Image

EVOLVE ran a lovely venue last night, but tonight’s – house lights and all – looks fairly indieriffic. 

Tony Nese vs. Mike Cruz – How you view this one depends what frame of mind you’re in: you can view it as either a fun opener, or a typical indie spot-fest where everyone kicks out of everything. I still think Nese would be far better served to drop some of his high-flying stuff and emphasise his power, but he continues to try and ride both horses for now. Cruz looked ok, but is still looking for his breakout match. Nese gets the win with the 450 splash at 7.51; and reiterated his challenge to Gargano for the OTFG belt afterwards. 

Tommy Taylor (0 pts) vs. Bobby Fish (2 pts) – Style Battle 2012 Match – A solid if unspectacular outing in the Style Battle tourney. It looked as though Fish went for a power move, but couldn’t get Taylor up for it, so he applied the Fish Hook to make Taylor tap at 9.51. Fish thus advances to the Style Battle final, where he will face the winner of….

AR Fox (0 pts) vs. Jon Davis (2pts) – Style Battle 2012 Match – Very good match indeed between these two,  – using the age-old, but still effective – storyline of power vs. speed/agility. This may be the best outing Davis has had in Evolve, using his power to counter some of Fox’s signature manoeuvres. Fox goes for a prawn roll, but Davis muscles him up to hit 3 Seconds Around the World at 13.42 to advance to the Style Battle final against Bobby Fish tomorrow night. Very good bout indeed. 

Scott Reed vs. Caleb Konley vs. Lince Dorado vs. Jake Manning vs. John Silver vs. Alex Reynolds – A fun six man mayhem effort to head into intermission. Alex Reynolds is starting to impress me, but alas is garnering virtually zero crowd reaction for his efforts. There was a fun spot in the early going when Reed and Konley were both tagged in and tried to do the Finger Poke of Doom spot. Dorado picks up the win at 10.40 on Manning with a Shooting Star press. 

Cheech vs. Colt Cabana –  So much for Cheech’s singles push: he falls to Cabana here in just five minutes. Cabana hits the Chicago Skyline at 5.35 for the win. 

El Generico vs. Samuray Del Sol – An instant rematch from the main event of last night’s show. For me this was better than their first match, as there was more of a story to it: after defeat last night Del Sol had taken a lot away from the match and thus was able to counter a lot of Generico’s signature stuff. Del Sol fell victim last night to the top rope brainbuster; here he was able to counter it and hit a rewind-rana off the top to pick up the win at 16.28. Good stuff, and Generico vs. Del Sol 3 should be a cracker. 

Chuck Taylor vs. Johnny Gargano – I know that DG:USA/ EVOLVE are essentially the same company, but I’m still slightly surprised that this match is taking place in Evolve – particularly in a basketball court under house lights. A very good main event nonetheless, which you might argue was slightly spoiled by an overbooked finish. Gargano bumped the referee, and Taylor hit a low blow. He went for a belt shot, but Gargano countered with a Hurts Donut on the title. After taking out Manning with a dive to the outside, Gargano falls victim to the Awful Waffle, but kicks out. The Swamp Monster (!) then interfered, but ended up getting smashed with the belt. Taylor kicks out of a second Hurts Donut; but taps to the GargaNo Escape at 21.01. Given that this was the climax to a big feud and a OTFG title match, the Swamp Monster shouldn’t really have been involved in the finish. But even so, it was still an enjoyable bout, with some nice brawling at the start and both men countering each other’s moves. 

Overall – if EVOLVE 13 was the best show in the company’s history then this one can’t be far behind, with Fox/Davis, Generico/Del Sol and Gargano/Taylor all worth checking out.

Image

Dasher Hatfield & Mr Touchdown vs. Darin Corbin & Arik Cannon – Mixed Martial Archie joins Quack on commentary for this one. Super-fun comedy match to kick things off, including an awesome spot where Angelosetti pulls the tights of Corbin. Cannon throws in a yellow flag, and Hatfield counters with a red flag: so the referee orders a slow-motion replay. Only in Chikara. Hatfield hits the Suicide Squeeze on Corbin for the pin at 8.36; but doesn’t see Touchdown holding the leg on the outside. Veronica came out to watch at one point, and MMA got predictably flustered on commentary.

