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Project Rewatch - PWG: The Good Shit


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#1 supersonic

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 11:06 PM

Same style as my ROH rewatch.
 
Are You Adequately Prepared to Rock?! - October 4, 2003
 
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PWG Title Match
Frankie Kazarian vs. AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels
 
Fans of NWA-TNA will love this.  To me, it felt like an above-average X-Division match or something I'd see currently on Superstars.  Good but nothing special, even with some great spots from time to time.
 
Rating: ***


#2 supersonic

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 11:06 PM

An Inch Longer Than Average - November 15, 2003
 
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PWG Title Match
Frankie Kazarian vs. Bryan Danielson
 
A fine sample of Danielson being a dickhead, and Kazarian did the best he could to sell his arm injury - in fact it was phenomenal.  What brought the match down from being a classic though is that Kazarian doesn't have the charisma to get the crowd begging for him to make a comeback, and that lack of charisma also became very glaring once it was his turn to get the heat on Danielson.  Danielson, as usual, was on fire during his heat segments.
 
Rating: ***1/2


#3 supersonic

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 11:07 PM

Tango & Cash Invitational Night 2 - January 25, 2004
 
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Tag Titles Tournament Semifinal
Joey Ryan & Scott Lost vs. Super Dragon & Bryan Danielson
 
Note to pro wrestlers: stop trying to fool anybody in that you'll fight a fan head-on if he comes into the ring.  We all know your fellow carnies will come out and gang up on him because you're not real fighters.  You're fake fighters.  Knock it off with getting in their faces too.  They're your paying customers and aren't harming or genuinely offending anyone with their vocal opinions.
 
With that out of the way, this was a fun match and had some nice psychology mixed in.  What stood most to me is that the ref didn't waste time and energy telling guys to wait for a tag; in addition, there was not one moment of forgetting who was legal.
 
Rating: ***1/4


#4 supersonic

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 11:07 PM

The Musical - April 17, 2004
 
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Samoa Joe vs. Bryan Danielson
 
"You're the pedophile world champion!" - Bryan Danielson after being ambushed by Joe and Ricky Reyes in the post-match
 
That above statement should tell you how interesting this entire segment was.  From the opening several minutes, which had some highly entertaining shenanigans by both the wrestlers and commentary team, you knew you were in for something special with this one.
 
Once the match got down to business, the commentary team did as well.  What followed was 20+ minutes of just some fine pro wrestling, including great strikes and submission work.  Not a MOTYC, but certainly the greatest match PWG had hosted up to that point.  Damn good match to go with their ROH stuff.
 
Rating: ***3/4


#5 supersonic

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 11:07 PM

The Reason For the Season - July 10, 2004
 
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AJ Styles vs. Rocky Romero
 
A solid match that felt like an undercard showcase for NWA-TNA.  Didn't have the pacing to make it anything special, and there didn't appear to be a truly engaging story to make up for it either.
 
Rating: less than ***
 
CM Punk vs. Super Dragon
 
I sincerely apologize to everyone I argued with in defending this as a good match.  Despite storytelling efforts, this was BORING.  This was I skipped about 2/3 of the way in, otherwise I'd have fallen asleep.  Anytime I am put to sleep or don't finish a match to avoid falling asleep, that is a confirmed failure for the match.
 
Samoa Joe & Ricky Reyes vs. Bryan Danielson & Christopher Daniels
 
A damn good tag match with simple storytelling that would have been WAY better with Low Ki or Homicide in Reyes's place.  Easily a top three match in the career of Reyes.  Joe was just a great prick bringing a retaliatory side out of Danielson.  Went a little too long, but that happens quite often in PWG (keeping it from being a flawless promotion even today.)  I also didn't notice near-falls being counted on the wrong men, which I appreciate.
 
Rating: ***1/2
 
Go through the F4W newsletter archive to find Vinny's review of the cage match if you want one so bad.  I'm not bothering.


#6 supersonic

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 11:07 PM

The Secret of the Ooze - August 14, 2004
 
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PWG Title Shot Match
Samoa Joe vs. Super Dragon
 
This match caught me off guard with the way it was laid out - I was expecting Joe vs. Kobashi lite to be honest.  But this match was still damn good and I may enjoy it more with future viewings.
 
