A MOONSAULT ON WEBSTER! HASKINS MAKES THE ROPES! Webster puts on his helmet and no-sells a double Superkick… and HASKINS PUTS IN THE STAR ARMBAR! GUILLOTINE ON MATT! SPINNING BRAINBUSTER BREAKS IT UP! Haskins and Nick duke it out in the center of the ring until Haskins tries a Star Armbar… that MATT COUNTERS INTO A BUCKLE BOMB! SUPERKICK ON WEBSTER! SHARPSHOOTER! HASKINS PUTS THE ROLLING SHARPSHOOTER ON NICK! HASKINS AND MATT TRADE SLAPS! They break their holds until Haskins tries a Sharpshooter on Matt, but Nick superkicks him out of it! Stereo Sharpshooters but Haskins and Webster find the ropes. The Bucks measure for a Meltzer Driver on Haskins, but Flash crotches Nick mid springboard and FLIPS HIM INTO A MELTZER DRIVER ON MATT! NICK BREAKS IT UP! Haskins accidentally superkicks Flash, but rolls into a DVD on Matt… only for Nick to superkick him, and they hit the Meltzer Driver on Haskins. Flash eats a superkick in mid-air, and Stereo Sharpshooters give the Bucks the win in a fantastic 18 minutes. **** Put this in with Lee/Rock from Night 1 in the “matches that were awesome but not talked about” column from this weekend. I can somewhat see why though since really, this was your archetypal Young Bucks match. There was almost sickening amounts of schtick, super specific inside jokes, and more wacky spots than you can shake a stick at. Only this time, I think it actually came together into a better-than-usual outing for them. It seemed like there was a lot less pressure to go out there and tear the house down, so in a weird twist of irony, they actually wrestled one of the best matches of the weekend. It was loose and lighthearted and mostly stayed to the Bucks’ greatest hits, but it had the right atmosphere and layout to make up for it. Webster and Haskins were better than their thrown-together nature would tell you on paper, to the point where they actually came across as a regular team. To be fair, it’s kind of hard to not look good against the Young Bucks, but hey. Haskins actually did a fabulous job of working in his usual overbearing speed on the ground, which set him apart from everyone else in the match and made for a great styles clash. He was the yin to Webster’s yang as well, so there was good chemistry on both sides of the plane here. There were also tons of incredibly clever takes on the usual Young Bucks spots, and the Too Sweet and Boots ridiculousness was tons of fun as well. This match really encapsulates everything the Young Bucks are great at, and that’s why I’ve given it the generous rating.

Marty Scurll vs. Joey Janela
The Bad Boy was surprisingly tame in his third PWG appearance last night, instead opting to play to the crowd as an uber-babyface rather than throw himself off a balcony for no reason. It actually worked wonderfully against Trevor Lee and barring some overdone self-indulgence on Marty’s part (see his match with Jay White in February) I think we’ll have a similar outing here.

Marty takes the mic and essentially calls Joey a backyarder, and he’s very pleased with himself as a result. He goes after Janela’s arm early, but Joey is able to match his technical acumen. Marty won’t give Joey a clean break, instead giving him a cheap superkick to the gut. Janela doesn’t like that, so he lariats Marty out of the ring and tries a Lope… but he CRASHES AND BURNS on the floor and gets a chair thrown at him for good measure. Marty uses that to slide Joey back in and start working him over proper. Janela is able to get Marty out of the ring though, and he comes off of the apron with a flying knee to follow up. Janela gives him a running Cannonball on the floor, and follows that up with a diving uppercut in the ring. Janela tries his Package Sideslam thing, and the two trade pin combos for a barrage of 2 counts. Scurll hits his Just Kidding Superkick, but nearly gets pinned off of a La Magistral reversal. Joey hits his own Just Kidding superkick to the knee and measures for a Chickenwing, but Scurll counters out and nearly gets the win with a dirty pin. Justin Borden notices his feet on the ropes, so Scurll shoves him down! He tries to get the win with the O’Connor Roll/tights combo, but Borden catches him again and shoves him into a Janela cradle for 2. Package Piledriver scores for Janela, but Scurll kicks out. A Janela Swanton eats knees, but he recovers and superkicks Scurll out of the ring! Scurll sweeps him off the apron in a nasty spot, but Janela lariats his legs after no-selling a couple apron PK’s. They exchange strikes on the apron until Marty uses the second rope to low blow him before getting a nearfall off of a Small Package. Marty sets up several chairs back to back in some kind of contraption before putting his fingers in between them and kicking the chairs. He snaps Janela’s fingers afterwards, but he cracks Marty with an elbow. He goes up top for something, but Marty slams him on the chairs and gets the win with the Chickenwing in 14 minutes. *** This was a lot like Joey’s match last night with Trevor Lee, but with a little more in the way of nonsensical bumps and whatnot. Marty carries his side of things with his usual spots, so leaving the intensity and excitement up to Janela made sense. And that side of things usually means he throws himself around to the delight of the crowd, which he did in fine fashion here. I think 14 minutes was a just a bit too long for what they were trying to accomplish, but the crowd was up for it and as such, the time went by fairly quickly.

