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Guerrilla Reviewfare: PWG Untitled II

September 30, 2015 | Posted by Jake St-Pierre
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Guerrilla Reviewfare: PWG Untitled II  

And suddenly we jump three months ahead to Untitled II, the first show after the gargantuan 2014 BOLA. This show landed around the time I had pretty much stopped watching or reviewing any sort of wrestling, as real life and a job decided to take my free time and shove it down the toilet for a few months. But fear not dear readers, as we are one step closer to finally closing the gap in my PWG review catalogue. You also get the added benefit of me not having seen any of this show before, so it’s basically like it just happened a month ago! So without further ado…

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

Your hosts are Excalibur and friends.

Tommaso Ciampa vs. Biff Busick
Biff debuted at the 2014 BOLA while Tommaso is coming off of his frankly offensive and disgusting tactics of the Night 3 10-man tag. So we have different types of momentum heading into this one. Biff Busick nowadays is heading to WWE, which is a move I fully support as I feel like he is going to have a prosperous NXT career at the very least. Tommaso Ciampa is in the same boat it seems.

Ciampa wants to hug everybody to start off, even stooping to Justin Borden’s level just to get his hug fix. Busick declines still and we’re off. Busick insists on a handshake, but Tommaso is angry that there’s no hugging involved still. Tommaso drops Busick down with a hard shoulder block, and Busick runs into the HUG!~! Tommaso follows through immediately with a clothesline, showing love isn’t the only thing in his Sicilian heart. Busick looks for a Tope Con Hilo, but TOMMASO THROWS A CHAIR AT HIS HEAD TO STOP IT! Busick tries coming back and climbing the ropes, but Tommaso sweeps his leg out and drops him to the mat to keep control. Ciampa lays Busick out with three nasty powerbombs for a two count. An Irish Whip sends Busick tumbling to the outside, but Busick meets Ciampa on the apron and attempts to suplex him to the outside. Biff gets dragged in and looks for a Half and Half, but settles for a rear naked choke! Ciampa stiffs him with a barrage of slaps, but Biff PAINTBRUSHES HIM! A stiff knee scores for Ciampa, as does an Air Raid Crash for a two count. A running knee sends Busick to the outside once more, and he puts Busick in front of RONDA ROUSEY! Ronda chops Biff in the throat! Busick fights back and drops Ciampa outside with a diving European Uppercut! Back in the ring, Biff drops Ciampa with a Half and a Half and a nasty running uppercut for a nearfall. Biff spits directly in Ciampa’s eye, earning a slap and a DISCUS LARIAT! PROJECT CIAMPA! BUSICK KICKS OUT! Tommaso sets Biff on the top rope, and looks for the Avalanche Air Raid Crash, but Biff counters and superkicks Ciampa in the face through his legs! AVALANCHE HALF AND HALF!~! TOMMASO CIAMPA KICKS OUT! CROSSFACE! CIAMPA GETS THE ROPES! REAR NAKED CHOKE! CIAMPA CLIMBS UP THE TOP ROPE WITH BIFF ON HIS BACK! HE JUMPS OFF THE SECOND ROPE TO BREAK IT! This match is RIDICULOUS. Ciampa gets a boot up on a running Busick, who climbs up top… but FALLS TO A SUPER PROJECT CIAMPA! Ciampa picks up the win in 17 minutes. ***3/4 What a fantastic opener here. These two wrestled a match that played to their strengths and it ended up being one of the best openers PWG’s seen in a long time. Tommaso is at his best when he can drop you in unnatural ways and slap your tastebuds backwards, and that appears to be Busick’s best attribute as well. These guys stiffed the living hell out of each other and took it home beautifully, setting the bar high for a show that still has several more matches to go.

Cedric Alexander vs. Bobby Fish
Fish made his debut at BOLA, while Cedric Alexander has been on a good roll of great matches during his breakout 2014 year. Bobby isn’t all that as a singles worker, but I’m an optimistic guy.