Billy Roc, Remi Wilkins & Dale Patricks vs. Sue Jackson, Tripp Cassidy & Jeremy Hadley – This is a showcase for ex-Chikara regular Billy Roc’s “School of Roc” wrestling school (Roc last wrestled for Chikara at Maximum Overdraft all the way back in 2007). Sue Jackson is actually a guy who has a kind of “evil hillbilly in a horror film” gimmick that’s actually quite good. As with most student matches, this was ok, a fair few botches as you’d expect – although ironically the biggest botch comes from the most experienced man, as Roc trips into the ring after making the hot tag. The technicos all give Hadley their finishers, culminating in Roc’s STO Driver at 11.30. Ok for what it was.

The Young Bucks vs. Jacob Hammermeir & Tim Donst vs. Kodama & Kobald vs. Hallowicked & Ultramantis Black – A rare continuity gaffe  by Chikara in that the Bucks cut a heel promo before the match only to wrestle it as babyfaces. The match itself was fun; but I can’t be the only who’s sick to death of Donst/ Hallowicked feud: enough already! Additionally this was another one of those sloppy Donst performances that leaves me baffled as why people think he’s going to be a top guy. Anyway. The Bucks take the first fall (and their second point) by pinning Kodama with the Tandem Tombstone at 5.39. The rump of the BDK focus on the Spectral Envoy, with Donst illegally choking out Hallowicked at 8.47 (that finish is getting really fucking old as well). The Bucks take the third fall and their third point with MBFYB on Hammermeir at 12.15. Spare a thought for the poor old Batiri, who were once again reduced to making up the numbers.

Sara Del Rey vs. Obariyon – So, Del Rey goes from beating Generico in the best match of the year in Chikara to jobbing to Obariyon in six minutes less than 24 hours later? Not Quack’s finest booking hour. The Batiri vs. Del Rey feud has been pants, and the sooner it ends the better. Obariyon hits the flying DDT at 5.51 for the win. After the other Batiri members come out to triple-team Sara, but Saturyne makes the save.

The Colony vs. The Swarm – An entertaining brawl, as indeed most of the Swarm/Colony affairs have been. That said the storyline needs to move forward a bit now. Soldier Ant locks the Chikara Special in on deviANT, but 17 runs in and causes the DQ at 8.33. 17 goes after Soldier Ant’s mask, and Eddie Kingston runs in, leading to….

17 vs. Eddie Kingston – This should really never have been booked, on the basis that Kingston always goes over, and they’re still in the process of building 17 up. Despite the interference of The Shard, Kingston hits the spinning backfist from nowhere to pick up the win at 5.18. After the match The Shard and 17 work over Kingston’s knee in order to get their heat back, before the Colony make the save. This one really ought to have had a DQ finish in order to keep 17 strong.

Icarus vs. Jigsaw – The last time these two met was in their epic Hair vs. Mask match back in 2006 (which was announced by Bob Saget!) This was a fun singles bout, and they continue to build Jigsaw up for his Grand Championship shot; as with the Donst match, he got to kick out of most of Icarus’ finishers before putting him away with the super-brainbuster at 11.10.

Chuck Taylor & Johnny Gargano vs. 3.0 – 2/3 Falls – So the Bravados cracked Jagged’s rib for him last night, which pretty much set the match up in terms of psychology. Very enjoyable main event, far better than the 3.0 vs. F.I.S.T. title change at Green Ice.       Taylor jabs Jagged in the ribs with a chair behind the referee’s back and Gargano takes the first fall at 4.09; Big Magic traps Gargano in the Boston Crab a minute later, forcing him to tap at 5.09. F.I.S.T. work over Matthews, before Jagged makes his comeback; he kicks out of a couple a big moves, including another chair to the ribs. F.I.S.T. end up using 3.0’s finisher against them, pinning Parker with The Sweet Taste of Professionalism at 16.00 to take the third fall and become the new Campeonatos De Parajes. A lot of people weren’t happy 3.0 dropped the belts in their third defence: but to be fair the only reason they got them in the first place was because Gargano got injured, so it’s a case of swings and roundabouts. Obviously it sucks that the Bravados cracked Jagged’s rib for him; but it made for an awesome bout psychology-wise, and I also liked the nod to Gargano’s back injury by having him tap to the Boston Crab. After the bout the Bravado’s come out and take the piss out of 3.0. Incidentally F.I.S.T. are the first team to hold the CDP twice (Claudio held them twice, but with different partners).