Zack Sabre Jr. vs. WALTER
For the second weekend in a row, PWG comes out of their shows with a ballyhooed five star rating from Dave Meltzer. Last time out, the award was given to Donovan Dijak and Keith Lee for their incredible effort at BOLA, and I myself was very close to giving it the full monty as well. In fact, it’s my North American Match of the Year. So to say I’m hyped to see this is a pretty fair way to explain it. I mean, it helps that I’ll basically watch anything WALTER does these days, and he’s up against one of the most consistently good wrestlers of the decade in Zack Sabre. What’s not to look forward to?

Zack starts by staying on the outside, trying to pick his spots against the much larger Walter. Walter gives him a hilarious Headlock Takeover, just ragdolling the Brit across the ring. He does the same with a Gutwrench. Zack has to force himself to get more aggressive with Walter, be it with headbutts or kicks to the inside of the thigh. Walter kills his bridge for a nearfall, but Zack BRIDGES OUT OF IT and shakes him off. Zack gets into an exchange of chops with Walter, which ends about as well as you’d expect for the guy. Zack tries to wear the Austrian down with a headlock, but Walter wiggles out and shoulderblocks him out of the ring. Walter just chops the piss out of him around the ring until Zack gets pissed at that treatment and kicks his chest in. Zack grabs his arm and stomps on it for good measure, making Walter cry out in pain and try to punch Zack’s knee. He is able to land one chop on Zack, and that puts the big man back in control as he Military Presses Zack back into the ring. Zack tries to tie Walter’s knee up, but Walter stomps out of it and chops the shit out of him again. Walter throws some more chpps but ZACK KEEPS POWERING UP! KNEEBAR! WALTER FINDS THE ROPES! PK TO THE ARM! Zack collapses in the corner, seemingly unable to mount any offense on Big Daddy Walter. Zack grabs Walter’s arm again and wrenches it with his legs, and hops to the other side to stomp on the opposite arm. Zack starts face-washing Walter, so Walter CHOPS HIM TO DEATH AND STOMPS HIS FACE IN THE CORNER! SLEEPER! GERMAN FROM WALTER! BUTTERFLY SUPLEX! Zack kicks out. Walter boots him, but Zack counters a lariat into Cross Armbreaker… right into a Kimura! He pulls a Palhares by holding onto the hold after Walter gets to the ropes. Walter hits a Yakuza Kick in the corner, a German, and finally a huge running lariat for a two count. Zack counters a Powerslam into an Octopus and tries a diving lifter, but Walter catches him… only for Zack to catch him in a European Clutch for 2. Zack hits a PK and they hit STEREO SHOTGUN DROPKICKS! Walter keeps chopping away, but Zack keeps powering up and throwing back. Zack counters another chop into a Cross Armbreaker, but he turns it into a Triangle. Walter pulls him up for a big Powerbomb, but Zack counters another one into a Guillotine… COUNTERED INTO A BUTTERFLY SUPLEX FROM WALTER! POWERBOMB GETS 2! SLEEPER! Zack smacks Walter right in the back of the head and keeps slapping him… but WALTER OVERHANDS CHOPS HIM! EUROPEAN CLUTCH… COUNTERED INTO A SLEEPER! ZACK TAPS! Walter picks up a big win in 20 minutes. ****1/2 Unfortunately this wasn’t the five star clinic it’d been hyped as, but boy was it an absolutely breathtaking display of grit and toughness from these two. Every time Walter steps into a wrestling ring, the match becomes a titanic, earth-shattering struggle to stay upright. Every time you try to do something, this uber-tough Austrian monster has your number. He has no desire to show you how athletic or how many cool things he can do. When Walter steps between the ropes, his focus is kicking your skinny ass and winning the match. He’s not all that athletic or nimble either; he gets by on his ferociousness and borderline uncomfortable chops. He was almost the antithesis of Zack Sabre Jr. in that regard. Zack works so smoothly that sometimes his matches come off as an exhibition, and occasionally he doesn’t even seem all that chuffed about winning. Walter completely turned that on its head. Walter chopped poor Zack into the shadow realm, to the point where Zack had to just throw sloppy kicks and stomps to even make a dent in Walter’s armor. And any time Zack was able to take Walter off his feet, he was so knackered that he couldn’t even follow up. His superior conditioning meant nothing to Walter, who absolutely plastered this poor bastard across the San Fernando Valley. This was a fight of epic proportions and one of North America’s best matches of the year, one I implore you all to see no matter what. It blended uncomfortable brutality with an equally interesting intelligence that only a select few of pro wrestlers can match.