It’s your usual scientific wrestling deal to start off. A fan makes a hilarious Jafar joke at Bobby Fish, which took a minute to sink in for most. Cedric catches Bobby with a dropkick after a series of rolls, and he drops Bobby with another 30 seconds later. Fish battles back after catching a kick and dropping Cedric down with a Dragon Screw, thus taking control. Cedric battles back with an explosive comeback, coming down with a beautiful springboard clothesline, followed by the Three Amigos… well, two amigos, as Cedric comes down with a 540 Kick! A Michinoku Driver scores for a nearfall, as Cedric tries to string together a sequence to put Fish away. Fish comes back with a flying cross chop that knocks Cedric into a backflip. Fish DOES THE DEAL with a Falcon Arrow, but Cedric powers out much to the surprise of Excalibur. Fish misses a BME, and Cedric puts him away with the Lumbar Check at the 11 minute mark. **3/4 Every time Cedric Alexander was on offense here, this match was really exciting, but Bobby Fish’s offense just leaves a lot to be desired. He went after Cedric’s knee early on, but totally forgot that he did and just went on with really stop-start sequences that never built up to anything fun or substantial. Cedric on the other hand is great at stringing together really athletic sequences of moves and I’m especially impressed every time I see him pull off that 540 Kick. Bobby Fish just showed me here that he’s better in a tag team setting, while Cedric kept on impressing me with his athleticism. The match itself was okay, but pales in comparison to the insanity of the opener.

Brian Cage vs. Uhaa Nation
Uhaa Nation barely got two shows under his belt before WWE wisely snatched him up, giving him AWESOME entrance music and the badass Apollo Crews name. The guy is just a freak of nature and while it kind of sucks he never got to do more in PWG, I have faith he and NXT are going to be a very good mix together. It’s the battle of the musclefreaks, so this should be accordingly awesome.

They trade some shoulderblocks until Uhaa Nation SCHOOLS Cage with his ridiculous athleticism. Cage comes back with an 818 to a huge pop! Uhaa Nation pump kicks Cage out to the floor and MOONSAULTS OUT ON TOP OF HIM! Uhaa takes control momentarily, but Cage uses his strength to come back with the FUCKING MACHINE SUPERPLEX! Cage follows up with a Gorilla Press/Flapjack for a two count. Nation POPS OUT OF A WHEELBARROW GERMAN! HE GERMAN SUPLEXES CAGE! DOUBLE PUMP KICKS! This is faaantastic. Cage CATCHES NATION ON A CROSSBODY, but Nation struggles out and kicks Cage into the corner. Nation hits a chain of “Belly to black” suplexes, according to Rick Knox. He hits the Hat Trick after a struggle for a nearfall. DEADLIFT SUPERPLEX FROM CAGE! DIVING ELBOW! Nation kicks out! Cage looks for a Lionsault, but the rope isn’t stable enough, so Cage almost dies landing on his head. He recovers in time for Nation to hit a Ligerbomb, but Cage rolls out of the way of a diving splash! STANDING MOONSAULT! STANDING SHOOTING STAR PRESS! CAGE KICKS OUT! Cage looks for another 818, but eats a lariat! LARIAT ON NATION! NATION KICKS OUT AT ONE! DEAD LIFT BUCKLE BOMB BY CAGE! DISCUS LARIAT! Cage puts Uhaa Nation away in ricockulous 14 minutes. ***3/4 This was a perfect debut for Uhaa Nation, as he got to wrestle a guy with a similar style to his. That’s advantageous for him, as he gets to trade power moves with Cage, as well as being able to provide a solid base for Cage’s more athletic moves, and vice versa. The scary Lionsault botch didn’t the wind out of their sails either, which surprises me as any other crowd in the world would have too frightened to get invested in the rest of the contest. It says a lot to Cage’s toughness that he was able to get back up and take this match home in a satisfactory manner. Great stuff all around.