Overall – Not as good as the previous night’s Chicago show, but still a decent card of wrestling. I suspect that some of these storylines are being dragged out with the June iPPV in mind, which isn’t the best thing, but there you go.

Image
 
Jake Manning vs. Jon Silver – Battle of the gimmicks here, as the Man Scout take on the Wrestling Retard. To be fair, I’m more impressed with Manning every time I see him; Silver just comes across as an idiot. As opener this did what it needed to; there was quite a unique bump on the apron involving Manning giving Silver a cross between a snapmare and a cross-corner slam. Manning hits his “Better than Lethal” back-breaker/reverse STO combo; but Silver kicks out, and hits his ripcord-lungblower thingy for the win at 7.10. 

Hilariously, after the match Chuck Taylor tells Silver to leave the ring as no-one cares what he has to say anyway – and the latter does! Way to make your match-winning babyface look like a jobber. Taylor says he’s going to beat Johnny Gargano tomorrow for the OTFG belt, and then give the Swamp Monster the first title shot. That match would actually draw. 

Chuck Taylor vs. Colt Cabana – This was a bit of a strange one; for me it needed to be all comedy, or a straight match. In the end, it was an uneasy hybrid, typified by the fact Lenny Leonard was putting over Taylor’s OTFG shot during a comedy sequence. After a while Taylor started working the leg, and the match really started to drag. Eventually Taylor made Cabana tap to the cross crab at 12.42. Should have been better than it was. 

Scott Reed & Caleb Konley vs. Cheech & Mike Cruz – As usual, The Scene weren’t over in the slightest. Cheech and Cruz looked pretty good for a thrown-together tag team. The match was ok, but nothing amazing. The Scene hit That’s Ob-Scene on Cruz at 9.40; still not over. 

Tommy Taylor vs. Jon Davis – Style Battle – You’ll either view this as an absorbing scrap or a fairly sluggish big man bout, according to taste; personally I inclined towards the latter. Davis promised before the tournament started that if he lost so much as one of his three matches, he’d quit EVOLVE, which pretty much telegraphed the tournament result. He gets the victory here with 3 Seconds Around the World at 10.06. A man more cynical than I might say that Davis marks yet another of Gabe’s failed big-men pushes, but we’ll see. 

AR Fox vs. Bobby Fish – Fox won the 2011 Style Battle, while Fish beat Austin Aries in said tournament before losing to Sami Callihan. This one took a while to get going, but built to a very good climax. Not much more that needs to be said really; Fox went for the Shiranui, but Fish countered with the Fish Hook at force him to tap at 16.02 in was has to be considered a minor upset. After the match Fish talks about how he was 0-4 at one point, but is now 4-4. This did more to get EVOLVE over as a promotion than any of Lo-Ki’s promos, for the record. 

Sara Del Rey vs. Santana Garrett – This is a match to promote the upcoming debut of Shine, which is the WNW version of Shimmer. Del Rey easily squashes Garrett, pinning with the Royal Butterfly at 4.25, then asks if this is the best Shine has to offer. So to clarify: the showcase match for your new promotion is a crush match which seems to suggest the level of competition in it will be mismatched at best. Book it Gabe!

Johnny Gargano vs. Tony Nese vs. Alex Reynolds vs. Lince Dorado – Dorado is a replacement for Silas Young, who wasn’t on the show for reasons never explained. A really fun four way scramble match, in which everyone came out of looking good. Reynolds in particular needed a good showing, as despite having a 3-0 record he wasn’t remotely over at the start. Dorado and Nese hit a shooting star press and a 450 splash on Gargano and Reynolds respectively: Nese’s pin is counted at 9.35. I have to say I’m still not convinced by Nese – as I said in the EVOLVE 9 review, his agility is fantastic for a big man – but he perhaps needs to cut his high spots down so that they mean something, otherwise it can lead to “oh look, Vader did a moonsault” syndrome. After the match Nese challenges Gargano to a title match at EVOLVE 16. I guess we know who’s going over tomorrow then. 

El Generico vs. Samuray Del Sol – By far the MOTN. A lot of people are calling this Del Sol’s breakout match; granted, it is by far the best bout I’ve seen him have – but it’s with Generico, who can carry anyone or anything. I do like the look of Del Sol, but before I’m fully convinced on him I need to see him have a great match with…well, someone who’s not Generico basically. Generico hits the turnbuckle buster for the win at 16.34. 

