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PWG: Smokey and the Bandido
by Samoa Rowe
October 18, 2018
Survivor Series 2019 is tonight, but I don't feel like watching it. Instead, let's take a look at a PWG DVD taped last year, featuring a slew of guys who are having a great 2019, or are poised for a big 2020. I honestly don't remember how this DVD made it onto my shelf, must have been an impulse buy at a live event.
From the Globe Theatre in Los Angeles, California The house is packed. Our hosts is Excalibur.
Darby Allin vs. Trevor Lee
Lee cuts a promo beforehand, making excuses for losing to Jeff Cobb in seconds. Lee runs Allin down for coming across like a backyard wrestler. Lee gives Allin a chair and dares him to do the only trash wrestling move he knows. Allin thinks about it but tosses the weapon, Lee ambushes with an attempted German, but Allin lands on his feet and goes on a flurry. Allin's flipping stunner gets 2. Allin's suicide dive sends them into the fans. Lee tries to shove the ref into Allin on the ropes and hits a blind low blow to gain control. Lee launches Allin over the ropes for a wild fall. Allin slugs his way out of a backbreaker stretch. Allin manages a springboard crossbody and mounts the wrist for targeted blows and headbutts. They trade counters and Allin springboards into a tornado body press for 2. Lee answers with a backbreaker off the buckles. Allin lights up Lee's chest and delivers a Destroyer for 2. Allin hits a COFFIN DROP TO RINGSIDE! Back to the ring, Lee counters with a nasty backbreaker for 2. A fan tosses duct tape to Lee, and he ties Allin's hands behind his back (aaaaahhh, this is very much like what happened with Allin vs. Chris Jericho on AEW Dynamite in 2019). Lee launches Allin into the air for a terrible landing on his shoulder and head. Allin, hands tied and all, manages a standing dropkick, springboard shoulder tackle, and tope suicida! Allin runs into Lee's leaping double stomp to the chest and it's over at 13:59! Tons of fun to see Allin tinkering with underdog spots before reaching a bigger audience. Lee came across like a true d!ckhead. For a company that gets sh!t on constantly for being "indie-riffic" this featured a ton of great babyface/heel character work, ***½.
Winner: Trevor Lee
Flamita vs. Puma King vs. Rey Horus
These guys are on the DVD cover, so this might be special. Three masked luchadores are about to tear it up. My PBP may not keep up, but honestly, are any of you going to watch this DVD and compare the action to call me out on my mistakes? No? Good. I could just make things up if I wanted. Bell rings and they immediately start trading pin predicaments that are simply too cool for school. Everyone misses flippy offense until reaching a stalemate for a round of applause. Puma King and Flamita form an uneasy alliance to punish Horus. Horus fends them off and sends Puma King packing with an enziguri. Horus and Flamita go nuts with a lighting quick exchange, ending with a spike DDT from Flamita. Puma King ambushes Flamita with a high flapjack and superkick. Flamita and Horus chop it out on the apron, and Puma King powerbombs Horus off the apron onto Flamita! Puma King's dive is blocked by Horus' enziguri to the head, and Flamita capitalizes with a fast dive. Puma King shakes off the cobwebs and scores a dive on both opponents to pop the crowd. Flamita puts Horus in a muscle buster lung blower, and chops it out with Puma King. King powerbombs Flamita and then Horus for 2. Flamita's 450 splash gets 2 on King. Horus gets launched to the top rope for a superplex on Flamita. All three guys hit the canvas with a brainbuster/suplex combo! A flurry results in rapid fire standing Spanish Fly's and nearfalls. King gets dumped for flying attacks from both opponents, and I'm getting a tad tired, I must admit. Horus catches Flamita in a tornado DDT and leaps to the top rope, but Puma King counters with a SUPER PENDULUM POWERBOMB and scores the win at 11:53! Bell to bell craziness that overstayed it's welcome by a few minutes before a seriously cool finish, ***¾.