Joe was great being an absolute cunt in this match (his gimmick throughout the year for PWG) and SD played the underdog babyface yet again, in a match that was far more exciting than his match the month prior against CM Punk.  Joe's cocky demeanor got him to make the match a bit longer than it should have been, trying to make SD his bitch and stick it to the fans.  But SD played his role fine, scratching and clawing to stay on par with Joe.
 
I think if this match had taken place during the current PWG golden age in front of the Reseda crowd it'd have ended up being a MOTYC.  I did like the countout victory for Joe, showing he didn't care how he won.  It also proved his point that SD couldn't survive the punishment dished out.
 
Rating: ***3/4


#7 supersonic

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 11:08 PM

Use Your Illusion IV - October 23, 2004
 
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PWG Title Shot - 60 Minute Iron Man Match
Joey Ryan vs. Super Dragon
 
Joey Ryan.  Super Dragon.  60 Minutes.
 
I had to see it to believe it, but this was an excellent Iron Man match, surpassing Benoit vs. HHH done that same year.  This was far from perfect, just a tad notch below the Aries vs. Danielson 2/3 falls match, but this was a HUGE pleasant surprise.
 
Both men held nothing back (a positive and a negative), trading holds and strikes like they were headlining a major PPV.  Like a juggernaut, SD was able to get a 3-0 lead midway in the match, but Ryan used tenacity and intelligence to bring the match to a tie, playing off of the legwork earlier in the match.
 
As the 60 minutes came to a conclusion, Ryan made a puzzling decision (both kayfabe and non-kayfabe).  He was letting SD get counted out, which would give Ryan a 4-3 lead and likely the victory.  But he interrupted the 20 count, and then gave SD a fucking SWINGING NECKBREAKER OFF THE TOP ROPE ONTO THE FLOOR.  I'm sure that bump was fucking worth it for both men.
 
The match went into sudden death overtime (much better decision than 5 extra minutes), and SD won after multiple Burning Hammers (including one on the floor) despite Ryan's tenacity.  But it was Ryan's stupidity near the end of the 60 minute regulation that cost him the match, the bragging rights, and the shot at the most important prize in the company.
 
Rating: ****


#8 supersonic

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 11:08 PM

Free Admission (Just Kidding) - November 13, 2004
 
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Jack Evans vs. Christopher Daniels
 
A fine first-time encounter and much better than I remembered.  Daniels spent the early majority getting the heat on Evans, gassing him out and working on the back, but Evans found the heart to battle through the injury.  In the end though, all the work as well as the experience and conditioning advantage gave Daniels the victory.  A damn good debut for Evans.
 
Rating: ***1/2
 
Kevin Steen vs. El Generico
 
A double debut here, originally scheduled for both men to face Aerial Xpress, but they were unable to appear.  What followed was an awesome introductory exhibition of what these two can do.  Steen was hilarious, Generico played sympathy like a motherfucker, and the rest is history.  REALLY looking forward to the tag against Aerial Xpress that happened on the following event.
 
Rating: ***
 
Scott Lost vs. Bryan Danielson
 
Another damn good indy main event for the Danielson collection.  He was tremendous here showing that he was just flat-out better than Lost, but Lost was willing to stoop to dirty tactics to get the heat.  Some pretty amusing spots during the climatic portion of the match outside the ring, but ultimately Danielson proved his obvious superiority.
 
Rating: ***3/4


#9 supersonic

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 11:08 PM

Uncanny X-Mas - December 18, 2004
 
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Chris Hero vs. Austin Aries
 
This was a very good technical match mixed with some great Xmas-themed comedy dialogue.  The taller Hero was able to outwrestle Aries and work on the left leg to get the victory via a modified cloverleaf submission.  Good stuff all around.
 
Rating: ***1/2
 
Aerial Xpress vs. Kevin Steen & El Generico
 
Fun exhibition style tag, nothing more, nothing less.  The seeds were planted here for what was to come many, many years down the road for both Steen & Generico across the indy scene.
 