After the bout Generico challenged Low-Ki to another match. Christina Von Eerie came out and said she had a message for Generico from Mad Blankey, which consisted of slapping him a few times. She taunted Generico for not having the balls to hit her, and ate a Yakuza kick for her troubles. (Does that not contravene the whole thing about not attacking people after the bell in EVOLVE?)

Overall – a show of two halves; the first half wasn’t much cop; but Fish vs. Fox, the 4-way and the main event are all worth a look.

Image

This was the first show of a one-day double header co-promoted with ROH. We all got excited when Chikara guys started wrestling on ROH cards; needless to say, that didn’t last beyond this show. ROH has enough stars at the moment you see. (That’s enough sarcasm – Ed.)

The Colony & Jigsaw vs. The Swarm & The Shard – Super-fun Atomicos opener, as you’d expect. A key moment in the Gekido storyline occurs on commentary midway through the match, when Quack says “did you see the way he dropped the shoulder on that arm-drag…wait a minute, I know these guys.” Quack then disappears from the commentary table. The technicos pick up the win when Soldier Ant locks in the Chikara Special on combatANT, causing him to tap at 13.32. After the match Solider Ant hits the Saluting Dive on Gekido for good measure. 

Mixed Martial Archie vs. Kobald – Is there anyone more entertaining on the indies at present than Archibald Peck? (Maybe Mike Bennett? Ed) The highlight of the match is when Archie hits Kobald with the knockout punch, and immediately starts celebrating MMA-style. The referee informs him he has to actually cover the man for the pin; but by the time he gets round to covering him Kobald has rolled onto his stomach. Archie comes off the top rope for the Cranial Crescendo: but when he lands on the mat he applies the guillotine choke, and Kobald taps at 6.45. Comedy gold. 

Mr Touchdown & Dasher Hatfield vs. Kodama & Obariyon – This was a great match in that it told the story of the dissension between Dasher and Mr Touchdown while still be an enjoyable match in itself, if that makes sense. I really hope Chikara start using the Batiri properly soon, they’ve had nothing to do for far too long. Anyway, the basic story is that Angelosetti spends most of the match being a dick, much to Dasher’s annoyance. Obariyon gives Hatfield the flying DDT on the ring apron; and while the ref is checking on both men Touchdown whacks Kodama with his football helmet to get the tainted win at 9.42. After the match Veronica comes down to congratulate Mr Touchdown, while making it clear she doesn’t have much time for Dasher. 

17 vs. Tialong – This is Tialong’s much-hyped debut as the latest graduate of the WrestleFactory. But he lasts sixty-five seconds before 17 makes him tap to a shoulder and scissor-lock combo at 1.05. Seriously, what an awesome angle to get how dangerous 17 is over. A few days later Chikara announced that Tialong’s career was over (!!!). 

Arik Cannon & Darin Corbin vs. The Young Bucks – Unfortunately Corbin was the weakest link in this one, in both kayfabe and non-kayfabe senses of the word. Probably the most lacklustre Bucks outing I’ve seen in 2012; but that says more about the Bucks than the actual match itself, which was fine. The Bucks pin Corbin with MBFYB at 10.00. 

During intermission Hallowicked is in the ring doing pictures and autographs. A guy in a Los Ice Creams mask has his picture taken, then gives Hallowicked the STO. It turns out to be Tim Donst, who applies From Dusk till Donst on Hallowicked, then steals back his Young Lions Cup. 

Tim Donst, Jacob Hammermeir & The Bravado Brothers vs. 3.0, Ultramantis Black & Hallowicked – Except Hallowicked doesn’t come out at the start following the intermission attack from Donst. Considering the talent involved this should have been better; but you might argue that this was about advancing storylines rather than the bout itself. 3.0 get beaten down for most of the match; Ultramantis makes the hot tag, but Delirious makes his way to ringside. He distracts Mantis the latter is going for the Praying Mantis Bomb on Harlem, and the rudos beat down Mantis. Hallowicked comes out and he and Donst brawl to the back; then Ultramantis brawls to the back with Delirious. Lance Bravado hits Jagged from behind with a chair, legitimately cracking his rib. Matthews is able to put the Boston Crab on Hammermeir for the tap-out at 12.13.