Winner: Puma King
Hechicero vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Crowd is red hot for this and gives ZSJ a soccer chant. They feel each other out and ZSJ smiles off a "Zack is puto" chant. ZSJ grapevines the leg and Hechicero reverses into a pendulum swing hold before a break. My wife walks in and asks "Is this real or a video game" with full sincerity. They resume chain wrestling on the mat and everything they do looks super painful. I'm convinced Hechicero is a wizard when he manages to grapevine both the arms and legs and roll over to elevate ZSJ above his body. ZSJ finally throws a chop to ruin a clean break, but Hechicero returns the favor. They trade stiff strikes and Hechicero flips the double bird. Hechicero absorbs some uppercuts and rolls ZSJ up for a nearfall. Hechicero applies a beautiful surfboard stretch, but ZSJ escapes via wristlock and stomps the arm! This is honestly some of the coolest technical wrestling I've ever seen. I actually feel a bit deflated as they resume a strikefest, and Hechicero wins the exchange with a shotgun dropkick. ZSJ answers with a flying forearm and traps the legs and hyperextends the arms and fingers in a hammerlock. Hechicero counters into a cross armbreaker for an immediate rope break. ZSJ reverses a hip toss into an abdominal stretch. Hechicero spins ZSJ in a hammerlock around and around into a backbreaker! Hechicero runs around with ZSJ stretched out on his back, but he gets countered into an octopus. Hechicero counters into a Mad Scientist power bomb! Both guys are in desperation mode, ZSJ's rana is blocked, so he applies an armbreaker. ZSJ traps the legs and leans backwards to force Hechicero's shoulders down for the pinfall at 18:29! Simply outstanding display of technical wrestling, just missing a little extra urgency down the stretch to miss a full monty rating, ****¾
Winner: Zack Sabre Jr.
Bandido vs. Rey Fenix
Bell rings and they intensely begin trading holds. Can you believe Bandido turned down offers from WWE and AEW, choosing to sign with ROH in 2018? I wonder how fast he's gone once that deal expires. They wrestle to a stalemate and a standing ovation. They collide with running elbows and the fans chant "This is Lucha." Fenix seems to tweak is own knee while hitting a dropkick. Bandido scores a rana and blocks Fenix's springboard attack into a flapjack! Surfboard stretch by Bandido, but not as cool as Hechicero's. Fenix sit up escape is pretty awesome though, but he continues selling a knee injury. Fenix still manages a roundhouse kick, but Bandido hits a pop-up kick to the face for 2. Fenix walks the ropes for a big time rana! Fenix hits rapid fire diving headbutts for 2. Fenix hits a top rope moonsault to the floor! Bandido answers with Go 2 Sleep and a lariat for a nearfall. Bandido follows with a powerbomb into the ring post! Bandido swantons off the top rope onto a standing Fenix at ringside!! They chop their way back onto their feet. They summon their FIGHTING SPIRIT and rip each other apart. They take a break to hug it out and Fenix hits a thrust kick. Fenix kicks himself off Bandido's shoulders and nails a DESTROYER for 2. Must they kill the business like that? Bandido answers with a high elevation piledriver but FENIX KICKS OUT! Bandido bounces off the ropes for extra momentum hitting a GERMAN SUPLEX FOR 2! Fenix answers with a top rope cutter for another good nearfall. Bandido applies a tame looking ankle lock, but Fenix sells it like death before getting the ropes. Fenix no sells long enough to hit a springboard kick and attempts an avalanche ace crusher, but Bandido counters with a top rope Falcon Arrow! Bandido's dead lift package piledriver finishes it at 23:21! They left it all in the ring in an emotionally exhausting war. Some of the selling was suspect, and they used brutal finishers as transition moves, so consider the business thoroughly killed, ****¼.
Brody King vs. Timothy Thatcher
King is another guy I am not expecting to re-sign with ROH considering the dumpster fire state of affairs at the end of 2019. He and Thatcher are two bruising competitors and rough each other up in the feeling out process. I can't believe Thatcher hasn't been offered a contract by any top company yet as King destroys him with chops. Thatcher answers with a series of uppercuts. King hits a hip toss to the floor and pursues. Thatcher drives King's arm into the ring post during a brawl. King absorbs a ton of punishment but manages a running cannonball into the buckles. King's vertical suplex gets 2. Thatcher answers with a belly to belly suplex and backdrop driver! King blocks a butterfly suplex, but Thatcher holds on to the hold for a modified slam. King surprises with a piledriver for 2. They kill one another in a chopfest, but King has the last laugh with a falling lariat. King's powerbomb gets 2, and Thatcher has a bloody nose. German suplex by King, but Thatcher surprises with a deep armbar for the submission victory at 14:16! A bloody Thatcher stands victorious. Good match that was hurt by a burnt out crowd, ***¼.