PWG World Tag Team Titles: The World’s Cutest Tag Team © vs. Johnny Gargano & Chuck Taylor
This ought to be massively entertaining, as Chuck and Johnny are a fantastic team, and playing off Candice is only going to make them better.

Joey auctions off the Blow Pop to begin with, as Candice debuts her purple hair that she has no right to pull off, but does anyway because it’s Candice fucking LeRae. Chuck and Joey start things off, and a shrieking Chuckie doesn’t fare too well to begin with. Candice tags in and dives in on Chuckie’s arm, followed by an assisted scoop slam. Chuckie wants none of it, as Johnny Gargano tags in to face his girlfriend amidst a fantastic “This is Awkward” chant. Johnny calls for a Test of Strength, and gets the upperhand at first, but Candice bridges out, so Johnny has to resort to a leg sweep to get her down. Candice doesn’t take that shit though, as she dives off the the top rope for a rana. They go through a fantastic sequence of near-finishers, but no one quite gets it. Johnny offers Candice a handshake, but Candice licks the palm and SLAPS Johnny and nearly catches him with a Schoolboy! Candice knees Johnny out of a slingshot spear and dives out with a Tope Suicida! Joey tags in but can’t quite prevent Chuckie from tagging in himself, running into a slingshot spear from Johnny. Chuckie hilariously takes Candice off of the apron without drag, and celebrates relentlessly. Chuck gets tired and tags in Johnny, but not before some nice teamwork. “You’re so much better than I am” says an observant Chuck Taylor. Johnny hilariously tries to taunt Candice using Joey’s arm as… well, you know, but thinks the better of it. He instead tags Chuck back in, who hits a full-speed tope atomico to a big pop! Joey Ryan manages to find his way into a Pumphandle Exploder onto Chuckie, and here comes Candice! Candice and Johnny go at it again, and Candice comes out on top with a top rope rana and a Black Widow! She makes Johnny spear Chuckie, who has no choice but to leave the ring. Candice Violence Parties all over Johnny and dives out on top of Chuckie with a Tope DDT! Assisted DDT on Johnny! Johnny hits a rolling kick on Joey, but Candice grabs him and hits La Mistica into Garga-No Escape! LAWN DART/ACE CRUSHER ON CANDICE! Joey saves the match for his partner and tries to fight off Johnny and Chuckie by himself, but Johnny turns around and dives onto Candice with a Tope Suicida of his own! Chuck and Johnny give Joey a Sole Food/Slingshot DDT for a close nearfall. Joey perseveres and powerbombs Johnny on top of Chuck for a two count of his own. Candice re-enters the ring and tries for the Joey assisted apron rana, but Chuck stops…until Candice bounces back up and Chuckie eats a superkick! Johnny hits Hurts Donut on Candice! Candice gets out of the Lawn Dart and makes Chuckie boot Johnny, and Joey comes in and SPEARS JOHNNY TO THE OUTSIDE! BALLSPLEX TO CHUCKIE! REVERSE RANA! Candice and Joey pick up the win in 17 minutes. ***3/4 This was a predictably awesome performance from four of PWG’s best personalities. Johnny doesn’t always get to show how charismatic he is at times, which I think tends to sour PWG fans on him. Here, he got to show off his comedy chops with the funniest guy in wrestling and the crowd loved him for it. He’s one of the most well-rounded guys in the business and no one seems to take advantage of that, although his NXT appearances seem to be on that route. His exchanges with Candice here were off-the-charts entertaining and he and Chuck Taylor’s chemistry as partners is as sharp as it’s ever been. I can’t complain about much here, if I’m being honest.