Kevin Steen vs. Eddie Kingston – The Grand Championship is on the line here. A bit of a curates’ egg; it wasn’t a bad match per se, but it wasn’t the stupendous brawl that we were all expecting; which might have left some people a bit nonplussed. Also Steen did his usual thing of eliciting cheers when he was supposed to be the heel, which didn’t help either. Kingston smashed his hand into the ringpost early on, and there was a lot of stuff based around the injured hand. Kingston kicks out of the F-Cinq; Steen kicks from the Backfist/ Backdrop Driver combo. Kingston goes for the backfist again, and Steen gives him a low blow for the DQ at 13.10. Shite finish obviously, but it was done to set up a rematch so at least we know we’ll be seeing this again at some point in 2012. Like I said, not a bad match, juts not what I was expecting. 

Gran Akuma vs. Chuck Taylor, Icarus & Johnny Gargano – Gran Akuma Trial Series #3 – it’s not often you get to criticise Chikara’s booking, but man, this Gran Akuma Trial Series really sucks balls. As you’d expect, Akuma spends most of the match getting beaten down only to roll up Gargano for the flash pin at 8.00. Meh. 

El Generico vs. Sara Del Rey – An utterly belting main event, no other words for it. Sara has to be one of the most underrated wrestlers in the business at the moment – and this match underscores the point I’ve made previously that she deserves better than the mid-card feud with the Batiri she’s currently lumbered with. Generico is Generico – probably the best worker in the States as things stand – and once again he has a bout which should be up there in the MOTY lists. Certainly this was the best singles bout in Chikara in 2012 thus far. Del Rey avoids the Yakuza kick in the corner, and delivers an axe kick and a piledriver to Generico to pick up the victory at 14.18.

Overall – another solid Chikara offering, with a must-see main event and a couple of other worthy outings.

Image

Ophidian vs. Ultramantis Black – A fun, fast-paced opener to kick off the Ultramantis vs. Ophidian feud. Ophidian retrieves Ultramantis’ staff (which he nicked at It’s How You Play The Game), then blows black mist in the latter’s face while the referee is distracted. Ophidian gets the pin via roll-up at 5.15. 

Saturyne vs. Kobald – I’m really big on Saturyne, I think she has a ton of potential, she just needs to get matches under her belt. Kobald meanwhile, hasn’t exactly come on in leaps and bounds over the past twelve months, he still needs a bit of work. As with the opener, a solid little five minute match ends with Kobald hitting the Demon’s Toilet for the win at 4.38.

The Bravado Brothers vs. S.A.T vs. Johnny Gargano & Chuck Taylor vs. QT Marshall & Jack Bonza – I can’t get over how fat Joel Maximo has gotten since the S.A.T’s heyday. Marshall and Bonza make their debuts here after impressing on a recent Wrestling is Fun card. This also marks the Bravado’s first Chikara appearance since their NOAH run. A solid four-way tag affair, the main purpose of which was to get F.I.S.T. back in the title hunt after Gargano’s back injury meant they had to drop the belts. Taylor rolls up Will Maximo with a handful of tights to take the first fall at 7.09; the Bravado’s hits the Gentleman’s Approach on Bonza, only for F.I.S.T. to shove them out of the ring and steal the second fall at 8.45; finally, they dispatch the Bravado’s with the Wheelbarrow DDT/ Hurts Donut combo at 11.31. 

Mixed Martial Archie vs. Mr Touchdown – MMA is of course, Archibald Peck, who is getting serious with Mr Touchdown after the Veronica keeps showing interest in the latter. MMA batters Angelosetti, before locking in a guillotine choke that lasts so long Bryce and Dasher both fall asleep (although Touchdown doesn’t give up). Touchdown then goes to lock up, only for Archie to inform him that the round is over. Dasher gets thrown out by Bryce for protesting this, and kicks baseball dirt on him. They wrestle for a bit, then Veronica comes out to make eyes at Touchdown. Archie goes ballistic, and batters Mr Touchdown, forcing Bryce to call for the DQ at 10.26. The great thing about this match is that although it was as funny as fuck, it still advanced the Touchdown vs. Peck feud. Veronica has played a blinder as a lovestruck valet; Touchdown looks the business, while Peck is one of the best things in wrestling at the moment. Barring a booking catastrophe, there’s no way this feud can disappoint.