Matt Sydal vs. Rey Horus vs. Trent?
I’m trying to make a snarky joke about Sydal stealing PWG’s deposit, but I’m coming up dry. Sorry, guys. This ought to be an interesting match if nothing else as Horus hasn’t really wrestled anyone like Trent in PWG yet, and it’s not like you see many Trent Beretta three-ways anyway, ya know? Well, except for the Trent Beretta three-way like 6 months ago in PWG.

Trent wants Horus and Sydal to start on account of his status as a heavyweight. The two smaller wrestlers object to this, and sure enough, Trent heavyweight’s them down at ease. He even Batista’s his little dick off. Horus and Sydal use their cunning instead to get the upperhand on the cocky Trent, double dropkicking him out of the ring so they can have at it themselves. Trent stays on the outside and watches a pretty nifty little Lucha sequence, timing his re-entry after they separate so he can knock both men down with a clothesline. He shitcans Horus and sends Sydal soaring with a big backdrop. Sydal gets the upperhand and suplexes Horus, right into a Muta Lock on Trent. Horus leg drops Sydal out of it and slugs it out with him in the center of the ring until Sydal nails his standing moonsault on both men. Backdrop Driver on Trent scores for Sydal, but he turns right into Rey Horus, who falls victim to a recovered Trent, followed by a Greg Tornado DDT on Sydal to boot. All three men land outside, where Horus comes out onto Trent with a beautiful Rana, one-upped by an equally gorgeous Orihara Moonsault from Sydal. Trent tries throwing a chair at Sydal, who catches it and gives him a taste of his own medicine. Sydal heads up top, but Trent hits the run-up Belly-to-Belly on him. Sydal gives Trent a jumping knee, and Horus jumps in for a GORGEOUS SATELLITE DDT! Sydal breaks up the pin. Sydal hits Horus with a Snapmare Driver, but Trent catches him running with a Scott Lost-esque double stomp in the corner. Sydal hits Trent with the leaping Frankensteiner before hitting him with a Cop Killa… only to miss a Shooting Sydal Press! Trent follows through with the Sexy Chuckie Knee and a JERRY LYNN PILEDRIVER! Sydal kicks out. Trent looks for the Jerry Lynn Piledriver on the apron, but Horus SPEARS BOTH MEN INTO THE CROWD! All three men eventually stagger to the ring and trade chops, until Trent takes a Meteora from Sydal! Horus struggles to get up to the top rope, but recovers beautifully once he hits an Avalanche Victory Roll for 2. DUDEBUSTER ON HORUS…. BROKEN UP WITH A SHOOTING SYDAL PRESS! TRENT KICKS OUT! Sydal meets Horus up top FOR THE MOONSAULT BELLY-TO-BELLY! DUDEBUSTER FROM TRENT! Trent wins in 17 minutes. *** This was way too long for what they were trying to accomplish and had they trimmed it by a good 6-7 minutes, we’d be talking about a legitimately great little spotfest here. They were really in danger of losing the crowd at points and some of the meandering filler in the middle really did these three men a disservice. That being said, there’s definitely enough here for me to harp on. I appreciated Sydal pulling some old tricks out of the bag like the Vertebreaker and the old-school Moonsault Belly-to-Belly that he does, and Trent was a fabulous base for both he and Horus… even if Horus had trouble with timing now and again. The more Trent wrestles, the better he becomes at really honing his personality, and that showed here in spades. The comedic heavyweight schtick was a great way to get the match off the ground early, and they knocked it off before it became self parody. I think that’s a really good strategy when it comes to these PWG matches as it gives people an immediate reason to be invested, so when the match gets serious, they don’t lose their way. Unfortunately I don’t think the match was structured well enough to accomplish that perfectly, but the last few minutes were really good and brought the crowd home with a hot finish.