Adam Cole vs. Trevor Lee
How did I miss this match? Maybe I’m not the PWG fan I thought I was…

Cole tells Angelo Trinidad to call him the “Sexiest Son of a Bitch in the Building”, much to my delight. Cole then fakes out throwing his shirt to the crowd, but he instead throws the bird. Trevor Lee in his hilariously thick Southern accent throws out a spirited “TREVOR LEE BAY BAY!”, which prompts Cole to ask for a test of strength. Cole instead foregoes the test of strength, which allows for Lee to go crazy with a flurry of offense, finishing by baseball sliding Cole out to the floor. Back inside, Trevor tries to follow up, but he falls to a Suck It Backbreaker from Cole. Cole hits a beautiful running chinlock to follow. If you’re gonna rest, do it with style. Cole follows that with a Fireman’s Carry onto his knee, which is a move I still suck at describing since the man has yet to come up with a name for it. Lee shitcans Cole and DIVES OUT ON TOP OF HIM OVER THE RINGPOST! Trevor uses that to further fuel a comeback, hitting a wheelbarrow German for a two count. Cole superkicks his knee though, but EATS A MUSHROOM STOMP off the ropes! Lee tries to go up top, but Cole recovers and sweeps him off. Cole’s ‘Cole Train’ gets a huge pop, but he blows himself up and has to delay it a bit. He still hits a Pump Kick, but RUNS INTO THE SPINNING CROSSBODY… ORANGE CRUSH COUNTERED INTO A KNEE BRAINBUSTER FROM COLE! Trevor tries to Package Piledriver Cole, who spins out and low blows Lee as he distracts the ref! COLE HITS THE PACKAGE PILEDRIVER! Trevor gets the ropes! Cole looks for a Superplex, but Lee bats him off the ropes. Cole still perseveres and hits a pair of Superkicks, and tries to cap it off with a Panama Sunrise… THAT LEE COUNTERS INTO A SMALL PACKAGE! Trevor Lee upsets Cole in 13 minutes. ***1/2 It was a little short and held-back to really live up to its potential, but it was still a really fun effort. Adam Cole’s charisma is gargantuan and anything he does feels like it means something, so even the slower portions of this match were tremendous for one reason or another. We even got some good personality from Trevor Lee here too, with the package piledriver tease as well as his hilarious TREVOR LEE BAY BAY that came out of nowhere. Either way, it’s about what you’d expect these two to do in a midcard match, heightened by their respective charisma and another well-executed finish.

The Young Bucks vs. ACH & AR Fox
Who needs selling?