Jigsaw vs. Tim Donst – These two wrestled at Clutch of Doom last year; but Sabato was the referee, and Donst won in two minutes. Obviously this was a much more competitive outing, and very cleverly booked: given that Donst is getting a push at the moment everyone was expecting him to go over, so Jigsaw kicking out of everything Donst threw at him was a pleasant surprise. Donst kicked out of the Jig ‘n’ Tonic; but Jigsaw hit the second rope brainbuster for the win at 13.49. For me the jury’s still out on Donst; this was a very good match, but then it’s very rare Jigsaw doesn’t get good matches out of people. 

Jacob Hammermier vs. Dragonfly – Yes, this is the Dragonfly the Chikara original, who recently made a comeback after an absence from wrestling. Not much of a Chikara return though, as Hammermeir rolls up with his feet on the ropes at 2.14. Fairly pointless. 

Gregory Iron vs. Gran Akuma – Gran Akuma Trial Series #2 – Enough already with Greg Iron, seriously. I have nothing but admiration for what he’s achieved; but it’s impossible to suspend disbelief for his matches. Icarus is the guest timekeeper for this match, and if Akuma loses, he’s out of Chikara (again). After five minutes of mediocre action, Akuma knocks out the ref accidentally, and Icarus runs in and lamps him with a chain. Iron won’t make the cover though, so Icarus smacks him too. Iron kicks out of the Tenchi Crash; but Akuma gives him three consecutive powerbombs to get the win at 6.47. It’s obvious they want to save the first proper Akuma vs. Icarus match for iPPV; but they’ve got to find a better way to kill time until then, as this trial series is awful. 

Sara Del Rey vs. Kodama – Speaking of booking complaints, given the year Sara Del Rey had in 2011, she really deserves better than a mid-card feud with the Batiri. A by-the-numbers match in which the other Batiri members cheat their arses off on the outside; but Sara manages to inside-cradle Kodama for the pin at 7.53. Kevin Ford wrote in his review of this show that this feud is dragging Del Rey down rather than bringing the Batiri up, and I’m inclined to agree. 

The Colony & Eddie Kingston vs. 17, The Shard, combatANT & assailANT – A solid Atomicos match to main event the show. Quack was really good on commentary in getting over a lot of the stuff concerning Gekido (but then again, he ought to be, having booked the angle), with regards to The Shard mirroring Jigsaw and 17 taking off Quack. Soldier Ant has assailANT beat at one point with the TKO; but tries to take his mask off instead of going for the pin. CombatANT hits him with the saluting forearm and TKO for the victory at 15.49. 

There’s a couple of noteworthy promos that bookend the DVD: 17 explains that while Quack may have mastered 1,000 holds, he has perfected 17 forgotten ones, which are all he needs to put people on the shelf. AssailANT promises to expose Chikara’s squeaky clean image as a sham; and finally, Kevin Steen cuts a promo to set up his match with Eddie Kingston at Hot off the Griddle.

Overall – a really good show from a Chikara fan’s perspective in terms of fun matches and storylines; but if you don’t follow Chikara, there’s nothing here that will trouble the MOTY lists.

Image

The gimmick (if that’s the right word) for this show was that only one match was announced beforehand (Steen vs. Cole), and everything else was a surprise on the night. The American Legion is absolutely rammed – apparently it was so full they had to move the merch table outside!

Eddie Edwards & Roderick Strong vs. The Young Bucks – Fuck me, what an opener. This was supposed to happen at Failure to Communicate, but got put back due to Omega’s last minute availability. It was well worth the wait though, as this was one of the best tag matches of 2012; sixteen minutes of insane action. Edwards and Strong look like making an insanely good team (shite name though – Dojo Bros? Really?) Strong and Edwards pick up the win with a double-stomp/Hurricane DDT combo on Matt at 14.54. On commentary Kevin Steen made the point that of all the places he’s worked, the PWG crowd just seem insanely happy to see good wrestling; a slight shot at ROH maybe? 

Sami Callihan vs. Drake Younger – Best of 3 Series: Match One – This is the sort of match that I would have loved ten years ago when I was (obviously) ten years younger; but now I tend to think it’s the sort of bout that gives the indies a bad name. I like Younger, but here he seemed to demonstrate no grasp of psychology whatsoever; and there were a lot of moves for the sake of moves – but moves that will shave years off your career, like a ridiculous flip bump off the apron following a Callihan bicycle kick. If you like hardcore matches where people kick out of loads of stuff you’ll love this; it didn’t do much for me though. Drake taps to Sami’s bodyscissors horse-collar at 17.07.