Rating: ***
 
Brian Kendrick vs. Colt Cabana
 
Another fun comedy match and superior to the one they had several months later in ROH.  This had comedic skilled technical wrestling and the sports-entertainment portion of the match was well-done thanks to Cabana.
 
Rating: ***
 
PWG Title Shot Match
Samoa Joe vs. Bryan Danielson
 
Add this to the collection of great matches between these two.  They don't bother playing off of their feud earlier in the year, instead just having a great match based on strikes and technical wrestling.  Joe ultimately wins when Danielson arrogantly gives him an airplane spin, somehow convincing himself that it wouldn't wear him out and quickly leave him ripe for picking once Joe recovered.
 
Rating: ****


#10 supersonic

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 11:09 PM

All Nude Revue - February 12, 2005
 
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Roderick Strong's PWG Debut
Ricky Reyes vs. Roderick Strong
 
An excellent debut for Strong, and one of the best singles matches in the career of Reyes.  Just hard-hitting shit, but also some nice psychology from Strong on his knee.  Not sure why Reyes had to go over at all in this one, even with a fluke roll-up.
 
Rating: ***1/4
 
Alex Shelley's PWG Debut
Alex Shelley vs. El Generico
 
Another damn good match with great psychology, but the crowd heat wasn't there since there was no issue at all between the two.  If these ever have the opportunity to feud, I see great potential based on how the two gel with one another.
 
Rating: ***1/4
 
PWG Title Match
Super Dragon vs. Samoa Joe
 
This match did a great job referencing their first match at The Secret of the Ooze, but lacked the atmosphere to make it an overall great match.  Very good match though that surpassed the hard-hitting aspect of Reyes vs. Strong, and I loved that SD went to Joe right away - it made wonder if SD studied how Austin Aries had dethroned Joe just several weeks earlier in ROH.
 
I also loved a stretch of bad-ass moves by SD in a short time, ending with him doing a tope con hilo where he landed ass-first on the concrete.  I'm sure that bump was worth it.  That said, that bump made his selling of his injured back a bit more believable when he found the adrenaline necessary to successfully execute the Burning Hammer on Joe.  And the finish, while deflating, was great storytelling and karma based on how the previous match between these two ended.
 
Rating: ***3/4


#11 supersonic

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 11:09 PM

Ernest P. Worrell Memorial - March 12, 2005
 
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PWG Title Shot Match
Kevin Steen vs. AJ Styles vs. El Generico vs. Christopher Daniels
 
Pretty fun match, and I can't help but wonder how awesome a Steen/Generico vs. Styles/Daniels tag match would have been at the time.  Everyone had good chemistry in this match, although there wasn't as much of a chance to show.  With this being I believe the only time Styles and Generico collided, I'd have liked to see more than the former giving the latter his standard signature moves.  (Fuck it, Styles should sign a WWE developmental contract so we can get the singles match all these years later!)
 
The main story of the match was Daniels playing mind games, spending the first several minutes of the match avoiding any collision with Styles, since they were feuding at the time in TNA.  There could have been a lot more to this match, but considering that it appeared Generico suffered a concussion from a spinning neckbreaker and that the ref found himself not giving a flying fuck about enforcing tags in the climatic moments, it was still good.
 
Rating: ***1/4
 
PWG Title Match
Super Dragon vs. Kevin Steen
 
With Steen already having a match earlier, it was great to have him ambush SD during his entrance.  Add that this was the first match in their feud of the year candidate, and I really appreciate what these two did.  SD was usual vicious self to show that he was the alpha male and hold onto to the title, but Steen resorted to anything possible, perhaps to manipulate SD mentally, or maybe even he was looking to pick a fight with the top dog to make a name for himself.  I loved that they exchanged finishers on each other, and SD finished Steen off with a package piledriver as a nice fuck-you.  Looking forward to the rest of this feud.
 