PWG World Title: Chuck Taylor © vs. Ricochet
This of course is Ricochet’s title shot after winning the 2017 BOLA tournament, and it’s fittingly against the man he came up with in Sexy Chuckie T, who makes his first title defense against a man he helped train. They’ve wrestled hundreds of times at this point, although we haven’t really seen them cross paths much since their lone PWG singles match at Steen Wolf way back in 2011. Both men are almost completely different wrestlers almost exactly 6 years on, and it’s going to be a very interesting watch to see how their chemistry has evolved.

The crowd is surprisingly split for these two, which surprises me. Ricochet gives Chuck an Okada-esque cocky clean break early without much in the way of significance happening. Chuckie gives him a completely clean break in return, again with neither man getting a real edge. Ricochet is very proud of himself after dropkicking the champion out of the ring, and Chuckie stoically re-enters after Ricochet celebrates. Chuck regroups and gives Ricochet a taste of his own medicine once more. Ricochet takes that in stride and starts working over Chuck’s leg, but he runs right into a Chuckie T backdrop to put a momentary halt to his momentum. A Shotgun Dropkick scores for Ricochet though, and he has Chuckie reeling as the champ retreats to the apron to regroup. Ricochet follows him though and tries a Figure Four on the ringpost, but Chuckie boots him off and works him over outside. He chucks Ricochet back into the ring, but the crafty Ricochet immediately dropkicks him in the knee and mocks Chuck with the Kentucky Mudhole. Chuck catches Ricochet running with a Freefall drop and a Basement Dropkick, but Ricochet dodges a slow-running Chuck and comes down on him with a springboard elbow and a standing Shooter for a two count, Ricochet looks for the Regalplex, but Chuck twirls him around into Sole Food. Ricochet picks his ankle though and rolls through into a wacky Figure Four Ankle Lock thing. Chuck recovers and catches Ricochet on the top rope for a Reverse Superplex. Ricochet again though cuts him off and hits the Northern Lights… but Chuck counters the ensuing Brainbuster with a Falcon Arrow for 2. Chuck measures for the Awful Waffle, but it’s far too early for that as Ricochet elbows him away. Chuck looks for the corner Awful Waffle, but Ricochet slithers out and pulls Rick Knox in the way of a lariat! Chuck has a visual pin, but there’s no one there to count it, so Ricochet low blows Chuckie and hits him with the belt! Justin Borden comes out and… counts the pin! We appear to have a new PWG Champion in 15 minutes. But WAIT! Rick Knox says no way buddy, and the match is back on!