Adam Cole comes to the ring and tells Steen to “hash-tag suck my dick”. Steen comes out and tells him their match tonight will now be a Guerrilla Warfare match. 

Super Smash Brothers vs. RockNES Monsters – This is SSB’s first title defence (indeed, their first appearance) since winning the belts atThreemendous III. This was easily the Monsters best match since…probably their last match with the SSB back at Perils of Rock and Roll Decadence, which says it all really. At the time of writing this looks the Monsters final PWG match, as they weren’t entered into DDT4 2013, and there appears to be some legitimate problems between Yuma and Goodtime. For me they were ok as a card filler, but never threatened to become legitimate contenders for a tag title run. I wouldn’t mind seeing Goodtime back as a singles wrestler, as I always thought he was far the better of the two. The SSB retain at with FATALITY on Yuma at 14.25.

Joey Ryan vs. Scorpio Sky – This is Joey’s final PWG appearance, as TNA say he can’t wrestle there anymore (or rather, he can, but can’t appear on their DVD’s, which essentially amounts to the same thing) Like a lot of Ryan’s recent output, nothing amazing here (bar a stiff Moustache Ride to the outside) but given the circumstances it didn’t really need to be. Sky wins with the TKO at 11.50. A lot of people moaned that Sky went over given that he’s not a regular these days; but it ties into the fact he’s now retired Bosh, Lost and Ryan. 

TJ Perkins vs. Willie Mack vs. B-Boy vs. Brian Cage – Despite having the appearance of a randomly thrown-together midcard four-way on paper, this turned out to be a little corker, with a ton of insane spots. My own personal favourite was when TJ Perkins came off the top rope and Cage caught him in the vertical suplex position. Let me just reiterate; not catch him horizontally across his body, then lift him up – actually in the vertical suplex position! Mack comes out victorious with the Chocolate Thunder Driver on B-Boy at 13.10. This was a classic example of a match that I didn’t expect much from and blew me away: good to know wrestling can still surprise me. 

El Generico vs. Rich Swann – Swann’s PWG debut was a disappointing outing against Roderick Strong, so it makes sense to book him here against El Generico (what will promotions do now Generico is not around to rehabilitate/ carry guys anymore?). That said this was a bit of a curate’s egg of a bout, with Generico dominating the first ten minutes or so, which went against type and didn’t really work. Once Swann made his comeback though, the match really got off the ground. Generico goes over at with a crazy move that can only be described as something like a double pump-handle orange crush at 14.03. 

Super Smash Brothers vs. Roderick Strong & Eddie Edwards – During intermission Excalibur announced that because SSB’s flights were expensive, they were going to wrestle twice tonight, but this match is non-title. Another cracking outing involving the champs, with Edwards and Strong heeling it up perfectly in this one. The SSB took a real pasting, but kicked out of everything, and it looked as though they were going to go 2-0 on the night; but Strong caught Player Uno with a particularly nasty All The Landslides Birds Have Ever Seen, and Edwards followed it with the top rope double stomp to get the win at 12.08. As I’ve said before, how the other indies (including Chikara to be honest) never picked up on the potential of the SSB is a mystery to me. (With ROH it was probably because they’re a super-serious promotion; which is why their tag division at the moment is seriously crap). Fortunately PWG gave them a shot (and even that was because they paid for their own flight first time!), and it’s paid off. 

Adam Cole vs. Kevin Steen – Guerrilla Warfare – A good, but not great main event in my opinion; I thought the GW match at Fear was better. There was an insane spot where Steen gave Cole a top rope Cradle Breaker through a pyramid of chairs, and the crowd popped huge for the near-fall: but for me it was one of those where I thought “he really shouldn’t have kicked out of that.” Steen then introduced a pitcher full of thumbtacks to the mat, but Cole gave him a German Suplex onto the tacks. Cole then hits a superkick and an arm-capture German suplex for the win at 21.35 to become the new PWG champion. A worthy main event in any case.