Rating: ***1/2


#12 supersonic

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 11:09 PM

All Star Weekend Night 1 - April 1, 2005
 
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Chris Hero vs. Chris Sabin
 
A pretty good technical wrestling match, but not in the position to steal the show, and neither was at a point in their careers to have the proper pacing to do so.  The story of the match became Hero working on the arms of Sabin, while Sabin focused on Hero's neck to prepare him for the Cradle Shocker.  Ultimately Hero was too technically superior, the experience of working against CM Punk and Colt Cabana in long matches throughout the Midwest, for Sabin to overcome.
 
Rating: ***1/4
 
James Gibson vs. Bryan Danielson
 
This was the Bryan Danielson Show - works for me.  He DOMINATED this match, which 99.9% of the time is a formula that engages a patient viewer that appreciates storytelling.  But Gibson was such an excellent storyteller in his career that his selling just made Danielson look even better, and his hope spots were always believable.
 
When the match got to an "even point," it was some very good back-and-forth shit, both men just to out-wrestle each other out of pride.  One may also think that Gibson getting the sudden pinfall over Danielson was a sign that the match was a waste, but one would be wrong to think that.  It was a sign that even though Danielson was the man and had a bright future ahead of him, Gibson was too much of a veteran and had too much experience that he knew when to capitalize on an opportunity at any moment.
 
Rating: ***1/2
 
PWG Title Shot Match
Samoa Joe vs. AJ Styles
 
Good God, I could tell why this was included on the first Sells Out.  This was the usual hard-hitting shit between these two, which is a recipe for at worst a very good match.  But these two just clicked so well in this match.  After Styles started off with the heat, Joe got a good shot in to daze Styles but couldn't capitalize on it due to the punishment he had already taken.
 
There was also a botch in this match, but at this point both men were so good that they turned it into an actual on-the-fly spot and incorporated it into the story of the match.  These two just couldn't do any wrong on this night.  Now one may consider that after Joe delivered his usual brutality on Styles, that it didn't make sense for Styles to get the Torture Rack locked.  But to me it does, because what it says is that Styles was so determined on this night that he gave himself enough temporary adrenaline to go with his existing strength to lift the Samoan.
 
The finish was perfect too.  Earlier in the match, Styles sprung up to give Joe a hurracanrana, which should have been a warning to Joe,  However, because Joe had a tendency to be WAY too cocky in PWG at this time, he overlooked it and it led to his downfall when Styles did almost the same thing but executed a successful Styles Clash.
 
This match may have been just a TAD bit better with different stakes, such as a championship in TNA or ROH.  However, the effort, pacing, and storytelling of this match not only resulted in an unsurprising show-stealer, but elevated the importance of the mere PWG Title.  Styles gave EVERYTHING to earn his shot at it.
 
Rating: ****
 
PWG Title Match
Super Dragon vs. Kevin Steen vs. El Generico
 
A very good match to close out the show, and nice continuation of the Steen vs. SD feud.  Steen vs. Generico is the usual good stuff too, and any PWG viewer should be aware that SD and Generico have good chemistry too.  While certainly nowhere near on par with the threeway that took place during the previous WrestleMania weekend at MSG, this was still very enjoyable and never a dull moment.  Nobody came out of this match looking weaker, and when considering how hard-hitting Joe vs. Styles was, I am quite interested in seeing SD vs. Styles the following night.
 
Rating: ***1/2


#13 supersonic

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 11:09 PM

All Star Weekend Night 2 - April 2, 2005
 
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TNA X-Division Title Match
Christopher Daniels vs. Chris Hero
 
A very good technical wrestling match and I'm not sure an Orlando crowd would have appreciated this as much as L.A. did.  The first few minutes were a feeling out process, as the only time these two ever locked horns was in a tag match the year before.  The feeling out process was a thing of beauty, watching these two wizards just trading holds on the mat.
 
Within minutes, the story of the match became Hero working on the head and neck of Daniels (perfect for Hero's signature submission style and also accounting for the neck injury Daniels suffered in WCW), and Daniels working on Hero's left knee.  The heat segments for both men were very interesting for true, patient fans of technical wrestling, as both did a great job unfolding the story being told.
 