The match restarts, and Chuck tries the Awful Waffle, but Ricochet counters into a Cloverleaf! Ricochet heads up top, but Chuckie catches him for a potential Superplex… only for Ricochet to cut him off again and sweep his leg out of his leg. 630! Ricochet takes just a little too long to recover, and Chuck is able to slither out to the ring to prevent himself from being pinned! No issue for Ricochet though, who Pillmanizes him and goes postal on the bad knee of Chuck Taylor. Ricochet heads up top for what I’d imagine is some sort of Moonsault, but Chuck shoves him to the floor. He grabs a hammer and UNDOES THE TOP ROPE so Ricochet can’t use it, just like Zack Sabre did to him in July with the bottom rope. PSYCHOLOGY~! Chuck bodyslams Ricochet through a chair and gives him a Backbreaker on the (now top) second turnbuckle. He takes the rope and starts STRANGLING RICOCHET with it. Chuck looks for Splash Mountain, but Ricochet goes at the knee again and drops the champ with an Axe Kick. Ricochet heads to the second rope for a 450, but Chuckie kicks out. SHOOTING STAR! Chuck kicks out again. Ricochet looks for the Benadryller, but Chuck rolls him up for 2 and COUNTERS A MOONSAULT INTO AN OMORI DRIVER! POWERBOMB! SHORT PILEDRIVER! RICOCHET KICKS OUT AGAIN! They slug it out in the center of the ring until Chuckie just decides to THROW LEATHER WITH HIM! LARIAT FROM CHUCKIE!!! Chuck grabs the hammer that he undid the top rope with, but Ricochet low blows him… and HITS VERTIGO! BENADRYLLER! DETONATION KICK! CHUCK KICKS OUT AGAIN! KING’S LANDING! Ricochet wins the PWG Title proper in 31 minutes. ****1/4 What this year has proved to me about Chuck Taylor the wrestler, is that when the man main events, he puts it all out there. He’s never going to be the most exciting or high octane worker on the planet. He’ll never be the most technical or the most smooth. He doesn’t occupy the niche that Ricochet or Zack Sabre do. Where Chuck Taylor excels as a pro wrestler is that he can tell a goddamn good story. And I know a few people might chuckle at the idea that a man who throws invisible grenades in a wrestling ring can also be psychological, but it’s true. As we saw with the sensational matches he had with Zack Sabre Jr, Chuck Taylor is one of the best pure babyface wrestlers on the planet. He’s almost absurdly likable. The way he carries himself and the charm he exudes in his every mannerism, it’s just uncanny. And despite the oddly split crowd here, I thought Ricochet’s heel performance was the perfect foil to Chuck Taylor. A lot of guys when they work heel just think that yelling at the crowd makes them a bad guy. Ricochet went above and beyond to accomplish his goal and completely outclassed Chuck Taylor in every facet of the game. You knew the way he went at Chuck’s knee was a little lowbrow, but he just did it so expertly that you had to sit there and accept it. Of course, Chuck did a phenomenal job selling it, but Ricochet’s laser-focused work on that left knee was an incredibly welcome change of pace from his usual fare. And that’s not even mentioning the parallels to the match that Chuck Taylor won the title in back in July, against Zack Sabre Jr. Zack got so frustrated with Chuck breaking his submissions that he went so far as to take the bottom rope away, thus making Chuck work harder for those essential rope breaks. Here, Chuck Taylor was in almost the exact same position. His knee was wrecked and he was having trouble with Ricochet’s flying, so he had no choice but to make the same fatal mistake Zack made then; he took the time to take that top rope off, but didn’t focus on the real reason he was losing. It’s an obvious callback, but it made so much damn sense and led into the result so well that I can’t say enough positive things about it. Chuck Taylor simply didn’t have the wherewithal to beat Ricochet on this night, and it made for a title change that was as satisfying as it could be given that the most likeable man in the world lost it. While I think it was just a slight too long to be a true Match of the Year contender, it still turned into an incredibly gratifying and compelling main event, and that’s all I can really ask out of a wrestling match.

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Funny enough, I'd pretty much put this show neck and neck with Night 1. Night 2 had higher highs to be sure (especially WALTER/ZSJ) but the undercard left just a little bit to be desired, while the consistency of Night 1 really made that show what it was. That's not to say the undercard for this event here was mediocre or anything, just a couple matches that got a bit too full of themselves when it came to duration. And it's not like any of those matches are bad either, so it all evens out really. The three highlights here (Bucks/Webster & Haskins, WALTER/Sabre, and Chuckie/Ricochet) all completely hit it out of the park and ended PWG's 2017 with some of its most enjoyable content, so I'm going to reward this how as such. Really, just plop down the $30 for the whole weekend and thank me later.