Winner: Timothy Thatcher
PWG Tag Team Championship:
The Rascalz © (Zachary Wentz and Dezmond Xavier) vs. LAX (Santana and Ortiz)
LAX are making their PWG debuts, so of course they should get a title shot! Xavier quickly gets annoyed with Santana and flips the bird. Santana goes on the offense, but Xavier flips out of a hold and flips him off again. Santana fakes Xavier out on a knuckle lock and punches the groin, and just like that LAX are in the driver's seat. Xavier avoids getting isolated with a cutter on Ortiz. Wentz tags and embarrasses Ortiz with a bronco buster. Ortiz lariats Wentz over the ropes, leaving their partners to have an illegal exchange. Santana hits a baseball slide dropkick onto Wentz. Ortiz goes for a dive but Wentz (barely) counters with a stunner through the ropes. Wentz' lungblower and standing SSP gets 2. The crowd is muted as The Rascalz pummel Ortiz in their corner. Ortiz saves himself with a modified stunner and Santana cleans house after a hot tag. Santana hits an awesome cannonball senton off the back of Ortiz! The crowd wakes up a bit as LAX work over Wentz. Xavier gets a hot tag and runs wild through LAX. Rascalz kill Santana with a superkick into a lungblower position followed by a double stomp! Santana rips into both Rascalz with rapid open hand shots. LAX hit Xavier with a sunset flip knee strike and Santana's chancery almost ends it. LAX's flurry of tandem offense is flashy but ineffective, so they hit dives instead. Xavier survives a powerbomb and frog splash, and we've reached the point where the false finishes mean nothing. Rascalz overcome some botches and miscues, and Wentz nearly pins Santana after a cool Ace crusher. Wentz launches off Ortiz to hit a Destroyer on Santana. Santana eats a swanton bomb and corkscrew senton, and Rascalz retain at 19:08. I wasn't really feeling this one, as the crowd was burnt out, there were a string of silly looking botches, and the false finishes didn't feel earned or warranted, **¾.
Winners and still PWG Tag Team Champions: The Rascalz
PWG World Championship:
WALTER ©© vs. Jeff Cobb
Both big guys are cautious and tentative during a feeling out process. WALTER applies a sideheadlock and uses the ropes for leverage. WALTER kicks the face and regains the headlock. Cobb answers with a double legged takedown. WALTER continues the attack and counters a fireman's carry with a big DDT! Cobb rebounds with a belly to back suplex, but WALTER fires back with a lariat. WALTER continues winning punching contest and delivers a hard German suplex. WALTER wrenches his feet around Cobb's neck, and then stands on the neck while applying a Boston crab. Cobb blocks a chop and nails a waistlock German suplex! Cobb's standing moonsault gets 2. Cobb can't quite hit Tour of the Islands, as WALTER is too big and crafty. WALTER nails a sleeper hold overhead suplex! WALTER spends too much time celebrating and walks into Cobb's twisting back suplex. Lariat by WALTER and a brainbuster gets 2. Cobb can barely stand and it takes everything in him to finally hit Tour of the Islands! Cobb's late cover gets 2. Shotgun dropkick by WALTER and a powerbomb gets 2. WALTER angrily applies a crossface, and elbows the face before switching to a hangman cravat. Cobbs stands up to break a sleeper with a back drop, but WALTER reapplies the hold! Crowd goes wild as Cobb fights to his feet, but WALTER cuts him off with another powerbomb and diving body press, but COBB KICKS OUT! WALTER's Sleeper is countered into a scary close nearfall, but Cobb manages to roll over him into another pinning combination and wins the title at 18:46! The crowd is delighted by this outcome. These guys delivered an awesome power match that reenergized a burnt out audience, ****.
Winner and new PWG World Champion: Jeff Cobb
Cobb thanks the fans and stands tall.
Final Thoughts: Routinely great show from PWG, even though it's the wrestling equivalent of eating an entire ice cream cake by yourself. Recommended, if you are a joyful person who enjoys life.
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