However, Daniels did so much work on Hero's knee, that when combined with having more experience AND being in his prime at the time of this match, was too much for Hero to overcome.  Finishing Hero off with the Angel's Wings was perfect not only to keep that as a believable finishing move for Daniels, but also because it forced Hero to land on both of his knees, and it was not the first time Hero's left knee collided with the mat in this match.
 
I think if this match had taken place about 5 years later, with both men at the top of their games and a better pacing, this could have easily been as excellent as Daniels vs. Williams at ROH's Night of Champions.
 
Rating: ***1/2
 
PWG Title Match
Super Dragon vs. AJ Styles
 
Another very good match to close out the first ever ASW, and unexpectedly a hard-hitting one to boot.  I can only imagine how much pain Styles was in after the classic against Joe the night before, but that's what professional athletes do - when it's game time, if they can find a way to go, then they do.  Styles just seemed so focused here, just finding great ways to escape and reverse so much of SD's vicious trademark moves.  Not even a curb stomp, painful as I'm sure it was, could keep him down.
 
That a discus lariat is what put SD away and earned Styles the PWG Title was a proper way to end the story of this match.  As brutal as SD was in this one, Styles was just even more brutal and a superior athlete: it was a mis-match in regards to technique, speed, and strength.  But by escaping the Burning Hammer, it kept that finisher strong - it wasn't improperly used as an false finish, unlike another certain indy championship match done on this same date on the other side of the continent.
 
I'm curious as why I progress through 2005 to see if SD learned something from this match and applied any of it his feud of the year candidate with Kevin Steen.  It'll certainly be very interesting.
 
Rating: ***1/2


#14 supersonic

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 11:10 PM

Jason Takes PWG - May 13, 2005
 
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Hardcore Match
Super Dragon vs. Excalibur
 
This was an impromptu match, as SD was scheduled to face the mysterious Super Dragon #2 in this "Guerrilla Warfare" hardcore match due to SD2 fucking with SD earlier in the year.  Excalibur reveals that although he isn't SD2, he will face SD when he attacks his friend from behind.  His motivation is that SD as the owner/booker keeps hogging the spotlight while the rest of the original PWG crew is stuck jerking the curtain far too often.
 
This match was a bit fun, but to me never kicked into that high hear.  I think it was a combination of reasons: neither character felt truly sympathetic, and that's not because of both wearing masks and almost identical all-black outfits that reminded me of the Raiders vs. Steelers rivalry many decades ago.  SD was the default babyface, but he didn't do anything to really get sympathy heat.  It was just two assholes fucking each other up for the viewer's entertainment.
 
And fuck each other up they did.  If you're looking for matches that have reckless chairshots galore, this is the match for you.  This is why SD has been on-again, off-again in the ring the past several years, and why Excalibur is retired as an in-ring worker.
 
The most important moment is the closing stretch, when SD2 interferes to take out SD and help Excalibur.  There's a badly botched attempted double-underhook move off the top rop onto a table that's placed on the middle ropes in the same corner that finishes the match.  But what matters is that SD2 turns out to be Kevin Steen.  While I know that the rest of the SD vs. Steen feud will be a bit rough to rewatch knowing the aftermath of all the damage that these human beings put themselves through for our entertainment, I'm still looking forward to that due to Steen's ability to engage the crowd.
 
Rating: ***1/4


#15 supersonic

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 11:10 PM

Guitarmageddon - June 11, 2005
 
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Joey Ryan vs. Alex Shelley
 
LOVED the storytelling in this one.  Shelley completely outclassed Ryan in terms of technical wrestling, just humiliating him.  It was a sight to behold.  It was such an ass-kicking on the mat that Ryan, who was doing a sworn Christian gimmick, became so irrationally gotten to that he got in the face of a toddler.
 
Ryan had to break his Christian code in order to get some advantages, blatantly cheating.  But that wasn't enough against a world-class wrestler like Shelley.  Shelley did come into the match with an injured left arm, which became vulnerable when he went shoulder-first into a turnbuckle, and then fell onto the ring steps below, with the impact point behind that injured arm.  This allowed Ryan to get a very impressive heat segment on Shelley.
 