Fox and ACH surprise the Bucks with superkicks of their own as Angelo Trinidad makes the Bucks’ introductions. AR Fox DIVES OUT WITH THE SPRINGBOARD IMPLODING SENTON! ACH throws some stiff chops to Matt Jackson in the corner as they enter the ring, and ACH stomps himself a mudhole in Mr. Jackson. Nick stands on the top rope for no discernible reason and crotches himself, as ACH flips around like a madman. Until Nick recovers and superkicks him down. AR Fox eats the Headscissors/Dropkick from the Bucks and now the tide has shifted. Chuck Taylor is having an all-time funny performance on commentary as ACH slingshots in with a Flatliner. The Bucks stop him from tagging and MURDER AR FOX WITH A SUPERKICK MID-SPRINGBOARD! ACH hits a Stunner on Matt, but Matt holds him just long enough on the ground for Nick to superkick ACH down. The double Suck-Its here have me in stitches. Matt blows a kiss to AR Fox, who steps through the ropes just in time for Nick to kick it and crotch him. ACH sandbags a sunset flip and comes down on Matt with a nasty double stomp! Fox finally tags in with a crossbody, and hitting Nick with the most ridiculous, indyriffic, and absolutely fantastic bulldog of all time. Fox outmaneuvers the Bucks en route to a Tornado DDT on Matt, followed by a springboard Misawa dropkick! Nick blindsides him, but slingshots into a Manhattan Drop, and Fox follows up with a flurry of neckbreakers. Fox springs up out of a Matt Jackson Edge-o-Matic and kicks Matt off the apron, but runs into a corner kneelift from Nick, who IRISH WHIPS FOX INTO A DIVE OVER THE RING POST! HUGE KICKS FROM ACH! SPRINGBOARD CODEBREAKER FROM FOX! Nick kicks out! SWANTON WAZZZUUPPPPP! What a hilariously ridiculous twist on that move. GET THE TABLES~! This is insanity! NICK DIVES OUT ON TOP OF ACH! MATT MURDERS FOX WITH A DEADLY DRIVER ONTO THE RING APRON! MATT MOONSAULTS OFF OF THE TOP ROPE ONTO EVERYBODY! ACH HITS A CORKSCREW MOONSAULT OUTSIDE OUT OF NOWHERE! Back in the ring, ACH and AR Fox hit 3D! But Matt saves, unfortunately. GORY SPECIAL/ACE CRUSHER! That was an awesome double team. AR Fox hits Nick with a Shooting Star Cannonball, and ACH comes down with a slingshot Flatliner! STEREO 450’s GET KNEES! Matt hits a pair of spears to Fox, and Nick comes in with a running knee for a nearfall. Fox fights out of a Meltzer Driver, but NICK MURDERS FOX WITH A SLINGSHOT X FACTOR! INDY TAKER! FOX KICKS OUT! ACH stops a Meltzer Driver and Fox hits Lo Mein Pain! 450 FROM ACH! NICK SAVES! Fox and ACH try for More Bang For Your Buck, but Matt slithers out and crotches Fox on the top rope. Matt back flips ACH out of a kick AND NICK SUPERKICKS HIM IN MID AIR! EARLY ONSET ALZHEIMER’S ONTO FOX! SUPERKICK/PACKAGE PILEDRIVER ON FOX! The Bucks get the win in 17 minutes. **** You’d think after only reviewing PWG and ROH for so many years that I’d get sick of the Young Bucks, right? Well, you’d be wrong. They are hands-down the best tag team in the world and have managed to make a gimmick out of something people bashed them for; MOVEZ. They’ve made their own little indy empire out of a cliché, and gone so far in the wrestling business with it that you have no choice but to respect it. For good reason though, as there is no team in the world this good, this cohesive, and this smooth. They wrestle spotfest clinics every night and never miss a beat. I’d go so far as to say they’re even one of the most psychologically sound teams out there as well. They use their tendency for ridiculous flurries of offense and superkicks as a way to overwhelm their opponent, which is really just another example of them using the MOVEZ term to make their own stories. They bring every team they face up to their level, even thrown together/makeshift teams like Fox and ACH, who also deserve the obvious major credit for holding up their end. I’m not that much of an AR Fox fan when it comes to singles wrestling, but when he can use his spotty tendencies to help a match, there’s no one better than him. ACH can do both, so it’s a given that he excels in this environment. This was yet another phenomenal effort from the Young Bucks, something that I feel like I’m saying too much.

PWG World Title Match: Kyle O’Reilly © vs. Roderick Strong
I remember feeling tremendously apathetic upon this match’s announcement, as I hadn’t bought into the Roderick Strong renaissance yet. It was a big reason why I didn’t bother to watch the show, I’m afraid to say, but hindsight is 20/20. I can say without a doubt that Roderick Strong has been incredible so far in 2015 and I’m glad I get to go back and see where, why, and how that came to be.