Overall – for me this was PWG’s best card of 2012

PWGFTC

Joey Ryan vs. Ryan Taylor – Hmmm, on paper this looks like a bit of a clunker; Ryan has been treading water in PWG for ages, while Taylor – with Cage breaking out as a singles guy and Chuckie T nowhere to be seen – is the proverbial spare one at a wedding with regards to the Fighting Taylor Boys. But the match itself wasn’t too bad; nothing amazing, but it rattled along at a decent clip. Taylor pins Ryan clean with a snapmare driver at 7.52; a sure sign that Ryan was his way out of the company.

Eddie Edwards vs. Michael Elgin – These two had a pretty good match in ROH back in early 2011; but Elgin has come on in leaps and bounds since then. Really good match as you’d expect between two guys at the top of their game. Indeed, I’ve not seen Edwards have a bad match in 2012. Elgin hits Spin City at 16.02 to get win. (Incidentally if anyone is wondering why Elgin is wrestling twice tonight; it was supposed to be the Bucks vs. Strong/Edwards, but then Omega became available, so the card was reshuffled).

RockNES Monsters vs. Famous B & B-Boy – The Monsters may have turned heel, but their general shortcomings remain. Like many RM (and indeed B-Boy) matches, this went about five minutes longer than it needed to. Famous B slightly took the edge off his performance by landing on his head from a tope con hilo on Goodtime; Yuma rolls B-Boy up in the ring for the cheap pin at 16.12. I said earlier in the year that the Monsters were rapidly becoming makeweights in the PWG division, and this match did little to convince that their heel turn is likely to change that.

Sami Callihan vs. Davey Richards – 2012 has been a strange old year for Davey Richards. I was going to begin this review with the sentence “the rehabilitation of Davey Richards continues”, but that’s not quite right – he certainly didn’t become a bad wrestler at any stage, although his matches had become fairly formulaic. In any case, he seems to be enjoying wrestling a lot more since his tour of the UK, and he carries Callihan to a super match here. Maybe that’s a bit unfair on Callihan; but he can be very hit and miss. This was an absolute stormer though, with some choice near-falls at the end. Callihan picks up his first big PWG win (beating Willie Mack/ TJ Perkins doesn’t count) by making Richards tap to the horse-collar at 17.24.

Roderick Strong vs. Rich Swann – As another review of this DVD put it, here’s another chance for PWG to capitalise on DG:USA/ ROH being dickheads and booking guys from each promotion against each other. The match was a bit of a flop though; at times it turned into a semi-squash for Strong, and Swann seemed to be a bit under par when he did get some offense in. Strong hits All the Landslides Birds Have Ever Seen at 18.02 for only his third win in PWG of 2012.

Brian Cage vs. Willie Mack – Willie Mack has dyed his hair…I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be orange or yellow. Either way, it reminds me of that Red Dwarf episode where Holly messed with Rimmer’s hair; “but you are how you look, and I look like….a complete and total tit!” Anyway, like many a Brian Cage match, after a sluggish start this picked up steam as it went on. Towards the end a ref bump means Mack has Cage pinned with the Chocolate Thunder Bomb, but there’s no count; Cage low blows Mack, and hits Weapon X for the win at 18.01. The last eight minutes just about made up for the first ten.

The Young Bucks vs. Kenny Omega & El Generico – This is Omega’s first PWG appearance since As The Worm Turns in early 2010. As you’d expect, a tremendously compelling tag bout, with some shenanigans at the start (specifically an arm-wrestling contest between Omega and Matt), before we got down to business proper. With the crowd as hot as it was there wasn’t much that could have gone wrong with this one in truth, and the finishing stretch was textbook Young Bucks. The finish was slightly odd – two consecutive ref bumps – and it didn’t really play into the finish: MBFYB is countered, and Generico hits the Turnbuckle buster on Matt, while Omega hits a second rope What’s The Frequency Kenneth on Nick. Rick Knox, who was doing commentary, runs in to count the three at 26.11. Not sure if that was the best tag bout in PWG of 2012; but it’s certainly in the top five.

Kevin Steen vs. Michael Elgin vs. Ricochet – Probably one of the best triple-threat matches I’ve ever seen; fast-paced and gripping with tons of fun spots. There’s not much else to be said really; one of the best matches of 2012. Steen hits the Package Piledriver on top of a prone Michael Elgin to pin Ricochet at 14.09.

Overall – Another very good PWG card; but with six matches going over 15 minutes it was a bit draining at times. I know they don’t run very often and therefore try to pack as much into each card as possible; but you do need a five minute match you can ignore every now and then just to break things up.