However, Shelley was a great babyface in this match, with tremendous hope spots and showing just how superior he was to Ryan.  In the end though, Ryan's newfound desperation to be successful became more important to him than his Christianity and integrity, using the ropes for leverage to get a pinfall on Shelley.
 
This didn't have the pacing of a great match, but I must mention just tremendous the story these two told was.  Really engaging stuff.
 
Rating: ***1/2
 
PWG Title and NWA-TNA Title Match
AJ Styles vs. James Gibson
 
This was quite splendid.  With both championship on the line, it appeared that the veteran Gibson had a new fire lit under him.  I'm sure going up against an opponent like Styles had him knowing he had to bring his working boots as he usually did anyway.  But Gibson was great at meticulously waiting for the overzealous Styles to be put in a prone position.
 
When Styles found himself between the apron and bottom rope, with Gibson on the outside, the challenger grabbed the champion and slammed his sternum onto the apron.  Gibson then spent much of the rest of the match applying headlocks and what appeared to be on making breathing a challenge for Styles.  However, Styles was great at using his athleticism to give him time.
 
My favorite spot of the match, without any doubt, was Styles going for an enziguri while Gibson already had one leg hooked.  Just like Paul London did to him at Night of the Grudges, Styles found himself being dragon screwed (in a modified way) and having the momentum of the attempted enziguri to backfire on him.  Gibson's execution of this reversal was just as beautiful as London's two years earlier.  Along with Gibson avoiding the signature springboard reverse DDT of Styles, it was so glaring that he was a student of the game.
 
However, Styles is such a tremendous pro wrestler than no matter how much studying Gibson put in prior to this match, not every Styles signature could be avoided.  And while the sudden Styles Clash finish felt a bit anticlimatic, it established the finisher as being a finisher, and it's important to educate the audience for future matches for when the finisher is a false finish.  Splendid match.
 
Rating: ***3/4
 
Kevin Steen & Excalibur vs. Super Dragon & Disco Machine
 
Excalibur revealed here that he had been the brains behind Steen's Super Dragon #2 disguise, and said Disco Machine was more than welcome to join their crew prior to the match.
 
What also should be noted is that until the finish, Excalibur and Disco Machine disclosed on the commentary that they would call the match objectively and in the third person.  It made for a very unique experience.
 
This wasn't the most exciting match in terms of pacing, but the story when the entire segment was done was a great chapter in the Steen vs. SD feud.  Disco Machine spend the majority of the match just getting his ass kicked, probably because Excalibur bitched so much about how SD had been holding back his friends.  But SD realized that Disco Machine couldn't keep taking the ass-kicking and tagged himself in.
 
Disco Machine let his ego get in the way, not realizing that he was out of gas for the night, and betrayed SD, and accepting Excalibur's invitation.  Steen got his package piledriver pin on SD, and afterwards 2 Skinny Black Guys came out to help SD, only for the newly aligned trio to take a powder.  A challenge is made for a trios match on the next month's anniversary show, but not before these gems:
 
Excalibur: "Super Dragon, I see before this match, you hedged your bets, you bought some friends backstage.  But Super Dragon, you think you can replace myself and Disco Machine with a beaner and a fucking nigger?"
Steen: "Does that word offend you... nigger?"
 
Rating: ****


#16 supersonic

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 11:10 PM

 
Not gonna dignify the first night of the 2nd Anniversary Show with a full proper formatting.  I watched the 3 "good shit" matches and here's my assessment:
 
SD & 2 Skinny Black Guys vs. New SBS - Had some entertaining stuff but lacked heat to really get the audience to give a shit about SD once he had a 1-to-3 disadvantage.  Although he's not the most sympathetic character, so that may be the reason too.
 
Arrogance vs. Aerial Xpress - For such an important match (TITLES VS. MASKS), this lacked any kind of epic storytelling to get the audience emotionally invested.  Heat in this match was dead unless there was a cool-looking move.  The biggest reaction of the entire match was an altercation between Joey Ryan and Dino fucking Winwood.  Nobody cared when Scorpio Sky pulled off the upset by himself either.  Also, so many inconsistencies with tags in case you would expect otherwise.  This match was pitiful dogshit, and for a more thorough review of it, here you go - http://splashmountai...llsoutdisc2.htm
 
Styles vs. Kazarian - Had the potential to be a very good match, with some quality action and occasional attempts at getting a story started.  Then the match committed suicide with one of the worst endings I can possibly imagine for a title match involving someone on his way out the door.  Because Frankie Kazarian really needed to be protected.  Truly shitty booking.