Kyle suckers an initially tentative Roddy in by turning his back, but Kyle telegraphs it obviously and starts out hot by coming down on Roddy with a missile dropkick from the apron. The first time I saw that move was the incredible Survival of the Fittest 2011 tournament in ROH and I nearly choked on a sandwich. That wasn’t all that great of a story but no one reads these play-by-plays anyway right? I could say something massively racist and no one would notice until I get famous in like three years and someone goes all Zahra Schreiber on me. Kyle rolls into a Cross Armbreaker in the ring, but Roddy stomps him in the face to break it. I feel like his boots aren’t so shitty when they’re coming down with the force of like seven Ivan Drago’s. Roddy crotches Kyle on the top rope, and follows with some hard chops and a SICK backbreaker on the turnbuckle! Roddy obviously has control at this point, hitting his awesome dropkick and the variety of backbreakers that Kyle sells like death. Kyle finds his way into a triangle, but Roddy furiously elbows his way out of it and hits a side slam backbreaker for another two count. Kyle starts coming back, using his strikes to build his way to a leg-sweep, buying himself some time. The kicks Kyle is throwing here are like if Tommy End mixed a protein shake in during a cocaine binge. They trade strikes until they collapse, and we’re at a stalemate. Roddy counters a Tornado DDT with a Northern Lights Suplex into the corner! He follows through with an Argentine Backbreaker for a two count. They trade disgusting discus elbows, until Roddy goes for a Gibson Driver… THAT KYLE COUNTERS INTO A GUILLOTINE! That was an awesome counter. Kyle rolls into a Disarmer, but Roddy gets the ropes. Roddy knocks Kyle into the ropes and SICK KICKS HIM MID REBOUND LARIAT! KYLE HITS ONE ANYWAY! BRAINBUSTER! Roddy kicks out, and Kyle collapses to the outside of the ring. Kyle soccer kicks Roddy’s arm to set up for a cross armbreaker, but Kyle is forced to switch to the other arm! Roddy counters into the Stronghold, but Kyle counters THAT into a cradle for a close, close nearfall! Kyle accidentally bumps Justin Borden, and Roddy hits End of Heartache! Here comes Rick Knox! Kyle kicks out! The crowd’s pop for Justin Borden getting squashed in the corner was hilariously huge! A FUCK YOU ELVIS CHANT! That’s classic. BACKFIST FROM RODDY! DEATH BY RODERICK! SICK KICK! GIBSON DRIVER! KYLE KICKS OUT! Roddy goes to gets a bunch of chairs and goads Kyle, but Rick Knox grabs the chair! TRIANGLE FROM KYLE! RODDY TAPS! Kyle retains his title in 21 minutes. **** This was a predictably awesome main event with some very good—if subtle—storytelling when it came to Roderick Strong’s heel performance. You could tell by how he was working that he was really getting involved in his character, and that improved the match in a pretty substantial way. His character change made him seem like an entirely new wrestler, and considering how ambivalent I was on Roddy as this entire thing was going down, that was the best thing he could do. His underhanded tactics getting out of submissions and cutting off comebacks were much more refined and outward than usual. Kyle provided his usually great babyface performance, able to garner sympathy of Roderick’s heel tendencies. He’s one of the more underrated guys in wrestling when it comes to selling and using Roddy as a base here helped elevate that even more. The overbooked finish knocks the rating down a bit as it slightly ruined the momentum of what came before, but it wasn’t offensively bad as they picked up really well leading into Roddy tapping. It actually made a decent amount of sense for all its faults, as it creates a reason for A) the fans to get behind the idea of hating Roddy and B) giving a natural reason for a rematch down the line. So overall, this was a fantastic main event with all sorts of wacky counters, and it helps set up the future of PWG in a big way. Thumbs up

Roddy attacks everybody after the match, jumping Kyle and kneeing Rick Knox in the face. Roddy sets up the chairs with the belt on top. HE MURDERS RICK KNOX WITH END OF HEARTACHE THROUGH THE CHAIRS! Roddy leaves to a huge chorus of boos. The show ends with Kyle O’Reilly and Angelo Trinidad checking on Rick Knox…

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Having never quite seen Untitled II, I came in blind, and came out on the other side of the tunnel pleasantly surprised by what I saw. It doesn't have anything all that close to a MOTYC, but it's an absolute breeze to sit through, hardly even hitting the 2 hour mark. It's a consistent night of wrestling, with good pacing, a good card, and even better wrestling. All the usual suspects have their predictably great matches and the main event is a nice trip down memory lane to see the metamorphosis of the Roderick Strong we're treated to today. You also get to see a wonderful forgotten gem in Ciampa/Busick as well as the massively entertaining Nation/Cage hoss-fest. Again, it's not going into the upper echelon of PWG shows but I still have faith that you're going to love what you see. Highly recommended, as usual.