#17 supersonic

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 11:11 PM

2nd Annual Bicentennial Birthday Extravaganza Night 2 - July 10, 2005
 
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PWG Title Shot Match
Kevin Steen vs. Super Dragon
 
Pet-peeve: former champions having to "earn" their first shot at regaining the title.
 
This match really was great, and I am really enjoying this Steen vs. SD feud.  They of course beat the fuck out of each other, but here's what makes this work so well.  Steen is one of the few wrestlers who knows how to play heel, so when he's getting the heat, even an asshole like SD becomes sympathetic.  Steen talked shit to the crowd as usual for him, and did a masterful job of using SD's signature moves, giving the face of the company a nice dose of his own medicine.
 
There were plenty of great moments in this match.  My favorite by far was SD flying out for a tope con hilo, only for Steen to catch him for a fireman's carry in mid-air, and then do a Finlay roll on a bunch of empty chairs.  There was also a STUPID portion in which Steen literally tossed SD twice (both times holding SD in a fallaway position) against the wall, with nothing to break SD's fall.  These two men certainly wanted the audience to suspend disbelief as far as I can tell, and I hope it was worth it.
 
The commentators also mentioned the potential matchups to come the next month for the winners of this match and the main event, and reminded me of how badly I wished we had gotten to see James Gibson vs. Kevin Steen.  Hell, that's one of so many Gibson dream matches we never got (Steen, Generico, Hero, Claudio, Sabin, Shelley, Richards off the top of my head.)  But this match was so brutal, filled with such hate, and legitimately engaging with emotions that while it wasn't the OMG best match ever, I was very satisfied.
 
This match kept the feud going and was a nice recovery to the relatively heatless match involving them the night before.  Most importantly, after the pathetic finish of the title match the night before too, this match elevated the importance of the PWG Title because of both men putting their hearts and souls into just getting a shot at it.  It is truly one of the very best matches PWG hosted before its golden age.
 
Rating: ****
 
PWG TItle Match
AJ Styles vs. James Gibson vs. Christopher Daniels
 
Food for thought: If WCW had somehow survived and gotten healthy again, there's a chance this match could have been headlining Nitro (and maybe even a PPV event) instead of this indy show at the time of this happening.
 
This was a good three-way, although not the MOTYC one may expect on paper.  I didn't expect that, I expected something on par with a good SmackDown! match, and that's what this was.  The commentators also mention that Gibson had to fly from the ROH show in NYC the day before, so I took that into account also with tempering my expectations.
 
The action was mostly crisp, and there were some great moments in this tasty little appetizer of a match.  There were two spots in particular that gave this match a unique identity compared to other threeways.  The first one was Styles being in the corner dazed.  Daniels then Irish whipped Gibson into the same corner; Gibson managed to jump and monkey flip Styles.  Styles landed perfectly while in mid-air to give Daniels a head-scissors.  The other spot was Styles shoving Daniels off the top rope when attempting a springboard maneuver.  Gibson, standing in the ring, caught Daniels in mid-air for a picture-perfect powerslam.
 
Rating: ***1/4


#18 supersonic

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 11:11 PM

Zombies [Shouldn't Run] - August 6, 2005
 
zr_pwg_zombies.jpg
 
 
Davey Richards vs. Rocky Romero
 
A potentially very good match but Richards, with just over one year in the business, was way too green.  But I had issues with Romero too.  Richards failed to work on Romero taped right shoulder until the end of the match, while Romero did next to nothing on the sore right elbow of Richards.  This had its great moments of Indy Strong Style shit, getting the crowd going.  I like the way that the submissions looked too.  It was just sloppily put together, and I look forward to their other singles matches, as I'm sure Richards improved greatly by the time they squared off again.
 
Rating: less than ***
 
Chris Hero vs. Christopher Daniels
 
This was announced as a TNA X-Division title defense for Daniels, but he refused to defend anymore in PWG.  I'm guessing that he sensed his days were numbered on holding it, whether that be in a TNA, PWG, or any other federation's ring.  Daniels is always tremendous at spinning a transparently laughably narrative to explain why he won't put the title on the line.
 
This was another good technical wrestling match from these two.  I loved Daniels constantly wasting time and sabotaging Hero from getting any advantage on him.  But Hero, the student of the game that he is, got to work on the neck of Daniels (dating back to the injury suffered in WCW), particularly with numerous cravates.  But Daniels also worked on Hero's neck, to set up for his usual finishers.  I enjoyed the finish too to push what a douche-bag Daniels still is.
 
Rating: ***1/2
 
Super Dragon vs. Quicksilver
 
This match was good, had to chance to be very good, but simply went way too long.  At this point, Quicksilver wasn't established enough to seem like someone who would really take SD to the length of a PPV main event.  There were times when I begged for the match to end, because going 15 minutes like SD vs. Joe at All Nude Revue would've done more to elevate Quicksilver.
 
I did enjoy SD making an example out of Quicksilver.  SD is such a tremendous dickhead.  It was good storytelling and he was also a great base for when Quicksilver delivered some high spots.  I got especially worried when Quicksilver, after 20 minutes, kicked out of a top rope backbreaker.  However, when the match ended moments later to a torture rack piledriver, the crowd still maintained its heat, which pleasantly surprised me.
 
Rating: ***1/4
 
PWG Title Match
AJ Styles vs. Kevin Steen
 
Another good match for the evening, and a nice main event.  With both men having a major singles victory over SD, it was nice to see too established bad-asses (although very different flavors) colliding.  Styles got the early advantage with his match wrestling, but Steen's viciousness allowed for that to only be temporary.  This was all-in-all a very even matchup, the furious explosiveness of Styles mirroring the calculated brutality of Steen.  Even with another cheap finish already in the evening, I like the way this match ended too, with this arguably being Steen's career crowning moment at the time of this match.
 
Rating: ***1/2


#19 supersonic

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 11:12 PM

Smells Like Steen Spirit - August 19, 2005
 
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Samoa Joe vs. Super Dragon
 
Nothing special whatsoever here from these two, and easily the worst of their PWG trilogy.  It had the moves, but no electricity like their prior matches.  It's definitely understandable though, because Joe alone the previous weekend was involved in an excellent fourway match in Dayton, a barnburner of a brawl the next night after driving to Chicago (saying goodbye to CM Punk that night too), then another physically taxing match to close out the weekend in Orlando.  Then the night after this event, he flies cross-country to be in the main event of yet another ROH event, plus there's another one the weekend after this.  I don't blame the man if he took this one easy.
 
Rating: less than ***


#20 supersonic

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Posted 05 March 2016 - 11:12 PM

2005 Battle of Los Angeles Pt. 1 - September 3, 2005
 
zr_pwg_bola.jpg
 
 
2005 Battle of Los Angeles Tournament 1st Round Match
Ricky Reyes vs. Bryan Danielson
 
I have a shocking revelation for all of you.
 
The best singles match Ricky Reyes had, and will ever have, was against Bryan Danielson.
 
Also of note is that I believe this was the return of Danielson to the States after a 3-4 month European tenure.
 
This was just good, solid wrestling, with Reyes being elevated in a competitive match with one of the finest technical wrestlers the business has ever seen.  It was genuinely engaging.  The limb work was great.  The only thing that kept his from getting into remarkable territory is that not even Danielson could pull off that kind of miracle.  Very good match here.
 
Rating: ***1/2
 
2005 Battle of Los Angeles Tournament 1st Round Match
Kevin Steen vs. Super Dragon
 
This was good but way, way too long to be engaging, and couldn't touch their classic a couple months before this.  What made this good was that Steen was his usual tremendously heel self, antagonizing the crowd over and over again to keep them interested.  Post-match, SD attacks Steen to continue the feud.
 
Rating: ***





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